Bruce McQuain at Q&O passes along an interesting note:

Sean Brodrick lays out a schedule for us:

On April 17, the Chinese are blasting off an unmanned lunar orbiter.

Next year, they will send astronauts up to orbit the Earth .

Two years later (2010), they’ll aim to put a rover on the moon …

And by 2020 – 13 years from now – China plans to bring back lunar samples.

Unlike our moonshot of 1969, the Chinese aren’t undertaking their trips to the moon for purely nationalistic pride, flag planting and a round of golf.

Nope, they have bigger plans than that.  They’re looking for Helium-3 a potential fuel for nuclear fusion:

Helium-3 is constantly spit out by the sun. It bounces off the Earth’s magnetic field, but the moon – which has no magnetic field – soaks it up. This is why the moon’s crust is saturated with helium-3.

Used in a fusion reactor – which China says it tested successfully last year – helium-3 will produce a clean, potentially limitless source of power. And at least in theory, just 40 tons of helium-3 could keep on all the lights in the U.S. for a year.

And 40 tons of coal?  Just snap your finger … yeah, about that long.

Let’s digress a minute.  You remember my post about the elephant in the global warming room? China has a growing economy which is going to require tremendous future output of power generation – generation which to this point doesn’t exist. In fact, on the drawing board there are 2,200 new coal fired plants. Can you say pollution central?

It’s an ambitious project.  However it also makes some serious sense, given their situation.  But I’d like you to consider something: The Chinese seem far more willing than we to put up with some short term pollution problems, in order to allow some economic growth, which in turn funds projects like this, which in its turn, fuels more economic expansion, and so on. They seem to understand, more clearly than we lately, that such economic expansion will benefit the environment, and not hurt it.  Whereas we on the other hand are so concerned about pollution that we spend all of our time fighting over the best way to cripple our own economy so as not to destroy the environment. As an example; look at this note Rich Lowry got today from a reader:

I am glad to hear that you don’t mind switching to florescent lights.  California may mandate them.  By the way, a few years ago California declared florescent tubes to be a hazardous waste because they contain mercury As of this year, you can be fined if they are found to be in your garbage.

Forgive me, but it seems to me the priorities here are somewhat skewed; aren’t we supposed to be a capitalist society? Aren’t they supposed to be a socialist society?

At what point did this situation get turned upside down like this?

As David Warren suggests today:

If you want some real science, check out for instance the next issue of the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. An important article by Robert Erlich will expound the link between solar resonant thermal diffusion waves, and terrestrial climate change. They give a fairly precise overlay for climatic variations through the last 5.3 million years, and appear to explain the sudden emergence in time of the already-known 100,000-year “Milankovitch cycle”, while eliminating many of the problems previously associated with it.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then why would you have an opinion on global climate change?

Eliminate the entire human population and, for all we know, a cooling trend might result. But the idea of crimping Western economic activity by a few market-crashing percentage points, while China, India, Russia and the rest of the Third World are allowed to continue gunning up their carbon furnaces on a truly unprecedented scale — which is to say, the basic idea of Kyoto — would not be the solution.

The solution, to this possibly non-existent problem, would be the positive introduction of more efficient energy sources that do not require oil, gas, coal, or firewood. Now, strange to say, global capitalism is working on this night and day, for there is big money to be had from a breakthrough. And nobody else is working on it. Killing the global capitalist goose will not lay the golden egg.

Which, as I say, the Chinese appear to be learning faster than we are. Do you understand what I’m telling you?  These people are going for the brass ring, stretching their arms out as far as they possibly can to get it, and while we’re riding this merry go round with both hands solidly on the pole of our painted wooden horse.

Whatever happened to the America the use to reach for the brass ring?  Whatever happened to the America that supported capitalism , and capitalism in turn made it the greatest nation in the world?

My one word answer is “Democrats”.

* Well, what do you know… More cold and snow for our area. Global warming, of course. A little town about 60 miles to the west of here called Oswego… just north of Syracuse… has gotten something like 100in. of snow in the last week.  That on top of what they already have on the ground.  Too bad there’s no mountains in the neighborhood… they could make a killing in skiing.  ANd of course it’s so stupid COLD around here I don’t dare wash the salt off BitsBox for fear of freezing the poor thing shut. Personally, I could go for a little global warming right now.  My feet are freezing.

* Michelle Mauldin is apparently noticed that having the title of “newsman” or “newswoman” doesn’t make one more accurate, necessarily.  She’s founded glaring blooper in this morning’s Washington shaft Post.  Clearly, they’re in a position of power, that is getting abused, here.

* Speaking of abusing power, I see by way of Powerline that Nifong is in trouble…

The North Carolina bar filed charges today against Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong in connection with the Duke lacrosse prosecution. Nifong apparently has been under investigation since last March. He is charged with making inflammatory comments to the media about the defendants in the case, and with “dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation” in connection with the exculpatory DNA evidence that he apparently tried to conceal. Nifong faces penalties ranging up to disbarment.

His being disbarred is a mere slap on the wrist as compared to what he should be getting.  What he should be getting a serious jail time.  As Powerline suggests:

Our criminal justice system reposes a tremendous amount of discretion in prosecutors. When prosecutors are corrupt, like Nifong or Ronnie Earle of Travis County, Texas, who ruined Tom DeLay’s public career, the consequences can be devastating.

Quite so.

As such, the penalties for abusing that office should be even higher than the average Joe or Jane would suffer for abusing their position. Further, those kids should have a full written and public apology from the D. A’s office as well as whatever monetary values are brought up.

Understand… Normally, I would be strongly against the taxpayers paying the burden for Nifong’s misdeeds.  But let’s face it, gang, everybody on the planet knew this guy was as dirty as the inside of a septic truck and yet the people of the county are reelected him, anyway.  The people of that county should thereby share the burden of making restitution to those college kids.

*Going to be a slow weekend; I have a number of things to do around the house, and it’s too blinking cold, anyway… though I may have some photography to pass along by Sunday sometime. The boys are bugging me to go railfanning… and I’m thinking Frontier Yard over in Buffalo would be good for the purpose.

* Final note for tonight;
In the interest of being fully honest with you, I’m going to admit to you that some of these things that I write in the Nightly Ramble, I put into the can, and save for a rainy day.  Yeah, I know, shocking revelation.

Tonight isn’t one of those nights…. but if I’m running slow on things that I think are worthy of the Ramble, I reach into the stuff that I’ve put in the can, and post it. The reason that a few times this week I haven’t put forward a nightly ramble, is because I no longer have anything in the can to post, nor do I have anything fresh to post, on those nights. An intolerable situation, which hopefully will be short lived.  I’m building up more of a reserve these last couple of days, and we should be in better shape.

The stuff that goes into the can, is worth mentioning, usually in conjunction with something else, but most likely not worthy of a post all its own.  That’s pretty much how I envisioned these nightly rambles, anyway.  I usually try to tie a series of topics together in ways you might not have thought of, and often in ways I hadn’t thought of, either.  This stuff will all balance out eventually.

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