February 06, 2015

On This Day In Sports History

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Another One Taken Too Young

Origa, whose haunting voice graced such productions as Turn A Gundam, Final Fantasty XIII-2  Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society, Fantastic Children, and Princess Arete.  passed away  from heart failure in Kanagawa on the 17th. She was only 44.

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February 02, 2015

Monty Oum (June 22, 1981 – February 1, 2015)

Monty Oum has passed away. The creator of  RWBY and Dead Fantasy  died yesterday of a severe allergic reaction he had during a routine surgery. He was only 33.

Oum, who became a renowned 3d animator, was entirely self taught. He got his start doing you tube videos initially using sprites hacked from Final Fantasy and DOA, he quickly improved his skills and began rendering his own characters. After stints at both Midway and Namco, doing combat choreography, he moved to Rooster Teeth where he worked on Red V Blue and put together RWBY, which was an ambitious concept for a staff of 15 people. Oum pulled it off! RWBY was one of Crunchyroll's top rated series when it premiered and this little show developed a solid fan following in the US as well as (perhaps surprisingly) Japan.

Monty and his team learned the quirks of their medium as they went along.  In some ways, their experience was like the early filmmakers and they continuously improved their craft through the first two seasons despite having their production disrupted at one point by floods. 

Monty Oum broke considerable ground in proving that a tiny group of creators can use the internet and CGI to bypass the usual entertainment gatekeepers and produce a real hit. His series was not without faults, but it remained engaging, fun and entertaining. Many of us were eagerly looking forward to the next season. 

Monty Oum, leaves behind a wife and family, but also a legacy of innovation and art. He accomplished more in 33 years than most of us do in a lifetime, and he did it with style. The world is a bit darker today for his passing, but remains more enjoyable for his having lived. 

There is a donation link for his family here.

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That is the answer. The question is below the fold. 
As compensation for said banality, here is a reminder hat permanence is illusory.  


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February 01, 2015


I just watched the first episode of Durarara!! season 2 which has been running for a month on Crunchyroll. It seems to be every bit as  is every bit as delightfully wackadoodle as its predecessor. 

I highly recommend that you watch the first series if you haven't already. Crunchyroll is also running the dub of the first season (which aired on Cartoon Network some years ago). The dub is quite good and is actually a benefit in this show as the story switches maniacally from one focus to another. 

For those who are unfamiliar with the shows premise, it is set in Tokyo's Ikebukaro district and is basically a quiet slice of life show that follows several groups of apparently unconnected people as they carry on their day to day activities which are COMPLETELY NORMAL . That is their story and they are sticking to it...as best they can...which isn't well at all actually. 

The first series was all kinds of off-beat fun, and I enjoyed it immensely.  It's based on a series of light novels by Ryogo Narita who did such a good job with Baccano some years ago and has the same quirky style and mile a minute pacing, reminiscent of a Howard Hawks film or a '40s comedy. If you adored Baccano and never once winced while watching it, you may be deeply disappointed at the jarringly lower amounts of blood in Durrarara!!* However, for the rest of us, this was a feature and not a bug.

Here is a brief look at the characters from season one, minus any spoilers.

OK maybe one spoiler...

*You may also need serious help.

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Right Way / Wrong Way

Over at Next Big Future, Brian Wang has been following a story about how the Chinese stole a vast amount of data on the F-35. He has concluded that the Chinese did indeed do so, but when using the data to assemble their own plane they judiciously omitted the design flaws and built a substantially better set of planes.  The Chinese are developing the J-20 , and the J-31 amongst others and the Russians are developing the Sukoi T-50.

The F-35 is actually an exceedingly effective money disposal system.  The utility of that accomplishment is debatable. 

Pierre Sprey is the designer of the F-16 and A-10, which gives him a bit of credibility in the area of military aerospace engineering. He has some thoughts on the F-35.

Not kind thoughts, but thoughts.

David Axe has similar thoughts.

Note too that because of the vast amounts of data regarding the plane's signature reduction that the Chinese have pilfered, the the stealth of the F-35 is probably useless. This is critical since the performance of the plane is far less than other US fighters, stealth was supposed to make up for that.  The plane isn't really even a fighter, with a 6-g limit on the marine version, it's a strike aircraft.

Instead of Lightning, they should have named it Devastator

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Just the Darndest Thing...

A cynical person, vaguely aware of the Sheldon Silver scandals that are rocking New York politics right now, might conclude that the spontaneous combustion of a certain warehouse (containing government records) which was so pyrotechnically impressive that it required a 7 alarm response, has caused the evacuation of the surrounding neighborhoods and may burn for days, would be indicative of some truly incendiary information having been in the warehouse, instead of the whole thing being nothing more than a particularly egregious run on sentence and a bad pun.  


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