Thursday, April 9th, 2009

John Holdren’s first interview

Good stuff to know if you are interested in the course of science under the Obama administration at ScienceInsider.

This is the first I’ve heard about asking the Chinese to shuttle our astronauts to space. I wonder where this came from…or if Holdren was just speaking off the top of his head. But why the Chinese when we have a number of home grown outfits, like SpaceX, looking to do the job? Why the Chinese over the Russians, who are particularly good at getting people safely to orbit?

The other question I have is about nukes. I don’t believe we necessarily need new nuclear weapons, but is that the job of the science advisor to decide and not, say, the military? Of course, as Holdren points out, our national labs have a broad research portfolio, not just nukes.

But that’s just one bit of the interview, its fairly in-depth and well worth the read.

And, in other Holdren news, AP is reporting that he has an interest in geoengineering .

I’m a little nervous about fiddling with the global climate, especially before we know exactly how everything plays out. What if we make matters worse? Why not wait until the damage is done? I don’t believe in irreversibility, that just doesn’t make sense…not on a geological scale, at least, but maybe that’s only irreversible on a human scale.

Here’s my plan, millions of acres of space solar panels. We’ll block out a fraction of the sunlight reaching Earth and generate safe, clean power. Sure, you say, we’d never be able to build the x gazillion solar panels we’d need to block the sun. Maybe they don’t have to all be solar panels, maybe its just a few gazillion acres of some sort of dimming fabric…in addition to the solar panels. Think of all the stimulus money that could be spent on the solar/space industry!