Lesbian Space Crime
August 24, 2019 11:03 AM   Subscribe

 
It wasn't a crime in space. It was a crime from space.
posted by srboisvert at 11:26 AM on August 24, 2019 [8 favorites]


Perhaps the first crime committed by a person currently in space, but launching a dog into orbit knowing it would die there Strikes me as the first space crime.
posted by ejs at 11:28 AM on August 24, 2019 [41 favorites]


This is pretty fascinating and not sustainable if we ever did start sending large groups of people to space: a legal framework sets out that national law applies to any people and possessions in space. So if a Canadian national were to commit a crime in space, they would be subject to Canadian law, and a Russian citizen to Russian law.

Imagine if this were true generally—that you were bound by your nation’s laws no matter where you traveled, especially if you took your rights as a citizen with you as well. The internet is eroding some of the boundaries for sure, but not to the extent this space law principle would.
posted by sallybrown at 11:32 AM on August 24, 2019 [13 favorites]


There is Space Internet?
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:48 AM on August 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Did they ever find out who drilled that hole in the space station ?
posted by Pendragon at 11:49 AM on August 24, 2019 [8 favorites]


srboisvert: It wasn't a crime in space. It was a crime from space.

That sounds like the beginning of a bad an awesome '80s B movie.
posted by giltay at 11:50 AM on August 24, 2019 [17 favorites]


But sallybrown, the whole point of that principle is that it applies in this particular special case where there is otherwise no existing jurisdiction.

It's not going to be true generally.
posted by Major Clanger at 11:50 AM on August 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Weird coincidence:

Ms McClain has since returned to Earth is the title of my next novel and also my band,
posted by Dumsnill at 11:50 AM on August 24, 2019 [7 favorites]


Also: Commas are the new period.
posted by Dumsnill at 11:51 AM on August 24, 2019 [16 favorites]


Moderators: the fact that this is a same-sex marriage is legally the least interesting thing about this. Could we change the frankly rather prurient and salacious title - this is Metafilter, not the Daily Mail.
posted by Major Clanger at 11:53 AM on August 24, 2019 [21 favorites]


Metafilter: not the Daily Mail
posted by chavenet at 11:55 AM on August 24, 2019 [17 favorites]


grumpybear69: There is Space Internet?

Affirmative, there has been remote access to the Internet from the International Space Station since 2010.
posted by Rob Rockets at 11:57 AM on August 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


There is space internet. The TDRSS satellites relay traffic between the ISS and NASA. According to this Quora answer from NASA, astronauts browse the web remotely over a VNC-like connection to a terrestrial computer that can access the web conventionally. (This setup is for security reasons.)
posted by Monochrome at 11:59 AM on August 24, 2019


Wait til they bust they astronauts for torrenting old Zappa albums.
posted by spitbull at 11:59 AM on August 24, 2019 [6 favorites]


Lesbian Space Crime

Houston, Houston, do you read?
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 11:59 AM on August 24, 2019 [6 favorites]


Affirmative, there has been remote access to the Internet from the International Space Station since 2010.
posted by Rob Rockets at 2:57 PM on August 24

In fairness I wouldn't have expected a cable hookup.
posted by ZaphodB at 12:01 PM on August 24, 2019 [7 favorites]


Moderators: the fact that this is a same-sex marriage is legally the least interesting thing about this. Could we change the frankly rather prurient and salacious title - this is Metafilter, not the Daily Mail.
posted by Major Clanger at 2:53 PM on August 24 [+]


Being a lesbian isn't about sex.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:03 PM on August 24, 2019 [17 favorites]


[Heya, I've had a couple of contacts about the title, so for the record I've been reading it as an amused reclaiming-of-pulp-tropes from a queer-friendly perspective, not from a prurient othering perspective. I've been in touch with OP if they want to comment or we can talk about an edit.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:05 PM on August 24, 2019 [17 favorites]


Imagine if this were true generally—that you were bound by your nation’s laws no matter where you traveled, especially if you took your rights as a citizen with you as well.

Canada already has sex-tourism and public corruption laws that apply to citizens internationally.
posted by Mitheral at 12:10 PM on August 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Ms McClain has since returned to Earth.

And with a thud. Feet on the ground is such a downer.
posted by cenoxo at 12:12 PM on August 24, 2019


It's not going to be true generally.

Generally, most of the universe is outside the jurisdiction of most of Earth's legal systems.
posted by sfenders at 12:25 PM on August 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


I for one welcome our new orbiting dyke crimelords. And I celebrate this moment in global cultural history when the most 60s new wave SF trope imaginable became stone cold reality.
posted by Devonian at 12:54 PM on August 24, 2019 [9 favorites]


BTW, Ms. Worden is apparently no relation to Apollo 15 astronaut Alfred Worden.
posted by zaixfeep at 1:10 PM on August 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


An estranged spouse engaging in low key financial shenanigans via computer? Dangit this was a lot less awesome than I have been led to believe SPACE CRIME would be by decades of reading SF.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 PM on August 24, 2019 [18 favorites]


I expect this incident will be taken seriously despite the low gravity of the situation.

Also grateful no diaper was involved.
posted by zaixfeep at 1:13 PM on August 24, 2019 [16 favorites]


Generally, most of the universe is outside the jurisdiction of most of Earth's legal systems.

Generally, but not always. For English law, section 9 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 provides that:

"Where any murder or manslaughter shall be committed on land out of the United Kingdom, whether within the Queen’s dominions or without, and whether the person killed were a subject of Her Majesty or not, every offence committed by any subject of Her Majesty in respect of any such case, whether the same shall amount to the offence of murder or of manslaughter, may be dealt with, inquired of, tried, determined, and punished in England..."

...which leads to the interesting question as to whether "land out of the United Kindgom" includes the surfaces of other planets.

(My legal argument would be that it does, because the intent of Parliament in passing this legislation was likely that no British subject should be able to escape a charge of murder just because he or she committed it somewhere without effective legal jurisdiction or process. The limitation to 'land' would have been because, as I understand it, murder on the high seas was already a crime of universal jurisdiction.)
posted by Major Clanger at 1:13 PM on August 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


There have been some space bathroom crimes committed before though.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:26 PM on August 24, 2019


Also grateful no diaper was involved.

You don't know that, dude
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:26 PM on August 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Hey! OP here. Just pointing out to people annoyed at the title that, as a lesbian myself, I don't really see being a lesbian as something salacious? I specifically pointed it out because I was glad the first crime in space was done by a lesbian. It feels right.

If y'all still want the title changed, I'm fine with that, but I do wonder why folks consider the word "lesbian" to be something pornographic by default. Like, the vast majority of my life is spent not having sex, and I'm not out of the norm on that one.
posted by brecc at 1:27 PM on August 24, 2019 [73 favorites]


Do you think she realizes that she made a small part of the future we were promised come true?
I hope so. I hope she had a self-conscious cyberpunk super-villain scowl as she hit the return key.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 1:44 PM on August 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think we need to send Suze Orman up there soon to 'financially educate' some arse and take names.
posted by zaixfeep at 1:50 PM on August 24, 2019


And mirrorshades. I hope she was wearing mirrorshades.
"Why do you have mirrored sunglasses in your personal kit Ms McClain? It's not as if you'll be going outside!"
"I have my reasons."
If she did that I'd be ok with her leet haxoring not being done against a cosmological research AI in a nondescript industrial park in the outskirts of Yangon. As it should have been.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 1:53 PM on August 24, 2019 [7 favorites]


Aren't there rights contracts that assert copyright in every possible medium throughout the known universe?
posted by emjaybee at 2:30 PM on August 24, 2019


*turns on spring reverb*

CRIMES! IN SPACE!
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:49 PM on August 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact the crime rate’s high as hell
And there’s no one there with jurisdiction
If you did
posted by spitbull at 3:34 PM on August 24, 2019 [9 favorites]


I think that title was really over the Kármán line.
posted by geoff. at 3:51 PM on August 24, 2019


Be Gay
Do Crimes
In Space
posted by Foosnark at 4:39 PM on August 24, 2019 [16 favorites]


Space Crime is my favorite Eurythmics song!
posted by jclarkin at 4:40 PM on August 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


Rather dull episode of Star Cops.
posted by dannyboybell at 4:52 PM on August 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


As a lesbian the title is absolutely the best thing about this piece.

The legalities are interesting too, I guess.
posted by brook horse at 6:28 PM on August 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm mostly glad she returned to Earth.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:31 PM on August 24, 2019


Hi brecc! I'd like to give a PSA that a woman in a relationship with another woman may not be a lesbian. Maybe McClain is but the BBC article that you posted does not say that she is a lesbian.
posted by medusa at 6:51 PM on August 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


Clicked fast; leaving mildly disappointed.
posted by captain afab at 8:02 PM on August 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


I found the title amusing for the aforementioned pulp joke reasons.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:17 PM on August 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


BE GAY
DO SPACE CRIME

posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:40 PM on August 24, 2019 [11 favorites]


There was NOT a mutiny on Skylab, just a lot of bad reporting that gets repeated. A good explanation is https://space.nss.org/space-myths-busted-no-there-wasnt-a-mutiny-on-skylab/
posted by Sophont at 9:44 PM on August 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Pendragon: Did they ever find out who drilled that hole in the space station?

Former ISS Commander Blames Station Leak on Botched Repair, ExtremeTech, Ryan Whitwam, January 2, 2019:
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) rely on the thin hull of the station to protect them from the vacuum of space. Even a small breach could spell disaster for the station and its crew, so personnel on the ground carefully monitor conditions. It’s a good thing, too. The crew was alerted to a drop in pressure in September last year, leading to the discovery of a small hole in a Russian Soyuz capsule docked at the station. This has been the subject of much speculation, but former ISS commander Alexander Gerst now says he believes the hole was caused by a botched repair job.
No space sabotage, apparently, but shoddy workmanship on a 2mm diameter hole might have been a deadly problem under the right circumstances.
posted by cenoxo at 4:49 AM on August 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


I Became A Lesbian Space Criminal is my all-time favorite '50s pulp novel.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:09 AM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


That the first (unconvicted!) space crime is an internet banking transaction involving a divorced gay couple is kind of like...wow, we are definitely in the future now, right? Even ten years ago, this is total science fiction. That's kinda neat. Sorry the occasion wasn't a little happier!

Jurisdiction for future space crimes seems kinda...jeez. Making an astronaut subject to the laws of their nation in a situation where crimes could easily be international (i.e., violence between two astronauts from different countries) seems like a problem waiting to happen. I would think that a space ship would essentially be an embassy in space, and that the astronauts would effectively be on the "soil" of whichever nation launched the ship. I'm not sure that actually solves anything, but it seems more logical than determining jurisdiction based on the nationality of the person.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:00 AM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


a legal framework sets out that national law applies to any people and possessions in space. So if a Canadian national were to commit a crime in space, they would be subject to Canadian law, and a Russian citizen to Russian law.

So basically space is like the Holy Roman Empire?
posted by Hypatia at 6:07 AM on August 25, 2019


See, this is why I keep my space money in gold-pressed latinum. You hew-mons are crazy enough to go for fiat currency; next thing you know, you'll go for some sort of space socialism and get rid of it all together. Such a primitive, peculiar people.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:37 AM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


Well, sure- bank fraud carries the death penalty on Ferenginar.

If you get caught.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:50 AM on August 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


As space crime goes, I think I much prefer this one to tossing a girl out of an airlock due to the cold, cruel calculations of a fascistic, misogynistic, editor.
posted by happyroach at 1:34 PM on August 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


I think it should be like crime on a cruise ship. You can get away with any crime on a cruise ship!
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 4:38 PM on August 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


Somewhere in Houston a short Belgian detective is getting an astronaut training crash course.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:43 PM on August 25, 2019


Making an astronaut subject to the laws of their nation in a situation where crimes could easily be international (i.e., violence between two astronauts from different countries) seems like a problem waiting to happen.

Time for some SPACE COURT
posted by sallybrown at 4:44 PM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


Wait, does this mean Trump's Space Force is going to have a police division? The mind reels at the thought.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 4:56 PM on August 25, 2019


Or you could make space justice a trial-by-battle situation, where the accused has win a zero-gravity wrestling match.
posted by sallybrown at 5:05 PM on August 25, 2019


In the space criminal justice system, the space people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the space police who investigate space crime, and the space district attorneys who prosecute the space offenders. These are their stories...IN...SPAAAAACE!
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:20 PM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


You can get away with any crime on a cruise ship!

Does that include stealing the cruise ship? 'Cause if so I've got a trip to plan.
posted by Mitheral at 6:03 PM on August 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


Lesbian (and bi/pan woman) blog Autostraddle has taken on the story from a WLW perspective.

Almost everything is different in space: gravity, pressure, the passage and marking of time, forensics, etc. However, one thing that remains steadfast and true regardless of one’s current galaxy: dyke drama.
posted by matildaben at 6:30 PM on August 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


Looks like this particular space traveller...

(•_•)

( •_•)>⌐■-■

(⌐■_■)

...brought a little too much baggage into orbit.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:35 PM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


With the recent finding that lesbians are responsible for 100% of space crime some groups are asking whether space lesbians can be trusted to abide by space law.
posted by um at 8:15 PM on August 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


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