July 31, 2012
...rather impressively I might add.
The plane is quite broke.
5 hours after our scheduled departure time from Detroit, Delta finally threw in the towel and cancelled the flight altogether. Given the havoc even a 3 hour delay is going to play with transfers this was likely the right call. We've been given meal, taxi and hotel vouchers. I'm in a hotel in Romulus courtesy of Delta, which has actually handled this situation pretty well. It's not every day an airline has to deal with J Greely's amazing jinx powers. After all, we've seen what he can do with tramp tats.
July 28, 2012
This quirkfest is getting...creepy.
It's also damned interesting.
Oh crap...you caught my stigmata.
Now it just disturbs me.
July 25, 2012
July 23, 2012
In 1977 NASA announced that it was accepting civilian applicants for the astronaut corps. Of 8,000 women who applied 6 were accepted.
Dr. Ride was one of those 6.
She flew in space twice, her third mission was scrapped by the Challenger debacle. She retired from NASA in 1987, was a physics professor at Stanford and eventually started her own company.
Her time on (and off of ) this earth was short, but she used it very well.
Godspeed Dr. Ride.
July 22, 2012
I did not expect a cross -over. Ending both the El Santo and Batman franchises was interesting, but seeing El Santo be so bitter and twisted in his old age was heartbreaking. Still, the team-up between Batman and Blue Demon at the end and the epic battle with them saving the orphanage full of Hispanic kids was a nice touch. It was inspiring to see Blue Demon taking up (and redeeming) El Santo's sullied torch.
That last paragraph may not be entirely accurate, but it has the virtue of being spoiler free.
July 15, 2012
As for the A part of the AMV, I'd seen .gifs from this bit of animation around for years and was curious as to what it was from. I'd initially thought it was an ad or some such, but as this makes clear it's from something called Yogurting.
Wait...Yogurting? Well, with a name like that I was kinda hoping for a show from the burgeoning fermentation genre...like Moyashimon. Alas, it's a Korean MMORPG set in a high school with a mystery emphasis and apparently no lactobaccillus at all.
So the video source is a bust as far as any interest for me. But damn! Points for the 'pipes..
July 14, 2012
The garrison consisted mostly of crippled veterans who wished to continue serving their country and who were sent to the Bastille because it needed guards and the aristocratic prisoners were not considered particularly formidable.
In the politically charged July of 1790 a leftist revolutionary mob was protesting outside when they heard one of the prisoners shout from the window that the prisoners were being executed. The prisoner, The Marquis DeSade was lying (as he was wont to do), but this greatly incited the crowd. Two days after he was removed they attacked in an attempt to seize the gunpowder rumored to be there and free the prisoners. They stormed the fortress and were driven off with small arms fire and suffered some casualties.
The garrisons commander, was quite inexperienced and, in any event, had very limited alternatives available. Basically he could surrender or fire his cannon into the faces of a crowd of his fellow Frenchmen. Because his position was not strategically important, the prisoners were just 7 decadent nobles he entered into negotiations with the protestors.
For his magnanimity he was dragged from the prison and he and his garrison were butchered.
Regards the 7 prisoners :
Jean Antoine Pujade, Bernard Laroche, Jean Béchade and Jean La Corrège were forgers; they were recaptured and put back in another prison a few days later. Hubert de Solages and Whyte de Malleville were aristocrats imprisoned at the request of their own families; they too were back in jail within a week. Finally, Auguste Tavernier had been accused in 1757 of a connection with an attempt to assassinate Louis XV, and was undoubtedly mad; he was transferred to an asylum.
Among those who initially went along with the revolution was the population of the region called Vendee.
Three years after the Bastille fell The Committee of Public Safety decided to impose ruinous taxes and a draft. The Vendeeans protested that this was in violation of the principle of 'Libertie'. They were informed that 'Egalitie' required coercion and thus trumped 'Libertie' ('Fraternitie' was, in actuality it seems, a punctuation mark) The Committee of Public Safety then decided to abolish the church and imprison those who would not renounce God. The good people of Vendee protested...then when their emissaries ended up a foot shorter (from the top) they revolted.
The Committee of Public Safety had an answer...45,000 troops. They did not fair well and were replaced with a larger force, which did not meet with success until the locals powder and shot became depleted. The leader of the punitive force wrote one of the most appalling requests for clarification of an order ever.
General Turreau inquired about "the fate of the women and children I will encounter in rebel territory", stating that, if it was "necessary to pass them all by sword", he would require a decree.
General Turreau's Infernal Columns marched across the Vendee and when it was all over another general, one General Francois Joseph Westermann penned another letter to the The Committee of Public Safety.
"There is no more Vendée... According to the orders that you gave me, I crushed the children under the feet of the horses, massacred the women who, at least for these, will not give birth to any more brigands. I do not have a prisoner to reproach me. I have exterminated all."
Westermann had an inflated opinion of his efficiency, estimates of the death toll in the Vendee range between 117,000 and 400,000 out of a population of 800,000. Given the nature of the perpetrators and victims I suspect that there is a tendency to minimize the death toll. Thus, it's probably a bit to the high end of the median of that estimate...far from everybody. Still, ...he tried....and besides...Westermann's fellow Jacobins spread this utopian joy throughout France and under Napoleon through Europe.
But WAIT There's More!
The French revolution inspired Mao, Stalin, and many third world thugs with body counts that are by comparison mere rounding errors! So those hippies 222 years ago today REALLY made a difference...and isn't that worth celebrating!?
I won't be.
Libertie, Egalitie, Fraternite
These are incompatible principles.
For Equality to be enforced one must ignore the liberties of those who have that which others desire. Fraternity is loyalty and can't exist if one is asked to turn on those who fall out of favor in the name of equality.
While there are things one can do to enable social mobility enforced equality requires a bunch of unequal overseers to enforce it.
Freedom is not free.
Free men are not equal.
Equal men are not free.
These three things are the real lesson of the conflict that grew out of the fall of the Bastille.
...and yet there are still those who look to it as an inspiration and not a cautionary tale. Those people should inspire considerable concern in the rest of us.
It must have had a very unusual origin and might even have formed in another solar system probably very different from our own.
Yes this comet may well have come from outside our solar system.
Via Spaceweather, there is an essay here on this comet and a few objects that may share the same origin.
As for looking at it, Pixy and his fellow antipodeans have a good view via telescope if they so choose.
For Northern hemisphere observers, the comet is unobservable before perihelion, but is viewable near the end of the month when it also appears low down in the evening sky. It remains observable although rapidly fading in brightness into August.
'Science Babe' is actually Shizune Hachimaki from Katawa Shoujo.
July 11, 2012
Three other shows had piqued my interest, two of which I've finished.
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san was mentioned here before. For most of its run this Magical Girlfiend/ Lovecraft comedy was worth at least a couple of laughs an episode, though only to a very narrow segment of humanity that has read Lovecraft, still watches anime and who are sufficiently un-sociaized to get gags like this...
Towards the end there was considerable buildup to a story that was going to be set in the Dreamlands. This looked looked to be quite promising. Unfortunately, the last few episodes seem to have been replaced with a stock harem comedy ending that came out of nowhere, derailed the plot and was sappy, cliched, boring and pointless. I'm not sure what was going on there. The ending really feels like it belongs to some other show.
Aside from the unfunny ending, I found it to be enjoyable fluff, but this show is definitely an acquired taste...
The original Queens Blade series, was refreshingly devoid of any pretensions of respectability. Set in a fantasy kingdom where the empress is chosen not by heredity but by the perfectly reasonable method of a gladiatorial catfight tournament, it did not take itself at all seriously, tempering its over the top cheesecake with a couple of interesting side characters. It was not a good show by any means but I watched it at a friends house a year or so ago and it was something of a guilty pleasure.
This seasons installment, Queens Blade Rebellion combines vulgarity, pretentiousness, a nonsensical plot, lots of lolis, faux futanari follies, several unlikeable characters and a side order of sadism to produce one of the most execrable shows I have ever had the poor judgement to sit through. This is just dreadful. I cannot do justice in mere words to how wretched this show is and I refuse to go back and wade through that cesspit to grab frames to put behind a NSFW tag, so you'll have to take my word for it. It stinks on ice.
Mysterious Girlfriend X is interesting but I've only seen 3 eps so far. I hope to catch up over the next week. If I'd watched this instead of that Queens Blade abomination I'd be current with the show and likely be a much happier person.
July 09, 2012
About 2 hours ago I started getting texts and E-mails from people telling me I was spamming them.
It seems some Ukrainian jackwagon hijacked my account and tried to sell everyone I've ever E-mailed weight loss products.
Golly! People I hadn't heard from in years hate me now.
After an hours go-round with AOL I got my account unlocked and all seems to be well. My friend knows and has disconnected that computer.
I have McAfee on both the MAC and Windows partitions of my Mac and it says its clear so I don't think that there is any virus problem with my system.
I sincerely apologize to anyone who got spammed.
*A home care robot
*In a heist movie
Yeah..this has potential.
Though in this case, it doesn't help all that much...
Note that I disagree with his very negative assessment regards the effectiveness of the weapon being used.
7.62 Tokarev is very high powered for a pistol round. A hail of these from a submachine gun, especially if they are hollow points ought to do in a charging tiger.
This drill is for security guards and the .30 Tokarev is going to be the round they are equipped with, so its better that they train for that rather than some hypothetical howdah pistol that would need to be gotten from the armory.
..but none of that is important now, for this Tigger has bounced his last bounce.
July 08, 2012
I'd known several of these were on the way, but the extent of the upgrade is quite surprising.
The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of IT Babes seem enthusiastic.
...But in Japanese, vegetables are ao-mono, literally blue things. Green apples? They’re blue too. As are the first leaves of spring, if you go by their Japanese name. In English, the term green is sometimes used to describe a novice, someone inexperienced. In Japanese, they’re ao-kusai, literally they ‘smell of blue’...
You know...I really ought to have caught that.
July 07, 2012
Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is an uneven film that alternates between the best and worst Hollywood has to offer. Blessed with superb production values and some very interesting concepts, the film suffers from a lack of focus, a lack of believability, and most unfortunately for a horror film, a lack of actual suspense.
The film follows a pair of archeologists who have become convinced that life on Earth was seeded by aliens. They convince the CEO of an exceedingly wealthy conglomerate to finance an expedition to a distant star they believe is the home of the aliens who engineered life on earth. They find out that they might be right, but in the process discover unspeakable ancient horrors.
Ridley Scott’s films tend to be visually striking and this one is no exception. The shipboard sets are futuristic in the extreme, yet they appear quite functional. The lighting and subdued color in certain exterior shots give a genuinely unearthly feel to the alien world. The set designs of alien passageways achieve a particularly interesting effect, giving at once impressions of the grandeur and massive scale of the structure while also conveying a sense of profound claustrophobia. When alien life is encountered, it does indeed look quite alien except in once case where the familiarity in appearance is the point. Even handheld tools loot futuristic but practical. A combination computer notepad/ flashlight/ sample collection kit is particularly well designed. The spacesuits are based on some of the latest work by NASA and MIT. Yet they have subtle touches that harkens back to ‘50s sci-fi in a brilliant blending of retro and futuristic design elements. On the other hand the flamethrowers look really toy-like and also lead to a believability question: "Why are they bringing FLAMETHROWERS of all things?”
That failure to suspend the audience’s disbelief is one of the major
problems of the film, the flamethrowers being the least egregious example. A
few others include:
A woman, who
gives herself a cesarean and spends the rest of the film doing action
heroine physical antics.
A group of scientists on an alien world who just take
off their helmets when they discover the atmosphere is breathable (alien germs
The film is billed as a horror movie. However, there is little in the
way of actual suspense. Two scientists behaving quite stupidly, die horribly
and very predictably. There is betrayal aboard the ship which the audience most
likely saw coming a mile away. The scares all have a very perfunctory feeling
to them and the only real surprise is the shocking and quite disturbing visual
of the aforementioned cesarean operation.
Alien. It is quite graphic, but
in the theater, the audience was giggling at that point.
The movie is not a direct prequel to Alien, but it does establish what is going on in that universe. It also has some interesting concepts but they are only slightly explored.
Fassbender plays David, a rather sinister android and he does a superb job of
conveying his nonhuman perspective. It's implied that he has developed a rigid code of ethics...just not human ones. He seems to have aspirations as well. This is
something the rest of the characters tend to miss and it is a neat transhumanist twist.
Fassbender gives a deadpan performance with subtle tics that convey a palpable sense of
frustration and yearning without expressing any actual emotion. However, this is never explored to any depth.
There is a
fatalistic and yet inspiring
message about heroism. One plot point revolves around a character sacrificing
himself in such a way no one will ever know that he saved all of humanity. The
main plot with its Lovecraftian overtones has tremendous potential as well, but
this is never fully realized.
Instead the film wastes all its good effects, visuals and quirky ideas
on a disjointed story that has a decidedly paint by numbers feel to it. The
films excuse for suspense is a collection of haunted house and slasher film
Prometheus is an intriguing, gorgeous
but ultimately quite disappointing film. I had high hopes for it but they were largely unfulfilled.
July 06, 2012
July 05, 2012
For those understandably uninterested in such matters, it's discretely beneath the fold.
Atypically for these posts, the picture of the girl is somewhat related.
Unamused young lady is the indefatigable Homura Akemi from Madoka Magica.
Volokh had a nifty annotation of the Declaration of Independence as well as a reprinting of Fredrick Douglass's speech on the matter. (Chris Rock take note).
Cdr Salamander had an important PSA on the Valor IT initiative. (Read the whole thing.)
PJM listed The 7 Most Badass Founding Fathers.
Neo had a particularly thoughtful 4th of July post on the non-inevitability of history.
Benjamin Netanyahu sent 4th of July greetings
July 04, 2012
236 years ago today the 13
southernmost of England's North American colonies had sent representatives
to Philadelphia to discuss what to do about the various political
disputes they had had with London...disputes that had been festering for
One of these representatives, Benjamin Franklin, had spent 11 years in London trying to resolve these disputes. He had attempted to, amongst other things:
*set up a process for the colonists to elect MPs.
*represent their interests in policy discussions
*relay the London perspective back to the colonies.
While he was in England, he
was increasingly treated not as a representative, but an ambassador
from a hostile nation. Finally, in 1775, he was brought before a crown representative and was called everything but a
child of God. He was told his people were nothing more than subjects and were
not entitled to representation of any sort. He was summarily dismissed.
One of the most respected
Britons of his age had gone to bring the nation closer together and
returned convinced it was not possible.
The various delegates
conferred and decided on a course of action. They published their
conclusion and the reasons they reached it. It bears remembering that
they did not come to their agonizing conclusion lightly.
Their statement is below.
Today is the day we celebrate their difficult, but demonstrably fortuitous decision.This election year is also a time to reflect on the fact that while Washington imposes a far greater degree of interference in our lives than Lord North ever contemplated, the founders provided us with the very tool Lord North had denied them; the ballot box.
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.
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Robert Treat Paine
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