Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Defrost pizzas in 30 nanoseconds or the end of the world as we know it?

There's a lot of buzz going around right now about the startup of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), including some sensational headlines about the end of the world...or perhaps just the end of the world as we know it.

The alleged safety of the LHC aside, anything that can defrost a pizza in 30 nanoseconds is pretty darn scary! So...as a public service, several new Web sites promise to provide with us real-time monitoring of this threat:

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Drill here, drill now - not much better than nothing at all

In her RNC speech, Sarah Palin said "the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all." Of course no one is arguing that we do nothing, but more domestic drilling is pretty close to it. As Kurt Zenz House explains in an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

What we're watching is the thread of a decent argument--that when oil prices are very high, the United States should expand oil exploration and extraction--get oversold by liars and fools who cannot perform basic arithmetic...the NPC estimates that if the moratoria were completely lifted, by 2025, the United States would be extracting an incremental 1 million barrels of oil per day--or about 5 percent of current demand. The Energy Information Administration estimates that U.S. oil demand will increase by about 10 percent by 2025. Likewise, conventional crude extraction from areas not under a drilling moratorium is projected to more or less stay flat for the next 15 years. Therefore, even with a complete repeal of the drilling moratoria, U.S. oil imports will have to grow in both relative and absolute terms to meet business-as-usual demand.

So if more domestic drilling will not even allow us to keep up with demand over the next 15 years, then why were all those RNC attendees chanting and holding up "Drill Here, Drill Now" signs? Why are there several hundred "Drill Here, Drill Now" groups on Facebook, with thousands of members? Why is a "grassroots" group (chaired by former Republican U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey!), advocating more exploration and production as the solution?

Perhaps the "Drill Here, Drill Now" crowd has been doing too much drilling with ice picks in their prefrontal cortex?

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Bridge to Nowhere, from the Spinmeister's Mouth

Sarah Palin, in her own words...

"We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge, and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that's so negative...The window is now, while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist"

- August 2006


"It's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island...Much of the public's attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened."

- September 2007


"I told Congress, 'Thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere'"

- September 2008