March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day

DISCLAIMER: This actually has nothing to do with the holiday but is superficially Irish looking and cute.

Art by Tyuga

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 08:51 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 24 words, total size 1 kb.

A Different Perspective on the Holiday

"...and THAT'S why our ancestors left Ireland for America"

Artist Unknown

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 08:46 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 17 words, total size 1 kb.

March 14, 2018

The Universe Just Got a Bit Dimmer

Five and a half decades after being being told he would be dead in two years, Stephen Hawking expired in his sleep this morning at 79. Long confined to a wheelchair by his terrible disease this unlikely but undeniable badass divided his time between keeping death at bay through sheer force of will and making tremendous strides in expanding mankind's knowledge of how the universe works. 

This obituary seems to have gotten short shrift as the news today is cluttered with stories of domestic politics, international crises, celebrity asshattery, and the fact that it is snowing in New England in March. However, (if we don't blow it all up) the contributions of this man will be celebrated and studied long after all the other news of the day has faded into the dusts of time. 

Fair winds and following seas Dr. Hawking.
Few have fought so hard and so long against the twin darknesses of death and ignorance.
Thank you sir. 

UPDATE: Issac Arthur has an overview of Hawking's discoveries, rather more in depth than I'm capable of.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 04:04 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 185 words, total size 2 kb.

March 11, 2018

On a Lighter Note...

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 04:40 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 4 words, total size 1 kb.

That Train's Not Coming

Art by Pochi (A.K.A. Poti1990)

Not unless and until it's fixed...and that's going to take some work. 


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 04:35 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 1137 words, total size 10 kb.

March 07, 2018

This is a Useful Tool!

Removes Pintrest from a Google image search result 
Just type it before your search query.

This keeps one from getting bogged down with Pintrest results rather than the actual source.

Pintrest, of course is not, despite what google says, an image credit.

But Girls Frontline is!

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 08:21 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 52 words, total size 1 kb.

March 04, 2018

A Quick Overview of Putin's Atomic Superweapons

This past Tuesday R.F. President Vladimir Putin gave a State of the Federation speech. The speech is actually interesting for a number of reasons, including a surprising disquesition on the rising poverty in The Federation. Towards the end of the speech Putin mentioned several new nuclear weapons that he says are coming into Russian service in the near future....which is pretty much all anyone is talking about.

In fairness, they are, shall we say, interesting.

SARMAT: The most conventional of the weapons mentioned, this is an ICBM replacement for the R-36 (NATO codename "SS-18 Satan") missile. In the speech , Putin seemed to confirm what has been reported elsewhere; that it has a 10 ton throw weight and that its range is antipodal, that is, it can hit any point on Earth. This means that it can hit shoot at the U.S. over Antarctica and hit North America from the South.  SARMAT seems to basically be the old Soviet FOBS missile but larger and much more capable. 10 metric tons is enough for a lot of 'splody, reports suggest that it will carry 10-24 warheads. Some of them may be manuverable hypersonic warheads.

Kinzhal: This hypersonic weapon may have a non-nuclear warhead option, It appears to be separate from the hypersonic manuverable reentry warheads tossed by SARMAT. It is not new, in fact the technology was enthusiastically pursued by the U.S.A. some years ago but it was put on the back burner for a time, and now the U.S. is playing catch-up. 

Status-6:  Putin asked for a public vote on what the name should be and, not being Brits, the names chosen were not Nuky McNukeface. If unleashed, it's a huge nuclear powered torpedo carrying a huge warhead, specifically, the warhead is alleged to be based upon the Tsar Bomba, the highest yield weapon ever tested. That device yielded either 50 or 58 megatons depending on the source and was a clean/half yield test of a warhead that was intended to have a 100 megaton yield. (Later, when it was briefly considered as the payload of an abortive ICBM the physics package was described as a 150 megaton weapon). So this is basically a torpedo with an atomic waterjet that carries a 50-150 megaton warhead into a harbor that will utterly destroy and irradiate it. This weapon appears to be either operational or in advanced testing.

Nuclear Powered Cruise Missile: A supersonic missile powered by a nuclear ramjet, it appears to have similarities to a weapon that was developed in the United States and abandoned for several reasons that included but were not limited to the difficulty of testing a weapon that would spew radioactive death as exhaust and the issues of firing a weapon that spews radioactive death across continents. It has the advantage of being able to fly low for long periods and evade intercept radars by coming in from unexpected directions. In the video, it is shown to do a tactical dogleg...around Cape Horn, which shows how much range the nuclear engine gives. 

It has been suggested that this weapon explains some anomalous radioactive readings detected in Alaska  recently. 

With the possible exception of Status 6/Kraken none of these seem to be operational and are unlikely to be so in the next few years. 

So don't be alarmed. Our near future is unlikely to look quite like this.

...because our cars are not nearly that stylish.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 09:49 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 582 words, total size 6 kb.

I Have Been Wrong

For two years now, the SyFy Channel has been running a show called The Expanse

During those two years, I did not watch it. 

This was a grievous error in judgement on my part which I only recently rectified. 

Now, having purchased both seasons on DVD and having watched every single episode (some twice), I can say that this is a remarkably good show. 

The Expanse follows the crew of the Ice Freighter Canterburry and its crew of working class stiffs as they do their mundane, difficult and absolutely necessary work of hauling ice from Saturn to the frontier metropolis that is Ceres.

Despite a limited budget, the show makes considerable nods to hard science, both with its depiction of spin gravity...

OK, actually, that implies a much smaller spin radius than that location should have, but hey, coriolis!

...and the pernicious effects of its absence. That and a myriad of other little sciency details are remarkably realistic in their depiction and well handled plot-wise in this show, which follows Josephus Aloisius Miller, a cynical, somewhat corrupt police detective on Ceres. Saddled with a 'wandering daughter job' he makes a series of discoveries that blow upon the dying embers of his conscience and idealism threatening to rekindle them both. This could be a fatal affliction on Ceres. 

Despite a SyFy channel budget, Ceres, a major waypoint between the inner and outer solar systems just works as a sort of Noir Dodge City, if Dodge city were a company town where one had to pay for air.

Where The Expanse really breaks the mould is in its setting which ought not to work but does. This, after all, is a show about the Byzantine  day to day intrigues and machinations of one Chrisjen Avasarala, a 70 year old, high level bureaucrat  in the Earth government who uncovers a vast conspiracy. This unlikely protagonist is brilliantly portrayed by  Shohreh Aghdashloo, who just knocks it out of the park. 

Space opera generally requires visually spectacular space battles, which do not comport with scientific realism or SyFy Channel budgets, The Expanse solves both problems by remarkably good writing and pacing. While certainly not super accurate it does have an internally consistent and realistic looking way of portraying space combat, as is to be expected from a show that revolves around a plucky group of Martian Space Marines, and their blood knight squad leader who their ship's captain is trying to keep from starting a war. 

Having now watched the 23 episodes that make up the first two seasons I can say that this show is at least as good as Babylon 5, and that's not something I say lightly. 

Now of course the show is not without its faults, the biggest one being that season three has not started yet.

That looks like it will be rectified on April 11.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:10 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 480 words, total size 5 kb.

March 03, 2018

Painting By Numbers With Pixels

Well, this review is almost two months late, but RWBY Season 5 has ended and it probably warrants some comment.

Perfunctory is the word that comes to mind.

Mid season, this show was looking to be really good. It was paced very differently from previous seasons, though the collection of quiet character studies was reminiscent of parts of season 4. 

This whole cour had been expertly developing tension that promised a solid payoff and by about episode 8 there were roughly 5 cliffhangers in the plot queue that promised to come together in an intensely satisfying manner. Notwithstanding those, the episodes generally kept a methodical pace as characters were further developed and the cards of the various players were put on the table for the audience to see.

The final battle, in which the heroes are trapped by the villains who have them completely overmatched in numbers, power, and experience is beautifully set up and the first few minutes of it are absolutely riveting.

This whole scene with the villain's entrance was just sublime. 

Annnnnd thennn the battle drug on for FOUR freaking episodes during which the pacing was set to glacial. This was particularly weird because the season ended up with 14 episodes, an odd peculiar number given that the previous seasons had been 12 without the short expository ones. There doesn't seem to have been any reason to pad it out and kill the pacing. It's almost like they were parodying a Shounen Jump show. (There's some irony here. Season three revolved around a sports tournament storyline, which is usually a kiss of death for plotting and pacing, yet that season transcended the trope and was superbly paced and moves the show's story ahead dramatically).

This?  The remainder of the show lacked the dynamism of the show's earlier fight scenes and was punctuated by tedious dialog which is all the more aggravating because there was some STELLAR voice acting delivering these uninspired lines. There were one or two neat moments, mainly due to the delivery rather than the direction, pacing or choreography, but they couldn't overcome the disjointed and padded out nature of the season's last four episodes. If they'd just gone with 12 and compressed this fight it would have probably been better. 

To say this was dissapointing does not do it justice. In addition to the excellent voice work, the technical aspects of the show were impressive and improved in many ways. The season had been quite good until it face planted. 

I do wonder if this season was intended to be much more tightly paced and this finale was supposed to be the halfway point. I engage in this unfounded speculation because RWBY had always been touted as a 5 season show, with a possibility for a spin-off or sequel, and it appears that that was indeed about how much plot they had, because it looks like Rooster Teeth going for six seasons. This is, in fairness not unreasonable since in the show's lackadaisical ambling through the four episode finale, there were several plot threads left dangling (an actual resolution to the main story being the most notable one).  

RWBY Season 5 was good enough until the very end that I do intend to watch it next season, but I look forward to it with a sense of apprehension.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 09:29 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 560 words, total size 4 kb.

This is It

This is the end.

It seems that our self appointed betters in Silicon Valley have a new fad...

Now at first glance, there's nothing wrong with that, until one reads five words into the standfirst...

Their pampered birds wear diapers



So first off, these...individuals... presumably have to get special chicken diapers. Cloth diapers seem geometrically unlikely and safety pins are a dubious prospect with Chickens. And face it, Pampers do not take widdles into account. This is horrible.

if you want to have a pet bird not live in a coop, there are probably better ways than to have the poor thing soak its hind feathers in its own poop.

Get a duck.

They're smart, they can be house trained, they...
Can chickens be house trained like ducks?
I've never pondered this before.
It would seem not, 'cause these acknowledged geniuses in Silicon Valley are putting BIRDS, in DIAPERS.


Let's do a bit of research...


Now in fairness, this involved involved nearly 1.5 seconds of using something called "the internet", which may not be an option that naturally occurs to a Silicon Valley Tech Exec...


Perhaps we should follow up...I mean it's possible that the answer to " how to housebreak a chicken" is "You can't." so lets look at...Nope.

A quick perusal of Amazon would further indicate that Chicken Diapers do exist

So yes. 
We're doomed.

Full disclosure: I don't care if these people keep chickens. I used to live in a trailer park and many of my neighbors kept rabbit hutches and chicken coops, until the local zoning board tore them down (along with my neighbor's home, which was damaged by the backhoe in the process) and fined them into oblivion after learning that they did not possess the Hipster Douche exemption to asinine zoning laws. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:03 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 318 words, total size 3 kb.

Three Out of Four

Banality lurks below the fold. For those uninterested in my Walter Mitty lifestyle, here, instead, are two girls eating Spaghetti while camping.


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 03:24 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 341 words, total size 3 kb.

March 01, 2018

Because We Still Can

"Find the thing you love and stick to it."

 It was about this time that the pigs suddenly moved into the farmhouse and took up their residence there...It was absolutely necessary, he said, that the pigs, who were the brains of the farm, should have a quiet place to work in. It was also more suited to the dignity of the Leader (for of late he had taken to speaking of Napoleon under the title of "Leader") to live in a house than in a mere sty. Nevertheless, some of the animals were disturbed when they heard that the pigs not only took their meals in the kitchen and used the drawing-room as a recreation room, but also slept in the beds. 

N > 2

 Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.


" I disagree."

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 08:17 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 169 words, total size 4 kb.

March 11, 2018

The Train's Not Coming

Art by Pochi (A.K.A. Poti1990)

Not unless and until it's fixed...and that's going to take some work. 


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 04:18 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 1137 words, total size 10 kb.

<< Page 1 of 1 >>
69kb generated in CPU 0.06, elapsed 0.1617 seconds.
71 queries taking 0.1148 seconds, 299 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.