May 13, 2021

Oh. Dear.

I have a degree in History. It's not worth a lot and its acquisition realistically passes no cost-benefit-analysis. However, that useless degree does foment a bit of dread in me when I read this


Affirmation is not always a cause for unbridled joy.

Now for some music...

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May 11, 2021

No Gas

There is one gas station out of the four I passed on the way back from the dentist that still had gas. Given the line that was shutting down one lane of traffic I expect that is a transient situation. Two of the now empty stations had gas when I went TO the dentist. 


 Unlike the other stations, Royal Farms has no sign announcing their lack of gas, they have little signs on each gas pump and people are wasting that extra little bit of precious petrol to line up to read the signs. 

I would take pictures but the areas around gas station are filled with agitated angry people acting and driving crazy. 

I'm glad I filled up on Friday. 


UPDATE: Because some people are perplexed by the fact that the colloquial term in the U.S.A. for gasoline is gas despite it being a liquid... 

"Gas" was once  the colloquial term used to refer to the hydrocarbon gasses being pumped through cities (at the time mostly for illuminating and occasionally cooking). It came to mean, in that context, not the third state of matter, but a hydrocarbon fluid used for combustion. GasOl refered to a hydrocarbon fluid that behaves much like oil. And GasOl-ine appears to have been a trade name. "Gas" is a shortened form of that. 

Remember too that petrol is short for petroleum and even the kerosenes like diesel and jet fuel are much closer in behavior, (if not appearance) to heating Oil than gasoline is...Gasoline is a light end, behaves differently from other petroleum based fuels and is in some ways more dangerous to handle, making a different term a good idea. As an aside, gasoline has a very low vapor pressure and is constantly trying to be a....gas. 

In fairness, none of this is particularly obvious if one is upside down and surrounded by fires and angry spiders.

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May 09, 2021

ODD TAXI

This is NOT a show that I would ordinarily have watched. From the promo material and character designs it would appear to be a show aimed at either little kids....or furries. 


However, Don over at Zoopraxiscope is a man of impeccable taste and he suggested it may be the best show of the season. I just watched episode one and it is certainly interesting. 


The show is indeed odd and much of the episode takes place in or very near a taxi so it already has truth in advertising going for it. 



Thus far it concerns a taxi driver in funny-animal-Tokyo. Oderoki, the fellow in the center of the bingo card above, is an anthropomorphic Walrus who drives a taxi and seems to be "on the spectrum" since he tries to make a mental conversational flow-chart with 5 or so options every time he sees somebody because he has no idea what will offend people. 

He is....blunt.  

This show has, even in subtitles, snappy and engaging dialog that seamlessly transitions between the anodyne and the...other side of this show, which sneaks up on one.


The art is unremarkable but it works and its soundtrack is absolutely superb. I'm not sure I'd buy the BGM but it complements the story very well and sets the tone in a way that few scores come close to.  

The cast of everymen and women are completely believable beyond the whole "anthro" thing and this show is astonishingly interesting. 

I'm definitely watching this one. 

Go visit Don. He's got all the necessary screencaps. 

Odd Taxi is fascinating actually and has fully grabbed me. 

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Golly

So THAT'S how they did it before NJ Star.



That amazing bit of Babbagery has to have the capability of typing a MINIMUM of 1945 characters. I wonder if some of those keys are just radicals and there's a function similar to capital and lower case for putting together select words. Anybody used one of these?

Anyway, with the development of the integrated circuit and word processors the procedure today is much simpler allowing a larger pool of typists. 




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May 08, 2021

Invest in Physical Petrol

...if you're on the East Coast of the U.S.

There has been a cyber-attack that has shut down over half of the oil flowing into the East Coast from Texas. The Pennsylvania fields alone can't carry the load and so if its not resolved by tomorrow night there will be shortages in very short order. This appears to be a ransomware attack and this may be the most consequential one ever. 

Picture is (hopefully) unrelated: 



I'm curious if the IT professionals in the audience have anything to add. 

UPDATE:

Via Pixy comes this article with a map of the affected area. Note that amongst the many affected parties are the big military fuel depots. The U.S. Navy's in Yorktown (servicing Norfolk), The Army Transportation Command at Fort Eustis, and Langley Air Force Base. 



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Meanwhile: In Chernobyl

One of out Crack Team of Science Babes has called our attention to happenings in Ukraine. 



"I guess it's true then. 2020 won."

Uh. She seems dismayed. Well, lets look at her tabs...
 Thirty-five years after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded in the world’s worst nuclear accident, fission reactions are smoldering again in uranium fuel masses buried deep inside a mangled reactor hall.

Oh. 

Oh dear. 

A quick perusal of the article indicates that rainwater leaking into the sub-basements of the stricken power plant was acting as a moderator and facilitating increased nuclear reactions in the solidified mass of uranium that constitutes the now solidified melted-down fuel pile. To combat this, the powers that be erected a rain-proof shelter over the highly radioactive ruin. Unfortunately there has recently been a spike in neutron emissions from a particularly isolated room where the formerly molten mass solidified. There are concerns that the water had been acting as a moderator there as well, but in such a way as to prevent  chain reactions rather than facilitate them, and now that the water has drained/ evaporated out this area is getting all fissiony. 

Pouring water into the catacombs paved with uranium risks causing chain reactions in other areas.

This is a mess. While a runaway chain reaction would not cause an actual nuclear bomb equivalent, it could cause a steam explosion and possibly fires which would spread radioactivity. 

Or not...because these are counterintuitive neutrons and scientists are unsure of what is actually going on. 

There is more coverage of this here, here, and here at the U.K. Sun, which manages to work the word "zombie" into the headline. 

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May 05, 2021

Will There Be 'Splodies?

There may not even be a burn. As this is being typed there appears to be an issue and Space-X trucks have arrived at the launch-pad and disgorged technicians, while the rockets flaps are being tested. 



However, the FAA mandated launch window extends until 8PM Houston time. For now the commentators are discussing the relative merits of cooking bacon in the oven. 

UPDATE: 
One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Explodemologists has an update as of 17:37.


"They're pumping in fuel! The countdown has restarted! 
Fireworks are likely!


UPDATE 2:

It looks like they did it! no explosions are in evidence and a small fire on the pad has been extinguished. It appears this was completely successful.


A superb celebration of the 60th anniversary of Alan Shephard's 1961 flight


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A Question for You, Gentle Reader

Has "Minecraft" become the latest code word for what was previously referred to as a b00g@L00? 'Cause I just blundered into some discussion concerning the relative merits of .308 versus .223/5.56 caliber ammunition in the context of.... "Minecraft". This was not a video game board.



Minecraft LARPing sounds like it could get out of hand. 

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May 04, 2021

A User's Manual For the Society We're Entering

Devon over at SFO has thoughts on how the cancellers are coming to terms with their increasingly being the targets of their own cancellation. Unsurprisingly, the chosen examples are not exhibiting introspection and/or awareness. 





 I, like Dev, know, have known, and/or have talked to several people who have lived through the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the fall of Weimar, the former USSR and Maoist China. To a person their reactions to the current climate is one of dread and foreboding. As some have told me "There is nowhere left to run". 

I suggest watching the whole thing, which is half an hour, However, there is a clip that must be seen to be believed at 15:37. In the clip, ContraPoints suggests as a solution to the increasingly frequent cancellation of lefties. Instead of stopping the whole process, she describes what amounts to a Maoist style struggle session in which people will be able to prostrate themselves before the mob and emerge, like a prodigal child, rehabilitated. One of the co-hosts points out (approvingly) how this is literally Maoist and they all agree that this is a point in its favor. The clip from Linday Ellis, going through a process similar to what these people imagine it would be, (rather than what it WOULD be) is terrifying for different reasons. 

I know a woman who lived through the Cultural Revolution and spent 10 years in prison and work camps. To have people nodding enthusiastically about this is bewildering and horrifying. It's like 9 year old boys playing war, but these aren't children. 

Dev's a (liberal) leftie and an Atheist, so there's things that he and I don't agree on. But he is an excellent videographer and he really nails it here. 

There is a related vid of his that is also relevant from some years ago concerning just HOW onerous this can be (doing a deep dive on a point I'd briefly touched on as one of many, earlier in the month). That video of his puts to rest the notion that one can simply batten down , move to the country and keep ones nose clean until this passes, for Lindsay Ellis is correct about one thing. It is a "Beast"; a manifestation of the darkest angels of human nature and now that it is unleashed it is insatiable. 

Stay safe everybody. Good night and good luck. 

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May 03, 2021

SENPAI NOTICED ME!!!

"Banned in Boston" used to be a selling point for books. 


As a Z-list blogger of diffident posting frequency such PR gold is closed to me. 

Oh wait. 

According to commenter MadRocketScientist:

Your blog, and possibly all of mee.nu is now banned by T-mobiles censorship application (which I need to figure out how to disable.)

Was it downvoting communism or a picture of an empty vaccine line?
 


"Hey girls! T-Mobile says The Brickmuppet's a...Bad Boi! Let's check him out!"

Hey ladies. Yeah. I'm...dangerous

Hahahaha! I have arrived! No doubt I've said SOMETHING too close to the truth. 

The omnipotent, ubiquitous "They" do not want people to hear me. 

So come one, come all, to read that which is FORBIDDEN

Now to take advantage of this public relations coup. I must think of something forbidden to write. 

Or anything to write really. 

It ought not be hard. I am, after all, quite radical.



UPDATE:  I finally got some people who have T-Mobile to look into this and it IS now blocked by T-Mobile's Web Guard parental filtering software.  

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May 01, 2021

Happy Mayday Everybody.


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April 29, 2021

Speculations From the Cutting Edge of of Isekaiology

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April 28, 2021

The Terrible Crush to Get Vaccinated



Yeah. After months of trying to get my vaccine appointment, having it delayed, and being told that I'm not essential enough an essential worker I finally got an appointment for my first shot. 

Above was the line. 

There was literally no one else in the Rite Aid aside from staff. I talked to the pharmacist to find out if this was where I was supposed to be for my 10:03 appointment. He looked momentarily confused and checked his computer and said "We DO have one today." He then got my info, sat me down, injected me with Moderna's Mysterious Miasma and told me that I could not leave for 15 minutes lest I keel over or something. I sat in a chair in the corner for  15 minutes and at about minute 12, someone with an Australian accent came in and asked for the shot. 

I have questions.

Why was my appointment at 10:03...like there was a 10:02 and 10:04? 

Why was getting this shot like pulling hen's teeth? I've been trying for MONTHS. 

Why the talk of how tight supplies are? 

I can't see what anybody GAINS by this. It seems that setting up vaccine stations as 1st come 1st serve, now that old people are taken care of would be a better option. 

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The Most Blatant Foreshadowing in the History of Isekai

Actually, that may not technically be true as I am not a fan of the Isekai genre in general, and can't speak authoritatively upon matters of the most stupidest anything,  but what Aizawa says about three minutes into last week's episode has got to at least be in the running.


We are, of cours,e talking about the show that is pithily named I've Been Killing Slimes For 300 Years And Maxed Out My Level and while I did not have high hopes for any great art to come out of this series, even those hopes were not met. 

This show is deeply stupid.
I laughed out loud multiple times.

This is not exploring great philosophical questions or great conundrums of the human existence, but two episodes did make me laugh like a loon three times in one day. And I needed that. 

Will continue to watch. 


Come for the stupidity. Stay for the omelets.
 

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April 27, 2021

Today's Hot Take


"Suss" seems to be a perfectly acceptable Woolseyism, is completely in character, and is no reason to go bat-scat bonkers. 



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Meanwhile: In Space

Something is eating and/or yeeting nearby stars

 
According to a new analysis of Gaia satellite data, the closest star cluster to our Solar System is currently being torn apart - disrupted not just by normal processes, but also by the gravitational pull of something massive we can't see.

The Hayades Star cluster
consists of a roughly spherical group of hundreds of stars sharing the same age, place of origin, chemical characteristics, and motion through space
 
This young stellar nursery is the closest star cluster to Earth, being only 47 parsecs (153 LY) away. For our purposes that's ridiculously, arbitrarily far, but on the galactic scale we're practically touching. 

Anyway, data from ESA's Gaia satellite indicates that stars in the cluster are vanishing and or being thrown out of the formation.  The paper is here, and more layman friendly articles on the subject can be found here, here, here and here

The current theory as reported, is that a huge mass of dark matter, (which is invisible to telescopes) is passing through the cluster and disrupting it. As a few of the articles suggest, finding Dark Matter, would indeed be strong evidence for Dark Matter, though, like all other evidence for the stuff this is indirect evidence (as Dark Matter's supposed properties would dictate).

Allow those of us at Brickmuppet Blog to offer an alternative possible explanation, but not necessarily the only one, for the phenomena being examined. 



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April 25, 2021

"This Episode is Downgraded to Merely 'Good' "

On this, the 5th episode of the 5th season of My Hero Academia, we are presented with the first episode that is entertaining, but not superb. 


The rest have been stellar. 

The season opens in the middle of last season's finale and has brought together a whole bunch of plot points that had appeared to just be background flavor text, but are actually quite important.  

In a way it reminds me a lot about Chris Claremont's run on the X-Men back in the '80s (but that is a reference that both dates me and is opaque to the audience. Suffice it to say that the story is moving briskly and is internally consistent )

This is an emotionally moving series and this is looking to be the best season yet. The current episode is taking place in a brief tournament arc, a Japanese Shounen comic trope that seems to be demanded by the Shonen Jump style guide.  These are generally dead-spots in a series and can often kill an otherwise promising show. However, My Hero Academia uses this conciet to expertly establish background info and develop characters quite entertainingly. 

This season has previously reminded us that Best Girl has additional powers that we had all forgotten about. 

Toxic Mucus For the WIN! 

This show continues to be excellent and I highly recommend it. 

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April 22, 2021

Beta Testing

After months of asking Starlink to "Shut up and take my money!" they finally obliged! 


Oh. That was a lot of monies. 

In any event, a few days or weeks from now, I'll have my Starlink kit and I will be able to report to you, gentle reader, on whether it lives up to its promise. 

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April 20, 2021

Technical Difficulties

I think Mee.nu is under DDOS attack. 



Verizon, my service provider, has been intermittently being rather diffident in quality, speed and bandwidth for a few days. Local storms may be to blame. 

On a completely different note, it is good to learn where great minds got their inspiration. 




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April 19, 2021

Dateline MARS!


There's a helicopter on frickin' MARS!

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