Above, skip directly to 2:16 for a classic story of good ol’ boy congressional goober-ism.

It’s been a triumphant week for NASA, as we reap the rewards of a long term technical triumph in the New Horizons flyby of Pluto. Might be good to consider whether NASA scientists are worth listening to when they inform us about what is happening on the world beneath our feet – the only one most human beings will ever live on.

There is a powerful anti-science movement in the US Congress that would like NASA scientists to stop finding out all that inconvenient stuff about what we are doing to the earth, like,  why is it so dang hot down here?  Better, they say, to keep the focus on what’s going on in far distant corners of the universe.

Speaking of goobers, Senator Ted Cruz pushes the ‘more space, less Earth” meme in a congressional hearing, and runs into a polite but devastating response from NASA administrator Charles Bolden:

Mashable:

Bolden defended spending more money on Earth science activities, saying he is “proud” of it since it’s led to a greater understanding of the planet.

“We can’t go anywhere if the Kennedy Space Center goes underwater and we don’t know it — and that’s understanding our environment,” Bolden said, in a clear reference to global warming-related sea level rise.

“It is absolutely critical that we understand Earth’s environment because this is the only place that we have to live.”

As recent reports have shown, NASA satellites and earth observations have made critical discoveries about things as vital to Earthlings as – where is all our water going?  Below, Rachel Maddow hears from NASA researcher Jay Famiglietti on the status of global water resources.

Wonkette:

..as we’ve noted before, what Ted Cruz thinks NASA needs to be doing is concentrating on stuff that is far away from Earth — the real space science, not all the stupid wasteful research that NASA has been doing on our own planet, which isn’t in space at all, and also isn’t even good science, as Ted Cruz understands science. Which is badly.

Ted Cruz is simply not a fan of these dumb NASA scientists who refuse to look to the skies — or at least, not high enough in the skies, because what’s actually in our own planet’s atmosphere belongs to the fossil fuel industry, and NASA shouldn’t politicize science by getting in the way of scientific progress with a lot of wild predictions about climate change. As he lectured NASA administrator Charles Bolden at a hearing in March, NASA is about being inspiring and space-oriented and doing cool stuff like going to the Moon, not about being depressing and Earth-looking-at:

But I would suggest that almost any American would agree that the core function of NASA is to explore space. That’s what inspires little boys and little girls across this country.

After all, no children in the history of the world ever got excited about how carbon dioxide is making the planet unlivable, and there’s nothing at all inspiring in the quest to stop global warming, there just isn’t. Go look at some planets that don’t have lobbyists, will you, NASA? Cruz has actually won at least part of his battle against NASA’s stupid satellites that look at Earth, convincing his pals in the House to slash NASA’s Earth-science budget.

boringearth Funny thing about planetary science, though: as Mother Jones columnist Tim McDonnell points out, there aren’t any other agencies in the U.S scientific establishment, or private industry, to take over NASA’s climate research. And of course, it’s NASA satellites that collect the very data Cruz misinterprets to call climate change a crock.

Worse, says McDonnell, “it’s pretty hard for scientists to make sense of what they see on other planets if they don’t understand the one we’re on.”

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How low are they going? This low.

The blogger who won’t even tell us his real name, even though it is now open source, Steven Goddard, has been cited as an authority on climate.
Kind of like citing Orly Taitz as an authority on Kenyan Birth certificates. Did I mention “Goddard” is a birther, too? (not unusual in denierville – see below)

Media Matters:

Fox News is reviving accusations that NASA’s peer-reviewed adjustments to temperature data are an attempt to “fak[e]” global warming, a claim that even a climate “skeptic” threw cold water on.

Tony Heller, a birthed who criticizes climate science under the pseudonym “Steven Goddard,” wrote a blog post that claimed “NASA cooled 1934 and warmed 1998, to make 1998 the hottest year in US history instead of 1934.” After the Drudge Report promoted a report of this allegation by the conservative British newspaper The Telegraph, conservative media from Breitbart to The Washington Times claimed the data was “fabricated” or “faked.” On June 24, Fox & Friends picked it up, claiming that “the U.S. has actually been cooling since the 1930s” but scientists had “faked the numbers”.

However, the libertarian magazine Reason noted that even climate “skeptic” blogger Anthony Watts said that Goddard made “major errors in his analysis” and criticized the implication that “numbers are being plucked out of thin air in a nefarious way.”

batboyI profiled Anthony a few years back for his own craziness in regard to alleged plots to distort the temp records.
Can we all agree that, if your denialist nuttery is such that even Anthony Watts can’t back you – you, my friend, are a denialist nut.

Anthony Watts quoted in Reason:

Some segments of the Internet are abuzz with the claim by climate change skeptic Steven Goddard (Tony Heller) over at his Real Science blog that NASA/NOAA have been jiggering the numbers so that they can claim that warmest years in the continental United States occurred recently, not back in the 1930s. Folks, please watch out for confirmation bias.

Via email, I asked Anthony Watts, proprietor of WattsUpWithThat, what he thinks of Goddard’s claims. He responded…

…while it is true that NOAA does a tremendous amount of adjustment to the surface temperature record, the word “fabrication” implies that numbers are being plucked out of thin air in a nefarious way when it isn’t exactly the case.

“Goddard” is wrong is his assertions of fabrication, but the fact is that NCDC isn’t paying attention to small details, and the entire process from B91’s to CONUS creates an inflated warming signal. We published a preliminary paper two years ago on this which you can read here:  http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/29/press-release-2/

About half the warming in the USA is due to adjustments. We’ received a lot of criticism for that paper, and we’ve spent two years reworking it and dealing with those criticisms. Our results are unchanged and will be published soon.

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In the many responses I get to these videos, it appears that a number of people want to deny, or are not even aware, that there is a scientific foundation to the overwhelming consensus on climate change.

In fact, the science is built on thousands of publications and many decades of observation.

In this video we’ll go over some of the fundamental discoveries, the basic facts that we know beyond a doubt, about global warming.  Of course, many people will never believe science, because they believe that anything that challenges their world view, is all part of a secret, global conspiracy.

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