Tag Archives: 2012

The twelve best solar events in 2012

An evening pause: Below is a compilation of the twelve most spectacular solar flares of 2012, in chronological order. A detailed explanation of each can be found here.

Though the Sun continues to go through the weakest sunspot maximums in more than a hundred years, we now have some very sophisticated instruments in space that are able to observe whatever happens. And the Sun is still a raging inferno of billions of hydrogen bombs, all going off at once and continuously. Even during a weak minimum it still is more powerful than we can imagine. Consider: The Earth would be nothing mores than a small dot in each of these flares.

Forecasting hurricanes

NOAA today announced its prediction for the upcoming Atlantic Ocean hurricane season, calling for between 9 and 15 tropical storms in 2012, with 4 to 8 becoming full blown hurricanes. The NOAA release can be seen here.

To me, the range of the prediction is so wide it really doesn’t mean anything. Moreover, I wonder about the reliability of these predictions.
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NIH and DOE in the proposed budget deal

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the science office in the Department of Energy (DOE) appear to avoid serious cuts in the proposed budget deal.

Actually, NIH’s budget remains almost identical to what it got in 2012, $30.6 billion. However, this amount is $1.4 billion more than it got in 2008, and $1.7 billion more than it got in 2007. As for DOE’s Office of Science, the $4.889 billion for 2012 is still $700 million more than the office got in 2008.

In other words, considering the budget deficits the federal government faces, these 2012 budget numbers hardly seem to be a reasonable attack on the problem. Simply bringing those budget numbers back down to 2008 numbers would hardly damage the work these government agencies are doing, and it would surely do more to reduce the deficit.

“He can’t run on his record. What’s he going to say – ’Vote for me because of the failed stimulus, all those deficits I piled up and a health care bill you hate?’”

“He can’t run on his record. What’s he going to say – ’Vote for me because of the failed stimulus, all those deficits I piled up and a health care bill you hate?’”

President Obama is trailing against both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in 12 swing states that Obama won in 2008, according to a poll released today.

More evidence that the 2010 landslide was a trend, not an event: President Obama is trailing against both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in 12 swing states that Obama won in 2008, according to a poll released today.

If all goes well, 2012 will be a busy year at ISS for both Dragon and Cygnus

If all goes well, 2012 will be a busy year at ISS for both Dragon and Cygnus.

The article outlines the preliminary cargo schedule for both ferries next year, assuming their initial test flights succeed (a big assumption).

House proposes a budget increase for NIH

The Republican-controlled House has proposed a budget for National Institutes of Health (NIH) that is one billion more than last year’s budget, an increase from $30.7 to $31.7 billion.

What evil budget-cutters these Republicans are! Their mean-spirited budget increase has the nerve to reduce Obama’s budget request by about $120 million, equivalent to a whopping one third of one percent!

This is all shameful. For context, in 2008 NIH’s budget was $29.2 billion. Considering the state of the budget it seems unconscionable for the House to agree to any increase over $30.7 billion. In truth, it is perfectly reasonable to reduce NIH’S budget back to its 2008 number.

Too bad our present Congress, both Democratic and Republican, isn’t reasonable.

2012 is gonna be nasty

2012 is gonna be nasty.

There’s no doubt that we’re in for a high level of personal nastiness and invective. This election is not going to be about some minor adjustment to spending, or some trifling adjustment of tax rates, or some nibbling at the edges of the regulatory state. What is at stake in the 2012 election is the continuation of a world-view; a political philosophy that sees ever-larger government as the cure to whatever ails us. This next election is the first big battle for the survival of that worldview as the majority view of the political class, or the survival of the insurgent TEA party idea that government has become to large, too intrusive, and too expensive, so therefore must be radically reduced. There is little room to compromise between these two visions of government. Indeed, in most ways, they are worldviews that are mutually exclusive. Over the next decade or so, we are going to learn which of these two views will prevail, and if the US, as presently composed, will remain a united polity.