June 12, 2013

Well...That'll Get Read.

Zombie has some carefully chosen words for the Watchers.

They amuse me greatly.


...and her too it would seem.

UPDATE:
Along those lines, there was this alarmingly prescient report from 2 years ago by America's finest news source...


"...that's how they got my brother."

...which comes to us via Don (who is advocating for a contest  and, incidentally,  has an AWESOME photo gallery)

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June 11, 2013

Snowden's Credibility Issues

ACE is on it.

Several bits of his story are beginning to look like exaggerations. Of course we know that many of the things he alleged have already been reported in a less dramatic fashion earlier, but that didn't make much of a splash  outside of some regions of the right wing blogosphere.

If Snowden were to actually turn out to be full of bull squeeze, he may end up discrediting critics of the NSA program by providing something that can be refuted.

That would be unfortunate...
more...

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June 10, 2013

Why Hong Kong of All Places?

So...you strike a blow for civil liberties.....by leaking classified, highly sensitive info that you feel really needs to get out.

OK.

It also has potential to do much harm and you are likely to be prosecuted.

'Kaaaay.

Which stalwart defender of free speech and liberty do you flee to?

Switzerland
New Zealand
The Cayman Islands
Sealand
Liechtenstein
Iceland
Finland
...
...
CHINA *

OK I'll kind of agree with him on SeaLand. Also,  Canada and Australia are off because of very very strong extradition treaties with the US...but on the other hand.. CHINA? Seriously!?

I'm entertaining the admittedly odd theory that this is actually a Chinese move to embarrass the US and...assuming the guy has as much info as he says he has....pull off an intel coup.

Now intel coups generally don't involve one side running around saying things like "Hey Hiiiiiitler...We've got ENIIIIIGMAAA!" but in this case the data trove is...ummm...not easy to make obsolete.

I think that to the Chinese, starting a debate about civil liberties in the US is seen a major blow against us. Any reduction in state surveillance, to them, probably seems like a debilitating action. They simply don't grok the benefit of civil liberties, but they fully understand the power of information monitoring.

Even if this wasn't initiated by the Chinese, having this fellow in Hong Kong does not give me the warm fuzzies.

Did he defect or did he derp?

In one sense it doesn't matter, any damage is done and we still have the root problem to contend with.


UPDATE:
Jerry Pournelle has thoughts on the nightmares of the moment.

UPDATE 2 23:07:
Professor Jacobson points out something I'd utterly missed.
The revelations came at an opportune time for the Chinese in that they rather neutered US complaints about Chinese spying.
more...

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June 09, 2013

Everybody Comment!

My blog is not letting me comment. Post yes, comment no. I don't understand, but I'm curious as to whether or not any one else can comment.

With that in mind......here is something to comment on.


FalloutGirl by Hel999

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Gargantia #10

Remember Melty? She was on the fleet that left and is now anchored near an island in perpetual mist. She's started her own courier business and delivers dispatches to all the captains...as such she has a pretty good view of what's going on. 


"Oh dear."

The episode continues the shows dark turn but it remains interesting and thoughtful.  I'm unsure where they are going with this, as the story is far down a path, that while interesting, has no clear resolution. Yet they continue to complicate things and as far as I know, they have only 2 episodes to wrap things up.

This is likely to either be brilliant or a train-wreck.

It certainly has my interest.


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Attack on Titan Episode 10



This episode finds our heroes standing by to make ready to review procedures for initiating steps to set in motion preparations for beginning to consider actions necessary to lay the groundwork for thinking about getting ready to do something.

We'll see eventually if that something involves resuming this shows heretofore excellent pacing.

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June 08, 2013

10 minute Teaser for the sixth Yamato 2199 movie

It likely won't be up long.
Also: Spoilers.




They've been doing this for every movie, that is running the first ten minutes as a teaser on Japanese TV to hypethe films.

The official trailer from the ヤマト2199 website and the DVDs is here.

Spoilers again of course but if you are a Starblazers fan it will warm your heart.



This show has taken all that is good about the old series and made it better,  all the while plugging plot holes in the original. The way they neutralized a formidable Gamillas strategic advantage in the last few episodes was particularly elegant.

The characterizations are very well done too. This is turning out to be one of the best no-holds barred adventure series in many years.

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June 07, 2013

Follow-Up on That Storm

The radio this morning said for Hampton Roads to prepare for between one and seven inches of rain.

That's a rather large spread. I think they may be using the dartboard method of weather forecasting.

Anyway, the 'eye' passed over a bit ago and the rain is tapering off. If this storm hadn't had a name it wouldn't have warranted any comment beyond the fact that a nearby street was a canal for a while. It may yet cause some mischief in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Nova Scotia though.


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June 06, 2013

69 years ago

Though the Normandy invasion is now thought of as D-Day, it was not the name of any specific operation. D-Day was the code word for the day of an amphibious landing. Most amphibious operations other than raids that the US conducted took place on their D-Day. Logistics were arranged around that and used dates of D-Day +1 D-Day+2 so that plans did not have to be rewritten in the event that a landing was postponed.

Thus D-Day was simply the landing operation for the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 6 to late August 1944. That battle is considered to have ended when Alied forces began to cross the Seine.

It is easy, with 20/20 hindsight to think of great historic battles as having foregone conclusions, but they were not ordained to come out the way they did. Stalingrad, Midway and D-Day could have gone very differently.

Those who fought that terrible battle that began on June 6, 1944 did not have the benefit of knowing pretty much anything about what was beyond those fortified cliffs. If they had not persevered, history would have been written very differently.

Many of those who went ashore that day did not live to read of their contribution to history. They wrote that history in their blood.


That men advanced under such withering fire boggles the mind.




The Germans had placed mines and obstacles along the beach. If a landing craft grounded on a rock or other obstacle short of the beach the troops had to reach the beach the hard way.



Operation Neptune was the naval side of Overlord, and it was costly a well. Here a minesweeper and a PT boat attempt to rescue survivors from a US minesweeper that is no  longer recognizable as a ship.

In addition to mines the Germans sent aircraft and small coastal submarines to wreak havoc.


Note that the wartime censor has obscured the vessels radar arrays.

The old battleship Texas (BB35) was built in 1912 and was considered obsolete even at the end of WW1. As such she was powerful enough to lay fire support, but sufficiently expendable to be risked inshore. When the landings at Omaha Beach began to go pear shaped, Texas closed to within 9000 feet of the shoreline. Under intense fire from German heavy artillery she took out pillboxes, sniper nests, heavy guns and  obliterated the fortifications at the western exit of the landing zone. When the Army Rangers tasked with taking the cliffs began to run out of supplies, Texas ran close inshore and dispatched a landing party to provide the Rangers with ammunition and bring the wounded back to the old ship for treatment....they also brought back 27 prisoners. Texas continued to fight until she had exhausted her ammo, she then zipped across the channel, reloaded and came right back.

This picture was actually taken several days  after D-Day when USS Texas, USS Nevada, USS Arkansas, HMS Glasgow and HMS Enterprise thundered into the heavily defended Cherbourg harbor with the aim of taking out the heavy guns that menaced the allied forces. Moments after this picture was taken, the battery that caused that shell splash scored a hit on the old battlewagon's bridge. Nevertheless, the old ships took out the heavy guns protecting the town.


Incredibly, despite much damage her only fatality was her helmsman.

General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was one of Eisenhower's staff tasked with applying lessons learned from his experiences at Sicily and Salerno.  Not considered fit for combat due to his previous war wounds and a heart condition,  he nevertheless asked for and received permission to go ashore as an observer.

As such, he was the only Allied General to land with the first wave of troops. When things went horribly wrong on Utah Beach, Roosevelt took command, and even though he had to use a cane to walk, rallied the troops and deployed them to best effect. He salvaged what could easily have been a fiasco.

His medal of Honor Citation:
For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France. After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt's written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy. Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France



He died a few weeks later of a heart attack, in a tent on the front lines. He is buried in the Normandy cemetery in France.

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June 05, 2013

Wheee!

So...
Better cut the grass tomorrow then.



Fast storm is fast!

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Well.
That doesn't cheer me up at all.

God I haet politics.
more...

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Genius!

In trying to cope with weapons grade stupid, Suburban Banshee has come up with the ideal wish fulfillment movie for today's burgeoning  homebody demographic.

.....if there were a Shaker version of Footloose, it would be about some crazy rebellious kid who wanted to be a 19th century couch potato. (And who also snuck off to kiss girls, probably.)


Better yet, it's a PERIOD PIECE, so she can pitch it as Downtown Abbey for NEETs.


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Sign of the End-Times

I'm pretty sure this is one....


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June 04, 2013

What's the Connection?














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For Those Having Trouble Getting a Pixiv Membership

AOL and Juno it seems can't be used for ones E-Mail address. The issue seems to be with AOL and Juno blocking E-mails from Pixiv for some reason.

I couldn't access my old G-mail account as I've long forgotten the password, but I was able to get a new one and join up.

Of course, with Deviant, this makes two art boards I'm a member of, despite having artistic skills a few notches below Randall Munroe....but without the medical insight.


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Ideas of Great Importance

Between, recent bad news and the fact that I was offline for a bit, I've been surfing and playing catch-up on current events.

In the process I blundered into the two most important posts in the history of everything:

Moe Lane has a solution for what is increasingly beginning to look like a mistake.

Scott Lowther demonstrates
that what many assumed was a mistake, may not have been.

The implications of these ponderings are indeed profound and will require much thought from great minds to have their meanings fully grasped.

Much like this will...

 

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Words Cannot Express What I Feel Right Now


 
more...

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June 02, 2013

Gargantia Episode 9

Oh my...

"That was...harsh."



Well...
That was impressive.
That was unexpected.
This is an exceptionally thoughtful and well crafted show.
Now if you will excuse me...I has a sad.

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The Other Commercial Space Capsule

Boeing's CST has completed wind tunnel testing. It's expected to launch it's first manned flight in 2016.



Interestingly, although big, it's light enough to be launched on an off the shelf Atlas 5

Now there are those who are getting their backs all bowed up and asking questions like "Why do we need ANOTHER one of these?" "Isn't this just a colossal waste that duplicates effort?"

We'll let one of our crack team of science babes politely respond to that.



...
...

'Kaay...

Well, lets try that again with added civility.

With the Dragon (which has successfully flown unmanned), The Dreamchaser and NASA's own CEV, this gives 4 competing manned space systems...which greatly increses the chances that at least one will work, and if multiple versions are successful it provides a good deal of redundancy in the event there is a problem with one system. Given that three of the projects are private enterprises, it means that there is potential for considerable downward pressure on prices via competition.

Additionally, both the CEV and the Boeing design are designed for use as afar afield as Earths moons and slightly beyond (Luna, Cruithne and some Near Earth Objects). The DreamChaser and Dragon designs are strictly near earth orbit taxis though they have the potential to be exceedingly economical to operate.  So we're on the cusp of complementary and redundant capabilities in manned spaceflight.

So...Wo0t! Go for it Boeing!

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Gargantia Episode 8

This was a transitional episode, poignant with a very "on the precipice" undercurrent.





This was a well done episode. A bit downbeat, but it does stress the overall decency of most of the characters. We learned some things too.



For instance, if one can let ones hair down to reveal a hime cut, most concerns about ones leadership abilities will be allayed.

ahem...

I still cannot get over how gorgeous the production values on this show are. I'm not at all sure where this is going, but this has been a thoughtful show thus far and I'm anxious to find out. Anxious well describes my sentiments here, as this show has done an exemplary job of making us care about these characters...and this episode has a vibe very much like...late summer...1914.

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