Tales of Brave Ulysses: Solar Winds Ebb to Fifty Year Low

The solar winds are now the lowest they’ve been in fifty years, meaning that the Sun’s effects on our solar system are also at an ebb. The Ulysses solar probe is providing these measurements, and the winds have not only lessened, but are also 13% cooler. Much more at BBC.

“This is a whole Sun phenomenon,” said Dave McComas, Ulysses solar wind instrument principal investigator, from Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, US.

“The entire Sun is blowing significantly less hard – about 20-25% less hard – than it was during the last solar minimum 10-15 years ago.

“That’s a very significant change. In fact, the solar wind we’re seeing now is blowing the least hard we’ve see it for a prolonged time, since the start of those observations in the 1960s at the start of the space age.”

In addition to being calmer, the wind measured at Ulysses is 13% cooler.

However, judging from Sun activity data collected by non-satellite methods over the past 200 years, the current behaviour is thought to be well within the long-term norm.

Nonetheless, scientists expect the weakened wind to have a wide range of impacts.

Among the notable effects of this will be cooling of our upper atmosphere, and increased penetration through the solar system of external cosmic rays.

Energy Debate

Rod Adams covers the energy segment of the Presidential debate at Atomic Insights, please stop by  for a read.

The Debate: Thanos’ read

First McCain did come off the best in this debate. Both candidates scored important points and talked to their base, however throughout the debate McCain talked to the middle as well and managed to score with all of America again and again.

He scored great points with his tough talk on economics and cutting spending while Obama lost points by talking about all new programs and his unwillingness to cut any.

McCain definitely won on energy. While Obama was interested in gotchas and history, McCain put forth a solid plan that will work.

McCain was a tour d’force on foreign policy, and outshone Obama by miles there.

At a couple of points you could see Barack put up his hands like he wanted to call a time out when McCain was using Barack’s own statements to illustrate his points. Yes, america gets it that you said that Barack, and then you changed your stance after a lot of coaching. It was crystal clear in the debate.

Now we all know there were bigger zingers, harder slams, and tougher things that John could have said, but there are reasons he did not. He is carefully courting the Reagan Democrats and we need them to win. If he goes to polar in the initial debate he loses them from the get go.

He couldn’t go to town with Acorn, Dodd, Raines, Frank, Countrywide, and Johnson the way he could have, and he can’t until we get through the crisis d’jour. He didn’t bring up that they burnt Barack in effigy in the streets of Pakistan after his comments on Pakistan, although he could have.

He didn’t drive home the fact that Al Qaeda is “reconstituted” in Pakistan because we kicked their ass in Iraq and they had to flee there.

He didn’t bring up that we really are at the crux of winning three wars in Iraq: the first against Sadaam, the second against Al Qaeda, and the third against the Badr brigades assisted by the Revolutionary Guard of Iran. Few have said that, but it’s the truth.

He didnt’ bring up that the average american farm is Rich in Barack’s book, he didn’t bring up that the average Home run business is rich in Barack’s books. That’s a must do next debate.

Again the real slings and arrows have not yet flown against Barack Obama, they are held in reserve. That’s a good thing.

Also note that McCain is winning in both the Drudge Report and AoL polls immediately following the debates by an almost 70 / 30 split.

Energy and Jobs

As long as energy is expensive and less abundant we will be harming our ability to compete on the world market, and decreasing jobs at most local levels. It’s a steady static downward spiral that we cannot afford to stay in.
One party has blocked new sources of energy steadily for thirty years, and during that time we’ve seen steady offshoring jobs and decreasing expectations in America. It’s time to put a stop to that, it’s time to build America anew. But ignoring reality will not gain us any relief.

There are new technologies for solar, wind, and geothermal that show a great deal of promise, but they are not ready today and cannot do the job. We must continue to use coal over the next thirty years, and we must find ways to make it cleaner while doing so. We must expand our use of nuclear energy as well to fill the gap of burgeoning energy needs.
Remember when energy prices go up, so too do food prices. While that’s a discomfort here in the US, in many countries it’s the difference between having flour or soy protein for a meal, or eating grass or foraging in the woods for food daily in poor countries. We must make energy abundant for our children and grandchildren, as well as relieve this dire pressure for the rest of the world, but we must first immediately increase our energy production capabilities across the board in our own country if we are to maintain the ability to solve the future energy problems. 50-70 Petawatthours of electricity will be needed by 2050, and we are in the 12-15 petwatthour range now. That’s a huge task and challenge, and it will take Americans working together and using an “all of the above” approach to solve.

The other impact to jobs of importing so much energy is that it’s money we send offshore – if we send the money offshore, it’s not here anymore working in our economy, which also leads to fewer jobs. The wealth of the future lies in energy creation, and it’s about time that the US started leading that new wave energy sources as we have all others. Here you see John McCain speaking in Ohio on the extreme import of extending the energy base we have now to create jobs and security while building the path to our energy future.

This topic might seem a bit dry, but it’s actually critically important to our future, especially now in this time of economic downturn. Please give it your attention.

John McCain’s Jobs for America: Simpler, Lower Taxes

In this ongoing series I’m examining the McCain Economic plans. There are 8 parts to the Jobs for America plan so I”m looking at them one at a time. The previous article on energy can be found here.

John McCain’s plan calls for simpler taxes, and relief for small business, family farms, and entrepreneurs in the form of tax cuts. Entrepreneurs are the bedrock of american prosperity and in high tax environs they cannot continue to move America forward.

By allowing first year deductions to business on capital equipment and techology investments  Jobs for America allows American workers to have the newest equipment, and helps put us back into a building and growth mode across the country. This also opens up opportunities for manufacturers who make those tools, those products, and that equipment.

That’s exactly what the Democrats do not like, they don’t like a growing America – they’d rather America be cloistered and isolated in a no-growth philosophy of decay like Europe. Barack Obama’s “Green Jobs” plan is code for hiring activists, lobbyists, and community organizers to lobby for more controls on business, more of your tax dollars, and less growth through energy initiatives and lifestye tailoring through legislation. These “green jobs” will choke growth and innovation in proven energy sectors like Nuclear, and keep us in the energy stasis we’ve been in for 35 years. It’s just more of the same with a new name. Jobs don’t come in colors, and if you artificially pump up just one sector of the economy you cripple others and stifle true innovation.

Trickle down Taxation:

Barack Obama’s plan would tax those small businesses, decrease the jobs they can offer, and increase the prices you have to pay when you buy gas, milk, bread, or school clothes. Barack’s plan is to use business as a surrogate and to indirectly tax you through them. These are the Democrats favorite tools: trickle down taxes. Barack doesn’t think you are smart enough to figure out that when you “tax the rich” you tax family farms, small business, and most American’s retirement plans and 401-k’s as corporate stock prices accomodate the higher taxation. If you work for a business, or buy things from a store then Barack’s tax plans will impact you thousands of times throughout the year — each time you go to a store. Barack Obama’s plan hits the poor, people on fixed incomes, and the middle classes the hardest in the end.

By cutting corporate tax rates, John McCain insures a growth economy, contrasted to the Obama plan which would throttle the engines of american productivity, and your pension plan or 401K by raising corporate taxes. If you are in a union, if you are in a pension plan, if you have savings, if you have a retirement account, Obama’s plan will indirectly and negatively impact those.

John McCain will ban internet and new cell phone taxes, the benefit of that should be clear to all.

Jobs for America will encourage private investment in research and development, and challenge American industry. Instead of all research coming from government grants we need to take the binds off private research by allowing tax credit for Research and Development. It is technology that keeps us strong in the world economy, and we must challenge US business’s to do much more of that.

Below you can see the Jobs for America tax reduction plan from John McCain’s campaign site:

Keep Tax Rates Low: Entrepreneurs are at the heart of American innovation, growth and prosperity. Entrepreneurs create the ultimate job security – a new, better opportunity if your current job goes away. Entrepreneurs should not be taxed into submission. John McCain will keep the top tax rate at 35 percent, maintain the 15 percent rates on dividends and capital gains, and phase-out the Alternative Minimum Tax. Small businesses are the heart of job growth; raising taxes on them hurts every worker.
Innovation Tax Policy
Ban Internet Taxes: John McCain believes we must make a farsighted, robust, and fervent commitment to innovation and new technologies to sustain our global competitiveness, meet our national security challenges, achieve less costly and more effective health care, reduce dangerous dependence on foreign sources of oil, and raise the quality of education in the United States. John McCain has been a leader in keeping the Internet free of taxes. As President, he will seek a permanent ban on taxes that threaten this engine of economic growth and prosperity.

Ban New Cell Phone Taxes: John McCain understands that the same people that would tax e-mail will tax every text message – and even 911 calls. John McCain will prohibit new cellular telephone taxes.

Cut The Corporate Tax Rate From 35 To 25 Percent: A lower corporate tax rate is essential to keeping good jobs in the United States. America was once a low-tax business environment, but as our trade partners lowered their rates, America failed to keep pace. We now have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, making America a less attractive place for companies to do business. American workers deserve the chance to make fine products here and sell them around the globe.

Allow First-Year Deduction, Or “Expensing”, Of Equipment And Technology Investments: American workers need the finest technologies to compete. Expensing of equipment and technology will provide an immediate boost to capital expenditures and reward investments in cutting-edge technologies.

Establish Permanent Tax Credit Equal To 10 Percent Of Wages Spent On R&D: This reform will simplify the tax code, reward activity in the United States, and make us more competitive with other countries. A permanent credit will provide an incentive to innovate and remove uncertainty. At a time when our companies need to be more competitive, we need to provide a permanent incentive to innovate, and remove the uncertainty now hanging over businesses as they make R&D investment decisions.

Who Produces the Oil and Who Uses it

There’s an interesting new Chart at Gapminder of who produces, and who uses world oil supplies. Notice the steady slip leftwards from the US from 1972 onwards, when we were at our peak in oil production. Interim that capacity has been replaced by other sources, mainly coal and imported oil. That is not a good thing, but on the other hand it’s better than what would be if we had not kept our energy use high. Imagine where the economy would be, and where the world would be if we were not using that energy to produce food, goods, cleaner water, sewage treament, medical products, and other assorted boons to mankind.

If we had replaced the oil production shortfall with nuclear energy over the past thirty years our economy, and the world’s would both be in better shape. Another interesting dot to watch: Iran around 1980.