October 24, 2017

Content Substitute

Miku Miku DanceVideos (at least those that are basically music videos) frequently use stock choreography downloads which essentially rotoscope the official music videos of the songs. The one above does as well, but I do like the fact that the animator added and animated the girl with the guitar. 

The one below likewise adds a few non stock elements to the standard choreography and the costumes are particularly well done.

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October 22, 2017

Let Us Hope

...that we don't come to envy the penguin, who in his passing is thus spared seeing what is to come.

The US bomber force is now gearing up to go back on 24 hour nuclear alert, for the first time since the end of the cold war. Actually, this is probably not a bad thing per se' as the current situation was making them vulnerable and of limited utility for deterrence. However, in a related development, the U.S.A.F. is recalling retired pilots to active duty which indicates sufficient unpleasantness afoot that there is a non-trivial potential for penguin envy. 

Shinzo Abe's LDP party has just won the two thirds majority in Japan's legislature needed to amend their constitution and thus is expected to amend or rescind article 9 of Japan's constitution. This ought not to cause too much alarm, as a nation unable to use military force to defend itself and its allies is not really a nation as much as it is a vassal of whoever it is allied with. However, the Japanese let this stand all through the cold war and Abe is not particularly loved in Japan. The fact that things are going to worms in East Asia to such an extent that the generally pacifist Japanese public is signing off on this now...with Abe as its standard bearer is a worrying sign.

Chinese president Xi Jinping has had himself and his platform written into the Chinese Communist Party charter at the recent 19th Communist Party congress. He had previously reversed Deng Xoaoping's post Mao policy of checks and balances via a division of authority by having himself named the head of basically every department/ministry. He is now listed as one of the 3 great leaders along with Deng Xiaoping and, more worryingly, the greatest mass murderer in history. The Party unanimously voted to remove all of the Deng era restrictions on how many executive positions he can hold, term limits and retirement age and formalizes his already de facto status as absolute head of state, head of the Chinese Communist Party and leader of the People's Liberation Army. 

In surely unrelated news, it appears that China is fitting their new Coast Guard cutters for ramming(!?)
The Communist Party’s People’s Daily made the purpose of these ships crystal-clear, stating they were designed to have "the power to smash into a vessel weighing more than 20,000 tons and will not cause any damage to itself when confronting a vessel weighing under 9,000 tons. It can also destroy a 5,000-ton ship and sink it to the sea floor.”
The rest of the linked article postulates a major Chinese Military adventure either against Taiwan or Japan (ultimately both) starting around 2020. That opinion piece is backed up  up by several other articles published over recent years.

In other China news, As part of his general crackdown on all things double-plus ungood, the new party Chairman will oversee the implementation of social infrastructures heretofore only dreamed of by the Stasi. Yes, social media will finally make the telescreen reality

Remember that our techweasels are facilitating this. 


North Korea appears to be ramping up bioweapons production. This is actually very hard to confirm and its not like the DPRK's having a scary bioweapons program is news, but this post needs some DPRK clickbaitery, so here...and here and here. In related clickbaitery, there are reports that the mountain that the DPRK has used to test its nukes is about to implode fall over, sink into the swamp and release gobs of radiation. This story seems a dubious allocation of ones limited anxiety reserves, which are probably more productively spent preparing for a DPRKEMP

Poland is increasing the size of its army by 50% in anticipation of international mischief.

Quartz identifies another single point failure mode for our financial system (actually there are just over 30 GPS satellites and 24 are needed to have the network globally accurate).

Fear not! One courageous group of Americans has a plan to make everything better.
Over 4,000 Facebook users have RSVP'd—another 33,000 are interested in attending—to the Nov. 8 event being held in Boston that is literally titled "Scream helplessly at the sky on the anniversary of the election." 

Remember that Grape the Penguin will not have to deal with any of this.

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October 19, 2017

Suddenly: A Mid-Life Crisis

I find myself gripped with an existential dread.

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October 18, 2017

Oh. We've Got TWO!

NASA has recently noticed a heretofore undocumented moon that has apparently been squatting here undetected for some time. Due to NASA's limited border enforcement budget and the fact that the interloper's arrival predated the Johnson-Reed Act by about a decade, it is not (as of now) going to be deported. 

It's unclear how the change in the number of dependents will affect Earth's Tax status. 

Art (sans text) by Kiichi

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October 14, 2017

RWBY's Final Season Begins

Immediately we get confirmation that team RNGR as a group has important and oft overlooked habits which are absolutely necessary for those who would protect themselves and others.

Good trigger discipline and always checking one's targets.

This episode picks up exactly where the last episode of last season left off, with no time-skip. In fact, most of this episode takes place hours before the very end of last season's final episode. Most of the titular cast is still scattered to the four winds but we do get a bit of exposition that provides Ruby herself  and her B team with some perspective and a new goal. Blake is still on another continent, Weiss is still de-remittanced, hunted and (unknown to them or her) en route to their general location in possession of an important bit of information
Yang's subplot has taken an unexpected turn...

...literally, she must have done a U-turn after taking that right in the closing credits.

 The only thing that really indicates a new season is that there has been another of the show's annual upgrades in quality; production values are visibly better. 

This is actually a couple of screencaps from a still pan, but the attention to detail is remarkable, especially when one remembers the "shadow people" of the first season. 

There is no spectacular opening fight as there has been every other season, and indeed only one punch is thrown. Improved backgrounds notwithstanding, the season is not so much beginning as the show is continuing, with last season's conclusion feeling even more like a midseason finale. The show, however, remains enjoyable and still looks promising. 

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October 13, 2017

I Gather My Hero Academia Has a Large Female Fan Following

I base this entirely upon the gender composition of the MMD dance parodies. 

This one is unusual, in not only having one female cast member, but two (OK, one and a half).

The show itself remains uneven in pacing but quite enjoyable and surprisingly intelligent given its silly premise. It's on hiatus now but has had a third season greenlit, which I must say is quite welcome news. 

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October 12, 2017

Perspective is Important, but not Necessarily Welcome

Looking to give proper credit for this insightful quote only yielded Snopes engaging in what is obviously some sort of cover-up.

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October 10, 2017

We're Doomed.

This is necessary now.

I thought it had to be parody...but it's actually not.

" What the actual hell?"

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October 09, 2017

5 Days

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Hide All the Archdukes

The British Royal Navy's new aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth is not due to begin flight trials until late next year and is expected to be fully operational in 2020. However, given the situation with the DPRK, the Royal Navy is now looking at the possibility of sending the ship to the area around the Koreas on short notice, before flight trials have even started. Presumably the trip to the other side of the world would be quite the shakedown cruise. 

This is a reminder that the Korean War, is still technically, legally going on (though there is a cease fire in effect) and that the war is actually a U.N. war, so if it goes hot, it can potentially drag in an awful lot of countries.

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October 08, 2017

Down With Flu: Can't Brain Right Now, so Have This

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October 05, 2017

RFS Peter the Great Has Some Fun

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October 04, 2017

It Appears That the Nonspeciffic "You" Referenced in the Last Post Was NOT Kidding

Those, in or around Tallahassee and Apalachicola; this weekend might be a good time to take a roadtrip to Kansas. 

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October 03, 2017


The yellow thing is just thunderstorms with a 10% chance of developing into something obnoxious. The item marked in red that is currently lining up on New Orleans is described as having a 70% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone. 

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75% Non-Excrable

I missed an episode of The Orville when they switched nights. Fortunately, (well... not for him) J. Greely took the hit and was able to provide  a warning to us all

Having missed that, I actually watched episode 4 and I can say that three quarters of the episodes thus far have not reeked of vomit and shame. In fact the three I've seen have all been quite solidly mediocre. 

This is a by the numbers Star Trek show that appears to have been written by the perfectly straightforward method of recording week night sessions of Star Trek the Role-Playing Game, where the house rules include "no transporters" and two of the players really just want to play Starfleet Battles, so the GM sets up a separate Hex map for them in the table next to the wet bar. 

At least that's what it feels like.

It's REALLY not high art, but I'm going to keep rolling the dice on this show for now.

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October 02, 2017

Wishful Thinking & Unwarranted Schadenfreude

There is a fair amount of concern trolling expressed at Marvel's recent sales woes and a belief amongst certain people that they represent the death knell for the Comic industry.

This is not the case.

Marvel and DC don't even NEED to turn a profit anymore. They are now idea factories and copyright farms for Time Warner and Disney to whom the budget of Marvel is a rounding error.The notion that driving away their former audience is going to have any effect upon their editorial decision making is delusional. Furthermore, these reports of declining sales are based largely on Diamond's sales figures, which are not going to show, say, Amazon sales. Comic stores are just another type of brick and mortar store that is being bypassed by direct, online sales so the sales figures for the actual companies may not be as low as is assumed.

Furthermore, the comics themselves are loss leaders. I was reminded of this by a post by a comic professional on a private board. Trade paperbacks are where comics make money nowadays.  That is, the comics themselves don't really make money anymore. (I used to know this, but haven't worked in the industry for years).

Pretty much the only people who buy those are those who frequent comic shops, the hardcore fans who are the object of the SJWs hate. Newer fans, and casual readers buy the trade paperbacks, which remain in print (thanks to modern printing technologies) pretty much in perpetuity. A comic doesn't make money. A trade paperback ordered on Amazon does.

I've talked to people in the industry who would know and paperbacks are actually selling pretty well. Indeed, the declining comic sales have no bearing on this because trades are the new way of buying comics...one picks up the trade paperback on Amazon. One industry professional described the new business model as very similar to the Japanese Manga industry, with the individual comics taking the place of the big manga "phone books" as loss leaders. The trade paperbacks here are the American equivalent of the manga complilations...that's what people buy, and the profit on each book actually increases with time as the number of trade paperback editions grows. Trade paperbacks thus work sort of like like compound interest, and in fact they are generally the way that web comics make money.

So while it may be very satisfying to believe that the editors who hate us with every fiber of their being might be forced by economic reality to not make Captain America a Nazi, the fact is that this has not hurt them at all.

Marvel and D.C. are doing exceedingly well. They have cultivated an entirely new fan base which is making them money. This is good business. That these SJWs did so by treating their long time fans with the kindness and respect that a spoiled child demonstrates in pulling the wings off a junebug, is sad. 

What is sadder still is a bunch of adults gloating over comic book stores suffering. They had no control over the editorial decisions that many of us find vexing nor the technological innovations that have bypassed them. Their demise will not hurt the big comic companies in any way and will almost certainly (given the demographics of comic store owners) give SJWs a wry smile and cruel chuckle. It will not affect the bottom line of Marvel and DC in any way. 

So don't expect multimillion dollar corporations to come crawling back to atone for not catering to us. That is the impotent fantasy of grade school looser. Instead, take some satisfaction that they did a good job with the Wonder Woman movie, and they haven't screwed up Squirrel Girl yet. 

Then go poke about and look for other comics that you just possibly might like. There are quite a few online

There's even a likeable genderbent Thor!

Failing that go out and create your own. Or send some of that comic money this guy's way.

Or sit on your duff and wait for Marvel and DC to collapse...but if you do that, you may want to get a book or something. 'Cause it's gonna be a long wait. 

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Terror in Vas Vegas

20+dead as I type this.

Someone opened fire with an automatic weapon from the 32nd floor of a hotel in Vegas cutting down at least a score of 50 people at a country music festival. 

The gunman has tentatively been identified as being named Paddock, so the authorities are saying that this is probably not terrorism....
That's not how this works.
He just shot up and killed at least 50 people. This was certainly a terroristic act. If he was trying to affect policy in any way, he was a terrorist.
If he was a jihadi he was a terrorist.
If he hated country music and wanted to make an artistic statement regarding that, this was terrorism. 
If he was antifa trying to kill rednecks because "TRUMP!" then this was terrorism. 
If he was a Protestant nutbar trying to cleanse sin city, then this was terrorism. 
If it was a Trump supporter trying to avenge the fact that Las Vegas voted for Hillary, then it was terrorism.
If it was a pro life advocate trying to make a statement about the slaughter of the unborn then he's quite unclear on the whole "pro-life" thing....and its still terrorism. 

However, if, he was trying to shoot up the crowd in the hopes that he'd hit a reptillian and cause them to shapeshift on national television thereby exposing their dire influence on the country music world, then it's just a lone nut.

If he's mad because he broke up with his girlfriend, then she was prescient and it isn't terrorism.

Terrorism does not equal islamism. Bill Ayers, Tim McVeigh, Brett Kimberlin and James Hodgkinson were not islamists, but they sure as hell were terrorists. 

 I've typed this, the death toll has gone up from 20 to more than 50. This is now the worst mass shooting in U.S. History

Good lord, there was just a report of over 200 people shot! Was he using a belt fed weapon? There's a fellow being interviewed now who says that it was definitely a fully automatic weapon. 

***A lot of this info is likely to get revised, the 200 shot could well be injured for instance (they might have been trampled) so it's probably best to just leave it at this for now. 

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September 27, 2017

This Video is An Important Message For IT Professionals

...unless it's actually a message for everyone else.

Via Scott Lowther, whose stuff you should buy in vast quantities.

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September 26, 2017

Final Farewells

More on the passing of Jerry Pournelle, from people who unlike me, have the writing skill do him justice; Sarah HoytNeil SchulmanGlenn Reynolds, Rand Simberg and George R.R. Martin.

The eulogy given at his funeral is here.

The man was a visionary, and gave many of us hope in a time that hope was the scarcest treasure of all. 

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Dropping the Ball?

The situation in Puerto Rico is BAD.

It's not getting much better as the electrical grid on the island is completely destroyed and emergency generators are running out of fuel.  6 days after the storm there is still no word from over half the towns on the island!

It is not that no attention is being paid, it is. Rather there are logistical problems here that weren't present with the other storms that hit the U.S..

Cdr Salamander has thoughts on this here, and makes some interesting comparisons to Connecticut, roughly the same shape, size and population. Also, from his comments section, comes this link, where NOAA is putting up an interactive map of post hurricane aerial photos of the island. These are mostly limited as I type this to the north coast east of Arecibo, but they are pretty scary.

It looks like a nuclear test site. 

Those of you who've been in the Southeast in August in the week after a hurricane hits have a very small taste of what it's like in Puerto Rico with no AC, no water and no refrigeration. The mosquitoes are something I don't want to think about. Dengue, Malaria and Zikka are coming if more is not done in the spraying department. 

Everything has to get in via ship or plane, so the 'roadtrip for relief' operations that have been so effective in the southeastern CONUS won't work.   A lot is actually being done, and theArmy and Navy are bypassing the demolished port facilities with amphibious landing craft. But time is running out and this could turn unspeakably horrible real quick. 

One final note, while Puerto Rico's electrical infrastructure was pretty decrepit before the storm, it was not nearly as old as much of the grid is in the northeast. There are challenges in getting replacement transformers and other equipment there due to it being an island, but these are probably comparable to what our great eastern cities would face if the entire northeast were shut down by a Carrington event or NEMP attack. As for the difficulty getting around to fix things and save people, the damage to the trees and structures is consistent with a 1-5 psi blast wave. What Puerto Rico is facing now is the equivalent in damage to a nuclear attack, minus the fires and radiation. It also lacks the sub freezing temperatures that an attack on the northeast in winter would entail. 

So don't be smug about out fellow citizens in the islands. How we respond to this will be telling. 

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