Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future


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Tags: Book reviews. Privacy Policy. When the models get brought in, those of us without an extensive grounding in math above the basic algebra level might feel a bit out of our depth.

And that would be just fine if a bit intimidating if the mathematical models accurately described the world. In fact, mathematical models are often so divorced from the real world they are intended to describe, and the figures on which the models are based often chosen so arbitrarily, that basing decisions on those models can actually hasten the rate of damage done to the environment.

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Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future

Faced with the prospect of assuring the public that the dump would remain leak-proof for 10, years — later expanded by court decree to a million years — environmental scientists, geologists, hydrologists, and engineers took it upon themselves to render mathematically the entire mountain, its structure and surroundings, the flow of water around and through it, and a host of other climatic, biotic, and geologic factors.

This was done to determine whether highly radioactive waste placed in storage within the mountain would stay there for the requisite number of millennia.

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Imagine writing the math to cover every layer of rock in the mountain, unseen except through sampling and remote sensing, and trying to account for every hairline crack, then using that data to predict how the mountain will change — down to that same hairline crack level — after 10, years of earthquakes in the seismically active Mojave. The local water table is 2, feet below the surface, and the mountain is in a basin with no outlet to the sea.

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Milly PCD et al. Science — Moss, R et al.

Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva. Country Studies Program. Climatic Change —

Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future
Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future
Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future
Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future
Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future
Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future
Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Cant Predict the Future

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