October 06, 2015
Simple Processes Involving Layyyzeerrzz
The most strongest of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Fairies brings us news fro the practical application of coherent light.
Via Brian Wang, we learn that General Atomics (could there BE a more awesome name for a company?) is expected to be offering its line of Avenger drones with 150 kilowatt lasers on them. The Avenger is a stealthy development of the much used Predator (and was formerly called Predator-C)
For comparison purposes, the article helpfully provides video of what the prototype 30 kilowatt laser on the USS Ponce can achieve.
WARNING: Military grade laser...demo may cause ear damage and extreme irritation.
Yes gentle readers, in a little over a year we will have flying robots armed with lasers!
Sarah Connor, raise your son well.
Farther afield, in San Luis Obispo, Scientists are working on a solar laser that can de-spin asteroids for exploration and exploitation as well as alter their orbits so as to deflect space rocks that threaten to impact the Earth.
Note too that if they can get a solar laser working, it is just a matter of scaling it up (a whole hell of a lot) to allow interstellar probes, perhaps even manned ones.
October 05, 2015
Keep In Mind... ...that the hurricane completely missed us.
Taken in Norfolk today during my abortive attempt to get to school.
Had the storm actually hit today on top of the anomalous rain we've had over the last week, the area cities would have been obliterated.
At least the tunnels are open now. (They'd had to close the flood gates on some of them over the weekend)
Questions For My Readers Regarding Matters of No Importance Some months ago, in a moment of indiscipline, I picked up a DVD of Did You Order the Hossenfeffer? and, having watched the first three episodes I'm wondering if I've missed something.
Where ARE they? It looks like Rotterdam and I initially thought that the protagonist (Cocoa) was, in fact, an exchange student, but everyone else has (unlikely) Japanese names and the mannerisms, school related rituals and references to samurai indicate this is not the case. Sentai's subtitling seemed a tad off at first, and I was wondering if I'd missed something or this is just set in "Myazaki land", a theme park...or perhaps Hokkaido.
Setting aside, the show seems to be a standard CGDCT series but has made me laugh a couple of times. However, the cast has transcended quirky and appears to have been generated by randomly pulling approved ipseities from Tumbler. We've got the directionally challenged, the lesbian, the autistic cubist, the girl intimately in touch with her exotic culture who is not from the American southeast, and the tribble who identifies as a pre-op transexual rabbit. In contrast, there is also something of a combo breaker...
...the badass barista of competence who warrants a completely different sort of trigger warning. There is no indication as of yet that her Browning is an air-soft...which simply adds more questions about the setting.
(I've noted no zombies as of yet but remain hopeful)
October 04, 2015
Shootings, Floods and Lost Ships are what the news is focused on (a not entirely unwarranted decision) but there are other things deteriorating as well that deserve some attention, as they have considerable potential to generate rather greater levels of grief...
First off, ISIS has opened two theme parks for the de-facto nation's children...
The photos show smiling children enjoying various rides, as well as landscapes featuring ferris wheels and a play train. The rides fail to disguise the ravages of war; beyond the foreground, dilapidated buildings and bombed-out areas can be seen.
I guess some positive reinforcement to go along with the punishments of children there is necessary for morale.
Meanwhile, the administrations expert responsible for overseeing the war with ISIS just resigned.
He has been joined by the nation's top cyber security advisor, and the Pentagon's top Russian expert. Three in such a short time would seem to indicate a lack of faith in the administrations policies on these matters.
On the other hand, Russia took a break from bombing the snot out of the American and European proxies in Syria to hit ISIS headquarters...which had somehow managed to elude the bombs of America's bombing campaign for a year.
Instapundit links to a Lee Stranahan editorial which comprehensively sums up the situation...assuming of course that the emerging outcomes are not the goal.
Speaking of Russia, they just drafted 150,000 troops. This seems to be a supplementary conscription, since the annual draft of 150000 (Russia has active selective service) took place in the spring.
Russia is recomissioning and upgrading 12 nuclear submarines 6 of which are identified in this article. They also announced plans earlier in the year to restart the production line for the TU-160 bomber with 50 (some sources say 60) expected to be commissioned by 2023. There has been some skepticism expressed, but the upgrade program on the existing 16 operational Backfires is actually ahead of schedule and they are producing some very large and very fast planes now so there is no reason to suspect that they can't.
Speaking of capabilities....the first Chinese indigenously built aircraft carrier, will, reportedly, be launched on December 26. (This date has been chosen to commemorate Mao TzeDong's birthday...presumably because genocidal dictators are the sorts of people the current Chinese Government wants to honor.) Note that the carrier was started earlier this year, so the ship is being launched in less than a year...unheard of for such a large vessel. Note that this is a launch and not a commissioning....lots of equipment needs to be installed, but while analysts are skeptical that commissioning will happen sooner than four years hence, the incredible speed with which the hull was constructed should give one pause.
Also concerning capabilities, Next Big Future points to a WCT article that gleefully boasts that China has demonstrated the ability to put MIRVs with its ability to launch multiple satellites on a single launcher. They also point out that the Chinese commercial space launcher the Long March 6 can launch 20 (twice as many as the Russian R-36, the biggest ICBM in the world). That a commercial space launcher takes hours to fuel and so could only be used for first strikes (and dozens of launchers fueling would give fair warning) is not mentioned in the article. NBF does point to the capacity of the bigger Long March 5 is 25 metric tonnes. Taking the conservative path of using the weight of an obsolete USAF ICBM warhead ( the W-56) and a current one (the W-76) dividing 25 tonnes by that amount (25tonnes = 55,115.500 pounds round down so 55,000 / 680 = 81.1 or 55,000 / 362 = 152.3 warheads delivered with one launch. (Capacity to an antipodal target is a bit more than 50% greater than capacity to LEO but there is still a lot of weight involved in the buss and such)...so hey perhaps they don't need but one launch. Naturally, the same basic math would apply to the Russian launchers in the same class such as PROTON.
Of course this is silly as it would be suicide. They'd still face our righteous wrath unless there were some reason to believe our nuclear deterrent was a hollow force.
Meanwhile...in completely unrelated news in the U.S., the nation's last American owned uranium enrichment plant was just shut down by the DOE.
U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, whose 2nd District includes Pike County and part of Ross County among others, expressed disbelief. Both he and Portman said that on the heels of a deal that recognizes Iran’s right to enrich uranium and maintain access to thousands of centrifuges, shutting down of the only source of domestic uranium enrichment is irresponsible. The Centrifuge is the only American-owned enrichment facility operating in the United States, while foreign-owned Urenco USA operates an enrichment facility in New Mexico.
One of THOSE Days... Amongst other things, I've managed to loose two posts, one to a power failure, and one to a PEBKAC error. I'm turning in. As compensation, here is Sakuya, who is also having one of THOSE days but is much more pleasant to look at.
September 30, 2015
Wednesday! Hump day!
The day we can start looking forward to the weeke....
Huh...That's an awfully wide cone there.
Let's see what the individual models say....
OK. Two of the models are quite divergent from the rest (one being about 180 degrees off) which accounts for the wide cone (as it is an average of the models).
It's been raining here for two days and there is already standing water in my street as the storm drains are flooded. The ground is soggy so trees could fall easily.
This could well be exciting.
September 29, 2015
Nothing I Can Type Can Possibly Improve Upon This. Go now. Read this.
September 28, 2015
Meanwhile, on the Second Closest Planet One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes was supposed to be reporting on NASA's news conference today, but instead seems to be focused on organizing an excursion to the beach...
"We're going to need sunblock, some really big mirrors, high yield, low fission fraction H-bombs, a few tons of CFCs, some ham biscuits, lichen, iced tea, blue green algae and a towel."
I'm not sure wh...
"Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water -- albeit briny -- is flowing today on the surface of Mars.”
Percival Lowell, he died 99 years too soon.
("Science Babe" is actually Sakura War's Diana Caprice as drawn by Ao Ume)
September 27, 2015
Cute Even Without Caveats Here is Aura, probably most popular anime character ever (in the category of characters that appeared in fantasy anime in the summer 2015 season in the sub-category medusa maid) as imagined by KemKem.
I'm SURE This Will All End Well. China is moving into the Med, allegedly they will be joining the Russians in attempting to shore up Assad. What is certain is that the Russians are coordinating with the Iranians and they, the Syrians and the Iranians have signed military agreements with Iraq.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and the French are conducting airstrikes against ISIS (which is pursuing an ambitious agenda) while the Syrian, Chinese, Iranian, Russian and Iraqi forces are conducting air and ground operations. Except for Iraq, none of those air-forces or ground forces are not coordinating with us in any way and at least the Russian planes are running with transponders off. Heck, the Russians got their planes there surreptitiously and were only detected once they arrived. Meanwhile, all sides are shooting at targets that may or may not be insurgents.
What could POSSIBLY go wrong?
In other, arguably less potentially exiting news, it looks like Catalonia may well be breaking away from Spain as the secession parties just won an election.
Close Air Support
September 26, 2015
UPDATE: Nope. Don't like the shades.
September 25, 2015
School Live! Ends
For a show about the antics of four high school girls, their faculty advisor and their dog as they try to keep their club active in the face of a downright hostile faculty and student body, School Live! has been rather more emotionally engaging than one would expect.
It's actually been quite the tear jerker at times.
However, despite some quite heart-wrenching moments...
"You have been and always shall be...My friend."
and the fact that one of the overarching themes is the importance of seeing the world as it is (ugliness and all) rather than how one wants it to be...
"Oh please. It's not about me. It's about my students"
...this show has maintained a surprisingly upbeat outlook overall.
All in all, School Live! has managed to stay quite solid (if sometimes emotionally taxing) all the way through. There really weren't any weak episodes and it stands as one of the absolute best in its genre.
This last episode, the graduation episode, is especially poignant. People say their goodbyes...
"OK Point of order: Th...Wait. Who's missing?"
...various plot lines are wrapped up and, intriguingly, some new ones are started. The show's ending is surprisingly open ended and hints at a sequel...which would be a most welcome development, as this series was outstanding.
I highly recommend it.
September 24, 2015
This is Worrisome It's not just that these incredibly simple, basic questions were answered correctly by only 6% of the nation...but that one question is not even about science (indeed its opposite).
Oh No... No.
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