January 08, 2015

1d6...

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January 07, 2015

They Did Not Yield

  Cabu, Charb, Tignous, Georges Wolinski  and at least 8 more of the cartoonists and staff of Charlie Hedbo were murdered today for no more reason than that they published cartoons the murderers found offensive. 


Had I been aware of them before today I would have (likely as not) had a generally dim view of them as they put out a left wing atheist publication that presumably had nothing but contempt for people like myself. 

However, they did stridently stand by one of the bedrock principles upon which a free society is based, namely that no one has a right not to be offended. They published satire mocking those things that they did not believe in, as is the right of free people everywhere. They were threatened, and yet refused to cease because they understood that to yield to such threats would be a betrayal of their readers, a compromise of their principles and a submission to the bullies veto...which only emboldens and encourages the bullies. 

 This was especially gutsy in France, where a large unassimilated minority has become increasingly violent in recent years. 

Over the last decade the paper had been under threat of violence from muslim groups and under intense pressure from the government and various people of status in France to tone it down.


These journalists stood up for what they believed in in the face of considerable pressure.

Today they were executed for their art and their journalism. The highly organized group of Islamists who did this also killed the first police officers to arrive on the scene before they escaped. 
In broad daylight.
In downtown PARIS.

As I type this, the terrorists are still at large, which is an even more terrifying development as it indicates a truly remarkable degree of training and planning as well as the distinct possibility of a considerable support network. France is on its highest alert level for good reason.

The proprietors of this tiny boutique magazine are with us no more, but they carried on a proud French tradition going back to Voltaire. They continue to be an example, not only of individuals willing to stand on principle in a civilized way, but also of what is at stake with regards to freedom itself. In this all civilized peoples should all find common ground.

To that end...



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January 05, 2015

Teh Banshee on Kanazawa

Suburban Banshee has an interesting post up on the Kanazawa Peasants Republic where she ponders the former nation's influence upon Japan's pogroms against Buddhists and Christians.

My attempts at commenting on her post were unsuccessful, but I would note that Kanazawa is neat and its history is really interesting. There is an awful l lot of "What If" potential there. Additionally, I gather that Lady Eboshi's outpost from Mononoke no Hime is based in part on this town.

The area still has a reputation of having a bit of an independent streak. 

I took some pictures when I was there. 

One thing that probably helped them initially (and most likely moved them up on the 'conquest priority list') was the fact that the area has one of Japan's few natural resources. Specifically, the river there is fairly rich in gold. ( Panning is NOT allowed today...the gold in the river is the property of some mining company which has a filtration plant....and any gold flakes that make it past are still company property...and can just go out to sea)

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Golly...




Yeah. That was...unexpected.

(I'll probably elaborate on this later.) 

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January 03, 2015

Mixed Emotions

Over the last 3 days there's been a bit of back and forth on the veracity of this story, but as I type this it is looking like there has been an ebola outbreak within the ranks of ISIS. Now this could not happen to a more deserving bunch of scumbags, so the first impulse is to just snark.




However, this is actually a dreadful development if true. 

For one thing, you will be shocked...SHOCKED to learn that ISIS, is not responding to the situation with the rational calm of a civilized military (Eisenhower with the Spanish Flu) or religious (Samaritan's Purse against Ebola) organization. Instead, they are killing the doctors who won't go near ebola patients without protective gear....so...they are killing the sane competent doctors. One of the reasons ebola spread so fast in East Africa was due to the fact the area had been ravaged by a recent war. The areas under ISIS influence are being ravaged by an ongoing one, and ISIS is being particularly efficient at spreading blood around in ways not seen since Tamerlane. 

But it gets worse:

The disease will go wherever the blood is spattered and that means into the local population which means it could easily get into the waves of refugees....

...or pilgrims.




...and that has the potential to be an unspeakable calamity. 
The hadj is not until September this year, but Mecca is open to pilgrims year round. (Medina too)

The Saudis have astutely banned entry to Mecca for people from Ebola affected areas. However,  ISIS is not known for respecting border restrictions. Furthermore, one of the more likely ways ebola could have reached Mesopotamia is via jihadis traveling from Africa. If these people were willing to travel all the way from West Africa to fight in a war, little will stop them from making the much shorter hop to a place their faith requires them to visit before they die. 

Fortunately ebola victims tend not to be terribly mobile while contagious, but given that they tend to become quite messily contagious it's easy to see where this could get out.

The doctors of East Africa are not incompetent, yet a huge number of them have died even after getting proper equipment. Samaritan's Purse and Medicines Sans Frontiers have highly trained and well equipped  people yet they have both had their people infected and despite heroic efforts the disease is still ravaging the area. ISIS is ill equipped, untrained and stark raving mad. 

The question of how it got there is troubling as well. While the most likely vector was jihadis traveling from the infected area it is conceivable that given their megalomanic outlook ISIS was trying to weaponize the bug. Ebola is a poor bioweapon (though its terror potential is considerable) and the chances of ISIS being able to successfully transport and deploy the thing is quite remote. However given that they are stark raving nutters the chance that they might try and fail spectacularly has always been much higher. 

Closer to home....

As bad as this could be it is still likely that the higher death toll this year will be from the flu, especially given that this years flu shot did not work. New Jersey is reporting its hospitals are full due to the current outbreak, which the CDC has just officially declared an epidemic
I think its possible that we could see the worst flu season since 1968

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January 02, 2015

Crunchyroll Troubles

Is anyone else having issues with Crunchyroll?

Specifically, I'm having problems watching Fate Stay Knight and have for several days. 

It just stops...then starts again and stops.

Oddly enough, other shows do not seem to be affected. 

I've missed the last 2 episodes now and while a TV show is generally a trivial thing,  this situation is now of somewhat greater concern than it would otherwise be....
more...

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Amazon Reviews



The product being reviewed is here, though as one might glean from the enthusiasm, out of stock.

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Intermission

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Dreadful News

 U-2s Bono took a nasty fall on his bicycle in Central Park back in November. Now, as the year begins, he still can't move around and in part because he had his elbow replaced, he may never play guitar again.


Just terrible. 




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Thoughts on Privilege and Structural Bigotry

A friend of mine who I respect a tremendous amount pointed me to this  SJW screed....approvingly.


The article is actually thoughtful and well written, and I don't mean "by the standards of SJW screeds" either.  I'll elaborate on my disagreements with it in a moment, but I urge you to read the whole thing. 

The article ( by a Laurie Penny) is actually a response to a blog comment by MIT Professor Scott Aaronson . The comment (which the author doesn't directly link to) is here. It is also  thoughtful and I encourage you to take time to read it. 

If you've read both article and post, you've already lost 12 minutes of your life so you won't miss what you'll lose by reading on. 




.




more...

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January 01, 2015

2015

May the year bring you all happiness and may the spammers find other, more lucrative work.


Art by Taicho128
more...

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Epic Has Its Limits

Tonight, by chance, I googled something, which is unusual as I normally use DDG or Bing. I was curious as to why the Google Doodle did not appear to be particularly new-years specific.





Thus, I moved my cursor over it.



The sentiment is appreciated, but..

That's. 
Just.
Creepy.  

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I Do Hereby Resolve

in the coming year, to ignore this sign.



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Missed it by THAT Much

A friend kindly pointed me towards this....




Of course today is my forty FIFTH birthday.

As of today I appear to have officially wasted my life.

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Happy 2015


Art by Rimuro

What? 
I do have a few female readers.
more...

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