Chinese embargo of rare earth minerals expands

China is expanding its embargo on exporting rare earth minerals, blocking shipments to Japan, Europe and the United States. Key quote:

China mines 95 percent of the world’s rare earth elements, which have broad commercial and military applications, and are vital to the manufacture of products as diverse as cellphones, large wind turbines and guided missiles. Any curtailment of Chinese supplies of rare earths is likely to be greeted with alarm in Western capitals, particularly because Western companies are believed to keep much smaller stockpiles of rare earths than Japanese companies.

Share

Hubble marches on: Pinwheel of star formation

Despite its age (20 plus years), the Hubble Space Telescope continues to produce amazing images. The mosiac below shows the beautiful pinwheel galaxy NGC 3982. From the caption:

NGC 3982 is located about 68 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. The galaxy spans about 30,000 light-years, one-third of the size of our Milky Way galaxy. . . .The arms are lined with pink star-forming regions of glowing hydrogen, newborn blue star clusters, and obscuring dust lanes that provide the raw material for future generations of stars. The bright nucleus is home to an older population of stars, which grow ever more densely packed toward the center.

Pinwheel galaxy

Share

It’s the out of control spending, stupid!

Watch this so-called panel of expects on MSNBC as they desperately try to figure out why why women play such a large part in the tea party movement. Totally baffled, the best these out-of-touch “gurus” can come up with is “taxes” and “women pay the family bills.”

Putting aside their blatent bigotry (“Women as we all know are smarter than men.”) and childishly shallow generalizations (“Something about finding a voice.”), these empty headed fools, emblematic of most modern elite intellectuals, can’t see the obvious elephant in the room.

It’s the out-of-control government spending, stupid! On Monday the Treasury Department released numbers showing that since Barack Obama took office just two years ago, the debt of the federal government rose by $3 trillion.

This graph, courtesy of Gateway Pundit, gives some context to the increase in the debt:

Federal Deficit since 1997

Spending was horrible under George Bush. The public was worried about it. Now spending has gone insane under President Obama, and the public is more than worried, the public is outraged and spitting nails. That these elites don’t see this either means they are incredibly stupid, or they want the country to collapse in a sea of debt. In either case, they shouldn’t have the jobs they do.

Share

Republicans weaseling out already?

Republican senator Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) suggested Monday that it would be better to restructure the healthcare bill than repeal or defund it.

Idiot. I think he and the rest of the Republican Party are being as clueless as the Democrats if they think this strategy will work. They should instead pay very close attention to what Sarah Palin said on the same day about a third party threat:

“Some in the GOP, it’s their last shot,” Palin said Monday evening on Fox News. “It’s their last chance, and we will lose faith and we will be disappointed and disenchanted from them if they start straying from the bedrock principles that can grow our economy.”

I am also reminded of this prescience Iowahawk post. As he says so eloquently, “Retards.”

Share

Zenyatta

An evening pause: The commenter Lino already posted a link to this video, but I thought it deserved more prominence. It shows the final stretch of all 19 wins by the race horse Zenyatta. In every case, she hangs back and comes from behind, sometimes at the last second. I don’t really know much about horse racing, but anyone who watches this video will be as amazed as I am by this horse.

She runs her 20th and last race on November 6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville. If she wins, Zenyatta will have had the most spectacular record of any race horse in history, 20 wins out of 20 races.

Share

Have global warming scientists admitted that carbon dioxide is not the main greenhouse gas?

In a paper published on Saturday in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres of the American Geophysical Union, scientists from the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (where scientists have generally been strong advocates of human-caused global warming) outlined the key atmospheric molecules that contribute to the greenhouse effect. Key quote from the abstract:

We find that water vapor is the dominant contributor (∼50% of the effect), followed by clouds (∼25%) and then CO2 with ∼20%. All other absorbers play only minor roles.

The scientists also noted that even if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were to double, these percentages would not change significantly.

Does this mean that carbon dioxide is a minor player in creating global warming? This remains unclear. First, the above research is essentially only modeling, not actual data. Second, the scientists themselves note that the interplay of any two of these molecules (such as water and carbon dioxide or water and cloudiness) can have a greater effect than just one molecule alone, which makes these percentages by themselves incomplete.

Nonetheless, these results are important politically. These global warming scientists have placed themselves on record as admitting that cloudiness appears more significant that carbon dioxide in creating the greenhouse effect. And since the combination of water and clouds can have an even greater influence on the climate than either alone, the scientists are also admitting that water is by far the most important greenhouse molecule. Any future climate models as well as political action must take this fact into consideration.

Share

IPCC meeting ends with few changes or reforms

You call this reform? At the just completed annual meeting of the IPCC in South Korea, the panel refused to remove its controversial chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, while recommending a few minor reforms in how the panel writes its reports. This quote indicates just how unserious the IPCC is about reform:

In the past, he said, IPCC reports sometimes projected the likelihood of potential climate-change effects, such as melting glaciers, without enough evidence. “There were some weaknesses in the application,” said [Chris Field, a U.S. scientist and a leader of the panel’s 2014 report].

Share

More criticism of Bolden emerges as he heads to China

More criticism of NASA administrator Charles Bolden emerges as he heads to China. Key quote:

Since taking charge of NASA in July 2009, the 64-year-old Bolden has visited 14 countries and has been missing at critical moments. Last year, he skipped one of the first shuttle flights under his watch to visit Japan and most recently was on a trip to Europe and the Middle East when the U.S. House nearly defeated the NASA vision endorsed by the Obama administration. “How about saving the manned space program — in America?” said U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas).

Share

Two German radar mapping satellites to produce three-dimensional imagery of Earth

Two German radar mapping satellites, flying in orbital formation, are now about to produce the first three-dimensional radar imagery of Earth. Key quote:

The combined mission’s data will produce gridded maps with a spatial resolution of 12 meters, or 39 feet. The maps will show elevation with a precision of less than 2 meters, or 6 feet.

Share

Dried up lake beds on Mars?

A paper published on Saturday in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets of the American Geophysical Union, scientists suggest that the polygonal shaped cracks seen in the crater floors on many Martian craters could be evidence of ancient lakes. The evidence also suggests that the lakes were formed by the impact that created the crater. The energy of the impact melted underground ice to form a temporary lake inside the crater, which eventually dries out, leaving behind the polygons. From the abstract:

We propose desiccation to be a dominant mechanism for the formation of Crater Floor Polygons without ruling out thermal contraction as a possible contributor in some cases. This implies that lakes or water-rich sediments occupied the craters in the past. Many such aqueous environments have no apparent external source of water, and thus, hydrothermal processes occurring shortly after the impact event may be viable explanations for the observed evidence.

Crater floor polygons on Mars

Share

Chicago mainstream reporters threaten reporter asking tough questions of Emanuel

Updated and bumped.The police have now issued an arrest warrent against reporter Jay Levin. (This is based on his behavior in the video below. He is the reporter in the red wind breaker, threatening another reporter, William Kelly, who was asking tough questions of Rahm Emanuel.) Key quote:

This morning, I [William Kelly] filed a police report and signed an arrest warrant against Jay Levine for assault. The Chicago police have already reviewed the video and agreed that an assault was committed.

——
Is there no wonder people joke about a “state-run” media? Here, Chicago mainstream reporters threaten a reporter when he tries to ask Rahm Emanuel some tough questions. More here. Best line from CBS reporter Jay Levin:

Let him finish or I’m going to deck you!

Watch the whole video. The good stuff begins at around one minute.

Sorry that much of today’s posts relate to politics and not science or space. I can only follow the news where it takes me.

Share
1 531 532 533 534 535 564