Friday, February 3, 2006
Last year, we had to do a word search on the transcript to find
"science." Not this year; the President announced the American
Competitiveness Initiative, which calls for doubling investment
in basic research in the physical sciences over a ten-year period
and increased emphasis on math and science education. The
President's FY07 budget calls for $137B in R&D, up 50% from 2001.
It's good to go into the budget process with a big request, but
November is a long way off and spending on Iraq is undiminished.
Physicist James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute
for Space Studies told the New York Times that since he gave a
talk at the American Geophysical Union meeting on 6 Dec 05, NASA
has screened his coming talks and requests from journalists for
interviews. In his AGU talk, Hansen had argued that an increase
in automotive fuel efficiency standards would significantly cut
emissions. The administration policy is to rely on voluntary
measures. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Science Committee Chairman,
admonished NASA Administrator Griffin and pledged to investigate.
It's not the first time Boehlert has leaped to the defense of
climate scientists. Last July, Boehlert objected to harassment
of climate scientists by Joe Barton (R-TX), Energy Committee
Chairman (WN 8 Jul 05) . WN
would suggest that Mr. Boehlert might also want to look into
NASA's termination of the Deep Space Climate Observatory.
Steven Milloy, who writes the "Junk Science" column for Fox News,
praised Rep. Barton for his investigation of Michael Mann, a Penn
State scientist whose research showed global temperatures sharply
rising in the last century, after hundreds of years with little
change. According to an article by Paul Thacker in today's New
Republic, Boehlert accused Barton of attempting to intimidate a
prominent scientist and "have Congress put its thumb on the
scales of a scientific debate." Barton and Milloy have much in
common. Both are recipients of huge oil company "donations."
Milloy has also ridiculed the dangers of second-hand smoke, while
on the payroll of Philip Morris and other tobacco companies.
Muslims are waving guns in the air and boycotting Danish pastry,
while in Italy, an Italian judge has ordered a priest to appear
in court this month to prove Jesus Christ existed. The Muslims
are outraged by publication in Danish papers of political
cartoons depicting Muhammad. In Viterbo, north of Rome, Luigi
Cascioli accused Father Enrico Righi of "abuse of popular
credulity," an offense under the Italian penal code. The claim
that Jesus is a fabrication is not new. What Father Righi might
offer as proof of Christ's existence is not clear.