February 23, 2011
Steven Den Beste has thoughts on primate-amphibian relations.
John C. Wright has thoughts on the secret origin of steampunk....complete with proofs!
Colleen Doran has professional thoughts on middlemen.
Allan Harvey has thoughts on one of the strangest mainstream comics ever.
The area is being wracked by aftershocks as well. Check out this animation of the earthquake history since the main quake.
February 22, 2011
You see, Yotsuba@! died of a head injury many years ago. Oh, and she went to hell.
Seriously, no one wants to watch a show about Yotsuba@! that's gonna end that way.
The sequel on the other hand, while it has its share of surprises, is quite... uplifting.
This post has been brought to you by the #3.
February 21, 2011
now it has been revealed.
February 17, 2011
I'm sure nothing whatsoever can go wrong.
February 16, 2011
Perhaps most remarkable of all, Hakuoro is a very likable, ethical, AND SMART person. This rare combination of traits is found in most of the shows other protagonists as well. The men in the cast are generally strong, ethical adults and as such are the antithesis of the nebbish whiny brats or hotheaded punks that seem to be the norm of late (well, there is a hotheaded teen punk, but he's a foil and he advances the plot). This is not to say that the leading women are overshadowed by the guys...they more than hold their own.
Do NOT make fun of the trenchcoat
The show is exceedingly well paced and has a very humanistic streak. It doesn't pull its punches (characters die) but it is at times a downright inspiring show.
Utewarerumono contains 19 episodes of the some of the most satisfying adventure anime I have ever seen.
Unfortunately it is a 26 episode series.
GAINAX call your office...Mary Sue broke in and stole one of your endings.
The last 7 episodes of this show form a bone crushingly painful cascade of stupidity wrapped in schizophrenia and bound together with a truly impressive level of contempt for the audience.
I cannot type enough swear words do justice to the ending of this show. Frankly about the time the mechs show up (yes...the mechs) I had real difficulty following it. The story got disjointed nonsensical and downright hateful.
...but wait there is more...
It tried to weave together 2 separate, out of order, quite dystopic flashbacks into the story.
Here is a semi-coherent overview of the flashbacks which I knicked from the Wikipedia entry.
If you did not read that , you are likely still sane.
Note that that only covers the flashback portions of the plot...the "present" plot has the previously wise cast becoming mind numbingly stupid...before the whole insipid mess just collapses under its own incoherence.
I know these writers can write...they wrote the first 19 episodes, so unless they switched writing teams 3/4s of the way through
this isn't likely incompetence. I think it could be sadism.
Or perhaps this was made for the American market and this is one of those cruel jokes they play on foreigners...like natto.
Which, come to think of it, brings us back to sadism.
I'm going to refrain from recommending this series...but if anyone's interested I have a complete set right here.
February 15, 2011
February 14, 2011
The Nautilus-X MMSEV is on one level a flight of fancy given current budget constraints and launch cycle times, but it is really interesting in that it leverages a lot of existing and very near term technologies and builds on a rational development of the current commercial systems. The full powerpoint is here.
The design is a habitation module with a variety of well thought out facilities for scientific research and a variable gravity deck. The whole design uses largely off the shelf or soon to be off the shelf components being developed by space industry. Bigelow's inflatable modules are the most obvious of the available parts but the big gravity deck is claimed to be a straightforward development of spin stabilized comsat technology and of course the sensor pallets manipulator arms and EVA packs are all the orphans of the soon to be ended Space Shuttle program. Even light craft for landing on an asteroid or the moon are a mature technology given that the LEM worked.
Clark Lindsey points out in the article that as ambitious as it is it dovetails nicely with a lot of technologies needed for and planned by comercial space companies, such as a Lagrange point fuel depot. If that infrastructure is developed privately, or in response to prizes, then this sort of design becomes tenable without too much effort. It is already designed with commercial lifters and spacecraft in mind, eliminating the need for NASA to spend taxpayer dollars on money holes like Orion/Ares.
Clark Lindsay has more:
/-- It illustrates how the use of Bigelow style expandable modules provides for great flexibility in design and in the means of delivery.
/-- It takes direct advantage of the tremendous experience in assembling structures in space that NASA has gained in the past decade. NASA knows how to do this.
/-- It would work very well with fuel depots.
/-- The contrast is striking - Constellation would have had small, single-use, expensive systems in operation perhaps by 2030. MMSEV would be a honest-to-goodness space cruiser in operation by 2020.
/-- The first pass at the design cost and schedule finds it cheaper than the Orion capsule alone.
Emphasis mine. That last inspires much skepticism, but in fairness, Orion was not only a cost plus contract but it was designed with maximum pork in mind.
The cost is estimated at 3.7 billion and the time at 64 months. 3.7 billion additional spent is of course taking the current budget 3.7 billion in the wrong direction, but if we take the take it from the 19 billion in the current NASA budget (just, you know, can the Muslim outreach ) We might still cut the NASA budget by a considerable amount if we focus on astronomy and this while leaving the development of new boosters to Space-X and others.
This could potentially be part a net savings, albeit in NASA which doesn't actually show up visually on a pie graph of the US budget.
Additionally, opening up the vast mineral reserves of the asteroids is an investment in the future in exactly the same way that high speed AmTrack isn't. Visiting near earth asteroids to learn how to deflect them in the event of an incoming Tunguska is in keeping with the defence function of the government, (analogous to flood control in this case), so it is not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that something like this might see the light of day in the current environment...just bloody unlikely.
The stimulus bill has poisoned that well for some time but this sort of thing does warrant some attention in the near future, assuming we get our fiscal house in order.
All this talk of asteroids and comets....where are the comets coming from? Tyche possibly. We've covered this before but Tyche (which seems more likely to exist than Nemesis ) is in the news again.
More here. There is growing evidence that a big gas giant or brown dwarf is in our solar systems Oort cloud.
Finally this scientiffical type post would not be complete (or worthwhile) without paying all due respect and homage to one of those who made it possible: a member of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes.
Below is video of him giving a superb speech at the close of CEPAC 2011. The speech itself is quite good, but that is not why I'm commenting on it. It is after all being widely shown throughout the rightosphere.
I'm commenting because this clip, which I got via Cdr. Salamander, has footage I had previously missed...Footage that bothers me.
West's speech begins about 8 and a half minutes in, but it is what happens prior that I find disturbing. Specifically, West is introduced by a military service member in uniform who proceeds to make a very short but quite partisan statement at a completely partisan function...I remind you that he is in uniform.
I like West a lot, but this is a no-no.
A big no-no.
It is not acceptable for the military to get involved in politics in any way. That is how republics die. I would expect West, who is a history buff ought to know that. He is certainly aware of Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 (and for the USCG, the Hatch Act).
It is inevitable that when one party is the one that spat on our military and still treats them with barely disguised contempt, that many in the military lean the other way...when out of uniform and off duty. It is not in any way acceptable for them to be expressing that as military members in uniform.
As I mentioned during the McChrystal fiasco, we have many republics to the south of us in this hemisphere.Most had the military get involved in politics in some way.That did not turn out well.
This is disturbing. But not as disturbing as the fact that I've not heard ANYONE comment on this, which bothers me rather more than the indiscretion itself.
UPDATE: Over at Cdr Salamander's, people are commenting on this impropriety. I note that they all seem to be current or former military.
UPDATE 2:The video has been removed by the user. A slightly shorter version with the 8 minute introduction removed can be seen here . It contains the bit relevant to my concern as well as the otherwise excellent speech. The full C-SPAN vid with intro is available on C-Span for now here
‘So, specifically, you're looking for the dirty bomb? You're looking for the nuclear device?’ asked Mr Blacher.
‘Correct. Weapons of mass effect,’ said Mr Hallor.
‘You ever found one?’ asked Mr Blacher.
‘Not at this location,’ Mr Hallor said.
‘But they have found them?’ asked Mr Blacher.
‘Yes,’ said Mr Hallor.
While it is no surprise to me that someone has tried to sneak something really bad into the U.S. it would seem that this would get some more US coverage.
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