May 312017

Not so much:

Texas Democrat Threatens To Kill Republican On Legislative Floor After He Called ICE On Protesting Illegal Immigrants

The headline pretty much nails it. A bunch of self-acknowledged criminals were protesting in Austin, Texas, and apparently causing trouble, so Representative Matt Rinaldi called the authorities, in this case ICE. This seemed to annoy Representative Poncho Nevarez. From there claims are contradictory, but *apparently* Nevarez threatened to “get” Rinaldi on his way to his car, and Rinaldi responded by stating he would defend himself with a gun. Scuffling and good times ensue.

Given the current advocacy for violence on the part of so many on the Left, this seems like just the beginning of this sort of thing.


 Posted by at 9:48 am
May 312017

Well, this will go over well in some quarters…

Ancient Egyptian mummy genomes suggest an increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods

DNA was sequenced from a number of Egyptian mummies dating from 1388 BCE to 426 CE. And what was found was that while there was genetic continuity, there was remarkably little sub-Saharan African ancestry in the mix until after the Roman period. Ancient Egyptians were more closely related to Near Easterners (i.e. Turkey, Israel, Syria, etc.) and Europe than they were to modern Egyptians, who have picked up sub-Saharan African traits since Roman times, likely due to Islamic conquests and the resulting slave trade.

In other words: go ahead and cast Whitey McWhiteperson to play the Pharoah in your next movie. Though Turk MacTurkishfella might be just as good.

Other genetic finds:

This individual had a derived allele at the SLC24A5 locus, which contributes to lighter skin pigmentation and was shown to be at high frequency in Neolithic Anatolia41, consistent with the ancestral affinity shown above. Other relevant SNPs carry the ancestral allele, including HERC2 and LCT, which suggest dark-coloured eyes and lactose intolerance

So, light skinned, dark-eyed, not a fan of ice cream.

 Posted by at 9:26 am
May 312017

Currently there is a large, expensive auction on eBay for several hundred pieces of Marquardt concept art. The per-piece price of about ten bucks is pretty good, but the sum total is just a whole lot. Anyway, the auction listing provides a look at a *few* of the pieces, including one that depicts a “space sled.” This was a maneuver vehicle for a single astronaut, with much greater performance than the various maneuvering backpacks that had been designed over the decades. Instead of strapping it on, the pilot sits on it somewhat as if it was a motorcycle. The propellants are almost certainly cold gas (nitrogen) thrusters, which means specific impulse was really low. But it also made them very, very simple devices.

While Marquardt did some serious design work on space sleds, including building one that is currently on display at the USAF Museum in Dayton, it’s unclear how serious this one is. The space suit, after all, is pretty weak. There appear to be only two thrusters, both providing “forward” thrust; steering looks like it might have been by actually tilting the whole assembly. This would have provided only minimal thrust vectoring, and would have provided little to no pitch or roll control, and no braking thrust. My guess is that this was either the art department coming up with a concept on their own without much engineering input, or it was a very preliminary and perhaps unfinished piece.

 Posted by at 9:13 am
May 302017

Thanks to a blog reader for pointing this out. Once again, someone apparently incapable of doing actual science, technology, engineering or math is using the jargon of science in order to further the goals of anti-science rubbish. The possibility exists that this is another Sokal hoax at the expense of leftist nonsense, but if so they seem to be going to a lot of bother.

Feminist researcher invents ‘intersectional quantum physics’ to fight ‘oppression’ of Newton

Let’s read from this Masterpiece Of Science For The Ages, shall we:

Assembled Bodies
Reconfiguring Quantum Identities

I invest in Donna Haraway’s claim that “what counts as an object is precisely what world history turns out to be about” (quoted in Barad 2007, 42); that is, politics are about the hierarchies of what connections, or closenesses, are prioritized as bodily. All bodies are political gatherings, as what is understood as closely related, kin, the measured, congealing intersections of phenomena (social identity, histories, water, particles) considered legible/intelligible/singularized is always a political configuration, with systems and apparatuses (e.g., colonial sciences or clarity fetishism) set up to recognize these prioritized configurations/ separations (a “cut together/apart” in Barad’s words [2010, 240]), naturalizing insidious assumptions and hierarchies of value. And so “connect[ing] what’s been dangerously disconnected” (Rich 1987, 214) is directly political. Re/cognizing the connective/constellatory bodies typically not understood as connected (e.g., across disciplines) allows for embellishing alliances not following rules of typically understood closeness or kinship (space, time, social category, eugenic lineage) while also not discounting differing mattering realities (steeped categorizations). And, possibly, deprioritizing particularly naturalized, fetishizing borders has potentials for destabilizing structures that enable hierarchical othering (which justifies sociopolitical oppression and material-discursive violence).

Quantum physics disrupts the stagnancies of typically humanly recognized bodies. In quantum understandings, particles (classically understood as stagnant objects) also have wavelike properties, diffract, leap, and are quantumly entangled.

And. So. On.

Ummm. To me, this *sure* reads a whole lot like someone who’s just slapping together word salad in the hopes of creating another Sokal Affair. But these days, who knows… this could just as easily, perhaps even more easily, be another “Gender Studies” hack Deepak-Chopra-ing some quantum nonsense together in the hopes of sounding smart. I mean, come on… does this sound like GenderBlather, or someone parodying GenderBlather?

I specifically utilize feminist new materialist discussions of quantum physics and cyborgian posthumanism (Haraway 1985), along with seemingly separated discussions of noncentralized leadership practices and anti-oppression organizing, subaltern studies, intersectional identity politics, and safer space.

I just can’t tell anymore.

Now, I haven’t read the whole thing. Because, preponderance of evidence perhaps to the contrary, I do have some semblance of a life. But what I’ve read just keeps going in this fashion. And I just can’t tell if this is serious or satire anymore. In an age when people dress up in black, hide thier identities and go out into the streets in mobs in order to commit acts of bloody violence against people who simply disagree with them politically, and they have the astonishing chutzpah to call themselves “anti-fascist…” well, irony seems to be not just dead, but shot through the head with a deer slug, chopped up with a saws-all, soaked in a plastic tub full of nitric acid until it’s just a stew, fed through an incinerator and the ashes mixed in with the solid propellants of a Space Launch System booster rocket and then test fired out in the desert.

 Posted by at 2:52 am
May 292017

Listening to the radio today, I heard part of Public Radios “The World.” There was one segment that was actually kinda interesting… where they discussed “Lettucebot.” Starts at around 13:50 in the downloadable MP3.

Lettucebot is, as the name suggests, a robot that can pick lettuce. It’s not only not a new concept (robots doing agricultural labor has been a Popular Science dream for decades),it’s not even a new machine, having been around for a few years. But I can recall arguing online, in the Great Usenet Era of fifteen, twenty years ago, that *eventually* robots will get good enough and cheap enough that they will be able to replace even illegal alien farm workers.

Robots have replaced just about every other kind of manual, repetitive labor… so why not. At least here they’d be replacing workers that society should be fine with making redundant. Along with robots for picking lettuce, there are prototypes for apples and cotton.

Unsurprisingly, the Public Radio piece focuses on the plight of the poor illegal immigrants, with a farm workers union rep saying that farmers should forget about all that robot stuff and should work instead on changing the laws to make it easier for “migrants” to come in and take the jobs of honest, hard-working red-wired American robots.

Granted, if I recall correctly farm laborers are a minority of the illegal alien population. Heck, most illegals are coming in from Asia, not Latin America, and are coming in legally and overstaying their visas, not sneaking across the border at night. Still, a robot that can replace any practical need for hundreds of thousands or millions of foreign lawbreakers? Ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that.

As the union rep says, bringing in robots does have a certain job-creation benefit: you need someone to operate and maintain the robots. At least initially, I’d expect these farmbots to be finicky, prone-to-malfunction expensebots that farmers will tend to hire; and there will be a reasonably well-paid technician riding herd on them. One guy could potentially replace hundreds of laborers. This means that that one guy could get paid really well. Which means it’ll be a job a whole bunch of Americans would be happy to do. Which would be one less reason to hire illegals.

 Posted by at 7:43 pm