Category Archives: Points of Information

The first of two coronal mass ejectors from a solar flare has arrived.

An alert has been issued so that the electrical grids can been properly prepared to avoid damage by the impact of these two coronal mass ejections (CME) against the Earth’s magnetic field.

The first of the two CMEs predicted to arrive today made its appearance right on time. G1 ((Minor) geomagnetic storming is expected to begin within the next few hours with a maximum projected level of G2 (Moderate) storms for September 12th. A G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm Watch is still in effect for September 13th due to the combined influence of this CME and the one projected to arrive late on the 12th. G1 (Minor) storming is likely to continue into September 14th. In addition, the S1 (Minor) solar radiation storm that is in progress as a result of the eruption on September 10th is expected to persist for the next few days with a possible slight increase with the arrival of the CMEs. Keep in mind that the forecast periods listed are in Universal Time so aurora watchers in the northern U.S. should be looking for possible activity tonight through Saturday night.

While there has been a lot of fear-mongering about these two CMEs, I expect that the only consequences we will see from both, the biggest to hit the Earth during this solar maximum, will be the possibility that the northern lights might be visible in places farther south than normal.

Senate Republicans block Democrat attempt to repeal First Amendment

In a party line vote, Senate Republicans today blocked a Democratic amendment to the Constitution that would have partly repealed the first amendment to the Bill of Rights.

This paragraph summarizes well the goals of the modern fascist Democratic Party:

Holding the vote, even in defeat, was a major political goal for Democrats during the two-week session of Congress. They hope the fight will help them rally their base ahead of November’s elections, arguing that changing the Constitution is needed to prevent wealthy conservatives from improperly influencing elections. [emphasis mine]

The Democrats aren’t mincing words about this. To put it another way, they believe that conservatives shouldn’t have the right to express themselves, and thus they want to repeal the free speech rights of every American so they can squelch the freedom of their conservative opponents.

Russia to match SpaceX launch prices

The competition heats up: The head of Russia’s United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC), which now controls that country’s entire space industry, said today that they intend to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 much cheaper launch prices.

They intend to do it with both the Proton rocket as well as their new family of Angara rockets. The heavy version of Angara will allow them to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, and in fact might even put more payload into orbit for less.

The fascist Senate Democrats who voted to repeal the first amendment

George Will, in an op-ed condemning the Democratic Party’s effort to partially repeal the first amendment of the Bill of Rights in order to limit free speech, also provides us a convenient list of the Democrats who voted for this amendment, also highlighting those senators who are up for reelection in November.

As Will notes,

The 48 senators proposing to give legislators speech-regulating powers describe their amendment in anodyne language, as “relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections.” But what affects elections is speech, and the vast majority of contributions and expenditures are made to disseminate speech. The Democrats’ amendment says: “Congress and the states may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections,” and may “prohibit” corporations — including nonprofit issue-advocacy corporations (such as the Sierra Club, NARAL Pro-Choice America and thousands of others across the political spectrum) from spending any money “to influence elections,” which is what most of them exist to do.

Because all limits will be set by incumbent legislators, the limits deemed “reasonable” will surely serve incumbents’ interests. The lower the limits, the more valuable will be the myriad (and unregulated) advantages of officeholders.

If you stand for freedom, you will stand to remove these fascists from office.

Curiosity to begin climbing

Scientists have decided to begin Curiosity’s climb of Mount Sharp immediately rather than continue a planned traverse along the base of the mountain prior to heading uphill.

Curiosity’s trek up the mountain will begin with an examination of the mountain’s lower slopes. The rover is starting this process at an entry point near an outcrop called Pahrump Hills, rather than continuing on to the previously-planned, further entry point known as Murray Buttes. Both entry points lay along a boundary where the southern base layer of the mountain meets crater-floor deposits washed down from the crater’s northern rim.

The issues with Curiosity’s wheels also played a part in this decision.

Obamacare forces cancellation of Virginian healthplans

Finding out what’s in it: A quarter of a million Virginians will lose their health plans this year because of Obamacare.

How many more lies will Obama and the Democrats have to tell before that 40% of the population that always votes Democratic to finally wakes up?

Putin threatens management at Vostochny with criminal prosecution

In a statement today in the Russian press Vladimir Putin proposed initiating a criminal investigation into the management of the new Vostochny spaceport.

[Putin] admitted that “although the project is in the focus of our special attention, problems abound. … I will have to hand over some issues to law enforcement agencies to get them sorted out and clarified,” Putin said. Funding is provided regularly but the funding procedure itself needs special attention, he said, referring to “quasi and semi-criminal schemes”.

It appears that funds have not been used as efficiently as he likes and his solution is to threaten prosecution of those involved. This is becoming a standard Putin technique. He used it to guarantee his control over the Russian aerospace company Energia, and now he is using it here to guarantee the Vostochny project moves forward fast and efficiently.

Its use also illustrates the limitations of Russia’s top down approach to everything. Such threats can prevent corruption in a specific project, but that such treats are necessary so frequently points out how easily such corruption grows in a government-run centralized bureaucracy. We see it here in the U.S. as well. Take away the profit motive and private ownership and there remains nothing to naturally focus the efforts of management towards success and efficiency.

The first chemical analysis of Comet 67P/C-G’s coma

The Rosetta science team today released their first analysis of the chemical make-up of Comet 67P/C-G’s coma, finding that not surprisingly it is made up mostly of water, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.

However, ROSINA [the instrument on Rosetta for doing this analysis] has made the surprising observation that the ratio between these species varies quite significantly, depending on where in the coma Rosetta is. Sometimes carbon monoxide is almost as abundant as water; sometimes it’s only around 10%. In addition, ROSINA has not only detected these main species already, but many of the expected minor ones, such as ammonia, methane, and methanol.

Your neighbor the fascist

Horrifying: What happens to you in modern America if you have the nerve to let your child play outside.

But I was also warned: the neighbor can call [Child Protective Services] as many times as she wants. If she truly feels there’s neglect, she can’t be prosecuted for making false allegations. We could try to sue her for harassment. We could try to press charges for kidnapping if she approaches our son again and tries to get him to move from where he’s playing. But in all reality, when children are involved, the person who makes the complaint gets the benefit of the doubt. For parents, it is guilty until proven innocent. I understand why the system works this way, but it makes me feel like we are prisoners in our own home. It makes me feel helpless and at the mercy of someone I don’t even know.

Europe’s satellite makers want Ariane 6

Europe’s six biggest satellite makers have written Arianespace to demand that the company build its next generation Ariane 6 rocket by 2019 or face a significant loss of business.

Given the advent of electric propulsion and the dramatic launch-cost reduction offered by Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the operators say, the new Ariane 6 needs to be in service by 2019 or face the risk that Europe’s Arianespace launch consortium will be permanently sidelined. The letter was signed by six members of the European Satellite Operators Association. Signatories included the chief executives of Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, Hispasat and HellasSat.

This letter is clearly intended to help prod Arianespace into making a decision on whether to build a new rocket, Ariane 6, or upgrade Ariane 5. Right now the company’s partners have been unable to come to an agreement about what to do.

Another delay at Virgin Galactic

In an interview with David Letterman this week, Richard Branson admitted that his first flight on SpaceShipTwo will not be in December 2014 but early next year.

Watch the interview at the link. It is very clear that Branson is getting uncomfortable with the situation. He has made these claims too many times without showing any results. Also note the incredible ignorance exhibited by Letterman. A good interviewer has to ask some basic questions, but a good interviewer also needs to have a basic understanding of the subject. Letterman shows us here that he doesn’t know squat.

A new schedule for China’s space station program

China revealed today that they will launch their second small prototype space station in 2016, followed by the launch and assembly of their full size station from 2018 to completion in 2022.

The 2016 launch date for their second station actually indicates that the program has experienced some delays, as earlier they had said it would launch in 2015.

Rosetta gets closer

If all goes well with maneuvers today, Rosetta will creep inward to an orbit only 16 miles from Comet 67P/C-G.

From this position the probe will begin gathering a global map of the comet nucleus. Nor is this the closest they will get. Over the next month they will move in again and again in weekly increments.

Universal Big Bang lithium deficit confirmed

The uncertainty of science: New data from a globular cluster in nearby dwarf galaxy has confirmed that the deficit of lithium that astronomers have found in the Milky Way also exists in other galaxies.

According to the Big Bang theory, the amount of lithium in the universe should be two or three times more than it is. This result shows that the deficit exists outside the Milky Way, which suggests strongly that something significant is wrong with the Big Bang theory.

More fraud in academia

A simple background check on a West Virginia academic who was touted as a “genius” has discovered that his entire resume was a fraud.

[Anoop] Shankar isn’t a Ph.D. He didn’t graduate from the Harvard of India. He didn’t write dozens of the scholarly publications on his resume, and as for the Royal College of Physicians, they’ve never heard of him. He does have a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina and an Indian medical degree, but at least two of his green card references—attesting to “world class creativity,” “genius insight,” and “a new avenue for treating hypertension”—were a forgery.

Worse, when the investigation threatened his bright future he used two students to try to destroy the career of an investigator by faking a sexual attack.

And even worse yet, the academic community remains unwilling to deal with this fraud aggressively.

Although Shankar was forced out of WVU in December of 2012, the university has yet to address the case publicly, allowing Shankar and his work to continue unchallenged. In the last year alone, he’s published at least three papers, including one in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. He also landed a new job on the backs of taxpayers: associate professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, a large public university in Richmond.

So far, the investigation has only focused on the man’s faked resume. No one has taken a close look at his medical research, though the article does describe one example where Shankar was actually teaching his students to manipulate data unethically to get the results they wanted.

As the article notes, “How many more are there out there?” As I’ve documented repeatedly in the climate field, academia no longer seems interested in cleaning house and maintaining honest standards. This story only reinforces this fact.

Who is buried in the largest tomb ever found in northern Greece?

Excitement continues to build as archeologists dig deeper into a massive tomb discovered two years ago in northern Greece.

This past weekend the excavation team, led by Greek archaeologist Katerina Peristeri, announced the discovery of two elegant caryatids—large marble columns sculpted in the shape of women with outstretched arms—that may have been intended to bar intruders from entering the tomb’s main room. “I don’t know of anything quite like them,” says Philip Freeman, a professor of classics at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

The curly-haired caryatids are just part of the tomb’s remarkable furnishings. Guarding the door as sentinels were a pair of carved stone sphinxes, mythological creatures with the body of a lion and the head of a human. And when archaeologists finally entered the antechamber, they discovered faded remnants of frescoes as well as a mosaic floor made of white marble pieces inlaid in a red background.

Archeologists believe this tomb is connected somehow to Alexander the Great and could very well be the burial site of one of his relatives or close allies. They will not know more until they actually enter the tomb.

The Russian takeover of Crimea once again threatens American access to space

A decision by the Russians to possibly shift astronaut training back to a base in the Crimea, now under their control, could lock American astronauts from future Soyuz flights.

Shifting the survival training to Russian-occupied Crimea will require foreign cosmonauts to accept travel there without Ukrainian visas, an explicit acquiescence to the new diplomatic status of the province. Refusal to attend survival training is equivalent to failing the training, which by existing training regulations is an automatic disqualification for flight certification. No Crimea trip, no space trip.

The Russians have not yet made this shift official, so it is possible it will not become a problem. However, the article outlines many reasons why it makes good sense for the Russians to do it.

The IRS goes after Breitbart

Working for the Democratic Party: The IRS has targeted conservative outlet Breitbart News for an audit.

Though of course this audit could have been randomly picked by the IRS, if you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. This is obviously an attempt by the Obama administration and its flunkies working at the IRS to harass another one of their opponents. For example, the audit notice demanded

a litany of documents, including logs of its receipts and expenses, but also its partnership agreement and a “written narrative” of the business.

From this statement by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) it turns out the IRS has also requested “personal income tax returns for each member of the company.” Consider that for a moment. Such a request suggests a fishing expedition by the IRS which will be followed by further audits of these individuals.

The greatest electronic music of the fifties and sixties

Link here. Many of these could easily be an evening pause, other than the fact that they don’t have visuals. If you want to get a feel for the beginnings of electronic music, check them out. The styles range from space music to jazzy. The sampling even includes the electronic music from Forbidden Planet (1956), one of the best science fiction films ever made. I have put one as an example below the fold.
» Read more

One of John Franklin’s lost ships found?

A Canadian expedition thinks it has located one of the ships from John Franklin’s lost 1845 Arctic expedition.

The Canadian government began searching for Franklin’s ships in 2008 as part of a strategy to assert Canada’s sovereignty over the Northwest Passage, which has recently become accessible to shipping because of melting Arctic ice. Expedition sonar images from the waters of Victoria Strait, just off King William Island, clearly show the wreckage of a ship on the ocean floor.

Obama official calls Republicans by mistake in trying to leak info to Democrats

Working for the Democratic Party: An aide to Attorney General Eric Holder, in trying to arrange a leak of new IRS information to the Democrats so they could spin the story, accidently called the office of the Republican committee chairman instead.

The aide, Brian Fallon, is a former senior aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and a well-known personality on Capitol Hill. The letter [by Republican Darrell Issa to Eric Holder] describes Fallon as “audibly shaken” when he realizes his request to leak documents to help get ahead of news stories about them was mistakenly made to the very office he was seeking to undermine. Issa believes the call was intended to be made to Democratic Rep. Elijah Cumming’s staff, the ranking member on the oversight panel, the letter said.

This kind of proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Obama administration does not have an investigation into the IRS scandal, only an effort to coverup their illegal activities.

Polish and Egyptian teams win first European rover competition

In Europe’s first college competition to see who could build the best Mars rover, two Polish teams finished first and second, with an Egyptian team coming in third.

The first ever European Rover Challenge (ERC) is over and the Scorpio Team from Wrocław University of Technology can now celebrate their victory over 9 other contestants plus a $1,000 cash prize. The challenge was to design, construct and operate a rover that most successfully complete a number of Mars-exploration themed tasks designed by the organizers. “A year of hard work is now finally fulfilled,” said Jędrzej Górski of the Scorpio Team. “Our efficiency is the result of our cohesive team.” The second spot was secured by Polish crew also, the Impuls Team from Kielce University of Technology. Lunar and Mars Rover Team from Cairo University in Egypt scooped the 3rd place. A special bonus award was given to the Robocol Team of Universidad de los Andes (Colombia). ERC 2014 took place in Podzamcze, Poland on Sept. 5-7.

A program works so of course the Obama administration must stop it!

We’re here to help you: The Justice Department has decided to force Yuma, Arizona to abandon a working border control program and make them follow the same policies that aren’t working anywhere else.

According to the sheriff of Yuma County, Arizona, the Department of Justice is set to end a program called “Operation Streamline” which prosecutes first-time illegal border crossers, and U.S. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain are wondering why. Sheriff Leon Wilmot brought the DOJ’s plan to Flake’s attention in a letter last month. In it, Wilmot noted the success of a program called Operation Streamline, which implemented a zero-tolerance policy against illegal immigration.

But the DOJ is ending the successful program and bringing Yuma County’s policies in line with other sectors that have had trouble keeping a lid on illegal immigration.

Read the article. It outlines in detail the success of the Yuma program.

How to embarass Democrats

Why some Republicans voted for the Democratic Constitutional amendment yesterday to repeal the first amendment and squelch free speech.

As I guessed, they did it to force a public debate on the amendment. Not only will this allow them to highlight the vile Democratic effort to shut down the free speech rights of their opponents, it will eat up the little time the Senate has to do anything else.

Government to ban cheese

We’re here to help you: New FDA regulations will make the import of certain very well known European cheeses forbidden.

New FDA restrictions on the levels of harmless bacteria found in imported cheese have effectively banned a number of artisan French cheeses, including Roquefort, Morbier, and Tomme de Savoie. The restricted bacteria already exist in the human stomach, and the banned cheeses have not changed their recipes for years. [emphasis mine]

Why is the FDA wasting time banning French cheeses when the deadly bacteria can be found in the human stomach? Shouldn’t the FDA instead ban the human stomach?

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