Alan Alda for Science Advisor!

Alan Alda has answered the call, responding to the Edge Question, and it's remarkably good.  Each answerer is asked to become President Bush's Science adviser, and answer the question, "What are the pressing scientific issues for the nation and the world, and what is your advice on how I can begin to deal with them?"

Excerpts from Alda's response:

The world is going to come to an end in about 5 billion years no matter what we do. So, in the long run, you're off the hook. It's true that things like Global Warming, plus the increasing loss of clean water and bio diversity, can hasten The End Of Everything As We Know It, but even so, it will all end eventually. Nobody gets blamed for continuing a disastrous policy, so there will be no harm to your reputation if you do nothing. People simply do not say, "Caesar did nothing to halt the Roman practice of putting lead in the air and water, probably resulting in the eventual weakening and fall of the empire." But they're absolutely  fascinated  with the way he could divide Gaul into thirds.

Recognizing this, I will not advise you to do anything related to the environment. I will simply ask permission to put a glass of water on your desk every day with little things swimming in it. Sooner or later, you'll slip and drink from it, and while you're in the hospital, we can talk about the billion or so people who have nothing else to drink.