June 28, 2021

Discovery Will Be Fascinating

 World Health Organization Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan is being sued and faces contempt charges for allegedly concealing the efficacy of the drug Ivermectin against COVID 19. Thousands of Indians may have died as a result of Ivermectin treatments being discontinued as a direct result of Dr. Swaminathan's recommendation to halt its use. 

If she looses this she faces the real possibility of being convicted of Aggravated Crimes against Humanity,meaning in India she could face the death penalty.  

A lawsuit already filed  by the Indian Bar Association alleges that she lied under oath and deliberately concealed studies that proved it to be a safe and effective prophylactic and treatment against COVID-19. They cite the Frontline Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance which has been lobbying hard to reinstate treatments and to that end has amalgamated numerous studies that conclude the drug works and is safe


Hydroxychloriquine and Ivermectin may very well have been shelved for purely political reasons. That is certainly what it looks like with 20/20 hindsight from what is admittedly a layman's perspective. Given the timing of the discontinuation and the death toll , it does not seem unreasonable to this blogger that upwards of a million people may very well have died as a result of these drugs becoming gauche and being discontinued in the wake of Trump touting them . 

I base this on the assumption that since both drugs were cheap and available, most people could have been given them had their use not have been proscribed. This is especially rue in places like India where they are in wide use for treating various tropical parasites. 

A seven digit death toll  is hardly the sole responsibility of one bureaucrat. There are many, many people amongst government, industry, the medical profession and those who curate social media who stifled the news that these drugs could have made all the difference.

One can hope that they will receive their due scrutiny and a just reward for their actions.  

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Video Games as Commentary on Modern Life

Here we have the premise of the game BEHOLDER...

 A totalitarian State controls every aspect of private and social life. Laws are oppressive. Surveillance is total. Privacy is dead. You are a State-installed manager of an apartment house. The State requires you to spy on your tenants, and report any illegal or subversive activity. However, you can also choose to keep the information to yourself, or use it to blackmail the residents, resulting in a multitude of choices and endings.

I cannot comment much on this game as I haven't played it, but I watched an hour or so of Mayoi Hitsuji playing it this evening and boy howdy, I don't wanna go to bed now 'cause  I'm gonna have nightmares. 

This is just more proof that people were very silly to get worked up about G.T.A. 

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June 27, 2021


One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us news from the world Astronomy.

Art by Mato Hoshibara. She can be supported on Fanbox.

It appears that a planet is entering the inner solar system. 

It's technically a dwarf planet...but I don't think we can say dwarf anymore so revel in the clickbait. 

It's also a part of the solar system, specifically the Kuiper belt and is just on a really long orbit that is bringing it into the inner Solar System, so, it's basically a comet. However, 2014 UN271 may be more than 200 miles in diameter and probably qualifies as a Dwarf Planet. (Oh, looky there, I said it.) 

This appears to be a big Trans-Neptunian Object like Pluto, Eris, or Makemake, which scientists are eager to visit, but are so far away (much farther than even Pluto) that the expense and time required for such missions mean that they are unlikely to be visited in the foreseeable future.  

2014 UN271 however, is coming to us! On Saturday, April 5 2031, the object will reach its closest approach to the sun, just inside the orbit of Saturn. 10 years is long enough that a mission can be put together and while Saturn is way out there, its much easier to reach than most of these things. This could be really cool.

There are a couple of things about this object that are speculative; one is its size, which is anywhere between 60 and 230 miles across, the reason for this is that it appears to be outgassing already even though it's beyond Neptune right now. If so, it probably is covered in very low melting point volatiles. This COULD mean that even being beyond Jupiter  when it turns back, it could be a truly spectacular comet. 

Leaving the staid realm of orbital mechanics and engineering for a moment to wandering into the whackadoodle speculations of history majors, it should be noted that in addition to the scientific bounty this TNO brings with it some spectacularly unlikely potential for hijinks.

These objects appear to be made largely of tholins, ice, and frozen nitrogen. Nitrogen is something that one needs a LOT of if one were (for some reason) going to, say, terraform Mars, and planetary quantities of nitrogen that are accessible are hard to come by. So I could see Elon Musk sending some rather desperate expedition to this thing to set up some mass drivers and frantically mine it for its nitrogen, water, and organics during the few years it is within shooting distance of Mars, all the while frantically hurling blocks of volatiles towards the red planet, maybe with foil screens around them to ensure they don't completely evaporate before impact. This is a dubious prospect for a whole host of reasons but it might make a great story. 

One nomenclature note, the object is currently given the tentative name of Bernardinelli-Bernstein, which is WAY outside the normal, mythologically inspired names for such things, but is completely in line with how they name comets. 

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Recent Omissions From The Newspeak Dictionary

‘It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well." - Syme (from some book by some reactionary no one remembers)

The following words are now disallowed. 

Victim / Survivor 
Disabled person
Mentally ill
Child prostitute
Non-consensual sex
Abusive relationships
Homeless person
Spirit Animal
"Everything going on right now”
Committed suicide, 
Failed suicide 
Successful suicide
Completed suicide
Child prostitute
Abusive relationships
"I'm going to kill myself" 
"Kill me"
You guys,
Ladies and Gentlemen
"People of Color"
Long time no see
No can do
Sold down the river
Killing it
Take a shot at it
Take a stab at it
Trigger warning
Rule of thumb
Go off the reservation

From here, I've omitted the ones that were ALWAYS slurs that they sifted into the list in an apparent attempt to make the list seem less Dystopian. 

We'll be taking bets on when 'Dystopian', 'cautionary tale', and 'how-to-manual' get on the list.  

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June 24, 2021

I'm Gone 5 Days and.....

...things go and escalate...rather a lot. 

Sorry 'bout that. . 

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June 19, 2021

On the Road Again

I've got to run 300 miles south for several days to attend to some family matters. There's little connectivity in the swamp, so posting will be even more diffident. 

As compensation, here is a young lady who is simultaneously cute as a button and someone you probably do NOT want to get on the wrong side of.

The cute girl with the fuzzy pets is from a light novel by Schuld which  was illustrated by the awesome Lansane, who, in turn, you can directly support via Fanbox or SKEB.

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June 16, 2021

Dispatch From the Department of Duck Data

I have not been able to contact Wonderduck by phone for 

 several days, but he did reply to a text and indicated that he had made much progress in therapy and can now do bendy and move-y things he could not do before. However, the rehab facility will not release him until he clears one final hurdle.


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June 15, 2021

People Sometimes Refer to Covid-19 as China's Chernobyl

Unfortunately, a developing situation in Guandong Province may be a better candidate for that dubious title.

It appears that a nuclear plant, partially owned by a French company, has, possibly, started leaking radioactivity. The French company, Framatome, has warned of an   "imminent radiological threat” and their people seem to be....rather anxious. 

China, on the other hand, says that nothing is wrong and that"Two reactors have since the start of commercial operations been operating according to nuclear safety rules and regulations… currently, regular monitoring data shows the Taishan station and its surrounding environment meet normal parameters,” as reported and translated by the Asahi Shinbun

OTOH, another part of the CCP's response, according to EDF (Framatome's French parent company), has been to raise the allowed radiation readings so as not to cause any distressing alarms to go off. 

But we don't really know WHAT is actually happening. 

China is notoriously opaque in such matters and it is easy to believe in any sort of coverup. After all,  it's not like a Chinese reactor issue is without precedent. 

It's still possible that all these reports represent an over-reaction. The French are saying that there is no melt-down or anything of that nature, and, in any event,  news reports of anything nuclear tend to be rather breathless.

However, the French (who are involved) and the Japanese (who are potentially downwind if it gets bad) seem to be quite concerned about the situation. 

In any event, this situation bears watching. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 03:41 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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June 14, 2021

Home Again. Home Again. Jiggity Jig.

Banality below fold.

Compensatory picture of babe on bike with box-cannon is by Akai Sashimi, whose awesome work can be supported on Fanbox or by buying their art book which is coming out today


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 11:29 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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Threat Or Menace?

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June 11, 2021

The Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness

From hard to soft in Amazon recommendations.

Recommended when I looked up this book trying to track down if the following quote was, in fact, really from a science textbook.

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June 06, 2021

77 Years Later

Normandy is a rather less hellish place

The U.S.  cemetery  Colleville-sur-Merat  at Point Du Hoc. Here, 9387 white crosses mark the final resting places of men who climbed the cliffs overlooking what was once designated Omaha Beach. 

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There Was a Post

I lost it.
But here's the Reader's Digest Condensed version. 

Chlorine shortage.

I'mma gonna go hoard for a bit.

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June 02, 2021

Rejoice Fellow Citizens! The Meat Ration is Being Increased from 5 Grams to 2!

Wait. What!?

There's more on this here, here, here, and here. Basically, a ransomware attack on the packing plants of Brazilian meat packing giant JBS has shut down at least a fifth of the U.S. meat supply, and it is worse in other countries. 

The hackers, they're hacking our meat. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 06:39 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Well, Drat.

In what is yet another amazing biological achievement for the Middle Kingdom, China is reporting the first human case of H10N3 bird flu. 

Fortunately, China (ever reliable on such matters) has said that the risk of human to human transmission is low.

Even, if, by some unlikely happenstance, China were to somehow be incorrect in this assessment, we can all rejoice that governments around the world have, over the last year, put in place draconian ways to control the movement, speech, and access to information of their citizens, as soon as someone sneezes.

Note too, that the great Flu of 1918 was a bird flu

Get your toilet paper now.


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