Scientists And Philosophers

Why they need to talk to each other:

Most of climate science is in ‘shut up and calculate’ mode. This is a very dangerous place to be given the substantial uncertainties, ignorance and areas of disagreement, not to mention the problems/failures of climate models. Climate science needs reflection on the fundamental assumptions, re-interpretations, and deeper thinking. How to reason about the complex climate system, and its uncertainties, is not at all straightforward. And then of course there are the ethical issues, including understanding how the climate debate has gone so badly wrong.

Yes.

Statins

More junk science, pushed by the drug companies:

History will judge the American Heart Association guidelines by their effect. We currently have a statin epidemic with 25 percent of adults over the age of 45 taking the pills, a large majority of whom do not have heart disease and have not seen the numbers. But they are simple, and available. No doctor should be prescribing a statin and no person should be taking one, unless they have seen them. If more people without heart disease take statins it will be a victory of misinformation.

I try to convince my brother to get off them, but he takes the advice of his doctor.

The New Malaysian Airliner Loss

The Russian rebels have shot down other planes in the past few days, so this was probably inevitable unless the airlines had routed around that region. I assume they’ll start doing so now. What this means for the war remains to be seen, of course. But on the up side, maybe CNN will finally cover Ukraine.

[Update early afternoon]

The Pentagon is apparently claiming that the missile originated from Russian territory.

Ocean Heat

Where is it?

I have previously written about the fact that the heat in the ocean isn’t there. A Facebook commentator produced some excellent graphs based on the ARGO data which showed NO heat accumulation at any level in the world’s oceans. This lack of warming contradicts completely (Anthropogenic Global Warming) AGW theory as put forward by such AGW stalwarts as Trenberth and England. It also has Hansen scrambling for weird and whacky explanations.

So it is plain in the ARGO era that the oceans are not warming and this contradicts AGW.

Denier.

A New Attack On SpaceX

Well, well…

I wonder who is putting them up to this? Basically, he’s the Congressman from eastern Colorado, not including the cities and burbs in the Front Range. But he may have some constituents who work for Lockmart or ULA. He’s not on any of the space committees. Also, note that he’s running against Mark Udall for Senate (likely to be one of the tighter races). Coffman, of course, is the congressman from Lockmart/ULA (Littleton). I wonder what SpaceX’s Space Act Agreement says about release of this kind of data? It looks like they want to do a smear job.

[Update a little while later]

Gee, look at the URL that came with the email. I’m sure that, like Lois Lerner’s missing emails, it has no significance.

[Wednesday-morning update]

Jeff Fooust analyzes at Space News.

Press
Release from Representative Cory
Gardner


Congressman Cory Gardner




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2014
Contact: Emily Hytha, 202-225-4676



Gardner Presses NASA for Transparency on SpaceX

Gardner and Coffman Send Letter Expressing Concern over Lack of Disclosure and Repeated Anomalies on Launch Vehicles

Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Coy Gardner (CO-04) and Congressman Mike Coffman (CO-06) sent a letter to the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) expressing strong concerns over anomalies that have occurred on taxpayer-funded space launch vehicles, and the lack of public disclosure or transparency of these anomalies. The letter expresses concern over an epidemic of anomalies that have occurred during SpaceX launches or launch attempts, and communicates frustrations with NASA’s refusal to provide insight into those mishaps.

"In the interest of full disclosure and accountability to the American taxpayer, we request that NASA publicly release all anomalies and mishap information, un-redacted, so that Congress can gain a better understanding of what has occurred and ensure full transparency. Because the development of the vehicles and capsule in question were funded by NASA dollars, we request that you provide Congress with the information you have on the various aspects of risk and reliability from these programs, including contractual, management, technical, manufacturing, cost, schedule and safety," wrote Coffman and Gardner.

According to recent news reports, SpaceX launch attempts have resulted in wide ranging problems, including multiple helium leaks, loss of capsule control, multiple thruster issues, avionics issues, capsule contamination issues, and three consecutive seawater intrusions on ISS Cargo Resupply (CRS) missions. SpaceX contracted or planned 24 Falcon 9 flights for its NASA, DOD and commercial customers through 2013 and flew seven. They list approximately 30 flights for this year and next, yet have only flown three times.

"Because the vehicles in question were funded by American taxpayer dollars, there should be no issue making this report publicly available. This information is critical to Congress’ understanding of these programs and the associated risks," wrote Coffman and Gardner.

The letter to NASA can be found here.

###

Congressman Gardner is a member in the U.S. House of Representatives serving Colorado’s 4th Congressional District. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is a member of the following Subcommittees: Communications and Technology, Energy and Power, and Oversight and Investigations.


CONGRESSMAN CORY GARDNER

Another “Recycled” Hard Drive

This time at the FEC:

The FEC has a far-reaching mandate into the operations of elections, which means that partisanship in that agency is particularly corrosive. The Hatch Act requires strict neutrality of all federal employees while on duty, and one would expect that to be particularly observed in the FEC. Instead, Sands tweeted partisan messages from her office in 2012; sent out fundraising pleas for Obama’s re-election campaign, called Republicans her “enemy,” and said they should shut up and “stand down.”

When the Inspector General came knocking, however, the evidence had vanished. The FEC “recycled” her hard drive, which meant that criminal charges could not be pursued. How exactly could this have happened? Sands was under suspicion of a crime under a statute which would be updated later that year, in a bill signed by Barack Obama himself. Shouldn’t the FEC have taken steps to secure evidence rather than destroy it?

Note her connection to Lois Lerner. It really is remarkable how fragile these devices are when confronted with a subpoena or investigation.

Spaceplanes

DARPA has announced the winning teams for XS-1. I’m not surprised by Masten/XCOR. They’ve been collaborating for years. I have no inside info, but I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s an acquisition or merger at some point. The NG/Virgin alliance is no surprise, either, given that Northrop owns Scaled. The Boeing/Blue team is more interesting to me. I wonder if it’s away for Boeing to try to become more entrepreneurial?

US-China Space Cooperation

A point/counterpoint between Michael Listner and Joan Johnson-Freese. I’m not a big fan of China cooperation myself (a dispute I have with Buzz), but this is probably the best argument I’ve seen for it:

Wolf’s rationale assumes the United States has nothing to gain by working with the Chinese. On the contrary, the United States could learn about how they work — their decision-making processes, institutional policies and standard operating procedures. This is valuable information in accurately deciphering the intended use of dual-use space technology, long a weakness and so a vulnerability in U.S. analysis. Working together on an actual project where people confront and solve problems together, perhaps beginning with a space science or space debris project where both parties can contribute something of value, builds trust on both sides, trust that is currently severely lacking. It also allows each side to understand the other’s cultural proclivities, reasoning and institutional constraints with minimal risk of technology sharing.

If it’s the current NASA cooperating with China, I’m not much worried about technology sharing, either, since NASA’s not allowed to spend much money on useful technology. I just think that cooperation with China (or anyone, really) is an unnecessary distraction from actually doing things in space. But the Congress isn’t really interested in that. It just wants to build big rockets. I certainly wouldn’t put any other country, whether China or even in Europe, on the critical path to anything.

Libertarianism

What it isn’t:

…journalists cover complex things they don’t know about all the time, and this is usually okay because they research and talk to people who do know about it.

Unless, of course, they’re writing about libertarians.

Not only do you not have to know the first thing about libertarianism to cover it for major news outlets, it is perfectly fine to a) decline to ask anybody who does know, b) make up your own version of what it is, and then c) lament the terribleness of this terrible philosophy or people you have just created. Cases in point: approximately every 10th article published by Salon, this piece by Damon Linker at The Week.

A lot of people seem to have difficulty with the concept of liberty.

If You Oppose Administration Policies

…you just might be racist.

My response:

[Update Tuesday morning]

The nation’s chief law-enforcement officer is trying to spark racial hatred:

For most, this is a joke. The meme that the bipartisan notion of “taking the country back” is somehow racist was long ago debunked. As the brief history lesson above demonstrates, however, no one is listening to this nonsense beyond the cult of true believers. Those for who racism is a religion – ubiquitous and unfalsifiable – nod in agreement at Holder’s self-aggrandizement. All others roll their eyes.

It is natural and right to be incensed over the attorney general’s statement here, but a 30,000 foot view suggests there is even more reason to take heart in his remarks. Only those liberals [sic] Democrats the party desperately needs to turn out in the fall are inspired by this rhetoric; that desperate need is met with increasingly desperate tactics. A glance at the polls suggests it will not be successful.

Let’s hope.

[Update a few minutes later]

The real problem isn’t racial animus, but Eric Holder’s animus toward his critics.

[Bumped]

The Border Tsunami

Have the Republicans forgotten how to play offense?

The first step to leading is understanding what you are up against. This border crisis isn’t incompetence. It isn’t bungling.

It is a calculated effort to crash the immigration system and fundamentally transform the nation. It is an effort to accelerate demographic trends and forever alter the nation’s culture. Until the GOP comprehends the full measure of Obama’s purpose, the GOP will be trapped in a prevent defense, never moving past complaints about Obama’s incompetence.

To the Obama administration and open borders groups, the tidal wave across the border is not an accident, and it is not a crisis. It is not even limited to unaccompanied children.

To be fair, they haven’t forgotten — they’ve never known how to go on offense.

[Update a couple minutes later]

The lie at the heart of immigration “reform” is exposed:

…does anyone think the people attending Obama’s White House meeting will accept any other new security measures that might actually succeed in blocking their co-ethnics from moving to El Norte – even as part of a “comprehensive” reform bill? They won’t. Once today’s illegals get their immediate “provisional” (i.e. permanent) legal status, security measures like E-verify (computerized checks of new hires), the border fence, and exit-entry visa controls will be subject to the same sort of counterattack as Obama’s request for more deportation “flexibility.”

Overcoming those attacks will only get more difficult as the Latino population grows — and it will grow even faster once a reform bill legalizes millions more eventual voters. It’s not hard to imagine that we’re at a tipping point: Implement border security measures now, or else they will never be implemented.

And the only way to implement them is to require they be done first, before any legalization — before the activists are free to attack them with full force (lest they jeopardize the eventual amnesty prize). The other way around, the McCain-Schumer-Obama way — ‘Legalization First, Security Later’ — is a swindle in the classic tradition. Just give us our amnesty. We’ll be there for you when it’s time to appropriate for the border fence. Really we will. You can trust us! You just have to wire the money to the Nigerian prince give us what we want first.

If we didn’t spot the fraud before, we do now.

Well, some of us do, anyway. Let’s hope it’s enough.

SpaceX And Orbcomm

This morning’s flight seems to have been a complete mission primary success. No word, though, on recovering the stage. No status updates on relighting engines, entry, etc. Reports of Elon’s and other plane circling the recovery zone. Sea state seems to be good, less than three-foot waves.

[Update a few minutes later]

My response:

More IRS Smidgens Show Up

It gets more implausible by the day:

Who knows how many of her colleagues and allies are breathing a sigh of relief upon learning that their e-mails to Lerner were destroyed and their instant messages not recorded? I think Lerner must have a sizable silent cheering section in Washington; people who are rooting for her to hang tough in pleading the Fifth and hoping that she does not go wobbly on them. I’ll bet her government retirement check is one check that never gets lost in the mail or delayed.

It gets even better. In another disclosure, Lerner’s attorney said that previous emphatic statements he had made declaring that Lerner did not print hard copies of her e-mails were not lies, just a “misunderstanding.” In this case, it is obvious what happened. When Team Lerner discovered that not keeping hard copies of some e-mails – which are considered government records – would in itself violate the law, it changed its story. It’s as simple as that.

The coordination among the Democrats and Lerner is remarkably brazen, even by today’s standards. While she lies low taking the Fifth, her mouthpieces in the Democratic caucus recite talking points that only she could approve. For example, during House oversight hearings on the scandal, Democrats seem to recite with great precision what Lerner did or did not do, what she knew and when she knew it. So while she hides the truth, protects her gang and stays clear of a perjury charge or worse, elected members of the Democratic party declare her innocence and tell her self-serving story.

Good thing there’s no one like that around here.

The Big Fat Surprise

Another review of the book:

The book’s subtitle is Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, which gave me the impression I was about to start reading a hefty science book. There’s plenty of science in The Big Fat Surprise, but it’s more of a history book. It’s the story of how lousy science conducted by arrogant scientists and adopted by equally arrogant policymakers led to lousy decisions that produced lousy consequences. I doubt any Fat Heads out there still believe nutrition science is conducted by impartial researchers who aren’t already wedded to an outcome, but if so, reading this book will disabuse you of that notion. It’s all laid out here in a richly detailed story that runs 340 pages … the egos, the arrogance, the obsession with pursuing and (ahem) proving a single hypothesis, the scientific bullying, the corruption, and of course the ham-handed interference by the 900-pound gorilla known as the federal government.

Gee, in what other field have we seen that sort of thing?