In light of recent news that NASA’s budget is getting cut yet again, internet’s science guy Bill Nye sends this impassioned plea to President Obama asking him not to cut the funding so that we can continue our exploration of the unknown. According to the Planetary Science website, the $1.5 billion that they’re asking for is less than 10% of NASA’s budget and .5% of the national budget. Compare this to what the US has spent on the Iraq War and in Afghanistan ($6 trillion) and that seems like chump change.
Here’s the full transcript:
The space program, NASA, is the best brand that the United States has. Everywhere in the world, people respect and admire what NASA does. Right now what NASA does best is explore the solar system through the Planetary Science Program.
People around the world shared the seven minutes of terror as we lowered an extraordinary car bristling with extraordinary instruments, onto the surface of Mars from a crane held aloft in that alien sky by rockets. Many thought it was impossible because nothing quite like it had ever been done before. You and your family remember applauding as a replica of that rover rolled by in the Inaugural Parade.
Over the last few years, Congress has added back funding for the Planetary Program that the Office of Management and Budget has cut. Now, we all understand it’s a push-and-pull process; a negotiation. But planetary science deserves special attention because it is special. It’s an extraordinary value which we should maintain and even increase our investment.
We recommend that Planetary Science receive 1.5 billion dollars a year. The Planetary Science division of the space program accomplishes extraordinary things because it is extraordinary. We want to look for signs of life on other worlds — places like Jupiter’s moon, Europa; Saturn’s moon, Enceladus. That work is being done by our planetary explorers — scientists and engineers who really are seeking signs of life on another world. Such a discovery would be astounding. It would be, as so many astronomical discoveries have been through the years, a way to change the course of human history.
Planetary exploration not only brings us astonishing discoveries from other worlds. It inherently leads to innovation, because we invest in solving problems which have never been solved before. That in turn creates new businesses and economic growth. But more importantly, supporting a robust space program raises everyone’s expectations of what’s possible. With a space program, everyone in our society comes to believe and expect that any problem we face can be solved. It’s inherently optimistic. It’s part of our National character.
So, Mr. President, we strongly recommend that you make sure that funding for the Planetary Science Program is held at least 1.5 billion dollars a year. It will keep our current missions flying, it will lead to new missions, and it will lead to amazing new innovations, new businesses, and new discoveries in the future. It will help us change the world. Thank you.
Veteran comic book artist Al Plastino passed away Monday at the age of 91 after a long battle with prostate cancer. Plastino, drew Superman for years and co-created DC Comics characters Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes. At the time of his passing he had been locked in a messy squabble regarding the ownership of the original art he drew in 1964 for the famed Superman story about President John F. Kennedy.
“The story was written in collaboration with the Kennedy White House, but delayed upon his assassination in November 1963. At the urging of President Johnson, the comic was eventually published the following year, and Plastino’s original artwork was slated to be donated to the Kennedy Library in Boston. Controversy arose when the original artwork was found up for auction 50 years later — not in the library as originally planned.”
Before his death, Plastino reached out to his FaceBook fans telling them: “I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me. I just want the right thing done here and to be treated fairly.” Currently the auction has been removed from the schedule, but who knows what will eventually happen to the famous Kennedy comic. R.I.P Mr. Plastino.
Good golly. It seems that the antics of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford have finally reached a boiling point today.
Toronto’s City Council met today to vote to strip Ford of nearly all his executive powers. The vote, of course, passed and Rob Ford was none-too-pleased with the result.
He compared the vote to a “coup d’etat” and told spectators and council members, “What goes around, comes around, friends,” while also declaring “outright war,” whatever that means.
At one point in the meeting, Ford rushed towards the public, slamming into and knocking over Councilor Pam McConnell, who suffered a fat lip after the altercation. Ford claims that he was rushing to come to his brother’s defense, who was allegedly being attacked by members of the community in the spectator area.
Despite the evidence of drug use, his admittance of alcoholism, and a number of press conferences where Ford made some less than savory remarks, he has refused to step down from office. Instead, he hopes to wait until Toronto residents have the chance to vote again and he’s wagering that they’ll want him back in office.
Toronto, do us all a favor and put this man out of his misery if his term should continue to be drawn out until election time. He’s an embarrassment to your amazing city and doesn’t need to be in office. He needs to be in a facility that can give him the help he needs. This video shows just how unstable he truly is.
Whether you’re a liberal, conservative, or somewhere in-between (or maybe far past), I feel like there’s one thing that we all can pretty much agree on: Sarah Palin needs to shut her mouth and leave the talking to the grown-ups.
It’s not that I think Sarah Palin is incapable of having a good conversation, it’s just that I think Sarah Palin is incapable of having an intelligent conversation that actually contributes anything to the social or political atmosphere. In almost every interview that she gives, Palin simply regurgitates talking points from the extreme right and then goes into long diatribes that don’t even make sense.
Take, for instance, her most recent interview with Matt Lauer. Lauer opens up by asking her what she thinks about the mess that was the Obamacare rollout. Of course, she spits out all the things that other conservative analysts have said. But when Lauer asks her how she would have fixed America’s healthcare problems, she has to actually answer with her own opinions. Which is where we get this mess:
The plan is to allow those things that had been proposed over many years to reform a health-care system in America that certainly does need more help so that there’s more competition, there’s less tort reform threat, there’s less trajectory of the cost increases, and those plans have been proposed over and over again. And what thwarts those plans? It’s the far left. It’s President Obama and his supporters who will not allow the Republicans to usher in free market, patient-centered, doctor-patient relationship links to reform health care.
WAT. WAT R U EVEN SAYING, SARAH PALIN. ME NO UNDERSTAND.
She then goes on to promote her new book, Good Tidings and Great Joy, where she talks about how great it is that Christmas has become commercialized so that more people can accept Jesus into their lives. Because Jesus totally wanted his message to be commercialized through monetary means by taking advantage of consumers and the people who work in sweat shops to provide us with all those unnecessary extravagances.
Lord help us all from all those angry atheists, amirite? Godless voters that they are. /s
I hate that I even have to write anything about Sarah Palin. I wish that her “career” could have ended when her campaign for the vice-presidency ended. Unfortunately, people just love watching a train wreck and as far as the political sphere is concerned, Sarah Palin seems to be the very best train wreck of all. At least in US politics…yeah, I’m talking about you, Rob Ford. WINK.
“I’m so surprise that a female running for presidency in a Patriarchal culture would be unjustly disqualified,” said no one ever.
Snark aside, on October 22, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Committee announced that over half of the candidates who had applied to run for the presidency would not be making the cut. Khadija Ghaznawi, the only female out of twenty-six candidates, was one of those who was disqualified by the IEC for the running.
“The elections commission didn’t tell me why. I haven’t received one phone call… I’m very angry with the decision,” she said.
Ghaznawi’s campaign platform was essentially to end the conflict in Afghanistan by building more factories and creating more jobs. She believes that had Afghanistan focused more on creating a profitable working environment, militants would have long ago laid down their weapons and instead joined the work force. As a peace activist and the owner of a logistics company, Ghaznawi could be right.
She also believes this same concept would be true for the Taliban, stating that most of the Afghan Taliban hasn’t been on the receiving end of aide money. But should jobs and education be provided for all the people, they would gladly give up their fight for a better life.
A bit idealistic, considering the extremes that many Taliban are willing to take, but well-intended, nonetheless.
The sad part is, no one will be able to see if Afghanistan would have benefited from having a female president, because now the people won’t even have the opportunity to vote for Ghaznawi in the upcoming elections in April.
Russel Brand gave an impressive interview on Newsnight regarding the state of politics, despite the condescending patronizing line of questions from interviewer Jeremy Paxman.
Appearing on the show after being guest editor of a revolution-themed issue from New Statesman, Brand explained why he doesn’t vote and why anyone should listen to someone who isn’t involved in politics.
“It’s not that I’m not voting out of apathy. I’m not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lie, treachery, deceit, of the political class that has been going on for generations now, and which has now reached fever pitch, where we have a disenfranchised, disillusioned, despondent under class that has not been represented by that political system, so voting is tacit complicity with that system.”
Throughout the entire interview, Brand volleyed with Paxman on a broad array of subjects, with Brand asserting his authority to speak about the topic while Paxman attempted to belittle his message.
A revolution indeed.
“History tells us that we need to watch the watchers.”
A video from the Electronic Frontier Foundation explaining exactly why we should care about the NSA and our lack of privacy. Not your typical end of the evening video, but it is something that might keep you up at night.