Monday, November 01, 2021

Tidbits From the News

by Thomas Kies 

I worked for newspapers and magazines for over thirty years so I’m a news junkie, pure and simple.  A few stories jumped out at me this week.

The first one was about how the executives of six oil companies and various lobbying groups disseminated false information to the public about the how fossil fuels have had a major negative impact on climate change. 

That struck me hard, because that’s the basic plot of my last book. Shadow Hill.  In my mystery, a major oil company has commissioned their own “scientists” to write a paper on how climate change is part of the natural rhythm of the earth and that burning fossil fuels has a minimum, if any, effect. The company is hoping to stave off a bill moving through Congress that would cut their obscene subsidies and give the money and tax breaks to renewable energy efforts.

Last Thursday, the executives stuck to their scripts while testifying in front of a House committee, not quite admitting that they had delivered fraudulent information for years but claiming that they were all moving in the right direction with clean energy. 

According to the New York Times: Mr. Woods, the C.E.O. of Exxon Mobil, faced questions about company statements over the years that cast doubt on whether fossil fuels were the main driver of climate change. He said the positions were “entirely consistent” with the scientific consensus of the time.

He also said that a 1997 statement by Lee Raymond, then Exxon’s chief executive, that “currently, the scientific evidence is inconclusive” about the role of human activity in warming was “consistent with the science.” Two years earlier, the United Nations’ top climate science body had reached a consensus that global warming is occurring, and that the burning of fossil fuels was a significant cause.

Mr. Woods also said that Exxon Mobil now recognizes climate change, yet “there are no easy answers,” to solving it.

A second story I thought was interesting was from my old newspaper covering Norwalk, Connecticut.  It was about how Netflix is filming a movie based on Stephen King’s story called Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. The filmmakers are using various locations around the city as well as the neighboring town, Westport.

The plot of the story is that a young man, employed by an older man, buys his employer a cellphone.  When the man dies, the phone is buried with him, but the conversations continue…via that cellphone.  Yikes.

I’m glad they’ve picked Norwalk for their movie location.  I’ve based my Geneva Chase novels in a fictional town called Sheffield, but in my mind’s eye, looks an awful lot like Norwalk. I always loved that town.  Rich in diversity, South Norwalk, or SoNo, has a wonderful vibe and fabulous restaurants.  It's also a great place to stage crime novels.

The last story I’ll tell you about is how one of the most popular Carmen Mola, one of the most popular crime writers in Spain, won the coveted Premio Planeta literary prize and the million euros that go with it.  The protagonist of Mola’s mysteries is a female detective by the name of Elena Blanco.

The surprise was when Mola was supposed to go onstage to collect her million euros, three men appeared instead.  As it turned out, all three of them had collaborated on the Elena Blanco books. 

When my wife saw this, she smiled and said, “See, it takes three men to write as a woman.”

I’m still not sure how to take that.  My protagonist is Geneva Chase, a female reporter.

I don't have any collaborators.  

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