Jim Radford – The Shores of Normandy

An evening pause: I know this is late for the anniversary of D-Day, but I think it actually expresses well the same determination that made it possible for Americans to go to the Moon. Those men at Normandy, as well as in Apollo, stood for freedom, to paraphrase John Kennedy. And they were willing to die to make sure their friends, families, and nation remained free.

What do you stand for?

Hat tip commodude.

SpaceX launches used Dragon to ISS with used Falcon 9

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully used a Falcon 9 rocket to launch a Dragon freighter to ISS.

The Dragon is making its third flight to ISS. The first stage, which landed successfully, was making its second flight, and will likely be used on the next Dragon cargo mission.

Video of the launch and 1st stage landing is below the fold. The launch is at about 15 minutes. The first stage landing is one of the most spectacular yet.

The leaders in the 2019 launch race:

10 China
9 Russia
9 SpaceX
5 Europe (Arianespace)
4 India

The U.S. now leads China 15-10 in the national rankings.
» Read more

TESS completes survey of southern hemisphere

The space telescope TESS has completed its first year in orbit, surveying the entire southern hemisphere for transient events.

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered 21 planets outside our solar system and captured data on other interesting events occurring in the southern sky during its first year of science. TESS has now turned its attention to the Northern Hemisphere to complete the most comprehensive planet-hunting expedition ever undertaken.

TESS began hunting for exoplanets (or worlds orbiting distant stars) in the southern sky in July of 2018, while also collecting data on supernovae, black holes and other phenomena in its line of sight. Along with the planets TESS has discovered, the mission has identified over 850 candidate exoplanets that are waiting for confirmation by ground-based telescopes.

It is important to emphasize that these are candidate exoplanets. They still need to be confirmed by other observations.

University punishes professor for uncovering academic fraud and incompetence

Portland State University (located in that hotbed of antifa fascist violence) has announced that it is punishing one of its professors for uncovering academic fraud and incompetence by co-writing several fake science papers and getting them published.

Peter Boghossian made headlines in 2018 after he and two other researchers set out to prove a point about the integrity of “peer-reviewed” academic publications by submitting several fake studies including an analysis of “dog rape culture,” and a piece that was simply a section of Hitler’s Mein Kampf reworked to include a smattering of academic buzzwords. After seven of the team’s fake submissions were accepted and published by esteemed academic journals, a Campus Reform investigation led the publisher of the infamous Portland “dog park rape culture” article to question the origins of the submission. This ultimately revealed the article as part of a larger effort by Boghossian and his team to demonstrate the inadequacies of these publications.

After his experiment, Portland State threatened Boghossian with disciplinary action, accusing him of conducting research misconduct. The school asserted that Boghossian had unethically conducted research on human subjects with his experiment. According to the school’s Institutional Review Board, Boghossian would have needed to obtain “informed consent” from the individuals reviewing his hoax articles in order for his actions to have been considered ethical.

The IRB conducted several reviews of Boghossian’s work involving his treatment of animal subjects, human subjects, and the possibility of “plagiarism, fabrication, and falsification.” On July 17, the university sent Boghossian a letter informing him that he is now barred from conducting any “human subjects related research,” as well as any university-sponsored research. Boghossian is prohibited from conducting research until he “can show satisfactory evidence of understanding of the protections afforded human subjects,” by completing a “protection of human subjects” training course and subsequently meeting with the Assistant Vice President for Research Administration to “assure [his] understanding.”

The letter, sent from Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies Mark McLellan, also warns Boghossian that the university president, as well as his department chair, dean, and provost, will be advised as to his “lack of academic integrity” and “questionable ethical behavior.”

This story is closely related to the Oberlin story below. Both universities are typical modern leftist madhouses, dominated by fake and politically driven academics who will brook no dissent. They are also increasingly bigoted against ordinary white Americans, merely because they are white. Boghossian and his cohorts did the academic community a service by identifying journals where bad research was being routinely published. His university immediately moved to squelch his effort by punishing him.

Is this the kind of place you want to send your kids? Is this the kind of place you’d want to attend, if you were a high school student?

Judge: Oberlin must post $36 million bond to appeal

The judge in the Gibson’s Bakery vs Oberlin College case has ruled that if Oberlin wants to appeal the judgement against it, it must first post the entire judgement amount, $36.3 million, in a bond.

According to the judge:

The need for such bond is made clear by the College’s own statements about its dire fmancial straits. If the College is to be believed, there is serious concern about its ability to pay this sizeable judgment three years from now. At trial, and in its recent filing, the College represented that there was only $59.1 million of unrestricted endowment funds available to pay any dollar judgment and that $10 million of those funds had already been committed to pay down the College’s existing debt. [Trial Tr., June 12, 2019 at 95:13-21] There remains $190 million of existing debt on the College’s books. [Id.] The College has also testified that it has a significant operating deficit and that its deficit situation is not sustainable…. [Trial Tr., June 12, 2019 atpp. 86:1-6, 88:1-9]

The College also testified at trial that they have experienced a “significant” and “steady” decline of enrollment from 2014 to 2018. [emphasis mine]

The college has seven days to post the bond, or the appeal with be squashed.

It has been very clear since the jury’s decision that Oberlin still intends to fight, and is likely to use every means in its possession, including political action, to either get the judgement dismissed, or likely make it impossible for it to pay. The judge here is telling them that they surely have the right to fight, but not at the expense of Gibson’s Bakery.

The highlighted text could be the poster child for self-unawareness. Oberlin is very aware that its enrollment is dropping, but it is entirely clueless as to why. Maybe the college should consider its own actions as the cause?

Nah. It must be those racist, homophobic, and deplorable whites! Yeah! They are the ones to blame! They’re all ignorant white supremacists! All of them!

This is essentially what the Oberlin administration has been saying during this whole debacle, as well as several years earlier. And it is essentially why students are less willing to enroll. You go to college to learn how to be a discerning educated person, not an anti-white bigot.

The state of water on the Moon

Link here. The article describes new research that suggests the ice thought to exist in the Moon’s permanently shadowed polar craters is constantly being reworked, with some being leached away as other processes (comets, solar wind) replenish the losses.

They also theorize that this process might be making it easier to reach that water.

For forthcoming science and exploration, the scattering of water particles could be great news. It means astronauts may need not to subject themselves and their instruments to the harsh environment of shadowed crater floors in order to find water-rich soil — they could just find it in sunny regions nearby. “This research is telling us that meteoroids are doing some of the work for us and transporting material from the coldest places to some of the boundary regions where astronauts can access it with a solar-powered rover,” Hurley said.

To put it mildly, there is a lot of uncertainty about this last conclusion.

Chandayaan-2 completes first orbit burn

India’s lunar orbiter/lander/rover Chandrayaan-2 yesterday completed its first orbital engine burn, raising its apogee, the high point in its orbit, 6,000 kilometers to about 51,000.

This boost meant that Isro scientists have to perform one less manoeuvre in the Earth orbit than what was planned earlier. According to the path chalked out for Chandrayaan-2 before the launch, the on-board propulsion systems were to be fired six times in Earth orbit – five times to raise the apogee and once to raise the perigee. Now, only four more “burns”, or firing of the propulsion system, will be needed on July 26 and 29, and August 2 and 6, to reach the final orbit of 233.2 x 143,953km.

…With a final boost on On August 14, Chandrayaan-2 will escape Earth’s orbit and begin its seven-day journey towards the moon. The spacecraft is scheduled to reach the moon orbit on August 20.

Once in lunar orbit they plan four more burns to lower the spacecraft to a 100 kilometer circular orbit, where the lander/rover will release and begin their own lowering process aimed for a September 7 landing.

End coming for twin Van Allen spacecraft

Engineers at the Applied Physics Lab in Maryland on July 19 turned off one of the two Van Allen probes, with the second probe expected to receive a similar command later this year.

As expected, following final de-orbit maneuvers in February of this year, the spacecraft has used its remaining propellant to keep its solar panels pointed at the Sun and is now out of fuel. Since it depends on the Sun to provide power to the instruments, and can no longer orient itself to acquire power, the spacecraft has been turned off. The spacecraft is in a stable, circular orbit around Earth and, in about 15 years, will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up safely. The de-orbit maneuvers in February were designed to ensure this would happen and prevent the spacecraft from becoming “space junk” in orbit.

The other Van Allen Probes spacecraft, spacecraft A, is expected to operate normally until early September.

Both spacecraft functioned five years longer than expected, and during that time discovered that there are three Van Allen belts, not two as previously thought.

China smallsat company succeeds in orbital launch

A Chinese semi-private company, iSpace, successfully launched two smallsats into orbit today.

iSpace’s Hyperbola-1 rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre at 1 p.m. (0500 GMT) Thursday, sending two satellites and payloads into a predetermined orbit, the company said in a statement on its official Wechat account.

The successful orbital launch was preceded by two failures since late last year by other startups.

More here.

I am very reluctant to call this company, along with the other Chinese smallsat companies OneSpace and LandSpace, a private commercial firm. While it might get investment capital within China, it is very clearly supervised closely by the government. Moreover, its use of solid rocket motors, as noted in the second link, strongly suggests it is taking advantage of Chinese military technology, something that could only happen under government control. From the second link:

It’s unclear how much it cost for iSpace to build the rocket. Chinese state-owned automaker Changan’s passenger car brand Oushang said it would sponsor the launch, but didn’t specify the amount. In OneSpace’s case, the firm’s nine-meter-tall, solid-propellent rocket cost the company $78 million to design, build, and launch. iSpace’s main private backers (link in Chinese) include domestic private-equity firms CDH Investments and Matrix Partners.

iSpace didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

But private space companies are also getting state support in China. All of the private launches so far, for example, have taken place at Jiuquan—Elon Musk’s SpaceX recently launched a rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, while its main customer is the US Air Force. What’s different in China is the constraints that come with having state backing. In June, China rolled out a set of rules that restrict what private companies can develop and manufacture. It’s unclear if that may restrict private companies’ capabilities in building larger rockets that could rival state rocket builders. [emphasis mine]

The money for this comes from state-owned companies. The technology comes from military hardware. The goals are almost all military in nature. I would also bet, because of the lack of information released, that the satellites launched today were military payloads. This is hardly an independent private company competing on the open market.

Nonetheless, this success gives China a new capability and raises its status as a world space power.

The leaders in the 2019 launch race:

10 China
9 Russia
8 SpaceX
5 Europe (Arianespace)
4 India

The U.S. still leads China 14 to 10 in the national rankings.

Starhopper’s 1st test hop aborts

Capitalism in space: SpaceX’s first attempt to fly Starhopper untethered in a short vertical flight was aborted only a few seconds after engine ignition.

Video of the test is below the fold. The vehicle never leaves the ground, and there are flames visible near its top, something one should not see. Obviously this is a development program, so failures like this are to be expected. More significant is the speed in which the company is moving. It is only a week since their last StarHopper test, which also had issues. Rather than take years to move forward (like NASA), they are pushing forward aggressively.
» Read more

Mueller’s testimony today proves witch hunt failed

There have been numerous stories today in all the press, both left and right, about Robert Mueller’s testimony today in Congress, mostly concluding that Mueller came off very badly, thereby bursting the balloon of the continuing empty and largely disproved accusations by the Democrats that Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. If anything Mueller proved by his stumbling answers plus his refusal to answer more than 150 questions that his effort was at best incompetent, and at worst a partisan witch hunt.

This conclusion is not a surprise however to anyone who has paid even the slightest close attention Mueller’s work, both now and in the past.

However, the short clip below the fold, taken from Mueller’s testimony today, best represents how corrupt and incompetent Mueller really is. It took place during questioning by a friendly Democratic congressman as he was attempting to demonstrate how honorable and fair-minded Mueller is. Instead, it proved why almost everything attempted by our so-called elites in Washington fails. They don’t have to be corrupt because they are also incompetent.

The clip comes from a story at PJ Media. For Mueller and the Democrats, it is embarrassing. For Trump and the Republicans it is laughable. For the American people it is distressing, because we all know that Mueller is very stereotypical of most of those running Washington.
» Read more

Possibility of meteorites from bright fireball in Ontario

Astronomers were successfully able to track and photograph a bright fireball over Canada early today, and think it is strongly possible that pieces of it might have hit the ground.

Preliminary results indicate that the fireball first became visible just south of Oshawa over Lake Ontario at an altitude of 93 km. It traveled over Clarington and passed just west of Peterborough before extinguishing just west of Bancroft. The fireball rivaled the full moon in brightness and had a number of bright flares near the end of its flight. The meteoroid was roughly the size of a small beachball (approx. 30cm in diameter) and likely dropped a small number of meteorite fragments in the tens to hundreds of grams size-range on the ground.

Brown and his collaborators at Western and the Royal Ontario Museum are interested in connecting with people from the area of the potential fall, who may have heard anything unusual, or who may have found possible meteorites.

…Meteorites can be recognized by their dark, often scalloped exterior. Usually they will be denser than a ‘normal’ rock and will often be attracted to a magnet due to their metal content. Meteorites are not dangerous, but if recovered, it is best to place them in a clean plastic bag or wrap them in aluminum foil. They should also be handled as little as possible to help preserve their scientific value. In Canada, meteorites belong to the owner of the land upon which they are found. If individuals plan to search, they should always obtain permission of the land-owner before venturing onto private land.

If you live up in that neck of the woods, take a look around. You might find something.

Off to Huntsville, Alabama

I am about to leave for Huntsville, Alabama to give a lecture: tomorrow, July 25, 2019, at 6 pm (Eastern), at the National Geographic Theater located at the US Space and Rocket Center.

This event is part of their “Pass the Torch” lecture series. My subject: How Apollo 8, not Apollo 11, won the 1960s space race and changed the world

If you are Huntsville or nearby please consider coming by. It will be a great event.

Images confirm LightSail-2 deployment success

LightSail-2 sail deployed
Click for full resolution image.

Capitalism in space: The LightSail-2 engineering team has now confirmed, based on images from the cubesat, that its light sail has successfully deployed.

Flight controllers at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in California commanded the spacecraft to deploy its solar sails yesterday at about 11:47 PDT (18:47 UTC). Images captured during the deployment sequence and downloaded today show the 32-square-meter sail, which is about the size of a boxing ring, deploying as the spacecraft flew south of the continental United States.

Image caption: This image was taken during the LightSail 2 sail deployment sequence on 23 July 2019 at 11:48 PDT (18:48 UTC). Baja California and Mexico are visible in the background. LightSail 2’s dual 185-degree fisheye camera lenses can each capture more than half of the sail. This image has been de-distorted and color corrected.

To the right is a reduced version of this image. As they note, the sail is distorted because of the fisheye nature of the camera lens. Nonetheless, it looks like the sail is deployed, and will be able to do its job, testing how one maneuvers in space using only sunlight.

UPDATE: Rex Ridenoure from Ecliptic Enterprises emailed me to explain that the distortion is only seen in the image above, that the image at the link has been corrected for this (as noted in the caption above). If you compare the two, you will see that the Earth is round in the corrected image.

Since the sail is much closer to the lens, I remain unsure how much of what we see of its shape is real, or a function of the fisheye lens. Later thumbnails show the sail more flat and tightly stretched, suggesting that this image was taken during deployment.

The glaciers of Mars

The glaciers on Mars

For the future colonists of Mars, the question of finding water will not be that much of a problem. Not only have planetary geologists mapped out the existence of extensive water-ice in the Martian poles, they have found that the planet apparently has widespread glacier deposits in two mid-latitude belts from 30 to 60 degrees latitude.

The question will be whether those Martian settlers will be able to easily access this water. The data so far suggests that much of the Martian underground water at high latitudes is likely mixed with dust and debris. Extracting it might not be straightforward. There are hints that the ice table at latitudes about 55 degrees might be more pure, but could be somewhat deep below ground, requiring the settlers to become miners to obtain their water. Moreover, all these high latitude locations are in environments that are more hostile, and therefore more difficult to establish a colony.

What about the glaciers? The global map of Mars above, reduced and annotated to post here, shows what are believed to be extensive glacial deposits at lower latitudes, and comes from a recently published paper on the subject. The different colors indicate the different types of glacial deposits the scientists have identified.

Green and yellow indicate what scientists call lineated valley fill (LVF) and lobate debris aprons (LDA) respectively, glacial deposits found in the transition zone between the southern highlands and either the northern lowland plains or the basins of the southern hemisphere, Hellas and Argyre. These glaciers are in many ways most similar to glaciers found on Earth, flows heading downhill along natural geographic features.

Magenta represents concentric crater fill (CCF), glacier features which seem very evenly distributed across both the northern and southern lower mid-latitude belts. Here scientists appear to have detected buried ice within the floors of craters.

The paper which included this map focused on describing a new glacial feature, something they dubbed valley fill deposits (VFD), that they had found so far in only one place, as indicated by the black square on the map.

The photograph below and on the right, reduced and cropped to post here, is from figure two of the linked paper.
» Read more

Tsunamis on Mars?

New research has found further evidence of past tsunamis on Mars along the transition zone between the northern lowlands (where an intermittent ocean might have once existed) and the southern highlands, caused when a bolide crashed into that ocean.

The new research simulated the height of the tsunami waves and their propagation direction, run-up elevation and distance for three potential sea levels and compared these models with the Martian deposits.

The study’s results suggest several potential impact craters, 30 to 50 kilometers (19 to 31 miles) in diameter, as the source of the tsunami events. The largest tsunami waves may have been 300 meters (984 feet) high – nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower – following the impact, and waves up to 75 meters (246 feet) high – nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty. The waves ultimately reached the Martian coast, potentially traveling up to 150 kilometers (93 miles) past the shoreline.

Below the fold is a video showing the simulation of one such impact and tsunami.
» Read more

Hawaii’s governor expresses support for TMT protesters

In the ongoing protests that have blocked construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) as well as shutdown all thirteen other telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, Democrat governor David Ige visited with the protesters yesterday, expressing sympathy for their positions.

Ige indicated last week that he was willing to talk to protesters. But his visit and statement Tuesday were the first public steps he’s taken toward that end. “We will be working together to determine next steps that are in the best interests of all the people of Hawaii,” Ige said in his statement.

In a nod to activist preferences, his statement referred to them as “protectors” of Mauna Kea instead of protesters.

Protest leader Kealoha Pisciotta said officials must consider not building the telescope on Mauna Kea. She said she met previously with the mayor and governor without making any progress. “We’ve done all of that. But it’s window dressing trying to get our buy-in,” Pisciotta said. “We really need people to honestly consider our positions this time.”

TMT will not be built on Mauna Kea. Bet on it. Ige always favored the protesters. Following standard Democratic Party strategy, he made believe he would enforce the law, but set things up so that the protests would have a chance to swell and block construction. He is now using this situation as a ploy to give the protesters what they want, while making believe he has no choice.

Moreover, Ige’s actions likely mean that the other thirteen telescopes are in serious danger as well. It is very likely that this power grab will allow the protesters, a small minority in Hawaii that does not have the support of the majority of the population, to force their shut down.

Northrop Grumman to build Gateway habitation module

The boondoggle never dies! NASA has decided it will give a sole source contract to Northrop Grumman to build the minimal habitation module of its Gateway lunar space station, based on that company’s Cygnus unmanned freighter.

NASA is also bypassing a traditional procurement process for the Minimal Habitation Module. Rather than requesting bids from industry, and then evaluating the responses, NASA plans to fast-track a contract with Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, an operating unit of Northrop Grumman formerly known as Orbital ATK.

The pressurized habitation compartment will be docked with the Gateway’s Power and Propulsion Element in a stable near-rectilinear halo orbit around the moon. NASA announced in May that Maxar Technologies won a contract worth up to $375 million to build the Power and Propulsion Element, which will provide electricity and maneuvering capability for the Gateway station using high-power plasma thrusters, but does not include any pressurized section.

The Gateway is a mini-space station NASA plans to build in an orbit that swings as close as 2,000 miles from the moon about once per week. The Gateway will act as a stopover and safe haven for astronauts heading for the moon’s surface, NASA is designing the mini-station to accommodate myriad scientific experiments and engineering demonstrations required for more ambitious ventures deeper into the solar system, and eventually Mars.

The Trump administration wants to focus on a lunar landing by 2024, and so it forced NASA to reduce its Gateway boondoggle to the minimum necessary to make that lunar landing possible. This module, with the service module that Maxar is building, is that minimum Gateway.

And why do we even need this? Well, it appears that SLS and Orion and the not-yet-built or even designed lunar lander, by themselves, are not capable of getting astronauts to the Moon. A way station is somehow required.

Note also that the contract amount remains a secret, redacted from the NASA paperwork. Note also that NASA “still plans to add more elements to the Gateway, including contributions from international partners, after accomplishing the human landing on the moon.”

In other words, this is a typical Washington swamp buy-in, connived by the big space contractors and NASA to weasel this boondoggle into existence, even though the Trump administration is not interested. By keeping the cost secret at this point, they avoid some bad press and the possibility of political opposition. Their plan is to get the minimal Gateway funded and launched into space, and then demand more money to pay for the whole thing once the project exists.

This is what NASA does routinely, for all its projects. It lies about the initial cost, low balling it, so as to get the politicians to buy in. The result for the past two decades however is that NASA fails to build much of anything, while wasting gobs of taxpayer dollars on non-productive jobs here on Earth.

Do not be surprised if we see the same with Gateway. In fact, I would bet on it.

LightSail-2 successfully deploys light sail

Capitalism in space: The LightSail-2 engineering team today successfully deployed its boxing ring-sized light sail from its cubesat.

All indications are that LightSail 2’s solar sail has deployed successfully. Flight controllers sent the deployment command at approximately 11:45 PDT (18:45 UTC). Telemetry showed the motor count increasing as expected, and the motor appeared to halt at the correct time. LightSail 2’s cameras also appeared to capture imagery as planned.

The mission team will now confirm successful deployment by downloading imagery during subsuquent ground station passes today.

Once checked out, they will begin tests to see how they can use sunlight to change the light sail’s orbit, literally sailing in space.

The wonders of freedom: This mission was privately paid for and built by the Planetary Society.

Boris Johnson to be next British PM

Boris Johnson has won the Tory party election to become the United Kingdom’s next prime minister.

In his victory speech, Mr Johnson promised he would “deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn”.

Speaking at the Queen Elizabeth II centre in London, he said: “We are going to energise the country. We are going to get Brexit done on 31 October and take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring with a new spirit of can do. [emphasis mine]

Johnson has made it very clear that he intends to bluntly honor the will of the voters and be out of the European Union as quickly as possible. Do not expect him to spend any time negotiating a fake exit deal that tries to avoid that exit, as did his predecessor Theresa May.

Christopher Columbus Kraft, 1924-2019

R.I.P. Christopher Columbus Kraft, the flight director for all the Mercury missions and later head of the Johnson Space Center during the 1960s march to the Moon, passed away today at the age of 95.

The techniques pioneered by Kraft and young flight directors who followed in his footsteps, men like Gene “failure is not an option” Kranz, the urbane Glynn Lunney and more, saved the Apollo 13 crew from the brink of disaster in the aftermath of an explosion on the way to the moon that severely damaged the spacecraft.

Once comparing his complex work as a flight director to a conductor’s, Kraft said, ‘The conductor can’t play all the instruments, he may not even be able to play any one of them,’” Bridenstine said. “‘But, he knows when the first violin should be playing, and he knows when the trumpets should be loud or soft, and when the drummer should be drumming. He mixes all this up and out comes music. That’s what we do here.’”

Kraft was part of the post-World War II can-do generation, a far cry from today’s NASA of schedule delays, bad management, engineering errors, and gigantic budget overruns. Kraft and his generation had “intergrity,” as astronaut Frank Borman once said. They had been given a difficult job and short deadline (the end of the decade). Rather than manipulate Congress and the public to give them more time and money so their jobs would be endlessly safe, they rolled up their sleeves and made it happen as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Protests continue at Mauna Kea

Even as the number of protesters dropped (due to the demand that alcohol-drinking and pot-smoking cease), the protests against construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) continue, aided by emotional support given by Hawaii’s lieutenant governor during a visit to the protest site.

Last week, law enforcement officials saw some protesters — who call themselves “protectors” — drinking beer and they could also smell marijuana, Dennison said. Other protesters said they would patrol the area and ask the beer drinkers and marijuana smokers to leave, Dennison said.

Law enforcement officers no longer report beer drinking or the odor of marijuana, he said.

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green visited Mauna Kea this morning to offer his ear, advice and services as a doctor to people on the mountain blocking construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Green, who is from Hawaii island, also said Gov. David Ige should meet with the kupuna, or Hawaiian elders, serving as decision-makers in the group, and he apologized for some of the things said earlier that have offended demonstrators. “I am here to listen,” he told a group kupuna under a canopy during a misty morning. “And I want to say I’m sorry for some of the things that have been said in the past days and weeks.” [emphasis mine]

I have been saying for two years that Governor David Ige and his Democratic Party government in Hawaii will do nothing to stop the protests. They want to play it both ways. They mouth support for the telescope in an effort to satisfy the majority of the population (which wants it built), while doing everything they can to make sure the protests succeed in stopping construction.

This is exactly what is happening now. As long as the Democratic Party controls the government in Hawaii, TMT will never be built there.

Agreement on bankrupt budget deal today?

Update: It does appear a deal has been reached, and it appears at first glance to be as bad as I suspected.

Initial post: It appears that the White House and House Democrats are about to finalize a budget deal that will guarantee the national debt will continue to balloon for years to come, thus growing the power of Washington.

These sources tell FOX Business that the deal includes spending caps and debt ceiling increases for two years each, respectively. The deal reportedly includes spending increases for defense and non-defense spending.

A source close to the negotiations tells FOX Business that, for now, the deal would put no restrictions on reprogramming money for spending items – like a border wall.

Sources tell FOX News’ Chad Pergram that the deal would permanently end the sequester and also suspend the debt limit until July 31, 2021. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted words will also continue the decades-long shift of power from Congress to the President. Congress might allocate money to specific projects, but this deal, if agreed to as described, will now allow the President to rearrange the budget however he sees fit.

While Republicans might celebrate this change so that Trump can build his wall, in the end we will all suffer, because this arrangement ends up putting almost unlimited power in the hands of a single individual.

People in leftist coastal enclaves going insane over global warming

According to this very strange article put out by Kaiser Health and also published by People, there is anecdotal evidence that the mental health of people in the coastal Democratic enclaves of Washington, California, and New York is becoming damaged because of a fear of global warming.

The article reveals several facts. First, the understanding of science in Kaiser’s public relations department is abysmal. The article is generally junk, culling together a variety of anecdotes from various liberal news sources (television, HBO, one therapist, two psychiatrists, and some unreliable polls) to push its point. Meanwhile, it buries in a single sentence the one fundamental fact that makes everything else in the article scientifically invalid:

There is no epidemiological data yet to show how common distress or anxiety related to climate change is.

Sadly this kind of bad new reporting has become very typical in the mainstream press.

Second, the article illustrates the insane, close-minded mindset of these coastal liberal communities. The article quotes one psychiatrist in New York who recommends the following for those emotionally distressed by a fear of global warming:

Dr. Janet Lewis, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester in New York, recommends building relationships within a like-minded group. That could involve group therapy, environmental activist groups or online communities. [emphasis mine]

Rather than propose the individual try to learn more about the subject, to find out about the many uncertainties that exist within the climate field that make their fears overstated, professor Lewis instead suggests they put their head in the sand, to hide within a bubble of “like-minded” people, all of whom think and feel the same. If anything this will only exacerbate their fears.

Third, the simple-mindedness of everyone involved, the therapist, the psychiatrists, the patients, and the reporter, all of whom seem to reside within these coastal Democratic enclaves, suggest that it will be very difficult to change their minds. They are not interested in new knowledge. What they want instead is a confirmation of their shallow beliefs, and an opportunity to continually express their “feelings” about these beliefs.

For Laura, becoming involved with the international activist group Extinction Rebellion has helped her build a network of people who share her values and made her feel as if she’s making a positive contribution to society. With the group, she has participated in nonviolent protests and is organizing the Atlanta chapter’s first grief circle, where people can share their anxiety and grief about the destruction of the Earth.

Rather than get educated, they form “grief circles” where they can bemoan together the evilness of those destroying the planet.

Finally, this article demonstrates that the violence and hate by these liberal enclaves against any dissent is not going to ease in the coming years. If anything, it is going to get significantly worse. They cannot tolerate opposing views. It distresses them too much.

Jackson Crater on the Moon’s far side

Jackson Crater

Central peaks of Jackson Crater

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, let’s look at another cool Moon photograph. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) science team on July 19 released a new breath-taking oblique image of Jackson crater, located on the Moon’s far side. The image above, reduced significantly to post here, shows that photograph and the crater’s cluster of near-center peaks. From the caption:

East-to-west view of Jackson crater (44 miles diameter). Image was acquired when LRO was at an altitude of [69 miles] and the Sun was to the west of the crater (LROC was facing somewhat towards the Sun; phase angle 114 degrees). The central peak rises about [5900 feet] above the crater floor and the top of the crater rim in the background has more than [13,000 feet] relief relative to the floor. Image width is about [40 miles] and north is to the right

The white box indicates the area covered by the close-up to the right. From the article:

What is the composition of the crust from top to bottom? It is relatively easy to measure the surface, but what lies beneath the surface? On the Earth geologists can dig and drill deep into the crust. We do not have that luxury on the Moon, at least not yet! However, we can take advantage of natural drill holes in the crust – impact craters! When impacts occur they dig into the crust and the central peaks expose the deepest material. Jackson crater formed on what was rather uneven terrain: to the east of the crater the elevation is about +6000 meters and to the west about +3000 meters. The bottom of the crater sits at +1000 meters, and the material exposed in the central peak comes from more than 1000 meters deeper still. By studying the rocks exposed in the central peak we can get a glimpse of materials that have come up from five or more kilometers below the surface (>3 miles).

The black pile of giant boulders near the top of the close-up suggests molten material dredged up from deep below the surface. So do the many black boulders on the nearer mountain slopes.

Why this dark material does not cover the entire surface is not clear. The lighter and darker material indicates different materials and ages, but the specifics are not known, as yet.

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