The Phony War On Women

The Democrats have lost it:

What happened? For one thing, Republican candidates had better message discipline in 2014, depriving Democrats of opportunities for their demagoguery.

The incessant harping on contraception may have finally repelled women who have other concerns, such as the economy and national security, just like the millennials. But perhaps the desperation of Democrats to play this card with the same effectiveness as two years ago finally opened their eyes to the paternalistic attitude that Democrats took in positioning themselves as protectors, which implies that women can’t act on their own behalf.

Couldn’t have happened to a more vile bunch of demagogues.

[Update a couple minutes later]


Took off a few minutes ago in Mojave. Looks like a powered flight attempt, if the weather cooperates (there’s a front coming in, that’s supposed to bring us some much-needed Halloween rain this evening).

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s the story from Alan Boyle.

[Update at 10:26]

[Update a few minutes later]

Alan Stern just tweeted, after I asked if they had chutes, that they are (or were) on chute.

[Update a few minutes later]

Still no update, but as Charles Lurio just emailed, “Statement forthcoming” is always a bad sign.

[Update at 11 AM]

OK, some confusion about whether or not pilots bailed, but reports on police scanner of a downed aircraft, and Bakersfield reports sending Kern County fire equipment north of Mojave.

[Update at 11:23]

One pilot reported dead, news conference at 2 PM PDT. They’re covering it at NASASpaceflight.

[Update a few minutes later]

Doug Messier is back in Internet range, and reporting that he saw it light, then stop, then relight, then got lost in clouds. Saw it blow up in the air, came down in pieces. Went to crash site with debris field, saw a body in a seat.

[Update, just before press conference in Mojave]

Streaming at NBC.

The Latest Attempt To Shame Men

I’ve never catcalled a woman, and I agree with Jon Gabriel; I refuse to be ashamed because some men are boors:

All gentlemen agree that catcalling is a bad thing. In fact patriarchal Victorians were so disgusted by such rudeness, they enforced an elaborate public morality that elevated women with a higher level of respect. Thank goodness feminism and secularism drove a stake through chivalry’s heart.

Today’s Victorianism comes from the left. They too have an elaborate public morality, but one that is untethered to tradition or religion. Their guiding scripture is whatever trendy philosophy is coming out of gender studies departments and mass media in a given month. Men leering at Beyoncé on an awards show is celebrated; similar behavior on the street is anathema.

For better or worse, I’ve never followed fashion. Not only have I never catcalled, I still open doors for women, surrender my seat on public transport, and ensure that I treat them with an extra measure of kindness. I was notified by several liberal men on Twitter that this is A Bad Thing.

You see, it’s good that I oppose catcalling, but bad that I don’t oppose it for the “proper” reasons. While my outward acts of kindness are nice, they arise from a belief that gender differences exist. To these critics, my actions are unimportant; my ideology must be condemned.

Pardon my language but eff these leftist totalitarian selective puritans.

[Update a while later]

Thoughts from Instapundit:

Chivalry was a system, which imposed behavioral obligations on both women and men. Women found those obligations too onerous, but still expect men to shoulder them.

And let’s be honest. What makes these catcalls offensive isn’t that they come from men. It’s that they come from low-status men. Like an unconsented kiss from President Obama, if the catcalls came from George Clooney there’d be much less female outrage.

In fact, maybe these catcalls are a way of striking back at privilege. Any grievance-studies major should be able to flesh out this line of thought…

No doubt. Except it would be politically incorrect.

Failure Is Always An Option

SciAm has a list of all the recent launch failures.

Note that for the past three and a half years, every single one (including last night’s) was built in Russia or the Ukraine. And the last two American ones (not counting last night’s) were both Orbital (separation problem on Taurus). Prior to that, the last American one was the Falcon 1 test program, which should really count, since it was in fact a test program. Orbital has no experience with liquid propulsion, which is why they outsourced it to Ukraine. That appears to have been a mistake.

[Update a while later]

Orbital’s stock is down 17% this morning.

[Update a while later, just before Atlas V launch]

Eric Berger’s thoughts on the implications. I agree that it’s not that big a deal, but I hope it accelerates and end to our reliance on Russian hardware.


Orbital just had a very bad day.

[Update a while later]

You’ve probably seen the news all over by now, but here’s a spectator video [language warning]

[Update about 6 PDT]

Here’s another one, from a plane.


A light-on-spoilers review.

[Tuesday-morning update]


Christopher Nolan’s epic new sci-fi film Interstellar has received measured acclaim from critics, who have praised its ambitious scale and effects but were less convinced about the story.

That was the problem with Gravity, too.


A Boat In The Box

They just scrubbed the Antares launch of Cygnus to ISS, because the range was red due to a boat downrange. Am I the only person who thinks that this rule is stupid, and needs to be revised? As I said on Twitter, I don’t care if there’s an armada of boats in the box, as long as someone is flying a banner “AT OWN RISK.” Holding up a flight over this is insane. It’s the kind of hypercaution that keeps us from making more rapid progress in space.

The New Consensus Study

on evolution:

Our search resulted in 487,629 papers that mentioned “evolution” or “natural selection” in the abstract. However 451,412 of those could not definitively be placed into one of our seven position-defining categories*, no matter how hard we tried with our group of 20 reviewers. [The consensus view among us is that these reviewers are completely independent and objective; their common participation at our web site devoted to presenting pro-selection arguments, but nothing to the contrary, is just not relevant in this case.**]

Of the remaining 36,217 papers, 35,167 (97.1%) supported the consensus position that over half of the observed evolution over the twentieth century is due to natural selection. The fact that only 126 of these 35,167 papers were actually focused on critically evaluating the topic at hand, i.e. the different possible mechanistic explanations of observed evolutionary change and/or speciation (e.g. random drift, founder and other stochastic events, mutation rate variation, instantaneous genetic barriers, etc), is an irrelevant point, a complete red herring. We can reasonably assume that in at least the majority of 50% of the time, none of these 35,167 authors would indicate agreement with a position that they themselves had not carefully investigated, without having more than half of a predominantly pretty good reason for so doing***. It’s just not really half as difficult as people make it out to be when you boil it down. As we have now done. For you.

In conclusion, there is very clearly a very strong consensus as to the influence of natural selection on evolution during the twentieth century and this consensus has been increasing as the evidence increases. It is important that policy makers realize this and take action. Please pick this up and disseminate it widely so everybody knows about it; everyone else is, so you will be part of the consensus effort if you do. Thank you.


Sharyl Atkisson’s Laptop

Worse than anything the Nixon administration ever did.”

And how about this? “Both CBS and the White House declined to comment.”

You don’t say.

[Update a few minutes later]

[Update a while later]

Thoughts from (lawyer) John Hindraker at Powerline:

If this were a Republican administration, every reporter in Washington would be on the story, as would various law enforcement agencies. Given that we are talking about a Democratic president, Attkisson shouldn’t expect any help. If I were she, I would hire one of the top litigation firms in Washington and look into suing appropriate federal agencies. That won’t be easy; the most obvious obstacle is that she has to have evidence that a particular agency was involved in the hacking/spying operation in order to survive a motion to dismiss, but it will be hard (maybe impossible) to get that evidence without the ability to do discovery in the lawsuit. But having her own lawsuit allows her to run her own show, and private lawyers are generally far more effective at unearthing and processing information than, say, Congressional committees.


Financial Planning For Life Extension

An interview with Joel Garreau. Not sure I agree with this:

Boomer octogenarians in 2030 have “too many hard miles on their chassis” to fully benefit, but younger people may have trouble imagining the onetime prevalence of sickness and death.

I won’t be quite that old, but I think that there’s a good possibility that even for octo/nonoganerians there will be potential reversal of damage, and rejuvenation by then. And current government policies based on Scenario 1 (i.e., pretty much business as usual) are doomed to bankruptcy.

The “Time Served” Model Of Education

…is breaking down. This, I think, is the key point:

The conventions of the credit hour, the semester and the academic year were formalized in the early 1900s. Time forms the template for designing college programs, accrediting them and — crucially — funding them using federal student aid.

But in 2013, for the first time, the Department of Education took steps to loosen the rules.

The new idea: Allow institutions to get student-aid funding by creating programs that directly measure learning, not time. Students can move at their own pace. The school certifies — measures — what they know and are able to do.

The public-school paradigm is also based on a century-old model: industrial learning. Time to abandon it, but it’s hard, because it so benefits the status quo, even if it’s a disaster for the kids.