Monday, January 30, 2012

Sci-tech links

Some science and technology-related items of note

-- Chris Mooney on why a WSJ op-ed likening climate scientists to Lysenko is so ludicrous.

-- David Frum takes the pro-robots stance on space vs. Newt's moon base. I'm a big fan of the robots myself, but they don't do everything worth doing out there. Frum criticizes Charles Krauthammer for saying we go to space not for practicality but for "the wonder and glory of it." On that I'm more with David, as I'm not one to argue we should target some space objective "because it's hard" or "because it's there." But the practicalities are hard to predict and hard to disentangle from more intangible motivations. Anyone who has any concern about energy or climate should not want to foreclose future availability of space-based energy options.

-- Rand Simberg asks some cogent questions of Mitt Romney about space policy. Some background by me on Obama's record on space commerce and how it compares favorably with his record on Earth.

UPDATE: Regarding the WSJ piece cited above, some of the critics are engaged in some weak counterarguments to the effect that the 16 signatories don't have real or relevant scientific credentials. For instance, a Grist rebuttal complains that "one is an astronaut," without mentioning that that one, Harrison Schmitt, is also a geologist. The problem is not that the people who signed that op-ed (I wonder who wrote it, by the way) lack good credentials; they have enough that their views deserve to be read. The problem is that once you read their argument, it doesn't stand up under scrutiny, such as with the "Lysenko" canard.

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