This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Indeed, this is unlikely to be the only case like this we see.
Ebola is a spectacularly nasty disease and causes much alarm. Given the spread in Africa it is certainly cause for concern. However, it is not terribly contagious. This isn't even a remarkable situation as other, similar diseases like Lassa Fever and Marburg have entered the US recently with little fanfare and no apocalypses.
This situation is not to be taken lightly, but the greatest danger with this particular bug is panic. In the areas of Africa where panic has taken hold the outlook is quite grim . However, despite (and in some ways because of) its horrifying mortality rate, this disease can be brought under control much easier than, say, the flu. Indeed, the outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria seem to have been brought under control even as the situation deteriorates elsewhere.
A former Food and Drug Administration chief scientist and top infectious disease specialist said that several people were exposed to the Ebola virus by the unidentified patient in Dallas, Americaâ€™s first case, and itâ€™s likely that many more will be infected.
There is also this Politico piece, which is very detailed and paints a particularly grim picture of the situation in West Africa.
Nevertheless, the best advice remains as follows...
I just want to confirm that you plan on telling us when it is time to panic, right?
Posted by: Siergen at Tue Sep 30 17:39:04 2014 (r3+4f)
Actually, if you are a Virginia resident and commute through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel between 8 and 10 AM weekdays the you should panic now...and immediately move to the Appalachians....via RT 58.
The Limits of KnowledgeDon has some rather scary footage taken by via a cellphone on Mount Ontake when it suddenly erupted. As many as 30 other hikers may be dead. I gather that there was some festival going on and there were a great many hikers on the summit. Japan monitors their fire mountains quite closely for obvious reasons, and yet this mountain had not given sufficient warning to close it to the public.
I suspect that there will be some recriminations over this. Seismometer readings, temperature sensor records and the recordings of instruments monitoring gas discharges will be examined and someone will be found to have dropped the ball and not detected that which will be determined to be obvious with 20/20 hindsight.
Decisions, however, are not made in hindsight. Nature is unpredictable and vulcanism in particular is a chaotic process that experts are constantly making discoveries about. It is highly likely that this was one of those discoveries.
The unexpected can befall us at any time, and it is good to be prepared, but all the preparation in the world will do little good if the earth suddenly explodes under one's feet.
As to how one might prepare for this...If there is any "lesson" to be learned here I think it would be to carry a few dust masks when climbing a volcano. They won't protect one from lava, asphyxiation or a pyroclasm, but the ash itself is quite deadly.
A life worth living carries a certain amount of risk. It is, therefore good to live it well while one has the chance.
Yeah, that's all it was.
Of course they have to kill the alligator somehow.
Interestingly, it was the dinner where my partners and I decided to go ahead with Radcon. Upon reflection, this event could have been taken as a bad omen, but, unfortunately, I am insufficiently superstitious.
While the world focuses on the current bombing campaign and the fact the the POTUS doesn't know that if your hands are full, you don't salute, there is news from the continent of Asia that as of this writing is getting little coverage in the US press. It is eliciting some interest in India though:
Xi Jinping tells Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army to be ready to win regional war
There is another factor that might cause China to feel that there is a narrow window of opportunity for action and it again involves India. In 2012 there was a major scandal in India when it was revealed that India's ballistic missiles were unreliable, and India's nuclear deterrent was almost entirely delivered by Jaguars and Mirages which cannot really threaten China. India is modernizing its forces with a new class of missile submarines. These are fitted with four tubes carrying a total 12 SLBMs with a modest 750km range. However, in a few years, these will be swapped out for 4 of the K-4 missiles with a 3000+KM range. India currently has 90-110 warheads, most of which can't reach China. In a decade or less, if present trends continue, they will have a credible second strike capability with the ability to do China serious harm.
Despite some nontrivial internal issues, China is in ascendance and has become a major world power, but its chance to completely secure it's position is threatened by two developing nations poised to experience growth comparable to what China achieved over the last 30 years. This will happen just as China hits a 20-30 year demographic arrestor switch on it's growth. Chinese leaders may perceive a narrow opportunity to become THE power, as China was for most of it's history, but that opportunity (if it exists at all) is a fleeting one and it will soon be surrounded by new major powers.
I said poweRs.
Because India is not the only country in the area that is ascendant.
100 years ago this year, Germany had become alarmed at Russia's rapid industrial and military progress. They decided that they needed to nip that in the bud before Russia fully modernized and became a serious threat. Certain members of the German general staff decided to take a pro-active approach. That decision did not end well.
One factor has not been mentioned, and that is the USA. Well, there is another opportunity that will likely have a limited duration. The current astonishing display of foreign policy fecklessness is unlikely to continue to anything like the same degree past January 2017, regardless of who succeeds the current resident of the white house. In the intervening time however, it is quite possible that the USA has been largely discounted as a factor in the Politburo's risk assessment.
With regard to the terrifying risks involved in seriously poking India, we should not be limited to looking at the problem throufgh our eyes and weighing the costs with our value system. We look at the term "limited nuclear exchange" and see an oxymoron. However, it should be remembered that Xi Jinping is an admirer of Mao, who led 1 successful war against India and fought a guerilla war against Japan. However, Mao killed far more of his own people than Japanese or Indians, and he did it in the name of national greatness. The notion that the Chinese leadership is willing to take a gamble of this sort when the potential payoffs are so high should not be dismissed out of hand. They have 4000 years of history that tell them that China's proper place is as the Middle Kingdom..the center of the world. More disturbingly, with over a billion people....the way they may look at it ...they have spares.
UPDATE: With regard to the border dispute, it appears that the crisis, is, at least for now, winding down.
India just put a probe in orbit around Mars, so their rocket and guidance technology is clearly up to snuff now, and it's just a question of deployment. Which has got to have China's totalitarian leadership feeling twitchy. Never mind all the other reasons they have to feel twitchy just from trying to hold down their own populace.
India is a chaotic mess compared to China, but its people have far more freedom, so it provides a good and much-needed counterbalance.
And the fecklessness of the present US administration cannot be overstated. With all that's going on in the world, Obama finds it a priority to hector the Chinese leadership on CO2 emissions. Even as someone who agrees that global warming is a real problem, this seems ill-considered.
Well, they just test fired an SLBM that works too which is a pretty challenging achievement. Regards the Mars shot, note that their space rockets (hand built for each shot, fueled on the pad) aren't the same as the IRBMs which are solids that sit in tubes for years on end.
Still, in a few years they'll have a very credible deterrent.
PSLV has 2 solid stages, FYI. It's actually one of most franken-rockets in the world. It has a solid core with liquid boosters on the 1st stage. The core burns out before the boosters and flies as a ballast until the whole stage separates. Not sure if laugh or cry about that.
As far the "Freedom" that Pixy mentioned, so far it only resulted in more socialism. While Chinese are building wealth, Indians put a 100% tax on "luxuries" (such as semi-decent cars). That is not a recipy for economic might, and thus a military power.
By the way, the 1962 debacle provided for some interesting reading. The order of forces involved on both sides was about the same scale as currently involved in the war in Ukraine, or perhaps 1.5 to 2x larger. Same magnitude, anyway. They used less heavy weapons, but fought in very challenging conditions, where basic equipment (such as clothing) and things like hot food became significant factors. You aren't much of a soldier if your frosted feet have to be amputated, you know. Hopefuly Indians drew lessons other than working on nukes.
As cool as the idea is, and as much as I liked Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, I'm with Pete Zaitcev on this one--even that short test flight looked to me like the pilot was flirting with disaster. I wonder just how powerful that jet engine is, though; that engine in an updated version of the old Bede BD-5J microjet might make for a fun little airplane.
Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at Wed Sep 24 17:47:09 2014 (2eP1J)
Sonex Subsonex with T-100 seems like a much better airplane than BD-5J. Jim Bede in general had a rather controversial reputation in aviation circles, or so I heard. BTW, the company's website still lists 200 knots top speed for a 150 hp BD-4D. I think even fans of Whittman Tailwind weren't quite so enthusiastic.
A cautionary note. Take a moment between staring in horror at the above hyperlink and re-reading Harrison Bergeron to peruse this post by Popehat which Ace discusses at length here. Neither post discusses the story linked above, but focus on another recent infuriating headline; one that turned out not to quite match the facts at hand. Both posts should be read in full by everyone.
Back to the idiocy at hand...
The scary thing about this advertising story is that in this day and age, is that it's not actually inconceivable.
John C. Wright points out an indirect ramification of this story.
Science fiction writers often show the folly of some trend in modern life by envisioning a darkly humorous future where that trend is carried to an absurd extreme. When real life exceeds the imagined absurdity, my life as a science fiction writer grows difficult. [/quote]
On the other hand, this must mean we are finally living in the future....
I got home and noted that I had acquired some spam...13 pages of it in my comments dashboard. Well, I didn't have time to deal with it then so I flitted off to school with the intention of dealing with it later.
However upon arriving home I noted that all 13 pages were gone. This means something. By applying Occam's Shamwow to the problem, I was able to figure out how this miracle occurred. This blog previously noted that Sydney is currently beset by an amphibious assault of green...things.
Pixy lives in Sydney.
Thus Pixy is responsible for the seaside phenomena and is using the quality cabbages to thwart spam.
I have no idea how this can possibly work. However, I don't write code so I shouldn't judge.
Some might suggest that correlation is not causation, but if that were the case, we would not know that UFOs are piloted by Bigfoots (and are attracted to drunks without cellphone cameras for some reason) but thanks to Occam's Shamwow we do!
If Pixy lived in Hawaii instead of Sydney, would he trying to attract spam, rather than get rid of it?
Posted by: Siergen at Tue Sep 23 18:02:16 2014 (r3+4f)
You are talking about Spam, which is also written as SPAM and is awesome fried with pineapples.
Pixy is eliminating spam also refereed to as [expletive deleted] spam which is distinguished by its singular lack of any culinary merits.
In an earlier post, I linked to this piece which, using Medieval Europe as a template, discussed the probable economic ramifications of an adventuring party in the D&D universe.
My friend BOB!1! disagreed with the premise and attempted to comment but was thwarted by a comments glitch. He has an interesting take which I'll attempt to relay and expand upon here.
Emily Dresner makes the case that bands of adventurers gaining large rewards for services rendered\ and then spending their gains in small towns disrupts the social and economic order. Furthermore this activity risks a sharp inflationary cycle that will further wreak havoc on the society.
BOB!1! points out that the Middle Ages (and the D&D world) were characterized by a severe deflationary cycle associated with a civilizational collapse. Money was tightly locked up in savings and held largely by feudal lords. It was not in circulation except to pay for rotating debts and wars. Travel and trade were hindered by roving bands of orcs (or Vikings, bandits, wolves and occasionally Arabs) and there was little pressure to invest in infrastructure or mercantile projects.
Into this come our adventures who as Ms. Dresner points out. shake things up mightily and put gold that has been squirreled away into circulation. This does indeed shake things up and it will eventually cause considerable upheaval in the social order....
...BUT THE SOCIAL ORDER SUCKS!
Feudalism boasts impressive stability and a certainty of ones place in the world....because one's place in the world is almost certain to never ever ever change. Like the Subcontinent's caste system and myriad other systems considered exotic or 'indigenous' it has certain undeniable merits if one is a nobleman or a passing hipster tourist, but is rather less appealing to those who sustain it.
However, given the premise put forth in D&D, the adventurers and the craftsmen they trade with are a blossoming middle class, which is a good thing.
Note too that the corollary between Medieval Europe and D&D is not precise. Dragons are a deflationary pressure not present historically. (The inflationary potential they represent if slain might be analogous to the Aztecs however.)
Likewise. the dungeons themselves are vast, incredibly numerous, and indicate a far more advanced precursor civilization than Rome. Once cleared of monsters, traps and megalomaniacal necromancers they represent vast tracts of useable (though probably not arable) real estate. The release of such infrastructure to settlement and the introduction of the monetary hoards within into the economy would mirror on a smaller scale the effect of the black death on land availability and money per person in circulation, but without the near total disruption of what trade there was. On the contrary, by reducing the threat of orks and bugbears the 'murder hoboes' would greatly facilitate trade even as the huge injection of gold into the economies would cause an inflationary spiral that would encourage investment in various enterprises. No longer could wealth be best managed by hoarding it. Rather, with the value of gold dropping, one must use it or loose it. Investment would be the key to riches. Ms. Dresner uses the example of 1500s Spain to suggest that this would be a disaster. However, Spain encountered difficulties due to micromanagement and regulation of the economy in an attempt to keep the feudal order in place rather than the more trade oriented one Spain's gold had made possible. It's worth noting that other countries embraced the change and ushered in a rising standard of living and ultimately the enlightenment.
Finally, since the adventurers in D&D tend to be polyglot associations, and demonstrated the advantages of various races working in consort, and since financial success comes from appealing to the largest demographic possible, prosperity would tend to favor kingdoms that take a tolerant view of racial equality and miscegenation and a dim view of provincialism. This could conceivably even be extended to some of the orks if the analogy of the Vikings is used. This means that the kingdoms that emerge from this time would be well on their way to an equivalent to the Renaissance and/or Enlightenment that might well outstrip the historical one.
Dresner is correct that the adventurers make the feudal D&D world they start out in unsustainable in a few years if they are at all successful, but far from being unwitting agents of chaotic evil, the adventurers are likely to end up being forces for chaotic or lawful good...whatever their alignment.
Some people have argued that the D&D universe is already in the grip of runaway inflation, considering that some magic items sell for upwards of 100,000 gold pieces. If you figure each gold piece at one troy ounce (which would make them really small, given how dense gold is) and with a troy ounce at 31.1 grams, then that would be 3.1 metric tonnes of gold.
-Spell components take a tremendous amount of value directly out of the economy. Resurrecting requires what, 5k gold pieces' worth of diamond dust? Even a lot of lesser spells take 10 or 20 or 100 GP worth of materials. Some of these effects can create economic value worth the price, but not nearly all of them do.
-Brain drain. What do people with high INT scores do? They become wizards, because why swing a sword or make shoes for a living when phenomenal cosmic power awaits? But like the current educational system in the US, this means that you end up with a lot of people who have got their Wizard Degree but find that their school isn't in high demand (especially the illusionists and necromancers...) They've got enough education to be unemployable in the regular labor market but not necessarily useful skills.
-Rolling from the same idea, this means that by and large, "fix it with magic" is going to be the go-to answer for any problems you run into. Crop failures? Forget introducing the three-field system, just bless those fields! You don't need firearms to arm your militia against encroaching bugbears, apply fireballs until well done! Epidemic make you wish you'd invented the germ theory of disease? Nah, just get the divine casters on the job. Basically, since your educated class is heavily invested in being able to Fix Things With Magic, that's going to be what they do when they run into a problem. This means you don't get a lot of social progression, as wizards don't have an incentive to provide scaling solutions (and in fact have lots of good reasons to prevent things like the spread of firearm technology - they actually did a Forgotten Realms story about that, if I recall correctly.)
-Want to be a blacksmith? Better pray a wizard doesn't set up with the Fabricate spell and drive you out of business...
-Of course, a lot of the Bad Things in the world are there precisely because some wizard created them back in the day. Or because some wizard opened a portal and they came through it.
-They have a nasty habit of not dying, not only meaning that their wealth doesn't go back into the economy, but then you get things like liches making life worse for everyone else.
-On top of that, there's a lot of direct wealth destruction going on. Dragons don't just hoard gold, they raze villages. Necromantic hordes roll over the border areas, leaving nothing alive behind them, and even if they lose the pivotal battle, the land is still fallow for lack of farmers and livestock. Eventually demihumans take advantage of the open space and civilization retreats just a little further...
Of course, if you have to live in a world with magic, you want magic on your side too - otherwise you have to live with most of the downsides of living in a magic world but without any of the good stuff that results. So it's not like one side is going to unilaterally fire all its wizards and clerics... not if it doesn't want to become a "former side" anyway.
But you're not likely to find a Renaissance in D&D, simply because the wizards have massive incentives to wizard, not to spread the power they've accumulated through the populace as a whole... and anyone smart enough to advance society will benefit personally much more from being a wizard, when the other choice is being a philosopher. (And even if you get a few altruistic ones, they get murdered by other wizards who don't want their rice bowl overturned...)
Well, the new Ace Attorney game is a period piece set mainly in Victorian London. The plot revolves around a Meiji Era Japanese law student studying in London and Sherlock Holmes is a major character in the game.
This is actually pretty interesting.
This is actually Pretty Watson.
Yes. Watson is an 8 year old girl genius.
OK it's a video game, and a Japanese game to boot so extreme liberties, re-imaginings and gender-bending should come as no surprise whatsoever.
Nevertheless, Shu Takumi, the director of the game, states that he wants it to be quite true to the original.
As for the character of Holmes, Takumi, who is also in charge of the game's scenario writing, has stated that he is a fan of the original series and hopes to maintain the sort of Sherlock that he grew up reading about.
On the other hand, that Watson fellow, must have really bugged him as a kid.
The Dread Pirate Whitebeard, master o' the fierce and mighty galleon Chizumatic, has let slip that he's found a guide to treasure just o'er the horizon. The scallywag be tryin' to make it out to be not worth goin' after but I hear tell that there be at least one gem in that thar chest....
I won't say this gives me reason to live, but it certainly gives me reason to watch Crunchyroll.
I'm also looking forward to the continuation of Yowamushi Pedal. That's a darned fun little show.
On the new shows, I hope the Kaitou Kid show, Magic Kaito, will actually show up somewhere I can watch it. I love a purehearted crime caper show, and everybody else rips off this manga something fierce. (Though of course it rips off Lupin, Raffles, Robin Hood, Man of Twenty Faces, etc.)
This week, I can't believe we have a Lawrence Block movie starring Liam Neeson, and a Terry Gilliam flick. So awesome.
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at Fri Sep 19 13:07:46 2014 (iXS2r)
Oh, and the Ghibli TV series of a Snow Queen prequel fanfic by the same person who wrote Pippi Longstocking.
There seem to be a fair number of fantasy and sf shows, although of varying degrees of seriousness. And I'll watch the continuation of Chaika, too.
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at Fri Sep 19 13:26:23 2014 (iXS2r)
Yeah, I'm up for more Chaika (Still haven't had a chance to finish the first series though.)
Not sure about anything else. I was thinking about the new Tenshi until I saw it was going to be one of those 5 minute nonsense bits.
Posted by: Mauser at Fri Sep 19 14:50:27 2014 (TJ7ih)
Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your......Nuclear Missiles
It appears that if Scotland goes all independent tomorrow they have declared that they will be a nuclear free zone. The UK's nuclear deterrent is mainly concentrated in their ballistic missile submarines...which are based in Scotland. Some accommodation can likely be made but this would give the Scots a huge leverage over the UK England's nukes.
The result of this is that the English, who weren't expecting this voter to go anywhere suddenly find themselves scrambling for options. Since the new base in England or Wales will take a decade to build, the plan they came up with last week is to homeport their nuclear submarines in the US in the interim. Assuming the Scots vote for independence and Congress does not balk at the proposal, I'm guessing the English boats would be in Kings Bay, Georgia, which is the only US Boomer base on the East Coast.
Couldn't they, you know... just keep the base? I mean, hell, we have a military base in Cuba, so we know it can be done.
In fact, that's a pretty good argument when it comes to getting Scotland to assume its share of the debt. "Oh, you don't want the debt? I'm afraid we'll be keeping the port and will continue basing our submarine fleet there..."
I'm bewildered by this myself. Someone in Whitehall seems to have dropped the ball.
I'm wondering if the Labour types that are running the show in Scotland are so hysterically anti-nuke that they are willing to take their third of the debt. Alternatively, there might have been some terms in the agreement on the vote that ties England's hands on the matter.
I'm guessing that the Scots actually voting to leave was just not taken seriously until as late as last week.
4...they have declared that they will be a nuclear free zone.
Is that declaration limited to nuclear weapons, or does it include nuclear power plants as well? (A quick check of Wikipedia shows that there are two nuclear power plants currently operating in Scotland, supplying half of their electricity; OTOH, public opinion in Scotland is strongly against nuclear power, and the Scottish Parliament voted against construction of any new nuclear power plants back in 2008.)
Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at Wed Sep 17 21:23:42 2014 (2eP1J)
With attitudes on display, Scotland is going to join PIIGS very quickly and become a true Greece of the North. Just was EU overlords in Brussels wanted.
It's a mistake to think of spammers as one group-mind that can learn. It's more like a disease, operating mindlessly and taking advantage of any opening.
Over on Metafilter there's a pattern of people who join the site, make a couple of comments on existing threads and then make a spammy front page post. It happens again and again and the mods always spot it and delete the spam. You might wonder why "they don't learn" but the reason is that each new guy who does this isn't aware of any of the others, and thus can't learn from their mistakes.
There's also the question of their incentive to learn. I mean... at the end of the day we're talking about spamming operations. There's no "reputable spammer". They're fly-by-night operations by design, because the moment you nail one of them down they get dropped on a million ban lists anyway. That said, what's their incentive to provide "effective" SEO rather than crappy SEO? It's easier to flail around, run some automated spam-attack scripts that generate a few pages you can point to, cash your check, and then go find the next sucker... and if it doesn't actually sell more handbags, what do they care?
Evidently a very Loony Tunes adaptable duet. They did a great job with Istanbul (not Constantinople).
Along with Ana Ng, these are three of my favorite songs from the college (and near post college) years. Thanks for the post!
Posted by: topmaker at Mon Sep 15 18:07:13 2014 (2yZsg)
"I don't want the world, I just want your half." Yeah, I liked TMBG as well.
Watching the video of "Istanbul..." is also how I caught my local station compressing the shows to stuff in an extra commercial per break, since I ended up taping it twice, once before they started doing it. The dropped frames in the long pan became obvious, as well as the tempo of the song.
Posted by: Mauser at Tue Sep 16 06:26:07 2014 (TJ7ih)
The President must be so confused right now. The world keeps not working the way he expects it to.
Posted by: Ben at Mon Sep 15 09:08:41 2014 (DRaH+)
The first post about the new liquid ICBM at forums NK dates to 2007. Seems to be going slow and steady, pretty much regardless of Putin. Interestingly, NPOM and Khrunichev were thought as favourites back then, with GRC Makeyev being busy with SLBMs. Well, time waits for no-one. Frankly I was very surprised when NPOM managed to launch Strela! Still, while not entirely dead yet, they are functionally dead. So, Mak it is, then.
Understanding Modern Vocabulary
As the English language leans forward into a brave new world of byzantine nomenclature, some individuals who have not been brought up to speed on the changes in terminology might come to the conclusion that certain recent statements are actually feckless dissembling rather than enlightened and inoffensive specificity.
To address the allegations, we've tracked down one of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Train hopping Linguists to parse the recent statements by the State Department on current events. So, from somewhere along the Masassas Line, here is our expert on exposition.
Dude..This is a [expletive deleted] of [expletive deleted] pollyanish [expletive deleted] newspeak. You interrupted my [expletive deleted] vacation to [expletive deleted] show me the English language being [expletive deleted] up the [expletive deleted] by a bunch of [expletives deleted] incompetents using Orwellian [expletive deleted] to distract from their [expletives deleted]. This [expletive deleted] is why I TOOK the vacation in the first place. I'm gonna [ remainder of correspondence deleted after consultation with standards and practices]
I guess the rest of the post needs to go below the fold...