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No, this is not a girl’s tank top at Amazon.com. It’s a *woman’s* tank top. But it’s pretty much impossible to search for a tank top for a girl (as in, someone pre-teen) online, because everybody insists on calling a grown woman a girl. As if grown women were all immature children, not like *real* grownups. It’s like calling a grown African-American man by the word “boy”. It’s a deliberate diminishing of the intelligence and maturity of the person that you’re referring to.

Okay, so this is language pedantry. But language has consequences. By implying that grown women are immature and incapable of grown-up thought, we help fuel the rape culture that says that no doesn’t mean no because, well, she’s just a girl, right? She isn’t mature enough to know what she wants, right? Big daddy man has to teach her to know what she wants, by force if necessary, right?

A woman is a woman. A woman is not a child, and should not be called “girl”, which is the name for a female child. It is demeaning and insulting to call a grown adult a child and should not be done. Alas, online vendors and their suppliers don’t seem to understand this. Sigh…

And before someone says “but grown women call each other ‘girl’ all the time!”, yeah, and African-Americans call themselves the N-word all the time, too. But an attempt to “own” the word to make it less hurtful doesn’t make it any less inappropriate for someone else who is not a member of that group…

- Badtux the Disgruntled Penguin

And they did

Jason Molina, “Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go” off of his 2006 album by that name. He was already busy drinking himself to death and telling people not bug him about his drinking. Eventually they did.

- Badtux the Sad Music Penguin

Right wing talking points, specifically. Case in point: There’s a graphic being spewed around Facebook and other social media claiming that, amongst other things, Elizabeth Warren lives in a $5.4 million dollar mansion. Is it true? Well, no — like most such graphics, it’s complete and total fabrication.

Politifact investigated. Elizabeth Warren bought the house, a 2 bedroom home built in 1890, for $440,000 in 1995. In inflation-adjusted dollars that would be slightly under $700,000 today, expensive, but not out of line for a home in a large city — the duplex that I currently live in, about the same size as Elizabeth Warren’s house, would sell for around $900K if it was sold, and believe me, it’s a dump that has no air conditioning and hasn’t been refurbished since 1983. Due to the ridiculous housing prices in Boston that home is now assessed at $1.9 million and Zillow claims she could probably sell it for $2.4 million today. Seems to me that Elizabeth Warren is being criticized for making a good investment — basically her house has almost tripled in value in real dollars over the past twenty years. Makes you wonder about the kind of Communists who think making a good investment is somehow wrong. I’d expect that from some of the radical lefties, but seems to me that some of the folks on the right are just as bad as hardcore Trotskyites.

BTW, apparently Elizabeth Warren was a Republican in 1995, having stated that she thought that Republicans were the ones that supported free markets at that time. But she got smarter and figured out that what Republicans really supported were *rigged* markets — markets that siphoned all the profits to them and left everybody else out. Maybe because of nonsense like the above cluing her in. Alas, the rank and file of the Republican Party will never have such a clue, because 50% of all people are below average, and average ain’t so smart nowadays. SIGH!.

- Badtux the “I despise lying liars” Penguin

Space girl

Slowdive, “Alison”, off their 1993 album Souvlaki. Dream pop didn’t have any audience in the 1990’s, the 1990’s were the grunge era. But there were some bloody good dream pop bands in the early 90’s who never got their due.

- Badtux the Music Penguin

Kaboom

Explosions are always fun, until they’re not.

Official Orbital Sciences twitter… “There has been a vehicle anomaly. We will update as soon as we are able.”

Yeah, I’d say that their Antares supply rocket blowing up is somewhat anomalous.

The problem apparently started at 3 seconds after liftoff, when something sprung a leak near the engines. The leak started throwing the rocket off course, then something blew out at around 10 seconds. The range safety officer made the decision to press the big red self destruct button, and blew up the rocket.
The upside is that Orbital Sciences got that 7+ seconds of telemetry and video footage to use to diagnose WTF happened. The downside, of course, is that the rocket was still rather close to the launch pad when the range safety officer hit the big red button, and there’s likely significant damage to the equipment around the launch pad that is used to fuel rockets. It’ll be a while before Orbital Sciences is using that launch pad again.

Luckily there are other rockets from other companies that can be used to send supplies to the International Space Station… it’s not like back when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up and the whole space program was grounded for over two years. In fact, a Progress supply craft is being launched tomorrow via Soyuz also bound for the space station. Yay for redundancy, eh?

So now they’ll be figuring out what happened. They’ve previously launched this rocket successfully four times. On the other hand, these engines are over forty years old — Antares is using Soviet-era NK-33 engines, which were developed for the Soviet Union’s unsuccessful moon rocket program. The NK-33 is actually a fairly good engine — it has a high specific impulse, and it is rugged and simple in design, a classic Soviet piece of heavy engineering. What killed the Soviet Moon program was the fact that they couldn’t figure out how to control a large cluster of these engines needed to push their rocket into space given the primitive state of Soviet electronics, combined with budget cuts that left them unable to adequately stand-test the engines prior to use. But the hardware itself was excellent, and Antares is using modern electronics to control the NK-33, not the old Soviet-era control systems. There are more modern designs but they aren’t that much better than the NK-33 and give up some of the simplicity and robustness of the NK-33 design. Still, it may be that there was an uncaught manufacturing flaw in one of the NK-33 engines on this Antares booster. Soviet manufacturing quality was always somewhat iffy, because as Sovoks used to say, “they pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.” That, rather than the fact that these engines are over forty years old, is what would worry me about using them unless they were very thoroughly inspected and reconditioned. Which Orbital Sciences says they’ve done. We’ll see when the report is finished.

But anyhow: Everybody’s rocket has gone boom at least once. There’s been failures of Soyuz and Proton rockets, and Atlas rockets, and Ariane rockets, and even a spectacular fireworks display from a SpaceX rocket that broke up over Texas. These are basically controlled explosions in motion, and keeping the explosion controlled instead of creating a spectacular boom is not a simple task. What matters is if a man-rated rocket explodes. Cargo rockets… well, it’s not desired, but sh*t happens. What matters is that the causes are discovered and fixed. I’m sure Orbital Sciences, if they survive, will do so, just as all their competitors have done when their own hardware went kaboom. In the end space is an inherently risky business, and better that we take the risks with inanimate cargo than with people — which is why people are still flying on the tried and true Soyuz rather than on these newfangled private rockets. Just sayin’.

- Badtux the Fireworks Penguin

Sad snow in summertime

Townes Van Zandt, “Snow Don’t Fall”, off his 1972 album High, Low, & In Between. It was written for Townes’ friend Leslie Jo Richards who was murdered in 1971 while hitchhiking to visit Townes while he was out in LA. I still call baloney on Townes saying “My songs aren’t sad, they’re hopeless.” They’re both.

- Badtux the Music Penguin

The real scandal

Republicans have been frantically slinging mud making up shit about Obama. He’s a socialist (uhm, no, he hasn’t done anything socialist). He killed American diplomats in Benghazi by stopping US troops from mounting a rescue mission. (Uhm, no, there were no US troops in-country to use to mount a rescue mission, and by the time any got in-country, the diplomats were dead). He’s a Nigerian. (Uhm, no, he was born in Hawaii). Etc. etc. etc.

All the while that they’re spewing all this nonsense, they’re ignoring the real Obama scandal: Obama has done more to squash free speech by government workers than any other President has ever done. The Obama administration has prosecuted more current and former government officials under the Espionage Act for disclosing information to the news media than all previous administrations combined.

Now I expect top Republicans to be hard at work exposing this scandalous behavior on the part of Obama in 3… 2… 1… err… NEVER. Because Obama is doing what they themselves want to do, in their heart of hearts.

So, back to the bullshit we go…

- Badtux the Buried-in-bull-excrement Penguin

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