As the Space Shuttle Endeavour began its final mission on May 16, the future of NASA’s human space program remains uncertain. The space shuttle program is steadily approaching its end, but the readiness of the space agency to move forward in a post-shuttle era remains to be seen.
Dr. Aevar Petersen, chair of Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), recently told the Foreign Ministers of Arctic countries that the tree line in that region may grow 300 miles further north by 2100. “Changes seem to be happening even more rapidly than we had anticipated just ten years ago.… The tree line is moving north quite rapidly.”
On Thursday, May 12, the United States House of Representatives voted 243 to 179 to lift the offshore oil drilling moratorium. The bill could allow further oil and gas exploration in American oceans.
Entitled the “Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act,” the House-passed legislation demands that the Interior Department set a production goal of three million barrels of oil per day for it 2012-2017 leasing plan.
The Army Corps of Engineers blew open two miles of levee along the Mississippi River in Missouri May 2, an effort that may have saved the community of Cairo, Illinois, but which flooded 200 square miles of fertile farmland, which Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called “literally the most productive part of our continent.”
A former Obama administration official is working with the United Nations to extend to “Mother Nature” all the civil rights afforded to human beings.
Van Jones, the erstwhile “Green Jobs Czar,” is using his influence to support a movement to establish a slate of global statutes that would protect planet Earth in as vigorous a manner as living beings.
In 1990, the International Journal of Radiological Biology published a paper by M. Mine and his team of Japanese researchers entitled “Apparently beneficial effect of low to intermediate doses of A-Bomb radiation on human life-span.”† Mine’s team gleaned data from the “Health Handbook” that A-Bomb survivors were required to keep, recording every health change. They scrutinized data on over 80,000 subjects whose locations could be pinpointed at the time of the blasts, and determined the correlation between the relative risk of death and the dose of radiation received.
The situation in Japan is grim. Estimates of the dead or missing — and by now this latter group must be moved into the dead column — is above 25,000 souls. A half-million residents are homeless, with many in danger of starvation since roads and railroads have simply disappeared. Yet the world’s media pays only lip service to the plight of Japanese citizens. It is almost entirely focused on the disabled nuclear reactors and the “leaks” of radiation that have had, and will have, virtually no effect on human health.
Apple, Inc. finds itself amidst controversy once again, this time provoking the criticism of privacy watchdogs which are demanding an explanation as to why its iPhones and iPads are secretly collecting location data on their users. Other mobile service companies maintain similar records but require a court order to release the information.
Private industry is making progress toward lowering the cost of space flight, and NASA would like to come along for the ride.
Among the earliest actions of the Obama administration was the appointment of the “Augustine Committee,” which was given the responsibility of carrying out a review of NASA’s manned space program. The result of the committee deliberations was a NASA with its budget intact, but without a mission or mandate to go anywhere. The previous administration’s plans for a return to the Moon and eventual missions to Mars were abandoned — few presidential administrations are interested in implementing the showpiece programs of their predecessors.