Large Synoptic Survey Telescope gets big funding boost from Republicans and the NSF’s and AAASA’s ungrateful responses.

Guest commentary by David Middleton

Back in March, Eric Worrall authored a nice post about “climate scientists running for congress.” Eric’s subject was a really goofy Clean Technica article about Joseph Kopser, touted as some sort of climate scientist.  Clean Technica even spelled his name wrong (Kosper instead of Kopser).  Yesterday, Mr. Kopser won the runoff election against Mary Wilson, a former math teacher and flaming left-wing activist:


Zaid Jilani

May 21 2018


In December, Kopser earned the endorsement of Congress’s No. 2 Democrat, Maryland’s Rep. Steny Hoyer. He’s backed by the Democratic-leaning Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, and, having spent over two decades in the U.S. military, he successfully won the backing of Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton’s Serve America PAC. VoteVets is backing him for similar reasons.

Wilson, meanwhile, is supported by a number of national and local progressive organizations, including Justice Democrats, Our Revolution Central Texas, and the Stonewall Democrats of Austin. The Austin Chronicle issued no endorsement in the runoff between the two candidates, with its editorial board split on the issue.


The Intercept

Kopser strikes me as a bit of a DINO (Democrat In Name Only) and this might keep him within 15 points of the Republican candidate for TX-21, Sen. Ted Cruz’s former Chief of Staff Chip Roy.  This seat is being vacated by Lamar Smith’s retirement.   Lamar Smith is Public Enemy #1 to most Warmunists.

Back in February, the American Association for the Advancement of Science of America (AAASA) was veritably giddy about the prospects March for Science taking over Congress.  I wonder how giddy they are now?

“Meet the scientists running to transform Congress in 2018”

Candidate District Primary Results Science Field Cook PVI
Jess Phoenix D CA-25 5-Jun Geology PhD Student Even
Phil Janowicz D CA-39 Dropped out Former Chemistry Professor Even
Randy Wadkins D MS-01 W (unopposed) Biochemistry Professor R +16
Elaine DiMasi D NY-01 26-Jun Govt. Physicist R +5
Patrick Madden D NY-22 Dropped out Computer Science Professor R +6
Molly Sheehan D PA-05 L Bioengineering Postdoc. NA
Eric Ding D PA-10 L Epidemiologist NA
Jason Westin D TX-07 L Oncologist R +7
Joseph Kopser D TX-21 W Engineer/Entreperneur R +10
Jon Powell D TX-36 L Retired Geologist R +26

Funny how an oncologist and an epidemiologist are counted as “scientists,” but the 15 physicians serving in the 115th Congress aren’t… Probably because 13 of them are Republicans.

Regarding the primary results… Not a stellar record for Science! (as in, “She blinded me with”)…

Lost Democrat Primary 4
Dropped Out 2
Primary elections in June 2
Won Democrat Primary 2

2 wins, 6 losses and 2 games yet to play… And the 2 wins were in districts commonly won by Republicans by double digits.  How, exactly, 10 scientist-candidates were going to transform a 435 member Congress (535 if you count the Senate) in 2018 is certainly a mystery… Particularly since none of them would take office until 2019 if they won.

But, such is the nature of the AAASA’s total departure from science into the world of left-wing politics.

Regardless of how her research turns out, she’ll probably have more control over the results than over the forces that shaped her campaign. The biggest wild card was a remapping of the state’s 18 congressional districts after a court threw out a version drawn by the Republican-led state legislature. The February realignment meant Sheehan had to abandon months of building support in one district—the old seventh—and start fresh in the new fifth district. For a novice candidate without the backing of party regulars, a 12-week campaign proved to be an insurmountable challenge.


Ding’s was a whirlwind campaign launched in late February after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court voided the current boundaries for the state’s 18 congressional districts and substituted its own map.


Science Magazine

The folks at AAASA love to harp about Pennsylvania’s “Republican-led state legislature” having drawn congressional districts that favored Republican candidates. However, they never fail to include “Democrat-dominated” when praising the Pennsylvania Supreme Court voiding the old boundaries for the state’s 18 congressional districts and substituting its own map… which blatantly favors Democrat candidates.

Speaking of AAASA harping…

Surprise! House spending panel gives NSF far more money for telescope than it requested

By Jeffrey Mervis May. 21, 2018 , 2:50 PM


The LSST will be the ultimate survey telescope, mapping the entire available sky every 3 days and logging anything that moves, changes, or disappears. Construction began in 2014, and NSF has a 9-year timeline to spread out the $473 million that it expects to spend. (The Department of Energy is putting up $168 million for a key component, the world’s biggest digital camera. Its 3200-megapixel detector will be able to gather 20 terabytes of multicolored imaging data every night.)

A “strange” surprise

NSF’s timeline assumed Congress will provide $49 million in 2019 and a total of $92 million over the next 3 years to finish construction. Instead, Culberson put $123 million into the 2019 bill—a $74 million jump.

“We didn’t request this. We were budgeted for $49 million and expected that amount,” says astrophysicist Steven Kahn, director of the LSST, which has its headquarters in Tucson, Arizona. “It never hurts to have more money in hand. But it won’t speed things up much, because we’re not cash-limited.”

“I don’t totally understand it,” Kahn adds. “It’s a strange thing. We’ve never seen it before.”

NSF officials are equally baffled. “We don’t know the intent of the report language and I don’t think we can speculate,” admits James Ulvestad, NSF’s chief officer for research facilities in Alexandria, Virginia, and a former head of the astronomy division.

Culberson says it shouldn’t be a mystery. “The whole point of this is to ensure that these critical scientific instruments are brought online as quickly as possible,” he says.


Science Magazine

A simple “thank you” would have sufficed.

As Alex Berezow very eloquently puts it…

NSF Gets Huge Funding Boost, Yet Won’t Thank A Republican Supporter

By Alex Berezow — May 22, 2018


Some scientists, however, appear incapable of normal human emotion. Science magazine reports that when a Congressman, who wanted to see a telescope project completed faster, boosted its anticipated funding in 2019 from $49 million to $123 million, the National Science Foundation (NSF) saw a conspiracy: “We don’t know the intent of the report language and I don’t think we can speculate.” The director of the project said, “It’s a strange thing. We’ve never seen it before.”

Do you know what I’ve never seen before? Scientists that ungrateful.

The NSF Looks a Gift Horse in the Mouth

These responses are all the more baffling given that this particular Congressman has done this before. He has used his power and influence to funnel money to science projects that he likes. For instance, he wants NASA to get to Jupiter’s moon Europa faster, so he gave them more money than they requested.

And he isn’t shy about his shilling for science. The same article in Science quotes the politician as saying that he hopes “everyone involved [will] step up the pace so they can produce science as soon as possible.”

Even better, he hates the politicization of science. The following quote by the Congressman is pure music to our ears:

“I think it’s critical to protect NSF—and the space program and scientific inquiry in general—from political pressure from either the right or the left… Science should never be politicized. Scientists should always follow the facts, and as a policymaker, I need accurate, unbiased data to make good decisions.”

Let’s review. We have a Congressman who:

  • Appreciates knowledge for the sake of knowledge.
  • Understands the importance of funding basic scientific inquiry.
  • Refuses to allow science to be influenced by political pressures from the left or right.
  • Wants more science right now.
  • Puts his money where his mouth is and funds science to a greater extent than what was requested by scientists themselves.

Yet, the telescope director’s response to the boost in funding was that “it won’t speed things up much, because we’re not cash-limited.”

How about this response, instead: “Wow! We are absolutely speechless by this generous show of support from Congress. Thank you!” Or, “We may not be able to get this telescope built faster, but we will put these extra funds to good use to ensure that this project delivers far more than we ever dreamed.”

What explains this bizarre, muted response from the telescope director and NSF? Could it be that the Congressman in question, John Culberson, is a Republican? Given the blatantly political nature of movements like March for Science, it’s difficult to come to any other conclusion on how a politician’s lavish and vocal support of basic science can be met with such ingratitude.


American Council on Science and Health

The critical scientific instrument in question is the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

The LSST is a new kind of telescope. Currently under construction in Chile, it is being built to rapidly survey the night-time sky. Compact and nimble, the LSST will move quickly between images, yet its large mirror and large field of view—almost 10 square degrees of sky, or 40 times the size of the full moon—work together to deliver more light from faint astronomical objects than any optical telescope in the world.

From its mountaintop site in the foothills of the Andes, the LSST will take more than 800 panoramic images each night with its 3.2 billion-pixel camera, recording the entire visible sky twice each week. Each patch of sky it images will be visited 1000 times during the survey. With a light-gathering power equal to a 6.7-m diameter primary mirror, each of its 30-second observations will be able to detect objects 10 million times fainter than visible with the human eye. A powerful data system will compare new with previous images to detect changes in brightness and position of objects as big as far-distant galaxy clusters and as small as near-by asteroids.


It will even be used to detect and track potentially hazardous asteroids—asteroids that might impact the Earth and cause significant damage.


Named the highest priority for ground-based astronomy in the 2010 Decadal Survey, the LSST project formally began construction in July 2014.

Of all the things that my tax dollars get spent on, the LSST is at least as worthwhile as a couple of Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carriers…

Why will the LSST look for NEOs?

December, 2005, Congress directed NASA to implement a near-Earth object (NEO) survey that would catalog 90% of potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs). The objectives of the George E. Brown, Jr. NEO Survey Act (Public Law No. 109-155) are to detect, track, catalog, and characterize the physical characteristics of PHAs equal to or larger than 140 meters in diameter that come within 1.3 astronomical units (AU) or less from the Sun at closest approach. The Act was signed into law by President Bush on December 30, 2005.

Ground-based optical surveys are the most efficient tool for comprehensive NEO detection, determination of their orbits and subsequent tracking. A survey capable of extending these tasks to PHAs with diameters as small as 140 meters, as mandated by Congress, requires a large telescope, a large camera, and a sophisticated data acquisition, processing and dissemination system.

Why is a large telescope required?

A typical 140-meter object positioned in the main asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter, at a distance of 2.5 AU from the Sun) appears very faint. Despite their name, NEOs are typically found far from Earth. In principle, very faint objects can be detected using long exposures, but for objects moving as fast as typical NEOs, the so-called trailing losses limit the exposure time to about 30 seconds. In order to detect 140-meter NEOs in the main asteroid belt in 30 seconds, an eight-meter class telescope is required. In fact, some of these asteroids move so fast on the sky that 15 seconds is the maximum exposure; LSST will take pairs of 15 seconds exposures at each sky position.

Why is a large camera required?

Surveying the whole observable sky at least once every three nights, with two observations per night, requires not only a large telescope, but a large camera. At the time of its completion, the 3.2 gigapixel LSST camera will be the largest astronomical camera in the world. With the joined resources of its mirror and camera, the LSST will be able to reach the mandated high-NEO completeness.

Why is a complex data processing system required?

With its 3.2 gigapixel camera obtaining images every 30 seconds, the data rate will be about 20 terabytes (equivalent to the entire Congressional Library) per night. Not only that this is a huge data rate, but the data have to be processed and disseminated in real time, and with exquisite accuracy. It is estimated that the LSST Data Management System will incorporate several million lines of state-of-the-art computer code.

How would the LSST find NEOs?

The LSST system will be sited at Cerro Pachon in northern Chile, with the first light anticipated by the end of the decade. In a continuous observing campaign, LSST will cover the entire available sky every three nights, with two observations per night. Over the proposed survey lifetime of 10 years, each sky location would be observed about 1000 times.

Two NEO detections in a single night are required to estimate its motion, so that its future, or past, detections can be linked together. This linkage has to be exceedingly robust because the near-Earth objects will be outnumbered one to one hundred by main-belt asteroids which present no threat to Earth. By reliably linking detections on multiple nights, the NEO’s orbit can be reconstructed and used to compute its impact probability with Earth.

The high-fidelity simulations of the LSST baseline observing campaign demonstrate that it will discover and catalog 80–90% of potentially hazardous asteroids larger than 140 meters, with a median of 40 nights of observations per object. Simulations strongly suggest that with an achievable optimization of baseline strategy, LSST will be able to reach the goal mandated by Congress.

Why is the LSST the best option for finding NEOs?

The LSST system is the only proposed astronomical facility that can detect 140-meter objects in the main asteroid belt in less than a minute. The project reaches the threshold where different science drivers and different agencies (NSF, DOE and NASA) can work together to efficiently achieve seemingly disjoint, but deeply connected, goals.



Not even six months ago, the “Resistance” was babbling about a government shutdown leaving Earth vulnerable to asteroid attacks… Now they’re harping about Republicans giving them too much money to ward off asteroid attacks.  It’s enough to make my…


Note: If you’re not a fan of the movie Dodgeball, you probably don’t get why I refer to the AAAS as the AAASA…. So…

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May 23, 2018 10:22 am

Why do you keep using the AAASA when it is just AAAS? American first, America last.
Are you simply mocking them?

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 23, 2018 10:31 am

Okay I see you answer at the end. Mocking.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  joelobryan
May 23, 2018 5:15 pm

He’s turning the mocking up to eleven. And he’s also a big fan of Spinal Tap’s super mega-hit “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight”.

May 23, 2018 10:31 am

Regarding “Pennsylvania Supreme Court voiding the old boundaries for the state’s 18 congressional districts and substituting its own map… which blatantly favors Democrat candidates”: I live in Pennsylvania and the map drawn by the state supreme court seems pretty neutral. It prioritizes minimizing splitting up of counties and municipalities.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
May 23, 2018 10:46 am

I live in Pennsylvania and the map drawn by the state supreme court seems pretty neutral. It prioritizes minimizing splitting up of counties and municipalities.

Exactly what is expected to be said from one quoting the officially-approved 97%-consensus (democrat party) operatives’ press releases.

Reply to  David Middleton
May 23, 2018 1:26 pm

What David M. said is not evidence that the new PA Congressional district map is biased in favor of Democrats. It merely has to be neutral to give Democrats a shot at taking half of PA’s House seats this year. PA’s voters are not overwhelmingly Republican, they’re not far from 50-50. Note that Pennsylvania often elects Democrats for offices that are decided statewide as opposed to by districts. Republicans are a significant majority in about 85% of the land area of Pennsylvania that has little over half it’s population.

Tsk Tsk
Reply to  David Middleton
May 23, 2018 4:01 pm

What Donald claims is even less so. So what does the NYT say?

But what about the remedial map recently adopted by the court? It is not an outlier to the same extent as the Republican-drawn map. But if you look at what 2016 statewide results would have been with the new map, the overall Democratic performance arguably would have been better than in all 500 of Mr. Chen’s simulations, according to an Upshot analysis.

But hey, keep up with the narrative.

Reply to  David Middleton
May 23, 2018 9:24 pm

The map adopted by the PA supreme court does indeed favor Republicans less than all 500 of Chen’s simulations do. It would have favored Republicans barely or borderline in getting a majority of PA’s House seats in the 2016 election. The popular vote in PA for US Representatives in 2016 was closer to 50-50 in its favor of Republicans than the results of all 500 of Chen’s maps, according to how the first bar graph looks.
The second bar graph shows simulated results considering results of statewide elections, and indicates the map adopted by the PA supreme court would have elected one more Democrat and one fewer Republican than the middle of the simulations – Republicans favored to have a majority by 1 instead of 3 (average of simulations – Pennsylvania has an even number of Congressional districts, 18 of them). The 2016 election gave Republicans a majority of PA’s US House seats by 8 seats, 13-5.
Being more favorable to Democrats than the average Chen simulation by 2 seats and being very slightly more favorable to Republicans than the popular vote percentages is a lot closer to neutral than the map used in 2016 which gave Republicans a majority by 5 seats more than the average Chen simulation.
Link to this NYT article:

Alan D McIntire
Reply to  David Middleton
May 24, 2018 10:56 am

Suppose a state has a makeup of 55% Republicans and 45% Democrats, or vice versa. We get something like that in MOST states, which are not swing states. Would drawing electoral districts to include 55% majority party and 45% minority party in each district, just about guaranteeing a sweep of Representatives by one party be fair? Why or why not?
I’d argue that it’s “fair” because each of the two parties is equally represented in each district. Any other arrangement gives the minority party a larger number of Representatives than it would have gotten with across the board equally representative districts.
In our current winner take all by district system, gerrymandering is an AUTOMATIC result. One way to change this would be by writing a constitutional amendment to switch to a parliamentary type system, where based on national vote, maybe we get something like 45% Democrats, 45% Republicans, 6% Libertarians, 2% Socialists, 1% American Independent Party, 1% Green Party, or the like in our new parliament.
There’s nothing in the Constitution prohibiting a parliamentary type election in each state NOW! Hypothetically, each state could pass legislation establishing a voting system where , supposing a state has 9 representatives, based on overall voting
of say, 55% Democratic and 45% Republican votes in the election, the Democrats would get 5 representatives, their top 5 vote getters in the Democratic primary, and the Republicans would get 4 representatives, the top 4 vote getters. That could eliminate the hassle over “redistricting” every 10 years, and could cut out the “general election” for representatives. The vote could hypothetically be settled in 1 primary election, rather than having a primary and later general elecion. Of course, legislation regarding the elimination of congressional districts would have to be passed by Congress, but that would be a simple legislative measure, not a Constitutional Amendment.
There would also have to be provisions for settling tiebreakers and rounding rules. For instance, what would happend if by chance, one party was entitled to exactly 5.5 representatives and the other party was entitled to exactly 4.5 representatives in a 10 representative state? Who gets the extra 0.5 repesentative? There would have to be some means of settling such a freakishly unlikely outcome.

May 23, 2018 10:38 am

Find somebody else that is appreciative.

May 23, 2018 10:46 am

With ESA’s GAIA also NEO-capable, and data now pouring in, the more the better. As for physics my money is on ALMA also in Chile with likely the fastest HPC unit in the world. And JamesWebb , the Hubble successor, at $10 billion, I hope will be soon active. High redshift data from ALMA and JWST is sure to toss the current “consensus” out the window. And the climatistas think they are in trouble?

Count to 10
Reply to  bonbon
May 23, 2018 3:59 pm

While it would be nice and interesting if they found something unexpected, that hasn’t been the trend for the past two decades. Just more confirmation of the same, and there isn’t a lot of room left for something revolutionary. NEA have much more potential to be important in our lifetime.

May 23, 2018 10:47 am

Usually we don’t see fast approaching NEO rocks until they are within a day or two of whizzing by, or that maybe it’s next close pass in 20-30 years gets a little closer, or not. And I’m not sure anyone would know what to do with.
Given that most of world is ocean, the odds are that’s where it’ll hit. So something like:

“Hey entire US east Coast, a 300 meter rock is going to go ker-splash about 400 miles to the east tomorrow morning off Cape Hatteras at 430am. Enjoy the 80 meter high tsunami.”

In that situation, you might save a few people, but probably kill many more in the stampede to get out.
These things are moving exceptionally fast — far beyond the speed of an ICBM warhead that we barely can sometimes manage to intercept in tests with our best interceptor technology and precision X-band radar tracking of the RVs position, speed.
Mostly this would just help the alarm-ism industry. The same folks who sell everything from CAGW to LifeLock.

Reply to  joelobryan
May 23, 2018 11:06 am

Not so fast, have a look here :;jsessionid=e15400b244c70b481f1c17bcc417
Some say GAIA need something like LSST for better orbits .

Reply to  bonbon
May 23, 2018 12:00 pm

The rationale for LSST is not for the ones we know about. It is to detect the smaller ones we don’t know about. But we given its ability to detect a 140 meter PHA, it will only scan the entire sky every 3 days. An object that small still is a challenge for LSST, and the object will be just days away from the first pass. The next close pass is usually decades to centuries later with major uncertainties in how it will get perturbed before then.
I just think this is not much useful information to actually avert a strike,and just gives major threat of inducing unwarranted panic in a population.
For example, let’s say, we’d known about the Chelyabinsk meteor before its strike on Feb 15, 2013. Let’s say we saw it coming 3 days earlier. The impact uncertainty until even just just several hours before the hit would place an ellipse many thousands of kilometers long and hundreds of km wide. Then any panic over a much larger area would have certainly offset any actual ability to save people who got killed in the actual event. It approach the Earth at a relative velocity estimated at 19 km/sec. No way any existing or imagined realistic defensive system technology could have countered that object with confidence.

Tsk Tsk
Reply to  joelobryan
May 23, 2018 4:05 pm

So you think asteroids cross 1.5 AU in 3 days? Cool, where can I get one?

Reply to  Tsk Tsk
May 23, 2018 9:11 pm

Tsk Tsk,
you really shoudn’t attempt a snide comment if you do not understand the detection problem. And it is clear you do not understand the problem.
Cataloging every 140 m or higher object in the Asteroid belt is nice, but that is not the entire PHA story.
Many of the object like the Chelyabinsk meteorite left the main asteroid belt millions of years ago and now have highly eccentric orbits, and to be PHA they need to have Earth crossing obits at or less than 1 AU.
This creates a much different object than 140 meter size objects in the main asteroid belt.
The asteroid belt is at 2.4 AU, the Earth at 1 AU yes, but these neo objects in the size range the LSST is trying to find are all much more likely to be much closer at detection. Detecting a 140 meter asteroid at 10 LD (~ 2.5 million miles) basically requires at least 0.10 albedo 140 meters across at opposition (face lit to the Earth by the sun). Ultimately, the project wants to map all objects that size or bigger that cross closer than 1.3 AU. You don’t seem to understand the difference in all those criteria and facts.
With a 19 km/sec rate of closure on an Earth crossing path means at 10 Lunar distance (10 LD) 2.5 million miles out we can detect it about 2.8 days out, or just call it ~3 days out from passage/strike.

May 23, 2018 12:13 pm

“Of all the things that my tax dollars get spent on, the LSST is at least as worthwhile as a couple of Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carriers…
Please sit down before reading this Mr. Middleton. The LSST has an advertised cost of about $0.5 Billion. A FORD class carrier has an newspaper-reported cost of $13 Billion but its true cost after including Government Furnished Equipment is closer to $17 Billion. So the cost of “a couple” of FORD class carriers would fund over 30 LSSTs.
Sorry to ruin your day.

John Doe
May 23, 2018 12:27 pm

“It feels like we’re trying to avoid the apocalypse and half of the country is voting for the asteroid.”
Funny how Stephen Colbert’s speech applys to Democrats.

May 23, 2018 12:33 pm

You know that all climate alarmists by definition are ingrates. They don’t even appreciate good weather!

Reply to  RAH
May 23, 2018 6:14 pm

The new WUWT motto!!!! LOL

NZ Willy
May 23, 2018 12:37 pm

You’re making too much out of the scientist’s comment. All he means is that the project timing is constrained by the time it takes to build it sequentially, and not by available moneys of which they’re expecting the required flow. Sure, the money’s great, but it’ll go into a bank account for now — maybe the completed observatory can have some nice extra paved parking lot space and a decorated lobby. I wouldn’t have put a political spin on the comment, no need to create issues.

Reply to  NZ Willy
May 23, 2018 11:36 pm

I believe the author doesn’t have experience planning or managing a complex project which lasts several years. The large budget increase above the requested funds also shows the us congressperson isn’t fit for the job.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
May 24, 2018 4:29 pm

Personally, I can think of several NASA projects that probably wish they had been able to get their full project funding in advance rather then have the money dribbled out to them over several years.
Especially the ones that, after several years, suddenly found their funding cut off with the project half finished.

Reply to  David Middleton
May 24, 2018 7:42 pm

The Super Colliding Super Conductor comes to mind.

Quickly killed as soon as the next democrat came to power, and realized the money was being spent inside a red state (TX).

Reply to  fernandoleanme
May 24, 2018 5:39 pm

For me, the ultimate example was of course the Constellation Program, NASA’s plan to return to the Moon and eventually reach Mars.
Killed by Obama, so NASA could focus all it’s attention on CAGW Alarmism and ‘Muslim Outreach’

Jay N
May 23, 2018 12:50 pm

“Puts his money where his mouth is and funds science to a greater extent than what was requested by scientists themselves.”
His money, that’s a real knee slapper. How about the American taxpayers money!

May 23, 2018 1:07 pm

Is it something that Trump did? Then it MUST be wrong. A 97% scientific consensus.

K. Kilty
May 23, 2018 1:29 pm

I like the acronym “AAASA”. You cannot mock them too much or too often. By the way, I have a Ph.D….in SCIENCE…it’s why I have so little regard for them.

May 23, 2018 1:51 pm

In the federal money game, a large and unexpected increase in funding is not always a good thing. The Office of Management & Budget (OMB) requires organizations to obligate (put the money on a contract or to an organization’s internal budget) very quickly. And then expects the org to spend that money efficiently and quickly. Fail to do that and OMB is likely to mete out some sort of fiscal punishment in later quarters or the following fiscal year. Looking at the original cite, Culbertson is extrapolating his experience in construction to a high-tech development. Yes, you can speed road construction by throwing money at it because that is low-tech. if you want to move more dirt, get more bulldozers, for example. That’s not so easy when manufacturing complex components or designing software. For example, throwing money at a hardware vendor will not make forgings and castings cool faster without cracking, or make a milling machine go faster. Nor does it help to add programmers to a software project; in fact that slows the project down (Brooks’s Law). But it’s too soon to get excited. Culbertson chairs a subcommittee. That extra money is a long way from being appropriated, and might never be.

Reply to  Titanicsfate
May 24, 2018 9:58 am

That extra money MIGHT be the difference between a couple “extra” gigs of memory or maybe an uprated cpu, or a more efficient cooling system for said cpu. It might be the difference between a fully 5 axis machined base that is more stable or a multi-piece base that has to be assembled because they can now afford a better equipped machinist. Plus, in the design stage, they might not be money limited, but when it comes to the actual manufacturing and assembly, that money can have a HUGE difference in delivery time.

Lee L
May 23, 2018 2:24 pm

“The Department of Energy is putting up $168 million for a key component, the world’s biggest digital camera. Its 3200-megapixel detector will be able to gather 20 terabytes of multicolored imaging data every night.”
World’s biggest digital camera … hmmm… like maybe something that could be could be boosted into orbit and be looking down on a city, with some object tracking software … or part of a network of cloned cameras..
Military uses?

Warren Blair
May 23, 2018 2:44 pm

I wonder what struggling ordinary people think of scientists and their expensive new telescopes?
Down under the Parkes Observatory is full-monty into ‘Breakthrough Listen’ the ridiculous program to comb the stars for evidence of alien life!
This stuff is as bad as climate alarmism (possibly worse).
How can so-called scientists be so dishonest and/or ignorant of the universe.
Trouble is most telescope-gazing scientists don’t understand probability theory.
If they were taught this most basic and fundamental discipline they’d never consider looking for aliens.
What is wrong with our Universities?
Hey scientists there’s nothing out there; never has been and never will be.
The sample space is infinite therefore there is no event without infinite detection time.
Only Democrats think they have that time on their hands.

Reply to  Warren Blair
May 23, 2018 4:03 pm

“Hey scientists there’s nothing out there; never has been and never will be.”
As Carl Sagan taught us 30 years ago, it is highly unlikely we are unique. We are residents of an ordinary planet, in an ordinary star system, in an ordinary galaxy, of which there are billions and billions of others. (Note that he really said ‘billions and billions.’)
“The sample space is infinite therefore there is no event without infinite detection time.”
Ibid Sagan. “The universe is finite, but unbounded.”

Warren Blair
Reply to  Gamecock
May 23, 2018 5:05 pm

Billions . . . you fail to understand infinity.
The probability of there being something out there at the same time as the ‘undetectable’ blip that is mankind is let’s say many orders of magnitude greater than a Centillion:1.
You would have more chance of winning the Powerball lottery without having even bought a ticket.

Reply to  Gamecock
May 23, 2018 8:14 pm

As Carl Sagan taught us alleged 30 years ago, it is highly unlikely iffy that we are unique.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Gamecock
May 23, 2018 10:48 pm

The distances are just too vast and the Goldilocks window is just too small. Dont hold your breath to have aliens show up at your doorstep any time soon. However Gavin Schmidt seems to think they exist. He is looking to find them in the earth’s past. He wrote a paper recently which was government funded of course which proposed that aliens were wiped out on earth by previous high levels of CO2 which was caused by their far advanced society using fossil fuels. They were searching for clues or enumerating how best to search for clues in the geological record. YES this is the same Gavin Schmidt who is head of GISS a division of NASA. Anthony had an article in here recently about it. So it seems that Schmidt is as nutty as his former boss James Hansen who is still around writing “scientific” papers about imaginary sea level rises (of course on government funding. The same James Hansen that predicted that New York would be under 10 feet of water by 2018 and that the Arctic would be ice free by now. He had other crazy predictions but you get the story. These are the 2 major guys that have pushed this CO2 hoax onto all of mankind. Even a novelist would not have been so brazen to make this up as a novel. We truly live in a world of Oz. My final comment is maybe the Wizard of Of Oz should be encouraging Michael Mann to sue Dorothy because her dog Toto might have damaged the curtain in his teeth when he/she pulled it back,

Reply to  Gamecock
May 24, 2018 4:39 pm

The sample space is infinite therefore there is no event without infinite detection time.

By that thinking, we would never see a Supernova.

Reply to  Gamecock
May 25, 2018 11:38 am

We are pretty unique, more than you want to admit.
Sol (the Sun) is larger/brighter than 80-85% of other stars in the Milky Way. The Sun is currently an uncommon, stable, G2V stage star with high metallicity.
The proto-planetary disk was also high in metallicity and was unusually large enough to allow gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn et al). The Solar System uniquely has 8 planets. 
The Solar System was gravitationally stable enough for rocky inner planets & gaseous outer planets. The Earth resides in a (planetary) habitable zone with a nearly circular orbit. The Solar System resides a (system) habitable zone of the Milky Way, also nearly circular. 
The Earth/Moon ratio is lower than any other planet/moon system. Earth is unusually dense. Earth uniquely has liquid water at standard temperature & pressures. Earth is still tectonically active. 
Millennium of research cannot even remotely explain Abiogenesis. Decades of research has failed to created laboratory Abiogensis.
Then the filters: Supernovas, novas, solar ionizing radiation, GRB (gamma ray burts), bolide impacts, solar and/or planetary instability, stripped and/or excessive atmosphere (Mars/Venus et al).

May 23, 2018 7:17 pm

We’ll be able to put a name on the one that hits us.

Paul Johnson
May 23, 2018 10:31 pm

If you like what John Culberson is doing, donate to his campaign. The DCCC has already targeted him for elimination in November.

Warren Blair
Reply to  Paul Johnson
May 23, 2018 10:58 pm

I’m Australian so I’ll donate this . . .
Ban political donations and allocate a fixed campaign sum for each major party.
Hang on, could Trump have won under that system?

Paul Johnson
Reply to  David Middleton
May 24, 2018 5:53 am

And that, David, is how winnable elections get lost. Complacency.

Dr. Strangelove
May 24, 2018 5:41 am

LSST will help Amy find NEOs and save the world! She also makes home-made cupcakes and comets

May 24, 2018 6:00 am

Israel seems to have a stable government. Just saying.

May 24, 2018 6:14 am

You left out the “HOLEs” at the end of the acronym

May 24, 2018 6:17 am

Since the extra moolah “won’t speed things up much”, perhaps he should get the $ withdrawn and given to private industry to do the job?
Then they’ll change their tune and discover gratitude, or at least the pretence of it!

May 24, 2018 12:03 pm

I used to work in the Department of Redundancy Department at the American Association for the Advancement of Science of America

Reply to  Quinn
May 25, 2018 11:55 pm

And I also used to work in the Department of Redundancy Department at the American Association for the Advancement of Science of America as well
There, I added in some more redundancy for you. No charge.

May 25, 2018 1:04 am

Volcanic Aerosol Optical Depths during the post-Pinatubo era, 1996-2018
“Compared to the murky decades of the el Chichon and Pinatubo, the clear stratosphere since 1995 has allowed the intensity of sunlight reaching the ground to increase by about 0.6 Watts per square meter,” says Keen. “That’s equivalent to a warming of 1 or 2 tenths of a degree C (0.1 C to 0.2 C).”

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