A look at the U.S. government’s planned budget for climate research

The next time someone begins ranting about how the money from “big oil” is used to attack the science of global warming, tell them to take a look at this post, which outlines in detail the more than $2 billion that the U.S. government plans to spend on climate change research in 2011 alone (too much of which is unfortunately used by partisans like James Hansen to try to prove the Earth is warming).

Speech codes for the year of 2010 and for January 2011

Freedom of speech alert! Fire’s speech codes for the year of 2010 and for January 2011. For the yearly “award,” get these rules::

UMass Amherst’s policy on “Rallies” has special regulations applicable to what it calls “controversial rallies”—and it leaves “controversial” wholly undefined, giving the administration unfettered discretion to invoke the policy when it sees fit. If a rally is deemed controversial, it may only take place between noon and 1 p.m. on the Student Union steps, and must be registered at least five days in advance. That’s just one hour a day on one tiny area of a campus of more than 27,000 students! Worse yet, the policy also requires that when holding a controversial rally, “The sponsoring RSO [Registered Student Organization] must designate at least 6 members to act as a security team.” In other words, student groups wishing to publicly express a controversial opinion on campus must give at least five days notice, may only do it on one small area of campus for one hour a day, and must be willing to put themselves in harm’s way by acting as their own security in order to do so.

TSA: Living on Borrowed Time?

TSA: Living on borrowed time? Key quote:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year. At TSA headquarters alone, there are 3,526 staff whose average salary tops $106,000. And while the TSA has gotten very good at groping airline passengers and undressing them with full body scans, the organization has yet to prevent a single terrorist attack. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation released last spring revealed that at least 17 known terrorists have been able to pass through TSA security totally unhindered. [emphasis mine]

University of Virginia resists releasing climate documents

Another whitewash? The University of Virginia is resisting releasing a variety of climate documents being requested under the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Key quote:

In response to a previous FOIA request, U.Va. denied these records existed. However, during Cuccinelli’s pre-investigation under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (“FATA”), a 2007 law passed unanimously by Virginia’s legislature, which clearly covers the work of taxpayer-funded academics, U.Va. stunningly dropped this stance.

Peer-reviewed journal article a “Fraud”

Back in 1998 a peer-reviewed paper in the medical journal, Lancet, claimed that the childhood vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella vaccine could be linked to autism and other health problems. The consequence was that thousands of parents withheld vaccinations from their children, resulting in an outburst of measles that almost certainly did actual harm to many children.

This paper has now been shown to be an outright fraud.

This story raises two thoughts. First, it demonstrates clearly that just because a research paper is published in a “peer-reviewed” science journal is no guarantee that the paper will be honest, reliable, or factually accurate. As good scientists like to say, “Extraordinary results require extraordinary evidence.” Both the press and public need to be constantly skeptical about all research, regardless of where it is published.

Secondly, the reaction of the journal, Lancet, to this whole affair suggests strongly that this particular journal is even more unreliable than most. To quote:

The Lancet withdrew the article in January of last year after concluding that “several elements” of the paper were incorrect. But the journal didn’t describe any of the discrepancies as fraud.

The journal’s reaction is similar to what we saw with the climategate emails, an effort to whitewash the situation while refusing to face the problem bluntly and fix it. If the article was as fraudulent as the Wall Street Journal article above suggests, it raises serious questions about the editorial policies at Lancet. That the editors there seem uninterested in addressing these concerns acts to discredit their publication entirely. And until they deal with this issue properly, I would look very skeptically on anything they publish.

(Note that this is not the first time Lancet has published research of questionable reliability. See this story for another example.)

Charles Bolden has come out of hiding

Today NASA administrator Charles Bolden spoke at the AIAA meeting in Orlando. According to Florida Today, he said two things of interest:

  • He is proud of the achievements of the shuttle program and is sad the program is ending.
  • He believes flying three more shuttle missions would be safe.

Considering that his administration has done nothing to save the program, and in fact has almost seemed eager to shut it down at times, his sadness seems incredibly insincere and self-serving.

As for his second comment about the shuttle’s safety, I wonder how he knows this, especially since his own engineers are currently struggling to pin down the root cause of the external tank cracks that have delayed the last flight of Discovery, and appear to be a chronic problem that needs to be fixed before any shuttle can once again fly.

Naked bodies and a new Messiah

If anyone had any doubt that the global warming movement is undergoing a serious collapse, this so-called news article from Spiegal Online, entitled “Naked bodies and a new Messiah: Green groups are trying to sex up climate change,” probably lays that doubt to rest. Key quote:

Environmentalists and scientists are concerned about the massive drop in public interest in the topic over the last year. Now they are looking for new strategies to turn the tide. They’re searching for so-called “mind bombs” — highly emotional images that reduce a complex problem down to one core message.

Sadly, the article never asks the fundamental question: What do “mind bombs” have to do with facts, data, and proving your theories are correct in the real world?

The answer of course is obvious: Nothing.
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“The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,”

A Charlottesville man was arrested for protesting airport security searches. Key quote, written on his chest and abdomen:

“Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.”

I wonder if liberal Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein needs someone to explain what this quote means.

ObamaCare plans for high-risk patients attracting fewer, costing more than expected

Repeal the damn bill! Health plans for high-risk patients under ObamaCare are attracting fewer customers while costing far more than expected. Key quote:

Last spring, the Medicare program’s chief actuary predicted that 375,000 people would sign up by the end of 2010. In early November, the Health and Human Services Department reported that just 8,000 people had enrolled.

The Lawless Obama Administration

The lawless Obama administration. Key quote:

Obama uses his control over Executive Branch agencies to do what Congress or the courts have forbidden. It’s worked, sometimes, for him over the past few years. But he’s out of time now: the GOP-led House can defund many of these efforts, even if it can’t put a stop to them completely.

Just so no one has any doubts, doing something that both Congress and the courts say is forbidden is breaking the law. And it appears that the Obama administration has a fetish for this sort of thing.

The Space Show

For those who would are curious to hear me talk about the past year and what’s to come as well as celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the Christmas Eve reading of Genesis by the astronauts of Apollo 8, I will be appearing on David Livingston’s long running radio show/podcast, The Space Show, today at 9:30 am Pacific time (12:30 pm Eastern time). The interview is scheduled to last 90 minutes, but David and I usually end up going far longer.

Dr. Livingston has produced more than 1000 shows, interviewing almost every single important figure in the aerospace industry. As he noted recently:

The Space Show/One Giant Leap Foundation is a non-profit 501C3 and your contributions are deductible from your U.S. tax liability. But more important, your help is needed in getting the space message out there to as many as possible, including the movers and shakers in society and the space industry. Not only do we provide a platform for many of you and your own material, we play an increasingly larger and more important role in getting space development to go viral. However, we can’t do it without your help so if you are able to make a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF this year, not only will it be appreciated, it will be most beneficial in helping to achieve Space Show goals and objectives.

To this I heartily say, amen! If you want to find out what’s going on in the aerospace community, The Space Show is undeniably one of the best places to go. The show deserves our support, and for that reason I want to give it a enthusiastic plug. You can make contributions by Pay Pal on The Space Show website here or on the One Giant Leap Foundation website. Checks made payable to One Giant Leap Foundation, Inc. can be mailed to P.O. 95, Tiburon, CA 94920.

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