That Russian Progress Issue, Part 2

Last month, almost to the day, I posted a really neat video of a Russian Progress launch gone awry.  Today we get this headline:

International Space Station shifts orbit position after glitch, Russians say

A glitch at the International Space Station on Tuesday caused its position in orbit to change, but the crew was not in danger, the Russian space agency said.

Roscosmos said the engines of a Soyuz spacecraft docked at the station unexpectedly started during testing of the radio system that controls the docking procedure……

I’m curious what the chances are the two situations are related?  Russia seems to have a problem with premature ignitions.


National Air Conditioning Initiative

( From June 6, 2007 on )

From The Onion ( of course ):

“Climate change is real and it demands a real solution,” Bush said. “Therefore, I am committed to dedicating all of the technology, all of the brainpower, and all of the resources we need in order to keep America cool and comfortable well into the 21st century.”

I have as much faith in this as I do the carbon sniffer thingy that’s supposed to suck all the bad greenhouse gases out of the air and dump it in the ground like nuclear energy.

However, I am wise enough to know one’s a joke, and one’s not. Tell me what you think.

Which will work better to solve man-made global warming?

Best I can tell, eight years later, there still is no winner of the carbon sniffer competition.  But several of the finalists truly are promoting carbon sniffers.

Is Man-Made Global Warming a serious problem?

Houston’s first flash flood?

Was watching CNN’s coverage of the Texas floods this weekend with someone else, who’s a little more liberal than I am.  They ran a blurb basically with this headline:

Houston Issues First Ever Flash Flood Warning

There, you have it, yet another nail in the global warming square-Earth haters.  Never ever in the history of the world has Houston had to issue a flash flood warning.  Ever.  Implication made, it’s never rained like this in Houston.

I immediately did a “huh?”.

It floods all the flipping time in Houston.  It’s perfectly flat.  It doesn’t take much rain to flood a perfectly flat place.

Chron has a 53 slide presentation of historical Houston area floods.  That’s 53 slides.  This, according to the NOAA, is the wettest May going all the way back to 2008.  It’s beat that record tho.  One of the greatest US disasters was the Galveston flood of 1900 that killed anywhere from 6,000 to 12,000.

Galveston is less than an hour from Houston.

The reality here is that the rains in Houston are not that unusual.  When it rains there, it pours.  And about every decade or so, you’ll have floods.  Some worse than others.  A city officially declaring a flash flood warning has absolutely no relevance to the amount of rain that part of Texas gets.



Reality is just a thought?

This has been all over the net for years.  I still love it tho:

In the article Scientists Claim the Universe is a Giant Brain, they rely on a whole bunch of circumstantial evidence that the universe, as we know it, is actually a huge brain.  Well, a lot of stuff in the universe does look like brain stuff.  But, a lot of it looks like sand and dirt as well.  Hard to go terribly far with that concept.  But, it’s still cool to ponder.  And, oddly enough, that concept has actually been around a while in slightly different formats. 2001: A Space Odyssey, the book, basically implied that the “gods” were merely a body-less mind with super-powers.  Their desire to become physical was embodied by Dave Bowman’s transformation into the Starchild.  In essence, they were nothing more than a brain.  They probably looked like that pic up there.


Is the universe a giant brain?

Nastier Storms?

( Originally posted August 1, 2005, on Spacedream. )

I read this article in the Lexington Herald this morning:

The accumulated power of Atlantic hurricanes has more than doubled in the past 30 years, witha particularly dramatic spike since 1995, and global warming probably is a major cause, according to a study to be published this week…..

Though a connection between global warming and hurricane ferocity might seem logical, the report by a reputable climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the first to draw a statistical relationship between the two.

OK, there’s the foregone conclusion that there are more and more powerful hurricanes in the last 30 years. global warming’s to blame. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. However, I have an issue with this whole article. ( Surprised? ) Let’s start with the, I would assume, equally reputable National Weather Service. I am going to use their data to get to the point I have. I am not a reputable climatologist at MIT, so someone feel more than free to help me out here. OK? Here we go:

Here is the graph from NOAA of Atlantic hurricanes by decade:

 DECADE  Category  ALL  Major
 1  2  3  4  5  1,2,3,4,5  3,4,5
1851-1859 7 4 4 1 0 16 5
1860-1869 5 8 2 0 0 15 1
1870-1879 8 5 6 0 0 19 6
1880-1889 11 9 4 1 0 25 5
1890-1899 8 5 5 2 0 20 7
1900-1909 10 2 4 1 0 17 5
1910-1919 8 6 4 3 0 21 7
1920-1929 7 3 3 2 0 15 5
1930-1939 9 4 3 1 1 18 5
1940-1949 7 8 6 2 0 23 8
1950-1959 8 1 8 2 0 19 10
1960-1969 4 5 3 2 1 15 6
1970-1979 6 2 4 0 0 12 4
1980-1989 9 2 4 1 0 16 5
1990-1999 2 7 4 0 1 14 5
2000-2009 8 4 6 1 0 19 7
2010-2012 3 0 0 0 0 3 0

That’s a lot of data.  So, I simplified it some.  Since the assumption is hurricanes are getting more powerful, I made a power index in descending order by decade.  This is what you get:

Decade Avg Power
1940-1949 4.9
1880-1889 4.5
1910-1919 4.4
1950-1959 4.2
1890-1899 4.1
2000-2009 3.8
1870-1879 3.6
1960-1969 3.6
1930-1939 3.5
1990-1999 3.3
1851-1859 3.1
1900-1909 3
1920-1929 3
1980-1989 2.9
1860-1869 2.7
1970-1979 2.2
2010-2012 1

Whew. NOW I see it. If you take the average power by year, the last decade ranks at the top if you disregard the previous decades.

Folks, this “research” by MIT is so bogus is pathetic. It then even drew conclusions for the future based on this conclusion they reach by ignoring the previous 100 years:

The 2005 season, with a record seven named storms by July 23, provides unpleasant support for that conclusion.

Now, the article does go on to cite some criticisms of Kerry Emanuel. They show that Emanuel cherry picked his data to come to his conclusions. Well DUH!

This is the worst “research” I may have ever seen in my life.

Think about this folks, 2 of 2005’s named storms, that Emanuel cites as evidence to support his conclusion, never made landfall. How much does he want to stake on a guarantee that SOME major storms in the not-too-distant past were never observed?  What Emanuel has actually done is prove that there is:

  • Scientists willing to skew data to push their philosophical agenda, and:
  • Media more than willing to print anything to push their philosophical agenda.

That’s all this research does.

Hell, I won’t even go into the days I recall when people were concerned about a lack of hurricanes in the 90′s.

Another decade has passed since this original post.  The facts have only damned Kerry Emanuel’s claim.  This current decade has seen ZERO major hurricanes and only a hand full of minor hurricanes.  I’m sure MIT rebutted Emanuel’s “findings” at some point.  I’m too lazy to look for it. ( And equally sure MIT didn’t.  Debunking bogus Global Warming claims isn’t very high on academia’s priorities. Especially with this President’s administration. )

Life on Enceladus?

I LOVE Enceladus! Seriously, I do. On March 3, 2006, I wrote this:

The big tease that wasn’t ( thanks to Matt Drudge ignoring posting protocol ), is that there is LIFE ON ENCELADUS!

Well, that’s not exactly proven. There is apparently, very strong evidence of liquid water.

See those plumes shooting off Enceladus? Those are apparently ice crystals. What makes this situation unique is that they think there is water below the surface feeding those plumes. Now, on Earth, where there’s water, there’s ALWAYS life.
But, this isn’t Earth we’re talking about. It’s a 500km moon of Saturn. Sure, it’s got water, and it may be heated by some internal mechanism like volcanic activity. But, it gets very little sunlight and the water is under a solid sheet of ice. Whatever might be living down there, in the millions of years Enceladus has been around, would still have most likely evolved no more than microbes.
Now, I’m one of those people that’s certain there’s advanced life out there. So, I’m not going to be shocked when we do find microbes on other planets or moons. Finding water is cool. But to me, that’s all it is. And, contrary to some of the buzz yesterday, it’s certainly no guarantee that life exists on Enceladus.
We do however, need to go there and find out for sure!

But I don’t stop there!  On June 23, 2011, I obsessed even more:

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?

NOW we get this:

The scientists determined that the ocean is likely salty and quite basic, with a pH of 11 or 12 — roughly equivalent to that of ammonia-based glass-cleaning solutions, but still within the tolerance range of some organisms on Earth. (The pH scale runs from 0 to 14. Seven is neutral; anything higher is basic, and anything lower is acidic.) 

Enceladus’ subsurface sea contains dissolved sodium chloride (NaCl) — run-of-the-mill table salt — just as Earth’s oceans do, researchers said. But it’s full of sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), which is also known as washing soda or soda ash, as well.

Not exactly Aruba, but definitely has potential for life of some sort.  Can NOT wait for a serious probe to explore subterranean Enceladus.  Screw Mars, this, and Europa, are the place to be.

<a href="" title="Is there life on Enceladus?">Is there life on Enceladus?</a>

That Russian Progress issue

Click the button to make this video full screen.  Press go and see how long it takes you to figure out what’s going wrong with the Russian Progress 59 supply ship.

It returned to Earth harmlessly yesterday, burning up on the way down to the Pacific Ocean. I’m still waiting a little while longer before buying my space-flight vacation tickets.

Strange outer space signal that baffled Australian scientists turns out to be microwave oven

Gotta love days like these:

Scientists discover that unusual signals long detected at a radio telescope in Australia – which were thought to be from space – were caused by the site’s microwave oven.

But what has to really add insult to injury is that the mysterious “signal” that had been eluding them since 1998, was figured out by a PhD student.

Living on Titania?

A lot of articles on science floating around the internet is just filler.  Some of it’s more intriguing or interesting than other stuff.  Some I find really fascinating.  This particular article, I don’t.  It’s just useless:

Living on Titania: Uranus’ Moon Explained (Infographic)

That seems simple enough.  It’s got some text, and a nifty graphic: infographic

However, the content is pointless.  Living on Titania?  Let’s look at this briefly and logically:

  • It has no air.  You’d suffocate immediately.
  • It has no water.  You’d starve pretty quickly.
  • The average temperature is -333 degrees, you’d freeze to death very quickly.
  • It has no gravity.  If you jumped or tripped, you’d be sucked into Uranus and die a flaming death.
  • It’s night is 42 YEARS long.  That would get kinda boring.
  • It’s daylight is 42 YEARS long.  You’d die of exhaustion.
  • It’s day is 84 YEARS long.  You’d die of old age in less than a day.  Given of course, you’d didn’t suffocate, starve, freeze to death, or die a flaming death falling into Uranus ( yeah, I’m have fun with Uranus. )
  • And, you’d have no cell service, which means no internet, which means you would have nothing at all to do during your one day of suffering on Titania.

Let’s focus on living on really fun places like Enceladus, Io, or Europa?