Asilomar Two

Here’ is the first report I’ve seen on the conference this past week on geoengineering. I would have like to attend, but didn’t have either time or money right now. I was a little disturbed by what seemed to be an absence:

Participants…split into groups representing the two broad kinds of geoengineering: methods which block solar radiation from the sun, like spreading aerosols in the stratosphere, and techniques to remove carbon from the atmosphere, like growing algae blooms at sea.

…A vexing question for participants was the role of commercial companies in this controversial field. A breakout group devoted to the idea of blocking sunlight—by whitening clouds or the ocean surface, for example—couldn’t agree on whether it should propose barring for-profit companies from the enterprise.

Ignoring the issue of the role of private enterprise, what I’m reading seems very terracentric (which isn’t uncommon among the scientific community — I think it was one of the reasons that it there was so much skepticism about Alverez’ dinosaur-extinction theory). After all, if the goal is to block sunlight, the closer to the source you are, the easier the job might be. Maybe there were some space-based solutions discussed, but you can’t figure it out from this report. One of the reasons that I wanted to attend was to provide a perspective that might not otherwise be there, and it looks like my fears were born out.

I’d bet that if you proposed (say) Ehricke-type solettas, or sunshades, you’d be laughed out of the room, largely out of ignorance of space transportation economics. I would have provided a tutorial to explain why it’s foolish to extrapolate costs of current launch systems to future large-scale space access, because I’ll bet that’s exactly what most of them would do (because it’s what most people do now). I’ll look forward to a more detailed report on the conference, though, including a full list of presentations.

[Monday afternoon update]

It should be noted that I’m not advocating geoengineering. I’m just pointing out that for those who do, they shouldn’t exclude space-based solutions because of false preconceptions. It’s sort of like my attitude toward NASA. I wouldn’t weep much if the agency was defunded (other than the personal impacts on my friends who are employees and contractors). But seeing as how that’s unlikely to happen, I’ll continue to lobby to at least have the funds spent sensibly, in terms of actually advancing us in space.


Gee, I’m not the only one who thinks that the White House is nuts on the Middle East and Israel.

The letter’s lead signatories were Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD). The letter had only circulated for three days last week before garnering 327 signatures, probably the most bipartisan effort seen on Capitol Hill in this session of Congress. It provides a measure of just how far out of the mainstream the Obama administration has gotten on relations with Israel.

Moreover, they’re entirely correct. Thanks to what amounts to a reversal of 20 years of American policy on settlements in Jerusalem, Obama has given the Palestinians a reason to refuse to come to the table that Israel simply can’t address. Obama has made peace a lot less likely than it was fifteen months ago by throwing his tantrum in such a public manner. Weakening Israel won’t bring peace — it will bring more attacks on Israel as Palestinians begin to believe that the US won’t back its ally any longer.

Jennifer Rubin believes Obama’s fumble was by design, or at least by instinctual hostility towards Israel. With advisers like Samantha Power at the White House, that hostility was known long before Obama got elected. Accidental, latent, or overt, Obama’s hostility towards a key democracy in the most strategic part of the world has raised eyebrows of both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill — perhaps belatedly, but not too late to put some serious pressure for this administration to grow the hell up.

They seem to be particularly impervious to that. As do their defenders, including some commenters here.


Hey, AP. Searchlight is south of Las Vegas, not north. It’s almost like they want people to not find the place.

[Update a couple minutes later]

I’m saving the screenshot to see if they go back and fix it. Of course, our elite journalists can’t be expected to know the geography of flyover country.

[Update a few minutes later]

The Tea Party express is reporting that their buses are being egged in Searchlight:

Supporters of Senator Harry Reid have just thrown eggs at the Tea Party Express bus caravan – striking at least one of the three buses (the red Tea Party Express bus) with multiple eggs.

About 35 Reid supporters had lined Highway 95 in front of the Nugget Casino in Searchlight where they were attempting a counter-demonstration the tens of thousands of tea party supporters who are gathering for the “Showdown in Searchlight.”

But don’t accuse them of hate or anger! I’m kind of amused that there are only thirty-five Harry Reid supporters in his home town. Not surprised, though.

[Sunday morning update]

At least dozens” attended. Well, I guess it’s technically true. So would “At least one…”

And as Glenn notes, “at least dozens” watch CNN. And this kind of biased stupidity is one of the reasons.

A Thugocracy

Fascists like Henry Waxman are upset that companies are following SEC regulations:

People’s Commissar Henry Waxman is now planning to haul the companies before his committee because their disclosures fail to play along with the our Leftist rulers’ script that Obamacare “will expand coverage and bring down costs.”

As Andy notes:

If we are now under a system where disclosure gets you a public whipping and other threats by the Powers That Be while nondisclosure promises the ruinous expenses of defending against criminal investigations and civil enforcement, this is no longer anything but a thugocracy.

It’s the Chicago (and West LA) way.

Unlike Health Care

Being angry is a right:

Unlike the entitlements we’re saddled with until death, being angry is free and actually works! But we need to define why we’re angry – instead of letting our adversaries do it for us.

We are angry not because we lost, but that we lost to losers. I’m not talking about Obama, or the Dems. They’re winners, sadly. I’m talking about progressivism. The reason why I’m angry, my friends are angry, and my imaginary unicorn Captain Sparkles is angry – is because the greatest, most winningest country in the history of the world, just embraced the loser’s doctrine.

For two hundred plus years we’ve kicked ass, and we’re now choosing the belief system of the idiots whose asses we’ve kicked.

Let’s hope for not much longer.


Why has Obama treated Netanyahu so rudely?

It seems pretty clear to me that, of all of the countries in the Middle East, there’s only one where he wants to see a regime change.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Instapundit has a theory:

Possibly Obama just hates Israel and hates Jews. That’s plausible — certainly nothing in his actions suggests otherwise, really.

But it’s also possible — I’d say likely — that there’s something else going on. I think Obama expects Israel to strike Iran, and wants to put distance between the United States and Israel in advance of that happening. (Perhaps he even thinks that treating Israel rudely will provoke such a response, saving him the trouble of doing anything about Iran himself, and avoiding the risk that things might go wrong if he does). On the most optimistic level, maybe this whole thing is a sham, and the U.S. is really helping Israel strike Iran, with this as distraction. The question for readers is which of these — not necessarily mutually exclusive — explanations is most plausible.

I’m going to go with Occam’s Razor myself. I’ve seen no evidence that Obama gives a damn whether or not Iran gets nukes (and perhaps he would even be happy to see it — who knows)?

[Update mid morning]

We are all Bibi Netanyahu now:

I think the reaction to Obama’s treatment of Bibi Netanyahu hits home because it was so personal in nature, and because it epitomized how the American people have been treated by Obama and the Democrats, with arrogance and disdain.

We have seen this attitude since the Inauguration, when Obama and the crowd treated George W. Bush with disrespect, in the smears by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and other leading Democrats against health care protesters, in the daily attacks by the left-wing blogs and mainstream media against the Tea Party members, in the treatment of Sarah Palin and Trig Palin, in the bribes and budgetary chicanery used to pass a health care bill opposed by a significant majority of the population, and in the disgusting use of the race card to stifle legitimate political dissent.

In Bibi Netanyahu we see something we have lost in our leader, an unflinching sense of national destiny, an unapologetic pride in who we are and why we are, and a willingness to stand up to tyrants and neighborhood bullies regardless of the price.

Instead, we have a bully for a leader, who prefers the company of other bullies to true democrats.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!