March 09, 2017

Flip Flappers: Belated Thoughts

Cute, whimsical, and thoughtful horror stories are kind of rare for some reason. 


Flip Flappers is an exception, though after finally finishing the entire series, I find it still quite difficult to describe. The set-up is easy enough, Cocona is an honor student in high school and her ultimate goal is to...umm....be an honor student...



Life however, involves more than just studying for the test, and Cocona is trying to come to grips with the fact that the answer to "What career part do you intend to take?" Is not found in a book, or in any academic articles. Suddenly a crazy redhead named Papikka shows up with a comic relief robot and drags Cocona into a magical dimension to help them find...power crystals.


"Will this be on the test?"

Sadly, they don't keep the bunny ears, but they DO get time limited super powers accompanied by magical legware. 


'dem stockings...

This is useful as well as stylistically fascinating because they do get into fights, with monsters as well as rivals.

Starting off as a (faux) magical girl show with an Alice in Wonderland vibe, it goes in a number of different directions to the point of seeming unfocused at times. However, there is a story here and the show is a surprisingly intelligent disquisition on the nature of identity, the blissful squalor of a utopia and the responsibility we all have for who and what we become. 

The story does go to dark places as the characters explore their backstories but the series, despite its breakneck pace and seemingly schizophrenic tone does come to a satisfying conclusion. In the process the series stays unpredictable and is never boring. 

It is also high octane nightmare fuel. This show is genuinely terrifying at times, and the story has more in common with Phillip K. Dick than Lewis Carrol. 


It also gets bunny anatomy...wrong.

This was, however, a surprisingly enjoyable and thoughtful series and I recommend all 5 hours. It really was one of the best shows last year.

 

"We Rock!"

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March 08, 2017

Alive....

Surgery was successful, though sitting is still difficult. I get my stent out on Friday. If all goes well, I'll be back to work on the 16th. Things are looking up from here. 

After all...




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March 06, 2017

Surgery

I started bleeding again yesterday and it's persisted into this evening. This  is troublesome since I'm supposed to go under the knife again in 7 hours. 


I'll know more tomorrow obviously. 

In the meantime, here is a reminder that good weather is no more than a month away.



There's more of that sort of thing here, as well as some good, if bittersweet news. Blessed are the librarians, for they keep the wisdom from dying. 

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March 05, 2017

Status Six in the News Again

Well, not really, Next Big Future has a piece on this nasty Russian weapon that we've discussed here before


Most of the articles linked in the NBF post are from last year and the post focuses on the tsunami aspect of the weapon, which is not likely to be that much of a strategic threat. 

For those unfamiliar with this most clickbaity of weapons, "Status 6" is a new Russian torpedo carrying a nuclear warhead. Nothing new there except that this torpedo is over 5 feet wide and nearly 80 feet long and the warhead is between 50 and 150 megatons, with 100 megatons being the general consensus. The torpedo is big enough to carry the 100 megaton "Tsar Bomba" or RDS 220 physics package which was tested at half yield back in the 1960s producing 57 megatons of 'splody and cracking windows over 200 miles away.

It is designed to be fired into harbors, rendering them unuseable due to cratering and radioactive contamination. In the semi-enclosed  waters of San Fransisco and San Diego bays,  Puget Sound and possibly the Chesapeake Bay seiche effects would likely result in impressive wave heights, but the energies released by this weapon pale in comparison to what an earthquake releases and you can't just blow one up offshore and devastate the coast. 

However, the effect is not nonexistant.


Table from here. A 22-74 foot wave 100 miles away is kind of scary.

The bigger concern is the blast and radiation, even if not salted with cobalt 60 or something a high yield version of the old RDS220 would be horrifically radioactive. From the Nuclear Weapon Archive article...
The effect of this bomb at full yield on global fallout would have been tremendous. It would have increased the world's total fission fallout since the invention of the atomic bomb by 25%.
Since the effects of a ground burst are orders of magnitude worse for radioactive contamination than an airburst, the effect on the targeted harbors and those downwind is likely to be so dreadful that cobalt is unnecessary. 

There are 2 operational carriers of this delightful piece of technology, one is an experimental submarine that has one monstrous torpedo tube for this weapon. There is also a converted cruise missile submarine that reportedly has six tubes, though it is a combination spy- sub and work boat. In a year or so, the purpose built Khabarovsk comes into service, which will carry at least 6 tubes.

Using Alex Wellerstien's Nukemap simulator I looked at what 1 sub (assuming six tubes each) on each coast could do...


Assume 1 is hitting Pearl Harbor,  2 were used n Puget Sound because of the geography, the SSBN base OR the cities can be hit, but not both. Targets are major commercial ports and the most important naval bases. I assumed that no subs were in the gulf of Mexico, but they do have one addition sub to shoot at New Orleans. Additionally, certain Inland ports like Sacramento  or Albany might be fairly easy shots for this weapon if maximum fallout is desired.


..the thing that is most striking is the sheer size of the affected areas, even not taking into account the fallout. The fireball that plasmaglobe of utter destruction in the center of a nuclear blast is 10 miles across. The orange area is where fires would be started on a clear day and the lightest shade of grey is the 1.5 psi area where all the windows are blown out, the darker shades of grey has most homes demolished and inside that it's...unpleasant.

For scale I nuked Washington DC with a B-83, the most powerful weapon in the U.S. arsenal. It doesn't really show up at this scale.

Of course if the Russians actually used these, they'd be using their other nuclear weapons too, but the sheer amount if devastation caused by 11 of these things on CONUS ports is kind of sobering.

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A Magnetic Field for Mars, on a Budget

Mars has lost the bulk of it's atmosphere in part because it's magnetic field is weak and only covers parts of its tropical regions. This has allowed the solar wind to strip away most of the planet's atmosphere other than the relatively dense CO2.


Therefore, one issue facing those who would terraform the red planet is the fact that if the atmosphere were built up through human endeavors, the atmosphere would immediately start to erode again, taking thing like the oxygen and nitrogen first. 

Giving the planet a magnetic field has been considered a far more daunting task than simply terraforming it, since to increase the output of the planetary dynamo would require bringing a large moon to pull on its core like ours does. 

This has...practicality issues.

One alternative is a vast series of cables built all over the red planet and powered by many gigawats of electricity. Such a system has been proposed for Earth to deal with a possible pole reversal.

However, scientists at Princeton University, have run the numbers and determined that Mars could be effectively protected from the solar wind by a small inflatable structure at Mars's Sunward Lagrange Point. This structure would generate a 2 Tesla magnetic field (that's 10,000 to 20,000 Gauss)...whatever that means.


"That's  less than one quarter of a typical MRI machine's maximum capacity."


Uh...thanks.

Anyway, the magnetic field generated would deflect the solar wind around the planet, rather more completely than Earths field does, since the field is separate and doesn't leave the poles unprotected. 



This would, even without any further human intervention, result in the Martian atmosphere thickening on its own.

This makes any terraforming of Mars much more sustainable.

We here at Brickmuppet Blog are more of the Dandridge Cole, Gerard K. O'Neal  schools of space settlement, but this is a really neat development. A planetary settlement does have some advantages with regards to resources, especially on a place like Mars. 

(Interestingly, this probably can't be made to work with regards to Earth, because our Lagrange Points are not balanced between Earth and the sun, but rather Earth and the Moon.)

HT: NBF

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March 03, 2017

I Think...

...maybe I should...uh...clean my bedroom.



 

If ever there was an argument for E-books....


UPDATE: J. Greely suggests that this story may be dubiously sourced. If it turns out to be apocryphal, it would still warrant the word "ignominious", but in a slightly different context.

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March 02, 2017

Wah-hoo-oo!

They're rebooting...Duck Tales? This is an odd choice in art styles, but it looks surprisingly...well I do not immediately despise this development.



I...um... have a niece and a nephew so this is a perfectly justified divergence from whatever our actual format is.

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Holy Crap! This Movie Actually Got Made!

It's looks to be a low budget film and of course it's being pretty much buried by hollywood and is thus floundering in limited release, but it's actually in theaters now!



I wonder if Durante is portrayed in it.

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February 27, 2017

Today was the Day

Today I saw the doctor and got some news. For those uninterested in my banal existence, here is something completely different. 

A good end.



Art by Hews Hack (totally NSFW) 



more...

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How About...Can We...I mean...If They're Just Little Bitty Ones?




Some small ones. Mostly under 3 kilotons. 

Mostly.

Because small is relative.

Do not click on the You Tube channel, it appears to be run by crazy people. 

But the 'splodies are pretty.

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