Science Friday Host: Japan’s Nuclear Disaster – An Opportunity

Science Friday Host: Japan’s Nuclear Disaster – An Opportunity

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Ira Flatow, the exuberant host of NPR’s Science Friday came to Silicon Valley this week. At a reception for KQED at the St. Claire Hotel Atrium in downtown San Jose, Ira took the stage for an animated conversation with Andrea Kissack, Senior Editor of KQED’s QUEST. Here are some of the highlights:

On Japan’s nuclear disaster

“This is an opportunity to build something new – infrastructure for solar thermal (power plants) for example, or wind power…we could be the Saudi Arabia of Wind. Why do you need one solution? We should look at science – see the biodiversity lesson.”

On nuclear power

“Japan was ‘prepared’ but didn’t plan for the Perfect Storm. Nature will find a way to outsmart us.”

On Global Warming

“Over 50% of incoming Republicans don’t ‘believe’ in global warming. The great majority of scientists AGREE on global warming…we don’t talk about ‘the debate’ on Science Friday. Should you bring creationists in to debate evolution? Or have a debate that the world is not flat?”

On Clean Energy and California

“We look to California as a leader in clean energy. We have to get over cheap gas and pay the real value of gas. We expect $2 a gallon while Europe is paying $10.”

How to change the energy status quo?

“If you want change, you have to DEMAND IT. Like in the 60’s. You can’t change people’s minds if they’re entrenched. With Global Warming however, change is happening and the evidence of melting ice is visible.”

On Science Education

“All kids are natural scientists – they need good teachers and mentors to nurture it.”

I was surprised to learn that Science Friday gets only 10% of its budget from NPR. The remainder it has to raise through fundraising. If you enjoy Science Friday and want to learn more about supporting it, check out this link.

For other Fresh Dialogues interviews with an education focus, click here

Here’s an interview with Ocean Scientist, Robert Ballard

And check out our YouTube Channel