April 27, 2013

All that Time in Hospitals, Beds and on Painkillers has not Actually Helped my Depth of Knowledge At ALL

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April 24, 2013

The Hoyt Principle

Sarah Hoyt has explained College Faculties (and I’m sad to say a lot of College Republicans) big "L” libertarians, the sad state of both Anime and American Comic Books, the Air Force, Climate Gate, Young Earth Creationism, Birthers, Truthers, Todd Akin, The View and quite possibly New Coke.

Go read the whole thing

This shall be called the Hoyt Principle and I strongly urge everyone to learn from it, for to fail to do so is the first step on the path to perdition and madness.


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April 23, 2013

Space X Grashopper on a Quite Breezy Day

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings news of reusable launch vehicles from Texas. Space-X has, for some time been testing their launcher recovery system. We mentioned it in passing here.

This particular test is interesting because not only does it have accompaniment by Johhny Cash, it also took place on a very windy day, indicating that this really may be doable. Future launches will take place at White Sands Missile Range and aim for incrementally greater altitudes and speeds. Subsequent test rigs will be retracting their legs and it is planned late this year or early next to have the thing go hypersonic before returning!


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20% Mortality?

China is confirming that the H7N9 strain of Bird Flu has jumped to people.  They are reporting 108 cases of which 22 have been fatalities. A 20% mortality rate is alarming as it equals or exceeds the the lethality of the 1918 pandemic.

There is more on this here.

The official line in China is that there is no direct evidence of Human-Human transmission. However, the CDC website indicates that a number of the patients have had no contact with poultry or livestock. The Wikipedia page says that this is true for over 50% of patients, but provides no sourcing for that figure.

Note that even if it is a P2P bug the 20% mortality figure may be inflated if, for instance,  the only people diagnosed thus far are those who were already exceptionally ill.

Bird flu is always worrying but we get a scare like this every year or so and it should be remembered that the awful flu we got this winter hit with no warning. So just take this as a reminder that things can go pear shaped at any time and it's good to have ones disaster season supplies in order.

It's even better not to dispair.

So cheer up.

With that in mind, here is some cheer brought to you by the color pink.

Cheerful young lady trying to blend pink and teal is Megumi from GJ-Club.

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The Great Twitter Hack Scam of 2013

So by now most people have heard that a fake tweet from the Associated Press said that there were explosions at the White House.

Aiee! President Biden!

Well, Zero Hedge has tracked activity in the stock Market during that brief moment of confusion....wow! Looks like someone just happened to be ready to pounce and made out like a bandit in those three minutes. All the people who'd set their accounts to dump in the event of a crash...well they got hosed.

 ZH has another short article on this here where they look at the implications for just how fragile the current rally is.

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April 22, 2013

Do So Very Much Want

Though I've heard conflicting reports regards their veracity.

Still...do want.

:  OK. After some digging and the rather belated realization that Miyata is an anagram of Tamiya (thanks to Rick in the comments)  I've determined that a company called  Platz,  IS releasing some Girls und Panzer kits.

However, this epic "box art" is unofficial and produced by a PixiV artist who goes by the handle of sdkfz221.

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Wonders of the Internet

While perusing the comments at Chisumatic, I recently discovered that this internet thing is even more awesome than I was previously aware.

You see, Pete Zaitcev and others have compiled a surprisingly comprehensive meganekko database.

Image not in the database

How did I miss this?
Oh well. This is why it's important to scroll through Steven's comments.

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Starblazers 2199

Via Crunchyroll and Anime News Network comes word that XEBEC has announced that Yamato 2199 is about to be aggressively marketed internationally.

The title of the international version will be Starblazers 2199.

Oh Fabrijous DAY!

This is interesting as Star Blazers was the release name of the show in the US and Canada. Several of the name changes in the US version like renaming the ship itself ARGO were actually done by the Japanese creators. I 've gushed excessively about the old show and the remake several times before but it really is good.

Yamato 2199 has managed to remain quite faithful to the original while adding quite a few surprises for those familiar with the show. 

 The premise of the show is straightforward enough.

Earth discovers that it is not alone in the universe...8 years later the aggressive interstellar empire Earth encountered has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. The planets surface is rendered uninhabitable by a combination of constant bombardment, radiation and invasive alien plants that have absorbed most of the oceans...and still the aliens attack. At this dark hour, the earth is contacted by another alien race which offers them a device that can restore their planet. Unfortunately, it won't fit on the blockade runner and apparently can't be made from local materials, so instead the aliens sent plans for an FTL drive so the humans can come get the physical device. The humans install the FTL in the hull of a sublight starship ship they were constructing to carry a few survivors off planet. To conceal it's construction, the ship was being built within and below the hulk of the old battleship Yamato which accounts for it's appearance. Now, this jury rigged ship with an FTL drive that the crew barely understands must break through the blockade of the solar system, travel 168,000 light years to the greater Magellanic cloud...and back,...and do it in a year if they are to have any hope of saving Earth....and the aliens will fight them every step of the way.

With such a large cast and sweeping story it might seem unlikely that the show would have much character development, but the writers really have managed the ensemble well thus far.  In contrast to the single female crew member in the old show, several women have been added to or re-imagined into the old cast.  This has actually added a good deal of depth as they are, for the most part interesting and well written. Yamamoto, for instance is one of the best realized female military officers since Van Dread's Meia Gisbourne from over a decade ago. Several of the enemy characters are quite interesting as well.

  While it is not hard sci-fi by any means, the show also throws a good deal of actual science into several stories.  The exact physics of their FTL is handwaved (by the fact that the crew really doesn't understand how it works), they work in bits of recent astronomy news and make a real effort to keep their non-FTL techno-babble grounded in actual physics, biology and IT speak.

Despite it's bleak premise, '2199 thus far, has managed to be remarkably optimistic and even inspiring. It has been quite intelligent as well, much more so than most sci-fi TV. Additionally, the show has done a far above average job of conveying a sense of service professionalism and even the ethics of command and leadership.

About halfway in, Yamato 2199 has been superb, I'm crossing my fingers that they don't muck it up in the end.

Assuming they don't, I'm  genuinely looking forward to seeing what the US version is going to be like.

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April 20, 2013

The UK Papers Again

This time The Mirror (via Instapundit).

The Brit paper reports that the FBI are looking for as many as a dozen additional accomplices in association with the Boston Marathon Atrocity. The paper uses the term "sleeper cell".

A source close to the investigation said: "We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google.

Keep in mind that the news reports around this story have been unreliable to say the least, in part due to the fact that the BPD was deliberately feeding misinformation to the press to mislead the suspects.

Still, this report, of an Islamist cell is exactly the kind of thing that a lot of us have been expecting for 12 years. I'm frankly surprised we haven't seen more of it before now.  I think that something along the lines of the Mumbai attacks is very likely.

If you have a CCP...utilize it, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.

Also, take everything with a grain of salt, and above all do not despair.

(I'm moving all Boston posts to the Long War Category, where they now belong)

UPDATE: Note that Robert Stacy McCain is highly skeptical of the Mirror's alleged scoop.

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...the residents of West, Texas are being allowed back to their homes this evening. There is video at the link. The sheer scale of the destruction is jaw dropping.

This was at Ace o'Spades last night and is pretty scary, though the girl is revealed in the above linked article to have regained her hearing.

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