June 13, 2015

Edith Hamilton LIED to Me!

For one thing, she gave a completely inaccurate and quite possibly actionable description of Hephaestus. 

From episode 2 of Is it OK to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon?. I did not expect to be following this, but, despite some harem overtones (and undertones...and sidetones), is a surprisingly clever and eminently enjoyable yarn thus far. 

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June 12, 2015

Another Great One Passes

As many of you know, Christopher Lee died on June seventh. An exceptional actor who generally played villains, and he was remarkably active into his 90's. Indeed, her started a new career as a heavy metal musician at 88. 

He served with distiction in World War 2 and after the war, hunted Nazi war criminals before starting his august acting career. Cdr. Salamander has much more on that and points us to Christopher Lee's impressively long entry over at Badass of the Week
He's also a 6'5" tall world champion fencer, speaks six languages, does all of his own stunts, has participated in more on-screen sword fights than any actor in history, served for five years defending democracy from global fascism as a British Commando blowing the shit out of Nazi asses in World War II, and became the oldest person to ever record lead vocals on a heavy metal track when, at the age of 88, he wrote, performed on, and released a progressive symphonic power metal EP about the life of Charlemagne ...

Pic Via Bryan Adams/Instagram

A true renaissance man has passed. May he rest in peace. He certainly earned it. 

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June 11, 2015

Well, THAT's a Lot of Models

(Note: Some might give you nightmares)

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Man the Harpoons!

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June 10, 2015

Wait...I Have a Question

Said inquiry is not about what may be the most annoying version of Bad Apple ever, but the video here, IS there actually a licensed Touhou series?

Or is all of that video fan made?

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Well THIS Slipped Under The Radar

I just noted a story that seems to me to be rather significant, but is getting very little play. Indeed it is several days old already. 
It's almost as if the powers that be are offended by the story and do not wish it to see the light of day. Certainly this development is frankly, likely to cause much upsetedness in some circles, as there is a certain, aroma of scandal attached to it. 

We here at Brickmuppet Blog find ourselves struggling to find the proper words to describe this turn of events. 

Yeah. That works!

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June 09, 2015

Space Stuff

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us up to date on planetoid summer!

'Science Babe' by Moriyama Yuuki

With a probe in orbit around Ceres and another rapidly approaching Pluto, this summer promises to teach us a lot about Dwarf Planets (or planetoids, which just sounds better to those of us at Brickmuppet Blog).
First off, regarding Ceres, NASA has put together this retouched animation of the innermost Dwarf Planet.

I had NO idea hard vacuum sounded like that!

Ceres has the potential to be quite important in the future, since it is hypothesized to have more fresh water than the Earth. (This assumes that the two bright spots are not exhaust vents of course.)

MUCH farther afield. Pluto's system is going to be visited by New Horizons in July when that probe does a fairly precarious flyby.  In the process communications will be cut and hopefully resumed so it can beam the info back at 1 KBps. In the meantime thanks to Hubble, some neat things have been discovered about Pluto, which is actually a dual planetoid system  with its moon Charon.

The other moons in the system are really weird! They're elongated and rotate chaotically.  They're also vastly different colors. 

This video is an interesting  talk by DR. Mark Shoalwater on, amongst that and many other fascinating things, how his team discovered the "new" moons Styx and Kerberos.

Its an unusual story of bucking the bureaucracy, as his proposal was not just rejected, it was rejected with prejudice.  

Father afield still, in the vanishingly unlikely event this is not a mistake, it is significant!

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This is Fascinating...

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us news of ..... Protodogs!

Monkeys with PETS?! It's like the Planet of the Apes!

Actually this is a really interesting bit of info. Next Big Future notes a New Scientist article that concerns the recent discovery of African wolves that have developed a symbiotic relationship with baboons. This is similar in some ways to how it is hypothesized that dogs came about with early humans or their hominid ancestors.

 Even though the wolves occasionally prey on young sheep and goats, which are as big as young geladas, they do not normally attack the monkeys – and the geladas seem to know that, because they do not run away from the wolves.

"You can have a wolf and a gelada within a metre or two of each other and virtually ignoring each other for up to 2 hours at a time," says Venkataraman. In contrast, the geladas flee immediately to cliffs for safety when they spot feral dogs, which approach aggressively and often prey on them. 

While not specifically mentioned in the article, it looks plausible that the wolves might scare off predators, which would seem to be an obvious avenue for further study. 
The actual paper is here

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Customer Service

A recent filler post generated more comments than any other in the history of this blog. While I do not, in general, subscribe to the creative fallacy that is "chasing the hit"; filler posts are generally compensation for a lack of regular content. Thus, it seems prudent and polite to take stock of what is generating reader interest. 

After careful analysis of both the content of the much discussed post and its comments to determine the precise focus of my reader's interest,  I have tentatively ruled out the Moon Pies. 

With that in mind, here, gentle reader, is another short girl with an atypical body type who is sporting a ribbon...

Source Unknown!

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June 08, 2015

Oh, My...YES!

This looks awesome...

...on several levels.

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Wait! What's This?

Turkey's Islamist AKP party, which supports the countries increasingly authoritarian and Ottomanesque leader, did not get the votes to extend his term.

It gets BETTER! They LOST seats! So many in fact, that they no longer control the legislature.

This is the best international news I've heard all year. Turkeys descent into crazy was particularly disturbing for a couple of reasons. Turkey is in NATO. Furthermore, the ascent of islamism in a nation that had made great strides by embracing disestablishmentarianism and secularism in government was a grim barometer of the mood of the people in that part of the world.

This, on the other hand is a happy, hopeful barometer!

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Methods by Which a "Junior Varsity Squad" Might Reach Critical Mass

This post was initially a long, rambling tangent to an earlier post where it didn't really fit. Now it is a slightly longer rambling post that attempts to build off this article with a creative dateline that that was linked to Saturday by Elizabeth Price Foley. . In my estimation it does warrant some more extensive consideration. 

The linked piece talks about the likelihood of ISIS buying a complete atomic bomb. It is a worriesome read to be sure, however, that is not the only way they could mischief with fission. 

The notion of a "dirty bomb" which is an explosive that disperses radioactive waste is already well known. Less well appreciated however, is the very real possibility that  a terrorist outfit could actually build an actual fission device that could realistically be in the same class as the weapon that devastated Hiroshima in 1945. 

Matthew Bunn, who was involved in nonproliferation issues during the Clinton Administration testified before Congress in 2008. amongst his testimony was this bit of joy...
   One study by the now-defunct congressional Office of Technology Assess- ment summarized the threat: "A small group of people, none of whom have ever had access to the classified literature, could possibly design and build a crude nuclear explosive device . . . Only modest machine-shop facilities that could be contracted for without arousing suspicion would be required. 

"How is that possible?" one might ask? After all The Manhattan Project, was a vast undertaking that took six years , thousands of people and most of the electrical capacity of the TVA so one might be excused for skepticism.. 

However, the crux of the endeavor was not manufacturing Little Boy, Little Boy was an afterthought. William Tobey and Pavel Zolotarev suggest (on page 7 of this presentation) that over 90% of the effort of the Manhattan project was getting the fissionable fuels (Oralloy and Plutonium) for the bombs.  The initial bomb  bomb design"Thin Man" was found to be a dud, so effort went into developing the complex implosion system needed to detonate plutonium for what became the Mark 2 bomb design (Gadget, Fat Man, Able and Baker) Mark 1 was redesigned and simplified as Little Boy, a weapon that was so simple that it was not even considered necessary to test it.

 In fact to keep from impacting the main (Fat Man) effort,  its construction was contracted out to 3 machine shops! According to Wikipedia, these were The Naval Gun Factory in Washington D.C. , a Naval Ordinance Contractor in Centerline Michigan and The Expert Tool and Die Company in Detroit. These Government and commercial contractors were given plans for only the components they were to build (so none of them knew what they were building). Little Boy was a hedge in case the much more efficient Fat Man design did not work. 

Well they both worked, but the big difficulty was not their design or construction, it was getting the plutonium and enriching the uranium. 

So...If ISIS can get its hands on 140 odd pounds of Oralloy (highly enriched uranium), and if they somehow had access to a machine shop,...
...then it's entirely possible that they could build something akin to Little Boy. Its significant that the people who built Little Boy were not atomic scientists and did not even know what they were building, only that they were building machine parts to spec.

This is in actuality,  probably more likely than getting ahold of a working nuke. It's disturbingly non-far-fetched in fact, as both the Tobey / Zolotarev presentation linked above and a seperate presentation by the aforementioned Mathew Bunn have overviews of relevant incidents involving weaponizeable fissionables.

This CRS Report for Congress comes to similar conclusions and makes for sobering reading. The scenario involving a crude nuke in a supertanker taking on oil in the Houston Shipping Channel is particularly worrisome, given that so many of out geopolitical opponents would really like to get oil prices up. 

It should be noted that oralloy is not terribly common and the crude, Little Boy type weapons we are discussing here are quite wasteful (needing 140 pounds of oralloy for a critical mass) so any conceivable heist is unlikely to enable for than a few bombs. On the other hand,  global stockpiles of the stuff are measured in tons

How much damage could a small, crude nuke do? 
Well, Little Boy was the crudest of crude bombs ever made. It probably serves as a template for what a non-state group could realistically do given that it was right at the minimum amount of Oralloy for a Uranium weapon without really advanced gadgetry. Bombs made by state actors such as Iran or stolen from Pakistan are likely to be significantly more powerful unless they are advanced weapons designed to be small.  

Little Boy therefore should probably be taken as good ballpark estimate of the yield a crude terrorist weapon might have.

There are uncertainties about how powerful  Little Boy was, with estimates ranging between 13 and 16 kilotons with most references saying around 15 kt, therefore, it seems appropriate to again post a video of the 15 KT Upshot Knothole-Grable test. 

(An extensive overview of the damage assessment can be seen here

A good overview of what would be done to something other than a desert can be found in this report by FEMA and Lawrence Livermore which details the effects of a 10 kiloton improvised nuclear device on Washington DC.

Reactor grade plutonium is much more accessible, but is harder to handle and requires challenging processing. Additionally, if plutonium is used in a gun type weapon (which is what "Thin Man" was) it will fizzle and blow apart before a full detonation, however the Tobey and Zolotarev presentation mentioned previously seems to indicate that a fizzle could approach a kiloton. 

Even if significantly less than a kiloton such a weapon could cause considerable havoc. A Texas City sized explosion with the added effect of radiation pulse, fallout and dispersing toxic plutonium would be devastating. Even a near total fizzle, an Oklahoma City sized blast with the added contamination and associated terror of "OMG!! ATOMIC!1!" would cause panic beyond that seen on 9-11-01. 

More sophisticated implosion devices are extremely challenging, but their use should not be completely dismissed. Such weapons, after all, require the sort of advanced, cutting edge technologies as were available in the late 1930's to mid 1940's. They would allow 4-10 times as many bombs to be made for any given amount of fissionable material, as well as much larger yields. Still, the technical skill, physics knowledge and manufacturing ability required are at once so diverse and specialized that they are vanishingly unlikely to be used by non-state actors. They additionally might, due to their sophistication, require a test, that, upon occurring in ISIS or Boko Haram territory, would most likely inspire a sudden intensity, clarity and unity in response from the western nations heretofore unseen.  So the picture isn't completely grim.

But it is certainly cause for vigilance.

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June 07, 2015


My eyes are all glazed over and my brain is tired right now so perhaps you, gentle reader, can explain why this is a bad thing... 

...and wouldn't "influx" "immigration"or "increase" be a better word?

More of this, please!

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Apropos the Post After Next

You should probably click on this video ...


...and reflect upon how much less stylish OUR apocalypse is going to be because of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and all of those architects he influenced.

Or...just rejoice that it's finally coming out!

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The Top Story On Drudge

......, as I type this, is that a horse has won the Triple Crown.

This does not seem to meet the requirements of "News".
If a Galapagos Tortoise had won the Triple Crown now THAT would be news, if only because said victory would be indicative of serious issues with the horses and quite possibly fraud on behalf of the tortoise.

Of course such newsworthy information would likely be ignored in that case and the lede would be speculation as to whether the tortoise identified as a horse*...which would dominate the news cycle for a week. 

I bring this up because, while the story might warrant a mention and could even be a top tier story on a slow news day, today is not one of hose days. 

There was a Bomb threat at a meet and greet for the republican presidential candidates.

The Chinese have announced that "ALL OF YOUR BRIBABLE SECRETS ARE BELONG TO US!"

On a recent test, to see if they could stop terrorists, the TSA got a 95%...FAILURE RATE.

A U.S. government customs helicopter was shot down Friday over Laredo Texas while pursuing drug smugglers. The anti-aircraft fire came from across the border in Mexico.  The helicopter reportedly took three hits one of which was in the engine. 

. The shooting came from the Mexican side and all individuals fled and got away. The individuals on the U.S. side also got away into the state of Texas.

But hey...a horse has won a horserace. 

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The culture has passed me by to such a degree that I honestly cannot comprehend what the real or imagined racial slight is in this...

What!? Seriously WHAT!?
Can one of my readers explain what is offensive in this?

(Note: It is suggested that "Trash Collators" is a typo, but it is possible that they are referring to people who sort trash for recycling rather than those that collect it. Even if that was the case, I don't see how any of this  this is racist.)

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June 05, 2015

71 Years Ago

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June 04, 2015

Talented People's Work

Suburban Banshee's most recent post is titled "Another Translated Book By Me!" Which indicates that she has done this before. Anyway, it seems that she has translated an academic lecture, by a Dominican Friar given in Spain in the 1500s. And I gather she did this for the hell of it.

Don, who blogs at Zoopraxiscope Too is not content with scavenging You Tube for AMV's to link to...he actually makes his own music! Here he has an avante garde take on Flandre's theme.

The Joshiraku girls urge you to check them out!

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June 03, 2015

Back on Track

Fate stay Night took a break from its superb pacing to drag a bit for two episodes during which a rather long fight took place, Rin was tied up with matters separating her from the group and Shiro, having come face to face with one result of some of the mistakes he's made, spent entirely too long beside himself with regret. 

Well, those two episodes are over now, Rin is back and in this episode our heroes take a brief moment to assess their situation.

"We're really screwed aren't we?" "Yep. Screwed. ""Totally screwed."

A lot of unexpected twists here, not the least of which is the discovery that the stakes have gotten MUCH higher than was previously apparent.  
This series remains excellent. even the last two episodes were interesting and moved the plot, they just drug a tad. I like the fact that Rin, who had maybe three minutes of screen time in those two episodes and was in a rather inglorious situation, still managed to come off as a badass...

One of the things that is neat is that, while the show is full of surprises in its own right, even people who saw the original series are finding the canon expanded upon in perfectly logical, but completely unexpected ways. 
This is a dark show, but it is really good thus far. 

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June 02, 2015

They're BACK!

...and still killing viewer's brain cells.

Robot Girls Z PLUS, is the sequel to last years chibi super robot robot musume fight show of almost the same name.  It seems to be following in its predecessor's footsteps by providing its viewers with nine minute doses of intense, exuberantly puerile stupidity that parodies the Japanese super-robot shows of the 1970's. 
I really cannot overstate just how profoundly dumb this show is.
It made me smile.


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