Author Archives: cleek


I’m often thankful that every minute of my childhood years were not recorded on video.

Today, I remember the last year I went trick-or-treating. It was probably 1981, so I would have been 11. I wanted to be a ghost! So my stepmother got out her sewing machine and she and I made a ghost costume out of an old sheet.

We were trying for something like this:

It was big and baggy and the hood came out somewhat pointy…

But I remember about halfway through the night thinking, “Hey, doesn’t this look like a KKK outfit?” And then “What’s a KKK?”

Thankfully, no pictures survive, that I know of.


GenX was too depressed about having to do yet another bunch of stupid graphics about the all-important Boomers and millennials to include itself in the list.

How conservative media became a “safe space” – Vox

Sean Illing, at Vox, interviewed conservative pundit Charlie Sykes. Sykes has just started a new conservative web site that aims to publish “independent, non-Trumpian conservative voices … thoughtful, nontribal conservatism”. One bit rang a little bell with me.

Sean Illing
How can conservatism as a viable political philosophy survive this era? What does it have to become?

Charlie Sykes
I honestly do not know the answer to that question. I think it’s going to take a very, very long time for conservatism to wipe the stain of Trumpism off — and it may not be able to. In the long term, I think conservatism will always have a place as a moderator of radical change. Its real heart and soul is in reacting to destabilizing changes, as opposed to being a mainly positive ideology.

Oh, indeed.

All through it, Sykes sounds very pessimistic about the future of rational, principles-based conservatism. And describes his new venture as a “leap of faith”.


But I suspect that the whole project of creating a conservative intellectual infrastructure might have run its course. I hope I’m wrong about that, but I’m just not sure. Maybe the one good thing about the current mess is that it’s forcing conservatives to rethink their dogmas and really question what’s going on.

Whatever form of conservatism emerges out of this will not be the conservatism of Ronald Reagan or the libertarianism of Milton Friedman. It will look different and hopefully be more responsive to the actual needs of the real world, without the sort of ugly bigotry we’re seeing now. It’s also possible that the conservative movement and the GOP will just become a white-identity party, in which case I think we’re doomed.

Sean Illing
That seems to be the most likely course, no?

Charlie Sykes
I think so, but we’re hoping at the Bulwark to stand in opposition to this and say, “We’re not going along for this.” We’re hoping to salvage what we can, because the next couple of years are truly pivotal, and we need all the rationality we can get.

If I was as pessimistic about something as Sykes seems to be, I don’t know if I’d start a new business founded on it.

Thawing Captain America

Via wil wheaton

Did they ever reveal how Captain America was thawed? Because I’m picturing a bunch of Shield agents with hair dryers and I don’t think that’s quite right.

I don’t think they’d want to microwave him so hair dryer is really the only remaining option. That’s how I’d do it.
Do you have a sciency way to accomplish this task?

Well, let’s see.

To thaw a 1.5 metric ton colossal squid frozen in a block of ice (the only way the fishermen who trawled the thing in could bring it home before it went bad), scientists put it in a big vat of brine just above 0 Celsius/32F. That allowed the fresh water to melt while still keeping the squid as cold as possible. Essential, since for a giant corpse with tentacles, certain parts are bound to thaw days before others and could become quite rotten before the rest comes out of the ice block if you’re not careful.

HOWEVER Captain America was still alive, which complicates things. On the other hand, even supersoldiers are significantly smaller than this record-setting colossal squid. This helps thaw logistics somewhat.

Much like the squid, Captain America would have to be kept at a consistent temperature throughout his body in order to be thawed successfully. If his extremities were to thaw more than a minute or two before his heart and lungs were thawed and reactivated, the tissue wouldn’t have any oxygen and would quickly die. What a shame to bring back Steve Rogers only to have him be the poster boy for gangrene. Brain tissue becoming metabolically active before the cardiovascular system began functioning would be even more disastrous— possible permanent brain damage.

And the GH-325 project was born

To keep his temperature as equal as possible across his entire body, something like the squid brine or (more likely) an antifreeze solution would be used. Immerse the Capsicle in brine until the entire unit is within a degree or two of thawing* to begin Phase II.

*Note that due to presence of salts, fats, protein, etc, the freezing point of meat is actually 28-29F. Apologies to non-US readers, sadly I only work with American meat and don’t know the freezing point of corpses/beef in Sane Country Units. That being said, Steve Rogers is 100% American meat. Fahrenheit shall be considered the appropriate unit for this project.

At the thawing point, it’s important to consider life support functions. I don’t know how fast human tissue uses up oxygen at refrigerator-range temperatures, but I’m going to assume that the sooner you have oxygen circulating the better. A heart-lung machine would be needed to oxygenate and move the blood around for a while before the heart gets started back up.

Meanwhile, because Captain America’s last un-frozen moments were spent deep underwater, there may be decompression issues at play. Whatever gas bubbles may have been present in his tissue are currently frozen in place, but when he thaws they can move about and create embolisms —> the bends. Better put him in a hyperbaric chamber just in case.

Since Captain America regained consciousness in a recovery room rather than during the thaw process, it may be safe to assume that he was sedated and/or placed in a drug-induced coma during thaw.

So at this point we’ve got a giant bathtub of brine, a heart-lung machine, oxygen canisters, lots of drugs, plus all the necessary monitoring equipment all inside a hyperbaric chamber. After thawing the antifreeze bath could be replaced with gradually warming water or saline solution in order to bring Captain America back up to normal body temperature. So many machines! This is US medicine at its finest.

Forced warm air blowers (hairdryers) are needed after Captain America is fully thawed, organ systems are reactivated, and he is brought back to normal body temperature. At this point it becomes necessary to dry and style Captain America and put him in period-appropriate jammies to sleep it off in a vintage hospital room. If you think hearing the wrong baseball game tipped him off fast, you should see him wake up with bad hair.