September 30, 2015

Wednesday!

Hump day! 

The day we can start looking forward to the weeke....



Huh...That's an awfully wide cone there. 
Let's see what the individual models say....



OK. Two of the models are quite divergent from the rest (one being about 180 degrees off) which accounts for the wide cone (as it is an average of the models).

However...

All but two of the models have the thing causing some degree of mischief in SE Virginia and the majority of them predict it will broadly follow the paths of the two worst hurricanes to hit this area. Isabel and "The 1933 Storm". 

It's been raining here for two days and there is already standing water in my street as the storm drains are flooded. The ground is soggy so trees could fall easily.

This could well be exciting. 

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September 29, 2015

Nothing I Can Type Can Possibly Improve Upon This.

Go now. Read this.



 

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September 28, 2015

Meanwhile, on the Second Closest Planet

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes was supposed to be reporting on NASA's news conference today, but instead seems to be focused on organizing an excursion to the beach...




"We're going to need sunblock, some really big mirrors, high yield, low fission fraction H-bombs, a few tons of CFCs, some ham biscuits, lichen, iced tea, blue green algae and a towel."

I'm not sure wh...

"Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water -- albeit briny -- is flowing today on the surface of Mars.”

Zounds!


Percival Lowell, he died 99 years too soon.



("Science Babe" is actually Sakura War's Diana Caprice as drawn by Ao Ume)

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September 27, 2015

Cute Even Without Caveats

Here is Aura, probably most popular anime character ever (in the category of characters that appeared in fantasy anime in the summer 2015 season in the sub-category medusa maid) as imagined by KemKem.



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I'm SURE This Will All End Well.

China is moving into the Med, allegedly they will be joining the Russians in attempting to shore up Assad. What is certain is that the Russians are coordinating with the Iranians and they, the Syrians and the Iranians have signed military agreements with Iraq

Meanwhile, the U.S. and the French are conducting airstrikes against ISIS (which is pursuing an ambitious agenda) while the Syrian, Chinese, Iranian, Russian and Iraqi forces are conducting air and ground operations. Except for Iraq, none of those air-forces or ground forces are not coordinating with us in any way and at least the Russian planes are running with transponders off. Heck, the Russians got their planes there surreptitiously and were only detected once they arrived.  Meanwhile, all sides are shooting at targets that may or may not be insurgents.

What could POSSIBLY go wrong?


In other, arguably less potentially exiting news, it looks like Catalonia may well be breaking away from Spain as the secession parties just won an election. 

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Close Air Support

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September 26, 2015

Anachronism!


UPDATE: Nope. Don't like the shades. 

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September 25, 2015

School Live! Ends

For a show about the antics of four high school girls, their faculty advisor and their dog as they try to keep their club active in the face of a downright hostile faculty and student body, School Live!  has been rather more emotionally engaging than one would expect. 


It's actually been quite the tear jerker at times.

However, despite some quite heart-wrenching moments...


"You have been and always shall be...My friend."

and the fact that one of the overarching themes is the importance of seeing the world as it is (ugliness and all) rather than how one wants it to be...


"Oh please. It's not about me. It's about my students"

...this show has maintained a surprisingly upbeat outlook overall. 

All in all, School Live! has managed to stay quite solid (if sometimes emotionally taxing) all the way through. There really weren't any weak episodes and it stands as one of the absolute best in its genre.

This last episode, the graduation episode, is especially poignant. People say their goodbyes...

"OK Point of order: Th...Wait. Who's missing?"

...various plot lines are wrapped up and, intriguingly,  some new ones are started. The show's ending is surprisingly open ended and hints at a sequel...which would be a most welcome development, as this series was outstanding.
I highly recommend it.

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September 24, 2015

This is Worrisome

It's not just that these incredibly simple, basic questions were answered correctly by only 6% of the nation...but that one question is not even about science (indeed its opposite).





 

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Oh No...

No.


NO!




more...

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Tentatively Good News

To atone for the dearth of non-banal programming here is a seasonal Saber by Ice.




Also, thanks go out to Pete, Yozura and Sena for providing alternate content of interest to our readers. 
more...

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September 23, 2015

The Hiatus Continues

..but the sun is directly over the equator today, so...



Art by Sumashi (whose page has disappeared)

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September 20, 2015

Life Intervenes

Blogging will be sporadic at best for a bit. 

In the meantime, here is a different take on long-line fishing by Izumi Sai.



UPDATE: Well, that was an unfortunate typo. Happily, now, no one will ever know.

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Oh My Stars And Garters YES!


Also this...which is just as awesome but lacks the derp.

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And Then This Stuff Happened

While people are focusing on the epic fantasy fight that is Clock Boy VS Gell-Mann other things were happening in the real world. 


The President has ordered US Navy ships to steer clear of the artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea, thus ceding the seized Filipino and Vietnamese islands and giving China de-facto sovereignty over one of the most important trade routes in the world.

This method of just CREATING national territory anywhere the ocean gets shallow is expected by some analysts to soon be used in the Indian Ocean.

Unless it's all a monumentally expensive and elaborate feint (with the benefit of infrastructure in place for later use) to distract from the thrust into Taiwan.

It is being reported that North Korea is likely to launch a long range missile or satellite on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean Communist Party....but that is far from certain

What is somewhat more certain is that they are spinning up their nuclear weapons production in a big way and possibly their bioweapons as well. 

Iran just released 5 top members of Al Qaeda in a prisoner swap. Odds are good they did not do so for a deserter. 


Russia is also moving into Syria to defend the odious dictator Assad from the murderous assault on reason that is the Islamic state. A lot of people across the political spectrum seem upset by this. They probably need to analyze their pique more thoroughly. This seems like a point of convergence in our interests and has potential to be a starting point for walking back tensions in other areas. 

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September 19, 2015

AVAST!! AHOY!! It be the 19th of September!


This here nearly ARRRR rated scrimshaw be the work of Minari.

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GATE Ends

...sort of.


For a show that has had some truly sublime moments, this last episode was something of an anti-climax, being nothing more than a set up for another cour. That makes it less than satisfying as a series finale.

This isn't isn't any sort of cliffhanger as such, it just puts political and procedural roadblocks in the way of the dark elf from the last episode.  


Who has TWO ears.
She's the last hope for her people and the burden is weighing heavily on her.
One neat bit of detail; the different languages continue to be an issue.Yao Haa Dushi, the aforementioned dark elf is thwarted mainly by the language barrier until Leili provides translation (after which she continues to be thwarted by other means). Several other minor characters lament their limited knowledge of other languages and phrase books are shown to be precious things that can be the  key to a decent job for the locals.

 This episode did throw out a few other character/plot threads. Tuka, the crazy cracker elf may be shell-shocked and broken, but she is highly functional and sharp enough that she able to hold down a job in the refugee camp that requires at least a degree of literacy, 



It turns out that the lepus lass who runs one of the bars, is actually Delilah with a radically different hairstyle. 


'Dem earrings...

She was one of Kain's  praetorian maids from Italica introduced in episode 7.  It's unclear if her coiffure is intended as a disguise or is the result of access to modern conditioner. She certainly seems to have some ulterior motive, though whether she's working for Kain, the Empire or a third party is unclear.

The harpy mage who went from POW to security guard actually has a name, (Myutie)...


...and thus might be more than a nice continuity nod. 


The male fans having been generously provided with a cornucopia of maids, the production staff has thrown a bone to the otakuettes as well....


 
...to complement the yaoi appreciation subplot. 

Finally,  in a truly inspired moment, Leili is applying science to her magical theory. She has gotten hold of a middle school chemistry book...and is modifying her sorcery to take its wisdom into account. 



This is completely logical and totally in character for her. Her teacher is quite impressed and seems to grasp the potential of her refining his techniques with the science of the other world.

This episode was certainly neat and had a lot going on, but as a season ender it was rather unsatisfying. 

The series high-point was probably Rory's speech in episode 8. 
The detail and thought that has gone into the story of this show is remarkable and the characters tend to be quite interesting. Aside from the unspeakable mess that was episodes 9 and 10, everyone and every group has had realistic and well thought out motivations and are astonishingly well realized (though Itami is coming close to Gary Stu territory). Note that hose two episodes (9&10) are so different in tone and they really don't contribute much to the story (aside from the flower laying ceremony) that I'm unsure if the weird and incongruous divergence wasn't some sort of executive meddling...it does not seem to fit with the meticulous thoughtfulness of the rest of the series.

All in all this was one of the better shows in recent years Episodes 9&10 nearly killed it for me, but  it bounced back immediately and it is a testament to how good the show is that despite those,  I'm looking forward to this show's continuation in January. 

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Shortest Dating Sim Ever


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Somewhere Between R & S But Only Due to a Technicality

...is where I am on the Official Alphabetical List of Author Success.

This is a tad odd, since I have not sought a career in writing (which is probably fortuitous, not the least because I get no royalties).

It seems that a paper I wrote on Japan's security challenges for a sociology class has been published by the instructor in a collection of essays





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September 18, 2015

An Aluminum Foil Lining

The Crunchyroll release of episode 12 of Gate is delayed untill at least tomorrow, but it appears that the series will continue....in January



OH!
She does have two ears.

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