September 18, 2015


From this week's episode of School Live...



There are about 130 hours until the next episode huh?

This is going to be a long week.

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September 17, 2015

A Horrifying Possibility

...with almost Lovecraftian implications.

Tam ponders a profound proposition that's perturbingly probable.

It's all a lie!1!

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The Meaning of Blog

In theory, Blog is a portmanteau of Biographical and Log, so below the fold is a bit of biographical banality. As a courtesy to our readers, the Walter-Mittyisms are below the fold and above it is a picture of Lum, that you might be surprised to learn is by Renji Murata.  


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September 14, 2015

Best Picture Yet

...of the exhaust port, alien city, ice deposit or whatever is going on in Occator Crater on Ceres.

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Skirting the Very Edge of the Espionage Act

For the engineers and spies in the audience, here is a short video on the critical aspects of missile guidance...

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September 13, 2015

Another Darned Remake

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Important Product Awareness Tip

...from J.Greely; or more specifically, his sister...

Public Service Announcement for the uninitiated (and others, like me, who don’t read labels on things like Bounty): They now make paper towels with dish soap in them. Don’t use them to make bacon in the microwave. #justsayin’ On the bright side, clean up was suprisingly easy ….

Who thought that was a good idea? 
Besides cooking, these paper towels are also pretty much useless for drying dishes, first aid, anything involving pets or whatever else one might  use a paper towel for in a pinch.. 

"...The HELL!?"

Yes. Emergency backup coffee filters are right out...

Also, from the comments, it appears that the Russians may be ahead of some of us in bacon preparation technology. 

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Phoenix Wright is contracted to conduct delicate inter-dimensional negotiations while posing as a member of the Foreign Ministry, under an assumed name. 

That title and entire first sentence is probably not true...probably.

In actuality, the screen-cap is from Episode 11 of GATE. The previous two episodes left such a foul taste in my mouth that I nearly dropped the show. With episode 11 this series appears to have gotten back on the rails and has gone a long way to cleanse the palette. 

More below the fold...

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September 12, 2015

Rainy Day

In the latest episode of School Live, the rainy season brings with it CABIN FEVER! This years strain of cabin fever is bad enough that it can only be delayed...and not prevented by ping pong balls.

Miki FINALLY finishes the foreign novel she's been translating, Now she must deal with the knowledge that hours of her life have been wasted as the book was rather overhyped.

"It was like...ancillary tendentiousness."

Yuki tries to boil water...with unexpected results.

"Dear God...Don't let me burn another kettle!"

Sakura Sensei's discussion of her haircut with Kurumi ends up having a profoundly unintended effect on Kurumi's outlook on life.

"You cut off a meter of hair...and kept the ahoge?"

Yuuri discovers to her considerable annoyance that pinky-swears can be used as emotional blackmail.

"My name is Yuuri..NOT your request is invalid. "

And of course...hi-jinx ensue.

This series has been surprisingly well done and a considerable amount of interesting developments happened in this episode. While I'm eager to discuss them, I ask anyone who  does so, out of courtesy to other readers who are not as far along, to please use spoiler tags as follows....

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September 11, 2015

14 Years

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September 10, 2015

More Pluto!

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us news from the edge of the solar system.

Actually, she's not at the edge of the solar system.
Come to think of it, Pluto isn't either, because there is still the Oort Cloud and Kupier Belt which extend for hundreds of AU before one gets to the Heliopause.

Anyway, our science corespondent reports that the experts are cataloging and naming the features on Pluto and Charon....

"Golly. I guess it makes sense that they'd've completely exhausted Edith Hamilton  as a source for names."


In any event, NASA has downloaded several high rez pictures from this summer's flyby of the object formerly known as the 9th planet and here are a couple...

Click here for larger.

Click here for supah-size.

Click here to embigulate.

Click here to see at exactly the same size.

Click here to de-lilliputianize...or just go to the NASA site.

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Well It's Better Than Nothing...WAIT! NO IT ISN'T!

With the refugee crisis facing Europe from hoards of persons displaced by ISIS, the Syrian civil war and a drought exacerbated by Turkey's shutting off the Euphrates, one might reasonably wonder what Saudi Arabia is doing.

Not much actually. 

 Saudi Arabia has reportedly responded to the growing number of people fleeing the Middle East for western Europe – by offering to build 200 mosques in Germany

Thank you for that kind offer, but...


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September 09, 2015

A Blast From the Past the multi megaton range.

Via the Secret Projects Forum comes information indicating the Russians have been developing a weapon system that involves an autonomous underwater drone intended to penetrate U.S. harbors. This is no surprise, but this drone is reportedly intended to carry a warhead with a yield measured in "tens of megatons". This weapon system has been given the designation KANYON by the Pentagon.

It's not exactly a new concept for the Russians. As we've reported here before, the initial delivery system contemplated for the RDS-220 (Tsar Bomba) warhead was a rather large torpedo, the T-15. This was initially intended to be the main armament of the project 627 submarines (November Class), though the concept was later abandoned.

KANYON would appear to be a completely terrifying interesting and logical refinement  of the concept. Though not explicitly stated, it would seem to allow the weapon to situate itself much farther inland than could be reached with a simple torpedo shot.  The article suggests that the weapon is specifically targeted at the U.S. Navy's SSBN bases in Kings Bay and Bremerton, the latter being a particularly challenging targeting problem as it is reachable only through a winding  channel through an archipelago that is fairly far inland. This would indicate that other targets with inland deepwater ports would be within its reach. The junction of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers comes to mind, as does Houston which is a major port and energy center. 

This weapon would, of course, precipitate all of the usual mayhem one associates with a high yield nuclear blast (and a ground blast to fallout would be horrific). However, there is one particularly interesting effect that this sort of unsolicited dredging operation would have. 


Assuming use of the relatively new 20 megaton 8F675 warhead which the Russians recently removed from their ICBMs, the Nukemap online sum of all fears simulator suggests a crater depth of 800 feet. More importantly the crater extends for 1.05 km from the center, so there is a circular reef of trinitite glass completely blocking the harbor's channel. Here we see one at the mouth of  Hampton Roads (home to the worlds largest naval base...and the Brickmuppet). 

The harbor....isn't one any more. Even after the radioactivity subsides. 
The expanse of the effect naturally increases (though less than linearly) with yield, so the 57megaton yield of the 1963 Tsar Bomba test would virtually close the whole harbor mouth.

Of course the more generally appreciated effects still apply.... 

From center out, little black donut=crater seen above, dark red circle=200PSI blast which destroys pretty much everything, green=radiation instant death which is redundant in this context because...light red circle=20PSI which corresponds to ground zero at Hiroshima, dark grey=5psi light grey=windows break with enough force to cause injuries, dark orange=trees burst into flames (weather dependent) light orange=people standing outside get third degree burns (weather dependent) Note that fallout is not shown, but I'd advise against eating the oysters for several decades.

Doing this to Beaumont, Long Beach, South Louisiana, Houston and New York could permanently close those ports and would remove over half of the nations capacity for foreign trade for a very long time. In the case of Louisiana, it would shut down a good bit of internal trade as well. 

Of course, such a weapon would violate the Seabed Treaty and we all know how fastidious the Russians currently are about arms-control treaties

UPDATE: The reason that something as whacked as a multi-megaton robot submarine nuke is is of any interest is that such a device is inherently a first strike weapon. It doesn't actually deter anything unless its deployed and if its deployed it will likely result in the balloon going up. Kanyon is a stupid concept  if one is looking for deterrence rather than destabilization. The Russians aren't stupid. Thus, that a weapon like this is, apparently,  being developed in a country that is rather strapped for cash indicates that this sort of attack is in the rolodex of options that are actually being considered by their war plans division. 

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September 07, 2015

One Weird Trick For Getting the Local Archetectural Review Board Off Your Back

If the local ARB is giving you grief, just send them this or one of several similar pictures by Munashichi. Then they'll all have heart attacks and leave you alone.

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Island Re-Taking Battle

As part of their contribution to peace, stability and good vibes, the Chinese government released this a bit over a week ago.

The island they are "re-taking" looks a lot like Okinawa.

UPDATE: In other China News, there appears to have been ANOTHER explosion at a chemical plant in eastern China. 

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September 06, 2015


There seems to be a lot of this sort of thing going around this season. 

From episode 10 of GATE which was only 43% as stupid as episode 9 and was about 20% cooler to boot. I would normally be very likely to drop a show when it insulted me as badly as this one did but the first 8 episodes were EXCEEDINGLY good and the utter non sequitur  of a plot thread that derailed the show seems to be completely over. Thus, I'll give it till at least next week to see if it has gotten back on track.

From the previews, it seems likely that it will, so I'm hopeful. 

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September 05, 2015

To Boldly Go...Where Exactly?

This is a surprisingly interesting essay. While it's title suggests it is a about politics, this is really an analysis of the ethics (or lack thereof) that inform them. 

It touches upon Nazi hunters, Klingons, the divine right of kings, moral relativism  and the philosophical conflict behind the eugenics wars.

I speak of rights! A machine has none. A man must! 

Do read the whole thing.

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Why I Don't Hang Out in Bars

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School Live Episode 9

In today's episode of School Live,  Miki takes a break from analyzing the purloined papers they got from Sakura Sensei's office, and announces that she's made a surprising discovery.  

"This dog...There's no.......IT'S A ROBOTI!!"

Actually, no. 
She discovers that her day is to consist of the sort of obligatory beach episode that almost always shows up in vapid comedies about cute girls in high school being nonthreatening. Thus her surprise at it happening in this series is entirely understandable. 

Given the premise of the show, that the School Live Club is not to leave the school grounds (especially after that fiasco at the mall); a beach episode would strain credulity, but they get around this by having the girls clean the koi pond on the roof.
...of the school...
If you are pondering why there is a koi pond on the roof of the school, you are not getting into the spirit of things...or you've avoided the spoiler tags.

That a Japanese cartoon airs its summer vacation episode on Labor Day Weekend only adds to the overall unlikelyhood.

In any event, hijinks ensue. 

...including a surprisingly epic water-gun fight. 
Despite the fact that this is mostly a straight up 'day at the pool' episode the show remains engaging and intelligent, contrasting their determination to remain upbeat against the series of perpetual annoyances that is high school. 

I do note that over the last two episodes point of view has changed to the extent that the narrator is now being less dishonest than your humble reviewer.

This is a really smart and well done show, surprisingly touching in that it is about dealing with life's little problems in as upbeat a way as possible and the benefits of persistence....

You know, in hindsight this is an even more meaningful development.

Despite its overdone premise, this remains, thus far, one of the best shows this season.

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September 02, 2015

A Post That is Not a Substitute For Content But is Still Technically a Post

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