October 05, 2019

And Another

A female employee of Kyoto Animation is now the 36th employee of that company to die as a result of injuries sustained in the fire. She was one of three still hospitalized and aparrently contracted an infection in the ICU.




She was in her 20s.

UPDATE: From the Mainichi Shinbun:
Most of the victims were in their 20s and 30s, as the company is known to hire young animators as regular employees and conduct in-house training, while many other studios tend to rely on skilled freelancers.



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September 19, 2019

Rain

Last time Houston got anything like this much rain Ubu Roi nearly got washed away.


Stay dry Ubu.

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September 08, 2019

Dustbury Has Passed.

Charles G. Hill, better known as the writer at Dustbury, passed away today due to injuries received in a recent car accident.




I did not know him personally, though he occasionally did me the great compliment of commenting here.

I know very little about him other than that he served in the army for six years in the mid '70s and he'd been entertaining the world with his blogging for the past 23 years. Yes, he started before blogging was even a word.

His site was eclectic, silly and literate. Through it Mr. Hill brought smiles to a great many faces.

The world is a bit less quirky tonight.

He will be sorely missed.

UPDATE:
There's more here.

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September 04, 2019

A Note to Our Canadian Readers

 Those of you in Newfoundland and the Maritimes are probably looking at the wind speeds of a category 1 or 2 Hurricane and thinking "we get Nor'easters as bad as a that, no big deal!"

Well these are much different sorts of cyclones. They are wetter, dropping insane amounts of rain when they hit land, and they have significantly more storm surge than a North Atlantic storm of comparable wind speed. This thing looks like it will be Category 1 or 2 when it hits Canada. If so, it will surprise you.
Unpleasantly.
Please. Take it seriously. If Dorian follows this track, it is going to be a bad time in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland early next week. 


On a personal note. A hurricane eye is slated to pass right over my parents house again for the second time in 10 months. They'd JUST finished repairs on the barn.
more...

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August 28, 2019

Jessi Combs 1983-2019



Jessi Combs a race-car driver, celebrity mechanic, video personality and engineer was killed earlier today, when her experimental jet car crashed while she was attempting to beat a land speed record.

She was the host of Extreme 4x4 and was a guest and occasional host on Mythbusters.  

 Here she is in the T.R.O.G. event in her customized twin-engine Model T.

One of her last Instagram posts said this...

It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire. Those who are willing, are those who achieve great things.


Indeed.


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August 03, 2019

Meanwhile:

Imagine if you will a city of two million that serves as a crossroads and transportation hub as it exists on a great lake between two countries, with a modest lake port, roads and an international airport.

Now imagine that the aforementioned lake has recently been discovered to be one of three in the world susceptible to a peculiar and terrifying phenomenon in which the lake explosively emits enough toxic and asphyxiating gasses to kill all animals for miles around, and this is due to the local geology, which includes two of the most active volcanoes on the planet, which have re-paved part of the town and the airport a few years ago and frequently provides a glowing illumination at night from the largest lava lake on the planet.


image via...

Now imagine this hypothetical city consisting mostly of an expansive, 30 square mile favella, with very limited services, sanitation and mostly dirt roads.

Now imagine the city is in the middle of a war zone.

Now imagine that in the middle of all that, a plague shows up.

If this was a setting for a thriller one was writing, one would risk mockery for an over the top, gratuitous setting.

This, however, is not fiction, it's Goma.

Ebola has reached a transportation hub of of 2 million people, Worse, the people are living in pretty terrible conditions, many without power. This is not an isolated rural town or a city with modern facilities and where the first victims were fortuitously caught and quarantined like happened in Lagos, Madrid and Dallas. No, this is people coming out of the jungle, and crawling into a shanty-town where there are basically no facilities outside of the tourist(?!) areas. This is close to a worst case scenario. Rwanda closed the border yesterday, but due to international pressure re-opened it today.

Apparently 'international pressure' is unfamiliar with basic epidemiology.

Ebola is not anything as bad as the flu or smallpox with regards to transmissiblity. However, while it's not technically "airborne", if it gets in the lungs it can be transmitted short distances through the air much like pneumonic plague. This is really a bad situation and it could go international very quickly at this point.

Fear not though, you can still book a tour to the area.

Because why the hell would you not want to go to this place?



Ebola Tan and Wilhelm: Viral gallows humor originally by 蔵田湖山.


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March 26, 2019

We Have Noted That There's a Bad Side to Everything, but It Should be Remembered That Not Everything Has a Good Side,

Take this for instance.



Why are we paying through the nose and putting our troops on the line to defend these asinine aristocratic authoritarians?

Leave them to the Russians
 

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October 23, 2016

Fearing the Worst; Hoping for the Best for Steven DenBeste (UPDATED)

On October 14th, Steven DenBeste posted that he anticipated there might be an interruption in his posting due to an approaching Typhoon. No one has heard from him since. I've called his landline, others have attempted to contact friends, and Wonderduck and Ubu both contacted vendors he's blogged about using since they are assumed to have his mailing address. 

 
9 days on, the power in that part of Oregon has been restored (and his landline is ringing)., many of us are beginning to fear the worst.

In addition to the storm Steven has been in failing health of late, so his absence is of particular concern.

Steven is an atheist, so he won't appreciate prayers...but they can't hurt....


In the Hopes That it Will Amuse Steven: Pious Bunnygirl with kitten by Juji Amo

UPDATE: Earlier this evening I contacted the police with my limited information, which consisted of a phone number and the city (gleaned through the first six digits of said phone number. A few minutes ago I was contacted by the Beaverton police. There were three addresses that it could have been, the second was Steven's family. The officer had offered to escort them to Steven's house, but they said they would handle things in the family and declined further assistance. That is all I know at this time, and as I'm not family it's all I am likely to discover. It does not sound good. 

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May 14, 2016

A Most Horrid Deed

The other day, on the way to work, I noted that Merrifields Boulevard was blocked by a barricade of sorts. An uprooted street sign and a large box had been placed in the middle of each lane.


I was short on time to get to work and it was raining so I did not get out and pull them out of the street as I normally would have. Instead, I pulled over ,called 911, and told them about the idiot prank before proceeding to work. 

I have had a week to ponder the repercussions of that decision.

I made the call at about 03:35. At 03:45 a young lady returning from work apparently swerved to avoid the obstruction (or hit it) and careened into the subdivision's greeting sign, demolishing it and killing herself in the process. 



The police were still there after I returned home from work, and I offered a statement but had little of use to provide. 

I imagine the barricade was kids being jerks, but whoever they were, they have blood on their hands. 

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October 09, 2014

A Few More Random Links on Ebola

It appears that a UK citizen has died of Ebola...In Macedonia. More worrisome are reports that he had not been to the affected regions. 

More on this here


On a hopeful note. At this point,  none of those being monitored in Dallas have yet manifested any signs of the disease.   

There are persistent reports about scientists saying that Ebola could mutate and become airborne...well a lot of  things COULD happen, but this does not appear to HAVE happened. There seems to be nothing other than Niberuistic speculation and doesn't serve much purpose. In the vanishingly unlikely event it goes airborne, we're screwed anyway, so it seems better to focus on the matter as it exists. This short video shows what it takes to deal with the actual disease.  

Ebola is quite infectious as it exists now and even with its limits could cause some serious issues. ,  I suggest you read this whole thing.  There are further thoughts on how to protect oneself here. Both are very informative, neither is encouraging. 

So what to do?

I suggest that, if there is an outbreak, if possible, avoid mass transit, and don't shop or eat out (eat out of the hurricane chest..that's what it's there for).  In other words,  one should keep ones disaster stock current and be prepared to stay in ones home for a month or so in the event of a quarantine or lockdown. Above all, don't panic. 

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February 03, 2013

Peter David is Asking for Help

Author Peter David has had a stroke.

Actually he had a stroke on December 29 but I just found out via twitter.

Tip jar and more here.

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November 13, 2012

Terrible News

 Steven Den Beste, who was one of my inspirations to get into blogging and now runs the highly regarded anime blog Chizumatic  has reportedly had a stroke.

He is in the hospital and thankfully seems to be recovering. Go send him some good wishes.

UPDATE:
It's bad. However he is conscious and lucid enough to post this comment.


My brotheri s loaning me a laptop which I can use on the hospital's wifi.

Looks like Thursday morning, I'll be transferring to a rehab place where I'm probably going to be staying for a week. I'm not looking forward to it but I'm also not thrilled about being profoundly crippled for the rest of my life, either.



I don't know if I'll have wifi access at the rehab.

In the meantime, my left hand is useless and I'm typing this with one finger.


Get well Steven!
がんばて!

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November 16, 2011

Would-Be Assasin on the Loose!


Seen here wearing the traditional garb of his native LA-La-Land
 This Jackwagon's name is Oscar Ramiro Ortega and he is strongly suspected of putting a bullet through the President's window.


He's 5'8" tall, weighs 160 pounds and has multiple tattoos. He's reportedly been seen at the #OccupyRingworm encampment but a sweep by the secret service there did not find him.


UPDATE: They got him!

Yay!

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August 09, 2011

London Update

It doesn't look like its ended yet.
It's finally starting to illicit some coverage in the US and Drudge has a good chunk of his page  devoted to it as I type this.
More here, here and here.


Readers of Andy Janes' blog will be happy to know that has responded to an E-mail and is OK.

Update: Allan Harvey of Gorilla Daze is in the middle of it and reports "...the sky is full of smoke..." but he is safe and unhurt.

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July 19, 2011

Breaking: US Congressman Leonard Boswell (D Iowa 3rd) Attacked by Gunman in Home!

Boswell who is 77 heard his daughter screaming and found an intruder on top of her with a gun in her face. He reportedly tackled the intruder and the two wrestled until his grandson entered the room with a shotgun...at which point the intruder fled. The assailant is still at large.

Via Alphecca

This is a big deal. There is no indication as I write this that this was anything but a home invasion....but this was a United States Congressman so something bigger can't be ruled out. Coming so soon after the Giffords assassination attempt this has got to have people on edge regards congressional security. I hope the powers that be don't overreact as US Representatives and Delegates are about the only federal officials the citizens have any access to.

In any event it seems that the asshat who is now on the lamb picked the wrong Congresscritter to bother...

Boswell was drafted into the US Army in 1956. According to his Congressional website, he reenlisted and became an army aviator who was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Soldier’s Medal, two Bronze Stars, an Air Medal with V device, and numerous other awards and decorations.


Hooah!

UPDATE: They have caught one person and are looking for another.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety said authorities had arrested Cody John Rollins, 19, of Lamoni. He's charged with first degree burglary, assault while participating in a felony, going armed with intent and three counts of first degree robbery.

He was held on $50,000 bond, and a lawyer hadn't yet been named.

Police also were searching for David Palmer Dewberry, 20, of Fremont, Neb., who is considered armed and dangerous and may have fled the state.


It looks like just a couple of lowlifes who picked a house with a war hero and a shotgun inside. It still bears watching though.

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May 29, 2009

Fingers are Crossed

Raymond Pritchett, better known as Galrahn, is really one of the best naval policy bloggers out there. Now he has gone on hiatus for undisclosed reasons, but the fact that he has requested prayers for his oldest daughter does not bode well.


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January 19, 2009

South Korea on Alert

While everyone else is awaiting the inauguration, Information Dissemination points out some troubling developments in the vicinity of the 38th parallel.


In From the Cold has more here.

 The Korea Herald reports that there have been Naval engagements...
Naval ships from the two Koreas have engaged in a number of bloody clashes in the West Sea on North Korean provocation.

 ...though is unclear if this is referring to recent events. There have been several clashes at sea between the two countries over the last few years.

Coming as it does during the potential disruption of the Presidential transition this is an even more worrisome development than it would normally be. This is most likely bluster by the Hermit Kingdom, but it certainly bears watching.

 Note that the US and South Korea are still technically at war with the North. The armistice is still in effect but no peace treaty has ever been signed.
 

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September 12, 2008

Hell is Coming to Texas Tonight

The worst natural disaster to ever hit the US was a hurricane on a track very similar to this. This is worse. As I type this,  it looks like the eye will pass near or over both Galveston and Houston. The thing is HUGE and could hit some areas with hurricane force winds for 12 hours or more. This has the potential to be an unimaginable calamity. Worse, the area has been hit by numerous hurricanes that are on paper more dangerous. However, the size of this storm will result in a storm surge of historic levels and the area will be subject to winds far longer than it has in history. Many people, perhaps thousands, who have weathered previous bad storms with no problem are likely in for a terrible, terrible surprise if they have not evacuated. This storm is a monster and it may be the most damaging hurricane of all time.
It should be noted that the Houston ship channel is one of the most vital pieces of national infrastructure.



Send your thoughts and prayers to
Mark Whittington
Rachel Lucas
Avatar
Ubu Roi
and everyone else in the line of fire. Ubu in particular is in a bad situation and can't actually evacuate due to family responsibilities..

UPDATE: The 584 foot bulk freighter Antalina  has suffered an engineering casualty and was unable to avoid the storm. The ship is adrift is adrift in 80 knot winds with 22 crew aboard. Coast Guard  and Air Force rescue aircraft were unable to remove the crew and the aircraft were forced down in Lake Charles. Antalina is reportedly  a Cyprus Registered coke carrier.

From the USCG Press release.
"Unfortunately there were 80-knot winds on scene, well beyond the operating conditions for the air crews to safely rescue the crew of the Antalina. The safety of the rescue crews and the crew of the Antalina are of the utmost importance to us. The Coast Guard will continue to maintain contact with the crew of the Antalina and monitor their situation very closely," said Rear Adm. Joel R. Whitehead, commander, Eighth Coast Guard District. 


I've been able to find no info on the Antalina aside from that given in the Maritime link. She is said to be a coke carrier. Bulk freighters carrying such low value cargo are often not in the peak of maintenance.  The vessel has traditional lifeboats, which are perilous in good weather let alone in the teeth of a hurricane. This is a serious situation.

UPDATE 2: thanks to a commenter at Galrahn's. Here are the stats on the vessel. They do not fill me with confidence.
UPDATE 3:It looks like they made it.




Via The Unofficial Coast Guard Blog, the acknowledged Military response is...

USS Nassau w/1000 medical bed facility. The NASSAU arrived in Norfolk, Virginia at 1000 EDT September 12 and on-loaded a Disaster Relief Team (DRT), Beach Party Team (BPT), Fleet Surgical Team (FST) and 4 x Utility Landing Craft (LCU)

(20) title 10 aircraft and helicopters to include HH-60s, SH-60s, HC-130s;

(14) USCG platforms to include HH-65s and HU-25s;

(9) Air National Guard platforms to include HH-60s, MC-130s;

(61) Army National Guard helicopters.


This is in addition to the National Guard , Army, Civilian Federal, Volunteers Churches and NGOs.

UPDATE: *Coast Guard video of rescues is here and here.



This is driving me nuts....I'm still on medical leave and thus nondeployable. At this time they don't even need any back fill here ( at least not from a broke coastie). 2 times I had to drop out of school for mobilization but see no action and save no one except a St. Bernard...Now this.....an actual emergency...what I enlisted to do...something that applies to my rate in spades is happening and I'm Walter Mitty with a keyboard.

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September 11, 2008


more...

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August 31, 2008

Hurricane Week

UPDATE: Bumped to top
This is very nearly a worst case track.

 It looks like NOLA is going to be in the danger quadrant and winds will be blowing into New Orleans from Lake Ponchartrain. This is a far, more direct hit than the city got during Katrina and will put maximum stress on the levees. Weather Nerd has more.

A better idea of the windspeeds can be seen below click here for full size.
Information Dissemination has a post on the Navy side of the disaster preparations, note that the main difference between this and 2005 is that the current governor of Louisiana is competent and also unlikely to deny them entry and Mayor Nagin is not being an ass. Having learned his lesson, he has ordered a timely evacuation this time and seems to be implementing a real evacuation plan.

Regards the Hospital Ships, Mercy is still in Paupa New Guinea but Comforts last publicly acknowledged location was Baltimore.


GUSTAV IS A LARGE TROPICAL CYCLONE.  HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND
OUTWARD UP TO 50 MILES...85 KM...FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL
STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 200 MILES...325 KM. THE NOAA
AUTOMATED STATION AT PULASKI SHOAL LIGHT FLORIDA RECENTLY REPORTED
2-MINUTE AVERAGE WINDS OF 51 MPH...81 KM/HR...WITH A GUST OF
60 MPH...96 KM/HR.

THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY THE AIR FORCE
HURRICANE HUNTER IS 960 MB...28.35 INCHES.

AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STORM SURGE OF 18 TO 25 FEET ABOVE NORMAL
TIDAL LEVELS IS EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER
OF GUSTAV CROSSES THE NORTHERN GULF COAST. A STORM SURGE OF 1 TO
3 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS IS POSSIBLE IN THE DRY TORTUGAS AS
GUSTAV PASSES TO ITS WEST.

GUSTAV IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO
12 INCHES OVER PORTION OF LOUISIANA...SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI AND
SOUTHERN ARKANSAS...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF UP TO 20
INCHES POSSIBLE THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING. ADDITIONAL RAINFALL
AMOUNTS OF ABOUT AN INCH ARE POSSIBLE OVER FLORIDA KEYS AND
SOUTH FLORIDA.

ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE OVER THE CENTRAL GULF COAST LATER
TODAY.


Excerpted...emphasis mine.

 This has every indication of being at least as bad as 2005.

If you want to help, either in person or by donation,  Rambling Rebuilder, who spent much of 2005/2006 doing relief and recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast sends these helpful links.
.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief...are acknowledged as the experts in Hurricane relief in the southeast.

Habitat for Humanity...helps out with the aftermath of these things.

Samaritans..don't get much attention, but Rambling Rebuilder says they were very heavily engaged and helpful in the area after the 2005 calamity.

These are the ones he saw that were most visible.
There is also a big list of relief NGO's on this page.

If by some bizarre chance you are reading this and are in the above indicated path....get off the damn computer and leave!

Meanwhile....

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