The Cosmic Joke

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Peruse the photograph that accompanies this column. Taken last Friday by the Cassini probe currently orbiting Saturn, it’s one of those pictures NASA likes to release to the public in an effort to remind us that they A) exist and B) can do stuff besides bum rides from the Russians to the International Space Station. Recalling the famed “family portrait” that the late, great Carl Sagan led the Voyager team to create in 1990, the Earth is in the picture. And much like the “pale blue dot” section of Sagan’s famous photo mosaic, the Earth is very, very small.

saturn0724

This latest photograph, which shows Saturn in all her majesty, actually includes the Earth only as a cosmic afterthought. Of course, our beautiful blue marble is a cosmic afterthought. Heck, Saturn is neither the largest of our planets, nor the farthest from home; those honors belong to Jupiter and Neptune, respectively. Nonetheless, the photograph is as humbling as any image that accurately depicts our infinitesimal smallness against the backdrop of God’s infinite creation.

But forget the metaphysical stuff. In fact, let’s put all the really cool regular physics aside, as well. Focus on the photograph. It was snapped by Cassini just six days ago. And that simple act of clicking the shutter on a plutonium-powered camera is amazing all by itself.

See, it took 14 years of development and construction, 16 years flying via remote control across more than a billion miles, nearly $4 billion and the cooperation of some of the most brilliant humans available in more than a dozen separate countries just to take that picture. Even the Italians, the same guys responsible for Fiat, pitched in. To be sure, there have been a couple of hiccups. A European Space Agency programming error caused the loss of one of the Huygens data channels and about 350 images of Saturn’s moon Titan. But given the fact that Cassini is about the size of a school bus and is assigned to cover a neighborhood even less hospitable than South Central Los Angeles, a minor transmitter failure is cosmically small.

The usual suspects nearly derailed Cassini years before its launch date. As zero hour approached, a far left eco-loon group named the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice tried to scrub the project on the grounds that its plutonium fuel posed a threat to the human race (or something to that effect). The Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice still exists, and it has continued its mission of scaring people with pseudoscience claptrap. Sixteen years after getting it all wrong about Cassini, its website is currently a mélange of so-called “global warming” babble and advertisements for something called “The Sustainable Living Center,” which sounds an awful lot like a “campground.” Beyond that, an impassioned campaign by astronaut Sally Ride and some luck at the budgetary butcher shop barely saved the program. And it still had to achieve escape velocity from the entropy that afflicts nearly everything that wanders too close to Washington, D.C.’s wild orbit.

Cooperating nations spent billions of dollars to make what amounts to a really amazing car that has functioned just about flawlessly for nearly 20 years — all despite worse working conditions than those faced by Keith Olbermann’s limousine service. Think about that for a moment; I mean, really let it sink in. Right now, as you’re considering the magnitude of the scientific, technological and bureaucratic success that is Cassini as well as the many parts of the incredible journey that produced that amazing photograph, the United Nations is spending many billions more Cassini cost to combat so-called “global warming.”

On the one hand, a group made up of multiple nationalities and specialties worked on multiple levels over multiple years to advance our understanding of the actual universe. On the other hand, a group made up of multiple nationalities and specialties is working on multiple levels over multiple years to advance our understanding of pseudoscience that averages a name change per decade.

The next time President Barack Hussein Obama and/or one of his liberal cronies goes into hysterics over global warming or suggests throwing taxpayer dollars at another “green” energy boondoggle, think of this photograph. Then ask yourself: “Could the same guys who came up with ‘global warming’ and Solyndra pull this off?”

–Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

  • KeiClark

    You are correct that Cassini is a truly impressive and outstanding piece of modern engineering, with an outstanding record … but that has nothing to do with the observed fact that our polar ice caps are melting, global animal migration patterns (sea and other) are changing, or that atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing. It is good that you recognize the technological achievements of Cassini and her “siblings” in space, because if the climate change we are now experiencing does not reverse, with or without our help, those technological achievements may someday well be about all there is to show for our species ever having been here.

    • Anonymous

      If CO2 levels are the bane of our existance (allegedly), and plants and trees use up CO2 to survive….It would seem the answer to our problem is obvious. PLANT MORE TREES AND PLANTS. This would decrease CO2 levels and produce more food for our starving world to eat…..SIMPLE

      I would say that the deforestation and clearcutting of our plant for the “ideal” of a manicured lawn in the burbs is the BIGGEST BUNCH OF HORSE MANURE we’ve ever been subjected to….

      • Anonymous

        OOPS “clearcutting of our plant = planet”

        • dan

          There’s more forested land in America than when Columbus bumped into it….the trees aren’t as large…

          • Chester

            Dan, granted there is more forested land in NORTH America now that a few years back, but where is all the old growth forest? Seems that a LOT of what used to be forest land is now either cityscape or farm land. Incidentally, there are far fewer rain forests left standing, as they are being cleared for agriculture, and for the exotic wood for furniture and other construction.

          • dan

            got cha…I WAS just thinking North America…Indonesia is having a deforestation issue too….then look at Britain !
            I look at how much grassland and farmland is paved-over…sigh…progress,I guess.
            Part of the ebb and flow of populations is the destruction of habitat and starvation…looks like the oceans will die first.

      • Vigilant

        BY FAR the largest influences on CO2 levels are the NATURAL processes of producing and scrubbing it from the atmosphere. Human influences are pitifully weaker on CO2 levels.

      • billybob

        The oceans of the world take in more CO2 than any plant life! You need to educate yourself!

      • vicki

        Just remember that CO2 Suppression is Plant Oppression.

    • TexasOlTimer

      First, there is ‘climate change’ – it changes seasonally as well as in cycles – some of these cycles are in decades, some in centuries and some in hundreds of centuries. Second, there is no ‘global warming’ – the prior name of ‘climate change’. The whole myth started with a false fact that CO2 causes a rise in temperature. It doesn’t. A rise in the temperature causes the CO2 level to rise and note that CO2 is a ‘trace gas.’ It also has to do with the UN wanting a one world government and controlling the atmosphere is the way it figures to do this. However, it is a false premise.

      If you remember your history of the past 70 years, you’ll note that in the late ’40s, late ’70s (and today), we are going through a cycle of colder weather. The earth has been cooling for the past 10 years. It has nothing to do with ‘global warming’ by this or any other name. If you look at magazines such as Times, Discovery and many others from the 1970s, you’ll find numerous article over many years talking about the earth becoming an ice ball and what we have to do to prevent that.

      Those that came up with this theory deleted any piece of historical information that did not fit with the final conclusion that they wanted to reach. That is not science. This included the Little Ice Age. Back in the 1200s when Westminster Abbey, Notre Dame and other magnificent structures were built, the temperature was several degrees warmer than today. There was also an agricultural industry in northern England – that of growing grapes for wine. It rivaled that of French wines and, yes, the French whined and wanted the importation of English wines banned. Greenland was actually green and not a PR stunt by the Norse to scam people into taking trips to the area to see ice and snow they could see at home. They settled there, grew crops and had ships that went back and forth bringing settlers and supplies.

      Then about 1310 something happened. It can’t have been cars, manufacturing or any other modern activity but it happened. The climate changed and it began to grow colder. By 1350 the last written record of the Norse in Greenland concerned a wedding. With the sea frozen between Greenland and Norway, the ships could no longer travel between the two. Greenland was frozen over and crops couldn’t be planted. The Norse refused to live and eat as the ‘natives’ did (eating blubber, etc.) and so died out. There were no more grape vines planted in northern England and the French breathed a sigh of relief. In parts of Europe, local women believed to be witches were burned at the stake because they were believed to cause the cold weather. Rats carrying fleas moved indoors where it was warmer and the bubonic plague was spread. Back in the 1800s the Thames froze over every winter and a Winter Festival was held on the frozen river.

      • chocopot

        I have long contended that the major reason why most history is basically no longer taught to our children is that the Left, which controls nearly all of the education establishment, does not want upcoming generations to know what really took place in the past. By depriving these children (who become adults) of this knowledge, the Leftists can thus tell any sort of lies they want (revisionist history), and those on the receiving end of the lies will not know they are being lied to since they do not know the truth/facts and will simply accept the lies as fact (after all, teachers don’t ever lie to students, do they?). Thus is history rewritten and revised, a la Orwell’s 1984.

        • TexasOlTimer

          You are exactly right. I think that’s the major reason for the ‘death panels’ for those on Medicare. The lack of treatment we will receive will result in our earlier deaths thus eliminating us from being able to pass on the true history to younger generations. This leaves the path open for the history as the left wants the remaining citizens to know it. Conspiracy theory or a by-product of Obamacare? Doesn’t matter – it’ll be the end result.

          • chocopot

            Correct. It’s nice to know I am not alone in understanding what seems so obvious.

          • dan

            They didn’t dumb-down and brainwash ALL of us….
            critcal thinking is alive and well…just not in academia or Washington

          • chocopot

            True, but we are a dying breed. It is rare to find an unindoctrinated American under the age of 40 or so. We as a nation are in big trouble.

          • dan

            the grandchildren….read to them, teach them…
            get them out of the day-care factories (and get rid of
            the TV and video games ) and show them how to be kids.

          • chocopot

            Understand that I do not disagree with you for a moment, but it is a losing battle. I have two teenage boys. I talk to them, I explain things to them, and as a student of history for my entire life, I tell them the truth about all that took place in the past. The problem is that I cannot be with them 24/7, and during the majority of their time, when I am not with them, they are exposed to their Leftist teachers and the popular culture, both of which are toxic to them for so many reasons. Unless you can isolate the kids, it is a losing battle. I am not saying to give up, but when the media, the popular culture, and the education establishment are all controlled by the Left and are lying to and indoctrinating the kids all day everywhere they go, how can we win that battle?

          • billybob

            It kind of screams we need home teach!

          • chocopot

            Yes, but even if you have the time and you can do that, just how do you prevent the kids from being exposed to the toxic popular culture and all the media?

          • dan

            …even church an 4-H and Karate Classes not to mention cousins and neighbors were an influence…but it’s hard to compete with freedom and a life that’s one big field-trip. The most important thing is to severely limit media
            …and in retrospect,never let them grow-up,sigh.

          • Truthfull

            It is so good to see a few people left here that can think for themselves and see through the lies that are passed off to us everyday. Homeschooling works, even if you think the outside influences are to great, homeschooled kids will remember how to think for themselves as adults. Or at least that’s how my kids have done.

          • vicki

            That is the importance of what you teach.

            Teach them to think critically, Trust but verify, and the importance of informed consent in all dealings with people and you will be able to protect them from most of the brainwashing.

          • dan

            did it for 20 years…awaiting grandchildren to spoil rotten
            and play with . My boys are always too busy working….
            and here I thought I was a good example in the fine art
            of goofing off.

          • vicki

            Teach them to think critically, Trust but verify, and the importance of informed consent in all dealings with people and you will be able to protect them from most of the brainwashing.

            Then teach them that the Constitution is a set of limits on Government and that we, the people have ALL rights and government has only the powers we delegate to it and they should be well protected.

            This video can help

          • vicki

            It wasn’t for lack of trying :):)

          • dan

            made me laugh…
            teaching someone to read unlocks ALL knoweledge
            and sets their mind free….tyrants hate that

    • Al Chemist

      It is impossible for CO2 to have a significant impact on the temperature of this planet at 500 ppm. Carbon dioxide is, indeed, a greenhouse gas, but it is a very, very poor one. There are only two small regions in the spectrum where it can absorb radiation and ‘radiate’ heat. There are other so-called greenhouse gases (water vapor) which are present at hundreds (if not thousands) of times higher concentration in most locations on this planet. Water vapor is a much better greenhouse gas and overrides (and will always override) the insignificant contribution of CO2. The dynamic equilibrium between CO2 and H2O and its subsequent removal as metal carbonates, along with its removal by plant life on our land mass as well as the (huge) removal by microscopic plant life in the seas means that CO2 will never be a global warming threat.

      All this crap about global warming is to hinder our industry, and transfer wealth to the UN and the countries it represents in preparation for the New World Order.

      • chocopot

        It is very interesting that the mainstream media, corrupt to the core, have refused to even mention the repeated scandals over the last several years regarding the fudging of temperature data to make it appear as if temperatures worldwide are on the rise, when in fact they are declining. The media tout how each year that passes is “the hottest ever recorded,” while the most recent decade is “the hottest ever recorded.” Wrong. In point of fact, the warmest decade ever recorded was – the 1930’s. But they just keep lying since their agenda is the same as that of the Leftists who wish to destory Western Civilization – and are succeeding.

      • Vigilant

        I thought the CO2 level just passed 400 ppm, not 500. Minor point, however, since the propagandists try to make it look larger than it is by saying that. instead of using the percentage, which is .04, or merely four one hundredths of one percent.

        • Al Chemist

          You are correct. The average is near 400 ppm. The concentration is much lower in some parts of the world and much higher in other parts of the world (China?). 500 is probably the upper limit of all valid measurements worldwide. That’s still insignificant as a contributor to global warming.

      • billybob

        You are wasting your time talking to people who still believe that the world is flat. Great information though! Hey but who likes to hear facts, lets stick with the issues. Just kidding!

    • billybob

      Go back 15,000 years. At that time we had two to three miles of ice covering most of upper part of the earth. Now all of the ice melted. During this melt it carved out the great lakes and provided the land masses with a new mountains. It was also the reason that we have the lower states of the US. All of that soils was sent down stream from the melt. And suprise we are still here! I realize that most people get their information from the liberal media so it makes sense that they think that we humans can do damage to the earth by driving our cars or burning wood along shores of the west coast of California. We live in a world of the blind and where the man with one eye is King!

  • dan

    Warmists are such true believers …but being persistent in the face of
    irrefutable facts (like the warming of ALL planets in our solar system)
    simply will mean that they will follow the Mastadon. Micro-management of
    macro-environments is an exercise of inflated ego.

  • dave ussery

    Sorry folks,But I think if the human race has the ignorance to think its upsetting the way the earths normal cycles of warming and cooling– we’re only fooling ourselves.This rock called earth is gonna do what its gonna do! the human race is just a minor infestation,kinda like cockroaches Sorry if this offends some but just as I see it. We as humans don’t have a long enough lifespan to see this,nor the intelligence to pay attention to history! The flavor of the day politics can’t AND won’t ever make a difference!

    • chocopot

      It is the height of human hubris to think that we, tiny things on the surface of this earth, could do anything at all to affect the climate or the weather of this incredibly complex planet. Unfortunately, most people are too ignorant to understand that or to comprehend that they are being lied to about this entire climate change scam. Yes, of course, the climate is changing: it always has and it always will, but for G-d’s sake, it is not changing right in front of our eyes. Significant climate change takes place over a period of, at a minumum, centuries. But people cannot seem to understand that since they are being lied to by the media and the politicians on a daily basis.

  • Vigilant

    ZOUNDS! If ever a case of executive malfeasance cried out for appointment of a special prosecutor, this one does.

    In 2010, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said that his “foremost” mission as the head of America’s space exploration agency is to improve relations with the Muslim world.”

    How DARE he subvert the prime directive by allowing NASA to engage in scientific pursuits? We need to call for Congressional hearings to investigate this heresy, and return NASA to its mission of making Muslims feel good about themselves. Bolden should be not only ousted, his head should be served on a platter to King Obama.

    As a final touch, and to ensure that the agency fulfills its stated mission, the acronym should be changed to MASSA (Muslim Appreciation and Social Support Administration). As we all know, whatever Massa says must be obeyed.

  • Ms.Young

    Everything Is illusion
    STAR TREK – SHIP IN A BOTTLE
    http://www.startrek.com/watch_episode/ytHgxbaj3iCp

  • scott miller

    When i was a child global cooling was going to kill us all. And the dinosaurs died out because they were dumb.

    News flash fellow humans, any amount of stuff we can do is insignificant to a rock the size of a city plowing into our planet and burning our atmosphere for decades, triggering a massive ice age.

    Or a super volcano here on earth exploding and wiping out 90% of all life dumping millions of tons of toxic gases including metric millions of tons of greenhouse gases, triggering an ice age. How many decades has yellowstone park been swelling?

    Humans have a fininite existence. The universe will go on evolving if we are here or not. Every several 100 million years, our planet either resets itself, or the universe does it, and shockingly life goes on even when there is not one single solitary human around to mark it.

    And absolutely zero of anything we can do will change that. Nor is there much of anything we can do to destroy the planet, short of maybe nuking ourselves to death. And even then the planet would heal itself over time.

    • billybob

      Glad to see someone who is still sane. The green thing is all about money. Forget the other BS about global warming. That is a fib. If you lie about something long enough pretty soon it will be believed. Simple logic. It is how history is made. History is made by those who are in power at the time. For get about facts that just get in the way of agenda’s.

  • justus brother

    If you look really really close you can see me waving and smiling; closer closer that’s it.

    • dan

      …but you’re only waving one finger ?! lols

  • Marshall Watson

    Mr Crystal never ceases to amaze me with the many and always truthful ways he can point out the astronomical idiocy of the liberal meadia and masses and their leaders. While when looking at our little blue marble in comparison to the whole of creation, we must remember the physics behind how it all works. If any of the numerous calculations that allow life to exist on our planet were to be tweaked by a mere .001%, life not only wouldn’t but couldn’t exist here or anywhere else. Our little blue marble appears to have been marvelously designed to support life as we know it, but also placed precisely where it is so we could discover and explore the mysteries of the creation. I could go on for pages about all the evidence there is for a Creator of our universe whose intelligence is so far beyond what we will ever achieve it is like comparing a snail to Einstein. The great lie of global warming is just that a lie. While it would be a miracle and blessing if someone discovered a form of renuable energy that was truly reliable and cheap, I don’t see it happening in my lifetime. But if our fearless leader would quit crippling our country with stiffling energy policies and controls and allow private industry to produce energy with present technology a a price that is affordable, perhaps there would be enough money for private industry to invest in research and developement that would eventually lead to a true breakthrough.

  • WTS/JAY

    George Carlin on Global Warming

    • Alex

      Teabagger WTS does not really listen to George Carlin.

      Carlin said the Earth will go on REGARDLESS of Global Warming—WITHOUT LIFE!

      Yeah, man cannot really “destroy” the planet—but can certainly contribute to its becoming uninhabitable.

      Do you get all of your science from comedians, ma’am?

      • WTS/JAY

        As usual, Alex, you missed the main point in Carlin’s address on the non-issue of the global-warming-hoax. And that is; that’s its a hoax…invented by elitists for the purpose of enlarging their personal- treasuries, and that they could only accomplish such with the assistance of gullible and useful-idiots such as yourself…! (-:

        Is the planet uninhabitable? Hardly!

        Btw, do you get all your science from politicians (Gore), lemming?

      • vicki

        Ad hominem

  • Alex

    Let’s listen to Ben Crystalnacht—a guy who believes in Adam and Steve and Noah’s Ark—tell us about the Cosmos.

    Ben, you are an imbecile….

    • Alan

      And since you are below Ben’s level of intelligence, what does that make you Alex.

      • WTS/JAY

        A lemming?

        • Alan

          You have that right Jay!

      • vicki

        The really interesting question is why does Alex want to listen to what he claims is an imbecile.

        • Alan

          My sentiments exactly Vicki! These trolls come here for nothing else other than to disrupt the harmony of minds focused on the freedoms provided to us by our creator. They are malevolent in nature, seeking to introduce conflict and nothing more. Personally, I stay far away from liberal websites lest I become tainted by the self-serving drivel they spew. If they don’t like what they’re hearing here they should just move along to where the pastures grass is dead and withered. May it sour their stomachs when consumed.

    • vicki

      Another Ad hominem

  • WTS/JAY

    “Experts say this global warming is serious, and they are predicting now that by the year 2050, we will be out of party ice.” –David Letterman

    “Former Vice President Al Gore starring in a new documentary about global warming. I believe it’s called [Leno snores]. … The film actually features Al Gore and explores his journey on how he first got interested in temperature change. It started back when he was vice president. He noticed how the temperature would change, like whenever Bill would walk into the room, it would get warm and whenever Hillary walked into the room, it got cold.” –Jay Leno

    “President Bush said global warming is happening much quicker than he thought, and then his staff pulled him aside and said ‘It’s just springtime.’” –Jay Leno

    “Arnold Schwarzenegger is blaming man for global warming. And today, Al Gore agreed with him. That’s so typical. Two cyborgs, ‘Oh, let’s blame the humans.’” –Jay Leno

    “Al Gore is coming out with a movie about global warming called ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ It’s described as a detailed scientific view of global warming. President Bush said he just saw a film about global warming, ‘Ice Age 2; The Meltdown.’ He said, ‘It’s so much better than that boring Al Gore movie.’” –Jay Leno

    “Don’t kid yourself. Global warming is no joke. Here’s how serious global warming has gotten to be in the United States. In this country global warming is so bad, we are now actually starting to warm up to Barry Bonds.” –David Letterman

    “According to Time magazine, global warming is 33% worse than we thought. You know what that means? Al Gore is one-third more annoying than we thought.” –Jay Leno

  • WTS/JAY

    “Global warming researchers say eating bugs better for environment than eating meat”

    Researchers in the Netherlands have determined that insects produce “far less greenhouse gases than cattle and pigs do, and would thus be a viable alternative to eating meat.” These fart smelling researchers actually did a study comparing the methane and nitrous oxide emissions of mealworms, crickets, and locusts to those of pigs and cattle.

    I am not kidding you here. This study was published in PloS ONE, and the researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands recommended that we replace animal protein with insect protein. Of the five insect species studied, the most protein loaded are: Acheta domesticus (house crickets) and Locusta migratoria (migratory locusts).

    Our new American diet, blessed by the addition of French fried McCrickets and McLocusts, will be a big hit with the animal loving PETA group. I see three problems looming in the very near future, however:

    If we don’t slaughter the pigs and the cattle, won’t their farts continue to pollute the atmosphere with increased levels of methane and nitrous oxides?

    The EPA will eventually have to pass legislation to protect farmland birds endangered by the noxious clouds of poisonous gases produced by flatulent populations of cattle and pigs.

    Michelle will need to once again address the nation’s restaurateurs. They will no doubt be adding more salt in order to make the McCrickets and the McLocusts more palatable.

    N.B. “Pigs produce up to one hundred times more greenhouse gases than the equivalent weight of mealworms.”

    Enjoy!

  • boyscout

    If you truly believe that Seven Billion humans (and growing) present no consequences ti the ecology of this planet Then do nothing, What I mean is stay the heck out of my wallet when whatever “natural” disaster happens along to muddy up your Sunday brunch.

    • WTS/JAY

      If you needed any more assurance the growing ClimateGate scandal is far more significant than America’s media has been portraying, you got it from Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart.

      Somewhat surprisingly, “The Daily Show” host in his opening sketch tore apart the scientists involved in sending the obtained e-mail messages for showing “a clear effort to raise fears about global warming, and hide evidence against it.”

      Stewart even mocked the man responsible for spreading more fear on this subject than anyone on the planet:

      “Poor Al Gore. Global warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented. OH. OH the irony”…-Jon Stewart

  • ridge runner

    Notice most of these book trained dumb fks who have never done a damn thing in life but attend colleges, theorize pipedreams,and supposely dangers in life. The muslim marxist forever golf playing and vacationing Prez should what a dumb fk him and his party are.