Elon Musk Is Wrecking The Sky

To be fair, it’s not just him. Other countries and gazillionaires are planning to send their space junk into orbit too. But Musk is ahead of the pack, and it would be a good idea to do something about it before things get too crowded up there.

“Constellations” of thousands of satellites promise internet everywhere, with profits for the owners of the constellations. It makes sense for enormous countries like Russia and China to consider this, and they are doing that.

But there are a number of problems. Musk’s Skylink is ruining optical astronomy.

Read More

President Biden Restores Strategy To Politics

President Joe Biden was a senator for 36 years. He has seen horse-trading. He has seen comity with segregationists. He has seen deadlock and filibusters. He has seen bipartisanship. He has seen Newt Gingrich’s power grab. He has seen Mitch McConnell’s obstructionism.

He knows how the Senate and the House work.

One of the things he learned is that nothing happens quickly in the Senate, particularly when the margin is as close as it is now. But there are ways. Those ways are not played out in the public eye. They involve quiet talks and promises, agreement and respect. Some of these things may even be feigned. But feigning respect, for example, is itself a way of showing respect.

None of these tactics was useful in an administration devoted to one man’s whims. The old ways decayed even before that, under Gingrich’s and his successors’ scorched-earth politics. Reporters who grew up since Gingrich do not recognize that other tactics exist. They do not recognize that relationships are built and doubts sowed behind the scenes. They are accustomed to tantrums and sudden shows of power. They do not have the tools to describe the wide array of tactics Biden brings with him.

Read More

Where Is The Weapon?

State Department and intelligence personnel have reported neurological symptoms since 2016 that have been attributed to a “directed microwave” weapon. The first reports were from State Department personnel in Havana, Cuba, and the symptoms have been named the Havana Syndrome.

No cause of this syndrome has been identified, but it has been attributed to the effects of a directed microwave weapon. But nobody has shown 1) that microwaves cause such symptoms or 2) that such a weapon exists, or what it might look like.

At one point in my career, I did some research that bears some similarities to the discussions that have been going on. So I wrote about that.

Cross-posted to Balloon Juice

Fact-Free Discourse – Vaccines

How many doses of the several available vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of covid, are available?

You would think that when people call for sending vaccines to India or to make them more available generally around the world, they would check that number. You would be wrong.

Searching brings up a number of references to “doses expected to be available,” but actual numbers from the production plants (and how many of those are there?) are not easy to find.

You would think that journalists would want to check these numbers before making statements like “America is awash in vaccines.” You would be wrong. I have not seen a single one quote numbers. Journalists are supposed to get facts like this to us.

Read More