On Hasbro’s Potato Head Be It

Conservatives: Gender is all about the penis. If you were born with a penis, you’re a man. If not, you’re a woman. These are the inevitable facts about gender encoded in the laws of biology. You can’t change that by just calling yourself by a different name or using a different pronoun, and I won’t submit to your linguistic fascism, not even if you attempt to enforce it through cancel-culture economic terrorism!

Also Conservatives: This no-dick, extruded-plastic root vegetable is a man: how dare you disrespect him by removing his proper title? Next you’ll be calling this nutritious, starchy gentleman “it”! FOR SHAME. Call him “Mister” or I shall boycott your company forever!



Video of Perseverance Landing

Many of us watched in real time as NASA got signals from Perseverance sent during its landing maneuvers. However, what we actually watched was video from earth of NASA’s team responding to this news + supplemental videos that were recorded in advance, including a simulation of the landing procedure.

It takes quite a while to send data from Mars to Earth. We can’t easily send a multi-frequency or high-frequency signal. We use radio frequencies for a good bit of the data transfer, and radio frequencies carry very little information compared to, say, a household internet connection. The ubiquitous household internet connections in 2020, after all, allow real time video. But radio signals do not.

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What Cissplaining Isn’t

I had a professor (not an adjunct, full Phd) who was a great anthropologist, feminist & activist. I’m not pretending to know a tenth of what she knows about anthropology, but the course was on gendered violence – a topic I do know a lot about – and she had obviously thrown in some stuff about violence against trans people without bothering to read or understand it. I would guess that she got some feedback about needing to included in a course about “gendered violence” but just wasn’t interested in studying trans people (fair, everyone has their own speciality and interests).

I don’t mind that she didn’t know anything about trans experiences of domestic or sexual violence, but when she got to the one week of the course where we were talking LGBTQI she said some things that were **obviously** wrong. Badly wrong. I was wondering where she got her info …

… then she cited me.

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One night in Cancun

As both of my readers know, I am fond, on occasion, of rewriting the lyrics of my artistic betters. I do not usually rewrite them in timely or topical ways, but on this evening, in the space below a Wonkette article where no comments exist, some non-comments encouraged me to have a go at Ted Cruz to the tune of a largely forgotten 80s song from the musical Chess. Given it’s topical nature, if anyone who knows how to Twitter or Instabook wants to send this out, please tag Beto O’Rourke & Ted himself. I’d just be tickled to see what Beto’s reaction is, if any. Ted will ignore it publicly, of course, but I won’t mind pondering his displeasure in the absence of any overt response.

The original is “One Night in Bangkok,” but obviously that must change. (I will post a youtube link to the original for those unfamiliar with it, but it will follow my corrupted lyrics.)

And so to Harris County where we lay our scene…

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By the time you read this… PERSEVERANCE IS SAFE ON MARS! (Updated: Now with Pics!)

We’re at 3 minutes until Perseverance hits the Martian atmosphere. Are you watching?

The livestream is available at this link.

Chute opened, Perseverance now sub-sonic & under 10km altitude. Instruments have begun looking directly at Mars surface to direct the landing.

As soon as I hit update, they announced “radar lock” on the ground in the landing area.

“Valid solution” produced by nav system.

Velocity 83 m/s. Back shell has separated, altitude of 1000 m.

30 m/s, altitude 300 m.

Sky crane maneuver started…

20 m off the surface




touchdown confirmed!


“This is so surreal.”

“Stay tuned, we might get some pictures!”

“Still receiving a strong signal from the lander. … Perseverance is alive on the surface of Mars and we’re getting the first image.”

First image is one taken from when the lander was still in the sky.

First image from the surface is from the Nav camera, which is lower-res & just designed to avoid obstacles. Higher resolution has to wait for the wider-bandwidth connection to be established later in the day.

Now some big ol’ nerd talking about how working together brings success. WHAT. A. NAIF.


Student question from Landon Applegate! Wants to know about using resources present on Mars to help future missions instead of carrying everything with us. NASA Executive Assistant Vice-Nerd talks about an experiment that would test bringing up water from the soil & purifying it & even making oxygen from it.

Student question from Sophia Lopes! How will Perseverance survive? Jessica Stewart answers with information about the solar panels & heaters that help survival functions locally, but also shouts out to the human team who will constantly monitor the signals from the rover & work to prevent & diagnose problems that might threaten the probe.

Now it’s Wright Brothers footage introducing the helicopter-probe Ingenuity, the first powered aircraft we’ve sent to another planet.

Heh. They have a “chief pilot” for the helicopter. Heh.

Bob Balaram, Chief Nerd of Special Nerding Projects Related to Ingenuity (on Ingenuity’s helicopter flight experiment): “There’s a very good chance that we’ll pull it off, but there’s still a risk.”

Mimi Aung on now, also talking about Ingenuity: “We’ve been working on this for 6 years. … We have a series of major milestones [to pass] before Ingenuity’s first flight. …Surviving the first cold, frigid night on Mars will be a major milestone.” Goes on to talk about specific checks they’ll perform, and how the first flight will be only 3 meters just so that they can evaluate the performance before sending Ingenuity higher & farther, which, of course, comes with bigger risks.

Social media question: “Is the helicopter going to be doing science?”

Mimi replies: It’s a technology demonstration … “so we’re not doing science. We’re concentrating on engineering, data, on how [Ingenuity] will perform.” Of course, she’s underselling this, since validating the computer models is science, but hey. I think I understand why she answered “no” though.

And they’re now concluding this NASA.tv broadcast with a cover of Bowie’s Life on Mars with social-media shared photos of random people celebrating safe touchdown of Perseverance. It’s kinda cute, especially the kid with the Lego Perseverance.

LOL – and they threw in a tweet from Rick Astley. Well played, NASA, well played.

More updates as events warrant…


…but I guess they won’t warrant anymore. Still, when pictures become available later, I’ll probably throw them here. Might make a new post, but probably I’ll just update this one.


I always want to call it “Jezebel Crater”.

This isn’t a defense of politicians, it’s an indictment of the media

So, there’s an article up on Raw Story about how House Republicans are likely to impeach VP Harris and/or President Biden should they gain a majority in 2022. In discussing this fact, some people claim that elected Republicans don’t necessarily want to engage in a corrupt tit-for-well justified tat. Rather, according to retired House member Tom Rooney:

“It might not necessarily be what some of those guys want to do, but it might be what the base expects. People want Armageddon.”

The article continues:

Rooney wasn’t saying that he thinks that impeaching Biden would be a good idea should Republicans retake the House in 2022 — only that parts of his party are feeling incredibly vindictive. And that type of severe partisanship is why Rooney decided not to seek reelection in 2018.

Brendan Buck, a Republican media strategist who worked for two former GOP House speakers — Paul Ryan and John Boehner — told the Times, “We’re in an era where you need to make loud noises and break things in order to get attention. It doesn’t matter what you’re breaking — as long as you’re creating conflict and appeasing your party, anything goes.” [emphasis mine]

As the title of this post says, the fact that they’re willing to go along with a raging mob in violating the spirit of the constitution in order to preserve the privileges of their elected position and further their own power says nothing positive about House Republicans. But it certainly does say something negative about the US media landscape that “breaking things” results in the media attention that generates political power.