"There is no evidence of climate change scenarios that would render human beings extinct," Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State and author of "The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet" (PublicAffairs, 2021), told Live Science in an email.cc: Extinction Rebellion, Jem Bendell
Monday, August 30, 2021
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
I started reading Asimov's Foundation trilogy a long time ago, and only made it about a third of the way though. I wasn't as into scifi then as I am now, so I'm going to go back and give it another go. What I mainly remember is that the nuclear powered spaceships seemed rather out-of-date, scifi-speaking, compared to Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. (But maybe more realistic!) I once saw Asimov speak at a scifi convention when I was a graduate student at Stony Brook. But then I wasn't into scifi at all and I don't remember a thing he said. But I had read several of his nonfiction books when I was in high school and college, books with chapters where he would just riff about various planets and on comets and asteroids and the solar system and whatever came to his mind--and a lot always came to his mind!--which I always found interesting. So I wanted to see him in person.
Friday, August 20, 2021
I heard the perfect Covid quote today.— Angry Staffer (@Angry_Staffer) August 20, 2021
“If you don’t trust doctors and science to keep you from getting sick, why the hell are you clogging up hospitals trusting them to cure you?”
I saw a nurses post this morning asking a covid patient why she didn't get a vaccination. Because we didn't know what was in it. The nurse replied, I've used five different drugs on you in the last half hour, you never asked me once what was in it?— Faye Fellows (@cottage_orchard) August 20, 2021
So we can get rid is seatbelt laws now right? Because facial reconstruction is so good these days.— Michael j Spencer (@MichaeljSpence8) August 20, 2021
Lee Billings of Scientific American has a great, lengthy article on the "Decadal Survey," or Astro2020, the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey. This report, which comes out every ten years and is a year overdue but is now in final peer review and supposed to be coming out sometime soon, sets priorities for US astronomical projects for the next ten years. It's so important towards determining which megatelescopes get funded that, as someone in the article says, it's sometimes called "the voice of God." As I'm currently writing a long article about astrobiology, I found it very clarifying and insightful.
Anyway, in terms of the Decadal Survey's impact on funding priorities, there's this interesting and revealing quote near the end of the article. "Tremblay" is Grant Tremblay, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution, then there's this wonderful (in its way) quote from a "Beltway insider."
Or rather the New Great Observatories can only happen if astronomers become more savvy at what Gaudi has termed “astropolitics.” “I’m utterly convinced a ‘New Great Observatories’ program with Lynx, Origins, and LUVOIR or HabEx—a ‘LuvEx,’ so to speak—could be done with a single phone call to the right person,” Tremblay says. “Because on Capitol Hill, it’s not about total cost—it’s about annual appropriation. A couple hundred million dollars a year added to NASA’s astrophysics line would suffice.”
Such hopeful speculations are not necessarily just wishful thinking. “We’re talking a 1 or 2 percent increase in real dollars to NASA’s budget to enable another Great Observatories program,” says one Beltway insider. “These are the perturbations concerted advocacy can create. Only about 30 senators are really involved in appropriations, and the annual discretionary budget of the federal government is running at about $2 trillion. So divide $2 trillion by 30 and then factor in the staffers working for each of those senators. You’ll find, perhaps to your horror, that anything much below about half a billion dollars a year is essentially left to staffers and lost in the margins.” Tremblay puts it more bluntly. “NASA does not really work for the Executive Office of the President,” he says. “It works for the 25-year-olds a few years out of college who serve on appropriations committees. A flagship mission—or a whole new series of Great Observatories—could be green-lit over lunch by some low-level staffer while they’re eating a burrito.”
Monday, August 16, 2021
This is just amazing -- it looks like sci fi, but it's real. Having read books like The Search for Planet X as a boy, its a real delight to see something like this later in life:
Pluto’s ice mountains, frozen plains and layers of atmospheric haze backlit by a distant sun, as seen by the New Horizons spacecraft.— Wonder of Science (@wonderofscience) August 15, 2021
Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI pic.twitter.com/aHJwCn1T5s
Friday, August 13, 2021
Monday, August 09, 2021
Sunday, August 08, 2021
They give the global anomaly, and one for Europe; their dataset starts in January 1979.
There's only about 10 and a few years available where you can calculate the 30-year trend.