Life Extension

Mice have been reprogrammed to partially rejuvenate.

Faster, please.

[Update a while later]

Here’s more, from Scientific American:

Kaeberlein says the study suggests it may be possible not just to slow aging but to actually reverse it. “That’s really exciting—that means that even in elderly people it may be possible to restore youthful function,” he says. Plus, it is easier to imagine a treatment that makes changes to the epigenome than to consider going into every cell and changing its genes. He also notes that the results of the new study are very similar to those seen when senescent cells—those that have lost function due to aging—are removed from an organism. It is not yet clear, he says, whether “this is another way to shut down or maybe reprogram senescent cells.”
Manuel Serrano, an expert on senescence at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center in Madrid, was not associated with in the new research but says he is impressed with the study and its results. “I fully agree with the conclusions. This work indicates that epigenetic shift is in part responsible for aging, and reprogramming can correct these epigenetics errors,” he wrote in an e-mail. “This will be the basis for future exciting developments.”

Let’s hope.

The Global Warming Movement

Is it on the verge of collapse?

We can only hope so.

[Afternoon update]

The latest climate conspiracy theory. Tough words from Professor Curry:

Get over it, your side lost. Changes of Presidential administrations occur every 4 or 8 years, often with changes in political parties.

Get busy and shore up your scientific arguments; I suspect that argument from consensus won’t sway many minds in the Trump administration.

Overt activism and climate policy advocacy by climate scientists will not help your ’cause’; leave such advocacy to the environmental groups.

Behave like a scientist, and don’t build elaborate conspiracy theories based on conflicting signals from the Trump administration. Stop embarrassing yourselves; wait for the evidence.

Be flexible; if funding priorities change, and you desire federal research funding, work on different problems. The days of needing to sell all research in terms of AGW are arguably over.

I repeat: We can only hope so. But “behave like a scientist” seems to be beyond many of them.

Make NASA Great Again

My thoughts on the passing of John Glenn, over at National Review.

[Update a while later]

Buzz Aldrin remembers his former colleague.

[Update a while later]

Dear President Trump, here’s how to make space great:

This list of goals sounds audacious, perhaps outrageous, but it is entirely within the capability and character of the people who built the Transcontinental Railroad, the Hoover Dam, and conquered a continent. Americans are leaders in every one of these fields. It is only necessary for the new President to unleash America’s potential—once unleashed, American innovators will move these dreams toward reality faster than anyone can imagine.

Asteroid mining, moon mining, propellant depots, solar-power satellites, asteroid deflection? Crazy talk, when instead we could be building a giant rocket.

I had dinner with Coyote in Seattle last June.

[Update early afternoon]

Bill Gates’s and America’s false memory of Apollo:

So whether you agree with Bill Gates and his assessment of Trump or not, it’s important to remember that funding for the Apollo program was opposed by the majority of Americans. Why then does America have this bizarre memory of the program? You can blame the baby boomers like Gates.

The baby boomers were kids during the Apollo space program. And when you’re a kid you don’t have much to worry about in the way of paying the bills or public policy. You certainly don’t have fully formed political ideas about, say, ways that government funds can be better used than blasting people into space.

But that was precisely what happened. Baby boomers, as children of the 1960s, just remember the speeches on TV and watching the moon landing. They don’t remember that the majority of Americans (American adults, as those are the people who get polled) thought that the Apollo space program was a waste of money.

Roger Launius, chief historian at NASA, put it best in a 2005 paper: “While there may be many myths about Apollo and spaceflight, the principal one is the story of a resolute nation moving outward into the unknown beyond Earth.”

This is why, as I wrote a few months ago:

Because they view Apollo as the model for how large space programs should operate, and because they believe that Apollo represented a moment of national unity, they seem to think that we ought to recreate it.

In a sense, however, a critical reason that we cannot do what they want is because we never really did it the first time.

Stop trying to make Apollo happen again.

The New Attorney General

This is bad news:

Mr. Sessions has heavily influenced the makeup of the transition team for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, these people said, with many of those appointed favoring greater emphasis on manned exploration missions to the moon and deeper into the solar system.

Candidates for NASA administrator also are being vetted, in part, by Mr. Sessions or his associates, while officials at Boeing Co. and other legacy aerospace giants increasingly believe Mr. Sessions will help temper possible changes inside NASA that would hurt existing, big-ticket projects to ultimately send astronauts to Mars.

Not coincidentally, such exploration would rely heavily on scientists, workers and rocket technology based in Alabama, at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. Mr. Sessions over the years has been a champion of the agency’s proposed heavy-lift rocket, dubbed Space Launch System, or SLS, and helped protect its roughly $2 billion-a-year price tag from cutbacks proposed by the Obama White House.

I like how Pasztor unironically talks about SLS/Orion as part of sending “astronauts to Mars,” when they’re almost completely irrelevant to it. This pork-mongering is part of the tragedy of Apollo.

This is the first time I’ve seen Doug Cooke’s name as a potential NASA administrator. He’d be as bad as, or worse than, a second stint by Mike Griffin.

[Update a while later]

Yes, Trump should focus on the government, not Boeing or Lockmart. They’re just doing what they’re incented to do.

And he should take a look at SLS.

Where Is Trump Getting His Cabinet Picks?

Surprisingly (at least to me), he’s poaching Galt’s Gulch.

[Wednesday-morning update]

Robert Tracinski (who actually is an Objectivist) isn’t impressed:

The problem is that Hohmann is trying to fit the Rand angle into a narrative about the supreme awfulness of the supremely awful Trump administration. “The fact that all of these men, so late in life, are such fans of works that celebrate individuals who consistently put themselves before others is therefore deeply revealing. They will now run our government.” Are you frightened now? Because I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to be frightened.

Hohmann would have been better served by asking what these business leaders took from Rand as the message that inspired them. Again, there are a few hints. Puzder says that it’s about encouraging his kids to live “the kind of lives of achievement, integrity, and independence that Rand celebrated in her novels.” Congressman Mike Pompeo (referred to in the article) explained that Rand’s impact was because, “I spent my whole life working hard,” a virtue her novels promoted, and because, “I eat and breathe small government and freedom.”

Oh, no! Important figures in the new administration have been influenced by an author who advocated freedom. And integrity. Does that perhaps sound a little less frightening?

It does to people who hate those things.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!