October 15, 2019
Presumably, she is a very NAUGHTY one, because when her library collapses on her and burns during an earthquake she dies and goes...TO HELL. A very special hell reserved for naughty librarians.
But Perdition has bitten off more than it can chew and this badass bibliophile is about teach Gehenna itself a lesson it won't soon forget, as she embarks upon: The Ascendance of the Bookworm.
October 14, 2019
Observations of the trajectory and composition of the interstellar comet 2i-Borisov have resulted in a strong theory as to where it came from.
The referenced paper is here.
Nagano got hit hard.
22 years after this we got to the moon. Now, 72 years later, we're all the way to low Earth orbit
October 13, 2019
I'm sure it will be removed posthaste, but the Hong Kong activists, acting in the dead of night, managed to get their 'Lady Liberty' Statue to the peak of Lion Rock.
Previously the statue, which had been sculpted back in August, had resided at the Benjamin Franklin Center University Avenue.
The fact that there is a Benjamin Franklin Center in Hong Kong is surprising, a bit awesome, and should be cause for some reflection on this side of the pond. We have a lot to live up to.
October 12, 2019
"Reactionism Clauses"? first I've heard the term. What's that?
Well, after several hours over a couple of days I find myself devoid of any hyperlinkable citations aside from this one, linked in an old post.
This is vexing, as I KNOW they exist, or existed because I've personally read them. They were "a thing" about 12-18 months ago.
Essentially, "reactionism" is a word that exists in the English language but is scarcely used. It shows up in the Terms Of Service for companies that have recently been bought by or received large investments from Chinese companies.
Generally a reactionism clause will appear in the following context:
' word salad of things that one should not engage in' any publication, information or document with content of reactionism.
As I understand it (or did before the articles, posts, and tweets I read a year or so ago went away)when one sees those boldfaced words, one is screwed! One had best get very big padded snow shoes because from that point on one is walking on very thin ice.
Because the word can mean "conservatism or rightism" it's a odd choice for a legal document, but it is perfectly at home in a Communist Diktat outlawing anything that might be perceived as 'counterrevolutionary'.
These particular TOSs encumbered with this peculiar word (which seems to have come into existence around 2008 ) seemed to have been a big deal in the tech industry about 18 months ago as there was a surfeit of these TOS changes especially in development circles. Reactionism is the word that stood out, but the troubling bit here is what it generally foreshadows...a very restrictive Terms Of Service document that has broad guidelines for off-platform behavior, or speech that can be considered reactionism.
Similar TOS issues started cropping up the same time involving any faux-pas involving the constantly changing minefield that is the ever shrinking verbiage allowed by social justice culture. In the SJW case the correlation with Chinese investment is not 1:1 but it does seem to exist. Note that one of the definitions is "the condition of being reactionary or resistant to change" which serves the purposes of the SJW crowd in a sublime fashion.
Regardless, the clauses are a strong indicator of Chinese influence and tend to be both broad and nonspecific, ensnaring any employee (and increasingly customers) in something akin to a morality clause for a Hollywood actress during the early Hayes Code.
It was one of these clauses that was cited by Blizzard in the recent unpleasantness and they are used with merciless effect to coerce and hurt people who don't tow the party line, many of whom who do not enjoy the limelight. Additionally the problem with terms of service from a legal standpoint is that one has agreed to them.
This is a big issue and has been coming to a head for several years. However, because it's buried LITERALLY in the walls of text that constitute Terms of Service it isn't covered much, and it seems to be covered less now than it was 18 months ago.
I may update this post considerably when and if I find the articles and discussions in question.
In the meantime: regarding the related and more visible issue of companies doing the Kow-Tow, here is a very non-comprehensive list shamelessly nicked from an as-of-now continuously updated document at Github.
|Blizzard Entertainment||2019-10-05||2019-10-08||Banned a player who voiced support for the HK protests, rescinded his prize money and fired the 2 casters that were with him on air|
|Apple||2019-10-03||2019-10-08||Removed HK police tracking app from the HK app store after pressure from the CCP; Removed Taiwan flag emoji in Hong Kong|
|NBA||2019-10-04||2019-10-08||After Daryl Morey, manager of the Houston Rockets, published a tweet supportive of the HK protests, NBA issued an apology, calling the tweet "inappropriate". NBA Commissioner Adam Silver later contradicted this stance and said "We are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression"|
|Marriott||2018-01-12||2019-10-08||Fired an employee after he "liked" an online post about Tibet; De-listed Taiwan as a nation, listed it instead as part of China after Chinese pressure; Released a statement reading "Marriott International respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We donâ€™t support separatist groups that subvert the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China"|
|Vans||2019-10-05||2019-10-08||Removed contest submission depicting the protests in Hong Kong|
|Gap Inc.||2018-05-14||2019-10-08||Apologized after a T-Shirt depicting China without Taiwan was sold at a store in Canada, issuing the statement "Gap Inc. respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We've learned that a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets failed to reflect the correct map of China in the design"|
|Tiffany and Co||2019-10-07||2019-10-08||Removed tweet showing model covering her right eye (angry Chinese netizens believed it to be a reference to the woman who lost her eye after being hit by a police projectile)|
|Nike||2019-10-09||2019-10-09||Removed all Houston Rockets merch from their China stores (web and physical)|
|ESPN||2019-10-08||2019-10-09||Chuck Salituro, the senior news director of ESPN, sent a memo to shows mandating that any discussion of the Daryl Morey story avoid any political discussions about China and Hong Kong; ESPN displayed a Chinese map complete with 9 dash line, Taiwan, and also Arunachal Pradesh, which is a part of India that China claims is part of China|
|Viacom / Paramount||2019-07-18||2019-10-09||Removed Taiwan flag from Maverick's jacket|
|Disney / Marvel||2016-11-04||2019-10-09||Censored Tibetan monk from "Doctor Strange" and turned him into a white woman: the "Ancient One" was Tibetan in the comics, but white in the film. Statement from C. Robert Cargill, screenwriter: "If you acknowledge that Tibet is a place and that heâ€™s Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people who think that thatâ€™s bullshit"|
|Cathay Pacific||2019-08-09||2019-10-09||Fired staff members who expressed support for the HK protests|
|Mercedes||2018-02-06||2019-10-09||Apologised to China after quoting the Dalai Lama in an Instagram post, also deleting the post|
|Delta Airlines||N/A||2019-10-09||De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as part of China|
|American Airlines||N/A||2019-10-09||De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website|
|United Airlines||N/A||2019-10-09||De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website|
|Qantas||N/A||2019-10-09||De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China|
|Air France||N/A||2019-10-09||De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China|
|Lufthansa||N/A||2019-10-09||De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China|
|Air Canada||N/A||2019-10-09||De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China|
|British Airways||N/A||2019-10-09||De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China|
|Malaysia Airlines||N/A||2019-10-09||De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website, instead listing it as a province of China|
|Audi||N/A||2019-10-09||Apologised after using a map of China that didn't include Taiwan|
|Muji||N/A||2019-10-09||Apologised after featuring a map of China in a store catalog that didn't include the Senkaku islands, destroyed the catalogs|
|Zara||N/A||2019-10-09||Apologised for listing Taiwan as a country on their website|
|Ray-Ban||N/A||2019-10-09||De-listed Taiwan as a country on their website|
|Sheraton Hotels and Resorts||N/A||2019-10-09||Barred a Taiwan National Day reception from taking place at their Stockholm hotel, at the request of the Chinese ambassador|
|Rockhampton Council, Queensland, Australia||N/A||2019-10-09||Removed Taiwan flags from public artwork|
|Global Blue||N/A||2019-10-09||Fired a member of staff for calling Taiwan a country|
|Lancome (L'Oreal)||N/A||2019-10-09||Canceled Denise Ho concert after Denise Ho expressed support for 2014 Hong Kong protests|
|Givenchy||N/A||2019-10-10||Apologized for identifying Hong Kong and Taiwan as an independent country on their T-Shirts.|
|Coach||N/A||2019-10-10||Apologized for identifying Hong Kong and Taiwan as an independent country on their T-Shirts.|
|Versace||N/A||2019-10-10||Apologized for identifying Hong Kong and Taiwan as an independent country on their T-Shirts.|
|JYP Entertainment||2016-01-16||2019-10-11||Forced Taiwanese kpop idol Chou Tzu-yu to release an apology video after she was seen waving a Taiwan flag|
|Tiktok||2019-09||2019-10-11||Instructed moderators to censor videos that would upset Beijing|
The author, Zachary Kallenborn, suggests that this is not a transcendental threat to the survive-ability of the sea based portion of our nuclear triad, rather, he posits that increasing the capabilities of the submarine force will suffice. Gives specific examples of improvements that can help mitigate this threat.
He does not give specific examples of how to pay for these non-trivial increases in capability.
We are over 21 Trillion dollars in debt. Future budgets are going to be hit hard by austerity, and the severity, painfulness, length and societal risk of that austerity will increase non-linearly with every year that we don't engage in it. Because we are broke.
This is a thorny problem for a number of reasons. The biggest one is that the other legs of the triad are rather wobbly.
All 450 of our Minuteman ICBM silos are fixed sites. Their locations are well known to our enemies and at the top of their list of long worked out firing solutions.
They make sense in the context of deterring a Russia limited by treaty to 1550 strategic nukes as each silo, as a matter of precaution will need about three warheads apiece, leaving all other strategic targets to be spread between the remaining the remaining 200 to be divided amongst ALL other military targets, leaving relatively few for the cities. Multiple warshots per silo are needed to account for duds or misfires, and to ensure a spot-on direct hit to ensure a kill. See, the Minuteman silos are impressively robust pieces of early '60s construction technology...
For one thing, targeting is vastly more accurate than it was in the '60s, meaning that direct hits are likely. More importantly, China, is not part of any arms control regime and despite being invited by the U.S. and R.F. have rebuffed any attempts to initiate the process of doing so. While the generally accepted estimates have China's nuclear arsenal being comparable to France's, if those assessments were way off, even by an order of magnitude no great surprise would be warranted.
So the math for these silos, dubious as it was, no longer works out.
Furthermore, the bomber force, as stealthy as it is, must operate from fixed bases, which also double as enemy firing solutions, and their stealth might be a transitory characteristic, as our friends the Germans have helpfully informed the world.
We need a strategic deterrent that is survivable. Currently, this is supplied by the Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine Force, but as the Proceedings article above notes, that is a basket of some uncertainty in which to put our strategic eggs. Additionally, the whole point of having multiple delivery systems is to reduce the possibility that any one breakthrough renders our deterrent obsolete and our nation helpless.
There is a solution to this conundrum, and it's development costs are modest by virtue of it already having been successfully developed.
Just dust off the MGM-134.
What is the MGM-134 you ask?
It's an ICBM that was developed in the late 1980s and early '90s.
A little one!
Whereas the big and now defunct MX-Peacekeeper-LGM-118 was developed as a Titan 2 replacement, the MGM-134 was intended to replace the Minuteman. Like the Peacekeeper, it was intended to be mobile, but that missile was intended to be moved around in huge, expensive, armored subways, (which were abandoned for cost-saving reasons and the missiles squeezed into old Minuteman silos during their 20 year service).
By contrast, the MGM-134 was far smaller, and was intended to be drawn around the country by an off-road, tracked truck in a self -burrowing armored capsule and be hidden in tunnels, barns, caves, haystacks, cornfields, warehouses, boxcars, forests, shipping containers, and perhaps even at the bottom of random lakes,. Moreover, they would be constantly moved around to make the enemy's firing solution nonexistent.
If this sounds silly, I refer you to the Great SCUD Hunt.
The name of this diminutive Minuteman replacement was MGM-134 Midgetman.
The missile was designed, successfully tested, and accepted for service, but it was cancelled with the collapse of the U.S.S.R. just as it was about to enter service.
It seems likely that ~400 mobile launchers, constantly moving around in a country this size, represents a far more survivable deterrent than 450 silos the targeting solutions to which are unchanging and well known. Presenting an enemy with a "SCUD hunt" a third the size of North America means they can never assure the destruction of the deterrent. It would make the survive-ability of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent comparable to that of the SSBNs.
The Midgetman worked, it's developed, and 30 years on it still seems to meet requirements. Of course the erector launcher prototype was scrapped, but it might be better to use a new one anyway. It will fit into a 53 foot trailer and at 30,000 pounds, it's tare weight makes it usable on U.S. highways. meaning that that you could put some of them in Commercial Off The Shelf tractor trailer rigs painted up to be innocuous to move the things around. Targeting these things in the lower 48 states would be nigh impossible.
On the debit side, 30 years on, spinning up production is, of course, going to involve some changes and detail updates, but most of the design work is surely still usable. It achieves a range comparable to the current Minuteman by having a payload of only one warhead as opposed to the Minuteman's capacity for 3, but the Minuteman missile has been reduced to single warheads to comply with treaties anyway.
However, it should be noted that the other nations with Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, Russia, China, and the DPRK all make heavy use of mobile launchers for them
This is an off the shelf solution to a real and pressing problem, and given its already existing nature, it ought to be a fairly economical solution.
Please check my math.
Don't use Apple developer previews. Don't use their public betas. Don't use the .0 release. Don't use the .1 release.
Apple's cloud sync can replicate file corruption bugs from your beta test environment to your supposedly safe production system. (Tyler.io)
I've suspended OS updates on my iMac for a little while. Things aren't pretty.
Well, I suppose that's a fair observation.
October 11, 2019
I'm not an important member of the blogosphere, haven't posted anything involving actionable evidence about the Clintons, and in any event, there was no note attached
So for now I'm going to blame a hawk or coyote.
Why on my porch though?
October 10, 2019
Also: Extradition is now a swear word.
October 09, 2019
October 08, 2019
One thing in particular that's not getting a lot about of coverage about this censorship: The Blizzard link is to a 20 minute video has an interesting bit of background on how China's censors have been removing or white washing (literally!) black and other dark skinned characters in video games for some time.
This is a BIG deal and it deserves a lot more attention that the flurry of attention that is likely to be over by the end of the week.
For instance, this cancerous dynamic is actually the source of many of the "reactionism clauses" that are popping up in the Orwellian TOS's of tech and media companies.
October 07, 2019
Actually, I just realized that I've been tooting. Every time I supported someone on Pixiv Fanbox it was tooted to the four winds of Pawoo.
Now they know.
They all know...
Anyway, I've got to figure out this Fediverse thing. I'm wondering if I can't log into other instances because my Pawoo account is through Pixiv.
UPDATE: It doesn't really matter, I'm still able to follow people on federated sites like Mastodon and Pieroma.
October 06, 2019
Musk is saying that once this thing makes it to twenty kilometers up and safely back down, then the following launch will be to orbit.
Crewed flights will follow in short order.
Space-X has massively updated their Starship page. See here.
Musk's decision to use simpler field serviceable materials, mainly stainless steel in the construction of his new rockets means that the main production bottleneck is the big Raptor engines. The production capacity of those engines and their practical number of resuses for each will determine the pace of the construction program. Naturally, increasing raptor production is getting a lot of attention.
While there are very complex pieces of kit going into these ships (like life support systems in the manned ones) they are, on balance not terribly complex compared than contemporary aircraft or ships.
This has some interesting implications for mass production given that Musk is doing this as a crash program. because constructing a 300-400 ton stainless steel spacecraft stack, is probably not much more of an investment in relative terms than a 1200 ton destroyer was in WW1, (273 ships in ~2 years). While those numbers are far beyond the ken of a single midsized company with two production facilities, they do indicate that if production methods are nailed down, in a few years a score or more of these things might be produced.
The stainless steel construction is even more interesting in the context of in-situ repairs on Mars. Steel is easily workable and while stainless steel is less so its far more so than titanium or composites and can be repaired in the field.
Morever, while Space-X's plans to produce fuel on mars are well known it should be noted that Martian soil is mostly iron oxide and the martian atmosphere is 1/3 carbon, so steel is readily available given some modest infrastructure. While stainless steel and steel are hard to weld together, it is not impossible to do so, and it's conceivable that a damaged ship on Mars might be repaired sufficiently to get into Earth orbit.
In the much longer term with enhanced infrastructure, it gets better. You see, the materials for making stainless steels are varying proportions of iron ore, chromium, silicon, nickel, carbon, nitrogen, and manganese. If one takes a deep dive into the biologically obnoxious Martian Regolith, one finds the following proportions:
Note the presence, albeit sometimes in minute concentrations of everything except nitrogen which is mainly used as a substitute for nickel, which is found in minute quantities only at the pathfinder landing site. Fortunately, floating above the dirt is the martian atmosphere which is 2.7% Nitrogen. These are minute quantities to be sure and probably not practical for extraction at an early base, but this is only the surface dirt and their presence there indicates that there is more to be found.
If Space-X doesn't faceplant, which is not beyond the realm of posibility, then there is the very real potential for the next decade to see scores, if not hundreds of these ships built to carry people, quite possibly settlers, to Mars, the Moon and the asteroids.
I will likely not see it again as it is dark to the point that I found it hard to watch, (It really deserves its R-rating) but it is absolutely riveting and amazingly well done.
I'd heard that he'd done a good job, but Joaquin Phoenix just knocks it out of the park, acting with every muscle in his body to give a performance for the ages.
The art direction and set design are superb. It's a period piece that looks like it was filmed in the period in which it was set.
This is just a superb piece of filmmaking.
And high-octane nightmare fuel.
John Nestor was a man who followed the rules to the letter. Jonah Goldberg remembered this paragon of propriety as part of a questionable analogy opening a 2013 column.
In the early 1980s, transit officials in Washington couldnâ€™t figure out why traffic on the Beltway would grind to a near halt every day around the exact same time. The usual explanations didnâ€™t fit.
Then it was discovered that a single driver was to blame. Every day on his drive to work, this commuter would plant himself in the left lane and set his cruise control to 55 mph, the posted speed limit, forcing those behind him to merge right. You can imagine the effects.
It gets better...
To his credit, this driver came forward in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post. The manâ€™s name was John O. Nestor. He explained that the left lane was great; less traffic, less merging â€” why not ride it into work every day? Besides, he wrote, "Why should I inconvenience myself for someone who wants to speed?â€
With that bit of daily narcissistic malice, this jackass was able to destroy the traffic in the DC area. The term "Nestoring" was coined by readers of the Washington Post to describe his antics.
It gets better worse still...
Fittingly, Nestor was a regulator at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Virtually no drug was worth the risk, according to Nestor. The FDA transferred him out of the cardio-renal-pulmonary unit to some bureaucratic backwater because he "had approved no new chemical entities ... from 1968 to 1972...There is more on this here.
So this officious prick caused untold deaths because he stopped ANY approvals of heart medicine for 4 years. This does not count the deaths from any accidents he likely caused on the beltway or the people who got stuck in traffic in an ambulance and died on the way to the ER.
Mr. Nestor wrought all this misery by simply following the rules and exercising his lawful power over others. His comment about speeders belied the fact that Nestor was actually a bully. Devoid of empathy, he derived glee from hurting others with his passive aggressive mischief. His refusal to approve a single drug for the stated reason of fearing there might be harm speaks to either profound moral cowardice or fearful malice.
Jackasses are all around us. But few have had been able to make such a profound difference by themselves as Mr. Nestor. So today we remember a truly legendary asshat.
NOTE: The above was originally published in 2013. In order to get reference material for this post I had to search my own blog to find Nestor's name so I just copy-pasted it and fixed the hyperlinks.
It is relevant because I had an unexpectedly intense discussion with a friend this evening about this topic and I could not, for the life of me remember the jackasses name.
It's more relevant to my Virginia readership because in looking it up, to my astonishment, I discovered that...
VIRGINIA HAS PASSED A LAW ESTABLISHING A $100 DOLLAR FINE FOR BEING POKEY IN THE PASSING LANE.
Actually, they passed it in 2017 to very little fanfare...and even less definition of pokey.
There are good reasons to discourage people from engaging in such despicable behavior...as noted by NPR, and this Canadian, but the Virginia law seems alarmingly vague. Cripes!
Additionally, There are other, less definitive or peer reviewed reasons besides giving a damn about traffic patterns to get out of the way when someone overtaking you flashes their high beams.
Now, let's be clear, when this dreadfully annoying thing occurs, there is a 90-99% chance that the individual coming up behind you is a complete jerk with delusions of autobahn.
But here's the thing.
A few years ago my Dad was pulled over for traveling at...rather excessive speed...in the passing lane, and he had been flashing his high beams to get people out of his way. He explained to the officer that my mom was having a stroke, after some quick checking the officer escorted them to the hospital and no ticket was issued. Mom got there in time. I've known or known of several people in similar straits when they had to determine the minutes it would take to await an ambulance versus the dire need of a loved one. Now there are plenty of reasons why this is, in a macro sense a bad idea. One is after all engaging in a different sort of risky behavior, but cost/risk benefit analysis is less clear cut when dealing with a loved one.
90% or more of high beam flashers are probably asshats, but I am not such a narcissist that I'll take smug satisfaction in the power I wield over the speeder by refusing to get out of their way, because on the off chance that the speeder is in dire straits, to not yield (if safe to do so) might result in a preventable death, and that blood would, (if not legally, morally) be on my hands.
On this. your mileage may certainly vary.
*FULL DISCLOSURE: The word "pokey"does not actually appear anywhere in the aforementioned alarming legislation.
October 05, 2019
New character designs are new.
I wonder if there's actually a canon reason for some of the non costume changes.
I must say, despite my ambivalence, I do like Weiss's Saber Cosplay. The continuity with Ironwood's beard over the last few seasons is actually cool.
Everything LOOKS great and there seems to be a lot of development of concepts introduced in previous seasons.
Is anybody else finding it REALLY hard to find old news articles online?
One example. I can't find a lot involving the American response to the Russian movement into the Donbass back in 2009-10 2014 and particularly the fact that at that time there were actual Nazis (not neo-, not alt-right, I'm talking Jew Hating socialists sporting a Crooked Buddhist Sunwheel) in the Ukranian parliament.
I'm not a particular fan of Milo, but I recently tried to look up info on the hit job against him. I found plenty on the false accusations, but I had to use the mee.nu search engine to find one of my own posts with 6 links debunking them, none of which were searchable without EXACT wording.
I'm now having a hard time finding old blog posts, particularly ones on my old blog, or references to my, um, ill-fated Congressional run.
I'm SURE there used to be an option where one could search by date ie: by year and month and keywords as opposed to just "Anytime, Past Week, Past Month, Last Year".
Am I imagining this?
That is all.
Here is a completely coincidental video:
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