Obama Subverts Antiquities Act to Unilaterally Seize Land
Dan Calabrese writes: When you think of a national monument, you probably think of a beautiful statue or some stately structure that honors a former president. They’re nice to have, nice to go look at. You probably don’t think of a “national monument” as 1.5 million acres of land that contains crucial natural resources the nation needs, but thanks to the national monument designation, can’t touch.
“It is extremely disappointing that President Obama has declared another national monument here in Utah, ignoring the voices of so many in our state, particularly those closest to the designated space. By significantly restricting access to a large portion of public lands in Utah, the President weakens land management capabilities and fails to protect those the Antiquities Act intended to benefit.”
— Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes
Welcome once again to the final days of the Obama presidency, in which the whole point is to take abuse of executive power to new and, Obama homes, irreversible new heights. Screw your neighbors. Screw your own country. You’ve got nothing to lose at this point, and you think you’ve come up with a way to do it that leaves your successor helpless to reverse your abuses once you’re gone. One day it’s drilling in the Atlantic and the Arctic. The next it’s the de facto declaration of war against one of your best allies.
“Now you’ve decided to make official what you’ve long believed – that all property ultimately belongs to the state, whose primary interest in said property is to prevent said land from ever benefiting the people in any way.”
Now you’ve decided to make official what you’ve long believed – that all property ultimately belongs to the state, whose primary interest in said property is to prevent said land from ever benefiting the people in any way.
“Obama sees governing as a form of ideological combat. However much he may pretend he wants to help Trump get off to a good start, his actions say exactly the opposite. This gigantic federal land grab is only the latest example of Obama cleverly abusing executive powers in his waning days to hamstring the incoming administration, while structuring his actions in such a way that Trump can’t simply revoke what Obama has done.”
And if that means you’re seizing 1.5 million acres on the thinnest of premises, hey, you’re Barack Obama. At this point, it’s what you do:
The White House announced that The Bears Ears National Monument in Utah will cover 1.35 million acres in the Four Corners region. The move is a victory for Native American tribes and conservationists for whom the land is considered sacred, but sparked intense opposition from Republicans. Read the rest of this entry »
’We have seen a significant drop of U.S. companies going to China…On the contrary, they are coming back here,’ says market expert.
For a long time, a lot of American companies saw China as the world’s biggest business opportunity. But that time may be over.
“If you’re waiting for the booming Chinese consumer…it’s just not on the way. The upside is just not what some consumer firms were hoping for.”
— Derek Scissors, chief economist at China Beige Book International, which regularly surveys Chinese businesses
This week, McDonald’s was reportedly in talks to sell its China unit and license its name to a Chinese company instead, following Yum Brands ‘ decision to do something similar and spin off its China operations into a new firm called Yum China last month.
“The trend is that opening retail business on the ground in China as a foreigner is difficult and expensive.”
Coca-Cola announced plans to sell its China bottling business in November, and International Paper said in March that it’s spinning off its China and Southeast Asia corrugated packaging business.
“We have for years tried to push a lot of our clients not to do that, but instead do what McDonald’s and Yum Brands are doing, which is…monetise your name and your knowledge without actually being the one who does all the work to make it work in China. China is a tough, tough market.”
— Dan Harris, lawyer at Harris Bricken and author of the China Law Blog
“The trend is that opening retail business on the ground in China as a foreigner is difficult and expensive,” said Dan Harris, lawyer at Harris Bricken and author of the China Law Blog.
“We have for years tried to push a lot of our clients not to do that, but instead do what McDonald’s and Yum Brands are doing, which is … monetise your name and your knowledge without actually being the one who does all the work to make it work in China,” Harris said. “China is a tough, tough market.”
McDonald’s said in March it was looking for “strategic partners” for key Asia markets. Last year, Yum Brands said its decision to spin off its China unit followed a “rigorous review of strategic options.”
Fast food companies were early major entrants to China nearly three decades ago. As individual Chinese grew wealthier, the opportunities for tapping the Chinese consumer market appeared to grow exponentially. But roadblocks appeared: U.S. fast food chains struggled with food safety scandals in China, and other companies have had intellectual property such as trademarks stolen.
“We have seen a lot of U.S companies struggling [with] their China” operations, said Siva Yam, president of the Chicago-based U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce. “The market is much more mature. We have seen a significant drop of U.S. companies going to China. … On the contrary, they are coming back here.”
An annual report from the American Chamber of Commerce in China found last year that 32 per cent of member companies surveyed do not plan to expand investments in China, a percentage that’s higher than during the financial crisis in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »
The multiple-axis space test inertia facility, fondly called “the gimbal rig,” simulated tumble-type maneuvers that might be encountered in space flight. From February 15 through March 4, 1960, the gimbal rig provided valuable training for all seven Project Mercury astronauts. John Glenn explains how it worked and what the experience was like. Credits: NASA
On February 20, 1962, NASA astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in his Mercury capsule Friendship 7. In 4 hours and 56 minutes, John Glenn circled the globe three times, reaching speeds of more than 17,000 miles per hour. The successful mission concluded with a splashdown and recovery in the Atlantic Ocean, 800 miles southeast of Bermuda.
In this video, Glenn discusses the Multiple Axis Space Test Inertia Facility, informally known as the “gimbal rig,” used to train the “Original Seven” Mercury astronauts for America’s first human spaceflights.
The rig, which simulated an out of control spacecraft and required the astronauts to bring it back under control, was located at what was then NASA’s Lewis Research Center near Cleveland, Ohio. That center now bears Glenn’s name. Read the rest of this entry »
New camera views of past launches and reentries.Missions in order of appearance: May JCSAT-14; July CRS-9 launch, stage separation, engine plume interaction, and re-entry burn; December 2015 ORBCOMM landing burn; July CRS-9 landing burn.
SpaceX on Friday landed its third consecutive rocket on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean, during a mission that successfully launched a commercial communications satellite to orbit.
“Falcon 9 has landed,” a member of SpaceX’s launch team confirmed about 10 minutes after a 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket’s 5:39 p.m. blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
About 20 minutes later, the rocket’s upper stage deployed the Thaicom 8 satellite in orbit as planned.
“All looks good,” reported SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Later, Musk said the rocket stage had landed at close to the top speed it was designed to handle, possibly undermining its stability on the ship floating more than 400 miles offshore.
“Prob ok, but some risk of tipping,” he said on Twitter.
If it staid upright, crews planned to board the unpiloted “drone ship” to weld shoes over the rocket’s four landing legs and sail it back to Port Canaveral within a few days.
Musk’s comment was a reminder that despite a remarkable run of three straight booster landings and four in the company’s last six missions, the landings remain experimental.
SpaceX’s long-term goal is to cut launch costs by reusing rockets. Musk wants to achieve aircraft-like operations, with teams needing only to hose down down and refuel rockets between flights.
But the rockets landed Friday and three weeks ago have sustained more damage, possibly too much to allow them to fly again.
Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] ‘The Vehicle Experienced an Anomaly on Ascent’: SpaceX CRS-7 Explodes Moments After Liftoff, Mission Ends In DisasterPosted: June 28, 2015
The latest Dragon spacecraft cargo run to the International Space Station blasted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 28th, 2015 and exploded during flight. SpaceX wanted to attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on a ocean platform. [The last attempt crashed into the platform – see the tracking cam video]
Christian Davenport reports: An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded a couple of minutes after liftoff Sunday morning. It was the third cargo mission to the space station to be lost in recent months.
SpaceX tweeted: “The vehicle experienced an anomaly on ascent. Team is investigating. Updates to come.”
NASA officials said it was not clear what caused the explosion.
SpaceX was carrying more than 4,000 pounds of food and supplies to the space station, where American Scott Kelly is spending a year in space. There were no astronauts on board.
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 28, 2015
The failure follows two earlier mishaps. An Orbital Antares rocket blew up in October, and then a Russian Progress 59 spun out of control after reaching orbit.
Before the launch, Stephanie Schierholz, a NASA spokeswoman, said that the station had plenty of supplies on board and that the crew would be fine even if there was another failure. Read the rest of this entry »
“It was a great, great outcome,” Musk said after the test. “Had there been people on board, they would have been in great shape.”
The two-minute video shows the Dragon capsule blasting off from its Florida launchpad, separating from its trunk and reaching a maximum velocity of 345 mph, according to SpaceX. The Crew Dragon flew about 5,000 feet into the air before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean under its parachutes….(read more)
SpaceX has put its Dragon astronaut capsule through a practice abort.
The demonstration simulated what would happen to the crewship in the event of a rocket failure on the launch pad.
Wednesday’s test was conducted at Cape Canaveral in Florida, and saw a test vehicle – carrying no humans, only a dummy – hurled skywards by a set of powerful in-built thrusters.
The Dragon ship was propelled to a safe distance, lowering itself softly into the Atlantic via three parachutes.
SpaceX expects to start launching astronauts in 2017.
— NASA (@NASA) May 6, 2015
Both have to demonstrate effective launch escape technologies for their rockets and capsules to receive certification. Only with the necessary assurance will Nasa permit its astronauts to climb aboard.
SpaceX has elected to use a so-called pusher system on the Dragon.
Eight SuperDraco thrusters have been integrated into the side of the ship, and these fired in tandem for just over five seconds at the start of the test to hurl the ship up and to the east of the Cape. Read the rest of this entry »
The Irrelevance of Renewables and the Virtues of Fossil Fuels
Matt Ridley writes: The environmental movement has advanced three arguments in recent years for giving up fossil fuels: (1) that we will soon run out of them anyway; (2) that alternative sources of energy will price them out of the marketplace; and (3) that we cannot afford the climate consequences of burning them.
These days, not one of the three arguments is looking very healthy. In fact, a more realistic assessment of our energy and environmental situation suggests that, for decades to come, we will continue to rely overwhelmingly on the fossil fuels that have contributed so dramatically to the world’s prosperity and progress.
“Wind power, for all the public money spent on its expansion, has inched up to—wait for it—1% of world energy consumption in 2013. Solar, for all the hype, has not even managed that: If we round to the nearest whole number, it accounts for 0% of world energy consumption.”
In 2013, about 87% of the energy that the world consumed came from fossil fuels, a figure that—remarkably—was unchanged from 10 years before. This roughly divides into three categories of fuel and three categories of use: oil used mainly for transport, gas used mainly for heating, and coal used mainly for electricity.
Over this period, the overall volume of fossil-fuel consumption has increased dramatically, but with an encouraging environmental trend: a diminishing amount of carbon-dioxide emissions per unit of energy produced. The biggest contribution to decarbonizing the energy system has been the switch from high-carbon coal to lower-carbon gas in electricity generation.
“Both wind and solar are entirely reliant on subsidies for such economic viability as they have. World-wide, the subsidies given to renewable energy currently amount to roughly $10 per gigajoule.”
On a global level, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar have contributed hardly at all to the drop in carbon emissions, and their modest growth has merely made up for a decline in the fortunes of zero-carbon nuclear energy. (The reader should know that I have an indirect interest in coal through the ownership of land in Northern England on which it is mined, but I nonetheless applaud the displacement of coal by gas in recent years.)
The argument that fossil fuels will soon run out is dead, at least for a while. The collapse of the price of oil over the past six months is the result of abundance: an inevitable consequence of the high oil prices of recent years, which stimulated innovation in hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling, seismology and information technology. The U.S.—the country with the oldest and most developed hydrocarbon fields—has found itself once again, surprisingly, at the top of the energy-producing league, rivaling Saudi Arabia in oil and Russia in gas.
“The second argument for giving up fossil fuels is that new rivals will shortly price them out of the market. But it is not happening. The great hope has long been nuclear energy, but even if there is a rush to build new nuclear power stations over the next few years, most will simply replace old ones due to close.”
The shale genie is now out of the bottle. Even if the current low price drives out some high-cost oil producers—in the North Sea, Canada, Russia, Iran and offshore, as well as in America—shale drillers can step back in whenever the price rebounds. As Mark Hill of Allegro Development Corporation argued last week, the frackers are currently experiencing their own version of Moore’s law: a rapid fall in the cost and time it takes to drill a well, along with a rapid rise in the volume of hydrocarbons they are able to extract.
And the shale revolution has yet to go global. When it does, oil and gas in tight rock formations will give the world ample supplies of hydrocarbons for decades, if not centuries. Lurking in the wings for later technological breakthroughs is methane hydrate, a seafloor source of gas that exceeds in quantity all the world’s coal, oil and gas put together.
“The world’s nuclear output is down from 6% of world energy consumption in 2003 to 4% today. It is forecast to inch back up to just 6.7% by 2035, according the Energy Information Administration.”
So those who predict the imminent exhaustion of fossil fuels are merely repeating the mistakes of the U.S. presidential commission that opined in 1922 that “already the output of gas has begun to wane. Production of oil cannot long maintain its present rate.” Or President Jimmy Carter when he announced on television in 1977 that “we could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.”
That fossil fuels are finite is a red herring. The Atlantic Ocean is finite, but that does not mean that you risk bumping into France if you row out of a harbor in Maine. The buffalo of the American West were infinite, in the sense that they could breed, yet they came close to extinction. It is an ironic truth that no nonrenewable resource has ever run dry, while renewable resources—whales, cod, forests, passenger pigeons—have frequently done so. Read the rest of this entry »
— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) February 6, 2015
Will Ripley reports that a new ISIS video has surfaced and includes a threat to kill Japanese hostage Kenji Goto and a Jordanian pilot in the next 24 hours
Melody Petersen reports: Elon Musk’s SpaceX sent a cargo capsule loaded with International Space Station supplies into orbit Saturday morning, but the company’s unprecedented attempt to set down the craft’s first-stage rocket on an ocean barge was rocky and damaged the booster.
“Rocket made it to the drone spaceport ship, but landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho.”
— Elon Musk
Within minutes, the cargo-filled capsule separated from the first-stage booster rocket and continued on its way to orbit and rendezvous with the space station.
That was when SpaceX attempted what had never been done: flying the 13-story booster back to Earth and landing it upright on an ocean barge.
The booster made it to the barge, but Musk tweeted that some of the vessel’s equipment was damaged by the impact. “Ship itself is fine,” he wrote. “Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced.”
“Didn’t get good landing/impact video,” he tweeted. “Pitch dark and foggy. Will piece it together from telemetry and … actual pieces.”
Hawthorne-based SpaceX hopes to one day be able to reuse the first stage, which includes the expensive and powerful engines needed to blast the capsule to orbit. The planned landing and recovery of the first stage is part of Musk’s goal to eventually be able to refly the same spacecraft many times, greatly lowering the cost of space flight. Read the rest of this entry »
During the Dec. 16 launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which will send SpaceX’s robotic Dragon capsule toward the orbiting lab, the California-based company will try to bring the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket back to Earth for a controlled landing on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean.
“There are a lot of launches that will occur over the next year. I think it’s quite likely that [on] one of those flights, we’ll be able to land and refly, so I think we’re quite close.”
The bold maneuver marks a big step forward in SpaceX’s development of reusable-rocket technology, which the company’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, says could eventually cut the cost of spaceflight by a factor of 100 and perhaps make Mars colonization economically feasible. [SpaceX’s Quest For Rocketry’s Holy Grail: Exclusive Video]
Musk shared photos of the Falcon 9 and landing platform via Twitter late last month, ratcheting up interest in the cargo mission, the fifth of 12 unmanned resupply flights SpaceX will make to the space station for NASA under a $1.6 billion contract. Read the rest of this entry »
SpaceX’s reusable booster rocket, the first of its kind, could pave the way for radically cheaper access to space.
After delivering cargo to the International Space Station, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket used for the flight will fire its engines for the second time. The burn will allow the rocket to reenter the atmosphere in controlled flight, without breaking up and disintegrating on the way down as most booster rockets do.
The launch was originally planned for March 16, but the company has delayed the launch until at least March 30 to allow for further preparation.
The machine will settle over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of its Cape Canaveral launchpad, engines roaring, and four landing legs will unfold from the rocket’s sides. Hovering over ocean, the rocket will kick up a salt spray along with the flames and smoke. Finally, the engines will cut off and the rocket will drop the last few feet into the ocean for recovery by a waiting barge.
Future flights of the so-called F9R rocket will have it touching down on land. For now, a water landing ensures maximum safety in case the rocket goes off course.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia— A search-and-rescue plane spotted suspected fragments of a missing Malaysian airliner in the first potential breakthrough in the investigation of what happened to the flight after it disappeared early Saturday morning.
The fragments were believed to be a composite inner door and a piece of the plane’s tail, Vietnam’s ministry of information and communication said on its website. The objects were located about 50 miles south-southwest of Tho Chu island.
“Never have I seen an aircraft losing control and losing all communication.”
— Mark Martin of aviation consultancy Martin Consulting
Officials released a photograph of one fragment floating in the water. Malaysia Airlines said it had received no confirmation regarding the suspected debris.
The mystery over what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, baffled investigators and airline officials for much of the weekend. Read the rest of this entry »
(Reuters) – The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which forecasters had predicted would be more active than normal, has turned out to be something of a dud so far as an unusual calm hangs over the tropics. Read the rest of this entry »