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.


more...

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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!

HT: NBF

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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.



UPDATE
:  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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Meanwhile...

...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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I Find it Interesting

...that we need to go to the UK press to find this out.

The two men arrested last night in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings drive a car with the licence plate that reads: ‘Terrorista #1’

....snip....

They are thought to be from Kazakhstan and had not been seen since the bombings until last night when their ground floor apartment in New Bedford, MA, was raided by a dozen FBI agents at gunpoint.




Huh.

Later on in the article there is a mention of the very odd confrontation the Daily Mail reporters had with two gentlemen who entered the apartment and with thick Russian accents claimed to be Boston Globe reporters.....and later that they were friends of the people in custody.

In the comments of an earlier post Steven predicted that it ".... ain't over yet." I think he may be right, or at least that this may be a somewhat larger group than we are being led to believe.

Update:
On a lighter note I think we may have to entertain the horrifying possibility that David Sirota could very well be a magical girl now. 


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April 19, 2013

Lessons

There are, no doubt, many lessons to be learned from recent events.
One immediate takeaway would seem to be don't name your kid Tamerlane.

Also: While this is in all likelihood not strictly related, it's probably not a good idea either:

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It's Friday


The bombing in Boston, the explosion in Texas, the floods, and now the unreal firefight/chase/manhunt.

Crazy week is crazy.




I have to go to school. Since the world has gone mad I have nothing insightful to say, so instead I'll leave you with some AMV's that brought a smile to my face.

**********************

Super chicks...being super...with accompaniment by Superchick.



Girls with the mumps have dreams too.



Be advised that this one has gratuitous roses and their petals being used un-ironically...so I'm pretty sure that cooties are present at hazardous PPM concentrations. However, It also has a French maid outfit and superb timing.



A short but sharp action at the bridge over the river Kawaii. Also: Rammstein.




Well, I'm off to class.

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April 17, 2013

This Looks Grim

Oh no.

Just got this pic via Galrhan on Twitter, It is said to be of the Fertilizer plant in Waco that just blew up.
UPDATE: KTWX is saying over 60 dead.

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"...And THAT Miss Crumpler, is Why I Don't Have My Homework."

Just across the river from Brickmuppetburg, a suspicious black backpack left by the side of the road resulted in the Norfolk Bomb Squad bringing out their stalwart bomb disposal  robot today. It courageously blew up the backpack, which was found to contain some charred homework and a can of soup.
Video here of non gory 'splodies.

 "That was...anticlimactic for some reason."

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April 15, 2013

Boston

By far the best post on today's atrocity has been by by Moe Lane.

After all the reporting and speculation today, we don't know much except that much of what was initially reported was inaccurate, this was carefully planned, and the person or people behind it are wicked, clever and apparently at large.





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April 13, 2013

On the Mend

I just woke up the first good night's sleep in over a week, rather excessive actually, having broken the 11 hour mark.  By contrast, since the surgery I've generally only been able to sleep in increments of 2 hours, usually much less.  The infection seems to be clearing up, the pain has subsided and as for the last remaining stone fragment, well, I've been coping with the mischief wrought by these things for the better part of a year. This will be gone in days.

I'm going to the University library to try and salvage my academic career, in the meantime here is some cheesecake to tide you over....


Cheesecake, Strawberrycake, Peonies, Tea and EGC by Kuroinu

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April 12, 2013

In Which Foreign Policy Magazine Goes Mad.

Gahlran just tweeted to alert the world that that this idiotic, counterfactual word salad exists.

BEHOLD.

The only way to stop Pyongyang's cycle of brinkmanship and extortion is to address the real problem -- South Korea.



I don't even...

Wait is this The Onion? Is it Cracked? No it's actually FP.

I read the article and it does have one or two threads of truth woven into the immense tapestry of failgasmic assininity that constitutes it's whole.

The SHEER levels of stupid here are mind numbing. We'll just pick one.

Instead, it spends billions of dollars to develop its proudly "indigenous" T-50 jet fighters, Surion helicopters, and coastal defense frigates -- alternatives for which could be much better, and cheaper, imported from the United States.


Ummm...NO. Especially the frigates. The Incheon class frigates are superb platforms for Korea's needs, with a light draft good ASW, fire support and point defence capability. They are exactly what Korea needs to defend against a Northern Assault and are much cheaper than anything comparable being offered by US firms. They are heads and shoulders above our current light warship the LCS. The fighters are second line, comparable to an F-5, and mainly trainers, but they are a match for DPRK planes and the ROK can build these simple planes in quantity.

And that just touches the surface of the article. It just radiates stupid.

 Has the DPRK taken over the Foreign Policy Building? Is it drugs?

What the HELL?

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And Then the Computer Died

In our last Brickmuppet adventure:
I noted that I was dealing with a fragment of a kidney stone that my recent surgery was unable to remove, a related infection, and a kidney that was painfully restarting after having been blocked for some months prior to the surgery. I'll be fine in a day or so, but...



I got up this morning, bled myself, crawled into the chair and cut on the computer. The screen lit up white...and then went black. I did this 4 more times. Then I noted that the keyboard lights indicated that the machine was on...as did the noises from the iMac itself. I was dealing with a dead monitor. Normally this would be no biggie. Any normal person could just run it through another monitor. I, however, am not a normal person, but rather one of those thumbless untermenchen who are helpless before this most simple of fixes.

I am an iMac user

....and the simplicity and beauty of the integrated-all-in-one iMac was biting me on the backside.

Ghaahh... I was having to bleed myself every 30 minutes.
But I NEED the computer if I am going to have ANY chance to catch up on the impossible amount of homework, papers and make-up I have accrued over the last week and a half (and the netbook won't talk to the ODU system).
I made a decision. 
There was an infinitesimal chance I could get the machine fixed today. There is a very reputable Mac dealer/ repair shop a tad over 25 minutes away...They are not open on weekends
This would be CLOSE.
I waited until 09:30 for the rush hour traffic to disperse. I then bled, packed up the iMac in it's awesomely designed iMac box, loaded it into the car,  bled myself again, then hopped in the car with my emergency containment unit (just in case). I zipped away at exactly the speed limit.

And then the Berkley Bridge opened.

....And I sat and I sat and I perspired and it began to rain and I looked desperately at the emergency containment unit...but...

I my haste I had neglected to pack a coat or a blanket or a towel to conceal the utilization of the emergency containment unit and I was surrounded by cars, including at least one SUV with a bunch of little girls in it.

And then the rain began to really come down.

So I was all like...



Finally, the bridge closed.....I zipped along at exactly the speed limit and contemplated getting  off to use some fast food joint's restroom, but that part of town between the tunnel and my exit is not an area one wants to park for any length of time with a delightfully industrially engineered and beautifully labelled iMac box in ones back seat. So I squirmed and drove exactly the speed limit to my exit and...

TRAFFIC JAM...

Fortunately, I was able to turn into an industrial park, take a back road and get to Mac Specialists at 4772  Euclid Road in Virginia Beach.



Mac Specialists (formally Connecting Point) is one of, if not the oldest Apple stores in Virginia. It was set up as a computer sales and repair store and school back in 1980 and has been a Apple only establishment for most of that time. The store had an excellent reputation for service and greatly hyped Apple widgets in Southeastern Virginia for three decades. The store is no-nonsense and no frills but all service.  When Apple started its own line of hipster oriented, gorgeously designed, snobtacular stores staffed with vapid, beatnik. cult members, it threw the mom and pop shops (that had built the Apple brand for years) to the wolves. Apple cut them off from ordering new machines. Apple even opened an Apple store in the Best Buy across the street from Mac Specialists.

That was several years ago and Mac Specialists is still there, having persevered via sheer excellence in the quality of their repair work, Mac training and customer service. These qualities were made all the more glorious by the stark contrast to the customer service and expertise at the Best Buy across the street. I gather that Apple got complaints....I further gather that there were rather a lot because Jobs some years ago allowed Mac Specialists to start ordering and selling (but not displaying) Apple products. It's a store with NOTHING on display....but if someone wants to order an Apple they can walk in sit down, describe what they want and the parts will arrive...assembled.

Which is how I got Holo, my iMac.

The store does a bang-up job on repairs as well, when my iMac was struck by lightning some years ago they fixed it and saved the data. I've upgrade the machine to a two TB drive through them. Their bills are itemized minute by minute, part by part. The owner is extremely knowledgeable and still gives classes on using Apple products. The owner,  John Crow is a former Brown-Shoe who flew an A-6 Intruders. He is courteous and ethical and I have been thoroughly impressed every time I've been there.

He also let me use his bathroom.

Thus bled, I fled and hightailed it home the long way so as to avoid the evil tunnel/bridge combination.

I got home,  ran into the bathroom and as I stood there I heard the phone ring in the other room...Now, no one EVER calls me and this gave me the opportunity to reflect upon the fact that in the event anyone does I probably should not have the SpeedyCake mix of Seniorita as my ring tone.

Soon after, I picked up the phone an checked my messages, it was Mac Specialists. The computer was ready.

I hobbled outside, hobbled back in, grabbed a blanket, hobbled to the car and drove back to Virginia Beach.

I was informed that it was a really odd problem, but it was so interesting they were able to learn something. It seems to have been some kind of permissions problem in that the backlight for the screen was...denied permission to be on.

There was NO WAY to find this out at home but hooking it up to a disagnostic set up allowed them to determine it wasn't a hardware issue right away. When they figured out the problem they couldn't believe it and tested it 19 times before deciding that this bizarre thing had happened. It took them 17 minutes and  they decided to write it off as a "Whut!?" So my bill was naught.

More importantly, they let me use the bathroom.

I raced home, barely beating the Friday rush hour traffic. Along the way I alternated the radio between my MP3s and Rush Limbaugh who was...non-political today as today was one of his charity radiothons; this time for Leukimia. It was facts and figures and science in Rush's voice, but no news and almost no commentary.

Anyway, I made it home, bled and then set up the computer...Unable to make it through the tunnel during rush hour in my condition, I used MY COMPUTER WHICH IS FIXED to send my assignments electronically...and now I'm using it for blogging.

For those of you that endured that unpleasant story, there is Cheesecake below the fold.


more...

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April 11, 2013

Thoughts on Authenticity

James Lileks holds forth with a rather lengthy disquisition on those who presume to define that which is authentic.

 

Length notwithstanding, I encourage you to read the whole thing. This is a particularly good screed and gives some historical perspective on those who haets them some suburbia.

Be advised that there is initially some discussion of plumbing and pigments, but that's OK, 'cause it's Lileks.

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