Boys, y’all remember The Big Bang Theory? That show with the absurd premise of a really hot girl that moves in across from a batshit crazy genius theoretical physicist with two PhDs, Sheldon Cooper, and his socially awkward (yet somehow unusually sexually successful) applied physicist roommate, Leonard Hofstader? The show lasted for 12 seasons – though only the first 7 were even remotely funny, and then only at specific points – and centred around the idiotic notion that the hot fake blonde, Penny, would eventually end up with the short, asthmatic Leonard.
The entire premise of the Leonard-Penny relationship was silly, for the simple reason that sexually and socially successful women DO NOT end up dating and marrying Gammas, especially not before they hit 35. The extreme neediness and insecurity of Gammas is repulsive to an attractive woman – unless she is mentally or emotionally damaged in some way, and even then, it takes a lot for them to overcome the female-repellent pheromones that Gammas seem to exude almost by nature.
That is all before we get to the character of Sheldon, who was so profoundly annoying in the first four seasons, that I am amazed the showrunners did not write in scenes involving him getting beaten to a pulp. A real-life person who acted like such an autistic, insufferable, arrogant twat, would be SHOT at some point.
It is by no means a good show. I keep it playing in the background when cooking, as I do with a number of sitcoms that I have seen so many times I can literally quote them chapter-and-verse. (Becker and Last Man Standing come to mind – endlessly rewatchable as they are.)
However, there were, and remain, some genuinely funny moments in the show. Some of them derived from mocking Russians. Back in Season 5, the really annoying wannabe player Jew-boy, Howard Wolowitz, played by the almost-as-irritating-in-real-life male feminist Simon Helberg, got an opportunity to go to space on a visit to the International Space Station.
There is a bit near the beginning of Season 5, episode 23, called “The Launch Acceleration”, in which the various male protagonists crack jokes about the quality of Russian space technology:
As you can expect, there are a number of very foolish jokes made at the expense of supposedly “inferior” Russian technology. And, in fairness, those jokes were funny, sort of, back in the 2000s and even the 2010s, because Russia was barely hanging on as a nation. Its industries were in tatters, its factories had been shut down, its largest state-run enterprises had very nearly been sold off entirely for scrap in the 1990s, and the country teetered on the edge of complete collapse for 10 years after the dissolution of the USSR.
It took the ascendancy of the Neo-Tsar to restore Russia’s fortunes. Slowly, painstakingly, Russia rebuilt its military capabilities and supply chain, but, as late as November of last year, too many of them were still basically cottage industries, incapable of manufacturing at scale. For example, the Su-57 – the world’s most capable “5th-generation” fighter, based on its actual combat record, not its specs on paper – was produced practically by hand, for the most part, until the Russians finally built an actual assembly line for it at the huge Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft production plant.
That is no longer the case, at all. The Russians never lost their core military technologies, and especially after the FUSA unilaterally pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in 2002, they began building out new technologies that now lead the world in several fields.
Russia, not the West, has fully working and combat-tested hypersonic stand-off weapons – some of them fully capable of sinking aircraft carriers at distances well outside their ability to destroy the missile-carriers themselves. Russia can now outproduce the entire Western military-industrial complex, ENTIRELY ON ITS OWN, in literally everything needed for warfare. And it is by and large Russia, not the West, that has the ability to get people to space and back safely and at reasonable cost.
Just how big the Russian lead in this area is, has to be seen to be believed. The Boeing Starliner program, which was supposed to be NASA’s way of eliminating its complete dependency on the Russian Soyuz capsules, is now running at a colossal US$1B in losses:
It’s a sad story that just keeps getting sadder. Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner program, in development for NASA since 2014, has now crossed a grim threshold, with total losses now in excess of $1 billion.
On Wednesday, the company announced further losses to the beleaguered program, as revealed in its second quarter 2023 financial earnings statement. The company has taken an additional $257 million hit, adding to the existing $883 million in charges against earnings attributed to previous problems dating back to December 2019.
Consequently, Boeing’s total losses now amount to a staggering $1.14 billion for the Starliner program. The impact of these setbacks is evident in the company’s Defense, Space, and Security division, which reported a significant loss of $527 million during the second quarter, with the Starliner project accounting for a substantial portion of this downturn, according to Ars Technica.
Adding insult to injury, there’s still no indication as to when Starliner will perform its first flight with a crew on board.
Boeing, currently operating under a fixed-price contract with NASA, is obligated to absorb any additional costs. The company signed a $4.2 billion contract in 2014 as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, encompassing six operational Starliner missions. NASA also holds a parallel contract with SpaceX. Since 2020, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule has completed six crewed flights for NASA, with a seventh mission planned for this coming August and an eighth tentatively planned for February 2024. Boeing has yet to fly Starliner with a crew on board, though it did perform a reasonably successful uncrewed mission in May 2022.
Yet, at the same time, the Russians continue to provide their good old highly reliable Soyuz capsules to bring astronauts and equipment to the International Space Station, and back, as required. And they do so at FAR lower costs than the West can manage. Thanks to Russia’s weak ruble, the cost per launch of a Soyuz mission is somewhere around US$50M, while the cost of launching a SpaceX Falcon mission is still quite stubbornly high at around US$67M, at a minimum, despite Brolon MuZk‘s best efforts to bring down costs through reusable rocket engines and other ideas.
Speaking of reusable space gear – there was a time when NASA had the indisputable lead in such technology. The Space Shuttle was way ahead of the USSR’s own capabilities at the time. They did develop their own equivalent, Buran – but only ever completed ONE actual airframe, which they flew and tested on actual missions, before the USSR’s collapse and the programme’s cancellation in 1991.
The first, and last, fully completed and operational Buran, was tragically destroyed in 2002, while sitting in storage at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The version of the craft sitting in the vast Russian exhibition centre, ВДНХ (Выставка достижений народного хозяйства or VDNKh, i.e. “Exhibition of the Achivements of National Economy”), was a structural testbed only. I have seen it personally several times. Here is a picture I took of it myself while I was there on my first visit to Russia in 2017:
It is very similar to the US Space Shuttle in terms of design, and that is not at all coincidental – the Soviets designed Buran to compete directly with its American counterpart at every level, including and especially payload.
Yet, today, it is the Russians who have the indisputable lead in space technology. It is they, not the Americans, that have a fully functional space programme. It is they, not the Americans, who have a feasible and realistic plan to go back to the Moon, using both manned and unmanned missions. (Let us not get into the facile debate over whether or not Americans did, in fact, land on the Moon in 1969.) It is they, not the Americans, who are planning to setup a new and independent space station – and have a BRICS module planned for it.
The only area where the FUSA leads Russia, is in terms of satellite launches – actually, there, the Russians have fallen back, which rather rankles them, and that is why they rank third in terms of total space launches, behind the FUSA and China. They particularly lag in the area of navigation systems and replacements for their ageing fleet of spy satellites – but, even there, with their recent launches of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites, they are rapidly catching up.
Moreover, it is they, not the Americans, who have real ambitions in the realm of manned spaceflight – and these are not just highfalutin statements, either. The Russians have the technology, the educational base, and the industry required to do these things. America, by contrast, is a deindustrialised, financialised husk of what it once was.
just by way of example, the Russians are capable today of producing literally MILLIONS of artillery rounds every month – the FUSA cannot even produce 100,000, from ONE factory, while the ENTIRE EUSSR cannot produce more than 10,000 a month.
Even the one area where the FUSA once had a serious and tangible lead – microprocessors – is under threat. The Russians have now developed the lithography necessary to produce 7nm microchips – which is something Intel, the premier American microprocessor manufacturer, has been struggling to do for YEARS.
There was a time when people would laugh at the Russians for making such claims – these are the same morons who said the Russian military was yanking microchips out of washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, and other electrical appliances, in desperation, because Western SANKSHUNS!!!! had destroyed their ability to put processing units in their missiles.
Unfortunately, those same people never got a clue, because they never realised that Russia has had the ability to produce its own microchips for YEARS. The military-grade microchips it uses for its missiles and aircraft do not, on the whole, need to be of the most highly advanced kind – a good old Pentium 4-level processor is about all that a reasonably advanced missile needs.
And that is before we get to the reality that Russians were “grokking” net-centric warfare DECADES ago. As Grandpa Grumpuss has repeatedly pointed out, the Soviets had figured out how to link up their P-700 Granit missiles into a networked chain – back in the 1980s, long before the FUSA even figured out the concept. Today, the Russians have swarms of semi-autonomous Lancet kamikaze drones roaming the battlefield in Banderastan, and those drones are fully capable of figuring out what to target on their own.
The fearsome effectiveness of those things bears itself out in the videos that I see on my Telegram channel every single day. The Lancets have no equivalent in the West – the closest the FUSA has managed is the Switchblade, which doesn’t work. They were supplied to the Banderites with great fanfare early in the SMO, and have barely been heard from since, because the extremely dense Russian ECW umbrella over the battlefield makes them mostly useless.
The Lancets, by contrast, actually work, and constantly and consistently ploink Ukrainian/Western toys into scrap metal, every single day.
The comedy stylings of a painfully unfunny show like TBBT no longer apply. As the West slides ever deeper into chaos and decline, Russia continues to build a technologically advanced and sophisticated future.
There was a time when one could readily laugh at Russian technological backwardness. That time is long gone. Just because the Russians do not produce the white goods we use every day in our lives, does not mean they are technologically inferior – quite the opposite, actually. Anyone who has ever been to Russia (as I have) can attest to the fact that local competitors to Western software suites, like Google and Facebook, are in many cases substantially better and easier to use – without the maddening malware and spyware embedded in their Western counterparts.
We should all stop laughing at stupid caricatures of Russians as a bunch of vodka-swilling drunken fools, and start taking them, and their colossal military-industrial complexes and technological capabilities, very seriously. Their education system is vastly superior to that of the West in producing serious technical graduates, their infrastructure is way better than anything you can find in most of the FUSA and much of Europe, and their people have a common identity and sense of purpose the West simply no longer possesses.
They are, in short, a serious people with a serious sense of who they are and what they want to be. The West would be wise to take them equally seriously.
It is worth noting that the whole fantasy TBBT perpetuated, hinged largely around actress Kaley Cuoco herself. In the series, she dated and eventually married a short, asthmatic nerd. And, to be fair to the showrunners, it was not a difficult fantasy to sell, given that, in her prime, she looked like THIS:
Unfortunately, real life tended to be rather different.
Ms Cuoco is twice-married, twice-divorced, and now, at 37, looks rather different now that she is back to being a brunette:
The Wall is truly inevitable.
And that is before we get to the inescapable fact that both of her previous husbands were tall and highly athletic – the first was a professional tennis player, the second was an equestrian, and her baby-daddy is an actor.
Let’s just say that any Gamma hoping TBBT reflects anything resembling real life, is completely delusional.