Tremendous achievement in space science but… shirt!

I have not been watching Children in Need because it is illegal in the UK to view images of children or to think of them in any way. Now if they called it Children in Need of Being Swatted with a Badger, I might be tempted. But that’s not even on the agenda, apparently.

Tonight I have finally watched the works’ fridge cleaning DVD (there really is one) because the Secret Ninja Cleaners have decided we must be trained in at least one of the things we’ve been doing for the last couple of years. It is the funniest DVD I have seen in a long time, not least because the two actors pretending to clean what looks like a brand new fridge look like Father Ted and Father Dougal. They work in exactly the way you’d expect those two to work, slowly, with Dougal spending a lot of time looking lost. If we did it that way we’d take all night.

They are very big fridges (the tall open-front kind) and while taking them apart is easy, putting them back together is not so easy. Even so, when you have a fridge with six columns of shelves it is not necessary for the DVD actors to act out the dismantling and reassembly of every single column. One will do. The rest are all the same. Thank Heaven for the fast-forward button.

There is also a little test. Boss offered help but I think I’ll do okay. I’ve passed somewhat harder exams than this. Oh well, homework gets marked tomorrow and here’s hoping she doesn’t give me detention.

I hope there is one on ‘how to clean an electric bread slicer and finish with the same number of fingers’ because we have one now and it is seriously full of blades! I start with ‘Is it plugged in? Yes?-Unplug it. No?-Check again’. My first go at it was on Halloween and I was tempted to bring some fake blood along but… you can cry wolf once too often.

Tonight is the early-to bed night. I had planned to fisk the latest ‘smoking in cars kills nonsmokers but not smokers‘ crap but it’s too easy. Stationary car, windows open four inches, I’m betting it was in a garage so there wasn’t even a breeze and there is no mention of a control. All the chemicals could have leached out of the plastics. Nobody sat in an identical stationary car for an hour without the smoker. Would the result have been the same?

Perhaps they tried it, and it was, which is why it’s not mentioned.

So instead of pretend science pushed as fact by a bunch of authoritarian tosspots, tonight I am (finally getting around to) writing about real science being debased by a bunch of authoritarian tosspots.

Nobody could possibly have missed the spectacular achievement of landing a little probe on a tiny, speeding comet millions of miles away and getting it all to work perfectly. That is a first for the whole of humanity. It is the sort of thing that makes other scientists shut up and pay attention (real scientists, I mean, not the sort who sit in cars for an hour and go nowhere). It worked! First time!

Yet when the genius who made it possible appeared on TV to announce this absolutely amazing result, he was roundly lambasted for… wearing the wrong shirt. That, to the morons who think second hand smoke and global warming are real science, is what they consider a priority here.

Scientists do not care about fashion. Clothes are there to stop us feeling cold or catching sensitive bits on sharp equipment. That is what they are for. The colour and design are not relevant as long as they do not affect our ability to think. Some scientists like loud shirts. Others, like me, end up with wardrobes containing prety much the same thing over and over. We do not care what other people wear and we do not care what you think about what we wear.

(Twitter just came up with a promoted tweet from @thread – ‘Guys there’s no longer any excuse not to dress well’. Good timing – but there is always an excuse).

It comes as quite a shock to find that people can be upset by a shirt. We cannot understand it. It’s a shirt. Just a shirt.

The authoritarian tosspots pretended that the shirt was the hugely important news and that landing a little spaceship on a speeding comet millions of miles away was the irrelevance. They claim that women will not become scientists because of a shirt. I have personally trained quite a few women to M.Sc.and Ph.D level and none of them mentioned shirts. Not even once. It was not a factor in their career decisions.

Yet it is deemed to be a major factor in their career decisions by a bunch of self-important twats who couldn’t land an onion ring on a plate even if they had a fork stuck through it.

Oh wait – ‘fork stuck through onion ring’ is surely a metaphor for the sexual dominance of the male. Now I’ll be all over Twitter as ‘Onion Ring Impalement Man’ and the police will be urged to check my freezer for onion rings. I have some and it gets worse – they are battered onion rings. Best scoff them all right now.

With a fork.

They really will take offence at that but then few of them have the attention span required to read this far. The one that makes it will take it out of context because I’ve changed subject twice so they are way out of their depth by now.

So they hounded the man who managed to do something no human has ever managed to do before, something almost all of us couldn’t even imagine doing, until they reduced him to a shaking apology.

Was that enough? The utter destruction of the pinnacle of a great man’s career? The humiliation of someone who should be hailed a hero? Enough?

Not a bit of it. That was just the beginning.

Of course, I personally hope that one day (when he’s a little less busy) Taylor will say a bit more on the subject, and show that he understands why the shirt wasn’t okay.

They aren’t finished with him yet. The man who made the greatest acheivement so far in the history of humanity must be brought down to their pitiful level. He must be re-educated and he must understand that the authoritarian tosspots are the superior species because they say so.

They cannot and will never see that they have done anything wrong here. They are the victims, always the victims. They will stamp on your head and shriek that you are getting blood on their boots. How dare you object? How dare you suggest that they might not be Righteous in all things? How dare you do something they could never do? How dare you let the world think you have achieved something? You must be brought to heel.

There is no point discussing their shortcomings with them, whether rationally or in rage. They don’t believe they have any.

If they come for you, do not apologise. No matter what. Never apologise to them. You can be certain that they will never apologise to you.

The apology is only the first step. It gives them power over you. It’s the first smackdown in the fight and if you let them win that round they will keep coming back for more. Keep fighting that first round – don’t apologise – and they can get no further.

Oh they’ll keep trying for that smackdown. Possibly forever. You might be tempted to let them win so the constant harassment will stop. Do not be tempted because if you give in, it will not stop.

That’s when it will start.


41 thoughts on “Tremendous achievement in space science but… shirt!

  1. Thank a random god that you posted this. I was beginning to think it was just me!

    As an example of the woolly headed, stupid, moronic dumb-assed mentality that seems to run this planet now, this one cannot be beaten. Shirt trumps major scientific & engineering achievement as far as the MSM mindset & their readership is concerned. Primark will be pleased. I can see the job ads for his replacement; “Understanding of calculus, differential equations, statistics & other hard stuff not required – just comply with a suitable dress code”.

    Doubtless the twatterati will now be complaining that he didn’t show enough remorse for his inappropriate behaviour. Equality & diversity training will now be the focus of his career development for the rest of his life

    Can you think of a sensible country to which I might emigrate? One that has a sense of perspective, a rational set of priorities and some sort of understanding of what real science is? Right now, Russia is looking good – but I can’t believe I just typed that!


  2. I hadn’t noticed the shirt, but now I’ve had a look at it, I rather like it, wonderfully retro , women with guns.
    I suspect that copies are being made at this very moment and I have a hunch that they will sell very well.
    Nice fabric, I wonder if they sell it on the roll.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wouldn’t wear it but not for politically correct reasons. I just prefer more plain clothing.

      The original maker is being inundated with requests but she just sews one at a time. It’s a hobby.

      She did say, in one response, that she bought the fabric. So there are rolls and rolls of it somewhere.


    • A contractor left two yellow signs at work. Ours say ‘wet floor’ on one side and ‘cleaning in progress’ on the other. The ones we ‘inherited’ said ‘Danger. Men at work’.

      Mopman and I used to use them when cleaning fridges.

      One of the female staff told me they were sexist. I said they were accurate since both the workers here were men.

      Then I said ‘Men work. Women have hobbies’. I could not resist.

      She hasn’t spoken to me since.


      • More fool her …

        I’ve been watching Mr Don & Mr George (thanks for that) … the one where they create a cornflake box office, George does the flapping typing hands mime, which made me laugh as that’s exactly how my husband describes what I do for a living. Do I get upset by that? No, I use the one hand on top of a steering wheel mime (you know, the one that looks like a sideway wank) to describe what he does.


  3. He’s being lambasted by the sort of morons who can barely work the smartphones they use to register their supercilious disapproval of his ‘disrespectful’ attire

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Rosetta mission scientist Dr Matt Taylor cries during apology over ‘offensive’ shirt

    3934 comments and still counting, they must have kept going over night.
    The vast majority in favour of the shirt and his right to wear it, the great pity being that it has given a few misogynists the opportunity to tar all women with the same brush.

    However, trawling through the comments has opened a can of worms.

    Social Justice Warriors ?

    “What has happened to social justice warriors recently? Every campaign seems to fail, the latest being a cack-handed attempt to police Twitter in order to win the Gamergate saga.”

    “It’s not the only one. Take, for example, the ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ T-shirt campaign, which one would have expected the core group of online SJWs to win. Instead the campaigners looked like the aggressors; to make matters worse, it turned out that these luxury items (£45 for a T-shirt – being a SJW ain’t cheap) were made by people on 62p an hour.”

    http: //

    Now this is the penalty for my retiring from public life in 2007, I would have known all about this in advance.

    Leggy, are you sure you want to be on Twitter?


    • Milo Yiannopoulos at Breitbart has written quite a bit on GamerGate including
      Culture Wars

      So has the Guardian, though from a different perspective GamerGate

      It is worth keeping an eye on to see how it all turns out as it (or if!) becomes more widely spoken about. Parallels abound to other areas.


    • I didn’t know about Gamergate either, but it looks like the PC crowd have finally hit a wall. As long as the gamers keep their responses calm and polite they don’t give the PC lot the chance to play their usual game:- threaten and harass and when the target responds, claim to be the victim.

      Which is what they’ve now done on the current shirtstorm.

      As for social justice warriors – dweebs in Spandex. A comical collection of caricatures. I hope to find a few on Twitter and lead them to their doom 😀


  5. My son has a degree in Parasitolgy he has never been able to get a job doing it and neither did his class apart from one who worked FOC. My sons taste in clothes is nil. His colour sense? Less than nil. However, he could run past a man holding a book open and then recite the page word for word and critique the grammar. As a small child he could argue using logic. He cycles now although he took ages to learn. He works in one of those posh department stores in London and I have no idea how his staff cope with him. I, on the other hand I am a card carrying dunderheid.


    • A small child aguing with logic must be every parent’s nightmare.
      ‘Because I say so’
      ‘Why do you say so?’

      It’s probably best he’s out of academia at the moment. It’s more restrictive than Islam now.


  6. I never noticed the pattern on his shirt in that broadcast as I was far more interested in what he was saying. this is a major first for humanity. Only a complete idiot would be concerned with his shirt. Only after the proverbial hit the fan did I look back. And to my amazement I thought “why do they give a stuff about this. It’s just a shirt regardless of the pattern”. Idiots. All of them.


  7. One fact. The ‘reason’ he was ‘dressed down’ in his normal ‘working clobber’ (an informal poll around the young/geeky females I know indicates he’d be fighting off admiring glances dressed and tatt’d like that at work or socialising – go figure) was because TPTB at ESA specifically instructed/ordered the team to be, so that the press could see them at ‘normal work’. I’ll guaran-damn-tee that if he had been allowed, and expected to be interviewed he’d have dressed up for the event.

    The person, or persons, I’m most disgusted with in all of this is/are the ones who, obviously, threatened to destroy/end his career unless he make the apology (why else would such a man be so distraught? You think he was ‘that’ upset over the Twitterati? Over an irrelevance?). What’s the betting that it was some affirmative action hire/parachutee (ie. A feminist woman in HR [are there any other kind] where they put them all so as to make up the numbers of women in a company that insufficient, or no, women have either the knowledge/skill/ability or inclination to work) – and probably the self-same person who insisted they all dress down in the first place (failing that, it was probably someone ‘very’ senior doing the bidding of the company PC/affirmative action clique).

    This is ‘exactly’ how they work. I worked for years in the NHS. The old days of those recruited to senior posts being, whilst as obnoxious and irritating a bunch as you could hope to not meet, the best, most skilled, experienced and able are long gone. For years/decades now it is “do you know the correct PC buzzwords”, “do you believe the ‘correct things” and “do you ‘look’ right”, all that trumps ability – and you see where that has taken us? (It’s everywhere now, the ‘style over substance’ thing. Consider how many of the ‘greats’ of music past would ever have a chance if they tried to record/chart now – let’s be honest, there are/were some really ‘alternative’ looking musicians who led the way. Now they’d be shown the door in favour for some plastic, manufactured barbie/ken type).

    Personally? I’m not even vaguely surprised by the feminist/lefty idiots, so my opinion of them is unchanged (it couldn’t really get any worse) but ESA? They’ve lost any (limited) standing they ever had (they’re now almost as bad as NASA with their ‘let’s not bother with science, research or space, we’ll do muslim outreach instead’) – well done HR(?) for destroying ESA like every institution you get your grubby hands on!

    Until such time as those with the power stop pandering to these freaks it will all continue – so my recommendation to ESA is ‘sack the d***do who made him apologize, to encourage the others’.


    • Great comment Able.

      I’m finding it a real struggle at the moment, especially as an early career academic. I feel like instead of spending my time looking for interesting innovations or discoveries, I’m spending much of my energy fighting a culture war.

      ‘What does equality and diversity mean to you?’ is now a standard question on many interview panels and I feel like I want to stab myself in the gut every time I’ve answered the question, as it hasn’t been an honest answer.


      • How do you answer a question that asks you to support diametrically opposite viewpoints simultaneously?

        In the old days they used to ask things like ‘There are animal experiments based here. Do you have any problem with that?’ and the correct answer was ‘No, not as long as they are ethincal and done with Home Office approval’. I used to think that was a tough question.

        My end of career started when I opposed an exam board who wanted to eject a skinhead (not a real one, it was just his ‘look’) with a third class degree. He got a 2.1 (he was one point from it and genuinely dyslexic) and my downward progression was fast. It was damn well worth it. I’d do it again.


    • “why else would such a man be so distraught? You think he was ‘that’ upset over the Twitterati?”

      Two words: adrenaline dump. It can affect even the strongest that way. He’d just had a stunning success after months of hard work. It’s not so uncommon.


      • That’s true, but Able is right too. When I left mainstream academia over ten years ago, the political correctness was already well entrenched as was the doublethink.

        There are a lot of excellent scientists still, but they exist only because they have learned to keep out of anything controversial.

        One slip, as Matt Taylor found, is all it takes.


    • “…correct PC buzzwords….abiility” Too right.

      Victoria Wood once did a play involving her being dragged out to a smart metro Christmas party in which she summed up style over substance. Don’t know how to paste the clip from you tube but ‘Victoria Wood Christmas Party’ brings it up.


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