The Federal Reserve is seeking contractors to build a tool that will monitor and analyze blogs, news reports, and social-media chatter about the central bank and its policies, with a goal of being able to use “public relations” strategies to counter the growing barrage of negative publicity. But critics quickly added to the institution’s troubled image as the news spread by lambasting the half-baked scheme as “Orwellian” spying and “intimidation.”
Publishers of the Times World Atlas are under fire for exaggerating ice loss in Greenland and are "urgently reviewing" their newest map of that country. HarperCollins claims the latest edition of its atlas, published September 15, depicts the world "at its most fragile," but scientists say it shows a dream world. One expert told Reuters the atlas suggests Greenland's massive ice sheets are shrinking at a rate that "could easily be 20 times too fast and might well be 50 times too fast."
After days of media hype, NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) fell into the Pacific Ocean without — it would seem — having harmed so much as the proverbial fly. The satellite had orbited Earth for 20 years without receiving much public attention. Launched by the space shuttle Discovery in 1991, UARS had quietly gone about its work until its inevitable, inexorable descent hurtled the six-ton satellite into the public spotlight at the very hour of its death.
The navigation company OnStar is attracting strong criticism after announcing this past week that it would continue to monitor drivers’ speeds and GPS locations — and sell the information to third parties such as law enforcement — even after customers end their contracts. Outrage ensued and even U.S. lawmakers have now entered the fray.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in an AP interview on September 21 that the Obama administration will continue to support solar power. He made the statement despite the growing scandal over $528 million in loan guarantees to the now-bankrupt California solar power company Solyndra and the practical failure of myriad “alternative energy sources” such as wind and solar power. "I think the future for solar energy is bright. It's not going to be a perfect path where every project proposed is going to be built toward completion." He added that the case of Solyndra demonstrated the challenges facing solar energy industries. Other politicians, such as Governor Brown, stand firmly behind the concept of such government-sponsored enterprises.
As the Solyndra bankruptcy debacle begins to unwind, President Obama and political leaders will find that an increasingly bright light is shone on the federal government’s mischievous administration of green energy loans and subsidies. William Yeatman, energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) — a think tank promoting free markets and limited government — testified at a House Water and Power Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee hearing Thursday on a contentious loan program orchestrated by the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), a power marketing administration within the U.S. Department of Energy.
Regardless of global temperatures, fewer people are dying from extreme weather events, according to a new study published by the libertarian think tank Reason Foundation. Its research revealed the global weather-related death rate has declined by 98 percent since the 1920s. Deaths from severe weather now contribute only 0.07 percent to global mortality.
Shell Oil is set to tap Alaska's vast oil reserves now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final air quality permit to allow exploration development north of the Arctic Circle. The permit allows Shell to set up its Noble Discoverer drillship in the Chukchi Sea along with a fleet of support vessels including icebreakers and oil-spill response crafts. The company will be allowed to operate them no more than 120 days annually starting in 2012. The permit sets strict air pollution control limits on the drilling equipment.
If the American Physical Society's numbers on global warming are accurate, the earth's temperature has been "amazingly stable" and "human health and happiness have improved" during a century and a half of minor climate change, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever (left) said in a message to the APS, explaining why he is resigning from the society. Giaever cited a 2007 statement by the organization calling the evidence of global warming "incontrovertible."
Any supposed "global warming" is on temporary hiatus thanks to Earth's deep oceans trapping the sun's heat, according to Colorado's federally-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Australia's Bureau of Meterology. Researchers published these results in the September 18 edition of Nature Climate Change.
The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled in favor of an insurance carrier in an unprecedented case involving global warming. The court unanimously held that Steadfast Insurance Company is not obligated to cover court costs for the Virginia-based energy group AES Corporation under its liability policy in another lawsuit before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.AES is one of 24 companies sued in that case by an Alaskan coastal village for damage to its community from global warming.