Friday, August 15, 2008

83 days and counting

Hat tip to my friends at the Intersection - linked to your left, for this one.

Astrophysicist urges presidential science debate

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Passing the torch - NOAA's fleet moves forward

This week in Seattle, NOAA has both closed a chapter in its operation of science vessels and opened a new chapter in both ship operations and ocean exploration. The closing regards the decommissioning of the R/V John N. Cobb. The Cobb wa sthe oldest of NOAA's research vessels, and the last one with a wooden hull. I have a soft spot in my heart for wooden boats, as my long time readership of Wooden Boat magazine will no doubt attest.
I had the pleasure of walking her decks when I lived in Seattle. Her lines were sweet, and you could actually smell the fish oil and the salt air in all her spaces. The Cobb was an important part of NOAA's long history of fish science studies in Alaska every summer, as well as Puget Sound. Her crew are understandably saddened that she is now tied up permanently, but their many memories and many contributions will not soon be forgotten.
Across town, however, NOAA commissioned its newest ship, the Okeanos Explorer. The Explorer will now ply the seas to help unlock the mysteries of our deepest, darkest places. This is an entirely new mission for NOAA - one not driven by laws, lawsuits or Cogressional pork. For a few cool videos, see this link and this one (click on the title "Seattle Ship Will . . . ").
Sojoin me in thanking the Cobb and her crew for their service, and welcoming the Okeanos to the Nation's ocean fleet. It should be a great ride.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The solar revolution continues?

Now here's news: many of the Nation's larger retail chains are racing to install solar panels on the roofs of their buildings. Granted, it seems they want to do so in time to get a huge tax break. Even so, why is that bad? Government incentivised good, environmentally friendly behavior, and it worked!
I know, they should have done it because it is good for the environment. economic cost shouldn't be an issue. but to private business, who exist to make profits in the short term, cost is an issue. Sure, you'd expect Whole Foods to do this (and why they haven't done it nationally is a bit of a mystery), but WalMart? My guess is they not only figured the cost of the tax break, but looked at rising utility rates and decided to run their bottom line down by reducing grid reliance.
Look, if we are going to be successful at moving away from burning fossil fuels for electricity, and we need to, doesn't it make good business sense to create a climate where business makes money by doing so? Isn't that capitalism at its finest?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Climate change and our kids future

Sometimes I get the words right. Sometimes others do. Today, Thomas L. Friedman does. Read it. You will understand why I do what I do once you are done.