Friday, December 6, 2002
1. GLOBAL WARMING: NOW HERE'S THE PLAN
- WE STUDY THE PROBLEM.
The Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets are crumbling, the sea level
is rising, glaciers are fast disappearing and all but a handful of climate
scientists insist that human greenhouse gas emissions are a major cause
of global warming. Three UN studies in the last ten years and a National
Academy of Sciences report to the President just last year, confirm this
picture. But this week, a climate conference called by the Administration
dealt more with adapting to a warmer world than reducing emissions. The
White House science advisor, physicist Jack Marburger, cautioned that
we must be careful not to harm the economy; before we can decide to go
beyond the voluntary emission reductions called for by President Bush,
we're going to need a lot more data. That, of course, will take a lot
more money and time. The Administration estimates the critical questions
can be answered in four years. But skeptical scientists at the conference
warned that without a clear goal, the Administration can string it out
2. FALL HOUSECLEANING: WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC
TEAM IS SACKED.
With the unemployment rate rising to 6%, the highest in nine years, Treasury
Secretary Paul O'Neill and White House economic advisor Larry Lindsey
today announced their resignations. Lindsey, a former Harvard economics
professor, was in trouble for predicting publically that a war in Iraq
might cost $200B. The outspoken O'Neill, former Alcoa CEO, once observed
that "Three Mile Island and Chernobyl aside, the safety record of nuclear
power is good."
3. MUSIC THERAPY: GETTING IN TUNE WITH
Last week, in discussing the Newsweek report on alternative medicine (WN
29 Nov 02), WN cited music therapy as an example of something that
might be nice, but didn't have much to do with medical science. Boy did
we get straightened out. Music therapy, one therapist patiently explained,
induces resonance and harmonies in the body that restore the proper balance
of chi, allowing the body to enter a healing process. Well sure, that's
what we meant to say.
4. HYDRINO ROCKETS: BLACKLIGHT IS STILL
LOOKING FOR APPLICATIONS.
Alas, NASA's troubled Breakthrough Propulsion Project never managed to
break through anything. But the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts in
Atlanta thinks maybe a thruster based on BlackLight Power's method of
persuading hydrogen to enter a hydrino state, below the ground state,
could achieve performance orders of magnitude greater than chemical rocket
propulsion. So NIAC contracted with the Mechanical Engineering Department
at Rowan University in Atlanta, to test the idea. Well, they just issued
the final report for the 6-month Phase I study. They "successfully test
fired" the thruster. "However, due to time and cost constraints successful
measurements of the exhaust velocity have not been completed." Not to
worry. "These concepts will be proposed for an ongoing Phase II study."