December 29, 2014

My Day

...has been very much like this.








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December 26, 2014

"What Do You MEAN By 'It's not that sort of boxing' ?"


"Oh...My bad."

Happy Boxing Day to all of our Commonwealth readers. (art by Itou)

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December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a wonderful and happy holiday.


Art by Simosi.
more...

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Look Who's Back in the News

Well, it seems that a procedural discrepancy has resulted between one (Washington Post Article) and twelve (Drudge headline) lab techs being exposed to Ebola. 


This difference in numbers is not just due to link-baitery on the part of Drudge, it appears that up to a dozen people were in close proximity to an Ebola sample with at least one being closely monitored for the next 21 days. 

But wait there's more 

The mistake comes after a series of incidents this summer involving the mishandling of dangerous pathogens at the nation’s labs. An incident at a CDC lab in June potentially exposed dozens of employees to live anthrax because employees failed to properly inactivate the anthrax when transferring samples.


Ebola Tan sez: "You know what? I'm really starting to like those CDC guys!"

In other Ebola news: 


The Ebola Czar decided to leave his post early next year. As Professor Reynolds says "It's almost as if he was brought in as a distraction. "

Also: Sierra Leone has canceled Christmas because of the outbreak. 

Despite recent improvements in treatment, the current death toll is over 7,500, out of just under 20,000 cases
This grim number provides a useful means to test predictions against results...
A couple of months ago, there were predictions of 1.4 million infected by the end of next month. Of course there are still 36 days to catch up, but that grim forecast is unlikely to be borne out. Thus, one can take comfort from the fact that the doomsayers were sufficiently wrong as to be off by a bit under two orders of magnitude.
On the other hand, as the linked article notes, the doomsayers in question were the CDC. 

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December 23, 2014

It's Almost Over


This young lady must have worked for UPS, for she understands the true meaning of Christmas.


Art by Itou.

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A Few Random Links

The Guardian suggests that declining oil prices may cause the Russian Oligarchs to launch a sort of  "palace coup" . Meanwhile, the New York Times suggests that Russia's oligarchs...at least those with meaningful political pull, are a myth and Putin is so firmly in control of his nation's elites that any threat to him will not come from that direction.


It's nice to know that there is some consensus on the matter. 

Some good news on the Free Speech and CYA fronts: Sony has changed course yet again and is in fact releasing The Interview, albeit only through art houses. (Which, in fairness is all they CAN do, given that the major theater chains are still saying no.)

Much has been written about Keurig's asinine imposition of DRM on its users to crush the competition in the single serve coffee refill market. Well it is even worse than that. If you take D, R &M, rearrange them a bit and add a few more letters, you get MURDER! It seems that the little robot coffemakers are not only harassing their owners about what brand coffee they use, the monopolistic little Cylons from Planet Java are spraying them with boiling water

Tam has dreams; oddly awesome ones

No...nonononono. No I say.
(I actually wanted to be an astronaut.)

Tech imitates fiction. Now all we need to do is break the thing...and work out that time travel bit. 

Circumstances have prevented me from doing many reviews of late. Don has a suggestion on where to find more

With regard to reviews, I had never even HEARD of this show. I may have to check it out (though I'm unsure one of the names is translated correctly in this review.)

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Jerry Pournelle Status

As some of you probably know, Jerry Pournelle had a stroke recently. Fortunately, he seems to be recovering, and his cognition appears to be pretty much unaffected, though he cannot type. Oddly enough, he is being treated in the very room he was visiting his friend Harlan Ellison in, who was being attended to for the same reason in October. It appears that Ellison has made a good recovery as well. 
Both are great men, keep them in your prayers. If, like many of my readers, you are not so inclined, then perhaps reflect upon how two men made many of our lives so much richer. 

Also: Dr. Pournelle at least, has a tip jar

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December 22, 2014

Apropos of Nothing

That is my story....and I am sticking to it.



Art by Rakku.

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December 21, 2014

Rumor Has It

that tonight and tomorrow will be our building's peak day for the season. 



"Ghaaah! What was all that up till now then!?"

On the up side, I slept 12 hours today and seem to finally be over my cold. So the 13 or more hours of work ahead of me probably won't kill me.

4 more days....

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December 20, 2014

This Just In....


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Pressing Questions

There is this new show that , as near as I can tell, no one has gotten the rights to. It appears (despite having dubious art and being a shounen show) to be quite worthy. 


Steven has been following The 7 Deadly Sins through his extensive network of underworld contacts and it does look like a hoot. 


So, unable to watch it, I checked out the manga. 

UPDATE: How can one screw up a manga review? One might have typos...people might disagree with one's conclusions...but to actually do the review WRONG is nigh impossible. Well, we here at Brickmuppet Blog pride ourselves in making the impossible happen....Responding to concerns expressed in the comments, I have flipped through the first volume and note that this online THING I blogged about bears very little resemblance to the dead tree edition of the manga, (which includes pigs, both talking and giant and seems to be much closer to what I've heard about the anime). I'm really not sure what the hell I reviewed here, but I SWEAR I read it..I've even got screencaps.
Perhaps it's a lost pilot episode issue...or something.
In any event, this thing exists and it might be of interest.
The questions at the end remain legitimate...well, actually there is probably debate on that too...
END UPDATE:

The premise is that some years ago in the Kingdom of Britannia (which is in or near the continent of faux-medieval-Europe), a group of 7 warrior adventurers consisting of swordsmen, wizards and even a fricking giant built a reputation of badass chivalry until they unexpectedly killed a whole bunch of innocents and began spreading seditious rumors such as "We was framed!" and  "The Holy Knights are riddled with traitors who are trying to launch a coup d'etat  and set themselves up as a Junta!" Well, the Holy Knights took care of this domestic terror group with extreme prejudice, reportedly killing them all (though there are rumors that one or more might have survived and fled to the wilderness).  This band of nefarious villains passed into legend as the greatest most perfidious and terrifying criminals in the history of the kingdom. Now they are boogiemen used to scare children and are referred to as The 7 Deadly Sins.

That was years ago, our story begins in earnest when a disheveled, filthy and generally odd young lady staggers into a tavern on a dark and snowy night, asks for information on the 7 deadly sins and precipitates a bar fight which results in the bar being closed and the paying customers turned out into the snow.



After some initial confusion the non-paying customer confides to the barkeep the events that led to her being in such a state. It seems that, in a completely unexpected development, the order of The Holy Knights suddenly launched a coup d'etat and set themselves up as a Junta!


Furthermore, this filthy, somewhat odd street urchin is actually the only member of the royal family to escape their knightly wrath, Elizabeth Lioness, the third princess of the kingdom. She has set out on a quest to put together a force to liberate her people. Suspecting (due to recent events) that the 7 Deadly Sins might not have actually been, strictly speaking, evil, and taking the rumors that some of them survived in the wastes to heart, she decides to search for survivors of that extremely powerful group to help her in her quest. Her task has been complicated by the fact that, being the THIRD princess she has not been groomed for leadership and, having had a sheltered life, she is ill prepared for survival on the lamb.  After getting cleaned up, she is mocked by the bartender, who insinuates that, being a bartender, and hearing things, he might be in possession of some of the information that she is looking for, but unless she can display that she has resolve he has no interest in giving her the time of day...



Well...It seems that our heroine is actually quite determined to save the kingdom and not in any way lacking in resolve.


Yes MAM! The time is 01:06!

The barkeep pledges to help her and provide her with the informat.....

...the Hell? 


I'm with the government and I'm here to regulate!

It's the boss of the guys who lost the barfight! They were agents of the local EPA IRS NLRB Zoning Board ABC ATF EEOC Homeowners Association HOLY KNIGHT!

Well, the barkeep seems to be a bit more than an information broker. He is, in fact Meliodas, the leader of the Seven Deadly Sins...or at least he was before going into hiding. After the dust clears, the Holy Knight has been vanquished and Princess Elizabeth decides that this bartender is quite the useful ally. Due to her awkward circumstances, she takes the barkeep up on his offer of job as a waitress in his, ummm, traveling tavern, to pay for the damages she caused, build capital and network. 

Hijinks ensue.

There are a couple of differences here between what I've read about the anime, most notably the lack of any talking pigs and it seems somewhat darker than the anime, based on descriptions. Still, it does look interesting and potentially fun. 

I do have a few questions though.
more...

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December 17, 2014

Only 7 More Days of Hell

The weekend has been cancelled as we'll be working Saturday and Sunday.

Blogging will get back to normal some time on or shortly after the 26th.

In the meantime, we have this...

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Being a Terrorist Sure Does Get Results

North Korea and/or affiliated individuals have gotten a film's release cancelled  by making terroristic threats. Sony knuckled under and pulled The Interview after a computer hack which revealed that Sony employs a bunch of jerks was complimented with a threat to do...something September eleventhy if the company released said film as scheduled.

Wow.



Cuba meanwhile, took an American hostage and got the embargo lifted as a condition of his release. 

Neo has thoughts on this development including why the super secret nature of the Cuba capitulation should be extremely worrying with regard to the ongoing negotiations with Iran. 

However, in the larger sense, the implication that terrorism now works quite efficiently in achieving one's strategic (and artistic) goals is likely to be a much bigger issue. While there was concern about such precedents  in the wake of the Bergdhal and Innocence of Muslims controversies, these two events are rather unambiguous in the total overwhelming victory achieved by the perpetrators of violence. Sony is not a government, but its actions send a message about the stomach society has for standing up for free speech. This message is unlikely to be lost upon those that would do us harm.

Of course the fruits one gets from resorting to violence needs to be assessed in comparison with how one is treated by peacefully using the political process to support one's beliefs or policy goals.

Only then is a full assessment of the messages being sent by the powers that be be able to be fully appreciated.

I fear today's double dose of Quislingisms will come back to haunt us for years to come. 


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Of Course...

....sacred honor requires that Brickmuppet Blog host this trailer.

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December 15, 2014

Some Christmas Cheesecake

...or strawberry cake as the case may be...



Art by Yuuhagi.

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Hmm...

It appears that the UK detected an unauthorized periscope outside their fleet ballistic missile sub base near Falsane. Details are sketchy but the Royal Navy was sufficiently concerned that they called in assistance from the US, Canada and France. 


While there have been rather more spectacular incidents involving Russian poking of NATO and nearby countries in recent months, this would seem to be one of the more worrying. If the Russian subs are are able to elude detection in the Irish Sea and Gulf of Mexico, then there may be a bit of a problem with our and our allies anti-submarine measures that warrants some attention.

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This Does Not Appear to Have Been Completely Out of the Blue

Our prayers go out to the people of Sydney.

Sadly the siege in Sydney has ended in deaths, though people can take some comfort in the fact that it could have been far worse.

The jihadi that terrorized the Sydney Cafe was involved in a sexual assault case in 2002*. He'd also sent hate mail to the families of Australian soldiers killed in action. At the time of his most recent act he was out on bail, having been charged with the murder of his wife. 

I am curious about one thing...

Given that he was in Australia under refugee status, and given the letters and association with assaults, why wasn't his refugee status revoked once he started giving off jihadi vibes years ago? 

This is not a criticism of the Aussies per se, Lord knows we in the USA drop the ball as badly or worse on these things, but it would seem, moving forward, to be a good practice to give this sort of thing a bit better scrutiny, wherever it may come up.




*PJM says there were actually 50 sexual assault charges, though I've found reports of only one.


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December 13, 2014

12/13/14

A couple of people have noted that this is the last time we'll have a sequential date like that this century.


The significance of this milestone cannot be understated, thus, to prevent this post from being a complete waste of time, here is some Christmas cheer from Mana Kakkowara




Blogging will remain light for a bit. 

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Attack on Diane

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Why?

It appears that the Treasury Department is equipping its bank inspectors with survival kits.


 The survival kits must come in a fanny-pack or backpack that can fit all of the items, including a 33-piece personal first aid kit with "decongestant tablets,” a variety of bandages, and medicines.

The kits must also include a "reusable solar blanket” 52 by 84 inches long, a 2,400-calorie food bar, "50 water purification tablets,” a "dust mask,” "one-size fits all poncho with hood,” a rechargeable lantern with built-in radio, and an "Air-Aid emergency mask” for protection against airborne viruses.

They are also being delivered to what is described as "every major bank".

So...

What is this in preparation for?


One possible scenario.

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