Monthly Archives: February 2012

Comparing all the global warming climate models for the past twenty years with the actual data.

A scientist compares all the global warming climate models developed during the past twenty years with the actual data:

We’ve checked all the main predictions of the climate models against the best data. The climate models get them all wrong. … Therefore:

  • The climate models are fundamentally flawed. Their assumed threefold amplification by feedbacks does not in fact exist.
  • The climate models overestimate temperature rises due to CO2 by at least a factor of three.

Read the whole article. Not only does Evans outline the failures of all the climate models, he also clearly and distinctly describes the actual debate that has been going on in the climate field for the past three decades. It isn’t the effects of carbon dioxide that climate scientists have been arguing about, but, as Richard Lindzen explained to the UK Parliament last week, whether other climate factors, called feedbacks, will amplify or suppress the warming produced by CO2.

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Using its Space Launch System and Orion capsule, NASA is aiming for an unmanned test flight around the Moon in December 2017.

Using its Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule, NASA is aiming for an unmanned test flight around the Moon in December 2017.

Two important tidbits revealed by this article: First, the first test flight of Orion will use a Delta 4 Heavy rocket. Two, NASA hopes to have its heavy lift SLS rocket ready for the 2017 mission.

Forgive me for being cynical, but I will believe the second tidbit only when it happens.

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What is the International Space Station’s weakest link?

What is the International Space Station’s weakest link?

Mark Mulqueen, ISS vehicle director for Boeing Co., said keeping the station’s environmental control and life support systems, or ECLSS, functioning over the next decade will likely be engineers’ toughest challenge. “I don’t think it’s sparing or the structure to get to 2020,” Mulqueen said. “It’s probably continued refinement of how we successfuly operate our ECLSS system on-orbit. There has been a lot of effort going into understanding that.”

The article outlines a number of other areas of concern, none of which appear to be serious, for now, but could be a problem as the years pass.

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Dissecting the bad arguments on both sides of the climate debate.

Dissecting the bad arguments on both sides of the climate debate.

What I find intriguing about Singer’s analysis is that the bad arguments from the global warming camp seem to come from noted scientists writing for the IPCC, while the bad arguments on the skeptical side mostly come from non-scientists on the fringes.

In either case, they remain bad arguments, but it is tragic that so many scientists participate in it.

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Santorum talked himself out of the nomination

“Santorum talked himself out of the nomination.”

As did all the conservative alternatives to Romney:

The auditions are just about over. Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum all had their chances to be the conservative champion of the nation. Each blew it in his own special way. They soared like rockets and faded away.

In Santorum’s case, it was this:

Late-breaking voters went overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney in today’s Michigan primary as Rick Santorum’s robocalls to Democratic voters, who failed to turn out in big numbers, apparently encouraging Republicans to turn out to back the former Massachusetts governor.

If you are going to run as a conservative, don’t campaign using Democrat Party talking points: Santorum tried to win Democratic union votes by criticizing Romney for not backing the auto bailout. Since the auto bailout is generally despised by conservative voters, they heard this and abandoned Santorum in droves.

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JPL has issued a press release “reality check” on the impact possibilities of asteroid 2011 AG5 in 2040.

JPL has issued a press release “reality check” on the impact possibilities of asteroid 2011 AG5 in 2040.

“In September 2013, we have the opportunity to make additional observations of 2011 AG5 when it comes within 91 million miles (147 million kilometers) of Earth,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “It will be an opportunity to observe this space rock and further refine its orbit. Because of the extreme rarity of an impact by a near-Earth asteroid of this size, I fully expect we will be able to significantly reduce or rule out entirely any impact probability for the foreseeable future.” Even better observations will be possible in late 2015.

In other words, we really will not know anything more about these possibilities until late next year.

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ATK prepares for another test firing of its five-segment solid rocket motor.

ATK prepares for another test firing of its five-segment solid rocket motor.

The qualification campaign, led by rocket-builder ATK, will prove the solid-fueled motor is ready to help propel the Space Launch System from Earth on two test flights in 2017 and 2021.

Though obviously funded out of the Space Launch System program (SLS), there is no guarantee at this moment that ATK’s solid rocket will be used in these test flights. NASA has said that they are considering all options for picking the launch rocket.

In a sense, we are now seeing a side benefit produced by relying on independent and competing private companies to get into space. It has placed pressure on NASA and the companies building SLS to perform. Unlike in the past, when failure to produce a new rocket or spaceship meant that NASA would simply propose a new concept and start again, now failure will mean that someone else might get the work. The result: SLS might actually get built, for less money and faster.

Though I don’t see how NASA can possibly cut the costs down to compete with these private companies, their effort might succeed enough for Congress to keep the money spigots open until the rocket gets built.

Even as I say this I remain skeptical. Considering the federal budget situation, the politics of the upcoming election, and the strong possibility that private companies will successfully provide that launch capability at a tenth the cost, I expect that sometime in the next two or three years Congress will finally balk at SLS’s cost, and eliminate it.

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The first industrial railgun has begun firing tests at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Virginia.

The first industrial railgun has begun firing tests at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Virginia. With video.

Following a series of low-energy test shots, evaluation of the launcher is now underway and will see tests conducted at 20 megajoules to 32 megajoules – one megajoule is equivalent to a 1-ton object being thrust at 100 mph (161 km/h). Test projectiles similar to those previously fired from [the] laboratory’s launcher will be fired at speeds of 4,500 to 5,600 mph (7,242 to 9,012 km/h) using electricity instead of chemical propellants.

These speeds are a only little less than one third escape velocity. Pump this technology up a bit and you could have a cheap way to get simple supplies, such as fuel, water, oxygen, into orbit. In fact, one company is even trying to do it.

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The Zombie Mohammad judge defends his actions.

The Zombie Mohammad judge defends his actions.

On the first amendment:

Here’s the thing: It’s a right, it’s not a privilege, it’s a right. With rights come responsibilities. The more that people abuse our rights, the more likely that we’re going to lose them.

So in other words, it’s an abuse of free speech to criticize Mohammad, but perfectly okay to physically attack that person for that criticism.

This judge has got to go.

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Another thousand exoplanets from Kepler

Kepler today released an updated catalog of candidate exoplanets observed during the space telescope’s first sixteen months of observations. In this release, they list more than a thousand new exoplanet candidates, almost two hundred of which are Earth-sized. Among the new exoplanet candidates, twenty-five are in the habitable zone!

Now for some details.
» Read more

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According to Orbital Sciences’ CEO, problems in launchpad construction have been the primary reason the first launch of Antares rocket/Cygnus capsule has been delayed.

Fingers crossed: According to Orbital Sciences’ CEO, problems in launchpad construction have been the primary reason the first launch of Antares rocket/Cygnus capsule has been delayed.

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Astronomers have discovered a five hundred foot wide asteroid that has a 1 in 600 chance of hitting the Earth in 2040.

Astronomers have discovered a five hundred foot wide asteroid that has a 1 in 600 chance of hitting the Earth in 2040.

“2011 AG5 is the object which currently has the highest chance of impacting the Earth … in 2040. However, we have only observed it for about half an orbit, thus the confidence in these calculations is still not very high,” said Detlef Koschny of the European Space Agency’s Solar System Missions Division in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

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