November 13, 2018

Hiatus (Bumped)

 Between my final (as in no more!) term papers and the holiday rush at work I'm going to be scarce for a bit. As compensation I'll leave you with something that ought to be completely non-controversial.

BEST four armed, one eyed, curvy, red headed, plague doctor! 

Quadriri, the indisputable best in her category is by Lansane. (Who you can support here)


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November 12, 2018

Stan Lee 1922-2018 (UPDATED)

95 is a long life by any measure and Stan Lee led a full life to boot, but none of that lessens the sadness at his passing

His contributions to American comic books are being remembered in many places today but they are perhaps still not fully appreciated by many. 

The Comics Code derailed the development of the medium in America and probably knocked it back decades. Stan Lee's reinvention of the superhero genre almost certainly saved the medium in this country.

His legacy is indeed profound, but he was also a gentleman. Back when I was in comics retail, everyone I talked to who knew him considered him to be a singularly fine man. 

Finally, there is a cool anecdote from his early years... He became the editor of what became Marvel in 1941(at 19!), but the next year, he took military leave to join the Army during WW2. He served in a Signal Corps unit repairing electronics and as a lineman...he also wrote manuals and training comics, serving alongside Frank Capra and Dr, Seuss.

So today, the last of the Howling Commandoes has left this mortal coil. 

Stan Lee gave us our childhoods and dreams to aspire too. He was a man of consequence, without whom the world would be a lesser place. He will be dearly missed.


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Learning New Things

Yeah, the Gatalympics are a real thing as is just about every business and landmark in Zombieland Saga.  

Yep. The Eycatches too.... 

I suspect the nefarious machinations of the Saga Chamber of Commerce are responsible. This show then is like a county newspaper ...right down to the PSAs...

...except that this bonecrushingly stupid show has an actual plot and is amusing me far more than it has any right to.

Next time I'm in Japan, I'll have to investigate this further. For now, I'm just going to keep watching.


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November 11, 2018

Thank You

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This Seems Consequential

There are reports that elements of the German Special Forces have been charged with plotting to kill a bunch of politicians, and take over the country. This would seem to be a very big and troubling deal.

From the Daily Mail:
Two-hundred elite soldiers who formed a covert neo-Nazi faction within Germany's equivalent of the SAS planned to butcher immigrants to the country.

They conspired to unleash chaos on what they code-named Day X when they planned to kill Green Party leader Claudia Roth, foreign minister Heiko Mass and ex-president Joachim Gauck.

English language sources are all U.K. tabloids at the moment and they seem to all be referencing this German Language article

Stay tuned.

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100 Years Ago Today...

...the the carnage that broke the soul of the west ended. There was peace.


All those who fought in that war are dead, as are most who remember as children seeing everywhere the maimed and blind the shells and gas had produced.

The second, more well known world war that this miserable, pointless conflict gave birth to has likewise seen most of those who remember it firsthand pass on. A dwindling minority know what a real war, against a peer nation is. For all of the courage of the armed forces of the U.S. and our allies, we've been fighting foes that are clever, tenacious, and murderous, but nowhere near our peers. 

The conflicts that threaten to visit us, whether our opponents be foreign, domestic or both are nothing like the War on Terror. 

If these conflicts come to pass, they will find us on equal terms or starting at a disadvantage. This is an experience that few today can conceive of...which makes the actual war more likely as there is neither the institutional nor cultural reference for what a conflict between equals entails. We encounter no large groups of people with their eyes boiled out by Lewisite...

...or their limbs blown off by explosions. Even a later generation, with Keloids inflicted by a flash brighter than the sun has passed on, with their most poingniant testimonials having faded over time. 

So there is, all around, much bravado born in the special courage that comes from ignorance. 

Today is the 100th anniversary of an armistice that ended a terrible war. We would do well to remember not the victory parades, but why people had them and what they were celebrating the end of.

War is a dreadful thing. 

Of course Auschwitz and Dachau stand in mute testimony to the fact that war is, sometimes, VERY necessary. But we should look honestly at how perfectly dreadful a war between peers is, lest we step into the breach unnecessarily as the west did 104 years ago. 

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November 10, 2018

Crunchyroll...What is UP With the Subtitles?

From Rascal Doesn't Dream of Bunnygirl Senpai which, despite this nonrepresentative frame is still gorgeously drawn and really, really well written.  

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November 09, 2018

A Spoiler Appears

The midterms aren't over!

It looks like all those missing ballots went to S.M.O.D. who will send his emissaries this weekend.

"Instead of tabloids and sketchyYouTube
sites, maybe check NASA?"

That wouldn't be click-baity at all would it?

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November 08, 2018

Look. I'm All for "Owning the Libs"...

But when an 85 year old woman trips, falls and breaks a bunch of ribs, one does not mock her exercise routine or make jokes about her injuries or otherwise gloat. 

Whatever philosophical differences we might have with Justice Ginsburg, regarding her current condition Brickmuppet Blog offers thoughts prayers and sincerest hopes for a speedy recovery. 
That being said, making fun of the dunderheads who offered to donate their ribs is perfectly acceptable.

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November 05, 2018


About a year ago, what was thought to be a new comet was seen moving into the inner solar system at unusually high speed, subsequent observations indicated that  C 2017/U1 PANSTARRS was traveling at well past solar system escape velocity, indicating it was an extra solar object. As it approached the sun it did not outgas like a comet indicating that it's either rocky or metallic. The object turned out to be red and elongated (actually about 10 times as long as it is wide). The object was given the name ʻOumuamua, which is Hawaiian for "Advanced Scout".

The thing came close enough to the sun to get a decent slingshot effect from its pass and then streaked at a blistering pace out of the solar system. 

As it moved away from the sun, it performed what is described as a "non-gravitational acceleration".


This was most peculiar and many scientists have naturally been trying to explain this phenomenon. Among them are  Shumel Bialy and Abraham Loeb of the Harvard Astrophysics department. They have published a short paper that attempts to explain the observed acceleration as being due to solar pressure, since everything else has been pretty much ruled out. There are a lot of equations explaining their hypothesis, which they admit is somewhat hampered by the limited data gleaned during the objects high speed pass. 

At the end of the paper on solar pressure as an explanation for ʻOumuamua's behavior, there is this single paragraph...
Alternatively, a more exotic scenario is that ‘Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization. Based on the PAN-STARRS1 survey characteristics, and assuming natural origins following random trajectories, Do et al. (201 derived that the interstellar number density of ‘Oumuamua-like objects should be extremely high, ∼ 2×1015 pc−3, equivalent to ∼ 1015 ejected planetisimals per star, and a factor of 100 to 108 larger than predicted by theoretical models (Moro-Martin et al. 2009). This discrepancy is readily solved if ‘Oumuamua does not follow a random trajectory but is rather a targeted probe. Interestingly, ‘Oumuamua’s entry velocity is found to be extremely close to the velocity of the Local Standard of Rest, in a kinematic region that is occupied by less than 1 to 500 stars.
Emphasis mine.

That is indeed a more exotic scenario.

Even without that scenario, this visitor from beyond certainly warrants scientific attention. It was initially thought that due to its incredible speed it could not be studied anymore, however,  there have been some study of the problem and the Interstellar Studies Initiative has identified some ways to do it. Additionally JPL is proposing a mission using a SpaceX BFR rocket and combined solar and Jovian gravity assist. The window for this is limited but still doable. If launched in 2025 the probe would rendezvous with ʻOumuamua in 2039*. 

So this very interesting interstellar visitor may not be completely out of the news just yet. 

* Assuming, of course the object didn't perform any more anomalous accelerations!

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Banality Intrudes (UPDATED)

As annoying as things sometimes get, I can at least take solace from the fact that I have not had to deal with high-school for 20 years.

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November 03, 2018

Being Polite Does Not Mean What it Used To

So...the asshole who has been scrawling anti-Semitic graffiti on NYC synagogues since last week's awful shooting has been caught.

His name is James Polite.

"Wait. Are they just screwing with us now?"

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October 31, 2018

It's Over

 I took refuge on campus and thus avoided the ravenous hoards of tiny but insatiable mouths.

 Anyway, here is a wolfgirl cosplaying as a witch.

Appropriational art by Lansane

UPDATE: J. Greely discusses these matters rather more thoroughly here

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October 30, 2018

Thoughts on Proxima B

Shortly after the discovery that Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun has a planet in the habitable zone, NASA pointed out that Proxima is known to be a flare star and the planet is so close that it would probably be grilled, baked and flash fried

Now, two years later, they've finished a study adding potential variables to see if anything could mitigate the effects of the flaring, and surprisingly, there some scenarios which allow for a habitable planet and a few with a sort of Earthlike  biosphere. These are HIGHLY speculative numbers as we know almost nothing about the planet except its orbit and mass. They are interesting nonetheless...

The odds are still on it being a burned out cinder, but even for this planet, that is not a given. 

Note that the second closest planet to our solar system, (Ross128b) is a better candidate, not only because it doesn't face the flare issue, but is even closer in mass and temperature to Earth. With such variables as discussed in the Proxima-B video, its odds might be better still.


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A Lesson From the Antipodes

A few days ago, a scientist in Antarctica got all stabby with a colleague, who was critically injured and airlifted to Chile. 

Well, we've now got a motive.
It seems that the victim was dropping spoilers. 

Sergei Savitsky certainly cannot be an example to us, but he can be a warning to all of us.

What can we learn from this tragedy.

Use spoiler tags!

Here we do that by typing [*spoiler*] DARTH VADER IS LUKE'S FATHER!1! [*/spoiler*]

"But without the asterixes, like this."

If everyone does their bit, then we can avoid the Antarctic stabby madness. 

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October 29, 2018

Meanwhile on the Slingshot Channel...

The Slingshot Channel is run by this glorious loon in Deutschland who is taking the principles of mad science and applying them to slingshots, and crossbows and trebuchets. 

Now our Crack team of Science Babes note a year old video we'd missed that mentioned a slight change in the channel's focus from pure research to applied science...and retail.

"Do Want! Do Want!"

Thats pretty impressive. I've never seen ballistic gelatin used with a crossbow. 
And a coconut. 

Alas, the expansion of his store turned out to be fortuitous since his channel has just been demonetized.  

He's still posting occasionally. 

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Meanwhile, at Krakatoa

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October 28, 2018

Palate Cleanser

A few weeks ago we looked at the official video of this K-Pop song. Well it's a hit, so there are now the inevitable MMD videos. Well, instead of just downloading the rotoscoping into MMD, some circle named DD Animations seems to have taken the same bog-standard MMD motion capture file and plugged it into Yandere Simulator.

But then they got creative with the editing.

This is really well done. 
The only issue with this is the troubling fact that there actually isYandere Simulator.

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The Chances of Anything Coming From Mars Are a Million to One He Said

It's been a week from hell and you may be asking yourself "What next?!"

This is next...

For the past few weeks, while we've been distracted by hurricanes, lunatics and blacklists, astronomers have been observing plumes coming from the Arisa Mons volcano on Mars. 'Top Men' have concluded that this steam coming out of the top of a volcano is not, in fact volcanic. The leading publicly discussed theories seem to be the seasonal sublimation of a dust covered glacier or clouds condensing around water droplets blown off the volcano.

Of course, gentle readers, we have watched enough of the Discovery Channel to know that a fuzzy picture means Bigfoot, UFOs or worse and I think we are all well read enough to grasp what the sighting of anomalous plumes on Mars right before Halloween really means. 


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October 27, 2018

That Could Have Sucked So Much More

In Fact...
It didn't really suck at all. 

Season 6 of RWBY is off to a rollicking good start.The production values are now almost movie quality and this first episode has best action scene the show has had since Monty died. The fight scene is so much of the episode that it arguably derails the story at one point, but the episode doesn't really suffer for it.. Regards pacing and plotting, this does not even look like it was done by the same people who did the end of last season. 

After the dumpster fire that was last season's finale, I'm on my guard, but this season is really REALLY looking promising.

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