Sea water on Enceladus?

Enceladus has always been my #1 favoritist place to look for life.  It’s not all that far away, and it seems to have a rather active geology.

Now, we get this:

Data from Cassini’s cosmic dust analyzer show the grains expelled from fissures, known as tiger stripes, are relatively small and predominantly low in salt far away from the moon. But closer to the moon’s surface, Cassini found that relatively large grains rich with sodium and potassium dominate the plumes. The salt-rich particles have an “ocean-like” composition and indicate that most, if not all, of the expelled ice and water vapor comes from the evaporation of liquid salt water.

That little moon just keeps getting cooler and cooler all the time.  Wonder when Virgin Galactic will start taking vacation trips there?

More ethics issues in the global warming non-debate

Several years ago global warming scientists made an astounding claim.  2005 was the hottest year on “record”.  Nevermind all the previous history, the headline was what it was.  Some people doubted that claim. Myself included. Others then felt obliged to chime in whether they had a legitimate claim to make or not.  One of those was a scientist for NASA:

“I believe that 2005 is the warmest year, because the main source of difference is the Arctic, and I believe it is likely that our estimate there is in the right ballpark even though it is based on some extrapolations,” Hansen said.  “However, I admit that it could be wrong, in which case 2005 might be slightly cooler than 1998.”

This meant something to publishers because Jim Hansen was the Director for NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.  GISS has a very specific mission:

Research at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) emphasizes a broad study of global change, which is an interdisciplinary initiative addressing natural and man-made changes in our environment that occur on various time scales — from one-time forcings such as volcanic explosions, to seasonal and annual effects such as El Niño, and on up to the millennia of ice ages — and that affect the habitability of our planet.

His mission is deal with climate change.  So, one would assume he’s not exactly in a position to rebut climate change data.  That didn’t slow Livescience down at the time.  They were quick to quote Hansen’s less than ringing endorsement of man-made climate change.

The reason I mention all this now is because James Hansen is in the news again:

The lawsuit claims Hansen privately profited from his public job in violation of federal ethics rules, and NASA allowed him to do it because of his influence in the media and celebrity status among environmental groups, which rewarded him handsomely the last four years.

Gifts, speaking fees, prizes and consulting compensation include:

  • A shared $1 million prize from the Dan David Foundation for his “profound contribution to humanity.” Hansen’s cut ranged from $333,000 to $500,000, Horner said, adding that the precise amount is not known because Hansen’s publicly available financial disclosure form only shows the prize was “an amount in excess of $5,000.”
  • The 2010 Blue Planet prize worth $550,000 from the Asahi Glass Foundation, which recognizes efforts to solve environmental issues.
  • The Sophie Prize for his “political activism,” worth $100,000. The Sophie Prize is meant to “inspire people working towards a sustainable future.”
  • Speaking fees totaling $48,164 from a range of mostly environmental organizations.
  • A $15,000 participation fee, waived by the W.J. Clinton Foundation for its 2009 Waterkeeper Conference.
  • $720,000 in legal advice and media consulting services provided by The George Soros Open Society Institute. Hansen said he did not take “direct” support from Soros but accepted “pro bono legal advice.”

Really big CME

This is just too cool:

They didn’t see it coming, it was totally unexpected.  Leads me to believe we still don’t have a whole lot of a clue what’s going on up there.  It’s also on the “way” side which means it probably won’t affect Earth much.  By the time it spins back around it’ll be largely diminished most likely.  However, people are put on warning to look up in the sky tomorrow and the day after.  Most likely won’t be anything there where I live, but I’ll be looking just in case.