February 29, 2020
There seems to be a virtual news blackout of the Virginia legislative session now except of the few victories or temporary reprieves regarding guns, even in the local news. The exceptions involve silly and tyrannical bills like the ban on balloons (which was defeated).
(and who is not responsible for the context of her chibi)
These seem to be being used like the Democrats as chaff, to conceal the rest of their legislation.
One bit of legislation that seems to get no coverage, is the annexation of a chunk of Tazwell County (68 miles, presumably waterfront) into the "Clinch Scenic River State Park". Tazewell County was among the first of the counties to set up a sanctuary and is the first county to have the county government provisionally call up the "militia". Annexing their waterfront property could well be retaliation...or not...but its getting no coverage because the media seems to have a blackout on Richmond's antics.
Likely more important than any of this, are the changes to Virginia voting registration and election law, that are still not getting any coverage. I've posted a hyperlinked list below the fold and some of these are doozies.
This is the big battle, but like a cat we've all been chasing the ephemeral dot.
February 28, 2020
And yes, this invaluable book is still in print.
Which notes that the proposal is not, in fact an official one.
China is dispatching 100,000 ducks to Pakistan to assist with repelling an invasion of locusts.
94 years is a long time. Mr. Dyson did not waste that time. Wikipedia provides a partial overview of his discoveries and concepts, as well as this non-comprehensive list of just the things that were named for him.
- Dyson sphere
- Parasitic number, also known as a Dyson number
- Dyson operator
- Dyson series
- Dyson conjecture
- Dyson tree
- Dyson's transform
- Dyson's eternal intelligence
- Schwinger–Dyson equation
- Thue–Siegel–Dyson–Roth theorem
- Feynman diagram, also known as Dyson graphs
There is an excellent interview with him from a year and a half ago here.
Thank you Freeman Dyson.
Issac Arthur has a fine tribute to this great man.
February 26, 2020
Corona-Chan is quite the cosmo-girl..
83 people being quarantined in Long Island.
Northern Italy is Quarantined....The shelves are empty.
300 are being quarantined in London after one Chevron employee developed Covid-19 at their office building in...Canary Wharf, where, presumably, he/she has talked to LOTS of people in the last 14-27 days.
Corona-Chan has now knocked South America off her bucket list.
San Fransisco has declared a state of emergency.
China is reporting that its rate of infections is going lower. This should be taken with a grain of salt, but given the extreme proactive measures that China has implemented (quarantines work after all), it's not at all impossible.
In what is surely completely unrelated news, leaked documents indicate China's Covid-19 cases are 52 times higher than officially reported. (~80,000 x 52 = oh dear)
In fairness China's government is concerned about other things.
There is some good news. Despite considerable institutional inertia and red tape, The U.S. company Moderna has sent off its first vaccine for testing. Human trials could start as soon as July, but getting it in bulk would probably take at least until the fall, if, in fact , there are no problems. Besides the normal pitfalls in developing a vaccine in a crash program, it should be noted that China did NOT allow other countries to collect samples from the source in Wuhan, so this must be based on samples the Chinese have provided and patients evacuated from Wuhan. How that may effect the matter is unclear.
Several American companies are fast on the heels of Moderna and an Australian company is working on a different approach that shows considerable promise.
Anyway, fingers are crossed.
When, not if, it catches fire here is the question now, with the CDC predicting severe disruptions.
Most of us will get through this OK. However, water treatment, power, and shipping require trained people who will probably spend a few weeks in quarantine, or on their backs miserable. Things could get unpleasant for a few weeks. Have some means to get or purify water, and several weeks worth of food, all the cold medicine you can store and and some books. If you develop breathing problems, then go to the hospital, but only then. The window an all the things except the books is rapidly closing.
Keep of good cheer and remember that despair is a sin.
Most of us will get through this as long as we keep our heads.
February 24, 2020
Granblue Fantasy aired in 2017 and I did not really pursue it at the time.
Well, I noted that the show features many elements that can be considered to be warning signs in media, much like brightly colored coral is underwater....such as...
*It's based on a video game.
*Nay, a GACHA game actually.
*It's set in a sort of steampunk Middle Earth.
*The initial set up appears to be a series of bromides, bound together with cliche's served on a bed of tropes.
*This thing exists, and talks...
...and that's where I initially stopped watching, because with all the other warning signs this just did not seem promising.
However, there is a sequel series out now, and, given the slim pickings of this season I decided, to check it out and to that end, I decided to give the old series another shot.
I'm glad I did.
Meet Lieutenant Katalina Alize. Until a few hours ago a highly skilled and decorated soldier of of the Erste Empire who was (until a few hours ago) in charge of security for an undisclosed research project. This involved undisclosed badness being perpetrated on Penny Plot Device Lyria (the young girl in the background). We join our statuesque heroine in the process of rescuing Lyria from her own troops, on a flying battleship. In the process of this unorthodox personnel transfer, Lt. Alize demonstrates that she's not a diversity hire, but rather an example of authority being derived from asskicking ability. Katalina is an accomplished spellblade who makes short work of her former shipmates until a particularly smarmy example of effete' aristocracy unleashes a magical weapon upon the young lady she's trying to rescue, precipitating an explosion, that results in Lyria falling from the ship, into the forest of a floating sky island near...
Gran, who, as we are introduced to him, is chopping wood in full plate armor, not because they have only one Gran model, but because he's a little fanatical about his swordsmanship training. Upon seeing the Battleship fly overhead, suffer an explosion, and drop what they took to be flaming debris in the forest, Gran and the off-model pokemon noted above rush to the scene of impact to see what happened (and if necessary work to control any forest fires). They find Lyria, unconscious outside the long sealed shrine to the island's god (called Bahamut). They note that the long abandoned and off limits shrine is...glowing. Lyria awakens, and after virtually no exposition is found by Katalina, as well as imperial troops. After a brief fight Gran, realizing that the two ladies are actually fugitives, takes a moment to ponder who the bad guys are in this situation, a question that is helpfully addressed by the Imperial troops as they interact with the locals...
The issue thus resolved, he lends his pitifully non-magical swordsmanship to the two young ladies, and, while nowhere near as skilled as Lt. Katalina, he proves to be quite impressive in his own right, punching well above his weight.
Upon recieving a bit of exposition after the Imperials withdraw, Gran decides it's a really good idea to accompany these two young ladies on their quest, which currently is to get as far from this island as possible, and ultimately is to...
They are going to work on that while flying away in their airship.
To my astonishment, GranBlue Fantasy is a hoot!
For all it's many many cliche's this series actually manages to work and not be boring. The pacing is solid throughout and most of the characters are nicely fleshed out. This is a remarkably ensemble cast, with everyone bringing something to the table and as the party grows over the series, they all complement each other well and compensate for each other's weaknesses.
There are consistent and nice character touches too,
Regarding visual quality, there a few off-model scenes and the 12th episode seems to have been rushed, with some of the VFX not up to the series' usual high standards. The art direction is gorgeous, and the animation appears to mostly be cell animation. As often happens, the CGI doesn't quite mesh and this would normally be jarring. However, the computer animation is used mainly for unearthly/ supernatural things where the "off" look actually works very well.
I watched it in two sittings and found it quite enjoyable. the climactic episode (12) is a little odd, and as mentioned earlier seems a bit rushed. Perhaps it was intended to be two episodes. However, it definitely sets the stage for another season, and while it does advance the plot, it really seems more like a mid-season climax than any sort of denouement. This would probably have infuriated me in 2017, but as GBF2 is currently airing it means I have something to look forward to.
There is an episode 13, but it is essentially a Netflix adaptation.
All, in all, I was quite surprised how enjoyable and engaging this show is. It is basic fantasy with a side of steampunk, but it is quite nicely executed and has me hooked for more.
February 22, 2020
It turns out they weren't spam. Well, not mostly.
G-mail had dredged up and put in my inbox EVERY email I sent or received on my account since 2014.
There were memories there...
That just freaked me the hell out a lot more than it ought to have.
But one thing still freaks me out, and it probably should: Every one of those things...I deleted once.
I deleted most of them again.
But there is no delete...there is only Google.
However, primers on how to engage in unauthorized use of someone else's image or use of mood altering mushrooms do not.
Brickmuppet Blog disavows all knowledge of any relevant context.
Now, 10 hours later, the number in the ROK is "over 430".
And the hits keep on coming:
Japan just released over 1000 people (including 500 Japanese nationals) from quarantine on that cruise ship after 14 days. And numerous people in the U.S. and elsewhere have recently been released after a 14 day incubation period. Well, this morning, China helpfully shared the knowledge that the incubation period is not 14 days as they previously said, but up to 27 days.
The supply chain disruptions are (as expected) worsening, and COVID-19 (Coronachan) has been found in Samsung phone factories.
Japan had already cancelled most public gatherings.
That's senseable and given a robust quarrantine of people exposed, this may yet be manageab.....
oh...A California Judge has helpfully blocked people being sent into quarantine citing the legal principle of NIMBY.
OK: This thing is out and about, and the toothpaste cannot be put back in the tube. Given the incubation/transmission data many of us probably, especially those who frequent schools or public places in port cities probably already have it. I'd advise not going to the doctor for any reason unless you're very sick with this bug.
If you haven't already, buy a couple of months non-perishable food now, perhaps a few bags of rice and beans and some multivitamins. The biggest challenge is that if you don't have a well, you need to make some arrangements to have water.Maybe a WaterBob or something. Have it delivered if possible. This isn't the end of the world, but services might get sketchy for a few weeks, and water treatment plants require skilled personel who might be out for 14 27 days minimum. Make sure you have all your meds stockpiled because the drugs may dry up in a few weeks.
The U.S. might need to navigate drug or medical product shortages if the coronavirus outbreak continues to snarl production in China, a pivotal supplier for American consumers, doctors and hospitals.
Hahn said the agency is "keenly aware" the coronavirus outbreak "will likely impact the medical product supply chain, including potential disruptions to supply or shortages of critical medical products in the U.S."
Most of us are going to get this. It's not Captain Trips, it's not the Andromeda Strain and our great grandparents went through something similar in 1918-19 and the world did not end. Batten down, take all your medications watch the news and if you get it just roll your D-100 and don't roll a 1, 2, or 3.
Art by Lionheart-O.
February 20, 2020
So rather than continue to type, we're just going to post this instead.
Note: "Blizzard" in this context is in reference to the weather phenomena's location in Virginia. North of the Ohio or Oka rivers the proper term would be "Thursday night"
February 18, 2020
Photos are included at the link, I confess that I was unaware that the hiatus was due to , I guess, transition surgery(?) which seems to have been a success, but I can't shake the notion that some of the work looks kind of plastic.
Anyway, welcome back Jinx!
February 16, 2020
The next two seasons got better, surprised its audience, and while the action animation never recovered from the death of Monty Oum midway through the production of season three, the other production values, story and characterizations got exceptional. ...until the season 5 finale which was a fight spread out over approximately 377,482 hours of tedious soliloquy and nothing happening. Season Six was much better, the production values being incredibly good and the story itself having regained its stride, though the finale was a soft cliffhanger.
Rooster Teeth has had its issues of late and its management has seemed to go out of its way to antagonize some of its fans. The company is no longer the 20 or so people punching above their weight but is rather, now, a division of AT&T which makes this seasons enhanced production values pretty much expected and the production problems reported in the media fairly inexcusable.
Given the internal issues being reported and the various clashes with the fandom, one ought not be surprised if the show is a dumpster fire.
Instead, the surprise comes from Season 7 kicking ass.
This season gets right almost everything that slipped through the cracks in season 5. In particular the pacing is solid throughout, building tension throughout the story to a genuinely gripping season finale.
Even the fight choreography has improved to the point that it's finally approaching parity with the late Monty Oum's work in season's one and two, as this two minute clip from the season opener shows.
This is, hands down, the best season of this show ever. Story wise, the show manages to throw all manner of curve-balls while still retaining its internal logic. There is a little bit of perfuntory advancement in episode two '"Hey! Everybody gets new uniforms!" but almost everything else is beautifully paced and even the surprises (and boy are there surprises), make perfect sense as they're bringing together threads from six other seasons.
This brings us to the two minor quibbles with the show, one is that a lot of the plot is not fully understandable if you haven't seen the previous seasons, (which, sadly means watching season 5). Oh you'll be able to figure it out, but you'll lack that delicious moment of realization when the waiter smiles.
There is also another issue which has caused some consternation in some circles.
but honestly even that development doesn't really detract from the show this time around.
This was just a really solid season and I find myself looking forward to the next (probably last one) with genuine eagerness.
Well, today the news is that..
Oh screw it'
Let Tim Pool rant about it...
So yeah....some news outfits are now saying it came from a lab.
Note that there is no confession or direct evidence of this, but, unlike earlier speculation, which just noted the existence of the virology labs in the city and the virus modifying resume of the large lab's lead scientists, today's headlines come from a research paper put out for peer review. A research paper from a University within China. It does not appear to be on Research Gate any more but it exists here, at least until the Chinese nuke Niue.
While I knew there were two virology labs in the city, I was unaware of the fact that one of them was less than 1000 feet from the fish market.
From page 3 of the report:
The bats carrying CoV ZC45 were originally found in Yunnan or Zhejiang province, both of which were more than 900 kilometers away from the seafood market. Bats were normally found to live in caves and trees. But the seafood market is in a densely-populated district of Wuhan, a metropolitan of ~15 million people. The probability was very low for the bats to fly to the market. According to municipal reports and the testimonies of 31 residents and 28 visitors, the bat was never a food source in the city, and no bat was traded in the market. There was possible natural recombination or intermediate host of the coronavirus, yet little proof has been reported.
It's not just that it wasn't bats...it's that there WEREN'T bats.
Of course this is from a paper from a Chinese University, and these same news outlets were saying two days ago that the scrutiny of the labs were a conspiracy theory.
This should probably cause a reassessment of some premises.
Nothing so exemplifies how much we are like Descartes' hypothetical brain in a jar in the way we get info from our telescreens via the magic-smoke tubes.
February 15, 2020
Now "Raphtalia" is a perfectly serviceable piece of kit that does its job, but...
Today, for the first time in the 5 and a half months since I got the new machine, I began seriously poking around my old files seeing what still worked. I knew that my Windows partition did not speak to Mojave but now that Windows 7 doesn't exist anymore, an upgrade is out of the question (unless I purchase Windows 10) so my iMac's virtual machine is no longer viable.
My old copy of MMDAI won't run on Mojave and it seems that the program is no longer supported at all, so I can't get Miku Miku Dance to work on my iMac in any capacity. My old files are likely just lost. Likewise, the Ren'Py files are all unreadable, though the associated word files are saved. A good swath of my music did not survive the transfer, but it was mostly the swath that I'd....paid for. (Way to discourage piracy DRM!)
While MMD doesn't support iMac in any way, I note that (if I read this right), that there is actually a fork for MMD that claims to work on a Rasberry Pi.
UPDATE: Good grief! There's Rasberry Pi support for Ren'Py too!
February 14, 2020
Even with the very clear statement by the website that some of the content is of uncertain provenance, this is high octane nightmare fuel that will keep you up at night.
In related news, there's this...
Sulphur Dioxide emissions from Wuhan spiked Sunday morning. It is being suggested to be likely that animals or people (or both) are being burned in great numbers, which precisely jives with what is suggested by some of the Coronachan videos.
Again, we don't know what we don't know.
Is this basically NORMAL industrial emissions for Wuhan and Chongqing? Could they be burning the animals at the
How reliable is this satellite info?
In other news:
Zhengli Shi, the administrator of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, (one of the two(!) virology labs in Wuhan) was involved in a rather infamous 2015 experiment at the University of North Carolina to create a really virulent and deadly coronavirus. The idea seems to have been to figure out a worse case scenario and how to plan for it. One the one hand, preparedness is good...on the other hand virulent and deadly man-made coronaviruses are bad, m'kay...and on the gripping hand, the U.S. had just passed a law against that area of research because genetically engineered genocidal death plagues are a demographic that suffers from a robustly bi-partisan lack of support in Congress. In any event, Dr. Shi went and filed a patent for genetically engineering coronavirus proteins. Kudos, to the loons over at Zero Hedge who actually went and dug up Dr. Shi's patent...'cause I frankly never would have thought to look for patents being granted for genocidal death plagues.
It may be that this is nothing, Zero Hedge is hit or miss, but the intensity of the Chinese governments response indicates that they are quite terrified of the potential this disease has in a way they weren't about SARS.
None of this matters now, because it's here, some of us may already have it and don't know it. It kills 1-3 % so while it's scary, it's not the end of the world, but it is likely to make this a really really bad year. Don't panic, stock up some food and keep your spirits up, despair and panic are at least as deadly as this bug.
February 12, 2020
Via Pixy, comes this report that the Federal Trade Commission has decided to examine EVERY acquisition and merger by Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft in 2010-2019 with an eye towards assessing them for potential Sherman Act or other anti-trust violations.
It's Bitchute, so I chuckled and moved on. This afternoon I encountered someone on a message board ranting quite passionately about...the U.S. flooding the U.K. food supply with unsafe levels of chicken chloride.
O.K. that's twice, so on a lark, I googled "chicken chloride" despite my confidence that there is no such chemical. In fact there is not, but there IS a current row in the U.K. about the wisdom of importing "chlorinated" chicken from the U.S.
At least I ASSUME this is the source of the chicken chloride worries.
As to why we chlorinate our chicken: Some years ago we had a salmonella outbreak that was asymptomatic in chickens and soon spread throughout the U.S. poultry industry. This strain of salmonella (which I participated in to my considerable dismay) was not asymptomatic in people. This caused changes to food service regulations regarding poultry, a massive crackdown on cleanliness standards at chicken processing plants, and as a precaution, an additional two steps to chicken processing were mandated: bleach spray followed by an extra rinse with dihydrogen-monoxide. This is still standard in many states since no one wants to be THAT GUY who stopped a likely useless practice right before some bacterial outbreak.
February 08, 2020
Some time ago an interstellar object, subsequently named Omuamua passed through the solar system. On it's way out of The Solar System, it performed what appeared to be a course correction and accelerated out of the solar system. This caused considerable consternation at the time, but subsequent analysis seems to indicate that it was sufficiently flat and non-dense that light pressure combined with the likely sublimation of volatiles on its sun-facing side is sufficient to explain its apparently aberrantly expressed celerity.
That being said, the object is weird and John Michael Godier interviews Dr. Sergey Mashchenko who goes over all the weirdness about this object, known, and unknown as well as some of the speculation that has been put forward to explain the weirdness...the most speculative speculation is that the thing might have been made out of dark matter.
Of course such extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and the proof has been accelerating out of the solar system 2 years. It's only a little more likely than the notion that Epstein killed himself.
Which circuitously brings us to another bit of unfounded speculation, regarding The Epstein Drive from THE EXPANSE That plot device is what is called a "torch drive" which is a staple of science fiction without FTL. While considered by the authors to be handwavium, Matter Beam over at the Tough Sci-Fi blog has run the numbers and applied the latest theories of fusion rocket designs to the performance figures noted in the series of books and come to the conclusion that the Epstein Drive, is in fact much harder sci-fi than is generally supposed. It's a very long post, go read the whole thing.
While performance of a Torch drive seems to be within the realm of possibility, it is not a near term prospect. By contrast NASA has been sponsoring research by Princeton Satellite Systems which has produced a design for a direct fusion drive that has astounding performance by current standards.
; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; display: inline !important; float: none;">Regardless of the low thrust, it can deliver a metric ton of payload to Pluto in 3.75 years flat, instead of chemical rocket New Horizon's pathetic 30 kilograms taking freaking nine years.
Its main development hurdles are the magnetic nozzle, which is still a work in progress with regards to the performance needed for fusing of He3 and its reliance upon that very helium 3 which is quite expensive here on Earth. It can be generated, however by making tritium which decays into He3 and there are, of course the questionable proposals to mine it on the moon.
It may seem to be putting the cart before the horse since we can't get fusion power plants to break even on power, however the power plant has to contain the fusion reaction, whereas a rocket is just has to have it blow out the rear end, and we've had fusion explosions since we evaporated a coral atoll in 1952. In fact the rocket design evolved from the constant containment failures in fusion power plant experiments. It basically involves having the inevitable failure happen in one direction....calling that direction aft and building the ship around that premise. Besides the good overview at Atomic Rocket, numerous peer reviewed papers have been done on this engine and its applications over the last few years including a NASA sponsored design for a Pluto probe and a BIS proposal to use the design for missions to the Oort cloud, the gravitational lensing point and the nearest stars.
Its certainly not off the shelf, but if pursued, it promises remarkable improvements in performance in the fairly near term.
Anyway. the future is looking bright.
So don't eat bats.
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