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Archive for the ‘Demotivation’ Category

NASA’s plans to return astronauts to the moon are dead. So are the rockets being designed to take them there — that is, if President Barack Obama gets his way.

Sayeth Orlando Sentinel.

Haven’t followed NASA’s latest movements. The Augustine panel had some potential but stuff seems to have withered down. The organization seems to be a wannabe monument builder without a job. People might want something more practical than monuments, at least I hope they would. Even when NASA has such huge talent and competence in many areas, it fails to function as a sensible whole in defining strategic human space flight. And then there are the legacy issues. One of which is that of Mike Griffin.

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However, the oft quoted the Himalayan glacier may be gone by 2035 is still not a realistic conclusion based on the recent ongoing significant retreat of the many still large Himalayan glaciers.

Glaciologist Mauri Pelto commenting in November 2009. What’s ironic is that the main subject of Nature’s Climate Feedback’s blog post was some random offhand claim of no global warming glacier melt from an Indian geologist that made headlines. And Mauri was complaining why something like that gets the headlines and not real methodically prepared papers.

So why is this non-peer reviewed Himalayan report by another worth commenting upon, when many very important peer reviewed papers on glacier change are ignored? A read of this Ramesh report indicates the widespread and significant glacier retreat. The report also notes that all the glaciers observed have negative mass balance. After observing the significant and widespread retreat and mass loss the author deems it to slow to be due to global warming, without any real analysis of the climate data or what could be causing the loss. This simply does not warrant our attention. However, the oft quoted the Himalayan glacier may be gone by 2035 is still not a realistic conclusion based on the recent ongoing significant retreat of the many still large Himalayan glaciers. Can we stick to covering better material?

He was proven not only doubly but triply right. IPCC, the Indian geologist and the media representative – all three could be observed not holding the ball at that instant in time and subject by the astute commenter. I remember reading that.

There are probably more mistakes in the IPCC reports that are yet to be found, that’s how it is. This one was pretty bad though. Though no matter the exact subject, there will be a gate on every possible subject in rapid succession for months until people are numbed to the whole word. It brings hits. 2035 Gate. Himalayagate. Glaciergate. Pachaurigate. Sad.

Also, William has more on how it is, or could be.

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It seems the US is getting onto private aviation bashing. No trailerable aircraft to airports or automobile gasoline for the engines. The former could be seen to be motivated by trying to prevent building bombs into aircraft, the latter is a bit more obscure, probably having to do with ethanol additives that some aircraft engines (or fuel pipes and seals) can’t handle. But it’s peculiar to outright ban auto fuel. The people can deal with this themselves. Probably you could easily produce ethanol kits for most auto fuel engine systems.

I’m reminded of Finnish automobile laws which are probably the strictest in the world. You can’t do this or that and even if you do something out of the ordinary within the very narrow limits, your new vehicle will probably be taxed to death. Even ordinary new or used imported cars have high taxes in Finland and gasoline costs over 1.3 euros per liter. The roads take a lot of effort to build and maintain because the harsh winters cause the ground to freeze, causing bumps in anything but very deeply and thoroughly based roads, the snow has to be plowed and salt is dispensed to melt it, lots of streetlights are used since the winters are dark, frequent repaving is needed because of winter tires grinding the asphalt etc. This money has to be taken from somewhere. That I understand.

But try to bring a used car from say Germany to Finland. It’s a disaster. A friend of mine spent the summer in central Europe and bought a decent smallish German car for 1500 euros. He drove around Europe a few thousand kilometers with it with the temporary registration and everything worked fine. I was on a trip too and joined him in Poland and we drove the car to Finland. It was a well working machine with no problems whatsoever, I’ve driven worse perfectly legal vehicles in Finland. It even had air conditioning which made the trip nice. But when he arrived in Finland, the problems started piling. First lots of customs payments, then he had to bring the car for checkup so it could be registered in Finland. Just that exact model had not been imported to Finland. The inspector demanded some changes to be made at a repair shop (changes that would not affect the car’s function in any way, may I add!), to make the car resemble more its ordinary sibling model. Yet when some were made at a great cost, it was discovered by another inspector the changes were actually wrong. It was made clear that the car could not be registered. My friend contemplated a lawsuit, but here they take so many years and so much money. In the end the perfectly good drivable and safe car ended up to be crushed. All because of stupid overstrict laws and an incompetent inspection system. This is not protecting road safety, it’s protecting local car dealers.

Vehicle changes and registrations are really a complex world here. There’s a group of people working on an “open source hardware” electric conversion of Toyota Corolla, sähköautot.fi. Even the prime minister has promised tax exemptions for electric vehicles but I think at the moment they’re taxed as harshly as diesel vehicles (which is much more than gasoline, but the fuel is cheaper – but for electrics the fuel is cheaper anyway!). Same with a guy who has a home made biogas facility at his cow farm in central Finland. The overregulation is strangling innovation and experimentation. Meanwhile in Sweden they are experimenting with all kinds of alternative fuels and give perks like free parking to less polluting vehicles. The Finnish car factory in Uusikaupunki that used to do Porsche Boxters is now changing over to electric vehicles to be on the leading edge. And none of them will be on sale locally, all for export, because of the tax system and regulations. Someone should wake up!

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A gunman killed four people today in a shopping centre in Espoo, Finland. Maybe 6 kilometers from here. He then travelled some distance, killed a woman there and finally shot himself.

The gunman was Ibrahim Shkupolli, an Alban refugee from Kosovo who had moved to Finland a long time ago. He was working (and had a BMW car), his parents were living here and he had a wife and kids, though apparently he still had had a long affair with the woman he finally murdered.

What can one do? He didn’t have a gun permit and he had been fined some years earlier for possessing some bullets. He also had a restraint order, had a history of threatening behaviour and had done some small bad things for which he had been fined. None of this is reason of putting a person into prison.

Since modern handguns were invented, it’s been relatively easy for someone determined enough to kill quite many people before being killed.

Finns have lots of guns but this doesn’t have much anything to do with that. They are kept at home and are used for hunting and target shooting, not kept with you as personal defence.

It’s also alarming how the noughties have seen so much mass violence and murdering of innocents: the Myyrmäki bombing, the Jokela and Kauhajoki school shootings and now this. It’s a lot for a small country. Many of my friends could have been there. I’ll probably soon hear from someone who was there.

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Richard Rood has a thoughtful piece written up on contrarianism, irrationality and disruption. It seems a bit naive for me but then again I don’t have much of the same experiences…

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Photos of a certain large Soviet ground effect vehicle.

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Winter War

Seventy years ago today, 26 of november 1939, Soviet Union claimed Finland had fired cannon shots across the border to the village of Mainila. In reality these shells were shot by Soviet cannons. Wikipedia has more.

And that’s how it is. The plight of the Finns started with gross lies and accusations… Only after the Soviet Union broke up, could there be admission of this theater, and yet many Russians to this day keep the schoolbook snippet how the Shelling of Mainila was done by Finns. Who controls the information, controls the people.

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Hack and get some climate researchers’ emails. Then point to some pretty reasonable stuff as evidence of a conspiracy if taken out of context.

It seems there are a few cases certain people latch onto.

There was a certain lousy paper pushed for publication in the journal called Climate Research. It was crap – the claims in the paper conclusions could not be justified by the data or methods presented in it. It was also written by known fossil industry funded frauds. It went through anyway because of a bad reviewer and editor, and actually was pushed as support for policy. Like pushing creation science somewhere in a weak journal so you can cite it as “peer reviewed”. Many other editors for the journal quit as a result. Read the story here, where “Clare Goodess explains the circumstances behind the resignation of half of the editorial board of the journal Climate Research”.

I do hope for more openness on the data and algorithms front. Of course if you’re a climate researcher and get your data only with personal agreements (from the data collecting scientists and institutions who might work under lots of constraints – these might not be the same people who make models or the temperature reconstructions from the data).

I don’t know about the FOIA (government information) requests… It seems bad that things have been withheld. On the other hand if you get so much FOIA requests just for posturing’s sake from certain people that you’re swamped by them, that’s unreasonable as well.

Then there’s the alleged “trick” to hide some cooling. AFAIK, this is just a known proxy issue where they are in error at some point and thus when you make some plots you don’t use that period but “hide” it.

Quite weird arguments.  The FOI one is the most serious looking to me, and others seem just fake.

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Danny Deger @ Nasaspaceflight.com forum on Ares I selection in ESAS (I don’t know if this is true, I have little knowledge about the matter):

The Ares data isn’t just ITAR, it is Sensitive But Unclassified as it should be to not expose criminal conduct. Yes that is right, all data that exposes any criminal conduct must not be exposed to any one for any reason at NASA or you will be fired.

And it doesn’t matter if Ares I won the sellection during ESAS, ULA [GL note: this was Lockmart & Boeing at the time] had to be allowed to bid – especially for cost data. I can’t say in strong enough words cost estimates ALWAYS come from the contractor. Doing internal cost estimates without a bid then letting a sole source contract is a felony under Federal Acquisision Regs.he sellection during ESAS, ULA had to be allowed to bid – especially for cost data. I can’t say in strong enough words cost estimates ALWAYS come from the contractor. Doing internal cost estimates without a bid then letting a sole source contract is a felony under Federal Acquisision Regs.

This was in the past. At present, the Augustine Panel is just mulling on which heavy lifter to build – even when panel member Jeff Greason showed none is necessary. But that option is not in the panel’s list. Why? Because it seems irrationality rules the world of most panel members. That’s how decisions are made: stupidly.

There will never be spacefaring or progress with such bad leadership.

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Assume a glacier that provides summer water for a billion people. What is its value, if it is destroyed by global warming? Since it currently provides services for free, it could be calculated as zero, according to some. Hence, a hypothetical economic activity by those people that gave them one dollar in total while destroying the glacier completely, would be worth doing? That’s suicide economics.

The word VALUE, it is to be observed, has two different meanings, and sometimes expresses the utility of some particular object, and sometimes the power of purchasing other goods which the possession of that object conveys. The one may be called “value in use”; the other, “value in exchange.” The things which have the greatest value in use have frequently little or no value in exchange; and on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange have frequently little or no value in use. Nothing is more useful than water: but it will purchase scarce any thing; scarce any thing can be had in exchange for it. A diamond, on the contrary, has scarce any value in use; but a very great quantity of other goods may frequently be had in exchange for it.

Who’s the radical greenie who wrote the above? Mark Sagoff wrote an essay on stupid valuation of nature’s services back somewhen, where he made the above quote. Find out there, who said it…

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