When reality conflicts with wish-fulfillment fantasies

I’d almost forgotten alt.seduction.fast! That was one of those pariah newsgroups back in the 90s that I filtered against because you knew anything emanating from that quarter was going to be poisonous garbage that needed to be alt.kill.it.quick. It makes a brief appearance in this comic about how pick-up artists morphed into the alt-right, which rings true. Yeah, online misogyny rapidly evolved into the whole toxic stew that afflicts us today.

These two panels struck me as particularly insightful.

Damn you women for not fitting into the ridiculous playbook developed by stupid PUAs! It’s all your fault!

You had just one job, Chinese space botanists

I’m not so good with keeping plants alive and healthy (one could argue I have the same problem with spiders), but as it turns out, Chinese space scientists are just as bad.

One day after China announced it grew the first plants on the Moon, the fledgling plants have been pronounced dead. Rest in peace, lunar sprouts.

On Tuesday, China’s space program said that cotton seeds had germinated in a biosphere carried to the Moon by the nation’s Chang’e-4 lunar lander. By Wednesday, mission leads had broken the news that the plants perished as the lunar night fell over the probe’s landing site.

To be fair, they are facing conditions worse than Minnesota.

The Sunday arrival of the lunar night, which lasts 14 days, deprived the plants of sunlight. During a lunar night, temperatures can plummet as low as −170°C (−274°F). Meanwhile, daytime temperatures on the Moon can reach a sweltering 127°C (260°F). These massive fluctuations are one of the main obstacles encountered by lunar explorers.

But still, that’s no excuse — they knew all this way ahead of time when planning the experiment. Were they just hoping for a spell of warm weather? They knew that wasn’t going to happen, either. Meteorology on a dead planet with virtually no atmosphere is a much easier problem than it is here.

The remaining seeds and fruit fly eggs contained in the mission’s biosphere are not likely to be viable after two weeks of light deprivation and freezing temperatures. According to China’s National Space Administration, they will decompose and remain sealed to avoid contaminating the lunar surface.

They killed fruit flies, too? I don’t understand the point of this experiment if the chamber environment was so poorly planned that one night of expected temperatures was going to kill everything.

Keep this in mind next time you read The Martian. That book was gratingly optimistic and unrealistic about everything.

The Singal problem

You might want to read this Twitter thread by Siobhan points out how Jesse Singal delicately carves up his sources to only allow views that align with his own perspective through.

Short version: Singal reported that the controversial “conversion therapy” lab of Kenneth Zucker was shut down for purely political reasons by omitting the words of scientists who pointed out that he was far out of the mainstream of clinical practice.

That kind of slanted reporting is why transgender individuals, you know, the people most endangered by his biases, consider him to be shady and untrustworthy.

The miracle of selling razors

This is a really good commercial.

Without saying a single outrageous thing, by presenting a purely optimistic message, it has generated a huge amount of controversy and has everyone talking about it (gosh, I just put it on my blog). It’s selling razor blades, and it doesn’t show any razors — none of the male models in the ad are lathered up, or even in need of a shave or a trim. Nobody is shaving. I’m impressed with how neatly capitalism can exploit both good and bad sentiments to serve the cause of selling stuff.

From another perspective, it’s also cool how it has maneuvered a lot of men into whipping out their manly six-shooters and blasting away at their feet. The message is that bullying, sexual harassment, and condoning bad behavior with silent assent are bad, but that good men can and will oppose such behavior, which has provoked the peculiar, guilt-ridden response of “how dare Gillette accuse me of bullying and harassment!”, completely missing the opportunity to identify with the good-looking, well-groomed men who are stopping bullying and harassment. You’ve got a chance to see yourself mirrored in commendable behavior, or oppressive behavior, and thousands of men are screaming, “How dare you criticize my choice to catcall, or mansplain, or punch people!”

And now everyone is selling razors for Gillette. It’s a marvel.

Trying to figure out why this spider appeals to me

I think it’s the idea of living in your home for 16 years and never leaving it except for brief forays to leap out, kill, and eat passers-by.

I still have questions, though. What about sewage? How do they clean up the spider poop that accumulates? Also, they show a spiderling … are males more prone to wandering from home? How do they avoid getting eaten when they tap on the turret door?

Bad people should be called bad people

There exists something called The National Institute for Civil Discourse. They want to argue that the real problem with America is that we aren’t fucking polite enough to one another.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse is urging Americans to be respectful of one another again. The institute and its new executive director, Keith Allred, are behind an attempt to move elected officials and citizens toward civility at a time when discourse is degrading, with the hope that people will remember how to disagree with one another in good faith.

“It’s not the difference of opinion on policy that makes us bitter,” Allred said. “But thinking they’re a bad person.”

Keith Allred, you are a bad person who promotes bad policy.

Our problem isn’t an excess of civility, it’s that people are permitted to constantly break the bounds of civil humane behavior and never face so much as a ‘tut-tut’ from their colleagues, out of an undue respect for politeness and deference. Steve King has been a vocal and unrepentant racist since the beginning of his political career. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it; the Republican party has known it, and has supported him for at least 16 years. After all the crap he routinely spews, only now has the party taken the mildest of steps, stripping him of his committee assignments. Steve King is a bad person. Say it out loud. Everyone should have said it years ago.

Similarly, Jim Watson has been a font of racist nonsense for many decades. He’s been dining out on one great scientific discovery all this time, and people have been showering him with honors rather than stopping cold and saying, “Jim Watson, you are a bad person. DNA is great, but you’re an asshole, and no, we’re not going to appoint you to this prestigious directorship.”

Why is America a racist, sexist shithole, and fast becoming worse? Because the Keith Allreds of this country put manners above all, and refuse to condemn the bad people who contribute to the poisonous atmosphere.

And the award for Slimiest Cult goes to…Scientology!

I’d forgotten who Danny Masterson was, so I had to look him up. He played Steven on That 70’s Show, a character I disliked, and he went on to play in some movies I’ve never seen and a Netflix Original that I never watched. So kind of a C-level semi-celebrity.

But now I’ve learned that he’s accused of being a rather nasty rapist, one that the LA police department has been dragging its heels over bringing to justice. Oh. And one other thing: he’s a Scientologist, and Leah Remini is going to expose him next month (warning: that link contains explicit descriptions of multiple cases of rape), possibly to shame the LAPD into getting off their collective butts. It seems the police are afraid of the Church of Scientology.

Leah’s second season began airing in August 2017, but in November 2017 we revealed that the DA’s office had asked her not to broadcast the Masterson episode while they were still considering whether to charge the actor. Now, more than a year since then, A&E has decided that DA Jackie Lacey has had enough time to make up her mind about charges, and will air the episode.

And what is taking Lacey so long to decide? One of Masterson’s accusers tells us that a member of the DA’s office admitted to her several months ago that Scientology’s involvement in the matter was the reason for the delay. “When I asked him what was taking so long, he said, ‘Scientology. Without going into it, that’s the only way to summarize it.’”

Scientology, for example, discouraged at least two of the women from reporting their allegations to the police. It put one of them through bizarre therapy costing about $15,000 so she could discover what nefarious acts she had committed in past lives to deserve being victimized in this one. And it coordinated an effort to sabotage the case of the one woman who did report her rape to the police initially, in 2004, a case that the LAPD mysteriously later misplaced.

Yuck. That’s a cult with no redeeming qualities at all.

Worst advertisement for McDonald’s ever

Donald Trump honored some college football players with a dinner at the White House, and this is what he served them. He looks so proud of his tackiness.

I am confident that many of his guests like McDonald’s food — it’s carbs and protein and fat, with salt — but fast food from any of the chains is supposed to be served fast. It does not hold up at all well if you let it sit, cooling, for a long time, and that’s implicit in the assembly line production of a McDonald’s burger, which is made on the spot as it’s ordered (OK, with maybe a little slack, and heat lamps). That is old, cold fast food.

Serving it with a golden candelabra does not compensate for congealed fat and shriveled french fries. Not even eating it with Lincoln looking down on you improves it. Having Donald Trump looking down on you makes it worse.

oh god.