I got all jazzed up when I learned Neil DeGrasse Tyson would be appearing at the IU Auditorium in March, next year. I immediately clicked to the box office and was prepared to cop a couple of ducats.
Screech! went the brakes.
The lowest price ticket, presumably in the balcony, as distant from the stage as the Earth is from Alpha Centauri, is $68.50. That’d mean I’d be shelling out about a yard and a half for the pair (for The Loved One & me), just to hear him say that which we’ve already heard a bazillion times from him.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy. He’s one of my ten fave Americans. But, dang mang, that’s a lot of juice for a lecture. And that juice is gonna remain in my coconut shell, dig?
Does that make me a cheapskate?
Ready for some trivia? Okay, go: scientists at the University of Leicester have estimated the “technosphere,” that is, everything humankind has ever made (and destroyed or thrown away) — all our buildings, cars, dining room tables, copies of People magazine, surgical scalpels, boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal, and all the rest of the crap we simply have to have — now weighs 30 trillion tons.
Part Of The Technosphere
That’s 6 x 1015 (or 60,000,000,000,000,000) lbs. That’s a lot of crap.
…Let’s Kill All The Scientists
Speaking of science, one day, a long, long time ago, we gobbled up news like this:
Now we suffer through this:
This is, BTW, a real headline from breitbart.com. Browning is a gun brand, so the head advises readers to grab their firearms of that make and, presumably, shoot dead any learned professional who mentions one of the steps of the scientific method. And the entire line itself is an homage to an infamous quip from a play, “Schlageter,” written by Hanns Johst to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday in 1933. Here’s the dialogue that “inspired” the breitbart.com head:
THIEMANN: … And the last thing I’ll stand for is ideas to get the better of me! I know that rubbish from ’18 …, fraternity, equality, …, freedom …, beauty and dignity! You gotta use the right bait to hook ’em. And then, you’re right in the middle of a parley and they say: Hands up! You’re disarmed…, you republican voting swine!—No, let ’em keep their good distance with their whole ideological kettle of fish … I shoot with live ammunition! When I hear the word culture …, I release the safety on my Browning!”
SCHLAGETER: What a thing to say!
THIEMANN: It hits the mark! You can be sure of that.
SCHLAGETER: You’ve got a hair trigger.
Delightful, no? Breitbart.com, of course, is the post-fact era house organ of the incoming administration. The online disinformation outfit was, until recently, chaired by Steve Bannon, who is now the president-elect’s Senior Counselor.
Still being cautious about calling L’il Duce and his followers what they really are?
My party — the party I’m thisfar from quitting — is fast becoming an afterthought, in large part because it projects a weak, aimless, hand-wringing, minutiae-obsessed image. Nobody wants a leader defined by those qualities. (OTOH, Hillary Clinton did beat L’il Duce by nearly three million votes, so there’s that.)
Anyway, I dug up an old line the other day that perfectly applies to the one-time party of the people (but is no longer): Now is not the time to hide but the time to strike. That is, if you’ve got the muscle, use it. And the Dems in a lot of ways still have muscle, even if a lot of it is going soft.
California’s got muscle and it’s a reliably blue state. If it stood alone as a sovereign nation, It’d at least be one of the second tier economic powerhouses of the planet. L’il Duce‘s new cabinet is anti-science. Some of his acolytes even want NASA to get out of the Circling the Earth to Keep an Eye On Climate Change biz. They want the operation to focus solely on exploring other worlds where, presumably, astronauts will find non-billionaire, differently-colored beings whom we can exploit and crush, as has been our wont since the Nina-, Pinta-, and Santa Maria-nauts first arrived on these shores. So, the Golden State’s big boss is flexing his muscle.
Brown, With His Dukes Up
Hauzzah! At last!
Dem Gov. Jerry Brown told the American Geophysical Union the other day:
… if Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite. We’re going to collect that data!