USB plugs only fit in after they are observed, Before that, they are in superposition. See http://www.funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/4555650/The+Quantum+state+of+a+USB/ for an explanation.
The article seems to imply that the humanities are not science, but helping the real science (and lists engineering, of all things). I completely disagree!
Science is a way of thinking, an approach --- you can and must apply it to everything: Humanities as well as Natural Sciences as well as Engineering. It includes rigorous work, sceptical thinking, an open mind, etc. --- and it is necessary for ALL scientists to follow, regardless of their field.
Here's the rub. A lot of people show up at the doctor for things which will take n days to go away - with or without treatment. The common cold, for example. They won't accept NOT getting any prescription and will hop from doctor to doctor until they get one.
Now the best thing would be educating the public about this issue. This is very, very hard to do. Barring that, it is actually better for the patients and cheaper to just prescribe placebos - they DO work in this case! (up to the placebo effect, as any other medicine would).
Unfortunately there is another issue involved: Most placebos (at least in Germany) are homeopatic. This lends credibility to the whole homeopatic industry, and THEY are nothing but quacks. And THAT is a bad thing.
So - either way you lose.
US != World
But in general, "the media" loves to report stuff like this, normally completely without citations of course.
Apparently, not so bad: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16058-prophesy-of-economic-collapse-coming-true.html
I have not read the 1972 book, but I think the main point was that economic growth has to stop at some point (because the planet won't support it) and we have to go for a steady-state economy. The problem with that is, while it is perfectly possible to do, it apparently still just doesn't fit into the heads of the people responsible.
I recommend reading "2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years" (http://www.amazon.com/2052-Global-Forecast-Forty-Years/dp/1603584218).
It is written by the same guy who co-wrote the 1972 report "The Limits Of Growth" and deals with what humanity will likely do (globally) in the next 40 years (not what we SHOULD do, but what we will most likely do).
It is very interesting (and actually quite easy) to read and deals among other things with the expected results of climate change.
The most important early product on the way to developing a good product is an imperfect version.