July 18, 2008

Could it Work?

Wonderduck inflicts upon us a clever piece of art, which, once the eyes stop bleeding, begs the question, "Could this work?".

Could a slice of life show about a bunch of guys work in the same way?

I'm  sure a similar show with a mixed cast could...it was done well over here with Peanuts.


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How Did This Happen?

I now hold in my shaggy little palms...volume 5 of Welcome to the NHK.
(Which I am told does not exist)

The logo and box all indicate an ADV product.

2 possibilities jump out at me.

1:  I have inadvertently used my entire lifetime allotment of "swell"...on producing a nonexistent cartoon DVD out of the ether....as opposed to hair.... or a cure for cancer....superpowers...or something of greater monetary value than $19.99...meaning it's all downhill from this point.

2: It's A SINISTER CONSPIRACY!!

# 2 seems the one to hope for....


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July 15, 2008

Navy Realizes What the Word "Destroyer" Means, Cancels Giant Stealth Monitor

It looks like the DDG 1000 is going to be limited to a 2 ship class, primarily to serve as test beds for advanced technologies.

More here, here, here and here.

This is probably a good idea.

The DDX/ DDG1000/ Zumwalt  was conceived during the Clinton Administration as a "Land Attack Destroyer". The initial idea behind it was that it would be able to approach a third world shore due to a combination of stealth and general survivability and wreak havoc on the locals with long range guns firing precision guided shells. This is not a destroyer per say, this is in fact a monitor, the modern version of which was pioneered by the UK in WW1 (one example of which is left).

The Clinton administration liked the idea as it saw US forces operating in a variety of UN sanctioned peacekeeping roles. The gunfire support function seemed a valuable asset in any case and was seen as necessary given the imminent retirement of the Iowas. As a concept this was not without merit.
However, it was deemed prudent to give the vessel a general purpose capability so that it would not be useful only in the rare case of an amphibious landing. This again was not a bad idea, as the vessel was fleshed out it became apparent that it would be expensive and it seemed wasteful to pay through the nose for a ship rarely used.

There were a family of vessels planned under the moniker SC21, but only the  land attack destroyer was proceeded with, which meant it had to be the next destroyer class as well.

So it had to have the next generation ...everything
next generation radar
the aforementioned gun...not an off the shelf weapon but a gun that would push naval artillery to the limit.
A new type of vertical launch system intended to allow the ship to survive the detonation of a missile magazine.
To save money...by reducing crew...next generation automation including little trams carrying little robots throughout the ship.
The ship had to survive inshore and the navy decided to make it stealthy.
A hullform was developed that prioritized stealth over seakeeping and damage control.
The vessel was intended to operate at a fixed displacement and always stay upright. According to Norman Friedman in his book on US Destroyers, this required huge and fast acting ballast tanks that, along with the automation, drove the ships size up considerably.
Increased size meant more places that were not full of stuff....so they got filled with stuff...expensive stuff.
Soon it was 14,000 tons...nearly the size of a predreadnaught battleship...oh and it was still supposed to be a stealth ship.
Against the backdrop of the surface of the ocean it is highly problamatioc that such a vessel can be made invisible to all radars, electo-optical, cosmic ray detectors, ultraviolet lenses, infrared, hydrophones, sonars, acoustic detectors, binoculars and the mark one eyeball.

An  crude example of what I'm talking about....


The Bush administration did basically nothing to interfere with this dysfunctional development. Indeed, the original vertical firing "gun" was replaced with a more conventional trainable mount in the hopes that it could be used at short ranges if necessary and also fire standard 155mm shells to augment the expensive precision shells with existing stockpiles. Design changes and false economies in what became the Advanced Gun System ensured that not only could it not fire NATO standard 155 shells, but there is, as of right now, no real direct fire capability against ships.....thus the mechanically simpler vertical gun might have been the better choice.

Except for the 2 off the shelf (Swedish) 57mm guns, just about everything on the vessels is brand new, next generation and experimental. This is not to say that the stuff is useless or can't work, or that we should soldier on with 20th century tech, far from it...but it is likely a good idea to work the bugs out and assimilate lessons learned before building any more ships.

The US has had several testbed vessels that have advanced our naval technology, or shown that certain ideas are dead ends (see USS Vesuvius) and it is good to find these things out and work out the bugs before beginning a production run.

On the other hand...

While the whole US shipbuilding industry has experienced terrible cost and quality issues recently, I suspect that some of the obscene expense of these vessels is due to the fact that their cost includes a massive chunk of the current navy R&D budget.
 I therefore suspect that whatever class is built with the developments of these systems will seem cheap as the development of said systems will have been paid for in the DDG 1000 budget.
Given that premise, I'm not sure that a tremendous monetary savings will be realized here, but some additional shipbuilding funds are likely to be freed up.

However, the current idea seems to be to build more DDG 51's (the Arliegh Burkes) and in the comments to this post at Gahlran's, back of the napkin calculations seem to indicate that this will result in 11 burkes for 5 DDG1000's.

Numbers are important. As one purpose of this blog is to comment above my paygrade, I would suggest building instead a larger number of the AFCON F-100's which are a joint Bath/Navitania design. They are very seaworthy, have full AEGIS capability, but all other systems are more austere. The Aussies have just selected this design as well.



This could greatly increase the number of frontline hulls available in a few years as older ships are decommissioned. It is a stopgap measure, but it has the potential to be an effective one.

UPDATE:
Another good use of any "found money" here would be to buy some of the canceled ASW modules for the LCS for tests.

Alternatively, more gator vessels like the LPDs or some logistics vessels might very well be a good investment. However, the big concern amongst many right now is the number of surface escorts that will be in service in a decade or so.

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How?

How does one deliberately cut ones head off with a chainsaw?
If he'd been juggling a couple then I could see it but this...

How?

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July 14, 2008

A Few Random Thoughts on :Trivial Fluff (Anime Division)

The weekend was completely nonproductive. Due to weather, exhaustion and psychological trauma inflicted by an online quiz, I contracted a passing case of hikikomoriism and pretty much did not accomplish any of my yardwork and watched more anime in 2 days than I have in 2 months.


Fluff follows....
more...

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July 12, 2008

Look!...a Particularly Cunning Energy Plan

T. Boone Pickens has an Energy Plan that is getting a lot of attention.

 

One of the Brickmuppets crack team of science babes crunches the numbers and comes up with some pertinent suggestions.


There is little to add really.

The Pickens plan involves filling the windiest parts of the west all the way from from the Canadian border to the Rio Grande with windmills over a 10 year period.

Back to the weather problems...the area is very windy on average but that is just an average...atmospheric high pressure systems which can cover vast areas tend to stop the wind....How vast an area?



The two low wind high pressure systems on this map could stretch from ...oh...say...the Canadian boarder to the Rio Grande!

Note that high pressure systems are also associated with heat waves and cold snaps, so the wind would not be available during weather conditions that would boost demand.
Wind is inherently problematic in this regard...
This does not get into incidents where the wind blows too fast and damages the mechanism....not unheard of in this area where powerful line squalls account in part for the high AVERAGE wind velocity.

Besides the fickleness of wind there are other problems:

The areas involved are quite far from most places the power is needed. Power loss through the resistance of power lines is going to take a huge toll.

Windmills have moving parts and dynamos that require a fair bit of maintenance and this is multiplied in this plan by the thousands...in remote areas.

Freeing up natural gas for vehicles is illusory...for one thing we actually have to import some of our natural gas supplies and few cars in the us can run off NG. Its energy density sucks too...it is little better than electric with regard to range.

The money and the 10 years would be far better spent  doing mass producing Generation-4 reactors.....its doable...we know this because it is BEING DONE!( just not here)

This plan is a monumental waste of time and energy. Like the corn based ethanol boondoggle this proposal smells. It makes no economic sense whatsoever unless one takes into account the subsidies offered for wind power by congress. Charles Barton has the scoop here in the transcript of a remarkably candid interview with Pickens who admits that not only is he not going to pursue the proposal without subsidies, not only is it not going to produce constant power, but he is going to see to it that none of the windmills are built on his land!

This is, like, the ethanol from corn boondoggle, little more than a way to siphon off taxpayers money. Unlike that fiasco...it is less than likely that there is any good faith mistake here.

 


A Brickmuppet Blog post on nukes in general from last year can be found here.

'Science babe' is Maria from Sakura Wars....out of character and out of costume.

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FORE!

Golf...

It's not just for the Air Force anymore.

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Tony Snow June 1, 1955 – July 12, 2008

I always liked him, both as press secretary and as a talk radio host, he always came across as decent as well as smart.

The combination of courage, optimism and dignity he displayed in his last year in the face of his terminal cancer was nothing short of awe inspiring.

More  thoughts  here.

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Very Cursory Gurren Laggan Review

 19.95 for the first 9 episodes of what is a very highly regarded show. OK...sure.

I'm really not impressed with the art style or the animation.

 Hmmm...2 male leads...one is an idiot...one is a nebbish.

feh...

OK, the Nebbish hero (?) is a digger in a Dystopic underground village...
It's like Logans Run meets Dirty Jobs....
Good grief...is there such a thing as "Gainax Opening"?

This show was heavily hyped.

This makes it is clear that the popular culture has passed me by. I think I'm gonna...wait..what..?

more...

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July 07, 2008

Look an Elf!



Art by Tony Taka and is from the PS2 game Shining Tears.
(TonyTaka link NSFW)

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Funimation / ADV/ Geneon Shuffle

Ubu Roi has a good overview of the Funimation buy-up of ADV and Geneon  titles with some informative updates and comments.

(Thanks to PulpJunkie for the links)

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Some "Rainy Day" Linky Luv....

Today it rained all day in Southeastern Virginia....on the Weather Channel.
Outside it was a gloriously sunny, if hot, day.

With that in mind Powerline reports that CNN may be broadcasting from the same pocket universe as the Weather Channel....More on Bud Day here....

Returning to Earth Actual, Jerry Pournelle has a thoughtful discussion on torture and coercion here and here.

The Anchoress has a stream of consciousness on the upcoming elections here and a rather more focused and quite thorough assessment of the recent actions of the All Feeling all Seeing God Head Sun King here.

Eric Scheie looks at some of the stupid anti-Obama conspiracy theories and develops....a conspiracy theory.

The Instapundit links to this post on the recent rescue of FARCs hostages andquotes this telling bit....

As we learn more about the Colombian military's daring hostage rescue last week, one detail stands out: In tricking FARC rebels into putting the hostages aboard a helicopter, undercover special forces simply told the comandantes that the aircraft was being loaned to them by a fictitious nongovernmental organization sympathetic to their cause called the International Humanitarian Mission.

It may have taken years for army intelligence to infiltrate the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and it may have been tough to convincingly impersonate rebels. But what seems to have been a walk in the park was getting the FARC to believe that an NGO was providing resources to help it in the dirty work of ferrying captives to a new location.



As the cool kids say...."Indeed"

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Fascism Never Looked so Goofy....

Via CDR Salamander comes this image of the crack Chinese Segway Patrol on counter terrorism maneuvers...



Try not to laugh. They may look silly, but they'll shoot you dead....

('kinda like Daleks I suppose)

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Thomas M.Disch 1940-2008

Sci Fi writer Thomas M. Disch commited suicide on July 4th.

Thoughts on his passing from Bruce Lewis and Colleen Doran.


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July 06, 2008

The Upcoming "Season" of Late Night Cartoons Aimed at Japanese 14 Year Olds

Some of the upcoming anime shows that were/are premiering in the next few weeks.

   Slayers Revolution...included for completeness sake, hardly worth mentioning.

       


    Strike Witches...the toy add was sublime.
Can the series live up to that? Doubtful...
and yet...
The toy add was SO sublime ..


 


  Mission E...sequel(?) to Code E...Yet another excuse to watch the rest of Code E which I thought had much promise.



Ikkitousen Great Guardians....Let me say quite loudly for the benefit of any EEOC officers, Liberal Arts professors, and insecure female graduate assistants that I am deeply and profoundly offended by the very existence of this pathologically pointless and prurient show...that is my story and I am sticking to it.


 
   World Destruction...More lighthearted cheer from Prodution IG. A girl  has the super power "destroy whole world"...which naturally comes with the 8 point limitation " destroys whole world". Complications ensue..

(Update: Wonderduck has thoughts)

   
 
 
   Detroit Metal City...The Manga reportedly involves a Garage Band that switches from Swedish pop (!?) to Heavy Metal with sinister results. I'm unsure if this is a comedy, a drama, or an afterschool special.

 
  
 
   Chocolate Underground...looks like another Shirow "kids show". The food police are cracking down on chocolate consumption with the reserve and good sense we see from the DEA and ATF...the kids rebel....this could be fun.

(Update: You Tube added, still not the OP, but a  5min clip)

 
   Birdy The Mighty-Decode...Birdy the Mighty for the 21st century.

 
 
   Utraviolet-Code 44...They made an anime based on Ultraviolet? Well it looks stylish.


 
   Slayers Revolution....Some derivative D&D type show. Likely of no interest to anybody.

 
 
   RoboDz Kazagumo Hen...Kids robot show which is interesting as it is a Toei/ Disney co-production  (no trailer available)
 
  Hidemari Sketchx365....Apparantly not just a slice of life show...the whole fricking pie graph.

  

lawd that is...cheery...
 
  Antique Bakery...Shounin Ai...with bread...and dough...and...I'll leave it at that....

 


 
  Telepathy Shoujou Ran...no info..I assume telepathy is involved and so are girls and flowers.
Update: OP Added

  
  
 
  Yakushiji Ryouko no Kaiki Jikenbo...(Ryokos Case File?)...Tokyo police paranormal investigations..


 
   Finally, there's some show called Slayers Revolution.

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Oh...Joy....

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July 04, 2008

Happy 4th

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The Signatures.....


Georgia:
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton


North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn


South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton


Massachusetts:
John Hancock


Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton


Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton


Pennsylvania:
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross


Delaware:
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean


New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris


New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark


New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple


Massachusetts:
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry


Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery


Connecticut:
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott


New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton

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July 02, 2008

Ouch! That is Bad!

The 140 foot Coast Guard Icebreaker Morro Bay has collided with the Block Island ferry in dense fog.
No injuries are reported, and there is no word who, if anyone, was at fault.

(The news is calling the cutter a buoy tender, but, while they do sometimes do buoy work,  the 140's are icebreaking tugs.)


UPDATE! Elsewhere the USCG was saving people as usual.

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Rats! More Trouble at ADVision?

Via Chizumatic comes the news that ADV is again having problems. It seems they have put several titles, including the excellent Welcome to the NHK on indefinite hold.

Founded in 1992 by John Ledford and Matt Greenfield two Texas anime fans, ADV is one of the more established and prolific outfits to focus on licensing anime here.

Now it appears they, like the much larger and better financed Geneon may have fallen victim to the fact that it is pretty damned impossible to really compete with fan-subbers who's overhead consists of Mountain Dew and pretzels.......... as opposed to rights, distribution infrastructure, advertising, translator and tech salaries, taxes, legal fees, printing, inventory and rent or property taxes on the spaces needed to house said overhead.

This is not good.

UPDATE: There is very good discussion in the comments at the Chizumatic post.

ADV's website is currently down.



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