June 30, 2020

2020: The Year That Brought to Life the Epidemic Movie, the Societal Breakdown Movie...and the Heist Movie

In the last thrilling post we noted that "Gold is gold". Well it turns out that we erred. 

Kingold Jewelry, a corporation that is one of the largest, if not THE largest gold dealers in the world. They also deal in real estate and hospitality but mainly are a precious metals trader. The are based in....Wuhan China. 

"I can already see this is going nowhere good."

Well, they just got a 2.8 billion dollar loan from various creditors in China and the U.S. which they used their gold as collateral for. 

This is hardly noteworthy except for the minor detail that the collateral turned out to actually be gold-plated copper.  

No really. More press coverage here, here, here, and here

83 tons of gold turned out to be fake. It was gilded copper! 

It is unclear if the collateral was fake from the beginning or if this was a heist and the copper(!) was substituted at a later date. However, multiple stashes of the ersatz aurum held by creditors turned out to be spurious specie. Unless ALL the creditors got hit, and their stashes swapped with copper it seems likely that this was the state of the collateral from the beginning.

Which leads to a question.

Lead, which I have some familiarity with, is roughly 50 percent denser than copper. If I have a bunch of copper wire or pipes in one hand (don't ask) and a similarly sized bit of lead in the other, the difference is going to be quite obvious to even an untrained weeb like me. Gold is just under twice as dense as lead. They substituted plated COPPER for gold. How in the HELL did this not get picked up on when the 'collateral' was delivered? 

This fiasco has some implications.

There is the actual possibility that China's gold reserves and financial stability may be at risk. This article suggests 4% of China's gold reserves may be fake. 

That has economic implications for financial stability at a moment that China, having burned bridges internationally by being imperialist commie racists and which is reeling under the economic and social trust effects of the Wuhan Coof of Death That Came out of Wuhan China really does not need any more black swans. Indeed the negative economic potential  and the very profound blow to credibility in the eyes of the public that having a chunk of their gold reserves turn out to be fake could imply might well presage a certain amount of domestic unrest. Chinese dynasties that do not fall to mongol invaders or Limey drug dealers tend to be most vulnerable to preference cascades when they lose "the mandate of heaven" in the eyes of the people. Domestic unrest in a totalitarian nuclear power has the potential for much mischief and unpleasantness. 

There's also the question of why Kingold would do this. I looked up the company and found little about who owns them beyond 68% is in the hands of shareholders and that the CEO is a former PLA general. The company was founded in 2002 and there does seem to have been some concern regards the company in 2018 as I found two stories that were asking questions about the company then.  With this disaster, their whole business model just blew up...no one will trust them in the capacity of gold dealer again. One option is that they were incompetent and got robbed some time ago, and transferred the fake gold in exchange for the loan unwittingly. Given that gold is their core business, this bespeaks a profound and almost unbelievable level of incompetence for no one to notice that THE GOLD WAS COPPER (and not gold plated tungsten, which has almost the same density as gold and which costs 24 dollars a kilo...in the US and not China which is the worlds leading producer of tungsten).  

A more troubling notion is that the company thought that everything is about to blow up and liquidity and the versatility that having lots of money portends for survival is more important than long term business reputation, which is basically irrelevant in post-apocalyptia. 

That's probably not likely, but the year thus far does not support dismissing it out of hand. 

There is another troubling implication that is less potentially consequential but annoying nonetheless.The inevitable "Bitcoin is better" argument is probably not strictly speaking, valid, but it is making the rounds and will make certain individuals insufferable for the foreseeable future. 

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June 29, 2020


I just got in. I'm tired and have to be to work in 4 hours. The sewer had backed up into the shower, I've cleaned that and am awaiting the shower curtain and mat to come out of the washer. As I do so, I noted this.

And you're thinking "What's he going on about? Au=gold. Gold is gold right? Why is this an issue?"

That's not the chemical symbol for gold. And that isn't some illustration of gold. That's the international postal abbreviation of Australia on a Wattle, which is, in turn, the national flower of Australia, which, in turn, is going to replace the kangaroo as the symbol for Australia because 2020 is stoopid

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June 25, 2020

A Forgotten Battle

Academia doesn't cover this sort of thing much, but it's deeply important history and a reminder of why the second amendment exists. 

Another example of this sort of thing, albeit without the racial component was the 'Battle of Athens', in 1946. 

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I just deleted a tsunami of spam comments.

It's possible that I deleted someone's comment by mistake.

If so, I apologize. 

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June 24, 2020

A Few Profane Words of Encouragement

In which a fellow who literally named his channel "RAGEAHOLIC" implores everyone to 'just relax and calm down' and provides references and perspective (but with swear words interspersed). 

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June 22, 2020

Wait. There's a TAG for That?

Someone sent this J-List link to me saying, "I found that game you got that cute snake girl from!" 

Uhh? What? 
Actually, I've never played the game and got the image from Danbooro, which was how I was able to credit the artist when I used Hygieia the cute snekgrrl as a reaction image or something....years ago.

But that's not important now. We live in a world where there's actually a category for Tsundere Lamias. I don't know how to think about that. 

Note: November Sierra Foxtrot Whiskey


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Oh. So THAT'S What it Means

The protestors in Seattle are annoyed by the moniker that the media has assigned them (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone or C.H.A.Z.). And to be fair, CHAZ is silly. To rectify this public relations problem they have demanded that they be referred to as C.H.O.P. (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest). This did not seem like an improvement to me but it turns out that C.H.O.P. has the advantage of honesty, as this fellow in the embedded video helpfully explains.  "Does anybody here know what happened to the people who did not get on board with the French Revolution?” to which the crowd cheers "CHOP!"

Original video source is Shelby Talcott's Twitter :

I've got a degree in History. Trust me when I say that this is bad
No doubt you are now reading up on The French Revolution, particularly The Terror. However, I suggest you, gentle reader, also read a bit about the Spanish Civil War, the Maoist Cultural Revolution, and Salem Witch Trials.  This movement has similarities to each of those manias, which all were catastrophic for the affected populations.  

...and for those who think this can't affect those of us in the hinterlands if these people win, here is a Quillette article on what for us is a relevant subset of The Terror...The Rape of the Vendee'.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that we go ahead and call them what they want to be called here, for clarity's sake.

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June 20, 2020

Wait. W...W....WWhat?

Wait...strong female characters?
Space marines?
Unflattering depiction of evil corporate weasels?
What in this film is wrong today!?

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June 19, 2020

In Current Year...

...basically anything involving diversity, societal reflection and justice is easily dismissed as claptrap or worse, because so many of those who embrace those descriptors are dishonest, stupid or of malign intent.

This is unfortunate because there are some things that fall under those headings that are well and truly worth celebrating.

Happy Juneteenth everybody!

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June 15, 2020

Opposites Attract

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Follow Up to an Earlier Posts Regarding the Home Front

Art by Alan Dunn


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June 07, 2020

Year of the Rat

As I scroll through the rolodex of creative and stimulating distractions that 2020 has graciously provided us with,  I blundered into this article from two weeks ago, which indicates that the rats in our major cities are becoming desperate and aggressive due to the lack of the foetid garbage piles decorating back alleys; this being a result of the lockdown. Hopefully, this plague of rats will be mitigated somewhat by the riots and ensuing opening up....of all the burned out businesses. 

Sitting here staring at that last sentence, I wondered aloud "Dear God, What else can go wrong?"

...and just like that my prayer was answered. 


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June 06, 2020

The Speech Not Given 76 Years Ago Today

Eisenhower went into D-Day with two speeches written. One by his staff, and one by him. The latter was, thankfully, unneeded. 

 "Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops,My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air, and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

More on this here

The aftermath of the victory on the beach called Omaha. 

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June 04, 2020

They're in Our Kitchenz....Optimizin' Our Omelets

Over at IEEE Spectrum they have an article on a robot that learns from its user's reactions and generate perfect omelets. An interesting article, that focuses on the potential of advanced machine learning, it does raise some questions. How many eggs must our robot overlords break to make what they believe to be the perfect omelet? Perhaps, if we knew the answer to that question, we would count ourselves among Those Who Walk Away From Omelets. 

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June 02, 2020

What Else is Happening in the World?

Certain developments that we're all following closely but are sick of hearing about have been getting the vast majority of coverage. Wonder what is getting missed?

Here are a few things. 

The U.S. has agreed to sell Taiwan  some Mark 48 torpedoes. Advanced heavyweight torpedoes are the purview of only a few nations and most countries that make them have declined to sell them to Taiwan in recent years for fear of annoying Coronastan. The deal has actually been in the works since 2016, but has been delayed four years. However, for some reason, the U.S. seems to no longer be concerned about the feelings of the Middle Kingdom anymore. 

High in the Himalayas, the situation between India and China continues to deteriorate

In west central Africa, measels and Winnie the Flu are being joined by....Ebola

See!? I'm still relevant!

Anthropomorphizing diseases is open to criticism of course, but honestly, when geologists are anthropomorphizing volcanoes I don'wanna hear it. 

In Mexico, 10 policemen on assignment to escort some potential investors in a small town vanished after completing their assignment along with numerous civilians. 

Activision's CEO has revealed himself to be afflicted by multiple personality disorder

After looking at designs from the U.S. and around the world, The U.S. Navy has finally picked a wining frigate design and paid Italian company Fincanteri for the rights to build these new frigates here...wait..this is good news. Is that allowed?

In the South Atlantic, a large magnetic anomaly (basically a gap in the earth's magnetic field) is growing and moving. Now it's been doing this for decades so this would not be news normally, except that the approved experts are saying "At present, there's nothing to be alarmed about. "...so given experts track record this year, obviously something is terribly wrong and will become apparent in about 90 days so we should all madly buy toilet paper for some reason. 

Or not. 

Stay safe everybody. 

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Well. This Day is Off to a Good Start.

This morning instead poaching eggs for breakfast I decided to pour a bowl of raisin bran. This is, theoretically, a simple operation that involves depositing the cereal in a bowl and adding milk to it (in that order...this is important). However, the difference between theory and practice is that there is no difference between theory in practice in theory, but in practice there is. For example: I discovered this morning a heretofore unknown failure mode in the aforementioned culinary preparation operation wherein the plastic bag containing the raisin bran partially falls out of the cardboard box  into the bowl at precisely the length and weight distribution that when one rights the box, the bag and its contents are launched into the air free of the box with a rotation imparted on the bag of sufficient velocity that centrifugal forces completely empty the bag of raisin bran slowly enough that the bag has rotated a full 360 degrees before becoming empty but fast enough that the raisin bran has sufficient velocity to distribute itself evenly to the farthest extent of the kitchen and halfway into the dining room. 

An hour later, I think I got it all. 

Upon reflection, I should, perhaps, reassess my risk analysis before driving to the bank later today. 

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June 01, 2020

Various Things

Do I stop and film the many many clusters of many police cars with their blinky lights on, or speed away?

I've consistently chosen "B".

Last night was the first night since Thursday that I haven't heard prolonged gunfire, including automatic gunfire, near my house so that's a plus. 

Internet's been better today though.

I was on vacation this month, but I'm only taking today and tomorrow, because we're working basically double shifts and are shorthanded at work. 

Here, have a sack of cute:

Cheer up. This too will pass.  And there's now a dinosaur on the space station

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