Sim Kern Profile picture
Jul 3, 2021 18 tweets 4 min read
If any of you are under the impression that our billionaires might succeed in "escaping" to space, while the world burns, let me put those fears to rest with what I know from being the spouse of a NASA flight controller. 🧵
For a half-dozen people to exist up on the ISS, it takes a ground team of thousands of people, constantly problem-solving how to keep them alive. Their quality of life is bouncing around in a narrow tube with the same 5 people who can't really bathe for months. /
Every minute of their day is micromanaged so they can survive. They follow strict exercise regimens to keep their bones from turning to goo. They spend a ton of time studying systems and conducting repairs on equipment that's continually breaking because SPACE WANTS TO KILL YOU /
Their sleeping situation is akin to a floating coffin. Their pooping situation is a 20-something-step process in a port-o-potty where everything FLOATS and the door is a plastic curtain. The wifi cuts out at regular intervals. The food is NOT michelin starred, to say the least. /
The only reason they're alive up there at all is because multiple countries have thousands of brilliant, highly-trained engineers and doctors and astrophysicists and computer experts whose full-time job is keeping the astronauts alive and the ISS functioning. /
When something breaks, as it continually does, these teams SCRAMBLE to devise fixes and solutions. And these fixes, lemme tell ya, they are tedious. This year, working from home, I have seen the schematics and overheard bits of meetings, and oh my GOD is it tedious. /
And the spacewalks where they go out to repair these broken things? It takes dozens of hours of study to do each one. And then it's maybe four, six hours in a suit, with stiff, bulky gloves, all "Drive bolt 7A into dock 31X" until their fingers are shaking with exhaustion. /
So there's no future where Bezos and Branson are sipping champagne next to their space-pool on Low-Earth Maralago, ok? There's no way life in space could be remotely comfortable or preferable to life on earth in their lifetimes, or for many generations to come, or probably ever./
The longest anyone's lived in space was Scott Kelly, who spent a year in space, got home, and immediately retired. He'd spent all his life preparing and training to be in space, and found it extremely physically and psychologically grueling to up there for just one year. /
So this billionaire "space race" is nothing more than a dick-measuring contest between Musk, Bezos, and Branson. They are not investing billions to forward science or the bounds of human possibility. They are doing it to be the first rich guy to bounce around uselessly up there./
And it's utterly despicable when you understand that they're funding it with the hoarded wealth of workers who are struggling just to exist. With ill-gotten money made from supply chains that enslave people and are destroying the future possibility of life on earth. /
But if it troubles you that they might SUCCEED, that those three assholes might ever spend more than a week in space and ENJOY it, let me put your mind at ease. Not in this lifetime. With all their billions, they have no power to make space a better place to be than earth./
I don't know if they realize the futility, if they're AWARE that this whole space race is just a pissing contest to see who can get to zero-G fastest? Or if being a billionaire makes you so delusional that they really think they can buy a Mars colony in their lifetimes. IDK /
Join me in enjoying the fact that they won't find anything up there but a lot of time to sit with the gaping void inside them, which space certainly won't fill, while forcibly holding their asscheeks to a suctioning toilet seat, bc they're constipated as hell from astronaut food.
The world is burning, and our billionaires are the people MOST responsible, but at least there's no escape for them. They will live and die (alone, like all of us) on this beautiful, precious, one-in-a-gazillion planet.
We should take our wealth back from them and use it better.
I've made a few errors (why I do scifi not science). The pooping protocol is about 10 steps, not 20. Scott Kelly didn't spend the longest time in space, that was Valery Polyakov. Also our astronauts don't just survive up there (although that takes a lot!). They're doing SCIENCE!
Oy vey. To the Muskophiles who've found this thread: Everything Musk can do, NASA could do better, if they had the funding. They don't always have the funding, because billionaires hoard our collective wealth, and use it to make redundant space agencies to boost their egos.
I got this wrong--Scott Kelly at the time was the USian astronaut who'd spent the longest in space at one time. Valery Polyakov spent 438 consecutive days onboard MIR before that.

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More from @sim_kern

Nov 22, 2022
Last week I made a video thread called “Why do they hate us?”, a brief history of anti-Semitism that went viral on ⏰, and I was overwhelmed by the sheer # of people who commented they had no idea that anti-Semitism goes back millennia or had never heard about Blood Libel🧵
I almost didn’t post the videos because the info seems so obvious to me, but of course that’s because I’m Jewish, and many of us are taught our history through our family. Meanwhile Christians have no clue their history has always been inextricably intertwined w/our genocide. 2/
This erasure is extremely relevant, because Christians justified genociding us for at least the last millennia by accusing us of abducting and harming children—blood libel. They accused Romanies of the same. This has been Christians’ genocidal playbook for 1,000+ years. 3/
Read 13 tweets
Oct 28, 2022
My kid is 5. We're a still-masking family. At the beginning of the year, she was one of about 5 kids in her school still masking, so she told me she was going to stop. I said okay. Then she got sick for a month straight. On her own, she decided to start masking again. 1/
Since she started wearing masks again (kn95s), about three weeks ago, she hasn't been sick. So she told me she's going to keep wearing a mask, because she doesn't like being sick. How can a 5yo figure this out but grown-ups really struggle?? Being sick SUCKS?? Like even colds?!?
I'm sure things would've played out differently if she were being bullied for wearing a mask, but we're lucky that the kids in her grade all seem chill with whatever they each want to do.
Again...grownups...struggling with that.
Read 10 tweets
Aug 14, 2022
Let’s talk about how the vast majority of white characters written by white authors are super dishonest when it comes to whiteness. A 🧵.
We live in a white supremacist society. Regardless of what they tell you, white people are absolutely aware of their whiteness and their lifetime’s worth of racial biases and understanding of racial power dynamics any time they’re encountering non-white people. HOWEVER… 2/
But most white people were taught it’s wrong to have any thoughts or awareness of race whatsoever. So in a social situation with nonwhite people, there’s one subroutine in their mind running all these racial anxieties, but there’s another subroutine silencing the first. 3/
Read 13 tweets
Jun 14, 2022
My disaster-queer, revolutionary punk kids are going to be published!!! This book was born from so much love and grief over all my years of activism in Texas.
THE FREE PEOPLE'S VILLAGE insists there is no climate justice without abolition!
Coming Fall 2023 from @LevineQuerido! Image
I am beyond thrilled to work with @capaciousmood as the acquiring editor on this book. Irene is a nonbinary Afrolatine Houstonian, with organizing experience in Houston. Irene knows these neighborhoods and communities, and what Gulf Coast activism is all about.
My new agent, @RebeccaPodos, negotiated the contract and was an invaluable help throughout that process. Thank you, Becca!
Read 4 tweets
May 31, 2022
Cultural gatekeers blew it in the first two years of the pandemic by largely refusing to fictionalize our experiences. Whether folks were “in the mood” or not, we had an opportunity to use fiction to help win the culture war around masking and ethical pandemic behavior. 🧵
We could have rapidly pushed out TV shows, movies, books, reflecting our pandemic experiences, creating a cultural ethos around taking care of each other, exploring shifting boundaries around morality and safety, and showing the danger of betraying those measures. 2/
Instead, authors were told not to write their pandemic books. Shows and movies pretended it didn’t exist, film crews going to extreme lengths to navigate the disease as they created their pre-pandemic fantasies. The only cultural ethos that emerged was to ignore COVID. 3/
Read 6 tweets
Mar 9, 2022
Spouse & I have been married 9 years today, and he's still my BFF, so here's some unsolicited marital advice for whoever wants it: 🧵
-Recognize the lil things you do for the fam & thank each other VERBALLY every time, even if it's repetitive. "Thanks for cooking/doing laundry/etc. Say thanks to each other EVERY DAY. (And you gotta do something helpful every day too, unless it's a real bad day)
Sit down and list all the labor that needs to get done--cleaning, childcare, maintenance, etc. decide who'll do what when, and WRITE IT DOWN. I know chore charts aren't "spontaneous" and "romantic," but get over it. Having a family is tons of labor, & being clear reduces conflict
Read 19 tweets

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