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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Michael Crichton (1942 - 2008), RIP

It was an expected news, amidst the election day hoopla, that depressed me more than the election results. I am just an admirer of him for his academic achievements as an accomplished writer and a rare sane science voice -- all started as a result of reading his book "State of Fear". Yes, the famous author Michael Crichton is no longer with us. Here's the official announcement from his site:
Best-selling author Michael Crichton died unexpectedly in Los Angeles Tuesday, November 4, 2008 after a courageous and private battle against cancer.

While the world knew him as a great story teller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us -- and entertained us all while doing so -- his wife Sherri, daughter Taylor, family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes. He did this with a wry sense of humor that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget.

Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand.

He will be profoundly missed by those whose lives he touched, but he leaves behind the greatest gifts of a thirst for knowledge, the desire to understand, and the wisdom to use our minds to better our world.
Michael Crichton is gone, but in the age of internet he left plenty of marks online. Among the things that are readily available online:

Here's his lecture at Smithonoan Institute, November 6, 2005, "Fear Complexity and Environmental Mgmt in the 21st Century" about Chaos theory.

Here's "Michael Crichton at AEI", April 20, 2007, in which Crichton debunks global warming alarmists and other Chicken Littles.

Here's his lecture "State of Fear: Science or Politics?" at the Independent Institute, May 6, 2007.

Among the short Youtube videos I particularly like the followings when he talks to high school students on March 16, 2005:
Environmentalism as a religion
Unproven dangers of second-hand smoking
DDT
People who don't mind their own bussiness
These are only some of my personal favorites. There are many more out there if you wish to search. It is sad to think such a prosperously rich intellectual life just shortened. He may have a lot of things unfinished, but I don't think that he'll have too many regrets.

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