Category Archives: Points of Information

NASA’s arsenic biology discovery slammed

The uncertainty of science! A microbiologist is slamming last week’s NASA discovery that claimed a microbe had incorporated arsenic instead of phosphorus as part of its DNA. Key quote:

In an interview Monday, Redfield said the methods used by the researchers were so crude that any arsenic they detected was likely from contamination. There is no indication that the researchers purified the DNA to remove arsenic that might have been sticking to the outside of the DNA or the gel the DNA was embedded in, she added. Normally, purifying the DNA is a standard step, Redfield said: “It’s a kit, it costs $2, it takes 10 minutes.” She also questioned why the researchers analyzed the DNA while it was still in the gel, making the results more difficult to interpret: “No molecular biologist would ever do that.”


Falcon 9/Dragon launch likely delayed to at least Thursday

The Falcon 9/Dragon test launch is likely delayed to at least Thursday. Key quote:

During reviews of vehicle closeout photos this morning, engineers found a possible crack in the second stage engine nozzle. If the nozzle needs to be replaced, the first launch opportunity would be Friday or Saturday. Officials called “remote” a possibility that the problem could be resolved in time to fly Wednesday.


What We Can Learn from 120 Years of Climate Catastrophe Reporting

What can we learn from 120 years of climate catastrophe reporting? We are all gonna die! Or to put it more clearly:

1: The mainstream media outlets are going to publish whatever sells. If someone publishes a story about the world getting colder and people buy it, you can be sure there will be many more stories touting the same headline.

2: There is a long lag between what nature is doing and what the media will report. The lag seems to be anywhere from 10 to 15 years after the climate changes. There is an inertia problem with the mainstream media even when the evidence is clear.

3: When all the stories are about warming or cooling, you can be sure they are all wrong.

When government agencies or United Nations Climate Change conferences warn you that the climate is changing you can be sure that is true — the climate is always changing. Determining the direction is the hard part. Based on the past reporting of these changes, be it from global cooling or warming, the trend will have reversed many years earlier than reported.

Incidentally there has been no global warming for a decade. Get a good grip on your long johns. Maybe a trip to Cancun is not such a bad idea after all, but I’ll wait until the delegates have gone home.


Cancún climate talks in danger of collapse over Kyoto continuation

To me, this is good news: The Cancún climate summit is in danger of collapse. Key quote:

The UN climate talks in Cancún were in danger of collapse last night after many Latin American countries said that they would leave if a crucial negotiating document, due to be released tomorrow, did not continue to commit rich countries to emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol. . . . The potential crisis was provoked by Japan stating earlier this week that it would not sign up to a second period of the Kyoto Protocol. Other countries, including Russia, Canada and Australia are thought to agree but have yet to say publicly that they will not make further pledges.


Tinkering with the atmosphere to prevent climate change gains ground in Cancun

What could possibly go wrong? The environmental global warming activists at the Cancun climate summit appear increasingly eager to encourage governments to tinker with the atmosphere to prevent climate change. The most frightening quote:

Funding may not be far off.

In September, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended in a 70-page report that the White House “establish a clear strategy for geoengineering research” within its science office. A month later, a report from U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, a Democrat from Georgia who chairs the House Science and Technology Committee, urged the government to consider climate-engineering research “as soon as possible in order to ensure scientific preparedness for future climate events.”

The U.S. panel had collaborated in its study with a British House of Commons committee. “We may need geoengineering as a `Plan B,'” the British report said, if nations fail to forge agreement on a binding treaty to rein in greenhouse gases.

Perhaps most significantly, the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, the global authority on climate science, agreed in October to take on geoengineering in its next assessment report. Its hundreds of scientists will begin with a session next spring.


Yellowstone caldara rise has slowed

In a paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters of the American Geophysical Union, scientists note that the rise of giant volcanic caldara under Yellowstone National Park has slowed significantly since 2006 and since 2008 has actually subsided somewhat. Key quote from the paper:

Here we propose that as the caldera source continues inflating, the accumulated strain energy in the deformed crust could promote earthquakes with mechanisms such as hydrofracturing,, migration of magmatic fluids, and brittle fracturing of rocks. These events can subsequently depressurize the magmatic systems or release the accumulated strain energy, slowing the uplift or even influencing a change in motion to subsidence. In January 2010 the Yellowstone caldera experienced another large earthquake swarm at its northwestern boundary close to the location of the 1985 swarm. . . . In the following five months the caldera experienced the first overall subsidence since the inception of its uplift in 2004. This scenario is similar to that in 1985 where a reverse of caldera uplift to subsidence was temporally correlated with the largest observed Yellowstone earthquake swarm.


Orlando Sentinel calls for more NASA funding

The squealing continues! The Orlando Sentinel demands that NASA gets its funding over everyone else, even as they admit there really is no money for anything. Key quote:

We applaud the Republicans’ determination to cut federal spending. But surely there are riper targets than the space program. The federal government spends billions each year on farm subsidies, a program held over from the Great Depression.


Snowbound England

Images of a snowbound England.

I know it’s weather and not climate, but Europe is experiencing its second cold winter in a row, despite predictions by many in the global warming community that such things would never happen again. My point here is that their claims in the late 1990s that hot streaks and big storms were proof of global warming were patently dishonest, and it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of this fact.


White House wants transfer authority on appropriations?

This must not happen! There are hints that the White House is asking the lame-duck Congress for the authority to transfer appropriations from one account to another, without Congressional approval. As Ed Morrissey notes

[This request] all but demands a blank check from Congress as a budget plan and ends their ability to direct funding as it sees fit. It’s a carte blanche for runaway executive power. Senate Republicans must pledge to filibuster any budget with that kind of authority built into it. In fact, every member of Congress should protest this demand to surrender the Constitutional prerogative of budgeting and the check on power it represents. Otherwise, they will consign the people’s branch to a mere rubber stamp for executive whims.

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