Archive for July 18, 2012

Gruesome: Ever Wonder What Would Happen to An Astronaut Who Floated Out Into Space?

Have you ever wondered what would happen to an astronaut who was locked out of the Shuttle or the International Space Station…while it was in space?  Come on.  Fess up.  I know you have.

I admit.  I have.

TheBadAstronomer explains what would happen, and it’s worse than I imagined:

July 18, 2012 at 7:36 PM Leave a comment

“Solar Geoengineering” — Get Used to That Term

The usually-sarcastic phrase, “what could possibly go wrong?” is, imho, overused in the blogosphere but in this case, I think it applies.  Yikes:

(Image via Guardian.co.uk)

Two Harvard engineers are to spray sun-reflecting chemical particles into the atmosphere to artificially cool the planet, using a balloon flying 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

The field experiment in solar geoengineering aims to ultimately create a technology to replicate the observed effects of volcanoes that spew sulphates into the stratosphere, using sulphate aerosols to bounce sunlight back to space and decrease the temperature of the Earth.

David Keith, one of the investigators, has argued that solar geoengineering could be an inexpensive method to slow down global warming, but other scientists warn that it could have unpredictable, disastrous consequences for the Earth’s weather systems and food supplies. Environmental groups fear that the push to make geoengineering a “plan B” for climate change will undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

[…]

His US experiment, conducted with American James Anderson, will take place within a year and involve the release of tens or hundreds of kilograms of particles to measure the impacts on ozone chemistry, and to test ways to make sulphate aerosols the appropriate size.

[…]

“Impacts include the potential for further damage to the ozone layer, and disruption of rainfall, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions – potentially threatening the food supplies of billions of people,” said Pat Mooney, executive director of the Canadian-based technology watchdog ETC Group.

More….

So, the plan is to junk-up the atmosphere even more to avoid cutting back on greenhouse gasses?  The article doesn’t say but I wonder if this “field experiment” (as in the entire planet’s “field”) is funded by oil companies.

 

July 18, 2012 at 6:57 PM Leave a comment

Will the Real Mitt Romney Ever Let His Guard Down?

All presidential campaigns are ultimately run by the candidate.  If a candidate is willing to do or say this or that,  they will.  If they aren’t, they won’t.  So has Mitt Romney stymied suggestions by his campaign (presuming it has made them) that it run ads portraying him as someone whose character and personality is worthy of the office?  If so, why?  Is he that rigid?  That cold?  That aloof?  That confident?

(Image via MamaPop.com)

Voters seem perfectly open to the option of firing the president, but the Obama camp has given voters– specifically in swing states where wall-to-wall advertising is running– reason to hesitate about hiring Romney. Puzzlingly, the Romney campaign has offered very little to build up its candidate as a real human being, someone of character who’s worthy of being entrusted with the Oval Office.

The strategic decision by the Romney campaign not to define him personally– not to inoculate him from inevitable attacks– seems a perverse one. Given his campaign’s ample financial resources, the decision not to run biographical or testimonial ads, in effect to do nothing to establish him as a three-dimensional person, has left him open to the inevitable attacks for his work at Bain Capital, on outsourcing, and on his investments. It’s all rather inexplicable. Aside from a single spot aired in the spring by the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, not one personal positive ad has been aired on Romney’s behalf. The view that any day or dollar spent on talking about anything other than the economy is a waste has been taken to such an extreme that Romney has no positive definition other than that of being a rich, successful, and presumably smart businessman. People see and feel the reasons for firing Obama every day in the economic statistics and the struggle that so many Americans face daily. The Romney campaign seems focused on reinforcing a message that hardly needs reinforcing, while ignoring a clear and immediate danger to its own candidate’s electability.

More…

It’s bizarre.

As I wrote the other day, Frank Rich said not long ago that Romney’s face “doesn’t look lived in.”  True.  And I think lots of people feel that way.  So why isn’t the campaign working to change that?  I can only imagine the answer lies at the top; that Romney is so afraid of being seen as vulnerable or sensitive — or human — that he won’t allow it.

Pray tell this is the last presidential candidate we have to contend with who has daddy issues.

 

July 18, 2012 at 5:26 PM 2 comments

Reason Number One to Vote for Obama

Not sure who you’re going to vote for in November?  Consider this:

Meow.

July 18, 2012 at 2:41 PM Leave a comment

Bus Drivers in London Get Bonus For Working Olympic Crush

The powers that be in London come to their senses:

(Image via Wikipedia)

London bus workers have voted to accept an offer of an Olympics bonus, ending the threat of another strike.

The Unite union said workers will get £577 [$903] in recognition of the “massive increase” in workload over the Games.

Thousands of bus workers went on strike last month and were threatening further walkouts.

In workplace ballots held yesterday 71% voted to accept the offer.

The bus workers will get a payment of £27.50 [$43.04] each time they complete a duty over the 29 days of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The average number of duties workers will complete will be 21, meaning most workers will get a £577 award.

Peter Kavanagh, Unite’s regional secretary for London, said: “After almost a year-long campaign, bus workers finally have a fair deal which recognises their contribution to keeping London moving over the Olympics.

More…

Ah, yeah.  It’s a cryin’ shame the drivers had to threaten to strike to get paid for working overtime.

July 18, 2012 at 2:34 PM Leave a comment

Drunk Soccer Fans Cheer Woman as She Parallel Parks

It’s break time folks!

Ever feel embarrassed when it takes you three or four tries to get it right when you’re parallel parking?  Then you’ll love this. It’s hilarious.  (Best viewed with volume on high-ish.)

A woman trying to park her enormous car, encouraged by German football fans.
This was recorded in Münster after Germany’s win against Argentina at the World Cup 2010.

(Via.)

July 18, 2012 at 1:26 PM Leave a comment

Why Wingnuts Want to See Obama’s College Records

Ever wonder what the big fuss over on the right is about seeing President Obama’s college records?  Me too.

Now we know:

(Image via TempCity.com)

In context of the “mounting pressure” for Mitt Romney to provide more tax and employment records, a reporter recently asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney whether President Obama would set an example in transparency and release some of his records that critics have asked for.

[…]

When the reporter got specific and asked if Obama would release his college records, Carney replied: “Right, this is the Donald Trump question.  It is preposterous.  This is from the guy who insisted he didn’t believe the president was born in the United States.”

Asking for college records is preposterous?

Writing for the TheBlaze.com, Jason Howerton suggests:

Carney was obviously trying to lump those who are interested to see what types of college courses Obama took in college into the same category as ‘birthers.’ However, many who want to see the president’s college transcripts say wanting to see the president’s transcripts has nothing to do with his citizenship. Rather they argue it could help provide insight into the types of courses Obama sought out while in college, which some believe promoted radical ideologies.

Yes, many want to see Obama’s college records for grades and courses (as with G.W. Bush and others).  But in Obama’s case, the primary reason to see his college applications is to learn whether the president applied for college in the U.S. as a foreign student.

More…

Imagine thinking that’s the most important, urgent thing going on around here.

July 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM 1 comment

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