Archive for June, 2011

Highschool Of The Dead, the DVD

June 30, 2011

So, my HOTD DVD came last week, and I spent the weekend watching the whole thing in one go — MJ was on a trip, so I didn’t have to waste time discussing the fine line between connoisseurship and perversion. Then I watched it again, dubbed in English rather than subbed. Consider this an update on my previous post (which you really should read first), now that I’ve been able to take a closer look.

JASDF RF4C flyby

My kind of fanservice

The Re-Review
The re-look confirms my first impression, that the fanservice is more silly than offensive — and removing the lens-flare didn’t really do much. I do have to back off a little on my position that otherwise it was a well-told story. In fact there are some flaws. But most of the flaws are inherent in the anime genre, and overall, it’s a reasonably well-told story, too violent for the under-15s (they might not agree), and too boobish for anyone over 25 not living in their mom’s basement.
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Oatmeal Miso

June 24, 2011

OK, so the curried oatmeal didn’t work. No problem. Don’t look back. No such thing as a failed experiment, as long as it leaves a big enough crater. Still looking for something savoury that will unblandify my morning oatmeal. Like Edison, finding hundreds of things you do not want to make lightbulb filaments out of, I work my way down my list. Next up, miso.

Now, I’m not a big miso fan. It’s too salty, and too hard to get right, in a soup. Maybe my tastebuds have a nonlinear response function or something, but I find it’s very easy to overshoot, with miso. Still, it’s worth a try.

Test One
So, one teaspoon (dining teaspoon, not cooking) of Shiromiso (white miso, which looks brown), from the bag that’s been in the fridge for the last year or so. Two thirds of a cup of hot water, and stir until the miso is dissolved, or at least, melts off the spoon and spreads itself throughout the water — dissolved is probably too optimistic a term, because if you let it sit, it precipitates out. Then add one third of a cup of instant rolled oats (again, artisanal, from the bin at Yokes). Stir, pop into the microwave for 20sec, stir, 20sec, stir. Let sit for a few minutes. 20sec. Stir. Taste.

Surprisingly, not entirely bad. First taste had my buds shouting ‘what the hell was that’, but then they settled down. Still bland, but a very strong bland. Needs something else. Something that isn’t ‘more jam’. Let’s try a couple of shots of shoyu, or better yet, ponzu — which is essentially soy sauce with citrus in it. That will make it seem more breakfast-like.

Not bad at all. Could use some doctoring up, but I’ll work on that the next time I’m hungry.

Test Two
OK, I’m hungry again. This time it’s a packet of miso soup mix, so it’s miso plus flavorants plus seaweed. Same procedure as earlier.

Result…a bit too seaweedy, but no need for ponzu. I might try it again with a different brand of soup mix.

The drawdown begins

June 23, 2011

I don’t have much to say on President Obama’s decision to start the withdrawals. It is certainly the right thing to do, and the rate at which they will be pulled out sounds like the right pace, but I don’t have enough information to make a decision.

I am intrigued by the reported position of the military vs the President. He doesn’t want the surge troops to be extended for an additional eighteen months, while the military guys are saying that it’s just one more “fighting season”. I think we’ve heard that argument before.

It's only one more season

Wikipedia passes another test

June 23, 2011

In my original post on Wikipedia, I mentioned the study that showed it to be at least as accurate as a paper-pedia. Now, a new study shows that Wikipedia remains remarkably accurate, even in areas thought to be subject to bias. Specifically, it is accurate in portraying the biographic details of politicians running for governor of the various states. Where the greatest number of inaccuracies were found was in the place you wouldn’t expect them, in articles on obscure topics. Evidently, many eyes do make all bugs shallow.

Yon on Afghanistan

June 20, 2011

I admire Michael Yon very much. I consider him the modern equivalent to Ernie Pyle, and fear that his fate will be the same. He has the interests of the combat trooper at heart, and he isn’t afraid to speak truth to power. And yet. And yet. I am afraid I can’t agree with him in his latest essay on Afghanistan. Or let’s say, I agree with almost everything he says, and yet come to a different conclusion.

If I may summarize his position, it is that:

Tactical
1. The surge is winning.
2. More troops, or at least, the same number of troops for longer, will ultimately beat the Talibs*

Strategic
3. We are engaged in nation-building, admit it or not
4. We only win if we leave behind a viable nation
5. Building the new AF will take decades

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Bruce Schneier on Security

June 18, 2011

TED talks are an excellent set of 20min vids on interesting topics by interesting people. Here is security expert Bruce Schneier on emotions, models, and reality.

Kanon 2002, the original anime

June 17, 2011

Introduction
I have always said that Kanon is my favorite anime. That’s Kanon 2006. I just came across an online set of the Kanon 2002 episodes. Very weird. They are the same, yet very different. Evidently, Key, the company that owns Kanon, licensed it to Toei Animation, who produced K2. Later, Key decided it was worth expanding on (or realized could be improved), and hired Kyoto Animation to do a remake. K6 was quite different, but I’m not sure it was a total improvement. This review assumes you have watched K6, and won’t mind the fact that it is riddled with spoilers. I mean real spoilers. To misquote Terry Pratchett, “all spoilers is spoilers, but some spoilers is spoilers“.

So, we begin. The artwork in K6 is obviously better. The art in Kanon 2002 is very 80’s looking, like, say Macross — very simple lines, not much in the way of background art, crude animation. Part of the crude look might come from watching a low resolution source, but the character art is still cartoony. Yuuichi, in particular, looks like something you would find in an art school ad — “Draw this Anime Boy!”

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Wikileaks 4, a different view of the infrastructure list

June 16, 2011

Last December, I commented on the State Department’s leaked list of critical infrastructure, saying that as a target list it left a lot to be desired. Now, architecture/geography site BldgBlog has posted an insightful article on how the items on the list define the outer limits of US security, and so in a way become part of us. UPDATE: a more complete article, with map, is available at Domus.

Seen this way, it matters less what specific sites appear in the Wikileaks cable, and simply that these sites can be listed at all. A globally operating, planetary sovereign requires a new kind of geography: discontinuous, contingent, and nontraditionally vulnerable, hidden from public view until rare leaks such as these.

Of course, you don’t have to be a planetary sovereign to be able to create a list like this, you just have to be a country that is enmeshed in the web that is global trade. The list defines a country’s economic diversity as much as anything. A similar list from the UK, or Italy, would include many of the same installations, and for the same reasons. And if their list didn’t include a rare-earth mine or widget assembly factory, it’s because they don’t have any industries that use rare-earths or widgets as primary inputs.

If you were to do this for every country in the world, and then connected the dots, you would get something that looked like a connectivity map of the Internet, with some nodes having a wider reach than others. Of course, that will never happen — the Internet is built on cooperation, and I could build such a map from my mom’s basement, while the econosphere is built on competition, and it took a Wikileak to get even one country’s list.

Who Killed Shanidar3?

June 10, 2011

I’ll tell you who. It is Aunt Ja that kills him, only she doesn’t mean to, and she figures anyway, he deserves it.

It all starts when we camp in Zagros on our way to Denisova for the winter, on account of Uncle Tok having a shared cave up there, and it being his turn. (We do not call it Denisova, of course, that is a word the Anatomically Modern Humans use, but times change, and Uncle Tok says the wise proto-hominid changes with them). We are just settled into our camp, with a very modern fire and separate workrocks for the men and the women and the boysandgirls, when this Neanderdude wanders in. (more…)

Air Spy

June 6, 2011

Here is a BBC infomercial for a recent program(me) on the use of “3D”, AKA stereo, imagery by Photo Interpreters (PIs) in Operation Crossbow, the effort to find and destroy Hitler’s V-weapons.

stereoscope

What makes this interesting to me, is that I trained on a stereoscope exactly like the one shown (I still have it), and I knew PIs who knew Constance Babington Smith (“Babs”), the original “Air Spy” on Crossbow. (more…)