The Thule Society lives on

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

A “trans-Neptunian object” located in the Kuiper belt was recently named Ultima Thule and then rapidly renamed Arrokoth:

It is a contact binary 36 km (22 mi) long, composed of two planetesimals 22 km (14 mi) and 15 km (9 mi) across, nicknamed “Ultima” and “Thule”, respectively, that are joined along their major axes. Ultima, which is flatter than Thule, appears to be an aggregate of 8 or so smaller units, each approximately 5 km (3 mi) across, that fused together before Ultima and Thule came into contact. Because there have been few to no disruptive impacts on Arrokoth since it formed, the details of its formation have been preserved. With the New Horizons space probe’s flyby at 05:33 on 1 January 2019 (UTC time), Arrokoth became the farthest and most primitive object in the Solar System visited by a spacecraft.


Before the flyby on 1 January 2019, NASA invited suggestions from the public on a nickname to be used. The campaign involved 115,000 participants from around the world, who suggested some 34,000 names. Of those, 37 reached the ballot for voting and were evaluated for popularity – this included eight names suggested by the New Horizons team and 29 suggested by the public. Ultima Thule, which was selected on 13 March 2018, was proposed by about 40 different members of the public and obtained the seventh highest number of votes among the nominees. It is named after the Latin phrase ultima Thule (literally “farthest Thule”), an expression referencing the most distant place beyond the borders of the known world. Once it was determined the body was a bilobate contact binary object, the New Horizons team nicknamed the larger lobe “Ultima” and the smaller “Thule”.

The nickname was criticized due to its use by Nazi occultists as the supposed mythical origin of the Aryan race, although it is commonly used in ancient Greek and Latin literature as well as the historical Inuit culture of the Thule people. The Thule Society was a key sponsor of what became the Nazi Party, and some modern-day neo-Nazis and members of the alt-right continue to use the term. A few members of the New Horizons team were aware of that association when they selected the nickname, and have since defended their choice. Responding to a question at a press conference, Alan Stern said, “Just because some bad guys once liked that term, we’re not going to let them hijack it.”

Oh, but we are.


  1. I’ve said it elsewhere, but isn’t it good we have a space program with no historical ties whatsoever to the Third Reich?

  2. Graham says:

    Your Germans were better than their Germans.

  3. Graham says:

    And given the source of that quote, what does it say that the film audience of 1981 must have been entirely calm about the knowledge that the US had pirated German rocket scientists, where now we live in an age where YouTube has started scrubbing German marching songs regardless of their lyrics? [Many of them are about forests, hometowns, and girls.]

  4. CVLR says:

    Sure, in 1981 they were calm, but that was before most people had learned of the Germans’ sadistic ritual genocide of precisely six million innocent Jews.

  5. Graham says:

    That certainly raises some questions. I was a ten year old kid in Toronto in 1981 and had heard of the Holocaust, the number six million, and had seen BW photos from the camps in published works, at least.

    Am I to believe that up to 1981 “most people” in the US truly had not heard of these events? I always assumed that claim was bogus.

  6. Sam J. says:

    The US has nothing to apologize about nor do we need to pretend that the Germans were the be all of rockets. An American invented liquid fuel rockets. That the government didn’t fund it is hardly Goddards fault. Read the link below and see all the firsts he accomplished and his patent applications.

  7. Voatboy says:

    “Precisely six million” is incorrect. You can argue that more than 6 million were killed, but you cannot argue that “precisely” 6 million were killed.

  8. Graham says:

    I don’t think the US has anything to apologize for either. And not just because of the pioneering roles played by Americans rather than Germans- also because there was nothing wrong with using those Germans. They were building rockets for the US, not concentration camps.

  9. CVLR says:

    Graham, in your estimation, how many genders are there?

    I wager neither you nor I know the proper answer to this question, but we can find out if we ask any schoolchild in the country.

    I would go so far as to say that the great bulk of society didn’t become fully aware of the Holocaust until the early 1990′s, especially with the 1993 establishment of the National Holocaust Museum and the 1993 release of Steven Spielberg’s even-keeled documentary, Schindler’s List, which (as everyone knows) was

    featured on a number of “best of” lists, including the TIME magazine’s Top Hundred as selected by critics Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel,[4] Time Out magazine’s 100 Greatest Films Centenary Poll conducted in 1995,[118] and Leonard Maltin’s “100 Must See Movies of the Century”.[5] The Vatican named Schindler’s List among the most important 45 films ever made.[119] A Channel 4 poll named Schindler’s List the ninth greatest film of all time,[6] and it ranked fourth in their 2005 war films poll.[120] The film was named the best of 1993 by critics such as James Berardinelli,[121] Roger Ebert,[89] and Gene Siskel.[122] Deeming the film “culturally significant”, the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2004.[123] Spielberg won the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film for his work,[124] and shared the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture with co-producers Branko Lustig and Gerald R. Molen.[125] Steven Zaillian won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.[126]
    The film also won the National Board of Review for Best Film, along with the National Society of Film Critics for Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Cinematography.[127] Awards from the New York Film Critics Circle were also won for Best Film, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Cinematographer.[128] The Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarded the film for Best Film, Best Cinematography (tied with The Piano), and Best Production Design.[129] The film also won numerous other awards and nominations worldwide.[130]

    Quite frankly, the fact that America managed to so totally cover up and suppress the knowledge of the well-documented facts finally revealed by Schindler’s List — facts such as the heartbreaking Jewish stampede, or the heartless headshaving, or the fake showers — for nearly two full generations following that incomparable event, is testament to just how deeply, incorrigibly, and irredeemably antisemitic this civilization really is.

    As the heirs of that civilization and its monstrous crimes, we must take up our hereditary burden to repair the world.

    Take up the white straight cis male’s burden —
    Send forth the least ye need —
    Go bind your gals to exile
    To serve your captives’ need;
    To wait in skimpy garment,
    On folk in glen and dale —
    Your Habibs and your Pajeets,
    Half-Aryan and half-wale.

    Take up the white straight cis male’s burden —
    In patience to abide,
    To check the threat of terror
    And crush the Arab’s pride;
    By open speech and simple,
    An hundred times made plain
    To seek another’s profit,
    And work another’s gain.

    Take up the white straight cis male’s burden —
    The savage wars of peace —
    Fill full the mouth of Mammon,
    Forbid the pipeline cease;
    And when your goal is nearest
    The end for others sought,
    Watch dumb and orangey Donald
    Bring all your hopes to nought.

    Take up the white straight cis male’s burden —
    No tawdry rule of kings,
    But agency and central bank —
    The tale of common things.
    The ports ye shall not enter,
    The roads ye shall not tread,
    Go make them with your living,
    And mark them with your dead.

    Take up the white straight cis male’s burden —
    And reap his old reward:
    The bomb of those ye better,
    The boot of those ye guard —
    The cry of those of tumour
    (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
    “We brought ye us to bondage,
    Our loved Egyptian night!’

    Take up the white straight cis male’s burden —
    Ye dare not stoop to less —
    Nor call too loud on Priv’lege
    To cloak your weariness;
    By all ye cry or whisper,
    By all ye leave or do,
    Our one true greatest ally
    Shall weigh its gods and you.

    Take up the white straight cis male’s burden —
    Have done with bygone days —
    The Prussian-profferred treaties,
    The status quo ante ways.

    Comes now, to do your gal work
    Through all the childless years
    Cold, edged with store-bought wisdom,
    The judgment of your mirrors!

    So say we all.

  10. Graham says:

    There are two sexes plus the possibility of a person being born with bits of both.

    On the question of gender, I’m torn between

    - the view that there is no actual such thing at all, and therefore no limits to what sexual orientation a person can have or what behaviour mode they can adopt, and that consequently they are actually unlimited and free to choose to do anything at all, except call themselves a biological thing they are not

    - the view that gender is a synonym for which sex do you think you are, in which case if they don’t match it’s like any dysphoria, a form of mental illness. The treatment measures are open to discussion. Our attitude can be generous. But even so, there are only two genders and two sexes, so a square of four options.

    All the rest, how one dresses, how one behaves, etc., ought to be actually freer if one does not try to create artificial points on an artificial spectrum and then categorize them.

    I’m happy to admit I think that is just the dressed up version of the schoolchild answer, two.

    You’re right, presuming your point was made seriously, that something happened in the 80s and 90s. The culture, for reasons best left unexamined, suddenly started to care a LOT more and talk a lot more about the Holocaust.

    Still hard for me to believe no one knew about it. They did probably put it in a different perspective as to its world-shaking importance.

    Oddly, progressives now also care a lot more about the Holodomor too, as long as they can beat the Russians with it. They emphatically did not care as late as the 1980s. Denied it until almost the last minute, and certainly did not and largely still don’t equate it unless it can be somehow used as part of some mutually reinforcing narrative.

    At any rate, I still haven’t managed to procure a small statue of Stalin for my office. I’m trying to procure one of Amir Temur without going to Uzbekistan.

  11. CVLR says:

    “I’m happy to admit I think that is just the dressed up version of the schoolchild answer, two.”

    No offense, but hahaha.

    “The culture, for reasons best left unexamined, suddenly started to care a LOT more and talk a lot more about the Holocaust.”

    Yes, indeed some thoughts are better left unthought.

    “I’m trying to procure one of Amir Temur without going to Uzbekistan.”

    Go! Let it be your Tuva!

  12. Graham says:

    Did my definition have too many disclaimers for a two year old? I could see that. A friend earlier this year overheard me talking to someone else about entirely uncontroversial work stuff and told me afterwards that I speak in caveats about almost everything.

    Cool clip- I’d read he was into Tuva but had never seen that interview.

Leave a Reply