February 02, 2020

More Pronouncements Pertaining to Pestilence


There's nothing particularly unexpected in the news of the Coronavirus except for this that Instapundit found this morning. A story indicating that the bug's transmission rate outside China is expected to closely follow that inside China (hardly news) is getting deleted.

Perhaps it's the wording.

 Coronavirus infections predicted to grow exponentially; first death outside China; outbreak becomes political.

That WaPo link was good as of 10:50 AM, but several of the links on this ">screenshot are not.

Note that the John Hopkins tracking page does not match the aforementioned headline as of this post.

In other news, Ebola is having something of a resurgence in the Congo.

Fortunately, humanity is resilient, and can find something positive even in this mess.

OK...perhaps it's not that fortunate, but this exists.


Corona-Chan and Ebola-Chan:Viral Gal-lows humor is by dp6523

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February 01, 2020

Oh For Crying Out Loud

While China's Hubei Provence has been in the news with this Coronavirus, Hunan Provence has been hit with what is being described as a highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 birdflu in Hunan Provence.

Over 17,000 chickens have been killed trying to get a handle on this secondary mess, about which the news is mixed.

The virus does not infect humans easily, and spread from person to person appears to be unusual," the WHO said. "There is no evidence that the disease can be spread to people through properly prepared and thoroughly cooked food." The mortality rate in humans is 60%, the WHO added.


Emphasis mine

Let's hope it stays mostly bird-bound.

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Star Trek Picard

To say that this show has been unenthusiastically received is a rather large understatement.

Much of this lack of positive buzz can be laid squarely at the feet of  the show's immediate Predecessor Star Trek: Discovery.

Despite incredibly talented actors and superb production values, STD's writing and general asshattery seems to have poisoned the well for many fans with its strange combination of sanctimony, stupidity, and frequent contempt for the fans and its source material. 

Learning from it's showrunner's missteps, CBS-All Access has pinned it's hopes on a new series that is being presented as a sequel to the Star Trek shows of the 90's, built around a geriatric but plucky Admiral Picard.


Despite the logo, only the pilot is on Amazon Prime

It seems that the damage done by STD was considerable, because Picard's ratings have been sufficiently bad that CBS has actually released the pilot of the new show for free viewing on YouTube.ht

So with low expectations, I sat down and watched it.

Jean Luc-Picard, one of the United Federation of Planet's greatest heroes is spending his twilight years on his french vineard, when suddenly the protagonist of a young adult novel blunders into his retirement, setting in motion a series of events that causes him to make an astonishing discovery...

To my surprise, this does not appear at this point to be a bad show, I can't honestly say if it's GOOD yet, as the pilot is mostly set-up, but it's really interesting There are a LOT of interesting ideas being touched on. There are also there are a lot of call-backs to ST:TNG that are respectful and don't have Worf being a Kling-Ork (and there was much rejoicing).

Among the complaints among TREKdom is the rumor that the show makes a POLITICAL statement. Well, it does. Star Trek always has, and one of the major themes of Star Trek is one of universal respect for sentient beings. The brief foray into politics in this pilot are not out of place in a Star Trek episode and part of the political discussion stems from the fact that Picard remains admirably idealistic ( but perhaps naively so given the backstory touched upon in the pilot). 

The story is appealing and the production values look great. It's VERY different from TNG but it seems that it is a part of the same universe, a very different vibe than I got from the few episodes of Discovery I watched.

I am not opposed to watching more of this show. In fact I'm rather impressed and want to see more.

Getting me to PAY for this show is another matter.

STD so poisoned the well that I'm ambivalent at best about subscribing to CBS All-Access when this show, as appealing as it seems, could very easily go completely off the rails and end up in a dumpster fire. Moreover, the general contempt that some of the showrunners have expressed for the fans in general and my demographic in particular do not encourage me to give them money.

That then is the problem that CBS faces with this show. The pilot is pretty good and actually encouraging.Two years ago I and others would have been begging them to take my money for this show, but after STD that is a much higher bar now, and the new normal of being nickle-and-dime'd to death by an ever expanding number of streaming services is a particular source of resentment for many, including myself.

Time will tell if this warrants a subscription.

I might be persuaded to buy the DVD's though.

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Adventures in Boomerism

Last night, I finally got my twitch, Discord, and Steam accounts to sync up in both Epic, and New Moon.

No big feat that, however, in keeping with established theories regarding the Dunning-Kruger Effect; this morning, thus emboldened by this junior varsity facsimile of "productivity", I resolved to sync and tether the Kyocera Smartphone and my iMac.



Well, that was non-intuitive.

Most every online guide I found turned out to date from before Mojave and 'Grea' is using the newest iteration of Android. I get the impression that Apple and Google really don't want you to do this.

That aside, Holo and Grea are now talking to one another, ALL of my pictures from the old Blackberry's SD card are saved  and I can begin the process of deleting unwanted/obnoxious apps, and possibly installing new browser.


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January 31, 2020

Well. They Did it!




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January 29, 2020

Meanwhile, In Puerto Rico

Lost in the confusion over coverage of all the other things that are happening, are a whole bunch of Americans in misery and significant peril.

The territory of Puerto Rico has suffered multiple earthquakes of increasing intensity over the last few weeks and  this has wrought havoc upon the island which was already suffering a slow recovery from .

First some background. As many of you may remember the recovery from the monstrous Hurricane, Maria, (which razed the island 3 years ago was agonizingly slow).The previous governor was ousted last year when it was revealed that vast quantities of federal aid for the rebuilding had, in fact, been delivered (despite his claims to the contrary) and was sitting in warehouses, not quite accounted for on the Puerto Rican end. There were also allegations of more general corruption. For instance, last year there was a brief outcry when the H.U.D. under secretary Carson withheld aid on the grounds that it had given the governor money and materials to replace 20,000 roofs and after two  years of prodding the governor announced that they'd have the first 180 houses roofed "soon".  Thus things stood until the middle of last year when Governor  Ricardo Antonio Rosselló Nevares  was caught on a hot-mic making unflattering and misogynistic comments about his Secretary of Justice and the Mayor of San Juan, as well as comments that were described as homophobic. In stark contrast to the mere misappropriation of aid to the poor and keeping 20,00 families without power, and roofless for two years in a nation plagued by mosquito-borne illness, being un-woke is quite unforgivable in the eyes of the New Progressive Party and he was forced to resign. There was then some confusion regarding the line of succession as the next in line (the Secretary of State) was serving in an "acting" capacity and had not been confirmed by the territorial senate...which resulted in months of court battles while nothing was done about 20,000 families without roofs a few hundred miles south of the Tropic of Cancer.

Finally, Wanda Vasquez, the Secretary of Justice was appointed by the courts to be governor. The newly appointed Governor then got to work arranging to do jack all with the federal aid which sat in warehouses, just in larger quantities until the recent spate of earthquakes hit. The recovery from which has barely begun.

Which brings us to this.

In which the good citizens of Puerto Rico have built a guillotine outside the governors offices.

Image via


"So yeah...The boogaloo can happen where you least expect it"

Good on them. May they use it well.

There's more here and here.



Of course, this may correct itself now that the citizenry are mobilized and they've got the guillotine involved, but this has gone on for FAR too long. and the general lack of coverage is inexcusable.


In fairness, it's not like this has been a slow news month, what with the impeachment jackassery, Winnie the Flu, The Mideast Peace Effort, The killing of Solomani, Ebola's recent resurgence, the Committee of Public safety Setting up in the Virginia House of Delegates, The death of a basketball player, the coming showdown between the Maoists, the Bolsheviks, The Menchkeviks and the Trotskyites.

However, a lack of media coverage does not affect daily NATSEC briefings. While largely the fault of the Puerto Rican governors, this situation is intolerable, and it needs to be addressed and frankly, the buck stops on Resolute Desk.

These are American Citizens who are suffering mightily. Given that the executive branch of the territorial government appears to be fractally corrupt, the best option may be for the President to invoke the Insurrection Act and bypass the local bureaucracies to get the aid where it needs to go and let the contractors do their jobs.

So, Mr. President, fix this.

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January 27, 2020

More Viral Videos

Dev, over at Short Fat Otaku lived in Wuhan for a while and has film he took there as well as some thoughts on the matter, 



Vee, is not really a Nazi vampire, he's actually a libertarian doctor and he has two videos on the situation as it stood yesterday.

One on quarantine.

And one on why he finds the hype credible.

Coincidentally, all 3 are are around 13 minutes long. 

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My Fellow Rednecks Continue to Advance the State of the Art



Or something.

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January 26, 2020

A Few Unconnected Observations

Log Horizon, a low budget anime which was cancelled six years ago, had a dumb as rocks premise, diffident animation, and some of of the best characters, concepts and plots of the last decade. It has been renewed for a third season and will air in October. The first two seasons are still on Crunchyroll, so you've got 9 months to catch up.

Countdown begins now. (Hat tip: Executive Foistmeister)

Niche Gamer is crawling out of the hole they got themselves in after one of their founders was caught plaigerizing, rather spectacularly. Niche-Iban seems to be their remaining writers attempt to start fresh. 

Don, on the other hand, is quoting with full attribution.

Fillyjonk got some good news.

Ubu is blogging again.

Sara Hoyt got a fairly impressive upgrade to her blog design.

J. Greely needs an intervention.

This exists:


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A Few Viral Videos (Updated)

Ben Kavanaugh, An English-teacher from Ireland goes to buy groceries in Wuhan.


The bit about the goggles is probably good advice.

This below seems to be the full version of "The Nurse's Video"; the video that caused much of the online hysteria yesterday. Epoch Times has a slant to be sure, but they don't (to the best of my knowledge) make things up whole cloth. It's unclear why she would give the interview in a hazmat suit. I don't know who she is and even if I did I've seen enough Downfall parodies to know that I'd want someone with a good knowledge of Mandarin I trust to translate this.



Nevertheless, the uncertain provenance notwithstanding, nothing she says is out of line with what we know about the bug and it jives well with the analysis of experts in the U.K. The wildly divergent numbers with respect to the ones provided by the C.C.P.
might not be remarkable either if the C.C.P. numbers are confirmed cases and the numbers 'Mystery Nurse' provides are of those estimated to be infected but not symptomatic yet.

Styxhexxenhammer has thoughts on the matter:


 As he notes above, It is reported here (via U.K.Channel 4)  this morning by the Chinese Government that the virus is getting "stronger" though it's unclear if that means in lethality or virulence (or both).



More here.

Regarding the suspicions in some quarters about the fact that there is a government bio-research lab studying the most .dangerous pathogens in the middle of 'City Zero' ; Well, it turns out that serious concerns were raised about the then-under-construction Wuhan lab in 2017. Note too that there were 2 earlier containment failures with the less dangerous SARS virus in a Beijing lab about a decade ago. One involved a protocol issue and one involved an attempted live virus vaccine that had not, in fact, been rendered fully safe. None of this is strictly relevant to the current situation, it doesn't matter if the virus came from a botched experiment, a snake, a bat, genetic recombination at the local bathhouse, or the crashed satellite from project Scoop. It exists and appears to be real despite some obvious hype.

The thing is, we don't know what we don't know, about the actual mortality rate, and transmissability, though the latter seems to be alarmingly high given the measures taken by the powers that be. These quarantines are not taken lightly after all. This could be, in ascending levels of undesirability: hype,  SARS, a bad flu season, 1918, or North America 1545-1610.

I'm betting on a bad flu season none of us has the shot for, so I'd suggest having a lot of canned goods and buying some mas....oh.

UPDATE:
Via Instapundit, John's Hopkins University has put together a CoronaVirus tracking page, with a lot of data.



And now I've even included the links! 

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Happy New Year Again

To our Chinese friends and those on their calendar, we here at Brickmuppet Blog hope your first full day of the year of the Iron Rat is hangover free.




Art by Crystal Herb who works through Eight Studio.

May the coming year bring you hippyness happiness...


Art by Catxuan, who is also on bilibili, Hueban, and can be supported at Art Station.

Health...


Art by Gomzi,

and...uhhh...kittens?



Art by Shigaraki, who can be supported via Booth.

...and finally, may all of your affairs in the coming year be in ship-shape.




more...

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Meanwhile, In Virginia

Not Content with the cornucopia of counter-constitutional gun laws they are passing or the more that 115 laws to rape our electoral system, Democrats have decided that the root cause of all their woes is the first amendment and so have given us Virginia HB1627

  Threats and harassment of certain officials and property; venue. Provides that certain crimes relating to threats and harassment may be prosecuted in the City of Richmond if the victim is the Governor, Governor-elect, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Governor-elect, Attorney General, or Attorney General-elect, a member or employee of the General Assembly, a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, or a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia. In addition, threats to damage property may be prosecuted in the City of Richmond if the property is owned by the Commonwealth and located in the Capitol District. 


The full text is here, and while the bit about true threats is reasonable on its face, THAT'S ALREADY ILLEGAL. It should not be extra grave to do so to an elected official...they aren't royalty.

It gets worse:

§ 18.2-152.7:1. Harassment by computer; penalty.

If any person, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, shall use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act, he shall be is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A violation of this section may be prosecuted in the jurisdiction in which the communication was made or received or in the City of Richmond if the person subjected to the act is one of the following officials or employees of the Commonwealth: the Governor, Governor-elect, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Governor-elect, Attorney General, or Attorney General-elect, a member or employee of the General Assembly, a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, or a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia

No making fun of the Politburo !

Dank memes are outlawed! That means any mention of blackface is right out!

Oh. Right.

And that little strike through of "shall be" replacing it with "is" is present in several of these bills. I'm not a lawyer, but it worries me.

Now, having removed our ability to defend ourselves or criticize elected officials in a meaningful way, the Democrats are finally able to deal with the greatest threat  facing the Commonwealth and its citizens subjects.

Balloons!

No really, 2,500 dollar fine and 10 hours of community service for releasing Balloons.

Kids, your birthday parties will suck from now on.

While this fiasco ranges from the horrifying to the ridiculous, it does provide some object lessons:

1: To those in what are still free states, today's Democrats are stark raving cuckoo for cocoa puffs. And once you get them it's like bedbugs.

2: For those of us trapped between the Patomac and 36° 30′ north, we now know what dread haunts the progressive's nightmares.

They've let slip what it is they most fear....


Art (sans text) is by Dairin, also here, whose NNV channel is here.
(and who is not responsible for the context of her chibi)

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A Note of Concern:

With regard to the situation in Wuhan PRC and Captain Tripps this new Coronavirus, it's hard for us outside the loop to know what is hype, misinformation, miscommunication, mistranslation, a combination of all four, or rock solid investigative reporting.

What we can be reasonably confident of is that the Chnese Communist Party, being a totalitarian state, is going to try to cover-up or minimize the situation to the maximum extent possible and even rather beyond credulity.

Thus, seeing that Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has declared that the situation is "grave"  is cause for some concern. This is as close to a declaration of emergency as we're ever likely to see from the politburo. I've got a degree in Asian history and while certainly no China hand, I've done several papers on Chinese politics, and the fact that Xi Jinping is admitting even this much is a genuinely terrifying thing. The CCP considers its people to be grease for the machinery of their state.

But this situation actually seems to have them scared.


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No Bridezilla Will Ever Have Anything So Perfect As This

A wedding in The Philippines  gets some spectacular fireworks thanks to a sudden eruption the Taal volcano.



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January 25, 2020

Oh.

Wait.
I dropped a bit.
This is not a parody. It's actually the U.S. Space Force logo.
Cool!


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January 23, 2020

Take With a Grain of Salt (UPDATE)

There's a lot of talk about the outbreak of this coronavirus which started in Wuhan and has now spread to multiple countries. At this point the death toll 5 days on is said (by the ever-so-trustworthy government of China) to be 25. That's almost equal to a half-hour in a really bad flu season, but given the small numbers reported (~825) that comes to one in 33 of those infected being killed...which is....quite impressive if the data is accurate.

The data's probably NOT accurate. It's almost certainly skewed one way or another. However, the Chinese have instituted a quarantine(!) of Wuhan, where the outbreak started. Wuhan is a city that's bigger than London. There are now multiple cities that are also locked down. I don't know the provenance of the following video, but it is alleged to be from inside Wuhan...where they are apparently going to great lengths to look like the beginning of a zombie movie.



Entirely coincidentally, Wuhan is the home of China's National Bio-Safety Laboratory China's first level 4 Biohazard facility which now handles the most deadly diseases on the planet, because China has had such a good record with the less dangerous ones.

Fortunately, we can all rest easy, because despite what some on the internet are implying when they talk about the situation in Wuhan City, it turns out that the Chinese word for raccoon is not actually wuhan , it's huànxióng.

So rejoice! There are no zombies in evidence at this time.
But there is reason to keep one's eye on this.

UPDATE:
In the U.K., doctors are being given instructions on how to deal with a patient that is suspected of having this bug. "Lock the patient in a room and leave the area straightaway."
I don't know if this just socialized medicine at work, or this is serious business, but I'm starting to lean towards the latter.
Good LORD!

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January 21, 2020

Razorfist Should Cuss More

Despite his cusserifferousness, I like Razorfist and he's generally pretty solid on his sourcing, but today, he tried to supress his Tourrett's and, well, he repeated an error that's been getting a lot of play.

It occurs 2/3s through this otherwise accurate, informative and unusually family-friendly rant.



What he says at 06:42 about SJ-16 is wrong. That Bill proposes adding legislature term limits, it says nothing about the governor. The idea that the governor's term limit is proposed to be increased or removed altogether has cropped up a number of times and is being reported in a number of places. I'm not sure where this comes from, and in Razor's defense, I've heard this multiple times albeit always without citation. It's inconsequential in the face of the nightmare pile of sewage that Razor correctly comments on, but repeating this give the left a tool for dismissing all the other things he mentions which are pretty dreadful even with only one term of our hoplophobic Al Jolson wannabe.

Everything else he rattles off is pretty much correct, including SB-399 which awards all of Virginia's Electors to the candidate that wins the national popular vote...(!) One of the bills he mentions (the terrifying SJ29) may have been tabled today as when preparing for this post I noted that it does not appear to be in the General Assembly's legislative queue, but it certainly was a real thing until recently.

He also links to this recall petition, which seems legit.

One thing Razorfist touches on but does not adequately convey the scope of, is the scale of the changes to Virginia's election laws which are pending before the Hose and Senate committees.  This is getting next to no coverage by the Democrat's media myrmidons and even right leaning sites are focusing (understandably) on all the Gun stuff, which is certainly consequential, but will become inevitable if Virginia becomes a one party state like California.

Look below the fold to see what the Dems are about to do to Virginia election law.


more...

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January 20, 2020

Meanwhile, in Richmond Virgina Today

  

Northam did not get his blood.

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January 19, 2020

Meanwhile, Off the Coast of Florida Land

Two of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes discusses today's developments.

"It's got everything ;">Even things that don't normally go togetherRockets! ;">EXPLODING ROCKETSTotal overwhelming victory!"
Art by 夜羊 (Night Sheep?)




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January 18, 2020

Unintended Consequences

That Star Wars Girl does media reviews and has been a fairly pleasant channel. The blog linked to her earlier with regards to tragic circumstances and its only fair that we do so regarding hilariously cringy ones.

First off, Anna is really enthusiastic and talks at about 240 beats a minute which is generally amusing. What she really doesn't do is cuss....until recently. A short time ago she did a video on Star Wars TROS that was...colorful, in its language. It managed to use the "F" word at what someone worked out to approximately 5 times per minute.  Alright...It was, reportedly, a very bad movie and she's passionate about Star Wars and has had a very bad year. I've seen the rant in question described as a meltdown and I did not get all the way through it because it was not up to her usual standards and, well, no harm no foul.

Fast forward to today, I started getting recommendations from YouTube for videos describing her as a sociopath. The basis for this dubious psychoanalysis is apparently that sincethe aforementioned Star Wars video she's been cussing up a storm. It's like the movie gave her a stroke and she developed Tourette's Syndrome. Today, I clicked on her latest video and it has the word "Mansplaining" in the title, which in this fraught age is a warning sign...and quite not in keeping with Anna's image or professed outlook on political correctness. So I clicked on the link and learned a few things.
1: In a pinned comment she explains that she's using the term "Mansplaining" in a different way than it is used by the perniciously woke.
2:Due to childhhood surgery to correct a congenital defect, Anna has an inconspicuous third nostril that allows her to breathe while talking...which explains soooo much about her speech style.
3: She's cussing because of COPPA to be as non-kid-friendly as possible. Because YOUTUBE's handling of COPPA drives nice girls to cuss.

For some reason I found this whole thing both sad and amusing

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