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Government

Submission + - Lamar Smith (R-TX) doubts that meteors actually exist (newyorker.com) 1

walterbyrd writes: "Gotta love Lamar Smith (R-TX), who will serve as chairman of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. For those not familar with Lamar, Lamar smith is also: STEM Jobs Acts author, SOPA author, climate change skeptic, DMCA and PCIP supporter, and -now- meteor doubter.

“The media has been in something of a frenzy recently on this whole topic of meteors,” said chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). “I think it’s irresponsible of them to frighten the public about something that, at the end of the day, may be about as real as unicorns.”

Rep. Smith said that he had seen recent reports of the “so-called Russian meteor” of last week, but added, “Maybe it’s the scientific skeptic in me, but this ‘meteor’ may just have been a bunch of fireworks that some Siberian fellow set off after drinking a little too much Stoli. It is winter, after all, and that’s how those folks keep warm.”

The Texas congressman said that he and other meteor doubters are worried that scientists had “a vested interest” in convincing people that meteors are real: “They want the government to spend more money on science, and, let me tell you, that is the last thing the Science Committee is going to do.”"

Government

Submission + - The electric car mistake (washingtonpost.com)

walterbyrd writes: "President Obama repeatedly declared that, with enough federal aid, we can put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. His administration has invested about $5billion in grants, guaranteed loans — including $465 million for Tesla — and tax incentives to buyers. . . . Federal billions cannot overcome the fact that electric vehicles and plug-in electric hybrids meet few, if any, of real consumers’ needs. Compared with gas-powered cars, they deliver inferior performance at much higher cost. As an American Physical Society symposium on battery research concluded last June: “Despite their many potential advantages, all-electric vehicles will not replace the standard American family car in the foreseeable future.”"
Science

Submission + - Elect the best machines for the Robot Hall of Fame (cnet.com)

walterbyrd writes: "The prestige has been awarded to real robots such as Honda's Asimo, as well as characters like C-3P0 and R2-D2 from "Star Wars." The unprecedented public participation in choosing the members follows years of inactivity at the hall, which was created in 2003 but last added new robots in 2008. . . The 12 candidates for the honor are divided into four categories: education & consumer robots, entertainment robots, industrial & service robots, and research robots."
Science

Submission + - Dinosaurs farted themselves to extinction (foxnews.com)

walterbyrd writes: "Dinosaurs may have farted themselves to extinction, according to a new study from British scientists.

The researchers calculated that the prehistoric beasts pumped out more than 520 million tons (472 million tonnes) of methane a year — enough to warm the planet and hasten their own eventual demise."

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