We Conservatives rightly and righteously loathe our every five-year renewal of the Farm Bill. It is a Franklin Delano Roosevelt-New Deal relic, filled to the rim with more protectionism than anyone not getting government checks could possibly stomach.
We just in February renewed this anti-free market folly. So we’re again mired in this mess. We thus need to spend the intervening years working to undermine the tenets of this legislative absurdity.
Since we’re locked down domestically, the way to do that is internationally. Because what was in the 1930s merely a domestic policy disaster has become – with the explosion of a global market for all things – an international omni-pockmarked heinousness.
Protectionism begets protectionism. Subsidies and tariffs are matched – and exceeded – by subsidies and tariffs. Lather, rinse, repeat. So let’s tear down these walls, shall we?
Except we’re running into some foreign obstinance.
Mr. Obama had hoped to use his visit here to announce an agreement under which Japan would open its markets in rice, beef, poultry and pork, a critical step toward the trade pact.
But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was not able to overcome entrenched resistance from Japan’s farmers in time for the president’s visit.
Reminiscent of the right, righteous complaints we Conservatives have long had about our domestic Big Crops. Because they have been terribly successful at protecting really terrible policy.
Take Big Corn – please. Which has for decades protected an ethanol program – that requires more energy to produce ethanol than we would use if we just used petroleum.
But we continued the inanity because it was supposed to be oh-so-much-better for our Big Blue Marble. Except….
Which leads anyone – whose thinking isn’t warped by Big Government Crony Socialism – to this inexorable conclusion.
Yet Big Corn and its omni-directional protectionism remains. A Crony Colossus astride us still.
There is one Big Crop that has decided to stand down on protecting its protectionism – Sugar. So long as other countries – like, say, Japan – stand down on theirs. Which makes sense – unilateral disarmament is hardly ever a good idea.
And farm policy.
Killing just our farm programs made much more sense when it was just us eating what we grew. That has long since stopped being the case. Now, if we just kill our programs, the uber-subsidized global market will kill our farms and jack up our prices.
The European Union (EU) with sugar tried such self-negotiation. It didn’t end well.
(T)he European Union, which supplied as much as 20 percent of global (sugar) exports in the 1990s, shifted from a net exporter to a net importer following sugar policy reforms in 2005.
Their reforms? Unilateral tear-down of their trade barriers – which sounds good. Except it allowed Big Sugar Subsidy Brazil to flood their market – and wipe out nearly all domestic production.
And now the EU is paying about 25% more for sugar.
So it would be inordinately nice if all of our Big Crops would get off the schneid, and work to make a better global market for their products – and everyone here who has the audacity to eat.
Rather than continue to circle the wagons around a ridiculous and ridiculously antiquated domestic Crony Socialist protectionism nightmare mess.
It’s Good Friday. Time for the leftwing president to do something bad.
Barack Obama just punted on the Keystone Pipeline, again, and some Democrats say they are angry at him.
The Obama administration once again has punted on a final decision for the Keystone XL pipeline, announcing ahead of the holiday weekend it is extending a key review period indefinitely — a move that could push off a determination until after the midterm elections.
Republicans, as well as red-state Democrats who want the proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline approved, slammed the administration for the delay. Democrats even threatened to find ways to go around the president to get the project approved.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous that this well over five year long process is continuing for an undetermined amount of time,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said in a statement.
Republican Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry called the decision “shameful,” noting that another spring construction season will come and go without the project.
Do ya think Obama knows or cares about that? Has he ever shown that he cares about jobs? Obama doesn’t govern; he agitates, he positions, and he tees up issues.
Obama doesn’t care about jobs, but he does care some about Democrats keeping the Senate. Eleven Democrats recently wrote him a letter urging approval of the Keystone. They’re all vulnerable senators. If they lose, the Democrats lose the Senate and Obama will find himself cornered during the last two years of his presidency. He doesn’t want the Keystone, but he doesn’t want to be cornered more.
Obama’s heart is clearly with the anti-science environmental radicals who oppose the Keystone. But he doesn’t want to lose the Senate.
My guess is, Obama made this extension indefinite to give himself control over when to end it and announce approval. He’ll do that once he has handed the environmental radicals who oppose it something in return, so they don’t abandon Democrats this fall. They will get some nasty new spin on EPA regulations, another turtle that needs protecting from ranchers, whatever. Around August or September, Obama will announce a change of heart, approve the Keystone, and give vulnerable Democrats something positive to crow about at home close to the elections.
In this century, power companies are facing “far more intrusive and disruptive” interference from government than ever before, Anderson said Tuesday. The Chamber event came in advance of Thursday’s Senate Energy Committee hearing on the reliability of the electric grid.
Anderson heads the Akron-based holding company that can trace its lineage to the 1893 founding of Akron Electric Light and Power Co.
Unlike the past, “electricity is under attack in our country,” he said. “I believe state and federal policymakers are manipulating the supply and demand and distorting markets for electricity to further advance the ‘war on coal,’” he said.
Anderson said energy efficiency, renewable power, distributed generation, micro grids, roof-top solar and demand reduction may play “some role” in the future, but “they are not substitutes for what has worked.”
What works are the 19th and 20th centuries’ “real generating assets such as coal, nuclear and natural gas,” he said.
The Party of Science is hell-bent on making everyone use renewable energy sources that are expensive, inefficient or, most of the time, both. And they don’t care how broke it makes you.
So…science but ignore economics, technology and history.
Wait…they’re ignoring the science too.
The Houston Chronicle reports that one of NASA’s Mars rovers has spotted something odd: a bright light coming up from beneath the planet’s surface.
A NASA camera on Mars has captured what appears to be artificial light emanating outward from the planet’s surface.
The photo, beamed millions of miles from Mars to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., was taken last week, apparently by one of two NASA rovers on the red planet.
Although the space agency hasn’t issued any official statement yet about the phenomenon, bloggers and NASA enthusiasts have started chiming in.
Scott C. Waring, who maintains the website UFO Sightings Daily, posted the photo April 6.
Waring noted that the light shines upward, as if from the ground, and is very flat across the bottom.
“This could indicate there there is intelligent life below the ground and uses light as we do,” Waring wrote on his website. “This is not a glare from the sun, nor is it an artifact of the photo process.”
I’d like to know more about the time of day, scale of the image, and overall brightness conditions when the rover captured this. Whatever it is, to me it doesn’t look like a light. It looks like gas escaping from beneath the surface. Or, a dust devil at distance that looks bright due to contrast enhancement. I don’t see why a light’s reach would be so defined and limited at the top. It could also be a processing artifact that wasn’t properly cleaned up.
What do you think?
The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general found that the agency didn’t notify test subjects in recent pollutant studies that they were being exposed to cancer-causing chemicals.
At the request of House Science, Space, and Technology Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-Ga.), the OIG looked into five research studies the EPA conducted in 2010 and 2011 involving 81 human subjects to test the effects of diesel exhaust.
The OIG found the “consent forms inconsistently addressed the risks of being exposed to [Concentrated Airborne Particles] and diesel exhaust,” with only one of the five studies’ forms providing the test subject “with information on the upper range of the pollutant he or she would be exposed to” and just two of the five “alerted study subjects to the risk of death for older individuals with cardiovascular disease.”
“Only two of the five studies’ consent forms included the risk of death from exposure to high levels of selected air pollutants such as [Particulate Matter] and diesel exhaust, and only one study’s consent form included the upper limits of exposure levels,” the report stated.
“…Evidence suggests that at least some human study subjects would like to know if a study involves risk of death, even if the risk is very small. In the future, the EPA should include the long-term risk of cancer to potential subjects in its consent forms so study subjects can make the most informed decisions about whether to participate in a study.”
Six “adverse events” happened with test subjects in the five studies. “The EPA’s clinical follow-up for the six adverse events ranged from 1 day to 3 months after the event and included phone calls and emails by the EPA nurses. While the EPA’s clinical follow-up appeared to be reasonable, the EPA’s policies and guidance do not establish the EPA’s clinical follow-up responsibilities. In our view, the EPA should revise its guidance to establish the agency’s clinical follow-up responsibilities after an adverse event.”
Two of those “adverse events” were reported by the EPA “later than required,” the report noted.
The Floating Polar Bear Hand-wringing Brigade was so upset over the sane world’s lack of reaction to the latest extortion attempt from the United Nations that they even put someone from the graphics department on it and made a chart.
Wrap your heads around that: they are actually showing the amount of coverage by MSNBC to make the point that it’s a serious issue. The fact that Maddow and Co. were able to pull themselves off of Christie’s bridge long enough to talk about something else is the only thing worth noting here.
This is what we are up against when trying to court younger voters. These prog blogs may seem like outliers but they’re pretty indicative of what sadly passes for mainstream in academia. College kids are being pumped full of far left ideology every day and sites like Think Progress are viewed as serious sources for news.
Oh, and they are all fairly well funded.
Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported Monday, and they warned that the problem is likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.
The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.
The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and are becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants, which is killing some creatures or stunting their growth, the report found.
This is the same group that has been peddling the hysteria snake oil for years and threatening the imminent floating of polar bears all about the place. That it comes from the United Nations should be enough cause for healthy skepticism, but too many still take that international clown car seriously.
What the UN is really all about is global welfare and draining cash and influence from the better developed countries:
The poorest people in the world, who have had virtually nothing to do with causing global warming, will be high on the list of victims as climatic disruptions intensify, the report said. It cited a World Bank estimate that poor countries need as much as $100 billion a year to try to offset the effects of climate change; they are now getting, at best, a few billion dollars a year in such aid from rich countries.
There you have it. They feel that they’re not bleeding the rich countries enough, so the story has to get scarier.
Somebody needs to shut this global socialism factory down.
Environmental activists ginned up false fears about flood-induced contamination from hydraulic fracturing operations in Colorado shortly before voters in the state weighed in on moratoria on the practice, a new report from state regulators shows.
According to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), flooding in the state last year did not contaminate water in the area by damaging oil and gas drilling equipment.
“Early on, there were widespread fears that public safety was threatened by damaged oil and gas equipment,” the commission said in a report released last week.
“Those fears later proved to be unfounded, but they attracted nationwide attention nevertheless,” the report found.
Environmental activists in the state sought to highlight the supposed environmental dangers posed by fracking ahead of referenda in four Colorado towns that had proposed fracking bans. Three of the bans passed.
Almost every talking point an anti-fracking activist will throw at you has been proven false one or more times. But that doesn’t really slow them down.
The same environmental activists are now gearing up for a statewide ballot initiative to ban fracking in Colorado, and are still touting environmental dangers that the COGCC says never existed.
The crazy hippies were merely a fringe annoyance for decades. Now they influence policy and elections.
Maybe the legal pot will distract them.
Yes, CNN’s Don Lemon, It Is Preposterous to Think that a Black Hole Is Responsible for the Disappearance of MH370
This is CNN, where wild, irresponsible speculation and abject scientific ignorance are your ticket to getting on the air.
Don Lemon previously speculated that something “supernatural” claimed the missing Malaysian Airlines flight. On Wednesday, he got pseudo-scientific, postulating that a black hole might have somehow swallowed up the 777.
Black holes do exist. But no black hole was responsible for sucking in that airplane.
And then a former government official on-upped Lemon — Clinton-era US Department of Transportation General Inspector Mary Schiavo said “A small black hole would suck in our entire universe, so we know it’s not that.” A small black hole would not suck in our entire universe. Most galaxies have supermassive black holes at their core. The universe remains just fine, thankyouverymuch.
Sigh. Having spent close to a decade at NASA attempting to educate the press and public on astronomy, this makes me feel like a failure.
But honestly, I blame the teachers unions, President Obama for converting NASA into a Muslim outreach program, America’s emphasis on social nonsense over the hard sciences, and the “I’m not saying it’s aliens, but it’s aliens” History Channel for bringing us all to this low point in the use of high technology. It’s all their fault.
It’s no surprise researchers have shown again and again that kids are more likely than adults to spring for something like a bowl of Fruit Loops.
But young kids’ preference for extremely sugary foods might be even more biologically ingrained than we thought. Scientists now think that kids’ growing bodies may prompt them to crave more sugar — and a child’s sweet tooth might be heightened during growth spurts.
In a small study, researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia determined what tastes kids prefer by having them rate various soups, sugar waters, jellies and crackers with different levels of salt and sugar.
The study included 108 kids, ages 5 to 10, as well as their moms. The children who preferred sweet solutions over salty ones tended to be tall for their age. And there was a slight correlation between sweet preference and a biomarker of growth found in the kids’ urine.
Julie Mennella, the study’s lead author and a biopsychologist at Monell, says scientists have known for a while that kids prefer both sweeter and saltier tastes than adults, and that kids don’t have to learn to like sugar and salt. But no one could say exactly why.
This study suggests it has to do with children’s development — kids crave more energy and sugar because they’re growing, Mennella tells The Salt. This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, since kids who sought out more calories were probably more likely to survive.
This can’t be good news to the First Lady and the army of food police she’s building. This is, after all, the woman who invited kids to the White House for lunch a couple of years ago and forced an abomination called cabbage sloppy joes upon them once she had them trapped.
Now the kids can order a side of banana split with that. Lives depend on it.
NASA is one of the few government agencies that’s worth keeping around, but as an “air” and “space” agency it is poorly equipped to study the history of the rise and fall of past empires. So…
Few think Western civilization is on the brink of collapse—but it’s also doubtful the Romans and Mesopotamians saw their own demise coming either.
If we’re to avoid their fate, we’ll need policies to reduce economic inequality and preserve natural resources, according to a NASA-funded study that looked at the collapses of previous societies.
“Two important features seem to appear across societies that have collapsed,” reads the study. “The stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity and the economic stratification of society into Elites and Masses.”
In unequal societies, researchers said, “collapse is difficult to avoid…. Elites grow and consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society.”
As limited resources plague the working class, the wealthy, insulated from the problem, “continue consuming unequally” and exacerbate the issue, the study said.
Meanwhile, resources continue to be used up, even by the technologies designed to preserve them. For instance, “an increase in vehicle fuel efficiency technology tends to enable increased per capita vehicle miles driven, heavier cars, and higher average speeds, which then negate the gains from the increased fuel-efficiency,” the study said.
The researchers used what they termed a Human And Nature DYnamical (HANDY) formula to reach their conclusions. The formula uses factors such as birth rates, resources, and income classes to create a mathematical equation to project outcomes.
What’s “handy” is that this government-funded study just happens to line up with what the rigidly ideological president and his party keep saying. Shocking!
It seems clear that now that NASA has been taken out of the manned space flight game, and now that its role in national security and hard-edged exploration is being reduced, it just has too much time on its hands.
Do you want to know a fairly crazy fact about history? We don’t really know why many past civilizations collapsed. Of those whose collapses we do understand, few were simple. Very very few collapsed for one or two reasons, and few collapsed quickly. Some didn’t collapse — they failed to defend themselves and were destroyed. That’s not quite the same thing as a collapse. Some collapsed because of freak natural disasters, and thanks to our present level of technology, such collapses are largely things of the past. Rome collapsed over the course of several centuries, and was split and overrun by enemies, and was betrayed from within. Easter Island’s collapse was pretty quick and fairly easy to explain, but it was also not an empire and was not spread over much territory. But there are many past civilizations that we know little about, how they flourished, and how they died, and how they built what they built while they were still alive (cue the Ancient Aliens guys). It isn’t so much the case that there are gaps in our history. It’s that there is some known history between all the gaps.
The Davis Strait polar bear subpopulation is said to be ‘vulnerable’ to the supposed effects of global warming because, like Hudson Bay, Davis Strait sea ice retreats every summer, leaving polar bears on land for several months.
However, Davis Strait bears have been upgraded to ‘stable’ status, according to the latest table (2013) issued by the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (see their boundary map for Davis Strait bears below). Recent development of sea ice in the region can only improve that rating.
Now what’s John Kerry going to do with himself? Even as Russia reverts to its evil empire ways, the Syria civil war rolls on, Iran pursues nuclear weapons and Israel has come under yet another missile attack by terrorists, the Secretary of State declared that “climate change” will now be one of the State Department’s “top-tier diplomatic” priorities.
A new Gallup poll finds that “climate change” or whatever disguise that movement is hiding in lately just is not a top concern for American voters.
On a list of 15 national issues, climate change ranks near the bottom with only 24 percent worrying about it “a great deal.”
About half, or 51 percent, said they only worry about climate change a little or not at all.
The poll comes just a day after Senate Democrats wrapped up an all-night talk-a-thon in which they pushed for Congress to tackle climate change.
The Democrats who organized that talk-a-thon were misguided in thinking that merely talking about something for a long time makes it go viral. They were trying to emulate previously successful talk-a-thons by Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. But those talk-fests were not creatures of their party; both grew up organically out of the senators’ real concerns over the issues they addressed. The Democrats tried manufacturing a similar event and just ended up wasting their time. No one paid them any attention at all, not even their slavish media allies.
For the Democrats and the climate change panic brigades, their moment may be ending. Concern over the environment peaked in 2007, and Democrats took total control with Obama’s election in 2008. Obama came in pledging to lower the seas and reverse the warming (which wasn’t really happening, according to the data that came out during 2009′s Climategate and afterward). Obama and his cohort had full control of Washington for the next two years yet accomplished little on climate beyond pushing some seriously misguided regulations through the EPA. Now they have lost the House, Obama is discredited and unpopular, and the Democrats are poised to lose the Senate as well. This week’s talk-a-thon, as pathetic as it was, may be turn out to be the high-water mark for “climate change” politics for a generation.
On CSPAN this morning, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) took a call from a 9-11 Truther. She used the moment to suggest that Truthers have a point.
The caller began the sequence, saying “I have been watching your show, and it is sad to know that you have silenced the voices that talk about building seven on 9/11.” CSPAN’s host defended the network, saying that it has not silenced the Truthers.
Sanchez responded: “I think it is a good thing for people to push and suggest there might be other answers. Honestly, the best information we get comes from constituents who tell us, have you seen this, that document. We have found out a lot of things that way.”
Sanchez did not go into detail regarding what helpful hints about 9-11 that Truthers have brought to her or other representatives.
9-11 is one of the most investigated events in history. The FBI’s investigation alone was the agency’s largest in its history. Truthers suggest a variety of discredited theories, ranging from the entire terrorist attack being a inside job, to the Bush administration allowing it to happen so that it could push for wars it already wanted and to push for increased domestic surveillance. The evidence is not on their side, to say the least.
Prominent Democrats including former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean have openly flirted with Truther conspiracy theories in the past.
Founded in 2011, Artemis is a startup working on pCell, a new wireless standard that it thinks could leapfrog 4G altogether.
Like any new, potentially disruptive technology, pCell has a ton of hype and uncertainty around it. We’ve put together the following guide to pCell for those who want to know more without any of the confusion or tricky marketing language.
What is pCell?
Cell towers as we know them today can be visualized as giant umbrella tops. You deploy them, and they broadcast a bubble of reception that gets weaker as you get farther away. They have to be far enough away from each other so as to not cause interference, but close enough together that you can move between their areas of coverage and still have cell service. If you have too many people in one place, their data use can bog down a tower for everyone.
Artemis’ technology takes a very different direction. Rather than carefully spacing out a relatively small number of towers, Artemis wants to deploy a massive number of boxes the size of routers — called “pWaves” — that will provide much better service to a much smaller area.
Rather than working against interference, pCell embraces the collision of radio waves. By combining the incoming signals from several of the pWave base stations, each pCell user is given the equivalent of their own “personal cell” (hence the name) — which basically means getting full bars of LTE at all times becomes the new standard, while “good” signal strength means getting a signal that’s as much as 1,000 times faster than what we’re all used to.
It is a semantic trick that liberal puppet masters have been employing ever since the Climate Church had to stop saying “global warming”. Anyone who doesn’t buy the uber-hysterical view that light bulbs and toasters are mere days away from whooshing drowning polar bears through the streets of Manhattan is accused of heresy and branded a “climate denier”.
That’s right, none of us believe in climate.
This is an easy thing to pull off when the demographic that you are attempting to control gobbles up whatever crumbs are tossed to them by the information arm of your totalitarian venture.
The discussion, of course, is not about whether climate changes. In fact, we “deniers” are the only ones who seem to be acknowledging that it always has. We question what the influences are. We question why people who claim to be fans of science keep pretending that this subject is settled, even when there is ample evidence that the contrary is so.
Mostly we question how so many remarkably stupid people continue to fancy themselves intelligent.
With little fanfare and quite a bit of applause, NSA leaker Edward Snowden virtually took the stage and addressed the attendees of SXSW and the world. Snowden appeared live via satellite from an undisclosed location in Russia, using a greenscreen background evidently to conceal his whereabouts in Russia where he has been granted asylum since August 2013. Instead of revealing his location, Snowden used a graphic of the Declaration of Independence as his backdrop. The conversation was hosted via Google Hangouts.
The event began with a question: Why did Snowden choose to address SXSW? He answered that the technological leaders and developers represented at SXSW could enforce our privacy rights via technological standards.
Snowden advocated using end to end software encryption to defeat the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance. The aim, he said, is to make mass surveillance too expensive and difficult for government agencies to engage in.
Much of the conversation with Snowden veered off into the weeds of discussing the use of personal security apps to defeat the NSA. The technical ability to find, install and use those apps is beyond probably 98% or more Internet users at this point. One of the hosts suggested that Internet service companies could offer encrypted communications for an additional charge. Snowden countered that companies like Google could also elect not to hold the data they gather on users once that data’s business purpose has been fulfilled. Disposing of that data would render mass surveillance more difficult.
Snowden accused two American officials of doing more damage to national security via surveillance than anyone else: NSA directors Michael Hayden and Keith Alexander. Snowden said that both are guilty of reorienting the NSA from cyber defense to attack, compromising America’s edge in intellectual property and cyber security. Snowden argued that his leaks have not harmed national secuity, but have improved national security. Snowden and the ACLU chief technologist on the stage, Chris Soghoian, agreed that the U.S. government has prioritized data gathering over cyber security. This weakens our cyber security against geopolitical foes with extensive hacking and cyber attack capabilities, like China.
Snowden brought up two cases in which mass surveillance ended up missing obvious, reported terror threats. While the NSA was hacking Google to get at metadata, Snowden said, U.S. intelligence missed both the Boston bombers and the underwear bomber. In both of those cases, U.S. intelligence had been warned that the specific individuals were a threat. Yet no action was taken against them to prevent their attacks. Meanwhile, NSA was scooping up metadata from Americans’ cell phones and Internet use. Soghoian said that the NSA knows who has called an abortion clinic or gay book store, but misses terrorists plotting attacks.
As great as it can be to be a conservative at CPAC, it tends to be a weekend of preaching to the choir. Well, that, and getting smeared by the dishonest media.
Media could just as easily stroll around Austin this weekend and mock the self-important, the hipster, the thousands upon thousands of conventioneers who occupy every couch, beanbag, stool and crevice to do exactly what they would be doing if they were at home — namely, burying their heads in their laptops and shutting out the rest of the world. If you’re looking for stereotypes, the city and SXSW are full of them — the non-conformist who wears the same little porkpie hat that every other non-conformist wears, the anti-corporate type checking into Facebook on his iPhone or Galaxy, the libertarian start-up dreamer who espouses every single anti-business leftwing trope known to humanity. They’re all here.
But so are the corporations.
And the networks.
Seth Meyers’ booth/tent lets you rent bikes to get around town, which is pretty helpful. SXSW has brought a couple hundred thousand extra people here, and the roads aren’t even built to handle Austin’s normal traffic. Parking is insane. A free bike is handy.
Anyway, the media won’t mock any of this and it won’t note the corporate-indie conflict or just make fun of some of the more obvious oddities of the whole thing. The corporations are here and the indie start-ups are here, somewhere, and the politics of the place has a distinctively leftish point of view, which doesn’t make a lot of sense if you think about it. The left these days is all about conformity and one-size-fits-all. The left looks at bankrupt California and successful Texas and wants to force the latter to become more like the former, instead of allowing for differences or admitting that its way isn’t working. Tech is about doing whatever works, and then making that work better or in some new way. Tech development is about freedom. The left, and the politics the left has brought to SXSW, are not about freedom at all.
NASA’s Morpheus is a prototype planetary lander. It looks like something out of classic sci-fi movies. But it’s real.
Here’s video from its latest test flight, at the Kennedy Space Center.
The geek in me is in love with that thing.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s power to formulate regulations without Congressional authorization is the subject of a case currently being decided in the US Supreme Court. Justices have voiced skepticism that the EPA even has such power. But that isn’t slowing the agency down, nor is the rapidly developing situation in Ukraine. The EPA is reportedly set to announce yet another round of unilaterally-imposed sanctions on the US economy.
The Environmental Protection Agency will reportedly announce a new rule Monday that requires oil refiners to strip even more sulfur molecules from American gasoline blends.
The New York Times reports that the new rule will require oil refiners to install new equipment and carmakers to install newer, cleaner fuel-burning technology in engines. The EPA estimates that the cost of gasoline will be raised by two-thirds of a cent per gallon as a result of the new regulations, while the sticker price of a car will be increased by $75.
The former estimate is disputed by Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers lobbying group. Drevna claims that the price of gasoline could rise by up to 9 cents per gallon.
“I don’t know what model [the EPA] uses,” Drevna told The Times. “The math doesn’t add up.”
That’s the story of the Obama administration: The math doesn’t add up.
The opposition to building the Keystone pipeline is shrinking by the day. Another former Obama adviser has come out in favor of building it.
Marcia McNutt, prominent scientist, former head of the U.S. Geological Survey, and now the editor-in-chief of Science magazine writes in aneditorial [subscription required]:
I drive a hybrid car and set my thermostat at 80°F in the Washington, DC, summer. I use public transportation to commute to my office, located in a building given “platinum” design status by the U.S. Green Building Council. The electric meter on my house runs backward most months of the year, thanks to a large installation of solar panels. I am committed to doing my part to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and minimize global warming. At the same time, I believe it is time to move forward on the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from the tar sands deposits of Alberta, Canada, and from the Williston Basin in Montana and North Dakota to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Former Obama Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon have previously left the administration and then come out in favor of building the Keystone.
h/t US Chamber of Commerce
A review of NASA security in the wake of last year’s arrest of a Chinese national accused of spying revealed flaws that took one lawmaker “aback,” but the damning report is being kept out of the public eye.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, requested the review after the March 2013 arrest of National Institute of Aerospace contractor Bo Jiang as he attempted to leave the country at Dulles International Airport.
According to the arrest warrant and criminal complaint, Jiang lived a few blocks from Naval Station Norfolk. On March 13, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation into “conspiracies and substantive violations” of the Arms Export Control Act.
Two days later, agents learned Jiang had “abruptly” bought a one-way ticket back to China. He had boarded the flight at Dulles when agents stopped him and searched his belongings, finding more tech items on Jiang than he claimed to officials, including a second laptop computer, a SIM card, and an old hard drive.
The complaint noted that Jiang previously flew back to China once with a laptop belonging to NASA believed to have contained sensitive information.
Prosecutors later said they didn’t find any sensitive information on the devices that Jiang had on him at the time of his March arrest, and he pleaded guilty in May to a misdemeanor charge of using his NASA laptop to download porn. He was then ordered to leave the country.
Jiang got his Ph.D. at Old Dominion before joining the National Institute of Aerospace as a research scholar at NASA Langley in January 2011. His title changed to research scientist in October 2012. In both positions, he worked on NASA’s aviation safety program.
Whistleblowers concerned about security breaches at NASA facilities had tipped off Wolf about Jiang and other employees. The FBI then began its investigation into the Chinese national, who came to the country in 2007.
Wolf said at the time of the bargain with prosecutors that they still weren’t addressing what may have been on the laptop Jiang took to China in December or why a NASA laptop was provided to a foreign national in the first place.
In March, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden appeared before Wolf’s committee and admitted that about 280 foreign nationals deemed security threats were working at NASA facilities. Wolf called for Bolden to appoint an outside panel to review foreign national access and export controls while stripping access for all foreign nationals with ties to suspect organizations or foreign governments.
“Last year, after learning of security violations at NASA’s Ames and Langley research centers, I called on Administrator Bolden to commission a comprehensive, independent review of the agency’s security, export control and access to NASA property by foreign nationals,” Wolf said Wednesday evening.
NASA contracted with the National Academy of Public Administration to conduct a review of its foreign national operations. All that’s publicly accessible from the report, issued by a panel helmed by former Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh (R), is the executive summary.
In all, the review panel issued 27 recommendations, including managing the access of foreign nationals as a program, better control of centers employing foreign nationals by NASA headquarters, and correcting longstanding information technology security issues.
Last week, Bolden fired off a three-page letter to Thornburgh thanking him for the review yet disputing several findings or recommendations in the report. “NASA’s counterintelligence program is focused on Agency assets, and by retaining the existing reporting structure, we ensure a standardized and consistent program across the Agency,” Bolden wrote.
“Frankly, I was taken aback at the breadth and depth of security challenges identified across NASA and I am deeply disappointed the agency has restricted access to the report,” Wolf said. “The report should be made public as soon as possible, with any necessary redactions in the interest of national security, because it confirms not only the serious security challenges that need to be addressed, but a persistent organizational culture that fails to hold center leadership, employees and contractors accountable for security violations. This must change.”
“The U.S. intelligence community has made clear that we face unprecedented cyber and espionage threats, especially from countries seeking to steal cutting-edge aerospace technology which often has military applications,” the congressman added. “It is imperative that NASA secure its key assets and instill a culture of accountability when security violations occur.”
Wolf noted that he added language in the FY 2014 Omnibus spending bill requiring NASA to provide Congress with quarterly reports on the status of its implementation of the report’s recommendations.
“I look forward to discussing this further at my subcommittee’s hearing with Administrator Bolden in March,” he said.
Kids of a certain age remember ads for Amazing Live Sea Monkeys. They ran in the backs of comic books. The ads promised that Amazing Live Sea Monkeys would hatch, grow, and become your friends.
Amazing Live Sea Monkeys were supposed to be so amazing that they even had their own Saturday morning show.
And a video game.
When Barack Obama burst into American politics, he promised to be a different kind of politician. He promised Hope. And Change.
The media were smitten.
Hollywood couldn’t get enough of him.
Despite their skepticism of the young, inexperienced senator, many Americans fell in love too.
And he was elected President of the United States. Twice.
I’m seeing a lot of wrangling over the recent (15+ year) pause in global average warming…when did it start, is it a full pause, shouldn’t we be taking the longer view, etc.
These are all interesting exercises, but they miss the most important point: the climate models that governments base policy decisions on have failed miserably.
I’ve updated our comparison of 90 climate models versus observations for global average surface temperatures through 2013, and we still see that >95% of the models have over-forecast the warming trend since 1979, whether we use their own surface temperature dataset (HadCRUT4), or our satellite dataset of lower tropospheric temperatures (UAH)
This is obviously the work of some Right Wing Nutjob fringe conspiracy site, right, lefties? Oh wait…he’s a former NASA climatologist. And he is not the only prominent one who dares to speak the obvious.
When one argues with a devout member of the Climate Change Church, one hears about “SCIENCE!” ad nauseam. While computer modeling does play an important role, it isn’t “settled”, as a droning former vice-president is fond of saying. They’re speculative and, in this case, overwhelmingly wrong.
Unfortunately, the grant money is still going to the people who want to dislocate their shoulders trying to fit the square peg into the round hole so we’ll be hearing the “Settled!” chorus for quite some time to come.
Republican leaders on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee last week introduced a bill intended to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing regulations based upon “secret science.”
The committee will hear testimony from scientists and research officials tomorrow at a hearing on the legislation, but no one from the EPA is scheduled to face Congress.
The bill was introduced by Environment Subcommittee Chairman David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and cosponsored by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
“The Secret Science Reform Act ends costly EPA rulemaking from happening behind closed doors and out of public view. Public policy should come from public data, not based on the whims of far-left environmental groups,” Schweikert said.
“For far too long, the EPA has approved regulations that have placed a crippling financial burden on economic growth in this country with no public evidence to justify their actions,” he added. “This common-sense legislation forces the EPA to be transparent and accountable with their findings.”
The bill states “The Administrator shall not propose, finalize, or disseminate a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such covered action is (A) specifically identified; and (B) publicly available in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.”
It’s a unified effort by Science Committee Republicans, with original co-sponsors including Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Chairman Emeritus Ralph Hall (R-Texas), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Energy Subcommittee Chairman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Vice Chairman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), and Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas).
“Virtually every regulation proposed by the Obama administration has been justified by nontransparent data and unverifiable claims,” Smith said. “The American people foot the bill for EPA’s costly regulations, and they have a right to see the underlying science. Costly environmental regulations should be based on publicly available data so that independent scientists can verify the EPA’s claims.”
In December 2013, Google snapped up Boston Dynamics. You probably haven’t heard of that company. It makes terrifying robots that look like this:
That thing is called WildCat, and it’s designed to run fast on all kinds of terrain, while looking like something you had nightmares about when you were a kid. WildCat is being developed via DARPA funding. That’s the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Boston Dynamics was one of eight robotics companies that Google recently bought, along with Nest, which makes Internet-connected thermostat controls.
Boston Dynamics also makes this freaky thing, the Atlas. Atlas is also a DARPA project.
We have the beginnings of a droid army here. In the Star Wars universe, droids’ main weakness was their inability to think creatively. Well, other than R2-D2, but you’re not supposed to notice that droid thinking creatively all the time, making hash of the droids-can’t-think issue. The emperor secretly had the clone army built because the droids were just too predictable and lacked tactical awareness. Except R2-D2.
Google apparently doesn’t want to be tripped up by the same problem. Or it wants to build its own walking, running, DoD-funded R2-D2.
Today, Google reportedly added to its curious acquisitions with the purchase of a secretive artificial intelligence company called DeepMind.
Though DeepMind may not be a household name in tech, sources in the artificial intelligence community describe the company as a formidable AI player and say it has been aggressively recruiting in the space. One source said DeepMind has a team of at least 50 people and has secured more than $50 million in funding. This person described DeepMind as “the last large independent company with a strong focus on artificial intelligence,” and said it competed with companies like Google, Facebook and Baidu for talent.
Marry up Atlas and WildCat with DeepMind and the dumb droid problem may go away.
Pollution from China travels in large quantities across the Pacific Ocean to the United States, a new study has found, making environmental and health problems unexpected side effects of US demand for cheap China-manufactured goods.
On some days, acid rain-inducing sulphate from burning of fossil fuels in China can account for as much as a quarter of sulphate pollution in the western United States, a team of Chinese and American researchers said in the report published by the US National Academy of Sciences, a non-profit society of scholars.
Cities like Los Angeles received at least an extra day of smog a year from nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide from China’s export-dependent factories, it said.
This information, true or not (the NAS is a big Climate Church propagandist organization these days), will probably be used to justify some nonsensical restrictions businesses here that do absolutely nothing to mitigate the actual problem. If I had written that a few years ago you’d all be calling me a conspiracy nut.
But you’ve met this president’s EPA.
For the second year in a row, investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects have declined worldwide by 12% to a total of $254 billion in 2013 (from $289 billion in 2012 and $318 billion in 2011), according to the latest numbers from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which has been tracking comprehensive global investment data since 2004. This total is half the IEA’s estimate that $500 billion a year is needed by 2020 and a quarter of the $1 trillion goal by 2030. Ceres, an organization that mobilizes investors to take action on climate change, calls this the “clean trillion” gap.
You can see from the chart below that the money was flowing in when Team Lightbringer was burning taxpayer dollars on greendoggle schemes faster than a 1960 pickup goes through gas. If The Idiot King hadn’t overreached, there might not have been much to talk about. But he wouldn’t (still doesn’t, actually) shut up about and threw away some hard-earned taxpayer cash at a time when the economy and real Americans were suffering. Then much of it failed spectacularly.
Who wouldn’t be more cautious? Oh yeah, politicians.
NEW DELHI: India marked three years since its last reported polio case Monday, meaning it will soon be certified as having defeated the ancient scourge in a huge advance for global eradication efforts.
India’s polio programme is one of the country’s biggest public health success stories, achieving something once thought impossible thanks to a massive and sustained vaccination programme.
Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, along with global groups who have been working to eradicate the virus, hailed Monday’s anniversary as “a monumental milestone”.
While vaccines have a proven history of doing things like, oh, wiping out diseases, a cult of medical Luddites has grown in the US barking about vaccinations being the cause of autism and McCarthy has been the loudest. One little problem: there isn’t any proof that this is the case.
Sadly, we live in an era when a woman who got famous by getting naked for a camera can influence health choices people will make for their children.
You ever just feel like we’re all in a hidden-camera horror movie?
Three studies published Monday add to multivitamins’ bad rap. One review found no benefit in preventing early death, heart disease or cancer. Another found that taking multivitamins did nothing to stave off cognitive decline with aging. A third found that high-dose multivitamins didn’t help people who had had one heart attack avoid another.
“Enough is enough,” declares an editorial accompanying the studies in Annals of Internal Medicine. “Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.”
But enough is not enough for the American public. We spend $28 billion a year on vitamin supplements and are projected to spend more. About 40 percent of Americans take multivitamins, the editorial says.
I am a guilty multivitamin consumer despite the fact that I’ve been hearing from medical professionals for years that it probably isn’t doing me any good. I have also heard the same thing from many of my friends who are a big more holistic in their approaches to health.
Maybe it’s time I start listening.
The “comet of the century” is dead.
Comet ISON, once optimistically called the comet of the century, is dead, the victim of a way-too-close brush with the sun. It was barely a year old.
Eh, I hate to get persnickety but it’s way older than one year. Maybe not as a comet per se, but certainly as a celestial snowball hanging out in the Oort Cloud. We’ve only known about it for a year. There are trillions of bits out there that we’ve never seen and will probably never see.
The comet, which excited astronomers and the media as it zipped within 730,000 miles of the sun on Thanksgiving Day, was pronounced dead at a scientific conference Tuesday. Astronomers who had followed the ice ball mourned the loss of the sky show that once promised to light up during December.
Naval Research Lab astronomer Karl Battams, who headed the observing campaign for the comet, said ISON (EYE’-sahn) was stretched and pulled by the sun’s powerful gravity. It was also hit with solar radiation. And the icy snowball just fell apart.
“At this point it seems like there is nothing left,” Battams said at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco. “Sorry, everyone, Comet ISON is dead. But its memory will live on.”
A chilly Arctic summer has left 533,000 more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 29 per cent.
The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013.
Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores.
Easier to see all the time why the Climate Church elders switched to the fluid “climate change” nonsense. It’s going to be difficult for the dire predictions of polar bears floating by 12th floor Manhattan windows to come true with all of this freezing going on.
Off to trap some methane…
For those who believe the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus, here is some breaking news:
The Custodian of the Shroud at the Vatican has announced today that the Shroud will go on public display in 2015 in Turin, Italy for 45 days between the Easter season starting in mid-April 2015 until August 16, 2015.
The last time the Shroud went on public display was in 2010 and two million pilgrims got to see the most sacred relic in all of Christianity.
My husband and I were among those millions, and it was an experience of a lifetime.
The Shroud of Turin continues to baffle science, for there is no explanation how the image of a crucified man was formed on the cloth separate from the blood stains.
More intriguing, the marks on the crucified man accurately reflect the flogging and crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ as told in the Bible accounts. Furthermore, the image itself is made from a material that science can not explain.
Here are two articles about the Shroud of Turin that have appeared on PJ Media in the recent past if you are interested in this topic.
The most recent one was from March, 2013:
The first was posted in July of 2012:
OK, I admit it — I am a Shroud groupie, (known as a Shroud-ee.)
And for this breaking Shroud news I must give a big hat-tip to Russ Breault who is one of the world’s foremost experts on the Shroud and runs www.ShroudEncounter.com.
Russ, I might add, contacted me after someone passed along to him my July, 2012 Shroud piece linked to above, that discusses the 3D modeling of the Shroud face.
Russ appeared in and was a consultant on the History Channel documentary, The Real Face of Jesus?
Since 2010, that 3-D modeling presentation has been a huge hit on the History Channel and is replayed every year on numerous occasions.
The long, slow process of climate change may trigger “surprise” shifts that could threaten human communities in years or decades, researchers from the National Academy of Sciences warned Tuesday.
In a 200-page report, the scientists call for an early-warning system that would watch bellwethers like Midwestern aquifers, Antarctic ice sheets and tropical coral reefs for signs that a “tipping point” is coming. Accelerated environmental changes can already be seen in the loss of Arctic sea ice and bigger wildfires since 1980, the authors said.
Despite the fact that the warming isn’t so warm anymore, the preachers of the fastest growing religion on Earth need to justify their positions, so get out your wallets.
Virtually everything is now taken as sign of man-made climate change (“Aunt Louise burned the pie crust at Thanksgiving? SEA LEVELS DID THAT!”) and used to justify ever-increasing mounds of cash to be thrown down the Solyndra hole, which is all this is about. They have to line the pockets of their business partners fear-mongering.
After all, not everyone can get grant money to keep the Climate Church growing.