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Cat's Climate

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In Kurt Vonnegut's “Cat's Cradle,” the mysterious polymorph ice-nine freezes the world’s oceans. If something like that really happened, how would it impact our climate? Meteorologist Alex Tardy from the National Weather Service discusses Vonnegut’s lofty claims, our region’s non-weather and the city of San Diego’s ambitious plan to reduce carbon emissions. And from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Osinachi Ajoku, Elizabeth Drenkard, and Daniela Faggiani Dias discuss what their research can tell us about climate change and what climate models may predict if all the water on Earth froze. Ultimately, though, it’s not so much about what Vonnegut got wrong about the weather, but how he asks us to think about what’s right.

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Device is a monthly book discussion with a science-based twist. In each episode, we discuss a novel that uses science to drive the story’s action, and dissect the plot device for scientific plausibility.