December 08, 2015

Christmas Cardboard Chaos Continues

As atonement for the limited posting, here is some more seasonally themed cheesecake.

Kantai Collection's Zuihou by Atsutoku

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December 07, 2015

Unknown Sailors of U.S.S. Oaklahoma

An interesting story from the Miami Herald details the obstacles facing current efforts to identify the remains of the unidentified dead of U.S.S. Oklahoma which was sunk by 9 torpedoes 74 years ago today. 

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An Unlikely Outcome, 74 Years Ago Today

December 7, 1941: Two SOC Seagulls from U.S.S. Northhampton were patrolling near the island of Ni'ihau, (westernmost of the permanently inhabited Hawai'ian Islands) when they began to receive reports that all was not well at their home port of Pearl Harbor 150 miles to the east .   What had been a peacetime training and observation mission was suddenly a war patrol.

After some time, they noted a a plane with a big red meatball on it trailing black smoke and approaching from the east. As it turned out, it was a Zero from IJNS Hiryuu. The little biplanes were completely obsolete and had no hope of besting a modern fighter in a dogfight, but this one was obviously damaged and might be easy pickings...or lead them to the Japanese task force...and in any event, the odds were two against one. Of course, they had no idea what the Mitsubishi plane was capable of....and even less of an idea about the undamaged Zero from IJNS Akagi that was escorting its companion far above them all....

Yeah...things got very interesting for the floatplane crews, very quickly. The odds were now one and a half of the most formidable fighters then in the Pacific verses two planes that were frequently used as target tugs. The dogfight lasted about twenty minutes, with the two biplanes dropping to just above the water, jinking wildly and covering each other with the flexible rifle caliber machine guns in their rear cockpits. All the while the pilots tried to present their observers with a good broadside shot. The little planes were so slow that it was hard for the Zeroes to get them in their sights and their lack of any armor, an extra set of wings and rapidly emptying fuel tanks made them sufficiently maneuverable that Radioman First Class Robert Baxter was able to get a bead on the undamaged Zero and pump it full of enough .30-06 that its status changed from "undamaged" to "little Japanese flag on side of utility floatplane"*. The already damaged Zero was beginning to come apart and its pilot made a desperate bid to reach the nearby island. The two shot up Seagulls limped back home having achieved a small victory against great odds on one of the darkest days in U.S. Navy history. 

There is an odd postscript to this story: The damaged zero made it to Ni'ihau, which was (and still is) a cattle ranch. The cowboys took in the pilot, one Shigenori Nishikaichi  and threw a luau for him until they got access to a news report and realized the situation. They then held him in the house of a ranch hand of Japanese origin named Harada (to facilitate communication) until the authorities could arrive. While they waited, Harada armed the pilot, helped him escape and assisted him in taking over most of the ranch and holding the island hostage, threatening to begin killing people if they could not account for everyone on the island, the names of whom Harada had given him. Since one guy had gone to get help the killing was set to commence starting with the wife of a cowboy named Ben Kanahele. This proved to be a poor choice for victims as Mr. Kanahele tackled the pilot, getting shot 3 times in the process, but while Nishikaichi was shooting him Mrs. Kanahele jumped on the pilot and bit him until the perfidious Harada pulled her off, by which point the profusely bleeding cattleman was able to get to his feet and slit the pilots throat. Yoshio Harada fled and committed suicide. ben Kanahele was hailed as a hero and the traitorous actions of Mr. Harada during this incident may well have contributed to the awful Japanese internment that started the next year. 

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December 06, 2015

This Week's Chapter of RWBY Seems to Have No Title

I Propose Retro Funk!

As has generally been the case in this tournament cour, most of this episode's important stuff takes place outside of the fights. But the main fight went in an entirely unexpected direction and was gloriously worthy. 

The pacing and voicework were fantastic, Meg Turney in particular did a stellar job as Neon Catt.
UPDATE: Wait..Of course! 

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December 03, 2015

In Lieu of Content: Here's Something Seasonal and Surely Problematic

Art by Tob

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December 02, 2015

18th Century Tacti-Cool

It's a flintlock with a taclight!

Do Want!

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Oops! I Joined a Cult!

It sounds like a pre-Jonestown 70s sitcom, but it is both scarier and stupider.Someone named Jared Burrell (via) reflects upon the recently arrived at realization that his game development networking group had become a cult.

Do read the whole thing.

Trigger Warning for those who have been involved in fandom to any great extent...this will bring back memories; annoying and perhaps creepy ones, but be aware that these pathologies are far more mainstream now and in some fields it is nigh impossible to just walk away. 

Certainly this still rings true...

 You know what’s really condescending? Anointing yourself the Tone Police for the betterment of mankind. Let’s call a spade a spade. There’s no metal detector and this is no "safe space.” It’s a bourgeois space, with bourgeois conventions, and bourgeois sensibilities. All this talk about protecting "marginalized groups” is cover for making sure upper middle class kids – who can always call themselves nonspecifically "queer” to gain victim status – receive the same physiological coddling as adults they received growing up. We’re looking at an entire generation of helicopter children entering chronological adulthood. They can’t handle the world as it is so they want to turn everyone around them into their own personal helicopter. And "social justice” is their vehicle for that. 

That certainly jives with my observations of some of the individuals I interact with at college. But there is more to it than intellectual indolence. These little exercises are an effete' and passive aggressive way of proclaiming and protecting one's social status...

The entire language of social justice – the up talking, the indirect phrasing, usage of words like "problematic” and "uncomfortable” – functions in such a way that rich kids can identify one another and enforce their sensibilities on everyone else. If you’re from a working class background and want to fit in, you had better learn to speak that language. So every gamedev networking situation is a contest to demonstrate that you belong to the correct tribe. That’s how you make friends. The only thing a Safe Space Policy does is formalize what’s already going on, and give an organizer explicit permission to bully and ostracize someone who fails to conform to a certain bourgeois sensibility.

I'm sure most of us have met this guy...

For a thoroughly self-hating, emasculated man like MyCult, this his only opportunity to feel like a tough guy. He’s not physically imposing or rich, and these days one can expect women to be financially independent, so the traditional role of protector and provider is closed to him. Grasping for some remnant of masculine identity, he’s taken the mantle of Chief of Tone Policing, which he can do without guilt because it’s easy for him to believe that other men are as misogynistic as he is. 

I urge you again to read the whole thing. It does a very good job of conveying what a chilling effect this sort of thing can have and what a perniciously effective gatekeeping tool this is. 

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December 01, 2015

A Programing Note

There may be a considerable reduction in posting frequency.

The essence of a UPS Christmas as captured by Onosoku Tasha.

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