Aw Come ON!
I didn't put in any pictures, center anything or use an animated .gif inside the spoiler tag of the last post and yet the spoiler tag put every bit of text that was inserted into it, on the outside.
This weeks episode of RWBY seems to have been eaten by ants. Instead we were presented with a 2 minute 16 second slideshow explaining the show's main deus ex machina, 'dust'.
Narrated by "Mysterious Narrator" (playing herself) it tells us, the poor hapless viewers very little save for one tantalizing detail.
It does pose some interesting questions, certainly more than it answered.
Much we already knew:
Dust is an explosive or propellant that interacts with Human (and Faunus) "auras".
According to the large hadron collider, therefore, it can't exist.
So there is this stuff that can be induced to interact with an individual's 'aura'.
We can assume from Pyrrha's exposition in the first season that Aura is best described by imagining a point on a Venn diagram where chi, elan vitale, pneuma, "precious bodily fluids" and The Force overlap. A person with sufficient self awareness and discipline to exert control over their life energies can use this 'aura' to interact with dust in various ways.
There are 4 types of dust making for an easily memorizable periodic table. However, Madame Narrator did not provide us with the names. Going from the picture provided one can assume that they have the ptoperties of fire (or perhaps speed), ice (possibly water), burnination and spinach.
These 4 substances can be combined in numerous ways to make compounds that have a wide variety of characteristics, and this stuff can be used in shells, both as propellant and explosive depending on the compound.
We knew that there were items that were infused with dust. Weiss uses a dust infused rapier and also wields additional quantities of dust for further effect. The mention of dust infused clothing would therefore follow.
However, we also learn that some people have had dust implanted into their bodies. This is new info and makes for some interesting speculation.
A few characters possess a "semblance" a fancy dancy RWBY word for superpower. Ruby and Blake have super-speed (Blake may have something else going on there) and Pyrrha has magnetism. Yang has the power of a flywheel charged by punching and none of these are things that anyone can physiologically achieve so barring some other, as yet unmentioned deus ex machina, one wonders if they had dust implanted in themselves at a young age.
How? Was there a tragic dust accident? Were they given dust implants shortly after birth. Was this voluntary and when (RWBY is 15 and has been practicing for a while)? Did they get to choose what their semblance would be beforehand?
Dust is frequently used as a consumable (explosives, freezy-pop mass production techniques). However, the existence of weapons, clothing, and implants suggests that some dust compounds are not actually consumed as fuel but are, instead acting as broadcast and modulation antennae for the aura. Weiss's rapier seems to work this way (in part) and Cinder's dress is probably a weapon in itself. Blake wielded dust provided her by Weiss in the last episode, and did so with considerable skill using her chain-scythe-gun-sword-ribbon thingie as a focus. It glowed blue when she did so.
Given that dust is quite expensive and given that Blake comes from exceedingly modest means, if this line of reasoning is correct it is probable that Blake was implanted with the stuff by the White Fang because she was considered quite reliable. There's nowhere else she could have afforded it, been trained in it's use, or even permitted to do so. This makes her betrayal all the more galling to them, which, in turn, brings us to the fate of poor Tuckson in episode 1. Even if the "Blake is carrying dust implants provided by White Fang" is bollocks, Blake is a marked woman, and if her identity is revealed.
Hence the real reason for the bow.
(She should probably dye her hair and wear a less silly outfit too)
One other thing. The Planet is called Remnant.
It is quite possible that this is set in the far future on another world that contains the last remnant of humanity.
To my utter astonishment and joy, the car only cost 288 Sacagaweas to be resurrected after rolling an 18 on its "save versus ants" skill.
As I drove around performing all the errands I had needed to do this week, I listened to NPR's All Things Considered and one of their segments was a special on the 200th anniversary of the burning of Washington DC. Instead of just having some historians come and talk, they did a mock new report...as if NPR was covering it at the time.
"Boy howdy! Did they ever! "
The NPR reporter was embedded with the advancing British troops . They seemed to imply that the Madisons were having marital problems (not mentioning WHY they left the capital separately). To my surprise. they seemed to give fairly short shrift to Dolly Madison's heroics in getting certain national treasures out of DC .There was no mention of the one other bright spot in the debacle ( The President taking charge and turning what was a rout into an organized fighting retreat, as well as changing the direction of the shattered army towards Baltimore and away from the hinterlands). One of the embedded reporters noted a Redcoat carrying a decorative pillow as he applied gunpowder paste to the White House. Robert Siegel asked if she meant that they were looting and she said that was not the case, but rather, the British troops were just taking souvenirs.
An NPR reporter in a tavern tried to interview the American general who had just been defeated, but said officer was too inebriated to say much.
There was actually some credit given to Madison, though it was for the empty but quite inspirational gesture of having Congress re-convene in the burned out ruins of DC.
Finally, a pair of commentators (actually Historians) discussed what they thought was likely to follow and argued a bit before making different predictions, that, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight were nevertheless, both highly prescient.
Not able to be captured in this run-down is the palpable glee with which the whole catastrophe was reported.
At one point I was actually wondering if this was a parody, but no, it was completely straight, just not terribly self aware. At the end of the broadcast, they were happy and I was perversely amused, so a good time was had by all.
I guess that counts as some quality radio.
UPDATE: Duh...It's NPR so the actual broadcast is archived here. The whole episode, most of which lacked the spectacular levels of self parody is here.
Posted by: RickC at Thu Aug 21 17:07:10 2014 (ECH2/)
BTW, I'd like to report some silliness in the blog header. It says "tennant" "smith". I picture it going something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFFqwFv6j-Y. Having said that, the answer to the argument, of course, is "[Tom] Baker."
Posted by: RickC at Thu Aug 21 17:09:20 2014 (ECH2/)
Foley seems to have been quite highly regarded. A brief excerpt of a 2011 interview with him can be seen from 00:33 to 01:58 here.
It should be noted that the executioner has a British accent, which is not entirely surprising, but is worrisome. Likewise, the fact that Sotloff was taken prisoner in Libya and transported to Iraq indicates an impressive reach and logistical capability by ISIS.
The situation in the Ukraine has taken a hopeful turn as Russian and Ukrainian leaders representatives are set to meet negotiations next week. This comes as Ukrainian forces seem to be getting the better of the secessionists. This is a conflict with some very nasty ethnic components, so a diplomatic solution would be most welcome.
In related news; Apparently there is a group of American volunteers/mercenaries fighting with the Ukrainians and one of them was just killed.
On the Ebola front, the experimental drug tested on the three missionaries from the US and Spain looks promising. While the Spanish patient died, the two American aid workers seem to be recovering. The few remaining samples have been sent to Liberia, but the drug takes a long time to make, and there are regulatory hurdles. However, accelerated testing is being done of this and other vaccines.
While all this is going on the military is downsizing. That's not necessarily a dreadful mistake as there is a good bit of waste in the Pentagon. Particularly in the Army, after 10 years of war, one might well consider it good to weed out the people who in that time avoided combat and promote those who displayed out of the box thinking in time of war. One might especially want to retain those with awards for valor. Well, if one thinks that, then one is not in charge of the current downsizing process....
This is terrifying:
The derogatory information didn't have to be recent. Got a GOMOR as a 2nd Lieutenant for Dumb LT Tricks, eight years ago? Kiss your ass goodbye. Got an Article 15 as a private before soldiering your way back into the Army's good graces, and then getting a ROTC scholarship? You're gone.
A non-GO Memorandum Of Reprimand was also a career killer, if you got it for something the Chief of Staff doesn't like - like carrying a personally owned weapon. That sent one combat-vet with a Purple Heart to the Dreaded Private Sector.
Being overweight, or looking overweight in your photo: killer.
A more trivial career killer, but one the board actually used: having your official DA photo in the old Army Green service uniform, not the new blue Army Service Uniform.
Purple hearts and bronze stars seem to have no effect on ones assessment. Having no combat experience is NOT a demerit. This is how you build an Army of bureaucratic wienies. It is how third world dictators set up their armies, with yes-men and those who fear above all taking a chance or trying new things.
As to Ferguson itself...it's probably good to withhold judgement until the facts of the shooting are made public later this week. Like so many recent news stories most of the initial reports were wrong, and that trend seems to continue nightly. The near nightly looting, is, of course, unacceptable and ( conversely) there are many concerns, not unfounded, regards the militarization of police forces. However, I urge you to read Tamara K's thoughts on the issue in full. It makes no judgments but provides important historical perspective.
Finally, it should be mentioned that there is another demonstration taking place by individuals who are fed up and seek respect from the police. For some reason, despite being in the media mecca of New York, this is not garnering a lot of coverage...
Just checking to see if we can
replicate the foul up in the recent RWBY post.
To that end we'll post a random picture, (of a World War 2 Thai gunboat) and center it...
We'll also caption it, mentioning that the ship carried four 8 inch naval rifles on 2300 tons full load. That's smaller than a Fletcher class destroyer.
Next, we'll express our confusion and discomfort at this animated .gif
Seriously guys...What the HELL?
Then we'll bring about an end to the spoiler tag text by typing [ / s p o i l e r ] but all scrunched up like so
Now we'll type some text outside the spoiler tag and just for good measure we'll post some surreptitiously taken footage of Steven Den Beste enjoying his hiatus. However, out of consideration to our readers we'll put it behind a NSFW tag...
Aaaaaand let's see if it works....
The blog does indeed seem to be broken.
(Though thankfully the NSFW tag still works.)
Let's try a simple spoiler tag with only text inside it here
It wasn't Scotty. It was REDJACK!
UPDATE 2: It looks like the hidey tags just don't like centering. Of course I eliminated the centering on the RWBY post at one point but that did not fix the problem.
Now I'll try de-centerizing the images and captions and see if that works.
UPDATE 3: Nope. That did not fix the problem. All but the first line of the spoiler text is still visible and now the formatting just looks bad. Obviously the blog is possessed so we'll re center everything and call in the exorcists from Oceania.
Be advised gentle readers that Tiki torches may present a burn hazard.
I can see the problem; the WYSIWYG HTML editor combined with the BBCode tags is producing what is known as "tag soup". That's when the tags overlap each other, like this:
<i>This text is italicsthis <b> is italics and bold </b>and now your browser throws a fit.</i>
This is tricky to prevent at the source, but I think I can fix it in post.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sun Aug 17 10:11:50 2014 (PiXy!)
On second thoughts, nope. That didn't work at all.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sun Aug 17 11:46:45 2014 (PiXy!)
Well, just to nit pick a little, what you posted wasn't overlapping tags.
Posted by: RickC at Sun Aug 17 16:42:42 2014 (0a7VZ)
Meanwhile, Russian naval otaku seem oddly interested in a 5-second fragment of a video, which seems like a first glance of some kind of new destroyer (could be a pipe dream of a shipbuilding company).
Tonari No Seki-Kun!Tonari no Seiki-Kun! The Master of Killing Time is an odd concept for a series. Rumi Yokoi, the exasperated silver fox on the left is bothered to utter distraction by the fact that Toshinari Seki has developed elaborate methods for wasting time in class.
That's pretty much it.
Amazingly however, at 7 minutes an episode, it almost always works. I'm 7 episodes in and 6 have been quite solid. Tonari no Seki-Kun does not lend itself to extended marathons, being a one joke show, but it is cute, clever and quite enjoyable in its intended format.
Car Eating Ants (and Other Sundry Annoyances)
Ants have eaten my car. The spoiler tags on the previous post are all wonky. I did my GPA no favors with this most recent class. I've used up all my personal holidays at work for the year and it looks like I'll have to move very soon, Finally, I spent 10 minutes trying to find the ampersand on my Blackberry.
Some of that may warrant elaboration, but for those already worn down by that fusillade of first world problems, here is Hanako playing billiards.
The last episode of RWBY ended with a huge "revelation"...that surprised absolutely no one1. This episode is just full of surprises...
...Take, Neo here, the latest addition to the rogues gallery; she never says a word and I'm not sure exactly what she does, but she does it very well.
The short interlude with Junior (the antagonist from the 4th trailer) went way more congenially than expected with Junior being surprisingly calm corporative and reasonable in attempting to find out why Yang crushed his nuts, wrecked his bar and beat up his people.
And we still don't know why she did it.
This scene does have some worrying implications in that Junior is unaware of what happened to his henchmen in episode one, meaning none of them have contacted him from jail. Does this mean Ruby killed them? (Or more likely, did someone else?).
Of course there was also GIANT ROBOT RAMPAGE!
This had been shown in the teaser but it was surprising to see it so soon.
Yang's "special talent" is explicitly stated and, yeah, Super Saiyan pretty much sums it up.
All that and more in 12 minutes.
We're 4 episodes in, and I think we've already covered everything in the teaser not involving Pyrrha.
1: Penny is, get this, A ROBOT!
2: Aside from "Iceflower" the attack names just happen to correspond to some of the "ship"names the fans have assigned to their fanfic pairings. (I an SO glad they went with Freezerburn instead of Yellow Snow.)
There are clever bits too. It's obvious that Ruby's team has been training and as a result, instead of the "I have a plan!" trope they have a whole bunch of prepared plans with distinct and descriptive names2.
One question though : What the HELL are those 'holographic crash barriers' actually supposed to do?
That quibble aside, the pacing of this episode was excellent. RWBY is rather silly, but it's fun and developing nicely.
Posted by: Wonderduck at Thu Aug 14 15:53:51 2014 (8KjSa)
I like the show well enough to watch it from time to time but I think sometimes it doesn't have enough material to fill the episode and compensates by stretching it out a bit too much. Worked better for me as a comedy manga.
Lots of copybooks, back in the day when handwriting was something you were expected to pick up on your own, had "headings" (the handwriting you were copying) which were proverbs or maxims. "If you write down a moral statement five hundred times, maybe it will take," was the thinking. So, basically, a shorthand for "the sorts of moral lessons that were expected to be learned by children by rote"...
Many years ago schools in England had what were called copybooks. These were used to teach penmanship and had in addition to their text, many blank (but lined) pages. The printed pages usually contained bits of wisdom from philosophers, the Bible and great historical figures from around the world. The idea was that one would copy the quotes on the blank pages to practice proper penmanship and hopefully gain some of the wisdom in the words via 'osmosis' after copying said phrases innumerable times.
Copybooks fell out of favor in the US in the 20s or 30s but were still in use in the UK in the 1960s (Bill Whittle has mentioned that he was beset by them when he was growing up in the Bahamas).
The poem refers to a fellow going back in time through all of his previous incarnations and noting the great truths that are often discarded as passe or no longer applicable by utopians but inevitably come back to bite the societies that do not heed them.
A Bit of Good NewsBrett Kimberlin, a cyberbully and convicted terrorist has lost his defamation suit against several bloggers who pointed out that he is a genuinely nasty piece of work. This was an important case as it threatened to set a troubling precedent with regard to the ability of individuals to shut down online free speech via lawfare and intimidate those with different political views . Additionally, some of the defendants in the case had endured death threats and SWATTings.
Popehat has a roundup. It is particularly pleasing to me that this was not just a legal victory for the defendants. It was also a thorough, total and ignominious defeat for Kimberlin. Sometimes the good do win.
He did lose this case, which is good. But he still hasn't made good against all of the people who had to spend their time and resources in order to deal with his baseless complaints. So to really, really reach the "stopped getting away with it" point, the following things have to happen:
-The court needs to find for attorney costs for the defendants in this case.
-The judgment for those costs actually needs to be executed - it's easy to get a court order saying "you owe me twenty thousand bucks for legal fees" but a lot harder to actually get the twenty thousand bucks out of someone. Specifically, any assets Kimberlin might own which could be used to pay are almost certain to be transferred out of his name by now.
-He also needs to lose his federal case in the same manner.
-And the appeal to this case.
-And any follow-on cases he decides to file, until the court finally steps in and says "look, you don't even get to file anymore, get out".
Until all of these things happen, he's still getting away with it, because the whole point is that he's forcing people to put time and attention into defending against this crap - because the number one piece of advice any lawyer will give their client is "don't say a word about the case", and that shuts them up.
It's also worth noting that one of the defendants dropped his lawyer before the case went to trial, and Popehat bitched him out for it. Because even if the case is meritless, and should have been thrown out immediately, and WAS thrown out before any of the defense lawyers got to do anything but raise some objections, you need to have your lawyer to cross all the Ts and dot all the Is; basically because it was even remotely possible to lose. It says a lot about the legal system that this is the case.
In fairness to Popehat, he did do a follow-up post today asking for assistance in gathering up the sort of evidence necessary to get a vexatious litigant finding through the courts. Several volunteers have already come forward. Maybe this sort of thing will be easier in the modern era, with computerized records and loose networks being able to club together for what is surely a good cause.