July 13, 2020

A Corporate Governance Question

As many of you know Weyland Yutani Tencent ( a massive Chinese umbrella corporation that is controlled by the Politburo) has bought large stakes in many western media companies. This article focuses on their investments in video games and they appear to have majority stakes in Sharkmob, Supercell, Grinding Gear, and Riot.

My question is this: While a majority of shares does imply control, how much influence do smaller percentages indicate? Does a 20-40 percent share have real influence? It might get one on the board of directors, and of course the immense lure of the Chinese market is always going to be a severe temptation to those of weak conscience in making creative decisions or censoring content. Given the deep pockets of the CCP, less direct influences on board members are certainly likely and probably influence shareholder votes to a great extent, but I'm curious as to how much straight up power such share percentages might represent. 

References on such matters seem to be very opaque on this particular point, but I probably just don't know what references to check out in this field as it outside my bailiwick. 

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July 10, 2020

Oh Look, She's Brought a Friend


 Corona-Chan and Unknown Kazakhstani Pneumonia Chan. Art by IkkiMay. Support them on Patreon.

There are a lot of reports that CoronaChan has a rival in the pestilence follies of 2020. Reportedly "Unknown Kazakhstani Pneumonia" has killed 1772 people in  over the last few months. 

However: This alarm is being sounded by the Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan and is being denied by the Kazakhstani government. Since China is hardly a bastion of credibility in any area and particularly so with regard to diseases I recommend not getting too stressed. 

But do keep your eyes on this. You should stockpile ammunition, but as pointed out in the post before last, you should always stockpile ammunition just like I didn't. 

The reason the Chinese are involved is because Chinese workers on Belt and Road Initiative construction projects are making up a lot of the fatalities and, reportedly, the Chinese are a little paranoid at the moment about ignoring mysterious respiratory infections. 

This is possibly of more concern than the recent emergence of a new Swine Flu in China. That has potential to cause problems but it is literally "just a flu bro". This weeks Bubonic plague outbreak (also in China) is of basically no concern as it is spread by fleas and, honestly, it's plague season there anyway. The plague story, which is ONE person, with plague in inner Mongolia is just pandemic year click bait. 

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I Am Become Death, Destroyer Of Balls...

...or not.

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July 09, 2020

My Trip to the Ammo Store

Today I finally got time to go to the big downtown gun store, which I've been trying to do for months. Previously I'd been thwarted by their change in hours due to the WuFlu, some minor civil unrest which resulted in a cordon of police cars around the store and my own insane work schedule. 

The second floor of the building is all ammo and previously had consisted of multiple rows of shelving fairly close together, like a used bookstore but with boxes of cartridges instead of bound volumes.

When I entered the ammo room I noted that the shelves in the middle were all gone save for a single waist high shelf. The shelves were mostly empty. 

A few observations, keeping in mind that this is one data point. 

If I owned a .32, I'd be in tall cotton as there was a vast selection of .32 ACP ammo. There was also a wide selection from .32ACP to .327 magnum. 

There was not a round of .380ACP to be had. 

5.56mm and .223 does not seem to be in especially short supply.

I picked up one box frighteningly cheap Tula 9mm hoping to see if it would feed reliably in my P-89, but....

...alas the range is only open to those who bought multi-month memberships before they stopped selling them. 

I spoke to the owner who said that he'd never seen anything like this.He said that unlike a few years ago getting the ammo in stock, while slow, is fairly straightforward. It just blows off the shelves when it comes in.

 I have ammo, enough for a range day or two and frankly if I have to run through more bullets than I have there will be an entry in Wikipedia about my demise, but, as Tam points out, I did not do due diligence. My grasshopper-fu was weak.

I DID however, finally get .38 snap-caps. I don't know why those were so hard to find last year. 

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Questions That Cannot Be Asked

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This is Gonna Get Downvoted

...but it needs to be said. 

Note that Karl Kasarda is about as libertarian as they come. 

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Meanwhile, on Twitter...

I don't normally frequent Twitter as it is generally a dumpster fire floating in a cesspit of stupid. However, the stupid occasionally manifests itself in less pestiferous ways such as the channel named Inhuman Anime Girl Sounds, the contents of which are exactly what it says on the tin.

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July 06, 2020

Well, Poop

Those who compose the soundtracks of visual media are not generally remembered by name. There are a few exceptions though, John Williams, Alexander Courage, Max Steiner, and one of the most well known of that select club is Ennio Morricone, who just passed away at 91

The world is a little less awesome.

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July 05, 2020

Lucrative Business Plan

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July 04, 2020

Be of Good Cheer. Happy Birthday, U.S.A.

The country is coping with a variety of issues, the news coverage of which might well be causing some stress. But as we celebrate the nation's birthday, it bears remembering that over the last 244 years the country has faced greater challenges in every category of problem that we deal with today. Most of the issues we now face can be solved at the ballot box and, happy coincidence, this is an election year, in which we can do the very thing denied the countries founders.  more...

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July 02, 2020

10 PM Who is ringing the DoorBell


Well yeah. I'm OK. I had just finished watching a stream when someone rang the doorbell A LOT for a short moment which coincided with both the yard and porch light going out. So there was some stress as there had also been sporadic gunfire earlier in the evening (though nothing like two weeks ago) . This was added to about 30 minutes later when THE PHONE RANG.

Start time had changed...could I come to work?

I'm off now at 09:55. There was no damage to the house. The porch light seems to have burnt out and the yard light just isn't working. The city has been doing some construction in my yard and street for about 147 years so that might be related. 

The doorbell seems to work. I imagine it was just kids, which makes me glad it did not escalate since it would be unfortunate for them to acquire 00buckshot or .38 caliber piercings, fashionable as body metal may be nowadays. 

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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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