August 22, 2015

Tonights Recitations From Kipling Will be Performed by Rory Mercury




From episode 8 of GATE which  continues to be highly intelligent and entertaining. This is despite having a girl in a Gothic Lolita outfit adorned with fake wolf ears speaking before the Japanese Diet...or perhaps because of it.

The last episode indicated that our heroes would be returning to Japan from fantasy Middle Earth Land to be debriefed, and the civilians representatives from the other world would be interviewed. This was pretty much what happened. Of course coming out of Middle Earth into Shibuya rather IMPRESSES the visitors. In short order,  Itami, Leili  (acting as translator)Tuka and (God help us all) Rory Mercury all are asked to testify before the Parliament...



Now. Pick out the person from the above lineup most likely to cause the whole thing to go to worms...


We also learn that Mercury's Halbard/Pike/Tuning Fork weighs several hundred pounds.

There's no combat or other action whatsoever in this episode aside from an attempted mugging and a collateral hernia but a ton of stuff happened that moved the show forward including a bit of suspense involving intrigues facing our heroes in Japan, both foreign and domestic.

This show remains awesome.

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August 20, 2015

Well...I've Got Nothing....

...so here is something by Patricia Rosemarie Müller.


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Blogging on the Edge

Suburban Banshee, not content to limit herself to publishing scholarly translations of medieval texts, has decided to blog dangerously. Specifically, she's stumbled upon and posted about forbidden knowledge. Knowledge so forbidden that the Times Literary Society has removed it from its website. 


In stark contrast to those cowardly quislings, Suburban Banshee defies the dread Dervishes of decapitation by keeping the intriguing apostasy up on her blog. 

In short, certain Quranic texts have recently been dated too early... possibly before Mohammed started hearing voices from Gabriel.


The manuscript in question appears to be the one discussed here (which is a fascinating find in any event as it predates the 3rd Caliph's destruction of all versions of the Quran not his own). 

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August 19, 2015

When The Commute IS the Workout


Glute conscious cityscaping by Izumi Sai

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I Say. This Perry Fellow Bears Watching

This is a work in progress,...
 
...but do take a look at Perry Park's Pixiv...for some context, and also click here, here, here, here, here and here to see a few WEBM versions of the animations.

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News of the 21st Century

This Iran deal just gets better and better...I knew they weren't allowing the U.S.A. to do inspections of the Iranian nuclear sites, but if this AP story is correct then the agreement is not merely dreadful...it's clinically insane.


VIENNA (AP) — Iran, in an unusual arrangement, will be allowed to use its own experts to inspect a site it allegedly used to develop nuclear arms under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work, according to a document seen by The Associated Press.

"Unusual arrangement"...well that is not an inaccurate assessment. 

Read the whole thing. This is not somer obscure site, but rather Parchin, where Iran is perfecting explosive lenses

This is so batscat bonkers that I'm a tad skeptical. However, it would fit with a certain school of thought that the issue on our end is neither fecklessness nor naiveté, but rather motivation. 

******

Russia has imprisoned (for 15 years) an Estonian they abducted. 

******

The Russian economy may be much worse than thought...which could have either calming or incendiary effects upon that states behavior. 

******

China is not retiring the old DF-5 ICBMs. Rather, they are upgrading the series of liquid propellant missiles. The new models increase their range to be able to hit targets anywhere on earth, with multiple warheads. This is similar to the arrangement that Russia has, with a few dozen heavyweight missiles complementing their road mobile ICBMs.

******
Oh. Look...




******

Finally..the kind of story that would not be out of place in an 80's film SET in the 21st century.... 

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August 18, 2015

Here is Some Wide Gauge Steampunk

...by Makkou 4 to offset the banality beneath the fold.


more...

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August 16, 2015

How Far Can He Go? How Long Will He Stay Free?

The videos of the massive explosion in Tianjin keep getting pulled from the internet. However, one brave reporter, a  He Xiaoxin, DID  get into the affected area and took some pictures. I don't expect this report to remain up much longer, but I'm linking to it.  I'm also posting his pictures below the fold to save them from the inevitable purge. I don't normally nick more than one pic from a news article and clearly identify the source via hyperlink and I certainly don't make a habit of nicking all the picture from a photo essay because that is, frankly, WRONG.


However, the likelihood of his work being bering deemed triggering to the Chinese government and sent down the memory hole moves me to do this. Fortunately, He Xiaoxin has extensively watermarked his work. If one reposts any of these, PLEASE make sure to credit He Xiaoxin and The China Digital Times. Also do read his whole article, not only to give the paper hits but because his text provides valuable context. 

However, if the article is gone then click on "more" and behold...the effects of a quarter kiloton blast....
more...

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August 15, 2015

School Live Episode 6

In the latest episode of School Live, Yuki organizes a school athletic event, Sakura Sensei tries to get Yuki to address her properly and not drive off a potential new club member and Miki  gains some insights into why Sakura Sensei seems so clumsy. Later Kurumi and Yuri explain to Miki some important facts about the school's rooftop garden and the yearbook project is finished. 


In the meantime, hijinks ensue.

I must say that the music in this show is used to truly excellent effect.


"Good grief Yuki, you're SCARING the poor girl"

This is actually much more than a show about a bunch of girls in school...

 

...in its own bizarre way this show almost one of those Iyashikei (healing anime).

As usual, gentle readers, we admonish everyone to use spoiler tags in the comments.


And if you are not yet watching this show we admonish you to start with episode ONE

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Some Days...

...it just does NOT pay to get out of bed.


Exemplifying this today is Dame Bozes Co Palesti, one of the highest ranking members of the Rose Order of Knights....

"My orders were as follows: to oversee the full mobilization of the Rose order of Knights and proceed via forced march to rendezvous in Italica with the detachment you had led to reconnoiter the probable area of operations. The overall mission of unit Rose was to be reconnaissance in force of the national cultural heritage site Arnus Hill, which has been taken by an invading force of unknown nationality. This force had defeated two Imperial and five tributary armies with astonishing alacrity and suffered no apparent losses. These facts made the proposed reece mission of paramount importance in assembling some effective defense of our nation. Additionally, the gravity of the situation indicated that we be marching in a state of tactical readiness and be prepared to engage any hostile forces we might encounter.

AS PER THE TACTICAL AND STRATEGIC SITUATION AS WELL AS MY LAWFUL ORDERS: Yesterday at approximately 15:00 we encountered a small enemy recon force using transport equipment vastly more capable than our own. Despite the danger, my troops obeyed my order to approach without protest. The enemy unit (which did not seem to possess any archers or spear carriers) did not engage, but rather sent out a single soldier, possibly to parlay. I assumed that we had encountered an isolated reconnaissance or foraging unit. Given our army's previous reversals with this enemy this was a rare opportunity and to pass it up would have been, in my opinion, to demonstrate criminal negligence. Thus, I gave the order to engage them with the hopes of collecting intelligence and possibly prisoners. The enemy retreated from the field with my soldiers in hot pursuit, but their...conveyances...possessed preternatural speed and the bulk of the enemy unit escaped. However, Dame Kalgi managed to capture one prisoner, who we interrogated and brought to you with the greatest possible dispatch. I felt this could very well be a development of paramount importance. 

I should add that whatever actions are brought against me, throughout this movement our entire unit comported themselves in accordance with the finest traditions of the Knights of the Empire  and deserve commendation and not condemnation for their performance during, what was, their baptism by fire. 

Now, I mean no disrespect whatsoever to your highness, but can you PLEASE clarify what, exactly I did, or ordered those under my command to do,  that was in any way  a violation of my general orders, my lawful standing orders or was otherwise so wrong that you just embedded your chalice in my cranium."
 


I paraphrase somewhat, but it's hard not to sympathize with Dame Palesti's plight in the opening scene of Episode 7 of GATE. After all, no one bothered to text her that there was now a peace treaty. I mean, nobody yelled at Andrew Jackson.

This was another good episode which despite some silliness remained clever and intelligent. This episode changes the direction of several characters quite markedly, We also find out a few additional things about the other world...

This episode also moved the plot along, setting up a major shift in the direction of two characters (Princess Pinã and Dame Palesti) as well as establishing there are a LOT of really dark aspects to what is, after all, a version of the Roman Empire with feudal elements (tributary states). The dilemma the Princess faced is cringeworthy. She has the weight of the empire and al its subject on her shoulders and she only has the Empire's precedents to guide her as to the likely behavior of the invaders. That it was well established that Bozelle is one of her oldest friends makes her decision (which she clearly dreaded) all the more gut wrenching.

The fact that our heroes aren't jerks and are behaving in a basically rational, non-malevolent manner is a nice touch too. 

This show is far better than one would expect from the premise..."Modern Japanese Army invades Middle Earth."

It is actually quite good and has remained consistently intelligent for seven episodes. So if you have not watched this (or gave up after the second episode) I strongly suggest that you add this to your watch list. 

UPDATE: Over at Steven's place there is a post and comment thread regarding the design changes between the manga and Anime.This mostly concerns the costume changes , which can mostly be explained by the need to actually animate the show...but some of which are truly bizarre. There is also mention made of the changes to two of the maids to make them appeal to the moe' set, but I think that the anime managed to do something subtle and neat here in the process...
 

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August 13, 2015

Crossing the Streams Does Indeed Result in Something Scary


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August 12, 2015

SHOVEL!

Because no proper young lady should be without her shovel.



School Live's Kurumi and her shovel byうちゅうねこ 

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The Sheer SCALE

 of the blasts in Tianjin made clear by the buildings in these videos. 



This looks to be at least as bad as Texas City or Black Tom

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Desperation Can Lead to Poor Choices

Nations that are under stress from within or without have historically been prone to attempt unifying their populations and ameliorating or postponing their economic reckoning by military adventure.


In other news...there is this
....Russia is within the perfect storm of an economic crisis. So, the Russian economy started stagnating in 2013. It was never really able to recover after the 2008-2009 recession, and in 2013 the economy really started to slow down. It's just grinding to almost a halt outside of energy. And so that was the very start of it. Then we had 2014 happen. The situation between the West and Russia over Ukraine eventually, of course, led to sanctions. And then, at the same time as sanctions against Russia, we had oil prices pretty much fall in half. And so it was multiple items put together, in which you had the Russian economy just take a nosedive over the past year and a half.

To the southeast of Russia, China is devaluing its currency.
The wild couple of days in the currency market compounded the damage already done by July’s stock market crash to the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping’s reputation as competent stewards of the country’s economy. Xi has amassed unprecedented political control and eliminated potential rivals through a massive crackdown on both corruption and political dissent. That might be all fine by Chinese citizens as long as the government continues to provide strong economic growth, but it works less well when the government seems incompetent on economic matters. The "Chinese dream” Xi has promised citizens includes not just national greatness but personal wellbeing.

However, despite this, the Chinese government is still hoarding oil....

More than 80 million barrels of new strategic reserve capacity is scheduled to start operations this year, and China will continue purchases to fill those tanks, according to Chauhan.

...and are saying that they may be the worlds largest oil importer this year. 

North Korea has the advantage that its economy is already rock bottom and has nowhere to collapse to. However, the drought is causing problems for a country where forestry is serious business
Naturally, the hermit kingdom is ramping up its uranium enrichment and mining as well as making noises about another nuclear test in October


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August 11, 2015

I...Oh Dear.

This has to be one of the most sublime juxtapositions of win and derp, ever.



more...

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More RWBY News




Ahem.

In other news...

...Volume 3 casting announcements:

- Winter Schnee will be voiced by Elizabeth Maxwell (Major Kusanagi from "Ghost in the Shell: Arise")

- Uncle Qrow will be voiced by Vic Mignogna (Edward Elric from "Fullmetal Alchemist")

- Ren will be voiced by Monty's brother, Neath Oum

All for the moment! Stay tuned for more RT Animation announcements throughout the RTX2015 weekend!

There is still no projected release date, but the cast additions certainly indicate that the third season is not vaporware. 
more...

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August 10, 2015

The Alien Battle Station We Call Ceres Continues Slowly Charging Its Main Gun

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes discusses the continuing mystery of the bright spots on Ceres.




"When I find out who put that damned, irresponsible, Hoaglandesque post title over MY head. I am going to break my foot of in their a.."

Oh dear. 

In lieu of expert commentary, we will go with the short, quick version:

No one has a good explanation for the glowy bits


Note that "pyramid" is a bit dramatic. It appears to be a steep sided mountain...that glows. 

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August 09, 2015

Double Shifts

...are in my future, probably until school starts. 


Here is a gimmick that falls rather short of actually providing original content: YouTubery.

First, while I have lamented my having to work through my vacation, it is financially fortuitous. Sakuya here provides yet more reasons to be thankful.


The latest MMD upgrade (Version 9.23) looks pretty impressive. 
It appears that they've fixed that, umm, bug the older versions sometimes had animating skirts. 


Given the exuberantly elaborate costumes many of the Touhou characters wear, I was looking forward to seeing  how this new upgrade would look animating those outfits. 

Alas...
 



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August 08, 2015

Ringlets

They are called ringlets.




I did not know that. 

From episode 6 of GATE, which is educational as well as entertaining. 


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A Wacky School Outing

The latest episode of School Live continues last week's flashback to the club's first field trip...to the local mall.


Now, our heroines have a very specific list of things they are supposed to get, (mostly in the hardware dept). Naturally, they hit music stores, clothing stores and try on bathing suits.  

Hijinx ensue...


"We did NOT break any of these. That is our story and we are sticking to it!"

The pacing in this episode is a bit off, but it remained thoroughly entertaining (the John Carpenteresque soundtrack was inspired). there are some questions raised though. 


As always with this show please avail yourself of the spoiler tags in the comments. 


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