November 29, 2013

A Pyrrhic Feast

This dinner came at great cost.


  You see, my father managed cut the end of his finger off (about a centimeter actually) yesterday morning. There was blood spurting EVERYWHERE. Of course we could not get him to go to the emergency room...because...Thanksgiving.
He didn't want to ruin Thanksgiving...
I tried to explain to him that having dinner a couple of hours late would involve less ruination than it being "....that Thanksgiving where Dad bled to death". This admonition did not have the desired effect...so there was stitching, gauze pads, a finger splint, surgical tape, peroxide and duct tape. Ironically, after the blood was cleaned off the ceiling, cooking resumed and the decision made to ummm...not serve ham or potato salad this year...the relatives ended up being three hours late anyway.

Beyond that dinner was uneventful. There were no fanatical partisan cultists in attendance to ruin the get-together for which I am quite thankful. The only further unexpected incidents involved my 18 month old niece demonstrating that she can count to 13 and the comet exploding.

Dad has had to change his dressing twice but still refuses to go to the ER. OTOH there is no longer any spurting so hopefully he is on the mend

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Upon Reflection, They Should Have Named it Icarus


Via Zoopraxiscope

It looks like ISON went 'poof!".

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November 28, 2013

There is Still Much to be Thankful For

Foe example: Without Yotsuba@! and Cavendish bananas the world would be a much less happy place.



Everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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November 27, 2013

The Best of Social Justice


A friend who desires NO credit for this due to fear of passive aggressive trolling and other markers of 'tolerance' sends me this link...

The Best of Social Justice is a Tumbler blog compiled by a brave or self flagellating soul who compiles posts, tweets, and chats of various  "social justice" crusaders.

It's hours of fun...or horror. But it can be useful too. For instance the fact that a prominent poster is named Lickingmuppets is one reason for me to carry a gun.

In related news: This exists...

more...

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November 26, 2013

Mobys, Hustlers and their Consequences

The Anchoress has thoughts on the despicable scam that was perpetrated recently in New Jersey by a waitress who used a receipt with a faked anti-gay slur to bilk facebook users of money and the "Racist Red Lobster" scandal which involved a waitress who pulled a similar scam involving a racial slur...and posted the customers name on Facebook.

Shorter version: don't leave cash tips.

I do it a lot, because, well, I used to bus and wait tables so I know this works better for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is paying the bussers, but it's probably not a good idea any more.

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November 23, 2013

It's That New Math

I gather our numbering system has, heretofore, been a bit flawed.



Thus, everyone needs to run out and get numerically corrected merchandise before Christmas.

Nice to see McGann again though.


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November 19, 2013

Viola Organista

A Polish fellow has built a musical instrument from plans by Leonardo Da Vinci.


Via
It works!


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Senator Deeds Stabbed:

Oh my God.
It looks like Creigh Deeds, a member of the Virginia Senate has been stabbed, apparently by his own son, who then committed suicide.

Deeds, a Democrat, ran against McDonnell for the governorship in 2009. I'm no fan of many of his views but he's been a colorful and passionate member of the Virginia General Assembly who has fought stridently for what he believed to be right.

This is a particularly awful thing to happen to any human being. It's not just the terrible physical wounds, but the fact that he's got to deal with the emotional agony of having to bury his son even if he pulls through. I can't even get my head around it.  Send condolences and prayers to state senator Deeds, who is in a terribly dark place this evening.

UPDATE: Fellow Virginian R.S. McCain has lots more.

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November 18, 2013

Bolide

About 35 minutes ago I saw a rather spectacular meteor breakup in the sky to the south of Norfolk. The bolide broke onto about 4 large pieces all traveling in a line before dimming and disappearing from view behind the skyline. It seemed to have a trail of debris and left a briefly incandescent contrail that looked superficially like a comets tail.  In comparison with most shooting stars it seemed to be traveling much slower than normal, being visible for long enough that I had enough time to to wish for a catgirl maid.  It did not light up the sky but it still appeared quite bright even in downtown Norfolk.

Anyway, I don't know if any satellites fell this evening or if it was a regular meteor, but I thought I'd mention it in case it made he news.

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November 17, 2013

A Long Night Awaits



Red is particularly bad..I note that Ontario seems to be getting pounded with rainbows. Map via

Wonderduck has been in the middle of it.
more...

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November 16, 2013

Mount Aetna Showing Off


The Youtube heading oversells it a bit. But it's still pretty neat.

UPDATE: In the comments Steven points out that the video is from 2000. Aetna (or Etna as seems to be the prefered spelling now) pulled this off last week too, leading to my confusion...I guess Etna  is just habitually awesome.


more...

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November 14, 2013

A Bit of Perspective on Any Number of Things

I just saw this below the fold at Ace of Spades, in tonight's open thread.
It REALLY deserves to be spread around. I'd heard the name and knew what she'd done, but I did not know about the sheer audacity of HOW she'd pulled it off.




Wow.

There's more on this remarkable heroine here, here and here.

This is a profound reminder that great deeds can be done even by those with no power or riches if they do not lack for courage and wits.

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MAN WILL CONQUER SPACE SOON: Final Volume

Two of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes react to the final installment in the AIAA-Houston section newsletter which has been undertaking a reprint and analysis of the famous series of articles published in  8 issues of Collier's Magazine in the 1950s titled Man Will Conquer Space Soon.

The series laid out a very forward thinking vision of space exploration that included detailed plans for exploring both the Moon and Mars. The plan, developed largely by Wherner Von Braun and Wley Ley was, surprisingly sound from a technical standpoint. Scott Lowther, who publishes the superb Aerospace Projects Review, has overseen the republishing of these historic articles in high resolution which is particularly significant given the art by Fred Freeman and Chelsey Bonnestell. The ads have been replaces with short aerospace articles relating to the series that include some technical analysis of what they got right and wrong. This final instalment in the series focuses on how the scientists and engineers of the day tackled the problem of a mission to Mars.


The problem was looked at from every angle. Logistics and life support were worked out as well as a broad idea of what parts of the planet would be explored. Far from a "flags and footprints" mission this was envisioned as an extensive reconnaissance along the lines of contemporary Antarctic exploration, of the planet trekking from the polar regions to the tropics over several months before returning.



Keep in mind this was 1954.



They worked this out with slide-rules. Your smartphone probably dwarfs the aggregate computing power of all the computers in their world and yet for them this was not science fiction. They worked out the math on this endeavor and got it pretty much right.

Their Mars exploration architecture was put together without the beneffit of what we know about local resources after having sent probes to the Red Planet and yet they produced a plan that is vastly more robust  than most of those occasionally contemplated today for possible implementation in some amorphous, ever more distant future.

Aside from the winged launders (Mars has a much thinner atmosphere than they thought) this could have been done...and redesigning the slanders would have been no problem. However,  the nation as a collective wandered off to eventually play angry birds and run up the debt.


All is not lost however.  Today, individuals in private companies are seriously working towards the goals that were seen as right around the corner ion 1954. While we, despite having once landed on the moon are scarcely farther along in the development of the cis-lunar infrastructure to pull something like this off than we were 40 years ago, there is work being done to put in place the building blocks to pull off something like what was envisioned 60 or so years ago.



Even better, leveraging what we have learned in our fitful forrays into space, there are those today who are seriously considering an even more meaningful endeavor than the exploration of unknown lands...settlement.


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November 13, 2013

RWBY DVD #1 ( ...and Final Thoughts for Now)

Well the RWBY DVD arrived yesterday and it's pretty decent, with a fair number of extras.


more...

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November 10, 2013

This Will End Well...I'm Sure of It.

It seems that Saudi Arabia, the nation that gave the world Osama Bin Laden and the majority of the September 11 hijackers, has, or is about to, acquire nukes.


Toadstool of slaying is actually the "Upshot-Grable" test firing of the 11 inch nuclear howitzer nicknamed "Atomic Annie".
more...

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November 09, 2013

All Thouse Hurricanes We Didn't Get

....just hit the Philippines at once.



Haiyan hit the Philippines with sea-level winds of nearly 200 mph scoring a direct hit in Cebu.

All of the Philippine islands are pretty mountainous and with this much rain ( reports of at least ten inches in  a few hours) means mudslides and inland flooding on top of a 20 foot storm surge.



Cyclones of this intensity are rare but not unheard of. However, they rarely hit land at anything like this strength. The last one to do so was Hurricane Camille which hit the southern US back in 1968 and there have been some slightly weaker storms that hit Asia.

The Phillipines gets hit with several typhoons a year, but this is in a category all its own. Worse, this storm comes on the heels of  a major earthquake which softened up the infrastructure and meant many people were still in tents. This is looking to be an almost unreal calamity.

Indeed, things do not look good for Tacloban, the capital of Leyte.


UPDATE: At least 10,000 dead.
UPDATE 2: ...in Tacloban alone....

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November 08, 2013

RWBY Ends



THAT was the finale?
Well...ummm...golly.
more...

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November 06, 2013

This is Just...Wrong


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It looks like...

...the Duck is having flashbacks...


..to that terrible tabletop session in '93.

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Meanwhile, in the South China Sea

Cdr Salamander provides this helpful map of the maritime borders of the various nations in that part of the world.


Yikes!
more...

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