Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Why sending humans to Mars is bullshit

Well here we are in early 2021 and the new Perseverance rover has sent back its first pictures from the surface of Mars. Yup, Mars is still a shithole.

For a start you can't just go to Mars whenever you want.  Mars should preferably be on the same side of its orbit as the Earth, so as to minimize the distance travelled.  Even then it takes seven months to get there, which would expose a human to the long term health effects of space radiation and zero gravity. 

By "health effects" I mean for example that astronauts who spent long periods of time (months) in space return to Earth unable to walk due to muscular atrophy caused by zero gravity, as well as numerous other health problems with their heart, eyes, and other organs. They have to be carried out of the capsule when they return to Earth and sent off in a wheelchair for rehabilitation. You typically don't see that on the news, because space flight is supposed to be glamorous and courageous, like it is in Star Trek or Star Wars.

You would also need to take all your supplies, food, water, and air for your seven month journey. No one has embarked on such a long journey since probably the days of sailing ships, and even those ships were able to resupply some materials as they sailed around the world.  

Then when you get to Mars the atmosphere is only about 1% as dense as Earth's. There's only 38% gravity and we don't even know what the health effects of that are. There is only 43% as much sunlight as Earth and even noon would look like dusk, and the average temperature is an incredibly cold -80°F (-60°C). Mars has no magnetic field and little atmosphere, so radiation from space bombards the surface at about 12 times the rate on Earth.

Then you have to assume any human explorer would need to make the return journey.

All the technologies that need to be developed and tested for Mars MUST first be developed and tested on the Moon. Since we don't have a base on the Moon yet, then we're not about to have any humans visiting Mars. Possibly lava tubes could be a good place to start building an outpost. They might provide some ready-made radiation shielding and therefore lessen the construction payload.

So as you can see, the main problem with sending humans to Mars isn't getting there. We've already sent car-sized object to Mars several times.  The problem is the health effects of long term space travel, and the extremely harsh conditions on Mars.

Here are Elon Musk's plans for Mars, which are obviously just marketing hype.

Don't believe any hype you hear, we're not sending humans to Mars in the foreseeable future.

- Dave Bad Person

Another surge in immigration but no hysterical shrieking

Another surge of immigration from Central America has seen 78,000 immigrants turned back from our southern border in January and another 100,000 in February. The immigrant surge from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala continues, but there doesn't seem to be such intense media coverage of it this time. Among these immigrants are thousands of unaccompanied children who have to be detained, yet no one is shrieking hysterically that we're "tearing children from their families" or that we have "child prisons". Mind you, many of these "child prisons" are the same detention facilities used during the Obama era.
Most of these immigrants come from countries that the US tried to give functioning industries to back in the mid-20th century: fruit farming, a banking system, and all the machinery of capitalism. But they didn't like that so they had socialist revolutions, which led to them becoming the crime- and gang-ridden shitholes they are today, which is why people are leaving these countries in droves. Oddly enough though, we don't seem to get any Nicaraguans arriving at our border. They also had a socialist revolution but somehow the Sandanistas managed to rout the corruption and gang activity. Now Nicaragua is starting to become a tourist destination. We also don't see Costa Ricans arriving at our border because it's now an idyllic tourist destination with industries and investment. It's often described as the happiest country in the world, and they don't even have a military or defence force.
There's a lesson in all this somewhere, but I can't quite figure it out. Oh well. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

The Nature and Purpose of Political Conspiracy Theories

The excerpts in this blog post are quoted from the following web page:


Political conspiracy theories are usually the most intricate.  They arise most often when the "official version” of events seems inadequate, flawed, or incomplete, and these situations present an opportunity for all sorts of bizarre and facile "explanations"

However, the entire purpose of most political conspiracy theories is NOT to carefully present evidence and then use reason and logic to arrive at sound, verifiable conclusions.  Instead, most political conspiracy theories are primarily an intellectual device by which individuals and organizations identify and demonize their perceived enemies whom they propose to vanquish.

The substantive content of a political conspiracy theory is often completely irrelevant to the underlying purpose of the theory and, in any event, there is no possible way to refute or disprove most such theories to the satisfaction of their authors or adherents because most political conspiracy theories are constructed to be self-sealing so that contradictory data can be instantly dismissed, ignored, or de-valued.  The reason is because the theory functions as a problem-solving device but the actual “problem” has virtually nothing to do with the details regarding people and events which are part of the conspiratorial narrative.

The actual “problem” which political conspiracy theories seek to address is explaining one’s sense of impotence, i.e. providing plausible reasons for why one’s values, ideas, policy preferences, and political candidates seem to be repeatedly ignored, disparaged, violated, or defeated, particularly over long periods of time.   Consequently, the conspiracy theory expresses the rage felt when a person perceives himself or his group as persistent “losers” in all matters of importance.

Therefore, the conspiracy theory functions as a “rolodex” of people and organizations who should not be permitted to have a place at the table, because “they” despoil our country, “they” defile its true values, and “they” plan to rob us of our heritage and “they” seek to make impotence a permanent feature of our lives.

That’s the reason why a political conspiracy theory can never be refuted, because it does not rely upon the individual facts, assertions, or conclusions which make up the literal text of the theory.  Instead, it is a primal scream against perceived villains whom are thought to have ruined our society or whom are working toward destroying our individual sovereignty.

Conspiracy theories are usually authored by persistent losers in public policy debates to account for why those persons are frustrated and seemingly impotent to affect public policy decisions and elections over long periods of time.

Anger and frustration is a normal human response to feelings of endless impotence.  Conspiracy theories "solve" the underlying problem by explaining WHY one perceives oneself as powerless, disrespected, unappreciated, and ignored.  It’s really very simple, malevolent powerful beings, working in secret, are responsible.

Conspiracy authors almost never concede even the hypothetical possibility that their paradigm might be flawed in some fundamental respect.  Furthermore, conspiracy authors/researchers don't simply allege that a critic or skeptic is mistaken in their viewpoint.  Instead, they almost always assert that critics or skeptics facilitate the success of evil cabals who consciously are working to destroy our way of life. 

In short, conspiracy believers proclaim that their interpretation is not just intellectually superior to other interpretations, but theirs is the ONLY interpretation possible and any disagreements are the result of morally and intellectually defective beings, who are, perhaps, even agents of the conspiracy! 

Similarly, conspiracy believers usually declare that every issue or controversy is susceptible to only one correct interpretation and, furthermore, our public policy options are limited to only one correct position, which “coincidentally” always conforms to the conspiracy believer’s personal political preferences.

Typically, conspiracy adherents will entertain questions and comments about their theory only so long as their fundamental premises and conclusions are not challenged.  Rigorous critiques are instantly perceived as hostile attacks by hopelessly na├»ve, ignorant, or “brainwashed” individuals, or perhaps, “smears” initiated by “agents” of the conspiracy who are seeking to “divert” attention away from themselves and thus "waste" time and resources in “pointless” intellectual debates or “disinformation” campaigns. 

Furthermore, conspiracy believers are pre-disposed to believing the worst possible motives regarding their adversaries.  Consequently, conspiracy proponents often arrive at conclusions without asking their perceived adversaries a single question.

Conspiracy advocates often assert that their fellow countrymen cannot be relied upon to understand events and make correct decisions. Why not? Because they believe that vast numbers of their countrymen have been “brainwashed” and “cannot think for themselves”.  In their scheme of things, only conspiracy believers are able to recognize and escape from the clever mind-tricks and ulterior motives of their adversaries.

Further reading: