October 30, 2011

The Antonym of Progress is Progressivism

That title looks like this post might involve politics or something!
As a precaution we've put the post below the fold and replaced it with Squid Girl (Who we assume to be non-partisan).

(We wouldn't want our crabbier readers to get steamed...'cause our popularity might flounder.)


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October 29, 2011

The Thing (2011)

  The local movie critic said it was "delightfully campy". In retrospect this is a bizarre way to describe this film. However it gave me confidence that I could take a friend without fear of reprisal*. Both the Howard Hawks, and the John Carpenter versions are classics and this not only had big shoes to fill, it is a prequel to boot so we know how it's gonna end...pretty much. 

The staff at a Norwegian research outpost in Antarctica discover someTHING buried in the ice.

The Carpenter version had a sequence set in the Norweigian base with the Americans finding really odd "clues" to the mayhem that transpired there. This film fastidiously explains every one of those shots. In that sense it almost feels like fan-fic, complete with a Mary Sue.

But it's good fan-fic. The film may not be on the same level as the other two but is a perfectly solid thriller. The suspense, paranoia and confusion are excacerbated by the language barriers in the international team, with people at one point literally having 2 different conversations with one another.

My only real complaint is the heavy use of CGI, to complement the excellent puppet work, but it is, all in all, quite well paced and creepy. I actually recommend this one.

A few random and spoilerish thoughts

*Red Planet and Hulk still have not been forgiven.

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October 25, 2011


A clip from a 2006 Russian animated film about the legendary hero Dobrynya Nikitich.

Via John C. Wright, who has more on this here. Go there for the explanation...stay for the dancing.

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October 23, 2011

Grim Tide Coming

The debris field from the Tohaku quake/tsunami is now just west of Midway.

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October 20, 2011

Buy Cool Stuff...Help Out a Fan

One of life's calamities has hit an Otakuette who goes by the handle of "Arlnee". She is currently selling her collection on E-Bay to raise funds.

Ooohmygod she's got some of the most awesomest stuff ever!

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October 16, 2011

Impressive Feats of Villainy

I must alternate between disapproval and toasting these clowns.

State police have arrested two men accused of stealing a privately owned steel bridge from a secluded area in Lawrence County.

Our resident expert on evil seems to approve.

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October 15, 2011


This is a few days old but Wonderduck has knocked one out of the park, with a tightly written overview of what went wrong with the sortie from USS Hornet during the Battle of Midway.

I had never been clear on why the ships air group seemed to disintegrate or why Torpedo 8 was without any support when they went on their death ride. The answer is appalling. Read the whole thing.

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Oh God...The Stupid...It Burrnnses Ussssssss

I initially thought this was an idiot gag by some fanboys. (via)


Somebody in the Hornady marketing department who was paid actual money decided that proposing anti-zombie ammo (with a straight face)  would help justify his/her salary. Inexplicably, it appears that said person was given a budget rather than a pink slip.

The disclaimer would seem to reduce the products real-world utility.

Quick dear, sell our Hornady stock now.

Ignoring for a minute the political ineptitude involved in greenlighting this asinine ad campaign, in the unlikely event of a zombie apocalypse (as seen in the...umm...movies), regular ammo ought to work just fine. Moreover, given the supposed necessity for head shots (as seen in the...umm...movies), .22 LR is probably a preferable round due to its light weight and wide availability. 

On the other hand, if they are serious about...contingencies....then it should be pointed out that they are ignoring the werewolf menace. To this end reloaders need to be provided with 100% silver bullets (don't bother with cartridges 'cause only the reloaders are hardcore enough to buy such things). Yes...silver...In fact, to save money, just sell ingots...we'll use our own molds...and frankly, no one is talking about Cybermen....they are best dealt with by gold...so yes, Hornady should sell gold ingots. Then Hornady customers would have a hedge against....contingencies and I could get behind that.

This...not so much.

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October 12, 2011

This Cannot Be Good if True

Via ACE. A report that all 100 senators have been called into a security briefing regards the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in DC.

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October 10, 2011

Running Silent

While I was sick I was alternating between bed, watching volume three of K-On!, playing Portal 2 and.....GHAAAA!!!

Study...study...gotta study....

I'm much better now, but I've missed six days of work and 5 days of school, so I'm frantically playing catch-up at the moment. Blogging will be light for a bit.

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We Did Not Fall for The Badgers!

I may never live down the atomic car post, but at least I did not fall for this. Now it appears that Gordon Ramseys dwarf porn star look-alike does not actually seem to exist and therefore is unlikely to have been eaten by badgers. 

...the hell?

UPDATE: Steven is one-upping us by disbelieving far wackier crap.

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October 05, 2011

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs just died.

Professor Jacobson has thoughts on Jobs who had just recently retired from Apple. Ars Technica has an obituary.

Jobs really changed the world and ultimately for the better.

Few people remember what a change this was....

He was only 56.
His short time amongst us was not certainly wasted.


"There’s always the hope that if you sit and watch long enough, the beachball will vanish and the thing it interrupted will return."

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Palin Not Running

I don't have much to add but AllahPundit sure does.

I agree with a lot of his analysis, though calling it a "smart call" rather misses the point. Palin was the only candidate talking about the inherently corrupting nature of corporatism and the worrisome implications of an increasingly insulated political elite. I'd have liked to see her run to push those issues.

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15 minutes of Melanie Phillips

Via Small Dead Animals

Watch it all.

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October 04, 2011

Look Ma! No Parachutes!

One of the Brickmuppets Crack Team of Science Matangos  brings us some intriguing news from the manned space field.

Space-X, which has designed and built a number of successful rockets, and is currently testing a manned spacecraft, is now looking to make the whole kit and kaboodle re-useable!

Space-X is looking at this from a business standpoint and they have been toying with recovery of some components using parachutes and water recovery. However, as New Scientist explains, that was a non-starter.

...The only problem was, it didn't work. At the Space Access conference in April, Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president, admitted: "We have recovered pieces of the first stages." The first stages weren't even getting as far as deploying their parachutes – they were breaking up during atmospheric re-entry...

After that they went back to the drawing board. Now they have come up with a suborbital test rig called "Grasshopper". Although its flight frofile will be reminiscent of the old DC-X, its just a modified Falcon 9 first stage...which is rather the point of the tests. The hope to launch and land the thing 70 times in a year from their facility in McGregor Texas. If these are successful? Well then.....

Good Choice of BGM

Scott Lowther, who, unlike me, is an aerospace engineer, comments.

...it looks reasonably practical, with a minimum of ridiculocity… no wings, scramjets or need for advanced materials. The basic concept is more than forty years old, going back to not only Phil Bono’s Saturn S-IVB stage recoverability concepts, but even further to Chrysler Mercury-Redstone  recoverability concepts. Ditching parachutes entirely is a ballsy move, but if your rockets are sufficiently reliable – maybe Xcor rockets on the capsule – then chutes aren’t needed.

It is different. To my layman's eye the second stage recovery seems a bit more iffy simply because it will need a lot of heat shielding. OTOH it will be almost empty so perhaps its low sectional density will sufficiently assist. Even if that is a failure (and people with more Letters than me are signing off on this)  economical reuseability of the first stage and the spacecraft itself is a very big deal.

In other space news China has launched its first space station successfully.

Strange choice of BGM

Dutch Formula One Tycoon Michiel Mol has teamed up with Dutch Airline KLM as well as XCOR Aerospace to put together a suborbital space tour operating out of the Dutch island of Curacao in the Caribbean. They will be using XCOR's  Lynx spacecraft. Mol and KLM also have more ambitious suborbital plans.

Today was the 54th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik by the USSR. While an admirable and historic achievement, one thing that historians tend not to stress is that it proved to all the world that a nation that had murdered millions of its own citizens and defined peace as an absence of opposition to world communism could in theory then place an atomic warhead anywhere in the world. 
OTOH it was humanities first step into space...so Yay! Sputnik!

Rand Simberg has thoughts and reflections.

Science 'Matango' is, of course, Ritzu from K-on!

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Things I've Learned While Sick

Intestinal bacteria are REALLY important.

Which relates tangentially to the fact that composting toilets are
surprisingly versatile.
( 日本語 here )

Some things will never be known.

Wall Street is being occupied by Mercedes Benz.

Steven is soliciting assistance with a personal matter, and as a result so are his readers.

All this time, James Rummel has been blogging on dial-up. Bow before his determination and patience!

Ducks don't travel in a flock...but in a corps.

Wan Hu has been reincarnated and is giving it another go...with less 'splody , more choppy. (via)

Ubu has found his show.

And finally...

Golly! There is actually a word for that.

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October 03, 2011

My Weekend SUCKED.

Thursday: I developed a sudden, terrible cold, sore throat fever. So I went to the doctor and got diagnosed with strep. He prescribed antibiotics.

Friday: I was deathly ill.

Saturday: I felt better, with my fever down but my coughing picked up.

Sunday: I was coughing up blood. I found this annoying and went to the hospital where I was diagnosed with bronchitis and prescribed new antibiotics. I was told everything ought to be alright in a day or two.

Today: I actually got some sleep and felt better, aside from a terrible sinus headache and an earache. well until I got dizzy....and the pain in my ear got ALL STABBY. So, I staggered to the clinic to get diagnosed with an inner ear infection and pneumonia in my right lung...I was prescribed steroids to...
... explosive gastrointestinal "issues". These were diagnosed as the super whamodyne antibiotic cocktail killing all the good bacteria in my gullet.

All the good that lived in me has been stripped out...only the evil remains..

Now: I'm taking steroids to prevent damage to my Eustachian tubes, Antibiotics to kill the pneumonia and sinusitis, and probiotics for my innards.

I should be able to go to work on Thursday.


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