Archive for June 29th, 2013


Sometimes you need to be contrary

June 29, 2013

As James Scott describes in Anarchist Calisthenics.



June 29, 2013

A little programming humor I found at imgur. (Click for larger, more legible view.)



AGW and CFCs

June 29, 2013

Here’s an interesting theory about the causes of AGW (anthropogenic global warming). It could lead to a lot of very interesting debate about the role of ‘consensus’ in science if it turned out to be correct.

I’m taking it with the usual Correlation-Is-Not-Causation grain of salt for now. But RTWT and decide for yourself.

Global Warming Caused by CFCs, Not Carbon Dioxide, Researcher Claims in Controversial Study

May 30, 2013 — Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are to blame for global warming since the 1970s and not carbon dioxide, according to a researcher from the University of Waterloo in a controversial new study published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B this week. […]

“Conventional thinking says that the emission of human-made non-CFC gases such as carbon dioxide has mainly contributed to global warming. But we have observed data going back to the Industrial Revolution that convincingly shows that conventional understanding is wrong,” said Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, biology and chemistry in Waterloo’s Faculty of Science. “In fact, the data shows that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays caused both the polar ozone hole and global warming.”

“Most conventional theories expect that global temperatures will continue to increase as CO2 levels continue to rise, as they have done since 1850. What’s striking is that since 2002, global temperatures have actually declined — matching a decline in CFCs in the atmosphere,” Professor Lu said. “My calculations of CFC greenhouse effect show that there was global warming by about 0.6 °C from 1950 to 2002, but the earth has actually cooled since 2002. The cooling trend is set to continue for the next 50-70 years as the amount of CFCs in the atmosphere continues to decline.”



What a lab test

June 29, 2013

Interesting news via The Register about a very long-term trial run for a piece of equipment.

NASA to flip ion engine’s ‘OFF’ switch after brilliant 5.5 year burn

NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT), an ion-propulsion engine that has been firing continuously for five and one-half years, is due to be shut down at the end of this month.

“We will voluntarily terminate this test at the end of this month, with the thruster fully operational,” said NEXT’s principal investigator Michael Patterson in a statement. “Life and performance have exceeded the requirements for any anticipated science mission.”

Considering that the NEXT thruster has run steadily for over 48,000 hours, we would say that Patterson and his team have contributed mightily to NASA’s reputation of building devices with life spans that exceed expectations. The Martian mini-rover Opportunity, for one excellent example, was originally designed for a 90-day mission, but celebrated its ninth anniversary this January and set a new NASA distance record in May.

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