“Didn’t you watch that Netflix special? Y’know, the one that showed how fake the moon landings were?
No, I don’t remember the name of the show but just google it and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
The evidence is incontrovertible!”
~John C. Schmuckman, cement mixer operator across the street from my housei
Obviously, our boy J.C. doesn’t know what “inconvertible” means, much less how to pronounce it anymore than your french step-father knows how to pronounce “mis-ché-voo“, so it’s clear that I’m paraphrasing, but the point remains: there’s a growing number of soi-disant “people” out there who are now so far removed from D-Dayii and the Apollo missions,iii to say nothing of the construction of the Egyptian Pyramids,iv that motherfucking aliens may as well have stormed the beaches of Normandy, flown to our nearest orbiting satellite, and constructed very pointy, very large tombstones in the middle of the desert. How else to explain CLEARLY IMPOSSIBLE THINGS!!1!1 Because if a small mind can’t comprehend of a thing, and has no trusted institution to take him in its talons, how’s the poor little guy supposed to figure out that the moon isn’t made of Wensleydale?v
He isn’t. So he doesn’t. So it goes. Unfortunately, following closely behind such “opinions” come plenty of gravel roads because HOW DOES ASPHALT EVEN WORK IT’S LIKE SPACE AGE TECHNOLOGY MANNNN!!1!vi And so here come “Passive” buildingsvii because new nuclear power plants would mean importing specialists from, like, Iran, and all of the political self-abolishment that comes with that. Why bother with that kind of explicit, open-faced cuckoldry when it’s so much easier for the bureaucracy to hide behind its
Harvard degrees purses and LARP the elites of 2-3 generations ago, maintaining the IQ charade all the while?viii
So what moon landing? What moon! The evidence for solipsism is inconvertiboo. Just ask John.ix
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- Not his real name, but the rest is true. ↩
- D-Day really was a remarkable logistical feat. As I found myself gawking a bit at the coordination of Jay’s current expansion of SCR, what with a few earth movers and diggers amidst a few hundred acres, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the coordination that humans are capable of on scales so much goddam bigger than that.
Let’s remember that no matter how wasteful or inefficient the Soviet Union was, at the end of the day, it could deliver many thousands of tanks to the frontlines of Eastern Europe. These are incredible feats of coordination and incredible feats of planning. I can even make this more visceral: consider something like D-Day. If large-scale, society-scale planning is not ever possible, then how in the world did they happen? They obviously did happen. Therefore, sometimes, society-wide planning is possible.
via “Great Founders Build Civilization” by Samo Burja. ↩
- Don’t think much of the Apollo missions? They were pretty, pretty, pretty important underpinnings for the glory days of American exceptionalism. What, you think it’s a coincidence that 1971/72 saw the end of Apollo, the end of Bretton-Woods, and the beginning of a fifty-year industrial decline that shows no signs of turning around?
Through Apollo’s enlistment of defense companies such as Grumman (known for its scalable production of military aircraft during WWII) in building the module that would allow for a lunar landing, the program spurred the belief that technology could be used for the benefit of all mankind. Apollo successfully engineered a profound technological optimism in a generation growing up with global industrial war fresh in memory. Beyond technological consciousness, Apollo’s impact on American manufacturing enabled the information and communications technology revolution to occur both when it did and where it did. In the long tradition of state-backed demand for new technologies, Apollo was an essential early buyer of integrated circuits. The technology was still novel and untested when NASA signed a contract with Fairchild Semiconductor to purchase hundreds of thousands of units for the computer that MIT was building.
via “The Political Machine Behind the Apollo Program” by Ryan Khurana. Is it any wonder that Elon’s inter-planetary vision is so inspiring for so many? The difficulty of the task is a feature, not a bug! ↩
- It’s not even that so many of us fail to understand how rocks can be stacked, it’s that we can’t even begin to understand the political organisation required to make said stacking happen:
The ice samples from Greenlandic ice are a snapshot of many centuries, like the tree lines you might find if you chop down a tree, where the thicker lines or the narrow lines show lean years or years with a lot of water. Much in the same way in the Greenlandic ice, there are tiny, tiny air bubbles, some of them trapped for centuries or thousands of years. And these are essentially air samples from the era and we can measure lead pollution because of the way the Atlantic winds work. And because of dissipation in the atmosphere, we can pretty clearly map lead in the atmosphere to Roman mining activity. So at least you have, under the assumption that Roman mining activity is related to economic production, a good indicator of their economic activity.
The interesting question here is, well, if you were a Roman, and someone could tell you this information, how would you process it? Today, if you saw drop in lead pollution, your first assumption might be cleaner and greener technology. But a statement of victory—that is something everyone proposes out of self-interest. It’s not that the ancients could do things we could not possibly do; it’s that the ancients were foolish or extravagant, or that this wasn’t built by people at all, it was built by a race of cyclops or giants. So, in a way, we have nothing to feel bad about. And that last example, that’s how the classical Greeks saw Mycenaean ruins, the Myceneans being the society in the Greek islands from about 1600 to 1100 BC. And the later Greeks made up these stories that these huge rocks couldn’t possibly be moved by people, they must have been built by cyclops. And because of that, I’m also not very partial to the theories of aliens building the pyramids and so on. I think it just means that, no, we actually don’t understand ancient economic systems. We very well know how to put lots and lots of rocks together in the right place, just using muscle power. But we have a difficult time grasping an economic and political system that can make this very easy.
via “How Civilizations Collapse” by Samo Burja. And yet even the biggest tinfoil hat doesn’t seem to levy the same inanery at the Great Wall of China… maybe because it clearly wasn’t a one-off?
- Have you watched Wallace & Gromit’s “A Grand Day Out”? It comes highly recommended! Here’s a YouTube link, for as long as it lasts. ↩
- “What do we even need fly ash for?” Hurr. ↩
- Broadly speaking, “Passive” or “Passive House” buildings use 90% less energy than current buildings by having R100 roofs, R60 walls, and R8 windows, give or take depending on climate zone. They also tend to be so hideously ugly as to make Soviet apartment blocks look like Vancouver House and so desperately underlit by natural light as to make submarines feel like sunrooms, but the point of them isn’t to be good for the soul, it’s to stretch the decaying infrastructure dollar as far as it can possibly be stretched. ↩
- And what a charade it is!
I think the Flynn effect is usually interpreted as a genuine rise in human intelligence. In reality, the Flynn effect is the observed rise in IQ over the course of the 20th century in societies where you regularly measure people’s intelligence. It’s generally attributed to better nutrition. I have a more cynical explanation: perhaps it’s a graph of how over the course of the 20th century, the IQ test started off as a decent measure of intelligence but became a worse and worse measure of intelligence, because the culture as a whole shifted to an improved ability to take tests and do abstract disembodied reasoning rather than embodied practical situational reasoning. So perhaps the psychological malaise where we know how to discuss everything, but we have an immense difficulty in doing anything—and we seem to need cocaine and Adderall and coffee and alcohol to do anything at all—well, perhaps that’s coming out of the same pot that’s causing us to be very good at IQ tests.
via “How Civilizations Collapse” by Samo Burja. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Taleb makes similar and related points vis-a-vis “IQ”. ↩
- It’s the Truman Show all over again!