2012 Prometheus Award Finalist

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A young girl sets out to prove herself by resolving a long-forgotten mystery. But when she gets close to the truth, what she thought was a harmless adventure becomes a threat to the future of the independent commercial settlements on Mars.

March 2015
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Social Injustice Ate My Homework

Now, why didn’t I think of this when I was in college?

Social Injustice Ate My Homework:

Those Harvard students have produced an open letter, in which they demand that their examinations be delayed. “Like many across the country,” its authors claim, students “are traumatized” and “visibly distressed” — to the extent that there is now a “palpable anguish looming over campus.” The “national crisis” that has been provoked by the cases of Garner and Brown, they argue, has left them with no choice but to “stand for justice rather than sit and prepare for exams.” And, like their brethren at Columbia, they contend that their “being asked to prepare for and take our exams in this moment” amounts to their “being asked to perform incredible acts of disassociation” — requests, which taken together, have led them “to question our place in this school community and the legal community at large.” The bottom line? That students must be given “the opportunity to reschedule their exams in good faith and at their own discretion.”

Ugly as the Brown and Garner cases were, one can’t help but feel that what constitutes a “National Emergency” or a “personal crisis” is being rather dramatically defined down here — possibly to the vanishing point. In the course of their missive, the vexed students claim that “because this national tragedy implicates the legal system to which we have chosen to dedicate our lives, it presents us with a fundamental crisis of conscience and demands our immediate attention.” This, I’d venture, is an effectively irrefutable claim — and not in the good sense. Rather, it is the Interstate Commerce Clause of dog-ate-my-homework pretexts: an unlimited, self-serving, and infinitely malleable rationale that can be used at any time and for any reason. If our law students are to insist upon special dispensation each and every time the justice system fails to live up to its promise, our exam halls will be empty in perpetuity.

Let’s see…my time in college included (among other things) Tiananmen Square, the Gulf War, the Soviet collapse, the Waco standoff, the Northridge and Loma Prieta earthquakes, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Olympic Park bombing, Black Hawk Down, and most of the Yugoslav secession conflicts. Just think of all the exams I could have postponed or gotten out of altogether if I’d thought of this cockamamie excuse for screwing off instead of doing my coursework.

And what SJW missive would be complete without a moronic misuse of the language?

Somewhat theatrically, the signatories contend that they have thus far “spent countless hours leveraging our legal educations, and utilizing our platform and privilege as students of this institution.”

I recoil from the word “utilize” in particular because it is almost universally misused by those wishing to sound important and weighty. But in this case maybe the sense of “using something for a purpose other than that for which it was intended” applies – the students are supposed to be studying law, but they’re using their position as law students to fluff their egos, attention whore, and feed their narcissism under the fig leaf of ‘doing social justice’.

EFT-1 Launches

EFT-1 is in orbit. Splashdown will be around 11:29ET.

Here’s the launch video up to booster sep.

ETA: walked into the office lobby just now, just in time for the splashdown. “Stable 1″. Nice.

Congratulations to everyone on the team who made this happen.

ETA: Looks like it might have lost an uprighting bag after splashdown. All five are there in one pic, and then one appears missing here.

EFT-1’s Big Day

Livestream of EFT-1 launch here.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

I hope my old teammates are wearing lucky ray-gun-girl bowling shirts for the occasion. (Haven’t asked, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some sort of memo came down about that in the past two weeks.)

Looks like there will be Predator drone video of the splashdown off California.

ETA: looks like a scrub for today.

You Had Me at “Plug-Nozzle Aerospike”

WantFirefly Space Systems charges full-speed toward low Earth orbit.

There seem to be quite a few entrants in the ALASA-class lately. Which is interesting on the one hand given DARPA’s work in this area 12-13 years ago, and amusing given SpaceX’s exit in favor of EELV-class launchers.

All Within, Nothing Without

You can’t even escape the SJW/feminist bellyaching/gamergatery on an electronics website: Oh Barbie, You’ve Missed the Mark Again – News – SparkFun Electronics.

I don’t care whether the poster’s points are valid or not, whether their post spreads awareness, sends a message, raises consciousness, promotes inclusiveness, or any of the usual Progressive tropes that come into play with this kind of thing. I don’t go to Sparkfun for that stuff. I go to Sparkfun to look for electronic parts and to get ideas and advice on electronic projects.

I abandoned Raspberry Pi, returned the hardware I’d already bought, and now refuse to have anything to do with their products over their completely unnecessary and off-base assholery concerning #gamergate. Please don’t tell me I’m going to have to write off Sparkfun, too.

ETA: Hmm…

More on #Shirtstorm

  • Sarah Hoyt tackles #Shirtstorm feminism (and a commenter attempting to deploy the standard Progressive argument tactics of snark, strawmanning, and faux-victimhood): No Space for Sewing Circles.
  • John Hayward at Breitbart discusses the controversy as an example of thoughtcrime and compares it to #GamerGate: Comet Guy and the social-justice black hole
  • Rose Eveleth and her supporters likewise pull out the standard Progressive tactic of painting themselves as the victim when they get called out for doing something wrong: Shrinkage: More charges of ‘doxxing’ by Instapundit ‘downsized’ by accuser
    After following some of the #GamerGate foofooraw, I find it hard to take allegations of “doxxing” seriously – that’s the problem with crying wolf and/or faking such things. “Doxxing” as a term appears to be following much more rapidly the trajectory that the terms “rape” and “racism” have taken over the past few years as a result of leftist politicization: its scope and definition being carelessly and irresponsibly expanded by activists to the point that the term loses its impact, ironically undermining efforts to fight the underlying concept to which it formerly specifically referred. Also ironic is that the ambiguity that results from this misuse by Social Justice Warriors is in fact unjust, in that an imprecise definition of an offense makes it impossible to know how to avoid committing it, and makes determining whether an offense has occurred a matter of subjective judgment – or whim – on the part of interested parties. Sarah Hoyt touched on this in another recent (non-#Shirtstorm) post riffing on one of her commenters, who likened this ambiguity to psychological abuse.
  • Speaking of Rose Eveleth, imagine my surprise to learn her scientific credentialsNew York University, MA: Science, Health and Environmental Reporting; University of California, San Diego, BS: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution — Minor: Writing“BS”, indeed. One has to give her credit for having somewhat more knowledge of her journalistic beat than the corrupt journo-activists that #GamerGate has exposed, but I wonder to what degree her supposed outrage was really about the “sexism” of the shirt design offending her “feminist” sensibilities vs. a failed scientist’s Salieri-like envy over a man (who clearly doesn’t share those sensibilities) accomplishing something on a level of scientific importance she knows herself to be incapable of ever reaching.

By the way, you can still chip in to buy Matt Taylor something nice:


Buy Matt Taylor Something Nice

…To make up for Rose Eveleth, Chris Plante, and Arielle Duhaime-Ross tarnishing his big day with a petty and indecent snit over his shirt.

I chipped in $20.

ETA: Glenn Reynolds gives a short summary of the aforementioned petty and indecent snit, and makes this point:

It seems to me that if you care about women in STEM, maybe you shouldn’t want to communicate the notion that they’re so delicate that they can’t handle pictures of comic-book women. Will we stock our Mars spacecraft with fainting couches?

One can apply his observation to “feminism” outside of STEM, as well: it’s hard to accept a modern feminist’s assertions that she is strong and independent when she expects everyone to walk on eggshells so as not to offend her, cannot tolerate even the most trifling of (often imagined) offenses, and when she inevitably finds something over which she can come unglued in a dramatic show of moral outrage, demands others take action to punish the offender and change the rules to suit her. Those are the attributes not of a strong and independent woman, but of a borderline and narcissist. It’s no wonder that women who are actually competent and capable – and actually strong and independent – seem to eschew the label “feminist” for themselves.

ETA2: Amy Alkon:

Do you think there’s a man alive whose response would be to whimper that he is being chased out of science?

Clearly, feminism is no longer about demanding that women be treated as equals, but as eggshells…

On a side note, there’s a certain kind of nerd who wears that kind of shirt, and I’ve always had a soft spot for that guy and the way he sees the world. The sort of hope and love of space fantasy and dream of a bullet-bra’d fantasy woman of that guy is the stuff jobs landing spacecraft on comets are made of.

I read the imagery on his shirt in much the same way: as ‘space fantasy’ art echoing the pulp magazine covers of Golden Age SF. (But of course, as we know, even that’s not acceptable.)

The Space Applications are Obvious

New Nanomaterial Takes the Stink Out of Submarine Air

Unlike amine, which is a liquid, the new material looks like sand. In fact, it is sand, except it is covered with tiny pores, each filled with molecules that selectively pull CO2 out of the airstream. Together, sand grain and molecule are called Self Assembled Monolayers on Mesoporous Supports, or SAMMS. The pores create nooks and crannies that let even a small amount of the material soak up an incredible amount of CO2—a teaspoon of the material has slightly less surface area than a football field. And it’s reversible. “With a slight amount of heat, you can also open that molecule back up and release the CO2, making it possible to use the same material over and over again,” said Ken Rappe, an engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory who worked on SAMMS.

Orion (last I knew) uses pressure-swing adsorption beds, which are reversible by exposing the CO2-absorber material to vacuum. Since this vents the CO2 (and some water vapor, IIRC) to space, it’s not recoverable for reuse on long missions (e.g.: Mars). If this SAMMS material uses low heat instead to release the CO2, the latter could be captured and stored, and periodically reprocessed to recover the oxygen…by technology whose development, as it happens, NASA is currently sponsoring.

NRL Invents CubeSat Release Mechanism

I like the simplicity of this, and the inventor mindset the exercise represents: NRL Invents CubeSat Release Mechanism To Deploy Solar Panels, Tethers 

It’s a good motivation to me to do more monkeying around with ideas like this.


Raspberry Pi Goes Social Justice Wanker

I guess that Pi Camera I picked up yesterday will be going back to MicroCenter:

I’m not a gamer, so until now the #GamerGate thing didn’t affect my interests directly. If the Raspberry Pi people find it necessary to unnecessarily side with the frauds and malicious liars of the anti-GamerGate brigades, and to do it with such a pissy, condescending, and arrogant attitude, they can make do without my money.

Perhaps instead of marching with the damaged, delusional, and dishonest nutjobs of the “social justice warrior” movement, they should focus their attention on improving their product. And by “improving”, I mean “make it not suck”. If I’d known a month ago what I’ve learned since from bitter experience with an R-Pi B+ (100mA per USB port? [facepalm]), I’d never have bought one of their pieces of crap in the first place. There’s a reason they market their goods to schoolchildren.

A good take on the matter here, along with a number of dishonest comments illustrating my point above.