Prominent scientists have become increasingly convinced that the connection between carbon emissions and rising temperatures is real, but skeptics have whole truckloads of studies to demonstrate the opposite.
Frightened people want to protect themselves, sometimes without thinking about others. Often, they get angry and want to find someone to blame for catastrophe. Inevitably, they spread information without checking if it's true.
Chinese experts noted that the U.S. economy has rebounded from the 2008 crash more strongly than some analysts here had expected, while China's own growth is slowing after several decades of rocket-ship acceleration.
Paradoxically, the United States' determination to protect its troops can be self-defeating. Allies and adversaries see U.S. forces living in secure compounds, eating fancy chow and minimizing their exposure to potential terrorist assaults.
Thanksgiving is America's favorite holiday because it's a time when we put aside our cares, much as the struggling Pilgrims did nearly four centuries ago, and eat a gut-busting meal without worrying about the 'out years.'
Maybe it's the spy novelist in me looking for a future plot, but I hope the U.S. and its allies are thinking how to operate 'unconventionally' in Iraq and Syria in ways that undermine the Islamic State.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, arguably President Obama's best Cabinet appointment, has been leading a quiet revolution in clean-energy technology. Innovation is transforming this industry, costs are plummeting and entrepreneurs are devising radical new systems that create American jobs - in addition to protecting the planet.
If you want better behavior from bankers, then make their financial incentives more like those in the hedge-fund world - where managers have 'skin in the game,' and their net worth is tied to their long-term performance.
My guess is that before Obama departs, he will adopt some of the more aggressive military options he has been resisting, such as 'safe zones' inside Syria and more aggressive deployment of U.S. special forces.
As so many writers know, the experience of creating an imaginary world is closer to dreaming than it is to normal, grit-your-teeth work. It's preconscious rather than conscious. Ideas fall into your head, and the book writes you, rather than the other way around.
We're grappling with the same issue facing all advanced economies - how to revive growth and distribute its fruits more fairly. An America that can tackle that problem head-on can perhaps help revive a stagnant global economy.
It's fashionable with the Sarah Palin set to attack Harvard and treat its graduates as elitists. But if you spend any time on campus, you see students drawn from all over the world - an astonishing number these days with roots in Asia - whose chief assets are brainpower and hard work.
I've tried, in 'Bloodmoney,' to tell a story that gets at the crazy relationship between the ISI and the CIA, these absolutely fascinating, often mutually destructive two scorpions in a bottle kind of relationship that they have.
At the center of President Obama's strategy for dealing with the Islamic State is an empty space. It's supposed be filled by a 'Sunni ground force,' but after more than a year of effort, it's still not there. Unless this gap is filled, Obama's plan won't work.