Smart Diplomacy?

No, chump diplomacy:

Oh, how the international community loves Barack Obama — loves to stiff him, play him along, and manipulate him. He’s the world’s celebrity ingenue, the slender naïf perpetually undone by the recalcitrance of foreign leaders.

…Democrats spent years banging on Bush for alienating our allies. What they really meant was that he hadn’t been nice enough to our enemies. Reversing field entirely, Obama has been hell on allies like Hamid Karzai and the Israelis. He’s undercut the Poles and Czechs. He’s given a cold shoulder to friends who have the temerity to want to trade with us, like the Colombians and South Koreans. He’s cooled the special relationship with Britain. And he hammered the government of Honduras when it stopped a creeping Chávezist coup by its sitting president.

It’s hard to figure out just what country he’s president of.

Gaia Refuses To Get With The Program

And the warm-mongers aren’t happy about it.

[Update a few minutes later]

Environmentalists exposed as liars. I’m shocked, shocked I say.

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s more on the apparent fraud at the Climate Research Unit.

The problem is that the files and emails seem just too good to be true. A number of files seem to be smoking guns — revealing how to resist Freedom of Information Act requests for their data (which would both be scientific misconduct and actually illegal); long-term marketing plans on how to push the climate-change agenda; and discussions of how to pressure peer-reviewed journals to stop accepting papers that disagree with the “accepted” view of global warming.

In other words, just what the skeptics have been suggesting for years. It seems just too neat, and we don’t have independent verification of where the files came from. Someone who is willing to hack might also be willing to create fakes.

But then, the whole package is very large — 63 megabytes — and seems to be very internally consistent. Several people have already corroborated a number of the emails as being ones they wrote or received. The package also includes substantial data and computer programs, which are being explored as this is being written.

The best we can say right now is that we should keep our eyes on this. If these files are eventually corroborated and verified, it is a bombshell indeed — evidence that there has been a literal conspiracy to push the anthropogenic climate change agenda far beyond the science.

I wish I could say that I was surprised. Actually, I am, a little. I wouldn’t have thought they’d be this blatant about it, but it’s been clear for years that this was being driven by a non-science agenda.

As noted in comments, Jerry Pournelle has some thoughts today:

sounds to me as if climatologists are now admitting they have not the faintest idea of what is going on. I have a remedy for them. Study the data and refine the models. Stop assuming you already know the answers and start looking for better models….

But that’s no fun. It doesn’t give them an excuse to implement socialism via the green door.

[Afternoon update]

Here is more from James Delingpole:

The world is currently cooling; electorates are increasingly reluctant to support eco-policies leading to more oppressive regulation, higher taxes and higher utility bills; the tide is turning against Al Gore’s Anthropogenic Global Warming theory. The so-called “sceptical” view is now also the majority view.

Unfortunately, we’ve a long, long way to go before the public mood (and scientific truth) is reflected by our policy makers. There are too many vested interests in AGW, with far too much to lose either in terms of reputation or money, for this to end without a bitter fight.

But if the Hadley CRU scandal is true, it’s a blow to the AGW lobby’s credibility which is never likely to recover.

What I find delicious about this is (as always) the toxic brew of self-righteousness and hypocrisy. I don’t want to hear anyone, ever again, tell me that it’s “just about the science.”

[Mid-afternoon update]

A lot of discussion over at Slashdot.

Psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer

…on the lunacy of Eric Holder:

…why is Attorney General Eric Holder doing this? Ostensibly, to demonstrate to the world the superiority of our system, where the rule of law and the fair trial reign.

Really? What happens if KSM (and his co-defendants) “do not get convicted,” asked Senate Judiciary Committee member Herb Kohl. “Failure is not an option,” replied Holder. Not an option? Doesn’t the presumption of innocence, er, presume that prosecutorial failure — acquittal, hung jury — is an option? By undermining that presumption, Holder is undermining the fairness of the trial, the demonstration of which is the alleged rationale for putting on this show in the first place.

…Finally, there’s the moral logic. It’s not as if Holder opposes military commissions on principle. On the same day he sent KSM to a civilian trial in New York, Holder announced he was sending Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, (accused) mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole, to a military tribunal.

By what logic? In his congressional testimony Wednesday, Holder was utterly incoherent in trying to explain. In his Nov. 13 news conference, he seemed to be saying that if you attack a civilian target, as in 9/11, you get a civilian trial; a military target like the Cole, and you get a military tribunal.

What a perverse moral calculus. Which is the war crime — an attack on defenseless civilians or an attack on a military target such as a warship, an accepted act of war that the United States itself has engaged in countless times?

By what possible moral reasoning, then, does KSM, who perpetrates the obvious and egregious war crime, receive the special protections and constitutional niceties of a civilian courtroom, while he who attacked a warship is relegated to a military tribunal?

This will not end well.

[Update a couple minutes later]

And speaking of the corrupt political hack running the Department of Injustice, Andrew Breitbart has a warning: investigate ACORN properly, or I’ll release a lot more tapes just before the election next year. You know, I think he has them by the short hairs. I wonder if they’re too stupid to realize it, though.

And in a sane world, Breitbart, Giles and O’Keefe would be getting a Pulitzer.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Oh, this is precious, too. Breitbart totally pwned a hack columnist at the LA Times as well.

I Have A Dream

I have a dream that when I type into a text box in Firefox, the characters won’t stop appearing on the screen while I’m typing, and then magically appear a few seconds later. I have a dream that when I move the mouse pointer to a different place and left click, it will actually move the cursor there when I do so, and not half a minute later. I have a dream that when I scroll down, the screen will actually move in real time, and not just the mouse pointer, and that it won’t then jump down tens of seconds later. I have a dream that when I click on a different tab, it will actually change to that tab, and not just sit there on the same window for thousands of milliseconds.

I’ve heard of Firefox problems in Linux, but the problems that I’ve heard seem to do with loading web pages, not the basic mechanics of using the program. Does anyone have any idea what the problem might be?

[Update a few minutes later]

My system monitor is telling me that Firefox is using about half the CPU. Is there any way to figure out exactly which tab, if any, is causing the problem?

Making History

I’m not a big fan of Lindsey Graham, but once in a while he’s not a total waste of oxygen:

One would have thought that Holder would have been prepared for this obvious question. That he wasn’t just shows what an incompetent, political hack he really is.

[Update a few minutes later]

Andy McCarthy, the anti-Holder, expands on the subject:

The lawyer’s stock in trade is precedent. Whether you’re a prosecutor or any other lawyer faced with a policy question, the first thing you want to know is what the law says on the subject: Has this come up before? Are there prior cases on point? What have the courts had to say? Those are the first-order questions — always.

…How could Holder possibly not know the answer to this fundamental question — how could he, in fact, be stumped by it. If he studied and agonized over this decision as he says he did, this would have been the first issue he’d have considered: the fact that there was no legal precedent for what he wanted to do. Or, put another way, if there was a single case that supported Holder’s decision, it would have been the only case we’d have been hearing about — from DOJ, the academy, and the media — for the last ten months.

Hack. The country’s in the very best of hands.

[Update a few minutes later]

The insanity grows. Senator Leahy says it’s OK, we don’t need to interrogate bin Laden.

The Suborbital Refueling Dance

Jon Goff has an interesting variation on a concept that’s been around for a long time, but never implemented: refueling a suborbital vehicle in space to allow it to get to orbit. It’s in between Black Horse, which did an aerial fueling (or rather, oxidizing, since the propellant transferred was the oxidizer rather than the fuel), and standard orbital refueling. There’s an up side and a down side to it, relative to aerial refueling.

The down side is that unless the suborbital trajectory is fairly high, at least in velocity, you don’t have a lot of time for the operations before entering the atmosphere. You’d only have a few minutes, but that might be enough to transfer several thousand pounds of propellants. You’d have a trade as to whether to transfer just fuel, or just oxidizer or both. The latter would increase the likelihood of failure, since you’d have to mate two transfer booms, and simultaneously transfer two fluids.

The up side is that, out of the atmosphere, it’s easier and safer to fly in formation, because there are no wind gusts to worry about, and the physics is much more predictable (gravity doesn’t tend to vary much over non-astronomical times).

In a sane world, NASA would have long ago built an X-vehicle to prove out the concept, but that’s not the world in which we live. What I’d like to see is a prize for the first demonstration of such a propellant transfer operation, which all of the suborbital folks – Scaled (or VG), XCOR, Masten or Armadillo or others — could go after. You could have tiers of total propellant transferred, or total propellant transferred in a given time.

The other appealing thing about it is that, as Jon notes, it has benign abort characteristics. Which brings to mind another prize that NASA could offer (again, in a sane world). If reliability is really valued (the focus on heavy lift in general, and Ares in particular, would indicate that it’s not particularly, despite the advertisements), like low cost, it will only be achieved through high flight rates, and no one will really believe it until it’s been demonstrated. Fortunately, reusable suborbital vehicles are capable of lots of flights for low marginal cost per flight. So all they need is funding to do lots of flights. I would propose a prize for a consecutive number of successful deliveries to orbit (you could even start off with suborbital missions). Or, rather, consecutive number of non-failures, where failure is defined as losing the payload. In other words, you wouldn’t be penalized for an intact abort. The prize would be won when the requisite number of missions were flown with no losses. Abort rate could be a tie breaker for multiple winners.

If you wanted to have a demonstrated reliability (defined as non-payload loss, not mission success) of 0.999, you’d have to fly a thousand flights. If the marginal cost of a suborbital flight is, say, $10K, this would cost ten million, about the same as the X-Prize. So offer a fifty-million dollar prize, and see who goes for it. Once that’s won, offer half a billion for orbital.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!