Space rocks and red tape

A big lump of rock is headed toward Earth:

The space rock, which is called 2011 AG5, is about 460 feet (140 meters) wide. It may come close enough to Earth in 2040 that some researchers are calling for a discussion about how to deflect it.

Talk about the asteroid was on the agenda during the 49th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), held earlier this month in Vienna.

A UN Action Team on near-Earth objects (NEOs) noted the asteroid’s repeat approaches to Earth and the possibility — however remote — that 2011 AG5 might smack into our planet 28 years from now.

If the rock of doom requires a gentle nudge away from Gaia to prevent a very bad day for Earthlings, NASA won’t be riding to the rescue. These days, NASA does dodgy weather research and outreach programs, not stuff in actual space with rockets piloted by flinty-eyed men called Buzz.

*not actual size

In the absence of NASA leadership, any effort to deflect 2011 AG5 may be left to the United Nations.  What could possibly go wrong?

First, the UN would need to determine which of its bodies has jurisdiction over the giant ball of rocky doom.

The program may be led by the Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), or the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). The Security Council would issue a strongly-worded letter to 2011-AG5, possibly even going so far as to threaten the giant ball of rock hurtling through the cosmos with a Security Resolution. That’ll show it.

In the unlikely event a Security Council letter failed to change 2011-AG5’s mind, or velocity and direction, real action will be required. But who would the UN call in for advice? Earth is 70% ocean and the rock could leave a hefty dent in the seabed, so the International Seabed Authority (ISA) may need to be included. Approximately 50% of human casualties from an impact would be female, so the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) will need to be called, because it’s sexist to assume women vaporize in the same manner as men, or something.

If a decision was made to nuke the rock out of existence before it arrived on our galactic doorstep, approval might be needed from the UN Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Organization, even though technically the mushroom cloud would be extraterrestrial. But nuking it may not be even an option in 2040 if the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) is successful in the interim. Oh, the ironing.

Assuming the worst happened and a mighty global bureaucracy somehow failed to stop 2011-AG5’s deadly progress, at least they’ll be ready to handle the consequences.  The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security, the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) would immediately call a meeting. The Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) could chair.

Even though the chance of a meteor hit is slim at best, pray for a miss, or we’re doomed.

Round-Up tomorrow, as usual.

Space rocks and red tape

A big lump of rock is headed toward Earth:

The space rock, which is called 2011 AG5, is about 460 feet (140 meters) wide. It may come close enough to Earth in 2040 that some researchers are calling for a discussion about how to deflect it.

Talk about the asteroid was on the agenda during the 49th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), held earlier this month in Vienna.

A UN Action Team on near-Earth objects (NEOs) noted the asteroid’s repeat approaches to Earth and the possibility — however remote — that 2011 AG5 might smack into our planet 28 years from now.

If the rock of doom requires a gentle nudge away from Gaia to prevent a very bad day for Earthlings, NASA won’t be riding to the rescue. These days, NASA does dodgy weather research and outreach programs, not stuff in actual space with rockets piloted by flinty-eyed men called Buzz.

*not actual size

In the absence of NASA leadership, any effort to deflect 2011 AG5 may be left to the United Nations.  What could possibly go wrong?

First, the UN would need to determine which of its bodies has jurisdiction over the giant ball of rocky doom.

The program may be led by the Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), or the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). The Security Council would issue a strongly-worded letter to 2011-AG5, possibly even going so far as to threaten the giant ball of rock hurtling through the cosmos with a Security Resolution. That’ll show it.

In the unlikely event a Security Council letter failed to change 2011-AG5’s mind, or velocity and direction, real action will be required. But who would the UN call in for advice? Earth is 70% ocean and the rock could leave a hefty dent in the seabed, so the International Seabed Authority (ISA) may need to be included. Approximately 50% of human casualties from an impact would be female, so the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) will need to be called, because it’s sexist to assume women vaporize in the same manner as men, or something.

If a decision was made to nuke the rock out of existence before it arrived on our galactic doorstep, approval might be needed from the UN Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Organization, even though technically the mushroom cloud would be extraterrestrial. But nuking it may not be even an option in 2040 if the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) is successful in the interim. Oh, the ironing.

Assuming the worst happened and a mighty global bureaucracy somehow failed to stop 2011-AG5’s deadly progress, at least they’ll be ready to handle the consequences.  The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security, the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) would immediately call a meeting. The Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) could chair.

Even though the chance of a meteor hit is slim at best, pray for a miss, or we’re doomed.

Round-Up tomorrow, as usual.

Keystone XL: OK to TX gets OK

Transcanada Corporation is to go ahead and build a large stretch of the southern Keystone XL pipeline with the blessing of the White House.

The pipe will run from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas. Since it does not cross an international border, State Department approval is not required. Which lets President Obama off the hook for making a decision. No wonder he approves:

“The president welcomes today’s news that TransCanada plans to build a pipeline to bring crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf of Mexico,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

The plan will “help address the bottleneck of oil” in the U.S. Midwest that has resulted from increased domestic production in areas like the Bakken oilfields of North Dakota. “We look forward to working with TransCanada to ensure that it is built in a safe, responsible and timely manner, and we commit to take every step possible to expedite the necessary federal permits,” Carney said.

The announcement came on the same day anti-energy activist Weepy Bill McKibben wrote this:

the White House continued to stand strong against Congressional efforts to force a permit for Keystone — as the president’s press secretary pointed out (in a pointed tweet) the administration’s new fuel efficiency standards for cars would save more oil than the pipeline could deliver in 45 years.

Oh noes, Weepy Bill is under the bus, and he doesn’t even know it. At least he won’t be lonely, Daryl Hannah, Mark Ruffalo and Margot Kidder can keep him company under the diesel reaper.

Here’s the obligatory Weepy Bill Google juice, Round-up reader favorite Olivia Wilde:

*click*

Keystone XL: OK to TX gets OK

Transcanada Corporation is to go ahead and build a large stretch of the southern Keystone XL pipeline with the blessing of the White House.

The pipe will run from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas. Since it does not cross an international border, State Department approval is not required. Which lets President Obama off the hook for making a decision. No wonder he approves:

“The president welcomes today’s news that TransCanada plans to build a pipeline to bring crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf of Mexico,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

The plan will “help address the bottleneck of oil” in the U.S. Midwest that has resulted from increased domestic production in areas like the Bakken oilfields of North Dakota. “We look forward to working with TransCanada to ensure that it is built in a safe, responsible and timely manner, and we commit to take every step possible to expedite the necessary federal permits,” Carney said.

The announcement came on the same day anti-energy activist Weepy Bill McKibben wrote this:

the White House continued to stand strong against Congressional efforts to force a permit for Keystone — as the president’s press secretary pointed out (in a pointed tweet) the administration’s new fuel efficiency standards for cars would save more oil than the pipeline could deliver in 45 years.

Oh noes, Weepy Bill is under the bus, and he doesn’t even know it. At least he won’t be lonely, Daryl Hannah, Mark Ruffalo and Margot Kidder can keep him company under the diesel reaper.

Here’s the obligatory Weepy Bill Google juice, Round-up reader favorite Olivia Wilde:

*click*

Fakegate: DeSmogBlog’s epic fail

You almost have to feel sorry for the folks at DeSmogBlog.

Their moment of glory after they revealed the Heartland Institute’s documents took only days to blow up in their faces, and they’ve been playing defense ever since.

Brendan DeMille is upset that the shocking admission from a once-respected scientist that he committed fraud to obtain the documents became the story, instead of the somewhat more mundane fact that an ideological entity supported people of similar ideology:

The debate about what Gleick did to acquire the internal documents from Heartland will surely rage on. It will make good fodder for university students in ethics and journalism classes for years to come.  But as Republic Report points out, it is hardly the most vital aspect of the story for mainstream media outlets to prioritize coverage on right now. That is, if the mainstream media are truly reporting what’s in the public interest, rather than chasing advertising revenue through scandal-mongering.

Note to Brendan – when the FBI is called in to investigate your source, it is the story.

Fellow DeSmogger Richard Littlemore is equally upset that Heartland outplayed the warmists at every turn since the document release:

In the last week, Heartland has been able to rely on this network – and on its own considerable skill as a propaganda machine – to deflect responsibility for the recent revelations of its own improprieties.

Most impressive, however, in Heartland’s campaign to spin this reputational catastrophe was its creation of the website www.fakegate.org.

Yet, in less than a week, it picked the its favourite meme “fakegate,” and ran up an entire website inlcuding everything from a section dedicated to inciting people to harass Heartland critics to a solicitation for funding for Heartland’s “legal defence.”

Clearly this was not a fair contest. How could DeSmogBlog expect to compete with Heartland when it came to messaging, it’s not like they’re a PR firm or anything. Oh, wait:

The DeSmogBlog team is led by Jim Hoggan, founder of James Hoggan & Associates, one of Canada’s leading public relations firms. By training a lawyer, by inclination a ski instructor and cyclist, Jim Hoggan believes that integrity and public relations should not be at odds – that a good public reputation generally flows from a record of responsible actions. His client list includes real estate development companies, high tech firms, pharmaceutical, forest industry giants, resorts and academic institutions. He is also a Board Member of the David Suzuki Foundation.

In case you were wondering, I’m pretty certain it was DeSmog who put the PR in pratfall.

For bonus comedy, here’s the strategy statement from Hoggan and Associates web page:

1.            Do the right thing.

2.            Be seen to be doing the right thing.

3.            Don’t get #1 and #2 mixed up.

We know that recognizing “the right thing” can be difficult. Sometimes what’s right is a matter of perspective. Sometimes it means taking a short-term hit to ensure long-term gain. But in a climate of mistrust, where people have learned to recognize authenticity, we believe that doing the right thing, and being seen to do the right thing, is a sure strategy for success.

Good luck with that long-term gain, hippies.

NOTE: Thanks to Anthony Watts for the link, and welcome Wattsians. I didn’t know traffic could go to 11, but it can.

Fakegate: DeSmogBlog’s epic fail

You almost have to feel sorry for the folks at DeSmogBlog.

Their moment of glory after they revealed the Heartland Institute’s documents took only days to blow up in their faces, and they’ve been playing defense ever since.

Brendan DeMille is upset that the shocking admission from a once-respected scientist that he committed fraud to obtain the documents became the story, instead of the somewhat more mundane fact that an ideological entity supported people of similar ideology:

The debate about what Gleick did to acquire the internal documents from Heartland will surely rage on. It will make good fodder for university students in ethics and journalism classes for years to come.  But as Republic Report points out, it is hardly the most vital aspect of the story for mainstream media outlets to prioritize coverage on right now. That is, if the mainstream media are truly reporting what’s in the public interest, rather than chasing advertising revenue through scandal-mongering.

Note to Brendan – when the FBI is called in to investigate your source, it is the story.

Fellow DeSmogger Richard Littlemore is equally upset that Heartland outplayed the warmists at every turn since the document release:

In the last week, Heartland has been able to rely on this network – and on its own considerable skill as a propaganda machine – to deflect responsibility for the recent revelations of its own improprieties.

Most impressive, however, in Heartland’s campaign to spin this reputational catastrophe was its creation of the website www.fakegate.org.

Yet, in less than a week, it picked the its favourite meme “fakegate,” and ran up an entire website inlcuding everything from a section dedicated to inciting people to harass Heartland critics to a solicitation for funding for Heartland’s “legal defence.”

Clearly this was not a fair contest. How could DeSmogBlog expect to compete with Heartland when it came to messaging, it’s not like they’re a PR firm or anything. Oh, wait:

The DeSmogBlog team is led by Jim Hoggan, founder of James Hoggan & Associates, one of Canada’s leading public relations firms. By training a lawyer, by inclination a ski instructor and cyclist, Jim Hoggan believes that integrity and public relations should not be at odds – that a good public reputation generally flows from a record of responsible actions. His client list includes real estate development companies, high tech firms, pharmaceutical, forest industry giants, resorts and academic institutions. He is also a Board Member of the David Suzuki Foundation.

In case you were wondering, I’m pretty certain it was DeSmog who put the PR in pratfall.

For bonus comedy, here’s the strategy statement from Hoggan and Associates web page:

1.            Do the right thing.

2.            Be seen to be doing the right thing.

3.            Don’t get #1 and #2 mixed up.

We know that recognizing “the right thing” can be difficult. Sometimes what’s right is a matter of perspective. Sometimes it means taking a short-term hit to ensure long-term gain. But in a climate of mistrust, where people have learned to recognize authenticity, we believe that doing the right thing, and being seen to do the right thing, is a sure strategy for success.

Good luck with that long-term gain, hippies.

NOTE: Thanks to Anthony Watts for the link, and welcome Wattsians. I didn’t know traffic could go to 11, but it can.

Peta-pocalypse

Radical animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals loves animals so much it kills 95% of pets in its care:

Documents published online this month show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization known for its uncompromising animal-rights positions, killed more than 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2011.

The documents, obtained from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, were published online by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a non-profit organization that runs online campaigns targeting groups that antagonize food producers.

Fifteen years’ worth of similar records show that since 1998 PETA has killed more than 27,000 animals at its headquarters in Norfolk, VA.

Note for animal rights activists and ex-chairs of scientific ethics committees: ethics, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s Sunday, so here’s Natalie Imbruglia holding a rabbit:

click

Peta-pocalypse

Radical animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals loves animals so much it kills 95% of pets in its care:

Documents published online this month show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization known for its uncompromising animal-rights positions, killed more than 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2011.

The documents, obtained from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, were published online by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a non-profit organization that runs online campaigns targeting groups that antagonize food producers.

Fifteen years’ worth of similar records show that since 1998 PETA has killed more than 27,000 animals at its headquarters in Norfolk, VA.

Note for animal rights activists and ex-chairs of scientific ethics committees: ethics, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s Sunday, so here’s Natalie Imbruglia holding a rabbit:

click

Pesky Penguins

It’s not easy living in a tuxedo 24/7 and hopping around on ice all day waiting for Morgan Freeman to show up. Ask any penguin.

It's good to be King: licensed to krill and popular with chicks, too

But for King Penguins, life was pretty much expected to be over as they moved ‘inexorably’ toward extinction caused by, you guessed it, global warming:

Using a mathematical model, the scientists calculate that there will be a nine per cent decline in the adult penguin population for every 0.26ºC of sea surface warming, suggesting that this population is at high risk under current global warming conditions, which predict an average increase of 0.2ºC per decade for the next two decades.

They conclude that there is a “heavy extinction risk” given current global warming predictions of a 0.4ºC rise over two decades, which cuts the chance of survival from 95 per cent to 80 per cent.

King penguins breed on seven sub-Antarctic island groups with large populations on the Falkland Islands, Macquarie Islands, Heard Island, Iles Crozet and Marion island and other sea birds will face similar problems.

That prediction was made way back in 2008, so it’d be fair to expect King Penguins to be harder to find in 2012, right?

Wrong:

RESEARCHERS say it is remarkable that a population of king penguins on the brink of extinction has not only recovered but expanded its colonies on remote Macquarie Island.

No doubt researchers who made the extinction prediction only did it for the funding, because why else would anyone fund penguin research? But now another global warming calamity claim is found to be all alarm and no science. Either that or Gaia doesn’t need to be saved.

It’s like there’s a trend, or something.

Thanks to eagle-eyed reader Byron for the tip and the links for this post.

Lawless Greenpeace

Greenpeace has occupied a deep sea oil drilling ship in New Zealand, preventing it from sailing in an effort to save the planet from a harmless trace gas essential to life on Earth.

Among the radical activists who boarded the vessel is actress Lucy Lawless, who says she’s prepared to be arrested:

Lawless, who is famous for her role in Xena, said on TVNZ’s Close Up said she will stay there as long as she can and is prepared to be arrested for this cause. I am a true believer in the fact that climate change, if it runs away on us, is going to bring down a terrible future on our children,” said Lawless.

She might be clueless about the weather, but she’s living up to her name.

And Greenpeace is ably demonstrating why Canada has labeled the organization an ‘extremist threat’.

If you don’t know who Lucy Lawless is, this is she:

lucy is lawless

Rumors that Shell has been inundated with job applicants looking for immediate opportunities aboard the Noble Discoverer are unconfirmed.