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Scott Pruitt allegedly wants to be attorney general, and maybe president someday.

On Thursday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke held a press conference to discuss the Department of the Interior’s intentions for drilling rights in American-controlled waters. In brief: The Arctic, Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and possibly parts of the Pacific are pretty much all fair game now. The new policy would encompass “the largest number of lease sales ever proposed,” Zinke said.

It’s a direct take-back of the plan that the Obama administration finalized in November 2016. Those rules, which protected the Arctic and Atlantic seas from new drilling, were supposed to hold until 2022. But President Trump has long claimed the legal authority, and intention, to reverse it.

Conservation groups will almost certainly challenge this new draft plan in court. And a bipartisan group of local and state officials also oppose new drilling in some of these areas. In June, 14 House Republicans issued a joint letter opposing drilling off the Atlantic. Florida Governor Rick Scott joined the opposition Thursday, saying that his “top priority is to ensure that Florida’s natural resources are protected.”

Overall, more than 100 lawmakers — along with plenty of governors, attorneys general, and the U.S. Defense Department — oppose the plan.

Just last week, the Interior Department’s rollback of drilling safety regulations after the 2009 Deepwater Horizon spill cited their “unnecessary … burden” on industry.

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Scott Pruitt allegedly wants to be attorney general, and maybe president someday.

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Oil companies just got a surprise New Years tax break.

On Thursday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke held a press conference to discuss the Department of the Interior’s intentions for drilling rights in American-controlled waters. In brief: The Arctic, Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and possibly parts of the Pacific are pretty much all fair game now. The new policy would encompass “the largest number of lease sales ever proposed,” Zinke said.

It’s a direct take-back of the plan that the Obama administration finalized in November 2016. Those rules, which protected the Arctic and Atlantic seas from new drilling, were supposed to hold until 2022. But President Trump has long claimed the legal authority, and intention, to reverse it.

Conservation groups will almost certainly challenge this new draft plan in court. And a bipartisan group of local and state officials also oppose new drilling in some of these areas. In June, 14 House Republicans issued a joint letter opposing drilling off the Atlantic. Florida Governor Rick Scott joined the opposition Thursday, saying that his “top priority is to ensure that Florida’s natural resources are protected.”

Overall, more than 100 lawmakers — along with plenty of governors, attorneys general, and the U.S. Defense Department — oppose the plan.

Just last week, the Interior Department’s rollback of drilling safety regulations after the 2009 Deepwater Horizon spill cited their “unnecessary … burden” on industry.

Originally posted here – 

Oil companies just got a surprise New Years tax break.

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Physics of the Future – Michio Kaku

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Physics of the Future
How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100
Michio Kaku

Genre: Physics

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: March 15, 2011

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


Imagine, if you can, the world in the year 2100. In Physics of the Future , Michio Kaku—the New York Times bestselling author of Physics of the Impossible —gives us a stunning, provocative, and exhilarating vision of the coming century based on interviews with over three hundred of the world’s top scientists who are already inventing the future in their labs. The result is the most authoritative and scientifically accurate description of the revolutionary developments taking place in medicine, computers, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, energy production, and astronautics. In all likelihood, by 2100 we will control computers via tiny brain sensors and, like magicians, move objects around with the power of our minds. Artificial intelligence will be dispersed throughout the environment, and Internet-enabled contact lenses will allow us to access the world’s information base or conjure up any image we desire in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, cars will drive themselves using GPS, and if room-temperature superconductors are discovered, vehicles will effortlessly fly on a cushion of air, coasting on powerful magnetic fields and ushering in the age of magnetism. Using molecular medicine, scientists will be able to grow almost every organ of the body and cure genetic diseases. Millions of tiny DNA sensors and nanoparticles patrolling our blood cells will silently scan our bodies for the first sign of illness, while rapid advances in genetic research will enable us to slow down or maybe even reverse the aging process, allowing human life spans to increase dramatically. In space, radically new ships—needle-sized vessels using laser propulsion—could replace the expensive chemical rockets of today and perhaps visit nearby stars. Advances in nanotechnology may lead to the fabled space elevator, which would propel humans hundreds of miles above the earth’s atmosphere at the push of a button. But these astonishing revelations are only the tip of the iceberg . Kaku also discusses emotional robots, antimatter rockets, X-ray vision, and the ability to create new life-forms, and he considers the development of the world economy. He addresses the key questions: Who are the winner and losers of the future? Who will have jobs, and which nations will prosper? All the while, Kaku illuminates the rigorous scientific principles, examining the rate at which certain technologies are likely to mature, how far they can advance, and what their ultimate limitations and hazards are. Synthesizing a vast amount of information to construct an exciting look at the years leading up to 2100, Physics of the Future is a thrilling, wondrous ride through the next 100 years of breathtaking scientific revolution. From the Hardcover edition.

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Physics of the Future – Michio Kaku

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The GOP tax bill could cost us the next generation of climate scientists

grad luck

The GOP tax bill could cost us the next generation of climate scientists

By on Dec 8, 2017

Grad students around the country are protesting the so-called grad student tax. Of course they are! They stand to lose thousands of dollars. But even if you’re not an aspiring PhD, the tax is cause for concern: It could hurt scientific research, leaving us less capable of tackling climate change.

In the environmental sciences, like many STEM fields, universities offer graduate students a stipend and cover their tuition in return for teaching or conducting research. The House tax bill approved in November would start treating tuition as taxable income. The Senate version keeps tuition waivers tax-free, but it’s unclear whether the tax will be part of the the final bill that reconciles the two versions.

More than half of grad students make $20,000 or less a year, according to stats from the Department of Education. Paying an extra few thousand dollars in taxes could make grad school unaffordable for many, and economists say it would discourage people from seeking advanced degrees. Professors and grad students in the environmental sciences told me that the tax would decrease the diversity and number of students in their programs, and could ultimately devastate climate change research.

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“The worry is that if this passes — and then the other attacks on funding within the federal government for climate science — then we’re going to lose a generation of climate scientists,” LuAnne Thompson, professor of oceanography at the University of Washington (UW), said in an interview with Grist.

Graduate students are the muscle behind the research force, often making up the majority of researchers in a lab. They plan experiments, acquire data, and publish articles about the results.

“I feel like people are underestimating what it would mean for there to be fewer grad students,” says Natalie Lowell, a PhD student at UW’s School of Aquatics and Fishery Sciences. “It really is a direct correlation with how much less research there’s going to be.”

Lowell, who researches native shellfish species, says that she has to live fairly frugally to get by on her stipend. She lives in a basement apartment where squirrels “come out of the wall” and pee everywhere. In Seattle, where the tech boom has caused rent to skyrocket, this “absolute steal” costs $500 a month. She’s been saving up a couple thousand dollars a year, but she wouldn’t be able to do so under the tax. It would knock about $3,600 out of her bank account each year she’s in school.

For in-state students at UW, taxes would increase from roughly $2,700 to $4,200 a year, according to Matt Munoz, a graduate student studying public administration and policy at UW. Out-of-state students would be charged nearly $5,800.

The tax provision would be bad timing, since it could sabotage the efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion that were finally picking up speed at UW. Thompson, the oceanography professor, says that the extra cost could make it impossible for people with limited resources to participate in College of Environment graduate programs.

“The way we think about conservation science has really shifted” as it has become more inclusive, UW’s Lowell says. “[The tax] is the sort of thing that would just throw a wrench in that. Because who’s doing the research totally determines how you frame questions, how you make connections, how you treat your workers.”

By limiting who can participate in graduate research, the grad student tax could stifle scientific innovation, similar to Trump’s travel ban. It could also make education prohibitively expensive for many international students, potentially sending some of the world’s brightest minds to other countries.

Marysa Laguë, a student from Canada pursuing a PhD in atmospheric science at UW, pays taxes in both Canada and the United States. She told me that she always has the “fallback plan” of going back to her home country if staying in grad school in Seattle becomes too expensive. “I don’t want to have to do that,” she says. “I’m here for a reason. I wanted to be here.”

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The GOP tax bill could cost us the next generation of climate scientists

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In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat – John Gribbin

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In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat
Quantum Physics And Reality
John Gribbin

Genre: Physics

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: August 1, 1984

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


Quantum theory is so shocking that Einstein could not bring himself to accept it. It is so important that it provides the fundamental underpinning of all modern sciences. Without it, we’d have no nuclear power or nuclear weapons, no TV, no computers, no science of molecular biology, no understanding of DNA, no genetic engineering. In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat tells the complete story of quantum mechanics, a truth stranger than any fiction. John Gribbin takes us step by step into an ever more bizarre and fascinating place, requiring only that we approach it with an open mind. He introduces the scientists who developed quantum theory. He investigates the atom, radiation, time travel, the birth of the universe, superconductors and life itself. And in a world full of its own delights, mysteries and surprises, he searches for Schrodinger’s Cat – a search for quantum reality – as he brings every reader to a clear understanding of the most important area of scientific study today – quantum physics. In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat is a fascinating and delightful introduction to the strange world of the quantum – an essential element in understanding today’s world. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat – John Gribbin

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Ubiquity – Mark Buchanan

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Ubiquity

Why Catastrophes Happen

Mark Buchanan

Genre: Physics

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: October 23, 2001

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


Critically acclaimed science journalist, Mark Buchanan tells the fascinating story of the discovery that there is a natural structure of instability woven into the fabric of our world, which explains why catastrophes– both natural and human– happen. Scientists have recently discovered a new law of nature and its footprints are virtually everywhere– in the spread of forest fires, mass extinctions, traffic jams, earthquakes, stock-market fluctuations, the rise and fall of nations, and even trends in fashion, music and art. Wherever we look, the world is modelled on a simple template: like a steep pile of sand, it is poised on the brink of instability, with avalanches– in events, ideas or whatever– following a universal pattern of change. This remarkable discovery heralds what Mark Buchanan calls the new science of 'ubiquity', a science whose secret lies in the stuff of the everyday world. Combining literary flair with scientific rigour, this enthralling book documents the coming revolution by telling the story of the researchers' exploration of the law, their ingenious work and unexpected insights. Buchanan reveals that we are witnessing the emergence of an extraordinarily powerful new field of science that will help us comprehend the bewildering and unruly rhythms that dominate our lives and may even lead to a true science of the dynamics of human culture and history.

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Ubiquity – Mark Buchanan

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La Niña is here, so 2017 won’t be the warmest year on record.

Kathleen Hartnett White, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, stammered through her confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

When Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, a Democrat, asked if she believes climate change is real, she wavered but settled on the right answer: “I am uncertain. No, I’m not. I jumped ahead. Climate change is of course real.”

That’s a surprise. Hartnett White, a former chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, has a long history of challenging climate science and promoting fossil fuels. Notably, she has said that carbon dioxide isn’t a pollutant.

But that’s not to say she’s made peace with established science. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, quizzed Hartnett White over how much excess heat in the atmosphere is absorbed by oceans. “I believe there are differences of opinions on that,” she said, “that there’s not one right answer.” For the record, the number is about 90 percent.

Then things got bizarre. Appearing frustrated with equivocating answers, Whitehouse pressed her on basic laws of nature, like whether heat makes water expand. “I do not have any kind of expertise or even much layman study of the ocean dynamics and the climate-change issues,” she said.

Watch below, if you dare:

After the hearing, Whitehouse tweeted, “I don’t even know where to begin … she outright rejects basic science.”

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La Niña is here, so 2017 won’t be the warmest year on record.

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Geekspeak – Graham Tattersall

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Geekspeak

Why Life + Mathematics = Happiness

Graham Tattersall

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: October 15, 2007

Publisher: Fourth Estate

Seller: HarperCollins


The quirky offspring of ‘QI’ and ‘Freakonomics’, ‘Geekspeak’ melds ingenious statistical analysis with edifying trivia to explain away some curious facts of life. Curiosity is our human birthright, and destiny. As a species we are to prone to think, ruminate, reflect, cogitate, deliberate and philosophise. We do all these things, and why? To explain away the world around us, to find solace in knowledge, to answer all those seeming unanswerables: why are we here? Is there a God? Is there life after death? How many slaves on treadmills does it take to power my kettle? Yes, forget the Bible, ‘Geekspeak’ is the new oracle for 21st century living. Graham Tattersall, a confirmed and superior geek, has rescued maths from the prison of the classroom, imbued it with fresh new life, and put it to use in novel and unexpected ways. His ingenious, deceptively simple formula melds statistical analysis with personal experience and enlightening trivia to explain away some curious and oft-pondered mysteries of the world: how big is your vocabulary, how heavy is your house, do the dead outnumber the living, how powerful is a fly, how fast is a fart. With its recipe of sophisticated mathematical techniques, witty anecdotes and startling amount of learning, ‘Geekspeak’ is an essential tool for impressing friends, sounding intelligent and better understanding the fascinating world in which we live. Maths has a new champion, and the Geeks a new King. Reviews ‘It will give you the means of finding out all sorts of information that you don't actually need to know. Curiously, I found it all quite interesting. Does that mean that I am a geek?’ Church Review About the author Dr Graham Tattersall is a freelance engineer working on projects as diverse as computer aided shoe fitting, fault analysis systems for trains, and enhancement of ultrasound images. He enjoys building houses, boats and working on engines, and lives in Suffolk with his (long suffering) wife.

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Geekspeak – Graham Tattersall

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The River of Consciousness – Oliver Sacks

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The River of Consciousness

Oliver Sacks

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $13.99

Publish Date: October 24, 2017

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


From the best-selling author of Gratitude, On the Move, and Musicophilia, a collection of essays that displays Oliver Sacks's passionate engagement with the most compelling and seminal ideas of human endeavor: evolution, creativity, memory, time, consciousness, and experience. Oliver Sacks, a scientist and a storyteller, is beloved by readers for the extraordinary neurological case histories ( Awakenings, An Anthropologist on Mars ) in which he introduced and explored many now familiar disorders–autism, Tourette's syndrome, face blindness, savant syndrome. He was also a memoirist who wrote with honesty and humor about the remarkable and strange encounters and experiences that shaped him ( Uncle Tungsten, On the Move, Gratitude ). Sacks, an Oxford-educated polymath, had a deep familiarity not only with literature and medicine but with botany, animal anatomy, chemistry, the history of science, philosophy, and psychology. The River of Consciousness is one of two books Sacks was working on up to his death, and it reveals his ability to make unexpected connections, his sheer joy in knowledge, and his unceasing, timeless project to understand what makes us human.

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The River of Consciousness – Oliver Sacks

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The Male Brain – Louann Brizendine, M.D.

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The Male Brain

A Breakthrough Understanding of How Men and Boys Think

Louann Brizendine, M.D.

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: March 23, 2010

Publisher: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC


From the author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller The Female Brain, here is the eagerly awaited follow-up book that demystifies the puzzling male brain. Dr. Louann Brizendine, the founder of the first clinic in the country to study gender differences in brain, behavior, and hormones, turns her attention to the male brain, showing how, through every phase of life, the "male reality" is fundamentally different from the female one. Exploring the latest breakthroughs in male psychology and neurology with her trademark accessibility and candor, she reveals that the male brain: -is a lean, mean, problem-solving machine. Faced with a personal problem, a man will use his analytical brain structures, not his emotional ones, to find a solution.  -thrives under competition, instinctively plays rough and is obsessed with rank and hierarchy. -has an area for sexual pursuit that is 2.5 times larger than the female brain, consuming him with sexual fantasies about female body parts. -experiences such a massive increase in testosterone at puberty that he perceive others' faces to be more aggressive. The Male Brain finally overturns the stereotypes. Impeccably researched and at the cutting edge of scientific knowledge, this is a book that every man, and especially every woman bedeviled by a man, will need to own.

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The Male Brain – Louann Brizendine, M.D.

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