March 12, 2014 at 10:16 AM
The evil polices of that evil Republican Scott Walker has now produced a $1 billion budget surplus in Wisconsin.
Senate Republicans Tuesday narrowly passed Gov. Scott Walker’s $541 million tax cut proposal in a vote that guaranteed the cuts will become law.
The tax decreases — the third round of cuts by Republicans in less than a year — passed 17-15 with GOP Sen. Dale Schultz of Richland Center joining all Democrats in voting against the proposal. The proposal now goes to the Assembly, which passed a different version of the tax cuts last month with two Democrats joining all Republicans in supporting it.
With growing tax collections now expected to give the state a $1billion budget surplus in June 2015, Walker’s bill will cut property and income taxes for families and businesses, and zero out all income taxes for manufacturers in the state. [emphasis mine]
Why is it that even with gigantic and yearly surpluses Democrats still oppose tax cuts? Or do we already know the answer?
March 12, 2014 at 9:42 AM
The senator who aggressively supported the federal government’s illegal spying on innocent Americans is shocked and offended that they also spied on her.
For liberals, the rules are never meant for them. Instead, the rules are made by liberals to be imposed on everyone else, whom they consider too stupid to deserve either privacy or freedom.
Update: I have to amend my previous sentence. It isn’t just liberals who think the rules should never apply to them. We also have to include pompous power-hungry politicians on the right as well.
March 12, 2014 at 9:31 AM
Climategate continues: “What it is observed right now is utter dishonesty by the IPCC advocates.”
That’s the opinion of one of a number of scientists who were classified by a study to be part of the 97% consensus that supports human-caused global warming. The article asked them if the study’s classification was true, and their response was that the study was a fraud, a lie, a distortion, and simply untrue. The so-called 97% consensus was manufactured out of thin air, as many of the scientists included in it are actually global warming skeptics.
The quote that stood out most to me in the article was this one:
March 12, 2014 at 8:58 AM
The new fascism: A new report by the largest coalition of biomedical research organizations has found that animal rights extremists have shifted their tactics, increasingly targeting individuals rather then universities in their violent attacks.
[The report was designed] to provide guidance to scientists and institutions around the world in dealing with animal rights extremists. That includes individuals and groups that damage laboratories, send threatening e-mails, and even desecrate the graves of researchers’ relatives. In 2004, for example, Animal Liberation Front activists broke into psychology laboratories at the University of Iowa, where they smashed equipment, spray-painted walls, and removed hundreds of animals, causing more than $400,000 in damage. In 2009, extremists set fire to the car of a University of California, Los Angeles, neuroscientist who worked on rats and monkeys. And other researchers say activists have shown up at their homes in the middle of the night, threatening their families and children. [emphasis mine]
To attack the relatives and children of researchers is beyond offensive, and places you on the same level as the typical Islamic terrorist. Such behavior cannot be condoned by anyone, and should be opposed aggressively by all parties, even those who oppose the use of animals in research.
March 12, 2014 at 8:46 AM
The competition heats up: Lockheed Martin announced on Wednesday that they will either give a full refund or re-fly a payload for free if their Atlas rocket fails at launch.
This means that Lockheed Martin’s customers will no longer have to shop or pay for insurance. Instead, the company is providing it for them free, thus lowering the cost for those customers.
March 11, 2014 at 9:15 PM
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter entered safe mode on Friday, caused by unexpected switch to a backup computer.
They expect to get the probe back into full operation in a couple of days.
March 11, 2014 at 8:55 AM
To serve and protect? Here’s one cop’s take: “I give my left nut to bang down your door and come for your gun.”
March 11, 2014 at 8:36 AM
The competition heats up: The Russian company that owns the Proton rocket is considering a redesign that would allow them to launch two satellites on one rocket.
Launching two or more satellites during a single launch is not ground-breaking technology, but the Russian have never done it with their Proton. If they make this change, it will allow them to reduce the cost for a commercial launch considerably, thus making them more competitive against companies like SpaceX.
That they have decided to consider this now, after almost three decades of commercial operation since the fall of the Soviet Union, is more proof that the low prices of SpaceX are forcing innovation and an effort to lower costs across the entire launch market.
March 11, 2014 at 8:27 AM
Two Russians and an American landed safely in Kazakhstan on Monday, finishing their 166 mission to ISS.
The Americans have not yet been kidnapped by the Russian government over the U.S./Russian conflict because of the invasion of the Crimea. Nor do I expect them to.
March 11, 2014 at 8:21 AM
My heart bleeds: The IAU has issued a press release condemning the public’s naming of Martian craters as initiated by the private company Uwingu.
This war over the right to name features on other planets is mostly a tempest in a teapot, as the actual names will finally be decided by the people who end up living there. Nonetheless, I really like how Uwingu is pushing the IAU’s buttons, as that organization’s self-righteous insistence that it has the power to name everything in space, from craters to the smallest boulders, has for years struck me as pompous and wrong.
March 11, 2014 at 8:02 AM
The Milky Way’s council of galaxies.
“All bright galaxies within 20 million light years, including us, are organized in a ‘Local Sheet’ 34-million light years across and only 1.5-million light years thick,” says McCall. “The Milky Way and Andromeda are encircled by twelve large galaxies arranged in a ring about 24-million light years across – this ‘Council of Giants’ stands in gravitational judgment of the Local Group by restricting its range of influence.”
McCall says twelve of the fourteen giants in the Local Sheet, including the Milky Way and Andromeda, are “spiral galaxies” which have highly flattened disks in which stars are forming. The remaining two are more puffy “elliptical galaxies”, whose stellar bulks were laid down long ago. Intriguingly, the two ellipticals sit on opposite sides of the Council. Winds expelled in the earliest phases of their development might have shepherded gas towards the Local Group, thereby helping to build the disks of the Milky Way and Andromeda.
March 11, 2014 at 7:59 AM
A glory on Venus.
March 10, 2014 at 7:19 PM
Petty fascist thugs: Emails now show that the the closure of open access monuments that needed no staff during October’s government shutdown was planned by National Park management.
The emails show that park employees knew there was no reason to shutter these monuments and doing so would actually cost money, something that made no sense since the shutdown was supposedly preventing them from spending money.
March 10, 2014 at 11:47 AM
Pushback: Connecticut police are now threatening to refuse to enforce that state’s new oppressive gun control law.
250 law enforcement officers in Connecticut have signed an open letter stating that they will not enforce the new anti-gun and magazine laws, which they consider to be a violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
March 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM
The comet that the European probe Rosetta will visit in August has awakened.
Already 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is approximately 50 percent brighter than in the last images from October 2013. While the comet has moved another 50 million kilometers closer to Earth in this time (and 80 million kilometers closer to the Sun), the increase in brightness cannot be explained by the smaller distance alone. “The new image suggests that 67P is beginning to emit gas and dust at a relatively large distance from the Sun”, says Colin Snodgrass from the MPS. This confirms a study presented by Snodgrass and his colleagues last year in which they had compared the comet’s brightness as recorded during its previous orbits around the Sun. The calculations showed that already in March 2014 its activity would be measurable from Earth.
Update: A preprint paper published today on the astro-ph website predicts that Rosetta will see an unusual topographical feature on the comet’s surface when it arrives in August:
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The Secular Light Curve (SLC) of this comet exhibits a photometric anomaly in magnitude that is present in 1982, 1996, 2002 and 2009. Thus it must be real. We interpret this anomaly as a topographic feature on the surface of the nucleus that may be a field of debris, a region made only of dust or an area of solid stones but in any case it is depleted in volatiles. We predict that images taken by spacecraft Rosseta will show a region morphologically different to the rest of the nucleus, at the pole pointing to the Sun near perihelion.
March 9, 2014 at 11:12 AM
A scientist describes the skeptic’s view of global warming.
And since good science should be founded of skepticism, he ends up describing the actual state of climate research, outlining all the uncertainties with great clarity and intelligence.
March 9, 2014 at 8:42 AM
On Saturday SpaceX successfully conducted a dress rehearsal countdown and static fire engine test of the Falcon 9 rocket that will loft a Dragon capsule to ISS next week.
The results of the test itself have not been released, but that it was completed suggests all is well for the upcoming launch.
March 9, 2014 at 8:39 AM
Standing on the wrong side of history: Neil deGrasse Tyson poo-poos private space.
Tyson described space travel as “a long-term investment”: “It’s an investment that private enterprise cannot lead.” He recalled the excitement around SpaceX’s delivery of cargo the International Space Station, which sparked discussion about whether private companies would replace government as the main engine behind space travel. Tyson’s response? “They brought cargo to the space station! NASA’s been doing that for 30 years!”
Tyson, who also said that government is the only one willing to do exploration and that private space only comes after, will probably push this agenda on his new Cosmos television series.
On this subject, Tyson has the outdated opinions of today’s leftwing academic community. And he is wrong. The only reasons private space didn’t lead in the past fifty years is because our federal government was against it. It wanted the turf all to itself and the private companies who could have done it were willing to acquiesce. Now that this monopoly is crumbling, stand by to see private enterprise dominate the show.
March 8, 2014 at 7:18 PM
Finding out what’s in it: A major union charges in a new report that Obamacare will reduce wages, cut hours, and limit access to health insurance for the lower middle class.
Union head Donald “D.” Taylor, in a note also being sent to Congress, demands changes and admits to being reluctant to bash a president his union supported. “Believe me; I enter this entire debate about the consequences of the ACA with a deep reluctance,” he wrote. “Unite Here was the first union to endorse then-Senator Obama. We support the addition of health care to millions of Americans. Yet facts are facts, and Obamacare will cost our members the equivalent of a significant pay cut to keep their hard-won benefits.”
In other words, he is a blind partisan fool. His partisanship is so strong that even now he is reluctant to attack the President or the Democrats for creating and forcing Obamacare on us. He also is so partisan that when they were writing the bill he accepted blindly what they were telling him and thus didn’t bother to read the law himself. Then again, he really didn’t have to read it, all he really had to do was listen to just a handful of conservative thinkers who were saying then that Obamacare would “reduce wages, cut hours, and limit access to health insurance.”
The most shameful part of this whole thing is that come the next election, this union chief and his union will almost certainly still back the Democrats blindly.
March 8, 2014 at 8:42 AM
On Monday NOAA posted its monthly update of the solar cycle, showing the sunspot activity for the Sun in January. As I do every month, I am posting it here, below the fold, with annotations.
January was the most active month for sunspots this entire solar cycle, exceeding the predictions of the solar scientists, an event that has been quite rare during this generally weak solar maximum. In fact, the Sun was so active that for the first time, the second peak in a double-peaked solar maximum exceeded the first peak in sunspot activity.
March 8, 2014 at 6:35 AM
Finding out what’s not in it: Connecticut seniors are in an uproar because their AARP health insurance plan was forced to sever ties with their hospital and doctors because of Obamacare.
AARP was a big supporter of Obamacare. A majority of these blue-state seniors probably voted for Obama as well.I wonder if they will now wake up and change their support now, or remain blind followers of a disastrous policy.
March 8, 2014 at 5:32 AM
Taking a close look at the engineering and history of SpaceX’s new Raptor engine, presently under development.
Quite fascinating and absolutely worth a read.
March 8, 2014 at 5:23 AM
A static fire engine test of the Falcon 9 scheduled to lift Dragon to ISS next week has been delayed one day.
The article gives no explanation for the delay.
March 8, 2014 at 5:19 AM
According to the company’s CEO, Virgin Galactic is close to getting its FAA launch license.
The CEO also said that they hope to fly their first suborbital flight this summer after several lower altitude powered flights.
At this point I will believe this when I see it. Virgin Galactic has made promises like this repeatedly for the past three years, none of which have come true. The time has come for them to put up, or shut up, or finally tell us the truth.
March 8, 2014 at 5:13 AM
Most Mars meteorites found on Earth may have been blasted here from a single impact on Mars around 3 million years ago.
This is a great scientific detective story. It has a lot of uncertainties, should definitely be taken with a grain of salt, but is nonetheless very convincing.
March 7, 2014 at 12:55 PM
WISE’s survey of the sky in infrared has now shown that there is no large planet X orbiting beyond Pluto.
This recent study, which involved an examination of WISE data covering the entire sky in infrared light, found no object the size of Saturn or larger exists out to a distance of 10,000 astronomical units (au), and no object larger than Jupiter exists out to 26,000 au. One astronomical unit equals 93 million miles. Earth is 1 au, and Pluto about 40 au, from the sun. “The outer solar system probably does not contain a large gas giant planet, or a small, companion star,” said Kevin Luhman of the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds at Penn State University, University Park, Pa., author of a paper in the Astrophysical Journal describing the results.
The theory, popular among planetary scientists and journalists, is that this theorized distant planet would periodically disturb the orbits of comets in the Oort Cloud, sending them raining down on Earth and thus cause the periodic extinction events found in the paleontological record. It was a cute theory, but based on little data. Now we have the data, and no such planet exists.
The data has found a lot of previously unknown nearby stars and brown dwarfs, which is significant in that they are close and can be studied more easily.
March 7, 2014 at 8:22 AM
From a Nobel Prize winner: “I think peer review is hindering science. In fact, I think it has become a completely corrupt system.”
Read the whole interview. The scientist outlines problems not only with peer review journals but with the whole structure of modern academic science, which to his mind would have prevented him from doing his Nobel Prize winning research had this system existed then.
March 7, 2014 at 5:47 AM
How Washington journalists conspire to not report accurately the President’s yearly budget proposal.
The article focuses on the bad reporting in connection with the Obama administration’s most recent budget proposal, but the criticism applies to every budget announcement since the 1970s.. Each year, the President’s budget proposal in the January/February/March time frame increases the amount the federal government will spend from year to year, as far as the eye can see. Washington journalists however report that the proposal cuts the budget instead. How can this be? As the writer notes,
In the 1970s, Congress tortured the English language by requiring that if federal spending grows less than expected, it should officially be called a spending cut. Outside of the beltway bubble, nobody talks like that. Reporters are letting the public down by accepting the word games of politicians and not reporting the real numbers in the language of ordinary Americans.
I have been fighting this dishonest reporting for decades. It is not the business of reporters to help the federal government get more money. They should report the budget, as it is.
March 7, 2014 at 5:25 AM
Finding out what’s in it: According to two surveys a large majority of the previously uninsured are uninterested in signing up for Obamacare.
You can read one of the surveys here.
The main reason they are rejecting Obamacare is cost or “affordability challenges,” as the report so euphemistically call it. (See page 5 on the second link above). The simple fact is that the reason most of these people didn’t have health insurance before is because it didn’t make economic sense for them to buy it. Most are probably young and don’t need to visit a doctor very often. Why pay for insurance in that case? And since Obamacare has significantly raised the cost of insurance, these people have even less economic reason now to sign up.