Pigs at the Trough

The Atlantic finally popped through the door so I can point to all the interesting pieces in this months issue. Some of the material is available online, but I prefer reading the hardcopy issue, and then linking to the stories.

First up is Primary Sources, always one of the most interesting parts of the Atlantic.

The first story details how much Congress spends on projects tacked onto appropriations bills. It seems fiscal year 2004 was a record, with 10, 656 such projects. The Pig Book can be found here.

Among others:

Choice slices of pork listed in the Pig Book include $50 million to build the world’s largest indoor rain forest in Coralville, Iowa; hundreds of thousands of dollars for “poultry litter composting” and “berry research”; and $5 million for the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), which was originally designed to “capture energy from the aurora borealis” and now aims to “heat the ionosphere to improve military communications.” It’s no coincidence that HAARP, which has absorbed nearly a hundred million federal dollars since 1995, is an Alaska-based project: the state’s senior senator, the Republican Ted Stevens, chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee—and Alaska procured more pork per capita than any other state in 2004, with $524 million in appropriations.

Capture energy from the aurora borealis? Not heard that one before.

4 thoughts on “Pigs at the Trough”

  1. High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), which was originally designed to “capture energy from the aurora borealis” and now aims to “heat the ionosphere to improve military communications.”

    From what little I know, this is probably the one component of ballistic missile defence that makes sense. If you read this month’s Scientific American, there is a story by Daniel DuPont, which describes how atmospheric nuclear tests showed the possibility of destroying low earth orbit satellites, especially the unshielded non-military ones used for communications, weather and scientific purposes – en masse through increasing the radiation in the ionosphere. DARPA think they can use HAARP to partly neutralise the effects.

    Email me if you want a soft copy or get it here at

    http://www.sciamdigital.com/gsp_qpdf.cfm?ISSUEID_CHAR=60CCB45B-2B35-221B-6C2505AD4D69917F&ARTICLEID_CHAR=60EAB311-2B35-221B-6B0B08079013EE62

    Gra,

    Peter

  2. Curious science i have not heard of before, its been so long since i bought Sciam – its so bloody expensive in Ireland.

  3. The articles seem to be available in Google caches on the web. I dipped into its rare pieces on economics as a student, but I’ve only now started reading it regularly.

  4. Used to be my monthly digest – I shall have to take a look again.

    My subscriptions list will be increasing soon, so not sure I will be able to keep up with sciam!

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