The Virgin PR Fiasco

I’ve been thinking about it, and this can’t be good for VG. They invite a lot of high-falutin’ people, including a lot of wealthy customers, subject them first to chilling winds and cold to see the vehicle, then have them party in a cold tent with iced vodka, after checking their coats and valuables. Then they quickly herd them outside in subfreezing temperatures and hurricane-force winds without their coats and other things, waiting in the chill blast for buses, shortly after which the tent collapses. Many of them are only now starting to get their belongings back, which were scattered across the desert and probably stopped only by the east fence of the airport. And Burt is saying “I told you so”:

…we drive past Schwarzenegger’s private jet as it taxis along the runway. It has been held on the ground for two hours because the wind was too strong to take off. Moments later we pass the party tent, which has now been reduced to a pile of tarpaulin and twisted metal. “I told them it was a bad idea to hold the event in this weather,” says Rutan.

Throwing a party isn’t rocket science, and it’s supposed to be something in Sir Richard’s wheel house. I wonder how many “future astronauts” had their faith shaken in the company’s ability to fly them safely?

Don’t Panic!

Thoughts on global warming, and cooling, from JoSH:

From the perspective of the Holocene as a whole, our current hockeystick is beginning to look pretty dinky. By far the possibility I would worry about, if I were the worrying sort, would be the return to an ice age — since interglacials, over the past half million years or so, have tended to last only 10,000 years or so. And Ice ages are not conducive to agriculture.

What’s the environmental impact of the Great Lakes region being under a mile of ice?

Saw The Rollout

Man, is it cold up here. I can barely type, and even the laptop is running slow.

I was going to live blog the press conference, but my computer wouldn’t even boot until I found some power for it. We watched the plane(s) roll out, emerging from the darkness into floodlights, with searchlights dancing on dissipating (perhaps only temporarily) clouds above the cold desert sky. The wind was blowing at gale force, and cutting right through, with the temps probably in the lower thirties.

More later, after I warm my fingers up. But it may be much later…

[Update a few minutes later, at 7:40 PM]

The party was supposed to go until 9, but they’re evacuating the tent before the wind blows it down.

[Late evening update]

For those of you on the edge of your seats wondering if the tent collapsed on me, I got out before the wind blew it down, and we retired to the Mariah Hotel bar (but tonight, they could have called the wind Mariah, as the old song goes). I just got in from the drive back down to LA. More on the morrow.

The Fallout Continues

Several physicists are asking the American Physical Society to rescind its 2007 endorsement of AGW:

In 2007 the APS Council adopted a Statement on global warming (also reproduced at the tinyurl site mentioned above) that was based largely on the scientific work that is now revealed to have been corrupted. (The principals in this escapade have not denied what they did, but have sought to dismiss it by saying that it is normal practice among scientists. You know and we know that that is simply untrue. Physicists are not expected to cheat.)

If I were a working scientist, I would be most insulted by the insinuation, which seems to be their current main defense, that “everyone does it,” and “this is the way that science works.” I’ve seen blog commenters try this game, and I think it’s an outrageous slur on the thousands of scientists who actually do science with integrity.

[Update a few minutes later]

Roger Simon has a plausible theory as to why the president delayed his trip to Copenhagen. It buys him time to decide not to go at all, as the whole enterprise (finally and thankfully) begins to unravel.

[Another update a couple minutes later]

Like me, Eric Raymond is popping the corn. I think we’ll see a lot more of this:

My favorite recent entry on the CRU mob is a screed from a professor of mathematics in Canada: “All of my colleagues have had to endure these bullies and criminals for a very long time.”

Now that the curtain has been pulled back, and the great Oz revealed as a fraud, expect a lot of previously cowed people to speak up, and even pile on. It’s not going to be pretty, but it’s no less than they’ll deserve.

[Update a few minutes later]

The (still) faithful gather in Copenhagen:

…it’s already clear that being here during the next few days is going to be very much like attending some kind of massive religious gathering. The faithful — over 16,000 strong — are here, of course, for the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference, a.k.a. COP15 (“COP” as in Copenhagen), at which they supposedly hope to achieve a provisional international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus rescue our beloved blue planet from the fate envisioned in any number of bad Roland Emmerich movies.

I say “supposedly” because at this point, lacking a polygraph, it’s hard to know for sure what any of these professional climate folks really think or believe or aspire to.

Oh, I think we can guess.

Off To Mojave

I know posting has been a little slow this weekend. Dale Amon is visiting, and helped me get a lot of things done around the house that I’ve been putting off since we moved back, not to mention cleaning up the fall leaves on the roof and patio in anticipation of the first winter rainstorm here, which is likely to put somewhat of a damper on today’s festivities. They’ve scheduled the rollout for later afternoon (after dark, actually), probably with a light-show extravaganza, but that’s when the rain (and up there, perhaps snow) is likely to be heaviest, according to the forecast. On Saturday night, we attended Alan Boyle’s book signing up in the Fairfax district, and Dale reported on it at Samizdata.

Anyway, we’re driving up to Mojave this morning to see it, and other things (reportedly there will be spill-over parties at XCOR and other places). If the weather permits, we’ll be back late tonight.

[Update a few minutes later]

I wonder why they chose Pearl Harbor Day as the rollout date? I assume they did so despite, not because, or perhaps they didn’t give it any thought. But that’s strange, because Virgin (or at least Burt) are quite into anniversaries. I would have thought they’d rather do it on the 17th, the 106th anniversary of the Wright’s first flight.

[Update a few minutes later]

Clark Lindsey has a roundup of related links.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!