September 29, 2016

Meanwhile, In Kashmir

India hits back with bullets and bayonets, rather than the 'spicket'.

Indian officials said elite troops crossed into Pakistan-ruled Kashmir on Thursday and killed suspected militants preparing to infiltrate and carry out attacks on major cities, in a surprise raid that raised tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.





It appears though, that the 'spicket' option, is still on the table.

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September 28, 2016

"But Ponder THIS..."


"...you can call ME Dear Sweet Oni-Chan without it technically being creepy."

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Questions for Tech People

I saw this on Instapundit and immediately thought of the Battle of Midway, the Verona transcripts and Bletchley Park.

The language follows step-by-step, logically, and can be tested just like a mathematical proof. So why is this formal verification essentially hack-proof? Because most hacks are made by exploiting bugs and errors in code. Code that’s gone through this process, with this approach, is supposed to be bug-proof. So there are no holes for hackers to exploit, because the code just works.  
Emphasis mine.

In your professional opinion, how applicable (as a practical matter) would this be to the IT industry in general?
*****
Do any of the IT people reading this blog think that the "Internet of Things" is a cracking good idea which will provide benefits far surpassing its potential security risks and bot-farm potential?
*****
Would it be a good idea or a waste of time to make a class or 2 in code mandatory in highschool? If so what language would you reccomend? Does it matter that much? 
*****
Turning over the internet to ICANN: discuss. 

*****
Why is Minx not listed here?

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September 27, 2016

Keeping Informed



Meanwhile...

India and Pakistan are having a tiff.

At least 18 soldiers were killed in a terror attack on an Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18. All four terrorists, who attacked the camp, were killed.

This did not occur in a vacuum.. 

Pakistan's defense minister, last week decided this an oppertune moment to clarify Pakistan's stance.

Amidst growing tension over Uri attack by Pakistani terrorists on Sunday, a video of the country’s Defence Minister Khawaja M Asif threatening to use nuclear weapon against India is doing the rounds on social media. The video shows the Pakistani defence minister telling Geo News: "If Pakistan’s security is threatened, we will not hesitate in using tactical (nuclear) weapons.”  

And patience is running thin in India which has decided that they need to take action.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a fiery speech in Kerala where he blamed Pakistan for exporting global terrorism has now called for a briefing on the Indus Waters Treaty. 

Huh?

One of the suggestions is to turn off the Indus river tap that waters much of Pakistan

Oh Dear. 

India and Pakistan have a bit over 100 nukes each. 


 







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September 26, 2016

Re-Zero Ends





So...I guess there won't be a sequel, huh?

Oh but there was SO much more to Re: Zero than a very touching love story. This series was one that hooked me early on and I was quite optimistic about it. That optimism was not misplaced. 

This is absolutely one of the most emotionally engaging shows in any medium I've encountered in years. It frequently accomplishes this in a most unusual way (by grabbing ones emotions by the throat, beating them upside the head with some rebar and then staking those concussed and bleeding emotions to a fire ant hill). Yes, this show is quite hard to watch at times, but is extraordinarily well paced and well thought out. Its tone and themes remind me of Ellison's Delusion for a Dragon Slayer, in that the protagonist start's out a person of, at best, mediocre character and quite unfit for what he must face. Unlike that tale however, this is a story about redemption and the fact that we can change. Subaru, the hero, is a really interesting character who learns from his numerous and painful mistakes. He comes to confront his myriad failings and change what he can, and work around those failings he cannot. 

Strong women are not a novelty in this day and age, but the heroines (and villainesses) in this show are some of the best, most realistically portrayed in any fantasy series. They are written and talk like actual. umm, women,  Emillia, for instance, is quite the awesome and noble character.


And it was nice to be reminded that she can righteously kick ass. 

She also comes off as a real woman despite a remarkably limited time onscreen. At one point she saves Subaru's butt for approximately the umpteenth time and he apologizes for thus imposing on her. She replies that an apology is unnecessary...but a "Thank you." would be appreciated. Exchanges like that, actual things that actual humans might actually say, really make this show. 

Re: Zero is heartbreaking and terrifying at times, far more so than one would expect given the show's central conceit, but the fact that they can pull that off is a remarkable achievement.  Any show can be grim and gritty, but this show uses the horror as a way to move the characters forward and contrast to the show's highs. The writers here do so masterfully. 

The show has a bit to say about the nature of love and its complexity including its selfish component, and how pride can toxify anything. The show also deals with the more painful sides of love such as loss.
 

Re:ZERO Starting Life in Another World is a superbly engineered emotional rollercoaster that may cause nausea and night-sweats, but unlike most rollercoasters, which take you back to where you started, this is a terrifyingly thrilling journey to a much better place

 While there are some unresolved plot threads, the ending is perfectly satisfying as is. If they decide to do more I'll definitely be watching it. 


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September 25, 2016

A Retraction

In 2009, Brickmuppet Blog joined with others in not speaking ill of the dead. While the sentiments expressed in that post are ones we are generally in broad agreement with and are the foundation of civilized civics; in this specific instance and in retrospect, their expression seems to have been an embarrassingly ill-informed decision for which we at Brickmuppet Blog most sincerely apologize.


 Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. "The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. "These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.”
 
 Kennedy made Andropov a couple of specific offers... 

Do read the whole thing....because this historical anecdote does have some relevance today. 

'Representatives of America's  biggest media companies' haven't actually gotten worse in recent years, their mask has merely slipped.



Forbes article via.

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September 23, 2016

Oh My! Yes Please!


The first remake hit it out of the park. Yamato 2199 was both inspiring an intelligent. It was quite faithful to the original series while being sufficiently different to genuinely surprise the fans. It was one of the best military themed shows of the last several years. Now they are doing what certainly looks to be a similar reimagining of season 2. 

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September 21, 2016

Meanwhile: The Ceasefire in Syria Continues Apace

The U.S. may or may not have hit a Syrian army unit. The Russian's, who hit a U.S. airbase back in July have probably  hit an aid convoy. The Russian carrier is en route to the area, the Chinese have gotten involved. We have troops on the ground, in Syria, a country whose government we have said we are going to overthrow, which is an ally of Russia who also has troops on the ground protecting Syria by shooting at the Jihadists we are ostensibly backing while we fight the mostly different crazy-nuts jihadis in ISIS which Russia is also fighting without any coordination with us so Russian and U.S. troops are on opposite sides of a civil war, armed and shooting at people who are trying to kill them in an area in which at least two factions are using poison gas. 


WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG!?




















(As an aside, the King of Spain technically carries a subsidiary title of Archduke, so we should probably guard him quite closely...just as a precaution.)


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September 18, 2016

Watch Out Pixy!

 Thylacines exist in your neck of the woods. 


One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes has thoughts on this astounding revelation.

"Be advised that 'Neck of the woods' in this context refers to being on the same continent and "exist" here is not the layman's usage but the definition from the cryptozoologists style guide, specifically... "someone got a very fuzzy video they claim is of something that is generally considered fictional or extinct"....Also, Pixy has not yet died horribly despite the fact that Australia already has a random encounter table much like Skull Island so a marsupial analog to a hyena is likely not of any concern to him."


Anyway, here's video.





 HSF's Dr. Kabaniri  drawn by Abe Kanari

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September 14, 2016

37 Days



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Work Arounds

So, the Gadsen flag was declared racist.


Then this happened.










(There's always one)










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Well, This Is Nicely Done.


I must say that I am much more interested in seeing an Overwatch series of some sort than I am the game. 

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A Few Good Links

Larry Correia has some thoughts on Trump.


While Correia's analysis and conclusions are pretty solid, these two related pieces from the American Conservative take a long and thoughtful look at how this dumpster fire happened. 


Rod Dreher has a shorter piece, much more a stream of consciousness, updated over a couple of days with edits. It takes a slightly different look at the same issue, namely the bigotry and 'virtuous contempt' one needs to be accepted as successful in this country. 

Finally, from the Claremont Review of Books, a piece on options presented by the deplorab...sub-optimal situation and a follow-up.

But fear not! Sarah Hoyt has thoughts on parallel structures. Yes, sign me up! This is foolproo.....oh wait

Holy...Crap. This is nuts. 


Fortunately J.C. Carlton has provided us with a page full of awesomeness...and some high octane nightmare fuel.I further note that J.C. is not trying to sell us store-able food, which makes that last link more worrying somehow. 

UPDATE:

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September 13, 2016

Hanjin Ships Allowed to Offload (in U.S. Ports at Least)

About two weeks ago Hanjin Lines, Korea's largest shipping company, filed for bankruptcy protections. This has worrying implications for the shipping industry in general, but the story escalated quickly.  


Ports subsequently blocked Hanjin vessels from docking out of fear that they would not be paid docking fees. This stranded the crews on ships with dwindling supplies of food and fuel. This was partially mitigated last week, when a court ruling enabled certain U.S. ports to allow Hanjin ships already en route to tie up and offload. However, There are still issues...
Creditors have sought an arrest warrant against the Seaspan Efficiency, a ship hauling cargo for Hanjin that was due to arrive in Savannah. Wang said the cargo concerned amounted to just around $800,000 and that he was confident the parties involved could come to an agreement.  

Additionally, things are not being resolved so smoothly elsewhere in the world where numerous vessels  are still stranded at sea with dwindling supplies. Lloyd's List has an interactive map


Screengrabbed from Lloyd's Sept 13, 15:46

This is, as one might expect, playing havoc with the global supply chain.
"The fallout of Hanjin Shipping is like Lehman Brothers to the financial markets,” Wang said. "It’s a huge, huge nuclear bomb. It shakes up the supply chain, the cornerstone of globalization.”
 

This will also likely cause an increase in shipping costs going into the Christmas season. 

Note though, that the Baltic Dry Index, has recovered from its alarming  slump earlier in the year, so, leading indicators are, at least mixed (unless you're in Australia...Then you're doomed apparently.)

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September 11, 2016

Remember The Rememberance

On September 11, 1683 the Ottoman forces besieging the city of Vienna were on the verge of victory. The City, under siege since July 14, was starving, Ottoman engineers had greatly weakened the city's walls and its collapse appeared imminent. However that evening relief arrived in the form of an army from Hungary and one from the confederation somewhat misleadingly known as the Holy Roman Empire...They brought with them roughly 40,000 troops, not good odds against a force of 90,000 Caliphate troops that included a large number of Janissaries. However, the situation was dire and this was a final desperate attempt to turn the tide of this months long battle, for with the loss of Vienna the Islamic armies would have free reign throughout Europe. The enlightenment was about to be snuffed out. 


Early on the morning of the 12th the allied armies were reinforced by 27,000 fresh Polish troops under John Sobieski, who bolstered the European forces as they pressed their attack against the Ottomans. Even with the reinforcements, Europe and had only a bit more than 2/3 of the Ottoman forces, however the Ottomans were also having to deal with the guard of the city they were besieging, which astutely chose this time to get very frisky. 

By the end of the 12th, the Islamic forces were routed. Along with the Battle of Lepanto, the siege of Vienna is generally regarded as the end of the large scale Islamic expansion into Europe. September 11th, 1683 thus marks the end of the period when the threat of Jihadi conquest was a constant threat...over the previous thousand years, Western civilization had been pushed into a small peninsula on the ass end of Asia which, for reasons of self esteem is still referred to as a "continent". This erosion was sometimes slowed, occasionally reversed for a time, but it was inexorable until 333 years ago today. 

 Islamists do not take these reversals lightly, particularly since this geographically tiny exception to their civilizations expansion turned out to be (for a time at least) annoyingly consequential to their efforts to fufill their faith's demand that they kill or convert...everyone. This date marked a profound slowing (for a time at least) of a thousand years of expansion and the halt, (for a time at least) of their expansion west. It is the date that, to their mind their civilization lost its way. 



They, quite unlike our cultural trendsetters, have a keen sense of history, and so 15 years ago, this was the date was chosen to kill Westerners,. in remembrance of the day that, to these murderous fiends, the course of history went off the rails. 


15 years on, nearly all of those who put together this celebration of butchery are dead, but their inspiration has worked better than one might have expected. The enemy of the west, and reason itself is again on the march. What it lacks in wealth, it makes up for in verve and they have lost none of the habits that Europe fought so hard and desperately against for a thousand years. 

Stories of great evils; dark, malign forces, which threaten civilization itself and that, even if defeated, bide their time, perhaps for centuries awaiting a chance to crawl forth again thirsty for vengeance...these were once parables told by adults to their children to instill in them on a profound level that monsters are real and even when out of sight may still bide their time. Today, we are ruled by children who use such tales to reassure themselves that such things cannot possibly happen...even as the ancient enemy is inside the gates.  

The greatest advantage that these people have is that they have long memories, and we tend to forget all that we have learned through the blood and terror of our ancestors. 

So do not listen to those who would have you "move on". Remember it, for the atrocity that was inflicted on 3,000 of our own 15 years ago, was itself a memorial service performed by those who thirst for our blood, and who themselves never forget. 


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September 05, 2016

Another Reason to be Leary of the Macbook Pro

There is mischief afoot in them thar antipodes...


The investigator's theory was that the man, while in Hamilton, opened his Macbook Pro laptop, and used the internet to log-in remotely to an Acer-brand PC back at the Kerikeri home, which was connected, perhaps wirelessly, to a nearby Brother inkjet printer. Once logged in, the man caused a print command to be sent to the printer.

The investigator suggested that when the printer started pulling the sheet of paper in, it set off a Heath-Robinsonian chain of events: the paper was sellotaped to a piece of string, which was attached to a switch. When the string pulled the switch, it completed a circuit that included a 12-volt battery and a length of high-resistance wire like the ones that glow inside your toaster. The wire was wrapped around the heads of a few matches, so when it got hot the matches ignited and set fire to additional flammable material nearby, and then the fire took hold through the entire mansion, with the assistance of some sort of accelerant such as petrol, which had been poured about the place. 

A couple of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes discuss this hypothesis...

"Who the hell is Heath Robinson?" "Oh. He's like Rube Goldberg for Brits."
"Who the hell is Rube Goldberg?" "...My lawn, get off it."

That professionally proposed, pleasingly preposterous, pyromania printer is, however just the tip of the iceberg. Do read the whole thing

Via Moe Lane, who offers a professional assessment of the headline with which i am in total agreement. 

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Aftermath of the Storm of the Cent... er Month









This was nowhere near a hurricane when it hit here and the winds and rain were comparable to a normal winter storm. However, there was an unusual number of trees down, which I account to the unusual wind direction (the storm skirted the coast, so the winds were blowing from the northwest as it moved north. This is different from either winter storms and unlike the few hurricanes that hit here the wind came from the same direction for an extended period, so trees that have grown against historical winds were treated to whatever passes for surprise in a tree.

The damage to the pier was unusual. It has ridden out many storms with far less damage.

The bigger concern was the extensiveness of the power outages, from what was a very weak storm. The grid down here still needs to be hardened, though I noted that, unlike Isabel, even gas stations that had no power for their shops were able to take cash and run their pumps off of generators...which is a big improvement. 

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September 04, 2016

Chasing Electrons

When the most gimp storm possible that can be classed as a tropical cyclone arrived in Southeastern Virginia yesterday, I came inside and started to post, until the power went out....on my side of the street.

Undeterred by the gimmpy gimpness of the storm, I sallied forth and drove to check on my parents boat and hang out at my friend BOB!'s comic store. Along the way, I stopped at a convenience store to...well...nothing as the power went out. I drove across the bridge tunnel, noting that the storm surge was as high as I've ever seen it. Fortunately, BOB!'s store is a hundred feet or more above sea level and the wind was only around 40 kts so there was no worry of his store getting blown away. Alas, after about an hour the power went out. On the way home, I stopped at a truck stop only to discover that only the pumps were running (off the emergency generator) and the convenience store/restaurant was out of both convenience and food. Today, I went down with my father to check on his boat again. This was fortuitous as the pier had suffered greater damage than any storm I recall. One of the cleats had ripped loose, but there were sufficient mooring lines and springlines that the boat had been undamaged....aside from one sail almost unfurling. After securing everything and checking on the people who live on their boats we headed to my fathers house...where the power again went all blinky.

Now...with this most gimp of storms providing us with a light breeze and drizzle I'm sitting on one of the computers at BOB!'s shop...pondering where to go from here....

I do solemnly swear...

...that as soon as I figure out how to use them.

I will use my newfound EMP powers for good.

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September 01, 2016

Goshdarnit....


A Space-X rocket exploded today while doing a pressure fire test. Thankfully, it appears that no one was hurt.


India successfully tests its own scramjet engine in flight on board an Advanced Technology Vehicle rocket.


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