June 29, 2015

Simply Genius...

So obvious in hindsight.

Just go here and let the win wash over you.


"Nice."

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Reply Hazy, Try Again

That is the answer to the following burning question: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

You see, they never actually addressed the ethics of the matter. Indeed no picking up of girls takes place in the dungeon (unless one counts physically picking up injured girls to get them to safety).

I'm going to have to go back and watch the whole thing again.

To my considerable astonishment though, the answer to the more relevant question "Was the show any good?" is "Yes. Definitely!"

As expected from the ending of the last episode, the finale is one huge fight.This could have been tedious, but the episode is crammed with an extraordinary amount of world building,  character development and genuine surprises. 

This was a remarkably satisfying ending to a show that has been way more enjoyable than it had any right to be. 



Towards the end of the episode the god Hermes, who has been sort of hanging around for the last two episodes, acting suspiciously, climbs a tree and gives a rather exuberant soliloquy which leads me to believe two things...


1: A sequel may be in the works.
2: This is not actually a harem show, or at least only secondarily so.


more...

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June 28, 2015

Well. Crap.

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June 27, 2015

This Time For Sure

Last week's out of the park finale was NOT the end of Fate Stay Night. Tonight's episode was.

In stark contrast to the white knuckles action of the climax, this epilogue is a mostly quiet affair which takes place a few years later in England. Flashbacks that serve to wrap up loose ends are woven into the story which involves Rin and Shirou taking a day off, contemplating what they've been through and how what they learned during their ordeal will impact their decisions for their future. 



Aside from from one momentary digression it's pretty much sublime. 

 

I'm kind of surprised that they did this. The episode was in some ways completely unnecessary, but it provided a very nice (if slightly bittersweet) denouement for what has been a superb (if occasionally quite dark) show. 


 

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June 24, 2015

I've Got Nothing

To compensate for this quiescency (and to get Mum-Ra off the top post) here is Sakuya annoying the hell out of Rob Paravonian.


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June 23, 2015

How Many Nuclear Bombs WOULD it Take

...to effectively knock most of the world back into the 7th century?


Well, to physically devastate the planet through blast and heat would take thousands upon thousands of bombs, probably more than existed at the height of the cold war. 

However, all we have to do is bring down the thing that (philosophical advances notwithstanding) makes the modern world modern...our technology.

One could go a long way to doing that with an Electro Magnetic Pulse. There are a few ways to get these, but we're talking about nukes, so one can obtain the effect by detonating a nuclear weapon at high altitude. The sweet spot seems to be an area with a lower limit between 18 and 31 miles up (depending on latitude and other factors) and an upper limit around 300 miles into space. The effects are caused by interaction with the earth's atmosphere and magnetic field and extends to the visible horizon. The effects radii for various altitudes can be seen here...



The actual effects are fairly consistent throughout the area with a horseshoe shaped area containing a zone of very high effects and a small area just north (or south in the southern hemisphere) of ground zero with minimal effects.



Most of the area has between 50 and 80% of the maximum intensity of effects. The effects can be...impressive.


  The electromagnetic pulse (EMP) fused all of the 570-kilometer monitored overhead telephone line with measured currents of 1500 to 3400 amperes during the 22 October 1962 test. The monitored telephone line was divided into sub-lines of 40 to 80 kilometres (25 to 50 mi) in length, separated by repeaters. Each sub-line was protected by fuses and by gas-filled overvoltage protectors. The EMP from the 22 October (K-3) nuclear test caused all of the fuses to blow and all of the overvoltage protectors to fire in all of the sub-lines of the 570 km (350 mi) telephone line.The EMP from the same test caused the destruction of the Karaganda power plant, and shut down 1,000 km (620 mi) of shallow-buried power cables between Astana (then called Aqmola) and Almaty.  

Even assuming these were maximum effects and most areas would receive 30-80% of this effect this messes everything up. 

Back to the question at hand. How many bombs would it take for a not entirely rational government to apply those effects to the entire world?

Well, using the 1470 mile radius of the affected area we get an area of 6,788,670 square miles. The earth has a total surface area  of 196,939,900 square miles (rounded after conversion from km) and 196,939,900 / 6,788,670 = 29.010 so one would need less than 29 of these to send the whole Earth back into the dark ages (less because the nefarious individuals doing his would not need to hit most of the 70% of the surface area that's oceans, Antarctica, or themselves.

Now a small crazy country that wants to do this and had the capability to make 25 bombs a year and a transportable ballistic missile, and a modest merchant marine might discreetly disperse these missiles to where they could be simultaneously launched for global coverage... like so...


Iranian Shabab 4? missiles and their TELs on small container shiip.

Now to what end would they do this?

Well a conquering, convert or die army is kind of like a zombie apocalypse, with fast, tool-using, gun shooting zombies (except they don't often bite) and we've seen some of what can happen when a group like that moves into an area that's demoralized and destabilized...



Of course if this outfit ever encounters a proper modern military, they'll get curb-stomped. 

Note though that if you have the same goal and can demoralize and destabilize the entire world, by say, knocking a good chunk of it back to the 7th century, even if only for a few years...well., these people have a sense of history...



Imagine this transpiring while the whole world is knocked on their behinds by a power failure, starving and desperate, and assume to that kept aside a few nukes for military bases and tactical usage.

That would probably be quite a powerful motive for those who consider modernity itself to be an abomination.

Is this likely? Would it work?....probably not.

But, if you're crazy enough to roll the dice with nukes you're crazy enough to try really crazy crap especially since the EMP doesn't require particularly challenging targeting capability and could conceivably do far more damage than the same nuke could via blast and heat.  

Anyway, I was surprised that you could do it with 20-30 midsize nukes.

UPDATE: Corrected some typos, fixed a hyperling and. umm, removed the picture of Mum-Ra. 

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This Was Not on The Checklist

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June 22, 2015

FINALLY!

The dystopia that we were promised!

The techweasels have delivered unto us TELESCREENS!

Google Chrome Downloads An Audio Listener Secretly On Your Device That Can Listen In Your Room  



Alright...
We have tech-savvy people who frequent this place who we assume are not under the thumb of the techweasels. So, is this story complete bollocks, or should we start making bulk purchases of certain civics-related items?

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So...

...Wonderduck...how was the first day at the new job?


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June 21, 2015

Well, This is Reasuring

Huh...

Ian Spreadbury, who invests more than £4bn of investors’ money across a handful of bond funds for Fidelity, including the flagship Moneybuilder Income fund, is concerned that a "systemic event” could rock markets, possibly similar in magnitude to the financial crisis of 2008, which began in Britain with a run on Northern Rock...

...The best strategy to deal with this, he said, was for investors to spread their money widely into different assets, including gold and silver, as well as cash in savings accounts. 
But he went further, suggesting it was wise to hold some "physical cash”, an unusual suggestion from a mainstream fund manager.

Emphasis is mine, the quote is from The Telegraph.
 

Not sure if the  cause of this advice is Greece, China or something else.

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The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown


Art by Sumashi


One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes takes a break from the heat to point us to a piece by Michael Flynn, who gives an interesting analysis of the scientific process by which geocentricism was discarded. It bears reading in full because one important fact, often overlooked is that we only have 20/20 hindsight going backwards. Things which seem blindingly obvious in retrospect were not nearly so at the time. 

UPDATE: an excerpt:
Before you laugh at your ancestors, TOF invites you to prove that the earth is, contrary to your senses, in wild and careening double motion: spinning like a top and whipping around the sun without (somehow) leaving the Moon and Air behind, and without everyone stumbling around like dunkards.  You are not allowed to appeal to authority or to the success of NASA, or suchlike things.  You've got eyeballs and armillaries, and that's pretty much it.  Go. TOF will wait here

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June 20, 2015

Oh...One of THOSE Episodes I See



Actually...No.

In the latest episode of IIW2T2PUGIAD there was a brief bath scene but they didn't sell any blue rays with it. The episode was mostly character exposition and shopping. Also: stupid criminals and a fight...then something else happened but I have no idea what....it looks exciting though.

This is not high art by any means but it remains an interesting show in spite of itself. The heroines are all particularly well deve ...well realized and the portrayal of the gods is, despite all the anachronisms, actually faithful in tone to the classical myths. 

I've enjoyed it so far, though it remains to be seen how they wrap it up. 

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Fate Stay Night Ends (Updated)



Well, Rin there pretty much sums it up.



The writing, the production values and the characterizations of this show remained above par for all of the 25 episodes, and the pacing was exemplary for 23 and a half . Even that brief pacing glitch worked in retrospect as it was conveying a somewhat surreal plot point.  

Rin was awesome but underutilized in the first series, but in this one she truly shines as one of the best SFF heroines in recent years, smart, gutsy and principled. Shiro, the male lead from the previous series, lacks much of the plot armor and 'designated hero' perks he enjoyed in that show, and is a much better character for it. 
Fate Stay Night added to its many good points, a particularly rare quality; a satisfying ending (which was doubly so for those who saw the first series). 

UPDATE: Wait. What?

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June 19, 2015

Happy Juneteenth

more...

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June 18, 2015

They Caught the Evil Bastard

The malignant, wicked coward who went to a prayer meeting, and pretended to study scripture for an hour  before murdering 9 of the people who took him in has been caught.


This was so vile that I was not sure I'd opine on it here because, really, what can possibly be said other than a stream of expletives directed at the vile fiend.

Well, Ace has some thoughts...
When a vicious, cowardly outrage like this happens, a thinking man or woman has two options: To condemn the theatrical horror of the murder as any ethical person must, such as to to do one's utmost to dissuade any similarly-minded monsters from acting in bloody sympathy, or to make excuses for it, to talk about "root causes" and "legitimate grievances" and even the Crusades, to explain it as somehow, if not quite justified, as understandable.

I choose the former.
 I urge you to read the whole thing.

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June 17, 2015

OK. That's It. We're Done.


"..."





 But even if the systems had been encrypted, it likely wouldn't have mattered. Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity Dr. Andy Ozment testified that encryption would "not have helped in this case" because the attackers had gained valid user credentials to the systems that they attacked... 

The Chicoms had ROOT access,. They got everything. 

Wait...I've SEEN this movie!



So...the Chinese (and probably the Russians) most likely have a dozen or more Alger Hisses and Julius Rosenbergs working for them now. They may have a chunk of our codes too.

And now, China in the South China Sea and Russia in Eastern Europe, they are making their moves. This is why they are pushing now, because they have the secrets, they have the spies, they know our every vulnerability and this is as good a shot as they will ever have.  These developments are not bluffs, they are deadly serious. In no small part because our enemies have, in their eyes, a reasonable expectation now of total victory. 


Some questions for our readers in the IT field.

If they had Root access, am I correct in assuming they could have so re-arranged things that the issue with the actual infiltration might still be ongoing?

Obviously the personnel are compromised, that can't be undone, but is it even realistic that this could be fixed? Is real security in a network with the very user friendly access we have come to expect in any way securable?

Only tangentially related, since this does not seem to be a "cloud" issue (hell, it's not really a 'hack' as such), but is "the cloud" in any way realistically securable?

Update: edited last sentence to make sense

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June 16, 2015

Bill

 is ashore and looks about to be dropping quite a bit of rain on some already very wet areas, many of which are upstream from Corpus Christi and Houston (Where Ubu Roi is).


10 inches of rain in a few hours is going to be disastrous for most places outside Brazil, and this region is less able to absorb it than most.
 


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June 15, 2015

Huh

Texas is setting up its own Gold depository and pulling its gold reserves out of federal depositories


This might mean something.

However, a quick web search for anything that presumes to be analysis of this story has only turned up articles that link back to Zero Hedge, so for now we'll just make a note of this and move on. 

In the meantime, here is a girl on a log.


Girl on Log by Benitama

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June 14, 2015

Maximum Return for Minimum Effort

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To Break the News

I did not realize until this weekend that the aforementioned phrase could mean someone was literally breaking the news.


But now I know, because this weekend a certain individual has actually broken the news....into little bitty pieces.



.gif via

I didn't say a word for a while because I thought that this HAD to be a hoax. Alas, no, and the crazy, it keeps piling up.

If you have stock in The Onion, sell now because their business model is no longer valid. 

It's sad really. If she hadn't broken the news, the following stories might be getting more play. 



Chinese Admirals are saying that they are authorized to ram japanese ships in the South China Sea. (I suspect that their authorization comes from the legal theory known as "General Principals") 


ISIS is making inroads into...Afganistan

Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, has been wracked by intense jihadist activity for a month and is deteriorating further. 

A reliable source says Taliban leaders are living quite freely in Karachi, but because they have nothing to do with the government they are left alone. To date, neither intelligence reports nor the media have been able to confirm the suspect presence. Yet the TTP has managed a number of attacks in the city, targeting polio workers, politicians, and top police officer Chaudhry Aslam.

 (Note: Pakistan has an unknown number of nuclear weapons, the security of which is, no doubt, as leading source of insomnia amongst world security officials.)

In other Pakistan news: Their relations with India (who you may remember is a nuclear power with a comparable arsenal and is being poked by China ) are deteriorating over the issue of sectarian terrorists, Pakistan's releasing a fellow who planned the Mumbai terrorist attack (and border disputes)

With regards to Saudi Arabia's quest for nukes, there is this:
More importantly, Saudi Arabia is investing in a civil nuclear industry. "Where would Saudi Arabia train the scientists to work on its secret program?” Zakaria wonders. Oh, I don’t know, how about the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy? Somehow Zakaria never mentions that Saudi Arabia is building a dedicated city for training nuclear scientists. I can’t predict whether this investment will pay off, but then again neither can Zakaria — if he even knows it exists.


Iran launched a satellite back in February, from a military base, that carried a 110 pound payload. While it did not stay in orbit as long as planned (indicating that  they have quite a bit of work to do), they are making a fair amount of progress. A  very rough rule of thumb is that a rockets payload to low orbit plus 50% what the rocket can put on the other side of the world so keep an eye on the estimates of their satellites mass.

If you are confused about the Sunni/ Shia divide this is a decent primer

Having read that, note that the power vacuum left by American fecklessness has Middle East leaders concerned about a Sunni/Shia "Big War" (more on that here).

The U.S. is looking at sending heavy weapons to Eastern Europe.

Russia is testing a new ABM system



U.S.A. Today has a article on the  Cheyenne Mountain Nuclear resistant bunker complex which as we mentioned earlier, is being reactivated and hastily filled with personnel and communications gear in anticipation of {REDACTED}. The title of the article indicates that this will keep the data snoops out....

This is huge. Ace has multiple links, some analysis as well as a flaming skulls, which still may not adequately convey the gravity of the situation. 
The  US is now in a similar position to what Germany and Japan were in WW2 in that Russia and China have everything...EVERYTHING. The solution is harder than simply changing the codebooks, because we can't get rid of ALL THE PERSONNEL.
For a professional perspective on this, John Schindler has thoughts on just how bad this is here, here and here. (It's REALLY bad). I urge you to read them all. There is a NPR interview with him here

This is the biggest national security story in decades, and it is on the level of Pearl Harbor. Given that it has been going on for a year or more the friskieness of the Russians and Chinese over the last several months comes into perspective. The damage will take years to fix. 

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