Monthly Archives: August 2013

“The timing couldn’t be worse.”

The next IPCC report: “The timing couldn’t be worse.”

The author describes how the new report, due out in just a couple of months, is probably already obsolete because of a slew of new papers documenting the long 10 to 15 year pause in global warming that was not predicted by any of the climate models used by the IPCC.

This quote I think sums things up nicely, however:

Due to a ‘combination of errors’, the models have overestimated warming by 100% over the past 20 years and by 400% over the past 15 years.

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In an effort to deal with their quality control problems the Russians plan to consolidate their space industries into a single company controlled by the government.

The Russian way: In an effort to deal with their quality control problems the Russians plan to consolidate their space industries into a single company controlled by the government.

This is not a good sign for the future competitiveness of the Russian aerospace industry. Consolidation will only reduce competition and innovation, while placing the government in control will only increase bureaucracy.

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No Atlantic hurricanes in August for the first time in eleven years.

More extreme weather, eh? There were no Atlantic hurricanes in August this year, for the first time in eleven years.

As I’ve noted repeatedly, there is no evidence yet of an increase of extreme weather events as predicted by global warming advocates. In fact, some recent data suggests a decline, though I personally wouldn’t take that seriously either.

So, when Al Gore or Barack Obama or Dianne Feinstein starts running around like Chicken Little, claiming the sky is about to fall, remember these facts.

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The IRS harassment of conservatives continues.

Working for the Democratic Party: The IRS harassment of conservatives continues.

An IRS letter sent to [a tea party] group last week and obtained by The Washington Times contains a laundry list of requests related to virtually all the group’s activities, including its involvement in the 2012 election cycle and its get-out-the-vote efforts, fundraising activities, all radio and TV advertising, and other information. The IRS also is asking for detailed financial records, including “the amounts and percentages of your total expenses that were for fundraising activities in the tax year 2011, 2012 and 2013.” [emphasis mine]

Key quote: “We got away with discriminating against you and we’re not stopping.”

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Five large population groups are losing their healthcare insurance because of Obamacare.

Finding out what’s in it: Five large population groups are losing their healthcare insurance because of Obamacare.

The five groups are spouses, part-time workers, retirees, individuals, and unions. I wonder how many of these — especially the unions — will continue to blindly support Democrats, even after this disaster.

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The launch date for India’s GSLV rocket has been pushed off until December in order to thoroughly investigate what caused the fuel leak during the scrubbed launch last week.

The launch date for India’s GSLV rocket has been pushed off until December in order to thoroughly investigate what caused the fuel leak during the scrubbed launch last week.

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“Democrats are just goddamned liars.”

“Democrats are just goddamned liars.”

He is referring to professional Democrats, not your typical Democrat voter. To continue:

The fact that one of their more politically useful falsehoods nowadays is telling black people that their problems are caused by white racism should not require us to treat that lie any more seriously than we do any other Democrat lie.

When Democrats say we need “a conversation on race,” what they really mean is they want to have a monologue, a tedious lecture about all the evils perpetrated against black people by those evil racist Republicans. Your part of the “conversation” is, shut up.

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An Iranian news release today says that researchers at a local university have “designed and built” a manned spacecraft.

The competition heats up? An Iranian news release today says that researchers at a local university have “designed and built” a manned spacecraft.

Sounds very dubious to me. I suspect what really happened is that these Iranian university researchers did some work outlining their proposed design, and this has now been translated into a “built” spacecraft.

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Aetna pulls out of New York because of Obamacare.

If you like your insurance you won’t keep your insurance: Aetna pulls out of New York because of Obamacare.

That’s the fifth state that Aetna has fled in its effort to survive the Democratic Party’s effort to reform our healthcare system.

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The Israeli spring.

The Israeli spring.

In comparison to the ruined economies of the Arab Spring — tourism shattered, exports nonexistent, and billions of dollars in infrastructure lost through unending violence — Israel is an atoll of prosperity and stability. Factor in its recent huge gas and oil finds in the eastern Mediterranean, and it may soon become another Kuwait or Qatar, but with a real economy beyond its booming petroleum exports.

Israel had nothing to do with either the Arab Spring or its failure. The irony is that surviving embarrassed Arab regimes now share the same concerns of the Israelis.

Read it all. It gives you a different but (I think) more accurate perspective on the chaos in the Middle East.

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For the first time since arriving on Mars engineers have allowed Curiosity to drive itself.

For the first time since arriving on Mars engineers have allowed Curiosity to drive itself.

The 1-ton Curiosity rover used autonomous navigation for the first time on Tuesday (Aug. 27), driving itself onto a patch of ground that its handlers had not vetted in advance. The robot will likely employ this “autonav” capability more and more as it continues the long trek toward the base of Mars’ huge Mount Sharp, NASA officials said.

In autonav mode, Curiosity analyzes photos it takes during a drive to map out a safe route forward. The car-size rover used this ability on Tuesday to find its way across a small depression whose fine-scale features were hidden from Curiosity’s previous location.

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China’s first unmanned lunar lander is now scheduled for launch before the end of the year.

The competition heats up: China’s first unmanned lunar lander is now scheduled for launch before the end of the year.

This mission is the second stage in their long term plans for unmanned lunar exploration. It began with an orbiter which mapped the surface in high detail, followed now by a lander, which will then be followed by a sample return mission.

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A disabled security guard was fired for asking a Muslim woman to remove her veil.

An upside down world: A disabled security guard was fired for asking a Muslim woman to remove her veil.

The dispute occurred in May when Krause asked a Muslim woman to remove her face scarf thinking he was enforcing the mall’s no-mask policy. Instead of just reprimanding him after informing him that the woman’s veil was a vestige of her religion, Krause was fired after the woman filed a lawsuit of her own.

Without doubt there are real security concerns when someone arrives wearing a full face mask. Muslims might claim this is part of their religion, but it has been used too often by Islamic terrorists to do terrible harm. Moreover, there is real dispute within the religion whether such veils are required.

Finally, from a western perspective requiring women to be masked seems oppressive, even if they choose to do it.

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It appears a programming error might have caused the scrub of Japan’s new Epsilon rocket launch yesterday.

It appears a programming error might have caused the scrub of Japan’s new Epsilon rocket launch yesterday.

The computer controlling the launch from the ground detected an abnormality in the rocket position but it was later found to be normal. “It may have been an elementary, but not serious, problem, ” said one of the experts, quoted by the Kyodo News agency. An inspection after the canceled launch found no abnormality with the attitude sensors mounted on the rocket or with the computer feeding the data to the ground, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

This is a preliminary report, but sounds credible. The report also suggests that the Japanese are in no immediate hurry to launch but instead want to very carefully investigate the issue first. And as I said yesterday, this is really all good news for this new rocket.

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Astronauts on ISS have successfully recreated the water leak in the defective spacesuit that almost drowned an astronaut last month.

Astronauts on ISS have successfully recreated the water leak in the defective spacesuit that almost drowned an astronaut last month.

They now have a very good idea of the components that caused the failure, and will be able to replace these with new parts. The next step will be to test the suit under the same conditions with the new parts.

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Physicists have managed to create and confirm, for a brief moment, the existence of the 115th element of the periodic table.

Physicists have managed to create and confirm, for a brief moment, the existence of the 115th element of the periodic table.

In experiments in Dubna, Russia about 10 years ago, researchers reported that they created atoms with 115 protons. Their measurements have now been confirmed in experiments at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Germany.

To make ununpentium [the new element’s temporary name] in the new study, a group of researchers shot a super-fast beam of calcium (which has 20 protons) at a thin film of americium, the element with 95 protons. When these atomic nuclei collided, some fused together to create short-lived atoms with 115 protons. “We observed 30 in our three-week-long experiment,” study researcher Dirk Rudolph, a professor of atomic physics at Lund University in Sweden, said in an email. Rudolph added that the Russian team had detected 37 atoms of element 115 in their earlier experiments.

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Identifying the real racists.

Identifying the real racists.

A very honest, thoughtful and blunt look at the source of today’s racial hate.

Note that I comment very little on these despicable criminal acts that are all the rage these days in the media because that’s what they are, criminal acts first and foremost. To emphasize the racial component of either the victims or the criminals, which is what too many journalists and pundits on both the right and the left are doing, would be to play into the hands of the bigots. I won’t play that scorecard game.

What matters is the crime itself, and the use of the law to find a just sentence.

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A FAA waiver granted to SpaceX for its next launch outlines details on the company’s effort to recover the first stage for reuse.

The competition heats up: A FAA waiver granted to SpaceX for its next launch outlines the details of the company’s effort to recover the first stage for reuse.

The first stage will coast after stage separation, and then perform an experimental burn with three engines to reduce the entry velocity just prior to entry. Prior to landing in the water, it will perform a second experimental burn with one engine to impact the water with minimal velocity. The second stage will coast and then perform an experimental burn to depletion.

Elon Musk has said that they will be experimenting with bringing the first stage back safely with each launch of the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket. This waiver now gives us the plan for the first launch. It also shows that they are also considering recovery of the second stage as well.

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Scientists using data from India’s Chandrayaan-1 space probe have detected new evidence of water inside one crater.

More water on the Moon: Scientists using data from India’s Chandrayaan-1 space probe have detected new evidence of water inside one lunar crater.

What makes this detection important is that this particular water was not placed there by the solar wind or asteroids. Its chemistry suggests it seeped upward from deep within the Moon’s interior.

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Engineers in India have decided to completely replace the leaking second stage engine of the GSLV rocket whose launch was scrubbed last week.

Engineers in India have decided to completely replace the leaking second stage engine of the GSLV rocket whose launch was scrubbed last week.

The GSLV is a three-stage launch vehicle with four strap-on motors hugging the first stage. The first stage is powered by solid fuel while the four strap-on motors and the second stage are powered by liquid fuel. The third is the cryogenic engine powered by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

“At the rocket assembly building, the satellite, cryogenic engine and the second stage have been destacked. It has been decided to shift the second stage to Mahendragiri for detailed inspection and study,” the ISRO official told IANS. He said ISRO has also decided to start assembling another engine so that the GSLV could fly at the earliest. Queried about the time-frame for the GSLV’s flight, he said: “It is not possible to give a time-frame for the GSLV’s flight now.”

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