December 03, 2021

Escalation Avoided

 In two separate incidents, NATO and Russian ships have been noted doing very provocative acts... the Russians sending a warship to Denmark in a gross overreaction to the seizure of a Russian merchant vessel and a U.K. and Dutch ship practically sailing into Sevastopol uninvited. 


In both cases the incidents never happened, but there was some alarm at the time as the international AIS database showed them happening in real time.


Note too that China has, ostensibly as a part of a CHICOM privacy law(?), severely restricted the use of AIS data in it's merchant fleet. That's a separate and potential troubling development.

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An Important Note for Fan Artists who Follow Genshin Impact

Klee and Paimon are not for lewding. 



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November 29, 2021

"Tapping Noises" Is This thing On?

Banality follows below fold...



Art by Sun-3
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November 19, 2021

Not Guilty! Not Guilty! Not Guilty! ( Updated )

    






Yay! Kudos to the jury, who were under obscene pressure and in genuine fear while they did due diligence with their deliberations..and nevertheless held fast.
more...

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November 17, 2021

Why Americans Suck at Geography

The meaning of words has changed such that all good people now avoid maps.



Art is by Wangxii, who normally draws art of and for adults and can be supported on Fanbox

UPDATE: My Alma Mater has responded in a way I didn't expect.


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November 05, 2021

Well, Here's a Commercial

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Simping Mishaps and Sodabags

My re-acclimation to bachelordom continues, with my home about 30% in order now, though the  airing out of the house has been delayed by 2 days of rain and 40 degree weather. I have borrowed a tote box from work and have been filling it with books to practice lifting it, in preparation to my return to work Monday. I still can't run and talking is difficult but I'm otherwise fully functional.


Because of the rain , after my workout I spent the day scrolling through news sites, science and technology channels...and watching V-tubers. Because of deep character flaws on my part,  I decided to 'gift 3 subs' to one of them. That is, gift 3 subscriptions randomly to the chat community. This digital equivalent to throwing change into the can of a street musician would be worthy of no note had I not committed some inexplicably act of PEBCAK which resulted in the Twitch page thanking me for gifting 31 subs to some wolf girl from Sweden.

"AAAUUUUGGHHH!"

I'm still not clear how I hit the 1.
That was the most ignominious loss of $154.69 that I've suffered in some time. 

However the day was not a total loss.

Recognizing that staying inside is no protection from misfortune or my own idiocy, I went to the drugstore. 
You see, today I had finally gotten my prescriptions transferred to the local drugstore, which was a surprisingly complex process that has taken 2 days. After that, being in possession of a coupon, I decided to go to KFC to get a bucket of chicken. This will last me several days and provide some respite from the kippers and miso soup I'm eating until I reenter the workforce on Monday. I don't drink much soda, especially post-stroke, but I decided to get a 2 liter bottle to go with the bird meat fried in hot grease & to add some variety to the unsweetened tea and water that I'm drinking, but mostly because it was on the coupon. 

Again, none of this would be worthy of comment had they not informed me that they had no 2 liter bottles to sell.
Instead, they had the"half gallon bag of soda".

Wat?



Why?
Has Kentucky Fried Chicken been bought out by Canadians?

Without the Mountain Dew Bottle's green tint, this just looks like a KFC branded bag of piss. This does not strike me as appetizing. Who the hell thought this was a good idea? And while one half of a gallon is slightly less than 2 liters...this ain't nearly a half gallon. And it's in a fricking BAG! Why? What is happening to the world?

In other news. I've got cable and high speed internet again, so does anybody have any shows to recommend? 

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November 02, 2021

Voting Day Observations

As some of you know, I live in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the current elections in which, is, at the moment, the focus of a great deal of attention from national pundits as it is assumed to be a bellweather.


As they are constitutionally mandated to happen every other odd numbered year, Virginia's elections are not just 'off year' elections, they are double secret off-year elections.
Turnout tends to be even lower than the turnout in non-presidential federal elections we have on alternating even numbered years.

I've been voting since 1988, and I have NEVER seen a line at the polls stretching out into the rain on an off year, let alone a state election. That was the case this afternoon. 

I was pleased to see that the dems had not removed all the Republican election signs from outside the polling place as is their habit. It IS possible that they were simply replaced, by Republican poll-workers but there was no pile of Republican election signs at the usual spot in my neighborhood. 

To my surprise, Deanna Stanton, the Republican Candidate for the local house of delegates seat was just outside the "no campaigning line" actively greeting people in the parking lot and handing out sample ballots...which helped in identifying who to vote for for school board as school board elections and candidate positions are notoriously opaque and their party affiliation is , by law, not listed on the ballot. 

In this blue district she has a snowballs chance in a blast furnace, but it was nice to see a Republican with pluck and verve making a go of it. 

Despite much hyperventilation , and McCaullif's odious nature, I'm not optimistic.

Democrats are like tonail fungus in that when you get them in control of your government they are almost impossible to get rid of. They put in place laws district borders and pollworkers to ensure their perpetuation. They also have undeniable appeal to a segment of the electorate: 
Enthusiasm is certainly very high in this blue city. 

Still, it's good to see people care enough to vote in one of these off-year elections.

There were reports of pollworkers turning people away for not wearing masks, which is illegal and was overturned this afternoon, but damage was still done that adds to the institutional headwinds faced by Youngkin and company. 

I'm not very optimistic, but in a couple of hours we'll know. 

UPDATE: It's been a couple of hours...we know nothing. Mcauliffe did not concede and instead noted that they had lots of votes to count, before walking off the stage with a Cheshire Cat grin on his face. In most definitely unrelated news, Fairfax, the most populous county in the state announced that they have had "difficulties" and won't know anything for a while. Youngkin has a comfortable lead that will soon be firm enough to establish how many votes will be needed to be found in Fairfax to catch up. 


Neither is particularly anxious to make such a call, so I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm tired so I'm going to bed, and hope I'm not disappointed when I wake up.

UPDATE:  McAuliffe conceded! Bill Clinton's bag-man and bundler, the guy who set Virginia on a path that has seen it circling the drain for the last 8 years, has finally thrown in the towel. There is a chance, however slim, of turning this around.

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Technology Ahead of It's Time

Many of you are familiar with Steve1989's YouTube channel. He collects and reviews survival rations and emergency kits, mostly military from various eras. 


Steve's notoriety comes from the fact that, being a Florida-Man,  he tries to eat the old ration kits if possible, and his deadpan commentary combined with childlike enthusiasm means hilarity frequently ensues. This is particularly true in the pre-1970s ration kits where at least some components are usually inedibly rancid resulting in his transcendental joy when he finds something like a partially edible K-Rat from 1943.

However that is not nearly as impressive as the video I blundered into today. Last year, he opened a U.S. survival ration from 1906. It consisted of three sets of vitamin fortified mystery beef, and three sets of chocolate. 


While grim, the ration was completely edible after 114 years and held up MUCH better than much more recent rations. While the newer C-rats and MREs are no doubt vastly better for morale, the shelf life of the 1906 ration is unbeatable. This ration was a much more basic bit of sustenance, intended for in-extremis situations, and can be eaten cold or as a stew in one's mess kit. It is actually more advanced in some ways than the WW2 ration kits. The packaging involved is pretty sophisticated and elegant even by today's standards, and it actually  has slightly more calories than a modern MRE in about 2/3 to half the volume. 

On the debit side, it's...pemmican and chocolate, kinda grim,  with no other menu options. 

But it is not intended to be a general purpose meal, one had other options for that, like mobile canteens, rather this was intended for forced marches and traveling light for a few days. 

And at least this one kept more than a century. It would be nice, in these interesting times, if these were still being produced. They are much more compact than the modern alternatives that are (dubiously) advertised as lasting a fifth as long. 

It should be noted that this is a slightly more advanced and mechanically refined version of a British emergency ration from the 1890s, which inspired it. That one did not hold up quite as well, but even it was partially edible after 121 years. 

Wow.

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October 31, 2021

Holiday Advice


Art by Catzz.
Happy Halloween everybody! 
Current events are like a horror movie, so instead of looking at the news, go play Genshin Impact instead. 




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Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig


Art by Lansane. Support them on Fanbox and Skeb!
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October 21, 2021

To All of My Altitudinally Challenged Readers


I hope your hang-time was long and your landings were soft.

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October 13, 2021

WARP SPEED!



UPDATE: They made it back. William Shatner, at 90, is now the oldest person to have gone to space. His post-flight talk is worth watching.

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October 10, 2021

Oh Golly

It's not coming out 'till December. 

It'll only have 6 episodes.


Still....yay!

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U.S.S. Connecticut Damaged

U.S.S. Connecticut, a Seawolf class nuclear submarine homeported in Bremerton, limped into Apra recently having sustained collision damage while submerged in the South China Sea sufficient to injure 11 of her crew. 


There is no further information but damage to a U.S. submarine in the South China Sea does cause one to ponder.

 

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October 09, 2021

Oh Wow.

I think I finally beat Pixy to the punch on one of these.


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Excellence is Racism, Bigotry is Intellect

New York City has declared that they will eliminate their gifted and talented program. Mayor DeBlasio seems to think that getting rid of a means to enable bright kids to excel is striking a blow for equality.


Harrisson Bergeron call your office. 

Neo has thoughts on the matter as an ex leftist and her take is always worth reading, but the thing that leapt out at me was the NYT articles subheading, which reads
  The mayor unveiled a plan to replace the highly selective program, which has become a glaring symbol of segregation in New York City public schools,
  Emphasis mine. 

There are few more racist notions than those implying that the act of demanding excellence is somehow racist. The implication is, of course that black students are too dumb to possibly compete.  This reinforces some of the most wicked and pernicious stereotypes of black inferiority and white supremacy.


This is one of the toxic fruits of the equity fixation the left has. White supremacists and "race realists" will point to current standardized test scores and make much the same point. However white supremacists and "race realists", repugnant and vile though they are, are not as stupid and logically challenged as DeBlasio and company in that they do not support putting people who DO NOT make the cut in various highly skilled positions for the sake of balance. 


Both the avowedly racist, the "race realist" and woke falsely claiming not to be racist Brahmins come to the same racist argument albeit for different reasons. 
 
This racist argument is ostensibly based on education data going back to about 1970, but the data is flawed. One of the advantages to being a southern history buff is that Sons of Confederate Veterans of all people is made up of history enthusiasts who look at the history of our misguided ancestors 'warts and all'. We've had this conversation with the racists who try to enter our spaces. You see, in the 1950's and early '60s African American students were, (despite the poorer physical condition of their schools) on a par with and not infrequently outscored white students on the standardized tests that were then required in the south to matriculate from primary school to junior high school and into high school. This was partly a product of the fact that African American families pushed their kids to learn in much the same way as Jewish and Asian families are thought to do today. Additionally, the segregation of the age, while certainly abominable, did mean that the Black teachers, were teaching black students and pushing them hard. One result of this can be seen by reading Letter From a Birmingham Jail by the late Dr. Martin Luther King. This historic document used to be required reading in the freshman year of high school. It was favored as a teaching tool not just because of its eloquence in expressing Dr. King's message of racial tolerance and human dignity, but because it teaches modern readers a lesson in cross referencing. King references, amongst other things,  the Bhagavad Gita in reference to Gandhi's then recent struggles in India, and the whole thing is written at such a level that the text is, today considered too advanced for freshmen...in college. However, King wrote this for and got it published as a letter to the editor in an African American paper. It was written at, what was at the time, a SIXTH GRADE READING LEVEL..among black students in 1963.

The error all three groups of racists (the white supremacists, the "race realists" and the woke,) are making, is assuming that African American educational attainment of current year is a product of African American abilities in the cognitive space. Again, prior to the currently used data set that was NOT the case, but  the older data sets were not well preserved , are not well researched outside of redneck history nerds and are not as readily reference-able online. The latter data set feels like it affirms the preexisting bigotries of all three groups of bigots quite well. The "Woke" in particular cannot abide the truth of prior African American academic excellence because the problems with present day African American academics are the result of catastrophic cultural changes that happened very rapidly and mostly after 1968, including, but not limited to, the devastation of black families through divorce and out of wedlock births leading to the sudden ubiquity of single motherhood in that community.  

So the idea that asking for academic achievement is racist is deeply flawed, and if ones goal is greater African American participation at the higher levels of society, one should look at the root causes, which are cultural in nature and better handled through black churches and institutions and not through holding back others "so the poor blacks can catch up" which only serves to power up resentment, and reinforce the most evil and racist of stereotypes.

But this decision is worse than that.

We have, in the U.S.A. a toxic and aloof ruling class that has become very insular. Whereas in previous years it was filled largely with the best people of all walks of life who clawed their way to the top, it has become, since about 1970, much more stable, based on credentialism and patronage rather than raw merit. Ironically this happened just as the nation was becoming serious about removing racial obstacles to advance into the upper echelons of society. 

That is another thing that is toxic about this decision:
It eliminates a way for outsiders to get into the elite schools that are necessary to enter the new aristocracy. These gifted and talented programs were a way for ANYONE of any race, who was smart enough, to move into the program, get out of terrible schools and move on to big name universities. Eliminating this rout not only slams the door in the face of poor kids, it removes competition from the children of the elite, making out pernicious ruling class even MORE self-perpetuating.

Finally there is a utilitarian argument for why this decision rests at the intersection of stupid and evil. It stops the practice of picking out our best and brightest and making them the best they can be. It stifles them, and does not allow them to meet their full potential. 

How many Madame Curies, Einsteins, George Washington Carvers, Freeman Dysons, or Sequoyahs we are loosing because of this decision is unknowable, but if this decision stands it will be vast. 


Finally, while equality under the law is a civic virtue and moral good, equality of outcome is the worst form of tyranny, and those who have tried to enforce the latter, have filled more graves than one might think possible. 


The Khmer Rouge prized equity highly, and saw to it that people who had an educational advantage were not allowed to compete unfairly with those not so privileged.

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October 08, 2021

Thoughts on China

Rudyard looks at some trends in Chinese History and their implications for the present.



I agree that the current dynamic is essentially a return to Legalism, but I think he underestimates how much communism has broken the trio of Chinese schools of thought by virtually eliminating the religious side of their life. 

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October 04, 2021

First World Problems

Comedy is dead. The news is dreadful and full of dire portents. However, if you have need to laugh at somebody, below the fold are the misadventures of some honkey ineptly trying to recover from the self inflicted hurdles of fatassery and mask mandates. 




"So, there was this box, and being a catgirl, I got in it, as one does, and then I tossed bits of my bread at those chickens over there and suddenly they were over here, and and they got really friendly and then there were a lot in awkward spots and I don't dare to move and I've had to pee really bad for an hour so... HELP!" is by Tsukasa Masanaga. Support her on Skeb or buy her doujins at Melonbooks.
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September 29, 2021

A Different View

Styxhexxenhammer is, despite reports to the contrary, not Razorfist after having mellowed out by ingesting lots of weed. Razorfist, to the utter disbelief of some is NOT Styxhexxenhammer's Hyde-like alter ego who surfaces periodically as a result of a magic mushroom mishap.


They are, I am told, COMPLETELY different individuals. 

So here is a totally different person's take on the Arizona audit.


There is more on this here and here

Again, I think the implications of the findings are consequential and troubling, but of little immediate practical relevance. I think the damage has been done and the biggest danger is if people let themselves get demoralized by this. 

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