Mar 052018

This seems to be an effort by a single professor to influence the educations of her students, but do not be surprised to see it expanded further in an effort to make STEM less… STEM.

Pomona Physics Requires “Decolonization” Project

The course is Physics 101, required by *everyone* intending to go forward in Physics. It was tainted with Leftist nonsense such as “learn and discuss implicit bias, microaggressions and other similar topics.”

I can hope that at least one student turned in a report that extolled the virtues of “colonization.” Because physics is physics across the universe, but the *understanding*of physics is a result of a fairly specific set of events and discoveries made by a limited set of cultures. That people in *other* cultures can understand and utilize physics is only possible because of “colonization.”

No Western Science… no science.


 Posted by at 2:15 pm
Mar 042018

National Geographic Just Sent Me a Crystal Healing Water Bottle

So Nat Geo is going to air a new documentary about Earth, and as part of their advertising, they sent boxes of stuff to journalists. That’s fine, I suppose. Get people who write about such things to become interested. If there was going to be a documentary about dinosaurs, you might expect the box to contain a book about dinosaurs, maybe a toy/replica dinosaur, some brochures about dinosaurs, a dinosaur poster…. that sort of thing. A documentary about Earth? One thing I would *not* expect is a glass water bottle with *another* glass bottle *inside* it, with the inner bottle filled with cheap gemstones because gems and crystals have Magic Healing Powers.

No, really. That’s what National Geographic sent.

The water bottle itself cost more than seventy friggen dollars, because apparently the world is full of rich assholes who think that magic rocks are A Thing That Works.

it contains “carefully selected and ethically sourced gemstones representing the building blocks of earth,” including “wood,” “water,” “earth,” “metal” and “fire.”

Ummm. The building blocks of Earth are iron, nickel, aluminum, oxygen and silicon, mostly. The planet is hardly made of “wood,” and the “water” is mostly a thin coating on the surface. “Metal” is a little vague, but I can go with it; “fire” is again purely a surface phenomenon, and there far less common than water. I guess they nailed it with saying that “earth” is a building bock of “Earth,” though.

Gems raise the energy level of water. That’s been known for hundreds of years and scientifically proven.

This makes me want to do unpleasant and antisocial things to whoever wrote that.

You know what actually raises the energy level of water? Heat.  You know what doesn’t? Putting room-temperature rocks into room temperature water. Unless those rocks are phosphorus or lithium or some such, the energy level of the water will remain essentially unchanged.

I looked up the water bottle. It’s available on Amazon for $78. It’s here in a normal blog post where I’d tend to put a link to the Amazon listing, a link that would earn me a pittance if someone actually bought the thing. But buggered if I’m’a gonna contribute to selling such nonsensical woo-based gibberish. You want to buy one of these things, you go look it up yourself. Maybe, like the National Geographic representative who responded to the journalist, you think this would make a funny, ironic gift for the science type in your life. Or maybe you think it’d be pretty. Those are valid reasons for spending your money however you’d like, no worse than buying a Pet Rock or a copy of the latest Hillary Clinton book for use at the range. But if you actually think that putting a sealed container of inert rocks into a water bottle will do *anything* to materially improve the water… well, I’ll be diplomatic and say “ahhh… no.”

For your rage-reading edification, I went to the website of the water bottle company, and here’s some of what they say:

Following age-old traditions, we created gemstone vials to hygienically inspirit drinking water.

“Hygiencally inspirit?” “Inspirit???” I had to look that one up. Guess whether or not it even has a listing on Go on, guess.

We offer several different gem blends, tested by naturopaths and based on the insights of modern crystal healing. Their scientifically proven efficiency make them an essential accessory in health-seeking households worldwide.

Naturopathy is humbug on par with homeopathy. “Modern crystal healing” should not be used adjacent to “scientifically proven” unless there is a properly placed “not” in there.

There are several “gem pods” you can buy, each with supposedly their own utility, from “wellness” to “love” to “inspiration.” Then there’s the “Forever Young” gem pod:

Forever Young


Water is the elixir of life! The gemstone blend is designed to attract clarity, purity and fluidity like a natural mountain spring on a crisp clear day. If your personal detox practices are important to you in these hectic times, the Forever Young blend offers an additional dimension of energetic cleansing. Aventurine has been used for regenerative and reviving purposes, aquamarine for cleansing and smoky quartz for stress relief. In the natural healing arts, this combination of aventurine, aquamarine, and smoky quartz provides an invigorating cleanse of body and mind.


And for the big spenders:



Diamonds are a GemWater lover’s best friend. The most precious gem on earth was believed to channel divine energy and was reserved only for kings and queens. Our customers say that no other GemWater tastes as intense and apollonian as this exclusive blend. Try it once and you’ll never again drink ordinary tap water. It also makes a perfect gift for that special someone you treasure most in your life – it is as unique as a diamond ring or a precious necklace. This blend is truly jewelry for your water!

“Apollonian?” Are they suggesting that water that has been near some chunks of quartz will now taste like the god Apollo? Now, I’m no expert on the Hellenistic gods, but I don’t immediately recall that people were constantly running up to Apollo and licking him or taking bites out of him. (I seem to recall that a few miles to the south-east of Greece the people there had themselves a god who came in the form of crackers and booze…)

Now, if this all sounds disturbingly familiar, it’s because I barked about something much like this before. As recently as September, in fact, I pointed out a “Psychic Vampire Repellent” which was the same basic idea… a few bits of colorful rock chips in a spray bottle, the rocks supposedly making the water in the spray bottle magical. Some ideas not only never die, they never stop being profitable.

So, once again I find that my attempts at earning an income by earnestly and honestly creating products that are both of reasonable quality *and* fact-based (well, except for the *fiction,* of course) are a fools errand. There is clearly much more money to be made in bilking the suckers. And now “the suckers” seems to include “National Geographic.”

 Posted by at 9:55 am
Feb 232018

So the day before yesterday I posted about some unforgivably stupid rubbish some twit wrote about how space colonization is an evil product of evil male privilege, or some such gibbering nonsense. Well, the editorial I complained about finally hit And even in that wretched hive of leftist scum and villainy, the views expressed by the writer of the anti-space colonization piece were just too much to bear. And the result is a series of astoundingly quotable bits of snark. There’s some stuff here that requires memorization and re-iteration at the appropriate times.

The first thing I noticed was a meme someone had slapped together. A bit of research indicates that it is sort of a bit of fan fiction, a crossover of “Warhammer 40K” and the movie “Avatar.” But had this bit of exposition actually appeared on “Avatar,” it would have turned that bizarre bit of blue-tinged hippie fluff into Pure Awesome:

“Spare us your pity, alien. You gush about your connection with nature, your primal wisdom, but what has it brought you?
“Where are your marvels of engineering? Your voyages of discovery? Your great insight into the nature of the universe? Even at our basest, when we dressed as you do, dwelt as you do, hunted as you do, lived as you do, we did more than merely survive. We built wonders. We made great journeys. We forged epics. You have not.
“You speak so proudly of the plugs dangling from your skulls, little realizing that they are but strings and you puppets. What little you have accomplished you attribute to the wisdom of your goddess, who is nothing but the voices of your dead echoing for all eternity. She moors you to the past, serving as a leash that keeps you as little better than apes, sad parodies of civilization that lack that special spark to become something more.
“We have come to your world in search of resources. Whether your actions drive us back or we take what we want and move on, the outcome is the same. We will depart from your wretched planet, leaving you behind. And in a thousand years, you will not have changed from this contact with another world. You will remain in your trees, hunting your prey, communing with your goddess, until your sun burns out and your world dies.
And above your tomb, the stars will belong to us…

As is The Way Of The Internet, this led me HERE, which deserves a good reading. Especially the bit about humanity in Star Trek. Snerk.


“Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”  — Orson Welles, as Harry Lime in The Third Man.

There’s nothing worse than an empty mind with a deadline

“They build too low, who build beneath the stars.” – Edward Young 1681-1765

Pretty much everything humanity has achieved has its origins in mens’ desire to get laid.

What the sweet jibbering fark did I just read?

There’s one undeniably good thing about reading a piece of raging idiocy pretending to be important thinking: it can spur the creation, or at least quotation, of something far better.

All the things these anti-testoterone whackos yammer on about have led humanity from the muck and mire to the edges of the ocean of space itself. We have gone from a few million especially bright apes to now over eight *billion* people, a sizable fraction of whom live lives of comfort and health undreamed of in ages past. We are no longer threatened by the wolf or the lion. A scratch is now so rarely a cause of death that when it happens it makes the nightly news. We are not even troubled by the darkness that comes when the sun goes down; we casually flip a switch and go on reading or playing or working or fighting.  This is due to not only the desire to conquer and colonize, but to tinker, to puzzle things out, and to turn a profit. Those urges that feminist killjoys and their intellectually lethargic kiss-asses disparage are the ones that have made life *good* for billions of people. Those same urges will, if allowed to express themsevlves, lead mankind outwards, and will turn dead worlds like Mars into living worlds like Earth. We will turn cold sand and rust and a thin envelope of unbreathable carbon dioxide into oceans and forests and meadows and lakes and streams and great herds of beasts. We will turn the sterile asteroids into a billion habitats, each the size of a small nation, each boasting a thriving ecosystem and biosphere. We will turn the Oort cloud into cheesy theme parks and rest stops and gas stations, footsteps on the paths to the farther stars, where we will turn yet more dead worlds into living ones. We will conquer and colonize the universe and bring it to life. In much less than geological timescales, astronomers will  be able to look at distant stars and see the reflected spectra indicating water and free oxygen and chlorophyll, the results of terraformed planets and engineered structures on a scale we can not currently easily comprehend.

The drive to colonize, to reach out towards something distant and say “mine,” will turn the universe green with life.

And what will the likes of Marcie Bianco do in the meantime? Complain. What will they build? Nothing. How will they be remembered? They won’t. There will be no place for them on the great monuments to the early colonists in the Alpha Centauri system. No great statues of them will be built in the Magellanic Clouds. Great nebulae will not be sculpted in their likeness. Their existence will be recorded, if at all, merely as footnotes in the great archives of all knowledge. Notes that will go millions of years without being referenced by historians, no more remembered or celebrated than the names of those early humans who decided that standing up to the sabertooth was too much effort.

 Posted by at 5:55 pm
Feb 212018

Oh, boy! Who wants to fill up your tank of stupid today?

The patriarchal race to colonize Mars is just another example of male entitlement

NBC News is actually promoting this rubbish.

These men, particularly Musk, are not only heavily invested in who can get their rocket into space first, but in colonizing Mars. The desire to colonize — to have unquestioned, unchallenged and automatic access to something, to any type of body, and to use it at will — is a patriarchal one.

Rather, the impulse to colonize — to colonize lands, to colonize peoples, and, now that we may soon be technologically capable of doing so, colonizing space — has its origins in gendered power structures. Entitlement to power, control, domination and ownership. The presumed right to use and abuse something and then walk away to conquer and colonize something new.

You know, I’m starting to wonder if perhaps there might be something to the recent line of thinking that the recent spate of school shootings really does have something to do with there being something wrong with the male of the species. But note that this, indeed, does refer to a relatively recent development. And I’m thinking that perhaps the rise of third wave feminism, the man-hating, matronizing, screeching-about-the-patriarchy-at-every-opportunity sort of insanity that has it that colonizing and bringing to life a dead world is not only a bad thing, but that the drive to do so is specifically male and thus any male who wants to make life better – which would be just about every male – is a terrible person… this rise of insanity is filtering down to boys and messing with their heads. You tell a boy that his natural instinct to build, to improve, to make things better, is bad and wrong, what does that leave him?

So, who’s with me: anyone who opposes the conquest of space is  an enabler of school shootings. Is that a crazy position to take? Sure is. Is it more crazy than the position taken by the anti-space nuts? Not by a long shot.

 Posted by at 4:32 pm
Feb 192018

The NERVA nuclear rocket, studied throughout the sixties into the early 1970’s, would have been a great way to propel spacecraft. But a nuclear rocket is not the same sort of reactor as is generally designed for use in space to generate electrical power. A NERVA can produce *gigawatts* of thermal energy, energy which is carried away with the high mass flow rate of the hydrogen propellant. Power reactors, on the other hand, are generally designed for several orders of magnitude lower thermal power… a few thermal megawatts, perhaps, to produce a few hundred kilowatts of electricity.

However, the fact remains that a nuclear rocket *is* a nuclear reactor. For most missions it would burn for a few minutes, at most perhaps few hours, out of a mission lasting perhaps years. It is thus a bit of a shame to waste all that potential. So over the decades many studies have been made for using a nuclear rocket as a power generator .

One such study was reported by Aerojet in 1970. The abstract is HERE, the direct PDF download if HERE.

In this study, the NERVA would pump out 1,500 thermal megawatts during the propulsion phase(producing 75,000 pounds of thrust), dropping to 250 to 505 thermal kilowatts during the power generation phase, enough to create 25 kilowatts of electricity. This would be a very low-power, low-temperature use of the reactor, reducing system efficiency… but still, making use of a reactor that was already there, and not noticeably using up the fission fuel in the reactor. The reactor would be run at very lower power levels and hydrogen would flow through a closed loop built into the reactor; the warmed gaseous hydrogen would flow through a turbogenerator to create electricity; the warm hydrogen would then pass through a radiator built on the outer surface of the hydrogen tank itself.

Support the APR Patreon to help bring more of this sort of thing to light!




 Posted by at 3:26 pm
Feb 102018

If’n ya want details of the Tesla Roadsters orbit…

The resulting wall-o-data is below the break. Useful for astronomers, but not very enlightening for the layman. Anybody know of a site that cranks out orbital trajectory plots, showing the arrangement of selected elements for whatever date in the future? The JPL Impact Risks site used to be really good for that sort of thing, but it requires a Java applet that makes my computer security system just go “nope.”

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:48 pm
Feb 072018

Let me know when those who are fighting against the cis white supremacist patriarchal system of engineering can come up with something like this:

Watching those two boosters plummet from the sky and dual land like that? That’s some sci-fi sh!t, right there.

EDIT: And then there’s this one, shot from the ULA Delta IV launch pad at SLC-37. I believe you can see the Apollo 1 launch table in the foreground, which I’ve been to and highly recommend in much the same way I recommend the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in D.C. This video has some subtle sounds that are interesting and important, so crank up the volume to 11.



 Posted by at 9:45 am
Feb 062018

The Falcon 9 Heavy flight went off seemingly without a hitch (as I write this it’s not yet clear if the core booster landed right on the barge EDIT: Whoopsie, the core smacked into the water near the barge at a stately 300 miles per hour due to a failure to ignite two of the three braking rockets). But the two boosters landing simultaneously, side by side… that is hands down no BS the coolest, awesomest, most hopeful thing I’ve ever seen. I’m beyond jealous of the people who work at SpaceX.

How awesome is this? It’s all the awesome. Give it up, Star Wars. There’s no awesome left for you.

Now would be the time for trump to get on live TV and say, in effect, “USA! USA! USA! This is what free men in a free market can do. It’s hyuuuge. It’s beyootiful. And I’m’a gonna take all the moneys the US current sends overseas and instead will pay SpaceX to launch a Trump Casino And Resort to Velles Marinaris.”

 Posted by at 2:07 pm
Feb 062018

Negative mass/negative matter is a theoretical substance that appears in sci-fi and scientific speculation. It would be a difficult substance to deal with, if it actually exists… negative mass means negative inertia. Which means if you push on it, it pushes back, just as hard. This is why it’s considered probably necessary for stable wormholes: somehow, you line the “walls” of the wormhole with negative matter, and if the wormhole tries to collapse, the negative matter resists the collapse.

The video below explains some of the head-scratching consequences of the existence of negative matter. Not explained in the video is the idea that negative and regular matter would mutually annihilate if they came into contact. But unlike a matter/antimatter annihilation, a matter/negative matter reaction would release… nothing. Literally, nothing. One gram meets negative one gram, the end result is zero. The two substances would disappear like nothing was ever there. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. You’d probably get atoms partially torn apart… the electrons disappear but the nuclear scoots away, or the nucleus is partially eliminated, releasing a flood of suddenly liberated protons and neutrons and elementary particles. It would be nowhere near as energetic an event as a M/AM reaction, but there would seem to be a distinct sort of signature to a M/NM reaction.

 Posted by at 1:26 pm