Bob Parks- What's New 4/16/10

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by RangeBar, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 16 Apr 10 Washington, DC

    1. SPACE: LOSS OF HABITAT THREATENS HOMO ASTRONAUTUS.
    Virtually all of the 1,891 species protected under the 1973 Endangered
    Species Act owe their endangered status to loss of habitat. Although the
    U.S. astronaut program is not officially classified as endangered, it
    should be. Putting people in space was one-upmanship by the USSR at the
    height of the Cold War. The Cold War ended in 1991, by which time the
    Soviet Union had spent itself into collapse. By then a powerful industry
    had built up in the U.S. around putting people in space. The primary
    space habitat of astronauts for almost 30 years was the space shuttle.
    Sold to Congress as an inexpensive way to launch things into space, it
    turned out to be by far the most expensive method for reaching orbit ever
    devised. Nevertheless, it built a monstrous ISS in low-Earth orbit. ISS
    operation is shared by the space agencies of five nations, but with the
    rickety shuttle now retired, access to the ISS is controlled by Russia.
    The lobbyists went to work. In 2005 George Bush had a Vision for Space
    Exploration. His vision began with a program to return to the Moon.
    The program was called Constellation. Two boosters are already in the
    process of design by NASA. Ares I would put crews in space, while Ares V
    would launch hardware.

    2. CONSTELLATION: WHY RETAIN THIS OLD FASHIONED PROGRAM?
    This is the 21st Century. To send humans on long voyages long voyages in
    environments for which we were not evolved is terminally miguided. On
    February 1, 2010 President Obama proposed to cancel Constellation in the
    FY 2011 budget. Most scientists cheered, and when he scheduled a major
    space policy speech at Kennedy Space Center for yesterday, it was widely
    assumed that it would be to enlarge on his February 1 decision to scrap
    Constellation. Every op-ed and TV commentary in anticipation of his talk
    began with a recital of technological benefits of putting humans in
    space. They cited everything from Hubble to GPS; they had no connection
    at all to putting humans in space. What the heck, it's April,
    Persephony’s soft footsteps have covered Washington with blossoms; this is
    the season for resurrections, but it was a serious mistake to resurrect
    Constellation. Whoever sold Obama on this has weakened his Presidency.
    The idea of sending humans into space is hopelessly old fashioned.

    3. CELL PHONES: TRUST ME, IT’S NOT CUMULATIVE.
    I read another article this week in which a physician warns that the risk
    for each use is minimal, "but over the years repeated exposure could
    produce genetic damage leading to cancer." I’ve been trying for years to
    throw a rock across the Potomac River. So far, they don’t go half way,
    but I’ll keep trying in case it’s cumulative.

    4. PROGRESS: CHINA HAS BECOME A NET IMPORTER OF COAL. According to
    Financial Times this includes both thermal coal used in power plants
    and coking used in steel making. This is the first time in recorded
    history that China has been a net importer. It has serious implications
    for carbon emissions.

    THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND.
    Opinions are the author's and not necessarily shared by the
    University of Maryland, but they should be.
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  2. 3. . CELL PHONES: TRUST ME, IT’S NOT CUMULATIVE.
    I read another article this week in which a physician warns that the risk for each use is minimal, "but over the years repeated exposure could produce genetic damage leading to cancer." I’ve been trying for years to throw a rock across the Potomac River. So far, they don’t go half way, but I’ll keep trying in case it’s cumulative.

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    I started to dig a hole in my backyard and its size is minimal in the short run but if I plan to dig an additional 1 foot of dirt from said hole ever day for a year, then over time this cumulative effects will produce a giant hole.