Dec 122017
 

The post earlier today about the whackadoodle anti-engineering article? It was written by, wait for it, the head of Purdue’s School of Engineering Education, something I posted about in April.

Didn’t Purdue used to be a pretty well respected engineering university? While I’d hate to lay the punishment for this insanity at the feet of the graduate, one has to wonder how long it’ll take before engineering firms like Boeing and Lockheed and Exxon and General Electric and Ford see “Purdue graduate” on a resume and remember who Purdue likes to hire, and decides that it’d perhaps be safest to pass on those resumes.

If you get your art wrong, your painting doesn’t sell. If you get your poli-sci wrong, your candidate doesn’t win. You get the *engineering* wrong, people die, coastlines are trashed, contracts are cancelled, companies are sued into oblivion, stockholders bail and tens of thousands can become unemployed. So if an engineering school becomes known as a place where “engineering rigor” is actually frowned upon… how good of an engineer do you think they be?

Something all *good* engineering curricula teach is “risk analysis.” Hiring an SJW-trained engineer? Not worth the risk. You’d be better off hiring an engineer from Taiwan or New Delhi. You know, the Asians with all the white privilege.

 Posted by at 10:02 pm
Dec 122017
 

Now, here’s an interesting scholarly journal:

Engineering Studies

What might the articles in “Engineering Studies” be, do you think? Perhaps articles describing engineering projects, like building bridges, skyscrapers, jetliners, rockets? The techniques behind terraforming Venus or filling the Chad Sea? Nope. OK, how about articles describing how engineering is done, how to integrate physical goals with the laws of physics and the realities of economics? What the latest finite element analysis codes are, the most advanced laser measurement systems, the newest thing in pocket protectors? Well, apparently not. Let’s take a look at the current issue, shall we?

Guest Editor’s Introduction: Engineering Masculinities in Water Governance

Hydrocracies, Engineers and Power: Questioning Masculinities in Water

Engineering Masculinities: How Higher Education Genders the Water Profession in Peru

Becoming an Engineer or a Lady Engineer: Exploring Professional Performance and Masculinity in Nepal’s Department of Irrigation

Queering Engineers? Using History to Re-think the Associations Between Masculinity and Irrigation Engineering in Peru

Apparently, hydraulic engineering is “masculine.” And apparently “masculinity” is a “thing” in engineering, like “tensile strength.” Who knew.

But if that’s not adequately edifying, take a look at one of the more recent articles published behind their paywall:

Rigor/Us: Building Boundaries and Disciplining Diversity with Standards of Merit

Rigor is the aspirational quality academics apply to disciplinary standards of quality. Rigor’s particular role in engineering created conditions for its transfer and adaptation in the recently emergent discipline of engineering education research. ‘Rigorous engineering education research’ and the related ‘evidence-based’ research and practice movement in STEM education have resulted in a proliferation of boundary drawing exercises that mimic those in engineering disciplines, shaping the development of new knowledge and ‘improved’ practice in engineering education. Rigor accomplishes dirty deeds, however, serving three primary ends across engineering, engineering education, and engineering education research: disciplining, demarcating boundaries, and demonstrating white male heterosexual privilege. Understanding how rigor reproduces inequality, we cannot reinvent it but rather must relinquish it, looking to alternative conceptualizations for evaluating knowledge, welcoming diverse ways of knowing, doing, and being, and moving from compliance to engagement, from rigor to vigor.

You think that’s bad, get a load of this. I looked up the journal “Engineering Studies” on wikipedia to see if it had its own listing… it does not. But the *concept* of “engineering studies” does. The description is pretty minimal, weak and bland; at the end, a grand total of two Journals are listed. One is the previously mentioned “Engineering Studies.” The other:

International Journal of Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace (IJESJP)

Ye gods. The one good thing I can say is that on their website the “current issue” dates back to 2015.

Realistically, it looks like the Social Justice Warrior War On Engineers is minimally backed by dedicated journals. But don’t doubt that they are out there (in all senses of the phrase), and they want to destroy engineering and replace it with… well, it’s difficult to tell, really. If “engineering rigor” is bad and should be done away with, I am faintly interested to find out what they think will actually design a vast arcology that won’t collapse and kill all the Special Lemmings living within. So, you know, less an issue of “concern” than “curiosity,” I suppose…

Sure, they’re silly. Sure, any engineer worth his or her salt will likely shake his or her head at this nonsense, and then get back on the job. The problem, as we’ve seen in the last few years, is that SJWs are getting quite skilled at yelling loud enough, and screaming just the right stuff, that the people in charge will often listen to them and even bend the knee, even if only in the hope of placating them for some peace and quiet. But it’s a disastrous idea to give in so much as a millimeter to these screeching harpies of irrationality. You’d be better off trying to incorporate astrological charts into orbital mechanics, dowsing rods into mining operations, spoon-bending psychics into metallurgy, creationists into biology.

Engineering doesn’t have politics. F=MA doesn’t lean left or right, communist or capitalist, fascist or libertarian. But of course, that doesn’t stop politics from trying to grab hold of every tool imaginable, including engineering. And engineers, even if they are not especially political, should be aware of the creeping insidiousness of invasive politics. They should, to use a word mistreated, misused and now battered into the dirt, be “woke” to what’s going on, if for no other reason than to recognize the SJWs… and then to ignore their screechings. This opinion piece – a rather hyperventilatory bit of Trumpist self-congratulations, admittedly – deals with “conservatives” rather than “engineers,” but the basic message does, I think, apply to engineers and technicians and scientists and all good men and women of reason and conscience.

Woke Conservatives And The Awesome Power Of Not Caring

Recognize the tools and techniques of the anti-engineering SJWs when they come to your place of engineering or engineering education. Recognize them… and then refuse to play along. Nod politely as they yammer, and then, depending on the position of power you have, either:

1: Tell ’em “sure thing,” then go back to what you were doing once they’ve left the room

2: Laugh in their faces and tell ’em your preferred variant of “bite me.”

It’s important to not only prevent them from getting the changes they want, but to also prevent them from damaging *you*. Sometimes that means playing the sap and pretending to care… but then quietly sabotaging their efforts from the inside. If you are a new engineer with a precarious position, standing up in the middle of an all-hands meeting and pointing out out to the company Diversity And Tolerance Compliance Officer that their latest mandate is the dumbest farking thing you’ve ever heard and can we *please* forget this nonsense and get back to work there are deadlines after all, is entirely honest, entirely justified… and stands a good chance of getting you fired. This is not only bad for you, it’s bad for everyone else: it empowers the social justice fascists and cows the rest of the staff. Don’t give them the satisfaction. If you don’t have the power to laugh at their faces… laugh behind their backs.

 Posted by at 10:41 am
Dec 112017
 

President Trump signs space policy directive ordering NASA to send humans to the Moon

For whatever a policy directive to NASA is worth…

The article discusses the fact that Mars advocates are worried that a return to the Moon would sidetrack a manned mission to Mars, which the article says is hoped-for for the year 2033. No mention of SpaceX’s rather optimistic plans on getting there by 2024. But the thing about Moon vs. Mars…

Sure, the idea of using the Moon as a launching pad for Mars is silly. Once the Moon is sufficiently industrialized, Lunar surface mass drivers could lob aluminum and LOX to Earth orbit for use in the construction of Mars ships; but that’s a long way off and there’s no good reason why one destination should wait for the other. They are both useful for their own ends. The Moon is a clear destination for industry; mining, processing and power generation (vast PV arrays on the surface beaming power back to Earth could end the usefulness of fossil fuels entirely). Mars is a clear destination for colonization. The one can be State 51, the other State 52. Hawaii/Alaska, Moon/Mars; both good.

 Posted by at 7:25 pm
Dec 112017
 

Why do I say “It’s good that our enemies are evil?” It would be disconcerting if we looked at the Nazis or the Commies or the Jihadis or whatever and said “hmm, they seem like the good guys here.” So, it’s best that when we compare them to us, they come off badly.

And now that we have accepted that they are the bad guys, one thing you *don’t* want out of your enemy is competence. And fortunately, the jihadis seem to have incompetence in spades.

Suspect in Port Authority bombing carried out bungled attack in name of ISIS

This winner, this god among men, tried to use a suicide bomb to kill a bunch of innocent folks… and the bomb didn’t even kill *him.* And it’s not like bomb building is all that hard. We’ve lately had cases of mass shootings by verifiably crazy people; all they needed was a gun, which are not that hard to obtain in gun-free zones like New York. The internet is loaded with instructions on how to make pipe bombs, pressure cooker bombs, twitchy high explosives. Trucks are all over the place, available for the buying, renting or stealing, to be used in running down pedestrians. Molotov cocktails require little more than a bottle, a rag, a flammable fluid and a lighter… and yet this Surt-worshipping CHUD couldn’t even blow *himself* straight to Nastrond.

To which I say… three cheers for the generations of inbreeding which has made these genetic defectives so incompetent at even the most basic of terror tactics.

 Posted by at 5:13 pm
Dec 092017
 

Realistically, something like UBI is probably coming. While the idea of simply giving people free money for simply existing maybe morally or ethically dubious or downright repellent, we’re *already* doing that through the welfare state. As the video points out, things could be vastly more efficient if the welfare system was swept aside and replaced with direct payouts.

There are about 250 million adult US citizens. With the videos suggestion of $1000 per month per adult, that would be about three *trillion* dollars per year. The 2018 US FedGuv budget is $4.1 trillion, with $440 billion in deficit. The expenditures are $1 trillion for Social Security, $582 billion for Medicare, $404 billion for Medicaid. Replacing Social Security with a flat $1000/month would be a political nightmare.

As previously mentioned on this blog, there’s not enough current welfare spending to simply replace it with a UBI that provides an above-poverty-level income. Additional funds would be needed, and I have doubts that jacking up taxes on the rich, as the video suggests, would do the job. They would simply find ways to dodge the taxes, and who could blame them. The only way to make the UBI work at current economic levels would be to reduce the excess population, or to accept a below-poverty-level UBI. Personally, though, an extra, say, $500 a month wouldn’t bother me too much, especially since I don’t benefit from any welfare programs despite being poor.

Replace low-skilled labor with robots, maybe the economy would grow enough to support a proper UBI, dunno.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 8:07 pm
Dec 092017
 

As with every nation, there’s a lot you can look at in Russia and frown or shake your head at. The excess booze on the roads. The invasions and annexations of bits of sovereign neighbors. The continued political dominance of Pooty and continued reverence for the Commie era. But one thing you gotta give the Russian props for is the Beriev Be-200. That is an aircraft of a type the US has not built since the 1950s… a flying boat with jet engines. Hell, I don’t think the US has built a flying boat *at* *all* since the 50’s, apart from itty bitty light planes.

The Be-200 is a *beast* when it comes to doing it’s job. And one of it’s jobs is fighting fires. A jet plane  goes fast; a  flying boat can land on a lake and scoop up water fast. Put the two together and you really have something.

Official: Russia offers to help fight wildfires by stationing aircraft in Santa Maria

This sort of thing would be *fantastic* on many levels, from the purely practical to the diplomatic. And California? Imagine what that state could do if they stopped throwing money at hare-brained schemes for high speed rail lines and instead spend their billions on procuring planes like this. Hell, for the amount California has blown on phantom bullet trains from LA to SF or LV, they could fund the development of an all-American flying boat of this kind, capable not only of water bombing but, say, flying passengers from LA to SF.

Along with new firefighting aircraft, California would be well advised to start planning for a more burny future as the climate changes. This means not only a drier climate meaning more fires, but also less water coming in from the Sierras and the Colorado River. Fortunately, California has a backup source of water: the Pacific Friggen’ Ocean. With a few terawatts of new powerplants – preferably in the form of thorium reactors, but latest-gen uranium reactors are good too – connected to new desalination plants, California could easily supply itself with all the water it needs for its people and agriculture. By doing so it would reduce the need to tap resources like the Colorado, allowing that water to be used for better things elsewhere.

California could demonstrate its forward-thinkingness by creating such a power and desalination surplus that it could actually pump billions of gallons of water annually up into the hills and mountains, creating reservoirs for use in fighting fires.

Interesting to note: the official Be-200 promotional vids I found on YouTube all look and sound like the sort of promotional videos I saw American aerospace firms crank out in the 80’s. The video quality is undoubtedly better, but otherwise… man, 80’s flashback.

 Posted by at 6:49 pm
Dec 082017
 

Boeing CEO Says Boeing Will Beat SpaceX to Mars

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg: “Eventually we’re going to go to Mars, and I firmly believe the first person that sets foot on Mars will get there on a Boeing rocket.”

 

 

One of the worst things to happen to the space race was when the Soviets conceded. If we can get American aerospace companies competing against each other… we can get this train moving again. Its a pity there’s been so much consolidation among US aerospace companies… a perfect future would have involved things like Ceres being acquired by Grumman, Phobos by Republic Aviation, Pluto by General Atomic, with Mars divvied up by Boeing, Lockheed and Walmart, with Europa in contention between Northrop and McDonalds, Ganymede being fought over between Chrysler and Ford.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:27 am
Dec 072017
 

Democrat Representative John Conyers Jr. has resigned for multiple allegations of sexual harassment, coupled with using taxpayer funds to pay settlements to keep things quiet. He has endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him (fortunately for the people of his district, the transition should be a smooth one since his son was arrested earlier this year for domestic abuse, including stabbing his girlfriend). Democrat Senator Al Franken  has announced that he’ll soon resign for having assaulted some women a whole back. And now Republican Representative Trent Franks has resigned because… well, it’s a little unclear: “after two former staff members complained about discussions he had with them about efforts to find a surrogate mother.” The topic in and of itself doesn’t seem like it should be troubling, but maybe he suggested to his staffers that *they* be the surrogates. That’s all I can think of. If his given reason is accurate, it seems like he’s quitting because he *said* something inappropriate, while Franken and Conyers *did* something inappropriate. So at least at this very basic level there’s a disparity between the Reps and Dems. Of course, there’s also Roy Moore; while not in the Senate, he *may* soon be, and there is a lot of thinking that if he wins the election, the Senate may refuse to let him in, or may immediately begin proceedings to eject him.

I fully endorse the resignation of any and every member of the House and Senate. Especially anyone who has been there more than one term. Serving in Congress shouldn’t be a friggen’ career, but rather something that people do for a little while then go *back* to the private sector.

 

 Posted by at 5:50 pm
Dec 062017
 

House OKs GOP bill expanding gun owners’ rights

Marriage licenses and drivers licenses are issued by individual states, but recognized by all. Marriages and driving are *not* explicitly called out as rights in the Constitution… but bearing arms is. And perversely, up until now states have often *not* recognized the concealed carry licenses issued by other states. This may be about to change, at long friggen’ last.

But some politicians never let an opportunity to slander millions of law abiding citizens pass by unremarked. Example: Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., called the bill an attempt to “allow dangerous criminals to walk around with hidden guns anywhere and at any time.” I wonder if it might be possible to sue her for slandering law abiding concealed carry license holders, who she has just said are “dangerous criminals.”

 Posted by at 10:41 pm
Dec 052017
 

This is some truly astonishing reading right here:

What Really Happened At The School Where Every Graduate Got Into College

Short form: a large percentage of the “graduates” are academic disasters. One-fifth missed more than half the school days, unexcused. Half missed more than three months. And the school passed ’em anyway, because that way they get bonuses. As one recent graduate points out: “I felt at a point around getting toward winter, I ain’t have to be there no more.” Sure. As one does.

I don’t know if we can do this with teachers, but can we replace school *administrators* with robots yet? Robots that don’t give a damn about bribery or threats?

You’ll be shocked, SHOCKED to find out that this school is in the Washington. D.C. district.

 Posted by at 5:49 pm