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False Data and the Moral Panic that Follows: A Threat to Liberty

From which today’s QOTD was taken. Debunks the trumped-up statistical survey on which one of the current campus-rape scandal-stories is based. (I assume that Miss LeFauve’s story eviscerating the reported “study,” which Mr. Morrissey cites and which is NOT TO BE MISSED, as it covers quite a bit more ground than Mr. Morrissey’s précis, is accurate. –Nowadays I feel obliged to include that as a standard caveat, since so much on all sides of various aisles turns out to be full of mouldy Swiss cheese or worse.)

False data and the moral panic that follows: a threat to liberty

posted at 2:41 pm on July 30, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Let’s start this topic with the latest in a long series of debunked claims resulting from studies that are later discovered to be either incompetently conducted or flat-out fraud. Reason’s Linda LeFauve dismantles one of the key bases for the supposed epidemic of “rape culture” on college campuses, a study published in 2002 by University of Massachusetts-Boston professor David Lisak. This study, LeFauve notes, has informed current White House policies on Title IX enforcement [pdf] as well as documentaries and books on the subject of college rape. It had at least an indirect impact on Rolling Stone’s debunked UVA campus rape hoax from last December.

It’s also based on shoddy research and deception [pdf, Lisak, "Statement to U.S. Civil Rights Commission...] , as LeFauve discovered when researching the study. Despite claiming to have conducted the research himself, Lisak actually derived it from student theses on another topic entirely — adult survivors of child abuse, using non-random samples mainly consisting of UMB employees and non-resident students:….

“Read the Whole Thing.” Oh, and here are the first two paragraphs of Miss LeFauve’s article “Campus Rape Expert Can’t Answer Basic Questions About His Sources”:

David Lisak’s serial predator theory of campus rape has made him a celebrity. Once a virtually unknown associate professor at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, his work is now cited by White House officials and reporters for major newspapers.

His influence is evident in the recent documentary The Hunting Ground, and the producers continue to promote his work along with their film. In Jon Krakauer’s new book, Missoula, about sexual assault at the University of Montana, Lisak’s name appears more than 100 times.

…. [SNIP]

Time Travel – a Practical Application

Get your ass to Mars

Phobos Base

“Mars is possible, and in a time horizon of interest,” Hoppy Price, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said May 20 during a presentation with the space agency’s Future In-Space Operations (FISO) working group. “It could happen in our lifetime, and it wouldn’t take a trillion dollars to do it.”

This effort would require four launches of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket, which is currently in development and is scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2018.

The first Phobos-oriented SLS launch, in 2029, would loft a space tug and two chemical-propulsion payloads — a Phobos Transfer Stage and a Trans-Earth Injection Stage. The tug would use solar-electric propulsion (SEP) to haul the two payloads to Mars orbit in just less than four years. (The team’s concept requires no big breakthroughs in propulsion technology or other areas, Price said.)

A second SLS liftoff would carry another SEP tug and the Phobos base, which could support a crew of four. The tug would take the base to Phobos and deposit it on the moon’s surface, then stay with the habitat to provide power and move it to different locations on Phobos if desired.

The third SLS launch, around 2032, would carry a deep-space habitat (with the same basic design as the Phobos base) and a Mars Orbit Insertion Stage to Earth orbit. Another SLS liftoff would then send NASA’s Orion capsule and a crew of four up to meet this preplaced gear, which would help take the astronauts to Mars orbit in a journey lasting 200 to 250 days.

A Manned Mission to Mars: How NASA Could Do It

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of a landing on Mars and indeed human colonisation thereof (if it’s worth colonising), but I suspect that NASA’s bureaucrat heavy costing model and desire for ‘big new kit’ is essentially the problem here.

If we put the entrepreneurs in charge instead of the bureaucrats I suspect we could get a mission to Phobos by 2025 and landing on Mars soon thereafter.

We already have a marshalling yard and habitation module in orbit in the form of the ISS. Simply build the interplanetary components of the cargo and habitation units on earth in a modular form and powered by electric motors and boost them into space using the SpaceX Falcon Heavy alongside the ISS with a limited final assembly in orbit alongside the ISS.

At next opposition (when Mars and Earth are closest) fire them to Phobos so that food, water and habitation are ready and waiting for astronauts upon their arrival and we can test and monitor equipment remotely. Do the same with the Phobos-Mars descent/ascent vehicle.

The speed of the journey here is not critical so it doesn’t matter if it takes 18-months to get there as long as they are operational before the astronauts depart the ISS.

Then do the same for the ISS/Phobos shuttle with the crew module and powered by a multi-megawatt Vasimr engine capable of reaching Mars at opposition in 40/50 days.

The ISS/Phobos shuttle would be completely reusable as none of the components would be subject to damage by atmospheric re-entry albeit a chemical powered Phobos descent/ascent module would probably be necessary.

All of the technology to do this is available today (albeit both the  Vasimr engine and Phobos-Mars descent/ascent vehicle require more work, this could be undertaken during the preparation phase for the Phobos habitation module.

All of the above could be achieved for a fraction of the current NASA proposals for MARS and in less than half the time. The ISS/Phobos shuttle could be reused to support a genuine space base on Phobos (transiting at every opposition) and the ISS would have a genuine purpose.

P.S. – Currently reading Andy Weir’s The Martian. :-)

Everybody duck!

This just in from Eric Worrall at WUWT:

Gigantic asteroid near miss coming this Thursday

You can go read the story (short, for WUWT) and peruse the comments, of course, but I did think that it would be unconscionably remiss of me not to show you all this important magazine cover presented by commenter Bubba Cow:

The Onion.Asteroid Near-Miss Expected 3:14:15.WUWT, 3:11:14


This is a long term pet hate of mine. I hate it when people use military language such as “fight” or “battle” outside of context.

I have long hated it in sport. Since at least Euro ’96 and The Mirror mocking-up Stuart Pearce in a Tommy hat before England played Germany in the semi. It is crass at best.

Now The Mail reports on a study that such language is often unhelpful to many cancer sufferers. The implication due to a study by linguists at the University of Lancaster is that people who succumb to the disease haven’t “fought” hard enough. I get that.

So a thumbs up to The Mail for reporting this point.

And two thumbs down for following it up days later with this.

I hate this metaphor of battle. Ms Gibbs died because she was unlucky or the diagnosis was made late or the treatment wasn’t good enough or some combination of the three. I lend clock-cycles to the likes of Folding@Home. I lend my Intel Core i5s. I am part of 164,000 giving a little bit of tame lightening to help provide 38,000 Teraflops of computing to help cure or treat (note I don’t say “defeat”). Flops are floating point operations per second. And that is 38 Petaflops or 38 quadrillion sums per second. Or 3.8 x 1016 calculations per second. Not even Michael Gove demanded that many using times tables and slide-rules. It is quite possible the sum total of human endeavour in the field of arithmetic is greater since 1950 than since those folk in Sumeria all those millenia back invented place system arithmetic.

Forgive my emotion here but I watched Rosetta/Philea touchdown on Churyumov–Gerasimenko. I had to go to the dentist this morning to see about a crown being replaced which was not the start to a day I wanted but by about 4pm when we got the news from Darmstadt that Philea had landed I was marked this day with a white stone. Sometimes we slip in the bathroom and crack a tooth and sometimes we have petaflops and land on a comet half a billion km from home. That is about 30 light minutes away. My degrees are in physics and astrophysics. That was my Apollo moment. Neil and Buzz of course did their thing before I was born. For me this was better and even more awesome than Voyager 1 hitting the heliopause. And that was awesome. Some of the US Christian Wrong objected to the images of naked people on it. Well that is 15 billion km away and doing 17 km a second so they can pick-up our interstellar porn. Because that has like so gone.

We can be magnificent. And Rosetta has been. ESA landed something the size of a washing machine 500,000 km from home and it worked. I wish (in a frivolous sense) they’d landed that bloody dreadful Hotpoint from my kitchen in outer space. That thing once went completely tonto and lifted the kitchen work-top about 3cm. The sound was awesome. I thought Al Queda had bombed my kitchen – possibly because I had bacon in the fridge. The kitchen work-top is solid granite. It was like having R2-D2 break dancing.

I’m just (for once) in a good mood with my species. ESA got it there within 2 minutes over a ten year mission covering billions of km (it did gravity assists on the way). The dentist was twenty minutes late. The train from where I live is never on time. That mission is awesome. Yeah it cost GBP1.1bn but somethings are worth it. The dentist cost GBP18.50 (well cost me that directly). I am a happy camper today. And I hate seeing the dentist – does anyone like it? ESA – I salute you.

We are a mixed species. We can make TVs (amazing) and then make shows like Geordie Shore to show on them. Have you seen that? Don’t. I’m a Geordie and my heroes are folks like George Stephenson and not some slag (not a word I use lightly) crawling across a bathroom-floor whilst venting urine in a desperate bit to get to the toilet to vomit. She was out in time and distance by more than Rosetta and she hadn’t gone billions of km.

You want something done spot on get a physicist. Richard Feynman once compared his theory (Quantum Electrodynamics) in accuracy to measuring the distance from LA to NYC and getting it to within the width a human hair. Just ponder that.

Update: Philae is not out of the woods yet. But even getting it down is magnificent. I so hope it works. This is as important as Viking or Voyager.

This is Fermilab with a jetpack. This is the reason I still trog on. I recall the discovery of a quark and this guy run into Lecture Theatre B1 – University of Nottingham told us that at CERN they had confirmed it. And we all (and there was a lot of us) spontaneously cheered. That was the Standard Model down.

I just love science and techie stuff. I had a flatmate doing English Literature and he wound-up (through no fault of his own) doing “Old Icelandic Edda and Saga in Translation”. He hated it. I was in the second year lab with interesting kit and the preserved blackboards of some fellow called Albert staring down at me. Can’t imagine who he was. It was all Greek (and German) to me. But I wound-up knowing both the Special and General theories of relativity. How cool is that!

I am going into rhapsodies for it is late.

I am going to contradict myself (but as a physics grad I have earned the right – Nick has a cat – Timmy – and so did Erwin Schrödinger).

I don’t do weird things with Timmy in a box but he has to go in one to go to the vet sometimes. That is fun.

Carbon Legacies

There is an industry which concerns itself with helping to create these when Mother Nature isn’t quite doing her job. But it needs to be regulated, you know. It really does. Even Mr. Wesley J. Smith, of whom more below, says so, though he otherwise disagrees with Ms. Cristina Richie, whose views are our topic today. (The gentleman’s remark rather sounds as though he approves of “regulation,” and disapproves of its lack, on principle.)

Anyway, it turns out that Carbon Legacies, even when naturally occurring, are not an unmitigated good. Indeed, one might question whether they are a Good Thing at all, even as others are delighted with theirs, or with the prospects of acquiring such.

Here is the abstract of an article from the Journal of Medical Ethics by Cristina Richie, Theology Department, Boston College, which argues that since every human “emits carbon” into the environment,

Evaluating the ethics of offering reproductive services against its overall harm to the environment makes unregulated ARTs unjustified….

“ART” stands for “Assisted Reproductive Technology.” It includes such things as fertilization in vitro and artificial insemination, as well as methods of having babies where the child might be born with AIDS, surrogate pregnancy, and more.

(WikiFootia has a good overview.)

From Ms. Richie’s article:

A carbon footprint is the aggregate of resource use and carbon emissions over a person’s life. A carbon legacy occurs when a person chooses to procreate. All people have carbon footprints; only people with biological children have carbon legacies.

(I have had some non-biological “children,” but only in a figurative sense, such as patterns of words set down on paper or sent into cyberspace. But it seems to me that actual non-biological children are probably rather rare.)

Now ask me what I think. C’mon, you know you want to! *g* Well, lest the multitude of Kounting Kitties hereabouts get to yowling from the suspense….

Views in which “the environment” is seen as of higher moral value than human beings as such — whether conceived in delight or after a fight, or both, or neither — are perverse in the strongest and most serious sense of the word. (Compact OED, Print Ed., 1971, = 1933 OED plus addenda, gives various definitions, several of which boil down to “turning away from right to wrong.”) To me, the word has a connotation of DELIGHT in turning from right to wrong, and a deliberate inversion of right and wrong, so that the evil is embraced as good and the good, as evil.

All I can say is, I place a very high value on my own personal Carbon Legacy, who in early middle age continues to provide joy, light, and warmth to my life. Besides, this person grows houseplants and, in summer, tomatoes and peppers, so I figure that offsets the inevitable “emission of carbon.” (Whatever does Ms. Richie think that means? There’s a huge variety of carbon-containing molecules that are “emitted” by a huge variety of sources, most of them “natural.”) Personally I think that once we’ve gotten fluorine out of the way by banning it (per a suggestion by some doofus over here), we should simply ban carbon. That would solve everything. At least from the human point of view, which would no longer exist.

. . .

I will let Mr. Wesley J. Smith, of, have the last word. He has a piece on this entitled “Population Controllers Call Babies ‘Carbon Legacies,’ a Threat to the Environment.” Per Mr. Smith:

And Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little carbon legacies to come onto me’….

Revolutionary Rocket Could Shuttle Humans to Mars

VASIMR VX-200 Plasma Engine:

A novel plasma engine could slash travel time to Mars — now approximately three years — to just 39 days.

By Steve Nadis|Friday, April 18, 2014

Traveling to Mars is not easy, which may be why no one has ever tried. It would take a good six to nine months to get there with today’s chemical-fueled rockets. Along the way, according to a 2013 study, you’d get dosed with the radiation equivalent of a whole-body CT scan every five to six days, increasing your lifetime cancer risk above the limits set by NASA. Upon reaching the Red Planet, you’d wait up to two years for Earth and Mars to be at their closest before your return trip, which would last another six to nine months. If the cosmic rays didn’t get you, the long layover might.

But what if there were a better way — a new kind of rocket that could transport you to Mars in less than six weeks?


Growing up in Costa Rica, [Franklin Chang] Díaz became fascinated with all things space in 1957, when the Soviets successfully launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite. He was 7 years old. Eleven years later, he secured a one-way plane ticket to the United States and arrived in Hartford, Conn., with just $50 in his pocket. He barely knew a word of English. He stayed there with distant relatives to attend high school. After earning an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut, Chang Díaz enrolled as a graduate student in applied plasma physics at MIT, where he began research in nuclear fusion.


To Texas, and Beyond

After receiving his doctorate degree in 1977, Díaz continued to investigate his rocket concept, while maintaining his interest in space itself.He was accepted as a NASA astronaut, on his second try, in 1980. When his training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston got serious, he found it difficult to keep up the monthly commute to MIT, so he moved his rocket laboratory to Johnson. He went on to fly seven shuttle missions, logging more than 1,600 hours in space over the next few decades, all while maintaining an active research schedule, devoting time almost every day to work on his rocket engine.

Díaz retired from NASA in 2005 to form Ad Astra, his rocket company.


Ad Astra’s 20-foot-high structure [in Webster, Tex., a suburb of Houston] is tucked behind a Japanese restaurant and flanked by a Brazilian steakhouse and a tattoo parlor. Its drab, gray facade blends in with the parking lot around it. The building’s interior looks like typical open-plan office space — until you pass through a set of double doors and enter the laboratory. That’s where you might notice something out of the ordinary: a metal cylinder, 15 feet in diameter and 35 feet long, big enough to drive a school bus into. The cylinder is a vacuum chamber that simulates conditions in space. Inside lies a smaller vacuum chamber — about the size of an MRI machine — that contains the rocket’s magnets.

[SNIP of lots more, including cool diagram and photos]

Quote of the day.

We have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

- Tombstone epitaph of two amateur astronomers.

I recall it from “Cosmos” by Carl Sagan.

Leonard of Quirm has not left the building…

Well, us European types are going to build an extremely large telescope in the Chilean desert. Good news. I can’t say, as a libertarian, I’m entirely in favour of gubermunt spending but a billion quid between quite a few nations for something that actually matters warms the cockles of my astronomer’s heart. I mean it’s only 2% (if that) of HS2 and this will show the limits of the observable Universe. HS2 will get me to Birmingham slightly quicker. Well, put me on an astral plane or whatever but I know where I’d rather my monies went. And it ain’t in early C19th tech to get me to Brum.

I know a bit about the ESO in Chile. A lad I knew went out there and brought back some mighty fine wine (he was observational, I was theory) and we voted him a capital fellow at the second bottle. The Atacama Desert apart from anything else is remarkable. It never rains for a start and seeing as I live in NW England that is a bonus. Anyway it is currently home to the European VLT (Very Large Telescope) due to be overtaken by the European ELT or Extremely Large Telescope.

They really need someone to name these things. Maybe it is linguistic but we really need to put in a hint of effort. The University of Chicago has a Tevatron now that sounds suitably SF. A Large Hadron Collider just doesn’t. I mean it is big and it collides hadrons… but… I want it to sound more Trekkie. “Number One, engage the Tevatron”. That works. I want Dan Dare and instead we get B&Q! The first movie I ever saw at the cinema was Star Wars Episode IV. As hard SF it is junk – basically a Western/Fairy Tale in space but we didn’t have Han Solo flying “The medium sized smuggling ship” did we? Did “Sailor” Malan fly the “Small combat aircraft”. No, he flew a Spitfire. Even when George Stephenson built his engine he called it “The Rocket” and not “The convenient new means of getting from Liverpool to Manchester”.

Show some imagination people!

Having said all that a certain icon of the Battle of Britain came within an ace of being called the Supermarine Shrew. What would that have done? Nag the Germans to death?

It’s important to have vision

Nasa's Warp Drive Concept Ship

This is NASA’s idea for a warp drive spaceship, capable of interstellar travel. It’s not a fantasy sci-fi ship but a concept based on the equations of Dr. Harold White—lead at NASA’s Eagleworks Advanced Propulsion Physics Laboratory—who also works in ion engines and plasma thrusters.

This is NASA’s new concept spaceship for warp drive interstellar travel

Although my preference is for the next stage of space exploration to be undertaken by private enterprises, there is still a place for the research of fundamental technologies which will underpin our journey beyond the solar system. The only question is should such research be undertaken under the aegis of NASA (a notoriously bureaucratic organisation) or independently at a private institution.

Given the enthusiasm with which wealthy entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk have entered the race for genuinely transformational technologies I think it is time that the dead hand of government was gradually removed from the space technology arena.

NASA Starts Work on Real Life Star Trek Warp Drive

Working at NASA Eagleworks—a skunkworks operation deep at NASA’s Johnson Space Center—Dr. White’s team is trying to find proof of those loopholes. They have “initiated an interferometer test bed that will try to generate and detect a microscopic instance of a little warp bubble” using an instrument called the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer.

Home Build Hybrid Rocket Demo

Space Shuttle Launch

One of the inherent problems of space craft utilising Solid Rocket Booster technology (such as the now retired NASA space shuttle) is premature or alternately asymmetric ignition because unlike liquid propellants (hydrogen/oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, etc.), the burn cannot be controlled or shut off, an SRB will simply burn until there is no fuel left, it explodes or it self-destructs. In all of these scenarios catastrophic loss of both craft and any crew is almost guaranteed.


Midweek Humour

An infinite number of Mathmaticians

New Drugs May Transform Down Syndrome

It’s rather shocking to me how many presumably-intelligent people say neuroscience is “quack science.” In the first place it’s still a young science, as sciences go. But if many theories (or “sub-theories”) turn out to be wrong, or severely incomplete, that doesn’t disqualify the validity of neuroscience, which is the study of how the nervous system — including the brain — works. Scientists develop theories about this, and prove, improve, or disprove them depending on new discoveries that they make. And then, of course, we utilize the results.

Great stuff has already come out of neuroscience. And speaking from personal experience, that includes some of the much-maligned anti-depressant medications, which can turn a life that has become extremely unpleasant into one that can be downright enjoyable and experienced as being worth the living.

This is wonderful news indeed.

From Scientific American.

New Drugs May Transform Down Syndrome

Recent breakthroughs may lead to pharmacological treatments for the chromosomal disorder

Mar 1, 2014 |By Jenni Laidman

‘People born with Down syndrome have always been considered to be incurably developmentally delayed—until now. In the past few years a number of laboratories have uncovered critical drug targets within disabled chemical pathways in the brain that might be restored with medication. At least two clinical trials are currently studying the effects of such treatments on people with Down syndrome. Now geneticist Roger Reeves of Johns Hopkins University may have stumbled on another drug target—this one with the potential to correct the learning and memory deficits so central to the condition.

‘Down syndrome occurs in about one in 1,000 births annually worldwide. It arises from an extra copy of chromosome 21 and the overexpression of each of the 300 to 500 genes the chromosome carries. “If you go back even as recently as 2004, researchers didn’t have much of a clue about the mechanisms involved in this developmental disability,” says Michael Harpold, chief scientific officer with the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation. But all that has changed. “In the past six or seven years there have been several breakthroughs—and ‘breakthroughs’ is not by any means too big a word—in understanding the neurochemistry in Down syndrome,” Reeves says. [ ... ]‘

Scientific American The article continues with a description of the subject research.

Wolfgang Pauli…

Wolfgang Pauli, Nobel Laureate, was a stunningly good physicist by any metric. He discovered (invented – we can debate this ’till the cows come home) the “exclusion principle”. Now this is true. Full on true. Basically it means Fermions can’t occupy the same energy levels but Baryons can. For this he won the Nobel*. So did Barack Obama. It really is a fucking laughing academy. Anyway, Pauli made the Universe (or discovered it) and that matters. Apart from getting pissed and having sex that was kinda what I did at College. I once had to do this. If that sounds dull, it was.

I also wrote a thesis on Kurt Gödel, He had some interesting views on GR (I’m a bit of a spesh on GR). Seriously! And time travel and formal logic – I am very dull. Well, I’m a Whovian so… I mean what is the effing point of having degrees in physics and astrophysics if you can’t build a time machine? None! I did this to understand the Universe and not be carted round as a spacka. That is a terrible thing to say but I said it. I also have a shed and no time machine. Possibly because it’s impossible. It is BTW.

Tonight I’m off to the Royal Exchange Theatre to see Orlando starring the TARDIS. Yes, that is me. She is also known as Suranne Jones. But she is still the TARDIS. And bow-ties are cool.

Always the TARDIS for me. Well, I don’t watch Corrie do I? So should be fun seeing Idris and the Royal Exchange is a lovely theatre. It really is but then I guess you expect that in what to all extents and porpoises is our second city – Glasgow is Jockulent and Brum is well, Brum. I live in abouts Manc for a reason. I mean we have a proper China Town and stuff. We have a Gay Village and not just a street as Newcastle has. Having said that Newcastle does have the best named gay bar ever – “Camp David” – always cracks me up. That is the work of Genius. My bro pointed it out to me and I was Laughing and Grief for like 20 minutes. A few years back the council tried to pursue the “pink pound” to risible results. Nobody – gay, straight or whatever goes on holiday to Newcastle. They just don’t. I mean I might be tempted to go see Stephenson’s Cottage and his first railway but that is walking distance from my Mum’s house and that is not exactly a holiday is it? I’ve walked there with my wife – actually every girl I have dated. I am a hot date! I’ll also use it as an opportunity to get onto the theory of thermodynamics – upon which I can bore for the Commonwealth. It is quite amazing I happen to have spent the best part of the last twenty years in relationships with girls.

H/T to Samizdata for getting me thinking on Pauli. Now, the Pauli quote is “ganz falsch”. Literally “quite wrong” with the meaning in German of, “Not even wrong”. Or in Geordie, “best bollocks”.

* Dear Joe Stalin objected. He believed Pauli was trying to prove Fermions refused to collectivise. Seriously. Of course. They have half integer spin! This has nowt to do with politricks. This is truth. This is just the way things are. No quantity of Marxist-Leninism changes reality.

Pauli wasn’t just a great physicist (though he was – money quote comes from Richard Feynman – he get’s doorstepped at the Nobel “do” and asked by a press fella to explain in five minutes what he did to win the Nobel, “Right, pal, if I could explain in five minutes it wouldn’t have been worth a Nobel would it?” I guess not). He was a great critic of physics. You utilise sloppy thinking in a seminar and Pauli is there and mutters “ganz falsch” you have met a stranger in the Alps.

D. Greenfield / Sultan Knish: The Green Socialists of Mars

A most interesting, longish piece in which Daniel Greenfield discusses the place of Climate-Alarmism, and of turn-of-the-20th-century SF, in what one might call “The Project for Social Change” (cue the Usual Suspects). Follow the Kitties to Zanzibar: Read the whole thing.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Green Socialists of Mars

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog — 14 Comments

We live in a strange world in which the weather is a subject of furious political debate. People have been arguing about the weather ever since the first rainstorm caught the first man without the umbrella that he did not yet know how to make, but they didn’t hold political debates over it.

For the last fifty years, the anti-weather side has been insisting that the world is headed toward a Frostean apocalypse of ice or fire. …. The end of weather was here.

[ ... ]

The original error of climate researchers was their assumption that planets were more fragile than they truly are and could be undone by a nuclear exchange or even by a few coal plants. Carl Sagan, who had done much to popularize unscientific paranoia about nuclear winter and global warming, warned that the Gulf War’s oil fires would lead to a miniature nuclear winter.

They did not.

The mingling of philosophical paranoia over a godless universe and political pacifism disguised as science shaped not only Sagan’s musings, but the entire ideology of weather apocalypses which derived from the conviction that ungoverned man was bound to destroy his environment.

[ ... ]

Socialist science fiction had become a booming field in the late 19th century. Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward had envisioned time travel to a Socialist American utopia in the year 2000. It was a bad book, but a popular bestseller because it used the frame of pseudoscience to depict Socialism as both a practical model and inevitable. …

Novels such as “Politics and Life in Mars”, “Unveiling a Parallel”, “To Mars via the Moon”, “A Prophetic Romance” and “Red Star” envisioned culturally superior Martians demonstrating their advanced Socialist societies with income equality, planetary labor unions and pacifism to the human race.

In the Russian “Red Star,” the Lowellian canals are a Communist triumph over inhospitable nature anticipating the USSR and Communist China’s disastrous dam projects. The German writer of “Two Planets” envisioned the advanced Martians invading Earth to impose their superior Socialist society on human beings.

The Martians, like Global Warming, were a tool of radical social change.

[ ... SNIP]

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