Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.


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In a desperate bid to come up with a topic to write about, I Googled unsolved scientific mysteries. And as is so often the case, the results were less than stellar. Sure, any number of sites with scientific mysteries, almost all of which were repetitive and, well, boring.  Things like “How did life originate?” or “How did the Universe begin?” I mean yes, they are mysteries, but everyone has heard of them before, and speculation runs rampant. I want mysteries that people have never heard of, we need entertainment here. Fortunately, using advanced Googling techniques I developed in another life, here are some new and exciting mysteries. Science still hasn’t answered everything, only Evangelicals and my old friend Vince can do that. Enjoy:

Facetotecta. It’s a larva, illustrated above. It’s a crustacean. Lots of legs. Lives in various oceans. First described in 1887. What do they grow up into? No one knows! It’s suspected it’s some sort of endoparasite (a parasite that lives inside its host, like a tapeworm.) So, maybe we don’t really want to know. Could be something like this critter, which can never be unseen so don’t click here if you are faint of heart. You were warned, nature trumps Steven King every time when it comes to horror.

And that’s all I could find. I’m just going to forge ahead, God only knows where to. So, August 2nd in history!  Well, the Battle of Cannae, 216 BC. One of the most crushing victories in history. I’ve blogged about it several times no doubt. The Battle of  Chaeronea in 338 BC where Philip II of Macedonia (his kid is pretty famous) destroyed the Greek armies of Athens and her allies. No details of the battle have survived, so no book or movie deals there. The Battle of the Nile raged in 1798, where Admiral Nelson utterly destroyed a French Fleet anchored off Egypt. Napoleon was not happy. August 2nd, a day for crushing victories.

And August 2, 1990, who can forget? Saddam, remember him, invades Kuwait. The bastard! What is always conveniently overlooked is that Kuwait did everything in its very considerable power to goad Saddam into taking military action against them. And clearly they would not have done so without explicit assurances from the USA. So basically Saddam walked into an ambush. And once America finally had an excuse to put boots on the ground in the Middle East, they never left. And that folks is why America’s infrastructure, schools, and health care systems are a disaster to this day. But boy, we really showed those people. (Sarcasm alert.)

Did I mention I’m in a very odd mood today? I suspect it’s clear from my odder than usual musings. Or rantings. Or whatever. Maybe the heat is  getting to me. Moving right along, I came across this interesting article. Basically the Navy’s latest supercarrier, the greatest and most expensive warship ever to be built, is having all sorts of expensive problems. More on point, which the article doesn’t really mention, why, exactly, are we building the greatest warship in history? The last time supercarriers won a war for us was in 1945. Even all our designated enemies combined are no threat to our fleet. Another example of “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

Fortunately in the upcoming election we will get to choose between a candidate who will give the military more than it asks for, and a candidate who will give the military all that it needs plus some. On such subtle differences we will all pretend we still live in a democracy. Sorry, drifted into politics there. Is talking about Trump’s claim he was with the first responders on 9/11 politics? With Trump I don’t even know anymore, his miasma has seeped into every pore of American life. I did realize he does have one thing in common with a certain dead dictator. They were both able to inspire fanatical blind loyalty in their core followers. Make of it what you will.

I was going to discuss the Texas tower shooting, 56 years ago yesterday. It’s depressing on multiple levels though. 18 dead, 31 wounded. One of the victims didn’t die until 2001. And depressing because events like that used to be rare. It would be nearly twenty years before a similar crime. Now they are a common occurrence. Maybe the new supercarrier will be able to do something about mass shootings? Oh, right, nothing can be done, the NRA, the fourth branch of government, assures us of that. Phew. And anywise, mass shootings are just a liberal plot to justify taking everyone’s guns away.

I think there was a power surge or some such in the computer that’s running our simulated reality, or maybe a virus. Cause things have sure gotten wonkey in the matrix . Have a great weekend everyone!

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Facetotecta larva. Credit: Pérez-Losada, M., Høeg, J. T., Crandall, K. A. (2009). Remarkable convergent evolution in specialized parasitic Thecostraca (Crustacea). BMC Biology 7:15. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-7-15)

Written by unitedcats

August 2, 2019 at 3:35 am

Posted in History, Politics, Science


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Yesterday was my birthday. My 62nd orbit around the Sun is concluded. So far, so good. As in I woke up this morning. My life has gotten very simple since I semi-retired. Concentrate on my core friends and family, and my writing. And by my writing, I mean my attempts to understand this amazing reality we find ourselves in, and share my thoughts with the world. The now world, and people in the future. If you’re reading this years or thousands of years after I wrote it: “Hi, glad you’re reading this!” What else is there to say? Oh, right, “Sorry we fucked up the planet so badly!”

I’m not a genius, maybe 90th percentile, at most. And even at that, IQ, is a measure of problem solving ability; and say RAM, the ability to think about a lot of things at once. It’s not related to wisdom, or even logic. Even smart people can believe nonsense. Hell, they can rattle off impressive strings of false arguments. Still, IQ is pretty good at higher levels, and the scary smart people I have been privileged to know were a big influence on my life. Sally Shlaer, Steve Mellor, Peter Berck, my august father. Dozens of others have contributed to my worldview as well.  And so, using this brain gift God or evolution and my mentors gave me, I’ve spent about 60 years trying to make sense of it all.

And today’s theory, reality exists. There is actually a “truth” hiding behind all the clouds of misperception and lies. And using our brains, and the wisdom of countless brains throughout history working on this problem, we can come to some very solid conclusions about reality. Alas, and there’s the rub, due to accidents of our brains’ design, and the machinations of self-interested people, most of the human race believes at least some nonsense. The brain isn’t designed for logic, it’s designed for pattern recognition.

So, those interested in reality, here are the conclusions of a reasonably smart guy who has spent his intellectual life trying to parse the BS from what is real. All of these have codicils of course, reality is indeed complicated with infinite possibilities, nonetheless we as a species have advanced enough to make some pretty accurate determinations of what is real. Science rocks. This is a list of what I believe are true statements. Disagree? Reasonable argument and evidence will change my mind.

  1. Vaccines are safe and effective.
  2. Sleeping in a closed room with a fan will not kill you.
  3. Global warming is real, and humans are causing it.
  4. Glyphosate is harmless to animals and doesn’t cause cancer.
  5. Cell phones are safe and don’t cause cancer.
  6. Smart meters too.
  7. 5G technology as well.
  8. The Earth is an oblate spheroid.
  9. Evolution is a fact.
  10. The Earth is some 4.5 billion years old.
  11. GMOs are not inherently dangerous.
  12. Organic food is a scam.
  13. UFOs are not alien craft.
  14. Ancient aliens is a BS theory.
  15. Bigfoot doesn’t exist.
  16. Nessie doesn’t exist.
  17. Atlantis wasn’t real
  18. Ghosts aren’t real.
  19. Telepathy etc doesn’t exist.
  20. Astrology is mostly BS.
  21. Aside from a few medical conditions, gluten sensitivity isn’t real.
  22. MSG sensitivity isn’t real either.
  23. Nuclear power is the safest form of power generation, all factors considered.

I suspect almost everyone will take umbrage at one or more of these. This is why I will never be a famous blogger. Fortunately I don’t give a damn.

Note I kept the list to the purely scientific, nothing political or historical. That’s another list, for the day when I want to lose the rest of my readers. I’ve become quite the cynic about politics in America these days. I watched one of the Democratic debates last night, an experience akin to being dissected alive by aliens. The most frightening thing about it was how almost every question was framed to normalize oligarch/GOP talking points, and marginalise/discredit any actual reforms to our hideously broken system of government/health care.

As some have pointed out, the whole point of the debate appeared to be ambushing and discrediting Warren and Sanders. It was also kind of scary how so many of the debaters repeatedly referenced Trump, as if he was the problem, not the corporate oligarchy that has been getting ever richer for decades at the expense of the poor and working class. “Anybody but Trump!” will work as well in 2020 as it did in 2016. And even if someone like Sanders does get elected, Trump made all sorts of populist promises too. All of which went out the window after he was elected. Like the populist promises of Obama and Clinton.

Well, we’ll see. I hope America finds its way out of the mess it’s in, and I support the efforts of those working for positive change. I just won’t be blogging about it much. I’ll stick to science, history, space exploration, and interesting things. Anatomically possible suggestions welcome. ;)

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Composite photograph of Lincoln and Douglas, who debated famously in 1858. Mostly about slavery, oddly enough. Credit: Scewing for making the composite. The photographs themselves, and thus their composite, are Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

July 31, 2019 at 5:04 am


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July 26-29, 1950, Korea. The No Gun Ri massacre. This was during the Korean War, very early, about a month after the start of the war. At least two hundred Korean civilians trying to flee south were killed by small arms fire, heavy weapons fire, and air attack. They were killed under and around the No Gun Ri railroad bridge, photographed above in 2018. The killers? The US Seventh Cavalry. Well, this is awkward. Little known outside Korea until 1999 when AP ran a story, including interviews with a number of US veterans corroborating Korean survivors accounts. Really awkward.

So what happened? I’ll get to that by and by. I remember when this story came out in the USA. Widely reported at the time, those who had an interest in such things paid note. An old friend of mine was indignant that this “old news” was coming up, he thought it best for all concerned that it be buried and forgotten about. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I had no problem with the massacre being investigated, which both the US and South Korea set out to do. I mean, it’s an incident of the mass murder of civilians, shouldn’t that be investigated? I was pretty shocked by my friend’s reaction, although when it comes to Americans and war crimes, it’s a very common attitude.

As history shows. Coverup and forget. The Biscari massacre in World War Two is all too sadly typical. 73 Italian and German prisoners were massacred in cold blood. Two guys were eventually prosecuted, both received essentially no punishment, one was acquitted even. He was “only following orders.” The My Lai massacre in Vietnam is likely the most infamous example in my lifetime. Hundreds of civilians including women and children were slaughtered. The army tried to cover it up, but eventually a journalist broke the story. Twenty six men were charged, one, Lieutenant Calley, served three and a half years of house arrest. We’ll get to him later too.

Well, in war, these things happen. Expose people to horrific violence on a regular basis, and it becomes normal. Secretly recorded German POWs casually bragged about rape and murder, it was just “locker room talk.” And I heard numerous stories from Vietnam vets during my service, good old American marines bragging about murders they’d committed in Vietnam. Another excellent reason war should be the extreme last resort, it makes good people do bad things.

That being said, Americans committing war crimes doesn’t make Americans bad people. Doesn’t make any people bad people. Where the evil comes in is when governments and commanders look the other way and cover them up. Or worse, and the ultimate in evil, is when leaders order troops to do bad things. Still, looking the other way and covering up crimes when they occur is still pretty damn evil. And unfortunately, for the most part, that’s where America falls. Disappointing for those that fetishize the American military, except of course they would deny it, so no disappointment.

Which brings us back to the No Gun Ri massacre. The Korean investigation showed that American troops had been ordered to fire to fire on the refugees, apparently because of fears that communist infiltrators we’re among them. The American investigation concluded it was panic, and just, you know, shit happens. And that American GIs who remembered being given such orders were just confused. Unfortunately, key records that might have shed light on the topic are mysteriously missing. Like the records of the communications the 7th Cavalry, the one day the massacre started is missing from the archives. Oops, just a coincidence no doubt.

Basically despite all the claims of western moral superiority, the facts are much messier. If one loses a war, yeah, some war criminals may get punished. Win the war, prosecutions for war crimes are rare to nonexistent. A few elderly Germans are still being dragged into court because they were teenage typists at concentration camps in the waning days of World War Two. The numerous wars and war crimes since then, not so much. It will be a great day when the species takes a stand against war crimes and all who commit them face justice. And while we’re at it, let’s give everyone a pony too. Sigh.

As for the aforementioned Lt. Calley, someday I will have to write about the My Lai massacre. It was a great example of how war crimes happen even though the intent to commit a war crime wasn’t there. One thing led to another. Still inexcusable, and the attempted coverup even more so. On the plus side, some soldiers refused to participate, and one Air Force hero actually intervened and saved lives. And decades later, Lt. Calley apologized for his actions that day. Gives me hope.

No real point here except the aforementioned war is bad, and Americans have committed horrible war crimes just like so many others. Have a great week everyone. Comments, suggestions, and especially shares appreciated.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: No Gun Ri bridge in 2018. The circles and such were put there by Korean investigators, they show where US bullets and ordinance struck.  Credit and copyright: Mary Dudziack. Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law as it is the perfect image for illustrating this post. And since the good professor seems to be of a similar mind to me, hopefully I can be forgiven for the use of her photo. In fact some of her books look interesting, if my local libraries have any, I will read and review for a future post.)

Written by unitedcats

July 29, 2019 at 4:33 am

Posted in History, Korea, War


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Every once and awhile the topic of interstellar travel comes up in my Facebook meanderings, and usually people say the distances are too great, humans will never spread to the stars. And I helpfully point out that flight times of 50-100 years to nearby stars are feasible, so there’s at least some chance humans will slowly spread out among the stars.* At this point there’s usually a chorus of people pointing out that the fastest probe humans have ever built will take tens of thousands of years to reach even the nearest star.

True enough. However, and it’s a big however, none of the probes we have launched were designed to travel to nearby stars. So it’s comparing apples to oranges. A number of design studies have been done, and without any exotic technologies, speeds of .12C (or higher!) are possible. 12% of the speed of light, IE up to 22,000 miles per second (35,000 kps) or 80 million mph (130 million kph.) These would be with some version of nuclear powered drives. That would get us to the nearest star in about 50 years. Of course that would be a flyby, basically a probe. Still, that means young people today could conceivably be alive to see the first images sent back from nearby stars. And assuming our hypothetical ship wants to stop when it gets there, flight times of 100 years so are possible.

Flight times like that are good for a probe, but even 50 years is stretching it for travellers. And I checked, even though .12C is a relativistic velocity, time dilation is minimal at that speed. Still, generation ships would be possible, that’s basically sending a colony into space, the colonists knowing that while they wouldn’t live to see Proxima Centauri, their children and grandchildren would. A more promising approach, and favored in so so much scifi, would be some sort of induced hibernation.

These sort of details seem solvable, but what if they hit something on the way? At .12C even a marble would likely do the trick. Still, interstellar space is very barren compared to the Solar System’s environs, and with hundreds of probes etc sailing around for decades, none has ever been hit by anything remotely large. And even then, a beryllium shield, and firing a dust cloud ahead of the ship to vaporise any large particles, should do the trick. Outer space really is incredibly empty. That’s why we can see stuff that’s billions of light years away, there’s very little between us. Would it be risk free? Of course not. Has that ever stopped human exploration before?

Which leads to another objection, are humans capable of projects that will take lifetimes to complete? To us westerners in our infantile instant gratification culture, yeah, seems unlikely. Historically speaking, there are examples of great projects being started that wouldn’t be finished for generations. The great cathedrals of Europe for example. And plenty of people travelled to the new world knowing full well their chances of ever coming back were minimal. So it’s easily within the range of human capabilities. And some people are trying at least.

So why aren’t we building and launching these bad boys? Easy, we need the money for the rich and our giant militaries. Yachts with their own yachts cost serious money people. Even a probe such as we are talking about would be hundreds of billions of dollars with no guarantee of success, and a century or more for results. I mean the money is there, but the human race at this point in time is ghastly with its spending priorities. And that’s a topic for historians and sociologists. My theory is that we’re not really an intelligent species.

Have a great weekend everyone, comments, suggestions, shares appreciated.

*This is what the Fermi Paradox is all about, even if only spreading at light speed, intelligent aliens should have colonized the entire galaxy long ago, where are they?

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Proposed Daedalus starship. Credit and copyright: Gerritse, used in accordance with Wikipedia guidelines.)

Written by unitedcats

July 26, 2019 at 4:00 am


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Slow news week. History kind of goes in spurts, every once and awhile something big happens that shifts gears, but for the most part it’s just more of the same. (Iran and North Korea are great cases in point, while there is the occasional blip, for the most part things have been the same since 1979 and 1953 respectively.) So no big news, but I have a few half written posts. None I am inspired to finish right now. There’s always more Trump follies, but how people aren’t bored of that already is a mystery to me. In this day in history, well, 700 odd years ago the largest trebuchet in history was used to knock down a castle, but getting a whole post out of the story proved … challenging. So here we go, random inspirations …

Japan is planning a lunar rover for use in 2029. Pretty cool, inspired by this no doubt. OK, lots of doubt, but it’s still a cool parallel. We’re talking the full deal here, manned and pressurized. Refrigerated sake storage, the works. The sci fi of my youth finally coming true. I still remember stories and books from when I was a kid, where humans would have moon bases, if not interstellar travel, by the 70s. A wee bit optimistic it turns out, but better late than never. I know, I’ll write a post about interstellar travel. That’s the ticket. My desperate search for today’s content has borne future fruit. Interstellar travel is possible with today’s technology, and whenever I say that there are howls of protest. It will be a fun post.

In the opposite direction, a well preserved 500 year old ship has been found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Too cool for words, even some of its rigging appears intact. It’s nearly 500 feet down, hopefully beyond the reach of looters. And hopefully we have the technology to investigate it properly. It would be nice (I almost said ‘awesome’ but caught myself) if they could bring it up intact, but alas I suspect the cost would be prohibitive. At least to a species with priorities like ours. The best part, guess why it is so perfectly preserved? Viking cowshit! I kid you not. Parts of the Baltic have been low oxygen dead zones for much of the past 500 years, and the culprit is thought to be human activity. Too much nutrient load washed into the sea causes algal blooms, which die, sink to the bottom, and their decomposition uses up oxygen faster than it can be replenished by the mixing of seawater. See, there is a silver lining to wide scale ecological destruction.

A truly nuts conspiracy theory is making the rounds. Birds aren’t real. That’s right, the government killed them all in the sixties and replaced them with bird mimicking drones. They were killed off with specially modified B-52s, hat tip to the chemtrails folks I guess. Of course it’s absurd. In fact the “theory” was made up by one guy, it’s little more than a thinly veiled marketing scheme. Still, won’t surprise me if some take it seriously. If the Flat Earthers have taught us anything, there’s no bar too low for a conspiracy theory to squirm under. That’s why no links here, the times are crazy enough as it is without encouraging more.

And speaking of truly nuts, another from my “Gee, I guess normal people don’t do that file.” I miss a lot of memos it seems. Or my ‘update normal human behavior file’ is corrupt. Who knows, teams of mental health specialists have no clue. That was a joke. Was it an ableist joke? I don’t know, I hope not. Moving right along, I am active on the social site I have a profile, it has a section for pictures. I have a few of me, but mostly it’s a dozen or so of my all time favorite memes, cartoons, pictures, etc. I like to amuse people, and I think they give insight into what kind of person I am. So the other day I thought I’d check out what kind of pictures other people had posted in their profiles. And to my dismay, every single profile I checked only had a few pics posted, and all were pictures of the person in question, maybe some with pets and family. Oh well, another reason I’m still single.

So Friday, interstellar travel, already I have lots of thoughts. As always, comments, suggestions, shares appreciated.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Apollo Moon rover. Credit: NASA, used in accordance with NASA guidelines.)

Written by unitedcats

July 24, 2019 at 4:02 am


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We survived the heat wave, I hope all my gentle readers did the same. Oh heck, all my readers, who am I to judge? I do like weather, but extreme heat or extreme cold I can live without. Fortunately my garret has an AC unit, so my suffering was limited to the times I ventured forth to obtain beer. Sadly, extreme weather events are the new normal as we proceed with our planetary experiment: ‘What happens when the Earth’s atmosphere is pumped full of greenhouse gases?’ We’re finding out more all the time, and oddly enough very little of it has been good. Who would have guessed? That’s a rhetorical question.

Someone asked me if the current nonsense going on with Iran will lead to war. I am always honored by such questions. The answer is, damned if I know. I don’t think so, the US has been goading Iran since 1979 or so, and it hasn’t led to war yet. Without the Iranian bogeyman it would be a lot harder to justify American militarisation in the region, not to mention it’s a great distraction for Saudi Arabia and Israel’s aggressive foreign policy.  I can predict that a war with Iran would almost certainly be a bad thing with unintended consequences. Always a safe prediction when it comes to wars.

In crime news I was pleased to see that the Jenner beach murders have been solved. A couple sleeping on the beach were shot to death in 2004. A horrible crime, big news at the time. I lived in Northern California then, heck, I’ve slept on beaches there. Basically the killer recently murdered his brother, and while being questioned about that, he essentially confessed to the beach murders. The murders were senseless, the killer had apparently damaged his brain with an LSD overdose. He was sentenced to life without parole. God rest the souls of his victims, I hope his capture and sentencing gives the friends and families of the victims what peace it can.

In today’s ‘What is wrong with people?’ file, some people are keeping leeches as pets. Let me repeat that, some people are keeping leeches as pets. Frankly I find it a bit disgusting, I couldn’t even finish the article. I grew up swimming in lakes with leeches, and I honestly have a hard time seeing the appeal. Some of them have striking colour patterns, but still, it’s a freaking leech. On the plus side, no need to worry about stocking leech food I guess. And another item for my upcoming post on “Things third worlders have a hard time grasping about Americans.”

And on the topic of disgusting creatures, Congress has called for an investigation into the theory that Lyme disease was created as a biological weapon spread by ticks. I note lots of people are taking it at face value, I’m skeptical. Pretty sure Lyme disease has been around a long time, and it’s easily treatable and not debilitating/fatal. And ticks as a vector? They are slow moving and easily defended against. Seems like an odd choice for a biological weapon all around.   And digging just a little on the Interwebs, expert opinion agrees with me. So I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this investigation to find anything. Anything is possible though, money was spent on some pretty crazy stuff during the Cold War.

Did I hear a voice in the back? What about Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD,) that’s certainly debilitating! Well yes, it would be, if it actually existed. Like MSG sensitivity, CLD doesn’t appear to be an actual condition. Or more accurately, whatever it is, there isn’t any scientific reason to link it to Lyme Disease. People convince themselves of all sorts of things, which doesn’t mean their suffering isn’t real, just that science doesn’t know how to treat it yet. And yes, not kidding, double blind studies have yet to find a single human who has a bad reaction to MSG if they don’t know it’s in their food. Food for thought for some I hope.

Looks like India is poised to become the fourth spacefaring nation. They are doing it for the same reasons as Apollo in my last post. Good for them, India’s ambitions are no threat to the world. I actually wish the best for the people of all countries, we’re all in this together. People are people, most of them are decent human beings when push comes to shove. That’s why I am horrified by the current situation in America. So many on the right think liberals are monsters who should be put in zoos, and so many on the left think Trump voters are all knuckle dragging racists. Neither attitude is helping.

OK, that sure wandered. As always comments appreciated, shares as well, envelopes full of portraits of dead presidents on linen paper especially appreciated. Have a safe week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Heat Wave. Credit: Snappygoat image, public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

July 22, 2019 at 4:10 am


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July 20, 1969. The first time human beings walked on the Moon. I was 11 years old, we lived in a split level home in a small subdivision surrounded by farmland, near Crystal Lake, Illinois. It was actually the favorite place I lived as a kid, endless woods and farms and nearby lakes to explore and fish and catch snakes. And I was at the age where I was able to ride out on my bike on my own, it was heaven. Visited a few years back, now it’s strip malls and tract homes forever, such is progress.

And I was old enough to appreciate the first Moon walk, sort of. We watched on a TV in the rec room. Do people have rec rooms any more? The whole family watched, the image was grainy black and white, but it was sent from the Moon! I was filled with pride and excitement! Snort. I did mention I was 11? I was filled with the hope Armstrong would step out and be greeted by something really cool. Aliens, ruins, monsters. Anything! (I was an avid Star Trek and Lost in Space fan.) What did we get? A couple of guys traipsing around in a lifeless, airless, dusty, desert. Boring!

So, while we’re on the topic, a few points. Yes, the astronauts really did walk on the Moon! So so many lines of evidence support this fact. The Moon landings were one of the most well documented events in history, if they had been faked the Russians (among others) would have figured it out in no time. Just for starters, the motion pictures taken on the Moon couldn’t have been faked in the 1960s. The Moon rocks couldn’t be faked now, let alone in the 1960s. I could go on, but it’s all covered here. Basically, not believing in the manned Moon landings is like not believing the Holocaust happened. <insert rolled eyes>

A case that sometimes gets posited is that the space program is a waste of money. Well, yes and no, like a lot of claims, I wonder if the claimant thought it through. Even modest interwebs research shows that spinoffs from NASA research have been hugely beneficial, and impact our lives in positive ways every day. From weather satellites, to cordless vacuums, to Tang, we owe it all to NASA. So, money spent on NASA is a good thing, no brainer, right?

Well, certainly the NASA money spent developing the things we use is money well spent. Still, it’s not all been money spent on things we use. And couldn’t money have been spent on this research without all the terribly expensive manned flight programs? Cordless vacuums would be great for airplanes and submarines, it’s not like it took spacecraft to come up with the idea. It’s like the claim that war is great because it has resulted in all sorts of new technology. While neglecting to mention that this new technology is because during wars governments pour money into research! So maybe they could do that without the war part? Just saying. I’ve also heard that NASA rocket spending was cover for developing ICBMs. That I couldn’t substantiate, and since ICBMs were built before the Moon program even began, seems unlikely. Hell, the plan to nuke the Moon existed before the Apollo Program.

So kudos to all in the Apollo Program, putting men on the Moon in the 1960s was an incredible achievement with the technology of the day. One crew died in the attempt, another barely escaped with their lives. Still, I have to ask, what was the point? To beat the Russians to the Moon of course! Yes, but why was that so important that we spent billions of dollars and risked lives to do so? It wasn’t for science, science was basically tacked onto the Apollo program as an afterthought, it certainly wasn’t the impetus for the program. Everything we did on the Moon, including sample returns, could have been done far cheaper and at no risk to humans by using robotic landers. The fact that the last manned mission to the Moon was 47 years ago pretty much proves that point.

This is where I annoy people, lose readers, and just generally make an ass of myself. Still, the whole purpose of my writing is to make myself think, and hopefully make some people realize that there are different ways of looking at things. I would argue that the manned Moon program was part and parcel of American militarism and imperialism. Like the Star Spangled Banner before sporting events, it was fetishizing American militarism and the Cold War. Flag waving illustrated. Apollo helped normalize ideas of American exceptionalism, imperialism, and infinite government spending to make America “look great.” And like all great propaganda, the people people propagandized not only don’t realize it, they’re proud of it.

Have a great weekend everyone. Like this post? Please share.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Buzz Aldrin salutes the first American flag on the Moon. No comment. Credit: NASA. NASA’s photos may be used freely so long as they do not imply endorsement by NASA in any way. I can attest that not only does NASA not endorse Doug’s Darkworld in any way, they are likely not even aware of its existence.)

Written by unitedcats

July 19, 2019 at 4:12 am