September 22, 2014

All the World's Eyes are Upon ISIS Russia and Ebola

...which makes it a perfect time for China to "adjust" it's border with India


Two nuclear powers who've already fought a war are having a border dispute.

I'm sure nothing bad can possibly happen. 

Here is footage of China's first nuclear test which has something American nuclear test footage sorely lacks...



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Further Thoughts on Murder Hoboes



In an earlier post, I linked to this piece which, using Medieval Europe as a template, discussed the probable economic ramifications of an adventuring party in the D&D universe. 

My friend BOB!1! disagreed with the premise and attempted to comment but was thwarted by a comments glitch. He has an interesting take which I'll attempt to relay and expand upon here.

Emily Dresner makes the case that bands of adventurers gaining large rewards for services rendered\ and then spending their gains in small towns disrupts the social and economic order. Furthermore this activity risks a sharp inflationary cycle that will further wreak havoc on the society. 

 BOB!1! points out that the Middle Ages (and the D&D world) were characterized by a severe deflationary cycle associated with a civilizational collapse. Money was tightly locked up in savings and held largely by feudal lords. It was not in circulation except to pay for rotating debts and wars. Travel and trade were hindered by roving bands of orcs (or Vikings, bandits, wolves and occasionally Arabs) and there was little pressure to invest in infrastructure or mercantile projects. 

Into this come our adventures who as Ms. Dresner points out. shake things up mightily and put gold that has been squirreled away into circulation. This does indeed shake things up and it will eventually cause considerable upheaval in the social order....

...BUT THE SOCIAL ORDER SUCKS! 

Feudalism boasts impressive stability and a certainty of ones place in the world....because one's place in the world is almost certain to never ever ever change. Like the Subcontinent's caste system and myriad other systems considered exotic or 'indigenous' it has certain undeniable merits if one is a nobleman or a passing hipster tourist, but is rather less appealing to those who sustain it.

However, given the premise put forth in D&D, the adventurers and the craftsmen they trade with are a blossoming middle class, which is a good thing. 

Note too that the corollary between Medieval Europe and D&D is not precise. Dragons are a deflationary pressure not present historically. (The inflationary potential they represent if slain might be analogous to the Aztecs however.)

 Likewise. the dungeons themselves are vast, incredibly numerous, and indicate a far more advanced precursor civilization than Rome. Once cleared of monsters, traps and megalomaniacal necromancers they represent vast tracts of useable (though probably not arable) real estate. The release of such infrastructure to settlement and the introduction of the monetary hoards within into the economy would mirror on a smaller scale the effect of the black death on land availability and money per person in circulation, but without the near total disruption of what trade there was. On the contrary, by reducing the threat of orks and bugbears the 'murder hoboes' would greatly facilitate trade even as the huge injection of gold into the economies would cause an inflationary spiral that would encourage investment in various enterprises. No longer could wealth be best managed by hoarding it. Rather, with the value of gold dropping, one must use it or loose it. Investment would be the key to riches. Ms. Dresner uses the example of 1500s Spain to suggest that this would be a disaster. However, Spain encountered difficulties due to micromanagement and regulation of the economy in an attempt to keep the feudal order in place rather than the more trade oriented one Spain's gold had made possible. It's worth noting that other countries embraced the change and ushered in a rising standard of living and ultimately the enlightenment. 

Finally, since the adventurers in D&D tend to be polyglot associations, and demonstrated the advantages of various races working in consort, and since financial success comes from appealing to the largest demographic possible, prosperity would tend to favor kingdoms that take a tolerant view of racial equality and miscegenation and a dim view of provincialism. This could conceivably even be extended to some of the orks if the analogy of the Vikings is used. This means that the kingdoms that emerge from this time  would be well on their way to an equivalent to the Renaissance and/or Enlightenment that might well outstrip the historical one.

Dresner is correct that the adventurers make the feudal D&D world they start out in unsustainable in a few years if they are at all successful, but far from being unwitting agents of chaotic evil, the adventurers are likely to end up being forces for chaotic or lawful good...whatever their alignment. 

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September 20, 2014

Yeah. I Didn't Think She Had One of Those Either.


From Sabagebu! Survival Game Club episode 5. This was an even more unexpected plot twist than the revelation that
This show is, in some ways, almost as gonzo as Nichijou. 
more...

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Watson....

Well, the new Ace Attorney game is a period piece set mainly in Victorian London. The plot revolves around a Meiji Era Japanese law student studying in  London and Sherlock Holmes is a major character in the game. 


This is actually pretty interesting. 

This is actually Pretty Watson. 




Wait. what?

Yes. Watson is an 8 year old girl genius. 

OK it's a video game, and a Japanese game to boot so extreme liberties, re-imaginings and gender-bending should come as no surprise whatsoever. 

Nevertheless, Shu Takumi, the director of the game, states that he wants it to be quite true to the original.
 As for the character of Holmes, Takumi, who is also in charge of the game's scenario writing, has stated that he is a fan of the original series and hopes to maintain the sort of Sherlock that he grew up reading about.

On the other hand, that Watson fellow, must have really bugged him as a kid. 

There's more here
Be advised that that link goes to Kotaku, so there could be payola, including the kinds that carry social diseases. 

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Pixy's Plan

As many of you know, our Webmaster resides in Sydney. Some of us have suspected that he may be up to something but had no idea what that might be.



The only question now is why.

UPDATE: So this happened on Pixy's blog the same day the story broke. I can only assume the two actions are somehow connected. This must be an exceedingly elaborate scheme. 

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September 19, 2014

AVAST!

It'd be best to be refrainin' from tauntin' or any o' yer Scottish mates as there be a 45% chance that they be feeling lower than bilgewater right now. 



Shiver me timbers! An Evil Giraffe has sounded the alarm. There be Murder Hoboes about!


"So raise the gangplank already!"

The Dread Pirate Whitebeard, master o' the fierce and mighty galleon Chizumatic, has let slip that he's found a guide to treasure just o'er the horizon. The scallywag be tryin' to make it out to be not worth goin' after but I hear tell that there be at least one gem in that thar chest....


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September 17, 2014

Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your......Nuclear Missiles

It appears that if Scotland goes all independent tomorrow they have declared that they will be a nuclear free zone. The UK's nuclear deterrent is mainly concentrated in their ballistic missile submarines...which are based in Scotland. Some accommodation can likely be made but this would give the Scots a huge leverage over the UK England's nukes.


The result of this is that the English, who weren't expecting this voter to go anywhere suddenly find themselves scrambling for options. Since the new base in England or Wales will take a decade to build, the plan they came up with last week is to homeport their nuclear submarines in the US in the interim. Assuming the Scots vote for independence and Congress does not balk at the proposal, I'm guessing the English boats would be in Kings Bay, Georgia, which is the only US Boomer base on the East Coast. 

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September 14, 2014

It's Been Over a Month

...since we began requiring registration for comments. In the meantime a couple of people have reported issues commenting, so...
We're going to see if the spammers have given up on us.
Until further notice, comments are again open to everyone, regardless of registration status. 


"Oh YES! Mischief!"

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They Might Be Tunes.

Thank you Moe Lane:

Just, thank you.



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Meanwhile...

Russia is focusing on new offensive weapons. Amongst them is a new heavyweight liquid fuel ICBM to replace the R-36 SATAN.  Though this massive weapon won't be mobile (unless it is launched), it will carry a huge payload. Their violation of the IMF treaty and militarization of the arctic, are in addition to the Ukraine mess.  Oh. and those Russian bombers that have been showing up off the Grand Banks and Pacific Northwest? They seem to be dry runs for cruise missile launches



The North Korean nuclear reactor may well be running again
Note to self: Don't go to North Korea. Further note: If somehow note one is forgotten, under no circumstances tear up ones Visa and demand asylum. 

A majority in China feel war with Japan is inevitable by 2020.  In other news China just sent troops to South Sudan



 

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Understanding Modern Vocabulary

As the English language leans forward into a brave new world of byzantine nomenclature, some individuals who have not been brought up to speed on the changes in terminology might come to the conclusion that certain recent statements are actually feckless dissembling rather than enlightened and inoffensive specificity. 


To address the allegations, we've tracked down one of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Train hopping Linguists to parse the recent statements by the State Department on current events. So, from somewhere along the Masassas Line, here is our expert on exposition.

Dude..This is a [expletive deleted] of [expletive deleted]  pollyanish [expletive deleted] newspeak. You interrupted my [expletive deleted] vacation to [expletive deleted] show me the English language being [expletive deleted] up the [expletive deleted] by a bunch of [expletives deleted] incompetents using Orwellian [expletive deleted] to distract from their [expletives deleted]. This [expletive deleted] is why I TOOK the vacation in the first place. I'm gonna [ remainder of correspondence deleted after consultation with standards and practices] 


Well...

I guess the rest of the post needs to go below the fold...
more...

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But... When We Started From Scratch We Did it in Three

This article discusses the state of america's aging nuclear arsenal and points out once again that the United States is no longer are making nuclear pits (the core of atomic weapons) and hasn't since 1989.


 I think the article is sightly unfair to Bush (1) in that canceling the deployment of the new generation of weapons that were originally intended to come online in the early 90's was absolutely necessary to calm the Russians down after the collapse of the U.S.S.R.

 In any event, there is this damning revelation at the end of the article...
  In 1989 the executive branch shut down the nation's only facility to produce plutonium pits — the hearts of nuclear weapons — making us the only nuclear weapons state in the world unable to produce nuclear arms. Since then, executive branch fumbling and congressional denials have combined to prevent replacement of this absolutely essential production facility. If a decision were made today, it would still be 10 to 15 years before pit production could start.
Emphasis mine.

Although the Manhattan Project started in 1939, it was only a fact finding and technology feasibility assessment project until it got seriously spun as a weapons project in early 1942. By late 1944 and early 1945 pit production was a reality and they started out going into a previously unknown field. Thus, one can reasonably assume, given 70 years of experience and the leaps and bounds technology has made since Trinity, that, the tripling of the time necessary to do what was done with 1940s technology in 2014 is due to institutional inertia and bureaucratic asshattery.  Most of the Chinese dynasties ended due to the machinations of the eunuchs and other bureaucrats in administrative empire building at the expense of the state, rendering it vulnerable to new developments.  The Mandarins in Washington are a Gordian Knot that we really need to cut. 

Note that this is specifically talking about plutonium pits. Plutonium is necessary for most modern weapons especially if they are lightweight and compact. However, it is my understanding that Oralloy (a type of highly enriched uranium)  can be used to make perfectly effective bombs but they are heavier and less safe to store in the confines of a submarine (due to their higher radioactivity) and in any event not using plutonium would require extensive testing of new bomb designs or the use of old ones ill suited to our current delivery methods. 

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Groundskeeper Willie Speaks on the Scottish Question

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Current Watch List

I've been quite busy of late but I am watching a few things in between schoolwork and work-work. 

RWBY has been mentioned quite a bit. It's the only show I actually am able to watch weekly and keep up with in part because its twelve minute run time is easy to justify as a study break. It's really hitting its stride and is amusing me far more than it ought to. 

Tonari No Seki Kun is an older series that likewise can be consumed in 7 minute doses. I'm watching one or two a week. It has remained cute and refreshing. 

I was quite thoroughly traumatized a while back by Stella Women's Academy Emo Paintball Fight Club With The Ridiculously Long Name That Started Out Really Cool but Despite its Message Of Redemption Was REALLY Depressing and For Some Reason Ended in C-3, so I had judiciously  avoided the latest 'cute girls doing cute things in survival club' show. However, despite the subject matter (CGDCT+Guns) it is based on what is ostensibly a Shojo rather than a Seinen manga so this appeared to at least have the potential to be different. Also I've heard some good things about it and the show's name, even with the subtitle, is only 4 words long. 

I'm only 3 episodes into Sabagebu! Survival Game Club, but it's pretty enjoyable thus far with a quirky and likable cast, many of whom share my opinion of hornets and natto. I may have to write on this at length in the future. 

Dr. Who is a show that I rarely get to watch due to scheduling and a lack of DVR. However, a quirk of fate has allowed me to watch the first 4 Cappaldi episodes and I'm becoming more convinced that  the PC venom displayed in episode 2 is not intended to be seen in a good light. It looks like The Promised Land is going to be a new Bad Wolf and Robin Hood was a hoot. I like that the doctor is not completely omnipotent "Wait . You're Right. That's a STUPID idea!" It's interesting at any rate.  

In the queue: I picked up the second half of Ghost Hound, and second season of K-On!, both of which which I watched the first halves of YEARS ago. 

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September 13, 2014

Comments Issue

I've been informed that some people are having difficulty commenting. Specifically, I'm told that comments are being sent to moderation and I'm not approving them. 


Well, I don't moderate comments. In fact the blog does not even have it as an option, so something is amiss. I tried commenting myself and had no problem so this may be specific to certain users. 

Anyway, if you are having any problem commenting, please leave a comme.....

Wait...

Oh well. While our crack team of datapixies work on that problem, I can at least do my bit to help my readers avoid heartbreak. In 1992, I learned to my considerable dismay that the following line does not, in fact, work. 


Sugar, spice and copper telluride.

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