December 15, 2013

Oh, So THAT Explains it....Wait, No It Doesnt!

So a friend sent me this the other day asking the perfectly logical question "Whaa...?" To which my response was "Derp."



It appears to be traditional Chinese, and appears to be about the Christmas story so one would guess that it's a Sunday school flyer except for the little matter of Pinky Pie there glaring at the savior....

Fortunately, Suburban Banshee is on this...


more...

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While We Weren't Looking

Dominica is an island nation in the Lesser Antilles, variously described as the Northernmost of the Windward islands or Southernmost of the Leeward Islands. The first British Colony governed by a majority black Legislature  (in 1838 ), it was granted  full independence in the 1970's.




Dominica boasts the second largest hot spring in the world, Boiling Lake. This was only discovered in 1878, because,the island is rugged enough that despite its small size and having been visited on Columbus's second voyage and colonized soon after, parts were not fully explored for centuries  One happy result is that Dominica is home to one of the few remaining populations of of the Carib People, with 3,000 on a small self governing reservation that was established on the northeast coast in 1901. The island's vegitation ranges from lush jungles to xeric

Dominica lacks a good natural harbor but its position at the juncture of the Leeward and Windward chains makes it a fairly strategic location. This is of particular interest now that the Chinese have bought the isla...
....Wait WHAT!

Dominica and China have signed a new 300 million dollars cooperation agreement that includes the construction of a hotel, construction of an international airport and building a new hospital. The sum involved is equivalent to a third of the small Caribbean island GDP, which could mean Beijing virtually is 'purchasing' the small territory.


While this is getting very little play here, it is eliciting some notice in the Caribbean.

Note that China has been doing this throughout the Caribbean  ( there's more on that here) and has already signed a deal with Nicaragua to build a much larger compliment to the Panama Canal (that they already effectively control ). This seems to be related to their so-called "Cabbage Strategy" that is causing such alarm in Asia right now. They gradually become so heavily invested in an area that it defacto becomes a Chinese vassal.

China's military might relative to us is not great with two major exceptions, their vast army and their nuclear arsenal. Their army is located on the other side of the world with no real way to threaten anyone outside of Asia. Their nuclear arsenal is almost as big as the US and Russia combined  but they lack delivery systems...only about 80-150 warheads can reach USA (up from 20-30 last year thanks to their SSBNs). This could change if staging areas were available on our doorstep.

The prospect of a million or so troops launching an attack from various neighbors, and or Chinese fighter planes delivering  a thousand or so nukes, is, of course, laughable now, but China thinks very long term. If current trends continue, 20 years down the road, it might be rather less funny.

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December 14, 2013

This Looks Promising

The last post was deficient in optimism.
This at least hints that something good may yet await us as we travel down the unlit path that is the future.


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December 13, 2013

Friggatriskaidekaphobia


...seems less crazy when Kill La Kill moves from satire to prophecy.





The end times: They are upon us.
more...

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December 12, 2013

So...Many...Boxes.....

December at UPS continues.

In lieu of content, here is some more Christmas themed cheesecake...



...or more accurately, Christmas themed General Tso's Chicken.

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December 07, 2013

72 Years

Never forget that those who wish to do one harm can be at least as smart as one assumes oneself to be. Furthermore, when they make their move it will often be when and where one feels least threatened.


Last seconds of USS Arizona

It also bears remembering that one should not start a fire one cannot reasonably expect to contain, because winds are fickle and the flames one sets care not who they burn.

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December 04, 2013

ACME Content Substitute

I am still pretty swamped with cramming for exams, papers and working at UPS during December. I've already worked more overtime this week than I worked straight time last week (admittedly a short week).

In lieu of content here's yet more holiday cheesecake.
Given that there was no love for the G.u.P. girls, we'll try Kannagi.



Of course...I suspect that Steven has simply out-bid me in this regard. (Link totally NSFW!)
...It is a testament to my wasted life that I never knew that about Tuesday.

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Cobalt 60 (UPDATED)

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes takes time to tell us about Cobalt 60:



In 1735 Swedish scientist Eric Brandt determined that the blue tint used in stained glass was a previously unknown element, Cobalt, and not a compound of Bismuth as had been previously supposed. Cobalt is a bluish metal that aside from being quite brittle, has a lot of properties in common with iron. Quite unusually, this includes the fact that it can be magnetized. Cobalt is used for various sensors, and alloys due to its very great temperature stability. Cobalt also has applications in pigments, and lithium ion batteries. However, of primary interest to us today is an unstable isotope of Cobalt, Cobalt 60,

Cobalt 60, is used in food sterilization, radiation therapy and various sensors. It is a powerful gamma emitter with a half life of 5.27 years and is near the top of the IAEA's list of hazardous nuclear wastes. It has been involved in several tragic incidents previously and can be used in a radiological weapon.

In other news, a truck carrying a load of the stuff was just stolen outside of Mexico City. The IAEA is sufficiently concerned that the story has made the papers in India.

Authorities are saying that there is no reason to be alarmed as it is likely that this was a simple theft and the nasty, deadly substance was not intentionally stolen. After all, who in Mexico would want a bunch of materials for a dirty bomb? Indeed, as I typed this news came over the wires that the truck hasd been located abandoned and the container for the cobalt 60 was found nearby so this wouldn't even be a story except for the minor detail that the container for the Co60 was found....empty....yes, empty.

Well then.

UPDATE: The Old Grey Lady is saying that part of the Co60 shipment has been found. Other reports just say the cargo was found. In any event, if the thieves did not have really good radiation suits when they opened the box, they are expected to be dead in 3 days. 

"Science babe" is actually Rikka from Love, Chuunibyou and other Delusions, which I suspect is way more enjoyable than radiological terrorism.

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December 01, 2013

December at UPS and the Final 2 Weeks of the Semester

....combine to thwart my blogging.

I get up for work at midnight....I work till 9ish then go to school, then work on my term paper and cram. Sleep brings the day planner to 31 hours but there's not enough space on the page for that so there may need to be additional adjustments to my schedule.

There's not much to add...except perhaps this...
more...

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