You’ve heard the expression “… is not an exact science.” The part with the “…” could be filled in with “earthquake prediction” or “weather forecasting,” to name two.
Exact or not, science is an area of study or field of discipline that involves, requires, demands meticulous observation, focused intent and listening, critical thinking. And, you can take that to the bank!
It’s also built – by those engaged in doing the work – around questioning everything, meaning, leaving nothing to chance as well as in one doing his or her due diligence.
Why? Because absent any of that, what we’re left with are findings, outcomes, results that are less than exact, decisive, definitive, which, worst-case-scenario-wise, could make observers – inside and outside both – skeptical of such, and, as such, conducted undertakings done in the name of science could be further subjected to scrutiny and further be put under the eye and proverbial microscope.
Which brings up the point of everything science-related being continuously questioned. Wait – was it me that just said that?!
If you want to know why I say such things, l offer up what I believe is the perfect emblematic example.
I own a book by acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert. This book I’m alluding to here has the curious-sounding title: “Under A White Sky: The Nature of the Future.” The book covers many aspects of science, one of which is air pollution; another being global warming and climate change.
At any rate related to the former facet is the within-the-text invisible-haze reference that can be found on page 167 which, by the way, is in the “Up In The Air” section.
So immediately I’m thinking “Huh?!” “Invisible haze.” “Seriously!” If haze is what we’re really talking about here, then how can it be invisible at the same time? This, at first, just didn’t make sense to me.
Then I got to thinking. I remember seeing a documentary one time and in a part of it was coverage of leaking methane being emitted from featured fracking (hydraulic fracturing) sites. Now people know that leaking methane cannot be naked-eye detected. However, through capable technological means, via specially-purposed camera equipment, observable are such methane leaks. And, if true that leaking airborne methane is, in fact, considered to be a type of haze, it would also to the naked eye be invisible, therefore satisfying both conditions. Had I not called into question that seemingly incongruous relationship and just accepted the notion as fact, I might have been left with wondering forever about what the “invisible haze” reference even meant.
Okay, so while we’re speaking about wondering, you’re probably right this minute wondering about what any of this has to do with me getting ready to celebrate on Nov. 5th my 10 years as chief contributor to this blog; what one has to do with the other, in other words.
Well, you see, it’s like this. When I first agreed to take on the role of Air Quality Matters contributor, without having had any formal training as a so-called air-quality specialist, meteorologist, scientist, etc. I did, however, come to this space with a deep and abiding interest. This all, by the way, is covered in the blog post “Air Quality Matters blog turns 9.”
Which means, I had to be ready, willing and able to step up my fact-based-writing game. Looking back, in hindsight, I believe I did a representative and respectable job of living up to that responsibility.
I have gone to tremendous lengths to ensure I bring you, our readers, the most accurate air-quality related information. If I spot an error or notice that there is an omission, I will go back and make the appropriate revision, update, correction and will provide a note at the bottom indicating such. If that’s not being transparent, then I don’t know what is. I will not settle for anything less. I also know that if I do not insist on and ensure accuracy in my contributing, then what would be the point of my blogging?
Not just that, but what I post on the site I want to be both informative and interesting. During the now almost 10 years of posting, with rare exception, I feel that’s the case.
And, finally, what I would like to say has to do with a matter that hits very close to home for me personally. Before he passed in 2015, my dad had to endure dementia’s devastating and debilitating impacts. This could not have been easy. Not knowing if I too will be affected by this disease’s quite-limiting effects, I believe that by doing research, writing, reviewing and editing my work, that in doing so, this is a tool that I have at my disposal to keep my mind active, my brain exercised – to keep my “wits” about me so to speak. Another of the many reasons that keep me going, driven in my mission to try to bring you the best of the best as a contributing blogger, even if what I upload online at the time is not the most timely.
You know what? It’s all good. And, the nearly 10 years I’ve been at this, in the driver’s seat so to speak, makes all the time and effort invested, that much more fulfilling!
Wow, the big 1-0! Who’d’ve ever thought?!
– Alan Kandel
In the “Air Quality Matters blog turns 9” reference above, the word “blog” was originally inadvertently omitted. This has now been corrected. Moreover, other text has been adjusted to make understanding said text more clear.
This post was last updated on Sept. 21, 2022 at 1:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.