Old Europe

Really old Europe:

Although excavations over the last century uncovered traces of ancient settlements and the goddess figurines, it was not until local archaeologists in 1972 discovered a large fifth-millennium B.C. cemetery at Varna, Bulgaria, that they began to suspect these were not poor people living in unstructured egalitarian societies. Even then, confined in cold war isolation behind the Iron Curtain, Bulgarians and Romanians were unable to spread their knowledge to the West.

The story now emerging is of pioneer farmers after about 6200 B.C. moving north into Old Europe from Greece and Macedonia, bringing wheat and barley seeds and domesticated cattle and sheep. They established colonies along the Black Sea and in the river plains and hills, and these evolved into related but somewhat distinct cultures, archaeologists have learned. The settlements maintained close contact through networks of trade in copper and gold and also shared patterns of ceramics.

It’s amazing how much we still don’t know about so much.

No Fools, They

India won’t sign any binding carbon reductions. They’d be crazy to, just when they’ve finally thrown off much of the socialism that has held them back for decades, and are finally bringing their people out of poverty, particularly when it’s based on flimsy science, and economic ignorance. The Warm-monger religion demands that they remain in poverty for the good of Gaia, but they’ll stick with their traditional beliefs, and fully bellies.

[Update a couple minutes later]

More from Shikha Dalmia:

The resulting emission cuts won’t even make a dent in global temperatures. India’s per capita energy consumption is 15 times less than America’s and half of China’s—the two biggest polluters. To be sure, President Obama is poised to pledge to cut U.S. carbon emissions 80% below 2005 by 2050 at Copenhagen. But it’s an empty promise because there is little to zero chance that he will be able to get Congress to go along. China too announced plans—modest by all accounts—to curb its emissions. So India will certainly face pressure at the conference to act, despite the fact that bigger polluters won’t.

But as a developing country, India can least afford to give up its right to consume as much energy as is necessary to deliver all Indians a living standard comparable to the one that rich countries take for granted. There is every reason to believe that the new License Raj will damage India’s economy every bit as much as the old one in the preliberalization days, when India’s growth rate remained stuck at around 2%. This would be unfortunate at any time, but especially now, when the West itself is in the middle of a huge rethinking on this issue.


Climaquiddick And The EPA

It’s about to hit:

I cannot think of any instance where the EPA depended so heavily on non-EPA synthesis reports to justify proposed regulatory action in their almost 39 years of existence.

As a result of this EPA decision, the EPA’s fortunes in regard to regulating GHGs are directly tied to the fate of the IPCC reports.

Let the lawsuits begin.

[Late afternoon update]

Here we go. CEI has petitioned the EPA to suspend its CO2 regulations.


The Rise

…of the virtual newsroom:

Here you have two young conservative journalists, O’Keefe and Giles, possessed of a keen philosophical eye, a knowledge of technology (cameras, microphones videotape, the Internet) and a fat and inviting liberal fish in a barrel known as ACORN. Imagination conjured as to how they will approach their story — they go out and conduct their very-old style journalism investigation. Story in hand, Andrew Breitbart of Breitbart.tv in the Internet division takes the handoff. He sends a virtual memo to talk radio row’s Beck and Hannity. Who in turn are both Fox News stars. Five…four…three…two…one. Bang! Within a virtual instant, the Virtual Newsroom has just blown in the hull of the good ship ACORN, its stunned survivors racing around the deck of a political Titanic as Breitbart, O’Keefe and Giles are powered by the engines of the Virtual Newsroom. The full power of the Virtual Newsroom kicks in. Talk radio shows light up the call screeners screens. The newspaper and magazines kick in, in print and online. The lights are on in the Fox studios as the surging Fox audience gapes at a federally funded organization strategizing on prostitution. And…lights out for ACORN. Or more accurately, considerably damaged and suddenly congressionally unfunded. And the coverage from what’s left of the liberal mainstream media in all this? Next to zero.

… The problem for American progressives today — be they the activists of ACORN, Van Jones, the So We Might See group or others — is that they are unaccustomed to finding themselves on the receiving end of this kind of attention from the journalists, commentators, investigators, talk radio hosts, television stars and authors of the Virtual Newsroom. It is safe to say that whatever else went on in the three stories listed here, the scoundrels at ACORN, Mr. Jones, and the So We Might See-ers were taken aback at the fact they — they! — were suddenly under the Virtual Newsroom microscope for their public activities. Accustomed to velvet-gloved treatment from their progressive buddies in the Old Media, they simply never factored the existence of the Virtual Newsroom into the equation.

Newsflash to progressives. The Virtual News room is here to stay. Not only is it not going away — in spite of whatever shenanigans may be going on behind the closed doors of the FCC — it is gaining in both size and strength.

It may be saving us from the “progressive” drumbeat that has come from the media for decades. You can see why the administration wants to tighten control.

Too Much Gravity?

I got a question via email:

I have often heard of the difficulty of getting mass to orbit. Earth’s atmosphere and gravity are on the edge of being too much for chemical rockets. Unfortunately I have not found any discussions that analyze modified case scenarios such as “What if Earth had a thicker atmosphere?” or “What if the atmosphere was roughly equivalent but the gravity was 10% greater?” Would these be game stoppers for chemical rockets?” If we had evolved on Venus what method would be best for getting to orbit? Ultimately, are we in a sweet spot as far as our planet is concerned, too big to loose the atmosphere but not to big to be stuck?

It’s a misconception that it’s too hard to get off the planet with chemical rockets. Earth’s gravity is bad for single-stage, but as long as you’re willing to stage, it’s not that big a deal. What makes it expensive is the low activity rate, not the intrinsic capabilities of chemical propulsion. Ignoring the fact that it would have been very unlikely that we would have evolved on Venus, the best way might be a hot “air” balloon to the top of the atmosphere, and then take off from there. Designing a propulsion system that would work in that atmosphere would be no fun. Commenters may have other thoughts.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!