April 30, 2014

Preparing the "SPLODY!"

These three videoes of nuclear tests are pretty dry, as they deal mainly with the preparations for the tests, but they are also facinating as they give a detailed oveview of how these test were conducted and how scientists were able to get a detailed picture of the progress of these horriffic explosions at intervals measured in millionths of a second. 

The first video (Tumbbler/Snapper) gives a very neat overview of the gadgets involved in monitoring these tests. It seems that a previous test had demonstrated vastly lower blast effects than predicted, indicating that their computer models, and more importantly their field manuals on how to use these weapons were completely wromg. The film goes into surprising detail about how they went about testing various theories on the cause of the anomaly and the mechanics of the devices used. Those smoke trails one sees in test footage...they were smoke rockets intended to give a visual reference for the blast wave...also the trees one sees getting all abused in test foottage are not native to the Nevada test site, but a transplanted forest. 

Two of these tests were very small (1 killoton) and aren't particularly impressive visually, but there is a satisfying 30 killoton blast at the end, so our tax dollars weren't completely wasted. Amusingly, there is a bit of audio censorship at 24:10 and 26:20. "We used a normal casing because of its...."

The second test, Teapot, three years later elaborates a bit on the techniques used to gather the data with 1950's technology and is also interesting because it is the test  that involved the metal sphere experiment that ended up inspiring Project Orion. (Stanislaw's Balls can be seen at 19:07) At the time the film was made no one knew the significance of this test and it's presented as a curiosity.

The final test lacks the engineering detail of the first two, but is also quite interesting, being a VERY elaborate civillian nuclear test by the civil defense authorities. Operation Cue was nominally one of the operation Teapot series of tests, but this particular test was administered by civil defense authorities and was intended to observe the effects of a nuclear bomb on civillian structures, provide a civil defense rescue and response drill under realistc conditions, and evaluate construction techniques to mitigate blast and radiation. Various civillian contractors were invited to test out their ideas. Operation Cue involved building a suburb and industrial park, populating it with manequins and dropping a 30 killoton bomb on it.  Cue followed on the heels of several military tests that investigated such effects as an aside and made use of lessons learned in those. 

One sobering detail is the somewhat more elaborate nature of the PPE in the Teapot tests.

One unrelated, but still interesting thing I noted thanks to Epic's tracking monitor is that when one looks at nuclear test footage on you tube one is beset by about an order of magnitude more trackers than  is normal for a you tube video. 


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April 29, 2014

What's This?


  John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker .

A text with a bunch of random names?
Whatever could this MEAN?
Oh well, I'm sure it's of no interest to anyone. 

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April 27, 2014

Still Scarce

   I have a big exam on Monday so the next two days will entail cramming and sleep (the latter being a very important component of test preparation that I frequently forget).


In the meantime a quick perusal of the interwebs  reveals several bloggers who actually have taken the time to provide content over the last several days.


Medieval Otaku gets in touch with his inner his Edith Hamilton to discuss the Oresteian influences in Kill-La-Kill.


Don has one of the two blogs whose embeds are invisible to me on Epic, so I very nearly missed his latest post, which I had initially taken to be a formatting error. That would have been tragic as I would have missed this gem, which shows that these kids today still have an appreciation of the classics. (There is a side by side comparison here.)

Borepatch alerts us to this comprehensively insightful and profanity laced analysis of dubstepby Foamy the Squirrel. Testify!

Observing us from his secret headquarters in Australia with a mixture of bemusement and horror Pixy seems to have come up with the line of the week…


 The Hillary poster in particular seems to come from some weird alternate universe in which Eva Peron was an admiral of the Imperial Japanese navy.

…which has, in turn spawned further discussion.

Heretefore I had thought the term "twintails" meant something entirely different from this.

Now I know better.

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April 26, 2014

Epic Observations

I've been using  the Epic web broswer for 20 days and have gotten a feel for it. 

One of its features is a little pop up window that tells what trackers it is blocking. 

To the right is the NY Daily News. Interestingly 4-chan of all places had only one, and that’s only on certain boards. I probably need to stay away from those boards anyway...I already wear glasses.

Of course the browser’s extreme focus on privacy comes with a few quirks, with a lack of spewlchek being the most keenly felt. Since it carries no cache data it is a bit slower to load. Occasionally one finds a site that reacts badly to anything that doesn't let it track its viewers and demands that you its their cookies like some rabid girl scout. I haven’t been blocked from any site however.

Aside from the slightly slower loading, the only functionality quirks I’ve found so far are as follows. Occasionally embedded videos on some Wordpress blogs do not show up. There are a few quirks with the Dashboard in Minx (The Mee’n You blog engine) but said quirks are present in Safari and Opera as well. 

On the plus side, it seems to have the amazing ability to disable only the bad pop-up windows.

Let me explain.

ODU’s website opens certain features in pop-up windows and pop up blockers (like the ones ion the ODU learning commons computers…) generally disable that functionality. However, they work fine in Epic. On the other hand, I have not seen a pop-up AD since I started using the browser. I have had no issues with Paypal, which surprised me. I understand that Epic allows people to view HULU from outside the US and while I cannot confirm that, I can say that I was able to access one Japanese site that normally blocks US  access…and I was thoroughly scarred by the experience.

One's mileage may vary, but I think the slightly slow loading is a small price to pay for the added privacy.

This of course is assuming that the whole thing isn’t an NSA honey pot to snare us paranoids .

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This is Sure to Calm Things Down

While everyone was looking at Ukraine, the Chinese siezed a Japanese merchant ship on Monday. MV Baosteel Emotion was imponded as per orders from a Chinese court that declared the bulk carrier a war reparation.   It was released yesterday only after the company paid about 28 million in fines. 

This one issue seems to be resolved, but the precedent has the potential to open a huge can of worms in the future. Given the ammount of Japanese investment in China, if they start calling in reparations from a war 70 years ago it's going to be a huge mess. 

It may not be entirely coincidental that the Chinese real estate bubble has shown signs of popping over the last few weeks, though the opacity of the the Chinese market makes it hard to be sure exactly what is going on. Thr large Japanese holdings in China are probably seen as a ready supply of cash, from a particularly hated creditor. 

Far less likely, but still within the realm of possibility is the potential for rthe US backing of Chiang Kai Shek to result in unwelcopme surprises for American companies. 

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April 25, 2014

A Brief Update

Finally,  some cheesecake.....

Art by Miyo

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Two Examples of Win

Someone animated these Vocaloid videoes and posted them to Nico-Nico Douga two years ago. Who are these people? Have they been hired by a studio?

If not, we need to get a Kickstarter together and headhunt them, because I want to see more of this. 

UPDATE: OK at least for the first one, it looks like Takuya Hosogone directed , Takuya Mitome did the storyboards and "Jin"(?) seems to have been responsible for the music. 

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April 21, 2014

I'll Just Leave This Here

Note that despite the fact that this was tweeted by Wheadon himself, I'm more than a tad skeptical of this.

But it's SO awseome.

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Still Trapped in Spooftown

I'm in the middle of exams and final papers. I really don't have time to deal with this.

This epic spoof has gone on for three days.
I spent an hour on the phone this morning with AOL tech support. They were polite, responsive and courteous but the spooffage n' spam still harasses my contatcs in my name.
This evening I called again and found out that that this is a major isue at AOL now. They are working on a patch and expect it to be implemented in 24 hours.

I have a few questions of the various geniuses and experts i'm blessed to have in my audience.
Is there anything AOL can realistically do?
I've changed my password and challange questions 3 times. But since the E-mails are not actually coming from my account this is of no use in the current situation.

Is there anything I can do on my end in this situation?
Any best practies beyond theusual E-mail security basics to avoid this?
Does anyone have any suggestions for good, secure E-mail services?

In other news, my keyboard died. I dug out the awkward rubbermaid bath keyboard it replaced.

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April 20, 2014




Apologies to everyone affected.

I've been buried in the Library studying for exams with the phone off so I was oblivious until I went out to eat last night and noted several E-mails. I immediately changed my password but another fusillade of electronic mischief went out this morning around 08:00. AOL tech support is closed for the holiday so I'm unsure if the issue is resolved. I have shut down all external permissions.


I was surprised that I HAD permissions enabled for other sites to access my account.

One was Facebook (which I’ve been banned from for two years) and the other was some sketchy thing that was an E-Mail addy for a "uis.coveritlive”. I have NO idea what that was but it’s blocked.


I note I’m not the only AOL user this has happened to in the last few days. This is the second time this has happened to me and I don’t think it was a PEBKAC error (unlike the last time where I accessed the AOL account from the school computer system).




Does anyone have  any suggestions for alternatives that aren't GOOGLE?


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 11:26 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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