Category: Deep Thoughts

Science Monday: The Martian

I have not read the book (yet) or seen the movie (yet), but I thought this interview with the author was intruiging:

Weir gets into one of the big reasons I support the space program and wish we had one that was ten times bigger. As long as the human race is confined to this planet, we are vulnerable. A single event can render us extinct or at least destroy our civilization. I’ve long thought we should build a vault of human knowledge so that, in the event of a survivable catastrophe, civilization could eventually be rebuilt. But the ultimate “civilization insurance” would be space colonization.

That’s decades away. As Weir notes, the big problem is getting things into orbit, which remains hideously expensive. But I also love his approach to this problem: let industry figure out how to get cargo into orbit cheaply (with NASA funding cutting edge research). That might mean new rocket tech, that might mean magnetic slingshots, that might mean a space elevator.

The solar system, if not the universe, is there for the taking. Do we dare do it? The difference between doing it and not doing it may very well be the long-term survival of humanity.

In the age of Obama..

The world is all upside down. The Social Justice Warriors have presided over a period when the rich have gotten richer than ever, and at a record pace. And ironically one of the biggest winners, Mr. Bezos, who raked in $16 billion in one year, runs a newspaper that makes him a ton of money peddling the SJW bullshit to idiots.

Then again, the crime syndicate in charge has had a lot of such first. Evil Boosh was a warmongering monster that made everybody hate and want to attack America. But the worst humanitarian crisis caused by war can be laid directly at the feet of the incompetent idiots showing us that it is amateur hour at every level of this administration. At least the crisis is fucking over the Europeans mostly right now, but the morons in charge will find a way to make Americans not just pay for their mistakes, but to make them suffer as well.

I won’t bore you with other such contradictions, ranging from environmental disasters caused by the very agency trying to destroy our economy with burdensome regulations that it is immune to and seem to mostly exist to help enrich connected rich people like Mr. Bezos in the first place, to the massive surveillance state created by the most open and ethical administration ever. Obamacare? That promise that it would save everyone big money, insure all the uninsured, and generally heal the sick across the board if we just let our betters pass it already? Yeah, it is costing us an arm and a leg, has barely covered a fraction of the uninsured they tauted would all disappear, and is replete with waste and horrible and destructive regulation that’s causing far more harm than if we had kept the status quo.

We are still printing money like it is going out of style and living large on borrowed money. The economy, which has been in recovery since 2009 when Black Jesus took office is in shambles, but the same idiots keep telling you all is well. Employment numbers are abysmal. Income inequality – another one of the big talking points of the SJW crowd – is at its worst. And the stock market, which had rallied primarily because of insane government spending and an ever devaluating dollar, is giving back every gain it has made.

Robots are taking the manufacturing jobs and even the McJobs, now that the SJW are pushing for insane wages for what amounts to entry level work any bozo off the street would be able to do. Cost of living is flying up, and the only reprieve is the fact that despite their promise to make us pay a shit ton more for energy usage, oil prices – you know that commodity they have been telling us for decades was just about to run out – have plummeted. And that happened despite efforts by this administration to do otherwise, although they are trying to take credit for this now.

Green energy has failed miserably (Volkswagen anyone?), across the board, and yet, this has not deterred the priesthood. After all, they have made more money than ever peddling this bullshit.

And the abuses of power continue as well. The IRS Scandal still remains unanswered. And they are not the only big government entity screwing over political enemies of the left. From the EPA to the DOJ, they are going after any and all that dare point out how corrupt these bastards are. Veterans are being fucked over. Whistleblowers that dare tell the truth about the abuses of this administration get crucified and destroyed. A criminal that has basically shown she shouldn’t be given any kind of security clearance is the top contender to replace Obama as the “Capo di tuti capi”. And the list goes on and one.

I guess, I think, my point is that these people are crooks and liars, and the true believers can’t be bothered either way. Long live the free-loaders!

She must think she is royalty or something

One of our credentialed intellectual superiors that thinks they belong to a special class that absolves them from the plethora of laws and regulations they foist on us peons, again showed us how broken our legal system really is. Mrs. Clinton, whom believes America owns her the title of POTUS because it is her turn, again shows how little respect she has for the system she seeks the highest office of. In a display of disconnect with reality that should frighten anyone with a modicum of intelligence, she answered questions querying the possibility that her people, under her direction, had wiped her highly illegal mail servers with the stupid kind of snark she believes shows her superiority to the rest of us rubes who she would have no problem turning the partisan legal system out on. Note that having such servers, let alone destroying evidence like she did when people found out about them and asked her to deliver that evidence for legal evaluation, would have landed anyone else in jail because they would be violation of congressional laws put in place to safeguard sensitive and secret information. Others have been punished – harshly – for far less than what is obvious to everyone was done by her and her staff.

I am not sure if she was just flaunting the fact that she believed she was above the law by wearing that ugly orange jump suit, or if she subconsciously was making another snarky remark for the jail time anyone else that had committed this string of crimes would be facing. This medusa must have some serious shit on the Obama administration. The lack of action by the legal entities in this administration, especially after they so vigorously crucified others for far less, is astounding. They have to know how the general populous is viewing this freak show, but its as if they don’t care. Then again, Obama is also a crime boss and believes himself royalty as well, so maybe it is just one crime boss helping out another. I for one have held for a long time that I would never trust the corrupted system run by agents of the left to fairly treat someone like me while on the other hand allowing one of their own to get away with practically anything, and so much of what has transpired over the last 7 years prove that I was right to feel that way.

How sad things are…

Rasmussen has a poll that asked people if they bought Obama’s most recent attempt to hide the fact that under his administration the IRS conveniently targeted his political opponents right before an election, and the sad thing is that the result was that only 52% of likely US voters believe that this was highly illegal and a directed political attack. I suspect that amongst the democrat voting block there are two issues that drive this number. The first that these democrat voters are predominantly low information voters: they get their news from comedians or DNC apparatchiks like the NYT or PSMNBC, which pretend to be doing unbiased news, but are nothing but shills for the DNC. But I suspect that there is also a large block that know this was illegal and a dangerous abuse of power they would never, ever, have gone along with, but they don’t care to admit that now, because it benefited their guy and their side.

These idiots are the ones that make totalitarian systems possible. They are fine with abuses of power and law breaking as long as it is done by their guys – explained away as a necessary evil in their battle against the enemy – and never figure out that eventually they will be in the line of fire themselves until it is too late. One can forgive the low information voter. After all, stupid is as stupid does. But willfully ignoring criminal activity is another thing. And during the Obama term we sure as hell have seen some unbelievable abuses of power. From this IRS scandal to the things going on in the ME (Benghazi. Iran deal, and more), to the attack on Walker Hal posted about, these people have shown they operate like a criminal syndicate. And we as a country are all suffering for it. When the rule of law crumbles as it is doing now, sooner than later, you will get those that decide to take the law into their own hands.

How Social Justice systems always play out

Chavez fooled enough people in his country to go along with the usual redistributive nonsense that SJW, capitalizing on the envy and greed of those that for whatever reason feel their existence justifies their needs, peddle to grab power. he’s now dead, and his social experiment, resulting in one failure after another, has come to ,a href=”” target=”_new”>this:

Venezuela’s embattled government has taken the drastic step of forcing food producers to sell their produce to the state, in a bid to counter the ever-worsening shortages.

Farmers and manufacturers who produce milk, pasta, oil, rice, sugar and flour have been told to supply between 30 per cent and 100 per cent of their products to the state stores. Shortages, rationing and queues outside supermarkets have become a way of life for Venezuelans, as their isolated country battles against rigid currency controls and a shortage of US dollars – making it difficult for Venezuelans to find imported goods.

Pablo Baraybar, president of the Venezuelan Food Industry Chamber, said that the order was illogical, and damaging to Venezuelan consumers.

“Taking products from the supermarkets and shops to hand them over to the state network doesn’t help in any way,” he said. “And problems like speculating will only get worse, because the foods will be concentrated precisely in the areas where the resellers go.

There is power in this approach, Pablo. This move by the Venezuelan government may not make sense to someone that genuinely wants to let the market figure this stuff out, but it makes perfect sense if you look at it from the stand that the government can grandstand and pretend they are doing it to help, but then use it to control people. And collectivism, despite the bullshit you get sold by the SJW, is all about control. The power to punish those that you deem to have violated whatever arbitrary line you have drawn and to keep the others in line out of fear is central to the command economy politics of collectivism.

Be it hard core communism, the state owned socialism of Franco and the Nazi party, the crony-capitalism socialism of the west, or anything in between, the system can’t survive without the state’s ability to control and punish dissent. The end result, when you run out of other people’s money is the rationing of basic necessities – from toilet paper to soap – and the government confiscating the production of labor, like in this case, leading to a drastic decline in productivity across the board. After all, who wants to work hard to get the same reward as the people that do absolutely nothing?

This is what the social revolution will always play out as. Ask the Greeks how close they are to just this.

What could go wrong?

I am not surprised to hear that the crime syndicate running the country right now is basically collecting information on the serfs, and absolutely not surprised the emphasis on race is there. After all, the grief mongers have an election coming soon and running on the disastrous record of the last 7 years is not an option. Money quote:

A key part of President Obama’s legacy will be the fed’s unprecedented collection of sensitive data on Americans by race. The government is prying into our most personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”

Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.

This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.

Big Brother Barack wants the databases operational before he leaves office, and much of the data in them will be posted online.

So civil-rights attorneys and urban activist groups will be able to exploit them to show patterns of “racial disparities” and “segregation,” even if no other evidence of discrimination exists.

Funny this, because the last 3 months have I have experienced 3 scenarios where when prompted I told the people I wouldn’t disclose my race or didn’t want them to note it, and met with huge resistance. My dental assistant was flabbergasted that I wouldn’t let her note my race on the reams of paperwork the government demands be filled (one other question asked was if I owned fire arms and I told her the answer was “fuck off, slavers”). The two people that called me with their surveys – both of them with clear agendas – also were insistent that I provide race information. I refused. Adamantly. They were not happy.

Considering the agenda, I am not surprised they want to collect this. Considering their other corrupt activities, I have no doubt this will also be mishandled and presented in whatever way will benefit the social justice warrior class. But have no doubt that they will find a way to abuse this. That is the legacy of this band of thieves, after all.

New Horizons is Alive and Well

The last time we did a flyby of a planet, I was in high school. It was 1989 — Bush the Elder was President — and we had a TV on in my physics class showing us a live feed from NASA of the Voyager 2 flyby of Neptune. I was enthralled … everyone was. Here was a world we had only glimpsed through a telescope and now it was so close you could touch it.

(I could say something about that inspired me to enter astronomy but that would be a lie. I liked astronomy but it never occurred to me to do it for a living until my junior year of college.)

I felt some of that excitement last night as we awaited the signal from New Horizons that would indicate a successful flyby. And today we have some stunning images coming down. Here is Charon, Pluto’s moon, that was a dot even for the Hubble Space Telescope:


You can read some of the details of the picture over at Bad Astronomy.

It’s impossible for me to express how much I love this … all of it. I love the fiddly engineering and amazing work that go into planning a mission. I love the facilities down at Goddard where they do every test imaginable on the hardware of upcoming missions. I love watching the rockets leap from the pad on a pillar of fire. I love the seemingly impossible task of sending a probe over a nine-year three-billion-mile mission and having it still work. I love the technical jargon as the Mission Operations Center monitors the spacecraft (a lot of which I now understand, having worked for a NASA mission). I love the excitement space aficionados and even hardened astronomers feel as the images come down and reveal a distant and mysterious world. It is all exciting and wonderful and thrilling and inspiring.

Here’a closeup of that heart-shaped region of Pluto.


Pluto has vast mountains of ice, canyons miles deep, a surface that was repaved within the last hundred million years by some process we can only guess at right now. In a few hours, New Horizons gathered data that will keep scientists busy for years and may change our understanding of the Kuiper Belt.

I’ve said this before about our space program: this is the way to waste taxpayer money. You want to talk to me about American exceptionalism? This is American exceptionalism. America is defined by many things but our exploration of space has to be our country’s greatest achievement. We’ve sent probes to every planet; we’ve put men on the moon; we’ve glimpsed the fires of creation through space telescopes. No other nation can match us. Russia sorta could for a while (and right now, they’re embarrassingly the only means of getting astronauts into space). Europe sorta can in their European way. India and China are trying to get things going. But when you really break it down, we are the country of space. We are the explorers. We are the pioneers. And this a commitment we should be devoting more resources to, not less.

Last year, the Houston Chronicle ran a great series about the foundering of our space policy. The big problem I see is that no President has been really committed to it. They come up with their pet projects — a mission to Mars, an asteroid capture, a return to the Moon — and that gets vaguely funded only to have another pet project to take its place when the presidency changes hands. What we need is a more realistic long-term strategy, something NASA can commit to for the next twenty years or more. NASA’s focus should be astrophysics, identifying potentially dangerous asteroids, continuing to explore the Solar System with unmanned probes and, most importantly, trying to devise cheaper ways of getting people and cargo into space. The last part is the only way human exploration of space will ever be feasible.

This should go hand-in-hand with supporting private space programs and commercial exploitation of space. What I’d really like to see is a bunch of billionaires get together, pool their funds, and set a course for the next few decades of private space flight, with NASA committed to supporting them.

But that’s tomorrow. Today, enjoy the amazing pictures of a distant world coming down from New Horizons. And thank your stars that you’re part of a species smart enough to think of this and a country rich enough and daring enough to pull it off.

(Post Scriptum: I said this on Twitter, but will mention it here. I sometimes get asked what I think about Pluto no longer being a planet. My opinion is this: call it what you want.

I understand why the change was made. If Pluto is a planet, that means Eris, Haumea, Ceres and Makemake have to be planets, to be consistent. And it means that, in a few decades, we might have identified hundreds of planets. Pluto is very different from the other planets and much more like the vast sea of Kuiper Belt objects that probably lurks out there. This doesn’t take away from Clyde Tombaugh’s achievement. On the contrary, he discovered something even more amazing than Planet X.

But … I really don’t think it would have killed us to just call Pluto a planet for historical reasons. Consistency is, after all, the hobgoblin of small minds. And Pluto doesn’t care what you call it.)

My electricity bill is again going to go up due to stupidity

On the last day of June, the SCOTUS struck down the ludicrous mercury regulations the EPA put together and did so because the whole think stunk and provided no information about the cost. Obama, to show them he is the emperor, issued more ridiculously stupid and horribly costly renewable energy fantasy promises. This fucking guy lives in his own stupid reality. At a time where technical people like
Bill Gates explain why everything points to current renewable energy not being viable, Obama doubles down on the stupid. And Gates is not alone to make that argument: Google, a lefty company if ever anything, agreed with him that current renewable energy technology doesn’t cut it. I have made this point myself. Solar, which was too costly and simply too unreliable and inefficient when Jimmy Carter promised to make us use only that in the late 70s has not come much further in the 4 decades since. Wind is an even bigger joke. The cost vs. return for these technologies not only make them prohibitive, but they are ludicrous and stand in the way of viable technologies (like nuclear).

My electrical bill has all but doubled since Obama took office. My consumption has almost been halved. I am almost paying four times as much as I used to per kWh since Obama put his idiotic ideas into motion, and the only people to make like bandits are those connected to the Obama administration that not only receive massive tax payer subsidized funding and breaks, but benefit from stupid shit like this promise by Obama that forces people being squeezed dry but without the knowledge to know they are being hoodwinked, into giving them even more of their money.

Heck, I now even have some new tax that cock gobbler Maloy socked on those of us not sucking at the government’s teat that takes more of my money to help those unable to pay their bill do so. I bet you none of these people I am now “helping” are trying to either reduce their consumption or dependency on this abusive industry that has so enriched collectivists that pretend they are fighting a noble fight against world destroying evil brown energy. Worse yet, unless I do what one of the government approved scams that line the pocket of supporters of these ludicrous and inefficient technologies peddle, I must not only remain on their grid, but accept the ass fucking they send my way every month, and thank them for it too. At this point I am sure I can come up with alternatives that don’t enrich these evil fucks and cost me less. But they will throw my ass in jail for daring to fight their monopoly.

Why are we letting these people run the show, huh? Greece is showing us where this always ends. And China is going to one up them and really fuck up things. There is not enough “Other people’s money” to let the leftists do what they want. No, not make things better, but fleece the productive while throwing scraps to the unproductive for their envious support. The left loves to pretend that the robber barons are in the party they oppose, but reality doesn’t bear that out. I can’t wait for Iran to get the bomb and start WWIII already. Nothing will end the stupidity of liberalism short of a global cataclysm that finally forces mankind to abandon socialism and the other beliefs the left holds dear. We need a mega dose of harsh reality to cure humanity of this mental disorder.

Declaration of Dependence

I hope you guys had a good Fourth yesterday. Knowing the readership of this blog, I’m sure you were well aware of the significance of the date and what it really means. What struck me last night, as I thought about it, is how little independence actually remains to us and how great an ongoing effort there is — cheered by various pundits — to squash what independence remains to us. In the world of the progressives (and some neocons) we would:

No longer have the independence to choose what we eat and drink. Our sugar and fat intake would be restricted or taxed heavily.

No longer have what little independence we have to choose our schools. Home schooling and private schools would be regulated like the public schools.

No longer have the independence to choose our healthcare or our retirement. Social Security would be expanded and single payer healthcare implemented, funded with taxes on wealth.

No longer have the independence to speak, thanks to speech codes and anti-hate-speech laws.

No longer have the independence of religion or conscience. For example, we could be fined $135,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, even thought we are not a public accommodation.

No longer have the independence of free press. Campaigns would be publicly financed; films like “Hillary: the Movie” would be illegal to show before an election and laws like SOPA would tightly control what we put on the internet. Not to mention “the right to be forgotten” and a crackdown on anonymous posting and commenting (see the federal investigation into Reason’s commenters). Hell, you might even find reporters happily submitting to being roped off like sheep and asking only milquetoast questions of a major Presidential candidate.

No longer have freedom of association. For example, we would be forced to do “volunteer” work to finish publish schooling.

Trial by jury, innocent until proven guilty, right to council … these would be outdated concepts. Our college campuses would be but testbeds for the legal regime they would like to impose on us. And entire communities, including poor ones, would be turned upside down and vigorously shaken to pry revenue from them.

We would live in a police state where the government has unlimited authority to spy on us, arrest us, detain us and harass us.

And that’s just the beginning.

Robert Heinlein famously said: “Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” We are overrun with the former. And the latter had better get their shit together.

If you still doubt that they target their enemies

Then check this story out. Full disclosure. I frequent Reason’s Hit & Run frequently. The fundamental underlying philosophy there – and it is a dead accurate one- is that big government is tyrannical and that the US has right now one of the more tyrannical and corrupt governments to ever hold power in its two hundred year plus history. I am familiar with the post that has now resulted in this attack by the Obama Department of Progressive Taught Enforcement Bureau on the posters, but in particular against the sentiment on the left against this blogs and others like it that have aired this despicable administrations dirty laundry.

The site’s authors and the posters are primarily small government libertarians. It seems the left in this country has decided that the libertarian movement is far more dangerous to it than anything else. Likely because the libertarians have given up on playing nice and take every opportunity to call this despicable administration on its downright criminal behavior instead of trying to place nice with it or their lackeys in the MSM. Libertarians have no problem calling the collectivists on their theft of other people’s money and using that money to buy votes. Libertarians rub the faces of the excuse makers that defend the force used by government under the pretense of doing good in the shit sandwich they so desperately want to force everyone to pretend is a gourmet meal. Libertarians have no problem pointing out that the left’s ludicrous claim that the answer to the plethora of problems caused by an out of control, unaccountable, bloated, ineffective and inefficient, and drunk with power government is to give even more power to that government is downright stupid. And Libertarians and their beliefs, more importantly, are not vulnerable to the usual social issues that have allowed the left to frighten the low information voters and the takers that usually form their base. And the fact of the matter is that more and more republicans see the beliefs of libertarianism as a great thing. In fact, the republican party is now shifting in that direction. And the left wants none of that. Hence the campaign to eradicate this enemy before it gets too big by the bureaucratic machine that serves the left.

People need to wake up. The attempt to silence any and all speech that the masters in power don’t like is on the march in America. It is rampant in colleges. It is all over the news where anyone but a leftist gets harangued and attacked for saying anything the least bit controversial or that the left doesn’t like, while leftists not only get away with lying, cheating, abuses of power, criminal behavior across the board, and much more, but get defended. The various agencies of government are all being used to target political and other enemies of the left and those in power. From the IRS to the EPA, these powerful entities are all targeting the “Enemies of the state” (the state being the left). Most of the low information voters on the left right now loves this because they are stupid enough to believe these tactics helps them and their cause, but sooner than later most leftists will also find themselves on the opposite side of this machine, and then they will realize nobody is left to help them.

Dark times are ahead, and we are all willingly letting these evil people do it to us. Wake up.