Space money

“He’s a billionaire who sent himself into space. What did that accomplish? Imagine what he could have done here on Earth with all that money!”

I’ve been reading stuff like this all week, and I’m convinced that most of my friends have never worked for a living. Oh, they may have gone to some office job, but anyone who can’t see what

Branson (and soon, Bezos. Musk has already launched a Tesla into space, a troll feat that will probably never be topped). Branson did not go to space sitting in lawn chair with a bunch of balloons. Virgin Galactic was preceded by Virgin Airways, and in case you didn’t know, rockets, like airplanes, need thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of little electronic and mechanical components. Shafts, nuts, bolts, screws, rivets, bushings, pins, lock washers, spacers, pivots, rod ends, ball joints, and a myriad of other little fasteners are needed to hold the bigger pieces together (I know, because I make those little components).

Cowlings, rotors, wheels, brakes, supports, brackets, braces, fairings, cylinders, are just some of those things needed to make those big heavy objects fly. And then there are the more mundane thing alike windows, doors, cockpit controls, even the seats. Every single one of those bits has to be manufactured from raw material. How are they manufactured? The various metals and plastics are mined and processed into usable forms, and those forms are extruded, forged, cast, rolled, or machined into semifinished and then finish sizes. The tolerances on some of those components – the allowable variation from the average specified size – might be fine enough that only special equipment can measure it. A human hair might measure as small as 5/1000 of an inch. I routinely work to tolerances one tenth of that.

None of those components grow on trees. The equipment and machinery to make those components cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the facilities in which that equipment is housed may cost hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. By now you must have figured out that it takes a lot of people to run all this equipment; some of the castings for the engines take weeks of an entire engineering team just to design, and may take months between the time the order is placed until it hits the shop floor, after which it may be a few more months to finish all the operations, and do the final inspection. Assembling the other components into them will take even more time weeks to months, by dozens of machinists, assemblers, inspectors, transporters, crane operators, truck drivers, cleaners, and others.

Branson (and Musk and Bezos) did not simply shoot a bundle of cash into space. They, and their partners and investors, created an untold number of jobs; jobs that not only went to those who worked directly on the rockets, but also jobs in support industries like transportation, rigging, non-destructive testing, and tooling.

Branson’s jaunt is the result of hundreds of thousands of man hours – hours that were paid for. And unlike wages paid to retail workers, which are often used to purchase more products in those same stores, manufacturing and transportation wages go back into the community. That money is invisible when compared to “free” money that is just donated to a handful of people. But the creation of jobs (and the resultant training) is a lot more stable, and the establishment and growth of those businesses is ultimately of more value to the community than just handing out a few handfuls of cash.


Real men don’t need to be reminded how to be real men


Every human problem has an explanation that is neat, simple, and wrong. — HL Menken

Okay, after a few days of seeing the social media meltdown over the Gillette ad spot, I had to see it for myself.

The advertising itself is amusing, considering that it comes a week after the American Psychological Association released a new set of guidelines on how to deal with issues of “toxic masculinity” in boys and young men – an event which also caused a social media meltdown, and more talk about the “war on men/boys.”

I’m not saying that having a media meltdown is wrong; in fact, I think that it’s probably overdue. My contention is that we need to really think about what we’re melting down over.

To be fair, the content of the ad is pretty simple. “Hey men: treat women well, treat each other well, and set a good example for your sons.” Or, to pare it down even more, “Don’t be a dick.” Really, that’s all the content of the ad was about: Don’t let your idea of masculinity cause problems for other people.

Some perspective: Since the 1960s, elementary schools, and later, high schools have seen fewer men in teaching; women now make up about 3/4 of all teachers. In the counseling professions, the ratio is similar, with women almost 3/4 of the mental health professionals. One third of children now grow up in a single-parent household (overwhelmingly the mother).

It would be facile, and most likely wrong, to suggest that the rise in boys being exposed mainly to women while growing up is the cause for the “toxic masculinity” decried by the Gillette commercial, and similar social activists, but it may be a factor. Likewise, what may also be a factor is, ironically enough, the flood of commercials aimed at boys and men; commercials that sexualize and objectify women, promote violence as a solution to problems, and tout alcohol, fast cars, or risky behavior as typical male pastimes. Not that the latter aren’t typically male pastimes, but it seems disingenuous for marketing agencies to shame men for doing exactly those things that marketing companies push in their advertising.

So, why are a lot of men (and a surprising number of women) complaining on Facebook, Twitter, and downvoting the hell out of the YouTube video? It’s because men — the vast, overwhelming majority of men — who are already trying to live up to these ideals, don’t care for the implied tone: “You aren’t doing enough.”

Men — real, masculine men — have already been socialized to take responsibility for a lot of things, both good and bad. But there’s no question that the vast majority of men in Western society do their best to hold down jobs, parent their children, and to set examples for them. The fact that Western society continues to build and innovate in science and technology, and in various related trades shows that men, overall, are continuing to hold up their responsibilities, despite the claims of social justice activists.

Gillette, in trying to capitalize on the marketing trend of being “woke;” that is, to show how much they support an agenda of social justice, only proved themselves to be the latest in a series of what are now being known as “wokescolds;” the modern version of the Victorian finger-waggers, who seemingly have little better to do than to caution those who do not live up to their peculiar ideals of moral sanctity.

Woke marketing may sound good in the conference room, but the last several years have shown us that it rarely is perceived in the sense in which it was meant. In this case, Gillette, or more correctly, their marketing team, decided to wag their fingers at the millions of men who are already living up to their own ideals of masculinity, and who don’t need a marketing campaign to remind them to continue on. Men — real men — have already been holding to their responsibilities, and will continue to hold to their responsibilities long after this trend dies out.





Forget the wall, we need a war.

Okay, I’ve got this wall business worked out.

Our new flag, which has 81 stars, representing the 50 current states, plus the 31 states of Mexico.

The Democrats don’t want a wall. The Republicans don’t want the drugs around, or the illegal immigrants. Nobody wants depressed wages, except for corporations. Trump wants to build a wall, and Trump supporters want to see it built.

Here’s how we can make everybody happy: Declare war on Mexico.

No, no, I’m serious; hear me out.

We declare a national emergency, and mobilize the troops to invade Mexico, because Mexico isn’t cooperating with regard to the cartels, drugs, illegals, smuggling, etc. Democrats will pretend to freak out, but secretly they will be happy; they’ve been pushing to go to war with Russia or somewhere in the Middle East, but this will be almost as good. Democrat politicians seem to want a war, but the base likes to protest wars. If Trump declares war on Mexico, the soyboys, SJWs, and Antifa can protest Trump just like their grandparents protested Johnson and Nixon in the 60s and 70s. They’ll love it, and it will give them something meaningful to protest, as opposed to looking for oppression points on Twitter.

Meanwhile, now we have a great excuse to take over the border towns, allowing our troops root out the drug cartels. This will drive the illegal drug prices through the roof because it will screw with the supply lines. The regular Mexican citizens are now safer because they won’t get shot up in a turf war.

The Army pushes on south. In six months, ground troops and air support have taken most of the country, and Mexico City, surrounded, eventually concedes. Oops, I mean, surrenders.

What’s in it for us? We end up with a lot of oil, some nice grasslands for farming and raising more beef, and some nice vacation spots.

What’s in it for the Mexicans? An increase in the standard of living, and a safer country in which they won’t have as many corrupt local politicians or drug lords. And that means less incentive to try to migrate north.

And for the few do migrate north, guess what? They’re citizens now, so no more coyotes herding bodies through the desert, raping children and women, or leaving them to die in the wilderness, or in locked trucks in the sun, or dying of hunger or thirst. It also means that they have to get paid minimum wage – no more paying them five bucks an hour, which they will keep in the local economy. There won’t be any more “sending money back across the border,” because there will no longer be a border. Any money that gets sent back to the villages will be nicely taxable income.

Back home, all those SJWs who complain that white Americans are appropriating Latino culture whenever they drink a Corona or eat some nachos will no longer have to feel white guilt, as those things will now be part of American culture.

And at the end of this, guess what? We can still build a wall – along our new southern border. But instead of a 2,000 mile wall, we only need to build a 600 mile wall, which is a lot cheaper, and will cost less to maintain and patrol.

In fact, while we’re at it, let’s take Guatemala, as well. They’re really just an extension of Mexico, and nobody would notice. We’ll leave Belize alone, because a lot of rich people have tax havens and villas there. But then we could even think about building a canal along the southern border of what used to be Guatemala, and that would require even less wall maintenance and patrolling, and would be a nice alternate to the overpriced Panama canal. Anybody remember when it was shut down in 2010? Right.

Oh, sure, the UN will complain. I say, let them. What did they do when Russia semi-invaded the Ukraine? Nothing. What are they doing about China and Taiwan? Nothing. The UN is the equivalent of those kids in Junior High who weren’t as popular as the jocks, but who sat in the back of the cafeteria complaining. Besides, if Mexico thinks that their citizens have a right to migrate across the border as they want, then we tell the UN we’re simply dispensing with the formality of a border.

If there’s a downside to this, I can’t see it.


Colorado Springs School Bans Tag on Playground,

From Fox News this morning.

Submitted here without comment, mainly because I can’t post a video of my head shaking in disgust.


Colorado Springs School Bans Tag on Playground, Citing Conflicts

Thursday, August 30, 2007

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — An elementary school has banned tag on its playground after some children complained they were harassed or chased against their will.

“It causes a lot of conflict on the playground,” said Cindy Fesgen, assistant principal of the Discovery Canyon Campus school.

Running games are still allowed as long as students don’t chase each other, she said.

Fesgen said two parents complained to her about the ban but most parents and children didn’t object.

In 2005, two elementary schools in the nearby Falcon School District did away with tag and similar games in favor of alternatives with less physical contact. School officials said the move encouraged more students to play games and helped reduce playground squabbles.