Thursday, January 17, 2013
Now even the Republicans admit it. Aggressive gerrymandering gave them the majority in the House of Representatives. So when will they acknowledge that their policies were repudiated by the majority of voters?
Sunday, January 13, 2013
There is no reason for Democrats to cave to Republican debt ceiling threats. When they clamor for deficit reduction, they should be told that it's already been done.
The Center for American Progress calculates that President Obama and Congress have successfully enacted $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction since the beginning of fiscal year 2011, which began in September 2010.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Contrary to the hand wringer, our deficit problem is mostly solved. It becomes more clear every day that despite being used as justification to dismantle social programs, the long-term deficit continues to recede as a real problem.
Friday, January 04, 2013
Since Social Security is funded by its own taxes and has its own trust fund, making cuts to it does nothing for the federal deficit. So let's just not go there.
The key study on cancer and GM crops has been shown to be seriously flawed. But the debate on the subject is so furious that logic and science fall victim to other agendas.
This sums it up nicely.
Reporters are presenting this as a kind of negotiating problem, based on each side’s desire for the other to stick its neck out first. But it actually reflects a much more fundamental problem than that. Republicans think government spending is huge, but they can’t really identify ways they want to solve that problem, because government spending is not really huge. That is to say, on top of an ideological gulf between the two parties, we have an epistemological gulf. The Republican understanding of government spending is based on hazy, abstract notions that don’t match reality and can’t be translated into a workable program.
Engineers have made low-cost terahertz chips. With these, it's possible to have smartphone sized devices that can construct images of objects through several types of materials. The technology has implications in law enforcement, homeland security, and even medicine.
In mapping the chemical pathways to life's emergence, the researchers touch on a more existential question: How likely was it for life to have developed at all? Extraordinarily so, says Braakman. "Metabolism appears to be an 'attractor state' within organic chemistry, where it was likely to be selected regardless of earlier stages of chemical evolution" in the chaotic, high-energy conditions of prebiotic Earth, he says.
Can it happen elsewhere? Possibly, even probably, he says. Rocky planets usually have cores chemically similar to ours, so if a planet is volcanically (and perhaps tectonically) active and has an ocean, it will probably have hydrothermal vents that spew chemicals, creating the potential conditions for life, Braakman says. In fact, the physics of star and planet formation make the chances of such conditions pretty reasonable.We should expect to find life in lots of places.