September 19, 2019


Last time Houston got anything like this much rain Ubu Roi nearly got washed away.

Stay dry Ubu.

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September 18, 2019

SyFy Friday Night Movie... or News?

Deep in the Amazon rain-forest, a genetic experiment to end mosquito-borne diseases goes horribly wrong, resulting in a implacable mutant strain of mosquitoes.

Investigators looking into the death of a doctor in a rural Indiana town stumble upon a malign conspiracy when they find 2,246 dead children ritually preserved in jars.

Deep in the subtropical forests of an isolated Texas barrier island, an eccentric billionaire builds an enormous rocket with the intention to colonize Mars.

Researchers ruefully ponder the fact that the biggest selling point of their implacable robot army is its lack of a moral compass.

Fire sparks mass explosion of semen at cattle breeding center; hi-jinks ensue.

Deep in the Siberian wastes, an isolated former Soviet biowarfare facility is researching myriad exotic pathogens, when it is wracked by a series of explosions

In a world where the the vast majority of people are addicted to and surveilled by a non-surgical brain prosthetic, a series of validation-seeking, conformity-enforcing mobs become the backbone of surveillance for an insidious system that seeks to expunge those who do not harmonize their views with those of their overlords.

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There Are Space Tomatoes For Sale

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September 16, 2019


...did Pixiv think I'm interested in this?

Also: Why does this exist?

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Borisov Intercept Proposal

In the recent post on the extra-solar comet Borisov, we used the rocketry and ballistics expertise bestowed by our liberal arts education to to recklessly speculate that it might be possible to launch a quick and dirty probe to get a close up look at this visitor from beyond.

Now one of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes has found a proposal to do just that, presumably after slogging through academic sites for many hours.

"Nah, I just checked out Centauri Dreams."

The paper is using the SLS as it's baseline launch vehicle, and not the  larger and more powerful and more or less existing Space-X Super Heavy.

However, this paper by actual rocket scientists, points out that the rather significant detail that the launch window for a conventional intercept of this thing was actually a bit over a year ago. Borisov is coming no closer to the Earth than Mars before it speeds off into the void.

Instead, the scientists are looking at a high energy, multiple slingshot trajectory and is proposing a launch in 2030, and an intercept in 2045, which gives plenty of time to work things out in a more conventional manner.

Interestingly, it also notes that a mission to Omuamua, using a New Horizons class probe is still possible. Which is quite awesome.

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Brexit Briefs

We here at Brickmuppet Blog have been looking at the current constitutional crisis in the U.K. with utter bewilderment and incomprehension of the workings of their 800 year old system (which we in the States figuratively gnawed our leg off to get away from).  If you're interested in this dumpster fire or just want reassurance that we aren't the only people being run by degenerate numbnuts, then these two videos may be of interest.

First; a brief brief which gives a basic but enlightening overview of the implications of what's going on in six minutes that, as a bonus, is easy on the eyes.

This second brief is not at all brief, clocking in at almost exactly an hour. However, it's very interesting and involves a deep explanation of the historical context as well as a detailed overview of the current situation by David Starkey, a very animated and passionate legal historian.

This interview is both edifying, and rather scary, particularly the bit about the motivations of the Remainers, who are, in fact a subset of a social clique that torments many nations.

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September 15, 2019

We Have a Date

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Hopeful News

There is now a

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Oil Prices just jumped 20%.

I hope everybody took our advice and filled up.

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"...because that's illegal in 2019."


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September 14, 2019

Saudi Arabia's Oil Production Just Cut in Half by Houthi Drone Strikes (UPDATED)

Not much to add to the post title. It looks like The Houthis, have launched a coordinated drone attack and managed to blow up half of Saudi Arabia's oil production.

The view from Space...

Buy gas now.

Via Pete, in the comments, we get this from the SecState:

Note that the Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility immediately after the attacks. However, they are Iranian proxies and not agents of the Yemeni government so the tweet may refer to afilliation rather than geography.

The advice stands however; buy gas now.

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 One of the questions that was left unanswered in the wake of the recent passing through the solar system of the interstellar object Omuamua was whether this was a vanishingly rare event, or if such interstellar objects pass through fairly frequently and we hadn't noticed them.

Well, there is now some evidence that it may be the latter.

While not yet officially confirmed to be an extrasolar object, C/2019 Q4 tentatively named Borisov, after its discoverer, is coming in at about solar system escape velocity and is expected to leave the solar system after doing a loop around the sun.

.gif via JPL

This is a rather larger object than Omuanua between 1 and 30 kilometers across and Astronomers will have time to examine it in considerable detail.

That's all we know now, but one of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes offers a bit of speculation....

"Given that its closest approach to Earth will be in December, it is also possible (albeit unlikely) that a very austere probe might be sent. Note that Elon Musk is planning a full up launch of his super rocket in October, some kitbashed probe might make a better payload than the water that normally acts as ballast on these things."

It should be noted as well that Mr.Gennady Borisov, the Russian amateur astronomer who discovered this comet, pulled off quite the impressive feat with his homemade telescope found what the algorithms had missed.

[quote] Aside from how prominent or not Gennady’s comet will become, the most amazing thing is that he beat the automated surveys to the punch. These days nearly all comets and many asteroids are found by professional astronomers using robotic telescopes hooked up to sensitive cameras and computers. Large areas of the sky are covered each clear night. If a fuzzy, moving object is detected by the computer, astronomers are alerted, follow-up observations are made and the new object receives a letter, number and the survey’s name.  That’s why there are a plethora of comets in the past 15 years with names like LINEAR (Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Survey), Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System), LONEOS (Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search) and others.

This one however, is named "Borisov".

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Astra: Lost in Space continues to surprise.

I did NOT see that coming.

Really, really good character development in this show, and things that looked like they were just amazingly lucky coincidences have been explained quite satisfyingly. Moreover, the plot point that seemed like a complete non-sequitur...isn't.

I think they have two more episodes to screw this up, but right now there is no indication that they will. This is a fairly low budget series and seems to not be getting a lot of buzz, but it is well written and excellently paced. It really is a quality piece of work that deserves a wider audience.

Kenta Shinohara, the Mangaka whose web comic(!) this is based on, is mainly known for this and a popular strip called Sket Dance. He seems to be a rising star at Shueisha. The Director and Screenwriter that Studio Lerche got to do this series (Masaomi Andō  and Norimitsu Kaihō respectively) bear watching in the future.

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This Pretty Epic

Specifically, it involves EPIC201912552 and even more specifically  EPIC201912552b a large terrestrial planet orbiting it.

One of The Brickmuppet's Crack team of Science Babes explains...

"Mercifully, the planet is also referred to as K2-18b and the rest is in this NASA press release"

With data from the Hubble Space Telescope, water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere of an exoplanet within the habitable zone of its host star. K2-18b, which is eight times the mass of Earth, is the only planet orbiting a star outside the solar system (or "exoplanet”) known to have both water and temperatures that could support life. Image credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

K2-18b was discovered some years ago and, despite being theoretically in the habitable zone, was viewed as unlikely to have water or life due to its star's mercurial nature. It orbits a red dwarf star quite close in and the dwarf in question is one that flares a lot, and emits considerible UV radiation.

However, Hubble has discovered that the planet is, in fact quite wet. This could mean it's a Neptune type planet that's boiling away or it might be a very large Earth like planet that has been able to retain its atmosphere due to high gravity and, perhaps, a strong magnetic field.

In either case, it's warm, wet ,and while quite unlike Earth in various ways it would seem now to have at least the potential for life of some kind....which is indeed pretty epic.

And logically, there ought not to be any downside.

Alas, it's 2019. There's always a downside. It seems that The Weather Channel has noted the clouds too and has begun running a story on K2 18b's weather, which means we can look forward to more weather reports of negligible relevance to us resulting in even LESS local coverage on the Weather Channel in the future.

In any event, such minor annoyances notwithstanding, that we're finding these things is pretty awesome.  While water vapor has not been found on an earth sized, habitable zone world before now, there are quite a few potential candidates for life-bearing planets. Here is a conservative list of the exo-planets currently thought to be potentially habitable, minus K2-18b which was on it some years ago but was removed and has not, as of yet, been put back.

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September 13, 2019

One Hour to Go

...before we can safely debunk paraskevidekatriaphobia.

In the meantime, here is this...

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September 12, 2019

I Do Not Vape

Vaping annoys me.

However, this moral panic is stupid.

I was into my third paragraph explaining why this is, when I noted that someone had managed to debunk the whole retarded@ proposition in 45 words.

@ Another reason, besides my jarring lack of pithiness, for my parsimonious participation on Twitter.

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September 11, 2019

18 Years

Kids are going off to college who nothing but the world since this happened. It's as distant to them as Pearl Harbor is to us. And yet 4 years after Pearl Harbor, the issue at hand as well as the issue in Europe was resolved.

Today we continue to play whackamole against this ancient enemy that has dogged our civilization for 1300 years and there is no real end in sight. The only successes of that day, the heroic, but bittersweet ending of Flight 93 and the amazing spontaneous evacuation of lower Manhatten were decentralized actions of a free people's militia....Many today wish to strip from our society both the societal and physical toolkits that make such holistic responses possible. Meanwhile,  the kids born that year march off to colleges from which many if not most will emerge as fearsome Janissaries, primed to hate and struggle against their own as China sits on the sidelines patiently sending money to their teachers and entertainers, drugs to our children and  patiently wait as we bleed ourselves on enemies foreign and domestic.

Also Donald Trump is'didn't really see any of this coming. I suspect others failed to foresee these developments as well. Perhaps one of many lessons we should take as we reflect upon the last dozen and a half years is just how hard predicting the future is.

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September 09, 2019

Quick! There's No Time to Explain....

..."You are a weaboo, right? Read this. "

Important life lessons we didn't know we needed!

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More on Brexit

I have NO idea what's happening with regards to the situation in the British parliament, but it seems quite consequential.

There is what appears to be a good overview here at Claremont.

I'm not sure Sargon knows whats going on either,  but (bear with me here) he IS a citizen of the U.K. and he gives a layman's overview of what he's seeing in this, his most recent video on the subject.

A slightly earlier and much longer video where he interviews a legal analyst on the matter is here.

This does seem to be a colossal mess.

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How Bad are GamerGaters?

Well,  pervy racists can't abide them.

Unclear on the concepts apparently.

On a slightly related note:

What did Gab do to so enrage so many people in the Fediverse?

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