Draft version of Senate NASA budget released

A draft version of Senate’s NASA budget has been released. More commentary to come.

Update. From what I can tell by a quick scan through the actual proposed legislation [pdf], the Senate will give the administration most of the money it wants for commercial space, but also demand that it start work on a heavy-lift replacement of the shuttle immediately, including the full size version of the Orion capsule. However, the language requiring this latter action is very vague (“as soon as possible after the date of the enactment of this act”) and leaves the administration a great deal of wiggle room. From my experience, this means that Congress is trying to create the illusion that it has done something, but is basically leaving the decisions to the administration.

The draft language does forbid any contracts being issued for any new private commercial crew services until the 2012 year, which suggests that Congress wants NASA to focus on the Orion capsule and heavy lift option first. However, to me this merely means the Obama administration is being given the option to stall for a year and then come back again later with the same proposals it offered back in February of this year. That the draft legislation also gives NASA 120 days to put together its plan for its heavy-lift program only increases my doubts about Congress’s seriousness.

Overall, this legislation only confirms my worst fears. If passed as is, both the new private commercial space ventures as well as the government space program will suffer.

Arrested for handing out Bibles

More so-called tolerance from Islam, this time helped by the secular authorities in Deerborn, Michigan. Four men were arrested and charged with misdemeanor charges because they stood on a public street and offered the gospel of St. John to passersby. The news article states the following:

The behavior of these individuals drew and incited a large crowd to a point where they were in violation of city ordinances, including breach of peace and failure to obey the lawful order of a police officer, according to the city’s public relations department. . . . Festival rules require religious groups to distribute information at paid booths or outside the event.

However, the video below paints a very different picture. It appears that at least two of the men were on public property, just outside the festival and no crowd appeared (except for a lot of cops). I find it especially disgusting how the cops force them to stop filming the event.

Update: In restrospective, it is very possible the video below was not shot at the same time the men were arrested. Even so, if the court documents do describe the events accurately, there is something disturbing about the response of the people at the Islamic festival. Why should they be so offended, almost to the point of violence, merely because others are passing out Christian literature? Moreover, the video below still shows a clear violation of the Christian activists’ freedom of speech and assembly, since they were standing on public property and had not caused any disturbances when the police moved in to harass them.

There simply is no money for NASA

All the discussion about the future of NASA must be put in some fiscal context, and here it is: the Debt and Deficit Commission that the Obama administration created to review the spending problems of the federal government has some bad news: there literally is no money for anything but Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Key quote from the Washington Post article:

The commission leaders said that, at present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans — the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries,” Simpson said.

The state of the polar ice caps, June 2010

On July 6, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) of the University of Colorado published its monthly report on the state of the polar ice caps. The Arctic ice cap, which this winter had been larger and more extensive than seen for many years, also shrank this spring at the fastest rate in years. (This chart, produced by data from the Japanese AMSR instruments on two research satellites, shows these trends very clearly.) Meanwhile, NSIDC reports that the ice cap in Antarctica is far larger than normal. Not unexpectedly, NSIDC immediately argues (quite unconvincingly if you ask me) that more ice in Antarctica is evidence for global warming.

From my perspective, the data continues to be inconclusive. We still do not really understand the long term trends of the Earth’s climate.

Both for and against the Obama plan

In my recent co-hosting stint on the John Bachelor Show, I asked David Livingston of the Space Show if he thought the aerospace community was polarized over the Obama administration’s effort to cancel Constellation and replace it with new private companies. “Pretty much so,” he stated without much hesitation.

This makes my position on Obama’s proposal somewhat unusual, as I am actually sitting right in the middle. I am both for and against the Obama administration’s NASA proposal, which might explain why my comments both on behindtheblack as well as on the radio have often caused the blood to boil in people on both sides of the debate. This fact also suggests that there is a need for me to clarify where I stand.
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The sun remains quiet

On July 6 NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center published its monthly graph, showing the progress of the sun’s sunspot cycle in comparison with the consensis prediction made by the solar science community in May 2009.

July 6, 2010 Solar Cycle progression

The graph shows clearly that, despite press-release-journalism stories like this, the sun remains in a very quiet state, with the number of sunspots far less than predicted by the red line on the graph. If these trends persist (as they have for the last three years), the next solar maximum will either be much later than expected or far weaker. In fact, the upcoming solar maximum might very well be the weakest seen in almost two centuries. Note also that the prediction shown on this graph is a significant revision downward from the science community’s earlier prediction from 2007.

The law and Obama at Yucca Mountain

Apropos to the space war between Obama and Congress over the Obama administration’s willingness to ignore Congressional legislation mandating the continuing funding of the Constellation program is this story about the administration’s efforts to circumvent federal law in order to cancel the use of Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a nuclear waste site. The courts have now expressly ruled [pdf] that the Obama administration it cannot do this: the law is the law, and they have to follow it. The key quote from the legal decision:

Unless Congress directs otherwise, [the Department of Energy] may not single-handedly derail the legislated decisionmaking process.

What a concept: the President and his appointees must obey the law!

Bolden’s al-Jazeera interview, part 2

The reports of NASA administrator Charles Bolden’s al-Jazeera interview have so far focused mostly on Bolden’s claim that his “foremost” priority at NASA is to reach out to the Muslim world in order “to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”

Though this statement is both idiotic and condescending, I don’t think it was the most idiotic thing Bolden said. Instead, I think the prize-winner is this quote near the end of the interview (at around 21:30), where Bolden describes why we need to find out the make-up of all asteroids:

Is it sand or is it metal? If it is sand we’re not really worried that much about it because it’s probably going to impact the Earth and, you know, go away. Metal would be a bad day. We could have another ice age and instead of the extinction of the dinosaurs it would be the extinction of you and me.

Asteroids made of “sand” are merely going to “go away” if they hit the Earth? I would really like to see the scientific research Bolden is relying on for this statement.

Bolden interview with al-Jazeera

This interview of Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, is another example (in a long list of examples) of the clearly misplaced priorities of the Obama administration when it comes to NASA and space exploration.

The key quote is in the first two minutes of the interview [emphasis mine]:

Bolden: When I became the NASA Administrator – before I became the NASA Administrator – [President Obama] charged me with three things: One was that he wanted me to re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, that he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.

Though all three of these priorities (inspire kids, international cooperation, and help the Muslim world develop) sound nice, none have anything to do with space exploration. More specifically, they have absolutely nothing to do with NASA’s original charter, which was to explore the solar system and encourage the development of the American aerospace industry.

At about 9:50, Bolden then states that “We’re not going to go anywhere beyond low Earth orbit as a single entity. The United States can’t do it. China can’t do it. No single nation is going to go to a place like Mars alone.”

Gee, I wonder what international consortium put those men on the Moon? I always thought the U.S. did it alone. According to Bolden, however, that was impossible: No single nation can do anything alone beyond Earth orbit.

There are more inanities in this interview. Listen for example to his clueless discussion of solar flares at around 19:00 and his statement at 20:30 where he claims an asteroid made of “sand” poses no threat to the Earth.

With leadership like this, the future does not look good for the American aerospace industry.

Avalanches on Mars

Saturday’s weekly dump of publications from the American Geophysical Union also included a paper that showed visual proof of avalanches on Mars! In this case, the location is Russell Crater, “a large crater in the southern hemisphere that exposes a large dune field in its center.” The avalanches occur because a frost layer made up of dry ice and a little bit of frozen water builds up on the crest of the dunes. When that frost melts, dark streaks about three to six feet wide and about 150 feet long appear, flowing downhill. The scientists believe these are avalanches made up of “a mixing of sand, dust, and unstable CO2 gas.”

wide shot of before and after
Before and after shots of the dark streaks flowing down the dune.

close-up, before and after
Close-ups of the streaks, before and after.

A complete survey of nearby sunlike stars

A very long (182 pages) and detailed preprint paper was published today on the Los Alamos astro-ph website, describing the completion of a survey of just about all the sunlike stars within approximately 82 light years of the Earth. I haven’t had time to read the whole thing, but the abstract made these notable points:

  • The study found that more the fifty percent of all sunlike stars are single stars.
  • Among double and triple systems, the bell curve for the orbital periods peaked at 300 years.
  • The more heavy elements the star has (atoms more complex than hydrogen and helium), the more likely it will have planets.
  • The very intriguing conclusion: “The fraction of planet hosts among single, binary, and multiple systems are statistically indistinguishable, suggesting that planets are as likely to form around single stars as they are around components of binary or multiple systems with sufficiently wide separations. This, along with the preference of long orbital periods among stellar systems, increases the space around stars conducive for planet formation, and perhaps life.” [You need to download the full pdf to see this quote in the unabridged abstract.]

In other words, the evidence continues to suggest that solar systems like ours are very common.

Finding underground water on Mars

For those who fantasize that Mars might still have vast underground lakes with fish, the recent data is unfortunately not encouraging. A paper published today by the American Geophysical Union suggests that if groundwater exists on Mars, it is going to be increasingly difficult to find, possibly only in the low latitudes at low elevations. These paragraphs from the conclusion of the paper say it all:

Various lines of evidence suggest that at the time of the Late Hesperian, Mars possessed a planetary inventory of water equal to a global ocean ~0.5 km deep, much of which is believed to have been stored as ground ice and groundwater in the subsurface. The potential survival of groundwater to the present-day has important implications for understanding the geological, hydrological and mineralogical evolution of the planet, as well as the potential survival of native Martian life. The two most important factors affecting the persistence of groundwater on Mars are the depth and pore volume of the cryosphere.

To date, the orbital radar sounding data from MARSIS [an instrument on Mars Orbital Express] has provided little evidence of any deep reflectors potentially indicative of subpermafrost groundwater. Here we have examined two (of several) possible explanations for this lack of evidence: (1) that subpermafrost groundwater no longer survives on Mars or (2) that groundwater is present, but that a thicker than expected cryosphere has restricted its occurrence to depths that exceed the estimated ~3 km maximum sounding depth of MARSIS.


Which one (or combination) of explanations discussed here is responsible for the lack of deep reflectors on Mars is unknown. But our revised estimates of cryosphere depth suggest that a successful detection of subpermafrost groundwater, outside of those areas on Mars that combine low latitude and low elevation, is unlikely. In an effort to better constrain this problem, a more comprehensive investigation of the MARSIS sounding data obtained over Athabasca Valles, and four other low-elevation, near-equatorial sites, is currently underway.

Co-hosting the John Batchelor Show tonight

Tonight, from 9 pm to 1 am (EDT), I will be on the John Batchelor Show. John is off tonight, so the guest host is Simon Constable, with yours truly acting as his co-host. For my part, I’ve arranged four guests:

  • Dr. Roy Spencer, climatogist and former NASA scientist, who will discuss the recently published global warming black list as well as other climate change issues.

Then I have brought in three guests to talk about the Obama administration’s new space policy and the space war developing between the administration and Congress over the administration’s effort to cancel the Constellation program:

  • Scott “Doc” Horowitz, former astronaut and designer of the Ares rocket. He will offer his reasons for opposing the Obama space proposals.
  • Dr. Charles Lurio, space analyst and publisher of the Lurio Report. He will outline reasons to support the Obama proposals.
  • Dr. David Livingston, host of the Space Show. He will fill us in on the state of the aerospace community and what it thinks of the Obama proposals.

Each will have his own 15 minute segment to express his views. Should be a fun time tonight.

Redundancy is all

I just thought I’d note the interesting juxtaposition illustrated by my previous two posts: In one case there is a battle between Congress and the President over the future of the American manned space program, prompted by the impending shutdown of the shuttle program with no immediate replacement in sight. In the other case, the only remaining program with the capability to provide manned access to the International Space Station has a serious docking failure.

With manned spaceflight, redundancy is all important. This juxtaposition illustrates very clearly the precarious position we will be in once the shuttle is retired.

Press Release Journalism

The Penn State University investigation report on Michael Mann might be a whitewash, but what is really a travesty is the way some so-called professional journalists have covered this story. First, go and read the these two news articles at the New York Times and the Washington Post. I’ll wait till you’re back.

All done? Okay. Note how both news articles say very little about the report itself, other than its conclusions. Instead, the news articles follow the same boring news formula for writing these kinds of stories:

  • First, report the conclusions in the opening paragraphs.
  • Then, follow with a quote from a supporter of those conclusions, combined with a quick very superficial summary of the controversy.
  • Top this with by another quote from a supporter, slamming the opposition.
  • Then, add for balance a single quote from an opponent. (I find it ironic and a bit hilarious that both news articles went to the same global-warming skeptic for this particular quote, suggesting that these so-called professional reporters have very limited contact with the skeptics in the scientific community.)
  • Finally, finish things off with another quote from a supporter to emphasize the correctness of the report’s conclusions.

Neither news article provides the reader with the slightest analysis of the investigation report itself. Neither bothers to describe its superficial nature and its almost obsessive desire to find Michael Mann innocent.

Finally, both news articles read as if the reporters barely read the report itself and knew little about the content of the East Anglia emails. Instead, their stories read as if they simply scanned the press releases about the report and worked from those.

Another example of press release journalism at its worst.

Another Climategate Whitewash

The investigation at Pennsylvania State University of Michael Mann and his behavior as revealed in the East Anglia emails was released today, clearing him of all but one minor charge. You can read the actually report here. I suggest you do, as you will be amazed by the absurdity of this so-called investigation.

First, the manner in which the university investigated and then cleared Mann of the main charges was a joke. The panel reviewed the East Anglia emails, then brought Mann in to answer questions. When he essentially told them he had done nothing wrong, they decided that was evidence enough, clearing him of three of the four main charges.

Then, on the one remaining minor charge, the sharing of other people’s unpublished manuscripts without permission, the panel brought in other scientists for independent opinions, though only one of which, Richard Lindzen, is a skeptic of Mann’s work. Lindzen’s reaction when he learned he was not being interviewed on any of the main charges is quite entertaining. To quote the report itself,

When told that the first three allegations against Dr. Mann were dismissed at the inquiry stage . . . Dr. Lindzen’s response was: “It’s thoroughly amazing. I mean these are issues that he explicitly stated in the emails. I’m wondering what’s going on?”

The Investigatory Committee members did not respond to Dr. Lindzen’s statement.

On this final charge, the committee decided only that Mann’s distribution without permission of other people’s unpublished manuscripts was “careless and inappropriate,” and then finished by essentially saying in very stern words: next time, ask first.

Not surprisingly, the New York Times report on the conclusions of the investigation is somewhat joyous.

Unfortunately, this whitewash will only do harm to the reputation of science and the modern scientific community, and will almost certainly increase the general public’s distrust of climate research (and the reporting of it by mainstream publications like the NY Times).

A quick analysis of the new Obama Space Policy

You can read it here, if you have a mind. It is filled with the typical go-gooder blather that you find in every policy statement produced by every politician and his or her policy wonks, from either party.

Nonetheless, the Obama policy is far different from the Bush policy. The Bush philosophy for NASA is probably best ipitomized by this speech by Mike Griffin, former NASA administrator during the Bush administration. The key quote:

I am convinced that leadership in the world of the 21st Century and beyond will go to the nation that seeks to fulfill the dreams of mankind. We know what motivates those dreams. Exploring new territory when it becomes possible to do so has defined human striving ever since our remote ancestors migrated out of the east African plains. The human imperative to explore new territories, and to exploit the resources of these territories, will surely be satisfied, by others if not by us. What the United States gains from a robust, focused program of human and robotic space exploration is the opportunity to define the course along which this human imperative will carry us.

In other words, the focus during the Bush years was to have the United States lead the way in exploring and colonizing the solar system, with NASA in charge.

The Obama philosophy in this new space policy is far less interested in exploration. Instead, the focus is on international cooperation and sharing the universe with everyone. Here is for me the key quote from the policy statement:

As established in international law, there shall be no national claims of sovereignty over outer space or any celestial bodies. The United States considers the space systems of all nations to have the rights of passage through, and conduct of operations in, space without interference. Purposeful interference with space systems, including supporting infrastruction, will be considered an infringement of a nation’s rights.

In other words, space is a communal farm, shared by everyone.

The sense I also get from reading the Obama policy is a focus not in pushing outward to explore the unknown, to go where no one has ever gone before, but on looking back at the Earth to make things on Earth better. Both the “Principles” and “Goals” as outlined in the Obama Policy (pages 2 and 3) say very little about exploration. Instead, the focus is on stimulating the world’s space industry in order to improve life on Earth. The proposal to send humans to an asteroid and eventually to Mars is listed near the end of the document, almost as an afterthought.

Some will like this new approach. Others will detest it. From my perspective, it is simply naive.

First of all, the fantasy that territory in space will remain communal property, unowned by any person or nation, is foolish. The space colonists who will go there to live are eventually going to tell us to go to hell, and will then set up their own nations — with property rights — if only to guarantee that they have the same rights that we here on Earth enjoy.

Second, the exploration of space is not being done to make life on Earth better. That is certainly a significant side benefit, but the people sweating to build new rockets and spaceships are not doing it for these reasons. They are doing it because they want to explore and colonize the solar system. And they are doing it because they want to make money at it.

In the end, the problem with establishing a policy that is not based on reality is that reality will eventually bite back. Just because the United States wants to play nice with everyone and share space with the rest of the world does not mean that the rest of the world will do the same. In fact, it almost guarantees that they won’t. Other nations are going to immediately try to fill the vacuum this Obama policy creates.

Unfortunately, for the near future things do not look good for the American effort in space.

Space War between Congress and Obama: Apparently Not So Hot


Though it has appeared that many if not most members of Congress have been unhappy with the Obama administration’s efforts to shut down the Constellation program, I have always believed that in the end, Congress wouldn’t have the fortitude to force its desires on the President. The action yesterday by the House appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA to take a neutral position on Obama’s proposals demonstrates this. They are willing to give NASA the extra money that Obama propopses, but they also have said that a compromise between Congress and the President on the future of the manned program must be agreed to before the money can be spent. See also this story in today’s Wall Street Journal.

In other words, the appropriations committee has passed the buck to the House Science and Technology committee. I expect that committee will find a way to pass the buck somehow as well. And if they don’t pass the buck, I suspect they will work out a compromise that on the surface will allow committee members to claim they “saved” NASA, but in reality will do nothing of the kind.

In the end, I believe the American government manned space program is going to die. Whether the new emerging private space industry can pick up the slack in today’s American Soviet-style bureaucratic society remains an unknown.

Behind the Black

At the end of the last spacewalk during this last servicing mission to Hubble, astronaut John Grunsfeld took a few moments to reflect on Hubble’s importance. This was Grunsfeld’s third spaceflight and eighth spacewalk to Hubble, and no one had been more passionate or dedicated in his effort to get all of Hubble’s repairs and upgrades completed.

“As Arthur C. Clarke says,” Grunsfeld said, “the only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”

For most of human history, the range of each person’s experience was of a distant and unreachable horizon. This untouchable horizon defined “the limits of the possible.” No matter how far an individual traveled, there was always a forever receding horizon line of unknown territory tantalizingly out of reach before him.

In earliest prehistoric times, the size of the known territory within that horizon line was quite small. Each villager knew a region ranging from ten to fifty miles in radius. He or she knew there were people and villages beyond the horizon, but never saw them. Moreover, even the most traveled explorer had a limit to his range, and knew that at some distant point what lay beyond that horizon was a complete mystery.

Later, as human civilization progressed, the size of known territory within that horizon line expanded. Different cultures met, exchanged information about each other, and recorded the data so that even those who did not travel far from their homes could know something of distant lands beyond their personal horizon. Still, explorers who pushed the horizon found that it continued to forever recede. No matter how far they traveled, the horizon was always ahead of them, an impossible goal beckoning them onward to find new lands unexplored.

Then humans reached the ocean and the sailors took over. To the mariner, there was still a forever receding horizon of great mystery, but he initially feared traveling out towards it because it was dangerous and risky. The ocean was a vast desert, with no food or water. Worse, that desert could suddenly become violent, heaving his ship about and tearing it to shreds.

With time, ship designs improved, and the mariners began journeying outward. The Vikings sailed out into the northern seas to find more lands and more endless unknown territories. Later, using better ships that were more reliable, Columbus pushed the western horizon and this time the visit was permanent. Even for Columbus, however, the horizon was still an impossible goal out of reach. He had sailed west, hoping to reach China and thus circumscribe the very limits of the horizon. Instead he discovered the New World, with its vast new territories and unlimited possibilities.

Nonetheless, the impossibility of touching that horizon had never been a deterrence, for either Columbus or anyone else. As the poet Robert Browning wrote, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,/Or what’s a heaven for?” People from all cultures felt compelled to reach for that unreachable distant goal, “to go beyond the possible and try to touch the impossible.”

It was with Magellan, however, that the impossible became possible, and the limits of the horizon were finally reached. For though he set out “to sail beyond the sunset,” traveling west as far as he could go, the horizon did not recede forever away from him into unknown lands. Instead, the survivors of Magellan’s epic voyage circled the globe and found themselves back where they had started, in a known place. The unknown horizon was gone. Humanity for the first time knew the limits of the world. The impossible no longer existed.

For the next five centuries the human race was consumed with learning and exploring and settling the limits of this Earth, delving into its every corner, from the freezing poles to the bottom of the ocean to the highest mountaintop. In all cases, however, the Earth was a prison, placing a curb to exploration. No matter how deeply humans probed, they were still trapped on a spherical world, a giant prison floating in the blackness of space. There was no visible but untouchable horizon to reach for.

The Hubble Space Telescope, along with all the early manned and unmanned space probes of the past half century, have given us that horizon back. We are no longer trapped on this Earth. We now can travel outward with increasing sophistication, either in manned spaceships or with unmanned robots like Hubble, pushing against a new infinite horizon that — instead of a horizon line — is a black sky above us and receding away from us in all directions.

Perhaps the best and most noble of all human behaviors has been the never-ending effort to push back against that infinite blackness, to find out what lies behind it and get some fundamental answers to our questions about life, the universe, and existence itself. For me, it is essential that all of us always ask that next question, always challenge what is known so as to find out what is unknown, and always reach out for that “unreachable star.”

Grunsfeld finished his last spacewalk to Hubble by adding this one small thought, “As Drew [Feustel] and I go into the airlock, I want to wish Hubble its own set of adventures, and with the new set of instruments we’ve installed, that it may unlock further mysteries of the universe.”

Hubble, as well as all human exploration, has given us the first detailed and clear glimpse of what lies hidden in the black untouchable horizon above us. May we not shirk from that adventure, but reach out to grasp it fully, even if we cannot ever really touch its limits.

Revised from the afterword of the paperback edition of The Universe in a Mirror.

The view from Opportunity in the deserts of Mars

How’d you like to visit Mars? You can. After setting out 21 months ago on a seven mile journey to Endeavour crater, the Mars Rover is now more than halfway to its destination. At present, it is traveling over an endlessly flat dune field that extends almost as far as the eye can see.

In this cropped version of the rover’s view from yesterday, you can faintly see the rim of the crater on the horizon. The full 360 degree image is even more amazing, showing a stark but truly beautiful desert. Notice also the completely lifeless nature of this terrain. There is no place on Earth, even in the Sahara, that is this lifeless.

Opportunity's view on Mars, June 25, 2010

Obama administration’s new space policy

The Obama Administration announced a new space policy on Monday, downloadable here.

The policy seems big on international cooperation and studying the Earth’s climate. See this article by Tariq Makik for a nice summary.

Though the policy also proposes going to the asteroids and Mars, the take-away quote for me is this: “As established in international law, there shall be no national claims of sovereignty over outer space or any celestial bodies. The United States considers the space systems of all nations to have the rights of passage through, and conduct of operations in, space without interference. Purposeful interference with space systems, including supporting infrastruction, will be considered an infringement of a nation’s rights.”

In other words, no planetary body, no surface land, can be owned by anyone. Sounds like communism to me. It also sounds amazingly naive and childish.

Climate Change and the Black List

On June 21, 2010, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published an article, “Expert credibility in climate change”. The paper’s stated purpose was to compare the credibility of scientists who are skeptical of human-caused global warming with those who accept it. One of the paper’s authors, James Prall, also maintains a blog where he has published the full list of skeptical scientists.

As far as I can tell, the article’s actual goal, far more ugly and insidious, was to create a blacklist of global warming skeptics, which can then be used as a sledge hammer to destroy their reputations and careers as well as make it difficult if not impossible for them to publish in scientific literature.

Very ugly and stupid. Roy Spencer, climate scientist, sums it up nicely. So does researcher Roger Pielke Jr.

Fortunately, it appears in general that the blacklist is not getting a lot of play in the press. However, here is a perfect example of how this list can and was intended to be used to smear and discredit any scientist who expressed skepticism about global warming.

It is downright disgusting that any respected news organization would give this blacklist such enthusiastic coverage.

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