Monthly Archives: May 2012

What is the current state of the six American flags planted on the Moon by Apollo astronauts? One NASA engineer takes a look.

What is the current state of the six American flags planted on the Moon by Apollo astronauts? One NASA engineer takes a look.

James Fincannon has been an important contributor here at Behind the Black, sending me some interesting tips from time to time that have resulted in some good posts, such as this one about caves on the Moon.

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The trial of seven earthquake scientists in Italy on charges of manslaughter for not correctly predicting the earthquake in L’Aquila continued yesterday with each of the defendants testifying.

The trial of seven earthquake scientists in Italy on charges of manslaughter for not correctly predicting the earthquake in L’Aquila continued yesterday with each of the defendants testifying.

The trial will not resume again until the fall.

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Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have determined that the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are on a collision course, and will meet head on in 4 billion years.

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have determined that the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are on a collision course, and will meet head on in 4 billion years.

You can download the science paper describing these results in detail here [pdf].

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A county government in California, rather than buy private property through eminent domain, is using zoning regulations to force owners out so the county doesn’t have to pay any compensation.

Theft by government: A county government in California, rather than buy private property through eminent domain, is using zoning regulations to force owners out so the county doesn’t have to pay any compensation.

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A government study has found that the more educated in science and math an American is the more likely they will be skeptical of the dangers of global warming.

A government study has found that the more educated in science and math an American is, the more likely they will be skeptical of the dangers of global warming.

The results of the survey are especially remarkable as it was plainly not intended to show any such thing: Rather, the researchers and trick-cyclists who carried it out were doing so from the position that the “scientific consensus” (carbon-driven global warming is ongoing and extremely dangerous) is a settled fact, and the priority is now to find some way of getting US voters to believe in the need for urgent, immediate and massive action to reduce CO2 emissions.

Having discovered that educating the public will defeat these activists in their goals, the researchers than suggest, like Paul Krugman, that maybe the U.S. government should stop trying to educate people and focus on fake propaganda instead.

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The Muslim Brotherhood candidate in Egypt: “[Christians] need to know that conquest is coming, and Egypt will be Islamic, and that they must pay jizya [tribute] or emigrate.”

The Muslim Brotherhood candidate in Egypt: “[Christians] need to know that conquest is coming, and Egypt will be Islamic, and that they must pay jizya [tribute] or emigrate.”

So, how’s that Arab Spring doing for ya, Obama?

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The high school football star who was imprisoned for six years on a false rape charge now has four auditions with NFL teams.

The high school football star who was imprisoned for six years on a false rape charge now has four auditions with NFL teams.

We should all pray he makes it. And I hope Wanetta Gibson, the woman who made up the whole story and who won a $1.5 million court suit from the school based on her false testimony, goes to jail, especially because she still has the nerve to say that this about the settlement: “I don’t want to have to pay it back.”

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The Whitewater-Baldy wildfire in New Mexico is now the largest in that state’s history, covering 266 square miles.

The Whitewater-Baldy wildfire in New Mexico is now the largest in that state’s history, covering 266 square miles.

I flew over this fire on my way from Tucson to Chicago on Tuesday. The smoke cloud itself was astonishingly large, extending eastward far beyond the fire itself.

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Antonio Breschi – Language of the Land

An evening pause: Antonio Breschi again, this time with a piece of his own, from his album At the Edge of the Night. Last week I posted a breathtaking piano performance by Breschi, but unfortunately, I can’t find a video of him playing this particular piece, which I first heard back in the mid-1980s. Nonetheless, the music so beautiful it is really doesn’t need fancy visuals.

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A black former Democrat Congressman who also gave the seconding speech for Obama’s nomination in 2008 has decided to switch parties and become a Republican.

What does this tell us? A black former Democrat Congressman who also gave the seconding speech for Obama’s nomination in 2008 has decided to switch parties and become a Republican.

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A U.S. senator has demanded the NIH explain how it could give a $2 million grant to a researcher previously punished for not reporting financial conflicts of interest who is also under investigation by the Department of Justice.

Corruption in Big Science: A U.S. senator is demanding the NIH explain how it could give a $2 million grant to a researcher previously punished for not reporting financial conflicts of interest who is also under investigation by the Department of Justice.

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From a past SpaceX critic: SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could wipe its launch competition.

From a past SpaceX critic: SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could wipe out its launch competition.

This announcement [of SpaceX’s deal with Intelsat] is an indication that SpaceX is now threatening the dominance of Arianespace and ILS in the commercial launch arena. If a Falcon 9 Heavy can carry two or more large GEO communications satellites for half the launch price of an Ariane 5 or Proton M booking, then this could spell the end of their commercial operations as going concerns. It is not only on the commercial front that SpaceX may dominate. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Heavy launch service promises to be less than half the cost of using equivalent Atlas and Delta rockets. So even the cosy launch provider-governmental relationships that previously benefited the likes of Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Pratt and Whitney/Rocketdyne could now be threatened.

As much of a fan of SpaceX as I am, and as much as I agree with the above statement, we must remember that Falcon Heavy is not yet built. Moreover, I suspect that the deal with Intelsat does not yet include any transfer of funds. SpaceX has a long way to go before any of this happens. Nonetheless, the company’s continued success very obviously is beginning to make its competitors nervous.

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How scientists can author as many as 700 papers without even reading what they have written.

How scientists can author as many as 700 papers without even reading what they have written.

This is why we should all be skeptical about any peer-reviewed paper. There is a lot of fraud going on, sometimes for political reasons but mostly for reasons of status and financial reward. Science and the love of discovery often has nothing to do with it.

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Blogger arrested today in Maryland — for blogging

A conservative blogger was arrested today in Maryland — for blogging.

The blogger was arrested merely because he had written critical posts about leftwing activist and convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin. Kimberlin claimed the blogger’s posts caused others to harass him.

If this stands, it makes everyone who writes anything responsible for the misbehavior of others.

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