October 14, 2017

RWBY's Final Season Begins

Immediately we get confirmation that team RNGR as a group has important and oft overlooked habits which are absolutely necessary for those who would protect themselves and others.



Good trigger discipline and always checking one's targets.

This episode picks up exactly where the last episode of last season left off, with no time-skip. In fact, most of this episode takes place hours before the very end of last season's final episode. Most of the titular cast is still scattered to the four winds but we do get a bit of exposition that provides Ruby herself  and her B team with some perspective and a new goal. Blake is still on another continent, Weiss is still de-remittanced, hunted and (unknown to them or her) en route to their general location in possession of an important bit of information
Yang's subplot has taken an unexpected turn...



...literally, she must have done a U-turn after taking that right in the closing credits.


 The only thing that really indicates a new season is that there has been another of the show's annual upgrades in quality; production values are visibly better. 



This is actually a couple of screencaps from a still pan, but the attention to detail is remarkable, especially when one remembers the "shadow people" of the first season. 

There is no spectacular opening fight as there has been every other season, and indeed only one punch is thrown. Improved backgrounds notwithstanding, the season is not so much beginning as the show is continuing, with last season's conclusion feeling even more like a midseason finale. The show, however, remains enjoyable and still looks promising. 

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October 13, 2017

I Gather My Hero Academia Has a Large Female Fan Following

I base this entirely upon the gender composition of the MMD dance parodies. 



This one is unusual, in not only having one female cast member, but two (OK, one and a half).



The show itself remains uneven in pacing but quite enjoyable and surprisingly intelligent given its silly premise. It's on hiatus now but has had a third season greenlit, which I must say is quite welcome news. 

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October 12, 2017

Perspective is Important, but not Necessarily Welcome



Looking to give proper credit for this insightful quote only yielded Snopes engaging in what is obviously some sort of cover-up.

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October 10, 2017

We're Doomed.

This is necessary now.



I thought it had to be parody...but it's actually not.


" What the actual hell?"

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October 09, 2017

5 Days


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Hide All the Archdukes

The British Royal Navy's new aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth is not due to begin flight trials until late next year and is expected to be fully operational in 2020. However, given the situation with the DPRK, the Royal Navy is now looking at the possibility of sending the ship to the area around the Koreas on short notice, before flight trials have even started. Presumably the trip to the other side of the world would be quite the shakedown cruise. 


This is a reminder that the Korean War, is still technically, legally going on (though there is a cease fire in effect) and that the war is actually a U.N. war, so if it goes hot, it can potentially drag in an awful lot of countries.

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October 08, 2017

Down With Flu: Can't Brain Right Now, so Have This



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October 05, 2017

RFS Peter the Great Has Some Fun

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October 04, 2017

It Appears That the Nonspeciffic "You" Referenced in the Last Post Was NOT Kidding

Those, in or around Tallahassee and Apalachicola; this weekend might be a good time to take a roadtrip to Kansas. 



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October 03, 2017

Are You KIDDING Me?

The yellow thing is just thunderstorms with a 10% chance of developing into something obnoxious. The item marked in red that is currently lining up on New Orleans is described as having a 70% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone. 

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75% Non-Excrable

I missed an episode of The Orville when they switched nights. Fortunately, (well... not for him) J. Greely took the hit and was able to provide  a warning to us all


Having missed that, I actually watched episode 4 and I can say that three quarters of the episodes thus far have not reeked of vomit and shame. In fact the three I've seen have all been quite solidly mediocre. 



This is a by the numbers Star Trek show that appears to have been written by the perfectly straightforward method of recording week night sessions of Star Trek the Role-Playing Game, where the house rules include "no transporters" and two of the players really just want to play Starfleet Battles, so the GM sets up a separate Hex map for them in the table next to the wet bar. 

At least that's what it feels like.

It's REALLY not high art, but I'm going to keep rolling the dice on this show for now.

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October 02, 2017

Wishful Thinking & Unwarranted Schadenfreude

There is a fair amount of concern trolling expressed at Marvel's recent sales woes and a belief amongst certain people that they represent the death knell for the Comic industry.


This is not the case.

Marvel and DC don't even NEED to turn a profit anymore. They are now idea factories and copyright farms for Time Warner and Disney to whom the budget of Marvel is a rounding error.The notion that driving away their former audience is going to have any effect upon their editorial decision making is delusional. Furthermore, these reports of declining sales are based largely on Diamond's sales figures, which are not going to show, say, Amazon sales. Comic stores are just another type of brick and mortar store that is being bypassed by direct, online sales so the sales figures for the actual companies may not be as low as is assumed.

Furthermore, the comics themselves are loss leaders. I was reminded of this by a post by a comic professional on a private board. Trade paperbacks are where comics make money nowadays.  That is, the comics themselves don't really make money anymore. (I used to know this, but haven't worked in the industry for years).

Pretty much the only people who buy those are those who frequent comic shops, the hardcore fans who are the object of the SJWs hate. Newer fans, and casual readers buy the trade paperbacks, which remain in print (thanks to modern printing technologies) pretty much in perpetuity. A comic doesn't make money. A trade paperback ordered on Amazon does.

I've talked to people in the industry who would know and paperbacks are actually selling pretty well. Indeed, the declining comic sales have no bearing on this because trades are the new way of buying comics...one picks up the trade paperback on Amazon. One industry professional described the new business model as very similar to the Japanese Manga industry, with the individual comics taking the place of the big manga "phone books" as loss leaders. The trade paperbacks here are the American equivalent of the manga complilations...that's what people buy, and the profit on each book actually increases with time as the number of trade paperback editions grows. Trade paperbacks thus work sort of like like compound interest, and in fact they are generally the way that web comics make money.

So while it may be very satisfying to believe that the editors who hate us with every fiber of their being might be forced by economic reality to not make Captain America a Nazi, the fact is that this has not hurt them at all.

Marvel and D.C. are doing exceedingly well. They have cultivated an entirely new fan base which is making them money. This is good business. That these SJWs did so by treating their long time fans with the kindness and respect that a spoiled child demonstrates in pulling the wings off a junebug, is sad. 

What is sadder still is a bunch of adults gloating over comic book stores suffering. They had no control over the editorial decisions that many of us find vexing nor the technological innovations that have bypassed them. Their demise will not hurt the big comic companies in any way and will almost certainly (given the demographics of comic store owners) give SJWs a wry smile and cruel chuckle. It will not affect the bottom line of Marvel and DC in any way. 

So don't expect multimillion dollar corporations to come crawling back to atone for not catering to us. That is the impotent fantasy of grade school looser. Instead, take some satisfaction that they did a good job with the Wonder Woman movie, and they haven't screwed up Squirrel Girl yet. 


Then go poke about and look for other comics that you just possibly might like. There are quite a few online


There's even a likeable genderbent Thor!


Failing that go out and create your own. Or send some of that comic money this guy's way.

Or sit on your duff and wait for Marvel and DC to collapse...but if you do that, you may want to get a book or something. 'Cause it's gonna be a long wait. 



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Terror in Vas Vegas


20+dead as I type this.

Someone opened fire with an automatic weapon from the 32nd floor of a hotel in Vegas cutting down at least a score of 50 people at a country music festival. 

The gunman has tentatively been identified as being named Paddock, so the authorities are saying that this is probably not terrorism....
That's not how this works.
He just shot up and killed at least 50 people. This was certainly a terroristic act. If he was trying to affect policy in any way, he was a terrorist.
If he was a jihadi he was a terrorist.
If he hated country music and wanted to make an artistic statement regarding that, this was terrorism. 
If he was antifa trying to kill rednecks because "TRUMP!" then this was terrorism. 
If he was a Protestant nutbar trying to cleanse sin city, then this was terrorism. 
If it was a Trump supporter trying to avenge the fact that Las Vegas voted for Hillary, then it was terrorism.
If it was a pro life advocate trying to make a statement about the slaughter of the unborn then he's quite unclear on the whole "pro-life" thing....and its still terrorism. 

However, if, he was trying to shoot up the crowd in the hopes that he'd hit a reptillian and cause them to shapeshift on national television thereby exposing their dire influence on the country music world, then it's just a lone nut.

If he's mad because he broke up with his girlfriend, then she was prescient and it isn't terrorism.

Terrorism does not equal islamism. Bill Ayers, Tim McVeigh, Brett Kimberlin and James Hodgkinson were not islamists, but they sure as hell were terrorists. 

 I've typed this, the death toll has gone up from 20 to more than 50. This is now the worst mass shooting in U.S. History

Good lord, there was just a report of over 200 people shot! Was he using a belt fed weapon? There's a fellow being interviewed now who says that it was definitely a fully automatic weapon. 

***A lot of this info is likely to get revised, the 200 shot could well be injured for instance (they might have been trampled) so it's probably best to just leave it at this for now. 





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September 27, 2017

This Video is An Important Message For IT Professionals

...unless it's actually a message for everyone else.

Via Scott Lowther, whose stuff you should buy in vast quantities.


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September 26, 2017

Final Farewells

More on the passing of Jerry Pournelle, from people who unlike me, have the writing skill do him justice; Sarah HoytNeil SchulmanGlenn Reynolds, Rand Simberg and George R.R. Martin.


The eulogy given at his funeral is here.

The man was a visionary, and gave many of us hope in a time that hope was the scarcest treasure of all. 

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Dropping the Ball?

The situation in Puerto Rico is BAD.

It's not getting much better as the electrical grid on the island is completely destroyed and emergency generators are running out of fuel.  6 days after the storm there is still no word from over half the towns on the island!

It is not that no attention is being paid, it is. Rather there are logistical problems here that weren't present with the other storms that hit the U.S..

Cdr Salamander has thoughts on this here, and makes some interesting comparisons to Connecticut, roughly the same shape, size and population. Also, from his comments section, comes this link, where NOAA is putting up an interactive map of post hurricane aerial photos of the island. These are mostly limited as I type this to the north coast east of Arecibo, but they are pretty scary.

It looks like a nuclear test site. 



Those of you who've been in the Southeast in August in the week after a hurricane hits have a very small taste of what it's like in Puerto Rico with no AC, no water and no refrigeration. The mosquitoes are something I don't want to think about. Dengue, Malaria and Zikka are coming if more is not done in the spraying department. 

Everything has to get in via ship or plane, so the 'roadtrip for relief' operations that have been so effective in the southeastern CONUS won't work.   A lot is actually being done, and theArmy and Navy are bypassing the demolished port facilities with amphibious landing craft. But time is running out and this could turn unspeakably horrible real quick. 

One final note, while Puerto Rico's electrical infrastructure was pretty decrepit before the storm, it was not nearly as old as much of the grid is in the northeast. There are challenges in getting replacement transformers and other equipment there due to it being an island, but these are probably comparable to what our great eastern cities would face if the entire northeast were shut down by a Carrington event or NEMP attack. As for the difficulty getting around to fix things and save people, the damage to the trees and structures is consistent with a 1-5 psi blast wave. What Puerto Rico is facing now is the equivalent in damage to a nuclear attack, minus the fires and radiation. It also lacks the sub freezing temperatures that an attack on the northeast in winter would entail. 

So don't be smug about out fellow citizens in the islands. How we respond to this will be telling. 

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September 25, 2017

This is a Potentially Alarming Development

TFB reports on what appears to be a booby-trapped shotgun that was purchased by a gunstore. It seems to have been modified to shoot a .32ACP into the shooters face when racked.

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A Question for My Catholic Readers

Is this really a big deal?


A group of clergy and lay scholars from around the world have taken the very rare step of presenting Pope Francis with a formal filial correction, accusing him of propagating heresies concerning marriage, the moral life, and reception of the sacraments.
It's being reported as a big deal, but I'm skeptical of modern reporting on Christian denominations, and the only thing I really know about Catholics is that they are just like D&D. (At least that's what the Chick Tracts said.)


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That Other "Football"

While millionares who get paid big bucks to play games effectively thumb their noses at the fans who pay to see them, it probably behooves us to remember that "football" is also a term for something rather more consequential


This springs to mind because The North Koreans are now threatening to pop off an ATMOSPHERIC nuclear test over the Pacific, and further claiming that it will be the biggest explosion in that part of the world. (This would make the calamitous Castle Bravo test of 15 megatons the lower end of what they are promising). 

That seems rather high for anything that the DPRK could put on a missile, but, while the Norks are full of bluster to be sure, for the past few years they've made good on their promises regarding WMD. Note that their last (250KT) test, broke their mountain.
...reports of the mountain’s demise are highly exaggerated, although there is little doubt that there would have been significant "cracking” (possibly extending to the surface) as well as significant "irreversible strain” resulting from this event. Such cracking facilitates radioactive gas seepage in other environments. It remains to be seen, however, whether or not the North Portal will ever be used for another nuclear test. There are still two unused additional tunnel complexes (served by the South and West Portals) that are also deemed potentially capable of further nuclear testing, albeit for tests having lower yields than that of the sixth test.
 So, if they want to pursue higher yields (which makes sense if they'll have only a limited number of devices in the near furture) then they probably have to do atmospheric tests as there are so few safe places to do underground tests in the DPRK.

The generally quoted maximum yield to weight ratio is about 6 kilotons per kilogram, but only a few American weapons in the megaton range achieved that. The U.S. reportedly had designs for weapons with yields as high as 11 kt per kilogram in the early 1960s, but such efficiencies are only possible at the very high yields which went out of favor in the U.S. around that time. Note that "that time" was 50 years ago, The DPRK's weapons labs are no doubt well behind those of the other countries today, but it is unlikely that they are substantially less advanced than Los Alamos 50 years ago.  The notion that they could put a 15 +megaton nuke on one of their missiles is therefore unlikely, but not beyond the realm of possibility.

There's another really dreadful scenario, and that is that they detonate the device in the water, either as a depth charge or as the warhead on a nuclear torpedo like the Russians are again beginning to deploy. The fallout from such a weapons test would likely be pretty bad, even if less than Castle Bravo.

This brings us, inevitably, to video of Castle Bravo.


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September 24, 2017

Truth in Advertising.

Knights and Magic is a perfectly reasonable name for this show and not a misleading title in any way.


Trapped! in a Fantasy World would work too.


IN A WORLD where the transmigration expressway missed a turn at Alberquerque, one computer programer is reincarnated as a nobleman's son in a world that's ripped from the pages of Cliffs Notes of the Silmarillion...except for the giant robots.

The main difference between this show and every other show that involves a geek getting zapped into a fantasy world is that he's actually reincarnated and at at some point in his childhood, he encounters a giant enchanted suit of armor (which the knights in this realm use to fight) and suddenly remembers his past life as a highly regarded computer programmer and plamo Otaku.

This show actually starts out remarkably well. The story and world are in a lot of ways, very well thought out. 
For instance the way they handle magic is kind of neat.
There is a nice (and very atypical) side plot involving another individual's redemption, and a lot of thought went into the creation of the world and its characters. 

The plot develops quickly but logically, and the characters are well realized.  The show has a bit to say about bureaucracies, institutional inertia and how disruptive technologies can destabilize the international order (nothing terribly insightful mind you, but they touch on these issues). This is a nice touch given the premise of the show. It's just a very solid, remarkably well done and engaging show...

But then..

quite suddenly, (around episode 9) it appears that the writers received word that the show was only going to be 13 episodes and not 26 or 52 and the pacing gets downright... brisk, while he plotting gets inchoate.

The story moves all over the place so quickly that the show actually gets a narrator around that time to explain all the stuff that they're not showing the audience. 

For instance there are fragments of a really moving tale of a crown princess who must come to terms with an awesome responsibility thrust upon her...but most of that it taken care of off camera. There's a villain who seems to have a very dark and tragic backstory that was being developed until it was....not.

The show wraps up QUITE abruptly, and unsatisfyingly.  This breakneck pacing exacerbates the main negative issue with the hero. That is, he is so good at everything that he gives off a bit of a Mary Sue vibe...

...in more ways than one. 

Even more annoying, there are several interpersonal relationships between various characters  that start out really well written and fun (this is, astonishingly, NOT a harem show) These just get left unresolved in the mad dash to wrap up the main plot. 

The animation and art design was quite good (with the sole exception of the little mini-mechs, which never looked or moved right). Unlike the plot, this does not seem to have suffered much at the end and remains high quality throughout.

Knights and Magic, despite its painting by numbers premise, had a LOT of potential and seems to have had some real skill and talent working on it. It really does seem that the show was cut short unexpectedly and that is unfortunate. However, we should probably keep an eye on the director Yusuke Yamamoto and the writer Michiko Yokote in the future. Because both of these people have definite skill in their craft.

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