November 30, 2014

Augh

I have no idea what broke the formatting in the previous post. 

I'm not blessed with the time to deal with it right now as I have to go to work in a few hours. 
As compensation for that and the lack of content, here is some Christmas cheer....


"This year I'm asking for a Crosman...'Cause the Red Ryder just didn't work out."

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Various Things of No Importance

Crunchyroll is holding a sale this weekend and while I generally do not do fannish accouterments any more, I figured I'd peruse it and check out their DVDs and look for gifts to....



79 Dollars for a nendroid!!?

Well then. 
It seems that my absence from the weaboo brickerbrack market will persist for the forseeable future. 

Also regarding Crunchyroll, I seem to recall that they had announced that they'd be carrying that show about the Teenaged Twintailed Transylvanian superhero, yet it's nowhere to be seen as of the end of November. 

Similarly,  Amagi Brilliant Park and the very intriguing 7 Deadly Sins do not seem to have a legit release. 

Well, even with three of the shows on my watch list unavailable and  RWBY finished, I still have Log Horizon  and the Fate Stay Knight remake, both of which which I'm enjoying. The latter is, surprisingly engaging,  even for those of us who saw the original, as it has managed to have numerous surprises.

When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace looks interesting but I haven't watched past the first episode. This is in part due to time constraints and in part to to a 'harem' vibe I got from it. 

SAO 2,  a horror show called Parasyte, the oddball looking Gugere! Kokkori-San, and possibly Wolf Girl and Black Prince all look look to have potential as well. While some of them will surely suck, this may be a red letter season. I normally can only find one or two shows to watch. This season there are 8 that I want to see in addition to the two I'm watching. My lack of time and the vagaries of licensing rather than a dearth of non-crepe seem to be the bigger issues this year, which is a welcome if frustrating development.


more...

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November 29, 2014

Insert Post Title Here


While I was being buried in cardboard (and was forgetting to hit PUBLISH),  Tam was finding the perfect Thanksgiving day picture

Also: Several bloggers went all musical at once..




and  Don, for whom this was less surprising than his joining the reds

All the cool kids are doing it, so I should probably take a slash at this. 


...or not.

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"As God is My Witness..."

...the future is here. 


It's a dingle-dangle for the 21st century.

Sadly, I did not stumble upon this when it could have been relevant to my holiday plans or those of my readers. Of course, there is always Christmas!

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FREE (for a day)


"Theboxeswerecomingdownthebelt4deepandwouldn'tstopandonewasn'tpackedrightandbrokeopenandwhothehellshipsscorpoinsanyway!?"

Ignore the stressed out Christmas help. She's exaggerating slightly. Christmas at UPS is rough on the temps...and anyway, the thing with the scorpions happened years ago. 
more...

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November 27, 2014



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First World Problems


more...

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November 25, 2014

Meanwhile...

While all eyes are on the mayhem in Ferguson, it appears that China is  breaking up the Hong Kong democracy protests.
The timing is an utter coincidence, I'm sure. 

(Note that this bit of sarcasm assumes that the time stamp is GMT rather than Hong Kong Time)
    

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November 23, 2014

SPACE FIDDLES!

Suburbanbanshee is blogging again and amongst her recent posts she points to this gem fragment..



Well, THAT'S on my 'to get' list. 

There's more at the link.

The first two Yamato series were absolutely excellent and I consider Yamato 2199 one of the best series of the last decade. One of the bigger disappointments in recent years was that the big international release (Star Blazers in the US and some Commonwealth countries, Space Patrol in Brazil) was cancelled. This is a show that deserved a good dub. It probably could have been a success on TV here.  

In 13 days a new Yamato film will be released. It does not seem to be a remake or even imagining of any other Yamato project, though it does have some interesting elements from the second season. 

It's unclear if there are to be any more after this, but given the general excellence of the series, it will certainly bear watching. 

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I Have a Question

It's...political...



"Please! No! I just wanted to take the day off and not worry about anything other than bidding on a Cool Science Shirt!"

Fear not. 
My question is below the fold...
more...

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November 22, 2014

Log Horizon 8

In this episode, there was no cake whatsoever.

I think this lends some credence to 'the cake rule'.
The two previous episodes were quiet, one being a study in the psychological aspects of going to "Church"....the other was a training montage. Both were intelligently done and moved the story quite a bit.

This episode was less subtle.  Akatsuki and Princess Lenessia being the keystones to the salvation of the city. However, they've changed the power dynamics of the city in the process, all while the very laws of nature are changing around them.



Despite its dumb as rocks premise and poor to mediocre production values, I'm really liking this show. The writing is really top notch and the silly premise is intelligently handled. Furthermore there are few shows that have really managed to integrate concepts like community and civics into an adventure yarn.

  Integrate is the crucial difference here. Lots of shows will have an episode or two where a band of adventurers teach a town an important lesson about societal affairs...before leaving them to their dull lives while said adventurers head off to do great, exciting, and non-domestic deeds far removed from such matters as the 4-H Club. In this show, building and keeping a cohesive society is the raison d'être for the action and adventure.

The teamwork and tactics are well thought out too. These characters are SMART as well as determined, and that's pretty refreshing. 

Next week it looks like we will revisit Shiro and company, though there is still no word on Crusty

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While We Await Actual Content

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November 20, 2014

There is Only ONE Story Tonight

Something, something, Presidential amnesty, something


Not that I'm not appalled, but when everyone is looking at only one thing, it is often prudent to look around.

There may only be one story tonight, but there are other things that might be worth paying attention to. 

First, some good news on the Ebola front, where it seems that the rate of new cases in Liberia and Guinea is no longer rising. While not lowering it is the first encouraging news out of those ountries since this calamity began. 
Good news on the domestic Ebola front: there was some alarm regards a woman in New York who arrived from Guinea and was being monitored for the disease when she suddenly collapsed, bleeding from the eyes and nose and subsequently died. To everyones relief, the cause of death has been determined to be a heart attack.  


Ebola Tan says"My new favorite verb is Grubering!"

*********

Russian Bombers are now circling Guam from time to time
Russia seems to be poking Scandinavia and the Baltic nations as well
With regard to Russia, this article at the Economist proposes that the Russian economy is much more fragile than is generally supposed (and it's not widely considered to exactly be robust). This does not necessarily mean a reduction of risk...a wounded bear wandering into ones yard is potentially a more dangerous thing than a healthy one.

******

China, it seems, does not like this years crop of Hollywood films either...



Actually,  the image of Los Angeles being nuked is from one of several articles touting the atomic mayhem potential of the People's Liberation Army posted in China's Global Times last year that are mentioned in this Defense News piece on China's rapidly modernizing nuclear arsenal.  One interesting tidbit...
 The article notes that the survival probability for people outdoors in a 746 to 870 mile radius was zero. "Based on the actual level of China’s one million tons TNT equivalent small nuclear warhead technology, the 12 JL–2 nuclear missiles carried by one JIN nuclear submarine could cause the destruction of five million to 12 million people, forming a very clear deterrent effect.” [/quote]
This seems to imply that the MIRVs in the JL-2 submarine launched ballistic missile have a 1 megaton yield...6-50 times what is reported. This is not beyond the realm of possibility as the old W-56 warhead of the Minuteman had a yield of 1.2 megatons with a weight of 600-680 pounds depending on variant. The JL-2 is broadly comparable in size to the Trident, which can carry up to 10 of the heavier (but much less destructive) W-88 warheads. The difference in 'splody to weight ratio between America's 60's era warheads and the ones developed in the 80's may have to do with a decision to make the bombs as "clean" as possible to reduce global fallout. This seems to involve using a lead as opposed to enriched uranium casing in the bomb. The latter can double or even triple yield at the cost of a much greater amount of radioactive fallout (at least that is the impression given by open source info on the subject). If China is going all in for maximum yield, maximum fallout, their weapons would be more destructive than the US, UK and French weapons by 2-3 times for a given weight. This is probably less important than the contamination of the target country that is implied. 



*********


********

Finally, on a much happier note, it looks like rice yields will soon be boosted by 30% or more




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November 18, 2014

Unexpectedly

Christmas booped in early.




With November volume at UPS in full swing, surgeries and vacations in our building have left us short of people qualified to do certain tasks. It looks like I'm going to be working double shifts this season.  

Blogging will be intermittent. 

Fortunately, no leg-breaking has yet occurred. 

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November 16, 2014

So....What's Happening?

First off, one of the 'Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes' has some thoughts on science reportage....



Of course the 'Science Babes' are just the imaginary braniac waifus of a lonely male blogger who has a sick fetish for smart girls, so it is likely that their supposed views on such microagressions are no different than any member of the macho women haters club....

Indeed, the maladroit neckbeard known as Suburbanbanshee has presumed to express thoughts on this as has noted woman hater Elizabeth Scalia. Misogynistic troglodyte Amy Alkon mansplains the situation and, of course the vaginaphobic Pope of patriarchal privilege, Sarah Hoyt, unleashes a glorious TL;DR of hateorade

Also, there was something about a comet.

In other, obviously less important news:

The Russians, always eager to remind us that we are loved,  have decided to regularly send nuclear capable bombers to patrol the Gulf of Mexico.

In unrelated news PRAVDA is running the headline Russia prepares nuclear surprise for NATO.  It should be noted that the use of the words "nuclear" and "surprise" next to each other is generally frowned upon. However, there are always translation issues and the Muscovites probably have a different style guide. In any event, given the relative parity in acknowledged warheads the Russians are unlikely to do anything really stupid unless they think our deterrent is seriously unreliable for some reason

In even less related news, soon we'll have 3 wrenches

Concluding our chain of nonsequiters, Canada's National Post has an analysis of what Russia's goals actually might be


With regard to China, a navy analyst who stated earlier this year that China was preparing for a "Short, Sharp, War" was rather publicly reassigned on the eve of the recent conference with China

"If you talk about it openly, you cross the line and unnecessarily antagonize," Greenert said at a forum in Newport, Rhode Island. "You probably have a sense about how much we trade with that country. It's astounding. "
 
North Korea has launched a ballistic missile submarine

In all seriousness the old Golf class boat is almost certainly not a cause for concern so it should not affect ones real-estate purchases in any way. However there are all sorts of other issues that might persuade one to overcome ones dread of dealing with a condo association in order to move into more secure environs. (Like they say....)

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Wonderduck Takes One For the Team

Between his F-1 coverage, military history discussion and pointers to shows we might want to watch, Wonderduck has been watching a show called Ben-To...so we don't have to. 


He has finally finished it and his overviews can be found  here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, not here, here, here, here and here. Yes. He watched the whole thing...to keep us safe from it. His posts on this subject are a bit surreal, but are estimated to be 77% less damaging to ones psyche than watching the actual show.

Words cannot express my gratitude to him for enduring this on our behalf. Thus I can only offer him this as thanks.

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RWBY Second Season Ends

After the spectacular home run that was episode 11, the Finale of RWBY season 2 fell rather flat. The animation was off, and despite a several moments of awesomeness there was a rather perfunctory feel to  the big climactic fight, which seemed disjointed and not entirely consistent. Basically everyone got a moment to shine though there was very little of the spectacular Monty Oum choreography that had been so impressive in previous fights and in fact the fight was so by the numbers and below the standards of the rest of the season that I suspect they ran out of money, time or both in this episode. On the non-technical side, there were some things that just didn't quite work.

Of course the other problem had to do with a general lack of answers, though this is not nearly as egregious as it would normally be, since it's pointed out by Ruby herself while our heroines recover from the day.


"Wait.We helped arrest a bunch of very bad people but we didn't really solve anything!"

Like the fist season finale, this one did not feel like a climax at all, but rather seemed to be just another episode, steadily moving the plot along, with the rather sedate last half of the episode being in a lot of ways better than the nonstop action of the first half. 

It's not a bad episode,  but is also not up to the high standards the show had set for itself.

That being said though, this season overall has been quite enjoyable. While the first season of RWBY amused me quite a bit. The second season has (overall) been even better. 

This is despite the fact that, in sharp contrast to the carefree whimsy of the season opener, the overall tone of RWBY season 2 is quite a bit darker than the first.  Fortunately, the show avoids descending into something grimm depressing, thanks in part to its oddball, upbeat quirkiness.

Also: The super heroines get a corgi

While it is still obviously a very low budget show, the animation, art, pacing and voice-work are all much improved over season one. I've heard griping about what at first seemed to be an awkward subplot (involving side characters) that suddenly metastasized out of nowhere. However, unlike a similar digression in the first season, its resolution was both unexpected and satisfying. Plus, it ended up advancing the larger plot quite nicely. 

The protagonists remain likable and have gained a bit more depth. Crucially, teams RWBY and JNPR consist of people that one actually enjoys rooting for. They are flawed human beings, sometimes wrestling with dark secrets, despair and self doubt, but they are not anti-heroes or cynics. These are an idealistic bunch who want to make the world a better place, want to do the right thing and are willing to pick themselves up and struggle on even if they get knocked down…hard.  This is important because our heroes are punching well above their weight…rather more than they seem to realize. 

The villains really came into their own in this season and are actually a pretty interesting lot…. Exactly WHAT their ultimate goal is remains unclear, but they are not incompetent and can think on their feet.  They are, overall, quite worthy and occasionally terrifying antagonists. 

These 12 short episodes were 144 minutes of my time that I do not regret. Despite the non-finale that was #12, I find that I’m eagerly looking forward to the third season.


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November 14, 2014

November 14: The Day IT Support Came into Its Own

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November 13, 2014

I Thought

...that this was surely satire, but I followed the hyperlinks and....




"It burns."


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A Suspicious Silence

We were curious as to Don's take on the 4.8 earthquake that hit Wichita yesterday, but seems that the temblor it made no impression on him. 


As this is obviously suspicious, it has been surmised that Don, who is something of a volcano otaku, had commenced building a volcano in his back yard. 

Since this would open up a vast potential for awesomeness in the fields of both geothermal energy and mayhem, we've asked one of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes to to explain how the miracle of SCIENCE! allows this to be possible.


Ummm....It don't 'cause it ain't.

Well then.

Using Occam's Swiffer, the only remaining logical explanation is that one of these rusted through...which could represent a nontrivial product safety issue moving forward. 

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