Bleats

NASA Has Cancelled Their First All-Woman Spacewalk Because They Didn't Pack Enough Lady-Spacesuits

Honestly, NASA, aren't you meant to be all about attention to detail?

To celebrate Women’s History Month NASA came up with a nifty plan – the first all-dame spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

It would be a history making moment for this coming Friday, celebrating the growing number of not-dudes in the planet’s best known space organisation.

Anne McLain and Christina Koch – who are busily orbiting us even as you read this – would leave the capsule and float meaningfully in our uppermost atmosphere because… look, now isn’t the time to go into why the ISS isn’t technically in space, the point is that it was going to be a moment beautifully illustrating how far we have come in addressing STEM-related gender inequality.

And now it’s not happening for a reason that absolutely sums up the sort of blind spots and structural sexism which women face: they only have one lady-sized space suit up there.

Yes, it turns out that no-one thought to ensure that there were adequate “medium” torso shields because, as ever, the default assumption is bloke.

Also, just to be clear: the spacewalk wasn’t purely sympbolic: they’d be installing lithium-ion batteries for the space station’s solar arrays. And Koch will still be doing that on Friday, only accompanied by one of her more wang-possessing colleagues rather than McClain.

And it’s embarrassing, sure, but the space-lookin’ biz has a rich history of not being entirely across what these weird non-men are.

Back in the sixties the few female astronomers working in the US were blanket denied access to the Palomar telescope on the grounds that there was only one toilet on site, which men used, and that women couldn’t possibly use the same one. It wasn’t until future discoverer of dark matter Vera Rubin made, ahem, a stink about it that they flushed the policy.

And who could forget the well-meaning NASA tech who politely asked Sally Ride, the first American woman to go into space, if 100 tampons would be enough for her seven day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983.

Anyway, we have every confidence that one day NASA will sort out its unconscious sexism and finally be able to boldly go where no man has gonGODDAMMIT IT’S EVEN MORE ENTRENCHED THAN WE THOUGHT.

Aliens Are Not Visiting Earth No Matter What Blink-182's Ex-Guitarist Reckons

Remember when the History Channel did educational programming? They apparently don't either.

Aliens are not visiting Earth.

OK, let’s temper that slightly: there’s no evidence that aliens have visited Earth, and evidence that things are there are usually pretty easy to find. This is why we can be pretty sure that elephants exist and that Bigfeet do not.

This lack of evidence has not stopped former Blink-182 guitarist, Angels and Airwaves guitarist and alien-in-believer Tom DeLonge making a new TV series arguing that flying saucers are living and working among us.

That series is Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation™ (and yes, that trademark symbol is part of the title). It’s the sort of conspiracy theory garbage which used to be reserved for the internet but is now apparently the a nifty idea that makes History go “yeah, a six part series about what you reckon the US government is hiding, let’s do that.”

The show draws heavily on To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science, DeLonge’s foundation for looking at the spaceships and martians, and reportedly involves interviewing a bunch of people from its staff about what they reckon is a secret government conspiracy to hide the existence of UFOs and the shady (read: largely fictitious) history of the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

And sure, shows about how the US government are in cahoots with the space martians is hardly new. But honestly, is there anyone on the planet who thinks that Donald Trump wouldn’t announce the government have had alien contact – especially if he could point out that Barack Obama kept it secret? It’s amazing he hasn’t made that claim regardless, now we think about it.

Mind you, DeLonge could do with the exposure: reportedly his To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science is in the red to the tune of over US$37 million. Maybe they should get into more serious work, like mermaid wellness.

And look, contempt for this sort of silliness aside, it’s entirely likely that there’s life elsewhere in the universe (hell, there might yet be life in our own solar system and we should therefore be sending probes to Europa and Enceladus ASAP!). After all, the universe is a big place full of the same stuff as made life here on our little blue-green rock.

But given how freakin’ large the distances between stars are, the hard limit that physics puts on how fast anything can go, the sheer vastness of cosmic time and the fact that sophisticated life forms that have evolved on planets are wildly unsuited to living in space (as we keep discovering with the many things that go wrong with humans when we send them off-planet), the idea that there are things sneakily visiting a hard to get to planet deep in a star’s gravity well seems like the fantasies of a man who grew up thinking the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in Star Wars was shot on location.

Stop encouraging him, History Channel. You used to be better than that.

The Britney Spears Musical Is Feminist Philosophy Wrapped In A Gloriously Bonkers Plotline

Finally, a musical theatre experience unpacking the gender assumptions underpinning Work Bitch.

Jukebox musicals have meant big bucks ever since Mamma Mia and We Will Rock You first asked the profitable question “how can we make theatre for people that don’t like theatre?”

And thus it was only a matter of time before someone thought of slapping a bunch of Britney Spears songs together and stringing some sort of a plot around it.

The musical has zero to do with Spears’ life and career, mind. And that’s not entirely unusual – the Seekers’ jukebox musical Georgie Girl was mainly an expansion of the titular song, making up for the fact that the Seekers’ rise and fall was one of the least drama-filled in music history – but Once Upon A One More Time gets bonus points for being ludicrously ambitious.

Because who among us has listened to Brit and not thought “hey, this reminds me of fairytale heroines and also second-wave feminism”?

It centres around a book club held by Snow White, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, who are handed Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique by a Fairy Godmother. And… um, then Spears ensues, presumably?

In any case, it’s awesomely left of centre take on the material and is set to open in Chicago in December (replacing a slated Michael Jackson jukebox musical which has been deep-sixed for all the reasons you assume) before hitting Broadway.

And it had better come to Australia, dammit. Frankly, we can’t wait to see what we assume is subtitled Oops… I Allowed Male Voices In Authority To Define My Experience As A Female Again.

And you just know that scene with Toxic is going to write itself.

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