July 15, 2018

More on Ross 128b

It appears that one of the planets orbiting Ross128 is not only in the habitable zone (as discovered last year), but it appears to be very similar in mass and temperature to Earth.

According to Wikipedia...
The planet is considered as one of the most Earth-like worlds ever found in relation to temperatures, size and rather quiet host star. Ross 128 b is very close in mass to Earth, only about 35% more massive, and is likely around 10% larger in radius. Gravity on the planet would be only slightly higher. Also, its host star Ross 128 is an evolved star with a stable stellar activity

Other red dwarf stars have planets, notably Proxima Centauri, however recent analysis has shown that Proxima in particular is a flare star that would have stripped their planets of any atmosphere. In contrast, Ross128 does have flares, but it appears that they are quite mild by comparison.

Besides, being only 11 light years from Earth and the second closest exoplanet, there's one other thing interesting about the Ross128 system. 
Late last year, some anomalous radio transmission were detected by Arecibo and seemed to be coming from Ross128. This phenomenon has not been observed again, and "top men" theorize that those transmissions were garbled bleed-over from an as-yet-unidentified satellite

However, we can draw some different conclusions using the "Discovery Channel Method of Logic"..

"Or as we like to call it, Occam's Swiffer"

If translated properly, the signal actually says...

1:  "It's too late for us! They are coming for you nex...."


2:  "Geb shagg stell'bsna ch' Tsathoggua r'luh llll, s'uhn hrii Nyarlathotep vulgtlagln hai nog nanw chtenff naChaugnar Faugn vulgtlagln grah'noth."

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July 14, 2018


Is everything OK down there?

I note that Ben seems to have gone quite...mad

It might be the heat...

Ubu..you're kinda close to Sugarland was there any, um, scorching near you?

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July 13, 2018

Fighting the Heartbreak of Triskaidekaphobia

Shortly before midnight, on Tuesday, July 28th 1914, The Austrio-Hungarian monitor Bodrog opened fire on a Serbian river fort on the outskirts of Belgrade. 

That salvo started off one of the greatest catastrophes of human history, World War One, a conflict that the world has still not recovered from and killed millions.

Note the date; TUESDAY the 28th.
Arguably the worst thing to happen in over 200 years did not happen on Friday the 13th.

In stark contrast to that, today, on Friday the 13th this cool picture of a biplane by Youqiniang was posted in my Pixiv feed.

Biplanes are COOL!

So don't worry!
Today is, after all, a FRIDAY!
And it is no more dangerous than yesterday was.
So go outside and embrace the day without fear*.

*(unless you encounter a bunch of zombies, in which case be afraid, be calm and leave the area.)

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July 11, 2018

The Importance of Context in the Assessment of a Product's Desirability


I like shooting it.
I like shooting it a lot.

And yet...

When I have to unload a 35 foot trailer full of it, ammunition dramatically looses its appeal. 

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July 09, 2018

Heh...Well, This Works

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July 08, 2018

The Feng Shui of Superheroing

For most of this season, My Hero Academia has had amazing pacing. The stakes of the characters' actions have become steadily higher as the show has gone on and this superhero cartoon is one of the few shows that has really kept me on the edge of my seat. 

This has been a really well done story in which our heroes witness what appears to be the denouement of an epic tale that has defined a previous generation of heroes. 

The episode that wrapped up that arc (ep49) was just...EXCESLIOR!1!!!

Now, In episode 51 we are well into the "High-School Kids Decorate Their Dorm Rooms" arc. 

This ought to be something of a let down but it works as a respite from the incredible tension of the first half of the season. Furthermore, these two episodes, which have been devoid of fights have had some serious character and plot development and have been eminently watchable. 

In this sense the show reminds me of the old Claremont run on X-Men or some of the books like Young Justice where much of the important stuff was happening when 'nothing was happening'.

They've also looked at ethical issues that these kids are facing; namely the unnerving fact that there is no hard and fast Venn diagram comparing 'Law and Justice' or 'Legal and Right', which, as the late Steve Ditko might have said, is ultimately The Question.

I'm sure there will be some hemming and hawing about "FILLER ARC!" but the way they are doing these less action oriented episodes actually seems to me to be good storytelling. Furthermore, while this is definitely a Japanese Shounen type of show, it's clear that the creators really GET American superhero comics.

Besides, it looks like the down time will be of limited duration....


I'm an old fart and am enjoying the heck out of this show, but if you have kids they are the ones that should be watching it.

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One Room

What....did I just watch?

Logging in to Crunchyroll revealed some new shows so I randomly picked a show that was at Episode zero. 

I perused One Room's blurb and frankly read too much into it. 
 You are the protagonist. A new project in virtual anime from SMIRAL Animation that also brought you the "Anitore" series and "Makuranodanshi." This time, the project is about 3 stories that develop in your (one) room.

From that straightforward discription I somehow thought this was going to be experimental story telling. While it kind of is, it's less My Dinner With Andre' than How I Met Moe'. It says right there in the blurb 'you are the protagonist'...and indeed Episode zero involves "You" (presumably a mute) answering the door to find Yui Hasanaka, a young girl who asks "You" to help her study for her entrance exams.

The episode then proceeds to be a montage of her being...disturbingly...Moe'. By the time the show's four minutes was up I was thinking that Yui may need therapy. There's a LOT of codependency there. 

It then dawned on me that there may be more to this show, because I never even made it to the refrigerator when a glaring inconsistency emerged:

Yui is from the country and is completely bewildered by life in the most pleasant and resident-friendly big city in the world. She's in need of remedial tutoring for her college entrance exams. She's a helpless waif...out of her element. 

And yet....


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July 07, 2018

Prospecting Prospects

Issac Arthur's video this week is on the colonization of Ceres. This one is pretty neat. I had not realized that the gravity on Ceres was so low that spin habitats could be put on the surface and there would only be the equivalent to about a three degree list to port for the inhabitants. 

The fact that sunlight is actually bright enough to grow plants and be marginal for solar power as far out as Jupiter is interesting as well. 

I'm much more of the Dandridge Cole / Gerald O'Neal school of thought on space colonies. I'm skeptical of Mars settlement, especially when A Stanford Torus or O'Neal cylinder pretty much will have correct gravity. They can be anywhere, perhaps next to (or inside) mineral rich asteroids and potentially move if needed. 

Art by Franz Blok

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Hey Ubu!

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July 06, 2018

An Absolutely Non-Relevant Post

Warning: The following is an uninformed rant about a 5 year old video game I've never played.

Feel free to skip it and go to the previous posts (some of which have zeppelins).

Pixy recently posted the old Overstrike trailer which is one of the Best. Trailers. Ever. This thing really looked fun...

In the post, Pixy mentioned that the game was a disappointment...which was news to me since I'd thought it had never come out. So I looked it up and it turns out that the game was released much later under the name Fuse and went in a completely different creative direction. Instead of a close nit team of surprisingly likable badass super-agents, the characters were re-imagined as misanthropic, brooding, psycho-murder machines in a dark, gritty, cynical crapsack world devoid of humor or mercy....

This is one of the worst cases of executive meddling I have ever seen. I have not been able to determine if Kathleen Kennedy was involved but I'm not quite ready to rule it out. According to the video, EA, the bigger company in the partnership intervened after they asked a bunch of 12 year olds what they thought of a game made for young adults and the 12 year olds thought it was too light hearted. Given that this wasn't even the games target demographic, this seems like an particularly odd decision. 

I mean seriously...Look at first trailer and look at the iron age, emo, splatterpunk, murder fantasy that was actually made and explain to me how ANYBODY thought this was a good idea!

"I sense some wild, completely uninformed speculation is coming."

I do note that EA, inexplicably did a focus group of 12 year olds for a game that had an age rating of 16. 


Looking at the gorefest that was the actual game (in the video above) I asked myself, how on EARTH that got a 16 rating...I checked and Fuse is actually rated as "Inappropriate for Children". 
Why did they need a focus group of 12 year olds?  

I note that this sudden shift in tone from fun to sick happened in 2012, when Gamergate was happening and there was this big putsch from various corners to beat the drum that "gamers were dead". And that no one should cater to them. The first trailer looks quite fun...and it perfectly encapsulates everything that many in the PC crowd find toxic (fun, machismo as well as sexy and/or cute girls). Based on no information beyond the two videos above whatsoever, I suspect that the game was interfered with by people who hated the target audience and conciously or subconciously wanted to kill the franchise. Again, I don't know, but this looks like SUCH a dumpster fire of bad creative decisions that it approaches the new Star Wars reboot with regards to the sheer unbelievability of any good-faith explanation. 

Of course that is a possibility. Robert Conquest suggested that a bureaucratic organization acts as if controlled by a cabal of its enemies. If this is the case though, this was some awards worthy acting.

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In Remembrance of the Glorious Flight of R-34

As noted in the previous post, today is R-34 day!

Sacred honor demands that we commemorate this technological milestone!
However, we don't have many Zeppelins any more. 

Also, due to the internet and the rules thereof, R-34 means something entirely different now.

Note though, that unlike our Fourth of July post this means our commemoration will be (mostly) following the rules, rather than breaking them.


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It's R-34 Day!

HMA R-34 was a British R-33 class airship completed just too late for the Great War, first flying in March of 1919. The class proved to be a huge improvement on previous British zeppelin designs. After a series of trials that included a patrol around the Baltic, R-34 was given a brief refit. 

The ship's 3 inch gun as well as the depth charge/bomb racks were landed and additional petrol tanks installed in their stead. The crew was cut to 30 to save weight.. On July 2, 1919, the ship embarked Brigadier General Edward Maitland, an American naval observer (Zachary Landsdowne) a crew of 30 plus one stowaway (a William Ballantyne ) and his cat. The vessel then sailed into the Atlantic. Late on the first day, the crew discovered the stowaway (a rigger who had been one of those ordered off the ship  as a weight consideration) as he was not discovered until they were well out to sea, he was given petrol pumping and head cleaning duty. The cat was not punished.

R-34 encountered a nasty storm on the fourth and faced heavy headwinds which pushed its fuel consumption much higher than had been anticipated. Nevertheless, despite running on fumes, the R-34 landed in Long Island on July 6th, 1919. It was the first East to West crossing of the Atlantic by an aircraft, and it happened 99 years ago today.  


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July 05, 2018

OK. Now Pele is Just Screwing With Us

Behold, a lava tornado.


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Dispatch From The Department of "Duh!"

Sometimes, as I look at the news, I get the impression that we're forgetting things as a society...basic truths that everyone should know.

Clipped from Drudge



That this is news explains so much.

Have fun in the comments.

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July 04, 2018

Keeping the 4th of July Traditions Alive



Hot Dogs!



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The Reason For The Season

With the current civic climate in the U.S. it is easy to become cynical and forget that there are a couple of notions that our country enshrines which are worth celebrating and frankly worth fighting for.

Freedom of speech allows us to learn, exchange ideas understand each other and effect change without violence. When we added the first set of amendments to the Constitution it was quickly decided that the first 10 would be an affirmation of rights and 2 procedural amendments were put to the side to make freedom of speech and worship the very first on the list. 

So here is Free Speech Tan drawn by some fellow named ATOMIx.

Click Here For Supah Size

Now you may ask; "Why, during this celebration of Americana, are we posting some anime chick with Kanji Moon Runes on her shield?"    

Well, in addition to being a feature in one of our oldest banners, this was once the 'mascot' of a free speech organization called Yes to Freedom. You see, Free Speech is not popular nowadays, and if one advocates for free speech across the board one inevitably defends the expression of opinions that may offend...and that defense can get one shut down  and have ones website hijacked to sell male enhancement products and make my malware alert go off. So while we won't link to them, we'll mourn them and accept their 2-D refugee  as our own. (Because that's what America does...'cause we're awesome)

In America, we still have this right. And that's damned well worth celebrating.

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It's Been 242 Years

Let us not muck it up now.


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July 03, 2018

'A Jewel Thief Has No Right to His Jewels'

That is an argument I just heard on TV a few minutes ago.

A reasonable notion on its own, in the context it was said, it is troubling. 

This involves politics so I'll discuss it further below the fold.

For those who are repelled by such things and heed that warning, here is something that is pleasant and completely, refreshingly unrelated...

... as long as one pays no mind to the lyrics.


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Meawhile, Off the Coast of Antarctica

One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of 2-D Science Babes ponders Apple updates...

...and alerts your humble blogger to what turned out to be in Every. Single. Screencap. 

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It's Important in These Trying Times to Maintain Some Perspective

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