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I thought the video from Golden Spike about going back to the moon was a lot more uplifting than the dismal one above, but we are the reality-based community. It's ironic that one of many wickedly effective spinoffs from the space program is real-time highly accurate streaming data from orbit. This week the scientists who study that data issued a report card showing that climate change is real, it's happening now, and it may be worse than we think:

This warm air from Arctic waters has temperatures shooting up on the adjoining shores (see for instance air temps during the first half of this month on Vize Island in the Kara Sea), sometimes up to 10-20 ºC more than the long-term average, and also causes more rain and snow to fall. This is a regular feature now, a sure sign that the Arctic climate is changing as we speak. And for a large part because of Anthropogenic Global Warming.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy opines on the future of the U.S. space program:
    I believe,  as a country, we want to move NASA from [being] an engineering organization to a science organization, and this is going to take years, decades.
  • Dino remains that spent years in obscurity inside a museum may hold a secret: The nondescript therapod may be the earliest dino known and could shed light on the original stem population that survived the apocalyptic Permian-Triassic extinction to give rise to dinos as a clade beginning about 250 million years ago.
  • Sounds like time for another blogger ethics panel!
  • Amid the letdown of Mars Curiosity this week, there was news of another red rover we're gonna send over. Which got me to thinking, are we anywhere near a sort of Model "T" of rovers that could greatly lower the cost of these magnificent devices?
  • Is there any science at all brought to bear on the failed War on Drugs? Obviously not by this WH:
    Noticeably absent from the discussion is the morality of locking up millions of Americans for using a harmless weed. No mention of the overcrowding in prisons or the wasted lives our laws have created. Also conspicuously absent is any discussion of the billions we have wasted on the drug war while having ZERO success stopping people from using drugs. Also missing, any analysis of the positive effects of marijuana use for certain medical conditions. No mention of the millions of people who spoke at the ballot box.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Filipino delegate breaks down (13+ / 0-)

    The Filipino delegate comes to tears as he pleads for nations to address climate change at the Climate Talks...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    •  I would expect Bangladesh and Oceana delegates (5+ / 0-)

      among others to join him; unfortunately, until the EU and US are directly affected in ways the general public can see, i.e. rising ocean tides, they will continue in their present state of denial.  After all more Americans believe that the Mayan calendar accurately forecasts the end of the world than believe that climate change is real

      •  Oceania and Australia in particular (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, Neon Vincent

        I have noticed that there is a huge backlash from Australians in particular when it comes to climate change.

        The Aussies have basically infiltrated sites such as Climate Etc and WUWT with all sorts of outlandish counter-theories to AGW.

        What is it with Australians when it comes to mocking authority and pranking? That came to a head recently with the anecdotal but telling situation of the prank phone call to the Duchess resulting in a suicide.

         The fact that Australians are overly represented on these sites says that there are tribal and cultural influences at work there. For Australians, it probably comes down to the mocking of authority and practicing mischief that a certain subculture is known for. That is the basis for the term Larrikinism.

        When you call them on this they claim that their continent is more subject to climate change than other regions of the world and that is why they have an interest.

        I bring this up because Saturday morning ~DS~ on DK is my relief vent for arguing with all the Aussie climate skeptics who go by the names of Chief Hydrologist, Girma, Doug Cotton, StefTheDenier, Myrrhh, Captain Kangaroo, etc on these climate change sites.

        •  Australia is a coal-exporter (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens, Neon Vincent

          ...with opportunities to expand - big time - according to The Guardian U.K.

          Australia is itself a heavy user of coal, as well as a leading exporter. Although the country has committed to cutting its own carbon emissions by 5% on 2000 levels by 2020 and introduced carbon pricing in July, the federal government has been accused of botching its attempts to move the country away from fossil fuels. This month, the government abandoned plans to pay five of Australia's dirtiest coal-fired power generators to close down, despite already handing them $1bn in taxpayer money to cushion the impact of carbon pricing. (9/18/2012)

          Have you noticed?
          Politicians who promise LESS government
          only deliver BAD government.

          by jjohnjj on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:51:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  To tell the truth (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kovie, Desert Scientist, DSPS owl, atana

    I love anything and everything about space; but let's get real here, we need to keep this planet in good health before we decide to move on to other planets and galaxies.  We have such a short window to take care of earth; if we do that we will have centuries upcoming to explore the rest of space.  If we shortcut earth we probably won't be around to further the human experiment.

  •  Iffen it was me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist, Larsstephens

    the next thing we do on Mars wouldn't be another rover.
    It would be putting something down on the Martian surface, then having it take off and return to Earth.
    Baby steps.......

    "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

    by kestrel9000 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:08:25 AM PST

  •  Newt has been touting the idea of mining the moon (4+ / 0-)

    and colonizing the moon; I cringe at the logical juncture of these ideas and climate change denial.  How long before we get a POTUS candidate who espouses colonizing Mars as the answer to climate change since it appears we have passed the tipping point of preventing severe climactic change.  There is the historical precedence of the predilection of Mankind to foul his own nest and then to set out in search of new nests.

    Failure of the War on Drugs depends on your POV since decades of this war has produced a robust private incarceration industry as well as ensuring that more Americans are addicted to prescription drugs than are addicted to illegal drugs which insures Big Pharma gets its pound of flesh.

    Working with NORML decades ago, I seem to remember the organized opposition to weed came from Big Pharma, liquor companies and beer producers.  It was kind of like when the Mafia made campaign contributions to Nixon because of his Law and Order stance.  They knew systemic corruption would ensure increased law enforcement would cut down on their wildcat independent competitors while leaving them relatively unscathed  

  •  The War on Dogs? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenderRodriguez, Larsstephens

    I am not familiar with this war. Does it have a czar? Is it on all dogs, or only ones that slobber too much, chew up the furniture and can't "wait"?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:13:16 AM PST

    •  Of course there's a czar (3+ / 0-)

      His name is Tard, AKA Grumpy Cat.  When his nomination went before the Senate he vigorously tried to get it filibustered.  Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid managed to agree for once and approved it as part of implementing the Haz-Cheezburger framework.

      During his tenure, he's managed to forbid rawhide bones, drool, and "malignant halitosis," and has also implemented strict limits on carbon emissions from dog butts.  However, most Americans feel he has continually overstepped his authority.  In response to these polls, he released a statement reading simply, "Excellent."

      "O mulier, magna est fides tua. Fiat tibi sicut vis."

      by rujoking on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:58:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I take issue with marijuana commentary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LtPowers, BenderRodriguez

    1.  Marijuana is not harmless.  a) it is addictive-1 in 6 adolescents and 1 in 9 overall become addicted.  b) Abusive use when starting in the teens is strongly related to a significant drop in intelligence (by IQ test-8 pts) and loved ones report a decrease in function in daily living among the same group, etc.  c) Marijuana decreases athletic performance (a message that resonates with young athletes in competitive sports).
    2) We have succeeded in stopping people from using as people become more educated about the risk of harm.  In our community among youth use has not risen along with the national rates because we are hitting risk of harm messaging hard among both youth and adults. 3) Drugged driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.
    4) I do agree that locking people up for using only is not OK.  People should be diverted to treatment.  
    5) Spending prison/court money on treatment is preferable, though  the political will to make easy access to treatment is lacking.    

    •  I mistrust many of the studies on the addictive (8+ / 0-)

      nature of weed (while admitting the weed of 1968 is not the weed of today) since many of them also see weed as a gateway drug while not admitting it has any medicinal properties.

      Also comparatively speaking how does weed compare to alcohol which we are willing to see legal and which does become the drug of choice for many teens due to its easy availability?

      Finally, looking at the social costs of the War on Weed, have we received value for our investment or has it been a large bust, with few positive results and enormous costs?

      •  Facts mean nothing to the ideological. (5+ / 0-)

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:29:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you are referring to entlord's comment (0+ / 0-)

          that he "mistrusts" the studies that don't give the results his ideology demands?

          As far as I'm concerned it is anti-scientific to claim that the war on drugs has prevented ZERO people from using drugs.  THat's a tall claim, and backed by zero actual evidence.

          We will notice that alcohol is also restricted for teens.

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:16:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      No Exit, MrJayTee, KenBee

      That contains some real, gold-plated stupid.

      Once we have marijuana totally relegalized we will still have to hear the panty-wadding whining of people who just dont like 'marijuana' and think they know better then everybody else - when they simply don't.

      We don't need unanimty to win, just enough.

      And we are winning.

      Deal with it.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:25:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You make a good argument for banning ... (5+ / 0-)

      marijuana, tobacco and alcohol.  Unfortunately human nature is against that idea.  I dislike the use of addictive drugs, but I really don't see how we are going to change things until we look at the problem rationally.  I would:

      1. Make medical marijuana, with a doctor's prescription, legal in all 50 states.
      2. At least de-criminalize small amounts for recreational use and perhaps set up licensing systems for strict control of production as in alcohol (see 4).
      3. Treat drug addiction as an illness.
      4. Tax the heck out of recreational use of pot, as in alcohol and tobacco, and make illegal black-market dealing the main target in all drug enforcement.
      5. Educate people to the possible effects of overuse and the dangers of addiction.

      Obviously these are not perfect solutions, but the drug war has totally failed.  As someone who lives only about 50 miles from Juarez, I can see that failure quite clearly.

    •  Well said (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BenderRodriguez, Mindful Nature

      It'd be nice if we could have a reasonable discussion about marijuana without the pro-weed folks insisting that any criticism of it is completely baseless Reefer Madness-level hysteria.

      •  OK. Point taken. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CS in AZ, Pompatus, No Exit, Larsstephens

        I would love to hear a good rationalization for continuing marijuana prohibition.

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:14:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  as I suspected (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CS in AZ

          The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

          by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:16:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think you just did (0+ / 0-)

          in the lead comment in this thread.

          1.  Marijuana is not harmless.  a) it is addictive-1 in 6 adolescents and 1 in 9 overall become addicted.  b) Abusive use when starting in the teens is strongly related to a significant drop in intelligence (by IQ test-8 pts) and loved ones report a decrease in function in daily living among the same group, etc.  c) Marijuana decreases athletic performance (a message that resonates with young athletes in competitive sports).
          Now, the notion that marijuana use has no negative effects is, ahem, unsupported.

          The question is whether these effects are enough to justify the ban is a judgment call, that depends on ones tolerance for these effects.

          Frankly, perhaps the best approach would be to first determine what levels of addictiveness and harm we are willing to tolerate, determine these levels, and ban anything over them.  I think such an approach would lead to marijuana, alcohol and coffee not being banned, and tobacco and harder drugs being banned.  Just a guess, though.

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:21:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well, that comment contained nothing 'reasonable' (5+ / 0-)

        to respond to. It is wrong on almost every point. All of the supposed "risks" listed are overblown BS. While not quite to the level of Refer Madness propaganda, it's essentially the same thing, baseless claims of dire consequences... as if a few points on IQ tests or 'athletic performance' are huge priorities for most of us... haha, and WTF is "loved ones report a decrease in function in daily living among the same group, etc." supposed to mean? Good grief, this is a pathetic argument. I could take it apart point by point but I'm not going to expend the energy right now.

        And the comment fails to address the issue of why, even if those things were all true, it means that marijuana should be illegal, when we have tobacco and alcohol -- both proven to be MUCH MUCH more harmful on every level to human beings, perfectly legal and readily available for recreational use everywhere in the country. Until people are ready to take up the cause of prohibition of EVERY "harmful" substance, those arguments are moot, as well as false, so doubly useless.

        And finally, it fails to consider the vast cost and very real and signifiant harm, to individuals and to society, of the drug war itself. The lives destroyed -- and much of the actual social harm of using weed that does occur (isolation and anti-social behaviors because you have to hide, due to fear of being arrested, for instance) -- are because it is illegal.

        I am 100% opposed to the idea that it must be considered harmful, and all users forced into treatment even if their use is not interfering with daily functioning. And if it is doing that, then there are other reasons beyond using weed that the person is having troubles in their life. Address those, if there are problems.

        Treating the recreational use of weed as an automatic "problem" or something inherently "harmful" is utter crap. And I feel that any 'educational' program based on projecting the idea of harmfulness is totally off base and completely unhelpful.

        •  please provide your links (0+ / 0-)

          to clnical studies demonstrating your claim of lack of harm.  (actually, I'd very much like to see the other links as well.)

          So far what I see is a whole raft of wild and unsupported claims on all sides here.   Certainly, I have seen personal examples of great harmfulness of marijunana and complete harmlessness as well.  

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:23:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please quote where (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KenBee, Larsstephens

            I said there is a "lack of harm" ... oh never mind, because I didn't say that of course. In fact I said this:

            And finally, it fails to consider the vast cost and very real and signifiant harm, to individuals and to society, of the drug war itself. The lives destroyed -- and much of the actual social harm of using weed that does occur (isolation and anti-social behaviors because you have to hide, due to fear of being arrested, for instance) -- are because it is illegal.
            As I said, the question of harm is moot anyway, as there are plenty of things that cause much worse harm that are not illegal, nor worthy of a multi-billion 'war' against them that puts millions of citizens in prison.

            And while you're at it, let's hear the lecture to Michael Phelps about how his use of marijuana is going to harm his athletic performance. I can't wait...the cricket symphony is getting a bit boring... hahaha

            •  Here you go (0+ / 0-)
              While not quite to the level of Refer Madness propaganda, it's essentially the same thing, baseless claims of dire consequences...
              and
              I am 100% opposed to the idea that it must be considered harmful,

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 12:28:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  For the record (0+ / 0-)

              I suggest a similar approach here

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 01:25:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  studies show masturbation bad as well (0+ / 0-)

          studies...uh huh.

          Too many studies can make you not get out of bed.

          This machine kills Fascists.

          by KenBee on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 12:10:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Look (0+ / 0-)

          What I'm trying to say is that we can agree that the negative effects of the current drug war outweigh the negative effects of allowing marijuana use.  But making that calculated trade-off in no way requires us to pretend that weed is as harmless as caffeine or peppermint.

          •  Actually, (0+ / 0-)

            we don't need to "pretend" that marijuana is as 'harmless' as peppermint... it may be less harmful.

            Safety

            Peppermint oil can cause heartburn and digestive upset, and should be used with caution by people with heartburn, hiatal hernia, severe liver damage, gallbladder inflammation, or bile duct obstruction.

            Although rare, some people have experienced allergic reaction to topical application of peppermint.

            People with gallstones should consult a physician before taking oral peppermint preparations.

            The safety of peppermint oil in pregnant or nursing women isn't known.

            Peppermint oil shouldn't be applied topically to broken skin. Large amounts shouldn't be applied to skin.

            Peppermint tea can cause choking in children and infants due to the menthol.

            Pure peppermint oil is toxic at small doses. The pure essential oil should not be taken orally.

            Call your health practitioner if you experience headache, flushing, skin rash, muscle tremors, or other unusual symptoms.

            Oh noes! We better start locking up people who use peppermint, stat. It's clearly dangerous.
            •  And there you go. (0+ / 0-)

              That's exactly what I mean.  You're illustrating it perfectly.

              With your sarcastic "We better start locking up people who use peppermint" comment, you imply that I want that to happen to people who use marijuana.

              Even though I explicitly disclaimed that in the post to which you're responding.

              Instead, you've just engaged in the very same knee-jerk defense of marijuana that I was decrying.

          •  Oh no, more bad news... (0+ / 0-)
            When ingested chronically in excessive amounts, caffeine produces a specific toxidrome (caffeinism), which consists of primarily CNS, cardiovascular, and GI hyperstimulation.

            CNS features
            Headache
            Lightheadedness
            Anxiety, agitation
            Tremulousness, perioral and extremity tingling (resulting from tachypnea-induced respiratory alkalosis)
            Confusion, psychosis
            Seizures

            Cardiovascular features
            Palpitations or racing heart rate
            Chest pain
            GI features
            Nausea and vomiting
            Abdominal pain
            Diarrhea, bowel incontinence
            Anorexia

            People actually do die from caffeine overdose -- unlike marijuana, which has no lethal dosage.

            So yeah clearly a war on caffeine -- and stigmatizing and treating and jailing ANYONE who uses ANY amount of it -- is urgently needed.

    •  Got links? (0+ / 0-)

      for those studies?  I'd love to see them

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:32:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is NO LEADERSHIP from the Obama Admin (6+ / 0-)

    on marijuana prohibition other than toeing the line established by Nixon and Reagan.

    NONE.

    The reason is very simple and it's what I have screamed about for years: it's 100% ideology.

    It's i-dee-all-o-gee.

    Facts me absolutely nothing.

    this is exactly why I advocate a very aggressive approach to talking about it.

    One should dream of pissing people off who still believe all the horseshit. Make them mad. Hurt their feelings. Do whatever it takes to make them try to support their stupid bullshit with a scientific study.

    it can't be done.

    We do not have to tolerate horseshit. We. Just. Don't.

    The "liberal media" is as much to blame.

    I mean, I don't really expect Obama to do anything abut it even though he actually could.

    There is something in American politics that is strongly averse to doing the right thing, especially when it helps the people and stops enriching a few.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:20:33 AM PST

    •  It's Called System Design nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xxdr zombiexx

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:25:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I use too many words. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CS in AZ

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:27:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, you said it well (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MrJayTee, Larsstephens

          and I agree with your sentiments on almost everything.

          I agree that President Obama and his administration are clearly not going to "lead" on this issue. I think we have reached the point where the people will need to lead the politicians.

          I'm not as comfortable as you with the idea of 'making them mad' as a tactic, but I do agree it needs to be challenged.

          As for the white house and President Obama... yes it has been very disappointing so far, to say the least ... and if the federal government decides now to aggressively prosecute people in Washington or Colorado, the people will need to rise up and strongly pressure the white house to change it's priorities, and we also need to pressure congress to change the federal laws and get out of this stupid business.

          Mass education as to the failures and stupidity of the drug war, and the false propaganda used to keep it going, is the key to making this change happen.

          And this is where I take issue with the way this is presented here as an issue of the White House not looking at these issues, when in fact, if you read the linked article at Balloon Juice, Cole is actually calling out the New York Times for not talking about these issues! He calls it, rightly, a failure of the media -- not the white house.

          Here's the quote in context:

          ... But what makes me even angrier is this news story, which serves as yet another sign of our failed media experiment. If you look at the part of the snippet I have bolded, you’ll see that they have even managed to turn this issue into a political horse-race story. It’s all about the politics and the optics.

          Noticeably absent from the discussion is the morality of locking up millions of Americans for using a harmless weed. No mention of the overcrowding in prisons or the wasted lives our laws have created. Also conspicuously absent is any discussion of the billions we have wasted on the drug war while having ZERO success stopping people from using drugs. Also missing, any analysis of the positive effects of marijuana use for certain medical conditions. No mention of the millions of people who spoke at the ballot box. No discussion of how criminalization of marijuana is the root cause in the rise of violence associated with drug gangs.

          He's complaining that the Times coverage is about the politics of the administration's still unknown decision, and fails to address any of the policy facts that are at stake.  

          Cole's argument here is that the media coverage of the drug war and marijuana laws issue is focused on political considerations and fails to talk about these costs and failure of the drug war. He is right. That is a problem.

    •  large forces are arrayed against legalization (7+ / 0-)

      Just as a quick example, take various police associations which oppose legalization.  While some of their points are valid to a point, we cannot forget that many of them have enjoyed expanded depts and budgets thanks to the War on Drugs.  This ranges from a flood of federal funds since it appears the War on Drugs has been folded into the larger GWOT as well as an embarrassment of wealth for those states who allow confiscation of cash and cars for people "suspected" of drug dealing or drug running

    •  Obama is an institutionalist. (4+ / 0-)

      He does not work outside of the Establishment.  He simply tries to use it for his own purpose.  He'd have made an excellent Rockefeller Republican back in the day.

      The only reason he's seen as so far left is that most of the current right wing Repulbicans are ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT.  They want to burn it all down and start over.  The ones that DON'T want to burn it all down want to use it as nothing more then a blunt object to beat the poors and liberals with.

      The War on Drugs is so deeply ingrained in the current Establishment it may as well be the wood grain on the table.  Obama isn't going to touch that one.

  •  Maybe I'm just showing my biases... (6+ / 0-)

    ...but NASA being an engineering incubator isn't the problem, Bill.  It's the fact that we as a country no longer cares to fund science at all.  The 20% cuts the NIH is saying they will sustain due to the "fiscal cliff" is just the beginning, and it might well close far more research institutions then NASA.

    Science in the U.S. is the problem.  Get the public funding science again, and NASA will all but take care of itself.

  •  Happy Birthday, Bill... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    captainlaser, Mindful Nature
    Orion Magazine ‏@Orion_Magazine
    It's climate champion @BillMcKibben's birthday today. We bet he's wishing for a #350ppm atmosphere.
  •  help (0+ / 0-)

    Climate change is gonna continue even if we repeal the industrial revolution, thus, we  have to move millions (billions?) away from the coast and also spend big bucks figuring out how to reflect the suns rays before they reach the surface.  So little mention is made of amelioration, yet there is so little time.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:38:00 AM PST

    •  Actually, Dave Roberts of Grist has pointed out (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jjohnjj, Larsstephens

      that the White House is carrying out a stealth program on CO2.

      CAFE standards have been changed which will reduce oil use by 2 by 2025.

      Natural gas conversion in power plants is one  of the Pacyna Sokolow wedges and we are well along the way on this path.

      Wind and solar were given a boost during the first Obama administration.  We cannot compete in this area without some protection for US industry to build solar.  Solyandra was only one company that went bust because of cheap chinese solar panels.  BP closed up its shop in Frederick MD because they couldn't compete.  Subsidies here to US developers are needed to keep research going.

      There are some things happening, but unfortunately, they have to stay under the radar or Congress vindictively cuts them off.  They want you to buy incandescent bulbs from Mexico instead of LEDs or fluorescents from the US.

      Mitt Romney rides off into the sunset in his Audi.

      by captainlaser on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:09:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  my point is (0+ / 0-)

        Global change will continue no matter what we do--we need to spend to come up with artificial ways to cool off.  Yes, there will be bad unintended consequences, but super computers can probably figure them out in advance.  

        Apres Bush, le deluge.

        by melvynny on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:24:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The threat of marginal returns (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jjohnjj, Larsstephens

        The current state of capitalism is one of marginal returns.

        Everyone is trying to make money off of tight margins. This is seen in everything from grocery store chains to high-speed trading on Wall Street.

        The fear is that the same holds true with fossil fuel returns. There is a concept called EROEI (Energy Return On Energy Invested). At one time this number was high, and we could expect high returns on energy from a minimal investment in a crude oil rig. So it didn't take much money and energy to get an outlandish return on energy output.

        Nowadays that is no longer true. The EROEI is going towards unity with oil sources such as the tar sands and oil shale. So it takes a lot of fossil fuel such as natural gas to extract the valuable oil out of the ground.

        Yet, to the marginal capitalist, this doesn't matter. The argument goes like this:

        So what if it takes 90% of the energy of the energy to extract what will provide a 100% source of liquid fuel to the customer?  If the 90% is cheap and easily accessible, such as the natural gas in the tar sands of Canada, then it becomes an adequate marginal return on investment.  These oil companies can still make money off these tight returns. They don't care how much excess they burn as long as they make money off of the margins.

        But this has huge implications on carbon emissions.  There is still a huge overhead on burning fossil fuels that don't have any productive value other than to get at or convert to the more valuable liquid hydrocarbon fuel that our society needs to keep running.

        That is the hidden positive-feedback compensation that will tend to drown out the conservation measures that we are working toward.

        In an ideal world, we have to save our valuable liquid fuel "seed corn" for developing alternative energy sources such as solar and wind.  We need to do this both the to save our skin when it comes to diminishing fuel supply and to prevent an explosion of carbon emissions yet to come.

        The government is the secret weapon, because they are not beholden to marginal returns.  Every other nation-state with nationalized oil companies knows this as they are protecting their seed corn by investing in alternative energy projects.  Kudos to the Obama admin for doing this under the radar.

      •  Agree. The 2009 Recovery Act had huge energy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens

        conservation funding. More than all the funding by Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton combined.

        The ARRA poured $90 billion into weatherization, solar, batteries, biofuels, and more... and leveraged another $100 billion in private funds into green sector.

        PBO is the greenest president we've seen in a generation, but as Michael Grunwald writes, the "New Deal" aspects of the ARRA were lost to the CorpMedia's fixation on the short-term actions like tax cuts, unemployment extensions and shovel-ready highway projects - and the subsequent furor over the ACA.

        Have you noticed?
        Politicians who promise LESS government
        only deliver BAD government.

        by jjohnjj on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:07:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Half measures are better than none maybe (0+ / 0-)

        Meanwhile, the Obama administration is undoing all that good with its hyperaggressive approach to expanding coal and oil drilling and its efforts to singlehandedly block progress on the international front

        This latter is absolutely unforgiveable.  The rest of the world can agree on progress, and Obama is the hold out who wants to block it?  THIS will be his legacy and it is a very ugly one.

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:26:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  To the Moon, Alice!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sixeight120bpm, Larsstephens

    Concept art of the proposed private ventures to re-visit the Moon, using experimental propulsion technology.

    Actually this film is also educational for the changing beauty standards of the times - check out those gorgeous bathing beauties loading the cannon!

    "Marco Rubio es un pañuelo Rosa!" - Montgomery Burns

    by Fordmandalay on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:40:41 AM PST

  •  Uplifting soundtrack (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    I like that soothing soundtrack in the Arctic Report Card video playing underneath the devastating, matter of fact news about the environment. It says, "yes, we're wrecking the planet. Have a nice day."

  •  Thanks DarkSyde (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    captainlaser, Larsstephens

    (R's) take those tired memes and shove 'em, Denise Velez Oliver, 11/7/2012.

    by a2nite on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:46:48 AM PST

  •  How do we get to a future we can live in? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    That's always been the challenge facing humanity - but lately we've 'succeeded' in both upping the stakes to include the whole planet, and accelerating the rate and number of existential threats coming at us. One wrong answer to any of them, and it's potentially Game Over.

    David Brin's latest book Existence is set in 2050, and the central problem at the heart of the story is how we as a species are going to survive, dodging bullets while tap-dancing through a minefield so to speak. Using the talents of Patrick Farley, Brin has a video for the book that also happens to fit with a lot of the stories here This Week in Science.  Enjoy! (You may want to embiggen it since it gets cropped fitting in this comment.)

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:49:52 AM PST

    •  People will be able to live in the future (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jjohnjj, Larsstephens

      Just maybe not as many as are currently on the planet.

      Climate change will have it winners and losers.  Iceland, with a population of a quarter million, is going to do pretty well, losing glaciers and gaining more land for farming and forests.  The millions and millions who live in Bangladesh though, they are going to have a problem.

      And about your minefield analogy, if there are enough people tap-dancing through the minefield, some are bound to get through.

  •  How "Model-T"able is a Mars rover? (3+ / 0-)

    I'm sure a lot of money can be saved by re-using hardware and getting something akin to a production run on key elements, but...

    Wow!

    Think of all the money to get one of those puppies off the ground, to the planet, and then safely down to its surface.

    I can't imagine a cheap rover unless it's something that piggybacks on another mission, a la the failed Beagle on the Mars Express.

    When you're spending the money to get it there, you want to make real sure it survives the trip and keeps on ticking.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:50:52 AM PST

    •  It's made of independent parts... (3+ / 0-)

      like these, which I imagine could be mass-produced, creating jobs.....

      We'd have to cut social program to preserve all the wars (war in other countries, war on drugs, and the gwot) to provide funding.... but it could be done.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:00:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A dune buggy is fine but the instruments on it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      are golden.

      Canada launched a lidar to measure dust devils on Mars and had to downsize it to less than 7kg in size with very little power  use.   That limitation made it impossible to search for dust devils.  Maybe the next Rover can carry more capable instruments which will tell us more about the Martian atmosphere.   This lidar on the Phoenix lander discovered that Mars has water clouds in the atmosphere at 4-5 km above the surface.  It improved our models of Martian meteorology.  All these will be needed if we are ever going to understand how to put someone there and keep them alive.

      Mitt Romney rides off into the sunset in his Audi.

      by captainlaser on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:15:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Curiosity cost $7 per tax payer. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      for the whole mission.

      make a production run of say 20, build a rocket than can put up 5 at once, pick 20 different interesting spots on mars and go do ALL THE SCIENCE! at considerable savings.

      In the grand scheme of things, Curiosity was dirt cheap, building 20 more like it at the same time would save money, and be a nice stimulous to boot.

      "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." -Henry Ford

      by sixeight120bpm on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:18:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are We Entering New Age of Enlightenment? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, jck, Larsstephens

    One of the things that fills me with some hope in this crazy country of mine is that there has been in recent years a concerted and constant pushback against the illogic, magical thinking and downright religious dogmatism coming from the right. It's heartening to not only see scientists and educators engage conservatives on the nature of reality but that a grassroots movement of sorts has sprung to defend and thereby embolden them to stand up to political hacks, snakeoil salesmen and big corporations.

    More of the same tenfold, please.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:51:30 AM PST

  •  What did you think of the case for geo-engineering (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx

    made in the current (at least I think it's still current) Scientific American?

    Lots of reason to worry about methane released by melting permafrost and chain reactions from albedo changes in the absence of Arctic ice.

    Scary stuff.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:53:01 AM PST

  •  National Academy of Sciences released a new report (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, Larsstephens

    this week on the lack of vision for NASA.  You can read the report online.

    The crux of the report is that we need a consensus between the White House and the Hill on what NASA should be.  Consensus between the White House and the Hill.... that should be easy to find...    Sometimes I wonder how naive scientists can be.

    We cannot get consensus on dKos on what NASA should be.

    Bill Nye may be closer to a useful path forward than the NAS.  What science questions do we want to answer?  If we ask questions about the rate of change of global warming, then it is easy to design instruments in orbit to answer those questions.  That actually got a pass by the NAS (although they noted there is not enough money).

    What do we want to know in Astrophysics?

    What is the science question about going back to the moon?

    What is the science question you want to ask about an asteroid?

    So far the "mission" is to do something exciting... put a man on an asteroid and bring him back.  This is the Amundsen/Perry philosophy of exploration... get there first.

    Newt Gingrich wants to build a Marriott on the Moon and offer tours for the public.

    NASA should pay attention to the decadal surveys for each field and figure out how to sell science to the White House and to a Congress made up of people who don't believe in evolution.   And we should figure out how to put more scientists in Congress to listen.

    Mitt Romney rides off into the sunset in his Audi.

    by captainlaser on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:02:49 AM PST

  •  Love the Fox News Coalbacco blogger (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fordmandalay, Larsstephens

    He might be biased, but at least he sticks to his guns when it comes to literally blowing smoke up our asses.

    "O mulier, magna est fides tua. Fiat tibi sicut vis."

    by rujoking on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:03:06 AM PST

  •  Go to space? Sure, we've crapped up one planet (0+ / 0-)

    already.

    Every time I hear some "uplifting" song about going to space, all I think is: Typical white male Western attitude - everything here belongs to us. Gobble it up, clog it with our waste, wipe our ass on the Earth, and when it becomes unbearable to live on everyone poor, brown and Third World (and overwhelmingly female) gets to stay behind on a sweltering hellhole so we can go play Great White Victorian Colonizer on another planet, hurrah!

    Star Trek had a word for a species that travelled from planet to planet fouling up all its livable space as it went - and it sure wasn't "inspirational."

  •  Bill Nye is wrong. (0+ / 0-)

    What we need is an agency that advances progress in astronautics aimed at the conquering and development of space, not an agency that exists solely to make Bill Nye say "neat!"

  •  Oil-Qaeda Hates Your Children (0+ / 0-)

    Support this website if you can.

    A report supported by 20 governments indicates that over 100 million will die as a result of global warming induced climate change over the next 17 years.

    That is one holocaust per year.

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