Five surprising policy tips for Obama

Author Richard Muller has some interesting scientific advice for policy on terrorism, nuclear power, energy independence, global warming, and space exploration in the new Obama Administration. On the potential of a nuclear terrorist attack:

In reality, a dirty bomb would leave very few immediate casualties. That’s because radioactivity, once spread after an explosion, drops below the threshold for radiation illness. A dirty bomb might not even cause an observable increase in cancer rates. Perhaps that’s why al Qaeda instructed Chicago gang member José Padilla to abandon his goal of making a dirty bomb and told him instead to blow up apartment buildings using natural gas—which would have a greater chance of killing a large number of people. What is most scary is that al Qaeda seems to understand this fact better than many politicians.
(via kottke.org)