Dec 312017

If you are in the US, you could hardly be unaware of the prevalence of nostalgia for the 1980’s running rampant in current popular culture. Modern TV series like “Stranger Things” and “The Americans” and “The Goldbergs”and “Halt and Catch Fire” and movies like “It” are set in the 80s, and while the forthcoming movie “Ready Player One” is set some decades into the future, it is based explicitly on people pining for the glorious pop culture of the 1980s, some half-century earlier.

For two reasons this 80’s nostalgia is entirely understandable:

  1. Gen Xer’s like myself, the children and teenagers of the 1980s, are now at the age where they are the writers and producers of TV shows and movies. And people tend to be nostalgic about their childhood and teen years, so, there ya go.
  2. The 1980s was when pop culture… well, perhaps it didn’t reach it’s peak, but it certainly figured out how to *be* popular culture. Thirty and more years later, many of the shows and movies are still popular, still watched; many of the actors, actresses and musicians are still popular, and a good chunk of the musical styles that came into their own in the 80’s still exist and dominate the airwaves. Bracketing the 80’s was disco from the 70’s and grunge from the 90’s, both monsters in their time, but largely gone now.

(And there is another, less objective reason why the 80’s is popular in concept: it was a world that was built on horrors… the oil problems of the 70’s were still there, the Soviet Union was still threatening to kill or enslave us all, the auto and steel and agricultural and other industries were tanking. The 80s began with a tin pot dictatorship in Iran making a joke of the US, under the leadership of the most ineffectual President in recent American history. And there was the horror of Disco. And yet… the 80’s wound up being one of the most exuberantly optimistic times in American history, where it became ok to be proud of America again, where the future looked brighter (damn bright, typically in neon yellows and pinks and greens), it became possible to get rich and live well again, where the President was someone that you could actually be glad to have in the White House. That was, at least in my experience, a unique time, so far not recovered.)

I’ve been around long enough to have seen this before. In the 70’s into the 80’s, it was all about the ’50’s. In the 80’s and into the 90’s, the hippies tried to make the world revere the 60’s. In the 2000’s, we freakin’ ignored the 70’s, cuz the 70’s sucked donkey balls on virtually every level. And now… the 80’s and the first hints of 90’s nostalgia.

It’s the way of things. But something I see a lot of, expressed both by Gen Xer’s in positions to control pop culture, and in comments sections by regular schmoes, is the opinion that *kids* today are nostalgic for the 80’s. Millenials who were born after the 80’s ended, perhaps after the 90’s ended, supposedly think the 80’s were just totally tubular, or neato-keen, or the bees knees, or the cat’s pajamas, or whatever the hell it is kids these days say. When I was a kid and they were cramming 50’s nostalgia like “Grease” and “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley” down my throat, I had no particular use for the 50’s. When 60’s nostalgia came along like a tied-died freight train hauling LSD, I avoided it like a smelly bum from Woodstock. Of course, my own experience counts for nothing, but I don’t recall a whole lot of my contemporaries having much more use for the 50’s and 60’s, with the exception of the causeheads who glommed onto 60’s nonsense. Hell, the pop culture of the 80’s and into the 90’swas generally a direct rejection of the 60’s.

So, my question, especially to any millenial types who might be reading this: *is* there really 80’s nostalgia among current younguns? Or is this just wishful thinking – or intentional propaganda – on the part of people pushing 8’s nostalgia for business purposes?

 Posted by at 4:18 pm
Dec 312017

While poking around one of my old computers I found the partially finished 3D CAD model of the Martin “Aldebaran” I made some years ago for my NPP book. I’ll use the model to create diagrams for the book, in hopes that someday I’ll finish the damn thing, but I’m curious if there might be interest in physical models of the thing. Let me know. I might take a stab at this with Shapeways or some such.

 Posted by at 1:13 pm
Dec 302017

The obsession with Russian “interference with the election” seems to be leading the Dems into weird directions.  The source here is “The Young Turks,” a far-left group that named itself after the people who carried out the Armenian Genocide, so take it for what it’s worth.

Anyone Of “Russian Descent” Now Targeted In Senate Investigation


The Senate committee probing alleged Russian interference in the U.S. political system has deemed anyone “of Russian nationality or Russian descent” relevant to its investigation, according to a document obtained by TYT.

In an email dated December 19, 2017, April Doss—who serves as senior minority counsel on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI)—defined the scope of the committee’s inquiry as anyone a subject “knows or has reason to believe [is] of Russian nationality or descent.” The senior majority counsel for the SSCI, Vanessa Le, was cc’d on the emails.

 Posted by at 6:08 pm
Dec 302017

The rewards for APR Patrons have been issued. This month:

CAD Diagram: Marquardt hypersonic burning ramjet booster

Diagram: Convair Class VP Airplane High Performance Flying Boat

Document 1: Apollo Exploration Shelter System

Document 2: Chrysler Work Station Capsule (“work pod” for astronauts)

Document 3: Sikorsky S-97 “Raider” brochure


If you are interested in helping to preserve (and get copies of) this sort of thing, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.



 Posted by at 11:15 am
Dec 302017

Ladies and gentlemen… your tax dollars at work.

Infamous Tampa mother back in court, facing eviction; demands once again ‘somebody needs to pay’

In 2010 she had 15 biological children (article doesn’t say how many mechanical ones) and she demanded that someone had to pay for them. That someone being, of course, anyone but her. So the property tax payers in the Tampa region got to foot the bill to get her a house, paid for through the Tampa Housing Authority. She doesn’t have to pay rent, but due to “maintenance problems,” she and her now *seventeen* children are being evicted.


Dumb, dumb, dumb. There’s so much dumb in this story it’s hard to know where to begin. The woman may or may not be dumb, though it certainly seems likely; what’s certain is that she’s an awful (greedy, selfish, short-sighted, uncaring) person. Who clearly *is* dumb is anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to subsidize this sort of behavior, anyone who thinks that responsibility- and consequence-free welfare states will lead to better societies, anyone who thinks that simply paying the unproductive to have children is better than getting them fitted with Norplant.

Imagine how much better off American society would be in a few generations if the culture changes so that the *rich* thought it was neato-keen to have whole squads of kids, while the poor reigned it in. If you want to narrow the divide between rich and poor, want to reduce the “wealth gap,” *that* would be the way to do it. With each bagrillionaires death, the fortune is split up among a larger number of offspring. With poor families having fewer children, the parents have more time to improve their lot, let effort required to raise their kids… and less tax dollars needed to do it. How exactly you go about changing society in this fashion, I don’t know. Maybe expensive baby licenses, with substantial criminal sanction against those who violate the law. This would make babies a status symbol of sorts. (the fee for the license could go into a bank account for the baby to pay for their college or some such, untouchable till they’re 18 or otherwise eligible)


 Posted by at 9:13 am
Dec 292017

Huh. More than a year after Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia George Ciccariello-Maher called for the extermination of white people, he has been allowed to resign. One wonders how many milliseconds it would have taken the higher-ups at Drexel to can him had he called for genocide against any other group… trans-people, for instance. Imagine if he’d said “Harvey Weinstein did nothing wrong.”

Of course, Drexel hired him to teach politics even though they knew he advocated communism and abolition of the police. One is left to wonder just who he thinks are going to hold guns to the heads of productive and wealthy people  in order to maintain his police-less communist paradise. The kulaks aren’t going to toss themselves into the gulags, after all.

 Posted by at 12:25 pm
Dec 292017

A blog reader kindly provided this depressing set of links to news stories from over the last few years…

Study suggests humans are slowly but surely losing intellectual and 
emotional abilities
November 12, 2012 in Genetics

People Getting Dumber? Human Intelligence Has Declined Since Victorian 
Era, Research Suggests
The Huffington Post  | By Macrina Cooper-White
Posted: 05/22/2013 7:58 am EDT Updated: 05/22/2013 10:59 pm EDT

Leading Geneticist: Human Intelligence is Slowly Declining
by Mike Barrett
February 17th, 2013 | Updated 02/17/2013 at 12:43 pm

Dawn of the dumb – scientists say IQs are beginning to fall in the UK
Thursday 21 Aug 2014 3:37 pm

Are we becoming more STUPID? IQ scores are decreasing - and some experts 
argue it's because humans have reached their intellectual peak
By Sarah Griffiths for MailOnline
Published: 08:50 EST, 21 August 2014 | Updated: 09:42 EST, 21 August 2014

Are humans becoming less intelligent? It could very well be
By Tia Ghose
updated 11/12/2012 2:03:25 PM ET

Yup. We’re boned.

Now, I don’t know what the actual hard facts are in this. Can it be objectively proven that the west is getting stupider? And is that stupid that comes from genetics, meaning the species is in trouble, or from lack of intellectual exercise, meaning it could in principle be reversed for people who are actually really here (as opposed to a eugenics/selective breeding/genetic engineering program which would only benefit future generations)?

Do I have hard facts to prove that we’re dumber? Not as such, but I do know this: in the 1950’s, belief in nonsense like astrology and the “flat Earth” and creationism were seemingly on the way out the door, headed for the dustbin of history. And sixty years later… here we are. We’ve been putting humans into freakin’ orbit for most of a human lifespan; we’ve sent probes to every planet and out of the solar system; we’ve found evidence of life in rocks more than three and a half billion years old, and yet, belief in nonsense is on the rise. Fifty years ago, if you told people “we have vaccines for almost everything,” people would’ve lined up around the block to get their kids in on that action. Today? Protests. In the 50’s, engineering students studied engineering. Critical Race Theory teachers had the good sense to not exist. Geography teachers taught geography. Today? Guh.

We’ve made the world mankind has always wanted, and it seems like it’s biting us in the ass. The western world is safe and often challenge-free; you can get through a good long life, up to and including breeding a whole bunch more just like you, with hardly a life-threatening challenge that will cause you to spool up your thinkin’ abilities.

 Posted by at 3:01 am
Dec 282017

Intelligence of Norwegians and Danes on the wane, say researchers

It *seems* that IQs were on the rise from the 1950’s until about 1995, when the rise stopped and started to reverse, with an annual average decrease of 0.21%. Assuming that’s accurate (IQ testing is notoriously handwavy… it’s supposed to be more or less fixed, but my own tested IQ score went up by twenty or so points between junior high and college. On the whole I trust IQ scores about as much as I trust polygraph testing), the researchers believe that the reason for the dumbening of the Scandihoovians comes down to the fact that schooling changed. Essentially life got easier and less challenging, both in the classroom and in the welfare state as a whole; as a result, brains weren’t challenged and smarts atrophied.

This is not a new idea. Say what you will about the fascists, their idea that life was all about a constant struggle of strong vs. weak should, at least in principal, lead to constant improvement. Of course, the death squads and ever-present sense of DOOOOOOM probably work against actually improving the breed. Soft living has long been seen as not as good as strenuous living when it comes to survivability… not of the individual, family, tribe, nation, race or species. There could well be a lot of truth in that. Being challenged – physically, “spiritually,” intellectually – is almost certainly a good thing. The Moon, Mars, asteroids, moons of Jupiter and beyond won’t be successfully colonized by the lazy, either physically or intellectually, but by those who are willing and able to rise to the inevitable challenges.

An interesting experiment would be to take a statistically valid number of these new, dumber Danes and Norwegians and put them into a rigorous and challenging educational environment and see if that smartens ’em up.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:37 am