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Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the shush dept.

Politics 543

Lucre Lucifer writes "The top climate scientist at NASA, James E. Hansen, says that the Bush Administration tried to silence him(NY Times) after he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. In the talk, he said that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles, and that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave the earth 'a different planet.' The administration's policy is to use voluntary measures to slow, but not reverse, the growth of emissions."

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543 comments

Srtif Opts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590090)

Tisrf Ptso!

FROST PISS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590094)

FIRST POST!!

Silenced! (5, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590098)

When I first clicked the link I got "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."

Re:Silenced! (5, Insightful)

ltbarcly (398259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590470)

Bush is daily dropping bombs on people to help the financial interests of certain people (oh, right, it was so that we could fight the terrorists over there. Now that we have invaded Iraq the terrrorists wouldn't try to attack America.).

Can you cite a single time the president has told the truth about any issue? (about something not immediatly verifiable. Yes, when he lit the capitol christmas tree, and then said "It's lit!" he was telling the truth.)

The answer is no, you can't, but feel free to try if you really like the guy. Every statement this president has made which involved delayed verification has been false. Thank you TV for making us all idiots.

Did you vote for Nader in 2000? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590518)

Admit it: you fucked up. Big time. There was a huge difference between Bush and Gore. Voting for Nader was a vote for Bush. You just didn't have the courage to accept the ugly reality of politics in 2000 because as an over-read liberal, you wanted your candidate and your party to be more authentic than the plastic show that made you gag. You were too pampered and vain to lower yourself to vote for Gore, and you're the reason why America is in the shit-hole it's in today.

Re:Did you vote for Nader in 2000? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590684)

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

Re:Silenced! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590607)

You are a complete moron. How's your lying buddy Clinton doing these days? Have you checked the truth track record of ANY politician? Start with the democratic part and come back when you find an honest one. Don't expect us to wait though, you won't be back anytime soon.

Re:Silenced! (5, Insightful)

ltbarcly (398259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590647)

If everybody jumped off a bridge you would too, I take it.

If Clinton is literally the antichrist and the example of every possible vice this does not make Bush any better. Bush IS a liar. Bush DOESN'T tell the truth. It is not a defense to point at other liars in an attempt to change the subject away from something that makes you uncomfortable.

To be expected, of course, but... (1, Troll)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590100)

What's a NASA guy doing giving talks about earth-bound motor vehicles and the technologies to use?

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (5, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590128)

What's a NASA guy doing giving talks about earth-bound motor vehicles and the technologies to use?

Agreed. He is not a scientist, but a terrroist. I hope that the wiretaps are installed to monitor this unpatriotic and subversive behavior.

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590172)

Not what I'm saying at all.

If he's speaking on behalf of NASA, he should be speaking about the science, not policy. If it were a matter of something else NASA does causing the effects, fine.

Whether or not I agree with him is irrelevant. The FA certainly sounds like there's a silencing going on. Hell, even if everyone in NASA were good guys, there would still be some level of censorship because they depend on funding that they won't get if they shoot their mouths off about policy.

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (4, Informative)

nuklearfusion (748554) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590203)

If he's speaking on behalf of NASA, he should be speaking about the science, not policy. If it were a matter of something else NASA does causing the effects, fine.

From TFA:
"I've heard Hansen speak many times and I've read many of his papers, starting in the late 70's. Every single time, in writing or when I've heard him speak, he's always clear that he's speaking for himself, not for NASA or the administration, whichever administration it's been."

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590714)

So who should come up with the policy? The politicians? And we all know they've been doing such a great job with that.

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (4, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590199)

NASA does a lot of things -- not all directly involve space travel. This guy happens to be in charge of climate simulations; in particular we should listen to his opinion about how changing our behaviour might affect the climate.

What's more disturbing is the politicians telling us to "leave the policy decisions to [them]". While it's true that they are the one who will make decisions, they are not experts on anything -- we put them there to choose among options offered by experts. The scientists should be saying "if we don't do anything now, the climate situation will get worse". The politicians might then decide "doing something now will have more negative impact than the climate change it averts" (that's up to them), but they shouldn't try to diss the scientists.

My personal take: the politicians prefer lobbyists to be the ones offering the options, since in that case they are paid to make the right decision instead of having to think.

Next Stop Mars (0)

DingerX (847589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590359)

Well, that's why NASA's going to MArs -- more money for the Big Contractors, an impressive project, and no pesky climate guys to second-guess the administration.

Quick! Buy NYSE:HAL (0, Flamebait)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590580)

Better get in on some Halliburton stock now so you'll be able to afford your new home on Mars!

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590366)

My personal take: the politicians prefer lobbyists to be the ones offering the options, since in that case they are paid to make the right decision instead of having to think.

My personal take: the politicians prefer lobbyists to be the ones offering the options, since in that case they are paid.

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (-1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590396)

Then what should we do about all those volcanoes that spew out more gases in 1 day than the emissions of all puny motor vehicles within a 3000 mile radius?
Don't forget about ocean flatulence as well.

It's foolish to think that motor vehicles are the direct cause of global warming which is a theory anyway. We don't enough data [time] to correctly correlate any evidence related to the SUV hating crowd.
There are more bigger things that we can't control like solar activity, plate tectonics, magnetic interference, orbit, heavenly bodies, etc... that has the trump card when it comes to climate change.

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (4, Interesting)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590428)

Then what should we do about all those volcanoes that spew out more gases in 1 day than the emissions of all puny motor vehicles within a 3000 mile radius?

Stop adding to the problem by eliminating the vehicle emissions? The planet can obviously handle the amount of emissions it naturally generates, and handle it in such a way as to provide a climate that facilitates our existence. The problem is that the emissions we are adding are tipping the balance towards a climate which does a much poorer job of supporting our existence.

It's foolish to think that motor vehicles are the direct cause of global warming which is a theory anyway.

So is Gravity. They're both very well supported theories, too. If you don't believe me, try walking off the nearest cliff.

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590530)

I have what I think is an even better solution.

Close down all the coal plants and replace them with modern efficient nuclear reactors. Use breeder style reactors by preference. I won't object to wind or solar or anything else if it's competative.

Then, to replace vehicles, build a PRT system [skytran.net].

That should make us pretty carbon neutral.

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590563)

I'm all for increased use of nuclear power. The scare-mongering amongst the scientifically illiterate needs to stop.

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590536)

so what of the recent theory that the dark trees of the forest absorb energy, adding to the warming effect?

should we put solar panels in the deserts (which of course reflect light away from the planet) thus causing the earth to absorb more energy?

how about putting those mirrors in space so we can tap this alternate source of energy, but at the same time making the earth appear bigger, so as to shoot more energy at this already "warming" planet?

global warming is built off bleeding heart emotion.

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (1, Informative)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590685)

It really amazes me how naive people are.

Here's a really unscientific way to see how much damage emissions form cars vs geological damage.

Look at the map of California. Imagine that Los Angeles , San Diego, and San Francisco are just black, nasty, unbreathable poison. Compare that to the rest of the square footage area of the state.

Now compare that to the San Andreas fault line http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/0 1/09_quakes.shtml [berkeley.edu]

What will cause more damage?

Do the same for the northwest and compare to Mt St Helens and other Yosemite vents.
The vents of Yosemite do more toxic spewing than the rest of the US driving public day per day.

If I were an alarmist, I'd be moving the hell out of the northwest too. Indonesia just had a quake and I'm sure that the rest of the plates on this planet will adjust too.

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590332)

Dr. Hansen is pretty much the smartest guy on the planet. You might want to listen to him, PornMaster.

Re:To be expected, of course, but... (1)

amazon1492 (950335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590385)

NASA is in charge of planning for space colonization after we've destroyed this planet and made it uninhabitable for human beings - they have a dog in the fight so to speak.

Tried to silence him hey (0, Redundant)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590116)

Thats what all the other nuts from places like Nexus Magazine [nexusmagazine.com] say.

Makes you wonder when you see what kind of company he's in.

Re:Tried to silence him hey (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590171)

No, it really doesn't. Else you'd have to wonder about the catholic church given how many pedophiles seem to work there. See, it's not a logical line of thought. Go back to highschool and try to stay awake through critical thinking classes.

Sheesh.

Open and Shut (4, Insightful)

creative_name (459764) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590124)

It seems to me that this whole article hinges on a single notion:

"Mr. Acosta said the restrictions on Dr. Hansen applied to all National Aeronautics and Space Administration personnel whom the public could perceive as speaking for the agency. He added that government scientists were free to discuss scientific findings, but that policy statements should be left to policy makers and appointed spokesmen."

They just don't want scientists running around spouting off all kinds of ideas/theories only to result in the media latching on to these ideas as some sort of "official NASA position." The public is a fairly skittish beast, and as soon as they hear some "expert from NASA" telling them one thing, even if it is a theory, they'll run with it for miles. Next thing you know "The next ice age could be coming in the next several thousand years" has turned into "RUN FOR THE HILLS, THE GLACIERS ARE COMING!!!"

At least that's all this seems to be about to me.

Re:Open and Shut (5, Funny)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590150)

> "RUN FOR THE HILLS, THE GLACIERS ARE COMING!!!"

That would be a great public response. Should we wait until they are halfway up in the hills to tell them that's where glaciers come from?

Re:Open and Shut (3, Insightful)

devilsadvoc8 (548238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590192)

The headline is typical anti-Bush propaganda at the Times. If you actually read the article as the parent did, Nasa is only requiring him (and all other scientists) to go through a review process if there is the possibility that their paper/speech would be perceived as official NASA opinion.

Now before the flames begin, Bush has made a lot of mistakes and I am by no means a Bush supporter. I just think that this kind of journalism continues to mislead the public on an import subject. The guy is mad, so what, it doesn't mean there is a government conspiracy to silence scientists.

Re:Open and Shut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590236)

Their ought to be a new modding option for the devilsadvoc8's post: "Hits the Nail On the Head +1."

Re:Open and Shut (5, Informative)

niiler (716140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590418)

The guy's area is climatology. And as I see it, he was just talking about his research and making it relevant as scientists are wont to do. NASA people have been talking about climate change in meetings and in departmental lectures at LEAST since the early 1990's when I went to American Geophysical Union meetings and studied space physics. What has changed is this:

  • There is an administration in power that is heavily invested in oil.
  • Said administration has a history of suppressing scientific data - in fact they have taken it to a new level. Ask the Union of Concerned Scientists what they think.
  • Said administration has defined this man's science as policy. It never used to be policy to state such things.

The evidence is getting more and more clear that what I was hearing about climate change in the early 1990's was, in fact, true see here [worldviewo...arming.org] for example. You can also read National Geographic, which does a story about how climate change affects real people every month. Last month, an author went to the Alps and found that the glaciers were melting and that businessmen were concerned that in 30 years many low lying resorts would have to close. This month there is an article on how traditional peoples of the Arctic are worried about drowning. The Arctic ice is melting [nsidc.org] more than ever before. Every country [unfccc.int] but the US seems to "believe" in climate change. The evidence is also getting more and more clear that we are the cause of this warming. [dailykos.com]

It seems to me that the Bush administration is upset with this scientist because he is interfering with their policy of keeping the truth about climate change from the American public.

Re:Open and Shut (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590422)

This review policy has been in place at NASA for a large # of years. I last worked at NASA 3 yrs ago and it was the practice then. NASA has a "public statement" practice,in fact they have a whole office for just that purpose. If this person had said his research was, versus policy should be, then he would have been OK. If he had said something like "NASA policy should be to not spend money except on projects to the outer planets" he would have gotten the same discipline

Re:Open and Shut (5, Informative)

SQLz (564901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590433)

Us Americans have such a short term memory. This has been going on for a long time. http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12 374,1509876,00.html [guardian.co.uk] http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/global_warming;_ylt=AjO PHgKyNMiA1zjvEt8quVSs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHN lYwN0bQ-- [yahoo.com] http://www.nationalcenter.org/Climate-Gate.html [nationalcenter.org] And of course, the big one that made national news: http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/02/19/scie ntists.bush.ap/ [cnn.com] I could cut and paste all day. The fact is this administation tries to hide information from the public all the time because they are engaging in illegal and immoral activity. Bush said 'Jesus is my hero' once and that makes it all ok with most people. As long as he's against abortion, most people will follow him into hollow shell that was once the USA.

Re:Open and Shut (3, Interesting)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590444)

Did you read the article? Among the "review process" censored things like data and the conclusion that 2005 was the warmest year on record in 100 years. Can you explain how that is okay? Then they canceled interviews with this gentlemen. Then they allowed interviews AND PLOICY RECOMENDATIONS from a scientist who's views agree with thie Bush world view.

The problem is that they have learned that if they do one thing and say another, it works and people buy what you said so long as everyone has the same story and repeats it (and only it) in interviews. But it's the actual things they are doing, not what they say they do that matter, right?

To be fair, I think when I read the article earlier, it was lighter on actual problems and inconsistencies in their story. Now, it is to the point.

Re:Open and Shut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590667)

Did you read the article? Among the "review process" censored things like data and the conclusion that 2005 was the warmest year on record in 100 years. Can you explain how that is okay?

So the warmest say in 1905 didn't signify anything? I'm not sure what your point is.

Re:Open and Shut (5, Informative)

undeadly (941339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590590)

Now before the flames begin, Bush has made a lot of mistakes and I am by no means a Bush supporter. I just think that this kind of journalism continues to mislead the public on an import subject. The guy is mad, so what, it doesn't mean there is a government conspiracy to silence scientists.

The current administration does exactly that, and it's well documented. Some time ago there was even published a letter signed by 48 Nobel Laurates very concerned abouth Bush science policy. Government researcher has been pressurised not to publish results that the administration does not like [zmag.org]:

In other government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish & Wildlife Service, many scientists say they have been pressured to cook their findings to support pre-approved conclusions. Political appointees are being seeded deeper into these agencies as well as the National Institutes of Health where they can more closely monitor and restrict government and government-funded scientists' work.

Use Google a bit, and you'll find more disturbing facts.

Re:Open and Shut (4, Informative)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590220)

They just don't want scientists running around spouting off all kinds of ideas/theories only to result in the media latching on to these ideas as some sort of "official NASA position." [...] At least that's all this seems to be about to me.


That's possible... on the other hand, the Bush administration has had a long and illustrious history of suppressing [ucsusa.org] and distorting [ucsusa.org] scientific findings that contradict its own world view. Their truculent behavior has been widely protested by scientists [ucsusa.org] before, so it wouldn't surprise me if they're at it again.

Re:Open and Shut (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590277)

This guy is the head climatologist at NASA. He has been at NASA since 1967.

He says other politicians in the past tried to ignore him/quiet him down in the past, but since a speech last December, the current administration has been actively trying to muzzle him and he has been threatend with "dire consequences" if he doesn't quiet down.

I don't see anything open and shut with this case.

Read the article, it's interesting if nothing else. Others are just trying to paraphrase/summarize it in their bias for you.

Re:Open and Shut (2, Interesting)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590321)

They haven't been trying to keep him quiet until he started spouting off ideas that NASA didn't sign off on. In fact, the article says that he briefed Cheney twice on his previous research (about cleaning soot being more effective than reducing CO2 emissions) by request of the administration. He may say the administration is trying to silence him, but the proof is there that he's not being entirely honest.

Re:Open and Shut (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590586)

They haven't been trying to keep him quiet until he started spouting off ideas that NASA didn't sign off on.


I don't see him advocating his ideas as Nasa's but in the Goddard branch as his own - free from policy decisions. From the article what another Scientist, not Dr. Hansen had to say:

"In an e-mail exchange on Friday, Dr. Goklany said that in the Clinton administration he was shifted to nonclimate-related work, but added that he had never had to stop his outside writing, as long as he identified the views as his own."

In fact, the article says that he briefed Cheney twice on his previous research (about cleaning soot being more effective than reducing CO2 emissions) by request of the administration.


From the article:
In 2001, Dr. Hansen was invited twice to brief Vice President Dick Cheney and other cabinet members on climate change. White House officials were interested in his findings showing that cleaning up soot, which also warms the atmosphere, was an effective and far easier first step than curbing carbon dioxide.

He fell out of favor with the White House in 2004 after giving a speech at the University of Iowa before the presidential election, in which he complained that government climate scientists were being muzzled and said he planned to vote for Senator John Kerry.

He may say the administration is trying to silence him, but the proof is there that he's not being entirely honest.


I don't see the proof, all I see is a he said/he said situation.

Re:Open and Shut (3, Insightful)

waffleman (697097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590303)

They just don't want scientists running around spouting off all kinds of ideas/theories only to result in the media latching on to these ideas as some sort of "official NASA position." The public is a fairly skittish beast,...

Right. That's what it's superficially about. One step down is the question of whether the public should be trusted in a democratic, free society. Now, I know lots of Chinese who claim that the People's Republic of China is a democratic, free society, and by their personal standards, they are correct. Many outside China see it otherwise.

The article is about asking what definition of "free" you want. Believing that the public is a "skittish beast" is a very divisive opinion.

Re:Open and Shut (5, Insightful)

welcher (850511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590375)

It doesn't seem like you've read the article very closely. The story here is that censorship of scientists is rife in government funded research institutions:

"The fight between Dr. Hansen and administration officials echoes other recent disputes. At climate laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for example, many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone. There scientists' points of view on climate policy align with those of the administration, however, there are few signs of restrictions on extracurricular lectures or writing."

I'd say that senior scientists in these institutions are mature enough to be making their own decisions about when interviews and writings are appropriate.

Re:Open and Shut (1)

dory2000 (654695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590377)

I have two issues with your last statement. Firstly, this is a top scientist in a publically funded organization that is charged with fulfilling a public good. I believe that in speaking out like this, he is acting for the good of society as a whole. Secondly, this scientist is not just a member of NASA, he is a citizen in a democracy. Citizens of good conscience have a duty to speak about issues they believe to be of importance to society, especially if they are in prestigious positions, such as being a top scientist at NASA. One of the first things that fascists such as Mussolini and Hitler did to increase their control of society was to divide societies into interest groups...business, labour, etc...the opinions of individuals did not matter...people's duty was to their particular interest group. The various interest groups were far more easy to control than a bunch of unruly individuals.

Re:Open and Shut (5, Insightful)

GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590534)

Did we read the same article? This is a different level of scrutiny with the flimsiest of reasons. The quotes from career federal employees and other members of the science community directly contradicted the appointed officials views. And as for this, "Citing handwritten notes taken during the conversation, Ms. McCarthy said Mr. Deutsch called N.P.R. "the most liberal" media outlet in the country. She said that in that call and others Mr. Deutsch said his job was "to make the president look good" and that as a White House appointee that might be Mr. Deutsch's priority."; NPRs' listeners pay taxes just like Fox News' listeners. Mr. Deutsch has no authority to deny interviews due to the political leanings of those requesting the interview or if an interview might not make the president look good. That is the heart and soul of propaganda, which is still illegal in this country.

I understand and sympathize with the administration's position, it's hard when the facts are biased against you, but the law is the law. While I've got plenty of bones to pick with the NYT over unobjective reporting, calling this liberal only works if, by liberal, you mean objective. The behavior of the administration described in the article is like a cancerous tumor that will destroy our nation if we let it. Dr. Hansen's refusal to be silenced and those who support him have taken the most honorable position a scientist can take. It's a pity some people can't see that.

Re:Open and Shut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590622)

A theory huh? Dang, a "systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations made that is predictive, logical, testable, and has never been falsified"? Maybe it IS time to run for the hills!

sure (1)

pl1ght (836951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590136)

I'm removing my last catalytic converter as we speak. I love nature.

Re:sure (1)

green pizza (159161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590169)

I'm removing my last catalytic converter as we speak. I love nature.

It's funny because it's true. Catalytic converters are essentially worthless at reducing emissions in most short stop-and-go city driving trips. These do very little, if anything, to reduce emissions in cities. Unless you're a cab driver with the engine running all day, or driving down the highway on a road trip, your catalytic converter isn't doing much to help the environment.

Re:sure (3, Informative)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590472)

catalytic converters don't reduce emmisions. They catalyse (remove) poisons from the exhaust. These poisons are only present in the exhaust of unledded fuel. It has nothing to do with reducing emmisions of CO2 - it improves the air quality in cities.

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalytic_converter [wikipedia.org] for more info.

An interesting note is that the lead in leadded fuel will damage/destroy the catalyst - that's why one shouldn't put leadded fuel in an unleadded car. (and why cars running leadded fuel don't have catalytic convertors.)

Re:sure (1)

kop (122772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590593)

Please point me to a source to confirm this, or explain yourself further. I understand that a catalytic converter only works when it is hot but i allso understand that it heats up pretty quickly after you start driving.

I found some more info on wikipedia and howstuffworks but nothing as alarming as you suggest

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalytic_converter [wikipedia.org]
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/question66.htm [howstuffworks.com]

hellz yeah (1)

j3rryh (909483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590157)

The U.S will be tropical, new waterfront property will be created, and Alaska will be the new breadbasket state. I don't see any cons to this "Different Planet" Unless you count category 8 hurricanes

No policy statements here (5, Insightful)

barchibald (207846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590173)

I love that science can't involve policy statements. The promote free an open presentation of ideas regarding the facts, but are not to make policy statements:

  • Dear patient: You have lung cancer. I'm not at liberty to discuss if we should do anything about it.
  • If you drive your car over the cliff you will die. I have no opinion on whether or not you should drive your car over the cliff.


Heaven forbid we let experts make policy!

Ugh.

Re:No policy statements here (1)

e.colli (630500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590340)

Heaven forbid we let experts make policy!

Funny! Every time has discussion about global warming, sorry, climate change here in /. I remember the Monty Python's Erik the Viking, the part where they are in a island who is sinking and inhabitants begin a discussion trying to prove that the island wasn't sinking.

Spying, Wars, Deceipt, Lying, Oil, Profits (4, Insightful)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590176)

Nothing phases me about these a**holes anymore. True or not i can't believe we give the administration the benefit of the doubt.

Insightful??!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590372)

You and the moderators are showing through your Bush Derangement Syndrome. True or not??!! So what you are saying is that you'll believe anything you read just because it agrees with your hatred for Bush.

Any tard still going on with the Bush and oil theory is in serious need of therapy.

This flimsy story shows everybody's true colors, including the NY Times.

Re:Insightful??!! (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590523)

Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. You have yours, i have mine. I can't stand the current administration for reason you fail to believe. Take it as you wish but your ignorance proves everything i hate about todays political climate.

It is about oil, it is about control, it is about money.

Re: Insightful??!! (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590648)

I agree that it isn't insightful. Anyone with two neurons to rub together should have already figured it out for themself.

Re:Spying, Wars, Deceipt, Lying, Oil, Profits (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590585)

That's a BIG problem. Regaurdless of how you personaly feel about Bush and his administration, the REACTION to them has been sickening to say the least. Anti-Bush rhetoric has reached the level of an organized religion. Anything you hear that's critical of Bush, or, in the rest of the world, critical of the US, people tend to automaticaly beleive. They don't research it, they don't even question it, they just automaticaly assume it's true.

That sort of behaviour is not just ignorant, it's dangerous. It's like any other religion, any cult, or any hate-motivated beleif system. After a while it doesn't matter if somehting is true because everyone has already made up their minds. Even if one incident is proven conclusively to be false, the True Believers simply point to something else. And when THAT is proven to be false, they point to something else. Or they dismiss the opposition as "shills", or "paid government cronies". How the hell do you think the Nazi slaughter of the Jews happened? It didn't just happen overnight - it was a steady progression of sterotypes, lies, half-truths and misrepresentations of Jews that the German people just blindly accepted. After a while it built up it's own momentum to the point that nobody bothered to question anything negative that was said about the jews. It's THAT sort of atmosphere that allows massacres and genocides to take place.

Do you SERIOUSLY not see how patheticaly regressive that kind of behaviour is?

Who pays his salary, anyway? (5, Insightful)

ammulder (265357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590179)

If George Bush hired him, he can do whatever he damn well pleases with the reports. But as long as my tax dollars are in there, this guy is welcome to speak the truth. So long as he's clear about what's his opinion and what's NASA's opinion, and it sure sounds like he has been.

Re:Who pays his salary, anyway? (5, Insightful)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590350)

If George Bush hired him, he can do whatever he damn well pleases with the reports. But as long as my tax dollars are in there, this guy is welcome to speak the truth.

The problem is that George Bush seems to have the notion that the government exists solely for his benefit, but not the people's. This is why people in the government are being silenced when they speak about things that upset George Bush and/or his friends.

Re:Who pays his salary, anyway? (-1, Flamebait)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590447)

You got PROOF of that bullshit statement? And I mean HARD evidence not "talking points" or something the NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, etc. cooked up. If you work for ANY agency or company and speak publically you MUST be clear on what is YOUR opinion and what is company/agency policy.

Re:Who pays his salary, anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590588)

You got PROOF of that bullshit statement?

It's only been in the news over and over again for years. You must worship Bush very much to be defending him so passionately and single-mindedly.

NYTimes Sensationalist Headline (2, Insightful)

gee_unix (941232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590209)

A less misleading headline might be, "NASA Employee Says NASA Tried to Silence Him". Of course, that would be honest and wouldn't catch as many people's attention though.

I'm a strong believer in environmental causes but dishonest or misleading reporting hurts our cause and makes people disbelieve everything we say.

Re:NYTimes Sensationalist Headline (1)

Lucre Lucifer (950263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590445)

I made an attempt at something like that, but I couldn't sum it down enough to fit it as a title.

Re:NYTimes Sensationalist Headline (4, Insightful)

Guuge (719028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590632)

He's the top climate scientist who has been with NASA for decades. Calling him a "NASA Employee" as if he's a janitor is more misleading than you think! A better headline would be "NASA's Climate Expert Says Agency Tried To Silence Him". I guess it's more a matter of taste than anything else.

How Awful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590213)

the Bush Administration tried to silence him?

That's a bunch of BUll SHit.

James Hansen... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590215)

... is a whack job who's been ginning up "global warming" hysteria for a decade now, always in search of more funding. He was hyping his meaningless computer models way back in the '90's as proof of the impending apocalypse--models that didn't include little environmental factors like the Earth's oceans.

That's not science. That's flat-out dishonest political advocacy.

Re:James Hansen... (3, Funny)

RubberDogBone (851604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590264)

I know I've heard this guy on George Noory's radio show from time to time.

No judgement made on the validity of his claims, but he's been on there.

Yeah, I sometimes listen in on my way to lunch at night. The guest topics help me decide what to eat. If it's ghosts, is time for Subway. If it's UFOs, it's time for a Chik-fil-a chicken salad. Climate change means the burrito from the gas station.

I wish this wasn't true.

Re:James Hansen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590669)

Drumming up more funding? Isn't that just the standard response. He doesn't need to "drum up funding" he is employed full time at NASA. I always wonder why people get so heated up when it comes to the debate about wether global warming is real or not. Please try to refrain from ad hominem attacks and tired cliches. Why are you reading Slashdot anyways?

I hereby recommend... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590244)

that Bush be wiretapped 24 hours a day. He is the highest ranking Civil Servant(yes he's a servant of the public) in the USA. We deserve to know what kind of crafty shenanigans he's trying to pull. Isn't there an IT guy in the white house that has a conscience? Where's Linda Tripp when you need her?

My Conspiracy Theory: American Agribusiness (5, Informative)

reporter (666905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590283)

My take on this strange behavior of Washington is the following. Clearly, global warming is a reality. The majority of scientists believe that it is happening right now, and given the choice of believing the bigwigs at MIT and the loudmouths on the Rush Limbaugh show, I support the bigwigs at MIT.

I certainly do not believe that our elected leaders are idiots. If they have the IQ to engage in mud politics to win an election, they have the IQ to understand the seriousness of global warning.

The problem is that American agribusiness is a huge and powerful lobby.

Think about this scenario. Washington concedes that global warming is real. Then, immediately, Washington must switch to a carbon-neutral fuel system like ethanol. To get enough ethanol, Washington would need to drop the 54-cent tariff per gallon of ethanol imported from Brazil [forbes.com]. Dropping the tariff would cause Midwest corn farmers and their lobby to cry, "Uncle Sam!"

To understand the power and influence of American agribusiness, consider the Japanese ban on American beef. Tokyo demanded that we Americans test 100% of our cattle meat destined for the Japanese market. The management of Creekstone Farms [organicconsumers.org] actually proposed a plan to test all its cattle meat so that it could be exported to Japan. Tokyo was happy. Creekstone Farms was happy, and its management would happily shoulder 100% of the cost of the tests in order to re-enter the highly profitable Japanese market. Yet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture refused to sell the necessary chemicals (for the tests) to Creekstone so that its chemists could conduct the tests. The reason is that American Agribusiness was very unhappy. Who would have thought that Washington would be so opposed to free enterprise and capitalism? The management of Creekstone had every right to satisfy its primary customer: Japan. After all, in a free market, businesses make their own decisions about how to win business. Yet, Uncle Sam blocked this decision (to test all cattle for madcow disease) by a private business.

If you aren't angry yet, consider this fact. If Washington dropped the 54-cent tariff per gallon of imported ethanol, everyone would pay $1.50 per gallon of fuel for their vehicles. What's the cost of fuel now? $2.70 per gallon and climbing.

Re:My Conspiracy Theory: American Agribusiness (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590477)

Can you explain how dropping a $0.54/gallon tariff decreases the price by more than $1.20?

I'd also like to point out that NO politician from grain belt states would ever propose this or do anything but fight tooth and nail to stop it. This is what keeps many businesses alive.

It also may be worth something to slow the destruction of the rainforest.

Ethanol costs $1.50 per gallon in Brazil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590524)

Ethanol costs $1.50 per gallon in Brazil. Removing the 54-cent tariff and mandating that American auto companies build cars that run on both gasoline and ethanol will give consumers choice. They can buy either $1.50 Ethanol or $2.70 gasoline. Ethanol will win, so big oil will be forced to lower the cost of gasoline to $1.50.

With the drop in demand (from the USA) for gasoline, there will be a glut of unsold oil, driving its price back down to $30 per gallon and further reinforcing the $1.50 per gallon of gasolin.

Re:My Conspiracy Theory: American Agribusiness (-1, Troll)

jb_02_98 (636753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590501)

I don't know if there is a conspiracy or not...but I would like to inform you that global warming isn't "a reality." Most of the data collected comes from cities, which will have a higher temperature simply because of people and that the materials used for building/roads/sidewalks/etc. retain heat better. Everything from a cold spot on the earth to a hot spot has been blamed on global warming. Records are set everywhere all the time. Record highs and record lows. The truth is this, we haven't been keeping records long enough to know what's going on. It's like the "drought" in southeast idaho...many people complained until they realized that they do live in a high-plains desert and it just happened to be particulary moist when they came into the picture. From what I've seen, global warming is a scare tactic so that some people can gain support from the crowd that doesn't think on their own. It makes good news and they get the popularity. Frankly, I don't think that us humans have enough power to change what's going on in a large scale. The earth is going to do as it pleases without taking into consideration what we want.

Re:My Conspiracy Theory: American Agribusiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590539)

your linked article was abit light on details about the 54 cent tax
Here ya go [desmoinesregister.com] :)

Re:My Conspiracy Theory: American Agribusiness (1, Interesting)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590623)

No it is NOT a reality. I noticed you gave NO evidence, just "scientists at MIT". Are those the same ones that looked at the SCO Code and said Linux infringed? There is a little place in at the University of Huntsville Alabama(UAH) called the Global Climitology Center that has collected Global Climate data since 1978 for multiples areas of atmosphere. Here is what they said lately in May 2005 Global temperature trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.12 C per decade, so that's right at .4C in the last 28 years. That's about .7 degrees F not enough to matter. And who knows if 28 yrs is a local min or a local max? And if there was one year that skewed the average (Yes, 1998)? What about sunspots which can affect weather patterns? Just about 40 yrs ago scientists were saying we might soon have a mini ice-age! So what changed thier minds? Funds from liberal environmental groups. A scientist dares not get different results than what they are paid for, or they will soon be unemployed. How many jobs are there REALLY for climatologists? If you look at the Dec 2005 data (climate.uah.edu) you can see areas that are warmer AND colder which offset. So the argument is FAR from settled. Climate change is a longterm issue, and even IF the USA was to reduce "Greenhouse" emissions do you think China will as their growth causes more automobiles to be used and more factories to be built? The former Soviet states? South America? The rest of Asia? These are all the areas where population growth is going to occur! And if they Don't does the rest of the world make them? If so how? War? Trade Sanctions? Treaties like Kyoto are not worth the paper they are written on, it's political grandstanding to appease the Greens in those nations that signed (FYI - several have now backed out).

Err, "tried to silence"? (2, Funny)

mi (197448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590337)

Did he have to escape from a group of brownshirts in jackboots? Was he convicted as an enemy spy "attacking the Capitalist State and Social Order" and sent to a labor camp for 15 years? Perhaps, a fatwa was issued calling on the faithful to kill him?

No? None of that? Damn, this lousy government of ours. They can't even silence anyone!

Re:Err, "tried to silence"? (2, Insightful)

Xiroth (917768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590451)

Yeah, the administration clearly aren't nazis! So what are all these leftists complaining about? Sure, they're curtailing freedom, spying on nationals, and invading other countries, but they don't salute the swastika, so they're obviously not bad guys.

Re:Err, "tried to silence"? (1)

Lucre Lucifer (950263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590504)

Obviously they haven't silenced him if a story like this comes out. Otherwise the title would be along the lines of: "Top NASA Climate Expert Believed to Have Been Silenced by the Bush Administration". I can see it now: "He hasn't said a word since," states Mrs Hansen. "He just writes on index cards to tell people what's going on."

Re:Err, "tried to silence"? (1)

Attaturk (695988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590613)

Did he have to escape from a group of brownshirts in jackboots? Was he convicted as an enemy spy "attacking the Capitalist State and Social Order" and sent to a labor camp for 15 years? Perhaps, a fatwa was issued calling on the faithful to kill him?

No? None of that? Damn, this lousy government of ours. They can't even silence anyone!


Well that's hardly fair is it? After all you're not really in a position to keep a count of all the people that they have successfully silenced. Just because the brownshirts don't patrol your street doesn't mean that your country is free. Read some Orwell for clues.

Re:Err, "tried to silence"? (2, Insightful)

GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590617)

Did he have to escape from a group of brownshirts in jackboots? Was he convicted as an enemy spy "attacking the Capitalist State and Social Order" and sent to a labor camp for 15 years? Perhaps, a fatwa was issued calling on the faithful to kill him?

No? None of that? Damn, this lousy government of ours. They can't even silence anyone!


I'm sorry, I didn't realize that we needed to wait until it was that bad before we took a stand. Perhaps your historical conjecture that brownshirts and political prisoners suddenly appear overnight along with totalitarian governments in formerly democratic nations was what threw me off. Sorry, I'll go back to being a good complacent citizen until I have to risk my life instead of writing my congressmen after reading a newspaper article or two. Does your pattern recognition not work or are you just trolling? Were you out sick the days they covered the American Revolution and civil liberties at school?

The government is not allowed to propagandize by law. We pay taxes for this guys research, we get to hear his opinion, no matter how bad it makes another one of our employees, the president, look. If he thinks he knows something his employers (we the people) should hear and would be most concerned if we didn't hear, he is under every obligation to release the information into the public, regardless of what sycophantic political appointees think. They serve us.

The News Media and Public are really to blame here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590351)

Frankly, it's a free country, and I don't like that this guy's opinions are being discouraged. OK, so he works at NASA and has a Phd. That probably means he's informed enough to be worth listening to. So far, so good.

What it doesn't mean is that NASA should catch any heat for this. This guy is an individual, and has opinions. A lot of scientific types get annoyed with political considerations, and often I think with good reason. They're used to truth being what everything is about, and in politics truth is usually quasi-relevant at best. But NASA is a big organization, and no one member can speak for it AS AN ORGANIZATION. That's why they have a press department. The media and the public need to draw a line between individuals who work for organizations and the policy of that organization - THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING!!! And assuming they are hurts everyone.

Now admittedly, I don't like Bush. I like our environmental stance in this country even less. I think the country and more particularly the leadership needs a gigantic wack with a clue-bat, and if scientists aren't the ones to deliver that I don't know who would be more qualified. That said, I also dislike it when individuals (particularly well informed ones) are prevented from espousing their views WHEN A REASONALBE MEDIA AND PUBLIC SHOULD KNOW THE DIFFERENCE!

We're authority obsessed in this country, and what's worse we're extremely poor as a country when it comes to scientific savy. We don't critically evaluate anything we hear from either scientists or the press. We look at economic impact of enviornmental issues without considering anything OTHER than economic impact (yes there are other things, and yes they are equally (or more) important to us as human beings).

So should this guy have spouted policy opinions? Probably not. I would tend to agree that the US needs to get its act together NOW, but he shouldn't have said it without being willing to leave NASA first. But that is the fault of the public, for reacting inappropriately to an individual's opinion. In a perfect world, he SHOULD be allowed to speak his mind.

Oh, and I hope the message doesn't get lost in the outcry (that's a very effective way to draw attention from the IMPORTANT issue here - the environment.) We need to ram some business unfriendly and economically friendly policies down some gullets around here or we (or our children) will eventually pay a much greater price.

The Three Dolphins Club aka Sex in Space (-1, Offtopic)

TheMermaidSiren (950331) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590414)

Anybody ever heard of this club? I guess it's the space version of the "mile high club." I'm reading "Ask the Astronomer" and it was in there. I know that this doesn't have much to do with the original topic posted, but I'm curious.

Re:The Three Dolphins Club aka Sex in Space (1)

binkzz (779594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590556)

Considering that astronauts are almost exclusively male, I'm not sure I want to be a member of this club.

Two Sites for Consideration (0)

CGriever (950340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590460)

For any stance you may take, someone else takes another one:


http://www.lubedev.com/articles/alcohol.htm [lubedev.com]
http://www.junkscience.com/ [junkscience.com]

I don't believe many experts any more, but that's just me.

Re:Two Sites for Consideration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590566)

"I don't believe many experts any more, but that's just me."

So... that makes you kind of an expert on which experts not to believe in right?

If so welcome to the PIOEWENTBI(BTJM)! (Prestigious International Organisation of Experts on Which Experts Not To Believe In (But That's Just Me)!)

We do not have any membership fee, nor any membership publications, fora, newsletters, or websites as you can surely imagine we have great troubles believing in each others expertise :)

I'll feel sorry for him when... (1)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590476)

The thousands of scientists who have degrees directly related to the field of climatology and atmospheric sciences -- and disagree with James Hansen -- get the same worshipful treatment from the media that men like Hansen regularly receive.

Why are we still listening to GWB? (4, Insightful)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590487)

How can anyone trust the word of a man who has his fingers in so much oil business he walks around with a man known for having people buried up to their wastes and pelted with stones until their sculls collapse!? George W Bush has allot of friends and family in the business of selling oil, this isn't fiction, conspiracy, or liberal BS, someone try and tell me the president of the united states of America sells sun flower seeds? While you're at it tell me that the Saudi royal family has adulterers tickled with pink feather dusters. I don't blame GWB, if it was me I would be out for what I could get too. The question is, when will the history books conclude that he is the worst president ever to run the USA.

I really wonder how my prime minister manages to get along with Bush, what do they have in common? Why would Blair want to cut emissions when Bush clearly thinks its not a problem? Why is Blair's government scared of finding out that it may have allowed CIA 'torture flights' to use our airspace and that the public may be pissed off about this, when the White house is so brazenly non-committed to completely denouncing torture and is running a prison which goes against every single founding ideology of the United States?

Clear Case of Free Speech Restriction (4, Informative)

reallocate (142797) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590543)

Once upon a time, I was a public affairs officer in the employ of the Feds. Clearly, this is a case of selective treatment of one individual because he takes public stances opposed to the Bush administration. Read all of the NYT article and you'll learn that other NASA scientists whose public remarks typically support Bush are not subject to the same restrictions as Hansen.

It is par for the course to vet, review and approve a federal employees public remarks when they are speaking for their employer. This is not what is happening here. Hansen speech is being restricted because he says things Bush does not like.

Probably.... (2, Interesting)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590562)

Are our polluting idustries going to radically alter this planet? Probably, if we haven't already. I think its a good bet that Human beings one way or another going tto do something to absolutely make Earth uninhabitable. Just a matter of how, and when. This happens because only a small minority of inhabitants on the planet have the education, knowlege, beliefs, time, resources and a whole host of other things to really fix whats wrong. Most of the world is too concerned with staying alive, not starving to death, not being murdered, tortured, raped, die for the cause of theirs or someone elses percieved 'God' and the list goes on. There are lots of things in this world that can kill you. A good 85% of the Human/Terran population of the Earth falls in this category. So, until something happens that changes that bare survival aspect, and your not worried about whether roaming bands of starving bandits with automatic weapons are going to kill you over your last can of beans and cantine of water, like some people in the world do, I think that the major portion of the population won't care until its too late. And the rich don't care because the rich won't be affected by it until its too late.

Hansen opinion limits (2, Interesting)

decider21 (949815) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590578)

Hansen should be allowed to speak his opinion, subject to the obvious trap of credibility, ego. Saving the world from (fill in the list - apocalypse, extinction of species etc.) is heady stuff and gets media attention far beyond what the (peer reviewed) sober teachnical work (with its obligatory qualifications of the things omitted and the uncertainties in data and calculations) gets. Add to this the exuberance of occupying the moral high ground and temptatrion abounds. Decisions on future coarses of action coasting multiples of a GNP obviously involve many trade-offs. Specialists in narrow fields of science and technology often get guru treatment by media and some succumb to the temptation speak in areas beyond what they know. They nevertheless deserve to be heard, but the media need to be less gullible.

The scariest quote from the article (5, Insightful)

naasking (94116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14590638)

Here is honestly the scariest thing I've read recently:
The fight between Dr. Hansen and administration officials echoes other recent disputes. At climate laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for example, many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone.

NYT can cram it up their ARSE!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590686)

I will never enable cookies for their monkey asses. I will never enable Java or Javascript. I will never fucking register for their god damn pacifist form of communism.

Fuck them, and fuck that entire fucking city.

It should have been 50kt instead of a couple little planes. Pacifism is the only wrong choice. Good or evil, only pacifism is wrong.

What ARE you allowed to do today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14590699)

Can someone in this administration please let us know so we won't make any more mistakes?
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