July 25, 2014

100 Years Ago Today

Austria-Hungary turned down a Russian proposal to extend the deadline on the terms previously presented to Serbia. Serbia, to everyone's astonishment, agreed to nearly all the humiliating demands by 5:58pm on the 25th. However they did not accede to the demand that Austria-Hungary be given legal jurisdiction and arrest powers inside Serbia's border. Their response was otherwise humble to the point of groveling. At 6:30pm, the Austrio-Hungarian  consulate evacuated their embassy in Belgrade. Taking the hint, the Serbs voted on, and their monarch signed orders for a full emergency mobilization. Most of their government then abandoned the capital and relocated to the more defensible city of Nish. 


It should be noted that Germany's Kaiser was on vacation during this time, golfing cruising on his yacht and was only gradually beginning to understand the gravity of the situation. Likewise, Franz Joseph returned from his retreat where he had been since the funeral of his nephew. He was 84...in 1914. Though he was aware of the negotiations with Germany and the seriousness of the Russian assurances of their Serb allies, he was reportedly quite surprised at the harsh language of the ultimatum sent to Serbia by his ministers. 


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July 24, 2014

Well THAT was an Amusing 15 minutes.

RWBY is back and is simulcasting on Crunchyroll.


"Yay! We're back!"

The episodes are a bit longer this time around (14:45 with credits) and they really have upped the production values. There is also quite a bit of action, though not at ALL what I'd expected. 

We do learn a few important things.
The preview trailer is somewhat misleading.
Soda cans in Vale are NOT made out of aluminum. 
It's strongly implied that Blake is in a lot more trouble than has been apparent. 
Turkey and scallions do not go together as well as I'd have thought. 


The voice acting is still uneven, but Jessica Nigiri does a very good job as Cinder (there was some speculation that her brief scene in last season's stinger was a fluke). 

Also, as a catch phrase, "Don't play with your food." is wanting.

However, this was, all in all, a very promising kickoff for the second volume. This is definitely on the watch list. 

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I Had NO Idea This Thing Was Real

Do want!




I'd seen this thing in some TV shows but I'd always thought it was a special effect. 

The Williams WASP was designed to meet an Army  from the 1970's.  It actually fulfilled all the requirements but twas not adopted as the Army beleatedly decided that the requirements were ill-considered. 


Good grief!  With a range of 30 miles it's really not all that much more impractical than a motorcycle for commuting. It can fly above traffic and the fact that it flies means it's significantly less dorky than a Segway.

This is the future we were denied!

Someone must make this happen. 

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If Nightmare Fuel is a Nonrenewable Resource

...then perhaps we are pumping it at such a rate that our reserves will soon be exhausted!


This story (which i got via  Ace) has me especially enamored of the 'peak nightmare fuel' idea. 

 Eight families in San Clemente have been targeted in a disturbing pattern under investigation by authorities: porcelain dolls have been left at their homes resembling young girls who live there. 

Yikes!

The horror novel writes itself. 

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Oh. I misunderstood.

I saw an excerpt from an opinion piece this morning and assumed it was satire.




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100 Years Ago Today

In response to Austria-Hungary's ultimatum to Serbia and reports that Austria-Hungary was mobilizing, the Russian Duma ordered it's army to quietly begin preparations for a full mobilization. 

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July 23, 2014

H.O.N.F.

There are some headlines that one simply does not want to encounter, due to the fact that with any actual consideration they will make one's blood run cold.


To wit...


more...

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100 Years Ago

On July 23 1914 Austria-Hungary's head diplomat in Belgrade presented a series of demands to the Serbian government. At the same time the Austrian Army was ordered to 'open the War Book' that is, begin the mobilization of reserve units for war. Although Russia had sworn to defend their Serb allies, Germany had assured Austria Hungary that they would back them against Russia. Austria-Hungary was unaware that Germany's plan to help defend Austria-Hungary's northeastern frontier involved an invasion of France through Belgium. In fairness to the Austria-Hungarians. this method of bolstering them against Russia was admittedly somewhat non-intuitive.

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While it is Certainly Good to Have a Goal


...in some cases it may be better to continue muddling through life until one can settle on a goal that is both attainable and productive. 

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July 22, 2014

Meanwhile, In China

Quite possibly less annoying than ants.

Two of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes bring us the latest in entomology news from China....


"Don't just stand there! Close the window!"
..
...
Oh. It appears they are having some minor difficulties with their discovery, so let us reassure you that these huge Dobsonflys are basically harmless. In fact, they've been know to the locals for some time and are recognized as a leading indicator of high water quality, which means that if current trends continue these magnificent animals probably won't be startling anybody for much longer. 

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The Current Ghibli Film: "When Marnie Was There"

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Ants

After some introspection and consideration, I have come to the conclusion that I dislike them with substantial ardor.



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July 21, 2014

95 Years Ago Today

Wingfoot Air Express was a passenger dirigible that ran a route between Grant Park in Chicago and the White City Amusement Park south of the city. 




The dirigible was one of several aircraft that operated from a short airstrip and a pier in the big urban park, which, being right next to The Loop, provided air service directly to and from downtown Chicago. 



On July 21st 1919 this all came to an end when, shortly after takeoff from Grant Park, Wingfoot Air Express caught fire directly over the Chicago Loop. The crew and passengers attempted to use their parachutes, but only the captain and mechanic survived as the dirigible exploded, fouling the other chutes in the collapsing rigging or setting them afire. 

However the disaster was about to get worse. Even given the fact that a position directly over the Chicago Loop is a most unfortunate place for an aircraft to explode, what happened next was improbably bad. The flaming dirigible crashed directly through the skylight of the Illinois Trust and Savings Building, rupturing the ships gas tank and spewing flaming gasoline all over the interior of the building. 



Pic and caption via


37 bank employees and customers were burned, hit by debris or both. 10 of them died.

The reaction from the city was swift. All air operations out of Grant Park and over the city were banned.  An airfield was built outside of town but Chicago's unique and growing air commuter businesses were all shut down as a result of the tragedy.

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July 20, 2014

A Caption With Worrisome Implications

New Jersey has a snake problem of a sort that is, hype notwithstanding, fairly unremarkable. However, this caption is troubling.




I find that I'm far more alarmed about the 30-40 foot tall man holding it. 

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45 Years Ago


How far have we come as a nation since that triumph 45 years ago?
Well, for one thing, here is big chunk from the sidebar of the YouTube page linked above. 


A dark age does not come about because a society simply can't do something they did before. That can happen because of a setback, changing conditions or hard times. Rather, a dark age is when the members of a society no longer believe that the society's great accomplishments could have possibly been achieved by mortals. 

Dark ages are bad things.

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