September 29, 2010

World War 1 ENDS!


Via ACE.



It's over...it's finally OVER!
We can bring the doughboys home!


The First World War will officially end on Sunday, 92 years after the guns fell silent, when Germany pays off the last chunk of reparations imposed on it by the Allies.


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Thoughts On the Doom and End Times Copyright Bill

A few days ago this post appeared at Instapundit concerning the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act.

From the two relevant links, this seems to be a pretty dire piece of legislation indeed. Now the links are from Newsmax and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, so there might be a bit of unwarranted breathlessness. Still, with Leahy involved and this administrations attitude towards the press, it is easy to see where this could be a pretty bad thing, especially when a Google search of the title of the bill turns of a whole page of denunciations of the bill as thinly veiled censorship.

Of course it's not possible for any of us to read the damned thing and it's probably thousands of pages lon.....oh wait.

Colleen Doran has helpfully provided the full text of the bill here.

Read the whole thing.
It is short and to the point.

Before posting, I contacted an acquaintance who runs a hosting service for his thoughts. I had not gotten permission to use his name or quote him by the time I posted but the gist of his reaction is that this has some important caveats not found in other scarier legislation that's been proposed. For one thing punitive action is reserved for the specific SITE not the hosting service as is implied (and was the case in some other bills) . That is, one sketchy site setting up on mee.nu or Typepad doesn't risk shutting down the whole domain. That would suck.

Of course if one runs a torrent site or download blog, then one is not liking this bill.

Piracy has devastated the R1 anime market and scantillations are eating the manga market alive. With E-books, i-Tunes and the video equivalents being the future of entertainment something needs to be done.

There is a lot of hand-wringing over this this, however....

One of the few legitimate roles of government is punishing theft.
The internet, is by its nature interstate commerce.
Theft is not the same thing as free speech.
Punishing theft is not censorship.

This bill, like any other, could be abused, and twisted to be used in ways not intended. That sort of thing happens when the idiot notion of the law being a 'living document' is given respect rather than the contempt it deserves. However THAT problem is beyond the scope of any bill and beyond the ability of any bill to deal with.

This appears to be, as written, a pretty decent solution to a very real problem.

So...thoughts?
(asbestos boxers GET!)

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September 24, 2010

Do it Yourself SCIENCE!!1! From the Bottom Up

  One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes coyly hints at her approval of a series of stories involving do-it yourself SCIENCE!!1!

In 1997, one Karl Stanley invented and built himself a submarine. This is cool and uncommon, but not unheard of by itself. However, his submarine is not only an innovative gliding sub,  but naval architects estimated it had a crush depth of 1500 feet.

Will Forman, who designed and tested submersibles for the Navy, thinks Stanley is the first ever to build a gliding sub. "I think it's a great thing, especially if he survives," said Forman

Amongst its other features:
  • 30-inch diameter viewport for her passengers
  • 11 powerful lights, including one positional
  • Nine viewports for the pilot so he can see in every direction
  • Comfortable bench seating for extended dives
  • Built-in CD sound system
(Submarine adventures require appropriate BGM)

Stanely, chafing at the lack of opportunity to put his sub to use in Oklahoma moved first to Florida and then to Honduras where he has for the past several years run a small tour business. Oh, and there is a movie...



Sadly, he ran afoul of local politics and was for a time, unable to offer tours. Sometime in the last two years however, that issue seems to have been resolved.
SCIENCE!!1! wins!

Via The Firearm Blog, comes this video of a homemade coilgun (an electomagnetic gun, operating on the same principle as a mass driver).



Steve takes a stab at guessing its performance:

My guess would be a 800 grain slug traveling at 100 ft/second and generating just under 18 ft/lbs (24 joules) of muzzle energy. This is guesstimate fits in with the inventor's estimate of 1-3% efficiency (1250kj * 0.03 = 37.5 joules).


There is also a lengthy discussion in his comments.

Additionally, there is a similar but less elaborate device demonstrated here.

Moving up, thanks to Scott Lowther,  we learn about this weeks amazing demonstration of a human powered ornithopter. This wasn't made in a garage, but  was a college project with a fair amount of resources and degrees involved. Of course we are going to let this one slide because...
Well, because  HUMAN...POWERED...ORNITHOPTER!!


Moving higher still in both latitude and altitude, two Danes plan to launch a test flight of their homemade manned suborbital rocket next week.


The Tycho Brahe capsule is a single passenger capsule with a full view through a polymer plexiglas-dome so that the person can see and experience the entire ballistic ride.


An older article is here and was linked to at the Secret Projects Forum where this excerpt inspired some discussion....

An aerospike on top of the plexiglass should hopefully blunt the full shock and thermal effects acting on the dome, the designers said.


(It was that word "hopefully" that really stood out.)

Finally, via Instapundit, we learn about a gentleman who has built his own satellite! The satellite will flash morse code messages to Earth (and no doubt give George Noory lots of calls). This fellow intends to fork over 100 grand to have it launched..perhaps he should just talk to the Danes.

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It is, No Doubt, an Indication of my Utter Depravity

...that I don't find this terribly inappropriate for Sesame Street and certainly not offensive. I just find it harmless and cute.

Do kids today not go to the beach?

Anyone who reads anything perverse into this is probably too old to be part of the Sesame Street target audience. Thus the uproar strikes me as particularly dumb.

Of course, I'm NOT part of that target audience.

Actually, I may have missed something...So...I'd probably better watch that again.

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September 22, 2010

A Great one Passes

Captain Robert Truax, USN, (later USAF) has died. Perhaps best known for the invention of the JATO system, most of his contributions went largely unsung. However, Truax was one of the most important figures in the history of rocket development.  In addition to working on such projects as Polaris and Apollo he was a advocate for cheap access to space and was well ahead of his time in trying for suborbital space tourism.   Clarke Lindsay has a fine overview of his career here.

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September 18, 2010

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold, But if you Utterly Suck its Gonna be Lukewarm and Taste like Natto


Arlene Harris ( Plucky Grrl Detective) has put together a comprehensive and painstaking analysis of what appears to be pretty cut and dried plagiarism....of Colleen Doran's A Distant Soil.

But it gets strange...because it would appear to be plagiarism intended as revenge..but with almost comical incompetence attached at almost every level.

Harris has done yeoman's work here.

Read the whole thing. No really...I know it's as long as a Bill Whittle essay but this is really astonishing on a number of levels. I first encountered this post nearly a week ago and now that there are multiple updates; the affair has gotten even stranger with the denials.


You should also read A Distant Soil, and if you have any interest in the professional side of the comic industry you should scroll down and be reading Colleen Doran's blog there as well.

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September 17, 2010

A few quick notes.

I finished that photopost that had been languishing in draft form.

I've lost just over 20 pounds since the middle of July.

School is actually going well.




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September 11, 2010

9 Years On


more...

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September 09, 2010

Satoshi Kon

I had missed this, ironically because I was in Japan at the time.

One of the greats has passed.

Satoshi Kon died on August 24. He was just 46.

Via Blogfonte, Makiko Itoh has provided a translation of his farewell, here.

Kon was, hands down one of the greatest animation  talents of the last decade and a half. His work included...

Perfect Blue,
Millennium Actress,
Tokyo Godfathers
,
Paranoia Agent
Paprika

He was at the top of his form.

Such a loss...

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September 08, 2010

Will Somebody Explain to Me

...why a lunatic preacher with less than 50 people in his flock, who is associated with Fred effing Phelps is getting worldwide media attention for an exercise in assinity.

Seriously, this is a major info war defeat for the US and it is an issue at all because it is getting coverage out of all proportion to reality.

Why did this irrelevant  asshat get so much coverage?

Allahpundit has some thoughts on the idiocy and reactions to it here.

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