The little Rosetta probe was launched over 10 years ago, and to achieve the required velocity to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko it had to fly through most of the Solar System.
It’s well known that landing a jet fighter on a moving flight deck is tough. Landing at night, in rough weather, with no lights, that is the most stressful aspect of naval aviation. The challenge of landing a plane on a carrier at night is as daunting as the task is difficult: Working in darkness, the pilot has to bring in a jet at speeds over 150 knots, snag a cable 4 inches off the deck in a space that is roughly 20 feet wide and 100 feet long. Close air support, air-to-air combat, nothing gets the pilot’s heart rate up like landing at night. On a moving, pitching deck.
Landing on a carrier at night is like running across your living room, leaping into the air, and trying to lick a stamp on the floor with your tongue. With the lights out.
Now, think about how hard it is to get a small spacecraft, thats traveled 4 billion miles to hit a dark, dusty comet, which is only 2.5 miles wide. That’s like someone standing in San Francisco shooting a thrown snowball in New York City with a 30.30 rifle.
Hard is an understatement.
And, to top it all off, you’re able to get a tiny probe out, land it on the damn thing, and do it all when the time it takes for a signal to get from here to there takes 28 minutes, 20 seconds. That almost 30 minutes. And the signal is traveling at the speed of light. That’s 186,000 miles per second. Per second. Let that sink in for a second. Now picture being 186,000 miles further away.
Difficult is an understatement.
This comet landing is an amazing scientific achievement by many dedicated scientists, and something to celebrate. So if your takeaway from historic occasion is that one scientist is an misogynist asshole, I think you’ve missed the big picture.
It seems a good friend, a woman, of one of the scientist made an outstandingly cool shirt. And Matt Taylor, the scientist in question, loves crazy shirts. And he had her cool shirt on. What a great way to celebrate. And the news cameras and media and the world went wild celebrating this amazing scientific accomplishment.
Until someone noticed what was on the shirt. Art. Art with beautiful women.
The reaction was, just to quote one example out of many, swift and terrible:
Good work, Matt Taylor, Rosetta Project Scientist at the European Space Agency, snatching the spotlight away from the technical accomplishment of your team and making it all about about your clothing choices, and for also doing it with such elan that you simultaneously denigrated all the enthusiastic young women watching the webcast. They may have been cheering at first, but then it sank in that their designated prop role is to be half-naked and posed poutingly on your shirt.
The news has been wall-to-wall coverage not about the amazing scientific accomplishment, but about a shirt.
It seems the female mind is so weak she must be protected from “art!”
Those aren’t photos of women but drawings. There also happens to be nothing particularly wrong with the female (or male) body, clothed, unclothed or partly clothed, and if some scientist wants to make recognize his good friends art, no better way than appearing on a newscast wearing that shirt. What’s perverse is getting all bent out of shape by someone’s (non-obscene) clothing choices instead of focusing on his scientific accomplishments.
There are many that are saying this is “terrible” and must not stand. After all, we must think of the young women and girls who watched that and flinched when exposed to the female form, and their dreams of being a rocket scientist were destroyed. This guy’s shirt choice could have been the LAST STRAW for who knows how many young women who were thinking of pursuing a career in science or engineering. That last little push that made them say “You know what? Fuck that. I don’t need that bullshit in my daily workaday life.”
The poor little things… they must be protected.
Just so we’re all clear, must we now destroy this, for it shows a female form?
And this, think of all the little girls!
OMG! The world is not safe!
NASA, ESA, all of society could clean house of every person who enjoys the human form and it still wouldn’t satisfy its the feminist inquisitors. The feminist’s point is not to just shame this one man, but to drive home the message that the media spotlight is the sole playground for the politically correct, asexual, lefty approved view and that anything or anyone who doesn’t toe that line will find no regular place in public.
To quote the awesome Instapundit:
YEAH, WELL, I DON’T REALLY CARE WHAT YOU THINK, SINCE YOU’VE NEVER ACTUALLY DONE ANYTHING OF CONSEQUENCE EXCEPT COMPLAIN: I don’t care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing.
Landing on a comet is a big deal. Complaining about men isn’t. Also, we’ve been told that it’s always sexist and inappropriate for men to comment on women’s choice of attire, so why should women be allowed to criticize what men wear? This is just another sad effort on the part of losers to inject themselves into matters that are actually relevant, but in which they are unqualified to take part.
And to follow up from the editor of ricochet.com, Jon Gabriel:
Mr. Taylor then made the bad situation worse. Instead of telling these progressive puritans to go pound silicon dioxide, he issued a sobbing public confession straight out of a Maoist show trial. This guy just dropped a dishwasher on an ice cube 300 million miles from home and he’s groveling to a coven of D-list bloggers?
As long as people keep caving to the progressive puritans, the cruelty will only get worse.
Yep. Push back. Hard.
One final update 9:15 PM. Cedar Sanderson, who wrote an outstanding post here: Who will stand with me for individuality, and freedom of expression? informed me about this little tidbit of information that seems… I don’t know… important? Cedar writes, “you know what doesn’t even get mentioned? The team leader is a woman.”
Ok… another great point from this beautiful (I have no idea what she looks like but I love the way her brain works), smart, pointed woman:
It’s not women objectifying themselves that concerns me at the moment, but the cruelty and viciousness behind some of these attacks. You just made a guy who landed on a comet feel like an epic failure as a human being.
Matt Taylor, your shirt was cute and I’m so sorry you had to meet the Social Justice Warriors. They’re an ugly bunch.
For those who ever wonder why I don’t get all warm and fuzzy about the idea of living in a matriarchy, this is why. Women can sometimes have a careless kind of cruelty about them that really has no boundaries, no limitations, and no remorse.
So can men… but we’re all human. A bit different, and that’s a great thing, but human.
I’m not a gamer.
Oh, I’ve played a few, even enjoy some of them. My taste tend to run towards more strategic operational games. Think Avalon Hill, SSI, Game Designers’ Workshop. Board games.
But I’ve seen this story before. A group of misguided but “hearts-in-the-right-place-do-gooders” spurred on by a few that are only in it for narcissist reasons, have decided that something is very wrong and MUST BE CORRECTED NOW!
As just one example, I’m reminded of the story behind DDT. An extremely effective insecticide developed during World War II, the usage of DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) began in 1943 and became the most widely used pesticide on American farms until it was banned in 1972. Despite the fact it was safe-to-use, had a broad range of applications and was a proven savior for many crops.
In 1962 a few narcissists, with the lead “do-gooder” being one Rachel Carson, started a vicious, hysterical and unscientific attack on DDT. The few grew to many, almost all uninformed but trying to do the right thing, and that resulted in the banning of DDT.
When U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief William Ruckelshaus was about to announce his decision to ban DDT, he confided to a friend, “There is no scientific basis for banning this chemical — this is a political decision.”
There are many examples; Three Mile Island and the movie The China Syndrome leads to unwarranted fear about the effects of radiation, the actions of a few “we must act now” types and we’re stuck with the Patriot Act. It’s for the children! And we up the drinking age to 21 – perhaps stunting an entire generation in the process by treating them as mindless childlike creatures who can’t think for themselves. And on and on…
Sometimes They’re Right.
We can never forget that sometimes the “do gooders” amongst us are on a right path. I would suggest tightening up on the drunk driving laws was probably a good thing. I can remember back in my youth being drunk out of my mind and getting pulled over, beer cans falling out of the car, and the kind policeman just let me go with a warning as I was almost home.
With so many of these cases, however, the drunk driving problem has been mostly solved. Social sigma, awareness about the perils of drunk driving, harsh penalties, and today only a fool would head out drunk. Many still do, but the rate of people who die in alcohol-related traffic accidents has declined by 50 percent over the last three decades. Problem solved, right? Wrong.
The “do gooders” can’t stop. Tougher drunk driving laws have reached the point of diminishing returns. Now they’re starting to encroach on personal freedoms and rights. New rules, more laws, stronger regulations have been proposed that will take away the rights of people to make their own “bad” decisions – or any decision for that matter. Soon your car may not even move if you’ve had a drink.
This Brings Us to #GamerGate.
As someone called Connolly points out;
“Gamergate is essentially a valid argument, at the core it criticises videogames journalists for lack of integrity and in some cases being on the payroll of the companies that they write about. This is a valid critique as arguably there is a large amount of such behaviour going around.
The secondary issue raised by a number of feminists, is the inclusion of more female characters particularly in a believable leading role in order to encourage more women into computer gaming and end the allegedly endemic ‘misogyny and sexism’ in video games.”
The narcissist few, mostly man hating feminists, have decided that games, a billion+ dollar male dominated arena, are sexist (evil) and must be changed. Forget about the right to live free, make our own decisions, or enjoy a game – along with some eye candy. Forget about the entire advertising and Hollywood industry and how they portray women. Forget about much of the Middle East where they subjugate women and mutilate girls. Games are sexist; therefore they must be forced to conform to THEIR world-view. Feminist want everything so women will be able and willing to participate in anything. See Title IX and its impact on sports – some good, some bad, some unintended. They want to equalize everything, and they can’t accept that men and women are different with different interests.
Don’t forget about the money. Once feminist organizations got so called “equal rights” on everything do you expect them to close their doors and get real jobs? Heck no, they’ll just try to figure out what else they can create a “cause” over to keep getting donations.
This time feminist attacked the wrong group. Gamers were already used to being portrayed as basement dwelling nerds, geeks, and worst. Tech savvy, with not much to lose, they rejected the normal reaction of most groups when confronted with a “do-gooder” fight. Most groups don’t have the guts to fight back. After all, it’s a PR disaster. The “do-gooders” are doing this for the weak, the underprivileged, those that need the help! It’s difficult to face down a “do-gooder” even if they’re wrong. But the gamers are not backing down.
I’m reminded of another failure in planning that happened over 80 years ago, known as the great Emu War.
During the 1930’s depression a group of Australian farmers settled in the migration path of emus. If you don’t know, emus are big, mean birds with a vicious kick and aren’t afraid of much. Soon enough, the farmers were besieged by over 20,000 Emus and their crops were being destroyed. Able jump over or knock down most fences the farmers could not halt the emu invasion. After all, from the emus perspective, this was easy living! Field after field of great food, and plentiful water, home sweet home.
The farmers where not happy as they watched all their hard work get transformed into bird poop. Being good citizens, they appealed to the government. After a bit of wrangling a solution was found: Combine some sound military training with a valuable public service. Troops equipped with the latest in military hardware – machine guns – would be sent out to kill these dumb birds. The government would be the hero, and save the day. After all, they’re just birds. What could possibly go wrong?
With all the precision of 20th century military planning the troops moved in. It was a classic ambush, good fields of fire and a proper killing zone. The farmers, excited at the prospect of ridding themselves of this problem, were recruited to drive the birds into the field-of-fire.
Everything was going according to plan until the gunners, waiting until the birds were at point-blank range, opened fire. Thousands of rounds, broken guns, frustrated troops, and only twelve birds killed. The remaining emus had all scattered.
It seems the great-great-great grandchild of T-Rex doesn’t like getting shot. And it seems it’s damn hard to kill one of these birds. The soldiers found that shooting an emu didn’t necessarily slow it down. In fact, anything short of hitting a vital organ just made them mad.
An ornithologist later wrote that “The machine-gunners’ dreams of point blank fire into masses of emus were soon dissipated. The emu command had evidently ordered guerrilla tactics, and its unwieldy army soon split up into innumerable small units that made use of military equipment uneconomic.” In other words, the birds quickly scattered, and were damn near impossible to hit.
The troops tried everything. More ambushes. Mount the guns on trucks (perhaps the first technical) to provide mobility, anything and everything. Everything the military threw at the lowly emu failed.
The commander of the troops compared the emus to Zulus, and commented on the striking maneuverability even while badly wounded, “If we had a military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds it would face any army in the world…They can face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks.”
One soldier later gave this assessment of the enemy’s strategy: “The emus have proved that they are not so stupid as they are usually considered to be. Each mob has its leader, always an enormous black-plumed bird standing fully six-feet high, who keeps watch while his fellows busy themselves with the wheat. At the first suspicious sign, he gives the signal, and dozens of heads stretch up out of the crop. A few birds will take fright, starting a headlong stampede for the scrub, the leader always remaining until his followers have reached safety.”
What does this have to do with #Gamergate?
Everything. Small groups, hard to hit, harder still to kill, the gamers are proving to be much like the emu to the Australian military. Perhaps the feminist dreams of an easy victory and bringing another group to heel has met their emu.
And to the gamers, keep up the fight. Out last them. Just keep it civil, and don’t do stupid stuff. You don’t have to fight back and destroy the feminist. All you need to do is keep highlighting their ineffectiveness and stupidity and watch as they fade away to find an easier target. Perhaps they’ll try to take on the radical Islamic treatment of women.
Today, along with the kangaroo, the emu is one of Australia’s national symbols, showing just which side came out ahead in that brief conflict. I know where I’m putting my money on this new conflict.
Emu Photo by Skia