October 24, 2014

Remarkably Watchable Badass Yarn

Villains...
They can vastly improve a show, particularly a superhero show. 
Season two of RWBY has taken that lesson to heart and run with it.  The villains are genuinely frightening, with style, amazing choreography and snappy one liners... 


"Pick any three." 

Yeah...This show is not high art, but it is definitely a keeper. 

First season was amusing, but occasionally painful to watch. However, the people making this have really honed their craft. 
RWBY has been pretty good all season, but now, just over two thirds of the way into this season this show has really hit its stride. 

My only complaint is that NEXT WEEK IS A WHOLE WEEK AWAY!


"We can wait!" 


Which, when one thinks about it, is not a damning complaint at all. 


For those who want an overview of the currently active plot thread, click here: 

 

I do have a few questions for those who watch the show. 


There are, I believe, still 5 episodes to go. 

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We Have Morons on Our Team

It seems that Craig Spencer, a doctor with Medicines Sans Frontiers, recently returned from the ebola hot zone in Africa. 10 days or so into his 21 day quarantine period he began feeling ill. This sad news, is, of course, not unexpected. It is why we have the quarantine for those who are exposed to this vile bug. Unfortunately, it gets worse. You see, he began feeling ill, when, as part of his..umm...quarantine...he had taken the subway to that bastion of solitude that is...a bowling alley.



Ace has thoughts
Yup. That's what you like to see. Potentially infected people should really try to mix with as many random strangers as possible. They should try to wear as many rented shoes as possible, and stick their fingers into bowling balls that other people will be handling.
 Also stand in line for food. 

I understand, that he took an Uber home.

Good grief. 
This was a fricking DOCTOR! He had just spent a tour witnessing up close what this dreadful pestilence can do, and he broke quarantine?! To go BOWLING!? 

Dr. Reynolds has a bunch of links on this here

People gave grief to the late Thomas Duncan who was, at one point, told that he was clear and sent home, but this guy was a doctor with direct experience with this disease...he knew better. Presumably, he just decided that it wasn't going to happen to him.

 Hubris kills, and it does not confine its wrath to the arrogant. 

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October 23, 2014

Somewhere, Thor Heyerdahl is Smiling

In the 1940s,  Thor Heyerdahl, a Norwegian anthropologist (and scourge of Nazi super science) postulated that there had been travel and trade between South America and some or all of Polynesia. 



He based this in large part on studies of artifacts and cultural aspects found on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Opinion of the day was that the Amerindians were incapable of such voyages and that Heyerdahl was a nut. The famous Kon Tiki expedition was intended to test the feasibility of Hyerdahl's theory and address his critics objections to it. 


April 28, 1947 Kon Tiki sets sail from Callao, Peru

Kon Tiki was a replica of an ancient Peruvian balsa raft and constructed with no metal aside from a radio in the hut. It sailed from Peru all the way to Ramoia in 101 Though the voyage was successful, (and a huge, international sensation) Dr. Hyerdahl himself was quite clear that the voyage did not prove his theory but did indicate that it was possible. 

Thor Heyerdahl's theory was widely criticized and fell out of favor, in part because it was misunderstood. He did not posit that Polynesia had been populated from South America, only that there had been some cultural exchange between the two.  


Well, it appears that Heyerdahl, was, at the very least, on the right track.
Recent genetic evidence has concluded that the inhabitants of Rapa Nui are indeed the product of interbreeding between Polynesians and Native Americans. 

 Genetic data on 27 Easter Island natives indicated that interbreeding between the Rapa Nui and native people in South America occurred roughly between 1300 and 1500.

"We found evidence of gene flow between this population and Native American populations, suggesting an ancient ocean migration route between Polynesia and the Americas," said geneticist Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas of the Center for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen, who led the study.  ['quote]

What's more, at least one Native American tribe was originally completely Polynesian. 

A second study, also published in Thursday's issue of Current Biology, illustrates another case of Polynesians venturing into South America. Two ancient human skulls from Brazil's indigenous Botocudo people, known for the large wooden disks they wore in their lips and ears, belonged to people who were genetically Polynesian, with no detectable Native American ancestry.
 

If this data pans out, then it sure looks like Thor Heyerdahl nailed it! 


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October 22, 2014

Ottawa Shooting

The story keeps changing, with announcements of other shootings being reported and retracted. What is known is that at least one gunman murdered a ceremonial guard at the Canadian National War Memorial before walking into the Parliament Building and shooting up the place before being killed himself. 


There were reports on the radio that Canada had just increased their alert levels due to intercepted terrorist "chatter".
 

There is a lot of confusion so I'll just link to the people on on the spot. CTV, CBC, 680, and the Ottawa Gazette all have updating pages with video. Small Dead Animals is a Canadian blog that is covering this here and here. She obviously has access to the local news outlets. 

There is some speculation  that the shooting may be tied to Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzi's being given Canadian Citizenship today, but while quite possible, and likely if this is indeed a Jihadist action, there doesn't seem to be any confirmation of that. 

UPDATE: Wow! 

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October 20, 2014

Congratulations to Nigeria and Senegal!

Astoundingly good news! Nigeria and Senegal seem to have licked Ebola for now. It still might flare up and refugees might reintroduce it, but both countries got on top of it by taking it seriously and acting diligently. 


Meanwhile, Ebola Tan discusses current events with a colleague .

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October 19, 2014

Well Then....

That was....a week.

Some folks can take solace in the fact that the vast majority of people are unremarkable.

However, it is indeed true that The Force is quite strong with a few individuals.

The rest of us seem to have donated our midichlorians to those remarkable people, that they might do great deeds.

I suppose it is nice to have a purpose. 


One other thing. I've been ignoring the computer for a few days so if I haven't returned E-mails it is due to....


....GHAAAAH! Seven hundred and sixty three!?


Brickmuppet Blog will be up and running in a day or two.  

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October 14, 2014

Midterms

It's exam week. I can't really justify any time away from the books to blog or otherwise avoid studying. 

However, I can justify taking a moment to rectify (in a small way) the alarming lack of Princess Lanessia in the world. 


 Estal's eminent, elegant emissary to Akihabara and Log Horizon as rendered  by ジャン・ポポ

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October 11, 2014

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid Dvorak Keyboard is Stupid

On the other hand there are things like this, so life is not completely unbearable. 



A hat tip is probably redundant

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No one Would Have Believed

..at the end of the first decade of the 20th century that the war that would soon engulf the world was even possible. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. Then, not halfway through the second decade of the 20th century, came the great disillusionment.

Here is some recently restored film footage of that terrible, perilous time. 

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October 10, 2014

I Am Confused but Elated


Though it has some elements familiar to fans of the old show , this looks vastly different from any of the original series or films. However, Yamato 2199 was one of the best space shows of the last 10 years or more so this new project (due out in December) certainly bears watching. 

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Why the Publication of this Article is a Troubling Indicator of the State of Journalism Today

 I should have something substantive to say about this headline, but the derp is so strong with this one that I find myself without words.






"Amidoinitrite?"


The economy is doomed.

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Worthy Recipiants

The Nobel Prize for Peace has had something of a chequered history in recent years, but both the recipients this year richly deserved their title. In particular, Malala Yousafzai is awe inspiring. The youngest recipient ever, she took a Taliban bullet to the head in retaliation for demanding that women be allowed to go to school. 



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October 09, 2014

A Few More Random Links on Ebola

It appears that a UK citizen has died of Ebola...In Macedonia. More worrisome are reports that he had not been to the affected regions. 

More on this here


On a hopeful note. At this point,  none of those being monitored in Dallas have yet manifested any signs of the disease.   

There are persistent reports about scientists saying that Ebola could mutate and become airborne...well a lot of  things COULD happen, but this does not appear to HAVE happened. There seems to be nothing other than Niberuistic speculation and doesn't serve much purpose. In the vanishingly unlikely event it goes airborne, we're screwed anyway, so it seems better to focus on the matter as it exists. This short video shows what it takes to deal with the actual disease.  

Ebola is quite infectious as it exists now and even with its limits could cause some serious issues. ,  I suggest you read this whole thing.  There are further thoughts on how to protect oneself here. Both are very informative, neither is encouraging. 

So what to do?

I suggest that, if there is an outbreak, if possible, avoid mass transit, and don't shop or eat out (eat out of the hurricane chest..that's what it's there for).  In other words,  one should keep ones disaster stock current and be prepared to stay in ones home for a month or so in the event of a quarantine or lockdown. Above all, don't panic. 

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Bad Day For Borepatch

Borepatch has apparently had a bike accident...


7 broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and a bruised lung. I was lucky that the lung didn't collapse or get punctured. They had me in the ICU for almost 24 hours. The guy in the next room didn't make it this morning. I guess it could have been worse. 

Well, not so bad when taken from a certain perspective I suppose, but still...OUCH! 
Send him your thoughts here

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China's New Path

Via Eaglespeak comes this interesting piece on China's current political direction. It's only 8 minutes, I strongly suggest you watch the whole thing. 



The most worrying bit is the mention towards the beginning where the guest mentions the current emphasis on an unsavory strain of Howard Zinnesque nationalism that focuses on China's victimhood. That tends to lead to rather dark places. Note though, that there are promising signs as well pointing to less bellicose influences. 

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