October 13, 2019

Lion Rock is This Week's Suribachi

Note the protective plastic sheets being used to prevent the statue from being dinged by their huge brass balls.

I'm sure it will be removed posthaste, but the Hong Kong activists, acting in the dead of night, managed to get their 'Lady Liberty' Statue to the peak of Lion Rock.

Previously the statue, which had been sculpted back in August, had resided at the Benjamin Franklin Center University Avenue.

The fact that there is a Benjamin Franklin Center in Hong Kong is surprising, a bit awesome, and should be cause for some reflection on this side of the pond. We have a lot to live up to.

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October 12, 2019

The Art of Math

God's Blessing on this Wonderful World!  was first published in 2012. Therefore, as SakimiChan so expertly points out here, everyone's favorite explodemologist is 20 now.

Support Sakimichan's art on Patreon and Gumroad!

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Answering Readers Questions: Reactionism

In the comments to an earlier post someone ( I think it was Borchardt?) asked the following question...

"Reactionism Clauses"? first I've heard the term. What's that?

Well, after several hours over a couple of days I find myself devoid of any hyperlinkable citations aside from this one, linked in an old post.

This is vexing, as I KNOW they exist, or existed because I've personally read them. They were "a thing" about 12-18 months ago.


Essentially, "reactionism" is a word that exists in the English language but is scarcely used.  It shows up in the Terms Of Service for companies that have recently been bought by or received large investments from Chinese companies.

Generally a reactionism clause will appear in the following context:

' word salad of things that one should not engage in' any publication, information or document with content of reactionism.

As I understand it (or did before the articles, posts, and tweets I read a year or so ago went away)when one sees those boldfaced words, one is screwed! One had best get very big padded snow shoes because from that point on one is walking on very thin ice.

Because the word can mean "conservatism or rightism" it's a odd choice for a legal document, but it is perfectly at home in a Communist Diktat outlawing anything that might be perceived as 'counterrevolutionary'.

These particular TOSs encumbered with this peculiar word (which seems to have come into existence around 2008 ) seemed to have been a big deal in the tech industry about 18 months ago as there was a surfeit of these TOS changes especially in development circles. Reactionism is the word that stood out, but the troubling bit here is what it generally foreshadows...a very restrictive Terms Of Service document that has broad guidelines for off-platform behavior, or speech that can be considered reactionism.

Similar TOS issues started cropping up the same time involving any faux-pas involving the constantly changing minefield that is the ever shrinking verbiage allowed by social justice culture. In the SJW case the correlation with Chinese investment is not 1:1 but it does seem to exist. Note that one of the definitions is "the condition of being reactionary or resistant to change" which serves the purposes of the SJW crowd in a sublime fashion.

Regardless, the clauses are a strong indicator of Chinese influence and tend to be both broad and nonspecific, ensnaring any employee (and increasingly customers) in something akin to a morality clause for a Hollywood actress during the early Hayes Code

It was one of these clauses that was cited by Blizzard in the recent unpleasantness and they are used with merciless effect to coerce and hurt people who don't tow the party line, many of whom who do not enjoy the limelight. Additionally the problem with terms of service from a legal standpoint is that one has agreed to them.

This is a big issue and has been coming to a head for several years. However, because it's buried LITERALLY in the walls of text that constitute Terms of Service it isn't covered much, and it seems to be covered less now than it was 18 months ago.

I may update this post considerably when and if I find the articles and discussions in question.

In the meantime: regarding the related and more visible issue of companies doing the Kow-Tow, here is a very non-comprehensive list shamelessly nicked from an as-of-now continuously updated document at Github.

Blizzard Entertainment 2019-10-05 2019-10-08 Banned a player who voiced support for the HK protests, rescinded his prize money and fired the 2 casters that were with him on air
Apple 2019-10-03 2019-10-08 Removed HK police tracking app from the HK app store after pressure from the CCP; Removed Taiwan flag emoji in Hong Kong
NBA 2019-10-04 2019-10-08 After Daryl Morey, manager of the Houston Rockets, published a tweet supportive of the HK protests, NBA issued an apology, calling the tweet "inappropriate". NBA Commissioner Adam Silver later contradicted this stance and said "We are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression"
Marriott 2018-01-12 2019-10-08 Fired an employee after he "liked" an online post about Tibet; De-listed Taiwan as a nation, listed it instead as part of China after Chinese pressure; Released a statement reading "Marriott International respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We don’t support separatist groups that subvert the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China"
Vans 2019-10-05 2019-10-08 Removed contest submission depicting the protests in Hong Kong
Gap Inc. 2018-05-14 2019-10-08 Apologized after a T-Shirt depicting China without Taiwan was sold at a store in Canada, issuing the statement "Gap Inc. respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We've learned that a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets failed to reflect the correct map of China in the design"
Tiffany and Co 2019-10-07 2019-10-08 Removed tweet showing model covering her right eye (angry Chinese netizens believed it to be a reference to the woman who lost her eye after being hit by a police projectile)
Nike 2019-10-09 2019-10-09 Removed all Houston Rockets merch from their China stores (web and physical)
ESPN 2019-10-08 2019-10-09 Chuck Salituro, the senior news director of ESPN, sent a memo to shows mandating that any discussion of the Daryl Morey story avoid any political discussions about China and Hong Kong; ESPN displayed a Chinese map complete with 9 dash line, Taiwan, and also Arunachal Pradesh, which is a part of India that China claims is part of China
Viacom / Paramount 2019-07-18 2019-10-09 Removed Taiwan flag from Maverick's jacket
Disney / Marvel 2016-11-04 2019-10-09 Censored Tibetan monk from "Doctor Strange" and turned him into a white woman: the "Ancient One" was Tibetan in the comics, but white in the film. Statement from C. Robert Cargill, screenwriter: "If you acknowledge that Tibet is a place and that he’s Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people who think that that’s bullshit"
Cathay Pacific 2019-08-09 2019-10-09 Fired staff members who expressed support for the HK protests
Mercedes 2018-02-06 2019-10-09 Apologised to China after quoting the Dalai Lama in an Instagram post, also deleting the post
Delta Airlines N/A 2019-10-09 De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as part of China
American Airlines N/A 2019-10-09 De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website
United Airlines N/A 2019-10-09 De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website
Qantas N/A 2019-10-09 De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China
Air France N/A 2019-10-09 De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China
Lufthansa N/A 2019-10-09 De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China
Air Canada N/A 2019-10-09 De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China
British Airways N/A 2019-10-09 De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China
Malaysia Airlines N/A 2019-10-09 De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China
Audi N/A 2019-10-09 Apologised after using a map of China that didn't include Taiwan
Muji N/A 2019-10-09 Apologised after featuring a map of China in a store catalog that didn't include the Senkaku islands, destroyed the catalogs
Zara N/A 2019-10-09 Apologised for listing Taiwan as a country on their website
Ray-Ban N/A 2019-10-09 De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website
Sheraton Hotels and Resorts N/A 2019-10-09 Barred a Taiwan National Day reception from taking place at their Stockholm hotel, at the request of the Chinese ambassador
Rockhampton Council, Queensland, Australia N/A 2019-10-09 Removed Taiwan flags from public artwork
Global Blue N/A 2019-10-09 Fired a member of staff for calling Taiwan a country
Lancome (L'Oreal) N/A 2019-10-09 Canceled Denise Ho concert after Denise Ho expressed support for 2014 Hong Kong protests
Givenchy N/A 2019-10-10 Apologized for identifying Hong Kong and Taiwan as an independent country on their T-Shirts.
Coach N/A 2019-10-10 Apologized for identifying Hong Kong and Taiwan as an independent country on their T-Shirts.
Versace N/A 2019-10-10 Apologized for identifying Hong Kong and Taiwan as an independent country on their T-Shirts.
JYP Entertainment 2016-01-16 2019-10-11 Forced Taiwanese kpop idol Chou Tzu-yu to release an apology video after she was seen waving a Taiwan flag
Tiktok 2019-09 2019-10-11 Instructed moderators to censor videos that would upset Beijing

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An Off-the-Shelf solution to a Real and Serious Problem.

This month's U.S.Naval Institute Proceedings has an article (via) concerning the many advances in ocean sensing and breakneck progress in machine learning that have the potential to greatly reduce the ability of submarines to hide.

A broad range of emerging technologies is reducing the ocean’s opacity. Unmanned undersea vehicles offer cheap platforms for nanotechnology and 3-D-printed sensors and antisubmarine weapons. Machine learning and big-data tools enable the analysis of this data. At the same time, the proliferation of aerial drones and commercial satellite imagery allow improved intelligence collection on activity at submarine ports.

These technologies reinforce one another.....

The author, Zachary Kallenborn, suggests that this is not a transcendental threat to the survive-ability of the sea based portion of our nuclear triad, rather, he posits that increasing the capabilities of the submarine force will suffice. Gives specific examples of  improvements that can help mitigate this threat.

He does not give specific examples of how to pay for these non-trivial increases in capability.

We are over 21 Trillion dollars in debt. Future budgets are going to be hit hard by austerity, and the severity, painfulness, length and societal risk of that austerity will increase non-linearly with every year that we don't engage in it. Because we are broke.

This is a thorny problem for a number of reasons. The biggest one is that the other legs of the triad are rather wobbly.

All 450 of our Minuteman ICBM silos are fixed sites. Their locations are well known to our enemies and at the top of their list of long worked out firing solutions.

China and Russia Know EXACTLY where this is and have the targeting coordinates worked out to the third decimal place..

They make sense in the context of deterring a Russia limited by treaty to 1550 strategic nukes as each silo, as a matter of precaution will need about three warheads apiece, leaving all other strategic targets to be spread between the remaining the remaining 200 to be divided amongst ALL other military targets, leaving relatively few for the cities. Multiple warshots per silo are needed to account for duds or misfires, and to ensure a spot-on direct hit to ensure a kill. See, the Minuteman silos are impressively robust pieces of early '60s construction technology...

...but they are between 40 and 60 years old, unmovable, and  we're forbidden by treaty from building any more or widening them, and the premises upon which they were designed and later renovated are no longer valid.

For one thing, targeting is vastly more accurate than it was in the '60s, meaning that direct hits are likely. More importantly, China, is not part of any arms control regime and despite being invited by the U.S. and R.F. have rebuffed any attempts to initiate the process of doing so. While the generally accepted estimates have China's nuclear arsenal being comparable to France's, if those assessments were way off, even by an order of magnitude no great surprise would be warranted.

So the math for these silos, dubious as it was, no longer works out.

Furthermore, the bomber force, as stealthy as it is, must operate from fixed bases, which also double as enemy firing solutions, and their stealth might be a transitory characteristic, as our friends the Germans have helpfully informed the world.

We need a strategic deterrent that is survivable. Currently, this is supplied by the Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine Force, but as the Proceedings article above notes, that is a basket of some uncertainty in which to put our strategic eggs. Additionally, the whole point of having multiple delivery systems is to reduce the possibility that any one breakthrough renders our deterrent obsolete and our nation helpless.

There is a solution to this conundrum, and it's development costs are modest by virtue of it already having been successfully developed. 

Just dust off the MGM-134.

What is the MGM-134 you ask?

It's an ICBM that was developed in the late 1980s and early '90s.

A little one!

Whereas the big and now defunct MX-Peacekeeper-LGM-118 was developed as a Titan 2 replacement, the MGM-134 was intended to replace the Minuteman.  Like the Peacekeeper, it was intended to be mobile, but that missile was intended to be moved around in huge, expensive, armored subways, (which were abandoned for cost-saving reasons and the missiles squeezed into old Minuteman silos during their 20 year service).

By contrast, the MGM-134 was far smaller, and was intended to be drawn around the country by an off-road, tracked truck in a self -burrowing armored capsule and be hidden in tunnels, barns, caves, haystacks, cornfields, warehouses, boxcars, forests, shipping containers, and perhaps even at the bottom of random lakes,. Moreover, they would be constantly moved around to make the enemy's firing solution nonexistent.

If this sounds silly, I refer you to the Great SCUD Hunt.

The name of this diminutive Minuteman replacement was MGM-134 Midgetman.

"Naming win!"

The missile was designed, successfully tested, and accepted for service, but it was cancelled with the collapse of the U.S.S.R. just as it was about to enter service. 

It seems likely that ~400 mobile launchers, constantly moving around in a country this size, represents a far more survivable deterrent than 450 silos the targeting solutions to which are unchanging and well known. Presenting an enemy with a "SCUD hunt" a third the size of North America means they can never assure the destruction of the deterrent. It would make the survive-ability of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent comparable to that of the SSBNs.

The Midgetman worked, it's developed, and 30 years on it still seems to meet requirements. Of course the erector launcher prototype was scrapped, but it might be better to use a new one anyway. It will fit into a 53 foot trailer and at 30,000 pounds, it's tare weight makes it usable on U.S. highways. meaning that that you could put some of them in Commercial Off The Shelf tractor trailer rigs painted up to be innocuous to move the things around.  Targeting these things in the lower 48 states would be nigh impossible. 

On the debit side, 30 years on, spinning up production is, of course, going to involve some changes and detail updates, but most of the design work is surely still usable. It achieves a range comparable to the current Minuteman by having a payload of only one warhead as opposed to the Minuteman's capacity for 3, but the Minuteman missile has been reduced to single warheads to comply with treaties anyway.

However, it should be noted that the other nations with Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, Russia, China, and the DPRK all make heavy use of mobile launchers for them

This is an off the shelf solution to a real and pressing problem, and given its already existing nature, it ought to be a fairly economical solution.

Please check my math.

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One of Life's Important Lessons I Occassionally Need to Re-Learn...

One should ALWAYS read the day's post over at Ambient Irony before one clicks that little icon.

Don't use Apple developer previews.  Don't use their public betas.  Don't use the .0 release.  Don't use the .1 release.

Apple's cloud sync can replicate file corruption bugs from your beta test environment to your supposedly safe production system.  (Tyler.io)

I've suspended OS updates on my iMac for a little while.  Things aren't pretty.

Well, I suppose that's a fair observation.

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October 11, 2019

If I Vanish Mysteriously, Please Avenge Me

When I got in from work this morning, there was part of a dead animal on my porch. I think the parts used to belong to a rabbit. I'm not sure,

I'm not an important member of the blogosphere, haven't posted anything involving actionable evidence about the Clintons, and in any event, there was no note attached

So for now I'm going to blame a hawk or coyote.

Why on my porch though?

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October 10, 2019

Of Quislelings, Collaborators and Business Decisions

A fairly comprehensive discussion of the current situation with Blizzard, the NBA, South Park and various other horror stories.

UPDATE: Aaaand we won't be using that video's cover image. The video is here. The hottest of bluecheck hot takes is at 26:51

Also: Extradition is now a swear word.

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October 09, 2019

A Guest Editorial From An Anonymous Blizzard Employee

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October 08, 2019

Tooting Our Own Horn

Regarding this weeks issue with China, censorship South Park, Anime, Blizzard, the NBA, Vans, Disney, videogame content, and, "global beauty standards", we were discussing this here back in June.

One thing in particular that's not getting a lot about of coverage about this censorship: The Blizzard link is to a 20 minute video has an interesting bit of background on how China's censors have been removing or white washing (literally!) black and other dark skinned characters in video games for some time.

This is a BIG deal and it deserves a lot more attention that the flurry of attention that is likely to be over by the end of the week.

 For instance, this cancerous dynamic is actually the source of many of the "reactionism clauses" that are popping up in the Orwellian TOS's of tech and media companies.

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October 07, 2019

Well. That's How it's Done.

Ohio State's halftime show from last week commemorated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

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Oh Look. I Done Tooted

Actually, I just realized that I've been tooting. Every time I supported someone on Pixiv Fanbox it was tooted to the four winds of Pawoo.

Now they know.
They all know...

Anyway, I've got to figure out this Fediverse thing. I'm wondering if I can't log into other instances because my Pawoo account is through Pixiv.

UPDATE: It doesn't really matter, I'm still able to follow people on federated sites like Mastodon and Pieroma.

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October 06, 2019

"Cadet Corbet, Report to the Launch Pad."

This is just the most AWESOME looking thing.

Resizing animated .gifs without breaking them and embedding .MP4s is currently beyond our ability so click here for the full thing.

Musk is saying that once this thing makes it to twenty kilometers up and safely back down, then the following launch will be to orbit.

Crewed flights will follow in short order.

Space-X has massively updated their Starship page. See here.

Musk's decision to use simpler field serviceable materials, mainly stainless steel in the construction of his new rockets means that the main  production bottleneck is the big Raptor engines. The production capacity of those engines and their practical number of resuses for each will determine the pace of the construction program. Naturally, increasing raptor production is getting a lot of attention.

While there are very complex pieces of kit going into these ships (like life support systems in the manned ones) they are, on balance not terribly complex compared than contemporary aircraft or ships.

This has some interesting implications for mass production given that Musk is doing this as a crash program.  because constructing a 300-400 ton  stainless steel spacecraft stack, is probably not much more of an investment in relative terms than a 1200 ton destroyer was in WW1, (273 ships in ~2 years). While those numbers are far beyond the ken of a single midsized company with two production facilities, they do indicate that if production methods are nailed down, in a few years a score or more of these things might be produced.

"But wait, there's more!"

The stainless steel construction is even more interesting in the context of in-situ repairs on Mars. Steel is easily workable and while stainless steel is less so its far more so than titanium or composites and can be repaired in the field.

Morever, while Space-X's plans to produce fuel on mars are well known it should be noted that Martian soil is mostly iron oxide and the martian atmosphere is 1/3 carbon, so steel is readily available given some modest infrastructure. While stainless steel and steel are hard to weld together, it is not impossible to do so, and it's conceivable that a damaged ship on Mars might be repaired sufficiently to get into Earth orbit.

In the much longer term with enhanced infrastructure, it gets better. You see, the materials for making stainless steels are varying proportions of iron ore, chromium, silicon, nickel, carbon, nitrogen, and manganese. If one takes a deep dive into the biologically obnoxious Martian Regolith, one finds the following proportions:

Note the presence, albeit sometimes in minute concentrations of everything except nitrogen which is mainly used as a substitute for nickel, which is found in minute quantities only at the pathfinder landing site. Fortunately, floating above the dirt is the martian atmosphere which is 2.7% Nitrogen. These are minute quantities to be sure and probably not practical for extraction at an early base, but this is only the surface dirt and their presence there indicates that there is more to be found.

If Space-X doesn't faceplant, which is not beyond the realm of posibility, then there is the very real potential for the next decade to see scores, if not hundreds of these ships built to carry people, quite possibly settlers, to Mars, the Moon and the asteroids.

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It was all that and a bowl of grits.

I will likely not see it again as it is dark to the point that I found it hard to watch, (It really deserves its R-rating) but it is absolutely riveting and amazingly well done.

I'd heard that he'd done a good job, but Joaquin Phoenix just knocks it out of the park,  acting with every muscle in his body to give a performance for the ages.

The art direction and set design are superb. It's a period piece that looks like it was filmed in the period in which it was set. 

This is just a superb piece of filmmaking.

And high-octane nightmare fuel.

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A Blast From the Past; A Legendary Asshat (UPDATED)

John Nestor was a man who followed the rules to the letter. Jonah Goldberg remembered this paragon of propriety  as part of a questionable analogy opening a 2013 column.

In the early 1980s, transit officials in Washington couldn’t figure out why traffic on the Beltway would grind to a near halt every day around the exact same time. The usual explanations didn’t fit.

Then it was discovered that a single driver was to blame. Every day on his drive to work, this commuter would plant himself in the left lane and set his cruise control to 55 mph, the posted speed limit, forcing those behind him to merge right. You can imagine the effects.

It gets better...

To his credit, this driver came forward in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post. The man’s name was John O. Nestor. He explained that the left lane was great; less traffic, less merging — why not ride it into work every day? Besides, he wrote, "Why should I inconvenience myself for someone who wants to speed?”

With that bit of daily narcissistic malice, this jackass was able to destroy the traffic in the DC area. The term "Nestoring" was coined by readers of the Washington Post to describe his antics.

It gets better worse still...

Fittingly, Nestor was a regulator at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Virtually no drug was worth the risk, according to Nestor. The FDA transferred him out of the cardio-renal-pulmonary unit to some bureaucratic backwater because he "had approved no new chemical entities ... from 1968 to 1972...
There is more on this here.

So this officious prick caused untold deaths because he stopped ANY approvals of heart medicine for 4 years. This does not count the deaths from any accidents he likely caused on the beltway or the people who got stuck in traffic in an ambulance and died on the way to the ER.

Mr. Nestor wrought all this misery by simply following the rules and exercising his lawful power over others. His comment about speeders belied the fact that Nestor was actually a bully. Devoid of empathy, he derived glee from hurting others with his passive aggressive mischief. His refusal to approve a single drug for the stated reason of fearing there might be harm speaks to either profound moral cowardice or fearful malice.

Jackasses are all around us. But few have had been able to make such a profound difference by themselves as Mr. Nestor. So today we remember a truly legendary asshat.

NOTE: The above was originally published in 2013.  In order to get reference material for this post I had to search my own blog to find Nestor's name so I just copy-pasted it and fixed the hyperlinks.

It is relevant because I had an unexpectedly intense discussion with a friend this evening about this topic and I could not, for the life of me remember the jackasses name.

It's more relevant to my Virginia readership because in looking it up, to my astonishment, I discovered that...


Actually, they passed it in 2017 to very little fanfare...and even less definition of pokey.

There are good reasons to discourage people from engaging in such despicable behavior...as noted by NPR, and this Canadian, but the Virginia law seems alarmingly vague. Cripes!

Additionally, There are other,  less definitive or peer reviewed reasons besides giving a damn about traffic patterns to get out of the way when someone overtaking you flashes their high beams.

Now, let's be clear, when this dreadfully annoying thing occurs, there is a 90-99% chance that the individual coming up behind you is a complete jerk with delusions of autobahn.

But here's the thing.

A few years ago my Dad was pulled over for traveling at...rather excessive speed...in the passing lane, and he had been flashing his high beams to get people out of his way. He explained to the officer that my mom was having a stroke, after some quick checking the officer escorted them to the hospital and no ticket was issued. Mom got there in time. I've known or known of several people in similar straits when they had to determine the minutes it would take to await an ambulance versus the dire need of a loved one. Now there are plenty of reasons why this is, in a macro sense a bad idea. One is after all engaging in a different sort of risky behavior, but cost/risk benefit analysis is less clear cut when dealing with a loved one.

90% or more of high beam flashers are probably asshats, but I am not such a narcissist that I'll take smug satisfaction in the power I wield over the speeder by refusing to get out of their way, because on the off chance that the speeder is in dire straits, to not yield (if safe to do so) might result in a preventable death, and that blood would, (if not legally, morally) be on my hands.

On this. your mileage may certainly vary.

*FULL DISCLOSURE: The word "pokey"does not actually appear anywhere in the aforementioned alarming legislation.

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October 05, 2019


Thanks to Mauser in the comments for alerting me to this.

New character designs are new.

I wonder if there's actually a canon reason for some of the non costume changes.

I must say, despite my ambivalence, I do like Weiss's Saber Cosplay. The continuity with Ironwood's beard over the last few seasons is actually cool. 

Everything LOOKS great and there seems to be a lot of development of concepts introduced in previous seasons.

We'll see.

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Another Question For You, Gentle Readers

I know that there are people here who do research into events that were recently current, so, I've got a question.

Is anybody else finding it REALLY hard to find old news articles online?

One example. I can't find a lot involving the American response to the Russian movement into the Donbass back in 2009-10 2014 and particularly the fact that at that time there were actual Nazis (not neo-, not alt-right, I'm talking Jew Hating socialists sporting a Crooked Buddhist Sunwheel) in the Ukranian parliament.

I'm not a particular fan of Milo, but I recently tried to look up info on the hit job against him. I found plenty on the false accusations, but I had to use the mee.nu search engine to find one of my own posts with 6 links debunking them, none of which were searchable without EXACT wording.

I'm now having a hard time finding old blog posts, particularly ones on my old blog, or references to my, um,  ill-fated Congressional run.

I'm SURE there used to be an option where one could search by date ie: by year and month and keywords as opposed to just "Anytime, Past Week, Past Month, Last Year".

Am I imagining this?


That is all.

Here is a completely coincidental video:


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And Another

A female employee of Kyoto Animation is now the 36th employee of that company to die as a result of injuries sustained in the fire. She was one of three still hospitalized and aparrently contracted an infection in the ICU.

She was in her 20s.

UPDATE: From the Mainichi Shinbun:
Most of the victims were in their 20s and 30s, as the company is known to hire young animators as regular employees and conduct in-house training, while many other studios tend to rely on skilled freelancers.

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October 03, 2019

That Feeling When...

...one realizes that the Twitterism TFW stands for "That Feeling When" and not .

I'm not on Twitter that much and most of the time when I encountered the acronym either interpretation was appropriate.

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October 01, 2019

Chariklo and the Importance of Reading the WHOLE Page Before Linking it

I was curious about that ringed asteroid/dwarf planet they found between Uranus and Saturn a while back. Chariklo is one of several asteroids in that region between Uranus and Saturn which have collectively been named the Centaurs. The objects in this small group are named after centaurs from Greek mythology and as there aren't many of those, any non-Centaur spouses/children from when the myths implied that the achievement "hybrid vigor" was unlocked...still they are likely to run out of names from Greek Mythology and will soon have to go to other sources.

Ms. Shianus by エルセン(Elsen?)

Etymology aside,  these objects don't represent a large field like the Main Belt, the Jovian Trojans, or Hildas, but are thought to be a few objects from the Kupier Belt tossed sunward like Triton and Pluto/Charon. The largest of these, Chariklo, (named after Chiron's wife) had caused some confusion due to uncertainty about its size and readings that indicated it was either big and icy or small and surprisingly not so. It turned out that the Chariklo is a largely spherical object with an icy ring system that may imply two or more shepherd moons as well.

Not enough is known about this object to know if it will ultimately qualify as a Dwarf Planet (it would have to be in hydro-static equilibrium) but there's a chance that it might.  It's certainly at the low end of the scale of such things as can be seen here.....

Because Ceres is not a common frame of reference, the below picture may be helpful.

Besides the general coolness factor of the rings, one thing appears curious from the perspective of a layman with a mere Bachelor of Arts degree. The rings were discovered in part because when viewed front on the object appeared to be an icy object, when viewed ring edge on the moon appeared to be ice free. Now, "ice free" might mean largely anhydrous like Psyche, or just covered in regolith like Ceres. If the former, Chariklo might be something even more interesting. If all it's water is baked out then this thing might be a differentiated object like Vesta and Psyche, with all the potential for mineral wealth that that would imply.

As of now I have not learned anything more along those lines.

However, while looking,  I did encounter the exact opposite of learning. Well almost. In my search I blundered onto this website and very nearly used it as a reference hyperlink...after all it linked to space.com and had a nice overview of the object...the etymology of its name, and it then went on to discuss where the object can be seen in the sky at various times of the year which might be useful if one somehow has a ridiculously powerful telescope as this is a very dark object, (though the rings might be visible to some very well equipped amateur astronomers if one knows where to look).

Alas, this positional information was in reference to which HOUSES the object is in when viewed from Earth because the discovery of this object fills in some of the gaps in the predictive powers of...astrology.

Chariklo aspects seem to be prominent in individuals who take a step into the future. It may be through science (Pierre Curie, who studied the various types of energies, had a close Chariklo conjunct Sun...the greatest source of energy for this planet; Alexander Graham Bell, who studied ways to communicate with the deaf and who invented the telephone, had a close Chariklo conjunct Mercury....planet of communication).

Oh Lord.

Yes, the cray-cray is strong with this link. The author manages to tie in many of the cast and crew of Star Trek, Dr. Who, The Outer Limits and various other Sci-Fi authors to being born under the sign of this object, because this space-rock being linked...somehow...to forward thinking people is obviously linked to those involved in science fiction. Obviously.


Actually, there is a tremendous amount of research that went into this page. There is the equivalent of four typed pages that catalog when people of note were born when this asteroid happened to be in a certain arbitrary location when viewed from the Earth*.

There's an awful lot of numbers and charts.
So, (checks) I appear to be a Capricorn. If I were to apply this websites knowledge practically, what conclusions could be drawn about me?

Ms. Shianus by Okayado. Profound wisdom inspired by the Onion.


But wait.

This stupid actually gets worse.

Three out of the first five pages that came up on Chariklo in a web search were in fact astrology pages. None of them were the Space.com page that the Astrology page linked to.

The algorithms that are deciding who gets to speak and what is a credible source can't tell the difference between astrology and astronomy.

This is why we can't have nice things. 

We're doomed! DOOMED!

Of course, in a few million years Chariklo might be too, since it's likely to eventually join the Saturnian or Uranian system....perhaps catastrophically.

Green=Uranus  Yellow=Saturn  Unlikely Pink=Chariklo

*The third large object orbiting an unremarkable green dwarf in a big  empty bubble in the Orion arm of The Milky Way Galaxy, one of what is provincially known as The Local Group, a cluster of Galaxies which is somewhat removed from the apparent center of Lainekia.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 11:15 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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September 30, 2019

A WinRar is Me

Last week I received an E-mail apologizing and informing me that me that my confirmation E-mail had gone to spam and that the snacks were in the mail.

Allow me to explain...

BILLY VERSUS SNAKEMAN is one of the many less than productive slices on the time allocation pie-graph of the Walter Mitty LARP that is my life.

 It's a fun little anime themed browser game where one vicariously lives the life of a text based ninja living in a text based ninja village working with one's fellow ninja villagers to protect the village from attacks by other ninja villages, rampaging Kaiju, zombies, snowstorms, petitioners, sketchy peddlers, gambling schoolgirls and renegade tattoo artists, all the while going on quests and missions (to other anime genres) that pit you against the malign elder deity that is The Random Encounter Table. There's a TV Tropes page for it.

The game is actually surprisingly well designed. It's fun and despite the limitations of a text based browser game, it  affords considerable freedom and a surprising ability to cooperate with other players in your village, and occasionally others villages as well.

 It's  run by Hammergirl Anime in Rochester New York which is relevant to this explanation because on the very day I had it confirmed that I'd graduated from college, I was informed that I had won "25 Dollars in Weird Japanese Snacks From Hammergirl".

And today...


This box from Hammergirl Anime contained a whole bunch of 'Weird Japanese Snacks'.

But that's exactly what was promised!

"So. As a video game company Hammergirl is already way ahead of Bethesda."

If you're interested, you can play Billy Versus Snakeman here. Pixy and I are in Snowflake Village. Which is...totally not for snowflakes. Hopefully,  we will be accepting memberships again this evening or tomorrow.
: Snowflake Village is accepting new members. Thanks Pixy.


Now I must deal with these Weird snacks.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 06:41 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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