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Going Off the Fiscal Cliff Could Mean Missing the Next Hurricane Sandy 296

Lasrick writes "Alex Knapp has an excellent article pointing out that NOAA satellites enabled NOAA to predict the 'left hook' of Hurricane Sandy into the Eastern Seaboard, which in turn enabled local governments to prepare. Those satellites are at risk and there will be a gap of about a year between 2017 and 2018, when the old ones fail and the new ones are scheduled to launch. There's no alternative to getting that data, and the so-called 'fiscal cliff' will drive an 8% cut to NOAA's satellite program, so that those replacement satellites may go up even later than 2018."
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Going Off the Fiscal Cliff Could Mean Missing the Next Hurricane Sandy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 29, 2012 @02:33PM (#42420953)

    Give us more money, or people die.

  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @02:54PM (#42421105) Homepage
    If you have a better idea, please elaborate. For some reason completely oblivious to you, preparation against catastrophic events costs money.
  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @03:11PM (#42421199) Homepage Journal

    Fiscal Cliff or not, the United States' inability to pay bills are finally coming to a head. Complain all you want, but it's going to get to a point where the only way to sort this out is to cut federal services

    Or war against those who hold the chits. Given the history of this country, what do you think is most likely?

    Yes, this "fiscal cliff" is all misleading the public, and both sides play their parts. It's like bickering over how to treat a wound on your toe, ignoring that your femurial artery is gushing blood. It's somewhat surprising that the average American doesn't yet see how deep in shit he really is, with the country owing three times his salary, which he has to pay back with interest. Delaying it is just going to make the payments worse.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @03:33PM (#42421309)

    Give us more money, or people die.

    When local governments have a shortfall the first to go is police officers and school teachers and firemen.
    Bureaucrats seem to hold on to their jobs some how. Rat hole money sponge projects seem to linger on forever.

    When the federal government has a shortfall (don't they always), its more of the same, with each agency finding the biggest scaremongering headlines they can possibly put forward.

    8% isn't that big, you can find that much fat in any departmental budget, and money can be siphoned off of other projects and moved to these satellites at a moment's notice. Worst case, take the money out of FEMA or the TSA and save everybody some suffering.

  • by otterpop81 ( 784896 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @03:41PM (#42421361)

    If you have a better idea, please elaborate. For some reason completely oblivious to you, preparation against catastrophic events costs money.

    The problem I have is that when times are good, governments spend the excess on crap, and then when it comes time to make cuts, they whine about how they'll have to cut essential services. We see it all the time with local governments as property taxes fluctuate. When revenues are down they say they have to cut police and fire departments and teachers, but there's never any talk about cutting what was _added_ during the fat years. We always had teachers and police and fire departments during the previous lean years, so what's the problem with going back to how it was?

    We're seeing the same thing on the federal level, the difference being that there haven't been good times (ie: surplus) in over a decade. Replace "good times" with "when we're borrowing even more from China."

    We had money to fund NOAA before the current people in charge borrowed more money than all previous administrations combined, why can't we go back to that? I think that's what the GP is getting at.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @03:51PM (#42421421)

    Preparation against catastrophic events? So these satellites are able to turn back the storm, and prevent damage?

    Preparation in this case means 'early warning'

    The idea is that if people are notified of the risk of a storm striking earlier, they will have more time to prepare, and therefore: their preparations will be more effective, and thus damage will be reduced.

    It won't be true in all cases -- sometimes the 'early warning' may be ignored, because it hasn't shown to be reliable. Also, the NOAA makes predictions, and predictions that far in advance have some inherent uncertainty, due to technological limitations and limitations of the science, modelling, and statistical techniques used in weather prediction.

  • by StormCrow ( 10254 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @04:00PM (#42421485) Homepage

    I'm sorry, I must have missed the DNC budget passed in the Senate that included NOAA funding increases. Whats that? The truth is no budget has even been proposed by the Senate controled by the DNC in the last 5 years? None of Obama's proposed budgets have received a SINGLE vote from the DNC or the GOP? As I recall the GOP controlled House is the ONLY part of government that has proposed and passed a budget, but none of them have been brought up for a vote in the Senate. Perhaps you could enlighten us on how the GOP defunds NOAA when they haven't actually done anything.

    And that couldn't possibly be because the GOP has systematically filibustered any piece of legislation from the democrats in the senate that they have the slightest issue with, basically making it impossible for anything to come up for a vote.

  • by lumbricus ( 936846 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @04:14PM (#42421599)
    How is this Insightful? How about -1 Trite. Is it that hard to believe that government can and does provide useful services, especially those that have such a long time horizon and capital investment that the market will not provide them? Is it also that hard to understand that these valuable programs and the people who run them (at a huge discount relative to the private sector) suffer under the vagaries of political brinksmanship?
  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @04:24PM (#42421679) Homepage

    If people's wages remain static, then it means 8% of adults (and some similar percentage of families) without an income. Sure, you might say those 8% were doing nothing important, but now they will be left with no money, empty stomachs and anger. This does have the potential to destabilize society.

    Government cannot keep growing indefinitely (which is what it's doing at the moment).

    At some point the system has to break down - when there's not enough people actually producing stuff to pay the government bills. Better to make a few functionaries miserable now than to make the entire population suffer through the meltdown (in 20, 30 years or whenever).

    Then to argue that only the fat of a budget will be cut is too idealistic. If those departments can't run themselves efficiently (as a result of corruption, which is partly why there is a problem in the first place), then how will they cut their budgets appropriately?

    There's no way to get past the layers of lies that have built up over the years to justify their existence so you just cut every department. Stuff like the military can probably take a 20-30% hit. A few less F22s and stealth bombers won't make any difference to anybody's security, that's a couple of trillion right there.

  • How much does one launch cost? How much does it cost to blow up innocent people (women and children included though I value them neither more nor less than males) by drone just about every day of the year.

    I really don't know where my priorities are at -- what the fuck is wrong with me for valuing interesting scientific data over blowing up random people and making enemies of the survivors.

    Yeah -- a big FUCK YOU to that. It's totally warranted and really, not even a tiny fraction of a fraction of a fraction of percent harsh enough for the total FUCKHEADS in WA DC.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @04:46PM (#42421799) Homepage Journal

    You can't hire and train up young talent if there isn't a job for them. And if you do, but let them go afterwards, you've just wasted money you'll never get back again.

  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @08:40PM (#42423141)

    Actually paying for the ones the previous administration put on credit cards. Seriously look at the tax plans he isn't Spending any more than Bush did. the problem is that the long term loans are starting to come due and The US government can't pay for it.

    In Clintons last couple of lame duck years the republican controlled house and senate forced through some decent long term tax and social security plans the kind to prevent the situation we are in now. The thing is Bush wiped those plans out and cut the interest rate for 8 years down to nothing to stimulate the economy. Which worked for only the housing market but that was enough to cloud the issue up. It also led to numerous secondary issues like the housing bubble, and the lack of incoming taxes effectively hobbled the government which then had to take loans to cover short term debt. Those loans are what Obama is trying to cover up.

    Personally I am just waiting for the other shoe to completely drop. either we stagnate just like we are for about 8-10 more years or the bottom completely falls out and all that money the 1% have been saving up becomes worthless as the value of the dollar collapses completely.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie