Wednesday, August 08, 2007

NASA Creates Plan for Nuke-Based Asteroid Protection

You know, it's stories like this that convince me that the government knows a little more than it's letting on about an impending asteroid strike. Don't get me wrong: I'm all for them keeping it secret. Things might get a little crazy if word were to get out.

This particular NASA design would use nukes to nudge an asteroid out of the Earth's path. Funny, but they're only proposing 1.2 megaton warheads, albeit on six separate units. Nevertheless, I would have expected larger weapons. But, they're the mathematicians, not me.

The next closest asteroid that we (the public, I mean) know about is the Apophis asteroid that's supposed to pass between the Earth and the Moon in 2029. I understand that in astronomical terms, that's pretty darn close.

I've not always been a 100% fan of NASA, wondering whether it's government's business to explore space. Now, I'm a believer. Give NASA all the funding it needs.

Cox and Forkum on Penn and Chavez

Cox and Forkum on Sean Penn's recent visit with Chavez. As usual, they illustrate their point better than I could state it.

Digg Report

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 3792 Diggs, is a link to a story about one of Digg's pet issues: the legalization of marijuana (with which I agree, incidentally). Apparently, some group (I didn't read the entire story) has offered to give $1 billion to the state to help offset budgetary issues.

At least it's a story with some sort of significance, even if it is a bit out there.

Celebrity Report: Mia Farrow Offers Herself for Sacrifice

Celebrity Report: Actress Mia Farrows has offered herself up as a hostage for, well, I'll quote:

Suleiman Jamous, a moderate who has been a key link between Darfur rebels and aid workers in the beleaguered Sudanese region, is in a U.N. hospital suffering from abdominal problems. The U.N. said he is free to leave, but he fears arrest or government reprisal.

Her letter to Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir:

"As you are undoubtedly aware, Mr. Jamous is in need of a medical procedure that cannot be carried out in Kadugli. I am therefore offering to take Mr. Jamous' place, to exchange my freedom for his, in the knowledge of his importance to the civilians of Darfur and in the conviction that he will apply his energies toward creating the just and lasting peace that the Sudanese people deserve and hope for."

While the altruism inherent in this offer is remarkable for its clarity, and as an Objectivist I find altruism to be the amongst greatest evils of the age, one has to give some credit where credit is due. At least Ms. Farrow, unlike other celebrities who give lip service to their dedication to the Darfur cause, has actually put something of value on the line--the fact that it would be a terrible self-sacrifice notwithstanding.

Ayn Rand Institute on 2007 Farm Bill

Here's a quick piece from the Ayn Rand Institute on the 2007 Farm Bill. Just a quick quote:

"The focus of Americans' energy concerns should be the continuing growth and progress of industrial civilization, which progressively improves the length and quality of our lives--including our ability to cope with any bad weather. This requires liberating energy producers of all kinds to produce and sell abundant, cheap energy. The new 'progressive' farm bill does the exact opposite. It enables contribution-grubbing, central-planning energy ignoramuses in Washington to whimsically bestow favors or impose punishments on energy producers--while at the same time continuing to pass legislation that severely restricts the production of practical, plentiful, life-giving energy from fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Now go read the rest.

Carbon Credits = Feudalism? Maybe So

Here's a short bit in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the "carbon credits" movement and how it creates a new form of feudalism.

A quote:

Under the ruse of "protecting the planet," certain well-connected bureaucrats and politicians will determine how much coal, wood or petroleum products they will allow a person, business and even a country to use.

This resembles the government-chartered monopolies in the age of mercantilism. In fact, it will be a type of Marxist monopoly envisioned in Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged." And who stands to benefit for this feudal right to allocate resources and sell the permission to use carbon?

Well said, I think. Read the story to learn who benefits.

Muslim Immigration and Europe

Here's an interesting discussion on the impact of Muslim immigration on Europe. This is an unproven source, and so one would need to verify the facts to fully support the conclusions drawn. But, I have seen similar statistics elsewhere, and so I tend to believe that this post has some truth to it.

The money quote:

In Europe, Muslims already make up more than 25 percent of the population of Marseilles, 15 percent of Brussels and Paris, and 10 percent of Amsterdam, for example. And these numbers are rising fast. Indeed, demographers predict that the number of Muslims living in Europe may double again by 2015. Thus Princeton University’s Bernard Lewis, one of the world’s most distinguished scholars of the Arab and Islamic cultures, recently told the German newspaper Die Welt that: “Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century.”

Did Russia Fire Missile into Georgian Territory?

Did they or didn't they? Georgia is accusing Russia of firing a missile from a fighter in Georgian airspace in an "act of aggression." Russia, of course, denies it. Personally, I believe the flyover was on purpose, but maybe the missile release was accidental.

Some excerpts:

President Mikhail Saakashvili visited the site of the incident, where missile debris bearing Cyrillic writing was found, and demanded a condemnation from the European Union. "This is not Georgia's problem. This a problem for European security and safety," he said. "This was a provocation calculated for only one reason - to disrupt the peace in Georgia. This is sowing panic in society and [is aimed at] changing the political course of the country," said the pro-Western President.

This follows along with Russian's general attitude toward the pro-Western Georgian government:

Russia has gradually tightened the screws on the former Soviet republic since the 2004 election of Mr Saakashvili, who wants to take Georgia into Nato and the EU. Georgia is virtually under a complete trade embargo ordered by the Kremlin, with Russia having banned wine and mineral water exports, halted transport links and recently introduced visa restrictions against the Georgians.

I hope that we continue to support Georgia, and I doubt that we're doing enough.