The Future Of Space

As we mourn the loss of a pioneer, it’s important to note that it lies with the billionaires, not NASA or other government programs:

“One [path] is that we stay on Earth forever and then there will be an inevitable extinction event,” [Bezos] told the audience of scientists and engineers. “The alternative is to become a spacefaring civilization, and a multi-planetary species.”

Ashlee Vance, longtime tech journalist and author of Elon Musk: Tesla, Space, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, thinks these ambitions are driven by a mix of entrepreneurial curiosity, altruism and a dash of egotism. “The guys who are rulers of the universe now are the nerds,” he says. “They were all geeks raised on science fiction and the vision of space we had in the 1960s and 70s. Now they have the money to make this a reality.”


The “Consensus” On Climate Change

Scott Adams explains why he accepts it, even though it’s probably wrong:

when it comes to pattern recognition, I see the climate science skeptics within the scientific community as being similar to Shy Trump Supporters. The fact that a majority of scientists agree with climate science either means the evidence is one-sided or the social/economic pressures are high. And as we can plainly see, the cost of disagreeing with climate science is unreasonably high if you are a scientist.

While it is true that a scientist can become famous and make a big difference by bucking conventional wisdom and proving a new theory, anything short of total certainty would make that a suicide mission. And climate science doesn’t provide the option of total certainty.

To put it another way, it would be easy for a physicist to buck the majority by showing that her math worked. Math is math. But if your science depends on human judgement to decide which measurements to include and which ones to “tune,” you don’t have that option. Being a rebel theoretical physicist is relatively easy if your numbers add up. But being a rebel climate scientist is just plain stupid. So don’t expect to see many of the latter. Scientists can often be wrong, but rarely are they stupid.

…I accept the consensus of climate science experts when they say that climate science is real and accurate. But I do that to protect my reputation and my income. I have no way to evaluate the work of scientists.

If you ask me how scared I am of climate changes ruining the planet, I have to say it is near the bottom of my worries. If science is right, and the danger is real, we’ll find ways to scrub the atmosphere as needed. We always find ways to avoid slow-moving dangers. And if the risk of climate change isn’t real, I will say I knew it all along because climate science matches all of the criteria for a mass hallucination by experts.

It does indeed.

[Late-evening update]

The Scott Adams post was via Judith Curry, who has related links from other “heretics” (i.e., they “believe” in AGW, but aren’t hysterical about it) Roger Pielke and Matt Ridley:

The truly astonishing thing about all this is how little climate heretics – such as myself, Roger Pielke, and Matt Ridley – actually diverge from the consensus science position: RP Jr. hews strictly to the IPCC consensus; Matt Ridley is on the lukewarm side of the IPCC consensus, and I have stated that the uncertainties are too large to justify high confidence in the consensus statements.

RP Jr and Matt Ridley provide appalling examples of the personal and arguably unethical attacks from other scientists, journalists, elected politicians and others with government appointments.

Scott Adams provides some genuine (and as always, humorous) insights into the psychology behind the dynamics of the climate debate.

As to the question: to be or not to be a climate heretic?

I’m planning a climate heretic blog post shortly after the first of the year. After seeing RP Jr’s title, perhaps I will title it ‘Happy Heretic’ (stay tuned). Here’s to hoping that the Age of Trump will herald the demise of climate change dogma and acceptance of a broader range of perspectives on climate science and our policy options .

I’ll personally be looking forward to it.

The Hard Left’s Violent Tantrums

Comey’s FBI should investigate them.

True. But then, there are other things that Comey’s FBI should have properly investigated, like Hillary Clinton’s and her aide’s felonies and corruption.

[Update a while later]

Related: The Left’s coming counterattack:

We sent our offspring to them for an education, and they sent them back to us, spitting with hatred for the way of life that enabled their ease. “You dare defy us? Our soldiers are your own flesh and blood!”

They threw them at us like grenades – warped, misguided and misinformed, filled with explosive fury and lit by an impossibly short fuse. Wave after wave, they sent them into the streets to burn, to riot, and to cloak their debauchery of liberty with the fresh face of a new generation.

And we backed down, knowing we had been gravely molested but unwilling to challenge the perpetrators for fear of ensnaring our own children in the fray.

We held elections. We elected majorities who then refused to fight. We listened to our “leaders,” who told us to appease the gnashing beast because the world was changing and we had to remain “relevant.”

Now, after a great while and innumerable offenses, we have elected someone who sees no value in the bureaucrat’s mantra of “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” We explored unfamiliar electoral terrain and found someone who respects the origin of our ideals as embodied in our founding documents. A man who brusquely (and entertainingly!) dismissed the circus-mirror image of America peddled by the left and their fawning, complicit media. Tired of being beaten about the head and shoulders while those we elected to defend us stood by holding the coats of our abusers, we elected a brawler of our own.

I wish that he “respects the origin of our ideals as embodied in our founding documents,” but I continue to see no evidence that he’s ever even read them. But one goes to war with the army one has.

Loretta Jackson Delong (1948-2016)


Received this morning:

Aleta, as she was known to all, passed away this morning in the Midland hospital ER. Aleta knew from the time she was twelve that she would build and fly spaceships. Her first professional work was as an engineering co op from Indiana Tech working on the Gemini program for McDonnell. Her engineering degree was cut short when she went home to nurse her mother back to health. After that, she joined the USAF as airman Jackson.

Aleta worked for Xerox for ten years as a repair technician and wrote both science fiction and non-fiction stories. She worked for the L-5 Society, both in Tucson and later in Washington DC. During her stay in DC, Aleta became an aide to General Daniel Graham and helped create the DC-X launch vehicle, later renamed the Clipper Graham. She also edited the Journal of Practical Applications of Space while with Graham’s Strategic Defense Initiative Organization.

As an indefatigable supporter of launch vehicle development, Aleta then became one of Rotary Rocket Company’s first employees, where she was general office manager. When the propulsion group was laid off from Rotary, Aleta was the person who told Jeff Greason, Dan DeLong, and Doug Jones that they had to stick with it, and founded XCOR Aerospace.

In the beginning, because the XCOR founders received no pay, Aleta took an additional job as a reporter/editor of the Mojave Desert News. Meanwhile, she was XCOR’s purchasing, personnel, bookkeeping, editorial, receiving, community outreach, and travel departments. As the company grew, she shed most of these tasks. In late 2015 she helped Jeff Greason start Agile Aero. Aleta was a personal as well as professional partner of Dan DeLong since the early days of Rotary, and they were officially married in 2016. The very next day, however, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and succumbed to complications of the chemotherapy regimen.

My deepest condolences to Dan, and her friends and family. She was a long-time friend and occasional colleague, and no one I know fought harder for our future in space.

[Monday-morning update]

I’ve added what Dan tells me was one of her favorite pictures of herself.

[Monday-afternoon update]

I encourage people to read all of the kind and understandably heartbroken comments, but this one from Dan is important for those who knew her:

Thanks all for the kind words. In order to allow time for those traveling, and to get around the holidays, the memorial service will be Sunday, Jan 15 at the Christian Church of Midland at 2608 Neely Ave. Thanks again, Dan.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it, but I’ll try.

[Monday-evening update]

Henry Vanderbilt remembers Aleta’s akita, Rufo.


I do as well, because thanks to Rufo’s and Henry’s generosity, I once shared a hotel room with them at the Space Access Conference (despite my allergy to dogs, but I survived, and he was a great dog. And I’ve done that more than once, even after the passing of Rufo, despite the fact that I snore, for which I’m grateful to Henry, and will always regret any loss of sleep on his part).

[Late-evening update]

Via Clark Lindey, here is the local news reporting:

Greason, who is now the founder of upstart Midland-headquartered Agile Aero, said DeLong’s role in XCOR was invaluable in helping ideas become reality but that she always stayed in the background.

“During the time before I came to know her in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the idea of commercial or reusable space vehicles was a lonely idea to be a champion of,” he said. “She was one of a very small number of people running around and keeping that idea alive. She was never somebody who put her name on the front door, but wherever you turned … you’d find her as the person keeping the community together.”

Yes. I feel like Aleta was always there, and there is a big hole in my life that she no longer is.

[Update late evening]

Here’s a guestbook via (not sure how official this is, but it’s via NASAWatch, and Keith apparently cannot bring himself to link to this website, despite the numerous encomia here, and its current numero-uno ranking on Google for Aleta’s name).

The Father Of Global Warming

dials back the alarm:

What a difference a few months make!

Just in time for holiday season, and for the Trump Administration, the father of the climate alarm, formerly a climate scientist with NASA/GISS, and now a full-time scientist/activist, has ameliorated his grand climate alarm. The 10-year ultimatum announced in 2006, made more dire in 2009 and since, is now moderated.

This October, we were told that the net emissions of of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere must go negative. Now, “we don’t need to instantaneously reduce GHG amounts.”

A climate scientist might want to see Dr. Hansen’s math and model simulation to understand the revision in the last sixty days.

Maybe the climate can survive Donald Trump after all!

He’ll probably kill us all some other way.


No, not the theory, the software. Is there some good reason why it won’t synchronize with an IMAP server? I have this crazy idea that if email gets marked as junk locally, it should be removed from the inbox on the server, but it doesn’t happen. I don’t see it in the local inbox, but if I look at the server with roundcube, it’s all still there, and I have to manually remove it. The only thing I can find in a search to deal with it is to use offlineimap to synch, and point Evolution at the local files. But that seems like a PITA to set up. Why does this have to be so hard?

The Fresh Face Of The Democrat Party

Yes, after re-electing Nancy Pelosi, putting a black leftist Muslim anti-Semite at its head is just what a party whose senior leaders are old white people needs:

The main takeaway here is not Greenblatt’s embarrassing retreat. It’s the fact that Democrats have a choice to make. If, with the help of people like incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (who claims to be the guardian of Israel in Congress but has nonetheless endorsed the Minnesota congressman), Ellison is elected to head the DNC, the party will be making a symbolic statement that goes beyond the identity politics they prize so much. His elevation to the head of the party at a time when when it has few other national leaders is a sign that the Democratic drift away from Israel has reached a tipping point. Pro-Israel Democrats must either stop Ellison or quit pretending that their party is still a bastion of support for the Jewish state.

Go for it.

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