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
Oct 072016

I knew the man was a vulgarian, but jeez. Does anybody *really* think he’s even remotely Presidential?

The options suck. Trump is clearly not good leader material. He’s narcissistic to a historic degree, his relationship with honesty is tenuous at best, he’s nowhere near the businessman he claims (neither from a financial performance standpoint, where he would have done better by simply dumping his initial millions into the market, nor from a what-he-claims-to-be standpoint, where he’s just a promoter, not a “builder”), he’s a scumbag, he’s historically been a supporter and funder of leftist causes, he’s waaaaaaaay more fond of Vladimir Putin than is seemly, he’s a braggart and a blowhard, and he just doesn’t seem that damn smart. And now he’s on tape expressing views that are low, even by his previous standards. Republican politicians who had previously endorsed him are bailing. I see no way possible for the man to win… his chances were dubious before, but now… what woman would vote for him?

And of course, the other option is the wholly unsupportable Hillary Clinton. Before, it was “yeah, Trump sucks but I guess I’ll hold my nose and vote for him because bad as he is he’s better than Hillary,” but now he has demonstrated not only Lyndon Baines Johnson-level standards but the bad judgement that puts him on the same low, low, LOW level as Hillary.

Well… poop.

So, now what? Can the Republicans ditch Trump and replace him with someone better? Obviously they can, but is it too late to get the new guy on the ballot? The obvious choice is Pence, since he’s right there. Maybe Romney. At this stage I doubt that if Abe Lincoln came back to life even he couldn’t get elected as a republican at this stage, given the damage Trump has done to he brand. But having a quality candidate, or at least an inoffensive one, might bring out enough Republican voters to at least minimize the damage in House and Senate races.


 Posted by at 9:25 pm
Oct 062016


Matthew Blows, Part 2

The writer believes that the VAB will be stripped to the skeleton. SpaceX has three landed Falcon 9 boosters in a horizontal integration hangar at launch complex 39A; if the building is damaged, it’s a safe bet that these boosters will be trashed. The United Launch Alliance towers at pads 37 and 40 are at risk. The Rocket Garden is exceedingly vulnerable. The Visitor Center could be damaged.

This could see the effective end of much of the US space program, at least for several years. Worst comes to pass, the only good access the US will have to the ISS will be the Orbital Sciences launch facility at Wallops.  Unless permission is granted for overland flights from Vandenberg – very unlikely, but with the Falcon 9’s ability to boost back, just maybe – getting to a low inclination orbit will be *real* challenging. If the VAB is trashed, especially if it’s truly destroyed, the SLS will look even sillier than it does now.

This all depends on the track and power of the storm. It could divert away from the Cape. But then, it’s thought it’ll turn into a Category 5 by the time it gets there.

Sure would be nice if, 24 hours from now, NASA is still a functional organization.


A rare bit of good news. Instead of climbing from Cat 4 to Cat 5, it decreased to Cat 3, and the eyewall missed the Cape. Damage to KSC is reportedly quite minimal.

Now that KSC has dodged that bullet, it’s time to make sure that this sort of apocalyptic disaster *doesn’t* befall the US space program. Suggestions:

Beef up the KSC infrastructure. Rebuild and reinforce the structures that are already there; build up the barrier islands and seawalls to minimize the damage from storm surges.

Build all-new launch facilities elsewhere. Expand Wallops to make it capable of launching Delta IV/Atlas V/Falcon 9 Heavy. Build launch sites in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Guantanamo Bay (use that one for Orion launches).

 Posted by at 11:11 pm
Oct 062016

So, all manner of disasters are approaching. Super-mega-AlGore hurricanes are gonna wash NASA into the Gulf of Mexico. The San Andreas is going to flip western California on a parabolic arc with an apogee of 600 nautical miles, landing it somewhere near Kwajalein. Either a lying horrible New York liberal scumbag or a horrifying scumbag liberal liar from New York is going to be President soon. And now…

Fireball streaks over East Coast, with sightings from Canada to D.C. region

Sightings included a sonic boom, so it was a reasonably substantial bit of something.

 Posted by at 10:35 pm
Oct 062016

Now this is interesting…

Hurricane Matthew Is a Nightmare Scenario for Kennedy Space Center

With such highlights as:

When Category 2 Hurricane Frances made landfall roughly 100 miles south of Kennedy in 2004, tropical storm-force winds lashed Space Coast, ripping more than a thousand panels off the Vehicle Assembly Building and resulting in 100 million worth of damage.


The storm is projected to pass perilously close to Florida’s entire eastern seaboard beginning later today, with a Category 3 or 4 eye passing directly over Kennedy Space Center on Friday…


Kennedy’s Orbiter Processing Facilities are rated to withstand sustained winds of 105 mph. The Vehicle Assembly Building and launchpads hold together up until about 115 mph, while newer buildings constructed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 are designed to weather 130 mph winds.


If the storm does hit at high tide, the NHC warns of surges as high as 9 feet from central Florida all the way up into southern Georgia. Most of Kennedy’s infrastructure sits between five and ten feet above sea level.


So, let’s say Canaveral gets well and truly trashed. Winds rip the buildings apart, a storm surge sloshes over the facilities and washes ’em out to sea. What to do?

This would argue for some diversity in not only launch vehicles, but launch sites and launch *modes.* I’m not a terribly big fan of air-launched systems like Pegasus or Stratolaunch, but the availability of such systems would allow for the important bits to be locate much further inland. You could in principle base such a system in, say, Utah and fly down to the Gulf for an easterly launch. Systems that launch from the decks of ships would be less sensitive to this, as they could steam out ahead of the storms. Systems that launch from the surface of the ocean itself would also be insensitive to storms.

One of the potential problems with systems like these is that they tend to be smaller. An aircraft could maybe carry a Falcon 9, but good luck horsing a Falcon 9 Heavy into the sky. Or launching one from a ship smaller than a supertanker. Launching directly from the ocean made sense for vehicles as vast as the Sea Dragon, but it gets less sensible as the vehicle gets smaller. And I’m uncertain how well this would work out for a thin-walled eggshell design like the SpaceX Mars booster.

There is another solution: launch from inland. Works well for the Russians; having booster stages crash down into Kazakhstan apparently doesn’t cause trouble for anyone who matters. This would be trickier in he CONUS, though. However, there is already a solution to this problem, detailed on this very blog nearly 8 years ago: buy a strip of northern Mexico. The original idea was to turn that strip into a new nation, Neuvo Israel. But turning it into a Federal reserve would work too. Make it a wildlife refuge, off limits to settlements and urban developments; but a dandy place to locate the launch and impact sites, along with a few dozen terawatt-class breeder and thorium salt reactors.

 Posted by at 4:47 pm
Oct 062016

CNN is currently going bugnuts about hurricane Mathew bearing down on the eastern coast of Florida. West Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral are targeted for wind speeds of 145+ miles per hour.

I’m always amazed that the VAB at the Cape has survived all these years. It’s exactly the sort of structure that you’d look at and would assume would blow away in a hurricane.

 Posted by at 5:20 am
Oct 052016

After two posts in two days about horrible, horrible people who want to talk down space exploration, progress, the future and, essentially, hope itself, there’s this:

Hope, Courage and Unity: The story behind the young cancer patients who painted space suits

The four elephants march in a row down the right arm of the space suit, one behind the other. They are linked trunk to tail, except for the last elephant. It is a baby elephant, and it sits alone, with its trunk pointing towards the sky. Stars and planets surround them.
The first three elephants represent Kat’s father, mother and older brother. The baby elephant is Kat. …

Kat didn’t live to see the launch. She passed away on June 4.

“I think space is where I’m going to end up,” Kat told her mom when asked about the planets and stars surrounding her elephants.

Space exploration inspires hope, even in the worst situations. What does opposition to space exploration inspire? “Stop looking at the stars, kid. Get used to the gutter.”


Is there a one-word descriptor specifically for the sort of evil person who wants to shut down manned space exploration for reasons of cowardice or “social justice?” The kind of person who actually celebrate and embody the line from Interstellar,We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down, and worry about our place in the dirt.”

If not, I believe such a word is in order. I’m open to suggestions. “Gutterists,” maybe. But with a bit more bite, I should think.

 Posted by at 11:56 am
Oct 042016

I was directed to this opinion piece:

Humans to Mars: a deeply disturbing idea

Which had the usual screamingly leftist anti-human reasoning we’ve all come to know and expect:

One of many cultural phenomena that worry me as much as the U.S. presidential campaign (I voted for Bernie in the primary, and I am voting for Hillary on election day) is the persistent public cheerleading for the human colonization of Mars. The media repeat every bit of the libertarian narrative of progress and freedom that they’re feed with virtually no critical analysis.

And it only goes downhill from there. Colonizing Mars is “elitist.” “Humanity is too immature to leave home.” Musks’ idea of charging $200,000 for a trip to Mars is fundamentally unfair because Syrian refugees won’t be able to afford it.

The following day, this intellectual giant posted a followup, dealing with the comments she received in light of her screed. Lo and behold, it turns out she’s among the worst form of Social Justice Warrior: she whines that those darn awful men are dismissing her apparently just because she’s a woman. And not because her notions are hare-brained and culturally, nationally, and species-suicidal.

So, nothing you’d find particularly surprising coming out of the anti-science pits of despair called modern Liberal Arts. Another nobody best left ignored, consigned to the dustbin of history. But here’s where it gets depressing… take a look at her C.V.:

Manager of Communications , NASA Astrobiology  Program, Jan. 2007 – present.
• Communication  research, planning,  and  analysis, NASA Planetary Protection Office, Sept. 2002 – 2006.
•  Director of Communications , SPACEHAB, Inc., Washington,  D.C., Sept. 1999 – Aug. 2002 .
• Chancellor’s Fellow  (1996 – 97, Knight  Fellow  (1997 – 99) , Indiana U. School  of Journalism.
• Director of Science Communication,  Life Sciences Division,  NASA HQ, Oct. 1994 – Aug.  1996.
• Manager of education  and  out reach, exploration office, NASA HQ, Dec. 1993 – Oct. 1994 .
• Senior editor/analyst, BDM International, April 1990 – December 1993.
• Editor, Lockheed Engineering & Sciences Co., July 1988 – April 1990.
• Senior editor for space, Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine, December 1985 – July 1988.
• Public affairs officer, National Commission on  Space, Sept. – Dec. 1985.
• Consultant, National Science Foundation, August – September 1985 .
• Editor, Space Business News, June  1983 – August 1985.

This is why we can’t have nice things.


After reading that much anti-progress SJW nonsense, I need some brain cleaner to flush the bullcrap from my memory. I have the feeling that these little ditties represent pretty much the direct opposite worldview…


 Posted by at 9:36 pm