Oct 252016

YouTuber Thunderf00t  takes on the “WaterSeer.” If you haven’t heard of it – and I hadn’t – the idea is simple: a device that uses a wind-driven fan to blow air down a tube into a buried chamber, where the lower temperature a few meters underground is used to condense water out of the air. At first blush, this sort of thing sounds feasible… until you do the math, and it turns out to not only be infeasible, but basically impossible. What gets *really* sad is that a bunch of Berkeley (apparently) engineering students are working away on the idea, apparently without having first run the numbers to see if it’s even possible.

The WaterSeer is essentially a dehumidifier that does not plug into the wall and uses dirt as a heat sink rather than an active refrigeration unit. Now, I grew up in Illinois, which tended to be pretty humid in summer. We ran dehumidifiers to make conditions less uncomfortable, rather than for water collection. But even then the volume of water collected – using humid air (the kind of air that resulted in rainstorms, the sort of thing you generally don’t get a whole lot of in the sort of arid regions meant to be served by the WaterSeer) and a whole lot of electricity – did not match what they’re claiming here. And an active refrigeration system using a condensible gas like ammonia is a whole lot more functional than a dirt-based heat sink. The thermal conductivity of dirt is terrible. That’s why people tend to use it as an *insulator.*

Seems if you want to condense water out of air, a dehumidifier hooked up to solar panels would be the way to go. But even then I’m not sure that that would be so useful in an arid, low-humidity region. A good water filtration system and a reliable way to access local water sources would seem a better approach.


Maybe we need to get rid of science, decolonize out minds, and use local magicians to call down lightningbolts. Sure, what the hell.

Below: diagram of an evolved version. Every bit as practical as the kind described above…


 Posted by at 9:35 pm
Oct 242016

Jack Chick Passes Away

Jack Chick was 92 and the creator of a large number of downright loopy comic-book-like “tracts.” They railed against anything he felt wasn’t supported by or was in opposition to his extremist Christian views… Muslims, Jews, atheists, Catholics, evolution, Mormons, Jehovahs Witnesses, and especially the occult, including Dungeons and Dragons.

On one level, Chick Tracts are funny. They are eminently mockable, and for those billions of us who don’t agree with their worldview, they are just plain silly. But there is a substantial dark side. Chick started railing against D&D in the mid 1980’s, convinced that role playing games were actual portals to dark forces. This contributed to the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s and early 1990s, a shameful period when many lives were ruined by panic-mongering charlatans.

 Posted by at 5:39 pm
Oct 192016

Students told term ‘be a man’ represents toxic masculinity

The dumbth continues…

According to the trailer of the film, it teaches that the “three most destructive words” a boy can hear growing up is “be a man.” Experts quoted therein also suggest that violent outbursts are prompted by masculinity pressures because “respect is linked to violence.”


OK, so telling a male to “be a man” is bad. Since a man is what the male would normally be or become, what they’re basically saying is that being normal is bad.

You gotta give these people props for having done a *magnificent* job on tearing down boys and men in the US. By working to eliminate the role of fathers in the education and maturation of whole populations of boys, they have eliminated proper role models for boys, leaving them with either no guide on how to become civilized men, or guides like the anti-male “feminists” that have become so prominent in recent decades. Is it any wonder, then, that so many boys and men have emotional and/or psychological issues?

If full knowledge on the source of all this was ever found, I wonder if it might turn out that a good chunk of this originated as a plan by the KGB to destroy the US from within. This would not surprise me. It would also mean that the people who support this nonsense are actually committing treason.

 Posted by at 2:30 am
Oct 172016

Ah, anti-science/anti-STEM moronity. Is there no limit to how monumentally idiotic it can get? Apparently not:

Watch Leftist Students Say Science Is Racist and Should Be Abolished

University of Cape Town movement says witchcraft is no less valid than Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity.

Just… wow. Behold:

Sure, one can argue that this is just a handful of idiots in a university far, far away. What are the chances that the thinking of clearly crazy people in Capetown, South Africa, will be adopted here in the Enlightened World? Well… consider. The idiots in the video use the same terminology as modern western Social Justice Warriors. They use the same *tactics* as western SJW’s. “Safe space.” “Progressive space.” Demanding apologies from dissenters. “Decolonization.” Feels before reals. Unearned arrogance.

The fact that these anti-science monsters have so successfully adopted the SJW mantras and worldview means that it is quite possible that their particular anti-science goals and objectives could well filter up through the rest of the SJW hive-mind. After all, if you argue with them and tell them that they are wrong… you’re a racist.

Thunderf00t did a good job of explaining why this thinking is teh dumm:

Now, here’s a thought experiment. Let’s say you were ethnically *not* a sub-Saharan African. You are, instead, let’s say, a white guy. And you *despise* sub-Saharan Africans. You don’t want them to progress; you don’t want to see them flying jetliners or colonizing Mars or building new computers or powerplants or cars that will compete with *you.* You don’t want to see them taking advantage of modern medicine and agriculture. You want to see their numbers decrease, their standard of living fall, their hopes and horizons shrink. You want to see a whole continent of people reduced to the level of savage that you think that they are. So, how would you go about making sure that happened? One way would be to launch a genocidal war of conquest and oppression. But, dayum, that’s expensive. On the other hand… if you can convince them to believe *exactly* as the “Fallists” in the video believe, you can get them to replace science with superstition. And once they’ve done that… they will do what you, in your racism and hatred, what to have done to them.

 Posted by at 6:32 am
Oct 132016

Some interesting things seem to have come out. These haven’t been officially confirmed so far as I know, but interesting nonetheless:

Details from Elon’s speech at the NRO

“We are close to figuring it out. It might have been formation of solid oxygen in the carbon over-wrap of one of the bottles in the upper stage tanks. If it was liquid it would have been squeezed out but under pressure it could have ignited with the carbon. This is the leading theory right now, but it is subject to confirmation.  The other thing we discovered is that we can exactly replicate what happened on the launch pad if someone shoots the rocket. We don’t think that is likely this time around, but we are definitely going to have to take precautions against that in the future. We looked at who would want to blow up a SpaceX rocket. That turned out to be a long list. I think it is unlikely this time, but it is something we need to recognize as a real possibility in the future.”

Two things here.

  1. The helium pressurant bottles are carbon fiber overwrapped and sit *inside* the liquid oxygen tank. The LOX on the upper stage was sub-cooled… it wasn’t “just below boiling,” it was “just above freezing.” Keeping the LOX as cold as possible keeps it as *dense* as possible, meaning you can squeeze that much more in the tank. Which is fine… except if you blow down any helium  in those tanks, due to the laws of thermodynamics the helium in the helium tank will cool off. Which means the wall of the helium tank will cool off. And any liquid oxygen in contact with the tank, or even soaked in between the carbon fibers, already close to the freezing point, may freeze solid. Solid oxygen in among carbon fibers… not a good idea.
  2. The failure of the Falcon 9 on the pad can be replicated by shooting it with a rifle at long range. In the comments at that Reddit posting, people who are apparently SpaceX employees say they know this because they shot a mockup. And perhaps even more interestingly, they could replicate the results by shooting *at* the rocket… not necessarily by actually hitting it. This would seem to indicate, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the shockwave shed by a presumably big and fast projectile scooting past the fragile outer skin of an upper stage is enough to send a shock into the stage. The shock hits the solid oxygen ice/carbon mixture and *blammo.*

Hmm. As Elon apparently said, they have a long list of groups that would like to see them fail. Competing American launcher companies. Competing European, Russian, Chinese launcher companies. Antagonistic foreign national governments.  Religious nuts. Australian anti-STEM trolls. Generic whackjobs. SpaceX had best step up their security game. And about the only way to do that in this case is to make sure that they control all the territory out to probably two miles from the launch site.

If the upper stage can be made to fail like this due to the passage of a bullet *near* it, that may indicate that the marksman was really, really good. It’d no doubt be childs play for a well trained sniper to hit the upper stage. Compared to a human, it’s *huge.* But if you put a bullet through the stage, no doubt there would be considerable forensic evidence left over. The outer skin with a bullet hole would be pretty obvious. The interior components with bullet holes, or scrapings of copper, lead, tungsten where none should be. But if you can successfully pass a bullet within an inch or two of the surface without actually hitting anything… no evidence of the bullet will be left behind. But that’d be an impressive shot, which would *probably* tend to eliminate generic nuts and religious whackos from the list. Someone would have had to have employed a real pro, which means hiring someone really expensive or employing a pro already in your service.

It would be advisable to add a sensor network around the launch facility. Millimeter wave radar can pick up a bullet; audio sensors can nail down the location of the shot. These won’t save your rocket, but they’ll tell you what happened, and if the system is fast enough allow either counter-battery fire or perhaps the unleashing of drones, droids or security guards.

This sort of thing kinda plays into the ideas floated a few days ago re: hurricane Matthew. More launch options means you could get away from people trying to blow up your business.

Most likely it’ll turn out to be a mundane sort of failure. But the fact that after some practical testing they’ve not only *not* discounted sabotage but have actually found evidence *supporting* that explanation, is a bit distressing.

 Posted by at 3:41 pm
Oct 132016

For the last several years I’ve been seeing occasional enthusiasm for “Solar Roadways.” If you have missed out on this, the idea is: hexagonal solar panels that you lay down to form ground surfaces like roads, parking lots, walkways, basketball courts, etc. The panels would be toughened to withstand automobiles driving over them, and would have integrated into them LEDs and microcomputers so that you could “paint” your lines and symbols and symbols and whatnot with light, rather than paint. The lines could be changed… parking lots could add or subtract handicapped parking spots, speed limits could be changed by having a great big “85” lit up in the road surface every half mile change to “95,” so on.

Sounds great, right??

No. It sounds freakin’ retarded.

I’ve never bothered to post anything about it because the idea seemed so patently and obviously absurd to me right from the get-go that I immediately shoved the thought aside, assuming it would vanish shortly like so many other ill-conceived notions. The world is *filled* with ideas for technologies that might sound good on an emotional level, but don’t stand up to even minimal mathematical scrutiny. This is one of many, many reasons why the public and the government *REALLY* need a better understanding of the basic precepts of science… not least of which being basic skepticism.

Anyway, I’ve tried to ignore solar roadways. Because it’s simply not going to work. But that hasn’t stopped people from throwing money at it.  And rather than going through all the ways in which this is dumb (top of *my* list was “You really want to drive on glass?”), I’ve linked below the latest video on the topic from pro-science (and, bonus, anti-SJW) YouTuber Thunderf00t where he smacks down the whole concept with logic and – GASP – math. Included are bits of video of the first public installation of a solar roadway, and it’s just tragically sad. Not only is the construction of the small patch of some thirty or so panels laughable amateurish, there’s a seventy-five percent failure rate in the panels in the first *week.* And that’s without cars driving on them.

“Solar roadways” is what happens when you prioritize “hope” over “math.” Like a jetliner designed by economists and built by poets, brain surgery conducted by homeopaths, a skyscraper designed by musicians and built by spirit mediums, or a nation guided by politicians, “solar roadways” is just a bad idea.

 Posted by at 12:28 pm
Oct 112016

While Kennedy Space Center did not receive the apocalyptic death blow from hurricane Matthew that some were projecting, that doesn’t mean that the storm passed without causing damage. One sad casualty was the SM-64 Navaho missile and booster on display at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station; it has been *badly* damaged. Restoration will be a chore… assuming that it is restored.

These photos came to me from aviation historian/writer Dennis R. Jenkins. If you post ’em, make sure to point that out.

img_2502 img_2487 img_2489 img_2490 img_2491 img_2495 img_2497 img_2499 img_2501 img_2484 img_2483 img_2480


Word is that the 45th Space Wing of the USAF has determined that they *will* restore the Navaho. Far too early to work out the details, such as “when” and “how much will it cost.” The possibility exists of a solicitation of donations to aid the effort.

 Posted by at 3:23 pm
Oct 092016

Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine a “Womens Studies” department at Average University. Who runs it? Who teaches in it? Who promotes it? If you said “people with an interest in women,” I’m pretty sure you’d be right. And by “interest,” I’m pretty sure it *wouldn’t* be “interested in women in the same way Donald Trump is interested in women.” Chances are *real* good that you’d find a whole lot of feminists in that Women’s Studies department.

I don’t think anything I’ve written so far would be seen as being all that controversial or troubling.

But here’s where the thought experiment gets tricky: flip the scrip a bit, and imagine a Men’s Studies department. One that focuses on “Masculinities.” Who’s in on *that* one?

In a rational world, you’d expect that the “Masculinities” department would be filled with people who support the idea of the masculine. You know, manly stuff. Manly men.

Yeah, well, about that. In a rational world, NASA wouldn’t pay people to serve in a PR capacity who publicly advocate *against* manned space exploration, and we’ve seen how that has worked out.

So… Stony Brook University in New York has themselves a Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities. What do you want to bet that it’s filled with people who think that men being men doing manly things like engineering and hard labor and hunting and fishing and fighting when necessary?  Well, let’s wander on over to the Center’s blog, and check on the “Editors and Contributors:”

Who’s up first?

Amanda Kennedy is a PhD candidate at Stony Brook University (SUNY). Her BA is in women’s studies and feminist science and technology studies from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University. Her main areas of interest are race, gender, sexuality, and the body, issues she approaches from a critical race/postcolonial feminist perspective.


Followed by:

Cheryl Llewellyn is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Stony Brook University. Her research addresses disparities in immigration policies, particularly asylum and refugee status, across gender, sexuality, race, and nationality. Her most recent publication in the Journal of Homosexuality describes the barriers for gender conforming gay men who apply for sexual orientation based asylum.

Cliff Leek is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Stony Brook University (SUNY).  He has a BA in US Race and Gender Studies from Willamette University and has worked as Prevention Specialist for the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force.  His primary research interests are non-governmental organizations (NGOs), violence prevention, race, and gender (with particular attention to the intersections of whiteness and masculinity).

Markus Gerke is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Stony Brook University (SUNY), working primarily on issues of race, class and gender, and masculinities more specifically. …  His MA thesis deals with constructions of (white middle-class) masculinity in newspaper articles about the so-called ‘boys crisis in education’. In addition to issues of gender and education, his work also explores the intersections of whiteness and masculinity in right-wing politics in the US and Germany, as well as the intersections of masculinity and sports.

Tara Fannon is a PhD student at NUI, Galway. She received her MA in sociology at University College Dublin. Her main research interests are gender, disability and the body-self connection. Her dissertation research uses feminist disability theory to investigate narrative accounts of identity and diversity- specifically the ways in which blind and visually impaired men claim, contest and adapt dominant masculinity and disability narratives to construct a sense of self.

Clay Darcy is a PhD candidate in the School of Sociology, University College Dublin (UCD), and a Lecturer in Sociology of Childhood at St. Nicholas Montessori College, Ireland.  His PhD research explores Irish men’s recreational use of illicit drugs and how this may relate to their construct of masculinity.

Andrew Morrison-Gurza is a Disability Awareness Consultant with an MA of Legal Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, specializing in Persons with Disabilities.  Andrew’s passion is “making disability accessible to everyone.”  In his work, he highlights the lived experience of Persons with Disabilities to show that disability is a universal experience we can all embrace.  Within the LGBTQ+ community, Andrew works to deconstruct our homo-normative, body beautiful ideals and show that Queers with Disabilities deserve representation.

And. So. On. “Iron John” these folks ain’t.

Where on Earth, in the entire history of mankind, has “being a man” been defined as *anything* like what seems to be taught at the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities? If you read through the bios and take a look at their blog, there is an seriously outsized interest in “queer” studies and the like. Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That, but when you are defining “masculinity” around issues of homosexuality… you’re gonna be kinda outta whack with the bulk of reality.

What exactly does it mean to “be a man?” Cultures differ some on that point. And the majority of cultures have some sort of ritual for becoming a man… some trial that the boy must go through to show to the tribe, the village, the nation that he has turned from a Child into a Man. Women, in a certain sense, have it a bit “easier” here… at the very least, nature lets you know in glorious Technicolor that hey presto, you have become a woman. But without a manhood ritual… how does a boy become a man? *Does* he become a man, or just continue on as an overgrown child? In the United States, becoming a Man often meant leaving home and joining the military. Or at the very least… just leaving home. Striking out on your own. Making your way in a world that is not out to coddle you, to give you want you want simply because you want it.  But it seems that this has faded away, especially if you read the bios above.  Those PhD candidates… how many of them, do you think, are having to dig ditches to afford their schooling? I’d bet good money that a sizable fraction of them come from money… because who the hell else would focus their schooling on areas so fundamentally useless? Everybody else has to get an education that stands some sort of chance of paying off.

Some of the characteristics that seem to be reasonably universal in the definition of Masculine (i.e. your chances of being a Man are reduced if you don’t have at least most of these): toughness (physical and emotional), bravery (which doesn’t mean you’re not afraid), a willinngess to self-sacrifice if needed (anything from throwing your body on a grenade to save your comrades to working a crappy job to provide for your family), a take-charge/take-responsibility attitude, the ability to be *both* a team player and independent. A common poem that helps to define what it is to be a man is “If” by Rudyard Kipling, who seemed quite good about such matters:

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


A lot of this basically boils down to genetics and evolutionary pressures. Men aren’t Men because some conclave of cavemen got together and picked out random characteristics from a pot and decided that’s the way things would be from then on. “Masculine” properties are those that help propagate the species. They help a guy to have a bunch of kids, and help that guy make sure that as many of those kids as possible live long enough to have kids of their own.

Look, my own Manliness is in doubt because women don’t dig me. Whatever it is they want, apparently I ain’t got. But I look at the world and while the bulk of humanity baffles me, there are a few things that are abundantly clear. What kind of male do most females want to sire their kids? Do they *really* want the Obamacare Pajama Boy or whiny SJW douchenozzles… or do they want Real Men?

And so… what the hell are schools doing when they try to turn boys into something that goes against evolution and genetics?

 Posted by at 2:55 am
Oct 082016

St. Louis NAACP says girl, 13, accused of shooting couple at beauty supply store is ‘not a monster’

She tried to murder two people for hair extensions.

From HERE:

The store owner said her mother turned to run and was shot in the back. When the shop owner’s father went to help his wife, the girl shot him in the abdomen.

The girl then held the couple at gunpoint and demanded they help her open the cash register, the shop owner said, but they couldn’t get up. The girl eventually opened the cash register by throwing it on the floor. Along with the cash, she stole hair extensions.


It’s bad enough that there are monsters like this in the world. What’s worse: that there are so many people who leap to their defense and provide excuses for them, hoping that they will avoid appropriate repercussions for their actions.

 Posted by at 1:02 am
Oct 072016

I’m old enough to remember the time I thought “Yay! The threat of global thermonuclear war is over!”


Russia moving nuclear-capable missiles into Kaliningrad, says Estonia


Russia tells citizens ‘nuclear war with the West could happen soon’


Russia Adds Hundreds of Warheads Under Nuclear Treaty


Army Warns that Future War with Russia or China Would Be ‘Extremely Lethal and Fast’

Gosh, I guess it’s a good thing that in the coming years the US will be helmed by strong, wise leadership…

 Posted by at 11:23 pm