15th of May 2015 Friday Weekly Web Wrap Word Womble With weak weekend writings

Hola it’s that time again, when I summarise all the content from my facebook for the week and write it under one hugely alliterated title.

The Economist reports on the deployment of railguns to the USN Fleet and describes some of their basic mechanics, as well as the economic benefits of lobbing huge slugs at hypersonic speeds towards your enemy. http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21650519-americas-navy-wants-arm-its-ships-electrically-powered-superguns-rail?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/pe/st/railstrike

Here’s a picture of kittens being perplexed by bubbles. Let’s face it, you people lap this shit up, and how could you not? It’s kittens with bubbles for fuck’s sake. Fucking adorable as fuck.
http://about.cats-paradise.net/bubbles-vs-kittens

In a similar vein here is a video of small dogs at pool.
https://www.facebook.com/SausageDogCentral/videos/10152462943627562/?pnref=story

Speaking of cute, here is a link to the actual Federal Government Budget 2015 documents, something most of you are likely to bitch about without ever reading. http://www.budget.gov.au/2015-16/index.htm

Bacon Sushi (you may have seen the free booted version on facebook video)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gv86vO9zCw

An Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia killing 7 and injuring more than 200. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32716462?ocid=socialflow_twitter

Kim Jong-un executes his defence chief by ‘anti-aircraft fire’
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32716749

THe Witcher III is leaked two weeks early
http://www.gamesradar.com/witcher-3-wild-hunt-leak-spoilers/

Burundi President running for third term is ousted by military coup in Burundi after a constitutional crisis. Although this afternoon he announced he had returned to the country declaring the coup a failure. He has yet to be seen publicly. Fierce fighting has been reported int the capital.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32724083

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/president-burundi-army-coup-failed-150515002113225.html

 

 

This next video speaks for itself. It’s a cat swatting a dog whilst riding a roomba.

A Iraq War veteran recounts the experience he had in a firefight in Iraq in an animation in a similar style to Waltz with Bashir.

http://www.wearethemighty.com/iraqi-war-veteran-recalls-crazy-thoughts-almost-died-gunfight-2015-05

In Texas, the governor deploys the State Guard because he believed nearby Army training exercises were a cover for a takeover of the U.S by Obama. Keep in mind that Texas is part of the U.S already.
http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/05/02/403865824/texas-governor-deploys-state-guard-to-stave-off-obama-takeover

Star Citizen’s Alpha hits version 1.1.3. A quick run down can be found below, then a full change list below that.
https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/261224/1-1-3-to-live-today/p1

https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link//14719-Star-Citizen-Patch-V113

Sweden has rejected Assange’s appeal that his detention order be annulled.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/05/supreme-court-of-sweden-refuses-to-revoke-assange-detention-order/

The LHC tests the Standard Model, which is disappointingly robust, providing physicists little headway into lingering questions in particle physics.

http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/05/lhc-tests-standard-model-againsadly-it-passes/
Harry Shearer (voice of Mr Burns, Ned Flanders, Otto, et. al.) parts way with the Simpsons.

http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/14/8604495/harry-shearer-leaves-the-simpsons-no-mr-burns-flanders

Konami ostensibly announces that it is throwing in the towel on console and focusing on the mobile platform from hereon in.  Caveat:

 Right, first up let’s preface this by saying that this is coming from a combination of the terrible things Google Translate does to language and a NeoGAF post breaking down the key points of an interview with Konami director and president Hideki Hayakawa. So take it all with a pinch of salt.

http://www.gamesradar.com/konamis-is-done-console-games/

Following the British elections, the losers wring their hands over why the system is wrong, and how they could’ve won under a different system. Proportional Representation is the buzzword amongst the electoral fringe.

Whilst it’s tempting to look in isolation at the electoral results of say the recent NSW elections and think “Under PR my party would’ve done so much better”, this ignores the prospect that people on the opposite fringe would detach from the major parties and correspondingly garner more votes. There would still be two moderate larger blocks, but these blocks would have to negotiate with the fringe in order to pass legislation. This would likely yank a democracy to its polar extremes, increasing legislative gridlock, without really increasing representation a capite ad calcem.

http://ampp3d.mirror.co.uk/2014/05/21/how-europes-voting-system-is-facilitating-the-rise-of-the-far-right/

Rogue antimatter found in thundercloud, nobody quite sure how it got there, or whether there is as much as has been measured.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/rogue-antimatter-found-in-thunderclouds/

Zach Weinersmith knocks it out of the park with this guest comic on The Nib.

https://thenib.com/sacrificial-whammy-907bd3ecd59

A thoughtful piece on Bloomberg about how as interest rates remain stubbornly low, and governments and central banks maintain high deficits, how little ammunition there is for dealing with a future economic crisis.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-13/hsbc-central-banks-are-running-low-on-ammunition

A team of European astronomers have tracked down a star with abnormally low metallicity. This article titled “The Star that Should not exist” outlines a discovery that challenges our very notion of stellar formation.

http://www.eso.org/public/unitedkingdom/news/eso1132/

StarWars Battlefront apparently won’t have classes or squads. DICE have previously announced that it won’t have iron sights either. One wonders how rudimentary DICE are planning on making combat in this game. With Disney as the IP holder, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were driving the game to the absolutely lowest possible common denominator.

http://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront-wont-have-classes-or-squads/

A Russian SAM system catches fire during the Russian Victory Day parade. Incidentally, one of its new Armata MBTs also broke down during the parade.
http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/sa-11-buk-missile-system-catches-fire-during-victory-1703419253/

A five day ceasefire is announced in Yemen to deliver humanitarian aid. The Saudis say it might be extended if the Houthis do not engage in any attacks. Optimists hope that it will pave the way to a political deal for lasting peace
http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2015/05/truce-test-yemen-150514201913975.html

The Vatican recognises the State of Palestine.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/vatican-palestine-recognition-150513171949183.html

Finally this week, a thoughtful piece by the economist on the dawn of true AI.  Elon Musk thinks it’s here, as does Bill Gates.
http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21650543-powerful-computers-will-reshape-humanitys-future-how-ensure-promise-outweighs?fsrc=scn/fb/te/pe/ed/thedawnofartificialintelligence

Friday Round up

Hola, in order to bring more routine to my life, and formalise my writing more, I have decided to bring you each week’s latest bullshit  content from around the web.

In lighter news, a meathead injures himself on a stack of bricks for a shot at reality TV.
http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/05/06/11/45/wannabe-footballer-charges-through-brick-wall?fb_action_ids=10152761077781680&fb_action_types=og.shares

Cats knock stuff over
https://www.facebook.com/BuzzFeedVideo/videos/1695908710550004/

The first road legal self driving truck is unveiled.
http://arstechnica.com/cars/2015/05/freightliner-unveils-the-first-road-legal-self-driving-truck/

Today is the close of polls for the UK election!

The BBC has provided a poll tracker, a ‘poll of polls’
http://www.bbc.com/news/politics/poll-tracker

Currently it’s showing a 1% lead for the Labour Party over the Conservatives, although neither party has majority at this stage.

Their election live-blog can be found here:  http://www.bbc.com/news/live/election-2015-32594267

The Economist have published their endorsement for David Cameron, in an insightful piece outlining  some of the risks involved with either major parties philosophies.
http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21650113-despite-risk-europe-coalition-led-david-cameron-should-have-second-term-who

The Guardian as usual engages in it’s usual anti-Tory conspiracy theories.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/06/labour-fight-attempt-by-cameron-declare-victory-without-majority

This week, the NASA Dawn probe reached Ceres. The ABC has a short article outlining the event

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-07/us-spacecraft-reaches-dwarf-planet-ceres/6287762

By now you’ve probably heard tale of the two bright spots on the surface. NASA has invited the public to weigh in on the debate about what they might be. And of course “Aliens” is the obvious response from many a UFO/conspiracy enthusiast.

http://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/6008/20150502/ceres-bright-spots-signs-alien-life-nasa-weigh.htm

In more space news, scientists have discovered evidence of massive volcanism on an exoplanet, the first of its kind yet detected. FQTQ weighs in with a thoughtful piece.

http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/evidence-of-volcanism-observed-on-extreme-exoplanet-55-cancri-e/

In more space news, astronomers have set a new record for a galaxy detected this far from Earth.  The galaxy is a whopping 13 billion light years away, and was likely formed when the universe was very young. It, itself is only likely 100 million years old & is probably one of the first generations of galaxies to form in the universe.

http://news.discovery.com/space/galaxies/this-fuzzy-blue-blob-is-most-distant-galaxy-ever-seen-150506.htm

Speaking of vast distances, the folks at Numberphile talk about a universe that is so vast that matter configurations start repeating themselves. This means that (theoretically), in a large enough space there would be an exact copy of you out there somewhere. They discuss very large numbers: the googol and googolplex.

A gentleman on reddit has been taking images of Saturn every year since 2009.

I've taken an image of Saturn every year since 2009.

Crowdfunded scientists come home with 43 meteorites from the Nullarbor
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-08/space-rocks-desert-crowd-funding-scientists-return-meteorites/6430506

Closer to home, The Simpsons has been renewed yet again for another two seasons by Fox. I suspect the show will outlive me.

http://www.avclub.com/article/fox-renews-animated-comedy-simpsons-two-more-years-218945

The proxy war in Yemen is beginning to heat up as the Saudi launch helicopter gunship attacks on the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The Saudi led coalition (including Egypt) have also landed ground troops in the southern port of Aden. The Saudis have been primarily relying on supporting ground troops with airstrikes, in a piecemeal escalation that is beginning to bear portentous parallels to Vietnam.

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_306481/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=4Z4wbdYa

Yesterday the Australian referenced an article by Blasko in the article “Chinese military pampered, unhealthy and corrupt: experts”. I know a few of you find defence/security matters interesting and there is no greater challenge than the potential Thucydides trap between China and the United States, so I have provided the sources below. The first is the complete RAND report, the second, the contribution made by Donald Blasko.

“China’s Incomplete Military Transformation”
http://origin.www.uscc.gov/…/China%27s%20Incomplete%20Milit…

“TEN REASONS WHY CHINA WILL HAVE TROUBLE FIGHTING A MODERN WAR”

http://warontherocks.com/…/ten-reasons-why-china-will-hav…/…

The Taliban and IS have launched a new offensive near Kunduz in Afghanistan. The West has declined to offer the ANA military support in what seems to be a repetition of the mistakes they made in both post-surge Iraq and Afghanistan in the first half of the last decade. This is punctuated by the rise of IS in Afghanistan, and the peace talks with the Taliban.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32620595?SThisFB&fb_ref=Default

After nearly seven weeks Benjamin Netanyahu has cobbled together a coalition to form government in Israel
http://econ.st/1PqNvVc

The Economist publishes an essay bemoaning the state of democracy in the world today, and why it deserves defending, and is often under-estimated.  Excellent reading.

https://www.economist.com/news/essays/21596796-democracy-was-most-successful-political-idea-20th-century-why-has-it-run-trouble-and-what-can-be-do?fsrc=scn%2Ffb%2Fte%2Fpe%2Fed%2Fwhatsgonewrongwithdemocracy

Christine Milne resigns as the leader of the Greens in a move that both surprised the media, and Annabel Crabb gives us insight into the high disciplined, pragmatic media machine that is the Australian Greens.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-06/crabb-greens-leadership-change/6449788

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in the U.S rules that bulk collection of phone records is illegal.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-08/us-appeals-court-rules-nsa-phone-surveillance-illegal/6453968

Blacktown mayor and residents up in arms over claims of misrepresentation on SBS smugfeed “Struggle Street”.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-05/sbs-struggle-street-series-poverty-porn-says-mt-druitt-mayor/6446648?WT.mc_id=Innovation_News%7CStruggleStreetMountDruittCommunityUpInArmsOverPovertyPornDocumentarySeriesOnSbs_FBP%7Cabc

Square Enix unveil a DirectX12 tech demo that showcases a range of features that some say represents the crossing of the uncanny valley.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2015/05/new-square-enix-real-time-directx-12-demo-crosses-the-uncanny-valley/

Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition, stares down critics in the Labor Left over asylum seeker policy.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/denying-problem-of-boat-people-deaths-intellectually-dishonest/story-fn59niix-1227334424484

My thoughts on the terrible Man of Steel movie which I watched because on Netflix because I was too tired to do anything else.

Man of Steel: This is one of the most stupid movies I have ever seen. So first of all, I just don’t understand why all these people decide to act completely contrary to their own interests. First of all at the beginning when Krypton is being destroyed – the people decide to use their one spaceship to telesport all the criminals offworld and to safety, whilst choosing to remain on the planet to die. Wouldn’t it make much more sense to leave Zod on the planet to die, and use the overly elaborate spaceship to escape with at least people offworld? You know you have a place to go because apparently you set colonies up everywhere but decided not to use them when your one world was dying. But okay, whatever.
Okay so you’re Zodd you’ve found Superman, you’ve found a planet where the environment turns you into literal supermen, and your primary goal is to change it back to the shithole where you don’t have superpowers … or property resale value. Okay but … whatever … but instead of actually peacefully negotiating with Superman, you decide that you’re just going threaten him into doing what you want because that clearly works out for you all the time. I mean you’re nearly extinct but what’s killing one more of your own. But sure, you’ve got a genesis chamber, instead of just using the blood sample you have to start generating more people, you think it’s more prudent to just ignore that, try and kill superman, and risk the survival of your species. Let’s just ignore the refusal to breed altogther. Yeah buddy clearly your species needs saving.

What about Superman’s dad? I mean you know you’ve got a nigh invincible son, but no, sacrifice yourself to a tornado to save your dog, even though your son would’ve been likely okay if it had sucked him up, and a convenient cover story would’ve been far easier than y’know… death. Nah, it’s just far more noble (not to mention important more important to character development).

And what about the end, where Superman is so upset that Zodd is about laser-eye some innocent all-American bystanders? Um Hey you do realise you trashed a city and probably killed half a million people. But these ones are important right? Just the ones who die off-screen don’t matter. And what about all the people who died when Superman chose to save Lois instead of literally all the others. Pretty clear he acts in his own self-interest literally all the time.

Superman isn’t a hero, he’s an egotistical tyrant. He also happens to be an idiot to boot.

 

Archive.org releases a huge number of old mS-DOS games.
https://archive.org/details/softwarelibrary_msdos_games&tab=collection

In support of Mr Hockey’s lifespan and Medicare projections.

What I don’t understand is for someone who claims to love science when it comes to the climate change debate doesn’t have any grasp of statistics.

Okay Scottie, here’s a crash course.[1]

According to these figures, by 2050, the Australian dependency ratio will *double* from around 19% to 40% by 2050. That means, in regards to say Medicare (but pick your Government provided service, be it welfare or defence) there will be twice as many users as there will be payers.[2]

However if we look at Commonwealth spending projections from today going forward another ten years, in absolute spending terms, expenditure will double.

“Commonwealth expenditure on health is projected to nominally increase from about $65 billion in 2013-14 to $123 billion by 2023-24, or from around 4.1 per cent of GDP in 2013-14 to around 4.8 per cent by 2023-24. “[2]

of which the number of Australians over 65 will, to quote the report :

” . Between now and 2050, the proportion of Australians aged over 65 years or more is expected to almost quadruple (Australian Government, 2010). “[2]

These are the biggest consumers of healthcare as demographic & their numbers are expected to *quadruple*.

To summarise for the tl;dr crowd that inevitably clings to Greens social media: It means the number of people spending the Medicare dollar without contributing is expected to double, and the cohort of people expected to spend the most (those over 65) is expected to quadruple.. The amount of people aged over 81 is expected to increase fivefold.

A seven dollar co-pay was not a lot to ask to maintain our healthcare system. It’s an equitable user pays system. Sure, ideally all Australians should have access to tertiary education and universal healthcare. But we don’t because we can’t. Dental is a really good example of this. There’s a mischaracterisation of the Liberal party as attacking ‘universal healthcare’ , but we don’t have anything approaching universal dental healthcare.

The aggregate Left has shown it doesn’t want any new taxes to support healthcare. That, in effect, absolutely means no new dental schemes at all. The actual vision we have of “universal healthcare” isn’t in reality anything but universal. We already compromise on what Medicare can and cannot achieve – the choice was made decades ago that Medicare wouldn’t cover dental.

This is regardless of the fact that Bob Hawke attempted to introduce a co-pay scheme in 1991, before it was removed after Keating came to power. [8]

Now lets get to the lengthening human lifespan.

Geneticists and biochemists are already talking about and have developed in simpler organisms the ability to vastly improve the human lifespan.[4][5]

Even caloric restriction and some drug therapy has shown some serious promise in human clinical trials[6]

The number of people who live to be 100 years old as increased by 1004% in the last century and these trends here show that the human life expectancy increase on average by 3 months per year.[7]

In conclusions, it’s absurd to continually point to U.N climate change forecasts with one hand, and on the other completely denounce U.N demographic projections with the other.

It is disingenuous to make continual references to “the science” in regards to climate change, but then utterly ignore the leaps and bounds we have made in human biology in the last one hundred years.

This can only lead to the one of two conclusions that Senator Luddite either is incapable of interpreting any kind of projection for himself; or that he only chooses to refer to science on issues when it is politically expedient to do so.

The question I put to the Good Senator is: Which is it?

[1] http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/glossary/dependency-ratio/

[2]http://www.ncoa.gov.au/report/appendix-vol-1/9-3-pathway-to-reforming-health-care.html

[3]https://www.cis.org.au/images/stories/target30/t30.03.pdf

[4]http://io9.com/345728/geneticists-discover-a-way-to-extend-lifespans-to-800-years

[5]http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.0040013

[6]http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22429894.000-everyday-drugs-could-give-extra-years-of-life.html#.VLzT1UeUfTg

[7]http://www.nia.nih.gov/research/publication/global-health-and-aging/living-longer

[8]http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/FlagPost/2014/April/GP_co-payment_lessons_from_past








The Interview

There was a lot hype leading up to this movie given the Sony breaches and the diplomatic row between the United States and North Korea that has resulted. After watching it, it is not hard to see why; this is an out and out American propaganda film.

To say however that I did not totally enjoy it would be untrue. At times Rogen and Franco’s natural on screen chemistry shines through, and some of the jokes are exceedingly well delivered. That said, there are plenty of dick and fart jokes. The use of incontinence as gag wears pretty thing after a while though.

The production values at times are really slick; there are some great shots of countryside, the camera work is slick and the movie manages to take only a couple of sets and make it feel like it much more ‘open’ than it really is.

The issues start when we are introduced to Kim Jong-un. It is painfully obvious that this is an American propaganda film. Kim Jong un manages to charm Skylark almost instantly showing a predictably human side that before too long is revealed to all be an act. The attempts at showing us what makes North Korea so bad is tired repetitions of the worst of what we know about the DPRK. This isn’t unexpected – nobody would argue that North Korea is a highly enlightened progressive nation. But just as the character in the movie wants to show us the ‘true picture’ of North Korea – the film feels like what it is really showing us what the United States government wants us to see.

There seem like there were a number of opportunities to grant the movie a little depth; at one point KJU tries to talk about U.S incarceration statistics. The camera turns away to a graphic fight scene in the control even before that sentence is finished. It’s actually a particularly telling moment. Who are the U.S to accuse North Korea of running concentration camps when onein three African Americans have been or are likely to go to prison, may for non-violent offences. The irony of talking about how the DPRK is a violent regime whilst showing us tonnes of gun-porn & gore is either completely lost on the director; or what I felt more likely, edited out from the script before release.

It feels like at times that The Interview is trying to be more even handed or perhaps contrast the United States and North Korea more equivocally & that it’s been shut down in post production by the producers. At times characters seem to have moral dilemmas about killing a head of state and how this hasn’t worked out in the past. These concerns are hand waved away with stunning regularity and often even the shots where this dialogue takes place is cut short or gun fights are super imposed over the top. The irony of a film released of dubious subject matter to cries of ‘free speech’ engaging in blatant self-censorship doesn’t seem to be lost on the writers; it’s often only obliquely commented on.

The film feels like a character assassination piece. It’s strange that the movie almost is what is trying to be about – showing the world that Kim Jong-un isn’t a “God” but who in the target audience doesn’t already know that? It certainly seems aimed at creating a perception and image issue for the man. I can’t blame him for being pissed.

These aren’t the only issues with the script. The film regularly bends of backwards to be politically correct, especially in regards to women, negative and ignorant stereotypes of Asians abound. There are shitty accents, terrible impersonations of Asian speakers abound and the amount of English spoken by North Koreans is kind of astounding. It carries on this ‘celebration’ of African American culture that often feels more exploitative than anything. It often portrays North Koreans in a very one dimensional way; they are either eager to betray their country for the benefits of American style capitalism or violent megalomaniacs who secretly desire the fruits of American culture. If the film is not apologising for the United States, it’s celebrating it. Deep down, everybody we see wants to be good Americans, instead of ‘good North Koreans’ and those who don’t are one dimensionally evil.

This film is insidious in a lot of ways. It panders directly to an Americo-centric worldview. It’s portrayal of men borders on misandrist, all the male characters are seeking approval from father figures who didn’t care for them or are easily manipulated by their biological imperatives. The women are confident Mary-Sues who whilst engaging in deceptive conduct, are in it for the ‘greater good’. It’s propaganda and apologism at the same time; that’s no reason not to watch it but you should be aware that it is what it is. The thing that scares me about this movie is that it does seem like Rogen was really trying to pull away from that and for whatever reason, was overruled. I might be wrong on that count; but the attempts of the film to pull back from the precipice of nationalistic propaganda fail, and it goes right over the cliff.

Octopus News roundup

Straight from the RGI Media Centre here is the RGI Quarterly Octopus RoundUp.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-23708753

Lady from UK talks about she plays with fire by ‘entertaining’ the dreaded octopus.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/giant-octopus-brings-central-london-3639435

A graven image of the cult of the octopus unveiled in London earlier last month.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/may/15/octopus-suckers-arms-chemical-skin

The dreaded ‘pus is known to have some kind of distributed, terrible, intelligence. This cephalopologist piece from the Guardian does discuss in detail the sucking mechanism on the fell tentacles on the octopus.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091214121953.htm

Octopuses beginning to develop armoured vehicles from coconuts.

http://www.underseahunter.com/n28/deepsee-discovers-rare-pelagic-octopus.html#.U7dAS_mSx8E

More description moste foul of the deep sea cephalopods; terrible beyond all sanity. View at your own risk, lest ye go mad with terror.