August 31, 2013

The Ad for the Final Yamato 2199 Film

Spoilers and tears await those who click on this.



Woah.

They've still got 4 episodes to utterly screw this up but from that preview I remain cautiously hopeful that they will not.

The discs are to be released October 25, which means most of us will get them in early November.

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August 30, 2013

An Actual Quote From a Friend Over Dinner


"I've started watching Attack on Titan again. Watching a giant bite the head off somebody, then pull them apart and eat them is so much less disturbing than watching that poor girl in Watamote humiliate herself. "





Full disclosure: Actual monsters in Attack on Titan are considerably less cute than this .gif implies.

In other news: We can now re-size .gifs in Minx. Wo0t!



All hail the lathe of the maker!

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August 29, 2013

Enough Current Events

..as events currently suck.

Instead here are two of the Yuru Yuri girls and an air guitar.



If you are upset that they're awful quiet to be so lively, you can remedy that by clicking here.

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False Flag?

Steven Den Beste has thoughts on the Syria problem. I urge you to read the whole thing.  He makes some very good points about how acting fecklessly has made things worse in the past.

Some of his commentors ask a perfectly logical question. 'Who gassed the civilians?' It is widely assumed that Assad did it and indeed he may have. His motivation for doing it on the anniversary of the 'Red Line Speech' would be to show himself to be powerful enough to stand up to the US and gaining the 'badass cred' so important in that part of the world.

However, Al-Quaeda has a more straightforward motivation. They want Assad bombed and his airforce neutralized. We know from painful experience in Iraq that Al-Quaeda is quite capable of using Sarin gas shells to kill (Iraqi nerve gas shells were used as ICWDs). We know that the rebels have overrun some Syrian arms caches. The attack, while horrific was rather small considering the risk. It was not a tide turning attack but an attack on a small group of noncombatants..mostly women and children. This is unlikely to hurt the rebels materially and can only serve to strengthen their resolve and gain them international support. It also could bring about an attack on the Assad regime by the US....which seems to be happening.

The circumstances of the attack are unclear, but it appears to have been confined to a small area in a refugee camp. This is the sort of gas attack the rebels might be able to pull off.

I dunno who did it, but such ambiguity might be used by the President to not end up being Al-Quaeda's air-force in Syria.

UPDATE:
Well....Derp.

Have at it in the comments.

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August 28, 2013

Hopefully the Final Nidal Hassan Post

Ace links to and comments upon a report that describes how Hassan's violent tendencies were well known and ignored. This is well known...the news here is that it's being covered by Mother Jones. I urge you to read both Ace's post which adds a good bit of context and the full Mother Jones article, which indicates that the dereliction of duty was even worse than was previously known.

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Some Justice

Major Nidal Hassan has just received the death penalty for perpetrating the Fort Hood massacre.


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The Flattopped Weasels

Wonderduck has mentioned these curiosities before, but via the Blogfather, there is a neat, photo-rich thread on the Great Lakes paddlewheeled training aircraft carriers of World War 2 here.


Caption needed.

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Apologies

...to all the people I butt-called...the new Blackberry holster was apparently not designed for my model.

Here is some cake as compensatio....



...
...
There was cake.

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Varioius Links

I'm not going to work today because of my sprained ankle.
I REALLY should have adjusted the alarm clock to take that into account.
Now that I'm up here are various links I found interesting.

First up, Moe Lane has some important safety thoughts involving this video.

more...

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August 27, 2013

On the Path of Ones's Life, Obstacles Can Occur



My Monday was one of those...
more...

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So...What's a TOWINC3 Anyway?



This polysyllabically titled show airs on Crunchyroll a week late, so despite my judicious attempt at avoiding spoilers I'd heard considerable chatter about this episode being just wretched and 'worse than the last one'.

Given that the last episode was about our poorly socialized protagonist getting tunnel vision and missing the point of her hobby, I fully expected this episode to be a bit of a downer with Yura's Ahab complex causing issues.

Boy howdy.

One of the overriding themes of this show is sportsmanship. This episode also focuses on the importance of not becoming what one despises and how easy it is to fall into that trap, especially if one feels strongly that one's cause is noble.

The other major point of the show is that the raison d'etre' of a hobby is to enjoy oneself. This is not to say that winning is not important, but the enjoyment is the goal. If lives are not at stake and what you are doing  is unpleasant and wearying without an enjoyable payoff...then one needs to stop doing it or start collecting a paycheck for it.



This is the antithesis of a shonen manga. Japanese society puts a VERY high value on giving your all and going all out whatever the cost. Shonen manga and sports manga tend to do the same with the former focusing on crushing the villain utterly.

This show, is about remembering to step back, breathe, and keep things in perspective...and how easy it is to fail to do that.

Yura is not an idiot, she's young and ignorant. She's learning, like we all do, as she goes and she's making mistakes. There is actual character development here. I'm still liking this show quite a bit though I think I may actually be the only one now.


So...for those of you who've been watching...any bets on whether or not she just flat out shaves her head this time?

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August 25, 2013

Just in Case You Were Wondering

...what happens when you drop a nuke near a blimp.


Because...WE JUST HAD TO KNOW!

Actually, the test was to see if blimps, the USN's best anti submarine platforms, could actually employ the Navy's 'Lulu' nuclear depth charges they were fitted with. The conclusion was that they could...but only once.  This was one of the Plumbob tests from 1957.

This test actually seems to me to be a tad inconclusive given that it involves an above ground test (with its associates flash and much greater shockwave)  and a very old blimp (built in WW2).

Compare this pic and video of an actual nuclear depth charge, in this case the ASROC tests some years later. Lulu depth charges had about the same yield (11 vs 10 kt)  Why the blimps weren't used in one of the maritime tests of 1957 is unclear to me.





Additionally, if you get to the point where you're actually popping off nukes, then things have pretty much gone pear shaped already. The blimps were spectacularly effective ASW platforms even with conventional weapons, but McNamerra used the 1957 test with a blimp anchored next to an atom bomb to justify scrapping all the navy's airships in the early 1960's.

Thanks to Wonderduck for sending the atomic blimp video which I've been looking for for years.

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But No 'Splodies Were Had That Day

I've been trying to get various things resolved at ODU over the last few days and while I accomplished a great deal, many of my efforts were to no avail. Several people I needed to talk to won't be on campus until classes start tomorrow and I don't have a good E-mail address for an instructor I NEED to get a hold of.

Then there was the little matter yesterday of the 'ODU SAFETY ALERT' which chimed in on my library workstation as I was trying to print out syllabi. ODU sends these to student's campus E-mail accounts. However ODU's G-mail system doesn't allow its E-mails to be forwarded to mobile devices so one has to physically log in to ones Student account to recieve E-mails. While I was logged on yesterday, I received the following E-mail:

 

A gas main has been broken during construction in Lot 19/20 behind the Batten Arts and Letters Building. ODU Police and the Norfolk Fire Department are on scene and restricting access to the area.  The Fire Department has confirmed no buildings need to be evacuated at this time.  Access to Perry Library is restricted to the 43nd  street entrance. The area should be avoided until police and fire units clear the area. 


20 minutes later the fire alarm went off and the library was evacuated.  This would have been a good to receive on my Blackberry, or the many more fashionable phones out there, but alas, ODU wants students to actually log onto their email accounts so...no.

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Gatchaman Crowds


There is no Panda in this picture.

 Science Ninja Team Gatchaman was one of the most important and influential shows in the history of anime. It looks dated today but in 1972 it had the best art and animation that had appeared on weekly Japanese TV and it was not equaled for almost a decade in that regard (Mazinger Z aired at the same time). The show was a remarkable break from the norm. Tatsuo Yoshida cherry picked elements not just from Japanese Sci-Fi films, but also Marvel Comics, Johnny Quest, '60s spy movies and the chaotic and terrifying headlines of the day. I've heard the show described as cliched..but Gatchaman MADE those cliches. The idea of the sentai team largely originated with Gatchaman,: June the exceptional strong heroine is in the finest Xia brothers tradition, Joe, the somewhat mysterious and dark second in command, occasionally complex villains, crazy malevolent transvestites....OK that last one didn't really take off but a HUGE number of anime tropes originated with Gatchaman.

I mention all this to put into perspective the epic nerd rage that seems to have gripped a number of my fellow old farts at Gatchaman Crowds, a show that is by today's standards poorly drawn, poorly animated and seems at first blush to have nigh-on nothing to do with with it's epic and beloved namesake other than the name and trademarked logo. So if you encounter one of these people just understand that this was not at all what they had hoped for and they are feeling quite depressed and alienated by "these kids today". Thus the best thing to do is quietly get off their lawn and give them a bit of space while they write their angry screeds in their APAs.

While they do so I recommend that you go to Crunchyroll and catch up on Gatchaman Crowds which is not particularly well animated and has a strange art style but makes excellent use of color and is exceedingly interesting.

This show is whacked.

Meet Hajime Ichinose.   Some people march to their own drummer. She disassembled the drum to make a lampshade, a dream catcher and a flower pot because she's quite happy to skip instead.

How this girl got through Japanese school being such an elevated nail without being bullied to suicide is explained by the fact that she is possessed of a tragic affliction... preternatural perkiness. She is completely offbeat in her outlook and hobbies, one of which is collecting notebooks. When a strange 7 foot tall grey skinned man with 30mm fangs appears before her and offers her a notebook after ripping it from her very being...she gleefully adds it to her collection without reservation or concern.

She soon learns that she has been inducted into Gatchaman, a team of 3  aliens and 3 earthlings assembled by the aforementioned grey guy who all have unique abilities and are charged with defending Earth against malevolent Rubick's Cubes.

...and then the show gets strange.

I'm not entirely sure what this show is about, as it keeps changing its mind, but as it wanders down the circuitous path that is its plot I find myself enjoying the journey.

This show is clever in a lot of ways, not the least how gently and quietly it puts to rest the misconception that it has nothing to do with the old show. (It was about the third time I heard a particular word that I realized..."Hey!" ) Most of the homages and re-imaginings will be lost on today's generation, but it's obvious that the writers are all fans of the old show.

Gatchaman Crowds is quite odd and a lot of people will just break morale over the fact that Hajime is a Genki Girl cranked up to 11. I find her to be a delightful loon but your mileage may vary. The very straight laced nominal leaders of the team  (one of whom is NOT a Panda) are horrified by her nonlinear habits. The rest of the team is pretty laid back about her though.  Interestingly, Hajime may come off as a whackadooldle but she displays a certain uncommon sense that is sorely lacking from a lot of shows....and a lot of people.

Despite being a show about a desperate struggle against a bloodthirsty peril from beyond the stars, this show has managed to become remarkably upbeat and enjoyable and that's just part of this shows peculiar charm.

UPDATE: Don, who is liking the show too, makes a good point about the notebooks I had not caught, but which seems obvious in retrospect. He also has a lot of screen-caps.

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August 24, 2013

Titanic Musical Pig Fixed: Mystery Solved!

Allow me to explain...

When the RMS Titanic sank in 1912, the band played to cheer the spirits of the passengers until the ship slipped beneath the waves. However there was long reported to be a mysterious piece of music that was heard AFTER the ship sank.

It turns out it was a pig.

A toy pig with an internal music box to be precise. It was played after the ship sank to comfort children in the lifeboat and drown out the sound of the people dieing in the water around them.

Well, curators at the museum where the pig resides have fixed it. They made a recording of the tune that wafted across the waves of a frigid Atlantic night 101 years ago.


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Unhappy Saturday

The weekend is opening with CBS reporting that the US is preparing for a cruise missile attack on Syria.

Given that Syria decided to nerve gas a town on the one year anniversary of the President's 'RED LINE' speech this may be the least bad option.

I don't believe that proportional responses are generally advisable or ethical. If one must use violence one should, as a rule, use overwhelming force. Such a policy is more likely to have a deterrent effect and save more lives in the long run (either through quick victory or deterring violence in the first place) than a predictable escalation of response which can be planned for and factored into cost benefit analysis by bad actors.

However, an overwhelming response in the case of Syria might topple the government. This would ordinarily be a good thing, but give that the opposition forces are AlQuaeda and similar groups, such an outcome would result in wast quantities of weapons including nerve gas plus Syria's stock of radioactives to fall into the hands of a bunch of feral crazies who dearly want to kill us and our Israeli allies.

So a painful but not crippling attack may be the least terrible option.

Of course, this supposes that the President, in his zeal to thwart the execrable Assad regime has not allowed himself to become blinded to the threat posed by its collapse, and doesn't actually intend to bring it down...which as we have discussed before would probably make things even worse.

more...

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August 22, 2013

Obviously, Nuclear Weapons are More 'Splody in the Arctic

Alex Wellerstien's Updated Online Nightmare Facilitator has a use other than depriving people of sleep.

It helps one to visualize the extent of distortion in a Mercator Projection.


Click here for supah-size.

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A Practical Demonstration of the Correct Delivery Method of a Convocation Speech at a United States Engineering College







One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes shares her thoughts on this presentation..


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August 20, 2013

Not Quite a Combo Breaker but.... It's Time for PAINTBALL!

Well after dwelling on dark matters for a bit I was damned happy to see Tuesday roll around because that means StellaWALLOFTEXTc3 is finally up on Crunchyroll.

In this episode we learn that the KGB club is even more co-ed than we thought.

This despite the fact that one of their members today has chosen to be strapping and not trapping.

One of the points that this episode touches on is the importance of having something to fall back on in the event of unlikely contingencies.


"We are SO going to kick Oorai's ass this year!"
"And those witches too!"

Oh...there was one other thing...



This show continues to completely surprise me.

In addition to a rather unexpected  direction, this episode does develop on a couple of things we've seen previously.....
*Yura really is beginning to miss the plot...The point of paintball is to have fun, it is a leisure activity.
*Something BIG went down between Sonora and Haruna in the U.S.A. It's not at all clear WHAT but it seems to be developing into a major plot thread.

The series emphasis on sportsmanship is still very much in evidence. This particular episode touches slightly on the do's and don'ts of leadership as well.

I am really impressed. I have no idea where it is going but I'm increasingly confident I'm going to enjoy finding out.

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These Posts Seem to Happen in Threes

In keeping with the carefree and optimistic tone of the previous two posts, I find myself asking recently why the story about the Stingers has gotten so little coverage except in overseas papers and certain partisan circles here.



"Oh God. Did you say "partisan? 'cause I was kinda' hoping to make friends!"

Indeed. Not only does my inquiry involve the "P" word it focuses on the particular "B" word that people just don't seem quite fearful of looking at too closely, and that "B" involves another "P" word which is Politics and so it goes below the fold.
more...

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