March 14, 2014

Well Then...

I guess this show does have potential.


They had me with  Otakulypse Girl..the Antikythera mechanism was just glorious overkill.

I've heard good things about Love Chunibyo and Other Delusions for some time. It's streaming on Crunchyroll now and looks to be both cute and demented.

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March 13, 2014

A Few More Crimea Links



The BBC has a series of maps that touch on the political and ethnic history of the peninsula.

Businessweek has an interesting overview of the situation that mentions briefly the CO of the Ukranian naval base in Crimea. Massively outnumbered he was offered the option of a commission in the Russian Navy. He lives in Crimea,, speaks Russian, is an ethnic Russian but took an oath to defend Ukraine until his enlistment is up or he is defeated, so he's declined the offer and is preparing to defend the base (and I imagine get his flotilla ready to break for Odessa).

The Tartars suffered under Stalin nearly as much as the Ukrainians did and are not happy with the upcoming referendum.

A few days old, Cdr Salamander's analysis of some of the lessons from this mess still deserves a read.


Pete Zaitcev reports what he's hearing in Russian language circles in the comments of the previous Crimea thread , though no source is included.

Aw HELL no.

UPDATE: Or...what exactly?

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March 12, 2014

Hey You Guys! The Bossy Wusses are Derping!

The PC crowd is at it again. The recent movement to ban the word "bossy" has gotten some attention and well deserved derision, but it is a real movement with considerable momentum and should be feared. Now, via Scott Lowther we find this....

  A Minnesota college has launched a campaign to warn students about the "oppressive impact” of offensive language such as "wuss” and "you guys.”

...also "derp".

This is societal cancer. These people are lacing up a straightjacket around our language so we cannot even express thoughts they find uncongenial.

In my sophomore year of high school I was required to read 1984. Back then (1986) it was still considered a cautionary tale...not a civics lesson.

One of the important steps to being an adult comes when one can shrug off the things people say that drive home the awful realization that one is not in fact the center of the universe.

The people behind these speech codes have never grown up. The children are running the school...those who get through the schools today without running afoul of the speech codes are going to be largely  children (mentally) themselves or be so whipped that they will be the sort of compliant serfs a totalitarian society requires.

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March 11, 2014

A Question for My Readers

The erudite humor, subtle social commentary and deep philosophizing of Space Dandy are expertly weaved via its multi-layered storytelling into a tapestry brilliantly designed to stimulate the intellect of the most sophisticated viewers while still conveying (with somewhat less success) entertainment on the squalid, unimaginative and vulgar  level of storytelling accessible to the gauche masses.

Regrettably, as you may have gleaned from my previous post, my artistic appreciation is such that I'm really only comprehending the last part.



Hence my question.
Is there anyone here who gets the first part?

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I Have A Confession to Make to My Readers

I've seen almost all of these films.


Yeah...that's the kind of person whose posts you have been reading all these years.


" I've been had."


Sorry.

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March 10, 2014

321 + 377 + 2

Just some kibitzing below the fold.
In lieu of content here is a Dame with a cutlass and a really big cutty thing storming a castle.


Art by S. Zenith Lee.

more...

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March 09, 2014

So...That Last Matt Smith Episode

Was it a complete and utter mess or did I miss something?

Despite that, I think I'm gonna like the new Pertwee though.


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Windows 8

Yesterday I was on a friends computer for a bit and had my first real interaction with Windows 8.
My God.
It's full of suck.
Windows 8 is a failgasm. This is not merely different, it seems to be designed to be aggressively non-intuitive and intentionally bothersome to use. It seems to take malevolent glee in sending the user places he or she does not want to go to promote features unrelated to anything the user is trying to do...just browsing files is a remarkably bothersome operation. I asked my friend how it was working for him after several months of getting used to the systems quirks. His answer was a series of violent gestures punctuated with expletives.

There's always griping about the changes made in a new OS so I'd racked the complaints up to hyperbole. I apologize to everyone I'd doubted.

After much pondering on this matter, I have hypothesized a solution...



..though I am hesitant to suggest it to my friend.

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March 06, 2014

Out of the Park



Hayao Miyazaki's films are practically always solid examples of the animators craft, so to note that one is good is not news. However, this latest effort by the director is superlative even by his august standards.

Wind Rises is a seemingly odd choice for an animated film, being a fictionalized biopic about  Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of Japan's fearsome "Zero" naval fighter of the Second World War.

A few dream sequences give Miyazaki an outlet for his sense of whimsy, as does the fact that Caproni's CA:60 actually existed (briefly).  However, while the film covers a tumultuous period of Japanese history, the epic events of the era happen mainly in the background with the notable exception of the Great Kanto Earthquake, which is terrifyingly portrayed. The focus is very much on the life of a very decent gentleman who tries to give his dreams form...with a slide rule.  Miyazaki weaves this tale into a touching romantic period drama that uses the medium to brilliantly bring to life the vastly different world that was Taisho and early Showa Japan. This film was clearly a labor of love for Miyazaki who both wrote and directed it. It is on a rather different level from his other films. Every lesson he's learned in animation since he started in 1963 is put to good effect in this film, often quite subtly.

If you get the chance, by all means see it. This film is in criminally limited release (and was given an absurd PG-13 rating) due to smoking as well as various other bugaboos of the eternally offended crowd. Disney is reportedly releasing it "at arms length" which is a very sad thing indeed, because this film is really quite exquisite.


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March 03, 2014

On Crimea

Jerry Pournelle has thoughts.

The Wall Street Journal this morning in a lead editorial says flatly that the Russian de facto annexation of the Crimea cannot be allowed to stand. That is because they are crazy...


He goes on from there. It's short but has a good deal of historical perspective so I urge you to read the whole thing.

Brian Wang has an nice collection of links giving a good overview of the problems the U.S. President faces in making good on his threats. One of the biggest seems to be that the sort of divestment and sanctions policy threatened by SecState Kerry is likely to clobber European banks. I particularly note that China is quite vocally supporting Russia. The fact that after making grand pronouncements of red lines and consequences the US did nothing is a precedent that China is no doubt very pleased with as it looks at the territorial disputes it has with its neighbors.

I don't for a minute think that getting involved in any way is a good or wise. I certainly don't think that there is anything the President could have done to stop this, nor was it in our interest to poke the bear over it. I do think that the loud and empty bluster was supremely ill advised.

The Ukrainians suffered greatly under Stalin to the point that they aligned themselves with Hitler against him. There are reportedly still elements amongst the revolutionaries who look fondly at those who did so, though how influential they actually are is unclear.

The Russians are securing Sevastopol, which, being their only warm water European port is as vital to their economy as the pipelines that cross the Ukraine. The Crimea and western Ukraine are ethnically Russian (60% or more) and so the Russian claims of protecting their own are not entirely fatuous.

This is a nasty business and it apalls me that we are involved on any policy level beyond sending some aid.

Then there is this piece that Ace linked to...which just seems rather....odd.

I know there are people who comment here who know a lot more about this than me...have at it in the comments.

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March 02, 2014

Meanwhile....

 While everyone has been focused on Russia''s invasion. (or whatever it is they are doing) in Ukraine...
   China has driven Filipino fishermen out of the waters around Scarborough Shoals with watercannon, declared two new national holidays dedicated to hate'n on Japan, is well along in the construction of two more aircraft carriers, and has a total of four in the pipeline. Additionally, they have put out video purporting to show that their new DF-41 road mobile  ICBM is operational. All of this comes on the heels of this...

  "[We] concluded that the PLA has been given the new task to be able to conduct a short sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea following with what can only be expected a seizure of the Senkakus or even a southern Ryukyu [islands] — as some of their academics say.”


Seriously...what could go wrong here?

Territorial claims, South China Sea

This is not to say that the issues with Russia should be ignored, but perspective is important and our media needs to get better at multitasking.


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A Simple Chicken-Egg Problem



Via Instapundit, comes a report on how a mobile phone application is creating sociopaths...

Umm...no, but let us look at this for a moment.

First, some quick background on how BroApp works: It not only sends scheduled texts, but comes preloaded with 12 messages to help users get started. The developers also took steps to conceal the automation going on behind the scenes; in places designated "no bro zones,” the app is automatically disabled. (After all, the jig is up if your girlfriend received an automatic text from you while you’re at her place.) The app even has a rating system that lowers the risk of the same message being sent too frequently.


So we have an app that will generate a series of sensitive, caring, supportive, text messages and send them to your significant other. This free one up to not worry about such things.

The article takes the position that these applications are  turning us into monsters...

No.

Assuming the app is not an elaborate joke, then this is an app that is aimed at callous, duplicitous people and it certainly facilitates their jackassery, but it's not causing them to be that way.

Of course this app is probably not going to work for very long...A significant other is not a tamagoutchi. This is doubly true of the women it seems primarily intended to deceive.

Bro-Ap is  a tool designed by sociopaths for sociopaths or perhaps is the product of some socially maladroit IT workers whose autism spectrum disorder kept them from groking why this is not the key to human interaction. It is a creepy bit of software, but it is not some ring of corruption.

It may even have an upside in the age of social media.

That one is using this program WILL come out eventually. Perhaps it will send cheerful texts after a fight or personal tragedy. Especially if the victim is a woman, it will eventually send out a detectable nonsequiter...at which point Facebook and Twitter enter into the picture. 

You see, having this app on ones phone is pretty much a red flag of asshattery. Once one is caught using this in an actual romantic relationship (there might be defensible applications I'm not seeing) then one is going to find oneself on the very soon to be developed web page of CONFIRMED BRO-AP (and similar tools) USERS. Very soon young ladies in he know will check their prospective beau's number or twitter handle against that database as a first step and well.....

...The world will be made better through technology.

It is good that reporters are informing us of these things, but technology is what we make of it. Despite breathless speculation by technology ethicists looking to justify their degrees, computer programs and  inanimate objects are neither good nor evil. In fact they have no alignment at all.



...well usually.

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March 01, 2014

Saturday Morning Cakefight

Saturday mornings...
In my youth this meant sitting down with grotesquely unhealthy cereal and watching Saturday morning cartoons, which was the programming block for kids back in the days when there were only 3 TV networks. These were almost always billed as exciting adventure shows. However, due to a malevolent confluence of progressive hysteria, lawyers and network departments of standards and practices, theses shows were almost uniformly a profound disappointment. While kids everywhere else in the world got to watch various iterations of Grendaizer, we poor American children were being tormented by The Funky Phantom, Devlin and Jabberjaw.

This morning, I decided to have revenge upon the programing directors who ruined my childhood. I got up, pulled a Go-Cup of Fruit Loops out of the hurricane box, sat down in front of the computer and went to Crunchyroll which airs new episodes of Log Horizon at 07:30 on Saturdays. I just thought it would be amusing to go through those motions of yesteryear but actually see something really good.

Just like they had with Clue Club, the gum-numbing dregs of the Fruit Loops served to exquisitely accentuate the disappointment.

Heretofore, every single episode, of Log Horizon has not only been good, its been better than the last. This episode continues the shows habit of surprising its audience by abruptly reversing that self improvement trend.


No...no actually, this was pretty much the exact opposite of that.

In fairness, part of the problem here is that previous episodes have set a rather high bar.

In the last episode, the plot had taken yet another intriguing turn. With only four episodes to go, many of us were looking forward to find out just what had gone down in Minami....

....so naturally, we got middle school soap opera and cake.

Lots of cake!.


J. Greely NAILED it!


What?
What happened?



Now, I'm not really likening this episode to...the execrable squalor that was The Funky Phantom...



"Good God I should hope not!"

This story wasn't actually bad, mind you. It was even kind of cute.

However, it was just a complete non-sequitur of an episode that seemed to belong in some other show.

There are only three episodes left, so I'm wondering (now with some trepidation) about  how they're going to wrap this generally excellent series up.

I'll be watching next weeks installment with a lot of interest.
...but without the Fruit Loops.

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