September 30, 2019

A WinRar is Me

Last week I received an E-mail apologizing and informing me that me that my confirmation E-mail had gone to spam and that the snacks were in the mail.

Allow me to explain...

BILLY VERSUS SNAKEMAN is one of the many less than productive slices on the time allocation pie-graph of the Walter Mitty LARP that is my life.

 It's a fun little anime themed browser game where one vicariously lives the life of a text based ninja living in a text based ninja village working with one's fellow ninja villagers to protect the village from attacks by other ninja villages, rampaging Kaiju, zombies, snowstorms, petitioners, sketchy peddlers, gambling schoolgirls and renegade tattoo artists, all the while going on quests and missions (to other anime genres) that pit you against the malign elder deity that is The Random Encounter Table. There's a TV Tropes page for it.

The game is actually surprisingly well designed. It's fun and despite the limitations of a text based browser game, it  affords considerable freedom and a surprising ability to cooperate with other players in your village, and occasionally others villages as well.

 It's  run by Hammergirl Anime in Rochester New York which is relevant to this explanation because on the very day I had it confirmed that I'd graduated from college, I was informed that I had won "25 Dollars in Weird Japanese Snacks From Hammergirl".

And today...


This box from Hammergirl Anime contained a whole bunch of 'Weird Japanese Snacks'.

But that's exactly what was promised!

"So. As a video game company Hammergirl is already way ahead of Bethesda."

If you're interested, you can play Billy Versus Snakeman here. Pixy and I are in Snowflake Village. Which is...totally not for snowflakes. Hopefully,  we will be accepting memberships again this evening or tomorrow.
: Snowflake Village is accepting new members. Thanks Pixy.


Now I must deal with these Weird snacks.

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Best. Fan-Letter. EVER.

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September 28, 2019

Big Rocket is Big

Actual speechification begins at 16:55

Musk seems a bit off his game in this presentation, though the speech itself is mostly a recap and celebration of Space-X's accomplishments to this point.

There is an overview of the current second stage of the rocket which has undergone a considerable redesign just in the last few months...loosing the tail fin for one thing.

Musk notes a typo in this slide, Dry mass is actually ~120tons.

Musk does point out the advantages of stainless steel pointing out how much easier it is to work with in comparison to the more exotic materials his company has been using. He notes that this rocket which is set to fly in a few weeks has been welded in the open on a concrete slab on a barrier island surrounded by beach sand and boonie by a team of welders who he takes the time to thank. This is important when considering field repairs on the Moon, Mars or Ceres.

His answer to the inquiry about living space seems to indicate he hasn't given much thought to artificial gravity.

There's a bit where he mentions taking this type of rocket to the Saturnian system. While this might be ballistically possible, Solar power isn't really practical beyond Jupiter, and very challenging beyond the asteroid belt. It's unclear if Musk has some nuclear power plant in mind.

The big news however is that he expects to reach orbit with this rocket or one of its sisters in 6 months, with a manned flight shortly after that!

And good grief that rocket is big!

This is just the second stage...about a third of the whole thing.

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Is it OK to Try and Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?... Ends

Somewhat surprisingly after last week's cliffhanger, we are presented with a quiet episode that was at times quite touching. This story also does a bit of world-building regarding life outside of the cosmopolitan adventure haven of Oraria and touches on the implications of how the people in the rest of the world get along.

While very low key, this was a perfectly solid episode that despite an abrupt tonal shift in comparison to the wackiness of last week's episode or the breakneck pacing of the previous cour, gives some rare, momentary insight (or at least a hint) into Wallenstein's outlook, further explores Bell's er, concerns and does let Hestia do things in her actual bailiwick and remind us that she is a good

Hell if he knows, It's not like there are any Edith Hamilton books in this universe.

The episode also sets up what looks like to be a new storyline starting next week.

But wait...

I was quite shocked to learn this morning that this week's introspective and quiet bit of filler is the series finale!

"Dance, DANCE before the bonfire of the plot threads!"

Fortunately it looks like J.C.Staff is not just trolling us.

This is welcome news because Is it OK to Try and Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? despite being wildly uneven in both pacing and tone, has managed to be consistently enjoyable throughout both of its iterations.

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September 27, 2019

Homonyms in Scotland

Two traps find a trap.

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While We Weren't Looking

One of the things that comes up from time to time when discussing futurism and space travel is that there is a theoretical (if tenuous) basis for violating the generally accepted impossibility of superluninal travel.

Developed by an acclaimed Mexican scientist named Dr. Miguel Alcubierre, the  Alcubierre Warp Drive sounds superficially similar to the propulsion in Star Trek, but is based in real physics..albeit very theoretical physics.

You see, since the speed of light is very firmly established as an insurmountable obstacle Dr. Alcubierre was only able to develop a mathematically sound way of violating this by using negative values for certain this case, um, mass.

In the above interview, Dr. Alcubierre is quite up front that this is a dubious prospect as negative mass is not something that one is simply not forbidden to exist, we're not talking about anti-matter...we're talking about "stuff" with a value of less than nothing.

So unless someone invents/discovers "negative mass" this is basically at the intersection of physics, mathematics, special pleading and vapourware.


Now, one of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes points us to this post at Next Big Future which offhandedly mentions that scientists from The University of Rochester generated negative mass last year and further poking around reveals that Scientists in Washington did so in 2017.

Seems a rather LARGE thing to have avoided news coverage, but it does appear to be legit. This is not to say that the Alcubierre Drive is imminent, or even practical, but it is just a tad more possible.

The above link that started all this concerns research paths on various FTL proposals and discusses the humbling obstacles to being able to do this such as a million fold increase in the sensitivity of various sensors i order to observe adjustments in the warp fields. That is indeed a large hurdle...but for the first time scientists know what they need in the way of calibration and sensors to study the problem.

Scientists now know a little more of what they don't know and that is actually progress.

If negative mass can be produced in any quantity (and there are formidable issues with that)  then even if there is no practical result to the warp drive  research, the negative mass has some interesting (potential & theoretical) applications that border on Clarke-Tech.

And even if the Warp Drive is possible, it's likely that we'll never see anything like FTL in our lifetime, but the fact that scientists are discovering things like negative matter point to a very bright future indeed, if we can avoid some dystopian speedbumps on the road to tomorrow. 

* Science Babe by Tony Taka

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The Last Couple of Days

(OK not quite as combustible as all that.)

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....It's a satire site.

17 minutes...
To be fair.
This is an easy mistake to make in another language, particularly when this was sent as a tip. Frankly, I wish I was close to as proficient in Japanese, Spanish, or Latin as Vee is in English.

No link out of mercy to Vee.

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September 25, 2019

And Then It Happened


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September 24, 2019

Relevant Filk

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Well... (UPDATED)

It appears that the U.K. establishment is bound and determined to remove their sitting leader and bypass such messy things as elections which intolerably empower those dirty plebs.

Here in the good old U.S.of A. we can at least take comfort in.....




I have no idea what the real story is with regards to Trump. If the democrats version of things is true then an impeachment would indeed be on the table. Their story is that Trump withheld Military aid to Ukraine, a country in desperate straits, in order to force the Ukranian Govt. to dig up dirt on a U.S. Citizen and rival of the President's.

However, the notion of current nominal and actual leadership of the Democrats telling the truth about anything is so implausible as to invite dismissal.

Intriguingly: It is possible that every claim the Democrats are making is factually true and that they are still full of crap.

Context is the whole.

Ukraine is notoriously corrupt. Before giving them our equipment, it might be a good idea to strongly encourage some corruption reform and examine how our money is spent. Biden's connections to Ukraine appear* to be fractally corrupt and may have led to interference in the 2016 election. Furthermore, the aid to Ukraine, while quite defensible in many ways is representative of a system of foreign aid and military entanglements that Trump has been railing against for 30 years and the deconstruction of which was a rather large plank of his campaign platform. So it is possible that it's ALL true and yet completely legit.

Again, context is the whole.

OTOH, Andrew Napoliatano, a Libertarian leaning Judge thinks that there is indeed some "there there".

We'll know more when the transcript is released.

Note that releasing a private conversation between the POTUS and another nations executive is a precedent that can be safely categorized as bad.

This is a mess.


Well that fizzled most spectacularly.

*Note the stress on "appear" as the Biden aspect of this is coming from the same lying media that lies about so much else. Biden is not a media favorite as is evidenced by the surfeit of embarrassing Biden stories getting oxygen at the moment.   He is profoundly resented by the new Red Guards who are taking over the Democratic party, and see him as an example of the "Olds" that they seek to destroy.

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September 22, 2019

Good Lord

You might have known about the Gearbox Goons visiting YouTubers but after the lootboxes, that stuff turns out to be the least bad thing the company has been doing.

We need someone to do periodic welfare checks on Dev.

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It's All Fun and Games Until HR Gets Involved

Hestia: Not the Greek goddess of self-awareness.

From the latest episode of Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon, which provides us a respite from the previous very serious plot arc...with a wacky story that gets wackier until suddenly....

About that previous arc though:

Slow clap. That was brilliantly done.  

This is a silly show, but it has heart and it is quite enjoyable.

I'm liking it.

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Astra: Lost in Space Ends

Indeed it did.
Mostly off screen.

Astra: Lost in Space has been a really good series, where our young heroes have survived against all odds in the face of all manner of interesting science fiction scenarios. In the process of surviving those perils, they have uncovered a conspiracy, another, much larger conspiracy of incredible scope and the series has expertly set up the fact that their getting home is going to start an entirely new set of adventures that could easily provide fodder for an entire new season including some genuine conundrums and really interesting concepts with sinister implications.

Instead, these many fascinating plot threads involving many perils and a gut punch to their entire civilization is wrapped up in a convenient retrospective monologue after a time skip.

To be fair, the show has a logical resolution . It just happens off camera.  This really could have gone on for 12 more episodes even if there were additional twists. Instead, we get 15 minutes added to the episode length and a lot of exposition. The troubling and sinister implications of the larger conspiracy are only hinted at.


It looks like the series got cut short and the writers dealt with it as best they could. As it stands this was still a very above average series. The last episode is just SO perfunctory that it is a genuine disappointment.

On the other hand, the result is that this ends up being a show that is much more about the journey and the destination, and despite the let down of the journey's end, the road show itself was a hoot.

The first 12 episodes were good enough that I still recommend it though. With the caveat that the last episode is an afterthought.

(And I eagerly look forward to the show being finished in the fanfic.)

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Actually, it May Still Be a Problem Even if You Make A Video About it

 "COOL! That's Sooo impressive!"
(Backs away slowly and inches toward the door.)

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September 21, 2019


Well, the Mojave is about to experience something novel. This could be bad.

Never Mind...

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Our society...

...has something of a problem.

A great darkness is coming.

The individual that proudly tweeted this horror is the lead of the English dept in a New Jersey school-system.

God what a waste. Obviously books need to be rotated and replaced periodically, but even IF this particular turnover is an unalloyed good, (doubtful IMHO) it's a spectacular waste of resources.

If this school ever has a bake sale, they can choke on their brownies, because they just threw away stuff that could have gotten them much more money. 

There are any number of options that they had besides this, (booksale anyone!?) but they don't care about that. It's not enough to rid themselves of that which they dislike; the offending ideas must be purged from society. 

What chills me to the core about this tweet though, is that there is no excuse, however flimsy, being given. This isn't happening in the dead of night. No they're bragging about it.

This is fanaticism. 

This is a mad priest burning the herisies, It is reminiscent of Cromwell, the Red Guards, GODWIN VIOLATION DELETED, The Taliban, Killjoy Baptists, and what the ChiComs do with Bibles and Korans. It is the modus operandi of every villain in a juvie prior to 2004. 

And yet, she proudly tweets about this as it serves to bear witness to her faith.

This is very serious business.  We are in profound trouble as a society.

Those who remember are dying. most of those who are young will never learn.

The enlightenment values of Western Civilization represent an anomalous 300 year aberration in the history of humanity. If we do not arrest this cancerous trend, then like the Greek City States before us, this wondrous aberration will disappear into the 300,000 year+ history of humanity as merely one of a few short lived deviations from the mean.

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September 20, 2019 Area 51

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September 19, 2019


Last time Houston got anything like this much rain Ubu Roi nearly got washed away.

Stay dry Ubu.

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September 18, 2019

SyFy Friday Night Movie... or News?

Deep in the Amazon rain-forest, a genetic experiment to end mosquito-borne diseases goes horribly wrong, resulting in a implacable mutant strain of mosquitoes.

Investigators looking into the death of a doctor in a rural Indiana town stumble upon a malign conspiracy when they find 2,246 dead children ritually preserved in jars.

Deep in the subtropical forests of an isolated Texas barrier island, an eccentric billionaire builds an enormous rocket with the intention to colonize Mars.

Researchers ruefully ponder the fact that the biggest selling point of their implacable robot army is its lack of a moral compass.

Fire sparks mass explosion of semen at cattle breeding center; hi-jinks ensue.

Deep in the Siberian wastes, an isolated former Soviet biowarfare facility is researching myriad exotic pathogens, when it is wracked by a series of explosions

In a world where the the vast majority of people are addicted to and surveilled by a non-surgical brain prosthetic, a series of validation-seeking, conformity-enforcing mobs become the backbone of surveillance for an insidious system that seeks to expunge those who do not harmonize their views with those of their overlords.

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