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The Diary
Anne Ku

19 December 2000 Tuesday






The more I read the newspapers and learn about how journalists write, the more I question what I read.

In Chinese societies, we are brought up to believe and trust in authority. In fact, we automatically give respect and power to those older than us whether or not they deserve it. The education system is hardly socratic. It emphasizes WHAT rather than WHY. I didn't learn to ask questions until I went to graduate school. It seems such an expensive way to finally learn how to ask.

When the recent rains devastated much of England, we were told by the radio stations and the newspapers that such abnormal weather was due to global warming. It was a simple explanation, and most people I'm sure accepted it. Yet recently, the Sunday Telegraph (26 Nov 2000) devoted more than half a page refuting this. Apparently, scientists said that the heavy rainfall and flooding was not due to global warming but instead due to a well-known weather system called the North Atalantic Oscillation (NAO). It is a pattern of atmospheric pressure which forms over the ocean.

Despite being the wettest autumn in the last 300 years, the recent weather is projected to continue. Compared to a long-term average of 260 mm (10.24 in), this autumn accumulated 456 mm (18 inch) of rain.

Now the question is whether flooding was due to poor infrastructure and the need for investment. This angle parallels the recent RailTrack disasters - which killed innocent passengers. As I travel on the London Underground or even in a minicab to fight the traffic, I can only sigh! For sure, the infrastructure is falling apart!


Related diary entries:
stormy weather
global warming
falling apart