I really, truly hope it didn’t save the space program


Don’t get me wrong — the space program is important, I support it fully, but this claim that a single book may have saved it is a bit much. Especially since that book was The Martian.

“The Martian” doesn’t make a compelling political or budgetary case for sending humans to Mars. But it does make a human landing and perhaps even colonization of Mars seem plausible at the nuts-and-bolts, airlocks-and-solar-panels level. Sure, it would be wildly expensive, and there’s that whole EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing) issue, but remember, the story is set in the future, where people are smarter, and the duct tape still just as reliable.


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Make plans for ReasonFest now!


On 19-20 September, cool things will be going on in Winnipeg — you all should come! I’ll be there…OK, you’re unimpressed. Hector Avalos will be there! And Stephanie Zvan! Greta Christina, too! All kinds of Canadians! And it should be well before the first snow! (That is, chances of being snowed in and trapped in Manitoba for the entire winter are fairly low. Also, the polar bears don’t usually come down that far south. And just the average fraction of Canadians live in igloos there.)

This is also far enough ahead that you can tell me in the comments what I should talk about. Go ahead, anything goes.

Have they shut ’em all down yet?


On my previous post about the horrific fraternity/rugby team chants at the University of Mary Washington, I neglected to mention the most horrific part of it all. A woman, Grace Mann, was murdered. As Dave Futrelle explains today:

The rugby team was suspended in March. Mann, a prominent member of the group whose activism led to the team’s suspension, was murdered in April. The suspect, a returning student named Steven Vander Briel, was a former member of the rugby team.

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Has Comma forgotten us?


Terry Dean, Nemmers, better known around here as Comma, wouldn’t do that, would he? He wrote a screed to the Monitors list this morning, didn’t he? I won’t include the text here, though, will I, since he also posted the whole thing and more on his website, hasn’t he? He’s also collecting IP addresses of all visitors, so I’m sure he’d be thrilled to get more, wouldn’t he?

So that’s where higher ed funding disappeared to…


Big piles of cash have been getting sucked up into the for-profit college scam — con artists figured out ways to tap into federal student aid money by providing a crappy, cheap ‘education’ to poor but ambitious students. It’s been exploitation all around: there are lots of desperate academics willing to take any job, the economy has been poor and young people see education as a way out, and you just knew someone would see a way to bring those two together and make a buck off it.

It looks like the gravy train might be ending, though. Corinthian Colleges are in collapse.

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