Apparently there isn’t enough intelligent life on Planet Congress.
Today the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittees on Space and Research explored current efforts to search for life-sustaining planets.
“The search for exoplanets and Earth-like planets is a relatively new but inspiring area of space exploration. Scientists are discovering new kinds of solar systems in our own galaxy that we never knew existed,” said Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). “In the universe, is there another place like home? Because of NASA’s Kepler mission, we know the likely answer is yes. Imagine how the discovery of life outside our solar system would alter our priorities for space exploration and how we view our place in the universe.”
Witnesses discussed the recent discovery by NASA’s Kepler space telescope of three super-Earth sized planets in the “habitable zone,” the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might be suitable for liquid water.
“Scientists do not know whether life could exist on the newfound planets, but their discovery signals we are another step closer to finding a world similar to Earth around a star like our sun,” NASA said in an April 18 press release.
Witnesses talked about coordinating government and external partner research to use both space- and ground-based telescopes to help categorize and characterize candidate planets.
“As we strive to do more with less, I hope we will get a better understanding of how exoplanet research should adapt to the fiscal realities we face today. Is the current portfolio of missions and research still the ideal path under constrained budgets?” said Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.). “How can we build upon recent inspirational discoveries in the most efficient manner? These are key questions we must answer as we work to draft a NASA Authorization Bill and a Reauthorization of COMPETES Act.”
Eight months ago, Cody Wilson set out to create the world’s first entirely 3D-printable handgun.
Now he has.
Early next week, Wilson, a 25-year University of Texas law student and founder of the non-profit group Defense Distributed, plans to release the 3D-printable CAD files for a gun he calls “the Liberator,” pictured in its initial form above. He’s agreed to let me document the process of the gun’s creation, so long as I don’t publish details of its mechanics or its testing until it’s been proven to work reliably and the file has been uploaded to Defense Distributed’s online collection of printable gun blueprints at Defcad.org.
The Liberator does include two metal pieces, a nail to act as the firing pin and a six-ounce piece of steel to make it detectable by metal detectors. The other 16 parts were printed in ABS plastic and according to Wilson, will be available online at Defcad.org next week. It has interchangeable barrels so that it can fire multiple calibers of standard handgun ammunition. Wilson has his federal firearms license, and added the steel to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act, so everything he has done to date complies with firearms law.
And yet, the printed gun may change everything.
A bipartisan group in Congress want to force the administration’s hand on the lagging space program, reintroducing a bill to direct NASA to put man back on the moon.
The RE-asserting American Leadership in Space Act, or REAL Space Act, is sponsored by Reps. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), John Culberson (R-Texas), Steve Stockman (R-Texas), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Ted Poe (R-Texas).
“It’s going to be next to impossible to maintain our preeminence in the exploration of space if we are having to hitch rides from other countries,” Bishop said. “Going back to the moon has always been an essential stepping stone for technology development for manned exploration to other parts of the galaxy. This legislation restores and clarifies NASA’s role in human space flight and sets the U.S. back on course to lead exploration of the cosmos.”
“Space is the world’s ultimate high ground, returning to the Moon and reinvigorating our human space flight program is a matter of national security,” said Jackson Lee.
Wolf noted a National Research Council committee finding last year that there was no support within NASA or from our international partners for the administration’s proposed asteroid mission, but there is a for a moon mission.
“So the U.S. can either lead that effort, or another country will step up and lead that effort in our absence — which would be very unfortunate,” said Wolf, chairman of the House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee.
The bill directs NASA to plan to return to the Moon by 2022 and develop a sustained human presence there as a stepping stone for the future exploration of Mars and other destinations within our solar system. It underscores the necessity of preserving America’s independent access to space.
“The REAL Space Act clarifies NASA’s mission, something it has been lacking in recent years,” Olson said. “Human space exploration is critically important to America’s global future.”
A week ago, former comedian Jim Carrey publicly advocated for restricting the law-abiding citizen’s access to firearms. He was militating against a right plainly spelled out in the Constitution.
This week, Jim Carrey has put his name to a letter advocating relaxing drug laws and clemency for drug offenders. The letter also hints at restoring voting rights to felons at the federal level, which up to now has been a state issue. These same people fight against voter ID, which protects the voting rights of Americans who have broken no laws.
Whatever you may think of the drug war, and I question the growing militarization of ordinary police forces, Carrey’s two positions are common on the left: Against the law-abiding citizen’s right to bear arms, simultaneously for the law breaker whose actions make the law-abiding citizen’s self-defense necessary. “Free Mumia” goes with universities hiring domestic terrorists goes with “gun free zones” that help killers plan massacres.
Carrey and other liberals do not see the contradiction here. Your right to bear arms, written into the Constitution, does not count. Yet they will find shadows and penumbras to create rights that are not written there.
On issues of life, liberals tend to favor the most radical policies on abortion, while they oppose the death penalty for our worst criminals. In court this week they won a victory allowing people of any age to purchase a powerful abortifacient drug, meaning children will end up buying, using, and probably being harmed by this drug. When a girl is harmed and sues the manufacturer, the same liberals will stand up and denounce “Big Pharma.” Liberals are literally turning a blind eye now to the ongoing trial in Pennsylvania, in which the details of an abortion mill/charnel house are being laid bare. Kermit Gosnell’s trial is among the most grisly in American history. But the lives of those children he and his employees callously snuffed and snipped out do not matter to liberals, at all. Their silence says all that needs to be said. Liberals who favor the death of the thousands of children killed at Gosnell’s slaughter house will oppose meting out the death penalty to the doctor who systematically killed them.
On the other hand, President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other liberals incessantly claim that their policies are — sing along if you’d like — “for the children.” MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry advocates for the collective against the family in an ad, yet pushes against any collective disgust or restrictions when it comes to abortion. She says children matter to all of us, yet if a child is born while a doctor is trying to kill her, that child does not matter at all. Gosnell is free to keep her feet in a jar, as he did with many of his victims.
Liberals also claim to be be voices for the powerless against the powerful. If they really cared about the children, and were really advocates of the powerless against the powerful, would they not see in the Gosnell trial a chance to side with both? Likewise, they claim to be women’s advocates, yet women were victims at Gosnell’s horror lab. He employed a person with no medical education at all to anesthetize patients. Women were injured and died due to his unsafe and unsanitary practices, practices government ignored for years.
Liberals have nothing at all to say about any of this. Nothing.
And they apparently see no contradiction between their rhetoric and their true policies. If liberals have a conscience, even the alleged crimes of Kermit Gosnell does not sear it.
The mental jujitsu that it takes to be a modern liberal doesn’t stop there. If you’re a law-abiding Christian church leader in America, the Obama administration wants to dictate to you, tell you whom to hire and what products you will pay for through insurance. But if you’re a drug cartel operative in Mexico with designs on expanding your business in the US, liberals want to make sure your path across the border is smooth. Liberals create “free speech zones” on university campuses that explicitly restrict free speech that liberals don’t like. Liberals claim to be for education, yet always side with unions that oppose firing incompetent teachers. Liberals claim to be racially tolerant, yet routinely launch racist attacks against minorities who disagree with them, as Clarence Thomas, Ted Cruz and our own Allen West can testify. Liberals claim to be pro-woman, yet demonize women leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Sarah Palin and Condoleezza Rice. Liberals claim to be pro-science, yet ignore the science on the beginning of life and on climate and everything else that contradicts their political point of view. They claim to be lovers of reason, yet get into a discussion with one and if it doesn’t go their way, liberals tend to become the most hysterical shriekers on earth. Despite their claims to be open-minded and free-thinkers, the America that liberals are trying to create has no room at all for anyone who disagrees with them, on anything. Their America would consist of endless purges as political correctness evolves and metastasizes, a movie we’ve seen before in France and Cambodia. Liberals claim to stand for freedom, yet consistently expand the power of a less and less accountable bureaucratic state. They’re for due process for foreign terrorists, against due process for the American farmer on whose land an endangered species resides. They’re pro-choice, as long as you choose what they want you to choose. Choose to go to church, listen to Rush Limbaugh, hunt, or vote Republican and watch how tolerant and pro-choice they really are.
Take it all in, and it leaves little room for the existence of a well-meaning liberal. There must be some, but the vast majority must be either dupes who do not really understand the effects of their beliefs, they have succumbed to bullying or are liberals just to be seen as cool, or they know exactly what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and who stands in their way and must therefore be destroyed.
Barack Obama voted against protections for infants born alive during the process of aborting them. If he were a man of thoughts deeper than his rigid ideology, and if he had a conscience when it came to protecting the most innocent and vulnerable among us, what would he make of this?
Lake Annabelle Hall wouldn’t be alive today if doctors at Children’s Hospital of Colorado hadn’t operated on a cyst on her left lung before she was born.
Doctors pulled her halfway out of her mother’s womb, leaving her connected to her the umbilical cord and placenta, which served as life support for her while a team of 43 doctors and nurses operated on her.
She is now 5 months old after the medical procedure for a rare condition that saved her life.
Dr. Timothy Crombleholme performed the astounding surgery, which had to be done to remove a cyst and clear the baby’s airway before she drew her first breath. Today, Lake is a healthy little girl and should not require any additional surgery.
Scientists developed an 3D printing system that can place living human embryonic stem cells, which was first proven to work last month, and are now conducting first tests with the system.
The system was developed by a team of researchers from Heriot-Watt University, Scotland, led by Dr. Will Wenmiao Shu. A liquid with human stem cells can be three-dimensionally placed by an ink-jet like device which will allow the production of various forms of human tissue.
The innovative machine was built by bioengineer Alan Faulkner-Jones, using parts from an old 3D printer and works by placing whole cells onto a surface via a valve-based procedure. The scientists deposited droplets of the cell ink and after testing, found that 90 percent of them were alive and viable for replication.
So where is this going? Eventually, and by eventually I mean a couple of years from right now, printing working organs.
“In the longer term, we envisage the technology being further developed to create viable 3D organs for medical implantation from a patient’s own cells, eliminating the need for organ donation, immune suppression and the problem of transplant rejection,” explained Shu last month. Until now the system is “accurate enough to produce 3D micro-tissue.”
The team of scientists aims to create a human liver by 2015 and then go on to produce other individual organs shortly after using their stem cell printer.
As late as 2010, NASA was planning a return to the moon by 2020. But budget cuts led to the cancellation of those plans, while NASA continued to design and build hardware associated with a lunar mission.
The question was always, why are they building hardware for a mission that doesn’t exist? Indeed, the Ares rocket — a heavy lift booster necessary to ferry the crew exploration vehicle, lander, and command module into space — continues to be built at the cost of several billion a year despite not having any purpose. It was hoped that eventually, NASA would come up with some alternate plans for a moon mission.
But those hopes have been dashed by NASA administrator Charles Bolden:
NASA administrator Charles Bolden has dismissed the idea that the space agency will attempt another manned Moon mission. Speaking with contemporaries, Bolden said “NASA will not take the lead on a human lunar mission… probably in my lifetime.” Bolden added that if the next administration reverses NASA’s decision it would set back the manned space program in its entirety. He warned that, should we divert resources towards a manned moon mission in the future, we would probably never “see Americans on the Moon, on Mars, near an asteroid, or anywhere” in our lifetimes, explaining that “we cannot continue to change the course of human exploration.”
The agency will instead focus on a manned research mission to a nearby Asteroid, as it announced three weeks ago. That’s not to say that we won’t see another human on the Moon — there are multiple companies planning commercial space flights, and Golden Spike last December committed to take people to the Moon by 2020.
Bolden’s statements echo the words of President Obama who, while making a speech at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, acknowledged there was a desire among some to return to the Moon before exploring the further reaches of space. “I just have to say pretty bluntly here: we’ve been there before,” said Obama back in 2010, “There’s a lot more of space to explore, and a lot more to learn when we do.”
“We choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard,” said John Kennedy. Apparently, today’s NASA only wants to do the “easy” stuff — and take our own sweet time doing it too. Now we have plans to “lasso” a small asteroid and drag it into orbit around the moon:
The asteroid retrieval mission is based on a scenario set out last year by a study group at the Keck Institute for Space Studies. NASA’s revised scenario would launch a robotic probe toward a 500-ton, 7- to 10-meter-wide (25- to 33-foot-wide) asteroid in 2017 or so. The probe would capture the space rock in a bag in 2019, and then pull it to a stable orbit in the vicinity of the moon, using a next-generation solar electric propulsion system. That would reduce the travel time for asteroid-bound astronauts from a matter of months to just a few days.
The Keck study estimated the total mission cost at $2.6 billion — but the administration official said the price tag could be reduced to $1 billion, or roughly $100 million a year, if the mission took advantage of an already-planned test flight for NASA’s heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew exploration vehicle. That flight would send astronauts around the moon and back in 2021.
“This mission would combine the best of NASA’s asteroid identification, technology development, and human exploration efforts to capture and redirect a small asteroid to just beyond the moon to set up a human mission using existing resources and equipment, including the heavy-lift rocket and deep-space capsule that have been under development for several years,” the official said in an email.
The 2014 budget would set aside $78 million for planning the asteroid retrieval mission, plus $27 million to accelerate NASA’s efforts to detect and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids. The federal government currently spends $20 million annually on asteroid detection.
Some may mourn the loss of a government moon mission, but the reality is we don’t have the money. We may not even have the money for the asteroid mission, given the direction of budget cuts.
But the chances are a private company will get to the moon sooner than NASA ever could. And they won’t go just to plant a flag and gather a few rocks. They will build mining towns and perhaps even construct a space center where missions to the outer solar system will originate, using the 1/5th gravity compared to earth that is found on the moon as a way to save hundreds of millions of dollars.
NASA plans a manned Mars mission by the mid 2030′s. I think by that time, it will be a moot point as private space companies will have preceded them by a decade.
America will maintain a lead in space exploration. But it won’t be government that will be running the show. In the next decade, American private industry (with the assistance of NASA) will be where the action is for manned space flight.
Perhaps NASA will be able to hitch a ride back to the moon with one of them.
Taken out of context, it may look like video game Bioshock Infinite is an attack on American history, patriotism and the Tea Party. In fact, for the first few hours of play the game does feel like that. You play as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton officer who has a massive debt he can only repay by fulfilling a mission to rescue a teenage girl from a tower prison. There its resemblance to fairy tales ends and its horror story begins.
The game is set in 1912, in a city called Columbia up in the sky. It’s a city of separatists who see themselves as true patriots and their leader as a true savior. A few hours into the game, and I’ll try not to spoil anything until page two, you run into these mechanized boss characters.
If this is an attack on the American founders, it isn’t subtle. Notice the sign behind the beast. Called a Motorized Patriot, it’s a combat robot George Washington wielding a crank gun against the protagonists while he spews phrases that sound vaguely Biblical. During chapter loads, the developers offer a helpful hint for killing them: You should shoot them in the back. How nice.
So is this game, then, an attack on patriotism?
I haven’t played it all the way to the end yet (but I’m very very close), but the answer has to be no. Bioshock Infinite is first and foremost a first-person shooter’s science fiction take on the multiverse theory, with some color taken from the mess that is American politics.
I don’t want to give too much of the story away to those who have not played it yet, so if you’re playing the game and don’t want anything spoiled, don’t click on the next page.
Last week and in just about every speech he delivers on the subject of gun control, President Barack tells two key untruths. The first is that the public is behind him. Public support for new gun laws is dropping fast, and skepticism that new gun laws will stop any determined mass killer is always justifiably high. By definition, criminals do not respect laws. The second untruth is that 40% of gun sales happen without any background checks. The president says this line, his bots at OFA tweet this line, it’s part of his schtick and one of his central arguments as he pushes to get some kind of gun law through a hostile House and a skeptical Senate.
The Washington Post’s fact checker takes up the second untruth today.
This study was based on data collected from a survey in 1994, the same year that the Brady Act requirements for background checks came into effect. In fact, the questions concerned purchases in 1993 and 1994, and the Brady Act went into effect in early 1994 — meaning that some, if not many, of the guns were bought in a pre-Brady environment.
Those dates alone render the data suspect. Much has changed since 1994. If it hadn’t, we’d hear the Family Research Council rely on polls to argue against gay marriage. We’re not hearing that, and we shouldn’t be hearing Democrats from Obama on down using miniscule poll data from 1994 to argue about any current reality.
Did I say “miniscule data?” Well, here’s why I said that.
Digging deeper, we found that the survey sample was just 251 people. (The survey was done by telephone, using a random-digit-dial method, with a response rate of 50 percent.) With this sample size, the 95 percent confidence interval will be plus or minus six percentage points.
251 people surveyed nearly 20 years ago is still a valid enough statistic for the president to base one of his key arguments on it? Not in any sane world it isn’t.
Once you drill down into the wording of the questions and the size of the sample, the margin of error increases. The real number from that small, old survey is that between 30 and 40% of gun transactions happen without a background check. Transactions is an important word, because many of those are gifts — father gives son a rifle, that sort of thing. Do we really need a background check for that? The Obama administration doesn’t think so, as it has exempted such transactions from its own background check bill. even while it disingenuously conflates transactions with sales.
But it hasn’t stopped lying about the numbers, and the president himself uses “gun sales” in connection with the bogus 40% statistic. Either he or his speechwriters have to be aware of how weak a foundation they’re standing on, but the evidence is that they don’t care. The number is too useful to leave aside.
The Post’s bottom line: It’s a big lie.
Two months ago, we were willing to cut the White House some slack, given the paucity of recent data. But the president’s failure to acknowledge the significant questions about these old data, or his slippery phrasing, leaves us little choice but to downgrade this claim to Three Pinocchios.
What many believe is the burial cloth of Jesus, better known as the Shroud of Turin, is back in the news and not just because it is the start of Easter weekend.
A new book released today based on an extensive scientific study by Professor Giulio Fanti and journalist Saverio Gaeta, dates the Shroud of Turin to around the time when Jesus was crucified, which was thought to be 30 AD. These experiments were conducted at the University of Padua in Italy and debunk carbon dating experiments in 1988 that dated the Shroud to around 1500 AD.
However, the carbon dating has been questioned by many in the scientific community for decades since it was an outer piece of the Shroud that was tested — a piece that was added later after the Shroud survived a cathedral fire in the 1500’s. This same fire scorched the Shroud and left the distinctive burn marks on the outer edges as seen on the Shroud image above.
Here are scientific details about these new findings in the book as reported by the Vatican Insider:
What’s new about this book are Fanti’s recent findings, which are also about to be published in a specialist magazine and assessed by a scientific committee. The research includes three new tests, two chemical ones and one mechanical one. The first two were carried out with an FT-IR system, so using infra-red light, and the other using Raman spectroscopy. The third was a multi-parametric mechanical test based on five different mechanical parameters linked to the voltage of the wire. The machine used to examine the Shroud’s fibres and test traction, allowed researchers to examine tiny fibres alongside about twenty samples of cloth dated between 3000 BC and 2000 AD.
The new tests carried out in the Universityof Padua labs were carried out by a number of university professors from various Italian universities and agree that the Shroud dates back to the period when Jesus Christ was crucified in Jerusalem. Final results show that the Shroud fibres examined produced the following dates, all of which are 95% certain and centuries away from the medieval dating obtained with Carbon-14 testing in 1988: the dates given to the Shroud after FT-IR testing, is 300 BC ±400, 200 BC ±500 after Raman testing and 400 AD ±400 after multi-parametric mechanical testing. The average of all three dates is 33 BC ±250 years. The book’s authors observed that the uncertainty of this date is less than the single uncertainties and the date is compatible with the historic date of Jesus’ death on the cross, which historians claim occurred in 30 AD.
Stay tuned because this could be a major breakthrough providing more proof that the Shroud of Turin really is the burial cloth of Jesus.
In Obama’s America You Can’t Tour the White House, but You Can Learn All There Is To Know About Snail Sex
They take it slow. What more do we really need to know about the private lives of snails?
The National Science Foundation awarded a grantfor $876,752 to the University of Iowa to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails and whether that explains why any organism has sex.
The study, first funded in 2011 and continuing until 2015, will study the New Zealand snails to see if it is better that they reproduce sexually or asexually – the snail can do both – hoping to gain insight on why so many organisms practice sexual reproduction.
So they’re not even studying good ol’ American snails?
The funds from this study would have funded nearly three full months of White House tours, supposing those tours cost about $74,000 per week.
It’s an oppressive spring afternoon in Austin, Texas. Low clouds threaten to unleash a gullywasher. After a couple of emails and phone calls I’m at an apartment complex off to the west of the University of Texas campus. A pair of young men pull up and pop the lid on the trunk of their car. One pulls a flat metal case from the trunk and I jokingly ask, “Is that a gun or a guitar?”
The lead man could blend in with the musicians and hipsters all over Austin who recently dominated the city during SXSW, but he isn’t one and what he has in the case is an instrument, but it’s not musical.
He lays the case on the parking lot pavement and opens it up. Inside are several of the objects for which he has become famous, or infamous, depending on your point of view. The dark parts are a conventional AR-15 rifle. Sen. Dianne Feinstein would ban them from personal ownership if she could, based not on their collective firepower, but on what they look like. The white parts are plastic. Wilson printed them and has test fired them at his range near Austin.
As he pulls the firearm from the case to show it to me, a woman walks by with her dog. I hope that we’re not alarming her. She didn’t seem to be surprised in the least. This is Texas, and guns are everywhere from the local Walmart to the state capitol building, every day.
The man with the strange rifle is Cody Wilson, 25, the co-director of Defense Distributed. That’s the group that in the past year has gone from not even existing to being on the verge of changing everything.
Or nothing. The fact is, neither Wilson nor anyone else knows what effect realizing his idea will have. But we’re very close to finding out.
Defense Distributed is about to create the world’s first fully functional, fully printed gun. The wikiweapon will be real.
We go into his apartment and he shows me around. It’s a typical male college student’s place — he’s a law student at UT — a bit messy and unkempt. Up in his bedroom he has a huge American flag on one wall and the famous “Come and Take It” flag opposite. It’s a replica of the flag that flew at Gonzales, Texas, on October 2, 1835 when Texians dared the Mexican army to retrieve a cannon. Wilson is from Arkansas, but the Gonzales spirit of defiance is evident in nearly everything he says and does. The American flag is ironic. He bought it to be his bedspread, but it didn’t work for that, so up on the wall it went.
Over the next hour, we converse about everything from the methods and mechanics of printing a gun, to the why of it, to the philosophy of Democratic politicians like Dianne Feinstein, Andrew Cuomo, Chuck Schumer, and Steve Israel, who believe that there is a legislative solution to everything, and that they have those solutions or are smart enough to come up with them.
Wilson is no fan of any of them. And they may not be smart enough to come up with a legislative solution to Defense Distributed. Distributing printed firearms via download may be a case of politics failing to stop the signal.
He is also no conservative in the typical sense. He’s either a libertarian or an anarchist or believes in “socialism from below,” but mostly he’s just a young man who “wants to remain a human being” by realizing an idea that up to now has only lived in the mind. That idea is printing a gun, not for hunting or for self-defense against criminals, but to defend himself against government.
Wilson has just obtained his federal firearms license. He underwent a process that normally takes about 60 days, but his took 6 months. He showed me his FFL like a “proud papa.”
“I don’t know why I got it,” he allows, “other than this is still supposedly a country of laws and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t have gotten it.” The process took so long, he says, partly because Defense Distributed lost its manufacturing locations a couple of times during the process. Printer manufacturers became nervous when they found out what he was up to. He says that one, Stratasys, referred him criminally to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That referral has been resolved in his favor.
“There’s no reason for us not to get it,” Wilson continues. “I have no criminal record, my intent is to make money with the license, so okay, you can’t not give it to me. Even knowing that like, yes, I helm a project whose goal is to basically one day explode the need, or destroy the need, for something like the ATF in the first place.”
The license allows Wilson’s group to deal firearms, but more importantly to him, it allows the company to build and test prototypes in materials other than metals, as firearms manufacturers. Private individuals would face stiff penalties for engaging in activities that Defense Distributed needs to do to build the printed weapon.
It’s hard but not impossible to see how the government might eventually come to regard the printed gun. At least one law already on the books is relevant, the Undetectable Firearms Act. Others could follow. It takes a license from the state to cut hair anymore. Licensing of some sort may eventually come to play in the 3D printing realm.
Or not. The push for industry licensing frequently comes from the industry itself, as a means of using government as gatekeeper against competition. At this point, no complete firearm has ever been printed. Many parts have, but never the whole. Gun manufacturers so far have not reacted to Defense Distributed. Wilson’s group has printed a slew of magazines and lowers. They’re using a combination of standard firearms parts and common household hardware to make their printed parts function with traditionally manufactured stocks, receivers, and barrels. The 3D printing industry is new and diffuse, more a novelty than an actual industry other than among the few companies that develop and build the printers. Most 3D printers are being used to print rapid prototypes of toys, or candy molds, or even bicycles. Advocates of 3D printing as an industry have long hailed the creation of such mundane objects as “revolutionary,” only to turn around in shock and fear when Wilson turned up to do something unexpected and truly revolutionary.
“You’re printing guns for a set of specific reasons,” I say to Wilson. “What are they?”
There are two basic ways to view government. One, it’s a collection and concentration of force and power for the purpose of providing safety and a basis of interaction and commerce for the peaceful, and a means of curtailing and penalizing the predatory. Two, it’s a protection racket designed to enable the wealthy and powerful to concentrate and maintain their power and wealth.
Both views are true, and often not in competition with each other. The latter view of government is embodied by the likes of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who uses government to busybody and ban everything he doesn’t like (while exempting major corporations from his bans when he can) and Austin city councilman Mike Martinez. Martinez is trying to crack down on an app, SideCar. SideCar lets people who need a ride connect with people who can give them a ride, across town, across the country, whatever. If I’m going somewhere and so are you, SideCar makes it easier to share the ride. Martinez wants to regulate Sidecar users, and he appeared on local radio KLBJ late last week to explain why: If one private citizen gives another private citizen a ride and any money changes hands, it may push wages for cab drivers downward. Cab companies got together and basically bought Martinez’s support one way or another, so he is lobbying on their behalf to crack down on an app, which is really a crackdown on one person’s ability to transact with another without government interfering. His lobbying created a stir ahead of the massive SXSW conference, during which Austin’s downtown traffic becomes a nightmare, and SideCar may serve as an open source relief valve.
What we may need against such government busybodying is a good, old-fashioned rebellion. Cody Wilson is stepping into that role.
Wilson, a University of Texas law student, is quickly becoming one of the most notorious people on the planet. He is the man behind Defense Distributed. That group is behind the recent push to print firearm parts via 3D printers. You’ve heard of Wikipedia and Wikileaks. Wilson’s big idea is the wikiweapon.
Wilson gave a talk at SXSW Monday afternoon. He cuts a contradictory figure, apologizing repeatedly for getting too technical while explaining Defense Distributed’s history, and the modeling and printing of working firearms components, but not apologizing at all for pushing a technology in directions that its inventors probably never intended.
He opens his talk with a joke — a picture of a garden gnome.
Two years ago yesterday, the Honshu Earthquake, along with the subsequent tsunami, devastated the north shore of Japan. At the time, I wrote a series of articles on the earthquake, tsunami, and the subsequent major accident in the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini reactors.
The first of those was called “Fear the Media Meltdown, Not the Nuclear One“. In this series, I made the point that the actual damage from the radiation would be relatively minor, with few or no long-term health effects — after all, there had been no observable long-term health effects except for plant workers at Chernobyl, and this was never going to be as big as Chernobyl.
For this I was roundly reviled, including by one lunatic who suggested the Navy was going to drop hydrogen bombs on the reactors to keep them from blowing up.
Two years later, here’s a story from Bloomberg: “Fukushima Radiation Proves Less Deadly Than Feared“.
The headline, even then, is a little bit exaggerated. It should have been “Fukushima Radiation Has No Detectable Effects Outside Immediate Area of Reactors”.
Here’s a quote:
And what of the lasting threat from radiation? Remarkably, outside the immediate area of Fukushima, this is hardly a problem at all. Although the crippled nuclear reactors themselves still pose a danger, no one, including personnel who worked in the buildings, died fromradiation exposure. Most experts agree that future health risks from the released radiation, notably radioactive iodine-131 and cesiums-134 and – 137, are extremely small and likely to be undetectable.
Even considering the upper boundary of estimated effects, there is unlikely to be any detectable increase in cancers in Japan, Asia or the world except close to the facility, according to a World Health Organization report. There will almost certainly be no increase in birth defects or genetic abnormalities from radiation.
Even in the most contaminated areas, any increase in cancer risk will be small. For example, a male exposed at age 1 has his lifetime cancer risk increase from 43 percent to 44 percent. Those exposed at 10 or 20 face even smaller increases in risk — similar to what comes from having a whole-body computer tomography scan or living for 12 to 25 years in Denver amid background radiation in the Rocky Mountains. (There is no discernible difference in the cancer rates between people who live in Denver and those in Los Angeles or New York.)
Rather than stand as a warning of the radiation danger posed by nuclear power, in other words, Fukushima has become a reminder that uninformed fears aren’t the same as actual risks.
There are few joys in life comparable than being able to say “I told you so.”
He said, smugly.
Factory.org is doing a cool demo of 3D printing tech on the trade show floor. They have a machine at the booth that will take a model created in 3D software and turn it into a real, physical object. 3D printing promises to be a major leap in design and manufacturing. This particular company’s idea is to franchise 3D printing globally, so they’re not selling the machine itself — which runs about $1300 — so much as selling the ability to get into global 3D design and printing of everything from the sunglasses they’re printing in this video…
…and food. The image on the pad shows 3D printed gummy bears based on full body scans of real people. Eat your friends!
And clothing. This shirt was precision ripped with a laser version of the printer.
My next session here is about 3D printing. Specifically, the 3D printing of firearms. Not to be overly dramatic, but 3D printing of guns may render the anti-Second Amendment movement obsolete.
More: They’re giving out these little 3D printed cards, customized to wherever you live.
SXSW Monday: I’m here today to check more sessions and events out. Most that I’m interested in are in the afternoon. In the morning, a man needs his coffee, and as I’m walking from my parked car — wherever that is, somewhere blocks away from the action — to the convention center, a man asks me out of the clear blue sky “Hey, would you like some free coffee?”
Um, yeah. I would. Very much. He ushers me over to this trailer, which it turns out belongs to GE.
Those two white arms are robots. The barista attaches a syringe to to what, I guess, is its hand. The syringe is full of condensed coffee. She doesn’t start you on a coffee IV, which is a pity.
They snap a photo of you, or a logo that you’re wearing or have handy.
I happened to be wearing my PJTV shirt…
So, after a few seconds, the robot gets the image and passably writes it onto the foam on top of the coffee.
Thanks to Vivian at RetailMeNot for letting me snap pics while the robot was making her coffee. Click on the next page to see the holographic tour guide.
Two Democrats are tangling over what one considers interference in his state by a congressman who doesn’t “understand that East Coast values do not always apply to other parts of the country.”
It started when Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who is running in the special election to fill John Kerry’s vacant Senate seat, asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to stand by a Fish and Wildlife Service decision to reject a proposal to build a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
“I, like you, believe we should respect the judgment of our scientists and leave politics out of this decision,” wrote Markey, the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee. “We must continue to protect our nation’s most beautiful and precious wilderness. Not construct an unreliable and potentially dangerous road through the heart of it.”
Fish and Wildlife claimed the road would hurt vital habitat for grizzly bears, caribou, salmon, shorebirds and waterfowl.
But Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) today told Markey to butt out, stressing the 25-mile road from King Cove to Cold Bay is a potential life saver for rural residents in case of medical emergencies.
In a letter to the Massachusetts Democrat, Begich expressed “great frustration” with Markey’s interference in the plight of rural Alaskans “who are being denied access to basic life and safety needs because of federal ignorance about our way of life.”
“I’m especially irritated you didn’t bother to reach out to me and try to gain a real understanding of the dire situation facing residents of King Cove, Alaska.”
In 2009, Congress approved a one-lane gravel road through just 206 acres of the 315,000-acre refuge in exchange for Alaska adding 60,000 of protected land. King Cove residents were never allowed to personally make their case to Salazar during the years-long environment review until only recently, Begich said.
“Your letter is typical of those from national Democrats who fail to understand the needs of Americans who live in the West, especially in some of the most remote and extreme parts of our nation such as Alaska. Life is especially challenging in these communities where the nearest hospital is an expensive airplane, boat or snow machine ride away. Yet these Americans deserve the same opportunities for basic health care and public safety as those who live in Boston or elsewhere in our country. While the habitat values of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge are indisputable, the residents of King Cove have taken good care of this area for generations,” Begich wrote.
“In the future, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the unique challenges facing residents of my state so you can better understand that East Coast values do not always apply to other parts of the country.”
Let’s hope the inhumane politics of Hugo Chavez go the way of this magnificent beast.
Public concern about environmental issues including climate change has slumped to a 20-year low since the financial crisis, a global study reveals.
Fewer people now consider issues such as CO2 emissions, air and water pollution, animal species loss, and water shortages to be “very serious” than at any time in the last two decades, according to the poll of 22,812 people in 22 countries including Britain and the US.
Despite years of studies showing the impact of global warming on the planet, only 49 per cent of people now consider climate change a very serious issue – far fewer than at the beginning of the worldwide financial crisis in 2009.
Perhaps it’s because so many of the people behind the studies have been exposed to be hype-masters in recent years. Or maybe because the six zillion devastating hurricanes that we were told would ABSOLUTELY HAPPEN every year after Katrina never did. What they’re really upset about is that the very people they’ve been preying upon for so many years have noticed a complete absence of polar bears floating by their front doors and aren’t throwing themselves into fits of hysteria on command anymore. Unlike the snake-oil salesman of old, they can’t just pick up and move to a new town to find a new collection of rubes.
Chuck Hagel will be confirmed. Let’s put that to rest right now. However, given his confirmation, what will the Defense Department look like under Hagel’s leadership. Additionally, how will he execute Obama’s foreign policy during his second term? His disastrous confirmation hearing, which Slate’s Dave Weigel aptly called a Fluster Chuck, shocked his former colleagues in the Senate. I’m sure it made many commentators to wonder why President Obama didn’t pick the undeniably qualified Michele Flournoy, who served as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from 2009-2012.
Nevertheless, we’re saddled with Hagel, and I’m sure the supporters of Israel are more on edge now that his confirmation is inevitable. Where do we go from here? National Review’s Daniel Foster wrote on February 19 that:
Maybe the best way to illustrate what the far left, far right, and dead center are missing about Hagel is with the following dilemma: Hagel’s foreign-policy views are clearly to the left of the president’s rhetoric for the last couple of years. That’s not even debatable. In practice, that will mean one of two things. Either the views expressed in Obama’s rhetoric of the last couple of years will continue to be the policy of the United States, in which case Hagel will be frustrated and constrained as defense secretary, and relegated to the role of mere bureaucrat-in-chief of the Pentagon. That, needless to say, does not appear to be his strong suit. The other possibility is that a second-term Obama will pursue a foreign policy closer to the one Hagel has avowed in speeches and writings over the last several years: a considerably smaller military, a net reduction in global power projection, especially in the most dangerous parts of the world, generous détente with Iran, skeptical neutrality or even hostility toward Israel, and so on. In that case, Hagel will be free to foolishly pursue his boss’s foolish vision.
Hagel can thus incompetently execute a decent strategy or competently execute an indecent one. So flip a coin. Heads they win, tails we lose.
Yeah, that’s not reassuring at all. Then again, when has this administration been reassuring at solving anything in the past four years?
The vice-chairman of the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology wants to know how prepared NASA is for “future cosmic incidences.”
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) today wrote National Aeronautics and Space Administration Administrator Charles Bolden, asking for information on the country’s preparedness after last week’s explosion of a meteoroid over Russia and the close flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14.
“This devastation serves as a blunt reminder of the dangers that cosmic objects pose to human safety and wellbeing,” Sensenbrenner said at the broken glass and building damage from the boom in Siberia that injured nearly 1,000. “The likelihood of a catastrophic event may be low, but the consequences are sufficiently dire to warrant preparation. An early warning could enable steps to mitigate damage and limit the loss of human life.”
Locating and tracking, though, are just the first step in being truly prepared, the congressman said.
“The ability to eliminate the threat of an asteroid or meteor impacting Earth, colliding with the Moon, or disrupting our space-oriented communications and scientific equipment could be vital. We would be remiss if we did not use the recent events as an opportunity to survey our current capabilities and assess how we can better use limited resources to identify potential threats,” he wrote.
Requesting an answer by March 20, Sensenbrenner requested information on how threatening objects are monitored and with what international cooperation.
“How achievable are current NASA plans designed to eliminate the threats posed by cosmic objects on a collision course with Earth?” he asked. “How much lead time is necessary between identifying a threat to Earth and its neutralization employing the current NASA strategies?”
As predicted, I was correct when assuming that Tatler fans would write a better caption than the Drudge Report for the photo that was the subject of our latest and extremely successful Photo Caption Contest. However, I could not have predicted the huge number of captions that exceeded my expectations!
So to celebrate all your creative energy there are three different categories of winners.
The first category is Politically Themed Captions and here are the winners:
Just imagine what I could do if I wasn’t on vacation most of the time. B. Obama. Submitted by weo
A picture of Barack Obama descending to Earth from Mount Olympus. Submitted by David W
After four years of the Obama economy, the US is no longer able to afford to keep the heavens in repair. Submitted by rbj
Obama: “If I was a planet and had a sun, this is what it would look like.” from RockThisTown (a Caption King)
Meteor strikes Russia – Obama adds the country as a stop on his next apology tour and blames Bush. Submitted by Scottch
And this one submitted by Chris Henderson was not exactly a caption, but a winner anyway:
Let’s see: - Smokes - Very dense - Gives off a lot of hot air - Flashy outside, but not much inside - Leads to the destruction of the local economy – But enough about Obama, a meteorite hit Russia.
Our next category is Just Plain Humor and the winners are:
“Somebody get Bruce Willis on the phone!” Submitted by Alyric
Actual CNN headline: Too much Global Warming in Russia attracts asteroids. Submitted by Adi (a Caption King)
(Adi really was quoting CNN but only added Russia to the headline.)
From that wild and crazy Henderson family (Don the father and Chris the son, both Caption Kings) we have these four winning entries:
Of course it’s a movie. It’s Skyfall! Chris Henderson
I’m from [CRATERS R US,] Is this where I break ground?
I just love crashing a Communist party, Molotov cocktail anybody?
To Russia, with love from the Cosmos. All from Don Henderson
Finally, we have the grand winner’s circle of Heavenly Themed Captions. These submissions deserve extra credit because they actually answer the contest question, “So what is the meaning of it all?”
God is not taking the Pope’s retirement easily. Submitted by rbj
Scottch, already an earlier winner, submitted the greatest number of winning Heavenly captions, so Scottch is our Grand Prize Winner with these fabulous entries:
God is apparently NOT amused.
Lightning striking the Vatican, meteorite hitting Russia, another hitting Cuba………Just my way of saying “Can you hear me now? ” ……God
In other late breaking news, for some reason lots of Russians have suddenly gotten religion!
That whole Book of Revelations thing …….no, I wasn’t kidding.
Congrats to Scottch, our new reigning “Caption King.”
But woe to us if we ignore our first and last Caption King of Kings, cfbleachers who submitted the following winners:
You say you want a Revelation, well you know…
Lent. Fast AND Furious.
Lucifer’s Lightnings and Michelangelo’s Meteors take the field for the final game of this World’s Series.
Apparently, Heaven Can’t Wait.
You know, that crazy guy on the street corner may finally be right.
(Yes, that may be true and perhaps the answer to our contest question.)
Thanks for playing along and we will see you all next time a photo is worthy of a Tatler Photo Caption Contest!
Initial estimates of the meteorite that slammed into Chelyabinsk, Russia last week pegged it at about 10 tons. It turns out to have been much larger than that.
The meteor that crashed to earth in Russia was about 55 feet in diameter, weighed around 10,000 tons and was made from a stony material, scientists said, making it the largest such object to hit the Earth in more than a century.
Several landing sites, but no large fragments, have been found yet.
When it exploded due to pressure and friction in the atmosphere, it released about 500 kilotons of explosive energy, about 30 times the size of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. So it was a city killer, and had it struck in a more populated area, the devastation would have been enormous. We dodged another massive bullet.
Like I said last week:
According to simulations done by astronomers a few years back, we can expect a Tunguska-scale event about once every 100 years. Some plans are on the board to build early detection systems, but right now Americans have a hard enough time tearing ourselves away from distractions long enough to focus on more immediate national security threats. I’d bet the odds are against us taking this threat seriously enough to fund it.
Well, this doesn’t happen every day. Those of us who were crossing our fingers for relief from the Sweet Meteor Of Death to deliver us on Election Day had our hopes up for its cousin here. Even though it didn’t deliver, it was still something to see.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
In response to the tragic news that a meteorite struck Russia resulting in damage and injuries, Drudge Report posted the caption, “This is not a movie,” under the photo that is the subject of our latest Tatler Photo Caption Contest.
Now, as always, I am confident that Tatler fans can, and will, write much better ones. However, there is a theme to our current contest.
Besides a meteorite striking Russia, consider all the other cosmic events that have occurred today and in the last few days:
Lightning struck the Vatican just hours after the Pope announced his resignation. (The subject of our last photo caption contest and here are the winning entries in case you missed the post.)
This afternoon, an asteroid had a record breaking pass by planet Earth, the closest and largest ever recorded.
And now, late today, there are reports that a space rock crashed into Cuba.
So what is the meaning of it all?
Are these four events only a coincidence or is there something more. (Cue Twilight Zone music.)
That is the caption theme our VIP judges will be looking for in the winning entry.
(But of course you are free to write whatever you like!) Just abide by our rules of “be nice and stay classy because the media is watching.”
Have fun and don’t forget to look up to the heavens for inspiration.
Flyby near miss, crash in Russia, crash in Cuba, all in one week — two in one day. It’s time to get serious about asteroid defense.
Astronomers have been sounding the warning on near-earth objects for about 20 or 30 years now. They think that there are about 1,000 that pose a threat, but this week’s events show that our understanding is very incomplete. And the sad truth is, we don’t even have a manned space flight program anymore.
The Russians have moved quickly, and have already found multiple impact sites left by the meteorite that crashed in the Urals.
Army units found three meteorite debris impact sites, two of which are in an area near Chebarkul Lake, west of Chelyabinsk. The third site was found some 80 kilometers further to the northwest, near the town of Zlatoust. One of the fragments that struck near Chebarkul left a crater six meters in diameter.
Servicemembers from the tank brigade that found the crater have confirmed that background radiation levels at the site are normal.
And they have found at least one fragment.
Experts working at the site of the impact told Lifenews tabloid that the fragment is most likely solid, and consists of rock and iron.
A local fisherman told police he found a large hole in the lake’s ice, which could be a result of a meteorite impact. The site was immediately sealed off by police, a search team is now waiting for divers to arrive and explore the bottom of the lake.
Here’s the hole in the lake ice, via Russia Today.
Solar system astronomy usually takes a back seat to sexier research on deep space, black holes and cosmology. That’s about to change, for a little while.
Let the meteorite gold rush begin. The next few years will be an amazing period in asteroid and solar system research. We have today’s near miss, from which we may be able to learn quite a bit through close-up imagery from multiple telescopes and satellites. And we have the crash in Russia, which was witnessed by thousands of people and captured on numerous videos and photos.
The eye witness reports and imagery will be key to figuring out the object’s trajectory and the fragments will tell us what it was. That will tell us some new things about the beginnings of the solar system.
This is the first time in human history we will be able to compile so much data about an object that struck us from space.
The object that exploded over Tunguska, Russia on June 30, 1908 left no fragments. Scientists were not even able to get to the site until 1921, thirteen years after it struck. Still what they found was incredible. By then the Soviets had taken over, and were clamping down on outsider access to any part of the USSR. The first scientific expedition to Tunguska found that trees were leveled and burned over hundreds of square kilometers.
Had that object entered the atmosphere just a bit later than it did, it could have struck the more populate regions of Russia or Europe. Had it struck, say, Paris, it would have been a city killer. Yet it left no fragments, and debate has raged for a century as to what, exactly, it was. The evidence can be interpreted to argue that it was a comet, or that it was a light or fragmented asteroid. The lack of access to the crash site, thanks in part to the communists, plus the lack of any fragment have hobbled investigations into Tunguska. Neither will be a problem this time around. The Soviets are gone (well, mostly, given Putin’s KGB past) and today’s Russia is accessible by scientists worldwide. There will be a mad scientist dash from everywhere to descend on the Chelyabinsk region and examine every angle of this crash.
Update: These are days of miracle and wonder…here are all the YouTubes of the Russian meteorite gathered in one page, by a man who lives near the impact site.
The chairman of the House Space, Science, and Technology Committee said the meteor explosion over Siberia and an asteroid’s close brush with Earth today are reminders to invest in space technology.
“Today’s events are a stark reminder of the need to invest in space science. Asteroid 2012 DA14 passed just 17,000 miles from Earth, less than the distance of a round trip from New York to Sydney. And this morning, a much smaller meteorite hit near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, destroying buildings and injuring hundreds,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
“Developing technology and research that enable us to track objects like Asteroid 2012 DA14 is critical to our future. We should continue to invest in systems that identify threatening asteroids and develop contingencies, if needed, to change the course of an asteroid headed toward Earth.”
Smith, former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, took over the gavel of the Science Committee this Congress from 89-year-old Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas).
“Fifty years ago, we would have had no way of seeing an asteroid like this coming. Now, thanks to the discoveries NASA has made in its short history, we have known about 2012 DA14 for about a year. As the world leader in space exploration, America has made great progress for mankind,” Smith continued. “But our work is not done. We should continue to study, research, and explore space to better understand our universe and better protect our planet.”
The chairman announced a hearing in the coming weeks to examine ways to better identify and address asteroids that pose a potential threat to Earth.
A small object from space exploded over Russia last night. The object was believed to have weighed about 10 tons. It did an incredible amount of damage, for something so small.
A terrifying meteorite shower left more than 950 people injured, buildings devastated and the mobile network wiped out when it hit Russia this morning.
Brightly burning rocks could be seen for miles as they crashed at around 9.20am local time and one bystander described it ‘like a scene from the Armageddon movie.’
The meteorite is believed to have landed in a lake near Chebarkul, a town in the neighbouring Chelyabinsk region.
The city of Chelyabinsk, 900 miles east of Moscow and close to the Kazakhstan border, took the brunt of the super sonic impact.
This object, most likely a small asteroid, was small by space standards. The one that will near-miss earth this afternoon is far larger. If that object struck the ground in an urban area, it could wipe out much of a large city.
Talking about such a strike is one thing. Seeing it is quite another.
Reports so far indicate that more than 500 people were injured. Several buildings in the strike zone have been heavily damaged.
The last time earth experienced a strike of this magnitude was in 1908. A space object exploded over the lightly populated Tunguska region of Siberia, destroying forests for miles around. Today’s object was only about 10 tons, nowhere near the size of the Tunguska object or the asteroid that will near-miss earth this afternoon.
Years ago, before I became a pundit, I worked on NASA’s Hubble project. During that time I produced and wrote a multimedia exhibit for museums about Tunguska and the threat posed by near-earth space objects. Tunguska has spawned a century of research about space threats. We’ll see a hasty scramble now as scientists rush to get to Russia to determine the nature and composition of the 2013 object as best as they can.
Update: There are reports that the meteorite created a 20-foot crater. Wow.
More updates on next page.
Democrats launched a bicameral effort today to expand comprehensive sex education programs in schools and block federal funding from any programs that don’t educate kids on the use of condoms, promote gender stereotypes, or are insensitive to different sexual orientations.
The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, introduced today by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), died in the 112th Congress.
That version of the bill would have mandated sex education that “provides the information and skills young people need to make informed, responsible, and healthy decisions in order to become sexually healthy adults and have healthy relationships; provides information about the prevention of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, sexual assault, dating violence, bullying, and harassment; and promotes and upholds the rights of young people to information in order to make healthy and responsible decisions about their sexual health.”
For adolescents, program requirements in that bill included “abstinence and delaying sexual initiation; the health benefits and side effects of all contraceptive and barrier methods as a means to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; how to avoid, and how to avoid making, unwanted verbal, physical, and sexual advances; the development of healthy attitudes and values about such topics as adolescent growth and development, body image, gender roles and gender identity, racial and ethnic diversity, and sexual orientation; and referral services for local health clinics and services where adolescents can obtain additional information and services related to sexual and reproductive health, dating violence and sexual assault, and suicide prevention.”
“Comprehensive sex education programs reduce behaviors that put young people at risk, and it’s past time we get real about giving young people the information they need from trusted sources to live healthy lives” said Lee. “Research has shown that programs which teach abstinence and contraception effectively delay the onset of sexual intercourse, reduce the number of sexual partners, and increase contraceptive use among teens. These programs also reduce unintended pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.”
It stipulates that programs must be “evidence-based” and “medically accurate.”
“Growing up isn’t easy and our kids find themselves in tough situations every day,” said Lautenberg. “They need all the information to make smart choices and ‘abstinence-only’ programs don’t work. It’s time to bring sex education up-to-date to reflect the real life situations facing young Americans.”
Original co-sponsors of this year’s bill include Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
Yeah, they’re still doing science stuff at NASA. Tweets of the Day will return next week. I’m off to have a psychological gamma ray burst. Have a great weekend everyone!
The Climate Hysteria Commies like to start early now.
Climate change may or may not have helped generate the nor’easter lashing the East Coast this weekend. Such storms happen with some regularity, after all. But the amount of snow the storm called “Nemo” ultimately dumps, and the extent of flood damage it leaves in its wake, may well have ties to global warming, climate scientists suggested.
For those keeping score, weather isn’t climate. Except when they need it to be. “Climate change” has become somewhat like the man in a relationship-it get’s blamed for everything.
I prefer blaming Obamacare.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is supposed to be strictly scientific. So why, then, is it accepting financial sponsorships from the activist group World Wildlife Fund?
An article out today in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics studies potential health risks of top-selling energy drinks and advises doctors to ask teenage patients whether they consume energy drinks, to discuss the dangers alone and mixed with alcohol, and to be aware of the symptoms of energy drink consumption.
On Capitol Hill, a trio of Democratic lawmakers immediately saw an opportunity to boost their case for regulatory action.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Rep. Ed Markey fired off a letter to Food and Drug Administration commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging that the considerations be added to the agency’s ongoing safety review of energy drinks.
Last year, Durbin and Blumenthal pushed the FDA numerous times on the issue, citing a November 2011 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that found a tenfold increase in emergency room visits due to energy drinks between 2005 and 2009.
The FDA told the senators in late November that it’s investigating the safety of the popular drinks.
“We write to follow-up on your November 21, 2012, letter summarizing the steps the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will take to strengthen the Agency’s understanding of energy drinks and their health risks, particularly for vulnerable populations, such as children,” the Democrats wrote today. “We commend the FDA for reviewing the safety of energy drinks, including engaging with specialized expertise and relevant professional groups outside FDA and holding public meetings. We look forward to learning details of this safety review and its findings, which may require FDA to take further action.”
They noted the new pediatrics study, which found 35 percent of teens regularly consume energy drinks.
“Energy drinks and products, such as energy shots, gels, gums, powders, and even maple syrup, that contain high levels of caffeine and stimulants, are a new and growing market,” the lawmakers continued. “In light of the emergence of these novel products and evidence that consuming large quantities of caffeine, particularly for young people, can have serious health consequences, including caffeine toxicity, stroke, anxiety, arrhythmia, and in some cases death, FDA’s safety review of energy drinks and risks associated with consuming high levels of caffeine could not be more critical to protect the public’s health.”
This from Anthony Watts, friend of PJM and occasional contributor:
Please have a look at this, and thank the Japanese.
BTW, in case it isn’t obvious, this find throws the “hottest ever” claims of NOAA/NCDC/NASA into serious question, since the temperature peaks of the last decade are well below that of the NOAA/NASA/Met office data set.
What are they going to say, that Japanese scientists “did it wrong” when they cite it in their own publications?
What we really need to see is the unadjusted CLIMAT data reports plotted prior to 2000. I’m betting NCDC will be loathe to do that, for obvious reasons.
Read the whole thing, but basically the difference between warming in US models and no-warming in the Japanese models comed from the systematic adjustments applied.
Just to be clear here, these data are not the result of a prospective, predictive sort of climate model; however, the way the raw data is combined into a curve and the adjustments applied are the result of a statistical model.