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[Markets] Watch: SpaceX's Latest Starship Test Vehicle Implodes, Crumbles To The Ground, During Cryogenic Testing Watch: SpaceX's Latest Starship Test Vehicle Implodes, Crumbles To The Ground, During Cryogenic Testing

Yet another SpaceX experiment has gone "up in smoke".

Just a month after the company's SN1 Starship had an unplanned "incident" on the launch pad during testing, the company's SN3 Starship test vehicle was seen crumbling like a cardboard paper towel roll wrapped in aluminum foil on the launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas yesterday. 

The Starship was planned to undergo a series of tests on the ground and in flight, but it failed its cryogenic proof testing. The test includes filling the vehicle with liquid nitrogen at cryogenic temperatures and and flight pressures. SN3 "failed" during the end of the test, NASA Space Flight reported, although to the untrained rocket scientist eye, it looks to us that it simply just crumbled to the ground.

Elon Musk said on Twitter: “We will see what data review says in the morning, but this may have been a test configuration mistake.”

Yeah, we would say so. You can watch HD video of the Starship's "structural failure" here:

Also recall, we pointed out at the beginning of March that SpaceX's first "Starship" SN1 also bit the dust during testing. We are starting to notice a pattern, as is the general public.

As one person on social media asked: "What's with the grain silos not holding pressure?"

Back in early March, another product of Elon Musk innovation wound up blowing up on the launch pad at the company's South Texas facility, also after being tested for pressure with inert liquid nitrogen. The photographs from the morning after show the extent of the damage on the rocket, which we're certain will not be reused. 

Reports claimed that the tank suffered a structural failure during pressurization and information about injuries and the extent of the damage was not readily available from SpaceX at the time. The protoype ship was designed only for an "initial round of tests", according to Yahoo News, who said that future prototypes would be used for more ambitious tests.

To stupidity, and beyond!

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/03/2020 - 11:30
Published:4/3/2020 10:47:42 AM
[Aerospace] NASA details how it plans to establish a sustained human presence on the Moon NASA’s Artemis program aims to bring humans back to the Moon, with the goal of staying there for good in the interest of pursuing additional science and exploration missions, including to Mars. But how will the agency actually make it possible for people to remain on the Moon for longer-term science missions? NASA has provided […] Published:4/3/2020 9:46:07 AM
[Europe] Valispace raises $2.4M lead by JOIN Capital to become the ‘Github for hardware’ Hardware engineering is mostly document-based. A typical satellite might be described in several hundred thousand PDF documents, spreadsheets, simulation files and more; all potentially inconsistent between each other. This can lead to costly mistakes. NASA lost a $125 million Mars orbiter because one engineering team used metric units while another used English units, for instance. […] Published:4/3/2020 8:45:34 AM
[Aerospace] Germany’s space agency shifts its 3D printing resources to producing protective medical equipment DLR, German’s space agency and NASA equivalent, is doing what it can to support the global shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by frontline healthcare workers in their efforts to treat those affected by COVID-19. DLR announced that it has successfully tested converting its on-site 3D printers, typically used for producing aerospace-grade parts, to […] Published:3/30/2020 7:56:59 AM
[] One scientist's alternate theory if the UFOs weren't created by aliens Published:3/28/2020 6:12:35 PM
[Aerospace] SpaceX to deliver cargo to NASA’s lunar Gateway station using a new ‘Dragon XL ‘ spacecraft NASA has tapped SpaceX as the first provider of space-based logistics to deliver experiment materials, cargo and supplies to its lunar Gateway, the agency announced on Friday. This means SpaceX will be among the companies that NASA can turn to when it needs things shuttled via spaceship between Earth and this forthcoming platform, which will […] Published:3/27/2020 2:07:16 PM
[Science] NASA confirms Commercial Crew still a priority, but James Webb Telescope testing and other activities paused NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has been sharing regular updates about how his agency is approaching the rapidly changing global coronavirus pandemic situation. This week, NASA escalated its response multiple times due to changing circumstances, including changing the state of working conditions at all of its facilities across the country, and on Friday the agency summarized […] Published:3/20/2020 5:51:58 PM
[Aerospace] NASA suspends work on its Moon and Mars spacecraft due to coronavirus pandemic NASA has temporarily paused work on the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule that will be used for its forthcoming Artemis missions, which will ultimately return the next American man and the first American woman to the surface of the Moon. The rocket and spacecraft were undergoing production and testing activities ahead of the […] Published:3/20/2020 7:51:19 AM
[Markets] NASA Warns Two Asteroids Could Cause Atmospheric Explosion Over Earth This Week NASA Warns Two Asteroids Could Cause Atmospheric Explosion Over Earth This Week

Authored by Aaron Kesel via TheMindUnleashed.com,

As if 2020 weren’t overwhelming enough, in addition to the potential start of World War 3, the massive fires in Australia, the locust plague in the Middle East and Africa, and the novel coronavirus, we are now dealing with multiple asteroids hurtling towards Earth. One of the asteroids may even collide with Earth’s atmosphere resulting in an atmospheric explosion tonight!

Two asteroids following Earth’s intersecting orbit known as 2020 EF and 2020 DP4 are approaching the planet, and information collected by NASA indicates the space rocks are big enough to create violent explosions in the atmosphere if they come too close to the Earth.

The asteroids are being closely monitored by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

According to a report by IB Times, CNEOS estimates the 2020 EF asteroid has a diameter of 98 feet, making it a little longer than the distance between baseball diamond bases, with a velocity of 10,000 mph.

CNEOS sates that 2020 EF is what is known as an Aten asteroid, which means the object follows a normal orbit that crosses Earth’s path. NASA’s orbit diagram for 2020 EF shows the asteroid mimics a very wide orbit around the sun and almost follows the exact same path as Earth. The good news is NASA states in their diagram that the asteroid will have multiple near-approaches between 2020 EF and our planet—but it won’t hit us.

According to NASA, as a result of their size, 2020 EF will most likely not cause an impact event. Instead, it will break up into pieces if it enters Earth’s atmosphere. However, it will still cause an explosion in the sky that could be dangerous.

The last asteroid atmospheric explosion took place over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, which produced a flash 30 times brighter than the Sun and caused 180 cases of eye pain and 70 cases of temporary flash blindness.

So make sure you don’t stare at it with the naked eye, similar to how you shouldn’t stare directly at the sun, no matter how curious you may be.

2020 DP4 is coming our way and will cause a similar space spectacle this week on March 22nd at 2:36 p.m EST. Compared to 2020 EF, 2020 DP4 is much larger in diameter at 180 feet wide and traveling at a faster velocity rate at 18,000 mph according to CNEOS.

While 2020 EF is classified as an Aten asteroid, 2020 DP4 on the other hand belongs to the Apollo family of space rocks. Although the two asteroids are labeled differently, they are known to intersect Earth’s orbit as the planet makes its way around the Sun.

CNEOS states 2020 EF is expected to fly past the Earth from a distance of 0.04241 astronomical units or approximately 4 million miles. Meanwhile, 2020 DP4 will approach Earth from a much closer distance which according to CNEOS, is only 0.00901 astronomical units or around 840,000 miles.

While NASA has expressed that both asteroids won’t collide directly with the Earth, last year NASA and the U.S. government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) participated in an exercise with other international partners to deal with asteroids that could be a future impact danger. Last year, NASA also awarded SpaceX a $69 million contract to redirect an asteroid off its intended path under the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) program, which uses a technique known as a kinetic impactor. The mission involves sending one or more SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets into the path of an approaching near-earth object, in this case, Didymos’ small moon in October 2022.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is also involved in that joint mission to slam a probe into the asteroid Didymos’ small moon.

Next month a third asteroid is expected to come close to hitting Earth called 52768 (1998 OR2). First spotted in 1998, the space rock much bigger than 2020 FE and 2020 DP4, at 1.1 – 2.5 miles wide, is expected to pass within around 4million miles—or about 17 times the distance from Earth to the Moon, moving at a velocity of 19,461 miles per hour. CNEOS states that the third asteroid will fly by the Earth on April 29, at 4:56 a.m. EST.

According to CNN, NASA also reassures that 52768 (1998 OR2) will not hit the Earth despite worries with its classification as “potentially hazardous.” However, the asteroid is “large enough to cause global effects,” according to NASA.

The next potential asteroid that could cause significant damage if it hit Earth is expected to fly through our solar system and pass near Earth on April 13, 2029. The giant icy space rock—known as 99942 Apophis, for the Egyptian God of Chaos—is 1,100 feet wide (340 meters) and will speed by at over 67,000 miles per hour. According to NASA, Apophis has a 2.7% chance to hit Earth—a very low probability.

Thankfully we shouldn’t expect an Independence Day scenario any time soon.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/19/2020 - 23:05
Published:3/19/2020 10:17:27 PM
[Left Column] Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo rips NASA & NOAA’s ‘religiously’ proclaimed ‘warmest year on record’

"There were just 26 stations in 1880, only 4 in the southern hemisphere. Even in 1900, the 664 global stations was on 2.8% of the number in 2000.

Temperatures over oceans, which covered 71% of the globe, were measured along shipping routes mainly in the Northern Hemisphere erratically and with varying measurement methods.  Despite these shortcomings and the fact that absolutely no credible grid level temperature data existed over the period from 1880 to 2000 in the Southern Hemisphere’s oceans (covering 80.9% of the Southern Hemisphere), global average surface temperature data estimation and publication by NOAA and NASA began in the early 1990s."

Published:3/12/2020 3:33:53 PM
[Aerospace] NASA’s SLS Moon rocket is 2 years behind and billions over budget, internal report finds NASA's ambitious plan to put boots on the Moon in 2024 is looking increasingly costly — and increasingly unlikely — if the current cost overruns and delays are any indication, according to a report by the agency's Office of the Inspector General. Published:3/11/2020 3:31:57 PM
[Aerospace] Watch SpaceX launch the last of its original Dragon spacecraft to resupply the ISS tonight SpaceX is launching its 20th resupply mission the International Space Station tonight, but this one has a bittersweet twist: It’s the last such mission that will use the first iteration of the Dragon spacecraft that has flown on all of the company’s missions for NASA thus far. Starting this summer, its successor will take its […] Published:3/6/2020 8:27:21 PM
[Markets] Astronomers Detect Largest Explosion In The History Of The Universe Since The Big Bang Itself Astronomers Detect Largest Explosion In The History Of The Universe Since The Big Bang Itself

Authored by Aaron Kesel via TheMindUnleashed.com,

Astronomers in Perth, Australia recently detected and observed the largest explosion ever found in the universe since the Big Bang, according to a study published in the Astrophysics Journal.

We’ve seen outbursts in the centers of galaxies before but this one is really, really massive,” said Curtin University professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt.

And we don’t know why it’s so big. But it happened very slowly—like an explosion in slow motion that took place over hundreds of millions of years.”

Researchers at the Curtin University International Centre for Radio Astronomy were observing the distant galaxy cluster Ophiuchus when they detected a huge explosion at the center of a supermassive black hole, approximately 390 million light-years from Earth. According to scientists, the explosion released five times more energy than the big bang, Science Daily reported.

In fact, the explosion was so massive that it blew a hole in the cluster plasma (super-heated gas) surrounding the supermassive black hole and also broke the previous record-holdera cluster known by the designation MS 0735+74.

One author of the study, Dr. Simona Giacintucci who works at the Naval Research Laboratory in the U.S., compared the explosion to the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, in which the top of the mountain was completely blown off.

The difference is that you could fit 15 Milky Way galaxies in a row into the crater this eruption punched into the cluster’s hot gas,” she said.

X-ray telescopes previously detected a hole in the black hole’s cluster plasma, but astronomers originally discarded the theory that it could have been caused by an energetic explosion because the outburst was believed to be too massive.

People were skeptical because the size of outburst,” Johnston-Hollitt said. But it really is that. The Universe is a weird place.”

This object was actually observed with the Chandra X-ray telescope by a previous team and they saw this bubble in the hot X-ray plasma in the centre of this galaxy cluster, and they said, ‘Well, this can’t be from one of these energetic outputs because it would be enormous; the scale would be unthinkable’. So, they dismissed that possibility,” explained Prof Johnston-Hollitt, who directs the MWA. “But we went back and we observed with low-frequency radio telescopes and discovered that this cavity is filled with radio plasma.”

The scientists realized what they discovered when they observed the Ophiuchus cluster with radio telescopes. Then they saw that the radio data matched the x-ray data, confirming a gigantic expulsion of energy from the cluster.

In total, four telescopes were used to detect and confirm the eruption. Those instruments were NASA’s X-ray Observatory, ESA’s XMM-Newton, the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Western Australia, and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India.

Johnston-Hollitt, who directs the MWA, compared their discovery to archeologists uncovering the first dinosaur bones. She further stated that with new tools like low-frequency radio telescopes, astronomers can “dig” deeper into space and uncover unusual discoveries like this which teach us about the universe and its history.

Johnston-Hollitt also pointed out that studying the universe at different wavelengths will continue to uncover never-before-seen phenomenas like this one.

We made this discovery with Phase 1 of the MWA, when the telescope had 2048 antennas pointed towards the sky,” she said.

We’re soon going to be gathering observations with 4096 antennas, which should be ten times more sensitive. I think that’s pretty exciting.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/06/2020 - 19:45
Published:3/6/2020 6:56:12 PM
[Markets] Why The Coming Economic Collapse Will Not Be Caused By Covid-19 Why The Coming Economic Collapse Will Not Be Caused By Covid-19

Authored by Matthew Ehret via Off-Guardian.org,

With last week's collapse in the stock market, the internet has been set ablaze with discussion of a new crash looming on the horizon (even with today's record-breaking point-gain in the Dow). The fact that such a chain reaction collapse was only kept at bay due to massive liquidity injections by the Federal Reserve’s overnight repo loans should not be ignored.

These injections which began in September 2019, have grown to over $100 billion per night… all that to support the largest financial bubble in human history with global derivatives estimated at $1.2 quadrillion (20 times the global GDP!).

Sadly economic illiteracy is so pervasive among today’s modern economists that the real reasons for this crisis have been entirely misdiagnosed with financial experts from CNN, to Forbes blaming the volatility on the spread of the Corona virus!

NOT THE CORONA VIRUS: THE REAL CAUSE OF THE ONCOMING FINANCIAL COLLAPSE.

As refreshing as it is to hear candid criticisms of the system’s failure and even support for the restoration of Glass-Steagall bank separation from presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard or even the lame Elisabeth Warren… we find that in each case, those candidates are on record supporting policies cooked up by the very same oligarchs they appear to despise in the form of the Green New Deal.

In spite of what many of its progressive proponents would wish, such a global green reform would not only impose Malthusian depopulation upon nation states globally were it accepted, but would establish a the supranational authority of a technocratic managerial elite as enforcers of a “de-carbonization agenda”.

Due to the rampant lack of comprehension of how this crisis was created such that such idiotic proposals as “green new deals” are now seriously being suggested as remedies to our current ills, a bit of history is in order.

SOME NECESSARY BACKGROUND

“The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.”

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, first Inaugural Address 1933

Knowing that the “money changers” had only been able to create the great bubbles of the 1920s via their access to the deposits of the commercial banks, Franklin Roosevelt made the core of his battle against the abuses of Wall Street centre around a 1933 legislation entitled “Glass-Steagall”, named after the two federally elected officials who led the reform with FDR.

This was a bill which forced the absolute separation of productive from speculative banking, guaranteeing via the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) only those commercial banking assets associated with the productive economy, but forcing any speculative losses arising from investment banking to be suffered by the gambler. The striking success of this law inspired other countries around the world to establish similar bank separation.

Alongside principles of capital budgeting, public credit, parity pricing and a commitment to scientific and technological development, a dynamic had been created that would express the greatest hope for the world, and the greatest fear for the financial empire occupying the City of London and Wall Street.

The death of John F. Kennedy ushered in a new age of pessimism and cultural irrationalism from which our society has never recovered. The destruction of a long term vision as exemplified by the space program, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the New Deal projects had resulted in a tendency within the population to increasingly look upon present pleasures as the only reality, and future goods as the mystical expression of the sum of present pleasures.

In this new philosophical setting, so alien in previous epochs, money was permitted to act as a power unto itself for short term gains instead of serving the investments into the real productive wealth of society. With this new paradigm shift into the “now”, a new economic model was adopted to replace the industrial economic model which had proven itself in the years preceding and following World War II.

The name for this system was “post-industrial monetarism”. This would be a system ushered in by Richard Nixon’s announcement of the destruction of the fixed-exchange rate Bretton Woods system and its replacement by the “floating rate” system of post 1971 fame.

During that same fateful year of 1971, another ominous event took place: the formation of the Rothschild Inter-Alpha Group of banks under the umbrella of the Royal Bank of Scotland, which today controls upwards of 70% of the global financial system.

The stated intention of this Group would be found in the 1983 speech by Lord Jacob Rothschild:

“two broad types of giant institutions, the worldwide financial service company and the international commercial bank with a global trading competence, may converge to form the ultimate, all-powerful, many-headed financial conglomerate.”

This policy demanded the destruction of the sovereign nation-state system and the imposition of a new feudal structure of world governance through the age-old scheme of controlling the money system on the one side, and playing on the vices of credulous fools who, by allowing their nations to be ruled by the belief that hedonistic market forces govern the world, would seal their own children’s doom.

All the while, geopolitical structures foreign to the United States constitutional traditions were imposed by nests of Oxford-trained Rhodes Scholars and Fabians who converted America into a global “dumb giant” enforcing a neo colonial program under a “Anglo-US Special Relationship”. The Dulles brothers, McGeorge Bundy, Kissinger, and Bush all represent names that advanced this British directed plan throughout the 20th century.

LONDON’S ‘BIG BANG’

The great “liberalization” of world commerce began with a series of waves through the 1970s, and moved into high gear with the interest rate hikes of Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker in 1980-82, the effects of which both annihilated much of the small and medium sized entrepreneurs, opened the speculative gates into the “Savings and Loan” debacle and also helped cartelize mineral, food, and financial institutions into ever greater behemoths.

Volcker himself described this process as the “controlled disintegration of the US economy” upon becoming Fed Chairman in 1978. The raising of interest rates to 20-21% not only shut down the life blood of much of the US economic base, but also threw the third world into greater debt slavery, as nations now had to pay usurious interest on US loans.

In 1986, the City of London announced the beginning of a new era of economic irrationalism with Margaret Thatcher’s “Big Bang” deregulation. This wave of liberalization took the world by storm as it swept aside the separation of commercial, deposit and investment banking which had been the post-world war cornerstone in ensuring that the will of private finance would never again hold more sway than the power of sovereign nation-states.

After decades of chipping away at the structure of regulation that FDR’s bold intervention into history had built, the “Big Bang” set a precedent for similar financial de-regulation into the “Universal Banking” model in other parts of the western world.

THE DERIVATIVE TIME BOMB IS SET

In September 1987, the 20-year foray into speculation resulted in a 23% collapse of the Dow Jones on October 19, 1987. Within hours of this crash, international emergency meetings had been convened with former JP Morgan tool Alan Greenspan introducing a “solution” which would have the future echoes of hyperinflation and fascism written all over it.

“Creative financial instruments” was the Orwellian name given to the new financial asset popularized by Greenspan, but otherwise known as “derivatives”.

New supercomputing technologies were increasingly used in this new venture, not as the support for higher nation building practices, and space exploration programs as their NASA origins intended, but would rather become perverted to accommodate the creation of new complex formulas which could associate values to price differentials on securities and insured debts that could then be “hedged” on those very spot and futures markets made possible via the destruction of the Bretton Woods system in 1971.

So while an exponentially self-generating monster was created that could end nowhere but in a meltdown, “market confidence” rallied back in force with the new flux of easy money. The physical potential to sustain human life continued to plummet.

NAFTA, THE EURO AND THE END OF HISTORY

It is no coincidence that within this period, another deadly treaty was passed called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). With this Agreement made law, protective programs that had kept North American factories in the U.S and Canada were struck down, allowing for the export of the lifeblood of highly skilled industrial workforce to Mexico where skills were low, technologies lower, and salaries lower still.

With a stripping of its productive assets, North America became increasingly reliant on exporting cheap resources and services for its means of existence.

Again, the physically productive powers of society would collapse, yet monetary profits in the ephemeral “now” would skyrocket. This was replicated in Europe with the creation of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 establishing the Euro by 1994 while the “liberalization” process of Perestroika replicated this agenda in the former Soviet Union. While some personalities gave this agenda the name “End of History” and others “the New World Order”, the effect was the same.

Universal Banking, NAFTA, Euro integration and the creation of the derivative economy in a space of just several years would induce a cartelization of finance through newly legalized mergers and acquisitions at a rate never before seen. The multitude of financial institutions that had existed in the early 1980s were absorbed into each other at great speed through the 1990s in true “survival of the fittest” fashion. No matter what level of regulation were attempted under this new structure, the degree of conflict of interest, and private political power was uncontrollable, as evidenced in the United States, by the shutdown of any attempt by Securities and Exchange Commission head Brooksley Born to fight the derivative cancer at its early stages.

By 1999 a politically castrated Bill Clinton found himself signing into law a treaty authored by then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which would be the final nail in the coffin for the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking in the United States.

The new age of unregulated trading and creation of over-the-counter derivatives caused these strange financial instruments to grow from $60 trillion in 2000 to $600 trillion by 2008.

THE 2000-2008 FRENZY

With Glass-Steagall now removed, legitimate capital such as pension funds could be used to start a hedge to end all hedges. Billions were now poured into mortgage-backed securities (MBS), a market which had been artificially plunged to record-breaking interest rate lows of 1-2% for over a year by the US Federal Reserve making borrowing easy, and the returns on the investments into the MBSs obscene.

The obscenity swelled as the values of the houses skyrocketed far beyond the real values to the tune of one hundred thousand dollar homes selling for 5-6 times that price within the span of several years.

As long as no one assumed this growth was ab-normal, and the unpayable nature of the capital underlying the leveraged assets locked up in the now infamous “sub-primes” and other illegitimate debt obligations was ignored, then profits were supposed to just continue infinitely. Anyone who questioned this logic was considered a heretic by the latter-day priesthood.

The stunning “success” of securitizing housing debts immediately induced a wave of sovereign wealth funds to come into prominence applying the same model that had been used in the case of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDO) to the debts of entire nations.

The securitizing of bundled packages of sovereign debts that could then be infinitely leveraged on the de-regulated world markets would no longer be considered an act of national treason, but the key to easy money.

CONCLUSION

This is the system which died in 2008. Contrary to popular belief, nothing was actually resolved. For all the talk of an “FDR revival” under Obama, speculation wasn’t actually regulated under the Dodd-Frank Act or the Volker Rule of 2010. No productive credit was created to grow the real economy under a national mission as was the case in 1933-1938.

Banks were not broken up while derivatives GREW by 40% with the new bubble concentrated in the corporate/household debt sector now collapsing. During this time, nation states continued to be stripped, as austerity was rammed down the throats of nations.

It should be no surprise that in the midst of this despair, a creative alliance was consolidated in defense of the interests of sovereign nation states and humanity at large led by the leadership of Russia and China.

This leadership took the form of the China-led Belt and Road Initiative which has grown to embrace over 130 countries today and looking more and more like an Asian-led version of the New Deal of the 1930s.

Indeed, China’s capacity to unleash long term credit for thousands of international long term infrastructure projects was made possible by the fact that it was the only country on the globe which had not given up the principles of bank separation which were destroyed in every other nation.

Very few western figures stood up to this self-induced destruction over the decades, but one notable exception here worth mentioning is the figure of the late American economist Lyndon LaRouche (1922-2019) who not only resisted this process for over four decades, but fought alongside the Schiller Institute to promote New Silk Road as early as 1996.

With the 2016 Brexit and election of President Trump, a new wave of nationalist spirit has become a fire which the technocrats have lost their capacity to snuff out.

Increasingly, the idea that nation-states have a power over the private banking system has become revived and discussion for reforming the now dead Trans-Atlantic system is increasingly shaped not by the calls for a “New World Order” as Sir Kissinger would have liked, but rather for a New Silk Road and a true New Deal.

The Eurasian nations are already firmly committed to this new system, and if the west is to qualify morally to take part in this new epoch, then the first step will be a return to a Glass-Steagall.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/03/2020 - 00:00
Published:3/2/2020 11:05:34 PM
[Markets] "There's No Pollution" - NASA Satellite Images Expose China's "Production Has Resumed" False Narrative "There's No Pollution" - NASA Satellite Images Expose China's "Production Has Resumed" False Narrative

We first pointed out the reality of China's 'official' return to production as a false narrative two weeks ago.

The key takeaways were:

  • The start of the new year normally sees higher pollution across China due to higher coal/fuel consumption for heating and resumption of industrial production after Chinese New Year.

  • Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chengdu see a clear pattern – air pollution is only 20-50% of the historical average. This could imply that human activities such as traffic and industrial production within/close to those cities are running 50-80% below their potential capacity.

And now, thanks to satellite images published by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), we have further confirmation that nothing is back in China.

As The Epoch Times' Katabella Roberts writes, the images show a dramatic drop in levels of air pollution over China following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which forced the shutdown of industry and transport.

Images taken by pollution monitoring satellites compare air quality between Jan. 1 and Jan. 20 with air quality between Feb. 10 and Feb. 25, and show a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas that gets into the air from the burning of fuel from vehicles, power plants and factories.

According to NASA scientists, the reduction in NO2 pollution was first apparent near Wuhan, which shut down transportation going into and out of the city, as well as local businesses by Jan. 23, in order to reduce the spread of the disease.

NASA said there is evidence that the change in air pollution is “at least partly related to the economic slowdown following the outbreak of coronavirus.”

“This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” research scientist Dr. Fei Liu said.

However, scientists also noticed the reduction in the toxic gas also spread across the rest of China and coincided with the Lunar New Year celebrations in January, which they said usually sees businesses and factories close from the last week of the month to celebrate the festival.

"This year, the reduction rate is more significant than in past years and it has lasted longer," Liu said.

"I am not surprised because many cities nationwide have taken measures to minimize spread of the virus."

Additionally, researchers have not seen a rebound in NO2 after the holiday and noted that in 2020, the reduction rate is “more significant than in past years and it has lasted longer.”

Of course, we only need to look at the collapse in the PMIs to know nothing is back... yet. And hope for any v-shaped recovery should be rapidly discounted as not coming anytime soon.

On the bright side, Greta must be cheering the deadly Covid-19's spread across the world.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/01/2020 - 16:05
Published:3/1/2020 3:25:18 PM
[2019 News] Stunning NASA images show drop in pollution over China amid coronavirus outbreak Stunning NASA images show drop in pollution over China amid coronavirus outbreak. Sum Ting Wong in China. Published:3/1/2020 11:25:11 AM
[Markets] Why Are Polar Bears Going Extinct? (Spoiler Alert: They're Not!) Why Are Polar Bears Going Extinct? (Spoiler Alert: They're Not!)

Via Dr. Susan Crockford's PolarBearScience.com,

Google says many people ask this question so here is the correct answer: polar bears are not going extinct.

If you have been told that, you have misunderstood or have been misinformed. Polar bears are well-distributed across their available habitat and population numbers are high (officially 22,000-31,000 at 2015 but likely closer to 26,000-58,000 at 2018): these are features of a healthy, thriving species.

Why are polar bears going extinct?’ contains a false premise – there is no need to ask ‘why’ when the ‘polar bears [are] going extinct’ part is not true.

It is true that in 2007, it was predicted that polar bear numbers would plummet when summer sea ice declined to 42% of 1979 levels for 8 out of 10 years (anticipated to occur by 2050) and extinct or nearly so by 2100 (Amstrup et al. 2007). However, summer sea ice has been at ‘mid-century-like’ levels since 2007 (with year to year variation, see NOAA ice chart below) yet polar bear numbers have increased since 2005. The anticipated disaster did not occur but many people still believe it did because the media and some researchers still give that impression.

The prediction of imminent extinction of the polar bear was an utter failure, as I’ve shown in this scientific paper (Crockford 2017) and my most recent book, The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened.

Examine the evidence and you will see that claims of polar bears going extinct are simply not true. So far, the response of polar bears to recent ice loss suggests that they will continue to thrive with even less summer ice than there has been in recent years as long as ice in winter (December-March) and spring (April-June) remains reasonably abundant, as has been the case to date. The most recent information available is summarized in the upcoming State of the Polar Bear Report 2019, to be released 27 February 2020 but see also the 2018 report (Crockford 2019b).

The graph below was constructed by NASA sea ice expert Walt Meier and published by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in early October 2019. It shows clearly that summer sea ice (measured as the average for September) has not declined further since 2007 but has had a flat trend.

The graph below is from my book and shows the growth of global polar bear numbers since the 1960s.

The final estimate 26,000-58,000 or 39,000 average) is my plausible and scientifically defensible ‘best guess’ based on extrapolation of recent survey results, summarized here and explained in detail in my book.

FOOTNOTE

One of Google’s top ‘suggestion’ when I search for the term ‘polar bear’ is a list of questions that people supposedly ask the most (‘People also ask’), including ‘Why are polar bears going extinct?’

The ‘answer’ provided is not an actual answer but a statement from WWF, an multi-national organization financially invested in promoting the idea that polar bears are suffering due to declining sea ice: it’s paid Google advertising meant to look like answers and facts:

‘Because of ongoing and potential loss of their sea ice habitat resulting from climate change, polar bears were listed as a threatened species in the US under the Endangered Species Act in May 2008. The survival and the protection of the polar bear habitat are urgent issues for WWF.’

Note the statement misleadingly says ‘sea ice’ when it really means ‘summer sea ice’ – the predictions of potential polar bear population decline were based exclusively on summer ice (Amstrup et al. 2007; Crockford 2017, 2019).

As I said above, ‘Why are polar bears going extinct?’ contains a false premise – there is no need to ask ‘why’, when the ‘polar bears [are] going extinct’ part is not true. This post is for the people who search the internet thinking that polar bears really are going extinct.

Another question Google offers is: ‘How many polar bears are left?’ Answer [my bold]:

‘In fact, the World Wide Fund for Nature (or WWF) estimates that there are only 22,000 to 31,000 polar bears left in the world. Jan 25, 2019’

Only? This global estimate, provided by the IUCN Red List (not the WWF) means there are almost three times more polar bears than the 10,000 or so there were in 1960 (Regehr et al. 2016; Wiig et al. 2015). But the Red List figure includes out-of-date estimates and low-balled guesses for many of the 19 subpopulations and my book (Crockford 2019) explains why this 2015 estimate sanctioned by the IUCN was almost certainly too low.

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/28/2020 - 19:45
Published:2/28/2020 6:52:30 PM
[TC] SpaceX wins the $117 million launch contract to explore Psyche’s heavy metal asteroid SpaceX has won the launch contract for NASA’s 2022 mission to explore the mineral-rich asteroid known as Psyche, the space agency announced today, including launch services and other mission-related costs valued at $117 million — remarkably low for a mission of this scale. The Psyche mission will use a falcon Heavy rocket which will launch […] Published:2/28/2020 4:15:58 PM
[Left Column] Studies Show Glaciers Internationally Were Smaller In Recent Past Than Today

19th century glacier retreat in the Alps preceded the emergence of industrial black carbon deposition on high-alpine glaciers

Published:2/26/2020 10:31:01 AM
[Space] Katherine Johnson, legendary NASA mathematician and ‘hidden figure,’ dies at 101 Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who defied prejudice in the ’50s and ’60s to help NASA send the first men to the moon, has died at the age of 101. Only recently famous after the film “Hidden Figures” was made about her and her colleagues, she maintained until the end that she was “only doing her […] Published:2/24/2020 1:22:36 PM
[Entertainment] Katherine Johnson Dies at 101: NASA Pays Tribute to Legendary Mathematician Katherine JohnsonMathematician Katherine Johnson has passed away at the age of 101. NASA has shared the heartbreaking news that Johnson, who was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the film Hidden Figures,...
Published:2/24/2020 10:18:37 AM
[Events] NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is coming to TC Sessions: Space 2020 This year marks our first-ever TC Sessions: Space event, and what better way to kick things off than with the head of NASA: Administrator Jim Bridenstine will join us onstage on June 25 in LA. NASA has been more open than ever before to working with startups and entrepreneurs, and we’ll hear directly from the […] Published:2/18/2020 12:13:06 PM
[Markets] Planet-Killer? NASA On Alert For 'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid Fast-Approaching Earth Planet-Killer? NASA On Alert For 'Potentially Hazardous' Asteroid Fast-Approaching Earth

NASA has confirmed that a potentially hazardous asteroid is traveling towards Earth at a mind-numbing 34,000 mph this weekend, the International Business Times reported.

NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) detected the incoming asteroid as 163373 (2002 PZ39), measures about 3,250 feet across, and is expected to pass over Earth on Saturday. 

"Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid's potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth," NASA said in a statement.  

NASA has been simulating for an "asteroid apocalypse" to help the space agency better prepare for an asteroid strike. But don't be alarmed, this weekend's extremely close pass over will miss Earth by a distance 0.03860 astronomical units, or about 3.6 million miles.

With a near-miss expected this weekend, there's another asteroid lurking above that measures a mile long and could threaten human civilization. 

Japanese scientists warned last month, "the potential breakup of the rock could be dangerous to life on Earth. Those resulting asteroids could hit the Earth in the next 10 million years or so."

And it makes complete sense, why not just NASA, but Zerohedge readers are really going to like this, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also been preparing for a possible disaster of an asteroid strike. 

The European Space Agency (ESA) recently ran simulations of an asteroid strikes on Earth, indicating that it too is preparing for a future catastrophic event.

And why are government agencies around the world preparing for asteroid strikes? 

Well, it could be due to the "God of Chaos" asteroid, which is slated to skim past the Earth in 2029, could be what ends life as we know it.  

Tyler Durden Sat, 02/15/2020 - 23:00
Published:2/15/2020 10:26:09 PM
[Aerospace] Rocket Lab will launch a satellite to the Moon for NASA to prepare for the Lunar Gateway Launch startup Rocket Lab has been awarded a contract to launch a CubeSat on behalf of NASA for the agency’s CAPSTONE experiment, with the ultimate aim of putting the CAPSTONE CubeSat into cislunar (in the region in between Earth and the Moon) orbit – the same orbit that NASA will eventually use for its Gateway […] Published:2/14/2020 4:20:12 PM
[Aerospace] Blue Canyon Technologies chosen by Made in Space for orbital manufacturing demo mission In-orbit manufacturing startup Made in Space has tapped Colorado’s Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) to help support its Archinaut One demonstration mission contracted by NASA, which is currently set to take place in 2022. The mission will see Made in Space show off the assembly of two ten-meter solar arrays on orbit, which will then be […] Published:2/12/2020 1:38:18 PM
[Markets] White House Budget To Include 'War On Waste' While Boosting Spending On Military, Veterans, And Space White House Budget To Include 'War On Waste' While Boosting Spending On Military, Veterans, And Space

The Trump administration is expected to release a $4.8 trillion budget Monday which will include a 'bold and detailed chapter on curbing waste, fraud, corruption and taxpayer abuse,' according to Forbes' Adam Andrzejewski, who has seen an advance copy.

The plan would increase military spending 0.3% to $740.5 billion, while cutting non-defense spending by 5% to $590 billion, which falls below the level Congress and the Trump administration agreed to in a two-year budget deal last summer. The budget assumes that a 2017 tax-cut package is extended past its 2025 expiration, and projects revenues in line with last year's proposal.

That said, the budget also assumes the economy will grow at 3% for the next 15 years, which seems more than a bit ambitious.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, "Among the agencies that would receive the biggest boost is NASA, which would see a 12% increase next year as Mr. Trump seeks to fulfill his goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2024. On the other hand, the Environmental Protection Agency’s spending would be slashed by 26%." The Department of Housing and Urban Development, meanwhile, will see its budget slashed by 15%, however as the Journal adds, the proposal includes $2.8 billion in homelessness assistance grants.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would see its budget decline 9%, but with the coronavirus sparking global panic, $4.3 billion in funding for fighting infectious diseases would be preserved.

Separately, the administration has notified Capitol Hill that it might reprogram $136 million in funds from fiscal year 2020 to address the virus, the administration official said, though no decision has been made on whether the money is needed. -Wall Street Journal

Other winners include the Department of Veterans Affairs, which will receive a 13% boost next year, the National Nuclear Security Administration with a 19% boost, and the Department of Homeland Security, which will receive an additional 3%.

Via WSJ

The plan would request $2 billion in new funding for construction of the wall the southern U.S. border, the senior administration official said—Mr. Trump’s signature 2016 campaign promise that sparked fights with Democrats in Congress, leading the president to trigger a historic five-week government shutdown last winter after lawmakers refused to fund the project. The latest $2 billion request is significantly less than the $5 billion the administration sought last year.

The White House proposes to cut spending by $4.4 trillion over a decade. Of that, it targets $2 trillion in savings from mandatory spending programs, including $130 billion from changes to Medicare prescription-drug pricing, $292 billion from safety-net cuts—such as work requirements for Medicaid and food stamps—and $70 billion from tightening eligibility access to federal disability benefits. -Wall Street Journal

Meanwhile, Forbes's Andrzejewski sums up "three of the non-partisan reforms the president will highlight in his FY2021 budget to Congress":

1. End Improper Year-End Waste. The federal government’s use-it-or-lose-it year-end spending spree has been going on for years. In our recent oversight report, we found $97 billion spent by 67 federal agencies during the final month of fiscal year 2018. In the last week of the fiscal year, $53 billion in contracts went out the door – that’s one in every ten dollars spent in the entire year.

The year-end spending spree purchases included:

  • Inflatable games ($42,500), model rockets ($34,000), china tableware ($53,004), alcohol ($308,994), musical instruments ($1.7 million), workout equipment ($9.8 million) and lobster tail and crab ($4.6 million).
  • $300 million spent on passenger vehicles, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, and snowmobiles.
  • $462 million spent on public relations, marketing research, and advertising.
  • $491 million spent on furniture and redecorating federal agencies.
  • $61.2 billion spent by the Pentagon in the final 30-days of the fiscal year.

2. Putting an End to Improper Payments. Each year, the twenty largest federal agencies admit to mistakenly paying out approximately $140 billion. For example, we found that nearly $1 billion was improperly paid to dead people. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) improperly paid $18.4 billion through the earned income tax program last year.
Since 2005, we found the federal government has improperly paid $1.2 trillion from the U.S. Treasury.

3. Conducting Oversight of Spending. The Trump administration has already eliminated 31,000 duplicate contracts, saving taxpayers $27 billion since 2017. In the budget, they commit to doing more including comparison shopping, volume discounts, and negotiating better deals.

Read the rest of Andrzejewski's report here.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/09/2020 - 19:35
Published:2/9/2020 6:49:57 PM
[Aerospace] Watch two rocket launches live, including a Space Station supply flight and a mission to study the Sun There are two – that’s right two – launches happening this Sunday, and both are set to broadcast live on NASA’s official stream above. The first is a NASA International Space Station resupply mission, with a Norhtrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft launching aboard an Antares rocket from Wallops Island in Virginia at 5:39 PM EST (2:39 PM […] Published:2/9/2020 9:48:02 AM
[Markets] Breaking Down The Last Decade Of "Terrible" Climate-Change In 7 Narrative-Busting Charts Breaking Down The Last Decade Of "Terrible" Climate-Change In 7 Narrative-Busting Charts

Authored by Anthony Watts via WattsUpWithThat.com,

This article on Grist (h/t to James Taylor, The Heartland Institute) tries to point out how “terrible” the last decade was due to “climate change”. They write:

As this hottest-on-record, godforsaken decade draws to a close, it’s clear that global warming is no longer a problem for future generations but one that’s already displacing communities, costing billions, and driving mass extinctions. And it’s worth asking: Where did the past 10 years get us?

The seven charts below begin to hint at an answer to that question. Some of the changes they document, like the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the number of billion dollar disasters that occur each year, illustrate how little we did to reduce emissions and how unprepared the world is to deal with the warming we’ve already locked in.

https://grist.org/climate/we-broke-down-the-last-decade-of-climate-change-in-7-charts/

We can also provide 7 charts that illustrate the last decade of climate change, and they tell a different story...

What they say: 1. Atmospheric carbon dioxide rose by about 25 parts per million.

There’s no disputing that ambient CO2 has gone up in the atmosphere, however, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. NASA, for example has this to say about the effects of that increased CO2 in study about CO2 and greening derived from satellite data.

From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 25 2016

“We were able to tie the greening largely to the fertilizing effect of rising atmospheric CO2 concentration by tasking several computer models to mimic plant growth observed in the satellite data,” says co-author Prof. Ranga Myneni of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University.

“The greening over the past 33 years reported in this study is equivalent to adding a green continent about two-times the size of mainland USA (18 million km2)…”

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/bu-cfg042216.php

This image shows the change in leaf area across the globe from 1982-2015. CREDIT Credits: Boston University/R. Myneni
Source: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate3004.html

It seems the Earth’s biosphere is responding to increased CO2 in a positive way, that’s also undeniable.

What they say: 2. Climate change got expensive.

They cite this graph (produced by the Grist magazine):

And they say:

One of the best-established consequences of global warming is that it makes natural disasters, like fires and floods, more frequent and severe. In the 2010s, the costs of this consequence came into sharp focus as billion-dollar disasters struck the United States again and again. 

But, that’s not true when you look at normalized weather disaster costs:

Source: Pielke, R. (2018). Tracking progress on the economic costs of disasters under the indicators of the sustainable development goals. Environmental Hazards, 1-6.

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. makes note of this in Why Climate Advocates Need To Stop Hyping Extreme Weather

It appears that 2019, is on track to continue the record of good news. Robert Muir-Wood of RMS, a leading catastrophe modeling firm, wrote a month ago “Almost three months ago we passed a remarkable record in catastrophe loss. And yet no one seems to want to celebrate it. No banner headlines in the newspapers. . . The first half of 2019 generated the lowest catastrophe insurance loss for more than a decade.” Muir-Wood labelled 2019 “the year of the kitten.” With two months left, cross your fingers.

What they say: 3. More people accept the basic premises that it’s getting hot and that it’s our fault.

Well, you might think that if you believe the highly adjusted temperature data published by NASA GISS and [University of East Anglia’s Climate Research unit] on climate (ground zero for the embarrassing and revealing Climategate affair in 2009).

But when you look at unadjusted data, such as is produced by the state-of- the-art United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN) operated by NOAA, you get a wholly different idea about temperature over the last decade:

Graph annotated by A. Watts
Source: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/national-temperature-index/time-series?datasets%5B%5D=uscrn¶meter=anom-tavg&time_scale=12mo&begyear=2005&endyear=2019&month=12

That’s right, in the contiguous US, the temperature for 2019 was actually lower than for the start of the decade at 2010. The two peaks in 2012 and 2016 were from naturally caused El Nino events in the Pacific ocean. Granted, the USA isn’t the world, but the USA routinely gets blamed for all of the climate woes of the world, so the comparison seems a fair one. But really, where’s the climate crisis?

What they say: 4. But there’s a widening partisan divide when it comes to worrying about the environment.

Well that’s true, Conservatives generally think things through and look at fact based evidence compared to the liberal side, which seems to “feel” issues far more than they critically examine them.

But when people of all stripes worldwide are polled about it, such as the United Nations does, it comes in dead last as a concern:

Source: http://data.myworld2015.org/

It seems people worldwide would rather have education, food, honest government, better roads, and reliable energy than they would some climate action.

What they say: 5. Coal continued its death spiral.

Citing a Grist produced graph of data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) that they say depicts a “death spiral” for coal use, they say coal is on the way out.

Clayton Aldern / Grist

While that data is true, what they aren’t showing you is the rest of the story from the EIA:

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook

What is really going on here is that natural gas is replacing coal because it is more efficient, less expensive to maintain, and has a smaller footprint. It’s really a market driven business decision rather than a nod to environmental concerns.

What they say: 6. Solar skyrocketed, but fossil fuels still dominate.

Once again they cite a graph they produced from EIA data, and once again, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Clayton Aldern / Grist

Gosh, it looks like the entire USA is being powered by solar energy! Hurray for environmentalism! Inconveniently, the reality is far different:

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

While renewables, including solar, have made gains, they still lag behind fossil fuels such as natural gas, crude oil, and coal in energy production in the USA. Without baseload (grid) generation by coal and natural gas, solar wouldn’t even work, since almost all solar installations are grid-tied – meaning that if the grid doesn’t have electricity, solar power can’t feed to it.

What they say: 7. While coal flatlined, the price of renewables dropped precipitously.

I wonder what the price of renewables would be if they weren’t propped up by your tax dollars? According to EIA data, fossil fuels are still far less expensive:

https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/52521…

And there there’s this analysis.

The EIA estimates the two largest federal tax credit programs benefiting wind and solar paid out a combined $2.8 billion in 2016. These funds came through a tax credit worth 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour of power produced, as well as a deduction equal to 30 percent of a facility’s installation costs.

These two tax credits are set to expire at the end of 2021, though a permanent 10 percent investment tax credit for solar and geothermal installations would remain.

https://www.insidesources.com/us-still-subsidizing-renewable-energy-to-the-tune-of-nearly-7-billion/

That doesn’t include state tax credits, which are also substantial.

While some people at Grist believe there is more to worry about from climate change issues this past decade, the undeniable fact is We’ve Just Had The Best Decade In Human History.

Source: Matt Ridley, writing in the Spectator UK

How inconvenient for the eco-worriers at Grist.

Tyler Durden Sat, 02/08/2020 - 21:30
Published:2/8/2020 8:44:16 PM
[Aerospace] Trump said to propose roughly $3 billion NASA budget boost for 2021 President Donald Trump is set to request a budget of $25.6 billion for NASA for its fiscal 2021 operating year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. It’s looking for nearly $3 billion more than the $22.6 billion NASA had for its current fiscal year, and the bulk of the new funding is said to […] Published:2/7/2020 7:08:00 AM
[Aerospace] NASA panel recommends Boeing software process reviews after revealing second Starliner issue NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) is recommending that Boeing’s software testing processes undergo a review, following the discovery of another problem with the on-board system that was in operation during the CST-100 Starliner uncrewed Space Station docking test launch in December. Starliner never made it to the Space Station as planned during that launch, […] Published:2/6/2020 5:39:44 PM
[Aerospace] Maxar and NASA will demonstrate orbital spacecraft assembly with a new robotic arm NASA has awarded Maxar an estimated $142 million contract to demonstrate in-orbit spacecraft refueling and assembly of new components using a custom robotic platform in space. Published:1/31/2020 4:26:55 PM
[Aerospace] NASA taps startup Axiom Space for the first habitable commercial module for the Space Station NASA has selected Houston-based Axiom Space, a startup founded in 2016, to build the first commercial habitat module for the International Space Station (ISS). This module will be used as a destination for future commercial spaceflight missions, potentially housing experiments, technology development and more performed by commercial space travellers taking rides up to the ISS […] Published:1/27/2020 5:01:08 PM
[Aerospace] NASA’s advanced vision system for its supersonic test jet is undergoing a key stress test NASA is keeping things moving with its X-59 program – the one where it’s developing a modern supersonic aircraft that proves the viability of lessening the traditional supersonic ‘boom’ to a mere supersonic ‘thump,’ in order to show that supersonic commercial passenger flights over land could be a real thing. The agency has already developed […] Published:1/27/2020 3:00:14 PM
[Markets] Burning Trees For Heating Won't Help With Climate Change: UK Think Tank Burning Trees For Heating Won't Help With Climate Change: UK Think Tank

Authored by Irina Slav via OilPrice.com,

A suggestion by the UK Committee on Climate Change to burn more wood and plant replacement trees as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels has drawn criticism from think tank Chatham House, which says this is hardly the best approach to reducing emissions.

"Expanding forest cover is undoubtedly a good thing, if you're leaving them standing," energy expert Duncan Brack told the Daily Telegraph. However, Brack, who served as special adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, suggested that burning wood for heating was not the most sustainable way forward. Calling wood burning a carbon neutral process is “highly dubious,” Brack added.

These claims, according to the Telegraph’s environment editor, Emma Gatten, rest on the assumption that the carbon footprint of chopping down trees and burning them is offset by planting new trees to replace them. This assumption excludes the fact that older trees absorb more carbon and that it takes time to replace a forest.

"You can leave trees standing and they will continue to absorb carbon for decades," Brack says.

"But the biomass industry implicitly assumes that forests at some point stop reach a saturation point for carbon intake and can be harvested and simply replaced." 

The benefit of planting trees to mitigate the effects of climate change has been put to the test on a wider scale as well.study released last year found that reforestation could work, but it had to be done at a massive scale.

We need to plant 25 percent more trees than there are on Earth right now, or more than half a trillion in total, the study found. This would reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by a quarter, erasing 20 years of emissions. Yet it would not solve the climate problem on its own, without a sustained effort to cut emissions, commentators on the study said.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/27/2020 - 03:30
Published:1/27/2020 2:57:43 AM
[Uncategorized] US Space Force logo stuns with similarity to Star Trek’s Star Fleet emblem Turns out the new logo more resembles those used by the US Air Force Space Command and NASA! Published:1/26/2020 7:25:26 PM
[Markets] A Plague Of Locusts, Earthquakes In Diverse Places, And Weather That's Gone Completely Nuts A Plague Of Locusts, Earthquakes In Diverse Places, And Weather That's Gone Completely Nuts

Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com,

It is almost as if someone flipped some sort of a switch as 2020 began, because we have been seeing really weird things happen all over the globe so far this year.

Later in this article I want to talk about the large earthquakes and strange weather events that we have seen over the past few days, but first I want to discuss the massive armies of locusts that are voraciously eating crops in Asia and in Africa. Right now, a “deadly invasion by millions and millions of locusts” in India is absolutely devastating farm after farm, and the media in India is calling this locust invasion “the worst in over six decades”

Parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan are in the midst of a deadly invasion by millions and millions of locusts, leaving the farmers there in distress. The invasion which began in October is said to be the worst in over six decades.

According to reports, crops of some 3.6 lakh hectares in 10 districts as western Rajasthan have been damaged by the locusts so far. The Locust Warning Organization (LWO) said that the current wave of attack was by Pink locusts which are flying in from Pakistan.

As bad as things are in India, the truth is that they are even worse in Africa.

According to the UN, the desert locusts that have been ravaging fields in Ethiopia and Somalia are now pouring into Kenya…

The UN has warned of a “significant and extremely dangerous” escalation in the number of desert locusts descending on Kenya, as the government strives to contain the threat before it reaches the country’s food-producing regions.

The tropical grasshoppers have been wreaking havoc on Kenya’s neighbours to the north and east, devouring tens of thousands of hectares of crops in Ethiopia and Somalia since last June.

Here in the United States, we tend to think of a “swarm” as a few hundred insects.

But over in Africa, these “swarms” can literally take over an entire section of a country. For example, the FAO says that one of the locust swarms in Kenya “measured 2,400 sq km”

Each square kilometre of locusts in a swarm can eat as much in a day as 35,000 people, according to the FAO. One locust swarm seen in Kenya measured 2,400 sq km.

“There is an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods” across the Horn of Africa, the FAO said.

I can’t even imagine what a 2,400 square kilometer locust army would look like, but I think that it is fair to say that it qualifies as a “plague of locusts”.

Meanwhile, earthquakes continue to pop up in unusual places.

For example, ABC News is reporting that a magnitude 4.5 quake hit Kansas on Sunday…

The U.S. Geological Survey said a magnitude 4.5 earthquake struck about 2 miles (3 kilometers) southwest of Hutchinson shortly after 1 p.m. The service had initially reported that it was a magnitude 4.4 earthquake, but later upgraded it.

And this earthquake comes just a few months after there was a very suspicious swarm of 17 earthquakes in that same area of central Kansas

The earthquake struck as the Kansas Corporation Commission investigates the cause of a swarm of 17 earthquakes in five days in August the same area of central Kansas. The regulatory agency’s investigation is focused on the underground disposal of oilfield waste that’s been blamed for quakes elsewhere in southern Kansas.

On the other side of the globe, a very strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit Indonesia this weekend

A strong inland earthquake has struck Indonesia’s easternmost Papua province, but there were no immediate reports of major damage or casualties.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude 6.0 quake was centered 141 kilometers west of Abepura, a city at a depth of 33.6 kilometers.

But these days large earthquakes are happening so frequently that they barely make a blip in the news. A similarly large earthquake just hit China, but hardly anyone in the U.S. even knows that it happened…

According to reports, A powerful magnitude 6.4 earthquake has struck in Jiashi County of northwest China’s autonomous Xinjiang. The earthquake was reported to have a depth of 165m and took place at 9:21 pm local time.

Witnesses say the shaking was felt in the cities of Kashgar and Artux. At this time there are no reports of fatalities or damage. This is the third earthquake that has struck in Southern Xinjiang, China in the past 47 hours.

That quake in China was later downgraded to a magnitude 6.0 event, but that is still very significant.

In some parts of the planet, the shaking simply does not stop. Over in the Philippines, there have been more than 400 earthquakes associated with the eruption of Taal volcano since last Sunday

Since Sunday, a staggering 466 earthquakes have been recorded, and experts warn more eruptions may still come.

Of those quakes, 156 were recorded as being intensity one to four.

Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief Mariton Bornas said: “For volcanic earthquakes, that is strong.”

And as I have written about previously, more than 1,000 earthquakes have shaken Puerto Rico in recent weeks. Many residents continue to sleep outside because they are deathly afraid that their homes will collapse on top of them while they are sleeping if another big quake suddenly strikes.

On top of everything else, global weather patterns continue to go haywire.

In Alberta, the weather has actually been colder than it has been on Mars

The highest temperature recorded on the red planet Wednesday morning was -17 C, according to NASA, which was still a few degrees above Alberta, where the warmest temperature recorded was –21.2 C, at Nakiska Ridge in Kananaskis Country.

In Calgary, it reached a low of –31.2 C early Wednesday, according to Environment Canada, while in Edmonton the mercury dipped to –34 C.

And along with Mars, Alberta was colder than a number of other well-known spots, like Siberia, which sat at –11 C Wednesday morning, and Nuuk, Greenland, where it was –12 C.

And in Newfoundland, a devastating blizzard packing wind speeds of up to 98 mph dumped an all-time record 30 inches of snow on St. John’s…

Premier Dwight Ball said he had asked for the federal government’s assistance, including mobilizing the armed forces, after the blizzard battered eastern Newfoundland.

Rob Carroll, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said St. John’s had experienced a one-day snowfall of 76.2 centimeters (30 inches), breaking the previous record of 68.4 centimeters (27 inches) on April 5, 1999.

On an almost daily basis, we are seeing natural disasters happen that are unlike anything we have ever seen before, and what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning.

Despite all of our advanced technology, we remain exceedingly dependent on the natural environment that surrounds us, and that natural environment is becoming increasingly unstable.

We are truly entering uncharted territory, and most people cannot even imagine the great challenges that lie ahead for all of us.

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/21/2020 - 16:45
Published:1/21/2020 3:58:01 PM
[Aerospace] Max Q: SpaceX succeeds with a spectacular Crew Dragon test launch Max Q is a new weekly newsletter all about space. Sign up here to receive it weekly on Sundays in your inbox. We’re off and running with good milestones achieved for NASA’s commercial crew program, which means it’s more likely than ever we’ll actually see astronauts launch from U.S. soil before the year is out. […] Published:1/20/2020 7:17:04 AM
[Markets] Air Force Conducts Ground Test Of Hypersonic X-60A Missile Air Force Conducts Ground Test Of Hypersonic X-60A Missile

President Trump revealed earlier this month that the US is currently developing hypersonic missiles and touted that the weapons were "big, powerful, lethal, and fast."

Trump's mention of hypersonic missiles occurred during his national address last Wednesday as he spoke about escalating tensions with Iran.

"Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal, and fast, "Trump said. 

"Under construction are many hypersonic missiles. The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it. American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent," he added.

The hypersonic missile under development that President Trump was likely referencing is the US Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) X-60A, an air-launched, single-stage rocket designed to reach speeds of Mach 5 to March 8, reported Flight Global

AFRL moved a step closer to initial flight tests after it recently conducted test firings of its engines while on the ground at Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Florida.

"This test series was a critical step in reducing risk and gathering necessary system integration data in preparation for our upcoming flight tests," said Barry Hellman, AFRL X-60A program manager.

The X-60A has been designed to be air-launched from the undercarriage of a NASA C-20A, a military version of the Gulfstream III. 

The initial flight test could take place in the second half of this year: "When we go to flight later this year, we hope to demonstrate the capability of the X-60A to provide affordable access to hypersonic flight conditions, which will position AFRL to deliver an innovative test capability for the Air Force and other [US Department of Defense] organizations," Hellman said. 

The hypersonic race is well underway. It has been said the US is falling behind the curve in hypersonic development as Russia and China race ahead with test flights and deployments. 

The next global conflict will be fought with fifth-generation stealth fighters and hypersonic missiles. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/18/2020 - 09:55
Tags
Published:1/18/2020 9:09:55 AM
[Aerospace] SpaceX’s Crew Dragon astronaut spacecraft has a key launch Saturday – here’s what’s going down SpaceX and NASA are getting ready for a key test of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon commercial crew spacecraft on Saturday, and this should be the last major milestone that SpaceX has to pass in terms of demonstration missions before actual crew climb aboard the spaceship for a trip to the International Space Station. Starting at 8 […] Published:1/17/2020 4:05:13 PM
[Markets] 2020: The Lowest Solar Activity In Over 200 Years 2020: The Lowest Solar Activity In Over 200 Years

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

As we move further into 2020, solar activity dwindles.  This year, solar activity will be marked as the lowest in over 200 years. The low in the sun’s 11-year cycle will also have at least some repercussions for the climate here on Earth.

On December 20, 2019, Iceland received one of the largest snow storms in its history. The so-called “10-year storm,” brought winds of 100 miles per hour (161 km/h), with one weather station reporting gusts of up to 149 mph (240 km/h), according to a report by Interesting Engineering. 

Iceland’s, Europe’s and North America’s weather have historically been tied to the sunspot activity of the Sun. According to NASA, in 2020, the Sun, which is currently in solar cycle number 25, will reach its lowest activity in over 200 years. That means “space weather” will be favorable for exploration beyond Earth, yet it could also very well mean we should prepare for odd or different weather patterns.

The solar cycle is a periodic 11-year fluctuation in the Sun’s magnetic field, during which its North and South poles trade places. This has an enormous effect on the number and size of sunspots, the level of solar radiation, and the ejection of solar material comprised of flares and coronal loops. –Interesting Engineering. 

When solar activity gets really low, it can have the effect of a “mini ice age.” The period between 1645 and 1715 was marked by a prolonged sunspot minimum, and this corresponded to a downturn in temperatures in Europe and North America. Named after astronomers Edward Maunder and his wife Annie Russell Maunder, this period became known as the Maunder Minimum. It is also known as “The Little Ice Age.”

Solar Minimum Madness: Is Thanksgiving’s Winter Wonderland A Preview Of The Bitterly Cold Winter To Come?

Predictions for solar cycle #25 made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), NASA and the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) anticipate a deep minimum and a maximum that will occur between the years 2023 and 2026. During that maximum, they predict the Sun will have between 95 and 130 sunspots.

*  *  *

Just don't tell Greta that climate change could be related to solar activity... and not Trump flying Air Force One to murder koala bears...

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/14/2020 - 18:25
Published:1/14/2020 5:44:11 PM
[Markets] Glacier Park In Montana Set To Remove "Glaciers Will All Be Gone By 2020" Signs Glacier Park In Montana Set To Remove "Glaciers Will All Be Gone By 2020" Signs

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

Montana’s Glacier National Park is being forced to remove all signs that read “glaciers will all be gone by 2020,” after the doomsday scenario didn’t happen.

Some of the signs were already removed last year as it became clear the prediction wasn’t going to unfold.

Now the rest of the signs will have to be taken down too.

Glacier National Park spokeswoman Gina Kurzmen “told MTN News that the latest research shows shrinking, but in ways much more complex than what was predicted. Because of this, the park must update all signs around the park stating all glaciers will be melted by 2020,” reports 8KPAX.

In the late 90’s and early 2000s, scientists predicted that man-made global warming would cause melting glaciers, leading to rapidly rising sea levels that would sink coastal cities and towns.

The more dire forecasts have proven to be totally inaccurate and some glaciers are now growing.

Back in June, NASA reported that the Jakobshavn Glacier in western Greenland had thickened and “has grown for the third year in a row.”

The glacier prediction is by no means the only forecast global warming alarmists have got spectacularly wrong.

At the end of the 70’s, climate experts said that a new ice age was coming. It didn’t happen.

Paul Erlich’s prediction that hundreds of millions of people would die of starvation due to crop failure by the 1980’s also didn’t happen.

The 2004 prediction that major European cities would be underwater and that Britain would be plunged into a Siberian climate by 2020 didn’t happen.

Al Gore’s doomsday warning that the Arctic would have ice free summers by 2013 didn’t happen either.

Maybe since these “experts” been caught lying time and time again, we should stop listening to them.

*  *  *

My voice is being silenced by free speech-hating Silicon Valley behemoths who want me disappeared forever. It is CRUCIAL that you support me. Please sign up for the free newsletter here. Donate to me on SubscribeStar here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown.

Tyler Durden Thu, 01/09/2020 - 14:40
Published:1/9/2020 1:43:06 PM
[Markets] "It's Like An Atomic Bomb" - Australia Deploys Military As Monstrous Storm Creates It's Own Weather Crisis "It's Like An Atomic Bomb" - Australia Deploys Military As Monstrous Storm Creates It's Own Weather Crisis

Authored by Elias Marat via TheMindUnleashed.com,

Australia’s government has announced that it would call up 3,000 military reservists to confront an unprecedented bushfire crisis that is producing nightmarish “firenados” - cyclonic fire-tornadoes - and conditions that some are comparing to the aftermath of nuclear warfare.

On Saturday, beleaguered Prime Minister Scott Morrison sought to reassure the country’s population that his government would take unprecedented measures to contain the fires, which have raged since September. According to AFP, Morrison said:

“Today’s decision puts more boots on the ground, puts more planes in the sky, puts more ships at sea.” 

The addition of 3,000 reservists to firefighting efforts, which have already seen the deployment of roughly 2,000 military personnel, amounts to what authorities say is most likely the largest maritime rescue operation in Australia’s history, reports the New York Times.

NASA issued this stunning satellite-based visualization of the state of the fires in Australia...

Military aircraft, naval ships, and other materiel will also be made available to assist evacuation and firefighting efforts.

Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said:

“The government has not taken this decision lightly … It is the first time that reserves have been called out in this way in living memory.”

The environmental calamity has been stoked by a combination of extreme winds, record-shattering heat waves, and drought-parched forests, grasslands, and brush.

Australia’s bushfires have also grown so monstrous that they are generating their own weather in the form of pyro-cumulonimbus clouds - dry thunderstorms that create more fires - according to Victoria’s Bureau of Meteorology. Fire-generated thunderstorms have appeared over the fires in two different locations. NASA describes them as the “fire-breathing dragon of clouds.”

The storms have further introduced an unpredictable dynamic to the spread of fires and rapid, erratic changes, CNN reports. Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Neil Bennett told Australia’s ABC:

“The prediction of fire weather in terms of wind is critical and when you’ve got a highly variable wind environment as you do with a thunderstorm, if you have that in the fire environment, those winds become very, very difficult to predict.”

The dry thunderstorms have also triggered cyclonic fire-tornadoes, or “firenados,” which have ripped through arid regions of southern Australia in recent days.

On Monday, firefighter Samuel McPaul was killed in “truly horrific” incident when extreme weather produced by the fire lifted his 12-ton fire truck into the air and dumped it on its roof. Two other firefighters on the scene are being treated for serious burns due to the “freakish” weather incident.

Shane Fitzsimmons, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner, was visibly shaken when he announced how the truck was flipped in what he described as a “pyro-convective line” of “cyclonic type winds.” He said:

“The local crews that were able to catch up with him in the field at the accident scene describe what they experienced as truly horrific. They described it as an extraordinary wind event, describing it as a fire tornado.

We have a completely devastated family, a devastated local community at what just has been an extraordinary loss.”

As of Saturday, over 23 lives have been claimed by the deadly fires, which have burned over 12 million acres of land, an area larger than Switzerland. On Saturday, Fire Commissioner of the Rural Fire Service in New South Wales (NSW), Shane Fitzsimmons, confirmed to reporters that over 148 active fires continue to burn in his state, 12 of which are at emergency levels. Meanwhile, in Victoria, authorities say that 50 active fires continue to burn.

Ecologists fear that nearly 500 million mammals, reptiles and birds—including 8,000 koalas—are estimated to have been killed, although the current death toll is impossible to calculate. The massive loss of life threatens to forever tip the balance for entire species of animals and plants on an island continent where 87 percent of wildlife is endemic to the country, meaning it can only be found on Australia.

Kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, wombats, potoroos, bandicoots, echidnas, possums, and other species all have populations that live in regions currently being devastated by the fires—and because the fires have extended to the wetlands, dry eucalyptus forests, and even rainforests, the animals have no place to find refuge.

Jim Radford, a research fellow at La Trobe University in Melbourne, told the Times:

“We’ve never seen fires like this, not to this extent, not all at once, and the reservoir of animals that could come and repopulate the areas, they may not be there.”

Many experts are using terms to describe the crisis that would have previously been unimaginable. New Zealand Herald reports that Andrew Constance, the transport minister in NSW, told ABC radio:

“I’ve got to be honest with you, this isn’t a bushfire, it’s an atomic bomb.

It’s indescribable the hell it’s caused and the devastation it’s caused.”

Perhaps this will add some more context...

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/05/2020 - 21:30
Published:1/5/2020 8:48:23 PM
[Markets] The Great Russian Election-Hacking Myth The Great Russian Election-Hacking Myth

Authored by 'TheDarkMan' via TheDuran.com,

The claim that Russia somehow interfered with the 2016 American Presidential election (and was thereby responsible for the ascent of Donald Trump) has been parroted incessantly by both the mainstream media and leading Democrats, including of course Hillary Clinton. While many people believe this claim, Mrs Clinton doesn’t simply blame Russia for her election loss but the world and his dog, as can be seen from the above cartoon.

Though we are now in 2020, many leading Democrats and a substantial tranche of the American media are still replaying the 2016 election, and if their attention has switched to Ukraine, their pronouncements contain the same inference, namely that Trump is being assisted by foreigners, and should he triumph again in November, his Presidency will still be illegitimate. What though is the evidence for Russian interference, and how was this interference carried out?

The evidence, such as it is, is that a company/organisation called the Internet Research Agency paid for a number of advertisements on social media. This evidence is compelling, although anyone who has seen these advertisements can only wonder how they were supposed to have influenced the election to Trump’s benefit. Lee Camp has argued that the Internet Research Agency is nothing more than a troll farm that was generating memes in order to attract clients. In view of the puerile nature of some of these advertisements, it is difficult to disagree with him.

In an earlier age, both the cinema and the Western press portrayed Russia agents as sinister and deadly men and women who would kill without conscience. They travelled on professionally forged documents, used sophisticated weapons, and were totally loyal to the Kremlin. Are we now to believe James Bond’s deadliest enemy is a troll who sits behind a keyboard all day long hoping to dissuade people from voting Democrat by posting cartoons augmented by subtle propaganda? Apparently so.

There is also the little matter of the hacked e-mails, but these were not hacked from a US Government network, rather they were  from John Podesta’s Gmail account, and one of Hillary Clinton’s accounts hosted by her (illegal) private server. The hack of Podesta’s account was effected by a phisher. If you use e-mail a lot you’ll quite likely receive many such fake e-mails every week, although you may not notice those that are sent directly to your spam folder. Mrs Clinton’s account was hacked by someone in China, possibly an agency of the Chinese Government, though it would be just as unfair to point the finger directly at Xi Jiping as at Vladimir Putin.

The other alleged hack was shown by William Binney to have been not a hack but a leak of information. The probable culprit was Seth Rich, who was murdered July 10, 2016 in strange circumstances.  Although claims about his murder have been dismissed as a conspiracy theory, any such theory is a lot more plausible than most of the garbage that has been peddled about Trump and the Kremlin.

Is it then possible that Russia or any other outside agent could have interfered with the elections in a more direct manner, and could perhaps do so again? The only way to do this would be to tamper with the vote count electronically. It remains to be seen how this could be done, but as far as votes are tampered with at all, this appears to be a purely Democratic pastime. In June last year, under pressure from Judicial Watch, California began a purge of up to a million and a half “inactive” voters from its rolls. Why did it take a court action to compel this? Clearly because the people running this particular area – Los Angeles County – felt an unpurged roll was preferable to a purged one. Kevin McCarthy is the Republican Congressman for Los Angeles County; all the others are Democrats. Including Adam Schiff! Only two of the Districts fourteen senators are Republicans.

While Russian interference with voting sounds and is extremely improbable, the actual hacking of American Government websites and those of commercial organisations is something that is done routinely by all manner of actors, not all of them hostile but clearly all of them unwelcome (with one exception).

Here are a few examples:

  • In March 1995, a Russian by the name of Vladimir Levin rather than Vladimir Putin was arrested at Stansted Airport on suspicion of hacking into Citibank and stealing money, ?a massive financial fraud. He was eventually extradited to the United States where after a plea bargain he was sentenced to three years behind bars and ordered to pay restitution.

  • Scotsman Gary McKinnon hacked into no fewer than 97 US military and NASA computers over a thirteen month period in 2001–2002. He said he was looking for evidence of UFOs and other fringe subjects. His was said to have been the biggest military hack of all time.

  • In October 2012, the South Carolina Department Of Revenue was hacked; this affected over three and a half million accounts.

  • In August 2013, hackers targeted Yahoo. Although based in the US, this Internet giant has branches worldwide. According to a report by National Public Radio four years later, it was likely that every Yahoo! account in existence at the time had been hacked.

  • Also in 2013, the social network site Tumblr was hacked, which led to the compromise of over 65 million passwords.

  • In May 2014, eBay was hacked, and 145 million users had their data compromised.

  • Navinder Singh Sarao was said to have helped trigger a multibillion dollar Wall Street crash. The so-called Hound Of Hounslow was living with his parents at the time of his arrest in April 2015. Although not a hacker, he made (and apparently lost) millions by manipulating markets with a sophisticated computer program of his own design.

  • In October 2018, digitaltrends dot com reported that a hack of the Pentagon had compromised the personal information of over thirty thousand staff. Has Rachel Maddow even mentioned this?

  • Finally, the Pentagon is so aware of its vulnerability to hackers that in 2016 it invited people to hack into it – the one exception alluded to above. The winner of the Hack The Pentagon Bounty Program was a teenager; David Dworken received a share of $75,000 prize money.

All this tends to undermine the ludicrous claims of Rachel Maddow and her fellow cranks that Russia and Russia alone is any sort of threat to America cyber security.

Tyler Durden Thu, 01/02/2020 - 18:45
Tags
Published:1/2/2020 6:05:07 PM
[Markets] Breaking The Ice: Mapping A Changing Arctic Breaking The Ice: Mapping A Changing Arctic

The Arctic is changing. As retreating ice cover makes this region more accessible, Visual Capitalist's Nicholas LePan notes that nations with Arctic real estate are thinking of developing these subzero landscapes and the resources below.

As the Arctic evolves, a vast amount of resources will become more accessible and longer shipping seasons will improve Arctic logistics. But with a changing climate and increased public pressure to limit resource development in environmentally sensitive regions, the future of northern economic activity is far from certain.

This week’s Chart of the Week shows the location of major oil and gas fields in the Arctic and the possible new trade routes through this frontier.

A Final Frontier for Undiscovered Resources?

Underneath the Arctic Circle lies massive oil and natural gas formations. The United States Geological Survey estimates that the Arctic contains approximately 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil resources and about 30% of its undiscovered natural gas resources.

So far, most exploration in the Arctic has occurred on land. This work produced the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field in Alaska, the Tazovskoye Field in Russia, and hundreds of smaller fields, many of which are on Alaska’s North Slope, an area now under environmental protection.

Land accounts for about 1/3 of the Arctic’s area and is thought to hold about 16% of the Arctic’s remaining undiscovered oil and gas resources. A further 1/3 of the Arctic area is comprised of offshore continental shelves, which are thought to contain enormous amounts of resources but remain largely unexplored by geologists.

The remaining 1/3 of the Arctic is deep ocean waters measuring thousands of feet in depth.

The Arctic circle is about the same geographic size as the African continent-about 6% of Earth’s surface area-yet it holds an estimated 22% of Earth’s oil and natural gas resources. This paints a target on the Arctic for exploration and development, especially with shorter seasons of ice coverage improving ocean access.

Thawing Ice Cover: Improved Ocean Access, New Trading Routes

As Arctic ice melts, sea routes will stay navigable for longer periods, which could drastically change international trade and shipping. September ice coverage has decreased by more than 25% since 1979, although the area within the Arctic Circle is still almost entirely covered with ice from November to July.

Typically shipping to Japan from Rotterdam would use the Suez Canal and take about 30 days, whereas a route from New York would use the Panama Canal and take about 25 days.

But if the Europe-Asia trip used the Northern Sea Route along the northern coast of Russia, the trip would last 18 days and the distance would shrink from ~11,500 nautical miles to ~6,900 nautical miles. For the U.S.-Asia trip through the Northwest Passage, it would take 21 days, rather than 25.

Control of these routes could bring significant advantages to countries and corporations looking for a competitive edge.

Competing Interests: Arctic Neighbors

Eight countries lay claim to land that lies within the Arctic Circle: Canada, Denmark (through its administration of Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

There is no consistent agreement among these nations regarding the claims to oil and gas beneath the Arctic Ocean seafloor. However, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provides each country an exclusive economic zone extending 200 miles out from its shoreline and up to 350 miles, under certain geological conditions.

Uncertain geology and politics has led to overlapping territorial disputes over how each nation defines and maps its claims based on the edge of continental margins. For example, Russia claims that their continental margin follows the Lomonosov Ridge all the way to the North Pole. In another, both the U.S. and Canada claim a portion of the Beaufort Sea, which is thought to contain significant oil and natural gas resources.

To Develop or Not to Develop

Just because the resources are there does not mean humans have to exploit them, especially given oil’s environmental impacts. Canada’s federal government has already returned security deposits that oil majors had paid to drill in Canadian Arctic waters, which are currently off limits until at least 2021.

In total, the Government of Canada returned US$327 million worth of security deposits, or 25% of the money oil companies pledged to spend on exploration in the Beaufort Sea. In addition, Goldman Sachs announced that it would not finance any projects in the U.S.’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The retreat of Western economic interests in the Arctic may leave the region to Russia and China, countries with less strict environmental regulations.

Russia has launched an ambitious plan to remilitarize the Arctic. Specifically, Russia is searching for evidence to prove its territorial claims to additional portions of the Arctic, so that it can move its Arctic borderline — which currently measures over 14,000 miles in length — further north.

In a changing Arctic, this potentially resource-rich region could become another venue for geopolitical tensions, again testing whether humans can be proper stewards of the natural world.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/24/2019 - 21:50
Published:12/24/2019 9:01:01 PM
[Markets] The First Ever Mission To Remove Space Junk From Orbit Has Just Been Commissioned The First Ever Mission To Remove Space Junk From Orbit Has Just Been Commissioned

Authored by Manuel Garcia Aguilar via TheMindUnleashed.com,

By September of 2013, there were already more than 500,000 pieces of debris, or “space junk” orbiting Earth and that number is still increasing.

The bits of junk travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph—fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft. This is also potential danger to space vehicles, but especially to the International Space Station, space shuttles, and other spacecraft with humans aboard.

Pixabay.

“The greatest risk to space missions comes from non-trackable debris,” said Nicholas Johnson, NASA chief scientist for orbital debris.

As a result of this risk, the European Space Agency signed a debris-removal contract with Swiss startup ClearSpace tasking the company with de-orbiting a substantial piece of a Vega rocket left in orbit in 2013.

This mission, planned for launch in 2025, will be the first of its kind planned with the sole purpose of cleaning rather than exploring space.

The spacecraft is still unnamed and will be designed to have a “high level of autonomy.” The entire craft should weigh less than 400 kilograms.

Chemical propulsion appears to be the choice of the engineers for the first spacecraft, but future models could employ a mix of chemical and electrical thrusters.

As mentioned before, there is one main target here and it is called Vespa, the leftover remnant from ESA’s Vega rocket launch in 2013. This piece of junk weighs roughly the same as a small satellite and has a simple shape. This would make it easy for the robotic arms to grab. Once it’s in the arms of the collector, it will be dragged out of orbit and allowed to burn up in the atmosphere.

Unfortunately, this will also destroy the collector, but in the future, the agency hopes to improve this technology with future plans to de-orbit multiple objects without also destroying themselves.

“And in the coming years, the number of satellites will increase by an order of magnitude, with multiple mega-constellations made up of hundreds or even thousands of satellites planned for low Earth orbit to deliver wide-coverage, low-latency telecommunications, and monitoring services. The need is clear for a ‘tow truck’ to remove failed satellites from this highly trafficked region,” says Luc Piguet, founder, and CEO of ClearSpace.

So far ClearSpace has raised close to 2.3 million Swiss francs (close to $2.3 million USD) through a mix of investors and grants. The ClearSpace mission is set to cost $129 million.

Tyler Durden Sun, 12/22/2019 - 22:30
Published:12/22/2019 9:47:41 PM
[] Major failure for NASA and the Boeing Starliner spacecraft (but at least we've caught up to the Soviets!) The Boeing Starliner spacecraft safely touched down this morning at the White Sand Missile Range in New Mexico, making it the first time an "American-made, human-rated capsule has landed on land" (Congratulations, guys. We're now able to land capsules on land, just like the Soviets perfected in the 60s.):

https://twitter.com/NASA/status/1208735543657320448

Oh, and]] Published:12/22/2019 5:16:54 PM

[Markets] Boeing And NASA Report Issues With Starliner After Launch  Boeing And NASA Report Issues With Starliner After Launch 

On Friday morning, Boeing's Starliner spaceship was launched via an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The Starliner spaceship is designed to shuttle astronauts back and forth from Earth to the International Space Station (ISS). The test flight has no one on board and is being used to check out the flight systems.

Shortly after launch, CNBC's Jodi Gralnick has just tweeted that Boeing's Starliner spaceship "is assessing an "off-nominal insertion," meaning the crew capsule did not achieve the proper orbit."

At the moment, it's unclear if this means the Starliner's trip to the ISS has been aborted.

NASA will be holding a press conference at 9 am est. on the developments. 

How has social media responded to the incident? 

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/20/2019 - 07:52
Published:12/20/2019 7:06:19 AM
[Aerospace] Watch Boeing launch its new astronaut spacecraft to the Space Station for the first time Boeing is getting ready to launch its new passenger spacecraft for a very special mission: Its first trip to the International Space Station (ISS). The Boeing CST-100 Starliner is the company’s contribution to NASA’s commercial crew program, which will see the U.S. regain the ability to launch astronauts to space from U.S. soil for the […] Published:12/20/2019 5:02:11 AM
[Markets] "We Can't Wait To See This Bird Fly!": NASA's X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Jet Cleared For Final Assembly "We Can't Wait To See This Bird Fly!": NASA's X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Jet Cleared For Final Assembly

NASA's X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) plane has been cleared for large scale assembly, said a NASA press release, dated Dec. 12.  

NASA will build the X-59 in partnership with Lockheed Martin and start test flights in 2021. The goal of the flights is to reduce the noise a sonic boom makes to a sonic thump, or basically as loud as a car door.

Tests are expected to occur over major US metro areas as the X-59 cruises at 940 mph at 55,000 feet.

The X-59's long, slender design will allow it to reduce the loudness of a sonic boom to that of a gentle thump.

"This aircraft has the potential to transform aviation in the United States and around the world by making faster-than-sound air travel overland possible for everyone," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine recently said.

"We can't wait to see this bird fly!"

The X-59 will cost about $250 million to construct, Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works factory in Palmdale, California, will be responsible for the build. 

Skunk Works has also been responsible for developing some of the most secretive aircraft in the world, including the Lockheed U-2, Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, and Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. 

NASA's decision to approve the X-59 for assembly is the first experimental plane to be cleared in more than three decades.

The Key Decision Point-D (KDP-D) was the last obstacle for the X-59 before officials reconvene in 4Q20 before the plane's flight in 2021. 

"With the completion of KDP-D we've shown the project is on schedule, it's well planned and on track. We have everything in place to continue this historic research mission for the nation's air-traveling public," said Bob Pearce, NASA's associate administrator for Aeronautics.

With the construction of the X-59 already underway at Skunk Works, by late 2021, the world will know if the technology can actually reduce the noise of a sonic boom. If so, then this could pave the way for the reintroduction of supersonic flight for commercial airliners by 2030. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/18/2019 - 23:25
Published:12/18/2019 10:26:27 PM
[Aerospace] NASA’s mission to once again fly astronauts from U.S. soil readies for key milestone with Friday launch NASA and partners Boeing and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) are gearing up for a crucial milestone moment on Friday: The ‘Orbital Flight Test’ (OFT) of the Boeing Starliner CST-100 Crew Capsule. The capsule, a spacecraft designed to carry astronauts on board from U.S. soil for the first time since the end of the Space […] Published:12/18/2019 10:26:14 AM
[Aerospace] Watch SpaceX launch a new ‘robot hotel’ and more to the Space Station live It’s take two for SpaceX’s CRS-19 mission, the 19th Commercial Resupply Mission (see how that works?) it’s flying under contract with NASA. The goal of these missions is to ferry supplies, experimental materials and other equipment to the International Space Station, where it’ll be unloaded by the astronauts living and working aboard the orbiting research […] Published:12/5/2019 7:04:17 AM
[Aerospace] NASA will launch a ‘robot hotel’ to the Space Station on its next SpaceX resupply mission NASA is going to be sending something it calls a ‘robot hotel’ to the International Space Station aboard the next commercial resupply mission, which is set to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket this week. The robot hotel is more formally known as the “Robotic Tool Stowage” unit, or the RiTS for short because […] Published:12/3/2019 2:56:23 PM
[Gadgets] NASA’s space pallet concept could land rovers on the moon cheaply and simply Establishing an enduring presence on the Moon will mean making a lot of landings — and NASA researchers want to make those landings as reliable and cheap as possible. This robotic "pallet lander" concept would be a dead simple (as lunar landers go) way to put up to 300 kilograms of rover and payload onto the Moon's surface. Published:11/25/2019 4:45:55 PM
[Aerospace] Max Q: NASA signs up new Moon delivery companies Sign up here to receive Max Q weekly in your inbox, starting December 15. There were lot of highlights in the space industry this past week (even though a rocket launch that was supposed to happened is now pushed to Monday). The biggest news for commercial space might just be that NASA signed on five […] Published:11/24/2019 6:06:58 PM
[Left Column] Vice Climate Alert: ‘The Collapse of Civilization May Have Already Begun’

Jem Bendell, a former consultant to the United Nations and longtime Professor of Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cumbria’s Department of Business, delivered a paper in May 2019 explaining how people and communities might “adapt to climate-induced disruption.” Bendell’s thesis is not only that societal collapse due to climate change is on its way, but that it is, in effect, already here.

But climate activist scientists disagreed. 

Dr. Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies replied: “The evidence for ‘inevitable societal collapse’ is very weak to non-existent.”

Dr. Michael Mann: “To me, this paper is a perfect storm of misguidedness and wrongheadedness."

Published:11/22/2019 5:02:01 PM
[Aerospace] NASA adds SpaceX, Blue Origin and more to list of companies set to make deliveries to the surface of the Moon NASA has added five companies to the list of vendors that are cleared to bid on contracts for the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. This list, which already includes nine companies from a previous selection process, now adds SpaceX, Blue Origin, Ceres Robotics, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems. All of these […] Published:11/18/2019 3:58:11 PM
[Markets] PBS Frontline's "In The Age of AI" Exposes Big-Tech's Ongoing Abuse Of Public Trust PBS Frontline's "In The Age of AI" Exposes Big-Tech's Ongoing Abuse Of Public Trust

Authored by B.N.Frank via AcivistPost.com,

You won’t see cell phones or personal computers much in movies or TV shows until the late 1990s because most people didn’t own them.  Of course most people didn’t need them either.  If you couldn’t afford a “home phone” – pay phones usually weren’t hard to find.  Anyone who needed to be “on call” – like doctors – wore pagers.

People who grew up without new technology know firsthand that it has made the world better in some ways. 

We also know that it has made it worse in others.  People who never knew the world without new technology have been conditioned to believe that all of it is necessary as well as beneficial.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  5G is very dangerous (see 1234, 56, 7, 8).  Artificial Intelligence (AI) is associated with many risks as well.

There will always be people who want more technology regardless of the human and environmental consequences.  Those kinds of people are not going to like Frontline’s “In the Age of AI”.

FRONTLINE investigates the promise and perils of artificial intelligence, from fears about work and privacy to rivalry between the U.S. and China. The documentary traces a new industrial revolution that will reshape and disrupt our lives, our jobs and our world, and allow the emergence of the surveillance society.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/14/2019 - 22:25
Published:11/14/2019 9:32:03 PM
[Markets] America Needs A War On Waste - 100 Examples Of Federal Taxpayer Abuse America Needs A War On Waste - 100 Examples Of Federal Taxpayer Abuse

Via OpenTheBooks.com,

Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations. Unfilled jobs are at a record high. Unemployment for Black Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and those with only a high school diploma is at or near record lows. For women, near a 66-year low. For youths, a 50-year low.

Wages are increasing. Regulations are far less counterproductive. Corporate tax rates are globally competitive.

Unfortunately, the federal debt continues to explode—a lurking threat to our country as we have known it. When George W. Bush took office, the federal debt, after 225 years, was $5.7 trillion. Since then, only 20 years, the debt has exploded—quadrupled—to close to $23 trillion and is increasing about $4 billion a day. Sadly, no one in government seems to care.

Mr. President, the world is undergoing exciting changes—the Internet, the Cloud world, Big Data, 5G, the Information Age—all in the birthing process. The potential progress is beyond imagination. These changes give you the tools to tackle this lurking threat. Today, there is no reason why every government expenditure—local, state, and federal—is not online, available real time to the public via cell phone, iPad, or computer. Taxpayers should know how their every dollar is spent. It is their money. Today, we have the ability to do just that.

MR. PRESIDENT, YOU CAN CREATE A FOUR-STEP NONPARTISAN TRANSPARENCY REVOLUTION.

You can do for government what Uber and Airbnb did for their industries. They revolutionized their worlds by giving their customers detailed information instantaneously. You can do the same for your customers, the taxpayers, by giving them detailed on-line, real time information on how their money is being spent. Doing so will change who they vote for. Elected officials will be far more likely to inform their constituents of what they have done to eliminate wasted tax dollars rather than some program they put in place to buy votes. This is culture changing. Changes to the culture in government will be far more productive than a top-down budget initiative.

The Transparency Revolution could drastically reduce the cost of government. Government is a monopoly. It has an administrative class, public employee unions, lacks a profit motive, and does not have to deal with progress. This is a lethal combination when it comes to spending other people’s money. The following page represents but a small sample of wasted tax dollars.

STEP 1. PUBLICIZE EVERY WHITE HOUSE EXPENDITURE. DIRECT EVERY DEPARTMENT, EVERY AGENCY IN YOUR ADMINISTRATION TO DO THE SAME AND REPORT THEIR PROGRESS TO YOU MONTHLY.

STEP 2. BEGIN A WAR ON WASTE. Appoint a White House Efficiency Executive to examine every White House expense. Cut every dollar of waste. Have every department, every agency in your administration do the same. Report the progress to you monthly.

STEP 3. MOBILIZE EVERY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE. Our government has many fine, dedicated public servants. They know where the waste and incompetence are. They should be encouraged to report what they see. They should be rewarded with a percentage of the realized savings with a smaller percentage going to their department head. Hold an annual recognition dinner.

STEP 4. REPORT THE PROGRESS OR LACK THEREOF TO THE PUBLIC MONTHLY FOR AT LEAST THE FIRST SIX MONTHS, THEN QUARTERLY FOR THE REST OF YOUR ADMINISTRATION. By reporting frequently, you are telling the public and your administration that the Transparency Revolution, the War on Waste, is a high, ongoing priority.

Mr. President, fiscal sanity is every bit as crucial to America’s survival as is a strong defense. There are no free lunches, even in government. As a successful businessman, you understand the importance of managing debt.

Mr. President, you told us that you were going to attack the deficit, drain the so-called Swamp. That is exactly what this Transparency Revolution will do.

*  *  *

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION PAYS TO PUT RUNNING SHRIMP ON A TREADMILL - $1.3 MILLION

FY2012-FY2017 | NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION | National Science Foundation (NSF) funded an experiment that tested how sickness impaired shrimp mobility by putting the crustaceans on a treadmill made an uproar in the media and in Congress nearly five years ago. Yet the NSF has once again given tax dollars to the same researchers to put the would-be seafood on a cardiovascular workout regime. The investigators – Louis and Karen Burnett – measure the crustaceans’ responses to low oxygen and high carbon dioxide environments in a variety of ways and would also test their reactions "when performing energetically demanding activities," according to the award abstract. "The energetically demanding activities will be conducted with the aid of a treadmill, as the technique is effective and will help to make the data comparable to previous studies," Arriens said.

LOBSTER TAIL & SNOW CRAB PURCHASES -- $25.4 MILLION

FY2017-2018 | DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE | As the fiscal year wrapped up, federal agencies celebrated by splurging on luxury food items. The Department of Defense (DOD) originally reported spending $2.3 million on snow crab, Alaskan king crab, and crab legs and claws, plus another $2.3 million on lobster tail. Additionally, agencies spent nearly $300,000 on steak (ribeye, top sirloin, and flank). However, the DOD admitted to inflated disclosures. Their updated numbers reveal lobster and crab purchases amounted to $1.6 million in September 2018 and $25.4 million during an 18-month period. We have additional questions for the agency. Here is a video showing our data download and quantification of $2.3 million (Sept 2018) and $22.1 million (FY2018) in lobster tail purchases as reported by the DOD to the federal government's official transparency portal at USAspending.gov.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER PAYMENTS DISTRIBUTED BY 20 FEDERAL AGENCIES – $1.5 TRILLION

FY2004–FY2019 | OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT & BUDGET | Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled "Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief." Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. In the summary, Hatch writes, "Over the period of FY2004 through FY2017, high priority improper payments have totaled $1.2 trillion." Between FY2017 and FY2019 inclusive, the reports compiled by the Office of Management & Budget show that the agencies admit to approximately $140 billion per year in improper payments. Our reporting published at Forbes.

DEAD PEOPLE RECEIVED MISTAKEN & IMPROPER PAYMENTS - $921 MILLION

FY2018 | MULTIPLE FEDERAL AGENCIES | Dead people received $1 billion in benefits. Medicare, Medicaid, social security payments and also the federal retirement annuity payouts (pensions) kept flowing to dead recipients. Our reporting published at Forbes.

EXPENSIVE COFFEE CUPS: THE PENTAGON PAYS MORE THAN $1,000 FOR A SINGLE COFFEE CUP

FY2018 | U.S. AIR FORCE | The Pentagon admitted to spending $1,220 on a single coffee cup. According to Travis Air Force Base Website. "In 2016, the 60th Aerial Port Squadron purchased 10 hot cups for $9,630. The price for each cup surged from $693 to $1,220 in 2018 resulting in a total expenditure of $32,000 for 25 cups. That’s a price jump of $527 per cup which leads to some pricey hot water," (July 2018).

LIVING EXPENSE TAX DEDUCTION FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS -- $1.6 MILLION

FY2019 | INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE | U.S. Senator Joni Ernst introduced the Stop Questionable, Unnecessary, and Excessive Allowances for Legislators Act, also known as the SQUEAL Act, to cut perks for elected officials and make Washington squeal. This legislation would eliminate a provision of the tax code that allows Members of Congress to deduct, for income tax purposes, up to $3,000 annually in living expenses while in the Washington, D.C. area.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER MEDICARE PAYMENTS – $491.9 BILLION

FY2004–FY2019 | HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES | Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled "Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief." Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. On page CRS-5, table 2 shows Medicare (Fee for Service) improper payments amounted to $387 billion between FY2004-FY2017. The Office of Management & Budget updated the improper payment amounts for FY2018 and FY2019: yielding a total of $491.9 billion since FY2004.

SEX ED FOR PROSTITUTES IN CALIFORNIA – $1.4 MILLION

FY2016 | BARBARA LEE | CALIFORNIA–13 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 5, the report details the $1.4 million grant to the California Prostitutes Education Project from the Department of Health and Human Services.

2020 STUDENT LOANS (ESTIMATED BAD DEBT LOSS) -- $17 BILLION

FY2020 | CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (CBO) | The CBO forecasts that the 2020 student loan portfolio will cost the U.S. taxpayer $17.6 billion. ED will loan $102 billion via six college loan programs and the taxpayer subsidy will amount to 17.3% of all money lent in FY2020.

GROUNDED MOON ROCKET COST OVERRUN -- $2.79 BILLION

FY2012—FY2019 | NASA | NASA will spend $8.9 billion in tax dollars on the Space Launch System (primarily through a Boeing contract), which is $2.7 billion more than the original estimate. A report found that the project’s problems "can be traced largely to management, technical, and infrastructure issues driven by Boeing’s poor performance" yet NASA awarded Boeing $323 million in performance bonuses.

USE IT OR LOSE IT SPENDING – $97 BILLION

FINAL MONTH FY2018 | ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES | In the final month of fiscal year 2018, 67 federal agencies spent $97 billion to close out their budgets. It was a massive shop-until-you-drop, taxpayer funded spending spree. Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found that roughly one out of every nine dollars in federal contracts disclosed by the executive and military agencies in FY2018 was spent during last week of the fiscal year. Eight departments – including the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, State, and Justice – each spent over $1 billion. These findings were aired in a 30-minute interview on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and published in our oversight report.

PREPARING RELIGIONS FOR DISCOVERY OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE – $1.1 MILLION

FY2017 | NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION | In 2017, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake published a waste book report. On page 58, the report details the $1.1 million NASA spent enlisting theologians to answer how the world’s religions would respond if extraterrestrial life were discovered.  

AIRPORT AT MARTHA’S VINEYARD – $19 MILLION

FY2016—FY2020 | DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION | On May 3, 2018, we published an editorial at Fox News Online titled, "Just how much federal waste, duplication and weird or unnecessary spending are your tax dollars funding?" The editorial quantifies the $9.2 million in federal grants that flowed to the private airport on Martha’s Vineyard in FY2016. Since then, we updated the figures through 2020.

AUTHORIZED BY CONGRESS & UNSPENT BY AGENCIES -- $15 BILLION

FY2018 | Rescissions submitted by EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (EOP) | From EOP: The attached rescission proposals include unobligated balances from prior-year appropriations and reductions to budget authority for mandatory programs. These proposals include rescissions of funding that is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was appropriated by the Congress; in many cases, these funds have been left unspent by agencies for years. These proposals also include rescissions of low priority and unnecessary Federal spending.

2020 U.S. CENSUS COST OVERRUN -- $3.3 BILLION

FY2012—FY2023 | U.S. CENSUS BUREAU | Project:  The 2020 national population count conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau is more than $3 billion over budget and will be the most expensive in U.S. history and government auditors are warning that the current cost estimate is not reliable. Original Cost Estimate:  $12.3 billion in 2015. Current Cost Estimate:  $15.6 billion. Project Began:  2012. Original Completion Date:  September 2023. Federal Spending:  $15.6 billion

STUDY: HOW FACEBOOK AFFECTS ALCOHOL USE – $147,686

FY2016 | JIM MCDERMOTT | WASHINGTON–7 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $147,686 grant given to the University of Washington from the Department of Health and Human Services.

SPACE RACERS: AN ANIMATED CHILDREN’S CARTOON – $2.5 MILLION

FY2016 | MO BROOKS | ALABAMA–5 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $2.5 million grant given to the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission from NASA. 

FURNITURE BINGE 2018 USE IT LOSE IT -- $491 MILLION

FINAL MONTH FY2018 | MULTIPLE FEDERAL AGENCIES | In the final month of fiscal year 2018, Federal agencies spent a half billion dollars on furniture to close out their budgets. It was a massive shop-until-you-drop, taxpayer funded spending spree. To Redecorate – federal agencies signed nearly 10,000 contracts to purchase furniture. Notably, the Department of Defense spent $9,341 on a Wexford leather club chair. Our findings published at Forbes.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER MEDICAID PAYMENTS – $306.6 BILLION

FY2004–FY2019 | HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES | Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled "Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief." Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. On page CRS-5, table 2 shows Medicaid improper payments amounted to $234 billion between FY2004-FY2017. Our auditors updated the numbers through FY2019 using disclosures published by the Office of Management & Budget.

GRANTS (SUBSIDIZES) TO FORTUNE 100 COMPANIES -- $3.2 BILLION

FY2014—FY2017 | MULTIPLE FEDERAL AGENCIES | Our auditors quantified a four-year period during which Fortune 100 companies spent $2 billion lobbying Capitol Hill and received $3.2 billion in federal grants (2014-2017). These grants, or subsidies, are funded by the American taxpayer.  our organization at OpenTheBooks.com released our oversight report, Federal Funding of Fortune 100 Companies. We launched this report on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and published at Forbes.

FUNDING TOP 25 COLLEGES WITH LARGEST ENDOWMENTS -- $6.9 BILLION

FY2017—FY2018 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | The wealthiest colleges received nearly $7 billion in federal subsidies last year. The top 25 universities with largest endowments (collectively $272 billion) reaped $7 billion in federal student aid. Rich schools are getting richer and taxpayers paid for it. Wealthy colleges must make themselves affordable. Our findings published at Forbes and in our oversight report.

FANCY ROCK SCULPTURE – $482,960

FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS | After a joint investigation with COX Media Washington, D.C., OpenTheBooks published an editorial at Forbes on July 26, 2016, titled "The VA’s Luxury Art Obsession." The editorial exposed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ array of luxury artwork, including a fancy rock sculpture costing $482,960.

TALKING TO SAGUARO CACTUS – $10,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 10, the report details the $10,000 grant to the Collage Dance Theatre in Los Angeles. Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

USING SOAP OPERAS TO REDUCE HIV IN URBAN BLACK WOMEN – $567,529

FY2016 | MIKE CAPUANO | MASSACHUSETTS–7 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $567,529 grant given to Northeastern University from the Department of Health and Human Services.

EARNED INCOME AND MISTAKEN TAX PAYMENTS-- $18.8 BILLION

FY2019 | INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE | Millions of low-income families who Congress designated as qualified recipients were overpaid billions of dollars. The program is rife with errors: the government overpaid $1 in every $4 to beneficiaries. (The IRS administers the program and responded to our request for comment here.) Our auditors used disclosures published by the Office of Management & Budget. Our findings published at Forbes.

FEDERAL FUNDING INTO THE 50 WORST JUNIOR COLLEGES -- $923.5 MILLION

FY2017—FY2018 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies flowed to the 50 worst performing junior colleges as ranked by WalletHub last year. The 10 worst junior colleges had an average graduation rate of 12 percent. Students aren’t graduating. Yet, they’re saddled with large debts. Our findings published at Forbes and in our oversight report.

PR CONTRACTS 2018 USE-IT-OR-LOSE-IT SPENDING SPREE – $462 MILLION

FINAL MONTH OF FY2018 | MULTIPLE FEDERAL AGENCIES | $462 Million Self Promotion Machine – Federal agencies spent millions on public relations, marketing research and public opinion, communications, and advertising in the final month of fiscal year 2018. The feds already employ 5,000 public affairs officers. It wasn’t enough. Our findings published at Forbes. 

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE MISTAKEN & IMPROPER OVERPAYMENTS -- $3.6 BILLION

FY2019 | DEPARTMENT OF LABOR | Unemployment insurance recipients received $3.6 billion in over payments administered by the states through the Department of Labor. The feds blame the states for lax oversight and program management: *The Department of Labor has been aggressively working with states to address unemployment insurance improper payments, providing intensive oversight and technical assistance to states with the highest improper payment rates and providing tools and resources to help all states better prevent, detect, and recover improper payments. Our findings published at Forbes.

BUYING BOOZE FOR EMBASSIES AROUND THE WORLD – $308,994

FINAL MONTH FY2018 | STATE DEPARTMENT & DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE | On October 3, 2018, we published an editorial at Forbes, titled "Use It or Lose It – Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week in Year-End Spending Spree." Using data compiled by OpenTheBooks.com via the Freedom of Information Act, we quantified $79,000 in alcohol expenditures at the Department of State between September 24 and 30, 2017. We updated the numbers for FY2018 in this piece published at Forbes: For some agencies, the end of the fiscal year seems to be one big party. The Department of Defense and the Department of State purchased beer, wine, and whiskey. Contract recipients included Coors Brewing Company ($76,173); E&J Gallo Winery ($16,510), and more.

PERFORMANCE BONUSES – 99.6% OF FEDERAL WORKFORCE RATED "FULLY SUCCESSFUL" -- $4.4 BILLION

FY2016—FY2019 | ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES | Approximately $1.1 billion in federal performance bonuses were withheld from disclosure in FY2016. All federal performance bonuses are shielded by anti-transparency language inserted into federal union contracts. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, performance bonuses are sometimes based on salary amount and performance rating, and disclosure may allow others to determine an employee's rating. According to a Government Accountability Office audit using 2013 data, 99.6 percent of all federal workers received job performance ratings of "fully successful." That's a higher rating than the advertised purity of Ivory soap (99.3 percent).

2020 SBA LENDING (ESTIMATED BAD DEBT LOSS) -- $4 BILLION

FY2020 | CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE | The CBO forecasts that the 2020 SBA loan portfolio will cost the U.S. taxpayer $4 billion. The SBA will loan $44 billion via seven loan programs and the taxpayer subsidy will amount to 9.5% of all money lent in FY2020.

FLEET OF ARMORED VEHICLES – $1.5 MILLION

FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES | On October 3, 2018, we published an editorial at Forbes, titled "Use It or Lose It – Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week in Year-End Spending Spree." Using data compiled by OpenTheBooks.com via the Freedom of Information Act, we identified a $1.5 million contract between Square One and the Department of Health and Human Services during the week of September 24 through 30, 2018.

SUPPORTED GREEN GROWTH IN PERU -- $10 MILLION

FY2019 | U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT | USAID is committing up to 10 million American taxpayer dollars to develop new and innovative Alliances with the private sector that advance environmentally-friendly economic development (i.e. green growth) in Peru. The envisioned activities will facilitate private sector financing andinvestment in value chains that lead to improved management of natural resources. 

RENOVATION BOONDOOGLE FOR NEW HOMELAND SECURITY HEADQUARTERS -- $2.1 BILLION

Through FY2019 | HOMELAND SECURITY, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION | Trying to turn around an abandoned mental hospital into a new DHS headquarters, the General Services Administration (GSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have been attempting, since 2005 and at a cost of more than $2.1 billion to the taxpayer, to establish a headquarters for DHS on parts of the property. This effort includes creating office space for the Office of Secretary of Homeland Security and other crucial senior personnel in the West Campus’ main building.

HIPSTER PARTIES – $5 MILLION

FY2015 | NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH | In 2015, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake published a wastebook report. On page 11, the report details the $5 million the federal government spent funding "hipster parties."

VIRTUAL REALITY TO TEACH CHILDREN IN CHINA HOW TO CROSS THE STREET – $183,750

FY2016 | TERRI SEWELL | ALABAMA–7 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $183,750 grant given to the University of Alabama Birmingham from the Department of Health and Human Services.

TAI CHI FOR THE ELDERLY – $696,723

FY2016 | MIKE CAPUANO | MASSACHUSETTS–7 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 8, the report details the $696,723 grant given to the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Elderly from the Department of Health and Human Services.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER STUDENT LOANS AND GRANTS – $11 BILLION

FY2017–FY2018 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | ED lacks basic in-house financial accounting controls, and admits to overpaying $11 billion in Pell grants and student loans over the last two-years. About four percent of all student loans and eight percent of all Pell grants are overpaid. Our oversight published at Forbes.

27’ ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREE – $21,500

FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS | In a joint investigation with COX Media Washington, D.C., OpenTheBooks published an editorial at Forbes on July 26, 2016, titled "The VA’s Luxury Art Obsession." The editorial exposed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ array of luxury artwork purchases over a ten-year period cost taxpayers $20 million, including a 27-foot artificial Christmas tree. Our story was aired on Good Morning America and ABC World News Tonight. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley wrote an oversight letter to then-VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who apologized for the purchases and instituted new rules to stop the purchases on a go-forward basis.

BOGUS BONUSES RELATED TO F-35 SPARE PARTS SHORTAGE -- $303 MILLION

FY2019 | INSPECTOR GENERAL DEFENSE DEPARTMENT | "We determined that the DoD did not receive RFI F35 spare parts in accordance with contract requirements and paid performance incentive fees on the sustainment contracts based on inflated and unverified F35A aircraft availability hours. As a result, the DoD received nonRFI spare parts and spent up to $303 million in DoD labor costs since 2015, and it will continue to pay up to $55 million annually for nonRFI spare parts until the nonRFI spare parts issue is resolved."

AVERAGE FEDERAL EMPLOYEE RECEIVES 43 DAYS PAID TIME OFF – $22.6 BILLION

FY2016 | U.S. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp quantified the taxpayer cost of federal employees’ benefits package. In the report, there is a section titled "Time Off and Benefits," beginning on page 11. The average federal bureaucrat receives 10 holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days. That’s 43 days of paid time off each year.

160,000 DEFAULTED SBA LOANS – $24.2 BILLION

SINCE 2000 | SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION | In September 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report – Truth in Lending, quantifying the 160,000 defaulted Small Business Administration (SBA) loans doled out between 2000 and 2015, costing taxpayers $24.2 billion. Search all bad loans in your own ZIP Code, or any ZIP Code across America, on our interactive mapping platform.

COSTS 7 CENTS TO MAKE A NICKLE -- $150 MILLION

FY2019 | U.S. MINT | It currently costs 2.06 cents to make each penny and 7.53 cents to make each nickel. In other words, American taxpayers lose money every time the U.S. Mint produces one of those coins.

It might sound funny, but so many coins are produced annually that the cost actually adds up. Based on estimates from numbers in the U.S. Mint’s annual report, taxpayers lost about $85.4 million from penny production and $33.5 million from nickel production last year. Over the next decade, taxpayers would save $150 million. Source: here.

FROG MATING CALL STUDY IN PANAMA -- $404,991

FY2019 | NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION | The National Science Foundation spent a significant portion of a grant totaling $466,991 on studying the mating call of the male tungara frog of Panama. In a look at the effects of urbanization, the study examined the differences between the mating call in the city and in the forest, including the likelihood of attracting midges and bats.

SUPERSTORM SANDY FALSE-CLAIM VEHICLE DAMAGE PAYMENTS TO NYC -- $5.3 MILLION

FY2019 | FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY | The problems began when the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) submitted a list of claims to FEMA for a total of $12,758,664 in reimbursement for vehicles, all of which it claimed were damaged by the storm. However, "many of the vehicles" instead were already "non-operational — and some had even been marked for salvage —years before Sandy," The federal government stated in its complaint. The government also made it clear that proper oversight was ignored every step of the way. Source: here.

IVY LEAGUE COLLEGES – $42 BILLION

FY2010–2015 | FEDERAL PAYMENTS, SUBSIDIES, TAX–BREAKS | ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES | In March 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Ivy League, Inc. In this report, we quantified all federal payments, subsidies, and tax breaks for the eight Ivy League schools between FY2010-FY2015. The Ivy League schools have $120 billion in accumulated endowment funds. Our findings launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer-Riley titled, Ivy League Doesn’t Need Taxpayer Help. Our findings were also cited in the Boston Globe as providing research to congress as they instituted a new ‘excessive endowments’ tax in December 2017.

USING E–DIARIES TO COPE WITH MICROAGGRESSIONS – $173,089

FY2016 | ADAM KINZINGER | ILLINOIS–16 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 6, the report details the $173,089 grant to Northern Illinois University from the Department of Health and Human Services for these e-diaries.

DANCING WITH 15–FOOT FISH – $10,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 10, the report details the $10,000 grant to the Collage Dance Theatre in Los Angeles.

MEDITATION BREATHING MOBILE APP – $687,989

FY2016 | JIM CLYBURN | SOUTH CAROLINA–6 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 6, the report details the $687,989 grant to the Medical University of South Carolina from the Department of Health and Human Services.

FUNDING A FREQUENTLY INVESTIGATED CHILDCARE FACILITY IN TEXAS – $32.6 MILLION

FY2013-2020 | DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 6, the report details the $5 million in federal grant dollars given to the Shiloh Treatment Center in FY2016 alone. NPR investigated this center and allegations of medicating children. Recently, we updated the numbers to cover the fiscal years 2013 through 2020.

WHERE IT HURTS THE MOST TO BE STUNG BY BEE – $1 MILLION

FY2015 | NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION | Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona published a report, titled "Twenty Questions: Government Studies That Will Leave You Scratching Your Head." On page 7, the report details the $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a study asking "Where does it hurt the most to be stung by a bee?"

MISTAKEN & IMPROPER SBA LENDING -- $1.8 BILLION

FY2018—FY2019 | SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION | The SBA also has a problem with basic internal financial controls and admitted to $924.5 million in improperly paid "over payments" just last year. The agency cited its "inability to authenticate [borrower] eligibility," and "administrative or process errors made by the agency." Our findings were published at Forbes.

SUBSIDIZED LENDING TO WALL STREET BANKERS -- $12 BILLION

FY2014—FY2018 | SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION | A significant portion of SBA lending didn’t go to Main Street; it went to Wall Street. In fact, $12.2 billion in lending flowed to highly capitalized venture capital, mezzanine finance firms, private investor funds and investment pools. That’s not small business.

35,780 FEDERAL LAWYERS – $14.3 BILLION

FY2016—FY2018 | OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp analyzed the most popular and taxpayer expensive federal employee job titles. On page 16, there is a case study detailing the annual taxpayer cost ($4.8 billion) of employing 35,212 federal lawyers. Only 12,000 of those lawyers are pursuing crime and criminals at the Department of Justice. Recently, we updated the numbers for all the years between FY2016 and FY2018.

IRS PURCHASE OF 4,600 GUNS & 5M ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION – INCLUDING 621 SHOTGUNS, 539 RIFLES & 15 SUBMACHINE GUNS -- $15.5 MILLION

FY2006—FY2017 | INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE | In December 2018, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report to congress quantifying purchases of $1.5 billion in firearms, ammunition, and tactical equipment by federal agencies outside of the Pentagon (FY2010-FY2017). These findings were consistent with our oversight published at The Wall Street Journal in summer 2016, which found 67 federal agencies outside of the Department of Defense purchased $1.4 billion in guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment (FY2006-FY2014).

LUXURY ARTWORK PURCHASES – $20 MILLION

FY2007–FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS | In a joint investigation with COX Media Washington, D.C., OpenTheBooks published an editorial at Forbes on July 26, 2016, titled "The VA’s Luxury Art Obsession." The editorial exposed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ array of luxury artwork purchases over a ten-year period cost taxpayers $20 million. Our story was aired on Good Morning America and ABC World News Tonight. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley wrote an oversight letter to then-VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who apologized for the purchases and instituted new rules to stop the purchases on a go-forward basis.

3,390 FEDERAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICERS - $1.1 BILLION

FY2016—FY2018 | 202 FEDERAL AGENCIES | OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp analyzed the most popular and taxpayer expensive federal employee job titles. On page 17, there is a case study detailing the annual taxpayer cost ($368.4 million) of employing 3,618 federal public affairs officers. There are approximately 5,000 public relations officers employed by all federal agencies, but only 3,618 are disclosed. Recently, we updated the numbers in fiscal years 2016 through 2018.

STUDY: ARE PHYSICIAN TRAINEES RACIST? – $932,741

FY2016 | TIM WALZ | MINNESOTA–1 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 9, the report details the $932,741 grant given to Mayo Clinic from the Department of Health and Human Services.

PREVENTING TEEN PREGNANCY THROUGH THEATER – $749,000

FY2016 | CHAKA FATTAH | PENNSYLVANIA–2 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 9, the report details the $749,000 grant given to the Public Health Management Corporation from the Department of Health and Human Services.

VIRTUAL SHOE–FITTING – $902,789

FY2015-2016 | MORGAN GRIFFITH | VIRGINIA–9 | REPUBLICAN | ANNA ESHOO | CALIFORNIA-18 |  DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 10, the report details the $753,502 grant given to Eclo, Inc. from the National Science Foundation. A representative from Rep. Griffith's office reached out to us, claiming Rep. Griffith was not responsible for this grant. Read Rep. Griffith's office's argument here. Rep. Griffith's office sent a cease and desist letter to our office and we issued a response. Read our response letter here. Recently, we updated the numbers and the total grants amounted to $902,789.

VIDEO GAME: THE LOGICAL JOURNEY OF THE ZOOMBINIS – $658,388

FY2016 | KATHERINE CLARK | MASSACHUSSETS–5 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 11, the report details the $658,388 grant given to Technical Education Research Centers, Inc. from the National Science Foundation.

650 FEDERAL GARDENERS & LANDSCAPERS – $127.1 MILLION

FY2016—FY2018 | U.S. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp analyzed the most popular and taxpayer expensive federal employee job titles. On page 18, there is a case study detailing the annual taxpayer cost ($44 million) of employing 650 federal gardeners and landscapers. Recently, we updated the numbers to reflect the cost during fiscal years 2016 through 2018.

SBA LOANS TO EXCLUSIVE CLUBS (COUNTRY CLUBS, YACHT CLUBS, ETC.) – $281 MILLION

FY2007–FY2018 | SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION | In September 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report – Truth in Lending, detailing examples of the Small Business Administration (SBA) doling out small business loans to country clubs, yacht clubs, golf courses, and other exclusive entities. This continued our oversight we kicked off in 2014 of the SBA. Recently, we updated the numbers and published the results at Forbes. Since FY2007, our auditors quantified more than $280 million in lending to private country clubs, beach clubs, swim clubs, tennis clubs and yacht clubs across America. In the past five years, $120 million flowed to these exclusive clubs.

HISTORIC HOBO DAY – $11,987

FY2016 | KRISTI NOEM | SOUTH DAKOTA–1 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 8, the report details the $11,987 grant given to South Dakota State University from the National Endowment for the Arts.

STUDY: DISEASE SUSCEPTIBILITY OF TRANSLOCATING TORTOISES – $350,773

FY2016 | GLENN THOMPSON | PENNSYLVANIA–5 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 12, the report details the $350,773 grant given to Pennsylvania State University from the National Science Foundation.

MOBILE APP FOR SEX DIARY – $1 MILLION

FY2016 | GRACE NAPOLITANO | CALIFORNIA–32 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 12, the report details the $1 million grant given to Public Health Foundation Enterprises, Inc. from the Department of Health and Human Services.

CONVINCING MOTHERS TO STOP TEEN GIRLS FROM USING TANNING BEDS – $671,522 

FY2016 | ED PERLMUTTER | COLORADO–7 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 12, the report details the $671,522 grant to Klein Buendel, Inc. from the Department of Health and Human Services.

279 FEDERAL INTERIOR DESIGNERS AT VETERANS AFFAIRS – $67.1 MILLION

FY2016—FY2018 | U.S. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp analyzed the most popular and taxpayer expensive federal employee job titles. On page 16, there is a case study detailing the annual taxpayer cost ($22 million) of employing 270 federal interior designers. Recently, we updated the numbers at the VA through fiscal years 2016—2018. 

LENDING TO MILLIONAIRES: 40,000 $1M+ LOANS -- $94 BILLION

FY2014—FY2018 | SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION | We discovered 40,000 recipients received $1 million plus during fiscal years 2014 through 2018. Since 2007, there were 75,000 recipients receiving $1 million or more. Last year, there were 9,332 recipients, up from 8,275 the previous year. We mapped all of them – recipients of the SBA’s $1+ million loans – by ZIP Code across the country. Search your own neighborhood. Just click a pin (ZIP Code) on our interactive search tool and scroll down to see the results rendered in the chart beneath the map.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER FARM SUBSIDY PAYMENTS – $3.7 BILLION

FY2004–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled "Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief." Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. On page CRS-5, table 2 shows USDA Crop Insurance improper payments amounted to $3.7 billion between FY2004-FY2017. 

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES (HHS) PURCHASE OF 1,300 GUNS & 4M ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION – INCLUDING 1 SHOTGUN, 5 SUBMACHINE GUNS & 189 AUTOMATIC FIREARMS – MILLION$

FY2006—FY2017 | HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

In December 2018, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report to congress quantifying purchases of $1.5 billion in firearms, ammunition, and tactical equipment by federal agencies outside of the Pentagon (FY2010-FY2017). These findings were consistent with our oversight published at The Wall Street Journal in summer 2016, which found 67 federal agencies outside of the Department of Defense purchased $1.4 billion in guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment (FY2006-FY2014).Specific to HHS, the agency has resisted transparency to specifically quantify how much they have spent.

FARM SUBSIDIES INTO URBAN AREAS – $626 MILLION

FY2015–2017 | POPULATION OVER 250K | U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies, released August 2018, quantifies all federal farm subsidies flowing to urban areas with populations exceeding 250,000 between FY2015-FY2017.

VIDEO GAME FOR YOUR FUTURE–SELF – $1.4 MILLION

FY2014—FY2018 | ROBERT WITTMAN | VIRGINIA–1 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 8, the report details the $651,498 grant given to Research and Evaluation Solutions, Inc. from the Department of Health and Human Services. A representative from Rep. Wittman's office reached out to us, claiming Rep. Wittman was not responsible for this grant. Read Rep. Wittman's office's argument here. Our auditor’s updated the numbers to reflect fiscal years 2014 through 2018.

RESEARCHING STIGMATIZATION OF DANISH SMOKERS – $330,176

FY2016 | LOU BARLETTA | PENNSYLVANIA–11 | REPUBLICAN | OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 11, the report details the $330,176 grant given to Dickinson College from the Department of Health and Human Services.

MEASURING BLOOD PRESSURE AT BLACK BARBERSHOPS – $2.1 MILLION

FY2016 | ADAM SCHIFF | CALIFORNIA–28 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 13, the report details the $2.1 million grant given to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from the Department of Health and Human Services.

389 FARM SUBSIDY RECIPIENTS OF $1 MILLION+ – $667 MILLION

FY2017 | U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies, released August 2018, quantifies the number of federal farm subsidy recipients pulling down $1 million or more in fiscal year FY2017 payments. Reviewing those farming entities who received over $1 million during the past 10-years (since 2008), we found over 6,600 entities received up to $23 million. Search our interactive map of all $1 million recipients of federal farm subsidies from over 60 USDA programs displayed by ZIP Code across America.

EPIDEMIC SIMULATION GAME FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS – $350,236

FY2016 | DAVID MCKINLEY | WEST VIRGINIA–1 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 14, the report details the $350,236 grant given to Wheeling Jesuit University from the Department of Health and Human Services. 

HOW AIR POLLUTION AFFECTS BIRTH BY RACE – $788,664

FY2016 | JERRY MCNERNEY | CALIFORNIA–9 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 14, the report details the $788,664 grant given to the University of California at Berkeley from the Environmental Protection Agency. 

VIRTUAL WEIGHT LOSS GAME – $228,830

FY2016 | HENRY JOHNSON, JR. | GEORGIA–4 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 16, the report details the $228,830 grant given to Virtually Better, Inc. from the Department of Health and Human Services.

SMARTPHONE APP FOR PARKING YOUR CAR – $149,999

FY2016 | KRYSTEN SINEMA | ARIZONA–9 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 16, the report details the $149,999 grant given to Arizona State University from the National Science Foundation. 

REFRAMING BELIEFS ABOUT DEATH & DYING AMONG LATINOS – $882,841

FY2015 | CORNELL UNIVERSITY | NATIONAL INSITUTES OF HEALTH, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES In March 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Ivy League, Inc. The report includes examples of wasteful grants doled out by the government to the Ivy League colleges. On page 16, the report details the $882,841 in grants given to Cornell University from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services. 

PAYMENTS TO GAY MEXICAN PROSTITUTES FOR SAFE SEX – $53,419

FY2015 | BROWN UNIVERSITY | NATIONAL INSITUTES OF HEALTH | In March 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Ivy League, Inc. The report includes examples of wasteful grants doled out by the government to the Ivy League colleges. On page 15, the report details the $53,419 grant given to Brown University from the National Institutes of Health.

12 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS COLLECTED FARM SUBSIDY PAYMENTS – $637,059

FY2017 | U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | When conducting research for our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies, released August 2018, our team found 12 members of Congress collecting farm subsidy payments in FY2017. These members of congress sit on the agriculture committee, craft farm policy, vote on the subsidies, and then collect the subsidies. Our Honorary Chairman Dr. Tom Coburn, while in congress, complained to the ethics committee.

NON–MILITARY AGENCIES PURCHASE GUNS, AMMUNITION, AND MILITARY–STYLE EQUIPMENT – $2.2 BILLION

FY2006–FY2017 | 67 NON–MILITARY FEDERAL AGENCIES | In July 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America, quantifying all non-military federal agency purchases of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment between FY2006-FY2014. On October 20, 2017, we published updated numbers (FY2006-FY2017) in an editorial at Forbes, titled "Why Are Federal Bureaucrats Buying Guns and Ammo? $158 Million Spent by Non-Military Agencies."

CLIMATE CHANGE VOICEMAILS FROM THE FUTURE (2020—2065) – $5.7 MILLION

FY2012 | COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY | NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION | In March 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Ivy League, Inc. The report includes examples of wasteful grants doled out by the government to the Ivy League colleges. On page 15, the report details the $5.7 million grant given to Columbia University from the National Science Foundation. 

NEW CONDOM DESIGN WITH MORE LUBRICATION – $1.1 MILLION

FY2016—FY2019 | JOSEPH KENNEDY III | MASSACHUSETTS–4 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 6, the report details the $200,601 grant given to Hydroglyde Coatings from the Department of Health and Human Services. Recently, we updated the numbers to include fiscal years 2016 through 2019.

FUNDING CHRISTIAN SEMINARIES TO MINT PASTORS & PRIESTS -- $815 MILLION

FY2014—FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | Nearly $1 billion funded 112 seminaries to mint pastors and priests. Our findings were published at Forbes and research published in our oversight report.

VA PURCHASE OF GUNS, 11 MILLION ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION, AND MILITARY-STYLE EQUIPMENT -- $17.3 MILLION

FY2006—FY0217 | VETERANS AFFAIRS | The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a mission to provide basic healthcare for veterans. In 1996, the VA didn’t have a police force. Over the last eight years, however, the VA purchased 11 million rounds of ammunition, which amounts to 2,800 rounds for each of their 3,957 officers. The VA also purchased camouflage uniforms, riot helmets and shields, specialized image enhancement devices and tactical lighting. Our findings published at Forbes.

TWO SCULPTURES FOR VA FACILITY THAT SERVES BLIND VETERANS – $670,000

FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS | In a joint investigation with COX Media Washington, D.C., OpenTheBooks published an editorial at Forbes on July 26, 2016, titled "The VA’s Luxury Art Obsession." The editorial exposed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ array of luxury artwork, including a $670,000 sculpture for a VA facility that serves blind veterans.

ARTS GRANTS FOR ORGANIZATIONS WITH OVER $1 BILLION IN ASSETS – $143 MILLION

FY2009–2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. The report quantifies all FY2016 arts and humanities funding flowing to organization with over $1 billion in assets each (page 5). Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

ROBERT REDFORD’S SUNDANCE INSTITUTE – $4.6 MILLION

FY2009—FY2019 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 7, the report details the $200,000 in funding Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute received in FY2016. Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball. Recently, we updated the numbers from FY2009 and found millions of dollars in grants to this well healed arts organization with roughly $50 million in gross assets.

FEMINIST PORN BOOK AND OTHER TITLES – $55,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 8, the report details the $55,000 grant the Feminist Press received in FY2016. Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

EPA PURCHASE OF GUNS, AMMO, AND MILITARY–STYLE EQUIPMENT – $3.4 MILLION

FY2006–FY2017 | ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY | In July 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America, quantifying all non-military federal agency purchases of guns, ammunition, and military equipment between FY2006-FY2014. On October 20, 2017, we published updated numbers (FY2006-FY2017) in an editorial at Forbes, titled "Why Are Federal Bureaucrats Buying Guns and Ammo? $158 Million Spent by Non-Military Agencies." In both studies, we quantified all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) purchases of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment. Our report launched in a co-authored editorial at the Wall Street Journal with Dr. Tom Coburn titled, Why Does the IRS Need Guns?.

"GAMES FOR CHANGE" VIDEO GAME CONVENTION – $200,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 10, the report details the $200,000 grant Games for Change, Inc. received. Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

CIGAR TASTE TEST – $114,375

FY2016 | ROBERT SCOTT | VIRGINIA–3 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 5, the report details the $114,375 grant to Virginia Commonwealth University from the Department of Health and Human Services.

COMEDY CLUB HOLOGRAMS – $1.7 MILLION

FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE | A report by Arizona Senator Jeff Flake quantified $1.7 million given to a nonprofit called the National Comedy Center from the Department of Commerce. The grant was awarded to help the nonprofit construct a comedy museum that will "resurrect" dead comedians as holograms.

HOW TO USE A LAWYER GUIDE – $728,000

FY2015 | DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | In 2015, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake published a wastebook report. On page 89, the report details the $728,000 the Department of Agriculture spent on a "How to Use a Lawyer" guide.

LIGHTING FOR LIQUOR STORES – $50,000

FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | In 2017, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake published a wastebook report. On page 56, the report details the $50,000 the Department of Agriculture spent on liquor store lighting in Florida, Colorado, and Oklahoma.

ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS (PR) CAMPAIGNS -- $1.4 BILLION

FY2020 | ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES | U.S. Senator Joni Ernst quantified $1.4 billion per year spent on PR by the federal agencies. These findings are consistent with our previous oversight report in 2015, The Department of Self-Promotion. 

HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS MEN’S ATTENTION AND SENSITIVITY TO SEXUAL INTEREST CUES – $180,921

FY2016 | DAVE LOEBSACK | IOWA–2 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $180,921 grant given to the University of Iowa from the Department of Health and Human Services.

EXTRA: USDA SPENDS MILLIONS SUBSIDIZING CRICKET FARMS FOR HUMANS TO EAT BUGS

FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | According to USAspending.gov search results (May 2, 2017) Bugeater Labs received Department of Agriculture funding. The University of Nebraska Omaha College of Business Administration website published an article on April 28, 2017, titled "Bugeater Foods," explaining the funding. 

*  *  *

SIGN YOUR NAME TO OPENTHEBOOKS' PETITION, URGING THE PRESIDENT TO WAGE A WAR ON WASTE. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 11/11/2019 - 22:25
Published:11/11/2019 9:44:47 PM
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