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US Climate Satellite Capabilities In Jeopardy 127

Posted by Soulskill
from the potent-potables dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Wired: "The United States is in danger of losing its ability to monitor key climate variables from satellites, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The country's Earth-observing satellite program has been underfunded for a decade, and the impact of the lack of funds is finally hitting home. The GAO report found that capabilities originally slated for two new Earth-monitoring programs, NPOESS and GOES-R, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Defense, have been cut, and adequate plans to replace them do not exist. Meanwhile, up until six months ago, NASA had 15 functional Earth-sensing satellites. Two of them went down in the past year, and of the remaining 13, 12 are past their design lifetimes. Only seven may be functional by 2016, said Waleed Abdalati, a longtime NASA satellite scientist now teaching at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Taken together, American scientists will soon find themselves without the ability to monitor changes to key Earth systems at a time when such measurements could help determine the paths of the world's energy and transportation systems."
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US Climate Satellite Capabilities In Jeopardy

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  • Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sv_libertarian (1317837) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @09:11AM (#32468248) Journal
    This will spark Congress to fund useful things like space exploration. Instead of stupid things. Like oh... pick something.
  • Re:Maybe... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @09:17AM (#32468272)

    This will spark Congress to fund useful things like space exploration. Instead of stupid things. Like oh... pick something.

    You need to frame it differently. Find all the congressmen whose districts benefit from this one way or another and have them put in earmarks. Or spin it as some sort of Wall Street rescue package or bailout and watch the fat cats order Congress to fund it.

    If you want to get something funded, go the route of pork or benefiting our financial overlords.

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @09:21AM (#32468288)

    Like oh... pick something.

    4 billion dollars in corn subsidies for large farming corporations in 2009.

  • Insane Republicans (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @09:30AM (#32468336)

    The money has all been used up on the much more important (sarcasm) war on Iraq. While Obama has continued these wars when he should have killed them immediately, I doubt we would have gotten as much from McCain/Palin alternative and the Republicans, who ignore the data and as well believe in religious nonsense more than science.

    Because of Republican ideologies, important environmental and human health needs are ignored while we spend billions on a war in Iraq. I call it the result of a mental disorder.

    With the health care bill for instance, it is disgusting that we would have Republicans basically murder thousands of more people each year by blocking the health care reform, which will safe millions of lives, while their is always enough money for their stupid wars.

    The US needs to be investing in renewable energy like wind and solar and nuclear fusion development, and on energy efficient improvements to cities to base them on public transit, bike and pedestrian use, and we need to put in tariffs to keep the jobs in the US to fix our economy which has been damaged by offshoring which Republicans love as it increases corporate profit at the expense of working americans.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, 2010 @09:37AM (#32468354)
    The health care bill was nothing more than a health insurance industry bailout that is going to make citizens slaves to a private industry lest they pay the big boss man a pound of flesh for their sins.

    Oh, BTW? Democrats start wars and outsource too. But as long as you keep playing the two party game there is no reason for either of them to change. Sorry to bust your bubble.
  • Let's collaborate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @09:48AM (#32468392)
    Environmental monitoring seems like one area where the US does not need to be self-sufficient. I wonder if we could work more closely with Europe and Japan so together we'd get all the data we need without having to foot the whole bill.
  • The sad part is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tiny69 (34486) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @09:53AM (#32468408) Homepage Journal
    ...someone probably received an award and promotion for claming they saved the government money.
  • Re:You are blind (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FatSean (18753) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @10:20AM (#32468534) Homepage Journal

    Wow. That was a bunch of awesome talking points condensed into one post.

    It really is sad that the Demcorats caved into the ranting white trash who wanted revenge for 9/11. Even though 9/11 was mostly revenge for our decades of meddling in the Middle East.

    But go on with those tired talking points. Let the right-leaning Americans die for lies in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  • Re:You are blind (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chibi Merrow (226057) <{ten.ytinifniyeknom} {ta} {worremrm}> on Saturday June 05, 2010 @10:36AM (#32468594) Homepage Journal

    It really is sad that the Demcorats caved into the ranting white trash who wanted revenge for 9/11.

    Ah bigotry, the game the whole family can play.

    But go on with those tired talking points. Let the right-leaning Americans die for lies in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Why don't you tell me where I'm wrong, then?

  • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @11:28AM (#32468824) Journal
    It's OK, the right wing Republicans have God on their side. He'll tell them the weather if they just read their bible enough times. And we all know that God is on the side of capitalism, big oil, and Rush Limbaugh. No need to worry about global warming, it doesn't exist.
  • Re:You are blind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @11:30AM (#32468836) Homepage
    This particular problem really can be blamed on the Bush admin.
    You fail civics 101. The appropriations bills begin in the US House of Representatives. Which party has controlled that body since 2006? The Democrats. Ergo if it were truly important to them they could have restored or increased the funding upon gaining control of the legislature.
  • Re:You are blind (Score:2, Insightful)

    by javelinco (652113) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @11:31AM (#32468840) Journal
    Sure, Bush was president, as if that meant anything in this area. But do you really believe the executive branch cut the purse strings/funding for the project? Do they even teach how the government of the United States works anymore? Hint: the executive branch doesn't get to play with providing funding. Let me get you a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers_under_the_United_States_Constitution [wikipedia.org]. Check out the section on "Checks & Balances" and the differences between the Legislative and Executive branch. And try not to drink the KoolAid - while the Executive branch wields a lot of power, and is often indirectly (and sometimes directly) responsible for what happens under their watch, law & funding wise - the President is usually just a good scapegoat.
  • Re:You are blind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @11:42AM (#32468896) Homepage
    I'm not arguing that the Democrats didn't screw the pooch on this one. But budgets are always political compromises, and when the President pushes repeatedly for cutting funding of somethings, he's going to end up getting some of those funding cuts.
  • Re:Maybe... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rgmoore (133276) <glandauer@charter.net> on Saturday June 05, 2010 @11:48AM (#32468944) Homepage

    This will spark Congress to fund useful things like space exploration.

    You haven't been watching the way things work in Washington for very long, have you? Programs like this don't lose their funding because they're too expensive or bad ideas. They lose their funding because somebody doesn't like the science they're doing. In this case, it's probably the same gang of denialists who have been fighting tooth and nail against any substantive program to do anything about global warming. They see scientists being unable to tell us what's happening with global warming as a victory, so they'll fight harder than ever to keep denying funding.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @11:55AM (#32468972) Journal
    Do you always interpret every historical event in such a way that makes it sound like a conspiracy?
  • by bussdriver (620565) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @11:59AM (#32468984)

    His 1st state of the union speech he identified a few billion of wasted farm money to cut from the budget. I thought it was naive move that only a city politician would make. It died so fast and so hard it never was mentioned ever again; either it was bargained or dropped. I've never heard it come up again so it didn't gain anything to bargain with the last time. You can forget about fixing this until Monsanto has a BP like disaster that destroys a huge amount of land or kills a few thousand people THEN obama can squeak bye some tiny fix-- just watch this Oil lobby keep most their welfare despite BP... now that Obama is after their welfare money with (more) public support.

    Senators of worthless states have too much power since the filibuster became the most successful DoS attack on democracy a few generations ago. These punks blackmail the whole country all the time to get such pork and it costs far more than the few cases often cited as justification for the filibuster. (not saying it has to die, but it would be far better if it did die than if left around; we are currently on the worst side of two extremes.)

    In my state, all we hear is cut spending etc; and its largely fueled by those who want it permanent; completely unaware that they want to be like Alabama or Mississippi and those states suck; you don't get to the top by being cheap (or wasting too much; although CA does pretty good so far considering their huge mess that continues to pile up... which comes full circle because CA's system is caused by a filibuster like situation!)

    Furthermore, the biggest thing slowing the recovery during the great depression was lazy states cutting services and using the new deal to balance their budgets not put anybody to work; now we are repeating the mistakes again. FYI: look at the debt to GDP for WW2; also, government debt is good for buffering hard times but we've been exploiting it for far too long.... that doesn't mean it shouldn't be used for when its actually a good thing, like restoring the economy. Don't get into Fed arguments and currency with me, I'm aware of that mess - seriously do you people think if FDR couldn't touch the Fed who caused the great depression ANYBODY can touch them today??

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smidget2k4 (847334) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @12:00PM (#32468988)
    Yes because NASA never invented [howstuffworks.com] anything [nasa.gov] we use every single day.

    We get HUGE bang for our buck in NASA. If you want to cut wasteful spending, you could cut NASA's budget several dozen times over from the military and they'd barely feel it. NASA is probably the best example we have of a government organization gone right, and all people seem to want to do is cut it because they don't understand how science works. Things like NASA exist because all of their inventions came out of necessity of the incredibly complex things they were doing. Those inventions make billions of dollars for many companies. We probably wouldn't have invented half the stuff NASA has come out with because the current stuff we had was "good enough" for life down here on Earth.
  • by smidget2k4 (847334) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @12:01PM (#32468990)
    Because we're the leading research country in the world and we like to keep it that way?
  • Re:You are blind (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PenguiN42 (86863) <taylork@alum[ ]t.edu ['.mi' in gap]> on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:05PM (#32471638) Journal

    Have you read any of it? Even a summary? All the bill does is give more money to insurance corporations, force people to buy health insurance who didn't before, and tax the middle class. That's it.

    Wow. That's it? You left out quite a bit. I can only hope for the sake of your intelligence that you're being purposefully disingenuous.

  • by PenguiN42 (86863) <taylork@alum[ ]t.edu ['.mi' in gap]> on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:08PM (#32471658) Journal

    Yeah. It's more like "news for paranoid techno-libertarians" nowdays.

  • Re:Maybe... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wildclaw (15718) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @06:21AM (#32474164)

    The funny thing about that signature is that the historical truth is quite the opposite.

    Socialism has its own problems, mainly having to do with corruption (redirection of revenue streams) and favoring central planning. (socialist countries that use the free market to its advantage do better than those that use central planning)

    But it is Capitalism that generally have a problem with running out of other people's money, because of Capitalism inherently allowing the accumulation of wealth into a few people's hands. Once the wealth concentration is high enough, the economy simply collapses.

    Of course, all of this depends on not using the Fox news definition of Socialism.

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