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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 28, 2006 / 7 Kislev, 5767

Space: Our ticket to survival

By Paul Johnson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Over the last generation the U.S. economy has performed as well as at any other time in its history. Productivity growth is excellent, and vast numbers of highly skilled immigrants are finding jobs in this high-employment environment. America seems on course to reach a population of about 420 million by midcentury, by which time the U.S. economy will have expanded many times.


The flourishing economy is best left alone, and government must be wary of adopting any of the interventionist philosophies currently in vogue. The latest and most fashionable — emanating, of course, from low-growth Europe — is that if the industrialized countries fail to adopt vast state programs to combat the consequences of global warming, the world will be hit with a 1930s-style depression. If we are entering a long period of warmer temperatures — a big if — I believe we should react to this calmly, systematically and on the basis of actual evidence, not theoretical projection.


Individual businesses that have to plan for the future in a hardheaded manner are more likely to get things right than are governments staffed by bureaucrats who have no business expertise or politicians who are competing for headlines. Policies are most likely to be wrong when they emerge from international conferences, at which governments angle for media attention through gestures of compassion and concern.


The Final Frontier


While it is true and salutary that governments should in general leave economics alone, it is, however, right that from time to time they offer leadership and/or encouragement. Currently there are two areas in which such leadership from the U.S. would be prudent. The first is in the push for increased use of nuclear power in preference to other fuels, especially oil, which is volatile in price and entails many political ramifications. I've written about this before: Increasing the use of nuclear energy, along with developing more advanced methods of generating it, are legitimate goals for Washington to pursue.


Space is the second area, the importance of which seems to have faded into the background in recent years. The Bush Administration is well aware of space's importance in military terms and has recently issued new rules governing what it will not permit likely enemies to do there. But I am thinking more in the long term, particularly in regard to large-scale space travel, colonization and commerce. If the human race survives, I have no doubt that it will eventually colonize space. But will working actively and purposefully for such enterprises actually help us to survive? I believe so.


Gloomy Greens argue that unrestrained human activities can, by changing the climate, doom humanity to extinction. But they've yet to prove their case, and it looks increasingly improbable that they ever will. However, large-scale natural disasters — though rare and well spaced out in time — undoubtedly have that power. Such an incident took place about 65 million years ago, when an object about 6 miles across hurtled through Earth's atmosphere and landed in the sea off the coast of Mexico, releasing energy equivalent to billions of A-bombs and a fireball hotter than the sun. After 150 million years of triumphant existence the hardy dinosaurs, unable to withstand the resultant climatic changes, became extinct. The human race would have suffered the same fate had it then existed.


Bill McGuire, professor of geophysical hazards at University College London, has written a book entitled Global Catastrophes: A Very Short Introduction in which he calculates the size of objects big enough, if they struck Earth, to end life as we know it. This book is a good read (though I disagree with the professor about man-made threats). Depending on whether an object hitting us were a fast-moving comet or a slower asteroid, it would need to be about 2.5 miles across to set in motion the process of reducing light and destroying photosynthesis, without both of which Homo sapiens and the other forms of life on our planet could not survive.


Obviously, at this time there's little we can do about such a monstrous threat to our existence, except pray. But in due course — provided we pursue our space efforts resolutely — three progressive forms of action should be possible. We must develop the means to secure the longest possible warning of an approaching object, as well as its likely trajectory and impact zone. We're well on the way to securing this knowledge, but the process could be much accelerated.


With early knowledge our chances of diverting such an object obviously increase. But we also need to acquire and perfect the technology to detonate a nuclear explosion in space that would be sufficiently powerful to alter a huge object's course and send it into unpopulated space. Thanks to America's efforts, our capabilities are heading in this direction, but there is much more to do.


As well as being able to detect and deflect objects, we need to have a workable planetwide evacuation plan. We must stop thinking of space travel as a childish fantasy or a movie or television plot and recognize it as a serious project that may at some point become an absolute necessity. Practical space travel is one answer to all calamitous danger — man-made or natural — and I would like to see Mr. Bush give it serious consideration during the last phase of his presidency. It is the next great adventure for man, as well as his survival ticket.

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Previously:

10/24/06: Envy is bad economics
10/11/06: Better to Borrow or Lend? Rethinking conventional wisdom
08/22/06: Don't practice legal terrorism
08/08/06: A summer rhapsody for a pedal-bike
08/03/06: Why is there no workable philosophy of music?
07/11/06: Historically speaking, energy crisis is America's opportunity
07/06/06: The misleading dimensions of persons and lives
06/06/06: First editions are not gold
05/23/06: A downright ugly man need never despair of attracting women, even pretty ones
04/25/06: Was Washington right about political parties?
04/12/06: Let's Have More Babies!
04/05/06: For the love of trains
03/29/06: Lincoln and the Compensation Culture
03/22/06: Bottle-beauties and the globalised blond beast
03/15/06: Europe's utopian hangover
03/08/06: Kindly write on only one side of the paper
02/28/06: Creators versus critics
02/21/06: The Rhino Principle

© 2006, Paul Johnson

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