September 12, 2008

Ubu Blogging Ike

Ubu Roi is unable to leave Houston due to family obligations. He is live blogging the calamity (with occasional pictures) as long as his connection lasts from his primary blog, Houblog.

UPDATE:  Horrible news...Ubu reports that  40% of Galveston has refused to evacuate...
...dear God.
Galveston was utterly destroyed in the 1900 storm. That island is going to be under water and buffeted by Hurricane force winds for hours. Thousandd may be dead in a matter of hours.

Weather Nerd is right, this storm was seriously under-hyped.

Reports are that the storm surge will reach 31 feet at high tide...Galveston's seawall is 20 feet high. There are reports of fires throughout the county as transformers explode...
Ubu reports that the Galveston seawall is over topping at 11:40 local
Very nearly everyone on the island could be dead by morning.

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Hell is Coming to Texas Tonight

The worst natural disaster to ever hit the US was a hurricane on a track very similar to this. This is worse. As I type this,  it looks like the eye will pass near or over both Galveston and Houston. The thing is HUGE and could hit some areas with hurricane force winds for 12 hours or more. This has the potential to be an unimaginable calamity. Worse, the area has been hit by numerous hurricanes that are on paper more dangerous. However, the size of this storm will result in a storm surge of historic levels and the area will be subject to winds far longer than it has in history. Many people, perhaps thousands, who have weathered previous bad storms with no problem are likely in for a terrible, terrible surprise if they have not evacuated. This storm is a monster and it may be the most damaging hurricane of all time.
It should be noted that the Houston ship channel is one of the most vital pieces of national infrastructure.

Send your thoughts and prayers to
Mark Whittington
Rachel Lucas
Ubu Roi
and everyone else in the line of fire. Ubu in particular is in a bad situation and can't actually evacuate due to family responsibilities..

UPDATE: The 584 foot bulk freighter Antalina  has suffered an engineering casualty and was unable to avoid the storm. The ship is adrift is adrift in 80 knot winds with 22 crew aboard. Coast Guard  and Air Force rescue aircraft were unable to remove the crew and the aircraft were forced down in Lake Charles. Antalina is reportedly  a Cyprus Registered coke carrier.

From the USCG Press release.
"Unfortunately there were 80-knot winds on scene, well beyond the operating conditions for the air crews to safely rescue the crew of the Antalina. The safety of the rescue crews and the crew of the Antalina are of the utmost importance to us. The Coast Guard will continue to maintain contact with the crew of the Antalina and monitor their situation very closely," said Rear Adm. Joel R. Whitehead, commander, Eighth Coast Guard District. 

I've been able to find no info on the Antalina aside from that given in the Maritime link. She is said to be a coke carrier. Bulk freighters carrying such low value cargo are often not in the peak of maintenance.  The vessel has traditional lifeboats, which are perilous in good weather let alone in the teeth of a hurricane. This is a serious situation.

UPDATE 2: thanks to a commenter at Galrahn's. Here are the stats on the vessel. They do not fill me with confidence.
UPDATE 3:It looks like they made it.

Via The Unofficial Coast Guard Blog, the acknowledged Military response is...

USS Nassau w/1000 medical bed facility. The NASSAU arrived in Norfolk, Virginia at 1000 EDT September 12 and on-loaded a Disaster Relief Team (DRT), Beach Party Team (BPT), Fleet Surgical Team (FST) and 4 x Utility Landing Craft (LCU)

(20) title 10 aircraft and helicopters to include HH-60s, SH-60s, HC-130s;

(14) USCG platforms to include HH-65s and HU-25s;

(9) Air National Guard platforms to include HH-60s, MC-130s;

(61) Army National Guard helicopters.

This is in addition to the National Guard , Army, Civilian Federal, Volunteers Churches and NGOs.

UPDATE: *Coast Guard video of rescues is here and here.

This is driving me nuts....I'm still on medical leave and thus nondeployable. At this time they don't even need any back fill here ( at least not from a broke coastie). 2 times I had to drop out of school for mobilization but see no action and save no one except a St. Bernard...Now actual emergency...what I enlisted to do...something that applies to my rate in spades is happening and I'm Walter Mitty with a keyboard.

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September 11, 2008


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September 09, 2008

Humor Deficit


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September 08, 2008

Categorically Incorrect

There has been an error in categorization that may cause some viewers distress.
For reasons unknown a post on Governor Palin and a post on....umm...Chun Li are appearing in the "Actually it IS Rocket Science!" category.

Yes, these two willful and saucy posts are stubbornly refusing to go where they belong.

I apologize for any stress incurred to those expecting only SpaceBlogging at that link. I am fully aware that Chun Li and Sarah Palin are not, strictly speaking, space related ...though Chun Li and Sarah Palin in Space might have potential as a series concept.

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They Don't Like Ike

Ike is a true catastrophe. The hurricane has killed over 60 people in the Caribbean and devastated the Turks and Caicos Islands, reportedly destroying 80% of the buildings in the British territory. The thing has been hammering Cuba from both sides and despite crossing that islands high mountains seems has only weakened a bit. soon, after another gut punch to the Crocodile island, it is going to saunter into the Gulf of Mexico, most likely regain strength and bring despair to the USA or USM. If you are in that cone start reading your calamity kit.
(Hang on Ubu)

Excellent weatherblogging and first hand reporting at Stormcarib.
Charities that are active in the area.
( I have no info on these though I assume the BRC is legit)
British Red Cross
Oxfam America
The Order of Malta (Which handles AmeriCares Caribbean Charities)

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September 07, 2008

Oh Noes! Moar Politiks!

The contest has begun in earnest...
Wingnuttery is below the fold
Pic from Bamboo Blade via

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What is The Target Audience?

A few days ago I watched Lucky Star (Volume 3)at my friend Allan's house.

I am not buying much as the first paycheck in 5 weeks doesn't come until Friday. However, yesterday evening we swung by Best Buy in part because I wanted to confirm something crazy...crazy I say.... that Allan said had about the deluxe edition.

Yes...Volume 3 deluxe comes with a schoolgirl uniform (winter version from the show).

Other deluxe editions come with a (female) gym uniform.


So....I'm guessing I'm not actually the target audience here.

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September 05, 2008

Remedial Space Blogging

The Brickmuppet's crack team of science babes (flaming chariot division) are all dressed up, with nowhere to go..and this pisses them off!
They point out that while we have had the math worked out on reaching space for a century and we've been doing it for about half as long, it is still too great a hurdle for cheap access and large scale development.

This is a side effect of expendable launchers, which make sense from an engineering standpoint (they have maximum  fuel efficiency and the highest payloads) but in an economic sense...they make no sense.

The problem here is that with the most current launch vehicles we are doing the equivalent of flying to Japan in a 747 and then blowing up the plane......every time. If that were the process for a transpacific flight..I could not have afforded to go to Japan last month.....just about no one could have.

So how do we fix the problem?  Well obviously we make the damned thing reusable so you can fly it more than once!

While it may seem at first blush to be a dispatch from the department of "Duh!", that task is not as easy as it sounds...nor as impossible as some suggest.


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It's the New MOE'

More Sarah Palin fallout no doubt.....

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I'm important!

I have a parasite page trolling for my readers typos!  It's not even pr0n.

It won't make them much money though...I think I have 6 readers and 4 spammers.

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September 04, 2008


What, gentle readers, is this?

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The Speech

It WAS a good speech. Even if she DID use a teleprompter. (and a "gasp!"speechwriter)

Criticism that it was short on policy specifics ( generally not the Veep candidates job ) or that it attacked the opposition leader ( generally the Veep candidates job) are just sour grapes.

Governor Palin's big requirement was to deliver a good speech and she did that. She will probably do well in the VP Debate, though Biden is an excellent debater (that is basically all he's done over the last 20 years...other than be wrong)  Palin rather more social conservative than I like but her record in Alaska seems pretty impressive for such a short time.

She is quite impressive in many ways, not the least because of the tornado of bile from the Media and the Nutroots that she endured with considerable grace over the weekend. However, it would be good for those of us on the right to not to get too full of ourselves. Due to a combination of bad performance in Congress, bad luck, bad faith reporting by the media and arrogance, the Republican brand is a hard sell this year. To the extent we forget the first and last points, this dilemma is deserved.  We have a chance in part because our two candidates seem to be trying to correct both problems.

It is also important to remember that while Obama's resume is rather thinner than either of the Republican candidates, as a senator he has not been the empty suit * he was for most of his previous career. He is also engaging, eloquent and likable to many. Additionally, his urbane sense of entitlement, as off-putting as it is to us, gives many people who have historically been despicably excluded, a much deserved sense of pride and hope.

He also has a solid following of genuinely scary goofballs who seem to see him as a messiah fulfilling the prophecies of Marx and Mao. He is not to be underestimated, and I genuinely fear that to the extent he is not playing his "progressive" backers for fools that the stakes are quite, as the A listers say... don't get cocky*....

Still, we have in this Bull Moose ticket a remarkably strong hand.  For the first time in this election I am optimistic.  

More optimism here.

*HT: Instapundit

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September 03, 2008

Brief Bit of Banality

I which I am witness to and participant in a wheelchair mishap. more...

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The View From Australia

Pixie publishes play-by-play of Palin pandemonium.

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Bad Week for the Bahamas

In addition to the annoying fact that current models have Hanna coming right up the Cape Fear river, It looks like our friends the Bahamians are going to get a double barreled hit.

Ike's currently projected track is just plain mean.

Of course, as anyone who has followed these storms the last few weeks knows, they are anything but predictable...except to the extent that they are an annual annoyance.

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September 02, 2008

Beyond Maladjusment

In the previous post I mentioned that one of the girls in Lucky Star (Konata) is an Otaku and slightly maladjusted.

As far as maladroit fandom goes....there are levels.

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The Costs of Not Watching Lucky Star

 I just watched Lucky Star volume 3.

Lucky Star is a show that ought not to interest me in the least. Yet this show has grown on a fungus.
Based on a 4 panel strip, this slice of life show focuses on the antics of 3 normal if awkward Japanese teenagers...and a slightly maladjusted otakuette. A collection of short skits, with topics ranging from dessert consumption etiquette, to the dark results of child star exploitation  (!?), the show is reminiscent of Peanuts more than anything else.

It is also a costly thing to miss.

Recently, I went to Japan, and suffered a bit of a mishap my first night there. The guest house I was to be staying in had burned down and I found this out shortly before the trains shut down. While in Chofu station waiting for a transfer I spied what I mistook for a cybercafe, so, thinking this area had to be cheaper than Shinjuku I left the station...and what proved to be the last train out.

 "Relevancy?" you ask?

   Now if I had watched Lucky Star volume 3....I would have learned that Chofu is an expensive and hoity toity yuppieville, thus I would not have left, I would have gone clear to Shunjuku and not paid nearly twice what any other hotel cost me on the whole trip, just to get out of the rain....which would have been most useful given that the mishap cost me a large chunk of my available funds. Lucky Star, buy it AS SOON as it comes out...don't wait!

It's important, and there WILL be a test.

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September 01, 2008


Good grief!
They are really scared by this woman!

Terrified it would seem.

Today, the shocking revelation that Bristol Palin, is pregnant and while engaged, is not yet married.

Oh, the scandal of it all. I feel as if I will faint. (not)

This would seem to debunk the amazing "Sarah Palinzez latIst baBy is not hers but her daughters!!!11!!! z0mg!!!1!!" theory*

To his credit, Obama today tried to put a stop to the nasty bile, but the fear on the left that their sure victory is no longer certain (if it ever was) is now setting in. The fact that it might be due to to somebody not just from a flyover state....but a never fly near state is too much for many of them to bear, hence the frenzy of nutsieness.

While watching this hateful trainwreck is almost amusing in a very lowbrow way, the implications for the country are not good..and it gives me heartburn. Additionally, there are a lot of actual issues that need addressing and I'd like to see some damned debates. I've pretty much made up my mind, and indeed  Palin's strong libertarian streak pick sets at ease many of my misgivings about McCain but there are a  lot of  issues I'd like to see discussed with specifics, and at the moment we're getting, even by  normal  US politics standards  red herrings.

Bristol is actually wearing a fat suit to throw everybody off and will fake a miscarriage...
Bristol Palin has 2 Vagina's...probably due to Global Warming!
See Kossacks! You can still keep the dream alive!

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What to Watch?

Between school, work and physical therapy, I'm not watching all that much this month, but if you get the itch, Pulpjunkie has a quite large list of DVD reviews and speculation up.

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