Category Archives: Popular Culture

The Enemy Of My Enemy

This post is related to this one. I agree with Ben Shapiro:

Unfortunately, many conservatives have embraced this sort of binary thinking: If it angers the Left, it must be virtuous. Undoubtedly, that’s a crude shorthand for political thinking. It means you never have to check the ideas of the speaker, you merely have to check how people respond to him.

That’s dangerous. It leads to supporting bad policies and bad men. The enemy of your enemy isn’t always your friend. Sometimes he’s your enemy. Sometimes he’s just a dude sitting there minding his own business.

You don’t have enough information to know.

The logic of “if he melts snowflakes, he’s one of us” actually hands power to the Left, by allowing leftists to define conservatives’ friends. It gets to choose whom we support. This isn’t speculative. It happened during the 2016 primaries, when the media attacked Trump incessantly, driving Republicans into his outstretched arms. The media’s obvious hatred for Trump was one of the chief arguments for Trump from his advocates: If, as his detractors claimed, he wasn’t conservative, then why would the leftist media hate him so much?

And yes, many of Trump’s policies are bad, and he is in many ways a bad man. I’m glad she lost, but I don’t have to be glad he won, and because I was never a supporter, I don’t have to reflexively defend everything he does, though I will in fact defend him when the attack is unfair.

Read the whole thing.

[Thursday-morning update]

How Trump could create a Republican split. Or lovefest.

BTW, I’ve never predicted that the Senate would remove Trump. Just that, unlike her, it could.

The Media

Trump is beating it at its own game.

I’m glad someone finally is, but I wish it were someone both more knowledgable and less childish. It’s possible to play that game without being him. I could certainly do it.

[Update a few minutes later]

Related: Trump haters: Do these two thought experiments. I can easily imagine the latter, and would vastly prefer it. Though I’d prefer him with policies less economically ignorant.

To The Moon, Alice!

OK, actually, it’s to the moon, NASA. Bob Zimmerman has some thoughts.

In my opinion, this is a completely unrealistic goal, absent a) considering alternatives to SLS and b) being willing to risk astronauts’ lives. A seventy-ton SLS isn’t going to do that job, and that’s all they’re going to have (at best) by 2020. And putting up sending astronauts to the moon (even just around, and it’s not clear what the value of that is) on its first, or even second flight would be much sportier than Apollo 8 was, back when it was actually important.

FWIW, I also think that the reporter should have talked to someone besides Casey Dreier, The Planetary Society is hardly an unbiased source about human spaceflight.

Hyperloops And Tunnels

So we went over to the pod competition yesterday. I may have some pics later, but some quick observations:

I saw a lot of innovation; as Elon said, of the 27 teams, no two concepts were alike. I was amused that almost everyone had an aeroshell, for a vehicle that’s supposed to operate in vacuum. As I noted to Gwynne (who I just happened to run into for a minute, meeting her husband for the first time), the primary functional purpose of the aeroshells seemed to be to provide real estate for sponsors’ names, like race cars. (I also saw and finally got to meet Sandy Mazza from The Daily Breeze, who has been having fun covering Elon’s antics).

The winners of the race were supposed to be announced at 4:30, but at that point, only the German team had actually run (we heard their pod rattle by behind us as we were eating a hot dog by the tube). Apparently, it took a long time between runs, because they had to evacuate the tunnel after the pod was placed in it, then repressurize to get it out the other end. To pump it down took half an hour. My question (which I didn’t get a chance to ask anyone): Why not have an airlock at each end? Evacuate the tunnel, put the pod in the airlock, evacuate the airlock (which could happen much more quickly, then open the door to the tunnel. Reverse the process at the other end. Seems like it would save a lot of both time and energy.

Finally, as we were walking to the event (we parked at Lowe’s, across the street from SpaceX), we saw a lot of activity in the adjacent SpaceX parking lot. Elon had (as he’s warned on Friday) apparently started digging a hole for his tunnel. As he said in his remarks at the event, they were just getting going, and were going to start trying ideas on better tunneling tech (he thinks it can be improved five or ten fold, in terms of time and cost), but that they didn’t yet “know what they were doing, (which reminds me of an old quote from von Braun, possibly apocryphal, “Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing). Anyway, interesting times in Hawthorne.