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My reader[1] will probably also be interested in Roberta X, geekette extraordinaire, referred to me by dustbury. Roberta posts on current topics and personal matters, like most bloggers, but she has fully internalized the conspiracy theory I call “the USSF”, and does some delightful riffs on it.

Back up: Conspiracy theories, the notion that “they” are doing something evil, wonderful, complex, vile, and/or extraordinary, and covering it up so that only a few people know the Truth, can be addictive for some people. 9/11 Truthers, the Kennedy Assassination, the Illuminati … the list is long. Of them all, I’m really only interested in three, and one of them is more a deliberately generated fiction than a genuine conspiracy: the Cthulu Mythos, Roswell (or Area 51), and the United States Space Force. (I get the most satisfaction out of the Roswell sequence; the most hits I’ve ever had was when Reynolds picked up a couple of my jokes on the subject.)

If conspiracy theories are addictive, the USSF is pure crack for patriotic Americans. The nut of it is that sometime during WWII, American scientists discovered a way to get into space that doesn’t depend on expensive noisy rockets. The result was, and is, an expansive American military presence in space that began in the mid-Forties and continues to this day, with Navy vessels converted to spaceships, moon bases, starships … you get the idea. It’s all totally secret, of course, except when bits and pieces leak out into the general population. There are several variants, the main threads depending on where the discovery came from — Americans only, Nazis (delivered to the US by spies or defectors, depending), or simultaneous discovery, with sub-threads that involve whether or not it was shared or delivered by spies to the USSR, China, Britain, France, or some other group(s). The “wrecked starship” scenario isn’t included except in a few minor variants; there aren’t any aliens in the USSF story, so despite attempts (including some of mine) to join them, the competing theory beginning with Roswell and running through Area 51, Grays, and alien abductions, etc., is separate. Fifties-era “flying saucers” can be, and are, incorporated into either without strain, but the resulting explanations are competitive, with little or no commonality.

Do I take any of it seriously? No. It’s got nothing to do with whether the science (fiction) is credible or not. Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead; the notion that tens or hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent putting thousands or millions of Americans in space, with only a few minor and easily covered-up leaks emerging, is ludicrous in the extreme. I’ve had a little to do with Intelligence and Security, at low level on the fringes, and the experience has taught me that there are just too many blabbermouths in any reasonable-sized group.

It is, however, great fun, and Roberta X is a valuable contributor. She’s written a series of short vignettes and a complete novel, I Work On A Starship, and I urge you to check them out. The POV is that of a high-level tech whose job is keeping things running, with little or no contact with Policy or the People Who Run Things. Whether or not she likes the guy, think of Elton John: It’s just my job, five days a week/A rocket man, rocket man… The starship is five miles long and runs mainly on vacuum tubes, so there’s a lot to fix.

If you prefer my insight on politics and world affairs, well, I’m sort of burned out on that. The last straw was what I thought was a pretty good essay on the need for civility or the lack thereof, which got nearly no attention while Don Surber and other bigbloggers were widely and favorably noted and quoted, with very much the same sentiments. It’s just not worth it if nobody pays attention. No doubt the pressure will build until I have to get it down in pixels again, but for the moment I’m content to paint small parts for $8 an hour and try to keep the Reatta running. That takes up most of the time I’d otherwise be able to use for blogging anyway.

[1]Using the plural is not fully justified by my hit counts.

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