According to MC Hawking:
Higgs boson could become unstable at very high energy levels, which would lead to a "catastrophic vacuum decay" causing space and time to collapse and that there would not be any warning to the danger.
Never mind ISIS, nuclear war, ebola, global warming, now we have this to worry about. Thanks Stevie.
Every car? I'm not so certain, but Supercompressor's list is pretty comprehensive, and includes cars from the Bond novels, too.
With apologies to Mad magazine (the title above was originally theirs in their early 1970s satirical look at the classic Planet of the Apes films), a recent Facebook conversation with some friends made me look back on the delightful cheese that was the original Apes franchise. Timely, in a way, since the latest reboot film is doing pretty well at the box office.
THE ORIGINAL. At least the recent reboot makes a reasonable attempt to explain how apes got so damn smart. Could apes really just naturally evolve human-like inteligence in a tad over 2,000 years? C'mahn.
Wikipedia notes that Taylor (Chuck Heston) and company's ship was on a "long near-light speed voyage, during which, due to time dilation, the crew ages only 18 months." Aside from the amazing fact that such a vessel was constructed in the late 1960s(!), ya'd think, with such amazingly advanced technology that there'd be a computer on board which would have noted the course the ship had traversed over two millennia. I mean, really? Taylor and crew had no idea they were back on Earth?
I can buy that New York wasn't totally obliterated in the nuclear holocaust; the Russkies largely relied on bombers for their nukes in the 60s, and their missiles weren't very accurate. Hence, don't shake your head at the iconic final scene with Taylor and Nova at the Statue of Liberty.
BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES. Somehow the same interstellar mishap happens twice!! This time, James Franciscus has to deal not only with the intelligent, human-hating apes, but mutated humans with powerful mental abilities.
Riddle me this: If these humans have such mental powers, what the hell happened to their smarts? Worshiping a nuclear bomb? Making masks for their radiation scarred selves?
Biggest "C'MAHN!" of the film: The fact that the doomsday bomb had a cobalt jacket doesn't mean it has the destructive power to crack the Earth into a million pieces. Because of Beneath, for the longest time this is what I thought a "cobalt bomb" could do . Wrong. A cobalt jacketed device "merely" means that its radiation becomes incredibly deadly -- it has a very long half-life. In nuclear war vernacular, it's sometimes dubbed "salting the Earth" because radioactive cobalt will kill everything it can reach, and will continue to do so for loooooong time.
ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES. Let's just start and end with this: How the f*** do Zira, Cornelius and their pal dredge up Taylor's original spaceship, repair it, figure out how it works ... let alone fuel it and launch it into space?? And follow Taylor's course perfectly in reverse??
But hey -- it makes the case for the "circular" timeline used in the Apes film franchise. However head-scratching it may be.
CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Yeah, humans turned to apes when a mysterious "space virus" came down and killed off dogs and cats. Just in time for smart ape Caesar (the offspring of Zira and Cornelius from Escape) to lead 'em in revolt. Very convenient.
BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES. Either this flick is pointless because we already know the ultimate outcome (especially due to a scene at the very end), or it means that the supposed "circular" timeline is anything but.
Anyone recall the (admittedly silly) ending scene where the statue of Caesar begins crying? This is after a line by the "Lawgiver" ape says "Who knows about the future? Perhaps only the dead." This to me says "Apes defeat humans, Earth blows up, this movie was pointless."
The creator of SyFy's hilariously dreadful "Sharknado" claims that, with
global warming climate change climate disruption, a "sharknado" ... could actually happen.
Of course, it took place on MSNBC.
Former stand-in Delaware senator Ted Kaufman falls into line with radical environmentalists with the usual apocalyptic swill. Most laughable part of the article:
An ICF International study commissioned by the NRDC concludes "the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants can save American households and business customers $37.4 billion on their electric bills in 2020 while creating more than 274,000 jobs. … The federal carbon pollution standard could fuel a surge in energy efficiency investments, creating new jobs filled by electricians, roofers, carpenters, insulation workers, heating/air conditioning installers and heavy equipment operators, among others."
Does anyone with a modicum of sanity actually believe this -- especially after all the other eco-nonsense from our administration since early 2009??
As I've said ad nauseam here, it is very hard to worry about appeals (like Ted's) to "my children and yours" when the same scientists Ted and other
global warming climate change climate disruption alarmists cite have told us there is nothing we can do about the quantity of the CO2 currently in the atmosphere ... for at least a millennium.
Couple that with this bit of Kaufman limousine elitism: "Who is right about the costs? It seems to me the question isn't very important if you are not in a state of denial about the NASA study." Uh huh. Easy for you to say, Teddy. Guys like you who're monetarily comfortable may not think costs are "very important," but ye gad, c'mon.
Here's an idea: How about you and yours do something about our sputtering economy and then offer up the worrisome platitudes about our nigh annihilation, huh?
Oops, sorry -- I meant "climate change." At any rate, now it's responsible for ... infidelity:
A new report blames global warming for rising rates of infidelity, especially bad news for couples in Miami, where rising tides and raging hurricanes remind us all how much extracurricular sex we could be having on a daily basis.
Victoria Milan, a dating website for people looking to cheat on their significant other, surveyed 5,000 of its members, both men and women. A shocking 72% of them responded that yes, their own Al Gore-esque stress about unpredictable weather is the cause of their extra-marital dalliances. Guess the fact of their existing committed relationships was just an inconvenient truth.
I suppose this appropriate:
In case idiots like this ever get their way:
Host Bill Moyers kicked off Sunday’s episode with a flashback to the previous week’s broadcast, in which scientist and environmental activist David Suzuki had announced that he believes society should literally punish politicians who don’t believe in global warming.
"Our politicians should be thrown in the slammer for willful blindness. If we are in a position of being able to act, and we see something going on and we refuse to acknowledge the threat or act on it, we can be taken to court for willful blindness. I think that we are being willfully blind to the consequences for our children and grandchildren. It's an intergenerational crime," said Suzuki.
Laughably, Moyers didn't see a problem with this nut's idea; indeed, the only issue he had with it was that "there would have to be mass arrests and lots more funding for new prisons"!
I wonder how Eric Holder would feel about packing the prisons with all these victimless "criminals," given his stance recent actions regarding drug offenders.
Not much, I'd wager, as they'd probably be white Republicans.
The White House seeks to alter The NarrativeTM again.
Meanwhile, NPR(!) actually made sense five years ago by pointing out what I have (most recently yesterday) for years now: namely, that even stopping CO2 emissions completely today won't significantly alter the quantity of the gas in the atmosphere for 1,000 years. Which directly rebuts President Lemon who yesterday said "We also have a chance to turn back these rising temperatures if we take some bold actions now."
Well, yeah, if we're worried about temperatures in 3014. Which, sorry -- I'm not. Even the far-left Think Progress (via Ace) has noted that
climate change climate "disruptions" are largely irreversible at this point. Nevertheless, the lapdog mainstream media dutifully reported on Boss Obama's "climate summit" hyping the perils of climate change climate "disruptions" whilst ignoring there is pathetically little we can do to alter the situation in the here and now.
MOST RELATED: How to manufacture a consensus.
ALSO RELATED: Harry Reid blames the Koch Brothers for
global warming climate disruption.
Child psychiatrists, psychologists and educators say they’ve seen an escalation in the anxiety levels of today’s youth, who are constantly exposed to doomsday talk about the destruction of our planet. But despite the fact that we live in a world with more volatility and fear, experts say there is hope. And to stay mentally strong, they all advocate not just calling for change, but acting for it.
Dr. Anthony Levitt, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s director of research in the department of psychiatry, agrees climate-change anxiety increasingly enters into the discussions he has with many of the young people who come to see him. “Younger people [teens to mid-20s] appear to be much more accepting of the science and facts than older people,” Levitt observes. He’s also seen an uptick in climate-change-related anxiety in parents with younger children.
“For most people who are anxious about climate change, the anxiety is escalated by the fact they do not see an answer or a way to make a change. Worry plus powerlessness leads to distress,” says Levitt, who is also a professor in the psychiatry department at the University of Toronto.
Let's see, in my youth we had bouts of nasty weather, but then we were warned of a new ice age. (Anyone else recall the brutal winters of the late 1970s?) In addition, what about "the world is doomed" scenarios posited by the likes of Paul Ehrlich? Guess what: Neither of those were even close. Ironically, probably the greatest actual danger kids of my era were (also) warned about was (and is) scoffed at by many on the Left. Hell, even basic facts like JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald being a commie are downplayed and outright ignored.
So, let me reiterate once and for all for those who care: Yeah, I believe there's climate change or whatever nom de guerre is on the plate currently. Is man part of it? Yeah, probably. But this doesn't mean you and I have to drastically alter our lifestyles to conform to whatever it is that morons like Al Gore or Barack Obama say we should. Especially when their carbon footprints are magnitudes larger than our own. Just as the world didn't end due to overpopulation and/or lack of food based on ridiculous Ehrlich-ian "evidence," I highly doubt humanity will cease to exist, or even be in grave danger, because it cannot adapt to whatever climate changes come about. Indeed, if anything, it is highly likely that as the technology curve increases ever-dramatically in the next few decades we'll move to cleaner, safer and renewable energy sources. All easily within grasp this century.
But hey, if you insist on remaining a pessimist, keep in mind that the climate chicken littles have stated that the amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere will remain there for about a millennium. There's nothing we can do about it. So why worry about it, huh??
Take a look at these 13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970. Then, tell me I should listen to the global war, er, um, climate change chicken little-ists. Here's a sample:
“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich
“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich
“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day
These dudes sound exactly like the Al Gores of the present-day. Which means we shouldn't bite our fingernails down to nubs because all the ice on the planet will melt within a decade.
Was there an increase in destructive tornadic activity? We're in our third straight year of record low activity. Increase in hurricanes? Nope. Obama has the lowest hurricane frequency of any President. North Pole will be ice free? Nah, multi-year ice is growing. What exactly did come to pass then from that movie?
Hopefully, any sequel will be under the "fantasy" section of Netflix, etc.
Here we go again: The mainstream media is hyping a "new warning" about the "extreme consequences" of ... global war, er, uh, climate change. Here's ABC News's Jim Avila: "And while global warming is easiest to see at the poles, this new report by a United Nations science panel says there is no more debate. Global warming is real, here now, wreaking havoc worldwide and is caused by humans." And that's just for starters.
Need I remind you what all these "debate is over" folks have screamed about previously: Snow a "thing of the past." The polar ice caps would be gone by now. Etc. We're told you can't look at cold weather instances as proof that global war, er, climate change isn't happening, yet hot weather instances are utilized constantly to make the climate change case.
You know what? Shut up. The climate may indeed be changing and man may indeed be [even largely] responsible. But the constant chicken-littleling has grown beyond tiresome. As some of the newscasts indicated, the United States's greenhouse gas emissions have declined over the years, but those of countries like China and India have gone up. So, WTF are we supposed to do about that? Tell them they can't industrialize after we have already done so? And isn't that what Boss Obama is about, after all -- letting other countries know that the United States isn't special, that we're just another country among all the rest in the world and that we have no right to demand anything of a country we wouldn't demand of ourselves? Further, aren't Boss Obama and "progressives" also all about science? They constantly tell us this, especially regarding the topic at hand. Yet, what happens when a State Dept. study concludes that the Keystone Pipeline will have virtually no effect on global war, er, climate change? Boss Obama sits on his hands. Same for so-called fracking. And why isn't the US going all-out on natural gas development?
Yeah, we can also continue to develop even cleaner options, but it makes zero sense not to develop resources that we have plenty of (which will benefit us greatly in the piss-poor economy) and are less GHG-intensive than oil and coal. But, alas, recall the Victor Davis Hanson maxim.
Boss Obama: Climate science is "irrefutable."
Like "climate change." First, "Lurch" Kerry, our illustrious Secretary of State, told Indonesia of all places, that climate change (not global warming) is like a weapon of mass destruction, and "the greatest challenge of our generation."
Elsewhere, Boss Obama ordered truck efficiency standards raised because, y'know, climate change.
Good thing the Boss Obama admin is keyed right in to the cares and worries of Americans, eh? I mean, climate change is WAY up there on the list of public priorities, right?
*Sigh* Amazing how we're supposed to be chomping at the bit to somehow curb climate change so that 500 years from now things won't be a bit warmer. Meanwhile, our federal debt screams along out of control, and no one seems to care one about that much more immediate concern not one bit. Anyone who makes an issue of that is demonized to the Nth degree as "holding the country hostage."
What doesn't it cause, uh?
For months after Hurricane Sandy sent nearly six feet of water surging into her home in Long Beach, N.Y. — an oceanfront city along Long Island’ s south shore — retired art teacher Marcia Bard Isman woke up many mornings feeling anxious and nauseated. She had headaches, and inexplicable bouts of sadness. She found herself crying for no apparent reason.
What Isman is experiencing is one of the little-recognized consequences of climate change, the mental anguish experienced by survivors in the aftermath of extreme and sometimes violent weather and other natural disasters. The emotional toll of global warming is expected to become a national — and potentially global — crisis that many mental health experts warn could prove far more serious than its physical and environmental effects.
“When you have an environmental insult, the burden of mental health disease is far greater than the physical,” said Steven Shapiro, a Baltimore psychologist who directs the program on climate change, sustainability and psychology for the nonprofit Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR).
Nice title. Yeah, this guy doesn't have an agenda.
Next up: Global war- er, um, climate change is responsible for acne and prostate enlargement.
Charles C.W. Cooke has a must-read today about climate hysteria. The sub-headline, in my view, says it best: "Antarctic ice doesn’t discredit the warmists, but they should dial down the death-cult drama."
You may have heard about the researchers on the 7th continent who are stuck in ice, some of whom are global warming scientists. Yeah, it's worth chuckling about, mostly because of what Cooke notes: It makes the perpetual hysteria we hear about regarding warming much more of a joke than it already is. And these two combined make those who are already skeptical about GW even more skeptical, which is a shame, really.
Let's take a gander at some of the reasons why skeptics are having a field day with this Antarctica story:
"Progressives" who are vehement about global warming (now altered to "climate change") fail to realize that there are many folks (like me) who do believe the climate is changing ... just that there are way too many variables involved to somehow justify drastically altering my lifestyle in the name of "saving the Earth from imminent doom."
Most science fiction deals with the future, obviously, hence the "fiction" part. In scifi literature, TV and movies, some future timelines appear more ... "realistic" than others. Notice I said "appear" because we are talking about science fiction. Older scifi efforts (like the original Star Trek) usually will appear more "dated" and hence, oft times, outright wrong.
So, first, let's take that of the original Star Trek (meaning, the original series and its spin-offs, not that of the two rebooted flicks). Here's a timeline of the "future" Trek history. The earliest stuff (that is, 20th-21st century), natch, is already incorrect. For instance, there was no interstellar probe launched in 2002, not to mention no Eugenic Wars which spawned the notorious Khan. However, a lot of the remaining timeline seems fairly feasible, especially since it was established in Star Trek: First Contact and the series Enterprise that Earth had the assistance of Vulcan. I do, however, have a beef with how quickly Earth was able to recover from its [largely nuclear] World War III and continue its scientific progress (which led to Zephram Cochrane's development of warp drive.).
I'm a huge fan of Larry Niven's "Known Space" universe which has, in the last few years, been updated with the "Fleet of Worlds" novels. Here's the Niven chronology. I think Larry has a very realistic outlook on the progress of human science; we're using fusion-powered interstellar ramscoops in the mid-24th century to travel between stars ... which takes years. And we'd still be using such if not for the intervention of an advanced species which sold us the secret of FTL (faster-than-light) travel.
What about Isaac Asimov's Robots/Empire/Foundation universe? Here's its timeline. Can humanity conquer the entire galaxy in 20,000 years? With the assistance of its robots (their actions are largely unknown to humans), why not? Only the early part of the timeline is unrealistic: we develop a "hyperatomic drive" by the mid-21st century and settle our first interstellar colonies by 2064. Ain't gonna happen.
The Alien-verse. According to this timeline of events, the supposedly omniscient Weyland Corporation discovers FTL travel in 2032 and begins practical application of it three years later with a spacecraft. Apparently this FTL tech did not lead to the elimination of the need for suspended animation, however (see: Alien, Aliens which occur in 2122 and 2179 respectively).
Then there's Snake Plissken's Escape From New York future. Somehow, in 1981, John Carpenter believed that in sixteen years Manhattan would be evacuated and turned into a maximum security prison. Oh, and that fusion power would be developed. (Remember that audio tape?)
1975's Rollerball (a classic, in my opinion) posited that nations no longer existed and corporations ran the planet ... by 2018. I think this could certainly happen at some point, just not four years from now.
In 12 Monkeys, time travel is invented some years after 1997, even after a virulent virus has eradicated most of humanity. Uh, right.
The 1993 flick Demolition Man thought that the ability to freeze a human cryogenically would exist in 1996.
The 1994 film Timecop predicted time travel by 2004. And you get to ride in a cool-looking vehicle to make a trip (see below).
1973's Soylent Green told us that by 2022 there'll be over 40 million people in New York City, food will be scarce and global warming will be out of control. Ahh, remember when people used to believe that Malthusian bullshit?
A book I started some time ago but set aside is John J. Lumpkin's Through Struggle, The Stars. I didn't set it aside because it was bad; other things occupied my interest, is all. Nevertheless, check out how many colonies various Earth nations have settled by 2139. Does this seem possible to you?
Lastly, how 'bout these which really blew it:
The crooks who nabbed a container which included cobalt-60 are most likely dead men walking. Cobalt-60 is ridiculously radioactive with a half-life of 5.27 years, and is the main ingredient in so-called "doomsday weapons" in science fiction of the 50s, 60s and 70s. The bomb featured in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, for example, is mentioned to be cobalt. The slow-moving radioactive clouds in the popular novel and film On the Beach are products of cobalt bomb explosions.
Cobalt-60 would be a highly desired ingredient in making a so-called "dirty bomb" as effective clean up of such an irradiated area would be extremely difficult and may require years to be safe for human habitation again.
Of course, they never seriously were that label, but "progressives" couldn't allow The NarrativeTM to slip away. Yale Professor's Surprising Discovery: Tea Party Supporters More Scientifically Literate.
The prof who did the study offered up the following:
“I’ve got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension,” Kahan wrote. “But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party,” he continued. “All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the ‘paper’ (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico). I’m a little embarrassed, but mainly I’m just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view.”
To which Ace retorts:
I'm glad he admitted his cognitive bias, but is he actually aware of his deep cognitive bias?
Will he now do a study to document the cognitive biases of the left, their tendency to demean as nearly subhuman all those who disagree with them?
I doubt it. This is, for any behavioral scientist, obviously an interesting line of inquiry, and certainly one that has very little inquiry into it.
But having found that he himself has been Cocooned by a steady diet of bias-confirming self-selected sources which engage in a nonstop demonization of The Other, he will simply move on to his next hypothesis about the degenerated brains of Tea Partiers and attempt to confirm his own biases.
Perfect. And, if I may add, it's precisely akin to all those contemporary comicbook creators who all tweet the same anti-GOP/anti-conservative flotsam day after day after day. Because they all know each other -- they all live in the same Bubble (or Cocoon, as Ace says) and know virtually no one with sharply divergent political opinions. For them, it's an astonishingly stupid business model ... but come to think of it, their tweets kind of explain that.
World Federation of Scientists changes its policy: “Climate change in itself is not a planetary emergency.”
Don't expect this to deter the usual suspects, however:
Obama had announced at the beginning of the year his push for three major gun control initiatives — universal background checks, a ban on “assault weapons,” and a ban on “high-capacity” magazines — to prevent future mass shootings, no doubt hoping that the CDC study would oblige him by providing evidence that additional gun control measures were justified to reduce gun violence. On the contrary, that study refuted nearly all the standard anti-gun narrative and instead supported many of the positions taken by gun ownership supporters.
For example, the majority of gun-related deaths between 2000 and 2010 were due to suicide and not criminal violence.
In addition, defensive use of guns “is a common occurrence,” according to the study.
The current report from the CDC echoed findings the CDC published back in 2003 that showed that suicides were responsible for 58 percent of all firearms-related deaths in 2000. Also noted is that back in 2003 Americans owned an estimated 192 million firearms, while today that number is estimated to be closer to 300 million, an increase of more than 55 percent.
Said the CDC back in 2003, “Evidence was insufficient to determine the effectiveness of any of these laws" (Emphasis added.):
Bans on specified firearms or ammunition,
Restrictions on firearm acquisition,
Waiting periods for firearm acquisition,
Firearm registration and licensing of owners, and
Zero tolerance for firearms in schools.
As noted above, this won't change one iota the dogma of those supposedly interested in "science" and "facts." Just recall the condescending "brain child" comics creator Ron Marz shortly after Newtown:
Please,don't bother tweeting at me about your right to bear arms and how it's "people, not guns." Dead children. Again. Just STFU.— Ron Marz (@ronmarz) December 14, 2012
Yep. "STFU" about facts and let me spout off like an overly emotional five year-old, dammit!!
That's about the size of it.
Unsurprisingly, our own News Journal joins the typical bandwagon with Sweltering will become new normal. Because, y'know, we just had a heat wave.
In honor of the upcoming Man of Steel and as an homage to the terrific io9 scifi site's "12 Weirdest Moments From Superman: The Movie," 'ol Hube is doing his very own list. Why? You guessed it -- because no one demanded it, natch.
1) Goofy Powers. Everyone I knew guffawed when Supes tossed that "S" from his chest at the bruiser, Non, in his Fortress of Solitude. What was that -- Kryptonian cellophane? And that white beam from the Kryptonians' fingers which did, well, pretty much whatever they wanted? Whaaa ...? And don't get me started on Clark's kiss on Lois which caused her to forget! COME ON!!
2) Zod kicks an astronaut; guy barely moves. When Zod, Ursa and Non are freed from the Phantom Zone and land on our moon, they terrorize a few astronauts who are there. Check out when Zod picks up the one -- he kicks him ... but the astronaut merely floats away. With Zod's new yellow sun-induced superpowers and the moon's low gravity, that astronaut should have at least reached escape velocity! After all, a few seconds before, Ursa did pretty much that. Check out the effect of Zod's lame boot:
3) How did the Phantom Zone Trio reshape Mt. Rushmore in, like, two seconds? You tell me, 'cause it's stupid:
4) What super hearing? In the climactic battle in the Fortress of Solitude -- when Zod and co. hold the upper hand (and Lois hostage) -- Superman begins whispering to Luthor (who Zod had ordered killed, again -- more on that in a moment) about "getting them all into this molecule chamber." Uh, wait a second: How is it remotely possible that Zod and crew can't hear every word Supes is saying? (Not to mention how Supes would forget that Zod, et. al., could hear him?)
Speaking of which ...
5) Why do Zod and co. just stand around while Superman and Luthor chat (whisper) to one another? What are they doing? Notice that even the mute Non sorta motions to Luthor while he heads over to Supes in a "Hey, wait a minute" sorta way:
6) Why does Luthor continue to court Zod's "goodwill" after the villain orders his death several times? Seriously. I know Luthor is a maniacal genius psychopath, but there are at least three times Zod orders him killed (the White House, the Daily Planet, Fortress of Solitude) yet Lex is still there trying to wheel and deal with the general. Lex had remarked at the attack on the Daily Planet building that "Ya'd think with all this accumulated knowledge these guys would learn to use a doorknob;" one would think Lex would get the hint that Zod couldn't care less about him, any deals notwithstanding.
7) Dad didn't teach Kal-El very well in those twelve years. Ah, yes -- the 'ol diner scene where a bully trucker kicks the sh** out of a recently depowered Clark Kent. OK, I'll easily buy that the trucker is now stronger; however, what did Jor-El teach his son in those dozen years leading to adulthood? You mean to tell me there wasn't at least one course in fighting techniques and/or self-defense? And if you're thinking that Jor-El probably skipped those lessons because his son is invulnerable on Earth, keep in mind that Clark tells Lois (in the diner, too) that "They knew." Meaning, his parents knew about the potential threat from Zod and co. (and perhaps others).
8) Young kid climbs over rail at Niagara Falls, no one cares. OK, yeah, the mom of this moron won't win any parenting awards, but what about the public in general? Was this Apathy Day in Canada or something? Not to mention -- what kid is this fearless that he'd do something like this?? Lastly, is there a strange gravity gradient or something at the US-Canada border that causes people to fall a lot slower than normal? The kid would'a hit the drink long before Supes got there if there was real gravity.
9) Best winter garb: Thin Members Only jacket and penny loafers. Right after the above-mentioned diner scene, Clark tells Lois he has to go back (to the North Pole) to see if there's some way to regain his powers. So what does he do? He walks there ... with the clothes he's wearing at the moment.
10) Zod's heat vision has problems with tankers. After zapping a few cars with his heat vision -- cars which instantly blow up (despite Zod not even having a line-of-sight to their gas tanks), it suddenly takes the General what, a good thirty seconds to attempt to blow up the fuel tank on that tanker??
11) How does a snake bite hurt Ursa? After she, Zod and Non land on the Planet "Hooston," she picks up a rattlesnake to check it out. Like any such snake would, it promptly bites her ... and she reacts in pain! Like ... why? She just got through traveling through the vacuum of space, yet a mere snakebite causes her to wince. Uh huh.
12) "We used to play this game as a kid." In the final battle at the North Pole, Supes inexplicably creates duplicates of himself to confuse Zod and crew. One of these doppelgangers tells Lois "We used to play this game in school; he was never really good at it." I used to think Supes was talking about himself here, y'know, as in here on Earth with his [human] friends. But no -- he's preposterously referring to him and Zod ... as in back on Krypton. Did the producers ever bother to watch the first film? Supes (Kal-El) was an infant on Krypton, and was promptly launched into space by his pop when the planet was about to blow up. Zod was an adult who was caught and sentenced to eternity in the Phantom Zone alongside Ursa and Non. YEESH.
The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.
The slowdown is a bit of a mystery to climate scientists.
Now, here is a crucial piece of background: It turns out we had an earlier plateau in global warming, from roughly the 1950s to the 1970s, and scientists do not fully understand that one either. A lot of evidence suggests that sunlight-blocking pollution from dirty factories may have played a role, as did natural variability in ocean circulation. The pollution was ultimately reduced by stronger clean-air laws in the West.
As Steyn notes, "So environmental laws led to the global warming of the Eighties and Nineties? Great!"
Levity aside, I've been fairly consistent in that I don't dispute there is indeed climate change; what I do dispute is the radical environmentalist alarmism, the demand that we must do something about climate change NOW or we're irrevocably doomed to burn in Hell.
That is, the Firemen from Fahrenheit 451. Oh, wait -- these profs must be members:
These are San Jose State University Meteorology Dept. Profs Bridger and Clements burning a book because, y'know, they disagree with it. Un-freakin'-real. University professors. Can we call them Nazis? One of the best-ever TV shows did:
TRAPPER: Frank! What are you doing?
FRANK BURNS: Burning books.
HAWKEYE: Oh. Any special reason, Dr. Hitler?
FRANK BURNS: One of the greatest living Americans is coming and I'm not going to let him see some of the trash that's read around here.
Here's Amazon's page about the book.
I am totally diggin' this news! Via Bleeding Cool:
Here’s how Deadline describes it;
“…a team of explorers travels to the farthest reaches of space to investigate a mind-blowing alien artifact called Ringworld, an artificial habitat the size of 1 million Earths. They discover the remnants of ancient advanced civilizations, mysteries that shed light on the origins of man and, most importantly, a possible salvation for a doomed Earth.”
This is a bit different from Larry Niven's novel, as you might expect. The book is a part of Niven's vast "Known Space" universe, and utilizes numerous species from it. This wouldn't make a lot of sense to the casual viewer, of course (I was a bit lost myself when I began the book as I hadn't yet read older Known Space stories), so the "doomed Earth" part noted above is an obvious deviation. But that might be all they really have to change. A human vessel could discover the amazing artifact, land and encounter evidence of advanced races, and also as noted discover humanity's origins: the alien Pak race which I wrote about in-depth here!
And then there's Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End:
"Childhood’s End" follows a peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival ends all war and turns the planet into a near-utopia. [Michael] De Luca (The Social Network) is producing with UCP.
I read this Clarke novel many years ago, and unlike Bleeding Cool's reviewer I dug it. As noted above, advanced benevolent aliens arrive on Earth and essentially impose a peaceful Utopia upon us. But at what price? Children becoming part of an advanced hive mind? One of the coolest parts of the novel, in my opinion, is when one of our scientists stows away on board one of the Overlord's starships in order to visit their home planet.
Also apparently in development by SyFy: "The Man in the High Castle" based on the novel by the same name by Philip K. Dick, and "Eyes of the Dragon" based on Stephen King's book. I read the former because it was a recommended alternate history story; however, I was unimpressed.
And, are you ready for a "Tony Stark-in-space" scifi series?
When an alien armada is sighted in the region of Pluto, the Earth government turns to a young billionaire industrialist — who has the only ship ready for interstellar travel — to greet the aliens and avoid a catastrophe. Powered by secret alien technology discovered on Earth in the 1960’s, the ship engages in a firefight that sends them spinning through a wormhole into an uncharted region of space. Lost in the universe, the team struggles to survive as they encounter new planets and alien species, searching for a way back home.
Sounds very Star Trek: Voyager-ish, so with a Stark analogue? Count me in! (Yes, I liked Voyager.)
Roland Emmerich talks Independence Day sequels. (That's right -- plural!)
... he plans to wreak a new round of havoc in two sequels – ID Forever Part 1 and ID Forever Part II. The films take place 20 years after the original, when a distress call sent by the first wave of aliens finally brings reinforcements to Earth. ”The humans knew that one day the aliens would come back,” explains the director, who completed two scripts with Independence Day co-writer Dean Devlin and has given them to White House Down writer-producer James Vanderbilt for a rewrite. ”And they know that the only way you can really travel in space is through wormholes. So for the aliens, it could take two or three weeks, but for us that’s 20 or 25 years.”
After the mass destruction of the original Independence Day, what’s left for new aliens to destroy? “We’ve rebuilt,” Emmerich answers, with a smile. “But [the aliens] also do different things.”
This sounds not unlike Marvel's 1970s adaptation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. When the comics giant got the go-ahead to do a comics series based on the classic sci-fi novel, they set it 100 years later -- in the year 2001. The "martians" learned from their mistakes (namely, their lack of defense against basic Terran microbes), and they also manage to disable our nuclear arsenals. This backdrop is the basis for the Killraven Amazing Adventures stories beginning with issue #18 in 1973.
I have a question about ID2, though, from the above quote: If the aliens can traverse a wormhole in 2-3 weeks, why have they waited 20 years to answer the distress call? Unless (and I'm guessing here), their distress call can't travel via wormhole like their ships can; it has to go through normal space at the speed of light. Thus, after receiving the distress summons, the aliens only need those 2-3 to get to Earth.
Of those in the original film, so far only Bill Pullman (the president, but of course he won't be president in the sequel ... I think) is on board. And this sounds cool too:
It’s a changed world. It’s like parallel history. [Humans] have harnessed all this alien technology. We don’t know how to duplicate it because it’s organically-grown technology, but we know how to take an antigravity device and put it in a human airplane.
Oh yes! Massive reverse engineering of alien tech to create a whole new type of society? Huzzah!!
For all we see/hear about how our [future] creations will eventually turn on us and possibly destroy us (The Terminator, The Matrix, Battlestar Galactica, Colossus: The Forbin Project, I, Robot, the Sentinels in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past), there is is a highly regarded well-known science fiction series that features human creations which seek to save us at virtually any cost: Isaac Asimov's combined Foundation, Empire and Robot universe. These series were always loosely related in Asimov's early days; it wasn't until the 1980s that he began to "officially" connect them. The original Asimov works in each area appeared in the 1950s, and covered approximately some 15,000 years of future human history. Humanity's key development wasn't so much the hyperspatial Jump, but the robot. Asimov's Robot novels are loosely tied to his early Robot short stories, many of which feature noted robot genius Susan Calvin (played by the gorgeous Bridget Moynihan in I, Robot). By the Robot novels' time, some robots have been built in Man's image -- literally. The Spacer societies -- those who have settled the first fifty extra-solar planets -- have developed and made use of these humanoid servants for myriad purposes. The most popular -- and ultimately most influential -- of these robots is R. Daneel Olivaw.
R. Daneel (the "R" standing for "Robot") becomes the partner of noted human detective Elijah Bailey in helping to solve several high-profile killings. (See: The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun and The Robots of Dawn.) Another robot, [R.] Giskard Reventlov, was constructed with the ability to detect, read, and influence human thoughts. In the crucial connecting novel Robots and Empire, Giskard conceives of the pivotal "Zeroth Law" which overrides Asimov's legendary "Three Laws of Robotics" by permitting robots to act out of regard for humanity as a whole instead of individual humans (the First Law). Using this new Zeroth Law, Giskard allows a madman to make Earth's crust radioactive, thus forcing the vast majority of humanity to venture forth and begin a new wave of settlement across the galaxy. All in the name of preserving humanity.
But that's far from all. R. Daneel Olivaw becomes humanity's ultimate guide, conceiving of various plans through the millennia to maintain and preserve humanity's dominance, and survival, in the Milky Way. Asimov died in 1992 but his estate permitted other authors to "play" in his universe. The "Killer Bs" -- David Brin, Greg Bear, Gregory Benford -- together put out "The Second Foundation Trilogy," which greatly expands upon Isaac's ideas and concepts. The ultimate finale is Brin's Foundation's Triumph which pretty much explains everything you ever wanted to know about regarding the Galactic Empire/Foundation. Perhaps the most controversial was Olivaw's use of "mentalic dampers" -- hidden satellites around each human planet (20 million in all!) which kept the populace calm and tranquil, but also diminished creativity and curiosity. This, psychohistory's and the Foundation's inventor Hari Seldon finally realizes, is what has kept humanity's technology curve static for so very, very long. It was the robots fulfilling their purpose to the extreme ultimate ends.
In another science fiction universe, and one whose time-frame is much closer to the present day, that of Larry Niven's "Known Space," it is a group dubbed the ARM -- the Amalgamated Regional Militia or the police force of the United Nations, which is dedicated (in large part) to suppressing advanced technologies that could endanger the delicate balance of peace which Earth enjoys beginning more-or-less by the late 22nd century. Some of the earliest tales of the ARM are featured in The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton. Hamilton is an ARM agent whose arm was severed in a space mining accident. However, he developed a "psychic arm" which in many ways is superior to the real thing. One of the technologies Hamilton stumbles upon (and has to help suppress) is a "time retarder device."
As humans move into the 23rd and 24th centuries, many extra-solar colonies are settled. In the Niven-authorized "Man-Kzin Wars, we learn that the ARM has "secret societies" that have traveled to the various human worlds to continue their work. The "Man-Kzin Wars" books are assemblages of short stories detailing the centuries-long conflict between humanity and the felinoid Kzin. In many of these tales, we see how the ARM resorts to making use of many suppressed technologies, discoveries and inventions in order to defeat the Kzin. One of these is a stasis field which Earth uses in its most destructive counter-attack against the Kzin to help liberate the human colony at Alpha Centauri. In another, the ARM plans to unleash the "Tree of Life" virus, detailed in Niven's novel Protector, on the planet Wunderland. This would turn a substantial number of humans into the ultra-strong and ultra-smart Protectors who would be more than a match for the brutal Kzin. Yet another is using an A.I. (artificial intelligence) as the brain of an interstellar vessel. All of these inventions/technologies are stored in an ultra-secret "black vault" on the moon.
So, back to the original question: Will we need such overseers to ensure that we don't destroy ourselves? Surely we cannot permit rogue regimes (and terrorist groups) to acquire weapons of mass destruction; however, contemporary [international] laws largely hamstring more powerful (and lawful) nations such as the United States from thwarting such proliferation. In Niven's future Earth, the United Nations was the planet's governing body which passed laws by global referendum. This is what empowered the ARM to do what it did. Niven's United Nations makes the present-day UN appear even more of a eunuch than it already is.
Humanity's present technological curve is staggering when you stop to think about it. Consider how far we've come in just 100 years. Then imagine where we could be 100 years from now. Brin's robotic intervention can account for avoiding this staggering fact in his Foundation book; Niven retroactively incorporated many newer technologies such as nanotechnology (that he didn't/couldn't foresee) into his later novels, in particular his last Ringworld sequel novel, and the "Fleet of Worlds" series. Without someone, or something, to "watch over us," the manner of destruction we could face is varied. A rogue nation or group could set off an EMP which could set large areas back to the Stone Age. The same entities could release a pathogen to wipe out a sizable chunk of the population. And what about a "gray out" from nanotechnology run amok?
The ever-present thin line balancing personal [civil] liberties and national (or planet) security is always a tough issue. How much law enforcement intervention is the public willing to allow in the name of security? We saw what happened after 9/11; devout civil libertarians claimed the US government drastically overreacted. But what would happen if a catastrophe like one noted above occurs? And then there's the question of should we ever let it get to that point? Because if something like an EMP decimates most or all of the United States, the Patriot Act will look like a parking ticket.
Seriously. Via Watts Up With That?:
No second chance? Can Earth explode as a result of Global Warming? Dr Tom J. Chalko 1 , MSc, PhD Submitted on 8 April 2001, revised 30 October 2004. Published in NU Journal of Discovery ISSN 1444 1454 Publisher: Natural University
Abstract: The heat generated inside our planet is predominantly of radionic (nuclear) origin. Hence, Earth in its entirety can be considered a slow nuclear reactor with its solid ”inner core” providing a major contribution to the total energy output. Since radionic heat is generated in the entire volume and cooling can only occur at the surface, the highest temperature inside Earth occurs at the center of the inner core. Overheating the center of the inner core reactor due to the so-called greenhouse effect on the surface of Earth may cause a meltdown condition, an enrichment of nuclear fuel and a gigantic atomic explosion. Paper here: http://nujournal.net/core.pdf
Curious, of course, I did a brief Google search of Dr. Chalko. If this is the same guy (a good bet, I'd say), here's a brief bio:
He plays classical guitar exceptionally well, enjoys windsurfing (he calls himself a speed addict here), takes time to practice meditation, telepathy and astral travel. His hobbies include challenging paradigms and paradoxes in geophysics, studying puzzling properties of electro-photonic glow (Auras) using Kirlian camera, learning to see human aura, discovering purpose of life, as well as organizing controversial seminars.
UPDATE: Oh. My. God. This is so much better: A CNN dope actually asked the following: “Talk about something else that’s falling from the sky and that is an asteroid. What’s coming our way? Is this an effect of, perhaps, of global warming or is this just some meteoric occasion?”
Oops. Seems these wind turbines are designed to handle, you know, wind.
"The Bradworthy Parish Council, who opposed the turbine, expressed concern that there was “nothing exceptional” in the speed of the winds."
So there's that. Imagine how well a wind farm off the coast of say, Delaware would fare in a hurricane.
I'll concede that it is possible these were not built to sufficient strength but remember as the strength increases so does the cost.
[Dimitar Sasselov, professor of astrophysics and director of Harvard University’s Origins of Life Initiative] believes that life is probably common in the universe. He said that he believes life is a natural “planetary phenomenon” that occurs easily on planets with the right conditions. “It takes a long time to do this,” Sasselov said at a 2011 Harvard conference. “It may be that we are the first generation in this galaxy.”
Though it may be hard to think of it this way, at roughly 14 billion years old, the universe is quite young, he said. The heavy elements that make up planets like Earth were not available in the early universe; instead, they are formed by the stars. Enough of these materials were available to begin forming rocky planets like Earth just 7 billion or 8 billion years ago. When one considers that it took nearly 4 billion years for intelligent life to evolve on Earth, it would perhaps not be surprising if intelligence is still rare.
Which would really suck for outfits like SETI.
Insty points to this article, which posits that aliens would be too much like us -- meaning they'd probably want to destroy us. That'd suck for us all. Though one thing I found as a head-scratcher in the article is Stephen Hawking noting that aliens would probably be more interested in "mining our planet for vital resources than in getting to know us." Mining our planet? I've said this many times previously, but here it is again: If aliens are advanced enough to travel here and meet us, why would they want to mine a planet that is highly likely to have been stripped of most of its resources already? Not to mention that said mining would be much more economically feasible in space.
Insty mentions The Forge of God as a good treatment of alien invasion. I though it was OK; I never could concretely wrap my head around the "reasons" for the desire among the mysterious machines to eradicate humanity. It's sort of analogous to Fred Saberhagen's "Berserkers." Its sequel, Anvil of Stars, features the remnants of humanity seeking out its destroyers with the help of the highly advanced Benefactors. It's ultra-hard scifi, a novel of immense scope that'll blow your mind.
According to [physicist Leonard] Reiffel's report, "The motivation for such a detonation is clearly threefold: scientific, military and political."
The military considerations were frightening. The report said a nuclear detonation on the moon could yield information "...concerning the capability of nuclear weapons for space warfare." Reiffel said that in military circles at the time, there was "discussion of the moon as military high ground."
That included talk of having nuclear launch sites on the moon, he said. The thinking, according to Reiffel, was that if the Soviets hit the United States with nuclear weapons first and wiped out the U.S. ability to strike back, the U.S. could launch warheads from the moon.
Though not mentioned, I am guessing that the advent of SLBM (submarine launched ballistic missile) submarines nixed that idea, since they were in development around the same time. Also not mentioned was the possibility setting off a nuke on our satellite could "act as a giant engine," thereby turning the moon into a gigantic spaceship!
Via Four Color Media Monitor there is a pretty cool article in the Jerusalem Post which compares Iron Man to Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense system. And article author Abe Novick reminds us all of something very cool:
Of course Iron Man like practically every other super hero, was also created by Jews, with credit going to Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber) and his brother Larry Lieber along with illustrations by Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg.)
Most involved comics fans are already aware of this, but casual fans may not. Just yet another worldwide contribution to humanity from the Jewish people!
But I had to send a message to Mr. Novick on one of his points: He writes that Tony Stark's parents were killed in a plane crash. That made me go "Huh??" because I always remembered them having perished in an auto accident. Novick must have consulted Wikipedia which references the plane; however, Marvel's own wiki page (and others) note the car crash.
Remember yesterday when the Local Gaggle of Moonbat Bloggers' Jason "Trust Fund" Scott immediately concluded that Florida Senator Marco Rubio "rejects science" because he refused to be baited by a reporter's question about the age of the Earth? Well, it seems our current president has a similar issue ...
Q: Senator [Obama], if one of your daughters asked you—and maybe they already have—“Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say?
A: What I've said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that's what I believe. I know there's always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don't, and I think it's a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I'm a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don't presume to know.
Come again?? Boss Obama "doesn't presume to know" whether the literal reading of the Bible's story of Earth's creation is true?? WHAT KIND OF ANTI-SCIENCE NUTJOB DO WE HAVE IN THE WHITE HOUSE???
Well, if you're "Trust Fund" Scott, it certainly takes a nutjob to know a nutjob.
Wonder why nothing gets done in government -- in fact, it gets worse? Just check out what the Local Gaggle of Moonbat Bloggers' Jason "Trust Fund" Scott decides to harp on the other day:
Sorry Dude. You flubbed it. If you happen to think that the Earth is 10,000 years old it has a hell of a lot to do with our economic growth. It has to do with what kind of brain you have. It reveals whether you are qualified for leadership. It demonstrates whether you will make decisions rationally, after weighting evidence and data, or shrug allow Skydad to work his will. Republicans need to be pilloried for this kind for bullshit.
If you can deny that the Earth is older than the bible says it is, then you can deny virtually anything.
He's referring to what GOP Florida Senator Marco Rubio said in response to the magazine GQ's question "How old do you think the Earth is?"
I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow.
There's absolutely nothing in Rubio's answer which indicates he thinks the Earth is 10,000 years old. He said he is not a scientist and doesn't know. As one commenter pointed out
So how old is the Earth and how did Rubio flub anything? He said he didn’t know, which is probably an accurate answer. Is it 1 billion years old? 500 million? 3 billion? What he didn’t say, but in your zeal to attack all Republicans you imply, is that he thinks the Earth in 10,000 years old or that he denies the Earth is older than the Bible says (and, while we’re at, can you point me to where in the Bible it says the Earth is only 10,000 years old?).
I think he’s right when he says the age of the Earth has nothing to do with how our economy is going to grow.
Exactly. And that's why "Trust Fund" Scott wants to make up stuff that Rubio supposedly believes -- because it diverts from the utter disaster that is the Boss Obama economy. Not to mention, it's not like Rubio thinks there are 57 states. Or that the island of Guam will tip over if too many people inhabit it. Or that half a billion Americans lose their jobs every month there's no recovery bill in Congress. Or that FDR got on television to address the American people. Or wonders if Cuba has a government-run healthcare system. Or ...
Our own Wilmington News Journal has a write-up today about the new NBC drama "Revolution" -- about life in a society where all electrical power has vanished. It takes place fiften years after the "event."
My question is: Is it realistic? I'm not watching because I've become so turned off by the "unrealisticness" of such programs. Most recently, I gave TNT's "Falling Skies" a shot, but frankly, it's terrible. I dropped it after the first season, and that was pushing it to the limit. Even decent actors Noah Wylie and Will Patton can't save the show from basic silliness and the crappy acting of the other stars. Recall that the re-imagined "Battlestar Galactica" fell victim to not being realistic even right off the bat; however, great stories and a good measure of conflict between the realists and "unrealists" on the show made it great until the middle of the third season or so.
I'm curious as to the explanation of how all power worldwide could suddenly be extinguished. It seems way too far-fetched. Even an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack couldn't blanket the entire globe simultaneously. For a really realistic (and scary) look at what would happen after an EMP attack (on the United States), go read William Forstchen's One Second After.
If you're watching "Revolution," let me know what you think.
If you can conceive of it, we can build it:
A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel — a concept popularized in television's Star Trek — may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say.
A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, however subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.
Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially bringing the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.
Word has it the first flight will be ready on April 4, 2063 and launch from an old missile silo in Montana.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the hit show, CBR is asking the title of this post. I'm a huge fan of a the series, and 'tho some aspects of it are already dated (away teams don't take miniature cameras with them so the poor captain has to sit and imagine what's going on, like some 1930s radio listener?), aside from most of the first two seasons, the episodes are pretty well written.
I've been pretty consistent in ranking my top five entries of TNG over the years, although they may have switched places here and there:
1. "Yesterday's Enterprise." A rift in time propels the Enterprise-C twenty-two years into the future to encounter the Enterprise-D, drastically altering the timeline. The Federation and Klingon Empire are at war, and the former is losing. The older Enterprise must return to its own time at all costs -- but will it make it?
2. "The Inner Light." Capt. Picard is zapped by a beam from an alien probe and lives out an entire life as a member of that alien species ... in the span of 25 minutes. Patrick Stewart is at his Shakespearean best. (A drastically aged Picard at left, actually only about 20 minutes old.)
3. "The Best of Both Worlds." This season 3 two-parter is a no-brainer, really, as while it didn't introduce the Borg (that occurred in season 2's "Q Who?") it put them front and center as the Federation's newest -- and greatest -- nemesis.
4. "Parallels. Worf is propelled from reality to reality while his crewmates try to figure out just WTF is going on. One of the "solutions" ends up bringing hundreds of thousands of Enterprises (all from other realities) into a single reality, including one captained by a cheesily bearded Riker whose reality has been overrun by the Borg. Classic.
5. "The Measure of a Man." A no-action masterpiece, it features Picard defending the right of the android Data to exist as a sentient being: "The goal of Starfleet is to seek out new life! Well, There. It. Sits!!"
-- "The Drumhead." A McCarthyite Federation admiral sees a conspiracy among Picard and the crew of the Enterprise. Picard's stoic rebuttal in the final hearing is something we should never forget.
-- "Unification." Generations meet as Spock essentially gets suckered by unscrupulous Romulans into believing they want to reunify with their Vulcan cousins. Picard and Data go undercover as Romulans to set him straight.
-- "First Contact." We finally get to see how the Federation goes about revealing itself to civilizations that are on the cusp of interstellar travel. And it doesn't always work out as planned.
-- "Darmok." Basic communication thwarts the Federation from establishing a relationship with the Tamarians ... until drastic action by a Tamarian captain makes Picard realize the race communicates ... entirely by metaphors.
-- "The Nth Degree." Recurring guest star Dwight Schultz reappears as the aloof Barclay and here he is zapped by an alien beam which makes him a super-genius. He takes over the Enterprise and devises a means to travel 30K light years in seconds, bringing the ship to an advanced civilization in the center of the galaxy. In short, Barclay was "programmed" to do just that by the beam, because the aliens "explore" the universe by bringing others to them.
A few weeks ago, Wired.com published an article detailing how recent studies have overturned a long held assumption, backed by studies, about how evolution is influenced by mate selection:
The idea that animal evolution is shaped by males boasting and fighting to win female favor is a central biological dogma.
Females pick males whose exaggerated traits suggest virility, thus producing peacock feathers and sage grouse struts. Males compete for female favor, hence a stag’s antlers and fights for territorial domination. These are the main engines of sexual selection, the default explanation for differences between the sexes.
Under closer scrutiny, however, the dogma doesn’t seem to hold. A new replication of English geneticist Angust Bateman’s foundational mid-20th century mate-choice study, a study that reinforced sexual selection assumptions and shaped decades of research, came to very different conclusions than the original.
Basically, rather than males competing for female attention in mating as was commonly believed, there are in fact many more variables that come into play.
[Evolutionary biologist Patricia] Gowaty hopes that revisiting Bateman’s study will encourage people to see "alternative" mating strategies as unexceptional, though she said the fundamental implication is less about animal behavior than the importance of challenging received wisdom. "We believed the results so thoroughly, it didn’t occur to people to replicate the study," Gowaty said.
"I wonder if we shouldn’t all be a little more self-skeptical," she continued. "If we missed for so long that Bateman was inadequate to his task, what might we be missing in more modern studies?"
So wait, someone is challenging the conclusions of a belief long held by all the leading scientists of a field and confirmed by multiple studies over decades? How dare they question settled science? They're obviously deniers in league with big business.
I'm almost as big an Alien-verse fan as I am an Iron Man fan, so the apparent Alien prequel was definitely on my list of must-see flicks this summer. Was it worth it? How were the connections to Alien? These -- and many more -- questions are answered below the fold!
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
I'm usually left confused by several aspects of any film (and usually have a friend or two there to clue me in), but there was really only one with Prometheus: The beginning. I admit I knew going in a lot of what to expect, thanks to my favorite movie site, Screen Rant. At any rate, we see an "Engineer" -- the supposed creators of humanity (who look quite like human beings, by the way) -- standing by a waterfall (with a huge starship in the background). He has a cup of some writhing liquid in his hand, which he then promptly drinks. The liquid has the effect of essentially (slowly) disintegrating him, and he then falls into the waterfall and eventually dissolves into the river below. Was this Earth thousands of years ago? Or was this the planet LV-223 which is where the Prometheus vessel travels to in this film? I could not tell.
After the prologue, the film begins in Scotland in the year 2089 where archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discover a star map -- a map that was also discovered among other famous cultures' ancient drawings and hieroglyphs. The duo (who are lovers, by the way) believe these maps to be a message ... to come find the "Engineers."
Fast forward four years. The Weyland Corporation has funded a trip to LV-223, the planet (a moon, actually) to which the star maps pointed. The Prometheus (name of the ship, just in case) lands near several clearly constructed edifices, and most of the crew journey inside. Once there, they discover that the Engineers were indeed remarkably human-like in appearance, and a sort-of holographic video seems to show that something went awry in the installation, causing the Engineers to flee and resulting in the deaths of some of them.
It's here that we first glimpse the eerie similarities to Alien. In the chamber where the huge Engineer bust is, there are hundreds of "vases" each containing a mysterious black liquid. ("The X-Files" fans will be thrilled at this, by the way.) The vases clearly are reminiscent of the Alien "eggs" the way they're arranged on the chamber floor. In the vases' black liquid there appear to be small worm-like things swimming around; the liquid and squirmy things appear to be what the Engineer drank in the film's prologue. The android David (played phenomenally by Michael "Magneto" Fassbender) ignores orders to "not touch anything," and not only touches the liquid, but secures an entire vase for retrieval (unbeknownst to the away team crew).
It's also here that we see the eerie similarities between David and Alien's android Ashe (played by Ian Holm). It's pretty clear by this point that David is operating at the behest of the Company (meaning Weyland), and that retrieval of anything deemed of value by Weyland is top priority. Back aboard Prometheus, David clandestinely adds a minute amount of the black liquid to Holloway's drink, thus beginning a slow transformation of the latter into ... something. Viewers, too, will cringe as Holloway and Shaw have sex shortly after David has infected Holloway.
Elsewhere, two crew members who wanted to leave the initial away trip early (because they're pussies) haven't reported back to Prometheus -- they're lost inside the edifice. This provides the convenient set-up for the already-known-by-now dastardly nature of the whole temple or whatever the building is. This duo eventually enters the same chamber that the main away crew went into, but somehow -- despite being scared shitless before -- these dudes become brave enough to touch the black liquid ... and even approach a mysterious snake-like creature which has popped up from a small stream of the black stuff surrounding the vases. And voilá -- the snake thing wraps itself around one of the dude's arms, eventually making its way inside his suit -- and stuffs itself down his throat! The other guy, in the struggle, was knocked down and his spacesuit's faceplate landed in the the "stream" of black liquid. Somehow this stuff is quite acidic (obviously another connection to Alien -- acid blood), melting the suit's faceplate and infecting the guy within with ... whatever the hell it is.
Aboard Prometheus, the predicament of these two has become known, and the away crew sets back out to (hopefully) rescue them. Holloway, however, is becoming more and more ill. After discovering that the dude who had the snake-thing go down his throat is dead, and that the melted faceplate dude also appears so, the away crew head back to the ship. But Holloway's "illness" has become acute, and leader of the expedition Vickers (played by Charlize Theron), acting in a very un-Ashe-like way, refuses to allow Holloway back on board -- and eventually blasts him with a flame thrower when he tries to force his way in!
Things begin to flow at break-neck speed now. Shaw, upon Holloway's death, realizes she'd better get a medical exam pronto (remember, the two had conjugal relations the night before!). David stoically informs Shaw that she is pregnant, and that the ... "child" is about three months along. He refuses to perform an abortion citing "danger," but by now we know his interest is Weyland's interest -- the same as it was in Alien: Bring back lifeform; all other orders rescinded. Shaw then quickly heads to an auto surgery recepticle where she promptly performs surgery on herself, extricating the creature from her body. The little monster looks like a small octopus, rather than the xenomorph we all know and loathe. Shaw manages to contain the creature within the recepticle's confines for the nonce.
Being the Alien-verse geek that I am, the auto-surgery machine and the small, wormlike creatures in the black liquid (see left) made me wonder if producer/director Ridley Scott had read Dark Horse Comics' Aliens: Labyrinth series, one of the f***ing scariest and gruesomest stories I've ever read in comics. If you don't believe me, then check out what Jeff says about the story at Sky-Ffy:
#3 was the first issue I had and probably my favourite, inside we get treated to a young Dr Church's ordeal inside a slightly different Alien Hive, described in vivid, visceral detail; quite possibly the most brilliant and disgusting Aliens story I've ever read.
If Scott is familiar with that series, he certainly picked the right one. As I (and Jeff) noted, you'd prepare yourself before reading, especially issue #3 -- possibly the freakiest of any comics series I've ever read. No joke.
Now that Shaw is Alien-free, she meanders around the ship and eventually comes upon a recently-awakened Peter Weyland (played by Guy Pearce). Weyland, near death, is surrounded by assistants, including the android David and Vickers. He's been on the Prometheus the entire time. Shaw asks "Why??" "To meet our creators," Weyland tells her. Indeed, David had discovered that inside the Engineer edifice is a starship -- exactly like the one discovered in Alien. He found the "pilot room" (as seen by Dallas, Kane and Lambert in the original film) and managed to activate its star mapping programs. During such, he saw Earth among the many planets and stars on the map. And ... he discovered that there was a surviving Engineer in the room -- in hypersleep.
Weyland, David, Shaw and a few crew journey back to the "pilot room" to awaken the Engineer. David, after all, has learned the alien's (not Alien's) language, so they can communicate with it (him?) Unfortunately for all concerned, once awakened, the Engineer promptly proceeds to rip David's head off, and bash the shit out of everyone else, killing them -- except Shaw who's managed to bolt down the "hall." Shaw frantically radios Capt. Janek back at Prometheus, informing him that he needs to destroy the powering-up Engineer starship, for it is heading to Earth to release the black liquid. (This is what David had revealed to Shaw a little while prior.) Janek complies, and rams Prometheus into the horeshoe-shaped vessel, causing both to tumble back to the surface. But the Engineer survives the crash, finds the lifeboat which just happens to house the auto-surgery recepticle, and proceeds to give chase to Shaw. Shaw leads it/him back to the surgery room where her "aborted" creature is. As the Engineer enters the surgery area, Shaw unlocks the door, and a now-massive octopus-like monster attacks the Engineer, who actually manages to put up a decent fight! But, eventually the Engineer succumbs, and the creature acts like a behemoth face-hugger, jamming a proboscis down the Engineer's throat.
Shaw is contacted by the decapitated David, who is then recovered by the archeologist. David informs her that there are other Engineer ships on the moon, meaning they can use one to get back to Earth. Shaw tells David "no" -- they'll use one to journey to the Engineer home planet ... to get answers to all her (their) questions. In the last few scenes we see in the distance an Engineer ship rising up and jaunting off into space, presumably Shaw and David en route to the Engineer homeworld. But the very last scene we witness is that of the Engineer attacked by Shaw's "offspring": its/his body convulses and jerks and then a creature burst forth from its/his torso. It clearly is a proto-xenomorph, the precursor to the Alien we all know and are scared shitless of!
Now, back to Shaw's and David's (and ours, natch!) questions:
* Why do/did the Engineers want to destroy us? We're their creations after all! The proof of this is shown after an examination of the remnants of the first Engineer discovered in the edifice: Its DNA and that of humans are an exact match. So, what's the deal? A clue is offered in the scene where the android David is talking with Holloway. Holloway has a rather condescending manner toward David, mocking his lack of emotions, among other things. But David has the last "laugh," so to speak: When David asks Holloway why humans created androids, Holloway replies "Because we could." To which David responds, "Perhaps that's why the Engineers created you." And, of course, human lore is replete with stories of human creations turning against its creators (contemporary ones include The Matrix, The Terminator, Colossus: The Forbin Project, I, Robot), so why wouldn't the Engineers fear the same? Of course, the Engineers originally planned to wipe out humanity millenia prior, so one may wonder what sort of threat humans of that time period actually posed. Perhaps the Engineers feared the rapid technological progress humans were making and decided to nip it in the bud, so to speak. After all, going from horse and buggy to faster-than-light travel in 200 years might be frighteningly fast.
* Why would the Engineers use stuff like the xenomorphs (Aliens) to eradicate us? Was it to "cleanse" our planet of the human scourge? If so, then wouldn't the Engineers have to then cleanse the Aliens afterwards? This doesn't make a lot of sense -- unless we take a clue from the prologue and from the holographic imagery seen when the Prometheus crew first enter the Engineer edifice. In the prologue, the Engineer who consumes the black liquid disintegrates, with his remains in the water supply leading us to believe this would infect the entire biosphere. Was this evidence of how the Engineers had always dealt with mistakes of their [genetic] experiments? As for the holographic film of the apparent disaster that befell the Engineers in the edifice, this leads us to conclude that their [genetic] experiments went awry -- that a contagion (the black liquid?) mutated and escaped, causing mass [Engineer] death. I say "mutated" because throughout the film this is precisely what we witness: Black liquid becomes "wormy" black liquid, becomes snake-like creature, becomes embryonic octopus-like creature, becomes massive face-hugger-like creature becomes, proto-xenomorph. The fact that the Engineers created us demonstrates that this is indeed what the Engineers were -- masters of genetics. But they're clearly not infallible despite their prodigious technological superiority.
* Why did the Earthly star maps point to LV-223? This is a great question. Why point to what is essentially a world where death is created, a planetwide [bio] weapons laboratory? Perhaps the moon wasn't always what it was in the film, or, maybe the star map served its purpose: If a race reached a level of intelligence necessary to comprehend and decipher the star maps, they'd then journey to this death-world and hence doom their race -- doing the Engineer's work for them (wiping out a threatening species).
My buddy Vic Holtreman wrote up a "Five Simple Changes That Would Make ‘Prometheus’ Better (For Fans Of ‘Alien’)" article over at his awesome site Screen Rant. Note that Vic isn't advocating such changes, just that these would placate hardcore Alien fans who wanted a more "direct" sequel. However, I personally side with script writer Damon Lindelof who said
If the ending to [Prometheus] is just going to be the room that John Hurt walks into that's full of [alien] eggs [in Alien], there's nothing interesting in that, because we know where it's going to end. Good stories, you don't know where they're going to end. A true prequel should essentially proceed [sic] the events of the original film, but be about something entirely different, feature different characters, have an entirely different theme, although it takes place in that same world.
Obviously, since Shaw and David warped off to (we presume) the Engineer homeworld, a sequel is anticipated. There is one big thing we can conclude about this sequel already: The Engineers ultimately decide not to destroy humanity. How do we know? Easy -- we have Alien and its sequels, the last of which takes place over 200 years after the events in Prometheus. Either Shaw and David succeed in convincing the Engineers we're worth of survival, or perhaps the Engineers just don't care anymore. We have, after all, "unlocked" the scourge of the Alien, and perhaps our creators know that eventually it will be the death of us ... just as they always intended.
The network has picked up the new sci-fi series, which
is described as an epic adventure thriller in which a family struggles to reunite in a post-apocalyptic American landscape: a world of empty cities, local militias and heroic freedom fighters, where every single piece of technology — computers, planes, cars, phones, even lights — has mysteriously blacked out … forever.
The article further notes that "all forms of energy mysteriously cease to exist." Which may cause you to ponder: There's no more wind? No more water? No more coal to dig up? No sun???
Yeesh. I can't wait to hear the "explanation" for this one.
Baseball guy Tim McCarver jumps on the global warming bandwagon with a new theory on the increased number of homeruns (or, why the ball is "carrying") over the years: the air is thinning.
Not that the air is warmer, the air is thinning. And ... increased steroid/HGH, etc. use has nothing to do with the increase in baseballs "carrying," right Tim?
Ye gad ...
The hypothesis? Sex robots would become the leading ladies of sex-for-profit in the seemingly distant year of 2050.
The paper was called “Robots, Men and Sex Tourism,” a work that made its way into a journal called Futures, according to a report in The Dominion Post.
Part of their research involved the hypothetical creation of an Amsterdam sex club called “Yub-Yum,” where robot women create a land rife with “sexual gods and goddesses of different ethnicities, body shapes, ages, languages and sexual features.”
Far fetched? I doubt it. Remember Jude Law's character in A.I.? And in Isaac Asimov's classic The Robots of Dawn the author featured a "humaniform" named Jander who had a clandestine sexual relationship with one of the main characters, Lady Gladia Delmarre.
If Asimov, the master of robotics, hypothesizes that, you can bet it will probably happen.
One needs a suspension of disbelief to enjoy science fiction. This is just a basic fact of the genre. But for total enjoyment, the suspension has to be, well, plausible. For instance, with Star Trek, there are actually working theories about how an interstellar warp drive could work. (This doesn't absolve Trek overall, though, not by any means.) Wormholes, another means by which scifi writers use faster-than-light travel, are also hypothetically possible. Hell, even time travel now has more of a concrete scientific basis, going backwards in time (usually assumed to be impossible) included. But scifi writers can still push the ... "boundaries" of this necessary suspension of disbelief, most especially when it comes to current technology. This leads to B.S.O.D.M. -- "Biggest Suspension of Disbelief Moments." These are the moments when we set aside the necessary suspension and say, "C'mon." Here are but a few examples; I'm certain there are many, many more:
The end of Predator. This Arnold classic deserves its popularity. The premise is fairly sound, the action is first-rate, and the alien rocks. I enjoy the film ... right up until the last few minutes. Arnold successfully lures the Predator into his trap, and has him dead to rights after the massive tree trunk falls on the creature. But the alien then activates a wrist device which begins to make a classic "countdown" sound ...
The B.S.O.D.M . First, Arnold -- a superbly trained special forces operative -- stands there for precious seconds "figuring out" what the Predator is doing. Dude! I know what that sound means; why don't you?? Second -- and this is the biggie -- Arnie barely makes it some 400 meters away when the Pred's tactical nuke detonates. We see that the EMP from the nuke causes some of the electronics on Arnie's rescue chopper to fry, yet when the smoke clears, there's our hero ... just a bit singed. The pressure wave, the heat and the sound alone should have been enough to off Arnold, despite him managing to find a small crevice in which to hide.
The Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. Aside from the fact that their inclusion totally ruined the first trilogy, was there anyone who actually believed the rebels needed their [military] assistance?
The B.S.O.D.M. During the battle to destroy the shield generator on Endor, the Ewoks are knocking out Imperial troops -- who're wearing armor, mind you -- with rocks, spears and arrows. If those visually appealing white exo-suits ain't doin' their actual job, take 'em the hell off, Imperials. This is the empire that can build moon-sized space stations, but can't provide its troops with basic equipment? YEESH.
Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day. Aliens who've been watching Earth since at least the 1940s finally decide it's time to invade -- and only cable TV guy Jeff Goldblum can figure everything out.
The B.S.O.D.M. Not only is Goldblum the only dude who figures out there's a hidden signal coming from the aliens, he later writes a computer virus which disables the entire alien network! Considering that Jeff's 1996 virus couldn't disable a [human] computer today with up-to-date anti-virus protection, it is beyond laughable that interstellar-traveling aliens do not have system protection thousands of magnitudes better.
The moon in Space: 1999. We recently covered a possible Space revival; the original premise was that a nuclear waste dump on the moon explodes -- and acts as a giant "engine" which propels our satellite away from its orbit.
The B.S.O.D.M. Sci-fi god Isaac Asimov, among others, rightly laughed -- hard -- at this ludicrous premise. First, a nuke explosion powerful enough to knock Luna from its orbit (let alone act as an "engine") would obliterate it. Second, how does even a makeshift nuclear "engine" manage to propel a whole world to speeds which will enable it to encounter far-off worlds in other solar systems ... in human lifetimes?
Trans-warp beaming in 2009's Star Trek. Personally, I dug the reimagined Trek and the lengths JJ Abrams went through to include connections to the original "universe" and this new, alternate one. But shortly after Jim Kirk and original universe Spock discover Scotty on the base on that frozen planet, I said "WTF?"
The B.S.O.D.M. Original universe Spock informs [alternate universe] Scotty of his theory of "trans-warp beaming." No, Scotty hasn't invented it yet, so naturally Spock fills him in (adding more muddle to the new timeline and all that jazz). But this is besides the point. If Scotty developed a means to actually beam things through space faster than light -- with such precision that Kirk and himself materialize on the Enterprise with only minor hassles (Scotty pops up in the ship's fusion water tubes -- D'OH!), why in the f*** does Starfleet still need ships? All you gotta do is beam people to different worlds!
It's about 22 light years away, so by Bussard ramjet it'd only take approximately double that time (40+ years) to get there, allowing for acceleration to relativistic speeds, and then deceleration. The people on board the ship, however, would only experience a fraction of that time. The article says the planet's day and amount of light received from its sun are very Earth-like.
This article is well worth your time. (Read the whole thing as they say) It had a few points which I find myself often trying to make about drug companies, economics and such.
On November 30, 2006, executives at Pfizer—the largest pharmaceutical company in the world—held a meeting with investors at the firm’s research center in Groton, Connecticut. Jeff Kindler, then CEO of Pfizer, began the presentation with an upbeat assessment of the company’s efforts to bring new drugs to market. He cited “exciting approaches” to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. But that news was just a warm-up. Kindler was most excited about a new drug called torcetrapib, which had recently entered Phase III clinical trials, the last step before filing for FDA approval. He confidently declared that torcetrapib would be “one of the most important compounds of our generation.”
So far, so good. CEOs are supposed to be cheerleaders but we all know that. The drug is headed into the final stages before approval. All that R&D expense is going to be covered and then some. Right?
Kindler’s enthusiasm was understandable: The potential market for the drug was enormous. Like Pfizer’s blockbuster medication, Lipitor—the most widely prescribed branded pharmaceutical in America—torcetrapib was designed to tweak the cholesterol pathway. Although cholesterol is an essential component of cellular membranes, high levels of the compound have been consistently associated with heart disease. The accumulation of the pale yellow substance in arterial walls leads to inflammation. Clusters of white blood cells then gather around these “plaques,” which leads to even more inflammation. The end result is a blood vessel clogged with clumps of fat.
That's the brief version. The article has more detail but you get the point. Helping to prevent heart disease.
Kindler told his investors that, by the second half of 2007, Pfizer would begin applying for approval from the FDA. The success of the drug seemed like a sure thing. And then, just two days later, on December 2, 2006, Pfizer issued a stunning announcement: The torcetrapib Phase III clinical trial was being terminated. Although the compound was supposed to prevent heart disease, it was actually triggering higher rates of chest pain and heart failure and a 60 percent increase in overall mortality. The drug appeared to be killing people. That week, Pfizer’s value plummeted by $21 billion.
So that's billions lost in R&D money and the market drop of $21 billion. That money needs to be recovered. Where is it going to come from? From other drugs that are successful. They have to use the one in a thousand that make it to market to pay for the research for all the others.
For Pfizer, torcetrapib was the payoff for <b>decades of research</b>. Little wonder that the company was so confident about its clinical trials, which involved a total of 25,000 volunteers. Pfizer <b>invested more than $1 billion in the development of the drug and $90 million to expand the factory</b> that would manufacture the drug.
These troubling trends play out most vividly in the drug industry. Although modern pharmaceuticals are supposed to represent the practical payoff of basic research, <b>the R&D to discover a promising new compound now costs about 100 times more (in inflation-adjusted dollars) than it did in 1950</b>. (It also takes nearly three times as long.) This trend shows no sign of letting up: Industry forecasts suggest that once failures are taken into account, the average cost per approved molecule will top $3.8 billion by 2015. What’s worse, even these “successful” compounds don’t seem to be worth the investment. According to one internal estimate, approximately 85 percent of new prescription drugs approved by European regulators provide little to no new benefit. We are witnessing Moore’s law in reverse.
The article itself is not about the drug industry per se but rather about causation and how it leads us astray. Read the whole thing as it is fascinating (IMNHO) and functions well as a cautionary tale. Remember the bolded numbers above next time someone complains about the evil drug companies overcharging for their drugs.
Her research and scholarship diverge from and call into question the universalistic view of science. This perspective of science includes beliefs that the validity of a scientific account is objective and resides in the physical world itself; factors like power, culture, race, gender and ethnicity of the participants involved in and learners of science are irrelevant. In addition to investigating learning contexts with respect to culture and race, she employs constructs and findings from research on the education of Blacks. Specifically, she introduced a comprehensive framework that synthesizes and adds to the theoretical models used by a small cadre of science education researchers interested in the influences of social context upon the science educative experiences of groups marginalized in science.
In other words (since educationists absolutely love edu-jargon), she calls into question the basic objectivity of the scientific method and believes that science depends on the "context" by which it is derived -- the aforementioned "power, culture, race, gender and ethnicity." Somehow, apparently, something like the mass of an electron may vary depending on one's "cultural/racial perspective" ... and Einstein's Theory of Relativity is "oppressive" because it was conceived of by a[n] old, white male. (Einstein being Jewish doesn't matter for, like contemporary Asians, they're not considered "minorities" by the academy.)
If you weren't even a bit skeptical of the recent NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) recommendations for ditching ALL cell phone use while driving, well, you should've been. Most controversial of its "advice" was even banning hands-free cell phone use. For example, the Editor over at First Street Journal opines,
But a ban on using hands-free devices is ridiculous and overly-intrusive. Talking on a hands-free cell phone is little different from talking to a passenger. And considering that people talking in the car frequently look at the people with whom they are conversing, talking in the car makes it more probable that the driver will take his eyes off the road than using a hands free cell phone. It should be safer to be talking on a hands-free cell device than talking to a passenger.
Indeed. In other words, this NTSB recommendation is just plain stupid. Yet another reason to distrust government, really.
Now, of course, texting while driving is just plain crackers. I think we all can agree with that one. Talking on a [non-hands-free] cell is debatable. Here in Delaware, state law mandates hands-free cell devices in cars. But the NTSB would ban even that. But ... was the Board's science actually accurate? "No," writes Mona Charen:
But Ms. Hersman is engaging in some numbers fudging. The almost identical article, posted online, contained this sentence in which she clearly claimed that texting caused 3000 deaths last year:
And it was over just like that. It happened so quickly. And, that’s what happened at Gray Summit. Two lives lost in the blink of an eye. And, it’s what happened to more than 3,000 people last year. Lives lost. In the blink of an eye. In the typing of a text. In the push of a send button.
When I phoned the agency yesterday to ask where the 3000 figure came from — and whether it included all distractions (including rubbernecking, eating, adjusting the CD player, etc). An agency public affairs person said it did.
Well, in that case, Hersman was misrepresenting the numbers. I had looked at the NTSB’s data on distracted driving, which is where you’ll find the 3000 figure, and learned that of the distracted driving deaths, only 995 were attributable to cell phone use.
Sadly hilarious. Or, as Charen writes, "The NTSB is attempting to 'save' us from a wildly exaggerated threat at the price of incredible convenience and efficiency." And, in addition, it proves that bored bureaucrats too often feel they have to justify their positions, high salaries and bennies by coming up with ridiculous "recommendations" based on their intense and in-depth (but ultimately shoddy) "research."
The bad news: It's 600 light years away.
This means that, even using Star Trek: Enterprise's maximum ship velocity -- warp 5 -- it'd take two and three-quarters years to get there!
In other words, we ain't goin' there anytime soon.
Police said Mr [Eloi] Cole, who was wearing a bow tie and rather too much tweed for his age, would not reveal his country of origin. "Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I'm here to stop it ever happening."
Kit-Kats for everyone? Sounds like my kinda future!
EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.
Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.
A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.
Prof Brian Ratcliffe, spokesman for the Nutrition Society, said dehydration was usually caused by a clinical condition and that one could remain adequately hydrated without drinking water.
He said: “The EU is saying that this does not reduce the risk of dehydration and that is correct.
“This claim is trying to imply that there is something special about bottled water which is not a reasonable claim.”
"Something special" about ... drinking water?? Isn't water ... water? Who cares if it's bottled or not? Bottled, tap, filtered ... they all help prevent dehydration. I mean ... wait, why the hell am I even bothering? This whole thing is just f***ing NUTS!!
Well, it appears I was right when I asked "How 'bout some truth in advertising?" regarding Image Comics' The Big Lie -- its Trutheresque comic about the 9/11 attacks. Avi Green over at the indispensable Four Color Media Monitor reports on its debut, and the initial reports about it were chock full of ... well, lies. Avi notes via Wired:
It’s enough to make you void your Comixology pullbox. Rick Veitch, a legend in the comic book industry, published The Big Lie on Wednesday, a sleazy 9/11 Truther screed in sequential-art form. Spoiler alert: pseudo-scientific hysteria married to paranoia about How Bush Knew isn’t any cuter when told by cartoon figures.
[...] Veitch doesn’t stop at one conspiracy. They build in their scope and scale. First it’s about Norad unexpectedly preoccupying U.S. air defenses with frivolous training exercises. Then it’s about how the neocons in the Bush administration are looking for an excuse to invade Iraq. (“I’ve heard more than one of these nut-jobs say what the U.S. needs is a ‘New Pearl Harbor,’” says a character who informs us he voted for Reagan.) Finally, the skeptical husband, an engineer who did his thesis on the World Trade Center, dismisses his future-wife by assuring her that “the only way to bring down these structures down is with explosives.” You see where this is going.
Sigh. Yes, planes loaded with jet fuel and used as missiles can — and did — destroy the World Trade Center. Read the authoritative Popular Mechanics story about the physics of 9/11 if your mind is open to persuasion. Bush and company indeed wanted to take down Saddam Hussein from the start of his administration and they cynically tied Saddam to 9/11 absent evidence. But sorry: there is no evidence they planned an invasion before 9/11; no evidence that they knew about 9/11 and let it happen; and no evidence at all they brought the Towers down.
Actually, Bush and Co. didn't do any such thing, despite the "progressive" conventional wisdom. The only thing I can ever recall of "making" any such "connection" was one time Dick Cheney, after being asked about a relationship early on, said "we don't know at this point." But the fact is, President Bush specifically stated there was no a direct connection between the 9/11 attacks and Saddam Hussein.
But back to the comic: Remember what author Veitch said about it in its initial reporting: "[he] has aimed the book itself straight at the middle." In other words, Veitch's words about The Big Lie were themselves a big lie. There's nothing "straight at the middle" about George W. Bush somehow orquestrating 9/11. What it is is pure moonbat lunacy. Not only should Image Comics be ashamed of itself for publishing this drivel, but MSM outlets like USA Today should ashamed too for not accurately reporting on the book.
Remember what I said back in June:
Would anyone credibly state that "wondering" about our current president's place of birth is "down the middle?" Hell, no. That's the exclusive realm of the extreme right.
And you can be sure USA Today would be damn sure to point that out -- and not at all sugarcoat a a report about a comic whose premise is President Obama really being born in Kenya. Not to mention you can bet that major MSM outlets would be screaming bloody murder about the story ... how crazy Image is, what our political discourse "has descended to," and all the other [hypocritical] BS.
Oh, and if I didn't already say it, I'll paraphrase Maxine Waters: Veitch can go straight to Hell.
Wilmington's Paul Donohue takes global warming paranoia to a whole new level:
The facts: Earth is warming and atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing. The proof that CO2 is the cause of the warming are warmer nights and poles. Because CO2 traps heat, nights are hotter and polar ice and permafrost is melting. On the planet Venus, extreme warming from CO2 makes night as hot as day and poles as hot as the equator. Mercury is closer to the sun but has no atmosphere; heat is not trapped, and night is colder than any place on Earth. Venus was once like Earth, but suffered extreme warming due to feedback releases of CO2.
Continued warming could make Earth like Venus. I worry this will gradually become serious in the lifetime of my grandchildren.
As you might text someone, "OMG." To seriously claim that Earth could become like Venus anytime within even a few generations is beyond insane to the extreme. To claim Earth will become like Venus in a few millennia is similarly insane. Now, in millions of years time? There's the possibility, as the sun grows cooler but expands -- thereby heating up the Earth to a degree never before encountered since the Solar System's earliest days.
After all, gee -- 'ya think the fact that our second planet is almost 30 million miles closer to the Sun than Earth has anything to do with its climatic conditions, hmm?
Via The Blaze:
Uh, Al? Your analogy is [obviously] flawed in several respects. One, believing it was OK to discriminate against blacks in the old South was largely a majority view back when ... just as belief in global warming/climate change is today. The minority who said "Hey! This is stupid" back in the old South is akin to those who today say, "Hey! Placing severe limits on what we can/cannot do/buy because it may affect the climate."
Second, there was no rational basis to treat people differently just because their skin color is different. There is, however, a rational basis to be skeptical about what people (like Gore) scream about regarding climate change. (By the way, notice how the term has been subtlely changed to "climate change" from "global warming." Why is that?) We've all read and heard about the East Anglia e-mail scandal where devotees like Gore actively suppressed/altered various bits of evidence and contrary views. Why does something that is supposedly "concretely rational" need such actions in its defense? Why is something that is supposedly "concretely rational" make contradictory statements as to its actual effects? Why does something that is supposedly "concretely rational" need to advocate for immediate regulations and lifestyle changes ... when their own science says that the current quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere means climate change is irrevocable for at least a millenium?
And, again, why are devotees to "real science" apparently so fearful of Darwin's greatest contribution to science -- evolution and adaptability? Not only has the climate changed (at times severely) many times in the planet's history, but for as long as man has been present on the globe it has always successfully adapted to environmental changes.
Grow up, Al.
One of the cooler science fiction series from my teenage days was "V." The premise: Supposedly friendly aliens come to Earth begging for our assistance to save their dying world, and in return we'll get some advanced technology. Unfortunately, the Visitors actualy want to harvest us for food -- because they're actually reptilian humanoids. Oh, and they also want ... our water.
The economics are obtaining liquid H2O from Earth are ridiculous, especially when there's plenty of water in outer space -- and it's extremely easy to obtain. Y'know, like a thing called a "comet?" How much easier would it be for a space-faring race to just nab a [dormant] comet (or, even better, a mostly all-ice asteroid), and tow it to where they want? The answer is MUCH easier. There's no need to store it in tanks, no need to use pumping machinery, and you can transport a LOT more of it.
This whole idea is as silly as the premise of, say, "Independence Day" where the aliens have come to steal our resources. Why would aliens want Earth's resources (and by the way, which resources, precisely?) when we humans have plundered them so thoroughly already ... and most of these resources are already readily available in outer space?
Northeast braces for temps near boiling point.
NEW YORK (AP) — The extreme heat that's been roasting the eastern U.S. is only expected to get worse, and residents are bracing themselves for temperatures near and above boiling point.
Weather service heat warnings and advisories have been issued Friday from Ohio to Maine.
The high temperatures and smothering humidity will force up the heat indexes. Boston's 99 degrees on Friday could feel like 105 degrees; Philadelphia's 102 degrees like 114 degrees and Washington, D.C.'s 103 degrees may seem the same as a melting 116 degrees.
Um, "boiling" (water) is 100 degrees using the Celsius scale. But in the United States we use the Fahrenheit scale -- where "boiling" is 212 degrees.
Did the AP stop to consider that if it was actually "boiling" that humans would be unable to, y'know, survive??
Here's a screen cap in case these morons realize how stupid they are.
Take that "everyone" as you will, of course!
An electric car owner would have to drive at least 129,000km before producing a net saving in CO2. Many electric cars will not travel that far in their lifetime because they typically have a range of less than 145km on a single charge and are unsuitable for long trips. Even those driven 160,000km would save only about a tonne of CO2 over their lifetimes.
The British study, which is the first analysis of the full lifetime emissions of electric cars covering manufacturing, driving and disposal, undermines the case for tackling climate change by the rapid introduction of electric cars.
The study was commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, which is jointly funded by the British government and the car industry. It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed. (Link.)
Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, no, this doesn't mean we shouldn't stop looking into clean, and hopefully cheaper, power sources. But we definitely shouldn't make any ridiculous mandates about switching to this or that NOW in order to "save" the planet from "imminent Armageddon." After all, the effects of what we've done already (in terms of CO2 emissions) supposedly will remain in effect for 1,000 years. So ... what's the hurry?
No, it's not because they let the cast of "The Jersey Shore" film their fourth season there; it's because of this:
Italian government officials have accused the country's top seismologist of manslaughter, after failing to predict a natural disaster that struck Italy in 2009, a massive devastating earthquake that killed 308 people.
Earthquakes are, of course, nearly impossible to predict, seismologists say. In fact, according to the website for the USGS, no major quake has ever been predicted successfully.
Sheesh. How awesomely pathetic is this? Our local TV station weathermen would all have criminal records if they lived in Italy!
Aside from the fact that the MSM has such an ephemeral memory about gas/energy prices now that a Democrat is in the White House, The Foundry takes a gander at The Messiah's top six gas price claims (myths):
Be sure to read the more in-depth analysis for each myth here.
Here's an actual rocket scientist talking about the challenges we face and why we lose when we fail to dream big. We waste money endlessly without anything to show for it. When will we try to recapture that which made us truly great?
... and you know the rest.
This article caught my eye today because I just had a sort-of scary experience with a CFL light bulb this past weekend. From the article:
Energy saving light bulbs 'contain cancer causing chemicals.' Their report advises that the bulbs should not be left on for extended periods, particularly near someone’s head, as they emit poisonous materials when switched on.
Peter Braun, who carried out the tests at the Berlin's Alab Laboratory, said: “For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.”
The bulbs are already widely used in the UK following EU direction to phase out traditional incandescent lighting by the end of this year.
But the German scientists claimed that several carcinogenic chemicals and toxins were released when the environmentally-friendly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were switched on, including phenol, naphthalene and styrene.
Terrific. Now, this past weekend an old incandescent bulb had burned out, so I went to grab a CFL I had pruchased a few months ago to replace it. However, when I opened the box, I noticed that the top "spiral" (CFL bulbs are sprial in shape) had a crack in it. When I went to remove the bulb from the packaging, the top spiral came apart. Now, if you know anything about CFLs, you know that they contain a small of mercury. I immediately put the bulb back in the box, washed my hands, and checked the Internet for specific information about what to do about such a situation. Of immediate concern was the fact that a break in a CFL emits a mercury vapor; the info I found recommends that one opens windows in the room where the break happened, and to turn off the heating or air conditioning system in the house. I did both of these. Of course, the break could have happened long ago when the bulb was being packaged or stacked on the store shelf, but I didn't take any chances.
Still, based on this site, I need not worry overmuch. Incandescent bulbs actually emit more mercury than CFLs via their use, but it's CFLs that pose a handling and disposal hazard, if even a relatively small one. And given that hazard, wouldn't you expect there to be a [much] more convenient way to dispose of them? Nope. There's a whole TWO recycling centers for all of New Castle County, [by far] Delaware's most populous county! I was completely ready to drive up to the general recycling center about two miles from my home just to properly dispose of this one CFL light bulb, but it seems they do not handle CFLs!
Consider: Does it make sense not to have readily available recycling spots for an everyday necessary household product -- one that in its general use is fairly significantly more dangerous than its predecessor? Not only that, but how many average folk will actually dispose of CFLs properly anyway ... let alone be cognizant of the dangers of handling a damaged/broken bulb? My guess is "not many."
New warning on Arctic sea ice melt: "Scientists who predicted a few years ago that Arctic summers could be ice-free by 2013 now say summer sea ice will probably be gone in this decade.
The original prediction, made in 2007, gained Wieslaw Maslowski's team a deal of criticism from some of their peers.
Now they are working with a new computer model - compiled partly in response to those criticisms - that produces a 'best guess' date of 2016."
How much you wanna bet there will be another revision in, oh I don't know, 2015?
Anyone who's paying attention can see that these guys are hucksters peddling their wares to get more funding. They're the travelling tent revival shows from the Dust Bowl era. Repent ye the end is nigh. Oh, and make a nice donations if you please, I have kids to feed after all.
Not buying it. Sell crazy somewhere else. We're all full up around here.
The Australian study examined 165 overweight children and randomly assigned them to one of three programs: an exercise program, a parent-controlled diet program, or a program combining both diet and exercise. After two years, all children experienced weight loss but the report noted that “the greatest effects were achieved through inclusion of a parent-centered diet program, indicating the importance of targeting parents within treatment and the possibility of targeting them exclusively in treating obese prepubertal children.”
Next we may actually be treated to research that concludes the best way for children to do well in school is if their parents get involved in their lives!
Just when you think the bottom of the Hockey Stick rabbit hole has been reached, Steve McIntyre finds yet more evidence of misconduct by the Team.
The research was from Briffa and Osborn (1999) published in Science magazine and purported to show the consistency of the reconstruction of past climate using tree rings with other reconstructions including the Mann Hockey Stick. But the trick was exposed in the Climategate dossier, which also included code segments and datasets.
In the next picture, Steve shows what Briffa and Osborn did – not only did they truncate their reconstruction to hide a steep decline in the late 20th Century but also a substantial early segment from 1402-1550.
As I’ve written elsewhere, this sort of truncation can be characterized as research misconduct – specifically falsification. But where are the academic cops? Any comment from Science magazine?
Steve also discusses the code underlying the plot and you can see how the truncation is a clear deliberate choice – not something that falls out of poorly understood analysis or poor programming.
Read the whole thing.
Nobody ever said that "progressives" are actually a very smart lot. (Scratch that -- as Paul says in the comments, plenty of people have said that ... and they're all "progressives!") Recent case in point is CNN's Roland Martin who complains about the oil price situation and desires alternative energies:
The crisis in northern Africa, specifically in Libya, has led the dramatic rise in the cost of oil, which now tops $101 a barrel, over the past month. And with summer approaching, Americans are fretting over whether to hit the highway for vacation because the price of gas, averaging $3.52 a gallon nationwide, is expected to go even higher.
Embracing non-oil energy alternatives -- wind, natural gas, electric and solar -- can absolutely create jobs in this country, and we should require Americans to make their homes more energy efficient with products built by Americans. What's wrong with that? How can the United States create solar technology and then allow the Chinese to become the leading manufacturer of wind turbines and solar panels?
No one alternative energy source can replace oil. It has to be a comprehensive plan that addresses our long-term needs. And it is going to mean we will have to spend money. Yes, we will be affected in the short-term, but if someone told me we could spend $500 billion today, and that would create millions of jobs over the next several years and lead to a transition to an alternative-energy economy, I would ask where I should sign up.
But as Steven Hayward notes, we already did make massive changes in the way we do things -- back in the 1970s. We used to generate approximately 20% of our electricity using oil; now, it's around 1%. High prices did that. The market functioned as it should, leading the public, and companies, to react accordingly. Coal and nuclear power replaced that 19-something percent, by the way.
But why didn't these industries expand further? Well, in the case of nuclear power, the Three Mile Island incident halted that power source for over thirty years. (1986's Chernobyl explosion didn't help either.) Environmentalists seized on this incident (despite there being not a single documented radiation-caused illness as a result of TMI's partial meltdown) to thwart expansion of a power source that Europe -- yes, progressive Europe -- has utilized more and more over the decades. France, for example, generates almost 80% of its electricity from nuclear power, and even exports said electricity to neighboring countries.
This is the key ingredient missing from Martin's diatribe, aside from the usual "progressive" "let's have government spend even more and create many jobs" mantra. Even the New York Times managed to get its journalistic thumb out of its keyster and write on the following:
Park Slope, Brooklyn. Cape Cod, Mass. Berkeley, Calif. Three famously progressive places, right? The yin to the Tea Party yang. But just try putting a bike lane or some wind turbines in their lines of sight. And the karma can get very different.
Last week, two groups of New Yorkers who live “on or near” Prospect Park West, a prestigious address in Park Slope, filed a suit against the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to remove a nine-month-old bike lane that has commandeered a lane previously used by cars.
In Massachusetts, the formidable opponents of Cape Wind, a proposed offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound, include members of the Kennedy family, whose compound looks out over the body of water. In Berkeley last year, the objections of store owners and residents forced the city to shelve plans for a full bus rapid transit system (B.R.T.), a form of green mass transit in which lanes that formerly served cars are blocked off and usurped by high-capacity buses that resemble above-ground subways.
"Plain 'ol NIMBYism," writes the Times -- "Not In My Backyard." From ... "progressives"?? But I thought ...? That's right -- like Martin, they're the most vociferous in advocating environmentally friendly power sources ... low or no GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions is the latest en vogue facet of such. But as long as you develop these in a way that doesn't irritate them!! It's akin to people like Al Gore bitching about massive quantities of GHGs being emitted by the everyday activities of your typical Joe Six-Pack, while he jets all over creation producing tons of the stuff. Not to mention many other famous hypocrite leftist bigwigs.
This is also like the recent leftist catcalls for "more civility" in our political discourse. In other words, it's all a bunch of bullsh**. Period. Really. Like this alternative power complaint, the Left doesn't really want more civility in discourse; they want their opponents to be more civil in their discourse, while they can do whatever the hell they please. Martin's is just the latest example of "progressive" paternalism -- they must "lead" us because their collective intelligence is so "superior" -- that is in reality stupefyingly condescending. "We" just cannot be trusted to do the right thing ... we must be guided by the "anointed" (with apologies to Thomas Sowell) such as Martin, et. al.
Three to four times more plentiful than uranium, today's most common nuclear fuel, thorium packs a serious energetic punch: A single ton of it can generate as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, according to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Carlo Rubbia. In the mid-twentieth century, some U.S. physicists considered building the nuclear power landscape around thorium. But uranium-fueled reactors produced plutonium as a byproduct, a necessary ingredient for nuclear weapons production, and uranium ended up dominating through the Cold War and beyond.
Thorium produces no such byproducts, and overall much less toxic remnants than our current commercial reactors. And it's being developed commercially -- no big government cash infusions, "stimulus," or so-called "shovel-ready" projects.
Just don't expect something like this to catch the glance of people like Martin and co. The boogeyman of the term "nuclear" is bad enough which means that "progressive" NIMBYism is the least of its worries.
Earthquakes and tsunamis due to ... global warming.
Numerous science fiction outlets have postulated that humanity actually has extraterrestrial origins. It's quite a popular concept. Two of my favorite written word examples follow ...
I'm currently into the fourth book of James P. Hogan's "Giants" series, Entoverse. The entire series is five novels -- Inherit the Stars, The Gentle Giants of Ganymede (at left), Giants' Star, Entoverse, and Mission to Minerva -- and establishes that humanity actually sprang from a race of beings called the Lunarians. The Lunarians are so named due to a dessicated remnant of one being discovered by humans on our moon. These Lunarians were actually a genetically altered race based on Earth's early hominids, and lived on the planet Minerva, which occupied the orbit where our Solar System's asteroid belt is now. But who ... "made" them?
The answer to that is the Ganymeans. The Ganymeans, so named because an old vessel of theirs was discovered by humans on Jupiter's moon of Ganymede, had naturally evolved on Minerva, and experimented on Earth's early hominids in an attempt to battle their own physiological shortcomings in their planet's impending ecological shift. When they realized this would not work, they allowed their creations to occupy their planet, while they took off for another star whose planet would be better suited to them. Over the course of two millennia, these beings built a civilization. But they eventually split into two distinct camps, the Cerians and the Lambians, and a battle for dominance ensued. The ultimate battle destroyed Minerva (creating our asteroid belt), and the Cerians escaped to Earth -- to become Modern Man. And if you're wondering why these advanced beings didn't advance Earth much earlier than what actually occurred in history, the answer to that is part of the annihilated Minerva was eventually captured by Earth's gravity ... to become our moon. The resultant ecological upheaval almost eradicated the Cerians; as it was, the survivors reverted to barbarism, needing the numerous thousands of subsequent years to crawl back to a semblance of what they once were.
In Larry Niven's Known Space universe, it's established that humanity on Earth descended from the Pak (at right) -- a species of humanoid bipeds who lived on a planet in the center of the Milky Way. Millions of years ago, thousands of Pak hollowed out an asteroid and journeyed outward towards the galactic arms, eventually settling on Earth. The Pak had two stages of life: breeder and protector. Their breeders were our planet's early hominids as a results of this long Pak space journey. On the Pak homeworld, breeders would become protectors (at around age 40) by eating a fibrous root dubbed "Tree of Life." The breeder would undergo a drastic physiological change over the course of a few weeks (while in a coma): its brain case would expand for increased intelligence, its joints would swell to allow greater leverage, its sexual organs would disappear, a secondary heart would form, and its skin would harden into a leathery armor. This change to "protector" meant just that -- the protector guarded its own breeders, and was specifically altered to do just that, via enhanced intelligence and strength. (Most of the backstory regarding the Pak and protectors is told in Niven's novel Protector.
But the Pak discovered something very unfortunate a little while after landing on Earth: the Tree of Life root did not grow properly in our soil. The root grew ok, but the virus within which triggered the change to protector died in the root. Eventually, the protectors died out, leaving only breeders to populate our planet. These breeders, over millions of years, evolved into ... Modern Man.
Protector told the tale of Phthsspok, a lone Pak who journeyed from the Pak homeworld in hopes of discovering what had happened to those who traveled to Earth millions of years prior. He succeeded, but discovered what the old breeders had turned into -- a vastly mutated, space-faring race! It is via Phthsspok that humanity learned of its true origins, and in later Niven-approved stories we learn that the Pak themselves are a genetically engineered race created by one of Niven's oldest Known Space background creations, the Tnuctipun, over a billion years ago.
Protector and some later stories (mainly in the Niven-approved "Man-Kzin Wars" books) detailed how some human protectors acted "behind the scenes" to guide humanity to progress and annihilate any threats to humans across Known Space. In addition, it's later established that the Pak constructed Niven's greatest-ever literary creation -- the Ringworld.
But what about movies and/or television? In one of my favorite scifi shows ever, "Star Trek: The Next Generation," the episode "The Chase" clearly establishes that an ancient humanoid race once "seeded" the Earth and the homeworlds of several Star Trek alien races (Klingon, Romulan, Cardassian) to allow intelligent life to evolve (and also seemingly explains how all these races are more or less at the same technological level!).
What are some others -- that either I've never heard about or am obviously forgetting?
Can you imagine something 5 times the population of New York City? I don't know that this entire area will be entirely urbanized but I do know that I would never want to go there.
Cities are fine but really? 42 MILLION people in one spot? Not for me thanks.
After you get done laughing, just remember Chris Rock going off on singer Ricky Martin's greatest hit. It's all you can need to know.
"The number of skeptical qualified scientists has been growing steadily; I would guess it is about 40% now." -- Atmospheric physicist and founder of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) S. Fred Singer
Via former Watcher's Council great Rick Moran:
1. Within a few years "children just aren't going to know what snow is." Snowfall will be "a very rare and exciting event." -- Dr. David Viner, senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, interviewed by the UK Independent, March 20, 2000.
2. "[By] 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots ... [By 1996] The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers." -- Michael Oppenheimer, published in "Dead Heat," St. Martin's Press, 1990.
7. "By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people ... If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000." -- Paul Ehrlich, who famously predicted in the 1970's that both China and India would suffer famines by 1985.
Much more here.
In a nutshell:
and from Newsweek:
To read the second image up close and personal, click here.
(h/t to Newsbusters.)
UPDATE: Powerline reports that the Time cover is a Photoshop job. It's a play on this actual 2007 cover. Ah well. But it is true that the fake cover reflects what was being published in Time and like-minded mags at the time.
Piers Corbyn believes that the last three winters could be the harbinger of a mini ice age that could be upon us by 2035, and that it could start to be colder than at any time in the last 200 years. He goes on to speculate that a genuine ice age might then settle in, since an ice age is now cyclically overdue.
Gotta be global warming. Ice Age? Global warming. Massive snowfall? Global warming. Earthquakes? Global warming. Great Red Spot on Jupiter? Global warming. Asteroid about to hit Earth? Global warming. Etc. It's like Chris Rock going off on Ricky Martin and his hit "Livin' La Vida Loca" at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards!
Saw this vid over at Ace's ...
Personally, my fave Star Wars sound is the Millenium Falcon's engines.
Via Insty -- "progressive superiority" at it again:
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said using a cell phone while driving is so dangerous that devices may soon be installed in cars to forcibly stop drivers — and potentially anyone else in the vehicle — from using them.
“There’s a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we’re looking at that,” said LaHood on MSNBC. LaHood said the cellphone scramblers were one way, and also stressed the importance of “personal responsibility.” …
“I think it will be done,” said LaHood. “I think the technology is there and I think you’re going to see the technology become adaptable in automobiles to disable these cell phones. We need to do a lot more if were going to save lives.”
"So dangerous?" Say Anything begs to differ:
The fact is that traffic accidents and fatalities have trended down to a 60-year low according to the NHTSA despite the rise in cell phone use while driving. There’s also a more recent study released by the CDC which shows that traffic accidents among young drivers have dropped 36% over the last five years despite an increase in cell phone use.
Plus, there’s absolutely zero evidence to indicate that bans on cell phone use while driving have done anything to make roads safer where they’ve been implemented.
Look, I'm annoyed as anyone else when I get caught behind some dolt who's going 40 on I-95 because he can't drive the speed limit and talk on his cell at the same time. But still more annoying is the continued penchant of faux progressives to increase their control over individual freedom. This, despite The Messiah's claim that his administration would "return to following the science." Except for inconvenient statistics, however. And if it conflicts with its radical goals ...
Two years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made the claim which it said was based on detailed research into the impact of global warming. But the IPCC have since admitted it was based on a report written in a science journal and even the scientist who was the subject of the original story admits it was not based on fact.
The article, in the New Scientist, was not even based on a research paper - it evolved from a short telephone interview with the academic. Dr Syed Hasnain, an Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, said that the claim was "speculation" and was not supported by any formal research.
Meanwhile, add poison ivy to the things for which global warming can be blamed:
“It is a good year for poison ivy,” said Alonso Abugattas, the acting director of the Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington. “We’ve noticed it more in our park. I think it’s the timing of the rain.”
Or it may have to do with increasing carbon dioxide, or CO2, levels in the atmosphere, said Jacqueline Mohan, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology.
I wonder if Ms. Mohan was interviewed by telephone too?
Please remember this story next time someone tells you that Americans are morons:
Blue badge snub for hero: "Lance-corporal Johno Lee has accrued �800 in fines for parking in disabled bays in Newark on days when he uses a wheelchair or feels unable to walk very far.
Lance-corporal Lee, from Coddington, said when he first applied to Nottinghamshire County Council for a blue badge he was advised he was young and ‘may get better.’
His right leg was amputated below the knee after he was caught up in an explosion in Helmand Province in 2008.
He said: “I replied that they possibly didn’t quite understand the situation and that I thought it unlikely that my leg would grow back."
Filmmaker James Cameron backs out of a global warming debate that he asked for and organized.
Ann McElhinney of NotEvilJustWrong.com (one of those who was to debate Cameron) wrote about Cameron's team's antics:
They hoped the debate would attract a lot of media coverage.
"We are delighted to have Fox News, Newsmax, The Washington Times and anyone else you'd like. The more the better," one of James Cameron's organizers said in an email.
But then as the debate approached James Cameron's side started changing the rules.
They wanted to change their team. We agreed.
They wanted to change the format to less of a debate-to "a roundtable". We agreed.
Then they wanted to ban our cameras from the debate. We could have access to their footage. We agreed.
Bizarrely, for a brief while, the worlds [sic] most successful film maker suggested that no cameras should be allowed-that sound only should be recorded. We agreed [sic]
Then finally James Cameron, who so publicly announced that he "wanted to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out," decided to ban the media from the shoot out.
He even wanted to ban the public. The debate/roundtable would only be open to those who attended the conference.
No media would be allowed and there would be no streaming on the internet. No one would be allowed to record it in any way.
We all agreed to that.
And then, yesterday, just one day before the debate, his representatives sent an email that Mr. "shoot it out " Cameron no longer wanted to take part. The debate was cancelled.
Why does this come as no surprise?
It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system.
"Hey, how've you been?
"Great! I'm really happy!"
"Been to your shrink yet?"
Once again, remember how global warming alarmists constantly reminded us -- rightly, mind you -- that the extreme cold and snowy weather this past winter could not be used as "proof" that global warming wasn't actually happening? In other words, "weather does not = climate"?
Of course, that message doesn't have to be utilized for very hot summer weather:
"Floods, fires, melting ice and feverish heat: From smoke-choked Moscow to water-soaked Iowa and the High Arctic, the planet seems to be having a midsummer breakdown. It's not just a portent of things to come, scientists say, but a sign of troubling climate change already under way." -- the AP.
"In Weather Chaos, a Case for Global Warming." -- NY Times.
"Think this summer is hot? Get used to it." -- USA Today.
"Climate Change Predictions Supported By Summer of Fires, Floods And Heat Waves: IPCC." -- the AP.
"It has been a scorcher of a summer. Record high temperatures all over the United States, huge chunks of glacier the size of four Manhattan islands breaking off Greenland. One-third of Pakistan is now under water. Fires burning out of control in Russia. Floods in Europe. So is this just another summer on planet Earth? Or is it the apocalypse? Or is it global warming?" -- CNN host Fareed Zakaria, Aug. 15. (Source.)
But no one really expects faux progressives to be consistent now, do they?
A little over a week ago, some local lefty blogs made big hay out of the supposed "exoneration" of the so-called "Climategate" scientists. However, the New Scientist (hardly a right-wing bastion of global warming deniers) says the scandal is not over:
After publishing his five-page epistle, Oxburgh declared "the science was not the subject of our study". Finally, last week came former civil servant Muir Russell's 150-page report. Like the others, he lambasted the CRU for its secrecy but upheld its integrity - despite declaring his study "was not about... the content or quality of [CRU's] scientific work" (see "Scientists respond to Muir Russell report").
Though the case for action to cut greenhouse gases remains strong, this omission matters. How can we know whether CRU researchers were properly exercising their judgment? Without dipping his toes into the science, how could Russell tell whether they were misusing their power as peer reviewers to reject papers critical of their own research, or keep sceptical research out of reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?
Some will argue it is time to leave climategate behind. But it is difficult to justify the conclusion of Edward Acton, University of East Anglia vice-chancellor, that the CRU has been "completely exonerated". Openness in sharing data, even with your critics, is a legal requirement.
But what happened to intellectual candour - especially in conceding the shortcomings of these inquiries and discussing the way that science is done. Without candour, public trust in climate science cannot be restored, nor should it be.
Read the whole thing.
During the first six decades of the nuclear age, however, fewer than 100 people have died as a result of nuclear power plant accidents. And comparing modern nuclear plants to Chernobyl—the Ukrainian reactor that directly caused 56 deaths after a 1986 meltdown—is like comparing World War I fighter planes to the F/A-18. Newer nuclear plants, including the fast reactor now being developed at Idaho National Laboratory (INL), contain multiple auto-shutoff mechanisms that reduce the odds of a meltdown exponentially—even in a worst-case scenario, like an industrial accident or a terrorist attack. And some also have the ability to burn spent fuel rods, a convenient way to reuse nuclear waste instead of burying it for thousands of years.
Power sources such as coal and petroleum might seem safer than nuclear, but statistically they're a lot deadlier.
Maybe Ms. Berryhill could put a bit more energy (pardon the pun) into getting blog owner Nancy "Harpy" Willing to make her site even marginally readable, design-wise.
Is it me or does winter seem like the ravings of a mad man? I'm reminded of that Twilight Zone episode The Midnight Sun except I don't want to wake up and find the Earth moving away from the sun.
It's so hot here in DC I was walking past a tree and it was whistling at a dog hoping the dog would pee on him.
"The Kepler spacecraft has found over 750 candidates for extrasolar planets, and that is just from data collected in the first 43 days of the spacecraft's observations."
This is an astounding amount of potential exoplanets from data taken during such a short period of time, however Borucki added that they expect only about 50% of these candidates to actually turn out to be planets, as some may be eclipsing binary stars or other artifacts in the data. But still, even half would be the biggest group discovery of exoplanets ever.
And the exciting part is that 706 targets from this first data set have viable exoplanet candidates with sizes from as small as Earth to around the size of Jupiter. The team says the majority have radii less than half that of Jupiter.
Now all that remains is to send out the ramrobots!
Why is this news?
Steven Hawking says forward time-travel is possible. Well, no sh**, based on the reasons he gives us -- long known:
Preparing for the debut of his Discovery documentary, Stephen Hawking's Universe, which screens next week, Hawking said he believed humans could travel millions of years into the future and repopulate their devastated planet.
Hawking said once spaceships were built that could fly faster than the speed of light, a day on board would be equivalent to a year on Earth. That's because -- according to Einstein -- as objects accelerate through space, time slows down around them.
One point about the above: This theory doesn't apply to ships that fly faster than the speed of light because nothing can go faster (at least as we know currently). Nothing can even achieve the actual speed of light itself as an object's mass would then be infinite.
But this concept has been well understood for some time. One of my favorite novels about the effects of time dilation due to relativistic speeds is Poul Anderson's Tau Zero. The crew and its ship get so close to light speed, and as a result time flows so slow by their frame of reference, that they actually survive the end of this universe -- and the birth of the next!
Hawking says time travel to the past is impossible -- primarily due to the "grandfather paradox;" however, who says that time is a "closed loop?" Why couldn't a person travel back in time, and at the precise instant of his materialization in the past, a new -- alternate -- timeline is created? This (neatly) eludes the danger of the "grandfather paradox" and indeed is a favorite theory among not only physicists, but science fiction writers alike.
I found this fascinating -- and highly unlikely:
... a few life forms could be intelligent and pose a threat. Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity.
He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”
He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
Look, obviously Hawking is insanely brilliant, but why would aliens -- a la those from "Independence Day" -- seek to strip our planet of its resources ... when WE'VE been plundering them for, like, ever?? Colonization, maybe. But resources? That's silly -- especially since needed resources are available much more cheaply in space. Comets for water. Asteroids for metals and minerals.
In addition, a civilization that possesses technology far in advance of our own is likely (not definitely) to have a moral code that is also in advance of our own. In other words, they wouldn't arbitrarily seek to exterminate us. They wouldn't need to (at least not right away) -- their technology would prevent any perceived threat to them. On the other hand, if by some chance a civilization came upon an advanced technology that was superior to their own (very often speculated on in science fiction -- see the Gateway series, the Kzin in Larry Niven's "Known Space" stories, Niven and Jerry Pournelle's Footfall, and Marvel Comics' Kree race, to name just a scant few), their moral code might be "deficient" when they begin journeying to the stars, and hence might not be ready (or willing) to handle encountering another intelligent species.
Most likely, in my opinion, is what the late Carl Sagan noted in his classic Cosmos: That two interstellar civilizations, should they actually happen to meet, will most certainly be quite divergent in terms of technological prowess. There will not be a Milky Way inhabited, for instance, by the technologically equal Federation of Planets, Klingon Empire, Romulan Star Empire, and Cardassian Union!
Local clean energy buff Tom Noyes is concerned that the U.S. is falling behind China in investing in clean energy:
For the first time, China led the United States and other G-20 members in 2009 clean energy investments and finance, according to data released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Last year, China invested $34.6 billion in the clean energy economy – nearly double the United States’ total of $18.6 billion.
Back in the early 1980’s, the wonderous Reagan Administration, and society as a whole, did a bang up job in reacting to the AIDS outbreak. One of the reactionary responses was to prohibit gay men who had sex after 1977 from donating blood.
Of course, being that politics means more to Delaware Dunce than common sense or basic decency, for those of us who actually remember the 1980's AIDS scare remember that at one point back then:
But, DD is merely [re]echoing a lot of the sentiment of the Left from back then. His blog supported a school board candidate who explicitly blamed Ronald Reagan for the deaths of AIDS victims during the 80s. Not the high-risk behavior of those who became infected. And not the derision and outright ignoring of basic, common sense health measures by same when such became necessary.
But I digress ...
So, wait a minute. What the F**K! It would be one thing if this policy had not been reviewed since its enactment since 1983, although I would wonder why the Clinton Administration did not review it, since we knew in the 1990’s how to test for HIV. But the policy was reviewed in 2006 during the Bush Administration, and those sick fucks decided to keep the ban in place!!??!!
DD "would wonder why the Clinton Administration ..."? Hmm, let's see:
A recent meeting of the Blood Products Advisory Committee of the FDA addressed this question. At the start of the meeting, the committee agreed that the permanent ban on gay men seemed discriminatory, lacked a firm foundation in science, and should be changed.
The FDA proposed changing the lifetime ban to five years, bringing the gay ban in line with the length of time organ or tissue transplant recipients are barred from blood donation.
Since that information from that link is dated December 2000, this means that the FDA meeting in question occurred ... during the Clinton Administration.
But then ... why wasn't that five year ban enacted over the still-enforced lifetime ban for gay men wishing to donate blood?
The committee seemed poised to recommend a change in the gay donation policy, but then the slides on herpes virus 8 were presented. Human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8) is a newly discovered virus thought to be the cause of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). HHV-8 is also widespread among gay men, which helps explain the early, baffling concentration of KS among gay AIDS patients but not heterosexual ones. Although KS in gay men is almost always the result of infection with both HIV and HHV-8, there have been a few isolated cases of KS in gay men with HHV-8 alone. Data emerging on HHV-8 show that it shares a similar epidemiological profile with HIV. Gay men begin acquiring HHV-8 during late adolescence when sexual activity begins, and its incidence accelerates through early adulthood. By age 40, about one-third of gay men seem to be infected with HHV-8.
HHV-8 is most likely transmitted orally, but no blood test is routinely available to detect those who have it.
The uncertainty associated with HHV-8 is ultimately what caused the committee to change its mind.
Now, granted, just over nine years later, surely detection techniques have improved. (Although, after much searching, I found little information on whether HHV-8 continues to be a concern for blood banks.) Still, despite HHV-8 concerns, there are still many medical reasons to be wary of a complete revocation of the ban on gay men donating blood. To do so would only be to buckle under the very same politically correct pressures we saw in the late 1980s in response to AIDS -- things like "everyone is at risk" when, of course, everyone was not at risk. But hey, we couldn't in any way stigmatize an historically oppressed group, no matter the medical necessity now, could we?
Just take a look at the numerous restrictions on donating blood. Hell, last summer I was disalllowed from donating blood for a full year -- because I spent three days outside of San José, Costa Rica ... at a beach resort. A beach resort! The reason? Worry of malaria infection. Aren't their detection methods for this malady? Sure there are. So, if I must wait a full year, you mean to tell me that the health risks associated with unprotected [male] gay sex aren't worthy of at least similar consideration?
Republicans and conservatives in general really need to get over their homophobia already.
No, actually what "progressives" need to do is stop letting ridiculous PC concerns dictate sensible health policy.
The science is "settled" -- no longer can we continue to use warp drive to traverse the stars. It's gradual effect is tearing apart the fabric of space!
Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995.
Professor [Phil] Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.
And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.
The admissions will be seized on by sceptics as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely man-made.
In its last assessment the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the evidence that the world was warming was “unequivocal”.
It warned that greenhouse gases had already heated the world by 0.7C and that there could be 5C-6C more warming by 2100, with devastating impacts on humanity and wildlife. However, new research, including work by British scientists, is casting doubt on such claims. Some even suggest the world may not be warming much at all.
“The temperature records cannot be relied on as indicators of global change,” said John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a former lead author on the IPCC.
Imagine that. Just over 30 years ago scientists were warning of the next Ice Age. Then, fifteen years later, global warming was a catastrophe of Biblical proportions. Oh, but now it seems that the Earth hasn't really warmed up that much. Maybe a little. (It seems to to jibe with the info from this post, made last October.)
I've no doubt (isn't science all about "doubt?") that stalwart worshipers of the Church of Man-Made Global Warming will not be dissuaded from their beliefs. People like our 'ol friend Perry, and several other commenters over at Common Sense Political Thought (commenters, not the contributors!)
(h/t to Insty.)
Add Bill Nye "the Science Guy" to the list of "progressives" who believe that if you don't tow the ideological line, you're "unpatriotic." And for of all things: denying [man-made] global warming.
"[T]here's more energy in the atmosphere and this is stirring things up," Nye said. "If you want to get serious about it, these guys claiming that the snow in Washington disproves climate change are almost unpatriotic. It's really, they're denying science. So they're very happy to have the weather forecast be accurate within a few hours, but they're displeased or un-enchanted by predictions of the world getting warmer. It's really, it shakes me up."
Nye went on to tout the credentials of the IPCC, that they had earned a Nobel Prize for their work on climate change. (As if that means anything these days; Barack Obama also got a Nobel ... for what, again?) He neglected to make any mention of "Climategate" which has cast a lot of doubts on the IPCC's credibility.
Look, some people may not believe in global warming at all; they're in a distinct minority. The REAL issue (again) is the role man plays in the whole deal. Contrary to what Nye and others like him believe, that matter is FAR from settled, and it is that which many so-called "climate change deniers" question, not the fact that the world has been getting warmer over the last century or so.
Elsewhere in a related matter, "Vagina Monologues" author Eve Ensler sought to mock Sarah Palin as a "global warming denier," and ended up making herself look a lot dumber than she believes Palin to be:
ENSLER: Well, I just think the idea that she doesn't believe in global warming is bizarre.
BEHAR: Every scientist at every note believes in it but Sarah Palin doesn't believe in it.
ENSLER: And I think we just kind of have to walk around the world at this point and look at what is happening to nature and earthquakes and tsunamis.
ENSLER: And weather changes to just feel it. But I think that idea that she doesn't believe in global warming and she could actually run for vice president, and we have a country where that is possible, it seems insane.
BEHAR: It's unbelievable. It does seem insane and the fact that she has not negated the possibility of running in 2012.
ENSLER: But we have. We have negated the possibility of her winning.
First, Ms. Behar, it is far from accurate to claim that "every scientist at every note" believes in [man-made] global warming. But how about Ensler claiming that ... earthquakes and tsunamis are a result of global warming! And Sarah Palin is dumb?
What's next -- an asteroid pummeling the Earth is also the fault of global warming?
My fave scifi author Larry Niven and friends were pretty darn prescient. First, the ad:
Niven and co.'s look into the "future?" The novel Fallen Angels. In it, Green Parties have come to power in various governments and have a police force eerily similar to that in the Audi commercial! The world is enveloped in an "anti-science/anti-technology" ambience (just take a gander at the "Climategate" scandal and how that put PC and politics over actual science) (not to mention a new Ice Age) and several scientists and science fiction fans have to successfully rescue a couple of satellite dwellers who've crashed to Earth -- before the Greens get a hold of them!
The story, while at times wildly implausible and darkly humorous, does seem prescient about what would happen if radical Greens ever got power. While searching the net for info on the book, it seems the entire novel is available online!
In a nutshell, in the period (roughly) between the mid-22nd century until the end of the 24th, Earth has enjoyed a "golden age" -- a time of peace and plenty, all the while it has settled worlds orbiting nearby stars. Earth history -- especially anything about wars and violence -- is suppressed among the general public by the ARM, the Amalgamated Regional Militia, the enforcement branch of the UN (yeah, go figure!). Tendency to violence is treated as a mental disease, and can be cured chemically. Those who stumble upon any historical info about past Earth conflicts can face a memory wipe. In 2360, one of our ships en route to one of these colonies, the Angel's Pencil, encounters an alien vessel in interstellar space. The ship belongs to the Kzin, a race of carnivorous humanoid felines that resemble huge tigers. They're pure warriors, and want nothing more than to conquer other species.
The crew of Angel's Pencil eventually (out of survival's necessity!) get over their disbelief that the Kzin vessel is trying to harm them, and turn their laser-drive against the ship, destroying it. (This is all detailed in Niven's first-ever Kzin story from 1966, "The Warriors.") They eventually beam back all the evidence of their encounter to Earth -- to warn them of this horrible threat. But since their message travels at the speed of light, it takes years for it to arrive.
In "The Colonel's Tiger" two ARM agents ponder the Pencil's message, and conclude that, despite all the photographic and visual evidence presented, the crew of the ship is mad -- suffering from some sort of delusions brought about by extended space travel. How can aliens, which have superior technology to humans, be aggressive and war-like? Impossible!! And the crew's "madness" must indeed be severe, as they've "come up with" weapons (via their photographic evidence of the Kzin vessel) that have LONG since been outlawed by the nations of Earth; indeed, 99.9% of the population now hasn't even heard of things like fusion bombs, missiles, particle beams, and the like.
One of the ARM agents discovers evidence from the 1800s of a "tiger man" that was eventually killed by an army colonel ... a creature that was such an anomaly as to defy description. The ARM conclude that the crew of the Angel's Pencil probably concocted an elaborate hoax for some as-yet unknown reason -- perhaps to thwart further space travel, or create a panic on Earth, probably for prodigious monetary gain. Again, what the Pencil sent back to Earth just can't be true!! It just can't!
Colebatch scatters throughout "Tiger" appropriate passages from past literary works to drive home his point. For instance, there's this from The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:
It was scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay and corruption. The long peace, and the uniform government of the Romans, introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished, and even the military spirit evaporated.
Then there's this, from Where Ignorance Is Bliss:
One of the largest of all British local council libraries, at Brent, lately destroyed apporximately 66,000 of its 100,000 books. The explanation which the council gave for this destruction was that the offending books were "books on war, history books and other books irrelevant to the community.
Backtrack about 400 years from the time of the Angel's Pencil and what do we find?
In the end, the two ARM agents in Colebatch's story realized that the crew of Angel's Pencil could not have created the hoax in which the agency so fervently believed. (The hoax, that is.) The cold reality was that fierce, war-like aliens were indeed out there in space, and we were going to be their next target. Humanity would surrender without a shot unless the ARM acted -- and acted swiftly. Humans would have to be made aware of their past, and be made aware of what they were capable of doing, if they wanted to survive.
September 11, 2001 was supposed to have been our -- not just the US's, but the entire civilized world's -- wake up call. We've already forgotten a mere eight years later. And before that -- what, World War II? How long did it take before we forgot its lessons?
In closing, and in keeping with the scifi analogy, it's best to keep Jean-Luc Picard's words in mind at the end of the superb episode "The Drumhead":
We think we have come so far ... the torture of heretics and the burning of witches is ancient history... and then ... before you can blink an eye ... it threatens to start all over again.
Villains who wear black hats are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged.
She [Admiral Satie] -- someone like her -- will always be with us... waiting for the right climate in which to flourish...spreading disease in the name of liberty. Vigilance, Worf. That is the price we must continually pay.
Tom Noyes wants you to think the American public wants prompt action on [man-made] climate change:
56% would be more likely to re-elect their Senator if he or she voted in favor of the bill (just 35% would be less likely to re-elect). 50% would be less likely to re-elect their Senator if he or she voted against the bill (just 39% would be more likely).
And if Congress doesn’t pass legislation, voters want the EPA to act:
59% of voters agree and just 39% disagree that “if Congress doesn't pass this energy bill, the Environmental Protection Agency should take action to regulate carbon polluters.” Among Independents, support for EPA action is even stronger: 61% agree and only 37% disagree.
Of course, this doesn't take into account the absolute low priority that the American public puts on climate change:
Dealing with global warming ranks at the bottom of the public's list of priorities; just 28% consider this a top priority, the lowest measure for any issue tested in the survey. Since 2007, when the item was first included on the priorities list, dealing with global warming has consistently ranked at or near the bottom. Even so, the percentage that now says addressing global warming should be a top priority has fallen 10 points from 2007, when 38% considered it a top priority. Such a low ranking is driven in part by indifference among Republicans: just 11% consider global warming a top priority, compared with 43% of Democrats and 25% of independents.
Check it out:
[Pollster Frank] Luntz message tested three arguments for acting, and found this statement was received favorably by 57 percent of those polled:
It doesn’t matter if there is or isn’t climate change. It is still in America’s best interest to develop new sources of energy that are clean reliable, efficient and safe. One might consider this to be a kind of Pascal's wager on the environment:
If we do it right, we get cleaner air.
We get less dependence on fossil fuels and enhanced national security.
We get more innovation in our economy.
More jobs, and more sustainable jobs.
And that’s if the scientists are wrong.
If the scientists are right, we get all of those things, and begin to solve what could be the most catastrophic environmental problem that any of us have ever faced.
I'm sure the above is accurate. But the fact is that it's not one of the American public's priorities at the moment. And another fact of the matter -- that all Church of Gore worshipers tend to forget (and I am not lumping Noyes into this crowd; he is a very smart, and reasonable, fellow) -- is that we WILL move to alternative sources of energy as fossil fuels are indeed finite. Gradual incentives are fine and worthy, but there's no reason to radically restructure the economy in one fell swoop to 1) have an effect on global climate that would be as insigificant as the size of the Earth is compared to the Milky Way, and 2) impose high new costs to consumers when inevitable gradual economic/energy changes will have much less of a detrimental monetary effect.
To think that man's continued use of fossil fuels throughout this century will cause the planet to change irrevocably is just so much sophistry. How man -- by using fossil fuels for some 150 years -- can completely and irrevocably alter an entire planet forever needs a belief system that goes beyond conceit ... and beyond arrogance.
The fabled clock, created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, is to be moved today -- only the 19th time since its 1947 inception. The clock has reflected increases and decreases in nuclear tensions (usually between the US and old USSR), but you'll never guess what's included NOW in factoring its movement: yep, global warming.
A spokesman said: 'Factors influencing the latest Doomsday Clock change include international negotiations on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, expansion of civilian nuclear power, the possibilities of nuclear terrorism, and climate change.'
Just last month environmentalists criticised the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, after leaders failed to reach any real consensus.
Yeah -- let's move up the clock to show the "danger" of the "world ending" MAYBE at some UNDETERMINED point in the future ... due to ... global warming? Cooling, maybe?
Sheesh. At least the danger of nuclear weapons is real, drastic, apocalyptic, and immediate. But now idiotic climate politics have drastically infected even this group.
NASA's James Hansen, a prominent global warming alarmist, complaining about some of his critics:
Fast forward to December 2009, when I gave a talk at the Progressive Forum in Houston Texas. ... The next day another popular blog concluded that I deserved capital punishment. Web chatter on this topic, including indignation that I was coming to Texas, led to a police escort.
How did we devolve to this state? Any useful lessons?
Um, maybe this is how, doc:
James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.
But by now you know the story: Hansen just "means well," and his [ridiculous] proposal is "for the good of all."
"This could wind up being a historic event," said Louis Uccellini, a winter-storm expert who is director of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, outside Washington. . . .
"It looks really impressive," said Henry Margusity, a meteorologist with Accu-Weather Inc., the commercial service in State College, Pa. . . .
The latest forecasts are starkly different from the outlooks earlier in the week when the computer models that meteorologists use to forecast the weather had the storm passing out to sea, with minimal impact on Philadelphia.
Uccellini said that some of the early model runs had heavy snow in Delaware and nothing in Philadelphia. However, subsequent runs have brought the snows farther north and west.
"The computer models play their own games," said Margusity, "but the reality is they always come farther north."
Yep, our predictions and our computer models can't even accurately measure what a major storm will do on a daily basis, yet thousands -- even millions! -- of years of climate change on our planet cannot be debated because the science is "settled" and the argument "is over": Global warming is gonna kill us all.
That's what we all hear from the religiously dogmatic adherents to man-made global warming. "We gotta do something NOW, dammit!!" the Al Goreists shout until their vocal cords are frayed apart.
Then why the f*** do we read things like this: Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges???
On a normal day, Majken Friss Jorgensen, managing director of Copenhagen's biggest limousine company, says her firm has twelve vehicles on the road. During the "summit to save the world", which opens here tomorrow, she will have 200.
"We thought they were not going to have many cars, due to it being a climate convention," she says. "But it seems that somebody last week looked at the weather report."
Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier. The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. "We haven't got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand," she says. "We're having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden."
And the total number of electric cars or hybrids among that number? "Five," says Ms Jorgensen.
Ever hear of teleconferencing? The free Skype download?? Nothing like preaching about how everyone needs to "do something NOW," then generating the carbon footprint of the country of Morrocco from 2006!
And then even when sensible measures are taken to switch to cleaner power, we see idiots like Diane Feinstein getting in the way:
Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation in Congress on Monday to protect a million acres of the Mojave Desert in California by scuttling some 13 big solar plants and wind farms planned for the region.
Oh no! The plan might affect some monuments! So much for our impending doom from global warming -- a crisis so severe that a couple of monuments thwart the construction of facilities to produce clean energy!!
But the dogmatic rock on ...
Really. It's to the point that these people should be mocked incessantly:
Climate Progress's Joe Romm says this weekend's blizzard that rocked the Eastern seaboard was caused by global warming.
"As for the East Coast storm, my home in DC did get 18 inches of snow — although if this had been a true blizzard, I doubt my flight from Copenhagen on Saturday would have been allowed to land in Dulles airport and I wouldn’t of been able to get home 12 hours after I left Denmark. [...]
If having snow around the holidays on the East Coast were strange, I doubt the song “White Christmas” would have been written.
So it is inane for anyone in the media to cite this massive DC snowstorm as somehow counterintuitive or ironic against the backdrop of Obama’s Copenhagen deal.
In fact, this record-breaking snowstorm is pretty much precisely what climate science predicts." (Source.)
How do 'ya like that? First Romm downplays the significance of the storm ("I wouldn’t of been able to get home 12 hours after I left Denmark ...") then right after says the storm was "massive" and more importantly "record-breaking!" So WTF is it, prof?? It's just like Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard points out:
Global warming is responsible for:
• Excessive heat
• Excessive cold
• Warm winters
• Cold winters
• Hot summers
• Cold summers
• Autumns with great foliage colors
• Autumns lacking foliage colors
• Lack of snow
• Abundance of snow
It's precisely like this idiot Romm's "I couldn't have made it back from Denmark in 12 hours if this 'massive' and 'record-breaking' snow storm was really all that bad!!" Self-contradictory!
By the way, Romm also thought GW was responsible for the 2007 Minnesota bridge collapse.
Courtesy of the European Foundation via the UK Daily Express.
UPDATE: Here's what you do when you face the "sacrilege" of someone questioning your religious belief in global warming (fast forward to 5:55 in the clip):
That is, if the Obamanauts actually know what science is:
In July 2009, Obama’s mighty automotive team arrived to talk with David E Cole. Sadly, he has "no experience" in car production, apart from being chairman of CAR (Centre for Automotive Research), Professor at the University of Michigan, and a trained engineer and being boss of a huge car industry.
Anyway, he was in a meeting with an Obama team sent to help him run the industry. They had read on a few websites that it was a good idea for cars to be run by combined electricity and liquid natural gas (LNG), to run for 500 mile without stopping. Cole explained they would need a trunkful of batteries and a gas container bigger than the car and, anyway, there were problems related to the laws of physics.
Now, don’t smirk, but this is what one of the expert team replied: “Those laws of physics? Whose rules are those? We need to change that.” Someone apparently wrote down the cited ‘laws pf physics’ so that he could look them up later. The expert told Cole “We have Congress and administration. We can repeal that law, amend it, or use an executive order to get rid of that problem. That’s why we are here, to fix these sorts of issues.” (Source.)
If what this Cole guy says is on the level, WHOA!
Looks like I won't be standing in line for James Cameron's "Avatar":
Set in 2154, “Avatar” is a thinly disguised, heavy-handed and simplistic sci-fi fantasy/allegory critical of America from our founding straight through to the Iraq War. Sam Worthington is Jake Sully, a paraplegic Marine Corporal sent to the planet Pandora after the untimely death of his brother. In a plot-thread built up to promise much that never pays off, Sully has none of the training his brother benefitted by: years of schooling in the Avatar Program to prepare him to infiltrate the indigenous species of Pandora called the Na’vi, who are the only things between Earth’s RDA (Resources Development Administration) and a precious energy resource “ironically” called Unobtainium.
Because the air on Pandora is toxic to humans, the RDA developed the Avatar Program to create clone-like avatars from both Na’vi and human DNA (which is why they need the untrained Sully) that allow for a human to transfer their consciousness into the 10-foot native blue beings and safely explore the planet. The scientists want to use the program to study Pandora, the military wants to conquer it, and the RDA wants to strip mine it. At first Sully’s unconcerned with these dueling tensions and agendas. Once a marine always a marine, and when his commanding officer, the beefed up genocide-happy Col. Quaritch (Stephen Lang), asks him to infiltrate the Na’vi and do recon for a probable attack, Jake is more than ready. Hoo-rah. (Source.)
Gee, how predictable. Looks like Cameron didn't learn anything from the flop anti-war/big name star flicks of the past few years. And, yet again, we see a common scifi premise that defies all common science sense: Why, with the stars at our beck and call, would we have to decimate another intelligent species (surely a rarity in the universe) to get some sort of resource? Especially when it is much more likely -- and cheaper -- to mine it from lifeless planets and/or asteroids?? This nonsense is the premise behind other flicks/stories such as "V" (they want our water[!!]) and "Independence Day" (they want to mine our already depleted planet[!]), to name but two. These might make for good visual entertainment, but for much more logical scifi, better to read a book by the likes of Larry Niven, Isaac Asimov or Greg Bear.
Remember: Just ACCEPT MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING. DO NOT QUESTION IT.
Via the Newsbusters e-mail tipline, which goes out to all contributors and not just myself:
No, I don't have a story tip, but I do have a bit of advice to your movement. You claim to bust the most liberal of stories in order to expose their bias, when in fact you are just as, if not more, biased as an organization. We as liberals really don't care what you have to say, as you seem to denounce everything we try to say, even when we are right. You are a disgrace to the conservative right, and well, everyone.
ALSO, stop talking about "ClimateGate." More importantly, don't call it that. Watergate is completely different than this. Don't make this a bigger issue than it really is. Do some research on the effects of CO2 on the atmosphere. Then go check out how our production of oil releases a bunch of CO2 into the air. Then try and defend your argument that humans in no way affect the environment.
It would be great if you could e-mail me back and tell me how you sleep at night, filling the internet with such garbage. Thanks a bunch!
How 'bout that, eh? Those behind Newsbusters shouldn't be able to sleep at night. I wonder if this idiot has sent off similar e-mails to this site ... or this one ... or this one. Doubtful, I know. And, of course, we shouldn't make Climategate "a bigger issue than it really is" ... because, after all, it just might destroy the "progressive" religion that is [man-made] global warming. (Brit Hume made an excellent point about this last evening -- Climategate threatens one of the Left's biggest dogmas, that "evil" corporations are "destroying" us with their [carbon] pollution. Therefore, all must be done to belittle the significance of the scandal.) The "threat" of global warming is all about power -- that of government(s) so loved by the Left. That was what Kyoto was and what Copenhagen is. What "cap and trade" is. It is the power over your lives with which the Left is perpetually enamored. They can only do this by sticking to their guns, no matter what, on this issue. They've invested too damn much into it. Don't believe what they say? You're crazy. Literally.
No matter that strict regulations based on GW fears will hurt those whom the Left claim to care about most -- the less fortunate. Poorer countries will have to scale back industrialization that will improve the quality of life, whereas the poor in the already-industrialized nations will suffer as well due to even stricter overall regulations. And all based on what?? Computer models that have already shown to be compromised/falsified/manipulated? How is it that we are so concretely certain that GW will decimate the planet when just a mere 30-some years ago these same scientists were screaming about the next Ice Age?
Man's industrialization over the last 150 or so years (most especially the last 50) is but a small blip in the lifespan of the planet. A picosecond, if you will. To seriously contend that we will irrevocably destroy our home with such a small quantity of time pumping industrial pollutants into the air is to suspend all rationality. Just consider the epochs through which our planet has lived before. Then, consider that fossil fuels, the main culprit behind GW, are finite, and that mankind will gradually wean itself off of them beginning this very century. And to say that if "we don't act now" it'll lead to "catastrophe?"
Perhaps, but only to the power desires of the Far-Left demogogues.
(Thanks to CoR reader "cardinals fan" for the last link above!)
So writes AWR Hawkins:
... Gore is as blind to his own hypocrisy as he is to reality. And he apparently doesn’t want to take the risk of being corrected. He has refused to engage in an honest debate about the doomsday claims he’s made since he grew concerned over the threat human beings posed to “the spotted owl and the snail darter” in 1992. This was obvious when Gore finished speaking to 500 “environmental journalists” in Madison, Wisconsin, on October 9, 2009. After the speech, Irish filmmaker Phelim McAleer “[asked] Gore to address nine errors in his film identified by a British court in 2007.”
Gore dodged the question. So McAleer pressed further, and Gore had McAleer’s microphone turned off.
In other words, the same fraud Esquire magazine referred to as a “lunatic” for claiming “the Earth’s got a fever” is also a full-blown scaredy cat when it comes to undergoing a critical examination of his science claims.
And while everybody has known this, most have put up with Gore’s incoherent ramblings — until now.
In the wake of Climategate, his continued global warming proclamations and his refusal to debate are simply untenable. Thus after Britain’s Lord Christopher Monckton recently challenged Gore to a debate, Monckton afterwards added: “If you don’t dare [debate], I want you to remain silent about [global warming] forever from now on.”
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has grown so tired of Gore’s unwillingness to debate that they are openly mocking him — offering to pay him $500.00 if he’ll debate Monckton. But with all due respect to CEI, there’s no reason to believe a scaredy cat like Gore, who is positioned to become the world’s first “carbon billionaire,” will expose the error of his ways to a sound thinker like Monckton.
Instead, he’s more likely to make himself even harder to reach in order to be sure he doesn’t have to defend his global warming assertions. There’s a good chance this was the motive behind the cancellation of his scheduled appearance at the Copenhagen climate conference later this month. Although people had already paid $1200.00 to meet the former vice president, the outcry over Climategate may have persuaded Gore that allowing people to get close enough to shake hands would be tantamount to allowing them to get close enough to ask tough questions.
Regardless of Gore’s motivation in backing out of Copenhagen, it’s understandable that he avoids debate at all costs. He is, after all, a fraud — about whom Bob Carter of Australia’s Marine Geophysical Laboratory, said: “Gore’s circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic.”
Watch how Al Gore "welcomes" debate:
These aren't exactly the actions of one who is very sure about his argument now, is it? Why doesn't the Inventor of the Internet invite debate if he is so convinced he is correct -- if the facts are indeed on his side?
Answer: Because they are not. Look at how Gore "addressed" the issue of polar bears. When the gentleman points out that the polar bear population has increased, Gore just keeps asking "So, you don't believe they're in danger?" as if some sacrosanct belief is being spat upon. Heresy, if you will!
This nonsense is at the heart, the very essence, of Climategate.
Check out this AP article via the Washington Post. All about the big Copenhagen climate summit; nary one word about Climategate.
Meanwhile, here's what you do when people ask about the "uncomfortable" Climategate topic: Call them an "a**hole."
Two Academy members want Al Gore to give his Oscar back.
UPDATE: The secretive and data-manipulating scientists are being "Swiftboated!"
Environmentalists just don't care about Climategate. No matter what.
It really is a religion to these 'bats.
The BBC says that a full inquiry into "Climategate's" [hacked] e-mails will be underway soon. Which is nice, considering that the Beeb apparently had some of the e-mails a month ago -- and didn't report a blessed thing.
Not a surprise, that. Neither is how it reports the need for an "independent" review into the whole matter:
Scientists will be scrutinising the choice of chair and the terms of reference.
One senior climate scientist told me that the chair would have to be a person accepted by both mainstream climate scientists and sceptics as a highly respected figure without strong connections to either group.
Ah, yes! "Skeptics" are not be confused with "mainstream" scientists! These same "mainstream" climate scientists that admitted to fudging their data so as not to give any credence to these "skeptics!"
And so it goes ...
Unbelievable, considering that Climategate just gets "better and better." Now, according to the Times of London, it seems global warming advocate "scientists" have admitted to ditching temperature data:
SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.
It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.
The admission follows the leaking of a thousand private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU’s director. In them he discusses thwarting climate sceptics seeking access to such data.
In a statement on its website, the CRU said: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”
The CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.
Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, discovered data had been lost when he asked for original records. “The CRU is basically saying, ‘Trust us’. So much for settling questions and resolving debates with science,” he said.
And yet, with the science behind [man-made] global warming very much in doubt, The Messiah still is planning to head to Copenhagen for discussions on how curb GHGs (greenhouse gasses), many proposals which will affect economic growth. And, as yet locally, we haven't seen a peep from Perry the Energizer Bunny, who, normally at the drop of a hat, will charge in on a blog's comment section guns a'blazin' to defend to the death the "fact" that man-made global warming will kill us all.
UPDATE: In the interests of fairness and completeness, there's also a report (virtually at the same time as the Times story) via the UK Telegraph that the CRU has agreed to turn over its data in full for examination. Obviously, the two stories strongly conflict. Stay tuned.
... but there's no shortage -- still -- of pro global warming yarns. Here's the AP via MSNBC: "Much less stable ice for polar bears, expert says; Survey by ship finds satellite data about thicker Arctic ice was wrong."
Hmmm. You'll never see a "E-mails reveal global warming data was wrong" headline, will'ya? And check out the screen cap of the main MSNBC "climate headlines" under the article:
"CO2 levels rising"!!
"Warming's impact worse since Kyoto"!!
"Jellyfish gotta truck north 'cuz of warming"!!
"Bolivian glacier -- melting"!!
But the only thing about Climategate? The GOP is gonna open a probe into what the hacked e-mails reveal!! Not "Congress," not "the Administration," and worse still not "fellow scientists." Nope, it's those dastardly 'ol Republicans -- doing this, certainly, for mere political advantage. No matter WHAT the cost to the planet, right MSN??
Author Michael Crichton warned us about "Climategate" four years ago.
MSNBC.com headline: U.S. sets climate target ahead of summit; Obama to take goal of 17 percent emissions cut to Copenhagen talks.
Not. One. Word. On. Climategate.
But it does include an oft-repeated biased whopper about the Kyoto Protocols:
But others said the visit will reinforce the U.S. government's shift on climate policy from that of the Bush administration, which rejected the 1997 Kyoto climate accords out of hand and over eight years steadfastly opposed broad mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases.
What is conveniently omitted here is that the US Senate said "NO" to Kyoto by a vote of 95-0, not to mention that it was the Clinton administration that never submitted Kyoto to the Senate for official ratification!
Just like [a lesser] climate myth, the MSM just keeps parroting the "progressive" elite convetional wisdom about man-made global warming ... despite The Messiah's proclamation that "science will be restored to its rightful place" in his administration. Sort of like how "progressives" are vehemently pro-free speech ... unless that speech contradicts their fiercely-held values.
... Perry the Energizer Rabbit, that is, from his dogmatic belief that man-made global warming is a settled matter ... a done debate.
In one e-mail, the center's director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University's Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science.
"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report," Jones writes. "Kevin and I will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"
In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. "Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal," Mann writes. . . .
Mann, who directs Penn State's Earth System Science Center, said the e-mails reflected the sort of "vigorous debate" researchers engage in before reaching scientific conclusions. "We shouldn't expect the sort of refined statements that scientists make when they're speaking in public," he said. (Source.)
Uh huh, right.
James Taranto asks in the link above a question I have for Perry (who's all over the DE blogosphere blasting anyone who questions man-made global warming with a zeal only matched by Al Gore), "If they (global warming believers) have the facts on their side, why do they need to resort to tactics of suppression and intimidation?"
Elsewhere locally, moonbat Nancy [Un]Willing has a post up calling for support for the Senate Climate Bill. She notes: "The December Copenhagen climate negotiations offer a terrific opportunity to send a message that nuclear power is neither an effective nor acceptable means of addressing the climate crisis."
Let's take the second, first. It's becoming quite clear that there IS no climate "crisis." Next, nuke power IS an effective means of addressing the supposed climate change about which the 'bats are perpetually worried. And just keep in mind that current nuclear power (fission reactors) is just part of the equation. The next step in nuclear is fusion which, when developed, will solve the planet's energy needs for the centuries to come.
The alleged emails illustrate the persistent pressure some climatologists have been under from sceptics in recent years. There have been repeated calls, including Freedom of Information requests, for the Climate Research Unit to make public a confidential dataset of land and sea temperature recordings that is "value added" by the unit before being used by the Met Office. The emails show the frustration some climatologists have had at having to operate under such intense, often politically motivated, scrutiny.
Are you freakin' serious?? These folks falsified data because of pressure from ... skeptics?? It's the skeptics who have been maligned left and right (not politically) for voicing any criticism of the GW alarmists' [supposed] facts. Internet founder, Nobel Laureate, and GW Alarmist-in-Chief Al Gore has declared that the debate "is over" on global warming, after all.
If GW alarmists are "having to operate under such intense, often politically motivated, scrutiny," they have no one to blame but themselves -- and their allies -- for it.
In a word, "wow."
The Inventor of the Internet, Al Gore, proves (again) why we should really just guffaw hysterically at him:
CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST: Now, what about ... you talk in the book about geothermal energy...
AL GORE, NOBEL LAUREATE: Yeah, yeah.
O'BRIEN: ...and that is, as I understand it, using the heat that's generated from the core of the earth ...
O'BRIEN: ...to create energy, and it sounds to me like an evil plan by Lex Luthor to defeat Superman. Can you, can you tell me, is this a viable solution, geothermal energy?
GORE: It definitely is, and it's a relatively new one. People think about geothermal energy - when they think about it at all - in terms of the hot water bubbling up in some places, but two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, 'cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot ...
This is the guy who's leading the way with scientific "evidence" on global warming?? The actual temperature at the center of our planet is about 4,000 degrees Celsius. If the temperature at the center of the Earth was "several million degrees," our planet would be a companion to our sun; in other words, our solar system would be a binary system.
Previously on Colossus.
The poll of 1,500 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that only 57 percent believe there is strong scientific evidence the Earth has gotten hotter over the past few decades, and as a result, people are viewing the situation as less serious. That's down from 77 percent in 2006, and 71 percent in April 2008.
The AP article goes on to note that the Messiah administration has aggressively pursued actions to curb GHGs, and that "there has been mounting scientific evidence of climate change — from melting ice caps to the world's oceans hitting the highest monthly recorded temperatures this summer."
Really? Even with eleven years of no increase in average global temperature?
But the survey director largely blames the recession for the decrease in poll numbers. Which sure makes pursuing cap and trade legislation verrrrry smart now, doesn't it? Indeed -- let's make it even tougher on Americans' pocket books to stop something over which we really have little control.
First, the answer!
This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.
But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.
And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.
Nothing can stop the religious-like dogma of the Cult of Man-Made Climate Change!
I like Shrugtastic's point:
If that is so, then why do the poorest countries on Earth — i.e., countries with permanent economic downturns — sport the lowest average human life expectancies? I mean, what is it that increases life expectancy in the first place? Answer: The growth of technology and, as a corollary, the economy.
Hmm, I sense a pattern here -- can't blame Obama for the Afghan situation (it's global warming's fault) and we shouldn't blame him for our current economic woes because, coupled with his push for universal healthcare, we'll all be much healthier! Woo hoo!
ABC News: Taliban, al Qaeda Helped by Warming; Already, Drought Has Left Young Afghan Men 'Unemployed With Nothing to Do.'
Yeah -- "We got nuthin' to do so let's become terrorists."
In the former, several hundred years from now, Earth's colonial defense forces are comprised of elderly humans who've uploaded their consciousness into new, biologically engineered bodies. This awesome story is continued in The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony and Zoe's Tale.
In the latter, Pohl imagines a world where people can upload their minds into computers and essentially live forever at the hyperfast speeds of electrons. That's really only a subplot to Gateway, however. The real coolness of the yarn is humanity discovering an alien asteroid near Venus stuffed with faster-than-light spacecraft. The humans can use them -- but can't control them. They're all automated and pre-programmed! It's a "take your chances" sort of scenario where an interstellar flight can mean agonizing death from starvation (or, more rarely, via spatial phenomena) or can make one rich beyond the wildest dreams of avarice (to quote a certain "Bones" McCoy from "Star Trek IV"). The follow-ups Beyond the Blue Event Horizon and Heechee Rendevous aren't as good, and there is at least one more sequel out there whose title I can't recall. But there's also a neat collection of vignettes surrounding the Gateway Asteroid in The Gateway Trip.
President Obama at the UN today:
“We understand the gravity of the climate threat. We are determined to act. And we will meet our responsibility to future generations," he said.
Obama warned that a failure to address the problem could create an "irreversible catastrophe." Obama said time is "running out" to fix the problem but that, "we can reverse it."
That wasn't nearly enough to blunt the criticism directed at the United States by European and Asian leaders.
He was immediately followed on stage by Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, who criticized the West for "complacency and broken promises" on climate change. . . .
John Bruton, head of the European Union delegation in Washington, also issued a statement ahead of Obama's speech blasting the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, we're still -- ridiculously -- saying "screw you" to nuclear power. Oh, and check this out from the NY Times: Emissions of CO2 Set for Best Drop in 40 Years. Of course, this is due to the recession, after all, which the current administration will probably keep us in for the foreseeable future.
The UN -- and Obama -- concern themselves with something (climate change) that is still far from a given, being that it has so many variables involved in it (like this, for instance). Meanwhile, as Cliff May notes,
... those gathered at the U.N. and the media covering them avoid talking about Islamist terrorism, genocide in Darfur, brutal suppression in Iran by a regime that is attempting to acquire nuclear weapons, and similar unfashionable topics.
Which may explain why Obama has such an affinity for the UN!
...courtesy of one of my favorite scifi authors John Scalzi.
They all make sense to me, although I had a few issues with his beef against the Death Star. Scalzi writes:
An unshielded exhaust port leading directly to the central reactor? Really? And when you rebuild it, your solution to this problem is four paths into the central core so large that you can literally fly a spaceship through them? Brilliant. Note to the Emperor: Someone on your Death Star design staff is in the pay of Rebel forces.
Well, in "Star Wars," the exhaust port was shielded -- against beam weapons. That's why the Rebel leader prior to the final attack against the Death Star says that all attacking craft will have to use proton torpedoes. So, why wasn't the port protected against something like those? That's a good question, although like anywhere else in the universe, designers can't think of everything. And the Rebel leader did say that the Empire didn't consider individual fighter craft to be any threat to the D.S. Which, if the Rebs didn't snatch the D.S. plans, would have been -- and remained -- the case!
As for the second Death Star, I think Scalzi is being unfair. That D.S. was still very much under construction. That's why, after all, the Rebels were able to fly their craft through its interior to destroy its central power core. It's logical to assume that once it was completed, this would be rectified (as with, hopefully, the exhaust port problem!).
Scalzi also takes on Star Trek. Some of these beefs, however, are merely aesthetic. Scalzi doesn't like Starfleet's uniforms nor how the Borg look. OK, fine. Hardly "FAILs," though. But he's dead-on about holodeck technology:
In fact brilliantly designed (except for the fact that it's a little too easy to override the safety protocols, and, you know, die), but none of the movies ever addresses what anyone who's ever thought seriously about holodecks knows: Given that it's hard enough to get some MMORPG players today to take care of their basic bodily needs with Cheetos and moist towelettes, what's keeping the entire population of the Federation from queuing up the "Roman orgy" recreation, stepping into a holodeck, and never ever coming out again? If you say "they have to eat," allow me to introduce you to the magic of the food replicator.
Indeed. That's actually a problem with the whole of the Trek-verse -- with Earth now a virtual utopia, why on Earth would anyone want to risk their hide in service to Starfleet?
I think Scalzi is a bit mistaken about the V'Ger probe from the first Trek film, too. He writes:
In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, a Voyager space probe gets sucked into a black hole and survives (GAAAAH), and is discovered by denizens of a machine planet who think the logical thing to do is to take a bus-size machine with the processing power of a couple of Speak and Spells and upgrade it to a spaceship the size of small moon, wrap that in an energy field the size of a solar system, and then send it merrily on its way. This is like you assisting a brain-damaged raccoon trapped on a suburban traffic island by giving him Ecuador.
If memory serves, the denizens of that machine planet (often speculated that they were Borg) didn't outfit the Voyager probe with all that junk right away. As they set the craft back on its way home (Earth), the [since-modified] Voyager accumulated the majority of its technological enhancements on its approximately 70K light-year sojourn.
The Blackberry. I agree with writer Daniel Harrison-- if you absolutely don't need it outside of work, put the damn thing away. There's rarely a bigger tool at the bar, restaurant or golf course than the friend/acquaintance/newly introduced someone that spends every passing second on his/her BB surfing the 'net for ... whatever.
iPod accessories. I always get a chuckle out of folks that scoff at the fact that I have one of the first model iPods (the Nano), that it's a hand-me-down (I "inherited" it from my daughter when we "upgraded" hers to the latest model a Christmas or so ago), and that I don't have a "neat" case for it or some fancy headphones. Well let's see -- gee, I'm in my mid-40s so I could care freakin' less what my iPod LOOKS like! As long as it holds and plays the music I like, I am golden, hear? Hell, some of my best friends don't even own an iPod yet, so at least I'm ahead of that curve! Oh, and speaking of headphones, I'm with Harrison -- WTF is the deal with having one hang uselessly all over one's self? Isn't the idea to listen to music in stereo?
Linux. I saw the story about these dudes on "60 Minutes" a while back and was intrigued. But Harrison has it right: "... a lot of Linux users out there give the whole thing a poor name. They forget that most people don't know as much as they do about computers. Some people garden, write poetry, fall in love or ... er, bloviate about gadgetry." Indeed. What layman wants to bother to learn/use a system that reminds one of the pre-Windows DOS days? These tools remind me of the folks that derided AOL users back in the '90s. I mean, God forbid that a company make [new] Internet technology a piece of cake for the everyman! Harrison continues:
Please don't confuse your fanaticism with superiority and, for the love of Jobs, stop telling us we're sheep under the sway of Microsoft. No one likes Comcast either, but until it's convenient to string our own fiber optic cable we're sticking with it. (Msnbc.com is a Microsoft-NBC Universal joint venture.)
Cool if: You're not heaping disdain on the rest of us, or maybe if you're in charge of a server farm.
Not cool if: You feel your mastery of computers excuses your inability to control a neck-beard.
Such putzes are in line with those who, for instance, wanted to boycott the revamped Star Wars films (y'know, the "special editions" that made use of new CGI effects). I mean ... why?? Get an F'ing grip.
The Bluetooth. This is by FAR the gadget that makes you look like biggest tool imaginable. The ONLY place this piece of equipment is necessary is in the car, where it actually makes sense. But at the grocery store? The mall? Going for a walk? At the MOVIES?? (Yes, I've been totally miffed at morons who wear their BTs in the movies -- that freakin' annoying blinking blue light in the ear-piece distracting the hell out of me as I try to keep my eyes on what I'm supposed to -- the movie screen. Unreal.) Then there's the parents who come to school for a parent conference (usually because their "angel" has been suspended or gotten detention) with their BTs mounted; you try to ask them "Can I help you?" but they're clueless. You're ignored while they continue their convo -- oblivious as to why they're at the school in the first place. And they wonder why their kid misbehaves?
... our LGOMB (Local Gaggle of Moonbat Bloggers) would be the skinniest people on the planet.
Check out #2 on the list.
Geez -- Costa Rican prez and former Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias has been diagnosed with swine flu:
Nobel Peace laureate and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias said Tuesday that he has swine flu, showing that not even a head of state is safe from the virus that has caused worldwide concern but relatively few deaths.
The 69-year-old president and Nobel Peace Prize winner said in a statement that he was quarantined at home and is being treated with the anti-flu medicine oseltamivir.
Hmm, I passed by his house numerous times when I was in CR (late June-early July). Hopefully I'm not infected! ;-) The CR prez's house is a fairly non-descript domicile -- right on the main "boulevard" and only slightly larger than the surrounding homes. It's only about a mile from my in-laws' house. And there's usually only one guard on duty in front!
I am wondering why all the hubbub about swine flu. As the article says, there's "worldwide concern but relatively few deaths" regarding the flu. If anything, it's currently quite less severe than the "regular" flu, but I believe I read some info that the real concern is that it will mutate into a more virulent strain. If it continues to hang around as it has been, such a mutation would rack up a bigger death toll.
In a semi-related note, I was barred from donating blood a couple weeks ago because I was in Costa Rica for a time earlier this summer. If I had remained in San José, the capital, I would have been allowed to donate. But since I trekked to the Pacific coast beaches for four days while there, I was categorized as a "malaria risk." Not allowed to donate for one full year. Geez.
And that's the size of computers in the future.
I discuss the matter over at The Comics of Rhodey.
Despite this vulgarity (LOL), Sheldon Mayer's yarn may be the best I've yet read in this DC sci-fi title. It's sort of a "Timecop" tale, where an unscrupulous 25th century dude plans to make himself rich back in the 19th century. It utilizes a "closed loop" time geometry; the protagonist gets rich by betting with Martian industrial diamonds. However, these diamonds contain a strain of the "Martian Flu" which proceeds to wipe out all of humanity in a few years! Our protagonist discovers this sordid fact after he jaunts sixty years up the timestream (still in the 19th century) to take advantage of his accumulated riches. Oops. He can't even jaunt back to his home 25th century because humanity is dead -- time travel will never have been invented, so his traveling device is useless! But ... if dead humanity prevents time travel from being invented, why is our protagonist still alive?? He'd never have been born!
(Also at The Comics of Rhodey.)
"EMP 101" A Basic Primer & Suggestions for Preparedness, by William Forstchen, author of the thriller One Second After.
Via USA Today:
Could the best climate models -- the ones used to predict global warming -- all be wrong?
Maybe so, says a new study published online today in the journal Nature Geoscience. The report found that only about half of the warming that occurred during a natural climate change 55 million years ago can be explained by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. What caused the remainder of the warming is a mystery.
"In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record," says oceanographer Gerald Dickens, study co-author and professor of Earth Science at Rice University in Houston. "There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models."
Which is sorta what I've been clamoring about all along -- that there are SO many variables involved in climate science that to nail it all down to "excess" carbon in the atmosphere is, well, silly. This, contrary to the claims of those like perpetual DE blog commenter Perry and various bloggers. I've never said that global warming is not occurring like some have ... what I've maintained is that there is NO definitive word on man's influence on climate change, and as such we should be VERY wary of moronic legislation like "cap and trade."
Look, the average American doesn't want a sh**ty environment. Just compare how things were in the US today to some 30 years ago. It's much cleaner today. But we also don't want our federal government taxing the hell out of us to prevent something that is, in all likelihood, not that big a problem.
The Watcher sends word on John Holdren, The Messiah's "Science Czar":
In a book Holdren co-authored in 1977, the man now firmly in control of science policy in this country wrote that:
• Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;
• The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation's drinking water or in food;
• Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
• People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" -- in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
• A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives -- using an armed international police force. (Source.)
Ain't it a good thing we have a president who's gonna put science "back to its proper place?"
Back in March I posted about the scary book One Second After by William Forstchen. It details what would happen if the U.S. suffered an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack from a nuclear weapon detonated high in the atmosphere above the country. Glenn Reynolds now has up a video of Forstchen discussing his novel.
The Hube-daughter ended her freshman year in HS ranked 3rd in her class. Yeah, so I'm bragging. Make somethin' of it? ;-)
Really? The Year Without a Summer.
... comes courtesy of Right on the Left Coast:
Six-year-olds who don't pay attention well in class apparently struggle throughout their school years, and reach age 17 with lower math and reading scores than their peers, a new study shows.
The study, by researchers from UC Davis Medical School and Michigan State University, dovetails with earlier findings that show attention problems can hinder a child's performance throughout grade school.
Uh, 'YA THINK??
What's sadder -- the findings of this study, or that someone actually felt they needed to conduct such a study to come to its way-too-obvious conclusion??
A new study says that exercise has virtually no role in the American obesity epidemic. That's right -- no role.
The amount of food Americans eat has been increasing since the 1970s, and that alone is the cause of the obesity epidemic in the US today. Physical activity—or the lack thereof—has played virtually no role in the rising number of expanding American waistlines, according to research presented at the 2009 European Congress on Obesity in Amsterdam last week.
The finding is contrary to the widely held assumption that decreased physical activity is an equally important driver of overweight and obesity in the US, said lead author Dr Boyd Swinburn (Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia).
"The food industry has done such a great job of marketing their products, making the food so tasty that it's almost irresistible, pricing their products just right, and placing them everywhere, that it is very hard for the average person to resist temptation. Food is virtually everywhere, probably even in churches and funeral parlors."
Well of course. Let's blame the food industry. Not individuals for making bad choices. Please.
That being said, anyone should be highly suspect of a study that says lack of physical activity "has nothing to do" with staying slim. That's just plain bullsh**.
But, unlike the former in the title, you sure won't hear the MSM busting on The Messiah about his nonsense:
The FDA warned General Mills that it was, in effect, marketing its Cheerios breakfast cereal as a drug, because the cereal’s familiar yellow boxes carry unapproved claims about lowering cholesterol and reducing the risks of heart disease.
In a warning letter, the FDA cited the claim that “you can lower your cholesterol by 4 per cent in six weeks” by eating Cheerios regularly.
It objected to Cheerios’ assertion that “eating two 1½ cup servings daily of Cheerios cereal reduced bad cholesterol when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol”.
Meanwhile, could Star Trek's warp drive become reality someday? Well, of course could! (I love articles that say such stuff. I'm sure similar articles appeared in 17th, 18th and early 20th century papers and magazines asking such things as "Could we travel to space someday?" I'm of the mind that if we can conceive it, we can do it.)
Some physicists say the faster-than-light travel technology may one day enable humans to jet between stars for weekend getaways (no, 'ya think?). Clearly it won't be an easy task. The science is complex, but not strictly impossible, according to some researchers studying how to make it happen.
The trick seems to be to find some other means of propulsion besides rockets, which would never be able to accelerate a ship to velocities faster than that of light, the fundamental speed limit set by Einstein's General Relativity.
Luckily for us, this speed limit only applies within space-time (the continuum of three dimensions of space plus one of time that we live in). While any given object can't travel faster than light speed within space-time, theory holds, perhaps space-time itself could travel.
"The idea is that you take a chunk of space-time and move it," said Marc Millis, former head of NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project. "The vehicle inside that bubble thinks that it's not moving at all. It's the space-time that's moving."
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" and the other spin-offs frequently have referred to "warp bubbles" (or "warp fields") around starships, which presumably is the same to which is referred above. In one (silly) TNG episode, though, warp drive was shown to "disrupt" space -- causing "fractures" into sub-space. (It was a rather lame tie-in to environmentalist causes like global warming.) All Federation ships were subsequently only allowed to travel at speeds no higher than warp 5, unless given special permission. Of course, soon after, the Federation was already experimenting with alternative -- and much faster -- methods of space travel, like the Borg-used "transwarp" conduits.
A thing known as "scientific consensus" sure doesn't mean it's correct. Case in point: The popular theory that the dinosaurs were killed by a meteor that smacked into the area now known as the Yucatán Peninsula has now been ... swept aside.
The demise of the dinosaurs probably occurred 300,000 years after a giant meteor struck what is now Mexico, scientists said, casting doubt on a popular theory that the impact triggered a mass extinction.
The Chicxulub crater, which is about 180 kilometers (112 miles) across, was formed on the Yucatan peninsula when an extra-terrestrial object struck Earth 65 million years ago. Since its discovery in 1978, the crater has been cited as evidence that the impact’s aftermath led to the extinction of about 65 percent of all species including the dinosaurs.
New clues at other sites in Mexico showed that the extinction must have occurred 300,000 years after the Chicxulub impact and that even larger asteroids may not be the purveyors of doom they’re thought to be, according to a paper published in the Journal of the Geological Society by researchers from Princeton, New Jersey, and Lausanne, Switzerland.
All you Al Gore worshippers might wanna keep that "new clues" terminology in mind, especially since climatology is far from an exact science.
(via The Corner.)
That's good news, really; the book scared the living crap out of me. Still, he qualifies his reaction to the book (and my fears about it, too, noted here) by stating
But let me qualify these quibbles by noting that nobody knows what will actually happen: with non-nuclear EMP and other electromagnetic weapons a focus of current research, doubtless much of the information on vulnerability of various systems remains under the seal of secrecy. And besides, in a cataclysmic situation, it's usually the things you didn't think of which cause the most dire problems.
So true. Still, Walker notes that it's unlikely airliners would fall from the sky after an EMP attack since they're already hardened against a direct lightning strike. In addition, cars that are not running at the time of such an attack will most likely be unaffected by the pulse. This is crucial in that transport of needed foodstuffs would still be possible. One of the main premises of One Second After was mass starvation -- because transportation was virtually non-existent.
As per usual, DE Libertarian's Steve Newton dissects the recent proposed US defense budget cuts with an intellectual flair second to none. He quotes an MSNBC article which says (all emphases are Newton's)
Gates said his $534 billion budget proposal represents a "fundamental overhaul" in defense acquisition and reflects a shift in priorities from fighting conventional wars to the newer threats U.S. forces face from insurgents in places such as Afghanistan.
The department must ensure it has the right programs and money to "fight the wars we are in today and the scenarios we are most likely to face in the years to come, while at the same time providing a hedge against other risks," Gates said as he revealed details of his budget for the next fiscal year.
The promised emphasis on budget paring is a reversal from the Bush years, which included a doubling of the Pentagon's spending since 2001. Spending on tanks, fighter planes, ships, missiles and other weapons accounted for about a third of all defense spending last year. But Gates noted more money will be needed in areas such as personnel as the Army and Marines expand the size of their forces.
To which Steve notes that the reason we're expanding the size of the Army and Marines is ... because we plan to use them. In places like Afghanistan, as noted in the article.
I mostly agree with Steve that the US has got to make Europe, Japan, South Korea, et. al. defend themselves against the [potential] threats they face, especially since they're wealthy enough to do so and frankly, we're broke. However, I admit that I do have a problem when I consider a scenario like China invading Taiwan. Such an act would consign over 23 million people to slavery under an autocratic communist yoke. Even though the United States terminated its mutual defense treaty with Taiwan in 1980, the subsequent Taiwan Relations Act states that the US is “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character” should it become necessary. Again, I am not as concretely adamant as Steve that the US simply "leave it up to the Taiwanese" (or whoever) to fend for themselves against a vastly numerically superior -- and authoritarian -- foe. (I'm not suggesting Steve would have the US simply refuse to abide by its treaty; rather, I think he'd have us terminate it altogether ASAP.)
Nevertheless, I certainly concur with Steve that expanding the sheer size of armed (soldiers) forces isn't changing the nature of the conflict(s) that Barack Obama said we would. If we're going to treat the War on Terror (or whatever euphemism the current administration has decided on) as a "law problem," then why increase the number of troops?
Here's a few of my suggestions for reforming the military for the 21st century:
Feel free to jump and make any addendums or subtractions.
North Korea is poised to [test] launch a missile. Why should we care? Well, I’m in the middle of a book titled One Second After which details what happens to a small North Carolina town after an EMP attack on the United States. “EMP,” as you might know, stands for “electromagnetic pulse.” All nuclear detonations produce them, but they’re most dangerous when a nuke is exploded high above the atmosphere. The atmosphere itself acts as a sort of “magnifier,” strengthening the pulse and making its effects disastrous. The attack on the US in One Second After includes three nukes which effectively shuts down the United States. That’s right – shuts down! Anything electronic ceases to function if it’s plugged into a socket, and anything with any size computer chip will have that chip fried (hence it will shut down too).
Whereas a ballistic missile defense system is a good idea – to prevent a nation like North Korea from actually managing to get a nuke missile over the US in the first place – a better idea is to prepare our electronic network for just such an attack. This means “hardening” [especially] vital networks, like defense and financial systems, but also preparing for the chaos that inevitably will ensue to small town America when virtually everything is shut down. Consider: no power means no water treatment plants. Plumbing ceases to function. Fried hospital equipment means dead patients in minutes or hours. Food gets spoiled. Disease becomes an imminent concern. Just about the only things mechanical that will keep functioning after an EMP are things like pre-computerized cars (usually pre-1980).
It’s really hard to imagine life in the US now without computerization. An EMP attack would basically turn the US into what it was around the turn of the century – the turn of the 18th or 19th century. This is why we should worry about countries like North Korea or Iran developing a long-range missile that can reach the continental US. The leaders of those two governments surely are aware that enough of the US military (like nuclear submarines) would survive an EMP to utterly destroy them. But so what? They’d already have wiped out the US as a world power and thrown the entire world economy into a tailspin. Their goal would be achieved, period. And we’re not talking about rational people here, after all!
Back to eliminating the threat: We already have the means to knock out a launched missile if we want to:
The U.S. and Japan have jointly invested billions of dollars in outfitting their navy destroyers with the Aegis missile defense system. The Aegis interceptor, called the Standard Missile III, was used last year to destroy an errant satellite in orbit. It is perhaps the most successful and (among the military) the most popular of the missile defense capabilities.
And Democrats, typically considered the more “dovish” of the two major political parties, have been rather hawkish on North Korea’s growing missile capabilities in recent years:
The very last time we were in this situation was in the summer of 2006. Just as North Korea was fueling the missiles for test-launch, William Perry and Ashton Carter, respectively secretary of defense and assistant secretary of defense under [Bill] Clinton, advocated preemptive strikes on the platforms in a striking op-ed in the Washington Post. "Intervening before mortal threats to U.S. security can develop is surely a prudent policy," they wrote:
Therefore, if North Korea persists in its launch preparations, the United States should immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched. This could be accomplished, for example, by a cruise missile launched from a submarine carrying a high-explosive warhead. The blast would be similar to the one that killed terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq.
It’s unclear how President Obama will react; hopefully, his Secretary of State’s (Hillary Clinton's) attitude is an indicator: Clinton “has reacted forcefully already, saying that the U.S. will consider North Korea's missile launch, in violation of Security Council resolutions, as a ‘provocation,’" which is rather strong language from the country’s diplomatic arm. Still, I have my doubts. After all, Obama is the guy who has mandated that the terms “war on terror,” “enemyl combatants” and even “terrorism” be changed to something more “palatable.” In addition, he’s sent a video message to the Iranians discussing our “mutual respect.” I have a problem with a guy who does all that, yet turns his political minions loose on a fellow American like, say, Rush Limbaugh, referring to him in terminology that is now forbidden against our real enemies!
I'm sure our illustrious Perry will just say "But they're not part of the consensus!"
[A] new study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee could turn the climate change world upside down.
Scientists at the university used a math application known as synchronized chaos and applied it to climate data taken over the past 100 years.
"Imagine that you have four synchronized swimmers and they are not holding hands and they do their program and everything is fine; now, if they begin to hold hands and hold hands tightly, most likely a slight error will destroy the synchronization. Well, we applied the same analogy to climate," researcher Dr. Anastasios Tsonis said.
Scientists said that the air and ocean systems of the earth are now showing signs of synchronizing with each other.
Eventually, the systems begin to couple and the synchronous state is destroyed, leading to a climate shift.
"In climate, when this happens, the climate state changes. You go from a cooling regime to a warming regime or a warming regime to a cooling regime. This way we were able to explain all the fluctuations in the global temperature trend in the past century," Tsonis said. "The research team has found the warming trend of the past 30 years has stopped and in fact global temperatures have leveled off since 2001." (Source.)
Al Gore, where art thou?
Watch Climate Hystericist-in-Chief Al Gore blame global warming for ... the recent Australian wildfires (don't wait for the whole clip -- fast forward to about 8:30 into the vid to see the douche speak):
Two things here, Al: One, aren't global warming hystericists always lecturing skeptics NOT to look at isolated anecdotes of weather? Two, Australian authorities arrested a person suspected of arson in at least two of the fires.
What a freakin' dolt. Gore's next award should be the Golden Douche.
They're coming for your burger and fries now:
When it comes to global warming, hamburgers are the Hummers of food, scientists say.
Simply switching from steak to salad could cut as much carbon as leaving the car at home a couple days a week.
That's because beef is such an incredibly inefficient food to produce and cows release so much harmful methane into the atmosphere, said Nathan Pelletier of Dalhousie University in Canada.
Pelletier is one of a growing number of scientists studying the environmental costs of food from field to plate.
"Given the projected doubling of (global) meat production by 2050, we're going to have to cut our emissions by half just to maintain current levels," Pelletier said.
That's why changing the kinds of food people eat is so important, said Chris Weber, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.
"Switching to no red meat and no dairy products is the equivalent of (cutting out) 8,100 miles driven in a car ... that gets 25 miles to the gallon," Weber said in an interview following the symposium.
No red meat or ... dairy products?? I could live (maybe) with eating pork and/or chicken in place of beef; however, no cheese? No ice cream? To help forestall a phenomenon that is far from conclusively proven?
No thanks and no way.
... moonbats blame them for everything. Case in point:
Art treasures in tropical nations are under threat from climate change which is likely to speed decay, U.N. experts said Sunday.
"The art world is made of materials that bugs like," said Jose-Luis Ramirez, head of the U.N. University's program for biotechnology for Latin America and the Caribbean.
"Climate change is a threat because it is going to increase the amount of fungus and bugs in many regions," he told Reuters of a meeting of experts in Caracas from February 9-12 on new ways to protect art collections.
Much of the world's cultural heritage is made of canvas, wood, paper or leather which "in prolonged warmth and dampness, attract mold, micro-organisms and insects, causing decay and disintegration," a U.N. University statement said.
Many museums, especially in tropical nations, lack even air conditioning to protect collections of paintings, sculptures and other art from likely shifts in humidity and temperature, Ramirez said.
I especially like that last paragraph. Like, if many museums in tropical regions already lack air conditioning, haven't they already been "in danger" of everything listed above for decades now?
But it's NOW that we must act!! QUICK!!
Yowsah! I ... "deciphered" a post by my Québec buddy Prof. Solitaire and realized that it was about Isaac Asimov's phenomenal "Foundation" series becoming major motion pictures! Very quickly I did some Googling (so I could actually understand what was going on and didn't have to rely on my [lame] translation of the French) and found this Variety article:
Columbia won an auction late Thursday for screen rights to "Foundation," Isaac Asimov's ground-breaking sci-fi trilogy. The project will be developed as a directing vehicle for Roland Emmerich.
Emmerich and his Centropolis partner Michael Wimer will produce the film. The deal was for mid-six against low-seven figures.
Originally published as a series of eight short stories in Astounding Magazine beginning in 1942, "Foundation" is a complex saga about humans who are scattered on planets throughout the galaxy, living under the rule of the Galactic Empire.
A psycho-historian who can scientifically read the future sees an imminent empire collapse and prepares to save the knowledge of mankind.
That psycho-historian is the famous Hari Seldon, by the way (one artist's rendition seen at top left). How he prepares for the empire's imminent collapse is by setting up two "Foundations" at distinct points in the galaxy. One is dedicated to scientific pursuits; the other, mental and psionic training.
The original trilogy was comprised of Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. Due to huge popular demand, Asimov penned
three four additional "Foundation" novels beginning in 1982: Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, Prelude to Foundation, and Forward the Foundation. After Isaac's death, numerous authors have "played" in the "Foundation" universe, dealing with different eras of galactic history.
I've only read the original trilogy and the two sequels. Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation are prequels. I've started Prelude more times than I can count; I never even started Forward. After the events of Foundation and Earth, there doesn't seem a point in reading them. (If you've read the first five books you'll know what I mean.)
In addition to the "Foundation" series, Asimov is well-known for his "Robot" novels. In 1985, he unified the "Robot" and "Foundation" series in the novel Robots and Empire.
"Even if by some miracle the nations of the world could bring carbon dioxide levels back to those of the pre-industrial era, it would still take 1,000 years or longer for the climate changes already triggered to be reversed, scientists said Monday."
That's the first paragraph in an LA Times article today, similar to the front page of today's Wilmington News Journal.
There you have it -- in a mere 50-70 years, industrial man has done what nature couldn't in over four billion: made climate change "irreversible." (This, according to the AP via the News Journal.) Oh, but in this age of meanings meaning different meanings, "irreversible" doesn't mean exactly that. It now means "change that would remain for 1,000 years even if humans stopped adding carbon to the atmosphere immediately." OK, so apparently man has mucked it up for our next 1,000 years. Except that we won't stop pumping CO2 into the atmosphere immediately, so maybe it'll be what -- 2,000 years?
But here's the interesting part: thirty-some years ago these same "experts" were warning of a new Ice Age. Since we were given [apparently] phony info then, what do these "experts" expect now? Global warming alarmism is roughly a decade-long phenomenon. Even if we had ceased all CO2 emissions the moment Al Gore had said we were all gonna die from global warming ... we already were too late.
So, why should we all really care, then? It's inevitable now. The "emergency" is over. We'll be all "global warmed" through the year 3000 and beyond.
UPDATE: Dave Burris notes how Al Gore's chicken littleling is slowly unraveling.
Yesterday, myriad news outlets jumped all over a story that started in the Times of London which promoted a study stating that Google searches contribute to global warming:
Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.
While millions of people tap into Google without considering the environment, a typical search generates about 7g of CO2. Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. “Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon. “A Google search has a definite environmental impact.”
The Times also tantalizingly stated that “Google is secretive about its energy consumption and carbon footprint. It also refuses to divulge the locations of its data centres.” Oooooo!
Alas, whether the Times’ [obvious] opinion about global warming is valid or not isn’t the point. The point is that its article was deceptive, misleading, and unnecessarily alarmist. Jason Kincaid of the online journal Tech Crunch delved a bit deeper into the claims made by the Times:
Yesterday an article in The Times of London set the web abuzz over new findings that every Google search contributed 7 grams of CO2 to the atmosphere - half the amount produced when heating a tea kettle (heaven forbid!). I criticized the article for being overly alarmist, with a lack of perspective and possible bias. Google also responded, effectively denouncing the claim.
At the heart of the story was a young physicist named Alex Wissner-Gross, who, according to the article, says “that performing two Google searches uses up as much energy as boiling the kettle for a cup of tea”. This sentence alone was enough to rile up reporters around the globe, and has now been repeated in hundreds of articles worldwide.
Unfortunately, according to Wissner-Gross he never said anything of the sort. For starters, he says he would never refer to any sort of measurement having to do with tea (he’d go with coffee). But his findings have nothing to do with Google as a company, either - they’re concerned with much more generalized stats, like your computer’s rate of CO2 production when you look at a webpage.
Wissner-Gross says that the widely circulated 7 gram/search figure came from some other source (he’s not sure where), and notes that if you read the article carefully it only makes it sound like it’s from his data. He has confirmed that he did make some vague statements regarding Google, including “A Google search has a definite environmental impact” and “Google operates huge data centers around the world that consume a great deal of power.” But the “tea kettle” statistic that has been repeated ad nauseum simply isn’t his. After learning of the misleading story, Wissner-Gross says that he contacted The Times and was assured that it would be fixed by Sunday morning. No corrections have been made.
Another concern I had with The Times article was that it neglected to accurately describe Wissner-Gross’s company, CO2Stats. The startup allows companies to purchase renewable energy to neutralize their website’s environmental impact and get “Green Certified” badges to display on their homepages. Because of this potential conflict of interest, Wissner-Gross’s affiliation with the company should have been described in the article, but was only mentioned in passing. Again, it seems like The Times was at fault here, as Wissner-Gross says that he described the purpose of CO2Stats and his role there in detail, though it seems to have been largely ignored by the reporters in question.
You might wonder if “going back” to ‘ol paper books would help “save the planet” from Google-induced global warming; however, Kincaid notes that “a single book runs around 2,500 grams of CO2, or more than 350 times a Google search.” Heck, even “a single cheeseburger has a carbon footprint of around 3,600 grams - over 500 times larger than a Google search!”
Ah, but before folks like those at the Times jump all over Kincaid’s comparisons for future articles, maybe they ought to check out some recent global cooling news, first.
Interesting article in The New Scientist regarding the ultimate fate of our universe: Will it keep it expanding? Or will it eventually begin to contract -- and coalesce into what's dubbed "The Big Crunch?"
No one really knows at this point (the universe is still expanding, and at a faster rate now than ever before), but if 'ya wanna read a terrific hard sci-fi yarn about how a handful of humans actually get to witness the ultimate fate, check out Poul Anderson's awesome Tau Zero.
David Dagenais of Milton engages in the usual yawn-inducing nonsense:
With regard to the article “Global warming reports exaggerated,” the writer Mr. Broncelet’s employment by the University of Delaware is in no way relevant to his “expertise,” and is meaningless in the context of his opinions regarding global warming, so why include it? Use of this information is perhaps misleading.
Secondly, the writer’s facts are carefully sorted to prove his point; a wider study of the issue may prove he is absolutely wrong. In fact, most scientists disagree with him.
The letter contains at least one really basic error: its discussion of the effects of sea ice on sea level. There are way too many variables left out of the author’s simplistic explanation to give it any validity.
There is really no good reason for The News Journal to publish purported “scientific” information on an opinion page.
Oh Lordy, where to start. First, notice Dagenais' use of the conditionals "perhaps" and "may." Of course, those who believe that global warming hysteria is, well, just that could likewise claim that the Al Gore-ites MAY be wrong, and PERHAPS their hysteria is ridiculously misplaced. In fact, the latest opinions -- and facts -- demonstrate that this is precisely the case!
Second, Dagenais blasts the article writer for leaving out numerous variables?? Hel-LO! This is exactly what the Al Gore-ites revel in! Yeesh!!
Lastly, how stupid is the statement that [contrarian] scientific info should NOT be printed in an OPINION section? Here Dagenais just engages in what way too many Al Gore-ites do -- the propensity to want to shut down any debate about the global warming issue.
Sorry. Ain't happenin'.
Your Christmas dinner contributes -- quite heavily -- to ... you guessed it: global warming:
Wasted food at Christmas time is now being highlighted as an environmental problem.
Jon Dee, the chairman of Do Something, says gases from leftover food rotting in landfill are 20 times more potent than the carbon pollution from car exhausts.
Mr. Dee says there are simple ways to avoid over-catering at Christmas and damaging the environment.
"Australians waste more than 3 million tonnes of food every year and of course a lot of that food is wasted at Christmas," he said.
To which Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard opines:
Okay, I'll bite: if "gases from leftover food rotting in landfill are 20 times more potent than the carbon pollution from car exhausts," why are we worried about carbon pollution from car exhausts? Or from coal-fired power plants?
... puts politics over science!
Then there's Nobel Prize winner and climate alarmist cum laude ... Al Gore:
Noted energy expert and Princeton physicist Dr. Will Happer has sharply criticized global warming alarmism. Happer, author of over 200 scientific papers and a past director of energy research at the Department of Energy, called fears over global warming "mistaken".
In 1991, Happer was appointed director of energy research for the US Department of Energy. In 1993, he testified before Congress that the scientific data didn't support widespread fears about the dangers of the ozone hole and global warming, remarks that caused then-Vice President Al Gore to fire him. "I was told that science was not going to intrude on public policy," he said. "I did not need the job that badly." (Source.)
What's the difference when George Bush does this and Al Gore does the same? Easy: Al Gore means well. He wants to save us from ourselves. He's a good person. Therefore, criticism directed his way is "hate," "fear-mongering" and "evil." (All according to "progressives," that is.)
(h/t to Ace.)
My pal Vic over at Screen Rant has what appears to be the definitive scoop: The new Star Trek film due out next May will take place in an alternate timeline.
Roberto Orci: It is the reason why some things are different, but not everything is different. Not everything is inconsistent with what might have actually happened, in canon. Some of the things that seem that they are totally different, I will argue, once the film comes out, fall well within what could have been the non-time travel version of this move.
TrekMovie.com: So, for example, Kirk is different, because his back story has totally changed, in that his parents…and all that. But you are saying that maybe Scotty or Spock’s back story would not be affected by that change?
Roberto Orci: Right.
Anthony: Does the time travel explain why the Enterprise looks different and why it is being built in Riverside Iowa?
TrekMovie.com: Yes, and yes.
So, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie takes place in/creates an alternate timeline/version of the Trek universe we know and love. He talks a lot about quantum physics and the new way of viewing time travel (if it were actually possible). According to Orci, the old time travel paradox question of whether you can go back and kill your own grandfather has been answered - and the answer is: Yes.
The idea is that event would exist in an alternate timeline in which you would never be born. In that timeline you’re a guy who came from nowhere and killed the man who was to be your grandfather. In that timeline you will never exist. According to this theory there is NO WAY to go back in time and change events that will affect the timeline you started from.
And this seems to be the more widely accepted versions of time travel utilized in science fiction. Currently, I am reading The Man Who Folded Himself which comes recommended, aptly enough, by Michael Okuda, co-author of the Star Trek Chronology. Though I’ve read better time travel stories (granted, this David Gerrold tale was written in the early 70s), it does take the, well, time to inform the reader as best as possible just how the protagonist can do what he does without creating all sorts of wacky paradoxes. But basically the gist is this: Every time you travel into the past, you create an alternate universe. Period. This is why you could encounter your younger self, or, as noted above, you could kill your grandfather (or father) and not suddenly disappear. Because your grandfather (or father) that you kill exist in a different timeline from yourself.
With Trek canon, however, there seems to be a hassle:
The problem with even this explanation is that it goes against what has been established in previous Star Trek episodes and movies: In prior Trek time travel DOES repair problems and the crew returns to the “fixed” future they left. Examples of this include the TNG episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” where a starship was sent back to fight a crucial battle and it set the existing timeline straight, and the film “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” where Kirk and Co. went back in time to bring humpback whales back to the future to avert the destruction of humanity.
In other words, Trek has historically used a … “linear” model of time where corrections in the past actually docorrect what is “wrong” in the future (in the “actual” Trek future). Other examples include:
Of course, the main interrogative element in these Trek episodes is how, then, do people from the future exist in the past … in the same timeline. In other words, given standard Trek canon, Picard, Sisko or whoever could effectively change history by killing someone’s distant relative in the past – even their own, thus creating the standard “grandfather paradox.” Granted, Picard and Sisko (among others) always eventually hightail it back to their own time. However, it was established that in certain stories that some were “left behind.” For instance, the series “Enterprise” played on the events from “First Contact” when a few deactivated Borg drones were discovered. Yes, the drones were activated and wreaked a bit of havoc, but what would happen if these cybernetic goons began drastically altering the past – like offing a distant grandfather of Picard, say? According to Trek time travel law, the Federation would look a lot different. Not to mention, Picard would suddenly “disappear” from the bridge of the Enterprise-E.
In the aforementioned “Yesterday’s Enterprise” episode of TNG, Tasha Yar – who had been killed in the “standard” Trek timeline – reappeared as a bridge officer on the Enterprise-D when the Enterprise-C came through time to the future. To “restore” the timeline, Picard had to demand that the Enterprise-C go back to the past, but Yar – who realized she wasn’t supposed to exist – requested to go back with the older Enterprise. Picard agreed to allow her to go; however, we later learn that she survived the Enterprise-C’s battle with the Romulans twenty-two years prior, and was captured. What if she had managed to alter Romulan society in the past? What if Romulus was much friendlier to the Federation? According to Trek time travel law, the era of the Enterprise-D would suddenly transform into something quite different.
J.J. Abrams’ new twist to time travel in the Trek universe for the 11th film is actually akin to that of the popular “Back to the Future II.” This script was smart and detailed, explaining the “alternate timeline” theory of time travel quite thoroughly for the layman. Recall that Biff giving his younger self that sports almanac resulted in an alternate timeline where Biff became a rich (and unscrupulous) businessman. (Of course, this is a fundamental change from the classic first film, which seems to use a Trek-like linear approach. In that story, changes made to the past directly affected the future; recall that things disappeared – like Marty’s photos – and that the end result of Marty’s sojourn to 1955 resulted in his father becoming a confident and successful writer in the future of that same timeline.)
Most time travel novels I have read make use of “alternate universe” temporal mechanics; however, one excellent book that uses the “linear” approach is Orson Scott Card’s Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. In it, scientists from the future ponder the “negative” effect Columbus’ voyage had on the natives of the Americas. But some others wonder if Chris’s trip wasn’t actually beneficial in the long run. The ultimate “solution” is incredible in scope, but the decision to alter time in the past results in the “present” timeline being erased -- no alternate timeline is created.
The 11th Star Trek film should appeal to both new fans and old Trekkers alike. It makes use of the most popular (and established) time travel theory, but most importantly it will inject a much needed “new energy” into a franchise that was becoming old and worn.
A terrific compilation of time travel movies and the theories behind them/problems inherent in them can be found here.
MSN, in its “green” section, devotes ten pages to “debunking the skeptics of GW.” Did I mention that the “mythbusters” are courtesy of … The Environmental Defense Fund?? Let’s take a gander at some of these “mythbusters,” shall we?
The science of global warming is too uncertain to act on. The EDF says the “fact” is “There is no debate among scientists about the basic facts of global warming.”
Really? The EDF plays with definitions as it claims “the most respected scientific bodies have stated unequivocally that global warming is occurring.” Respected by whom? The EDF? And what time frame are we talking about when we say that global warming is occurring? Because in the last decade we have not experienced any global warming. There’s a ton more; Google is a good friend in that regards.
Accurate weather predictions a few days in advance are hard to come by. Why on earth should we have confidence in climate projections decades from now? The EDF says the “fact” is Climate prediction is fundamentally different from weather prediction, just as climate is different from weather.
That’s right – just like these very same alarmists were screaming about the next Ice Age 30 years ago! If they weren’t right then, what makes them so utterly and completely positive that GW is an absolute scientific certainty NOW??
And then there’s this very recent report from just a few days ago: Scientists call AP report on global warming “hysteria.” The article says
The mean global temperature, at least as measured by satellite, is now the same as it was in the year 1980. In the last couple of years sea level has stopped rising. Hurricane and cyclone activity in the northern hemisphere is at a 24-year low and sea ice globally is also the same as it was in 1980.
He (Michael R. Fox, a retired nuclear scientist and chemistry professor from the University of Idaho) said there is little evidence to believe that man-made carbon dioxide is causing temperature fluctuation. "It's silly to lay it all on man-made carbon dioxide," Fox said. "It was El Nino in 1998 that caused the big spike in global warming and little to do with carbon dioxide."
Other factors, including sun spots, solar winds, variations in the solar magnetic field and solar irradiation, could all be affecting temperature changes, he said.
The EDF is probably having fits, too, over this recent report from 650 scientists (that’s right, Chicken Littlers – 650 – “more than 12 times the number of UN scientists  who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary ”) “challenging man-made global-warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.” (Source.)
Additionally, more than 31,000 American scientists have signed onto the Global Warming Petition Project, a petition that urges “the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.”
The petition goes on say (and take good note, GW alarmists):
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.
These last parts are in direct contradiction to the ninth “myth” that the EDF reports – “Global warming is just part of a natural cycle. The Arctic has warmed up in the past. It retorts, “The global warming we are experiencing is not natural. People are causing it.” The problem is, the EDF is relying on much of what is now being repudiated by these very same scientists!!
Time to face facts, people. We were swindled by the likes of Al “I Should Never Have Gotten a Nobel for my Hysteria” Gore and his ilk. Global warming will NOT bring about the destruction of human civilization, and even if all these scientists agreed that man was primarily responsible for GHGs (greenhouse gasses), the fact of the matter is that fossil fuels are finite, increasingly expensive, and its supply is volatile. We’re already seeing a massive change away from FFs, especially since the prodigious price spike from a few months ago. Hybrid cars are increasingly common, and soon cars like the Chevy Volt will take the hybrids’ place. It’s a safe bet that by before mid-century, use of fossil fuels will drop massively. And as a result of that, so should (“should” being the highly operative word) global warming madness.
The UN’s climate change body has suspended one of its leading auditing companies after a spot check revealed ‘irregularities’.
... The UNFCCC has found that Norway’s Det Norske Veritas (DNV) is guilty of "non-conformity” in carrying out work in the name of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
CDM ... allows industrialised countries to offset their greenhouse gas emissions by trading in the US$13.8 billion carbon market.
Projects can only qualify for CDM acceptance after a rigorous and public registration and issuance process designed to ensure real, measurable and verifiable emission reductions that are additional to what would have occurred without the project.
The process is overseen by the CDM Executive Board currently chaired by Mr Rajesh Kumar Sethi, who recently authored a book called “Doing Business in India”. ...
...DNV was not the only company that had been probed during checks to ensure that “auditing and verification procedures” are being carried out with full transparency....
DNV has 300 offices in 100 different countries and has profited massively by validating approximately 40 percent of the projects registered with the UN through the mechanism.
It has also emerged that DNV projects have been in receipt of more than 50 million credits out of the total 210 million issued so far. UNFCCC confirmed that nearly 1 million credits had been issued on DNV projects in October alone.
CDM has been under fire from several quarters this year. An ... analysis conducted at Stanford University (USA) in April found that as much as two-thirds of emission offsets under CDM do not represent actual emission cuts.
International Rivers chief Patrick McCully earlier this year described CDM as “a global shell game that is increasing greenhouse gas emissions behind the guise of promoting sustainable development. The misguided mechanism is handing out billions of dollars to chemical, coal and oil corporations and the developers of destructive dams - in many cases for projects they would have built anyway.”
Carbon credits ... a scam? What the ...!!
I haven't yet read a good review for "The Day the Earth Stood Still," which means I'll check out the DVD only. Most of the reviews say the remake of the classic was unnecessary, especially if it has a stupid premise (as this does). Given the subject that was touched on here, it's a rational guess that intelligent life is a rare commodity in the universe. So, why is Keanu Reeves (who plays "Klaatu") threatening Earth's lone intelligent species with extinction if we don't stop ... global warming??
At least the original Klaatu said he didn't much care what we did to ourselves and the planet Earth -- as long as we didn't f*** around with other planets when (if) we gained interstellar travel. If we do ... WATCH OUT. (Of course, by the time we acquire the knowledge to journey to the stars -- if we survive ourselves that long -- I think it is safe to assume we'll have largely overcome many of our aggressive tendencies.)
It looks like the "TDTESS" remake forgot that effects alone don't make a good film. Most scifi fans'd much rather sink their viewing teeth into an intelligent story than be mesmerized by boffo F/X.
"With so many stars in the universe, science suggests we may not be alone." So writes MSNBC.com columnist John Roach.
I can think of no greater conceit than the Earth being the ONLY life-supporting planet in the entire universe. And to all those (usually religious fundies) who do believe Earth is the only planet that has life, ask why God would make the universe so freakin' huge ... if only ONE planet supports life.
Via the Independent (UK):
Indeed, new research at the University of Rochester in New York state shows that boys born to mothers with raised levels of phthalates were more likely to have smaller penises and undescended testicles. They also had a shorter distance between their anus and genitalia, a classic sign of feminisation. And a study at Rotterdam's Erasmus University showed that boys whose mothers had been exposed to PCBs grew up wanting to play with dolls and tea sets rather than with traditionally male toys.
On the more serious side, wouldn't that last sentence perturb sociologists who believe that gender is merely a sociological "construct?" (Just scroll down to the Optional Modules - List B, course SO229 to see what I mean.) In other words, isn't just how we raise our boys and girls that determines what, for example, they play with?
Check out one of AOL's features today -- Top Ten Living Geniuses.
I'm sorry, but in my book, real geniuses are those like Stephen Hawking, Tim Berners-Lee, Frederick Sanger and Grigori Perelman, all who made the list (thankfully). These guys deal with way-out concepts in physics, mathematics and chemistry. Phillip Glass, also on the list, could qualify too as a musician since music is highly reliant on mathematics (though I'm not too keen on on Glass's "minimalist" forte).
The real head-shakers on the list: Artist Oscar Niemeyer who "championed the idea of using reinforced concrete solely for its aesthetic impact." That's genius? Perhaps in the field of art it is, but what about its overall impact on humanity?
Dario Fo, the Italian satirist and playwright who is best known for his 1970 play "Accidental Death of an Anarchist." Genius? Uh, no.
Nelson Mandela? A heroic and great man with a constitution of adamantium. But a genius? No.
Creator of "The Simpsons" Matt Groening? Are you serious??
George Soros? Like Mandela, anyone who manages to survive brutal political oppression is heroic and is one strong individual. But does it really make one a genius? No.
Via Instapundit comes Bussard’s Fusion and the Nebel Team Live On. Robert Bussard's idea for a interstellar hydrogen "ramscoop" has been the backdrop for many a science fiction story -- a plausible method for humanity to reach the stars. Here's just a few stories off the top of my head which feature these ramscoops:
Any other novels/TV shows/movies in which we read/see Bussard's idea come to life?
Via the comics site Newsarama comes just what the post title says:
#1: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Easily the best pick since author Arthur C. Clarke was a scientist. Clarke envisioned artificial satellites before they became a reality, and a later [written] sequel to 2001 dealt with space elevators, which are even now being considered for development.
#2: The Truman Show (1998). This "show" predated the reality show craze. I found it a bit implausible that the ruse could have lasted as long as it did, but the science behind it sure is solid.
#3: Gattaca (1997). A dystopic view of society where genetic manipulation makes "love children" -- those conceived without any pre-birth genetic engineering -- socially inferior and without any hope of advancement. Ethan Hawke is one such child who sets out to fool society. The title is based on the four DNA nucleotides of adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine.
#4: Iron Man (2008). Armored exo-skeletons are actually already in production; however, something as sophisticated as Tony Stark's suit is still a ways off in reality, despite his super-genius.
#5: Jurassic Park (1993). Cloning is already a reality, but could we really extract the blood of a dinosaur from a mosquito in amber and recreate a Jurassic Era reptile? If genetic engineering is anywhere near as developmentally quick as, say, computer science, I say "yes!"
... another moonbat 9/11 conspiracy theory bites the dust.
Xrlq takes down the MSM idiots (and our usual local idiot) who rushed to the defense of The Messiah over his "inflate your tires" statement. Remember The Messiah first said that properly inflating your tires can save Americans "all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling." Time magazine was probably the first to scream that The Messiah "was right" -- by injecting that "all the oil" means "just on the outer continental shelf." Of course, The Messiah didn't say that. I pointed out this quite obvious fact here.
The Messiah's minions must have been out in force, clamoring about the following (as one commenter noted on the link above):
After all the grief that Obama has taken from the RNC and from rival John McCain this week over the Democrat’s comment that motorists could save some more oil if only they put some more air in their tires, it turns out a search of the clips — conducted by a motivated party — has found that the administraiton [sic, three layers of editors notwithstanding] of President Bush — George H.W. Bush — was telling Americans the same thing back in 1990.
See? The above, from a Chicago Tribune moron, takes it even further now, making "all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling" to mean merely "save some more oil." Check it -- John McCain and the GOP are fools for mocking sensible cost-saving measures ... that even George Bush Sr. advocated. The problem, however, is plain: This isn't what The Messiah said.
Xrlq, as ever, says it perfectly:
This sleight of hand is reminiscent of the Gorons who defended their Messiah’s outlandish claim to have “[taken] the initiative in creating the Internet” by pointing out that he had sponsored some legislation to promote it, decades after others had taken the intiative in creating it. Gore was never the media darling that Obama is, so he took his share of ridicule over that infamous quote, tempered by the fact that it was frequently misquoted and for some, the fact that he was widely misquoted was bigger news than the goofy quote he had actually made. As for Obama, one has to wonder if there is any claim so outlandish that he could not make it and expect his disciples in the media to try. If anyone working for the Obama campaign is reading this, here’s how to test my theory: feed some line into Obama’s teleprompter stating that all experts agree that an apple a day will increase your life expectancy by 230 years. We’ll have our laughs for a few days, buttressed by even more laughs when Barack tries to turn it around by claiming Republicans are opposed to healthy diets. Within a week, some “journalist” from Time, Newsweek or the Chicago Tribune will come back claiming Obama was right after all, because some obscure bureaucrat from the Eisenhower Administration made a vague pronouncement that apples really are good for you.
Remember when The Messiah laughed at John McCain for favoring a summer hiatus from the federal tax on gasoline? He called it a "gimmick." Well, I don't know 'bout you, but an approx. 20 cent cut per gallon every time I fill up would be nice. But now, The Messiah has come out and proposed getting some of that Strategic Reserve oil out for the folks. Considering that The Messiah's new plan would save Americans less than McCain's "gimmick," who's laughing now?
Then there's The Messiah's tire inflation plan. The Messiah got a bit testy today, saying the GOP "take(s) pride in being ignorant" because they chuckled at this "plan" of The Messiah's. But it was well worth chuckling at when considering The Messiah's original comments about inflating one's tires, not his revised comments from today. The Messiah originally said
"There are things that you can do individually though to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated, simple thing, but we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling, if everybody was just inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups. You could actually save just as much."
Today, he said
"So I told them something simple. I said, 'You know what? You can inflate your tires to the proper levels and that if everybody in America inflated their tires to the proper level, we would actually probably save more oil than all the oil we'd get from John McCain drilling right below his feet there, or wherever he was going to drill.'"
Look, even McCain doesn't dispute that proper car maintenance is a good thing. The Messiah has to know -- as his latest policy "revision" demonstrates -- that there's gotta be some new drilling to enable real relief for gas prices.
But don't blame folks for making fun of something silly you said, OK Messiah?
Insert Jason & dimwitty joke [here.]
My God. What will the enviro-nuts do now?
When the effects of global warming are discussed, Europe is often the focus. While many parts of the Earth have seen little or no warming in the past two decades, Europe has seen a rapid temperature increase of one full degree Centigrade. The rise has been a contributing factor in at least one deadly heat wave in recent years.
A new study suggests much of that warming isn't due to global warming at all, but rather a decrease in atmospheric pollution as a result of clean air legislation. The cleaner air has fewer small particles known as aerosols, which tend to block sunlight from reaching the Earth's surface. A reduction in aerosols leads to an effect known as "solar brightening," which increases surface warming. (Link.)
What a conundrum, eh?
Maybe these researchers went to the Ed Markey School of Hyperbole:
More Americans are likely to suffer from kidney stones in the coming years as a result of global warming, according to researchers at the University of Texas.
Kidney stones, which are formed from dissolved minerals in the urine and can be extremely painful, are often caused by caused by dehydration, either by not drinking enough liquid or losing too much due to high heat conditions.
If global warming trends continue as projected by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, the United States can expect as much as a 30 percent growth in kidney stone disease in some of its driest areas, said the findings published in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Link.)
I see. So, global warming will just suddenly make the world's climate insufferably hot, and people, in response, will just up and not drink enough fluids. Cripes, I tell 'ya.
"When people relocate from areas of moderate temperature to areas with warmer climates, a rapid increase in stone risk has been observed. This has been shown in military deployments to the Middle East for instance."
What did I say about "suddenly," again?
Next up: Global warming causes fevers to feel "hotter."
Now it's the famous "Blackhawk Down" event.
A top Democrat told high school students gathered at the U.S. Capitol Thursday that climate change caused Hurricane Katrina and the conflict in Darfur, which led to the “black hawk down” battle between U.S. troops and Somali rebels. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House (Select) Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee, also equated the drive for global warming legislation with the drive for women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
"To say you know the conflict was caused by global warming is to show how really ignorant you are of the scientific issues involved,” was the response of Myron Ebell, director of Energy and Global Warming Policy at CEI. Mainly 'cause that area of the world is subject to drought conditions all the friggin' time.
Meanwhile, the Space and Science Research Center has noted that the period of planet-wide warming is over, and a cooling period has begun.
My latest Newsbusters post.
This, despite the misleading headline: Survey: 74 percent of Congressional Republicans are climate deniers.
Since when is skepticism "denial?"
Technological development doesn't make us better. It gives us more choices. And sometimes we choose to make things better with the increased capability we have been given. It's not inevitable that we will make things better, but it does seem built-in for us to try. [I Don't Believe in Atheists author Chris] Hedges is right that we shouldn't view ourselves as the culmination of a process of advancement. We aren't the culmination; we're just the latest step. Nor should we view human nature or the human condition as perfectible. Rather, we should see them for what we have demonstrated them to be time and time again throughout our history -- vastly improvable.
While the author seems to argue that better technology doesn't make us better, he lays out arguments that belie just this. It must be that matter of more choices, I guess:
What if we go back just a couple thousand years. What percentage of the world's population lived in slavery at that time, or a condition we would find indistinguishable from slavery? Yes, it is horrifying to think that pockets of slavery and slave-like conditions still exist in our world today -- but how many billion would have to be slaves today to match the percentages of the era of Julius Caesar?
How many women voted (anywhere, for anything) 300 years ago? All around the world, how many vote now?
How many environmental groups existed 150 years ago? How many exist now?
How many animals benefited from prosthetic technology 25 years ago? How many benefit now?
What he says is that advanced technology -- and all its concurrent benefits -- makes the human condition (including morality) vastly improvable. This is entirely logical; the most technologically advanced societies on Earth (the West, Japan, Australia) have made life so ... "easy" for its citizens that they now have the time to be concerned about things like animal rights, global warming, and even into the absurd like vegetable rights. If you're an average citizen in, say, Chad, these concepts aren't likely to ever enter into your thinking processes.
Which takes me back to the society of "Battlestar Galactica." Considering how much more advanced their technology is than our own (early 21st century Earth, that is), and considering that they are humans exactly like ourselves, it then is quite logical to posit that BSG humanity's "moral improvement" should be quite a bit greater than our own. But this then goes to the heart of my argument from that post: It demonstrably is not.
Of course, the author of the above Speculist article alludes to the fact that human morality is easily disposed of in times of disaster and conflict. This is where BSG's concept of humanity became non-recognizable. After the Cylon-inflicted genocide, BSG humanity retained much of the morality we'd expect such an advanced society to possess: They demanded that democratic institutions be reinstated among surviving humanity, they demanded freedom of the press, they kept jury trials, they even refused to take advantage of an opportunity to wipe out their mortal enemy when the chance came about. However, we saw instances that made little sense for such an advanced civilization (pre-genocide, that is): An inherent planetary caste system, exploitation of workers, religious persecution. This is what drove me nuts about how the writers envisioned BSG humanity.
Back to our own society, just imagine how much more comfortable our own lives are compared to what our grandparents experienced. Just imagine what will happen when we finally develop cheap unlimited energy -- such as fusion power. Imagine how much more free humans will be then (after all, how pricey can power be when the ingredient needed to run it is water?). What about nanotechnology? What if we develop a "nanoforge" like author Joe Haldeman envisioned, which can create just about anything we need? Nanobots, that operate in the human bloodstream that can prevent aging and disease? Just think about how increased human longevity -- coupled with cheap power and easily mass-produced products -- will subsequently increase our "free time," that free time that'll likely be used to expand human morality and rationality.
(h/t: Soccer Dad)
Sort of. But first:
The world’s physicists have spent 14 years and $8 billion building the Large Hadron Collider, in which the colliding protons will recreate energies and conditions last seen a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Researchers will sift the debris from these primordial recreations for clues to the nature of mass and new forces and symmetries of nature.
But Walter L. Wagner and Luis Sancho contend that scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, have played down the chances that the collider could produce, among other horrors, a tiny black hole, which, they say, could eat the Earth. Or it could spit out something called a “strangelet” that would convert our planet to a shrunken dense dead lump of something called “strange matter.” Their suit also says CERN has failed to provide an environmental impact statement as required under the National Environmental Policy Act. . . . (Link.)
Here's where it happened already: In 2021, the USS Hillary Clinton, among other vessels, was a victim of such a black hole mishap. A wormhole test created a black [worm]hole which sent the Clinton and her fleet back to 1942. And wow, how that changed things ... !!
"Star Trek" geeks will dig this: Star Trek Star Charts.
And its name is ... the Loch Ness Monster:
LEGENDARY Nessie hunter Robert Rines is giving up his search for the monster after 37 years.
The 85-year-old American will make one last trip in a bid to find the elusive beast.
After almost four decades of fruitless expeditions, he admitted: "Unfortunately, I'm running out of age."
Despite having hundreds of sonar contacts over the years, the trail has since gone cold and Rines believes that Nessie may be dead, a victim of global warming.
LOL!! As The Corner's Andrew Stuttaford says, "You couldn't make these things up (well, Al Gore could, and would, but you know what I mean...)"
What is the DEAL with our northern neighbor? They're trying to squelch freedom of speech all over the place. Check out this latest pathetic example:
David Suzuki has called for political leaders to be thrown in jail for ignoring the science behind climate change.
At a Montreal conference last Thursday, the prominent scientist, broadcaster and Order of Canada recipient exhorted a packed house of 600 to hold politicians legally accountable for what he called an intergenerational crime. Though a spokesman said yesterday the call for imprisonment was not meant to be taken literally, Dr. Suzuki reportedly made similar remarks in an address at the University of Toronto last month.
Toward the end of his speech, Dr. Suzuki said that "we can no longer tolerate what's going on in Ottawa and Edmonton" and then encouraged attendees to hold politicians to a greater green standard.
"What I would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there's a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they're doing is a criminal act," said Dr. Suzuki, a former board member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. (Link.)
A member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association!! Can you friggin' believe THAT?? How so perfectly Orwellian!!
Actually it fits perfectly into the "progressive" paradigm. Free speech is not truly free unless it conforms to the "proper" belief system and ideology, which must be, of course, "progressive."
I'm probably best acquainted with The Next Generation (TNG) than any other Trek series. (It helps that various networks have run reruns of the shows almost every day!) Jean-Luc Picard and crew sure had some funky -- and interesting -- time travel sojourns ...
The best time travel episode and, indeed, one of the best episodes of the entire series is "Yesterday's Enterprise." Trying to figure out the many facets of this tale can you give you a headache since it seems to make use of both "closed loop" and "branched stream" time geometry. Picard and the Enterprise-D encounter a space-time anomaly in which a starship emerges. Suddenly, the bridge of the Enterprise changes before our eyes. It is much darker, and every one of the crew is armed with a phaser. The ship that came through the space rift turns out to be the Enterprise-C from 22 years in the past. The effect on the present appears to show a "closed loop" in that the sudden change of events in the past have altered that timeline's future. In this case, the Federation is at war with the Klingon Empire, and it is going very badly for Starfleet. On the other hand, the alternate timeline aspect comes into play in that Tasha Yar -- the Enterprise-D's former security chief -- is alive, even though she had been killed (in the Enterprise-D timeline proper) two years prior. (Then again, if an event 22 years ago altered time, then events a mere two years ago could be moot. Got a headache yet?) The paradox is that Tasha ultimately decides to go back through the time rift with the Enterprise-C in the hopes that the timeline can be "restored." But if Tasha was already dead in the restored timeline, how can she continue to exist in it? For that's precisely what she does as we learn later on in TNG. She was captured by the Romulans after re-emerging into the past with the Enterprise-C, and ended up having a child with a Romulan commander. That child (Commander Sela, at left), 23 years later, ends up confronting Captain Picard during a Klingon civil war.
In effect, the question is: If the Enterprise-C needed to return to the past to "save" the original timeline, how could Tasha Yar have existed then if she was already deceased? The answer is that she couldn't (or, more properly, shouldn't) -- but she could if she was from an alternate timeline. Ultimately, this has to be what "Yesterday's Enterprise" is: A exploration of an alternate Trek timeline created by the Enterprise-C's emergence into the future. This "branch" of time allows for Tasha Yar to exist, and to go back with the Enterprise-C to the "real" Trek universe.
A neat season five offering starred Matt Frewer ("Max Headroom") as a small-time 22nd century "inventor" who happened upon a time traveler from the 26th century. He stole the traveler's ship and now, after encountering the Enterprise in the 24th century, hopes to return to his own era with various advanced gadgets (like a tricorder and phaser) that he will eventually "invent" ... and make a handsome profit as a result. There's no real indication of what the results of Frewer's actions would have been had he been successful (he wasn't -- Data and Picard outsmarted him); however, the 26th century timeship automatically returned to 22nd century New Jersey without Frewer in it. One is left wondering what happened to it and any alternate timeline that resulted in it being discovered (and reverse engineered!).
Season five also served up one of the spunkiest time travel stories ever. "Cause and Effect" shows the Enterprise caught up in a "temporal causality loop" where it relives the same segment of time over and over again. At the conclusion of each segment, the Enterprise is destroyed after encountering a space-time anomaly along with another spacecraft. The Enterprise crew experience a large degree of deja vu, giving them clues as to what may be happening. Data ultimately uses his android circuitry to send himself a "hint" as to what action to take at the conclusion of the next time segment. It works -- the Enterprise gets free of the loop, and the other ship that the Enterprise kept encountering turns out to be another Federation vessel -- one that had been caught in the same loop for over 90 years! (Picard and crew were stuck for a "mere" 17 days by comparison.)
The conclusion of season five saw the Enterprise crew journey back to 19th century San Francisco. "Time's Arrow" is an excellent "closed loop" story where in the 24th century, archaeologists discover Data's disembodied head among other relics from 500 years ago. Needless to say, the Enterprise and crew have to hoof it back to Earth to help figure out what's going on. It turns out time-traveling aliens are going back to the 19th century to absorb the life force of sickly humans. Picard and co. travel back through one of the alien time portals to track down Data, who was shunted back a while before. Much later, in the cave where Data's head was discovered, Picard and crew battle a couple of the aliens, and this is where the android officer's noggin gets blown off. Of course, though, since it was already "discovered" in the future, the now headless Data is fitted with his own head from the past. Follow? The two-parter ends with Picard "setting history right" by leaving behind Data's head before the cave in question is filled in. However, "setting things right" didn't seem to be concerned with Samuel "Mark Twain" Clemens who learns the truth about Picard and co., and even spends a little time aboard the Enterprise. Where's that concern about the timeline, guys?
Another truly excellent offering was the last season's "Parallels." While technically not a time-travel story itself, it shows that Trek believes wholeheartedly in the "branched stream" theory of time. Case in point: Worf (at left), heading back to the Enterprise after a Bat'leth competition, finds himself zipping from reality to reality and there's nothing he can do. It seems a fissure in the time-space continuum is responsible, and whenever Worf is near crewmate Geordi LaForge's VISOR a new reality shift is triggered. Data eventually deduces that Worf doesn't belong in their reality, but just as what's going on is being figured out, the Bajorans (Federation enemies in this reality) attack the Enterprise and destabilize the space-time fissure. The destabilization results in thousands of realities (we see thousands of Enterprises materializing in space) merging into the one Worf finds himself in at the moment. Data theorizes that only by finding Worf's proper reality and sending him through the fissure to it will all be returned to normal. Interestingly, we witness one reality in which the Enterprise was not successful in defeating the Borg in their climactic encounter from season four's premiere episode.
I've purposely omitted any time-travel episode that featured the nigh-omnipotent "Q" pulling the strings. Still, these are worth viewing just for the great stories: The 6th season's "Tapestry" where Q gives Picard a chance to rectify certain decisions he made in his past, and the last season's two-part finale "All Good Things" in which the Enterprise literally has to save humanity's origins.
In addition, other time-related tales include 2nd season's "Time Squared", 4th season's "Future Imperfect", 5th season's "The Inner Light" (possibly my favorite TNG episode of all), 6th season's "Relics" (where TOS's "Scotty" is rescued by the Enterprise-D after being stuck in a transporter beam for 75 years), and "Timescape" in which the Enterprise and a Romulan Warbird are frozen in time in the middle of battle!
Picking up on the theme from yesterday (and thanks to the inspiration from Steve Newton!), what better way to begin another revolution around the star Sol than by examining how one of the most successful science fiction franchises handled time travel. Was it a "closed loop" storyline or a "branching stream" yarn? Or a little of both? Let's see ...
I'm not as familiar with The Original Series (TOS) as the subsequent spin-offs, but the time travel stories are pretty well done. "Tomorrow is Yesterday" in TOS's first season invokes "closed loop" time geometry in that an accident catapults Kirk and co. to the 1960s. An Air Force pilot sees the Enterprise and he's later taken on board the ship. But how to prevent him from "polluting" the timeline if he's returned? Apparently "Bones" McCoy's medical science isn't good enough to erase the pilot's short term memory, so Kirk uses a more drastic method: They'll "recreate" the conditions that brought them to the 20th century in the first place (the 'ol "slingshot around the sun," natch). In the process, the pilot is returned to his jet just as he "thinks" he sees the Enterprise, and the NCC-1701 is shunted back to the 23rd century.
The classic "Space Seed" which introduced to Ricardo Montalban's "Khan" character wasn't so much a time travel story (well, Khan did sleep off a couple hundred years in suspended animation) as much as how its backstory had to be "retconned." Khan was the product of genetic engineering and presided over the "Eugenics Wars" of the 1990s. However, it seems the planet didn't suffer overmuch as the "Voyager" episode "Future's End" takes place in 1996 and there's nary a mention of the trouble Khan and his supermen caused (or were causing). This would seem to indicate a "branching stream" geometry whereby Khan's antics occurred in another timeline. The issue of Voyager's late 20th century appearance on Earth I'll discuss in the "Voyager" segment later on.
"The City on the Edge of Forever" is usually considered to be the finest of the original series. A deranged Bones ("Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a junkie!") jumps through a time portal, and suddenly the Enterprise vanishes from the sky above Kirk and Spock who were in pursuit of the doc. This right here indicates a "closed loop" time structure since Bones' meddling in the past changed Kirk's and Spock's present. The pivotal moment was Bones saving Edith Keeler (at left), a pacifist, from certain death. She winds up leading a movement which delays the US from entering World War II. This allows Hitler time to develop the A-bomb first, and the Nazis end up ruling the globe. Kirk and Spock, while tracking down McCoy in the 1930s, realize they'll have to let Edith die to preserve the timeline. The real bummer is that Kirk had fallen in love with her.
Season Two's "Mirror, Mirror" isn't so much a time travel offering as it is an alternate reality story. What's telling here, as I mentioned in my original post, is that Trek plays it both ways with time travel -- they make use of both "closed loop" and "branching stream" time geometry. The very existence of alternate realities allows for "branching streams" to be created by meddling with the past. Which makes one wonder why the need to "correct" interactions in the past even is addressed, then. (I've wondered a few times if the "Galactic Empire" of the Mirror Universe could have been the result of Bones's interference in "City on the Edge of Forever" -- interference that wasn't "corrected" by Kirk and Spock. But we saw that it was corrected, so ...!)
"Assignment: Earth" also applies "closed loop" geometry. While on assignment(!!) to travel back in time to "discover" how Earth managed to avoid blowing itself to bits during the early nuclear age, Kirk and co. discover that an alien-trained human is in large measure responsible for just what Kirk is trying to find out! The mysterious Gary Seven has to destroy a US-launched oribtal bomb in order to scare the nuclear-armed nations from attempting to put bombs in space. He succeeds, despite Kirk and Spock's meddling. This ultimate success "preserves" the timeline in this "closed loop" tale. (Too bad that Earth does go on to fight a devasting Third World War in the mid-21st century which kills approximately 600 million, as told in the TOS's "The Savage Curtain" and the 8th Trek film "Star Trek: First Contact." One wonders why Starfleet sent Kirk and crew back in time for the "investigation" of "Assignment: Earth" when it should've been in the Federation's history books that Earth almost didn't survive blowing itself to smithereens!)
One of the last episodes, "All Our Yesterdays" (which, admittedly, I barely remember viewing), deals almost exclusively with time travel, but it is not evident whether "closed loop" or "branching stream" architecture is applied. A "librarian" on a planet is saving many people of his doomed globe by sending them via time machine to their past. Whether this will ultimately save them is unknown as their sun eventually goes nova. Perhaps in a "branched" timeline, resulting in arrivals from the future, a method will be discovered to prevent their star from exploding.
A good portion of my Christmas vacation was spent with good books. In this case, I finished the "Giants" trilogy, written by prominent sci-fi scribe James P. Hogan. The trilogy is a remarkable past and future history of the human race which is shown to have extraterrestrial origins. The ending of the third novel postulates a "closed loop" timeline which I have found to be in the minority when it comes to instances time travel in entertainment. "Closed loop" essentially is designed to keep all events within a timeline internally consistent. Another recent novel I read which makes use of closed loop time geometry is Joe Haldeman's The Accidental Time Machine. A truly excellent "alternate history" novel which likewise uses closed loop time is Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus.
I've noticed there are essentially two ways to deal with closed loop time adventures: The need to keep events within the loop consistent; second, if there are major changes to events within the loop, events preceding the changes cease to exist in favor of the new events created. Pastwatch did the latter to a tee. The Accidental Time Machine demonstrates how to do the former, as anything from the future that ends up in the past is actually responsible for events that transpire in that timeline's future. Make sense?
Most sci-fi (at least that I've read/viewed) uses the "branching timestream" theory of time travel. This is where any change in a timeline creates a whole new reality. There are an infinite number of such realities in the "multi-verse" all based on the different decisions and actions that people make at different times. "Back to the Future 2" was an excellent example of a "branching" timeline based on changes made to the past. Many "Star Trek" stories have tried to have it both ways when it comes to explaining how time works. The classic "City on the Edge of Forever" showed how Kirk had to let a woman he had fallen in love with die to "preserve" the timeline. Last night, SciFi Channel replayed the eighth Trek film, "First Contact" where the new Enterprise-E had to travel back in time to the date of Earth's first warp flight to stop the dreaded Borg from changing history. "Deep Space Nine" had a superlative two-parter where Captain Sisko had to "preserve" the timeline by assuming the role of a pivotal revolutionary figure. Yet, we know that alternate timelines exist throughout the Trek universe. The "Mirror" Universe, for example (which has been utilized by three of the five Trek series), details how Earth became militaristic conquering empire. (Besides the original -- and great -- "Mirror, Mirror" I highly recommend "Enterprise's" last season "In a Mirror, Darkly" two-parter.) The necessity of excising a disastrous timeline occurred in "Next Generation's" "Yesterday's Enterprise." What was intriguing about this episode was that it appeared a change in the past (in this case, the Enterprise-C was catapulted into the future, the time of the Enterprise-D) completely changed the future as we see Capt. Picard and the bridge crew undergo a transformation right before our eyes as the Enterprise-D's predecessor appears through a time rift. This would indicate to me a closed loop time geometry; however, when character Tasha Yar from this new timeline elects to go back with the Enterprise-C's crew to their appropriate era, this in itself indicates a branching timeline theory since, notably, Tasha had been killed years before in the TNG timeline, yet now she existed -- and went on to affect events in later TNG episodes.
The list is endless, of course. I could write for hours about how various novels and movies have made use of both techniques. For me, this is great entertainment, but trying to make sense of it can sure cause some headaches. Perhaps this is why Einstein (among others) stated that travel into the past is impossible. Personally, I feel this a great conceit considering our pitiful level of knowledge in the whole scheme of things. If we can conceive of it -- and there are scientific models that do allow for journeying to the past -- then I believe ultimately we can make it a reality. I sure would like to be around when we finally solve the riddle of how precisely the time-stream functions.
Back in June I wrote about my literary sojourn through aged (and lesser known) "doomsday" novels such as Triumph and Red Alert. Today's New York Times has an article about the new book Doomsday Men: The Real Dr. Strangelove and the Dream of the Superweapon which chronicles the "dual march of science and science fiction" that took place in the early days of the nuclear age.
I'll have to pick this one up, natch.
Sunspots disappearing from the sun. The last time this happened it coincided with "The Little Ice Age." For a good part of the 20th century, "solar influence was significant. Studies show that by the end of the 20th century the Sun's activity may have been at its highest for more than 8,000 years." Further,
Other solar parameters have been changing as well, such as the magnetic field the Sun sheds, which has almost doubled in the past century. But then things turned. In only the past decade or so the Sun has started a decline in activity, and the lateness of cycle 24 is an indicator.
The past decade has been warmer than previous ones. It is the result of a rapid increase in global temperature between 1978 and 1998. Since then average temperatures have held at a high, though steady, level. Many computer climate projections suggest that the global temperatures will start to rise again in a few years. But those projections do not take into account the change in the Sun's behaviour. The tardiness of cycle 24 indicates that we might be entering a period of low solar activity that may counteract man-made greenhouse temperature increases. Some members of the Russian Academy of Sciences say we may be at the start of a period like that seen between 1790 and 1820, a minor decline in solar activity called the Dalton Minimum. They estimate that the Sun's reduced activity may cause a global temperature drop of 1.5C by 2020. This is larger than most sensible predictions of man-made global warming over this period.
It's something we must take seriously because what happened in the 17th century is bound to happen again some time. Recent work studying the periods when our Sun loses its sunspots, along with data on other Sun-like stars that may be behaving in the same way, suggests that our Sun may spend between 10 and 25 per cent of the time in this state. Perhaps the lateness of cycle 24 might even be the start of another Little Ice Age. If so, then our Sun might come to our rescue over climate change, mitigating mankind's influence and allowing us more time to act. It might even be the case that the Earth's response to low solar activity will overturn many of our assumptions about man's influence on climate change. We don't know. We must keep watching the sun.
Just don't tell Gore, though. Remember, to him -- the "debate [about climate change] is ended." And he's the Nobel to "prove" it.
OK, I began writing this last night, and since then there's been a bunch of like-minded articles put up. Nevertheless ...
I don't think I've seen anything as ridiculous as last night's "Football Night in America." There I was, still pissed at the New England Patriots beating the Indianapolis Colts about an hour prior, hoping that my second favorite team -- the Philadelphia Eagles -- would crush the Dallas Cowboys. Suddenly, I blurt out a huge "WTF??" Was I really seeing what I was seeing? The NBC Sunday Night Football crew -- actually managing to keep straight faces while they turned out the lights in their studio to "make a statement" about global warming?? And they apparently kept them out for a good portion of the game! (They were still off at halftime ... did they keep 'em off or just turn the lights off again for the cameras?)
There was Bob Costas, Cris Collingsworth and the execrable Keith Olbermann ... sitting in the friggin' dark with a few candles around them, "doing their part" for a "green planet." What a hoot. They looked like a trio of totally self-absorbed a-holes. And here's the thing: Do these morons even know who their audience is? Do environmentalist hippies turn on the tube to watch a football game on Sunday night? Or is the audience mostly Joe Six-Pack types whose very last wish is to see, during a football game, a TV network proselytizing about what they should "do" to save the Earth (mainly based on Al Gore's flawed "science")?
So, ultimately, there were two comedic aspects about last night: The Eagles' performance, and the elitist dolts that make up the "FNA" broadcast team. I mean, for God's sake -- Jerome Bettis' nickname for last night was -- I swear to God -- "The Hybrid Bus."
If I was the NFL commish, I'd be looking for another Sunday night broadcast network for next year. And quick.
Check out the video here.
Kevin McCullough adds his two cents:
... at halftime they cut to Matt Lauer looking like an eskimo virgin somewhere in the arctic circle, to preview the week of "Green is Universal" week of programming. He previewed how NBC's "Today Show" will be pandering to the environmental whack jobs all week with reports from himself out of his what appeared to be well lit igloo, Al Roker somewhere in some tropical jungle on the equator, and Ann Curry on the opposite pole.
A reader via the Newsbusters tip line adds regarding Lauer:
Matt Lauer just did a piece on SNF where he was allegedly broadcasting from Greenland. The funny thing was, it was supposed to be -12 degrees but not once did you see Matt's breath, nor did he show any outwards signs of being in a cold environment (shivering, nasal discharge, facial discomfort, etc). I've been in -12 degrees and let me tell you, after a few minutes you are displaying many, many signs. Matt may well have been in Greenland, but I suspect he was in a trailer with a blue screen behind him. There is no way he was outside.
Wouldn't surprise me one bit.
TV and radio writer Tom Jicha chimes in:
NBC is going green this week. Given the free fall the network's ratings are in, maybe NBC should be more concerned with going black. Then again, this might explain its attention-seeking "Green Is Universal" stunt, a week of programming dominated by environmental themes.
You have to wonder if NBC is driven as much by guilt as altruism. Show business is gluttonous when it comes to the use of energy.
But the zenith of inanity will come on Deal or No Deal. The 26 briefcase-opening models, each hot enough to exacerbate global warming, will be attired in dresses made from recycled army parachutes, material unlikely to ever touch their bodies again. If this weren't asinine enough, Howie Mandel will enter the studio on a bicycle, with the women trailing on bikes of their own. Don't they usually walk?
That last paragraph made me laugh up part of my lunch this afternoon!
... you're like a Moon Landing skeptic!! First being a global warming skeptic got you compared to a Holocaust denier, now this. The idiot this time? Sharon Begley -- a senior editor at Newsweek (no, there's no liberal media bias there!):
When asked if journalists should be more interpretive or analytical in their climate change reporting Begley said, “It depends …When you cover the history of the space program, you don't quote the percentage of Americans who think the moon landings took place on a stage in Arizona.”
In related news, some common sense from Europe has burst through: A judge in the UK has ruled that Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" ... "promotes partisan views, and that teachers who show the film to their pupils must make it clear that there are opposing opinions on the subject." (Link.) The man who brought the suit actually wanted the film banned outright; however, I think the ruling is a good one at first glance. But it's sad that a judge has to legally coerce teachers to inform their students that there are other views on this topic! Good teachers (who are not propagandists) already know to do that.
(h/t to Newsbusters reader Mike McNally.)
Noel Sheppard over at Newsbusters notes that the BBC is ditching a planned special on global warming in part because Al Gore's "Live Earth" concerts proved to be such a bust:
The BBC announced today that the project has been scrapped. Negative reaction to this summer's flop Live Earth concert, promoted by Al Gore, the former US Vice-President, was cited as a factor. Viewers told the BBC to present the debate around climate change in an informed and rigorous manner. They did not want to be lectured by wealthy pop stars and celebrities.
'Ya think? But hey, maybe Gore can coddle together this "all-star" line-up for another pathetic attempt at do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do elitist hypocrisy:
Have fun, Al!
So says Gary L. Francione in today's Philadelphia Daily News. Now, you might be saying, "Huh? I don't treat dogs like Vick! I LOVE my dog! I love ALL animals!" But Francione has a beef (pardon the pun) with people who eat meat and other animal products period:
There is something bizarre about condemning Michael Vick for using dogs in a hideous form of entertainment when 99 percent of us also use animals that are every bit as sentient as dogs in another hideous form of entertainment that is no more justifiable than fighting dogs: eating animals and animal products.
There is something bizarre about Reebok and Nike, which use leather in their shoes, suspending products endorsed by Vick. They're not going to allow a guy who allegedly tortures dogs to endorse products that contain tortured cows.
Gar goes on to cite a character from one of his books called "Simon the Sadist" who gets off on blowtorching dogs. He then asks us "How are those of us who eat animal flesh and animal products any different from Simon? He enjoys blowtorching dogs - we enjoy the taste of flesh and animal products."
Yeah, OK. While there has been an unflattering history in the slaughterhouse industry, astonishing changes have taken place over the last few decades. Francione also claims that "there is no 'need' for us to eat meat, dairy or eggs." I trust he might have a seizure if he reads this. But the obvious is that Gary is being puerile for equating the purposeful heinous torture of a domesticated (and intelligent) animal that people utilize as a member of their family with chickens and steer that have been used as food animals for centuries.
Now the looney environmentalists want you to become a sick, slothful slug in order to "save" the planet:
Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated.
Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.
OK. So now we can save the planet for ... what, exactly? For the few of us to enjoy that won't have succumbed to heart disease, hardened arteries and you-name-it?
LIVE. YOUR. LIFE.
I saw the report of this study a couple days ago in which Ohio State sociology and poli. sci. professor David Jacobs concludes that "the postsentencing capital-punishment process continues to place greater value on white lives." One thing in particular stuck out at me, and James Taranto noted it too in yesterday's "Best of the Web":
But the second page of the interview reveals that the study had a fundamental methodological flaw:
Q: [Did the disparities reflect] the nature of the crime? Or was it simply race?
A: We don't have much data on the nature of the crime. But Supreme Court regulations require a state to come up with aggravating and mitigating factors for capital cases. Aggravating factors might include, say, the killing of a child or torturing a victim. Mitigating factors might include the age of the offender or their childhood experience, whether they were abused, etc.
Emphasis mine. Jacobs doesn't have much data on the nature of the crimes?? As Taranto notes,
How can one possibly draw conclusions about who gets executed and why without taking into account "the nature of the crime"? This would seem to be the most important variable, but Jacobs simply discounts it, even after conceding that "we don't have much data." Are we wrong to suspect that Jacobs's "plausible explanations" are actually preconceived notions?
Indeed! This is like studies that denounce "irregularities" in mortgage (or other) lending to whites compared to blacks ... without taking a person's credit history into account. Look, blacks may indeed be put to death at a rate greater than that of whites, but ignoring the nature of crimes committed seems to place the entire study in scientific jeopardy. I'd be more inclined to argue economic factors: Black Americans, who are in general less well-off than whites, are unable to afford better legal representation.
Because they dared to show the "Little Ice Age: Big Chill" documentary in the midst of all the Gore-inspired global warming hysteria. Even more heretical, they ask "Could another catastrophic cold snap strike in the 21st century?"
Whaaaat?? Don't you know there is irreversible global WARMING going on right this instant, History Channel?? (For the mentally challenged -- no, he's not REALLY protesting, OK?)
Featuring these soon-to-be hits based
on classics from those great 1980s:
I just finished reading one of the ten books I ordered for summer, titled Triumph. The is an On The Beach-style story where fourteen survivors of a terrible nuclear war are holed up underground in an elaborate shelter in Connecticut. Definitely a bit dated, and with the typical Cold War "Soviets are evil incarnate" subplot, the entire northern hemisphere is rendered uninhabitable by a sudden Soviet nuke strike, including numerous cobalt bombs. Cobalt bombs gained a lot of notoriety in the 50s and 60s as the theoretical "doomsday weapon." This is not because of their enormous explosive power (which was implied in the ending of the film "Beneath the Planet of the Apes") but because of the prodigious amount of radiation such weapons would release, and this radiation would last a very long time. As planetary wind patterns continuously circle the globe, this high-intensity radiation would reach everywhere -- if enough bombs were exploded. In Triumph, enough were set off to depopulate just the northern part of the planet. In addition, in the novel, the USSR set off myriad nukes with a yield of over 100 megatons, which would have very devastating effects on the planet with which author Philip Wylie was obviously unaware. The largest nuke ever exploded (in real life) was of a yield of approximately 59 megatons (by the USSR).
Just how much cobalt -- or how many bombs of that type -- would be necessary to kill off all life on Earth? Physicist Leo Szilard estimates that it would take "400 one-ton deuterium-cobalt bombs [to] release enough radioactivity to extinguish all life on earth." This threat is brought to life in another summer reading book of mine, Red Alert. The inspiration for the movie "Dr. Strangelove," it details a rogue US Air Force officer who unilaterally orders a SAC B-52 bomber wing to drop its nuke bombs on the USSR (you have to read the book to see how this is actually possible). Since the chances of actually stopping, or recalling, the wing are almost nil, the president's top generals agree that the US should follow through with the attack, and end the Soviet threat once and for all.
There's just a "small" problem: The president informs his top general of something that only he and the Secretary of State know -- the USSR has a "last-ditch" plan to thwart any [nuke] attack on them by the United States. That plan is a quantity of cobalt bombs stashed in the Ural Mountains that, if exploded, would extinguish all life on the planet. The revelation of this plan actually led to the deteriorating health of the president's predecessor, gruesome as it was.
I'm not quite finished Red Alert yet, but I've already been tipped off as to how it ends. Still, it's awesomely suspenseful reading.
Use of cobalt devices was also utilized in the far-fetched (well, maybe not back then) Not This August. A Soviet and China-conquered USA has one last-ditch weapon to use against their occupiers: A "weapon satellite" that contains a few cobalt bombs. If the USSR and China do not withdraw from US territory, the satellite will drop these devices on the two countries where they (hypothetically) would only devastate that pair of communist nations.
An early issue of Marvel Comics' Silver Surfer in 1970 where he battles the "Doomsday Man" features a cobalt device. The Surfer must take extra care in defeating the menace else the Earth be put in peril. However, this was unlikely as it seems to use a "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" approach -- it was just one bomb and hence not sufficient to actually jeopardize the planet.
The SciFi Channel is preparing a CGI film titled "Terra" which has as its basis a familiar theme: Planet-conquering aliens. Although, this time, the aliens are humans.
The worst comes true: The object is an alien ship, planning to launch an attack and claim the pastoral world and its abundant resources for a race of extraterrestrials who have destroyed their home world with war, greed and pollution.
It's a familiar tale, but there's a twist: The invaders are human, and the townsfolk are the salamander-like, peaceful victims who must rise up against the monsters.
The obvious point in this, most likely, is the US as "imperial aggressor." But as I've argued before (mainly in regards to "Battlestar Galactica"), it is highly unlikely that the human species, once it has attained the level of technological sophistication necessary for interstellar flight, would "revert" to a level of civilizational barbarity whereby it'd plunder planets that contain intelligent life. Think about it -- it doesn't make sense. Besides, it'd be a LOT cheaper to get necessary raw materials from space -- asteroids, comets, moons -- rather than [inhabited] planets. This reverse premise made the popular early-80s show "V" a laugher, not to mention the more recent "Independence Day."
The ONLY real way I can be led to accept a premise such as that in "Terra" is a situation where humans come across advanced technology before we're actually ready for it. For example, if there was indeed a Roswell incident in 1947 where the US captured an alien spacecraft, we could successfully reverse-engineer the ship's technology and eventually build our own interstellar craft. If this happened, say, today, the results for our immediate stellar neighbors could be devastating. Modern humans haven't even gotten over their own petty differences; how can they be expected to handle aliens?? (Carl Sagan's "Contact" had an excellent subplot on this topic.)
Monday's on the SciFi Channel feature four hours of the Star Trek franchise's "Enterprise." This past Monday presented the excellent two-parter "In a Mirror, Darkly." It shows the genesis of the "Mirror" Universe, first glimpsed in the classic original Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror": We see an actual clip from the ending of the eighth Trek movie, "First Contact," where the inventor of warp drive (Zephram Cochran) is greeting the first aliens on Earth (who happen to be Vulcans -- Mr. Spock's race for those not in the know). In the actual movie, this meeting sets the stage for Earth's ascendance into the community of planets; however, in the Mirror Universe, Cochran guns down his Vulcan counterpart, and orders those humans assembled to enter and ransack the Vulcan ship! Thus sets the stage for the origins of the Terran Empire, where Earth becomes a despotic, conquering planet, subjugating and enslaving its stellar neighbors. How did this happen? Because humans acquired high technology before they were ready for it.
As a Marvel comics fan, this concept was perhaps best elaborated upon in the Watcher's (at left) origin story. Eons ago, the Watcher's race decided to travel the universe offering gifts of high technology to lesser species -- in effect, acting as "gods." That is, until a race called the Prosilicans created nuclear weapons with the Watcher-offered gift of nuclear power and destroyed not only themselves, but their stellar neighbors as well. This resulted in the Watchers becoming just that -- Watchers, whereby any and all interference in alien races' development was prohibited. (Earth's Watcher didn't exactly adhere to this edict, especially when the planet-devouring Galactus showed up to consume our planet.)
Humans (or other races) gaining technology before "we're (they're) ready" is an old theme in scifi. Larry Niven's popular Kzin race is another example. These ferocious felinoids almost conquer Earth thanks to stolen high technology. Back to Marvel, the popular Kree race (from where Captain Marvel comes) stole their technology from the Skrulls.
What are some others?
The headline of this Philly Inquirer article reads "The first gunshot victim in Americas?" But when you read the actual story, what it reveals is that there has been unearthed the earliest archeological evidence of a gunshot victim: An Inca solider who was apparently slain by a Spanish soldier. That's a significant difference. For, as the story itself admits near its end, the Spanish campaign against the Inca was the second major [Spanish] campaign against a Native American civilization. About a dozen years prior, Hernán Cortés led his forces against the Aztecs of Mexico. It is highly unlikely that no Aztec was killed by a Spanish arquebus, thus, again, rendering this article's headline woefully misleading.
By the way, you just gotta love the archeologists' team leader's name: Guillermo Cock. I had to laugh when I saw his name, and not for the obvious reason. The reason is that I once sent in to Maxim magazine (for their former "Found Porn" section) a Highlights magazine-style cover I inadvertantly came across at school. Emblazoned very large (no pun intended!) on the cover was Cock's full name, and I could just imagine the reaction the magazine would get from a class full of students.
Maxim never used my submission, in case you're wondering. And, as I noted, the "Found Porn" section no longer exists in the mag, which is a shame (one of the reasons I let my subscription lapse!). BUT -- you can check out all the great archives of the former section online here! Oh, and it's not real porn -- it's all unintentional porn, which you'll see upon scoping the very first picture! Have fun.
... there's no reason at this point to think European honey bees are going to be wiped out, now or ever. The die-offs so far appear to affect some beekeepers more than others, sometimes in the same area. That's one reason scientists are so puzzled, but it strongly suggests the losses may have something to do with how individual beekeepers are managing their bees. The "significant percentage" of failing hives is still a drop in the bucket when viewed against the global population of honey bees, and there are lots of beekeepers (even in the U.S., which appears hardest hit) who have not had, and may never have, significant losses of colonies. Plenty of honey bees remain to replace the ones that have died. It's not yet time to scream that the sky is falling.
Read all of it.
(h/t: The Ringleader.)
... when The Nation begins voicing its doubts about man's influence on Al Gore's reason for living.
(If you get a subscriber warning at the link above, check Newsbusters here for more of the article.)
A car that runs on compressed air (my emphasis):
Many respected engineers have been trying for years to bring a compressed air car to market, believing strongly that compressed air can power a viable "zero pollution" car. Now the first commercial compressed air car is on the verge of production and beginning to attract a lot of attention, and with a recently signed partnership with Tata, India's largest automotive manufacturer, the prospects of very cost-effective mass production are now a distinct possibility. The MiniC.A.T is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis that is glued not welded and a body of fibreglass. . . .
Most importantly, it is incredibly cost-efficient to run – according to the designers, it costs less than one Euro per 100Km (about a tenth that of a petrol car). Its mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car (200 to 300 km or 10 hours of driving), a factor which makes a perfect choice in cities where the 80% of motorists drive at less than 60Km. The car has a top speed of 68 mph.
Refilling the car will, once the market develops, take place at adapted petrol stations to administer compressed air. In two or three minutes, and at a cost of approximately 1.5 Euros, the car will be ready to go another 200-300 kilometres.
As a viable alternative, the car carries a small compressor which can be connected to the mains (220V or 380V) and refill the tank in 3-4 hours.
Due to the absence of combustion and, consequently, of residues, changing the oil (1 litre of vegetable oil) is necessary only every 50,000 Km.
The temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust pipe is between 0 - 15 degrees below zero, which makes it suitable for use by the internal air conditioning system with no need for gases or loss of power.
This sounds ideal for huge urban areas or even fairly congested suburban areas (like north Wilmington, DE!) where one would barely even approach that top speed of 68 mph. Tom Noyes has been Delaware's information bastion about clean power, and his devotion to the topic has sparked my own interest.
Lack of serious innovation for items such as this makes me wonder sometimes if the premise for stories like this really aren't right on the money (pun intended).