"My fellow Americans: We are a country in debt and in decline — not terminal, not irreversible, but in decline. Our political system seems incapable of producing long-range answers to big problems or big opportunities. We are the ones who need a better-functioning democracy — more than the Iraqis and Afghans. We are the ones in need of nation-building. It is our political system that is not working."
-- Thomas Friedman, NY Times
At Slate’s Breakfast Table discussion, Dahlia Lithwick uses the occasion to tweak Justice Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion: “I must first pass along this rather brilliant observation from professor Stephen Wermiel from American University, who wonders why none of the dissenters cautioned the majority that today’s decision ‘will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.’ (Boumediene, Scalia, J. dissenting.)”Scalia might just be the most dangerous person in American, and perhaps even the world.
What does the colon mean?
More couples are wanting a low-impact, small, destination wedding, where instead of making everyone fly somewhere for one day, they have their close friends and family fly somewhere like Costa Rica or Mexico for a few days of celebrating,” said Ms. Meyers....
-- "Love, Honor, Leave No Carbon Footprint," Jennifer Conlin, NY Times, 6/22/08
The entire Arctic refuge is one-third the size of the United Kingdom (which includes Scotland and Wales). The drilling site would be one-seventh the size of Manhattan Island. The footprint is tiny. I hope you know this is completely false.There is not some 2,000 acre pool of oil waiting to be slurped up – oil drilling would occur over a vast area of almost 2 million acres. The famous “2,000 acre” figure that would supposedly be used for drilling includes only the spot where equipment actually touches the ground -- this perverse metric was snuck in by none other than New Hampshire's John Sununu, in one of the most dishonest pieces of legislation to ever enter Congress.
That figure does not include roads, pipelines (except for the tiny footprint of their support posts), gravel mines, exploration wells, and other sites that severely affect the well-being of wildlife to roam. You can be sure that heavy industry will criss-cross the entire area before they are through. And that seriously inhibits the ability of wildlife to roam freely and thrive.
Moreover, there’s relatively little oil in ANWR – high-end estimates are about 12 billion barrels. The U.S. uses over 7 billion barrels each year. And it’s not like ANWR oil will be reserved for Americans – it will be auctioned on the world market at the highest possible price.
As a very rough rule of thumb, flying produces the same carbon emissions per passenger as driving the same distance solo in a 30 mpg vehicle.He also agrees with Appell's Theorem:
Let’s be realistic: If Americans have to give up on air travel and hot showers in order to save the world, then the world is just not going to get saved.
2007 Oil Production = -0.2% from 2006 (81.5 Mb/d), the first year oil production has ever decreased from the year beforeIt is difficult to imagine that every oil well in the world isn't pumping all the oil they can, with oil at $135/b. If you made widgets and were, 4 years ago, getting $1 apiece for them, and if today you were able to sell the same widget for $3, wouldn't you be pumping them out as fast as you can? OK, you might leave a few widgets for future generations -- you might -- but let's face it, caring about future generations is not exactly a strong suit of human beings.
2007 Oil Consumption = +1.1% from 2006 (+0.9 Mb/d)
There 8 planets and 3 dwarf planets (Pluto, Ceres and Eris). 2 of the dwarf planets (Pluto and Eris) belong to a sub-category called plutoids.I can't really understand these without some numbers, so here you go:
Ceres: diameter = 950 km, mass = 1/3rd of the Mars-Jupiter asteroid belt = 0.0002 Earths
Pluto: diameter = 2390 km, mass = 0.0021 Earths, avg. distance to Sun = 39.5 AU
Eris: diameter = 2600 km (greater than Pluto!) = 0.0027 Earths, avg. distance to Sun = 67.7 AU = 1.7 x Pluto
Plutoid: Plutoids are celestial bodies in orbit around the Sun at a distance greaterSo Pluto is no longer a planet, ruining all that time I spent on the toilet in 7th grade reading "The Search for Planet X" by Clyde Tombaugh. (I have no idea why, but that is my association with the book.)
than that of Neptune that have sufficient mass for their self-gravity to
overcome rigid body forces so that they assume a hydrostatic equilibrium
(near-spherical) shape, and that have not cleared the neighbourhood around
their orbit. The two known and named plutoids are Pluto and Eris. It is
expected that more plutoids will be named as science progresses
and new discoveries are made.
The dwarf planet Ceres is not a plutoid as it is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Current scientific knowledge lends credence to the belief that Ceres is the only object of its kind. Therefore, a separate category of Ceres-like dwarf planets will not be proposed at this time.This is getting a little confusing, and frankly right now I don't know what to tell my 3-yr old nephew, who is starting to learn about dinosaurs and planets. How many planets are there (8?), and how many plutoids (2?), and what the heck is Ceres?
A good letter in today's NY Times:
To the Editor:
Re “The Cons of Creationism” (editorial, June 7):
The debate over science versus creationism is in part fueled by the notion that everybody’s opinions and beliefs are equally valid. While in a democratic society we should be respectful of each other’s opinions and beliefs, this is not how science operates.
The scientific method has well- defined rules by which we decide whether a solution to a scientific problem is correct or not. It is not that we believe or have the opinion that a certain solution is correct — we prove it scientifically one way or another.
Thus there are right and wrong solutions that may seem unfair, undemocratic and elitist. But this is how science advances and produces the marvelous technological developments that surround us. And this is not a belief. It is a fact.
Ivan K. Schuller
La Jolla, Calif., June 7, 2008
The writer is a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego.
Could there possibly be any more succinct summary of why McCain is the wrong man for these times?
Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was fundraising in Richmond, VA, and joked about how he vets prospective VP candidates:
“We’re going through a process where you get a whole bunch of names, and ya … Well, basically, it’s a Google. You just, you know, what you can find out now on the Internet. It’s remarkable, you know.”
By THOM SHANKER
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made the decision after an inquiry into the mishandling of nuclear weapons found systemic problems in the Air Force.
“The vast majority of scientists do not believe that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are a major contributor to global warming.”I don't believe in hell, and so I don't think James Inhofe is going to hell. But I simply cannot imagine the degree of complicity and utter truthlessness that a man must revert to to claim an absolute falsehood.