Ted Cruz is my choice tomorrow, but I would say that even though everything you've said is accurate, Donald would still be better for this Republic than Rubio or Jeb would have been, much less Hillary or Bernie. Kasich is unhinged and Carson, who would make a solid cabinet secretary, is not a good fit for the top job.
It really is pathetic what our political class has become.
Posted by: StargazerA5 at Mon Feb 29 22:27:39 2016 (5YSpE)
Will vote for Cruz. I would take Trump over Hillary, but if the Democrat candidate is Bernie that would be a tempting option. A Sanders Presidency, I suspect, would be nothing but screaming, gridlock and vetoes.
Posted by: Ben at Mon Feb 29 22:43:15 2016 (DRaH+)
As it stands right now, I'm casting a write-in vote for my toenail fungus for President. Maybe not a lot of personality, but at least you know where it stands.
Posted by: Wonderduck at Tue Mar 1 00:04:17 2016 (KiM/Y)
The body-count from that Jackson refusal to enforce a Supreme Court decision is off by about four orders of magnitude - there weren't a million Indians east of the Mississippi in the 1820s, let alone Cherokee. Not that it made Jackson any more of a principled man for refusing to do his constitutional duty, but facts are important...
Which is why Donald Trump would be an utter catastrophe for the party and the nation, in that chronological order. I will *not* vote for that man, I'll vote Libertarian or Constitutional Party first. (There is still a Constitutional Party, isn't there?) He lies like he breathes, he's an aspirational Mussolini, a practitioner of frauds, a buyer of politicians, a pimp, a serial bankrupt, adulterer, and a generally vile man.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Tue Mar 1 13:19:39 2016 (jwKxK)
Deaths seem to have been in the vicinity of 4,000 or so for the Cherokee alone, and may have approached 10,000 for the whole of Jackson's administration (though that may be a tad high). Still, it was a horrific crime that set terrible precedents.
Yeah, as I said, Cruz is where I went. My problem is that the base keeps looking for a damn savior, and there's no such thing. It's a recipe for a demagogue, and it looks like we're going to get one...
Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home (which Myer directed) were Star Trek at its best and the last that really kept faithful to the spirit of the old series before the deliberate shift in philosophy and tone that was evident in TNG.
CBS seems to be shooting for the old Desilu magic.
This could actually warrant some attention.
UPDATE:Belay my last Meyer's role is not so critical as we were led to believe. So much the better...
...it will make the inevitable disappointment that much more exquisite.
Also, this series is behind a paywall after the first free hit. I'm not subscribing to yet another service.
This is a new Star Trek series..and it tasks me. It tasks me and I shall watch it! I'll watch it if I have to watch it 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round perdition's flames before I give it up!
Well...the pilot at least.
In our latest story, Itami and friends go dowsing for adventure, which takes them far, far away from the actual plot.
Said plot focuses on the the continuing political machinations in the Imperial capital, the efforts of the Japanese government to not exacerbate the situation and a brave little girl who can think on her feet.
"Well, sir, these may look like mother of pearl, but if you observe them closely you'll note they are, in fact, solid brass."
Some days, even the best efforts just do not pan out.
The above captures a moment of introspection from this week's Sir Mix-A-Lot tribute episode of Phantom World which, despite a few cute moments and an amusing attempt to get Minase to smile, pretty much involved the audience doing this for 28 minutes....
Weather just turned exuberantly suboptimal.
UPDATE: Damage in the immediate area is minimal, but less so in other parts of town. I got to hear O.D.U.'s tornado siren for the first time last night, when the second wave of squalls passed through. This is not unheard of here, but tornado season doesn't usually start for another month or two. Note that these storms are absolutely nothing like the monsters that Don deals with.
This is really impressive. The ability to get up and cope with a Teamster with a pole represents a genuinely amazing amount of progress and yet leaves me with ever so slightly mixed emotions. Of course this is much more the sort of concern many of us expected in the 21st century that 9th century religious fanatics, so we should count our blessings.
I'm not going get genuinely worried until they equip it with a phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range.
1) It already handles snow-covered broken terrain better than I do.
2) Clearly the folks at Boston Dynamics created it just to have something to screw with. "Wanna pick up a box? Wanna pick up a box? Let me knock it out of your hands and shoot it across the room with this hockey stick. Ha ha, loser."
Posted by: Wonderduck at Wed Feb 24 22:39:25 2016 (KiM/Y)
The whole world is waiting on a breakthrough in portable electrical power generation. If someone gives me a battery with 100 times the power density of any existing battery, I'll give you miracles beyond your wildest dreams.
But this is fundamentally a "hard" problem. A lot of really good people are working on it, because they know how valuable (and I mean in money terms) such a breakthrough would be, but no one even has a theoretical basis for such a thing at this point.
(And "no" includes fuel cells and "super-capacitors". They're not going to do it.)
Batteries have gotten a lot better recently, though nowhere near the density of petroleum and charging times are a problem. Fuel cells actually do work, but if they run on hydrogen & oxygen, the energy needed to crack the hydrogen makes them only worthwhile if nuclear power is used and even then their energy density rather sucks. Fuel cells that run on petroleum have equal energy density to normal engines and have the potential to double or triple the efficiencies of the best diesels, but at the moment they are a bit fragile and since they run off of petroleum, they aren't getting the funding for refinement that they warrant.
All that being said, I think that a propane powered generator would allow this thing to fulfill our nightmares.
I'm convinced that the modern social media business model makes sense. It just doesn't make financial sense.
The new business model is to build up a large customer base by being useful and reasonably impartial, and doing it at a loss to attract customers. Then, at some point, when you decide you have enough customers, you take your profit.
But, not in the form of money. In the form of political influence. You've got eyeballs, you feed them a skewed version of reality designed to effect how they vote. You've got customers who are of the opposite political persuasion, you screw with them, and extract from them the opportunity cost of switching to a different platform right in the middle of an election campaign.
Sure, your company tanks, customers eventually flee. But not before you've thrown an election.
The big investors in companies like Twitter don't object to this, because this is the profit they were looking for. They weren't buying future income, they were buying a chance to push politics in a direction they like.
I think the same thing is in operation in entertainment. They make tons of PC movies that are financial failures, but the investment is not about the money, but about "Moving the narrative".
The annoying part to them is that some of the rubes are resisting the message.
Posted by: Mauser at Tue Feb 23 01:18:21 2016 (5Ktpu)
I think part of why the left-wing is so keen on all forms of Internet regulation is that the public as been at least partially successful in subverting their efforts to date. Remember when Dan Rather stared into the camera and lied about what the results of the forensic document examiners that CBS had hired? That claim didn't stand up long enough to change the election, hence the "need" for things like Trust & Safety Councils...
Posted by: Siergen at Tue Feb 23 21:14:57 2016 (De/yN)
Contingency Planning Thread
The Primary results have me so despondent that I'm not going to blog about politics. However, despite the dark implications for our nation, last night's results in South Carolina make it increasingly possible that Takumi Yanai IS in fact a time traveller. Thus, since the fall of the Republic may, in fact, be nigh we need to make contingency plans. The upside of course is That Mr. Yanai has shown us the way to escape the coming darkness, but has warned us that without proper planning Americans will be denied salvation. Also the latest episode revealed that
the gate's closure is inevitable so one might want to wonder what resources one would need to bring through to maintain a tech advantage. Note that repairs would be impossible once the gate closed, so something along the lines of a victorian machine shop would be necessary.
Also general discussion/speculation regarding GATE.
The tentative plan, therefore, is ... 1:Be in Ginza during every Summer Komiket between 2017 and 2024. 2 Don't die during the assault. 3: aGet through the Gate. bAvoid getting enslaved and dying in salt mines. 4:Survive in a world of basically Roman level technology, as a foreigner while trying to learn the language while not dyeing of gangrene, blisters, spear wounds or dragon bites. 5:Impress the local ladies with... ...back up. -3:learn blacksmithing. -2:figure out how to make gunpowder...from likely available...local ...resources. -1:Learn gunsmithing sufficient to make a breechloading flintlock 0: Be wearing a fully equipped camping pack in Ginza in August. 5: Impress the locals with firearm that will have to be manufactured on far side of gate. 6: Avoid getting deported by JSDF. 7: Teach elves how to make flintlocks 8: Elf chicks
This plan may require some revision and rethought. 3&4 in particular want for specificity.
Posted by: Ben at Sun Feb 21 18:11:28 2016 (BdQxf)
It belatedly occurs to me that a water filtration system would probably have more practical utility than a one shot musket and doesn't require the clockwork and springs. A roman legion or could take a regiment of musketeers if they kept their morale, since the musketeers become pikemen after their shot, especially against calvary. Also my small unit combat training is limited and my experience is nil.
A water purification still....I have made those. I just need to figure out how to make pipe.
The way that shot sleeves operate is to be in multiple ranks. On each call by the officer, each rank performs a step in reloading their weapon, and then they move forward one rank. The front rank fires, then retires to the very rear. So at any instant, the front rank either is ready to fire or has fired; the rank behind that has one step remaining before firing, the one behind that has two steps remaining, and so on.
They practiced this, and as a result they could maintain continuous low-levels of fire as long as they weren't attacked by enemy cavalry.
A regiment consisted of a main body of pikemen, and two shot sleeves (one on each side) of musketeers. When enemy cavalry or enemy pikemen got close and threatened, the sleeves would retire behind the the pike main body and let them do the melee. Once the nasties are chased away, the shot sleeves return to their positions and once again started to fire at a low level.
That's 30-years-war technology, and it worked very well.
As the reloading process got progressively more streamlined it required fewer and fewer ranks of musketeers to do this. By the Napoleonic war it was 2 ranks typically. (Some infantry was organized in three ranks but the third rank didn't participate in volley fire.)
Rifle armed troops in the Napoleonic war couldn't maintain the same fire rate as muskets because loading a rifle took longer. The invention of the Minie ball eliminated that difference, and by the American civil war everyone was using muzzle-loaded rifled muskets, if they weren't using anything more modern.
By the Zulu war, state of the art was brass rifle cartridges (the legendary Martini-Henry rifle) and reloading only took seconds, so it was no longer necessary to do this kind of thing.
Anyway, back in the 30 Years War, if shot sleeves did have to fight, they still weren't piles. They'd simply swing their muskets like clubs. The bayonet hadn't been invented yet.
Yes but we're reverse engineering. The bayonet, effectively turns a long-gun into a fairly gimp pike or halberd. It was considered at least as important as the gun part as late as the Napolianic wars and bayonet drill was what Von Stuben believed separated a professional army from a militia. Even Martini Henry's could be brought into bayonet range by competently led iron age infantry as Ntshingwayo Khoza showed at..wait....I cant see...Where are w...
OMG we're in the weeds. THE WEEDS!
I was speculating on what sort of firearm one person could make. Firearms beyond a matchlock begin to get into the issues involved in Friedman's Parable of the Pencil. The trigger mechanism requires springs and gears beyond the ability of most blacksmiths. The flint has to be mined. If one wants to upgrade to cap and ball then the percussion cap requires some interesting chemistry. Even the chemically simpler tape cap requires...paper, which most of us here can make...but not to the quality required. Obviously, paper cartridges require paper of consistent quality as well.Metal cartridges require good quality control and work best with brass, which is a fairly sophisticated alloy of course you have to make the powder and mine, or otherwise acquire the lead. None of this is beyond the ability of a small settlement with even a modest steam age machine shop, this has the advantage of being easily replicatable and understandable with some training...but if the equipment requires any circuit boards it is not replicatable and is a one point failure waiting to happen.
Wait...where were we going with this? I cant see for all the weeds.
I Just Don't Know.
When I first heard about the Apple encryption story I thought that this was a really good thing Apple was doing. For a good overview of the Apple side of the argument, JC Carlton has an extensive and link rich post on the topic.
If the FBI and NSA are so inept that they canâ€™t do simple traffic analysis on the communications or find other means to do the legwork, why has country spent hundreds of billions over decades to build up an intelligence apparatus that apparently canâ€™t find itâ€™s ass with both hands. And what happens to whatâ€™s left of our liberties if nothing is secure from the government?
Lois Lerner is FREE today, and that should end the discussion, or so I thought until I read this.
First, the government is not asking Apple to break the phoneâ€™s encryption. They are seeking to have Apple turn off an auto-erase function, which (when turned on) automatically erases all the data on an iPhone if there are ten consecutive incorrect attempts to enter the four-digit passcode. They are seeking to have Apple allow the passcodes to be entered electronically â€” so nobody has to manually type in every possible four-digit combination. And they are seeking to have Apple disable a feature that introduces delays of increasing length as incorrect guesses at the passcode are made.
Now, Patrick Frey is a prosecutor and prosecutors tend to want to err on the side of getting info and not on the side of privacy, however, he is saying that the issue is NOT as is being presented in the media.
Apple also decided in February 2015 to store local usersâ€™ personal data in China. The move was a gesture of good will towards Beijing that other companies like Google, for example, have always rejected for "security reasonsâ€. This is because it is easier for China to request access to personal information that is under its jurisdiction.
I honestly don't know enough about the situation or the ins and outs of the technology to know where to come down on this. I'm strongly inclined to take Apple's side ion the issue, seeing as how our government, especially THIS government cannot be trusted with people's data. The precedent would seem to be troubling to say the least. But this was a phone known to have been used in a terrorist attack and there is a court order involved.
Apple is certainly grandstanding by restating the request in more egregious terms, but my understanding is that they are correct in asserting they can't make the pass code security changes without having access to the passcode.
Posted by: Ben at Sun Feb 21 10:30:32 2016 (BdQxf)
is not only about professionalism and efficiency...
...but on a more fundamental level, to prevent bringing down the wrath of the gods on one's officer corps.
From episode 19 of GATEwhere this awkward misunderstanding at the intersection of local customs and common law precedent has nothing whatsoever to do with the epic and tumultuous events happening far from our blissfully unaware heroes. However, it does precipitate a spirited academic debate about the merits of competing methodologies which indirectly leads to our protagonists developing a new appreciation for the importance of keeping informed on current events.
A few things were established in this episode.
1: All of the peoples of this world have very similar creation myths, which bear broad similarities to the Garden of Eden. The first people were brought by God into the sacred forest.
2: As it happens all peoples of the world, believe that the sacred forest of myth is in a direction that on the same bearing from their kingdoms as Alnus Hill.
3:The implication is, that the gate has been opening on Alnus Hill every few millennia, with the other side opening in a different world. This has brought in different peoples which is why the racial dimorphism is so extreme and unlikely from an evolutionary perspective. That is, convergent evolution is one thing, but bird people, rabbit people, cat people and dog people, just ought not to happen.
4:Of course in the next breath it is mentioned that interbreeding between the races has taken place...so I guess they use Punnet dodecahedrons instead of squares here.
Just let it go.
5:There is brief mention of the fact that kobolds exist in this world.
6: The implications of this are that the gate is a very temporary phenomenon and Japan's resource extraction efforts are likely to be quite temporary in the same way that anyone on the non-earth side of the gate could suddenly find their stay quite permanent.
7: All this information comes from Master Mage Mimoza the elderly and somewhat goofy master sorceress who is their hostess. It turns out that she was asked by Rory to research the reason for the huge number of races in this world. Mimoza reveals that she was once an adventurer who accompanied Rory many years ago. (Rory did not recognize her until then.)
Mimoza's response was "Jealous, aren't you?"...to which Rory had no rejoinder.
8: Leili's sister Arpeggio, (2 pictures above) is deeply insecure about her younger sister's August achievements in comparison to her own. However, in addition to that, and being a neurotic collection of cliche's she is also a magical mineralogist of sorts. Thus she's hired by Itami to assist him in his survey moments before said survey is revealed to likely be pointless.
9: The two siblings seem to fight rather a lot:
10: All humans, who are not imperial citizens are considered to be part of a collective called "The Rogue Peoples". (Leili is one of them)
11: While all this is going on, Zorzal, the crown prince of the empire, being played like a fiddle by his bunny squeeze, is preparing to launch a guerrilla war against the JSDF as well as commit other forms of mischief.
That last episode of RWBY must have scarred me because when this happened I FULLY expected her to die on the spot.
12: It looks like Leili's dissertation will have to wait, because our heroes are now on the run.
Phantom World Episode 7This episode was just a weird occurrence at the school and was pretty episodic..
However, unlike most stories that mention a certain thought experiment, they got SchrÃ¶dinger's cat right!
Not only that, but our heroines all turn into catgirls for some reason.
Thus the episode still counts as a win.
This despite the fact that the "problem" is, regrettably, solved. (To our hero's credit, he has nothing to do with that unhappy development.) Additionally, this story may tie somewhat into continuity going forward. We'll find out as we are still enjoying this silly, slightly pretentious, but surprisingly enjoyable show.
Compare and Contrast
We mentioned yesterday that it looks like the Chinese may be putting their nuclear force on hair-trigger alert.
According to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Beijing is considering a small but scary change to the way it stores its nuclear weapons. China may be reversing its decades-old nuclear policy and putting its nuclear weapons on permanent high alert. This would make China's nuclear deterrent more credible, but also heighten the possibility of accidental nuclear war.
The full report from the Union of Concerned Scientists is here. As is typical for them their suggestions all involve the U.S. coming off of a strike on warning status. Of course they also think that GMO foods should be banned so take their suggestions with a grain of (iodized) salt.
What is clear, is that China is engaged in a massive modernization of its nuclear forces. Little in the way of specifics is available, but this excerpt of a report from last year gives a good idea of what's in the works. Note that we have NO arms control treaties with China and no joint inspection agreements unlike those we have with Russia, so there is a LOT of room for surprises, particularly on numbers of warheads.
Meanwhile in the U.S.A. It is unclear if this is the hope or the change, but it does seem consequential whichever it might be.
Even before the 10-warhead mega-missile retired, plans were hatched for the Air Force to retrofit MX-like accuracy into remaining land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, called ICBMs.
But that never happened. Somewhat amazingly, nearly nobody's noticed.
The Minuteman 3 is about 50 percent less accurate than the less old Peacekeeper missiles which were retired some years ago. The minuteman originally compensated for this by having a 1.2 MEGATON warhead. This was, later supplemented by other missiles with 3 smaller warheads, first the W-62, then the W-78. All the Minuteman missiles with the single Big warhead were retired some years ago and when the Peacekeeper missiles were retired, their mid yield warheads (the fairly modern and much safer W-87) were transferred to the much older Minuteman missiles.
However. The Minuteman missiles were reduced from 3 warheads to 1 each so that they now have about a third the yield of the original Minuteman 1 (and obviously a third the yield they had before the "upgrade"). More significantly, they were supposed to be retrofitted with the much more accurate guidance package of the Peacekeeper missile to compensate for this. However, the Obama administration nixed this along wth several other upgrades to the nuclear arsenal. Thus the ability of these smaller and fewer warheads to deal decisively with a large nation's military is significantly reduced. This is because that while nuclear warheads are very powerful, they still require precise placement to take out a hardened bunker or missile silo, this is especially true with the much fewer and smaller warheads currently deployed.
It gets worse:
Ironically, Carter and the nation's commander in chief, President Obama, may be unaware that the U.S. arsenal cannot actually accomplish what's enshrined in the nuclear-contingency blueprints they've approved, according to defense sources. The promise of greater accuracy for the land-based missiles reportedly helped lay the groundwork for reductions in the 2011 New START agreement between Washington and Moscow, and many have assumed the precision now exists.
It's conceivable, strangely enough, that the Kremlin has already taken stock of the U.S. targeting deficiency. Considerable data about the capabilities of U.S. Air Force and Navy ballistic missiles can be found in open sources and online.
I suspect that neither the word "Ironically", nor the phrase "strangely enough" is being used properly in that quote.
Note that one of the many hurdles to rectifying this is fears of civil service job security.
But the ICBM program headquarters at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, also stands to lose jobs and clout if the advanced accuracy technology is adopted. Repair personnel based at Hill keep busy maintaining the old Minuteman 3 mechanical guidance units, which break down once every three years on average.
By contrast, solid state uses fewer moving parts and can run for 20 years between breakdowns, according to Air Force Research Laboratory data.
Oh...what EVER would we do with a reliable deterrent that didn't break down every three years? Perhaps not reducing our 400 single warhead missiles to...less at any given time.
Of course, it is possible that the old '60s era guidance system is less prone to EMP and hacking and doesn't use the GPS satellites that would be knocked out swiftly in any nuclear attack, so perhaps commercial off the shelf upgrades are not actually the panacea that the article suggests. The blue-screen of ATOMIC death should be limited to Cherenkov radiation on a CCTV.
An extensive overview of hypothesized scenarios and effects involved in a China-U.S. Nuclear exchange can be found here. Note that this study is from a few years ago and does not take into recent Chinese developments and assumes that the U.S. actually upgraded the Minuteman guidance to render it effective against hardened targets.
The calculus in these matters for a totalitarian dictatorship or oligarchy is vastly different than a representative republic. The possibility that a large nation which places a low value on human life might think that they can "take the hit" and deal a death blow to an adversary should not be ignored, especially since the vastly reduced numbers of active nukes in the world mean that a nuclear war today would not be a global extinction event. This, ironically could increase the possibility of these terrible weapons use. As such our deterrent should be as robust and credible as possible.
The so-called "Union of Concerned Scientists" doesn't have many scientists in its membership. Anyone can join. It's pretty much a far-left-wing mushbrain organization and I personally don't take anything they say very seriously.
One troubling kerfuffle that is getting short shrift outside of right leaning blogs. involves a small time author who got cut by his publisher because his villains motivations were impolitic. This says more about the publisher than anything else, and it would be a non story, if not for the reports of the very pervasive nature of a monoculture in a lot of the publishing industry.
One argument that I hear regarding stories like this is that it is not news and there is nothing wrong with it because the 'policing' is being done by a corporation and it's not a government doing the censoring, so it's not actually censorship.
By that logic, the Hayes Code and the Comics Code Authority which were instituted not by the government, but by trade associations and agreements between corporations were just peachy keen. Even the Hollywood Blacklist, though initially a reaction to contempt of congress citations, was not a government pogrom but was initiated voluntarily by the studios. If that sort of thing appeals to you then fine, enjoy your homeowners association and live happily in your chosen dystopia. However, for the rest of us, when virtual monopoly that controls a good chunk of public discourse silences viewpoints the effect can be the same in many ways as a government doing it. The differences can be reduced further when these entities quietly collude with the government in suppressing viewpoints. Of course, having the government barge in and force these entities to allow the speech they are banning would unambiguously be a 1st amendment violation. However, the situation as it is developing is deeply troubling. Thus it is wise to ensure that people are aware of these things and encourage alternate venues for online socialization and different outlets for publication.
News That Doesn't Concern The Trumped-up Trump-Centric Trumpeting of Trumpism by the Trumpen Proletariat
For many of us who grew up in the later stages of the Cold War, the region known as the Fulda Gap was a tidbit of geography that carried special meaning. Today the Sulwaki Gap seems to be replacing it in the atlas of dread.
I momentarily misread this as "Vladimir Putin Wants to Destroy Naruto" and was perplexed, but not alarmed...alas. The article lays out a scenario where Turkey, intervening in Syria, exchanges fire with the Russians and the Russians hit a facility inside Turkey. This is not at all unlikely since the two nations are historical enemies, are currently at cross purposes in Syria and have recently exchanged fire with lethal results. The goal from the Russian perspective would be to destroy NATO's credibility should they refuse to come to Turkey's aid when Turkey invokes article 5 of the NATO charter. If Russian can secure the Hellespont, they will have achieved one of their primary goals of the last 300 years....so their motivation is great, perhaps great enough that the risk of WW3 seems worth it to them.
Won Yoo Chul, floor leader for the ruling Saenuri party, on Monday said South Korea should adopt "peacefulâ€ nuclear weapons and missiles against North Koreaâ€™s "fearful and self-destructiveâ€ ones.
He said South Korea should be independent from ally Washingtonâ€™s so-called nuclear umbrella to deter North Koreaâ€™s nuclear threat, or reconsider deployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons, which were withdrawn from South Korea in 1992 under a pact for the denuclearization of the peninsula.
Fecklessness...the gift that just keeps on giving.