December 08, 2018

In the Terminal Phase of Late Stage Education

The content drought will continue until both final drafts are polished and I get sleep.


However, this looks to be potentially consequential and needs to be shared.


Note that if the video begins to smoke you should back up to a safe distance and if you are pregnant, elderly or have eaten in the last two hours you might not want to watch it repeatedly. Also, it appears that there are copyright issues, so it may be good to not talk about it too much...especially at work.

Other than that it looks quite promising.

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December 07, 2018

77 Years Have Passed

It's not often appreciated that after the initial surprise, Fuchida's planes did find themselves on the receiving end of quite a bit of flak.



Today, for the first time, no one from U.S.S. Arizona is present at the memorial ceremony. Those who remember it firsthand will soon all be gone, and then people will learn of this event and the events that it precipitated from...the historians, who will surely provide our children with an approved, diverse and politically expedient account of the events of the day.

If present trends continue, we may be among the last people to learn anything approaching what happened during those desperate, crucial years. Yet even what we, (the grandchildren and great grandchildren of those who were there) know is itself distorted by time, wartime secrecy, human fallibility and the fog of war.

If you can, buy some books, (not E-books...BOOKS) on history, buy more than one on the same topic ('cause there are different perspectives).  Put them someplace safe...where they'll never reach 451 degrees.

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December 04, 2018

Finally! Someone Who Captures the Spirit of the Season.


Art by @iri_itigo

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December 01, 2018

On Bush



There are lots of memorials being written today of the late George H. W. Bush who was the last of the old-school presidents, being a patrician gentleman of considerable skill competence and civic mindedness. He was a bomber pilot, oilman, Civil servant, diplomat, intel specialist, the guy who convinced his boss (Nixon) to resign, and arguably the most successful one term president in U.S. History. 

And in that latter capacity, he saved the world. 

Regan's defense buildup and hardball diplomacy had pushed the U.S.S.R. to the brink, without firing a shot outside of a few Proxy fought spoiling actions in Central America. However, after the Berlin Wall fell, with the Soviet Union on the verge of collapse, there was the real danger that the Commissars might lash out due to spite or fear. Russia had at that time, a tad over 40,000 nuclear warheads aimed at the West

Bush did not back them into a corner, and reassured the Russians that we were not going to drive them into the dirt. There was no war. Bush (and Gorbachev and Thatcher) kept the whole thing from going to worms as it very well could have.

He also won the Gulf War, brought the country out of recession, started a big push to launch manned expeditions through the solar system (later cancelled by his successor, aside from the space station) and tried, with some success to re-invigorate the American tradition of voluntary associations (see his thousand points of light speech).

Certainly there were mistakes, and policies of his that can be debated, but now is not the time, for George H. W. Bush was a man who dedicated his life to the service of his nation and through his steady hand and calm demeanor saved the world when it when it was on the brink.

Fair winds and following seas sir.
Thank you.

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November 30, 2018

Status

November 73rd, 1653: 


At work the interminable hoards of boxes overrun our positions with merciless abandon as they clamor for asylum looking innocent and pretending to flee persecution, but they are liars, for the labels tell a different story. Many of these boxes are not innocent at all. They are from Amazon and were sent by Jeff Bezos to steal the Saturdays of every person in the shipping industry; Saturdays which Bezos will hoard to grant himself immortality. This pitiless demigod and his brethren continue to torment us with their cardboard myrmidons, today catching me unawares by putting 67.2 in the parcel's weight field, and despite the clearly printed "lbs." on said lable having the number represent the quantity of kilograms. Our foes, it seems, are Jacobins who have buried my muse beneath a ton of cardboard, which leaves my papers still unfinished with 7 days to go. I have been through worse though.

I think.

Due to a lack of sleep, I became briefly worried about my mental state this morning, but Dunning-Kruger's thesis shows that this concern actually indicates that I'm a genius. My relief is boundless.  


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November 28, 2018

Research Papers & Boxes & Boxes & Papers & Research & Boxes & No Sleep For 37 Hours & A Kidney Stone & Boxes & Can't Lift My Arms & So Very Many Boxes

Everything hurts. 

No blogging now. 
Papers first.

But here is Weiss, with a more pleasant take on the season.

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November 24, 2018

Whelp....

I know what I'm doing on the 27th of next month...



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November 22, 2018

On Giving Thanks



Art by Garibo

I hope that those of you in the States and Territories of the United States have a Happy Thanksgiving holiday and that everyone else has a pleasant day.  Remember, that today is not just about the turkey, it's also about perspective. Whatever curve-balls life throws at us there is still much to be thankful for. 

We live in an age of wonders. Most of us can reach into our pockets and pull out a device the size of a cigarette pack that will allow us to watch films that haven't haven't been screened in over a century, answer important questions, and communicate with people on other continents via a network that allows us access to nearly the sum of human knowledge.. We have medical capabilities that would have seemed to be sorcery a century ago. Most of us have access to luxuries such as refrigeration and a variety of food that a Chinese or Roman emperor would have envied. We have have largely cast off the odious shackles of racism, at least to the point that we can benefit from the glorious virtues of hybrid vigor and we stand on the cusp of becoming an interplanetary species. Despite the best efforts of censorious jerks, most of us still have the ability to communicate and speak our minds. There are, to be sure threats to all of these wonders and those who would intentionally or not bring them all down. To be sure we are not in "The best of all possible worlds" and there are very real challanges that face us, but we have so very much it is important to take a moment and give thanks for the wonders that we have.

Even though it might sometimes be hard to remember that. 
 
...as it surely was for those who had the misfortune to be present at the Pinedale Shopping Mall 40 years ago.


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November 20, 2018

Mom in Hospital (UPDATED)

Last night, I got a call from my brother (who is visiting our folks) that Mom suffered chest pains and then got a case of the shakes, felt cold and her vision went blurry. None of these things are good.


This morning, the diagnosis was a clot in her lung, which is pretty terrible, however as of now that does not appear to be the case. She's being scheduled for "cathaterization" so it sounds like they are going to do an angioplasty or something. 

I'm getting slightly conflicting reports from relatives on-scene (250miles away), but prognosis seems much better, even good as of now.

Blogging will remain light to nonexistent. 

UPDATE:
They couldn't find a blockage, or a stroke or anything, which is troubling. More tests results are pending, but for now she is released and is staying in the guest room in their house (as she is forbidden to deal with stairs.) One theory is that she may have just been suffering from exhaustion. Perhaps now she'll listen when we tell her to calm down and not drive herself to hard about Thanksgiving. 

OK, that's not going to happen. 

Anyway, she seems better.

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November 18, 2018

Mary Shelly Should Sue.

Via Moe Lane, the Library of Congress has restored the 1910 Frankenstein, and, since it predates Steamboat Willie, they have made it available for free download. 


I note some subtle differences from the book.

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November 13, 2018

Hiatus (Bumped)

 Between my final (as in no more!) term papers and the holiday rush at work I'm going to be scarce for a bit. As compensation I'll leave you with something that ought to be completely non-controversial.


BEST four armed, one eyed, curvy, red headed, plague doctor! 


Quadriri, the indisputable best in her category is by Lansane. (Who you can support here)


more...

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November 12, 2018

Stan Lee 1922-2018 (UPDATED)

95 is a long life by any measure and Stan Lee led a full life to boot, but none of that lessens the sadness at his passing


His contributions to American comic books are being remembered in many places today but they are perhaps still not fully appreciated by many. 

The Comics Code derailed the development of the medium in America and probably knocked it back decades. Stan Lee's reinvention of the superhero genre almost certainly saved the medium in this country.

His legacy is indeed profound, but he was also a gentleman. Back when I was in comics retail, everyone I talked to who knew him considered him to be a singularly fine man. 

Finally, there is a cool anecdote from his early years... He became the editor of what became Marvel in 1941(at 19!), but the next year, he took military leave to join the Army during WW2. He served in a Signal Corps unit repairing electronics and as a lineman...he also wrote manuals and training comics, serving alongside Frank Capra and Dr, Seuss.

So today, the last of the Howling Commandoes has left this mortal coil. 

Stan Lee gave us our childhoods and dreams to aspire too. He was a man of consequence, without whom the world would be a lesser place. He will be dearly missed.


EXCELSIOR!


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Learning New Things



Yeah, the Gatalympics are a real thing as is just about every business and landmark in Zombieland Saga.  


Yep. The Eycatches too.... 

I suspect the nefarious machinations of the Saga Chamber of Commerce are responsible. This show then is like a county newspaper ...right down to the PSAs...



...except that this bonecrushingly stupid show has an actual plot and is amusing me far more than it has any right to.

Next time I'm in Japan, I'll have to investigate this further. For now, I'm just going to keep watching.

 

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November 11, 2018

Thank You

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This Seems Consequential

There are reports that elements of the German Special Forces have been charged with plotting to kill a bunch of politicians, and take over the country. This would seem to be a very big and troubling deal.


From the Daily Mail:
Two-hundred elite soldiers who formed a covert neo-Nazi faction within Germany's equivalent of the SAS planned to butcher immigrants to the country.

They conspired to unleash chaos on what they code-named Day X when they planned to kill Green Party leader Claudia Roth, foreign minister Heiko Mass and ex-president Joachim Gauck.

English language sources are all U.K. tabloids at the moment and they seem to all be referencing this German Language article

Stay tuned.

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100 Years Ago Today...



...the the carnage that broke the soul of the west ended. There was peace.


Yay.
























All those who fought in that war are dead, as are most who remember as children seeing everywhere the maimed and blind the shells and gas had produced.

The second, more well known world war that this miserable, pointless conflict gave birth to has likewise seen most of those who remember it firsthand pass on. A dwindling minority know what a real war, against a peer nation is. For all of the courage of the armed forces of the U.S. and our allies, we've been fighting foes that are clever, tenacious, and murderous, but nowhere near our peers. 

The conflicts that threaten to visit us, whether our opponents be foreign, domestic or both are nothing like the War on Terror. 

If these conflicts come to pass, they will find us on equal terms or starting at a disadvantage. This is an experience that few today can conceive of...which makes the actual war more likely as there is neither the institutional nor cultural reference for what a conflict between equals entails. We encounter no large groups of people with their eyes boiled out by Lewisite...



...or their limbs blown off by explosions. Even a later generation, with Keloids inflicted by a flash brighter than the sun has passed on, with their most poingniant testimonials having faded over time. 

So there is, all around, much bravado born in the special courage that comes from ignorance. 

Today is the 100th anniversary of an armistice that ended a terrible war. We would do well to remember not the victory parades, but why people had them and what they were celebrating the end of.

War is a dreadful thing. 

Of course Auschwitz and Dachau stand in mute testimony to the fact that war is, sometimes, VERY necessary. But we should look honestly at how perfectly dreadful a war between peers is, lest we step into the breach unnecessarily as the west did 104 years ago. 

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November 10, 2018

Crunchyroll...What is UP With the Subtitles?



From Rascal Doesn't Dream of Bunnygirl Senpai which, despite this nonrepresentative frame is still gorgeously drawn and really, really well written.  

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November 09, 2018

A Spoiler Appears

The midterms aren't over!

It looks like all those missing ballots went to S.M.O.D. who will send his emissaries this weekend.



"Instead of tabloids and sketchyYouTube
sites, maybe check NASA?"

Well...
That wouldn't be click-baity at all would it?


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November 08, 2018

Look. I'm All for "Owning the Libs"...

But when an 85 year old woman trips, falls and breaks a bunch of ribs, one does not mock her exercise routine or make jokes about her injuries or otherwise gloat. 





Whatever philosophical differences we might have with Justice Ginsburg, regarding her current condition Brickmuppet Blog offers thoughts prayers and sincerest hopes for a speedy recovery. 
***********
That being said, making fun of the dunderheads who offered to donate their ribs is perfectly acceptable.

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November 05, 2018

ʻOumuamua

About a year ago, what was thought to be a new comet was seen moving into the inner solar system at unusually high speed, subsequent observations indicated that  C 2017/U1 PANSTARRS was traveling at well past solar system escape velocity, indicating it was an extra solar object. As it approached the sun it did not outgas like a comet indicating that it's either rocky or metallic. The object turned out to be red and elongated (actually about 10 times as long as it is wide). The object was given the name ʻOumuamua, which is Hawaiian for "Advanced Scout".


The thing came close enough to the sun to get a decent slingshot effect from its pass and then streaked at a blistering pace out of the solar system. 

As it moved away from the sun, it performed what is described as a "non-gravitational acceleration".



Indeed!

This was most peculiar and many scientists have naturally been trying to explain this phenomenon. Among them are  Shumel Bialy and Abraham Loeb of the Harvard Astrophysics department. They have published a short paper that attempts to explain the observed acceleration as being due to solar pressure, since everything else has been pretty much ruled out. There are a lot of equations explaining their hypothesis, which they admit is somewhat hampered by the limited data gleaned during the objects high speed pass. 

At the end of the paper on solar pressure as an explanation for ʻOumuamua's behavior, there is this single paragraph...
Alternatively, a more exotic scenario is that ‘Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization. Based on the PAN-STARRS1 survey characteristics, and assuming natural origins following random trajectories, Do et al. (201 derived that the interstellar number density of ‘Oumuamua-like objects should be extremely high, ∼ 2×1015 pc−3, equivalent to ∼ 1015 ejected planetisimals per star, and a factor of 100 to 108 larger than predicted by theoretical models (Moro-Martin et al. 2009). This discrepancy is readily solved if ‘Oumuamua does not follow a random trajectory but is rather a targeted probe. Interestingly, ‘Oumuamua’s entry velocity is found to be extremely close to the velocity of the Local Standard of Rest, in a kinematic region that is occupied by less than 1 to 500 stars.
Emphasis mine.

That is indeed a more exotic scenario.

Even without that scenario, this visitor from beyond certainly warrants scientific attention. It was initially thought that due to its incredible speed it could not be studied anymore, however,  there have been some study of the problem and the Interstellar Studies Initiative has identified some ways to do it. Additionally JPL is proposing a mission using a SpaceX BFR rocket and combined solar and Jovian gravity assist. The window for this is limited but still doable. If launched in 2025 the probe would rendezvous with ʻOumuamua in 2039*. 

So this very interesting interstellar visitor may not be completely out of the news just yet. 


* Assuming, of course the object didn't perform any more anomalous accelerations!

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