January 30, 2014

A Public Service

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The Difference Between Snowflakes and Zombies

Real life vs Walking Dead

In Atlanta anyway.

Gizmodo has a surprisingly good piece by a transplanted Northerner that explains the situation to his sneering former neighbors.

 Birmingham is one of those cities that shuts down at the faintest hint of snow. Again, this isn’t because we are rubes who wonder why God’s tears have turned white and fall slower. It’s because the city does not have the infrastructure in place to handle snow, and is self-aware enough to realize it. If you don’t know how to swim, just stay out of the pool. Easy.

This time, though, the city did not shut down. Schools were open. Places of business kept businessing. That’s because as of Tuesday morning, we were being told that all that was coming was a light dusting

Read the whole thing.

I'm not sure there wasn't a major screw up in Atlanta, but the southeast got, in addition to the snow, a good deal of ice in some places, and that, combined with the storm shifting at the last moment really caused problems.

One exchange in the comments stands out though, in response to those who helpfully stressing the importance of driving slow came THIS profound insight.....

Ummm...that's your scenario too.

Listen. If you know how to drive in snow well enough that you don't need to slow down....YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE IN SNOW.  "Mr. Snow Is Scary" is the one doing it right.

Now I realize that for some of our readers, if you don't have to break out the aerosani, then it ain't really snow, but no matter how great the snowfall, one of the most important safety tips is to know your limitations. Driving slow is a rational, sensible response.

Here locally, we have 8 inches on the ground in Portsmouth, which is more than we've gotten in over a decade. (The other side of the Roads often gets more, but here on the Southside any accumulation is rare) The area is still shut down and schools are expected to remain closed tomorrow.

It will be 65 this weekend.

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January 29, 2014

What the HELL Was THAT!?

I just watched Megan Kelly do a 5 or 6 minute segment on a family being tormented by demons. Apparently social services went to some ladies house to sieze her kids and decided against it on the grounds that they came to believe that the mother was not at fault. They and the accompanying police officers determined that the children's injuries were actually caused by  poltergeists or demons or  some other ectoplasmic annoyances that do not belong on an actual news show.


Look...Ms. Kelley...if you're going to go all Discovery Channel on us just bite the bullet and interview Bat Child....or switch to hosting Red Eye.

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January 28, 2014

Entrepreneurship in a Nutshell

From episode 7 of Log Horizon, which, in addition to the definition, provides a more in depth examination of the of financial, logistical and personnel requirements for the successful execution of such an endeavor and touches on the vital importance of being able to identify and get in on the ground floor of promising business opportunities.  The potential pitfalls of trade secret infringement are touched upon as well, but are not yet being examined to any great degree.

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Genre Savvy

Yes, actually, you CAN simply walk into Mordor...but why would you if you had better options?

 Log Horizon did not pique my interest one iota. The show concerns people trapped in a video game, which is a dumb concept and a genre that aside from the interesting but uneven Sword Art Online has generally stunk on ice. Upon closer observation it exhibits additional warning signs.  The theme song is a bunch of screaming and the very first word uttered in the series is "Electric Fuzz!". Suffice it to say, confidence was not high.

However, I have been informed by a certifiable genius that this show is worthy, so I sat down and watched a bit...

That was 3 and a half hours ago,  and it occurs to me that I really need to get to bed, but I don't wanna, 'cause golly this show is interesting.

How our characters got into this unlikely pickle is unclear...especially to them. Indeed given how Hobbsian their world quickly becomes, one might almost think that this is in fact the level of hell that gamers and NEETS are consigned to...if it were not for the idealism and decency that the protagonists exhibit. 

Deftly blending fantasy and post-apocalyptic fiction as well as  RPG and video game tropes ,Log Horizon is a show about the importance of a sense of wonder, ethics, hope and...civics. 6 episodes in it is a show that is unexpectedly good and shows great promise.

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January 27, 2014

65 degrees

After a week of everything being frozen the town finally melted today.
As I rushed to class, I discovered a truly rare and wondrous thing.
I found what must be the last patch of ice in Southeastern Virginia.

To wit....

An X-Ray turned up what they initially thought was a tumor or a cyst...which caused me much vexation. However, a subsequent CT scan seemed to indicate that there is a bone fragment caught in the ankle joint. I'll know something after I see the orthopedist tomorrow or Wednesday....I'm hoping for tomorrow, because today's weather was but a one day reprieve....it's supposed to start snowing tomorrow and carry on through Wednesday with accumilations of 6-8 inches.

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Bear With Us

As I type this the blog is all cattywhaumpus.
Fear not gentle reader. We called in The Pros from Dover, who quickly fixed everything!
Regrettably, we almost immediately broke it again.
So, we had to call them back, but there is some debate amongst us about WHICH Dover the Pros actually reside in. After scouring the white cliffs and ambling through Delaware, our stalwart band of remittance men  are heading off to Tasmania in hopes of finding The Pros from Dover, who, notwithstanding some initial understandable confusion on our part, are completely unrelated to these guys.....

Who can be purchased here.

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January 26, 2014

100 Years Ago This Year...

...the world was more interconnected by trade and communication than it had ever been before. For instance the British and German empires were each other best customers.

Then a few miscalculations sent things rather out of control...

This picture of the town of Reims, France gives some idea of the wretchedness that engulfed the world.

Source Unknown

That the long exposure of the photo reduces the towns survivors to images akin to ghosts is, perhaps, fitting.

This color photo of Verdun in mid 1916 also serves to remind us of the mistakes made so long ago.

Pic via this fascinating photo-gallery from Der Spiegel. The associated book can be bought here.

...as does this photo of a little Belgian  girl...

Via the Daily Mail.

...and this...


Pitiful...but enough dwelling on the ancient past. Such images are from a less enlightened world, nearly a century removed from us. We have our problems today but we live in an age of unimaginable interconnectedness. There are certainly jihadist movements, ethnocentric conflicts, and civil strife but a war between great powers is unthinkable due to interconnectedness and interdependency.

In other news, via Instapundit...this happened yesterday at Davos.

Do read the whole thing,

The Chinese professional acknowledged that if China asserted control over the disputed islands by attacking Japan, America would have to stand with Japan. And he acknowledged that China did not want to provoke America.

But then he said that many in China believe that China can accomplish its goals — smacking down Japan, demonstrating its military superiority in the region, and establishing full control over the symbolic islands — with a surgical invasion.

In other words, by sending troops onto the islands and planting the flag.

Note this addendum....

Interesting times...

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January 25, 2014

An Observation

If one is on a passionate and not entirely unwarranted tear about casual sexism and the need for respect in fandom, then referring to a male fan who makes an ass of himself as a "sperm sack" might not be the best was to advance this argument.

There are always alternate expletives.

Also: Twitter is of the Devil.

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January 21, 2014


It was about 60 today. It'll be 17 in a few hours.

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January 19, 2014


I've never really groked Touhou. Then I blundered across this primer which explains everything...

I...still don't get it.


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The Utility Seems Dubious At Best

Steven is asking a perfectly reasonable question.

Why would anyone want their refrigerator to have an internet connection?

Of all the appliances, one that would seem to have the least need for this is the refrigerator, since its only job is to maintain two or perhaps 3 CONSTANT temperatures. There is no need for updates, indeed they are unwelcome.

"By your hacker's command"

What am I missing here?

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Remember: Nothing is Impossible Now

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January 17, 2014

When Geniuses Blog

If you need to figure out a pun...
...in another language... 
...from graffiti...
...that's 1700 years old...
Well, you probably need to talk to Suburbanbanshee.


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January 16, 2014

Corrected For Mercator

This is interesting.
We've discussed amusing Mercator follies before, but this really drives home just how freaking huge Africa really is. As it straddles the equator, Africa (like South America) tends to receive maximal Mercator minimization.

Note that there is still space left over... I'm sure that one could squeeze Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and some of the Balkans in there at least.

The map is nicked from this article which touches on the rather surprising great game pantomime between China and Japan in Africa.

Interestingly, while it does note that they are "playing different games", with Japan looking to open new markets and China focused on 'soft power', China's goal is expressed mainly in obtaining African support for Chinesse policies in the United Nations.

However, China's big goal seems to be resource utilization. Of course Africa is exceedingly rich in minerals and China's buying up mines is fairly well known, however there is a more basic resource that China is very interested in that Africa can provide....food.

China has been buying up arable land in Africa to compensate for their lack of such back home and setting up plantations.  More on that here, here and here. This is all going on with little notice due to the unfortunate tendency to ignore the vast and underdeveloped continent.


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January 15, 2014

Super Robot Girls-Z

Mazinger-Z, Great Mazinger, and UFO Robot Grendaizer are no longer particularly well known in the USA but the trilogy was the groundbreaking triumvirate of the super-robot genre. The three series were hugely influential. Grendaizer, in particular, the last and best of the series, was, under the name Golderack, a phenomenal hit in Europe and Canada.

Now 42 years later, they've remade all 3!

As the world has gone mad and nothing is sacred, they've remade the trilogy as a magical girl show.

Meet our Villains, Antagonists, audience identification characters. These young ladies work for the temp agency from hell....

....which is kind of a sketchy outfit and is involved in some dubious activities...

...like supervillany.

But the girls got all kinds of cybernetic implants out of the deal and they do seem to enjoy their work...

...until they don't.

Morale at their firm is an ongoing struggle.

You see...these are the designated "heroes"

"...and mercy is a dish we don't serve."

As one might guess from their badass longcoats of delinquency, they are unconcerned with proportionality (or collateral damage for that matter) and quite massively outmatch the villains. Based on three of the most beloved Super Robots of all time the heroes...are....
They are present.

The villains are kind of amusing though.

One format note: I was under the impression that the episode length was 10 minutes, but it seems to be around 26 minutes with three distinct sketches in each episode.

This show is all over the place. Quite a few of the gags are references to the old shows so I'm not sure how much of the humor actually gets through to those who are unfamiliar with them.  Do note that although it looks for a time like it might be kid friendly, it suddenly and jarringly  isn't. The "beach" sketch went a tad overboard with the fan service (and we here at Brickmuppet Blog are usually quite appreciative of such things).

Overall however, despite a great deal of structural stupidity, I found it to be a cute, funny show.
OP aside, the music is pretty good, with the BGM  being based on the stirring BGMs of the source materials and the show has a manic enthusiasm that is engaging.  Additionally, it seems they didn't skimp on the voice actors, having gotten a whole bunch of top tier talent to do bit parts.If the credits are any indication we'll be seeing Mecha Musume parodies of several of the unrelated Toei Super Robots, which I find myself looking forward to.

Super Robot Girls-Z is drunkenly riding a unicycle of exuberance across a tightrope  of nostalgia while juggling vulgarity and hilarity over a roaring cataract of idiocy. It may not succeed, but even if it doesn't it will probably be amusing to watch until it falls.

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Get it Quick!

One of our commentors, a Mr. Mauser, has taken time off from inflicting puns upon our comments section in order to publish an E-book book for the Kindle. I gather from the "Customers Who Viewed This Also Viewed.." section that it is a rather racy tome.

If you're interested in such things you probably should act now. His blog's title will likely result in a DMCA takedown notice on general principle.

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January 13, 2014

Some Advice for Jamie Stiehm

Full disclosure:
I'm not a Catholic. I'm a Methodist...we're way removed from those Catholic types because we got excommunicated from the Anglican Church over several disagreements of which ordaining ministers in the rebellious 13 colonies was the final straw...though a strong strain of what would later be called Disestablishmentarianism probably did not help. I mention this for two reasons....

First: I have for years tried to work the word  antidisestablishmentarianism into a post and the above mention of its polar opposite is probably the closest I'll ever get.
Second: For the purposes of this post I need to assure my readers that that as far as I'm concerned  them thar Catholics are all infidels and I am not being manipulated, threatened or brainwashed by papist puppeteers.

AUUUGH...He's taking about, politics...AND religion...in the same post. Now I'll NEVER have any friends!

That's why we put these things below the fold....


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After the Polar Vortex...

...what ever could be next?


Fan speculation aside, it looks like a sequel is in the works.

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January 12, 2014

What?...What is This?

Why it's the 21st century!

We Have a Delivery for a Doctor...Quest?

Via NBF. It looks like a company called Advanced Tactics has developed a flying, off road capable van. It looks utterly impractical, but note that unlike earlier attempts at this sort of thing, the AT Transformer is actually van/truck sized with the rotors retracted and takes off vertically. Thus, it is at least in theory much more practical than the roadable airplanes that crop up from time to time.


I don't know if it would be robust enough for battlefield use, particularly in a world full of IEDs,  It looks like it ought to be inherently fragile since it has to be light enough to fly. Still, mobility and versatility do trump protection in some situations, and while this is unlikely to do flying or driving very well, the ability to do both may well have some niche utility,  I could see this thing possibly being useful in a civilian capacity Alaska or Canada.

Ignoring the road feature, this vehicles landing footprint and stowed size are tiny compared to most naval helicopters, (the SH 60 Seahawk is 40'x10feet...folded) so this may have some maritime potential giving very small ships the ability to operate a utility helicopter with a useful load.

More importantly....14 years into the 21st century...we finally have a flying car.

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