Tea Party Fosters Bold Defiance Of Racial Equality

Racial animosity is racial animosity, whatever flavor it comes in – southern redneck scorn, poorly disguised northern liberal contempt, conservative country club hatred, or the calculated disdain of minority elites against Mr. Charlie. The flavor the Tea Party Federation has not only allowed but encouraged from the many, many miscreants among their ranks is bold defiance, a rebellious attitude against the generally accepted racial norms of modern day America that has been allowed to foster unchecked by the movement’s leaders. It is a level of impudence, of juvenile “nobody tells me what to do “ so pervasive throughout their federation, despite the protestations by them and their talk radio cheerleaders, that the refusal by the Tea Party Express chapter to expel Mark Williams led to the expulsion of the entire chapter.

“We, in the last 24 hours, have expelled Tea Party Express and Mark Williams from the National Tea Party Federation because of the letter that he wrote which he, I guess, may have considered satire but which was clearly offensive,” said Federation spokesman David Webb Sunday on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” 

“And that is what we do. Self-policing is the right and the responsibility of any movement or organization,” he added.

The National Tea Party Federation announced the action in a press release Saturday. The group said that a day earlier it gave the Tea Party Express until Saturday afternoon to kick Williams out and publicly rebuke him, but that did not occur.

Tea Party expels member over blog post The Hill

There is no getting around the fact that in this particular venue, on this particular topic, African Americans will always have the upper hand when it comes to deciding who has a preponderance of moral suasion on their side in regards to race and racism. Unless the Tea Party acolytes have found a way to go back in time and change the history of America from the beginning, this is a battle they should put in the permanent “loss” column. But these hard headed folks have no intention of ever admitting reality.

Sadly, I am not a member of the NAACP, like most other black people, which is why, when the organization should be figuring out new ways to ensure equal access to opportunity and equal treatment under the law for African Americans, something the United States government has always seemed to be a little reluctant to do, even though they say so in the press conferences they hold, they are instead out scrounging for money. Maybe this dustup will call more attention to the need for those of us who have benefited greatly from this organization's past efforts to bolster their membership ranks.   

So what does expelling Mark Williams and the Tea Party Express mean?

Not a damn thing, unless you are a overpaid op-ed columnist or a lazy reporter who desperately needed this one lone act of contrition so you could go on pretending there is a level of equivalency between the morally confused Tea Party and the venerable grand old lady the NAACP has become. To those of us who don’t tilt at windmills for a living, all the expulsion of one chapter from the Tea Party Federation means is there are ninety nine more to go.

Drill, Baby, Drill: What will we look for when we mine on Mars?

It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back

Surprising Science
  • In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
  • Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
  • The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points

Want to go to Mars? It will cost you. In 2016, SpaceX founder Elon Musk estimated that manned missions to the planet may cost approximately $10 billion per person. As with any expensive endeavor, it is inevitable that sufficient returns on investment will be needed in order to sustain human presence on Mars. So, what's underneath all that red dust?

Mining Technology reported in 2017 that "there are areas [on Mars], especially large igneous provinces, volcanoes and impact craters that hold significant potential for nickel, copper, iron, titanium, platinum group elements and more."

Were a SpaceX-like company to establish a commercial mining presence on the planet, digging up these materials will be sure to provoke a fraught debate over environmental preservation in space, Martian land rights, and the slew of microbial unknowns which Martian soil may bring.

In National Geographic Channel's genre-bending narrative-docuseries, MARS, (the second season premieres tonight, November 12th, 9 pm ET / 8 pm CT) this dynamic is explored as astronauts from an international scientific coalition go head-to-head with industrial miners looking to exploit the planet's resources.

Given the rate of consumption of minerals on Earth, there is plenty of reason to believe that there will be demand for such an operation.

"Almost all of the easily mined gold, silver, copper, tin, zinc, antimony, and phosphorus we can mine on Earth may be gone within one hundred years" writes Stephen Petranek, author of How We'll Live on Mars, which Nat Geo's MARS is based on. That grim scenario will require either a massive rethinking of how we consume metals on earth, or supplementation from another source.

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, told Petranek that it's unlikely that even if all of Earth's metals were exhausted, it is unlikely that Martian materials could become an economically feasible supplement due to the high cost of fuel required to return the materials to Earth. "Anything transported with atoms would have to be incredibly valuable on a weight basis."

Actually, we've already done some of this kind of resource extraction. During NASA's Apollo missions to the Moon, astronauts used simple steel tools to collect about 842 pounds of moon rocks over six missions. Due to the high cost of those missions, the Moon rocks are now highly valuable on Earth.

Moon rock on display at US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL (Big Think/Matt Carlstrom)

In 1973, NASA valuated moon rocks at $50,800 per gram –– or over $300,000 today when adjusted for inflation. That figure doesn't reflect the value of the natural resources within the rock, but rather the cost of their extraction.

Assuming that Martian mining would be done with the purpose of bringing materials back to Earth, the cost of any materials mined from Mars would need to include both the cost of the extraction and the value of the materials themselves. Factoring in the price of fuel and the difficulties of returning a Martian lander to Earth, this figure may be entirely cost prohibitive.

What seems more likely, says Musk, is for the Martian resources to stay on the Red Planet to be used for construction and manufacturing within manned colonies, or to be used to support further mining missions of the mineral-rich asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

At the very least, mining on Mars has already produced great entertainment value on Earth: tune into Season 2 of MARS on National Geographic Channel.

Harvard scientists suggest 'Oumuamua is an alien device

It's an asteroid, it's a comet, it's actually a spacecraft?

(ESO/M. Kornmesser)
Surprising Science
  • 'Oumuamua is an oddly shaped, puzzling celestial object because it doesn't act like anything naturally occurring.
  • The issue? The unexpected way it accelerated near the Sun. Is this our first sign of extraterrestrials?
  • It's pronounced: oh MOO-uh MOO-uh.
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Study: The effects of online trolling on authors, publications

A study started out trying to see the effect of sexist attacks on women authors, but it found something deeper.

Surprising Science
  • It's well known that abusive comments online happen to women more than men
  • Such comments caused a "significant effect for the abusive comment on author credibility and intention to seek news from the author and outlet in the future"
  • Some news organizations already heavily moderate or even ban comments entirely; this should underscore that effort
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