Jul 252017

The answer to the Great Silence, anyway. It’s an interesting hypothesis I was very recently reminded on via a comment on this blog (and I *believe* the idea has been raised hereabouts before, but can’t really be bothered to go digging).

OK, the Great Silence, otherwise known as the Fermi Paradox, is one of the great modern scientific mysteries. The universe, given the vast number of stars and planets and the seeming ease with which life seems likely to arise, should be abuzz with life, and one would expect a whole lot of technological civilizations. Enough so that the sky should be filled with radio messages, laser beams, starships, all that good stuff. But so far as we can tell… nothing. So, where is everybody?

Assuming that intelligent species arise with some commonality, something must be shutting them up. There are lots of ideas, but one branch of the theory-stream deals with “horrible things happen to them that kill their civilizations.” The most commonly discussed idea is that civilizations get to the nuclear stage and promptly blow themselves to bits. But there is a new culprit that I think merits discussion: Social Justice Warriors.

We are finding in our own civilization that we reached the spacefaring level of technology, and now we’re giving over control to screeching sociopaths who are opposed to science and math for reasons that are best described as “incredibly f’ing stupid.” If they succeed, humanities chances of being a long-term technological civilization, to say nothing of a starfaring one, will be reduced to nil. If the advanced cultures give themselves over to weak-willed, weak-kneed, weak-minded self flagellating nonsense, chances are good they’ll be conquered by the death-worshiping barbarians, plunging the world into a new dark age it is unlikely to recover from. Even if conquest doesn’t come, a rejection of western science in favor of identity-science will retard technological advance – and perhaps even prevent mere stagnation, as people won’t understand the stuff they already have – long enough so that high energy density power systems such as fossil fuels and nukes are no longer available, likely stranding us on this planet forever.

I hate to think that SJWs are a universe-spanning problem, plaguing civilization after civilization, like some sort of telepathically induced epidemic imposed on sentient species by vast cosmic horrors who want to screw with the little guys. But unwillingness to *want* something to be true or not means nothing about whether or not that something *is* true.

So, now that the “SJWs did it” hypothesis is out there, the next step is an important one: what do we call it? “Branding” is an important way to get a hypothesis out into the public.  “Higgs Boson?” Boring. “God Particle?” Tell me more! And to my mind, getting people, especially people in the STEM field, to consider the potentially universe-wide societal collapse possible due to acceptance of “social justice” nonsense is very, very important.

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Jul 252017

The official story is that Russia is in Syria in order to fight ISIS and other jihadis… *not* that they’re there in order to get them selves a strategic foothold in the region by way of supporting Assad so he’ll give ’em a port. But then there’s this:

Videos suggest Russian government may be arming Taliban


Some might suggest that this is irony,or turnabout s fair play. The US armed the proto-Taliban against the Soviets, after all. But in the 80’s, the great threat was the Soviet Union, not global jihadi terrorism. Now that the Russian government claims that jihadis are enough of a threat that they’re willing to carpet bomb cities full of civilians, they are *apparently* arming the very same jihadis.

 Posted by at 9:55 am
Jul 252017

But good news! it need not be restricted to just the field of geography, but can go *anywhere.* What’s their new line of attack? Why… citing experts and prior research is bad!

Feminist profs: Citations perpetuate ‘white heteromasculinity’

This exciting new idea is laid out in a paper published in Gender, Place & Culture A Journal of Feminist Geography


“Feminist geography?” Is there “feminist geology,” too? “Feminist organic chemistry?” “Feminist trigonometry?”


History lesson: once the Nazis started gaining power in Germany they started driving Jews out of positions of power, including academia. Modern nuclear and particle physics was labeled “Jewish physics,” and not only were Jewish physicists made unwelcome or outright driven away, their *science* was done away with, replaced with “Aryan Physics.” The end result of *that* was that the United States got a whole lot of Jewish physicists and The Bomb, while Germany got an expensive uranium nothingburger. Whilethe German government did eventually allow for the use of “Jewish” ideas like quantum mechanics and Relativity, Jewish scientists and authors could not be referenced. This made proper utilization of the knowledge difficult… which, in retrospect, is just as well.

Trying to shoehorn identity politics into anything even remotely science related is a fast path to Epic Fail.

 Posted by at 4:42 am
Jul 252017

As y’all know, I’ve little enough use for Christian “End Times” prophesying. To me the Book of Revelation reads like someone with schizophrenia got hold of some magic mushrooms… which is quite possibly not that far from the mark. The various “signs and portents” do not impress me. But the problem as I see it is that they do impress a whole lot of other folk.One that impresses a whole lot of folk is the idea of the “mark of the beast:”

Revelation 13:15-18New International Version (NIV)

The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

So, what we got here is a mark on the right hand or forehead that is required for buying or selling. With End-Timers, there’s a weird mix of literalism and metaphor, so that the “mark of the beast” could be any damn thing, from a simple mark like a tattooed symbol to an idea (like the holder of the mark simply believes something or other) to, now, thanks to modern technology, some sort of implanted microchip.

I won’t start worrying about the end of days until we get a winter that lasts three years. But other folk worry about (or, indeed, look forward to) Armageddon. And often enough, history has shown that when people merely *believe* some sort of thing is going to happen, they’ll *make* it happen, for good or ill. So, imagine how thrilling this news item will be:

Tech company workers agree to have microchips implanted into their hands

In short, the company is providing, optionally and for free, the implantation of RFID chips similar to what you can get for your dog or cat. The purpose of this is that the company will have RFID chip readers on doors and vending machines, so all an employee needs to do is wave their chipped hand over the sensor and the door will open or their account will be charged.

Having my employer surgically implant something within me to “help” me do my job is more than a little creepifyin’, but it’s the march of progress, I suppose. But you *know* some people are going to be directly freaked the hell out about this and start going off about The Beast. The kind of funny thing: I expect RFID chipping of humans to be a fad. Before too long, doors and vending machines and billboards and cops will have biometric readers that don’t need some clunky old-fashioned chip to be implanted… they’ll recognize your fingerprints, or your iris patterns or your voice or, a few years further down the line, your DNA. Then the “mark of the Beast” will be something you’re born with. And nothing bad could possibly come of that.

 Posted by at 4:03 am
Jul 242017

As disappointed as I was in “Valerian,” that’s how much I *wasn’t* disappointed in “Dunkirk.” Lots of reviews out there you can read, so I won’t go into too much depth other than saying this will almost certainly go down as one of the great war movies. I saw it in a small cheapo theater, but I’m sorely tempted to drive a long way to an IMAX and watch it again. This movies gets *all* the stars.

Now, watch this:

So… what’s your excuse? Too much dust in the air? Pollen allergies?

 Posted by at 5:14 pm
Jul 232017

So a regular guy off yonder over in Wales decides that he wants to create a crossover animation with the cast of “Archer” appearing on “Bob’s Burgers.” Seven months later, after a whole lot of animating and stitching together audio from the two shows, he produced this:

It seems that the “Bob’s Burgers” people saw this and promptly offered him a job.

Live the dream, buddy.

And because why not, here’s an officially created Archer/Kingsman crossover:

 Posted by at 7:36 pm
Jul 232017

After all the buildup, Valerian was just sorta… there. It was real pretty, to be sure, but the characters were bleah, the plot was almost incomprehensible, and it was just not terribly fun. I, like I’m sure millions of others, was hoping for a 21st century “Fifth Element,” with all the goofy wonderfulness, but Valerian just isn’t it.

Maybe it’s a good take on the original French graphic novel, but on it’s own… shrug. There were a few interesting ideas, like the multi-dimensional market (which, to be honest, makes nearly as much sense as a virtual reality market), but there were at least an equal number of inconsistencies and errors that yoinked me right out of the story. Alpha, the “City of a Thousand Planets,” is actually the International Space Station. The ISS is shown at the beginning slowly growing as more and more nations join up and add on; a kinda neat though unlikely idea. Then aliens show up and use the “Alpha” station as the place to introduce themselves, and they add on. And then more aliens, and more and more… Eventually Alpha gets too big to stay in Earth orbit and needs to be moved. OK, sure. But where is the gorram thing? At one point it’s described as having moved 700 million miles. Other times it seems to be lightyears away from anywhere.

Later in the movie, the heart of Alpha is shown, including some of the original ISS bits. One of which is an Apollo Command *AND* Service Module. The frak? This is then described as the “2005 Destiny module.” The frell? Sigh.

And in a trope  that can’t die soon enough, we’re treated to another smegging “love is one of the greatest powers in the universe blah, blah, blah” lectures near the end of the movie.

Those who’ve read my “Zaneverse” stories know that the male human lead is romantically interested in the female human lead. The same is true in Valerian, only much more openly so. But the chemistry is so lacking between the two that you Just Don’t Care.

Oh well.

 Posted by at 1:19 am
Jul 232017

“The Ark Encounter” always promised to be pure ridiculouslness, and it seems that things are starting to come to a head. Basically, it’s a sh!tshow of epic and hopefully legally actionable proportions.

The city of Williamstown, Kentucky, decided to charge a 50 cent “safety tax” to each ticket sold. The purpose of this tax is to pay for government services – police, ambulance, fire and so on – that a tourist “attraction” like this needs to have available to it. Such fees are common for theme parks and the like. Since Ark Encounter was sold to the city as a “For Profit” endeavor, it can (and should) be taxed. But Ken Hamm worked up a way around that… the Ark Encounter for-profit people sold the land to *themselves* for $10.  What was the point? Well, the for-profit Answers In Genesis that owned the land and which in turn is owned by Hamm sold the land to Crosswater Canyon, a religious non-profit organization… that Hamm also owns. And now that it’s a religious non-profit, it can’t be taxed.

Perfectly legal, but ultra-scumbaggery. Unsurprisingly, it has ticked off the city and state government who were sold this bill of goods as being a for-profit enterprise which would bring in bajillions of out of state tourists (it hasn’t) and spur the local economy (it hasn’t). And so…

Kentucky Officials Have Ended the $18 Million Tax Rebate Deal With Ark Encounter

The safety tax was expected to cost the Ark $700 grand a year. They tried to sleaze out of it, and lost themselves $18 million as a result.



So, who wants to prophesy how this is all going to end up? I foresee two possibilities of roughly equal likelihood;

1) The Ark winds up getting sold off and turned into a hotel, casino, something like that.

2) As things start to collapse, the Ark  burns to the ground. Hamm & company blame militant atheists for it, but a whole lot of folks figure it to be an inside job.The insurance companies are *really* interested in looking into how the fire started…

 Posted by at 12:43 am