Chapter 1. ew.com/ew/article/0,,306121,00.html
In the introduction we meet young Lola. It is 1986 and she is a newly-hired geophysicist expecting her first child. She is not fond of everyone associated with the oil business. Get a quick glimpse of her world of the 80’s as she complains about the Beach Boys being banished by Interior Secretary James Watt. Hey, even Nancy Reagan was mad about this!
Lola considered herself mature at twenty-six, good at meeting life’s basic responsibilities such as showing up to work on time. Today, the rules included dressing better than usual to make a presentation. Unfortunately, dressing better had become more difficult as the pregnancy advanced. Today’s other presenters would be all male, of course, most of them also hired over the last few years, fresh out of school with their shiny new master’s degrees and brought here to fill the oil industry’s sudden burgeoning need for geoscientists.
Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior James Watt had made many a bad decision, in Lola’s opinion, including banning the Beach Boys from performing in the D.C. mall. But even though his social conservatism and apparent disregard for the environment made him one of Lola’s least favorite cabinet members ever, his decision three years ago to open up virtually all offshore federal waters to drilling had personally affected Lola in ways that politics seldom did.
Lola had originally seen herself researching earthquakes, or maybe in the best of all worlds becoming an expert on the geophysics of other planets. Then the oil companies had come to campus, dangling riches as they scrambled for new hires who could interpret the massive amounts of seismic data they were acquiring to compete for the “billion acres” James Watt bragged that he had just made available to them. She and Alex were newly married, very broke, and wanted children before too long. Just a few years could get the debts paid off. The other planets could wait.
http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/ World Health Organization on maternal mortality
http://afbis.com/analysis/slave.htm Slave trade: a root of contemporary African Crisis By Tunde Obadina (Director of Africa Business Information Services)
http://prb.org/Articles/2002/HowManyPeopleHaveEverLivedonEarth.aspx for “How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth” by Carl Haub, chair of Population Information at the Population Reference Bureau.