Friday, February 16, 2007

The Vilification of Science has an interesting article by Seth Shostak asking "when did Science become the enemy?" It is well worth a read.

My car is still stuck behind a wall of solid ice at least a foot tall (thanks to the snow plow in our neighborhood pushing the snow, slush and ice all to our side of the street), and even with the neighbors help digging a channel from the street to my Wife's car yesterday was an exhausting task. So its another day of telecommuting for me.

Today's project: complete making the evolutionary synthesis code starburst99 cross-platform (well, get it working on Linux and Mac OS X with the gnu compilers and on Solaris with Sun's f77) and end the historic differences between the main version (traditionally written and run on Solaris) and the Linux version (always a few patches behind the times).

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The WHite House's Climate Change Palimpset

"Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary." -- George Orwell; 1984.

Chris Mooney (author of "The Republican War on Science") highlights an attempt by White House Science Advisor John Marberger and Council on Environmental Quality chair James Connaugton to rewrite history. In a letter likely to be quoted blindly in the media and on right-wing blogs they claim

"Beginning in June 2001, President Bush has consistently acknowledged climate change is occurring and humans are contributing to the problem."

Mooney demonstrates this is totally false, as even last year Bush was (dishonestly) claiming that there existed a valid debate over whether the unprecedented climate change in the 20th century was "manmade[sic] or naturally caused."

Mooney also demonstrates how Marburger and Connaugton's letter cherry picks phrases from the 2001-era speech they mention in order to make it appear as if Bush acknowledged the man-made nature of recent climate change - when in fact he was trying to argue there was no evidence connecting the fact of man-made changes in greenhouse gas concentrations to the observed climate changes.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lust in Space: episode 2

Just to follow up on yesterday's post, the charge of attempted murder has been added to the charges against US Navy Captain and astronaut Lisa Nowak, based on the finding of weapons and items found in her car: specifically a BB gun, a steel mallet, a 4-inch folding knife, rubber tubing, $600 and garbage bags.

A story covers her families statement on her arrest, and covers her career (not officially over....yet) as a NASA astronaut.

[Hat tip to Keli for pointing out the Lust in Space headline used by some news program.]

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Boldly going where so many have gone before.

After the spending the morning polishing off the proofs for both my M82 hard X-ray and NGC 6810 papers, I chanced upon this interesting story...

Basically an astronaut love triangle involving assault, pepper spray and diapers.

I guess the pro-manned space flight crowd were right after all - you can't do this with robots.