Women, Progress, and Automobiles in Space

Folks, I’m tired. I’m cranky. I’m operating off very little sleep and I’ve overbooked myself on work yet again. You’d think I’d learn. Or take a break. Sigh…

But a thread on Twitter caught my attention yesterday, and I couldn’t let it pass without some commentary. And that, in turn, opened up a whole new level of offensive wrongthink. Underneath it is, in this blogger’s opinion, one of the most important issues of our time.

A progressive woman laments how Elon Musk is, in her view, wasting his money launching automobiles into space. Instead, she tells us, he should spend his billions on Flint, a Democrat-run shithole (thanks, Mr. President, I’m using that term a lot more from now on) that can’t even deliver clean water to its residents.

As tired as my newborn has made me in recent days, this is worse. Progressive arguments like this are legion. Instead of using your money for anything else, you should dedicate it all to notions of wealth distribution. Forget your personal desires, your dreams, your aspirations for the very future of mankind itself… instead give everything to politicians.

Dear readers, enough is enough. I’m usually at least somewhat polite on this blog, so take it to heart when I say this. Grasp my full meaning: fuck them all. Toss them out of helicopters, or into woodchippers, or just air drop them into Somalia. I don’t even care anymore. But this is the last straw, folks.

Their short-sighted, Dunning-Kruger infused, elementary school worldview is beyond evil and into a realm of nonsensical mental masturbation. It’s a Lovecraftian horror, except it is inverted. Instead of greater beings beyond our comprehension filling us with horror because of our relative smallness, we have lesser beings whose sheer stupidity and ignorance of all sense is such that to even try to empathize with them causes headaches of massive proportions. To even comprehend such idiocy is horror-inducing.

Not that any of this is new. Back during the days of the Apollo Program, there were plenty of people lamenting that the money that sent a man to the moon would be better spent putting an end to poverty. The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess.

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Another cretinous fool on Twitter explained that Carl Sagan told us not to perform such crazy marketing stunts in space. This esteemed idiot supplied the following quotation:

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So, what? Only Communists should go to space? Earth is for everybody, but space is for Communists! No Capitalists allowed. I know a lot of folks revere Carl Sagan, but this certainly ranks high on dumb quotes by this guy.

I started noticing a pattern. Most of the detractors of Elon Musk’s little stunt were women. Most of those singing his praises were men. That reinforces an old, but correct notion that women trend more Progressive than men. Look, I know a lot of smart women (Sarah Hoyt comes to mind right away), but at the same time there is something very, very wrong here.

Why are so many women fixated on first-order problems, without any conception of second-order effects? I mean, imagine if the folks at early Intel who pioneered CPU design, had instead donated all of their money to some politically-correct victim class and bowed out? What would benefit poor people more, a few thousand dollars worth of bread, or technological progress that eventually put the entire sum of human knowledge at their fingertips within seconds?

Our intrepid Progressive women cannot imagine the future benefits to everyone, the poor included, of opening up space to mankind. The entire future of our species, the whole universe there waiting for us, and this chick is fixated on Flint’s water supply? It’s maddening! It gives me a headache. It’s exhausting even trying to understand how a human brain could possibly operate that way.

But I see a lot of modern women who have this kind of thought process. Take a look at this feminist whopper:

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Her complete inability to understand anything past her own immediate worldview is simply staggering to contemplate. This is extreme solipsism. Does she not understand what men say to each other on a regular basis? My daily conversations with my male friends would send your average feminist woman into conniption fits. They might give her seizures. She claims to want to be treated just like a man, but no woman actually wants this.

So hey, Thales, how is this related to Elon Musk launching a car into space? I’m getting to that.

I started thinking this morning that perhaps we aren’t dealing with an inability to see beyond first-order effects so much as an inability to virtue-signal them rhetorically. It’s rhetorically easy to point to a crazy publicity stunt and call it stupid. It’s rhetorically difficult to demonstrate the larger utility of the affair, the technological milestones SpaceX achieved in the process. It’s rhetorically easy to give a man a fish and say “look at me, I’m a good person for giving this man a fish!” It’s rhetorically difficult to demonstrate how your long-term plan to teach the man to fish will benefit mankind.

Virtue-signalling is subject to the rule of laziness. If there are two ways you can virtue-signal your moral superiority, Progressives will invariably pick the easiest one. Here’s your fish, come back tomorrow for another. Of what possible use is a microchip to a poor person? No cars in space. And why land a man on the moon? What a waste, am I right?

In other words, it’s easy to drop a first-order effect into a rhetorical conversation and ignore all other effects of that decision, as if everything was in isolation. Nothing in the universe works that way.

And for some reason, women appear more vulnerable to this tactic than men. The irony of the no billboards in space comment? It’s usually women who are more consumerist than men. Marketing? Commercials? All targeted toward women. That’s why almost every man is a dofus in TV commercials, and every woman is a wise, sage-like being of feminine supremacy. Who spends all the money? The answer to that is obvious enough. And yet, women trend anti-Capitalist? It makes no sense, until you start looking at everything from a first-order effect perspective. She wants X, and so she buys X without any thought to the greater ramifications… unless, of course, political correctness rears its ugly head, hijacks her mind, and pushes its claptrap. Then it’s save the whales, don’t buy fur, and no automobiles in space. Those, too, are considered without thought for greater ramifications.

Don’t ask me if this is innate to female biology, or just a product of a century or so of Radical Feminist thinking and conditioning, or some combination thereof. I don’t know, and my headache is too great to speculate at the moment. But whatever the cause, I’m tired of it. When I was a kid, I can remember a little optimism left in the world. Not much, for Progressivism was already on the march even then, and had been for a long time. But still, it was worth looking up and thinking “someday, I’m going to achieve something great.”

Not anymore, I guess. You can launch your car into space, and some idiotic denizen of Twitter will stand up and say “laaaaaame, you should have given your money to some Democrats instead. What are you, some kind of racist?”

Woodchipper them all. I don’t even care anymore.

Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Well, I suppose I owe my readers an explanation for my hiatus these last couple of weeks. Between my daughter keeping me up all night, lack of sleep, heavy workload, a short story project I’m wrapping up, and a remodeling project I probably should have waited to do – but didn’t – yeah, my blogging has suffered somewhat of late.

On top of that, Bitcoin’s big moves have occupied much of my attention recently. I mined a few of them back in 2013, and suddenly they were more than just some paltry pocket change. For what it’s worth, I dumped most of them at around $11,000/BTC. Probably should’ve dumped at the high, but that’s always a hindsight game. Most of the profits are going right into the mortgage balance. Not enough to eradicate it completely, but it certainly took out a big chunk.

I have a tendency to take on too much, and I have a hard time saying no to opportunities. Usually this serves me well, sometimes it bites me in the ass.

In any event, I’ve accumulated a lot of topics I wish to discuss over the next few days. And I may be bringing in a couple of guest bloggers in the near future as well. Long-time reader TripleSphincteredWombat made that suggestion, and I have few folks who have been asking me about it recently.

So in summary, I’m not dead. Rather, I’m just wishing I could get more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night.

All Your Base Still Belong to Us

Just shy of a year ago, in cooperation with Tom Kratman and a few others, I put together this bit of memetic homage:

Francis Porretto reminded me of it in a comment this morning. It’s crazy to think that it’s been nearly a year since Trump took office. It has been a year of triggered SJWs, helicopter memes, and media self destruction. The hatred for Donald J. Trump is beyond anything I’ve seen directed at a political figure in my lifetime. Not even Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon engendered such vitriolic hate.

This, naturally, is all coming from the peace-love-tolerance crowd. Peace-love-tolerance, of course, only applies to political conformists, Overton Window adherents, and proper Socialists. The level of cognitive dissonance demonstrated by the political Left is staggering to witness.

Trump is supposed to be an evil reincarnated Hitler, or something like that. And yet his daughter and grandchildren are Jewish. And, furthermore, he has done something no President has dared to do: called for the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem. Trump was widely hailed as the harbinger of economic apocalypse. Trickle down won’t work, they said. As a businessman he his a bankrupted failure, they claimed. And yet the economic growth of the last year hasn’t been seen since, perhaps, the Reagan administration. They said he wouldn’t last a year before impeachment or resignation, and yet here we are.

The reason for all this is simple. Trump is blunt and open about his beliefs, occasionally to a fault, something that drives the politically correct into conniption fits. With the politically correct Overton Window adherents, all language must be monitored for proper tone, current “in fashion” political jargon, and otherwise. They aren’t illegal aliens, they are undocumented immigrants. They aren’t stupid, they are intellectually challenged. Whatever. In some cases the meanings of PC jargon shift so fast, it is difficult to keep up with them. Cisgender is a great example. Until a couple years ago, I’d never even heard of such a term. Now it’s ubiquitous on social media, added to such SJW jargon as white cisheteropatriarchy.

Trump, meanwhile, calls Haiti a “shithole” and garners a media shitstorm for it. What of it? Haiti is a shithole. Perhaps he was somewhat vulgar and less than presidential in his delivery, but here’s the important question: is he wrong? To the politically correct, appearances matter more than substance. They don’t want to call Haiti a shithole, regardless of the fact that it is one. They say racism, but how can something be racist if it is true? Must we embrace “non-racist” lies in favor of “racist” truth? To the politically correct, that answer is obvious.

Donald Trump has done us one great service, above all other things: he has exposed the politically correct as dishonest, superficial, egotistical liars. #AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs indeed. We have witnessed a year of collective PC meltdown. I don’t know that it is enough to reverse course in America, much less the rest of the world. I remain pessimistic on our long-term future. And we still need that border wall Trump promised us. The illegals must go back. Our immigration system must be radically overhauled. At this point, I’m not sure we’re going to get that.

But in the short term, the PC meltdown has been epic to witness. It’s a thing I never thought I’d see. If, a few years ago, you had told me Donald Trump would run for office, get elected in one of the greatest upsets in political history, and bring journalists to tears on live TV, I’d have laughed in your face.

All Your Base Are Belong to Us.

Government Dependency Breeds Stupidity

Many of my readers may be aware of the fact that, though I live in Florida, I’m pretty well-traveled. My father was in the military, and as a military brat I’ve lived in many different parts of the country, and been to almost all the lower 48 states at some point or another. We spent a couple years in Oregon when I was a teenager, and even back then the law prohibiting citizens from pumping their own gas was in effect. It was one of the stranger features of Oregon.

Now the partial repeal of this law, which only applies to rural areas, has some Oregon residents in a panic. Why, people may just have to get out and pump their own gas! The terror! The horror! I have to wonder if Democrats will get up on podium and tell us that people will die! This is another feature of that parallel (or is it orthagonal?) universe libs live in. Poe’s law may apply to the comments below, but it’s very hard to tell these days.

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Either way, this is a very interesting case to dissect. Pumping gas is hardly rocket science, and yet somehow Oregon felt compelled to pass this law, and its partial repeal is engendering resistance. It boggles the mind. How can a people become so dependent as to be unable to pump gas? Never mind the fact that this merely allows for self-service gas stations, it doesn’t mandate them.

Every place I’ve lived has had at least a few bizarre, retarded laws like this one, though. My own Florida has a strange law where liquor cannot be sold between 3AM and 7AM, which is extended in Tampa to 3AM to 11AM on Sundays. On top of that, there used to be a law whereby you could buy a 32Oz and 128oz beer growler, but not a 40oz or 64oz. I am told there is a small town in Texas which has, for reasons I cannot fathom, banned the presence of inflatable gorillas. The specificity of such laws is amusing. You have to imagine there is some kind of story full of human idiocy, corruption, and bureaucratic overreach as to how they came about in the first place.

But Oregon’s law on pumping gas strikes me as one of the most egregious and bizarre of them all. That it has defenders is mystifying to me. I try to think of it in terms of Chesterton’s Fence, but all the reasons I can think of for its existence are ludicrous. Was it another simple make-work scam by the government? Was it a demand for safety that went haywire (the other states get along just fine without such a law). It’s hard to get a clear answer. Probably both, and then some. Either way, the people who erected this particular fence were out of their damned gourds.

It also demonstrates the difficulty of repealing idiotic laws once they’ve taken root. “It will take away jobs,” is the reason the above article cites for where the resistance really comes from, but that is an idiotic assertion. It is the sort of answer that takes into account only first-order effects, avoiding consideration for the fact that these jobs are artificial in nature, sucking productivity from someplace else. It’s a variation of the broken window fallacy. People have “jobs” but aren’t really doing or contributing anything. And they suck down money that could be going somewhere else, someplace actually productive. But now there is a class of people who directly benefit from the law regardless of its lack of utility, and pulling them away from the benefit is like pulling teeth.

It has a similar effect on the citizenry at large. Unaccustomed to pumping gas, you have Oregonians who don’t even know how to do it, and are literally afraid to do it. In some of my earlier writings, I made fun of a guy I saw on the side of the road getting his tire changed by a woman. He’s nothing next to people who say they can’t even pump their own gas. Government dependency is an ugly thing. If the trajectory toward increasing micromanagement of human affairs continues, I wonder if we’ll see a day when wiping your ass requires a special, qualified ass-wiper to do the job. You know, so as to ensure there are no filthy butt cracks in the country, and to provide make-work jobs to some (probably not well-liked) demographic.

Either way, Leftists have lately told us that the recent tax cuts were going to kill people by the thousands, if not millions, and that the Net Neutrality repeal would bring about the digital apocalypse. I guess we’ll see what 2018 brings. Maybe millions of Oregonians will die trying to pump their own gas, right? I mean, who knows?

Quick Update

Some of my readers may know that we were blessed with a new addition to our family a few days ago. Juliet was born, and is healthy. She missed being a Christmas baby by two days. More to come as time goes on and the wife and I catch up on a lot of missed sleep over the last few days.

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Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas from my house to yours. It’s a little warm here in Florida, a nice, toasty 65 degrees. I sometimes wonder if this is what my Australian friends feel, having Christmas in the middle of summer. It certainly makes all the usual Christmas songs a little amusing.

Anyway, I have to get back to the family and my son is impatient to open his gifts. Y’all have a great holiday, and never forget what it is we are celebrating. Christ has come!

 

Wednesday Randoms II

Today there is a new weekly column up on Dangerous: THALES: Turning Empathy Into a Weapon, How Social Justice Fights Dirty. This is a summary of a concept that’s been central to my posts here at The Declination.

Weaponized Empathy is a chief weapon of the Left, and we need to deprive them of it. To do so will impose a cost. Namely, many Leftists will hate you, and say the worst about you. But its a cost that must be lived with if the truth is to prevail. Indeed, the longer the cost is deferred, the worse it is likely to be.

On Monday, Francis penned an interesting post which touches upon the idea delayed gratification, something most Americans do not practice. By pushing instant gratification, and kicking the cost can down the road, our civilization has incurred an enormous amount of debt, and not merely financial debt (though that too).

The perverse incentives of our political figures has made this possible. But the citizenry itself cannot avoid responsibility either. After all, Americans have been voting en masse for short-sighted, destructive policies as long as I’ve been alive. The money quote:

We the People have earned a certain suffering-debt for our previous sociopolitical sins – never mind that we were set upon our sinful courses by an earlier We the People, who passed their accumulated suffering-debt down to us – then our choice is simple:

 

We could accept the penalty, endure it, and come out healed;
We could reject the penalty, which would compound the ultimate suffering.

 

Since World War II at least, the public has preferred politicians who will “kick the can down the road.” In consequence, government has gone ever further astray and our accumulated debt of ultimate suffering has compounded year by year. At some point, though the moment is difficult to predict, the debt will be paid. If it’s grown large enough, it will destroy our society completely.

 

But a payable sociopolitical suffering-debt is like a prison term: it’s finite. It will end. It can and should be endured, especially if the alternative is to raise it to an unpayable level. Our unwillingness to accept and endure the penalties that have already accrued is propelling such debts toward the threshold of sociopolitical bankruptcy.

Note, when Francis speaks of sociopolitical bankruptcy, is essentially discussing the fall of the United States as a functional, intact nation. And the longer we kick the can down the road, the more likely that outcome becomes. Indeed, I’m not even sure we can still avoid it.

On a positive note, Trump managed to push tax cuts through. They are not anywhere near as extensive as I would have liked, and I am sorely disappointed with the behavior of the GOP (more with the Senate than the House), but this is something.

Tax cuts used to be a sort of bread-and-butter of GOP politics, alongside strong foreign policy. The various factions within the party would jockey and argue over everything else, but low taxes and strong military were generally always agreed upon. That this much infighting was required to get the GOP to push through a tax cut – any tax cut at all – is disturbing. It demonstrates the slow evolution of the GOP Establishment away from the base, and toward a more Fabian Socialist agenda, agreeing with the Democrats in principle if not in time frame.

Still, this was why many folks chose Trump over Hillary. We knew we weren’t getting what we wanted, but a tax cut is better than a tax hike. Still, some Dems are going off the deep end telling us the tax cuts will literally kill people. They’ve clearly left sanity behind.

The Perfectibility of Man: A Seductive Fallacy

A short time ago, I coined a quick aphorism on Twitter. It’s one that, most likely, some other person has said better than I have, but nonetheless, it popped into my head:

To be human is to resist perfection. This is why any ideology based on the idea of the perfectibility of man is founded on a fallacy.

This is at the root of so many tyrannies and mass-murders in history. Some man (or group of men) gets it in his head that mankind can be improved, made better, according to some vision he has. The motives may even start out benign. Other times, the rot starts immediately. Either way, the drive for improvement quickly becomes a purity spiral. All that is impure must be destroyed. All that is imperfect must go.

What is more imperfect than man?

Eugenics, Nazism, racial supremacy… that is the sort of purity spiral most people are at least casually familiar with. But contrary to popular consciousness, it is not the only such purity spiral. When you hear a feminist complaining about man farting in her presences, calling it fart rape, you are seeing an expectation of perfection. An extension of a purity spiral. In her solipsistic worldview, all that is not-her is imperfect. All that does not follow her desire is flawed. Somebody does something she doesn’t want them to do, and they have violated her.

Someone who doesn’t have it in their heads that the universe, and their fellow man, must be perfect would probably shrug it off, or might let it pass with an unkind word or two. To the purist, the fart is so much more than a fart. It is patriarchal oppression, it is a denial of her agency, it is a legacy of privilege. Whatever. In any event, it is impure and thus it must be stopped. Yet what do you do? Ask all men to cease farting in the presence of women at all times? Impossible. Apply this to any bizarre non-issue, like manspreading, mansplaining, microaggressions, etc… Apply it to larger meta-issues that are categorically unsolvable, like income inequality and demands for fairness.

Perfection on any of them is impossible, because humans are imperfect.

Nonetheless, the SJW believes the perfection can happen, or at least a constant state of “Progress” can be sustained, like a limit approaching perfection. Mankind, you see, can be set on an upward trajectory of “Progress” constantly nearer to a state of perfection, constantly improving. It’s a core tenet, though often an unspoken one, of Progressivism. This is why, when a Progressive violates the narrative, his apology often contains the words I will try to do better. He fell off the trajectory toward human perfection – whatever that might be – and must get back on. He must catch up.

This is where the catchphrase “educate” comes from. They believe that further education, that indoctrination, training, whatever you want to call it – can cleanse the original sin, or at least diminish it, thus putting us on a progressive path toward perfection.

It’s all a fallacy. Or maybe worse, a category error. Humans resist perfection, even in the objective sense. They resist it more when the notion of perfection is purely subjective; when it is merely the whims of a few. Marxists do understand this at some level, hence the notion of Reactionaries. They know that their quest for perfection will constantly generate new enemies. They do it anyway. Understand that completely. The Marxist goes into his quest for perfection knowing full well that he will generate people whom he will have to kill. In essence, this is intentional. The impure along the way must be purged.

Technology can be said to more or less progress in a general upward trend. There are bumps and drops, of course, but generally so. And so does the knowledge of man expand along roughly the same trajectory.  But the nature of man does not evolve in the same manner. Is man today any less envious of his fellows today than a thousand years ago? Is he truly wiser, not merely more knowledgeable? Is he stronger of will? Is he less inclined toward sins of various kinds?

The nature of man does not progress along the same track as the knowledge of man. Man does not approach perfection, I hesitate to even claim he improves much at all in this respect. He does not progress in the fashion progressives truly desire. Thus all of this must be imposed on man, since he is incapable of doing it willingly. To say that this serves the desires of tyrants everywhere is an understatement.

Thus, in the end, Marxism contains the same fallacy present in Nazism, and in many other historical ideologies. Under it all is the notion that mankind can be perfected, can be purified, made better at some level. The end result of such thinking is usually the most vile and destructive forms of tyrannical evil mankind is capable of. The nature of man is difficult to improve upon, but certainly easy to corrupt.

Mankind will never be perfected, except perhaps by God himself. No other could do such a thing. Nor will it ever be made to approach perfection; made to ascend on a constant upward trajectory as our knowledge has. I am not saying improvement is impossible, mind you, but I don’t know that we can control it, or that such control can be made constant, or that reversals won’t put us right back where we started. Thus we must never assume that perfectibility is likely, or even possible.

We must start from the very beginning with the notion that mankind is a deeply flawed creature, and that this fact isn’t likely to change.

Wednesday Afternoon Randoms

So I wrote another column over at DANGEROUS: Do Lefties Live in a Parallel Universe? Let’s Explore. It’s a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor at ridiculous behavior from the political Left. Sometimes I wake up and think these people must live on another planet.

An interesting (interesting in the sense of being utterly insane) piece came from regular reader Triple Sphinctered Wombat (what a name, right?): 10 Things Every Intersectional Feminist Should Ask On a First Date. Reading this vitriolic wishlist reminds me of something I once read at The Rational Male. Back in the day, Rollo Tomassi did a little bit of investigative journalism, I suppose you’d call it. He went on a dating site and wrote profiles that were mirror inversions of typical female profiles.

Many female profiles had wish lists that were, as he put it, vastly out of proportion with what they had to offer. Women of middling looks, intelligence, and income would write long screeds about how their ideal man should be tall, have an impressive penis, be smart, funny, make more money than her, not be too clingy, but be the perfect romantic. He should be the best of the best, you see, to date a perfectly average woman. When Rollo wrote a profile explaining how he wanted smart, rich, hot supermodels, women variously complained about him being a misogynist or merely a bad joke writer.

In this day of Social Justice insanity, we must add to the unreasonable demands of the typical woman to these 10 insane political demands from an intersectional feminist. If you don’t go to the local Black Lives Matter protests, you can’t have any of whatever she’s offering. I can’t know for sure, of course, but I suspect this woman has even less to offer in terms of dating prospects than the middling women of Rollo’s date site experiments. Take a look at this demand:

5. Are you a supporter of the BDS movement?
BDS stands for “Boycott, Divest, Sanctions” — an effort to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. I grew up with Jewish (Israeli and non-Israeli) friends and Palestinian friends. Before even understanding how power and oppression worked together, we understood the trivial hatred that colonized and put in constant danger the lives of Palestinians every single day.

Well, I guess this woman is probably an anti-Semite then, by the racism standards of SJWs. She refuses to date anybody who doesn’t prioritize Palestinians over Israelis. Which, naturally, would mean most Israelis. I mean who asks about the Israel/Palestine conflict on a first date, anyway?

On a more positive note, here’s a bit of (rare) good news: 84-Year-Old Vet Still Has It, Kills Intruder With One Shot, Overpowers Another in Physical Scuffle. Nothing is more heartwarming than seeing two goblins get their asses handed to them by a bonafide senior citizen.

Lastly, I’m sure my readers expect an opinion piece on Roy Moore’s loss. I have to sort some rather longish thoughts about that whole mess before I commit to writing that out. Suffice it to say, Moore was never exactly my kind of Republican, but the smear campaign against him was ridiculous in the extreme. I haven’t seen the Democrats go all in on someone like that since Trump’s election. Roy Moore was not up to the challenge the same way Trump was. Republicans should understand that this is the new normal. Every Republican is likely going to have to weather a storm like this one, unless they are properly pliable Flakes and McCains, and even that is no guarantee of safety.

Be prepared. It’s going to get ugly next year.

Dangerous Helicopterism

So some of my readers may have been wondering why I’ve been a little quiet lately. Wonder no more. I’ll be writing a regular weekly column for Milo’s new Dangerous.com site. My usual blog posts will continue here, of course.

The first article can be found here (please comment on it there): THALES: Curious About Helicopterism? Let Me Explain. There I got into detail about a sort of gallows humor meme many of my readers may be familiar with.

This is a pretty big milestone by my accounting. I want to thank some of the folks that have helped my writing get to this point. Tom Kratman, Sarah Hoyt, and Francis Porretto have been huge influences, and I never would have made it this far without them.

More to come!

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