(Tier 1) Adventures in ACE XXII: Full of Hot Air

Oh, joy, a new PACE! We’re starting Science PACE 1088, which is all about the atmosphere. After seeing how A Beka and BJU murtilated atmospheric info, I can only imagine how bad this is gonna be. I find my eyes trying to flee every time I aim them at the Table of Contents.

I’m already appalled. I mean, the list of things we’re to learn about the atmosphere is basic, but remember, every PACE also forces you to sing a terrible hymn and memorize a Bible verse. This time round, our theme is being flexible. What they mean by that is folding under the pressure to conform to some right-wing jackass’s interpretation of God’s supposed will.

Image shows a drawing of a fragment of parchment with musical staffs in the upper left corner. The song within is titled, "Flexible": My way may be a good way, but that is not th ereal test. I must be ready to change / today to the way God says is best.
Song from the Contents page of ACE PACE 1088.

Ye gods.

And here is our learning goal. In addition to memorizing some (probably largely incorrect) facts about the atmosphere, the student is

To learn to set my desires on Godly things so that I can accept changes made by others – to be flexible.

Like I said: fold to your authorities’ will, or be crushed.

For our verse, we’re supposed to memorize Colossians 3:2. Does it have anything to do with the atmosphere or flexibility? Nope. Of course not.

And before we can get on with the atmosphere, we have to survive a full-page ACE cartoon. I’m pretty excited about this one. For once, females outnumber males in the first panel. Don’t get too impressed, though: it consists of a girl asking her father for permission to go look at the hot air balloons in the distance. Becky, sweetie, your mom is standing right there. Ask your mom. Your mom is just as capable of granting permission as your dad.

Of course, we can’t have any smart little girls in ACE world. Becky has to be portrayed as a blithering fool, asking why the men are burning the balloons. I’d give her a pass for being a little kid, but she’s about the age I was when I already knew what those burners were for and could tell the difference between something being set on fire and something not in flames. Plus, she mistakes actual ants for people.

Image is two panels from the cartoon. In the first, we see a portion of a hot air balloon basket. A young girl with pigtails is pointing over the edge, saying, "Oh, I'm so excited! Look at how small those people are. They look like ants." Beside her, a woman with shoulder-length reddish-brown hair is thinking a question mark. In the second panel, the perspective has pulled back to show the hot air baloon is anchored to a grassy field. The woman is saying, "Oh, Becky! Those are ants. We haven't left the ground yet!"
Portion of cartoon from ACE PACE 1088.

This panel leads us to the question: at what age do fundamentalist Christians have their sense of humor surgically removed?

Also, I’m a bit creeped out that apparently women are all supposed to have the same hair style after puberty. And they appear to be required to possess absolutely no knowledge of how hot air balloons work so the men can mansplain it to them and thus feel smarter than everyone.

After that travesty of a comic, Section One begins, which means we get a list of vocabulary words. It’s remarkably free of Biblical bullshit. But one of the words we’re supposed to learn for atmospheric science is volleyball. Trés science.

We’re then told about “The Atmosphere’s Make-Up.”

“The air contains a certain proportion of water vapor, as well as some small solid particles,” commented Mr. McMercy.

And here we see why the women have to downplay their own intelligence around the menfolk.

Sister Sandy only got part of the memo, though, and says, “Isn’t the whole atmosphere composed of the same gasses that are in the balloon?” But then she says she doesn’t understand how hot air rises in cold air, so Dad McMercy is able to bloviate about that while he recovers from looking like an ignorant ass. Unfortunately, he fumbles his recovery: he says “equal amounts of hot and cold air do weigh the same,” which, if you’re measuring by volume, ain’t quite true. A cubic foot of cold air is heavier than the same volume of hot air because it has got more molecules in it. Bad explanation, Dad. Define your measurements!

Dad McMercy sneaks in a backpedal on what air consists of while he’s talking about gasses. He gets the composition of the atmosphere basically correct. He even lets us know that humans pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere whenever we burn carbon-containing stuff – but it only makes up a teeny percentage of the atmosphere, so it’s totes okay. Also, hydrogen is pretty much only useful to us Earthlings “when it combines with oxygen to form water, since water is a part of every living thing.” I guess all its other uses don’t exist in ACE World.

Brother Bill has to show off his superior learnings by telling us “the rare gasses are called ‘rare'” because, basically, they’re rare. We’d never have figured that out on our own. Then he carefully explains how the restaurant’s neon sign (which literally says “restaurant”) is made, including that the tubes are “bent or connected to form the letters in the word ‘restaurant.'” My god, y’all, we’ve got a real genius over here.

They try to tell us Becky isn’t bored by all this, but she completely is. She’s watching the ground and then asking the balloon dood if they’ll float forever if the tether breaks. I feel you, Becky.

I just want to take a moment to note: per the drawings in the cartoon, they’re not sharing a balloon. It’s three people per, and that includes the pilot. Mom and Becky are in one, Sandy and Bill in the other, and so Dad is either on the third balloon way off in the distance, or on the ground – unless he’s floating in the sky like a genie. So all of this conversation is apparently being screamed.

Mother McMercy finally gets a chance to show off her edimication, explaining that air gets thinner the higher you go, but still has the same composition. I know, you’re shocked that they’re allowing a woman to teach! It’s okay. God sez wimminz can teach children and other wimminz, as long as they don’t get all uppity about it.

Just in case Mother may be getting ideas above her station, Sandy quickly asks Dad to explain the smog over Terra City. That’s right: they’re all polluting assholes up in here. Dad explains about air pollution and that plants put out lovely oxygen. There’s even a helpful illustration.

Imae shows a man in blue coveralls standing beside a cornstalk. A cow is on the other side of the stalk. A circle of arrows goes from the corn to the man and back. By the corn, it's labeled "food and oxygen." By the man, it's labeled "Carbon dioxide." Another circle of arrows does the same for the cow and corn.
Oxygen-carbon dioxide cycle diagram from page 5.

If we read that diagram literally, we can only assume the man is a vegetarian and the cow never shits.

Suddenly, the clouds we’re only now hearing about begin to look nasty, so it’s time to get down. Becky doesn’t wanna and asks if they really have to. Sermon time!

“Yes, Becky,” Mother answered. “Although the ride was to have been longer, we will accept this change cheerfully. God is the One Who controls our lives, and He may change our plans or circumstances at any time. If we understand that God wants only the best for us, we can be flexible and trust Him with our daily plans.”

Yes. So benevolent, so caring, so ready to cut your balloon ride short because apparently you’re enjoying it too much. And just wait til you see the caring thing God does for them next…

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(Tier 1) Adventures in ACE XXII: Full of Hot Air
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