Author Archives: Robert Zimmerman

Gallup’s astonishing numbers

I can see November from my house. New numbers from Gallup are “astonishing.” To quote Michael Barone today in the Washington Examiner: “These two numbers, if translated into popular votes in the 435 congressional districts, suggest huge gains for Republicans and a Republican House majority the likes of which we have not seen since the election cycles of 1946 or even 1928.”

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Murder for the sake of climate idealogy

Bumped. Scroll down to see the update.

This video has been making the rounds on the web. Though I warn you that is somewhat graphic, it is essential that you watch it.

When I first saw this about a week ago, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. It was so vile and offensive I could not believe that it was legitimate. It obviously wants to pay some homage to Monty Python, but even Monty Python never went this far. How could anyone possibly think that killing small children in the name of environmentalism was in any way funny? And how could anyone ever believe that this video would persuade anyone to go along with the 1010 environmental campaign? If anything, the video does an excellent job of discrediting this organization and everyone involved with it.

Thus, despite what some bloggers were saying, I held back commenting, just to make sure the video was real and not a terrible prank meant to sabotage.

There is now no reason to hold back. Late last week, the 1010 organization itself issued an apology, admitting that this video was their handiwork. Before I continue, I think it is worthwhile for you to also read their apology, in all its venal glory. In many ways, it condemns them and their allies far more than the video did:

Sorry.

Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called “No Pressure”.

With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. We were therefore delighted when Britain’s leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis — writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill and many others — agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.

As a result of these concerns we’ve taken it off our website. We won’t be making any attempt to censor or remove other versions currently in circulation on the internet.

We’d like to thank the 50+ film professionals and 40+ actors and extras and who gave their time and equipment to the film for free. We greatly value your contributions and the tremendous enthusiasm and professionalism you brought to the project.

At 10:10 we’re all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.

Onwards and upwards,

Franny, Lizzie, Eugenie and the whole 10:10 team

What does this apology tell us? First, they not only thought that killing children in the name of environmentalism was “funny”, they thought it was “extremely funny.”

Second, they don’t think they did anything wrong. They are merely sorry that some of you are offended. For everyone else, the video was peachy keen and they therefore make it available to the world for as many people to see as possible.

Third, they see no point in trying to persuade anyone to their point of view. They are absolutely sure that they are right, with a certainty that is, for me, quite disturbing.

To put it another way, this film was their movement’s version of a wet dream, a fantasy showing us all exactly what they wish they could do to anyone who does not agree with them. Worse, they are certain that most people agree with them, and will also laugh uproariously at the sight of environmentalists murdering their foolish and wrong-headed opponents, one by one.

As I wrote recently, events like this prove that protecting the climate and environment has nothing to do with the goals of this movement. Instead, what they want is power. And with 1010’s video, they have shown us quite vividly what they will do, once they have that power.

I think it worthwhile to remind everyone what happens when such certainty gets wedded to power. The results are quite horrible.

“In the end, the words were said by Oliver Cromwell, ‘I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.'”

Update: The director of 10:10 UK, Eugenie Harvey, has issued a new apology. According to the Harvey, “We are going to investigate what happened, review our processes and procedures, and share the results with our partners.” Gee, considering that Harvey was one of the signatories to the first apology I would have thought she knew what happened to begin with. Why does she need an investigation? Is she looking for someone to take the rap?

There is a reason for this new apology, however. It seems that at least one financial donor is backing away from the 10:10 organization. The first apology simply failed to spin the story well enough.

Second Update: The original video was pulled by 10:10 several years ago, and is hard to find in its original form. I have now posted a version that has been edited only slightly by an environmentalist. He didn’t really change anything, but merely inserted some preachy text explaining why it is justified to murder little children for the sake of the environmental cause.

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WISE telescope moves into final phase of mission

Having run out hydrogen coolant for its infrared cameras and with only a few more months of usable life, the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has shifted its work from deep space astronomy to completing its last sweep of the solar system in a search for asteroids and comets.

Update: At a press conference going on right now at the 42nd meeting of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences, WISE scientists note that the mission extension will continue for one month. If that month is successful, the mission will continue until the end of January 2011 in order to complete its solar system sweep. After this the spacecraft will be put in hibernation, available for future work.

Summary of solar system results so far:

  • 33,576 asteroids discovered of which 120 were Near Earth Asteroids.
  • 19 new comets.
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It’s okay to kill suffering children says UK journalist

Seems to be a lot of this kind of genocidal thought going around: A columnist for the Independent in Great Britain admitted in an October 4th interview that she considers it a kind act to kill a suffering child. Key quote:

“[I] think that if I were a mother of a suffering child, I would be the first to want I mean a deeply suffering child I would be the first one to put a pillow over its face, as I would with any suffering thing and I think the difference is that my feeling of horror, suffering is many greater than my feeling of getting rid of a couple of cells because suffering can go on for years,” Ironside said.

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The wind-blown dunes of Mars

The HiRise Camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has released some wonderful new pictures, showing what are called barchan dunes on Mars.

Barchans are crescent-shaped, with the horns of the crescents pointing downwind. One barchan is visible in the upper part of the image, with the Southeast (lower right) horns longer than the other. This trend, along with the position of the steep face of the dune on the South side, indicates that the predominant winds which formed the dunes came from the North.

There are a lot more great images on the websites above.

Wind-blown dunes

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Life in the Chilean mine

A very detailed update on the trapped Chilean miners, now expected to be rescured in early November. Two key quotes:

The miners are sleeping on cots that were sent down in pieces and reassembled, and each can look forward every weekend to eight minutes each of video chat time with his family using compact cameras and a phone that was disassembled to fit through the hole.

And:

Their routine starts with breakfast – hot coffee or tea with milk and a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Then lots of labor: Removing the loose rock that drops through the bore holes as they are being widened into escape tunnels; cleaning up their trash and emptying the toilet; and attending to the capsules known as “palomas” – Spanish for carrier pigeons – that are lowered to them with supplies.

The miners must quickly remove the contents – food, clean clothes, medicine, family letters and other supplies – and send back up material such as dirty clothes, rolled up like sausages to fit. Each trip down takes 12 to 15 minutes, then four minutes for unloading and five minutes to pull them back up. At least three miners are constantly stationed at the bore hole for this work.

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The single most powerful political force in the nation

Want to know what the actual future consequences of the Tea Party movement will be? Read this op-ed by Glenn Reynolds. Key quote:

Both political parties are out of touch, and ordinary Americans are very unhappy about it, as they watch the Treasury being looted, the economy sink, and the political, journalistic, and financial ruling-class figures escaping the consequences of their ham-handed and self-serving actions.

Also:

For now, Republicans are (sort of) the beneficiaries. Though Tea Partiers aren’t happy with the GOP, they’re much less happy with the Democrats. In this election cycle, Republicans will benefit. But Tea Partiers are also taking over the GOP from the bottom up, running for precinct chairs and state committee seats.

This makes sense: There are barriers to entry for third parties, and it makes more sense to take over an existing party than to start from scratch, if that’s possible.

But those establishment GOP figures who think that they’ll cruise to victory and a return to the pocket-stuffing business-as-usual that marked the prior GOP majority need to think again. This election cycle is, in a very real sense, a last chance for the Republicans. If they blow it, we’re likely to see third-party challenges in 2012, not only at the Presidential level but in numerous Congressional races as well.

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The layoffs at NASA

More layoffs yesterday at NASA, this time at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Also, this report gives a good overview of all the layoffs so far.

One question: The authorization bill that passed Congress on Wednesday night specifically required NASA to continue construction of a heavy-lift vehicle, quite similar in concept to Constellation. Why then is NASA management laying off all these Constellation workers? Granted, the authorization did not provide Constellation with as much money as previously budgeted, but the layoffs seem greater than necessary at this time, considering the budget differences. Also, the lack of a final budget from Congress might require these layoffs to occur temporarily, pending a new budget, but NASA is not making it clear that this is the case. Instead, they are letting a lot of people go without giving them any guidance about NASA’s future plans.

If the Obama administration was serious about fulfilling Congress’s legal requirement to build a heavy-lift vehicle (as deputy administration Lori Garver said they were on Thursday), I would have expected them to be more forthcoming to these NASA employees, if only to encourage them to remain available for rehiring, for at least a short time. That they have not is very telling.

Do not expect this heavy-lift vehicle to be built.

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