What makes a scientist into a political obsessive? Denial of our impact on climate change, complete obeisance to the "free" market (which has suddenly become expensive for those whose energy and creativity provide the fuel to its fire) and creationism. All of which coincide in Sarah Palin. Question - can you train a Pitbull? Answer - to a certain extent. Douglas Burns' flow chart is not an unkind lampoon, but a sadly accurate depiction. Potential VP Palin (shiver) was "drilled, baby drilled" and didn't depart far from her coloured cards. Certainly not a debate. She looked at the camera and superficially aligned herself with "ordinary Americans". She had clearly learnt the names of 5 country leaders. (I admit this is a particular concern of mine, as a signed up member of the "I have more foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin" Facebook Group). But what she doesn't know is only half the problem. She professes to be an Energy sector specialist but drill below the surface and you find only oil or gas, nothing on renewables or restraint.
Should we be worrying so much about the result of the US election next month? Probably not - the impact of the US globally is likely to be increasingly irrelevant. China anyway owns its national debt and is outcompeting its companies around the developing world. Its the Chinese leadership we need to be watching closely, and working out how to engage with them on the international stage if we feel democracy should form part of human governance in our future earth.