Wonderduck In Hospital
I know nothing more than that. I just cut on my phone (it had run down and been charging most of the day) and received a text from Wonderduck timestamped about 6 hours before I typed this.
The message said that due to his leg injury had not been able to get out of bed for 30 hours and that he was, at the time of the text, in the ER.
That is all I know. It's 6 hours out of date and he has not returned my text. I'm loathe to call him because he probably needs sleep.
New Horizons VS. Ultima Thule
Well, tonight (tomorrow actually) after the fireworks and the dropping of the ball, you should stick around because there will be an encore celebration around 12:15AM, when Clyde Tombaugh's atomic powered urn, better known as NASA's New Horizons probe, which not so long ago gave us spectacular views of Pluto is going to pass by(486958) 2014 MU69, a small but very strange transNeptunian object that has been given the unofficial temporary name Ultima Thule for marketing purposes.
Note though, that possible explanations include that the object is actually surrounded by a cloud of debris, in which case there's a decent chance that New Horizons will come to an end in a collision.
Because it is SO far away, the radio signals will take over 9 hours to get to NASA! Coverage of that is set to start around 09:45 Eastern Time(U.S.). There is a press conference scheduled for 11:30 Eastern to discuss the pictures, or what can be gleaned from the probes loss. There will be a lot of discussion of this online tonight and tomorrow morning with Launchpad Astronomy already 4 hours into their 24 hr livestream.
So tonight, after the celebrations, sit back, watch the coverage and throw back an egg nog for Clyde Tombaugh, the little probe that carries his remains, and the implacable spirit of mankind.
RWBY Season 6
After the dumpster fire that was the end of last season, RWBY's latest 8 episodes have been something of a shock.
A pleasant one.
Each of these episodes has had more plot and character development than the last half of last season, and most have had more action too. The fight choreography has risen in quality exponentially to levels that would make Monty proud and the show has managed to make the monsters scary again, with some episodes very effectively conveying a sense of existential dread.
Even the most recent episode, where a bunch of characters desperately run around in circles not killing or breaking anything because someone forgot to leave a note, managed to advance the story while developing characters...
...and torturing them.
I've been quite impressed with the season, but I'm now on my guard. The halfway point is where the last season went off the rails, crawled into its own navel and imploded, so this could all go to worms.
On the other hand, this season went "off the rails" in episode one and has doing great things ever since, so I remain hopeful.
Huh, I'm not sure I even knew there was a season 6. For some reason I kind stopped watching...wow, I guess S5E1 was the last episode I watched! I'll probably need to go back and watch at least all of season 4 to be able to catch up.
Posted by: Rick C at Mon Dec 31 16:35:01 2018 (Q/JG2)
Binging the whole thing someday might be in order.
Posted by: Mauser at Mon Dec 31 18:22:12 2018 (Ix1l6)
Zombieland Saga Ends (?)
Well, it looks like Zombieland Saga finally started running low on local places of interest....
...however the whackadoodle story sort of deepened towards the end and the show provided a quite satisfying ending that was not nearly as predictable as I'd thought it would be.
A couple of threads were left hanging, some of which are tossed aside in such a way as to suggest a sequel...
Which is almost an odd enough premise to work.
This was a 6 hour long idol show that doubled as a commercial for the Saga Chamber of Commerce. By all rights, given its purpose and premise, Zombieland Saga should have been a painting by numbers mess, and yet it ended up being a quirky little gem of a show.
Even the Trapchan arc was handled quite well. Rewatch value is not particularly high, but if you were put off by the whole zombie thing in the promotions, or just missed it, I strongly suggest you give it a shot.
A Reminder That Tomorrow is the 27th (UPDATED)
...and will see the last of the two showings of They Shall not Grow Old in the U.S.
If you're in Hampton Roads, the only showings are at McArthur Center and Greenbriar 13. Both are at 1PM.
UPDATE: It was all that and a bowl of grits.
I'm very glad that I bought my tickets online as it had completely sold out, despite being shown in three theaters in the local multiplex.
Peter Jackson is an exceptional fimmaker, but the idea that he could take a bunch of frequently unrelated 100 year old film clips taken by the British military and make it work in a narrative form is far fetched.
It's also exactly what he did.
This film is incredibly powerful. It is gut wrenching and horrifying at times, but it is a masterpiece. It is not a technical or historic analysis of any particular battle, but it is a deeply compelling, and often disturbing overview of what it was like to serve in the B.E.F. on the Western Front in the Great War.
The restored and colorized footage (taken from hand cranked cameras over a century ago) translates quite well to the big screen.
I cannot recommend this film highly enough. When this comes up for sale on DVD or Blue Ray, buy it.
I got to see it on the 17th in West Monroe, La. I was disappointed, but not in the film -- the theater was the most poorly run I'd ever seen. There was no ticket-taker- I could have just walked in and taken a seat. Nobody was handing out 3d glasses. I ended up watching a very fuzzy, double-imaged movie. Quite annoying. FYI, the theater was about half to 2/3 full.
Posted by: ubu at Fri Dec 28 14:57:44 2018 (UlsdO)
Government is trying to hold vital functions hostage. I wasn't anyone gullible enough to buy a house at a national forest, and then kicked out naked into the street by rangers when shutdown came, like some people in Arizona. But I did have an airplane ownership transaction stuck, because in the U.S. the federal government has the monopoly on recording such transactions.
The government did what now? When did that happen?
I bought food from two sources, a car, gas, received shipped packages (thanks, Brickmuppet!) and went to church a couple of times the past few days. I haven't had time for news about things the government is doing.
Posted by: Ben at Tue Dec 25 01:23:27 2018 (4TRZx)
Huh? Wuzzat? The gubermint shut down? Well, ok, we didn't need it anyway.
Posted by: ubu at Tue Dec 25 01:28:23 2018 (UlsdO)
As some wag said, if there are still federal deductions coming out of your paycheck, the government isn't shut down.
Posted by: Rick C at Tue Dec 25 12:29:43 2018 (dOH8g)
An earlier post here embedded a video that was described as "seasonal". However the only things seasonal were the winter quipaos and snow.
This is obviously problematic as it clearly exclusionary to our antipodean readers.
To rectify this inexcusable lack of inclusivity, sensitivity, and geographical awareness, here is a video that is completely seasonal with regards to women's optional casual attire in the southern hemisphere around this time of year.
Note too, that while not strictly seasonal, the lyrics, plane crash and Arn Anderson(?) do not directly contradict near-current southern hemisphere weather patterns or holidays and thus the video should not offend anybody.
Posted by: Wonderduck at Wed Dec 19 23:10:17 2018 (PzbzM)
That is Randy Orton; a weird shadow on his face from his pecs is giving him the five o'clock shadow that makes him look like Arn. An RKO is more or less a stone cold stunner with one of the people facing the other way around.
Posted by: Karl Drexler at Thu Dec 20 07:13:57 2018 (NN0RA)
At the end of the video there's a break and when she comes back she's spoken to her mom and mom basically said, Oh yes, didn't ever I tell you that?
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tue Dec 18 21:52:51 2018 (PiXy!)
I kind of scrubbed through the video, skipping a few seconds, watching a few seconds, through most of it. From her talking about matrilineal descent, it seems like this was a mitochondrial DNA test she took.
The woman knows her ancestry is partly black. You would think given her relatively light skin color she would have already known, or at least suspected, she had some non-black ancestry. (I noticed some people in the Youtube comments made the same point.) Given that she should have known her ancestry wasn't 100% African, it seems silly she's so upset by the results--all that the test tells her is where her non-African ancestry came from on her family tree (and as Pixy points out, her family already knew.)
(I'm not calling her stupid or anything like that, just expressing a bit of surprise at her disappointment, although she's certainly entitled to it, since it clearly changed her view of herself.)
Posted by: Rick C at Wed Dec 19 12:24:20 2018 (Q/JG2)
Yes, it was a mitochondrial DNA test, and it sounds like she didn't fully understand what that meant. If you watch the end of the video after she's talked to her mom, she's much more accepting and understanding of the result.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wed Dec 19 18:33:16 2018 (PiXy!)
Sargon is a Vlogger from the U.K. who opines on everything from video games to human rights.
He's a bit of a troll.
OK he's a lot of a troll, albeit a particularly erudite one.
He's definitely a mixed bag, occasionally doing absolutely spot on commentary like this take of the ethics and politics of STARSHIP TROOPERS of all things, and sometimes being an utter, douche, like here where he says mindnumbingly stupid stuff in defense of the Incel asshattery that is the asinine THOT audit. Sargon's a leftie and an atheist and so I disagree with him about a lot of things, but one of the things that I do agree with him about is his uncompromising stance on free speech.
Here he is on his best behavior...
It seems that almost a year ago, for some inexplicable reason, Sargon used the "N word" while mocking and berating some white supremacists who's loathsome antics he has been reporting on; and who in turn have been getting all stalky and doxxy with his family.
Now, using the "N-word" is always an inadviseable thing for us honky crackers. Indeed, this rule applies even when talking down to literal nazis...as is evidenced by the fact that the literal nazis he was responding to reported his unwoke language to Patreon's reassuringly named Trust and Safety Council,* which promptly banned him....for something he'd said on a livestream that was not in any way associated with Patreon.
"And we should care because...?"
Here's why this bit of internet drama is a concern...
A solid argument can, of course, be made that Patreon should be allowed disallow any behavior on their platform that gives them hives.
However, if they are going to do that then that needs to be in the TOS, you can't just nuke someone who has not violated any of your terms of service. Which is exactly what Patreon did. Worse, the offending behavior was not even on their platform.
This is unethical. Highly unethical and means that Patreon at this point cannot be trusted to honor contracts.
Thus Patreon sucks and will screw you over as soon as you're on the outs with the "cool kids". The fact that the deplatforming seems to have been initiated by neo-nazis it not technically relevant but adds another layer of dreadfulness to the affair.
"'kaaay...So patronize someone besides Patreon."
INDEED! There ought to be no need for concern here.
Sargon should take his money to a competitor who wants it. Everybody wins.
That's FREEDOM...enabled by capitalism.
Lo and behold, it turns out there is at least one Patreon-esque outfit struggling to get out of Patreon's shadow and find some killer ap to differentiate themselves from Patreon.
He was followed there by other creators** who were also de-platformed by Patreon. More significantly, he was also followed by a surprising number who feared that they might be banned due to their views and Patreon's demonstrated perfidy and lots of others who migrated in solidarity with some outre' concept called "freedom of speech".
"See. Competition works."
"Now, why are people saying that a limey s**tlord's bad
customer service experience is DEFCON 5 for free speech?"
Well, it most assuredly wasn't.
Until it was.
You see, Pay-Pal, the ubiquitous online payment service then told Subscribe Star to ban Sargon and the other Patreon refugees. Subscribe Star refused and Paypal has now just cut off Subscribe Star's payment system. Stripe did too, and according to Subscribe Star, appears to not be releasing the creators funds it is holding!
We are here now not to tell you that "we are sorry but they made us to shut our shop down and now we are going to cry ourselves to sleep goodbyeâ€.
Just the opposite - we are fighting back and integrating new unbiased and predictable processors that will allow us to grow with you. This takes time, we estimate anywhere between 2 and 3 weeks from start to finish. This may require us to extensively travel across the globe for the best possible solution.
Stars, you have to know - all your money were successfully rescued from the PayPal and will be paid out to you in a timely manner. We had less luck with Stripe, but it all manageable.
Subscribers - we temporarily paused accepting new subscribers, as well as new donations and tips. All previously contributions are safe and will be distributed to corresponding Stars properly. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Our team is working tirelessly for all of us being able to secure our future without fear of being bullied by the crooks in corporate suits and their subservient weasels.
We are online and will stay so. We wish you the same.
Talk to you soon!
"OK. That's genuinely scary."
That is the sort of thing that can lead to lead to idiot conspiracy theories, but this is where it gets scary. Here, is Jack Conte, founder and CEO of Patreon on Dave Rubin's show a few months back discussing the culture of Silicon Valley.
If the embed doesn't cue right, the money quote is from 30:17 to 32:30
So these tech CEO's are all sitting down together or via conference call and deciding (amongst other matters of import) what their workers salaries are going to be.
"Oh God. That's his....COVER STORY!?"
Conte is describing the smoke filled rooms of Gilded Age trusts. These guys are also talking to each other about the issues of the day and who should and should not have a platform. This is a syndicate.
It get's worse..
You see, there was another Patreon-like outfit until very recently. Thunderclap was very much the same thing as Patreon although worked largely through Facebook.
In August of this year, Thunderclap was shut down when Facebook disallowed it from using their services.
Being a Russian company Subscribe Star is somewhat outside of Silicon Valley's more direct sphere of influence, certainly they are more immune to the social pressures of acceptance in the virtual Versailles of the San Jose' virtue signaling clique. However, like all online businesses, Subscribe Star is still dependent on online payment services, which, as we are seeing, do feel those pressures. And of course, it's run out of...Russia...so it has all sorts of other potential issues, particularly regarding freedom of speech, election meddling and dangerous ursine bicyclists.
We're in a situation where the current bolt hole for free expression is a sketchy site run out of Russia, a situation that is so transcendentally wrong that it has left even the foul-mouthed Razorfist temporarily unable to cuss...
Razorfist embed atypically SFW
I understand if one doesn't want to click on a Razorfist link, but he's right. When speech is disallowed, violence becomes the medium of discourse. This is a bad highway to be on.
We often joke that Animal Farm, 1984, and Brave New World are not a three volume how to manual. For some people though, they are. We've now got fricking "Trust and Safety Councils" that turn anyone with the correct politics who hate the right people this minute into members of their little Stassi. With the power to control the information and to deny people financial services if they hold unpopular views, comes incredible power for mischief.
We've covered the Chinese Sesame Credit System before and that, I am convinced, is where many of the individuals behind this policing of speech want to be.
All it takes to bring about this dream of the anointed is for each of us to say "That guy's an asshole! He deserves what he gets. That bitch over there had it coming too, serves her right." and be silent, or smug, or report the asshole to the Trust and Safety Council. Then, because every one of us is an asshole to someone, we'll be kept in our place by the very crab bucket culture we are nurturing. Meanwhile, the archdukes and marquesses of Palo Alto "tend their fields" by cutting off any poppies that grow too high.
With that coming to pass, like the Greek City States before it, the 300 year aberration that is the enlightenment will disappear into the 300,000 year+ history of humanity as a short lived deviation from the mean. Things relating to freedom will go back to much as they were for the majority of that time, albeit with rather less ability to express heretical thoughts.
We're not there yet though.
There are people who will hold their noses and stand up for the rights of shitlords to opine on the matters of the day and who understand that words are not violence but rather the way violence is avoided. There are still search engines like Duck Duck Go and Epic that offer the ability for a Z-list blogger in Virginia to look up a news story that some seem to want to want to bury and we still have access to books written by great minds who saw where the path we are on leads and warn us from the grave*** to avoid the mistakes their societies made and take a different exit.
Despair not, the fact that this post and every link in it exists is proof that all is not lost.
But be aware. Be vigilant, and keep your eyes open for the inevitable rough patches on the unlit road ahead.
UPDATE 12/16:Fixed links/syntax and made small caption edits.
UPDATE 12/16: Removed Google screencap and associated text as it could not be duplicated and was not germane to the post (see comments).
*and totally not Orwellian at all.
**at least one of whom seems to have actually been a genuine racist degenerate
***So perhaps a Russian site being the guardian of liberty is not so incongruous as we might suppose.
I'm not sure what happened with that Google search; it is returning results for me.
At least you weren't searching for the news about mrflglrp mmmf mmf where even reporting about the mmf mrfle has been mmfed.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sun Dec 16 09:35:29 2018 (PiXy!)
Google wasn't giving any results for PayPal Subscribe Star in NEWS in the timeframe LAST 24 HOURS.
I used that criteria because I was looking for a non-blog news source and there was nothing about this particular story in Google's NEWS.
Using the same criteria Duck Duck Go gave the Financial Times article linked as well as a You Tube Channel. Though I did not think to screengrab that.
The blank Google screen startled me.
This is the same search on Google now.
Now it gives exactly one result.
Here's Google results as of this comment from NEWS and PAST WEEK (the story is over 3 days old now)
I think the bigger issue here is that this isn't seen as "NEWS!" by the journOlists.
I got notably better results Friday on Duck Duck Go, though today between Google ALL and DDG is infinitesimal.
While I don't feel much like defending Patreon at the moment, I'd rather nip potential conspiracy theories in the bud. What Jack Conte was describing in terms of sharing salary data is what is known as "compensation benchmark data" and it's extremely common in every industry and only not available when you're talking about highly specialized skills (e.g. independent musicians who have a wide range of specialties). It helps companies determine if they are paying over/under market rate to an employee (or a group of employees) and adjust compensation accordingly. As a manager, I've used such benchmark data to get significant salary increases for a couple of my staff in the past where they were transferred to me highly underpaid. Sites such as Salary.com provide the same sort of service to employees.
Basically, how it works is that a company develops a profile for each employee defining job role, time in that job role, location of job role, and what they are currently paying. They'll subscribe to a service where that information is averaged with many other companies that have similar employee profiles to determine what the market rate (really more a range) for employees meeting that profile is.
Posted by: StargazerA5 at Sun Dec 16 11:52:12 2018 (Q7Wqc)
Patreon, unfortunately, is developing a bad history. About a year ago, they attempted to make a change to their Patron payment terms where they instituted transaction fees. Given that many Patrons give $1-$3 a month, this would have substantially increased costs for them. It was actually a bit worse due to the timing of charges as some, formerly rolled up charges, would have become spread out over the month, but Patreon's scheme is too complicated to go into here. The reason it didn't happen is that Patrons bolted en mass when they learned about this, turning many Creators instantly non-viable. This resulted in Creators threatening to bolt en mass. Patreon backed down in short order.
Posted by: StargazerA5 at Sun Dec 16 11:54:49 2018 (Q7Wqc)
As the search result doesn't seem to be reproducible and the search criteria were overly narrow anyway, I removed the google search screencap and the associated sentence as noted in the update.
For those wondering what Pixy is going on about above, this is the screencap in question.
They must have been shamed into it because there are now results both for "paypal subscribe star" and "paypal subscribestar" and the second one is now an autocomplete suggestion.
Posted by: Rick C at Sun Dec 16 21:20:50 2018 (Iwkd4)
Labor law is outside my bailiwick, but as I understood Conte, while he does mention publicly available databases, he's also referencing private agreements with other Corporations. More significantly to the subject at hand, the salary issue is presented in context of Rubin's question regarding the opinions of other CEOs in the valley regarding free speech issues.
Conte seems to be saying that these issues are being discussed which makes sense given what has appeared to be coordination between various platforms in deplatforming incidents in the past. The Rubin interview itself was in response to an earlier round of Patreon deplatformings which seemed to involve some behind the scenes coordination as the people and organizations involved found themselves unable to find alternatives.
As I said in the post, this can quickly degenrate into crazy conspiracy theory territory and that is a concern but it does bear scrutiny.
In the Terminal Phase of Late Stage Education
The content drought will continue until both final drafts are polished and I get sleep.
However, this looks to be potentially consequential and needs to be shared.
Note that if the video begins to smoke you should back up to a safe distance and if you are pregnant, elderly or have eaten in the last two hours you might not want to watch it repeatedly. Also, it appears that there are copyright issues, so it may be good to not talk about it too much...especially at work.
First mainstream game announcement in years that has pushed my pre-order button.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sat Dec 8 20:12:47 2018 (PiXy!)
I haven't pre-ordered it, but I will be keeping a very close eye upon the game indeed. Once I start hearing things about plot, gameplay, etc, then I expect that I'll get it.
And probably be disappointed. If Fallout 4, a game I was actually somewhat invested in, has made me sigh with sadness over what could have been, what will this do?
Posted by: Wonderduck at Mon Dec 10 20:49:21 2018 (PzbzM)
It's not often appreciated that after the initial surprise, Fuchida's planes did find themselves on the receiving end of quite a bit of flak.
Today, for the first time, no one from U.S.S. Arizona is present at the memorial ceremony. Those who remember it firsthand will soon all be gone, and then people will learn of this event and the events that it precipitated from...the historians, who will surely provide our children with an approved, diverse and politically expedient account of the events of the day.
If present trends continue, we may be among the last people to learn anything approaching what happened during those desperate, crucial years. Yet even what we, (the grandchildren and great grandchildren of those who were there) know is itself distorted by time, wartime secrecy, human fallibility and the fog of war.
If you can, buy some books, (not E-books...BOOKS) on history, buy more than one on the same topic ('cause there are different perspectives). Put them someplace safe...where they'll never reach 451 degrees.
There are lots of memorials being written today of the late George H. W. Bush who was the last of the old-school presidents, being a patrician gentleman of considerable skill competence and civic mindedness. He was a bomber pilot, oilman, Civil servant, diplomat, intel specialist, the guy who convinced his boss (Nixon) to resign, and arguably the most successful one term president in U.S. History.
And in that latter capacity, he saved the world.
Regan's defense buildup and hardball diplomacy had pushed the U.S.S.R. to the brink, without firing a shot outside of a few Proxy fought spoiling actions in Central America. However, after the Berlin Wall fell, with the Soviet Union on the verge of collapse, there was the real danger that the Commissars might lash out due to spite or fear. Russia had at that time, a tad over 40,000 nuclear warheads aimed at the West.
Bush did not back them into a corner, and reassured the Russians that we were not going to drive them into the dirt. There was no war. Bush (and Gorbachev and Thatcher) kept the whole thing from going to worms as it very well could have.
He also won the Gulf War, brought the country out of recession, started a big push to launch manned expeditions through the solar system (later cancelled by his successor, aside from the space station) and tried, with some success to re-invigorate the American tradition of voluntary associations (see his thousand points of light speech).
Certainly there were mistakes, and policies of his that can be debated, but now is not the time, for George H. W. Bush was a man who dedicated his life to the service of his nation and through his steady hand and calm demeanor saved the world when it when it was on the brink.