Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Asteroids are nature's way of asking: 'How's that space program coming along?'"

Glenn Harlan Reynolds:

Asteroids a reminder of space program weakness 
... nobody knows whether a massive asteroid is heading toward Earth next week or next century, the events of Asteroid Friday should serve as a wake-up call to us all. We're at the bottom of a well, and somebody is throwing rocks. Shouldn't we do something about it?

How about this: let's take all the money we waste (tens of billions of $ so far) on the global warming hoax and spend it on our space program, with an emphasis on protecting us from catastrophic meteor strikes.

Let's use our resources to protect us from actual risks, instead of lining the pockets of Al Gore. 


  1. Michael,

    Problem solved. Just take the $450 billion subsidies for oil and natural gas production, not in total but each and every year, and put it into a program to protect us against dangerous asteroids or comets...

    Anyway, there aren't any 'catastrophic meteor strikes'. Meteors, by definition, don't reach the ground. You're thinking of meteorites.

    Global warming isn't a hoax. It's based on the well known and well understood properties of greenhouse gases. According to the Stefan-Boltzmann law, with an albedo of 30%, the Earth should have an average temperature of -18 degrees Celcius. Instead of 15 degrees Celcius. Greenhouse gases result in warming of around 33 degrees. Humans increasing greenhouse gases by burning enormous amounts of fossil fuels will increase the global temperature above that it would otherwise have.

    Calling AGW a hoax is a bit rich coming from someone who reckons that Thomistic evolution is a good theory. Thomistic evolution, which reduces to 'survivors survive'.

    And anyway, an asteroid or a comet will never collide with the Earth. God wouldn't allow it. God, after all, directs the motion of all particles in the Universe, even electrons, so if there is an asteroid or comet on a collision course with the Earth, it's presumptive for humans to be attempting to prevent it...

    1. Where are you getting this number from, $450 billion?

      I'm certainly against subsidies for any business, but if I know anything about liberals and facts it's that they don't really get along. You're going to have to show me some kind of authoritative source for this number.


    2. "Each and every" is redundant. And really annoying.


    3. Ben,

      Have a look at the Wikipedia article on 'Energy subsidies'. It quotes $523 billion in 2011. It also quotes $80 billion for renewable energy.

      'Each and every' was deliberately chosen to irritate you, and also to indicate it's an ongoing subsidy.

    4. I see that your number is for the globe, not the US. Okay.

      Wikipedia delineates the three most prominent subsidies in the US:

      1. Foreign tax credit ($15.3 billion)
      2. Credit for production of non-conventional fuels ($14.1 billion)
      3. Oil and Gas exploration and development expensing ($7.1 billion)

      Numbers one and two are definitely not subisidies. I don't think that number three is either, though I may misunderstand what they mean. I believe that it just means that the very high costs of searching for and oil and digging wells is also a deductible business expense.

      At least number one and two allow the oil companies to keep more of their own cash. A subsidy is when the government writes you a check.

      From Wiki: The dictionary [Concise Oxford] defines it as "money granted by state, public body, etc., to keep down the prices of commodities, etc.”

      I predicted, even before you answered the question, that the "subsidies" you were referring to were in fact tax deductible business expenses that allowed oil companies to pay less in taxes. That only works when you assume that all money rightly belongs to the government and if they let you keep more of it, that's like a big gift.

      In the United States, business expenses are tax deductible whether you're Exxon-Mobil or a mom and pop store. This isn't a sweetheart deal. From the Wikipedia entry you referred me to: "However, many of the "subsidies" available to the oil and gas industries are general business opportunity credits, available to all US businesses (particularly, the foreign tax credit mentioned above)."


    5. "That only works when you assume that all money rightly belongs to the government and if they let you keep more of it, that's like a big gift."

      Well yeah, that's how liberals think.


    6. How did I know that "subsidies" he was referring to were actually the very same tax deductible expenses that all businesses are entitled to? This is why we can't have a conversation with leftists. They change the meaning of words at will and they lack the honesty required for open discourse. We can't talk through your storm of bullcrap.


    7. Meanwhile, actual subsidies to politically-connected financial black-holes become "investments" in the "liberal" lexicon.

  2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 21, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Thank God for global warming. Ice is no one's friend. Goklany (2009, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons) estimates (based on death certificates) that cold events kill twice as many people as heat events (Table 4). Of course, given the Rapture Science Progressotard Apocalypto Theory of Humanity-As-Plague, mass death is a thing to celebrate. As long as the Progressive nomenklatura have central heating, that is.

    But I'm afraid we don't have the time or the resources for asteroid defense. NASA's Director John Bolden is on record saying that President Obama tasked his agency, first and foremost, to "[F]ind a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering." I imagine they have their hands full with that, all things considered.

    1. This makes about as much sense as using neurosurgeons for a dual purpose: you just turn'em 180 degrees and have them do a colonoscopy.


  3. I don't think that there would be anything we could do about a catastrophic meteor (or meteorite) strike. Even if we saw it coming there would be nothing we could do about it.

    And global warming is a hoax, at least the man made variety.


  4. "Let's use our resources to protect us from actual risks, instead of lining the pockets of Al Gore."

    And, since "liberals" *need* environmental catastrophes over which to pointlessly obsess, they can turn their attention to the on-going decay of Earth’s magnetic field. From their point of view, it’s almost perfect:
    1) It is scientific
    2) It is real (OK, that’s a minus from their perspective)
    3) It has the potential to “end the world as we know it”
    4) There is absolutely nothing we can do about it
    4a) … No matter how much we might spend to “solve” it

    From the “liberal” point of view, the *really* bad thing about the collapse of Earth’s magnetic field is that there seems to be no way to blame it on modern/industrial Western civilization.

  5. " way to blame it on modern/industrial Western civilization."

    What about all those cell phones?


    1. Pépé, I am more expecting old-fashioned and general electrical use -- and thus, the entire physical basis of our easy modern life -- to be blamed. For, the measurments of the magnetic field's decay extend back a century and a half.

      At the measured rate of decay, the magnetic field has a half-life of about 1400 years.

  6. Actually there are things we could do with an asteroid found to be on a collision course with Earth. We need to see these things coming in time to do those things. A robotic spacecraft could be launched to intercept and attach itself to the 'roid. Then precise burns of it's attitude thrusters could change the course of the 'roid just enough so that it would miss the Earth. And a miss is a miss. Got to start changing that course early though...

  7. Interesting how the OP accepts the science regarding gravity and orbits, but rejects the science of the climate brought to us by data collecting satellites that orbit the Earth.