Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The best defense is...malnourishment?

Generally speaking, in order to increase stopping power from a bullet, you increase the trauma that it creates.

Hollow points accomplish this by expanding on target to create a larger wound channel.

There are some problems with this. Hollow points are prohibited under the Hague Conventions that NATO ascribes to (even though they are the most frequent type of bullets used by civilian agencies). Another problem is that you reduce the penetrative power of the bullet, which is fine inside a warm body because it means that the kinetic energy is being dissipated into the surrounding flesh but not so good against kevlar.

Full-metal jacket military rounds are designed instead to yaw at very specific velocity and resistance profiles. Ideally you would be able to penetrate a vest and then it would tumble and fragment inside the target's mass to increase stopping power.

With this background, let me get to my funny anecdote: NATO forces have discovered that enemy combatants in Afghanistan often have too little muscle mass to initiate yawing, contributing to reports of poor stopping power.

Sometimes hot-knife-through-butter isn't the preferred approach.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Oh no!

Nobody is translating Nanoha Force anymore?


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two things

1) I always like to use pork Shake'n Bake on my chicken

2) So you know how after water freezes, its crystal structure tends to push impurities together? I'm going to assume it has something to do with Gibbs energy. Shit always has something to do with Gibbs energy. This leads to some consequences when meat is left in a freezer for a long time as all the blood collects into the same section. Gross.

Re F-22 crash

I laughed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


What counter package do I want?

4 Counterspell, 3 Leak, 2 Exclude is what I had before.

It's hard to get off an Exclude but it's soo good when it resolves.

In elementary, someone else played Exclude. He'd play on the most terrible creatures and say he "just wanted to draw a card". Turns out, that's about right; just drop it on the first legal target and enjoy your +1. So good.

Back to my counter package, swapping a Leak for a singleton Negate felt right.

4 CS, 2 Leak, 1 Negate, 2 Exclude

I've neglected to put Preordains into my deck for all these years. It's hard for me to be excited about virtual card advantage even though on a mental level I know Preordain is probably better than anything ever printed in White.

No seriously, like what does White have? Stoneforge Mystic? Land Tax? Those are the only contenders.

So -2 Accumulated Knowledge, -2 Leak, +4 Preordain

Anyways, I'm finally losing my AK engine which was my favourite for so long for 2 more Mulldrifters. The number of sorcery speed white cards has drastically decreased the utility of instant-speed draw. And also I figure I needed more win conditions.

That's right, flying grizzly bear aggro is a legit win.

-2 AK, +2 Mulldrifter

Since I'm land light for control (i.e. 24 lands), I got to curve down.

The Excludes had to go (for Essence Scatter), the plan being:

4 CS, 2 Essence Scatter, 1 Negate

Incidentally, Patrick Chapin ran 4 Cancel, 2 Essence Scatter and 1 Negate as his Standard U/W Control counter package. Funny how I almost ended up at the same place independently.

Except I decided I liked the versatility of Mana Leaks over Essence Scatters so now I have:

4 CS, 2 Leak, 1 Negate

I was pondering this in bed and WAIT A MINUTE THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE AT ALL

The sensible options are then:

4 CS, 3 Leak
4 CS, 2 Leak, 1 Essence Scatter
4 CS, 2 Essence Scatter, 1 Negate

Which do I go with? Decisions, decisions..

Addendum: If I go with the lattermost, there is also the fork of 4 CS, 1 Essence Scatter, 1 Remove Soul, 1 Negate. The benefit of this is that I get to show off old cards and different art. Also I'd sidestep..Extirpate and Meddling Mage? The downside is that old frames don't look as nice and people might be misled into thinking that I only have singletons. That's not true; I have full sets of all this shit. I got a counterspell stack nearly an inch high! I'm just waiting to bust out my Rewinds in another blue deck!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

Recently I've picked a new card to be overly passionate about.

Crazy. And designed by Richard Garfield himself.

So what of it? Well, most people think of self-milling interactions when looking at it.

I think that's over-thinking. We have far more effective ways of emptying our library: Hermit Druid and Oath of Druids where available. Alternatively, it's hard to beat Dredge in raw efficiency even without Bazaars of Baghdad. Hell, Traumatize yourself even, if you're that desperate.

What do I think of when I see this guy? I think Morphling, an evasive 4 turn 3UU clock that is highly versatile and near-invulnerable. With its psuedo-phasing ability, it can kill a 5 toughness defender and come back again, it's virtually immune to targeted removal, it can attack and defend, and if you can flip a Deep Analysis in the process, all the better.

Of course, Morphling himself has been rendered unplayable by M10 combat rules, this from the best blue creature prior to Psychatog. Same with Mirror-Mad, Squadron Hawk can wall this guy all day.

Viability ruined.

Day ruined.

I haven't been this upset about new combat rules since M10 came out.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How easy is it to build aggro?

I had a theory.

That you could build a solid aggro deck out of grizzly bears without much thinking. Not actual Grizzly Bears mind you, but there are a lot of creatures with abilities on a grizzly body.

18 Forest
4 Vivid Grove
4 Wonder
2 Wilt-Leaf Liege
4 Fauna Shaman
4 River Boa
4 Selesnya Guildmage
4 Kavu Titan
4 Wild Mongrel
4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Giant Growth
4 Bonesplitter

My "bears" are twenty 2 power, 2cc creatures. River Boa is the classic anti-control clock. Selesnya, Wilt-Leaf and Wonder gives the ability to break through stalls. Titan will keep you in the mid-game. Rootwallas smooth out the curve and also make Mongrel/Shaman fodder.

This will goldfish 20 damage on 6th turn consistent. Not fast (the 2cc really hurts its speed), but I'd say better than most non-tribal casual creature decks.

Now you keep the principals the same, swap some Mongrels for Tarmagoyfs, Rootwallas for Nacatls, Bonesplitters for Jittes, et cetra and you end up with...Legacy Zoo.


Now let me tell you about Legacy Burn...

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I designed a Magic deck at work today:

23 Lands: 2 Island 2 Swamp 6 Onslaught cyclers 13 basic forest/plains
4 Aluren
4 Wall of Blossoms
4 Wall of Omens
4 Squadron Hawk
4 Selesnya Guildmage
4 Wirewood Savage
4 Cavern Harpy
1 Cloud of Faeries
4 Yavimaya Elder
4 Soul Warden

It's not resilient at all so that'll need work and I'm not sure it's consistent, though it should be with 16 cantrips, 6 cyclers and 4 Squadron Hawks. That mana curve is lovely though.

I should get MWS to playtest.

Academy Rector seems like a natural fit but those feel expensive. Other than Alurens, everything else should be dirt cheap in this list.

Now if you're wondering how I could look up cards at work, I didn't. I just happened throw this together off the top of my head...dododododoo...

update: Okay I can win 4th turn but more like 7th-ish turn consistent. I really don't know how to modify it because it's already made up of very good cards.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Deck evolution

My U/W deck has existed with me in some form since I started playing; it was my first deck. I bought it from Eric Zorn for $4? $8? in 2000.

2x Accumulated Knowledge (yes, 2!)
2x Gush
1x Brainstorm
3x Opt

2x Rethink
2x Exclude
2x Snap
2x Prohibit

4x Dream Thrush
2x Vodalian Serpent
1x Sea Monster
1x Air Elemental

1x Heightened Awareness
1x Mental Discipline

14x Island

Holy crap! Pretty good memory! Well, I had 6 white cards at the time, including Guard Dogs, so naturally I should make it U/W and expand my list to be a legal 60 cards.

I kept trying to compete with green for creatures, except at the time it was when blue had terrible creatures (not like them kids these days and their 3/2 fliers for 1CC).

Cards that I remember putting in and taking out over the years include Planar Portal, Lotus Petal, Sibilant Spirit, Copper-Leaf Angel and Serra Angel.

Wish I still have a Copper-Leaf actually...just for nostalgia. I first saw someone older than me use it in a game when I was 9, therefore it must've been good! And it's a rare from Prophecy! Wow! Prophecy was also the best set because its creatures were so big!

Too bad I traded all my angels to Don for all of his blue cards. (This might also explain why I have no angels left to put into the EDH deck)

I did get a playset of Vizzerdrixes though, that makes a better story.

The only vestiges of that deck left are the Accumulated Knowledges and the Excludes. The blue has stayed with me though, islands 4 lyfe yo.

Affinity started as a precon; I got it as a gift. At first I thought it was dumb, because there's nothing in it that could go in my U/W deck. But then I discovered that affinity was fast. And everyone's decks were terrible then, so this shit was like lightning!

I never did give it the same loving attention as my other decks because it was aggro and aggro is dumb. That could be why it went through one refit that year and then its composition has barely changed since 2003. I just sort of trusted that the setup worked because it was performing solidly ever since, but as I discovered yesterday, apparently my deckbuilding skills were not at their sharpest then. I think Maks noticed though...the "slowest affinity in the world" I believe he said. <_<

Non-basic cards left from the precon: Broodstar, Lodestone Myr, Somber Hoverguard(2), Frogmite(3), Myr Enforcer(3), Thoughtcast, Assert Authority(2), Talisman of Dominance(4), Tooth of Chiss-Gloria, Seat of the Synod(4), Vault of Whispers(4) Total(26)

I bought the Izzet deck on impulse because the flavour seemed wonderful. I honestly thought it was hopeless when I started playing with it though. I think I would've taken it apart totally if it weren't for the flavour, but I stuck with it and now it is the most fun of my decks.

Non-basic cards left from the precon: Izzet Boilerworks(2), Nivix, Aerie of the Firemind, Gelectrode, Tibor and Lumia, Wee Dragonauts (1), Izzet Chronarch(1), Izzet Guildmage, Repeal (2), Electrolyze, Total(11)

If it weren't for flavour, I'd have cut the Chronarch, Dragonauts, Tibor and Lumia, and Nivix. Nivix is terrible because I literally never activate it for fear of tossing a force multiplier like Guildmage, Gelectrode, Swans or Niv-Mizzet himself.

But Tibor and Lumia is actually the worst card. I rarely want to play it and I only end up doing it if I'm feeling ballsy. Then, I am silently relieved when my opponent kills it because it means I don't have to deal with them myself later.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

That's old news

Australia is doing well, but they're anxious these days because they are an Asian country, but they're not Asian and their major partner is China but they're suspicious of them.

So? That's kind of like Japan too.

No, it's not.

Why? All the East Asian countries certainly hate each other more.

Yes, but that's an old problem they've all gotten used to, for Australia this is a New Problem.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Good news!

Meanwhile, Canada’s early production model F-35 Joint Strike Fighters won’t have the satellite communications gear necessary to communicate with the outside world while flying over remote regions like the Arctic, according to the Winnepeg Free Press.


Canada isn’t slated to receive F-35’s equipped with Satcoms until 2019 and Ottawa is apparently looking at installing communications pods used by Canadian CF-18 Hornets on the F-35s as a stopgap measure for Arctic ops. This move would obviously trade stealth for communications.


Friday, October 21, 2011

One more thing

So we all know that Spetsnaz guy, this guy, and sometimes we wonder, just how often does such a situation come up?

Anyways, here's a Chinese SWAT member in action during a drill:

Apparently 18 SWAT teams participated in the drill.

Of course

They occasionally take down the portrait to replace with a new one.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Crash safety probably isn't as easy as they make it seem in those commercials...

I see that in China, the crumple zone is driver inclusive.

They say North American safety standards are higher than those in Europe. Well, maybe the Europeans don't have to worry about getting T-boned by a Chevy Suburban.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

That's cool

Ruby has no interfaces, but let's see what we can do:

module FooInterface
def bar(a,b) raise "bar(a,b) must be overridden"; end

class FooClass
include FooInterface
def bar(a,b) a+b; end

It's not particularly robust, but ehh, this isn't Java.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

I've experimented with a lot of turkey recipes in the past, some were pretty crazy, like there was one stuffed with apples. Anyways, for the last many years I've just stuck with this one because I've been really happy with it. So I'm sharing it if anyone cares to try for next season (American Thanksgiving? Christmas?).

• 1 x 12 lb. young turkey (about 5.5 kg)
• 8 oz diced pancetta (240 g)
• 8 large shallots, sliced lengthwise
• 2 tbsp butter (30 ml)
• sprigs of thyme, whole and chopped
• sprigs of sage, whole and chopped
• sprigs of rosemary, whole and chopped
• 1/4 cup sugar (60 ml)
• 1 1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar (22 ml)
• Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
• Butter, for rubbing the outside of turkey
• Sprigs of herbs, for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Add pancetta to medium saute pan over medium heat. Sautee until fat begins to render, about 4 minutes. Remove pancetta and reserve.

3. To the same pan over medium heat, add butter, shallots and chopped herbs. Saute shallots until translucent, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and continue to saute shallots 2 more minutes or until lightly browned. Add the vinegar and remove from heat and stir. Season with freshly ground pepper. Combine shallots with pancetta. Let cool to room temperature.

4. Remove giblets and turkey neck from turkey cavity. For additional flavour to pan drippings roast turkey neck in roasting pan with turkey. Remove any pockets of fat from bird cavity. Thoroughly rinse with cold water. Pat turkey dry with paper towel.

5. Run your hands gently between skin and meat of the turkey breast and legs to separate skin from meat. Do so carefully to prevent the skin from tearing. Gently slide about ½ of the shallot mixture and some fresh chopped herbs between skin and meat of the breast and legs.

6. Rub bird with butter and season with salt and pepper. Fill bird cavity with remaining shallot mixture and whole sprigs of herbs. Truss legs together with butcher’s twine to maintain shape while roasting.

7. Roast bird, breast side up, in a large, lightly oiled roasting pan on the lower portion of oven at 350 degrees F. for first 30 minutes then reduce heat to 325 degrees F. Continue to roast, basting often, until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reads 180 degrees F. about 2 to 2 ½ hours. Remove remaining shallot mixture from cavity of turkey and place in roasting pan. Transfer turkey to serving platter. Cover loosely with foil and keep warm and let rest 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Garnish platter with fresh sprigs of herbs if desired. Make gravy while turkey is resting.

Sorry, don't remember where I got it from, it's just been sitting on my hard drive.

My mom to dad: Pancetta is really good, it's not like bacon, it's really sweet!

Little does she know that I just like adding large amounts of sugar to everything I cook.

Putting the punk in steampunk

I should write about a realistic steampunk universe.

Everything is going to be broken all the time because everything is as complicated as shit and there is a constant part shortage.

There will also be a perpetual engineer, mechanic, fabricator shortage because everything is as complicated as shit and broken all the time.

There will be no stacks; Stirling engines, bitch! So much more practical.

People will get burned all the time because everything is powered by hot steam and made of copper.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

This is getting a bit out of hand

I like Steve Jobs as much as anyone.

In fact, I probably appreciate his work more than the average person.

Suddenly today I find on my feed "Steve Jobs' Influence on the Military".


He invented iPods, not penicillin.

People need to stop treating this like the death of an American hero.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Open letter

Dear slow driver,

Why did you buy an SUV with a V8 to go 50 down a 60 zone?


Monday, September 26, 2011

Apparently digital is the new traditional

Creating the Art of Innistrad

New Phyrexia was rife with digital painters, not only to really sell the terrible sheen of metal, but also so I could redirect for the look of Innistrad, which is a more grounded, relatable and straightforward place, and would benefit from a more "traditionally painted" feel.

From that point on, I count finished Innistrad pieces 5,6,8,9,14,15,16,17,18,20,21,25,26 and 28 are almost certainly digital, and pieces 2,10,13,19,20,27 stand a pretty good chance of being digital.

That's 19/28.

Also, Painter is pretty tank, so even ones that look real might still be digital. <_<

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Of course

Tumblr is worthless, why would you share pictures one at a time? They're not even yours, so you're clearly not limited by production.

And most of the stuff being shared is generic low res shit anyways.

How can you compete with stuff like Boston Globe's picture blog?

Some places

I've been collecting images of places for a while now. I haven't done many pictures of scenery so I've been collecting them in hopes of getting inspired.

Well that never happened. But there are some great pictures in that folder; these ones I think are each enough to inspire a world unto itself. My apologies they're not all high quality.

Afghanistan, by my estimation about 30km North of Fuck Nowhere.

Along the Chicago river.

CityPoint in London; from this angle it looks like the buildings extend forever.

Dubai, pre-bust presumably.

This is (somewhere) in Egypt, you can see the crops surrounding center-pivot irrigators.

A bridge being constructed in Guizhou.


This is at Ijen volcano; I believe they use the pipes to transport sulfur from the volcano. Yes, they are mining a volcano, crazy!

The Maunsell sea forts.

Unfortunately I don't remember what this is, the image says Mina but I'm not convinced it's not a mosque in Mecca proper.

Anyways, you can see that I neglected to include any ghost towns or abandoned and derelict building photos because, honestly, everyone's seen those before already.

And of course, there's no way I've covered all the craziness in the world here.

Thought exercise

I was thinking if I would take a Charger coloured like that.


Nothing made in America could look like that.

But maybe a Veyron.

You know, black out all their stupid chrome.

Could be hot.

What if you just had an all beige car? Like wheels and everything.

But then you could have bright red brake calipers.

Anyone remember the time Richard Hammond brought on a dark grey GT3? Except its tyres were jet black, the rims were red, and it had yellow brake calipers.

What a retarded idea!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

They did it already: it's called Battle Royale

This is how my version of The Hunger Games would be:

It will be based around a group of housemates who are playing fighting games.

They are hungry because they are lazy and can't be bothered to cook food.

The story would come to a thrilling conclusion as they end up going out for sushi after not eating for the entire day.

Inspired by a true story.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Don't use it, lose it

People think that the easy dissemination of information makes it difficult to lose knowledge in the modern age.

Actually, it's extremely easy to to lose knowledge. Especially technical expertise. So much of it is very specialized and only existent in the private hands of corporations. And within these corporations, specific and important facts are only kept in the minds of a handful of people.

If the engineers depart and the line workers depart, without replacement, you've already lost most of the knowledge.

For instance, the principals of an internal combustion engine are well known, and there's quite a bit more than that circulating around in papers. Do you think that's enough to reconstruct a modern car engine? Engine fundamentals from the Model T to the Fiesta haven't changed. But over the last century, Ford has figured out how to squeeze out more than 3 times the mileage and 6 times the power with an engine volume of half the size. Do you know what they did? Do you think your educational institution knows what they did? Not a chance, unless your professor worked in a very specific field within the industry. Even then, his knowledge grows more outdated year by year as Ford engineers continue to squeeze out a few more percentage points of performance year by year.

Or let's say that you already know that you can get a 5% efficiency gain by tweaking the inlet aero. How would you know where to tweak? You'd have to go through all the testing that was done before, and you'd need to design and build the infrastructure to conduct the tests in the first place.

It's the same across all fields, from cars to bridges to computers. Good luck building a modern virtual machine using the Dragon Book. And that's still only talking design knowledge.

Im CAD hat's passt.

It fits in CAD. Not good enough.

You can't learn how to build something without actually building it and, more than anything else, this is something kept exclusively in the minds of workers. And god help you if the toolset had been struck already (which is common), because now all of sudden all of your work instructions are worthless without the accompanying equipment. Now you have to redesign and rebuild the infrastructure too and go through the teething process all over again. Think you can make a violin from an instruction book? Nope, you learn by building a violin and a lot of crappy violins.

See how we've decided to stop going to the moon for a couple of decades and suddenly it's a pain in the ass to figure out how to do it again. And that's with all of the previous generation's artifacts around, more computing power than our predecessors could ever imagine and an extremely competent corp of people who've been shooting things into space non-stop in the intermediate period. Sure you don't have to go though the paradigm shift breakthroughs again, but most of being able to do something is just grinding, and that's a feat that'll need to be replicated if you ever forget. Technology has not dark age proofed us.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

What I like most:

Is that the cover says that it is Blu-Ray but actually DVD-9.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Everyone should be getting close to graduating, right?

And then we'd be like real adults, right?


What do?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Sounds promising

My Google Reader frontpage publicizes:

"I have no breasts, but I do have a camera!"

That's Good News.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Some people might've noticed that my punctuation is all over the place.

I actually pay a lot of attention to my punctuation.

I just don't care much for the rules.

The trick is, I think...

When it comes to games, I don't really apply the same weighting factors as average people. For instance, I put a disproportionate amount of weighting into originality and UI. And by "originality" I don't actually mean the pioneering game of some mechanic set but rather the first decent game of the same set that happens to fall into my lap. Sorry, first come first serve.

An example.

I played Disgaea 2. This should be fairly obvious to any readers. I peddle the series to anyone who would listen, because it's a great set of games. But it's actually hard for me to actually be motivated to play any other game in the series or in fact any other tactical RPGs. You know, it's all flavours of fruit punch; once you've tried one you've tried them all.

Maniac shooters are different. That's because I've convinced myself that I have to conquer them all. Crazy, I know.


Let's talk about Ar Tonelico.

I will first discuss the UI.

Look at all these gauges! It is comforting that they are there. That is all.

People complain about its difficulty curve being too easy. I've never ran into that problem. The trick is, I think, to be too lazy to upgrade your equips. Some games are made for min/max-ing. Melding this, crystal that, who cares. This isn't one of those games; this is a game made for diving into Reyvateils.

Oh, and the story turns out to be pretty good.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saturday, August 06, 2011

What's Google got on you?


Arts & Entertainment
Arts & Entertainment - Comics & Animation - Anime & Manga
Arts & Entertainment - Music & Audio
Arts & Entertainment - Music & Audio - ... - Song Lyrics & Tabs
Arts & Entertainment - Music & Audio - Urban & Hip-Hop - Rap & Hip-Hop
Arts & Entertainment - TV & Video - Online Video
Arts & Entertainment - Visual Art & Design - Painting
Arts & Entertainment - ... - Photographic & Digital Arts
Business & Industrial - Advertising & Marketing
Business & Industrial - Aerospace & Defense - Defense Industry
Computers & Electronics - Hardware
Finance - Credit & Lending
Finance - Credit & Lending - Auto Financing
Food & Drink - Restaurants
Games - Computer & Video Games - Fighting Games
Games - Computer & Video Games - Simulation Games
News - Politics
Reference - General Reference - Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Science - Mathematics
Shopping - Photo & Video Services
Sports - Team Sports - American Football
Demographics - Age - 18-24
Demographics - Gender - Male

Friday, August 05, 2011


Given deep introspection, I have come to the conclusion that Canada is the least exotic country in the world.

No, seriously, there is literally no other country that is as boring.

We are pretty much America, but without the gungho "go big or go home" attitude. And in the case of hispanics, it's pretty much just "go home". Where home is apparently Mexico regardless of origin of birth or place of childhood. Also our own "Manifest Destiny" was kind of half-assed. Like we sort of wanted to screw over the natives but didn't really put in the effort.

Commonwealth but without koalas, frivolous hats or a hatred of the British for pillaging the land and taking all the diamonds.

Well run like Germany, but more like a contraption made of rusty nails and softwood lumber that just happens to work rather than an engine of precision milled aluminum designed by engineers in fluorescent white cleanrooms. We also don't have a history of half-baked world domination ploys and make terrible movie villains.

Cold, like Scandinavia, but with less Satan.

I'd take kangaroos over Canadian geese. At least you can eat them.


Nanoha has softkill ACM now:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Need for Speed is stupid, as if the police would chase you in Lamborghinis!

Well...turns out I was dead wrong.

And apparently some of them do actually get used for policing duty...so...

Oh well, not like regular police cars are cheap either. The Italians also got a pair of Evoras on duty.

Did you think A380s were big?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

So much for the spirit of learning

I just made a P-x-y diagram.

It certainly looks like a P-x-y diagram, but I'm not really sure what the curves mean.

I'll just leave it unlabelled and assume that the marker will assume I know what things are.

Often in engineering, we are told to do something to solve a problem because it works and not to think too deeply about it.

It gets really ingrained and sometimes we take it to too much of an extreme.

Last week I was working on a Transport assignment.

"Does this graph look right to you?"
"Yes, I mean wait, what are those lines?"
"Uh, let me read the problem statement and get back to you"

Like in Jeopardy, when you ring in the answer before the question gets read.

One more thing: I hope the med students run their training patients with better care than we run our training distillation columns. Otherwise I'd stay away from the hospital at Mac.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oh fuck this

Brb, quitting Minecraft forever.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Upon reflection

I think that Gundam 00 has actually become my favourite Gundam series (i.e. excluding OVAs, movies) ever.

When I watched first season by itself, I thought it was a trainwreck modeled after Code Geass, but after finishing the entirety, I totally understand what the writers were going for [1].

The thing about Gundams is that as a real robot show, it never actually was that plausible.

Like what, you didn't notice that the Titans/Zeon come out with a new mobile suit every week?

That the Jetstream Attack was retarded?

That Amuro Ray pushed an asteroid away from Earth by the power of his mind?

Various shows have tried to put forward serious explanations for why things are the way they are. Like all of those new models are just prototypes for field testing by elite forces and all of those wildcard pilots are elite members allowed to exercise their individual judgment on the battlefield. 00 takes all of these explanations, and then immediately highlights how ridiculous they really are:

"Another new model? How much money does the Federation have?"


"What about you Mr. Bushido, are you going to follow my orders?"
"I have a license; I'm a one man army"

All of those kids who step into a Gundam and just naturally good at piloting? "Okay!" says 00, "we'll recruit this guy whose sole credentials are that he looks like our previous pilot who died!"

And they don't just take from the UC. You thought Wing was gay? We will make sure our show is the gayest! You thought Strike Freedom was broken? We will break all our Gundams in half and then escalate the enemies' weapons to match!

It's like it was made by a bunch of guys who really like Gundam sitting in a room. They're aware of every 3 times faster, you punched me twice joke on the internet and they want to make sure to include it. They didn't just sit there and trash talk Destiny, they laughed about it and then threw in a few gratuitous transformation sequences as a tribute.

In this sense, 00 really succeeded at what Turn A tried to do, that is unify the Gundam multiverse, but while Turn A was concerned with the physicality of it all, 00 took the spirit of every series, mixed it up, and boldly turned it all to 11.

They do make a serious attempt at characters and theme, and while it's not outstanding, it is an entirely respectable performance and stands well against their contemporaries. They could've gone the serious route, but it's been done over a million times already and Zeta is pretty hard to top in this respect. So they gave you a roller-coaster ride instead.

For everyone else, you still have Unicorn. No more complaining.

So then, between 00 and Force, most of my great ideas has already been put to paper. What now...

1) The movie was weak on substance, but I consider it acceptable if only for closure. That and the Solbraves are amazing [2].

2) Trans-Graham.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Kadokawa, you make me laugh

So everyone knows about Newtype magazine.

You know, for Gundam fans that aren't hardcore enough for Gundam Ace.

Now the thing about Gundam is that, ever since Gundam W revealed the untapped potential of yaoi fangirls, Sunrise has gotten progressively gayer and gayer until the logical conclusion of a trap piloting a reverse trap.

So of course, a spinoff of Newtype only makes financial sense. Newtype Romance.

At the same time while this is happening, someone somewhere else discovered that there is also an untapped potential for people that like mechas, and also like bishoujos.

Naturally Kadokawa is getting on this bandwagon. Time for another spinoff!

Enter the newest magazine to enter their publishing family: Nyantype.

The only place where you would get this and this at the same time.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Setting the gold standard

Are you ready, Main Cannons?

Force is a lot better than ViVid.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just as planned!

Maybe some of you have heard of the presidential helicopter program that spun out of control and got cancelled after some 3 billion dollars.

There was some (half-serious) speculation that the semi-complete birds would end up being sold to Canada for dirt cheap.

As it turns out, they have been sold to us for dirt cheap, and these helicopters are really tricked out. The government intends to use them for SAR.

Yes! Finally, some actually useful equipment!

Don't get too excited, the second part of the speculation was that we'll end up spending large amounts of money downgrading its capabilities for whatever reason.

Oh yeah, and we only need them in the first place because for some reason we can't get spare parts for the old perfectly capable helicopters. As in it's apparently not possible or something.

I don't know what's worse, a defense department that consistently has massive cost spiral issues or a defense department that consistently collects great bargains and then spends large amounts of money to break what they just bought.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Studying is going well, thanks for asking

I made a Dominion tracker for myself, but anyone can use it if they want.

It's hosted here, courtesy Will.

It may very well turn out like that time in Settlers where I calculated my expected values for all the resources and then watched helplessly as I was unable to do anything about it despite the game unfolding exactly as predicted.

But you have more control in Dominion, so who knows.

As with anything open-source, I'm giving no documentation, what, are you an idiot or something?

Naturally it doesn't take into account a lot of things, in particular the expected handsize algorithm makes me very unhappy.

So if any CO majors would like to formulate some better equations for me *cough*Dani*cough* I would be happy to make the changes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pimp my code

I guess this works:

function combination(n,k){
return factorial(n)/(factorial(k) + factorial(n-k);

function factorial(n){
nf = 1;
for (i=1;i<=n;i++){
nf = nf*i;
return nf;

I'm looking for something more like:

def combination (n,k)
f = lambda {|x|(1..x).inject(1){|x,y|x*y}}
result f(n)/(f(k)*f(n-k))

If anyone can use array.reduce in Javascript without it turning into a mess, I would like to know. <_<

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's cheaper anyhow

As people may know, I often quit hobbies when my friends get too good at them.

Ever since Phi introduced Dominion to me last Christmas break, I've been in love with the game. But only recently have I found out that an online client exists, and that's been what's really helpful in actually convincing people to play.

Net money spent: $0


I enjoy Dominion because it's kind of like Magic on ADD.

There are many problems with casual Magic. There's always been the disparity in how much money people are willing to spend on the game with the accordingly disparate deck power levels. The bigger problem for me is that after awhile, all the match ups between people's main decks have been played out and that's boring. At that point there's the option of spending more money to build new decks, or making terrible secondary decks with super volatile power levels. Not cool. Drafting is an option, but at that point you've committed $15 - $25 and an entire afternoon to playing Magic.

Dominion solves all of those problems: everyone shares the same card pool, you build a new deck every game, and you play. If you end up with something you hate, it's scrapped at the end of the game anyways and you're free to make something new. And having played with Desire builds before, let me assure you that building a stormy engine that cycles your deck twice over in Dominion is every bit as satisfying as resolving a lethal Brainfreeze.

Magic multiplayer has the problem of single player decks being totally unsuited for the format. Control decks with one-use spells for instance. Actually, control decks in general make people mad. Combo decks work once before people get wise and start to gang up on you. EDH is a good start, but also gets stale without fresh card infusions every so often. Emperor is one of my favourites, but having a requirement of exactly 6 people is hard. Dominion on the other hand is less confrontational, so while multiplayer changes the game dynamics, it is difficult to for people to team-up. In this sense it's more "tactically pure". People might see it as a downside, but really you still have fun interacting with friends; if I wanted to play diplomat I'd play Diplomacy. Incidentally, I can never convince people to play Diplomacy...funny that. The flexible player requirements are also a nice bonus.

Magic has terrible mana issues. You can have the right curve and land count and still run into mana screw frequently (probably 20-30% of the time). One deck primer I read specifically mentioned how to decide if you want to mulligan to 2 when you have Chalice of the Void in hand, which means that scenario can be expected to occur repeatedly within a reasonably finite amount of time. Yes, it hits everyone and, averaged out, good players will rise to the top, but it is never fun hitting your 4th land on the 8th turn. In Dominion you cycle your deck so many times and draw so often that if you have terrible economy throughout a game, it's almost certainly your own fault for building a crappy base.

Finally, it's super easy to pick up. Most everyone will fully understand the rules before the second game. So people who would never play something like Magic [1] can get right into it. Naturally, the fact that there is no capital cost for new joiners is also helpful.

That said, can I convince anyone want to buy some poker chips?

1) Not that it affects my decks at all, but post-2010 combat rules are bullshit. Everything uses the stack except combat? Stupid. Extra rules baggage.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

y u no liek?

This is the very lovely Panamera that everyone else seems to hate:

This is the CTS-V wagon that everyone gushes over:


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

No way!

This is what the Batmobile should look like!

Soo~ sweet!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Stealth, the white elephant

Stealth is very expensive to make and maintain. There are other trade-offs too, for instance, the F-22 nose is smaller than the nose of F/A-18(E/F)s and F-15s so the latter jets can be upgraded to hold better avionics.

Aircraft usually have a service life of 30 years. So here's a problem, if anyone starts building radar sophisticated enough to track stealth aircraft (VHF/UHF beams), you can't just modify your fleet to counter it. Your stealth advantage is negated.

At least F-22s have their thrust-vectoring and supercruise abilities, so they would still make very capable air-to-air fighters. Very overpriced ones, but that's a sunk cost.

As far as I'm aware, F-35s do not have all-aspect stealth as F-22s do, so they will be easier to crack. F-35s have the flight envelope of an F/A-18 and no supercruise. Without stealth, you just bought a $115m gen-4 fighter with somewhat bigger load out. Bravo.

Anecdote: the USAF does not intend to use F-35s for air-to-air. That will still be the mission of their F-15Cs and F-22s, the F-35s will supplant (or supplement?) the F-16s for strike and SEAD roles. Take that as you will.

What I think is a better alternative? Active defenses. Electronic warfare. Get a better ARM up and running (I hear HARMs are terrible, and ALARMs are marginally better) and send in your Growlers and Wild Weasels. And if the enemy adapts, you just need to come up with a better jamming pod instead of scrapping the fleet.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Sunday, June 05, 2011

First Class

Now, this is the kind of movie that M. Grondin would write a 3500 word exposition on, including a 100 word treatise on Michael Fassbender's chemistry with Hugh Jackson, whose character who shows up for a net 10 seconds. Interestingly enough, he will fail to comment on why Erik, who was quite a snappy dresser for the first 2 hours, would show up in the last scene wearing a red suit, cape and purple helmet.

In light of this, I will choose instead to critique some things that literally no other critic would.

Naval tactics.

Firstly, I may have misheard, but I was under the impression that the 7th fleet was ordered to blockade Cuba. I hope they were actually talking about the 2nd fleet because sailing from Fleet Activities Yokosuka to Cuba tends to take a long time.

Big clusters of ships show up a lot in pictures. Those are not real battle formations, they are just posing for the camera. In reality you could have ships from an B/C/ESG picketing 10km away along the likely threat vectors.

Sonar. It's not just the act of sending sound waves out, you need to be able to pick up the echoes and discern them. This ability of Banshee was not alluded to in the film previously. Additionally, the difficulty of littoral sub hunting isn't in illuminating the ocean floor, it's discerning what are the subs and what are just rocks.

There were 2 Iowa class battleships present at the battle. All of them were decommissioned in the 50s.

Assuming they were active and deployed to blockade, they would never use their 16" guns for such a role. I'm thinking the 40mm Bofors or the 5 inchers at most. Also, warning shots, the more civilized nations among us tend to use those.

Or you know what's even better for maritime interdiction? Aircraft, and as it turns out, we even had aircraft specifically built for this role. They are called P-2s and they are the shit.

Speaking of aircraft, you'd think that either side would be concerned that there is a rogue plane circling their airspace the whole time. What are those AA pickets doing?

Is Beast really that smart? He decided to take the SR-71, a plane designed for the sole purpose of flying faster than anything else airborne, and make it VTOL. Seems like what they need is a C-130. I mean, however slower they move in that, surely they'll still beat the blockaders sailing in from Japan.

A Mk12 5/38 has a range of 12km, missiles even longer. I don't know why all the ships were steaming in what looked like a counter-current PASSEX 2000 yards off the coast to engage, it's a nonsensical tactic.

On the other hand, it's kind of difficult for a person to see at that distance. So while Magneto might be good at passing metal through the air, I don't imagine his fire control being very good. It's kind of hard to hit ships because they are small compared to the ocean (and it'd be even harder if the entire combined fleets weren't sailing like every ship was doing CONREP exercises with every other ship). Unless he could detect the electromagnetic anomalies in the Earth's field caused the the metal hulls, but that'd be such bullshit. Well. As if levitating isn't already bullshit.

Yes, I do mix units a lot; deal with it.

"My face is starting to feel numb"

Thursday, June 02, 2011

If the cup is spilt, just pour more water in

Minecraft is one of those games that means something different to everyone.

This naturally makes it difficult to administrate a server.

I don't even know what you two want from Minecraft!

What do I want from Minecraft?

That's easy.

I want to create beautiful things, I want others to see what I create and I want to see what others create [1].

I've spent unreasonable amounts of time on the old server, everybody has spent unreasonable time on the old server, and we've built quite an impressive piece.

I want to toss it all.


I like to think of it like illustration; nobody works on the same piece forever. There always comes a time to stop, and there are two reasons for it [2]. First, is that the picture is perfect and adding more would do nothing but spoil it. The second is burnout: either it's flawed and not worth salvaging, there is nothing more to be learned from it, or just boredom from working on the same thing for so long.

And for me, it has gotten to be all three.

Of course, not everybody is me and is understandably reluctant to throw away man-months of work.

I can't really convince anybody otherwise if they really think that the old world is a masterpiece, or if they really want to complete that project they've been slaving away on for weeks.

But fear of starting anew? Maybe I can say something about that. Don't get me wrong, there are tons of things I love about the old world; I love Joe's town, I love my basement and, yes, I even love your vault room, Overmeyer. There are things to like about my old art too, and people ask me often why I toss as many pieces as I do, or even something like why I work in one layer. Aren't I afraid of losing the work? Not particularly. I did it once, I can do it again and moreover, I will get better at it in the future. And then it becomes easier and easier to see the flaws in past work, despite their redeeming features.

No, I haven't got any big art projects lately, but I am infinitely more pleased with the sketches I pound out on a whim now than what seemed like massive undertakings many years ago. It's easy to tout the persistence of Minecraft, but let's not discount stagnation either, which is a trap easy to fall into. Keep the old world, archive it as a record of our achievements. But let's start something new, and make it better than before.

So here's to fresh starts: cheers, mates.

1) I was also going to talk about my view of mods, and it relates, but this post already crept so long, so I'll save it for another day.

2) There's also the "commission deadline is approaching so I need to maximize my effort to money ratio" reason but I think we have the luxury of ignoring that one.

I quite like these covers

This is why healthcare costs are out of control

Not the point of the article, but it caught my eye:

Before Elias Zerhouni became director of the National Institutes of Health, he was a senior hospital leader at Johns Hopkins, and he calculated how many clinical staff were involved in the care of their typical hospital patient—how many doctors, nurses, and so on. In 1970, he found, it was 2.5 full-time equivalents. By the end of the nineteen-nineties, it was more than fifteen. The number must be even larger today. Everyone has just a piece of patient care.

At one point, they looked you up and down, gave you some taps and made a diagnosis. Now you get sent off for blood tests and scans with more acronyms than an MBA class; someone needs to pay for all of the equipment and technicians.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Much better than the F1

If this is Gundam.

Then this is White Glint.

Which makes it about the hottest McLaren ever.


Since every major except two leads *half or more* of its recipients to be dissatisfied with their careers, it might be better to ask why studying chemical engineering or management information systems leads to job satisfaction, and whether we can use the answer to better prepare students of all majors for their lives ahead. That seems more likely to have a positive affect than finding better ways to move humanities majors into fields whose satisfaction level is not much higher.


I think the answer to that question is fairly simple. If you study chemical engineering, or management information systems, or accounting, you pretty much know what you're getting into.

That's actually a really interesting question, and that answer can't be the right one. The number 1 reason people in my class are in my class? "I wanted to do engineering but I wasn't sure which so I just picked this one". Oh and there's this tidbit: "I went into enviro because I wanted to do engineering and wasn't sure which, chem was my second choice".

So basically my major is a collection pool of engineering students that weren't sure what they wanted to engineer. I'm pretty sure most of us didn't even know what chemical engineers did until second year.

My answer? *shrug*

Monday, May 23, 2011

If I had to pick...

...a favourite sports car, a true sports car, it would definitely be the GT-R.

First its looks: the lines were from Gundam and the dials from Gran Turismo, a truly Japanese inspired creation. And true to Japanese humility, it's about as understated as a sports car can look.

Haven't your parents ever told you not to judge a book by its cover?

A new Aventador, bright orange and nostrils flared, will run you at least $300k, pack a 6.5 V12, give you nearly 700 horses and get you from 0-60 in 2.9s. The definition of ostentatious.

A new GT-R will also get you there in 2.9s. It will do this while carrying an extra 200kg in amenities and it will do it with "just" 530 horses in a 3.8 V6 and it will do it while costing you a much more reasonable $80k.

The last gen GT-R finished the Nurburgring in 7:26, beating the much more expensive F458 by more than 6 seconds. The 2011 GT-R improves that to 7:24 (semi-wet), just topping the Enzo: the Ferrari built singular-purpose racing machine.

The Enzo does not cost $80 000.

Nor does it have power windows.

So why buy Italian? I suppose if you want to throw money into holes while looking ridiculous (and I concede that there is definitely a market to be tapped in this area), but engineering? Leave it to the Germans. And the Japanese.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Good thing I didn't go into enviro, eh?

I would clearly be the worst enviro eng ever.


We can finish carving vanity portraits of Presidents into mountains.

That's acceptable too.

When the Levee Breaks

There is something to be said about the wisdom of challenging nature.

But part of me thinks it just means we're just not trying hard enough.

We did conquer the Yangtze, right? We did carve a 50-mile channel through Panama, right? If it's not working, it's nothing that we can't fix with more shovels, steel and concrete, right?

If every dollar going to JSFs from the USAF was poured into the USACE, we could build a labyrinth to entrap even the mighty Mississippi. An aegis over New Orleans that'll deflect Category Vs like whippoorwill wing beats.

The Flood Control Act of 2011.




I hear that the DPJ in Japan has cancelled a plan to tsunami-proof its entire coastline. It was projected to take 400 years.

You know what, let's go for it. We have to start somewhere.

So 500 years from now, people can look back.

And think.

Fuck yeah, humans rule.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Applied Math

If I spend $20 a day and get $10 a day and I have a control volume of $100 a day, then that's like I'm losing $10 a day and I'd be out of money in 10 days.

Now lets say I have chocolate coins. If I get twenty coins a day and eat ten, and then I end up with ten coins in my pocket everyday. Except I don't except because some of the coins will melt together, so we add a reaction term.

Now, we can't use it in this form because it's too complex. What we can do is we combine it with what we've empirically determined in Fick's Law. Fick's Law to the rescue!

"Does anyone else get the feeling like they understand everything in this class and at the same time-"

"Absolutely nothing at all? Yes."

Monday, May 09, 2011

Maybe the LPD-17s weren't that poorly designed

Maybe Avondale is just a shitty yard.

I'll go with that.

Sunday, May 08, 2011


Al Qaeda once sent five terrorists to China: One was sent to blow up a bus, but he wasn’t able to squeeze onto it; one was sent to blow up a supermarket, but the bomb was stolen from his basket; one was sent to blow up a train, but tickets were sold-out; finally, one succeeded in bombing a coal mine, and hundreds of workers died. He returned to Al Qaeda’s headquarters to await the headlines about his success, but it was never reported by the Chinese press. Al Qaeda executed him for lying.

One thousand words

Philip Gourevitch is right.

Right now, the face of the Bin Laden excursion are pictures of jubilant crowds in DC and New York.

If pictures get released, this would be instantly supplanted by the image of a man with a bullet hole in his face.

Lets stay positive here.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Just in case you forgot it was a Bimmer

BMW is infamous for racking up $Texas above a vehicle's base cost through extras.

Using their online configurator, here are the ways of skinning your wallet that I've discovered:

-If you want 19" wheels on your 5-series, you must order the entire Sports package (+$2500 CDN)

-If you want the Sports package on a 535i, you must order the Executive package (+$5400), though the converse is not true. You also do not do this if you buy a 550i.

-Jet Black on your 335i is no charge, but Black Sapphire will cost you (+$800). And Ruby Black Metallic will cost you even more because you have to order the BMW Individual Collection (+$3900).

-On that note, if you want a High Gloss Shadow Line on your 5-Series, you need the Sports Package, or if you have 335i the M-Sports Package (+$3500) and you'd get an M-badge on your boot even though the vehicle is not of the M-series.

I was going to continue but really I can't keep these things straight in my head anymore.

Suffice to say though, the same sort of deal is going to happen if you try to buy a Mini.


Sometimes you find of picture of someone that just nails it.

It's inexplicable; you can't explain it.

But somehow it just catches their essence.

I don't know where I'm going with this.

I'm just Facebook creeping people now.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The space shuttle could use more door guns!

People like to complain about talk about how great the AK-47 is and how much the M16 sucks based on the Vietnam war. Okay guys, in case you haven't noticed, that was 40 years ago and we're on the M16A4 already, it's hardly the same rifle anymore. How about directing the debate towards some real comparisons, like the SCAR or HK416?

A-10s aren't that great. It's not a must-have addition to every air force ever. Remember, they were built as tank hunters, that makes them about as suitable for close-air as an Apache. The fact that Apaches and A-10s are better at the job than F-16s speaks very little to their abilities. What you really want for COIN is an ISR platform with long loiter time and small yield precision strike, oh look, it's called a Predator. And what a coincidence! Turns out that that's the bird everyone's scrambling to buy! Sorry internet generals, I'm sorry it won't come back with bulletholes from 20mm cannon shells, it's only good at doing its job. Alternatively, if you really need a man in your plane, Super Tucanos are what people in the know are actually gushing about, so take your Soviet-era flying battle tanks and shove it.

Battleships are done with. It's over. You know how often they've been called on for fire support with their 5" guns vs 16" guns? Spoilers: it's heavily weighted towards the former. And since their deactivation, the world has only grown more wary of collateral damage so the chances of us actually needing their large rifles again are slim. Besides that, they're unaffordable to operate.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

So what were we going to do after attracting sentient life?

Lets say they'll try to aim for the area of greatest interest.

Perhaps an area with lots of radio waves. Like maybe downtown Los Angeles.

What happens if the United States shoots down the spacecraft with an SM-3 because it was re-entering at high speed towards LA?

I am finding isolationism more and more appealing as I think about it...

So what were we going to do if SETI found life?

It'd be like SMS, but slower.

@T = 0 (outgoing): "hey did u ever figure out [x]? we're having trouble and the future of humanity kind of depends on it lol"

@T + 150 years (outgoing): "actually nvm, we figured it out"

@T + 600 years (incoming): "no, but msg if you get it working we'd like to know"

@T + 750 years (incoming): "yeah we got it too"

@T + 750 years + 1 month (incoming): "lol"

@T + 750 years + 2 months (incoming): "good talk"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On the economics of gambling

There's a saying, the lottery is a tax on the stupid.

I have thought about this and come to a conclusion.

No, no it's not.

The underlying assumption is that you have a reasonable habit, say once a week.

The marginal happiness of having the extra $10 in your bank account is negligible, even non-existent.

But on the off shot that you win a big pay-off, that will significantly impact your happiness.

When office pools come into play, there is an even bigger psychological motivation.

Let's look at insurance, clearly E[X] is less than 100%, otherwise State Farm wouldn't be in business. But no one would tell you that insurance is a stupid tax.

That $10 is psychological insurance. That all your coworkers won't hit the $21 million and leave you all alone. Because that'd suck.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Do as I say, not as I do

Here are the first 5 random art tips off the top of my head that won't really help you draw, but may help you draw better (YMMV):

1) Don't pet your lines, lay them down with confidence and if you get it wrong, erase with confidence. Unless you're using ink; then you're fucked. In that case, I like to deal with it by changing the lighting scheme and hiding my mistakes in dark, dark shadow.

2) Static poses aren't interesting, make the pose more interesting or change up the camera angle.

3) If you copy straight off a photograph, people will know. Camera lenses foreshadow more dramatically than human eyes; know to correct for it.

4) When using paints, mixing transparent pigments will give vibrant colours and mixing opaque pigments will give you mud. This is true irrespective of the medium (e.g. cadmium yellow is opaque whether it's watercolour or oil).

5) Don't waste your time drawing anime lolis, you'll never get anywhere doing that. <_<

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Is Britain retarded?

They are building 2 new Queen Elizabeth class carriers costing close to $5b, of which one will be immediately mothballed upon completion and possibly sold without ever being afforded an air wing. Because they're too expensive to operate and it's cheaper to build them than to cancel construction.

I'm so glad we don't have to deal with this kind of crap (hopefully).

Placing the HMS Prince of Wales indefinitely into "extended readiness" reserve though? How strangely appropriate.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Everyone loves the new Malibu

I think everyone is retarded.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The alpha and the beta

Stats 101, just so everyone's on the same page: there are 2 types of errors.

Type-1 (alpha) error is a detection (false-rejection) error.

Type-2 (beta) error is a rejection (false-detection) error.

What does this mean for our lives?

Let's pretend there exists a social welfare program for people whose houses spontaneously combusted. In order to determine if they should be granted restitution, their situation is quantified on a scale by some means. Of course there will be people who burn their houses down to scam money and we would seek to exclude them from this system. In an ideal world, we would imagine a distribution of scammers and non-scammers on the scale as such:

Yes, prepare for a lot of bad MSPaint diagrams because I can't be assed to work with Illustrator.

So in this ideal world, it's simple. We set P as the cut-off point and exclude everyone who scores higher than P on the scale and accept everyone who scores less than P. Done!

Except no.

By central limit theorem, we would expect normal distributions of both populations centered around separate means (if this test has any amount of effectiveness):

At point Q is how the average Spontaneous Combustor shows up and point R is the average Scammer. Under the two bells are how the populations of both categories are expected to be distributed. Notice though, how they overlap! I guess you can argue that a better test would space the curves further apart, but realistically you rarely see that kind of thing in real life in any meaningful way even in stochastic processes that don't involve one set of sentient beings trying to appear like the other. What you can do, is tighten the acceptance criteria and shift P left, or relax it and shift P right.

Okay, here's where the math gets a bit sketchy with assumptions, but bear with me. You can decide if it makes sense or not (it does to me), but doesn't affect my core premises either way.

The population of Scammers is much less than the population of Spontaneous Combustors so our distributions actually look like this:

Now if P is where % alpha is equal for both hypotheses, the absolute alpha and beta for our leftmost graph is:

I might've eyeballed P too far right actually, but no matter. As you can see, because one group is larger than the other, even if we accidentally accept the same percentage of blue as we reject red, the absolute alpha is much bigger than beta.

So a huge part of social policy is really all about where we want to move P. We will never know absolutely how big each slice is because obviously if we had a foolproof way to detect it, we wouldn't be committing these errors in the first place! The question is in which direction do we want to err?

In every aspect of our social systems, Conservatives are so frightened of Type-2 errors that they cripple them to beyond usability for many people with legitimate needs for them. Whether this be something like unemployment insurance, disability insurance, or even something as fundamental to democracy as voting.

Realistically some number people in real need is going to look exactly like some number of people that aren't in whatever system you're using the quantify "need". I would argue the number of the former is much greater than the number of the latter in whatever confidence interval we're using, but for the sake of argument let's say it's 1:1.

You have 2 applicants to social welfare program x. One who is in dire need through no fault of his own and another one who is scamming for money.

You can choose to shut neither or both out. Which do you choose? Which do you think is the appropriate choice for a developed democratic society?

Either the CPC thinks that a token amount of infringement is unbearably galling that they would rather shut the door on someone who has paid into the social system in the expectation of being protected when luck turns sour or they are just looking for an excuse to Not Give a Damn.

Pathetic. Or evil. You decide.

Additional food for thought: Engineering stats begins at the CLT whereas that's about the point after the stats most math students take ends. It's almost as though they said to themselves, "whoa, we better stop now or else they might learn something useful!".

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Answer me this, economists

Overmeyer got me started on this rant and now I can't stop.

These are the accepted facts:

1) The only way Western nations sustain GDP growth is through a larger workforce, this can come from children or from immigrants.

2) The most effective manner for governments to increase revenues is to grow the economy. Mind you, this doesn't necessary mean that tax cuts are always a good idea, but that is an optimization discussion to be had elsewhere.

Just one problem with this model...

It's a ponzi scheme! A literal ponzi scheme!

That's bad enough as it is, but it gets worse.

As you know, the Americans are facing a trifecta of spending problems in healthcare, defense and social security that will reach crisis levels by 2050 at this rate. These are systematic problems that all developed countries will face sooner or later.

Healthcare spending goes up because we know about more problems today, we have more complicated treatments today and we are better at keeping old people alive today. We have better quality services today than 50 years ago, but these services cost money and in combination with the other factors, we have more people using more expensive services more often.

Defense spending goes up because defense platforms get more complicated every generation, R&D costs goes up, maintenance costs go up, operating costs go up and then you don't even have a huge consumer base to spread capital costs. The opposite even, because you have the inherent inefficiencies with every country trying to maintain domestic defense production capabilities.

Social security is easy to explain, more old people living longer equals more money. This problem is most immediate in Japan because their low birthrate (even by developed standards) in conjunction with xenophobic immigration policies means they'll soon have gone from four workers sustaining every non-worker to half that. In this respect, we should be keeping an eye on how they deal with this as a lesson to the rest of us.

These are all structural problems! It's like building a skyscraper on a foundation of mud. You can try and keep building higher and propping it up with supports but eventually the entire thing is going to collapse. Euro nations have been keeping their defense budgets under control simply by buying less and less things (at this point the UK and Dutch armed forces have buckled), which is fine, but the other two things are things that constituents will absolutely not stand to cut and this puts politicians in a position where they are reluctant to make any big changes until shit actually hits fan.

And it puzzles me why people haven't been sounding the alarms decades ago. This is clearly unsustainable and, like it or not, we will see some hard choices being made in the upcoming decades.

Escalation, gentlemen?

So the 26th MEU had operating off the Kearsage in the Med for a while now.

What's interesting is that the USS Bataan (LHD-5) and HMS Albion (L14) will be heading into the region very soon carrying the 22nd MEU, troops of the Korps Mariniers and the 539 Assault Squadron of the Royal Marines.

Officially, the Bataan ARG is to relieve the Kearsage ARG and the Albion is participating in Exercise Green Alligator.

But unofficially it looks like a surge of 3 marine battalions' strength + support off the coast of Libya.


Monday, April 11, 2011


Why isn't this text displaying properly?

Control panel says I got "Gill Sans" and "Gill Sans MT" installed already.


"Gill Sans MT Pro".

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Fire sale!

Rumours are that the Dutch plan to liquidate their entire Leopard 2A6 inventory.


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Monday, April 04, 2011

This show is the best

"This is the worst!"
"Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were 5th cousins"
"Okay, on a count of three, say what level of cousins we'd have to be for this to be okay...1...2...3"
"5th!"/"Unacceptable no matter what!"
"This is never going to work"
"I think we're 3rd cousins"
"Yeah...I'll see you at the reunion"

"Yo, remember when we got that email from those Nigerians that needed our help getting all that money out of Africa? We did it! Got the cheque today!"
"I would've been happy if it were just for helping the dethroned prince of Nigeria; this is great, we should treat ourselves"
"You want to go to Vegas and buy a bunch of sarcophagi?"
"Nah, I don't even use the ones I have"
"We could add someone to the entourage"
"Yo that's a good idea, what's Young Larry doing these days?"
"He's in Jay-Z's entourage"
"What about Cheese?"
"He's rolling with Ghostface Killah now"
"Studying Hotel Administration at Cornell"

Monday, March 28, 2011

So you want to be a rapper

But can't find a good rhyme? Well you could always rhyme with the same word, or even the same sentence, but I'm going to show you some other options you may not have considered.

A) Drag out the words so long and hope people forget about the rhyme:

"Cause you'll never get on top off this, so mommy's best advice is to get on top of this
Have you ever had sex with a pharoooOOOoooah?"

B) Make up your own language:

"Waiting on the Pizzle, the Dizzle and the Shizzle
G's to the bizzack, now ladies here we gizzo"

C) Brute force:

"So no matter what been through, no matter what you into
No matter what you see when you look outside your windu"

D) You are just not trying hard enough:

"Opened up your heart 'cause you said I made you feel so comfortable
Used to play back then, now you all grown-up like Rudy Huxtable"

Finally, I would like to remind everyone why Lil Jon is amazing:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Libya air gambit failed

The best possible outcome was that Gaddafi's forces would recoil immediately in the face of Western air supremacy and force a turnover of government.

Unfortunately that's not what happened. So short of miracles, we have two options now: further escalation (we go land) or defeat (of course when we lose, it won't be spun that way).

The general public still has hope that the rebels can go it all the way with Western air support. Can we trust the rebels to win a war? Quite bluntly, no. They have no C2 and they have lawyers and accountants for soldiers. We've spent a decade training the ANA and they still have essentially no capability for directing NATO air on their own, so there is zero chance of that with the Libyans. They'd need SpecOp support at minimum and realistically more like a couple of battalions of marines.

Who would've saw this coming? Quite possibly every milblog network ever. Anyone who actually knew anything about military operations had this kind of mess predicted well before the campaign even began. By all sensible calculations, this war should not have happened.

The public is fickle though. And so is France.

Update 03/29/11: Stavridis testifies that NATO has not ruled out the possibility of ground peacekeeping forces in the future; US Congress is outraged. Shit, since it's a NATO commitment now, is our [Canada's] 3 month withdrawal timeline scrubbed? The US doesn't plan to withdraw any assets from theatre except a 688. Actually, Warthogs and Spookys are giving CAS now, it's like they're not even trying to pretend anymore. An A-10 and P-3 took out 3 Libyan patrol boats. Peculiar. Either we're seeing AirSea Battle concepts permeate in operations or the enemy is just such a piece of 3rd world rubbish that the powers that be decided anything that flies and would lob a 125lb warhead is good enough.

Update 04/02/11: WTF B1-Bs in Libya are they carpet bombing the whole damn place

Crying for you, Canada, I'm crying for you

Why is my best case scenario a government that runs itself in circles just so another worse government doesn't go around punching holes in the ship's hull?


Friday, March 25, 2011

Food for thought

Why haven't governments around the world been contributing money to Japan (like after Haiti)?

We are, we're backing up their currency behind the scenes.

What does that mean?

It means Japan can print its own damn money.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Two thoughts

America has launched 160 cruise missiles into Libya thus far. Every Tomahawk costs a million and a bit dollars, so when you think about it, it'd actually be cheaper for them to be dropping Ferraris on their enemies. But here's the really nuts part: the US Navy can shoot up to 255 of these every year without affecting their budget because they buy about that much every year anyways just to keep their stocks current. They had just used ~180 million dollars worth of ordinance, triple Great Britain's entire inventory, and it literally has no effect on their budget. Needless to say, I think their defense spending could stand to be cut a bit.

Theoretically NATO allows alliance members to have a very robust C2 capability in coordinating their efforts. Yes, NATO's C2 structure is indeed very good. The problem is that it seems most of the time when they get involved, its member nations have their own ideas about mission scope and are all off doing their own thing simultaneously. And of course America is always doing its own thing. It's like adding another head to the same mess of limbs. Time to reconsider the concept I think.

Fun fact: "Norway grounded its F-16s in Crete simply because it had no idea who was who and why."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Election Blues

As far as I'm concerned, one party is the avatar of evil and the other one is so inept as to lose a popularity contest against an avatar of evil.

There are also some regional flavors too, I guess.

I wonder if Japan is the final evolution of democratic societies: bankrupt, ineffective, childrenless.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What are they supposed to be rescuing people from again?

As you may have heard, Tokyo's elite Hyper Rescue Force has been dispatched for operations.

These are the possibilities that come to mind:
Or this.
Maybe even this.

I sincerely hope this is what Japan has been up to.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cacti are pretty easy to take care of

"Hey, I just bought a cactus, how often do you water yours?"
"Never! I thought you watered them!"

They look like they're doing well to me... <_<

Update: "Overwatering of cacti is the single biggest cause of plant loss." Well, glad I got that covered.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Let's see

Not a fan of intervention in Libya, because I think it's a campaign the Arab-NATO alliance can't afford to lose once we get involved and then it will inevitably escalate into a clusterfuck. It will be interesting though because the UK and France are going to take the lead on this one. And we all know the UK forces are on collapse, so I guess France. Whoo!

France spends a lot on its military and will almost certainly send in the FS Charles de Gaulle (R91). Italy has dispatched the Giuseppe Garibaldi (551). [1] Gosh, France and Italy! Okay, let's see what they got. There's a lot of honour to be reclaimed here. [2]

Canada is sending over 6 Hornets. Those are CF-18s, totally different, they got a "C" in front. And cockpits on their bellies. This is good, if all the other NATO countries pitch in a few fighters like this, there will be a good number available for constant CAPs.

USS Enterprise (CVN-65) is still chillin' in the Red Sea. I think America will have to move it; they are taking their sweet time though. USS Florida (SSGN-728) did just sail into Naples though.


The thing you got to know about these guided missile subs is that they can carry about an entire surface group's worth of Tomahawks with them. [3]

Someone is thinking ahead...

Update: Obama has told Congress that US fighters will not be involved. Looks like Enterprise will not be recalled. Administration sucks at communicating. W/e, we don't need any more fighters, tankers will definitely be in demand though.

Update 2: American (mostly American) and British subs and destroyers have lobbed 110+ cruise missiles into Libya. Charles de Gaulle should be sailing from Toulon right about now. Our planes have landed in Sicily with the Danes. The operation is finally rolling now.

Update 3: Harriers from Kearsage have done...stuff. Enterprise might be going to relieve USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70); Carl Vinson is with the 5th fleet right now, not even close.

1. I know these French and Italian ship identifiers are useless for identifying what kind of ships they are, but I feel I have to add it for consistency; they are catapult and ski-jump carriers respectively. Ski-jumps only have a small complement of fixed-wing aircraft though (10ish), so the reliance is going to be mostly on Italian airfields and the nukes. Plural assuming Enterprise ever gets there.

2. Obvious joke is obvious. It had to be made.

3. On destroyers and cruisers alike, obviously only a small number of cells are made available for TLAMs; a majority are probably filled with anti-air.