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Everything posted by toucana

  1. Media coverage of Monday’s total solar eclipse took an unexpected and distinctly X-rated turn when a Spanish language Mexican TV station RCG incautiously began broadcasting video clips of the event that had been sent in by their viewers during the live coverage of the totality. https://metro.co.uk/2024/04/10/news-channel-accidentally-airs-testicles-instead-eclipse-live-tv-20619945/ The RCG production team apparently didn’t examine the videos too closely, and succeeded in broadcasting one clip sent in by a prankster which shows the sun being eclipsed by a descending pair of testicles.
  2. The omnipresent QR (Quick Response) codes found everywhere these days from restaurant menus, to adverts on bus stops, festival passes, or museum exhibits were first invented back in 1994 at a Japanese company called Denso Wave (デンソーウェーブ), a manufacturer of automobile parts based near Nagoya in Japan. Masahiro Hara, the man who invented QR codes was an engineer at Denso Wave who also happened to be a Go player. One day he was playing a game of Go during his lunchbreak when he stumbled on the idea of using the 19 x 19 matrix of a Go board as a new way of encoding the information of the Kanban (カンバン ) system for tracking components and spare parts which is extensively used in the Japanese car industry. It occured to him that a 2-dimensional matrix system of encoding with inbuilt error correction could store and process information far more efficiently than the linear bar code systems currently in use. A new YT video gives a concise explanation of quite how all those hieroglyphic symbols in a QR coding system work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb4wq2auXXk It’s basically a formatted bit-stream of text. Version 1 is a 21 x 21 matrix that can store up to 17 UTF-8 characters when using low error correction. Version 40 is a 177 x 177 matrix that can store almost 3K of text. The error correction system is based on Reed-Solomon Codes which is a method widely used in CD, DVD and Blu-ray disks - it also allows you to place a trademark logo or image in the middle of a QR glyph without compromising the readability of the information. The coloured image below gives a handy guide to what the different bits of of a QR code do - The mauve #6 area is where the data is actually written. and the yellow #7 area is the Error Correction data.
  3. toucana

    Political Humor

    He's also facing the wrong way, towards the back of the pew !
  4. Clear skies and excellent viewing in Dallas atm - (I'm watching live coverage on Sky/NBC) Welp - Carbondale Illinois has been and gone, and we're still here. Guess they must have meant the next one ?- in 129 years !
  5. Not to be outdone by Nineveh and Carbondale Illinois, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the embattled MAGA Governor of Arizona has declared a 14 day state of emergency in Arizona on account of the total solar eclipse today 8 April 2024, and has released $100,000 from the state’s emergency Response & Recovery funds to ensure that the 2m of darkness during the totality doesn’t cause a collapse of Arizona’s transportation system. https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2024/apr/05/sanders-declares-state-of-emergency-in-arkansas/ $100,000 would also be enough to cover the costs of another 5 ‘Lecterns’ should the former WH press secretary find herself running short during the eclipse. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/10/us/sarah-huckabee-sanders-arkansas-lectern.html
  6. According to your friendly neighbourhood conspiracy theorists, the solar eclipse on Monday 8 April will also mark the end of the world, and it will all start in Carbondale illinois. https://news.sky.com/story/armageddon-in-illinois-nefarious-scientists-warning-signs-from-god-marjorie-taylor-greene-alex-jones-and-influencers-peddle-conspiracy-theories-about-solar-eclipse-13110035 Why there you may ask ? Well it’s quite simple. The predicted path of the solar eclipse will pass over at least six places called Nineveh (modern day Mosul in Iraq), which is an ancient city mentioned in the bible where the prophet Jonah once preached against the wickedness of its inhabitants, and called for its total destruction. When combined with the path of the US eclipse in 2017, the path of totality on Monday will form a cross with its centre located on Carbondale Illinois - so If you live in Carbondale, that means you will be lucky enough to see the full eclipse twice in seven years. According to influencers on TikTok, it also means doomsday starts in your city - quite obvious really.
  7. Part of the soundtrack to the film 'Perfect Days' (2023) by Wim Wenders.
  8. You could probably start with some of these: Reader discretion is advised, especially for Judges 19-21 (it's rather graphic).
  9. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan did so in August 2023 while dimissing a counterclaim by Donald Trump for defamation in the E.J Carroll case. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/aug/07/donald-trump-rape-language-e-jean-carroll Kaplan had already outlined why it was not defamation for Carroll to say Trump raped her. “As the court explained in its recent decision denying Mr Trump’s motion for a new trial on damages and other relief [in the New York case] … based on all of the evidence at trial and the jury’s verdict as a whole, the jury’s finding that Mr Trump ‘sexually abused’ Ms Carroll implicitly determined that he forcibly penetrated her digitally – in other words, that Mr Trump in fact did ‘rape’ Ms Carroll as that term commonly is used and understood in contexts outside of the New York penal law.” The title of my post was satirical - (one reason it was in quotes), and took aim squarely at the rampant hypocrisy of a grifter and moral imbecile like Trump attempting to wrap himself in the American flag while hawking overpriced GBA themed bibles in the middle of holy week.
  10. Many unusual and curious versions of the English bible have been printed since the reformation. The ‘Wicked Bible’ of 1631 found its way into history by omitting the word ‘not’ from the 7th commandment (Exodus 20:14) and enjoining its readers, on the highest authority, to commit adultery. Others include ‘The Treacle Bible’ of 1568 (Jermiah 7:24 - “Is there no treacle in Gilead”), The Printers Bible of 1702 (Psalm 119:161 - “Printers have persecuted me without a cause” - [instead of of ‘Princes’], and ‘Rebekah’s Camels Bible’ of 1823 which gives Genesis 24:61 as “Rebekah arose, and her camels” instead of “her damsels”. But few of them are quite as odd as the ‘God Bless The USA Bible’ currently being touted by former president Donald J. Trump for $59.99. This edition of the King James translation (conveniently out of copyright) also includes a copy of the US Constitution, The Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence, and the Pledge of Allegiance - along with a handwritten chorus to ‘God Bless America’ by Lee Greenwood. One thing that all of these have in common of course, is that Donald Trump has never read or paid the slightest attention to any of them. The Lee Greenwood referred to is the person who first initiated this project back in 2021. At that time it was being marketed as a new bible “Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks”. This edition was meant to contain the NIV version of the English bible, but the NIV copyright holders Zondervan abruptly withdrew their consent, so the royalty-free King James text was used instead. That version incidentally cost only $49.99 back in 2021. A Meidas Touch YT investigation reveals that this bible has a long history of negative reviews from purchasers who faced such problems as long delays, or complete non-delivery of the product, to struggling with gilt-edged pages that had glued themselves together, rendering the text unreadable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZp0zjobSK8
  11. Oppenheimer has just been released in Japan. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asia-68691883 The BBC’s Japan correspondent Shaimaa Khalil spoke to residents in Hiroshima who had watched the film in a cinema located in the ground-zero area of the 1945 blast, and asked them what they thought of it. One young person responds to the question of ‘Saved lives’ raised by TheVat.
  12. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941, the plan was to cripple the US Pacific fleet for just long enough to allow Japan to seize control of other southeast Asian countries such as British Malaya, Singapore, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies, and consolidate them into their ‘Greater East Co-Prosperity Sphere’. The Japanese hoped they could force the USA to negotiate a political settlement from a position of weakness that would validate Japan’s seizure of these territories, and leave them in control on much more favourable terms than existed in the 1930s. Perceptive Japanese strategists like Admiral Yamamoto who planned the Pearl Harbour attack knew full well that Japan could never defeat the USA in a prolonged war of attrition - so a negotiated diplomatic ending to hostilities with the allies was always a key part of the original Japanese war plan. It went wrong from the outset because the Japanese failed to destroy the 3 main US aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbour (they were all at sea). The US carriers subsequently inflicted terrible damage on the Japanese fleet at the Battle of the Coral Sea, and the Battle of Midway in June 1942. Meanwhile the USA’s war aims became the total destruction of the Japanese military machine, and the unconditional surrender of their nation. In the summer of 1943, Japanese Navy chiefs asked Admiral Sokichi Takagi who was one of their best strategists to carry out an independent survey of the course of the war. His report concluded that Japan must sue for peace if the USA captured the Solomon islands. The Japanese subsequently lost control of the Solomon Islands at the end of 1943, but the Japanese Army leadership defied all warnings from the Navy and carried on fighting - refusing to countenance any possibility of diplomatic negotiation or surrender.
  13. There is an entire chapter devoted to this subject in The Fall of Japan (1968) by William Craig [Ch.3 ‘The Diplomacy of Defeat’ ]. There were some covert attempts made by high ranking Japanese officials to initiate diplomatic contacts in great secrecy with the Soviet foreign minister Molotov by passing messages between Jacob Malik the Soviet ambassador in Tokyo, and Naosoke Sato - the Japanese ambassador in Moscow. The idea was first raised by Emperor Hirohito in person on 22 June 1945 within hours of the death of General Ushijima on Okinawa. This initiative stalled when Malik the Soviet ambassador failed to respond. The Emperor Hirohito offered to send Prince Fumimaro Konoye to Russia as his personal envoy to meet with Molotov in July 1945, but the Soviet leadership who were preparing for the Potsdam Conference failed to provide any opportunity of a meeting with Molotov. Stalin had already privately decided to declare war on Japan at a moment of his choosing very soon after the conference ended, and he regarded the Japanese initiative as moot. On Monday 6th August 1945, the very day that Hiroshima was bombed, Shigenori Togo the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs sent an urgent telegram to ambassador Sato noting that Stalin and Molotov had just returned to Moscow that very day. Togo instructed Sato to demand an immediate meeting with Molotov and seek a definitive reply from him as to whether the Soviet Union would help broker a peace deal with the allies. Before Sato could reply, Togo sent another even more frantic telegram - he had just received an eye-witness report that said “The whole city of Hiroshima was destroyed instantly by a single bomb”. Ambassador Sato sent a telegram back to Togo on the 7th August to say that Molotov had finally agreed to meet the Japanese diplomats the following day at 17.00. This meeting duly took place on the 8th August 1945, and Molotov used it to declare war on Japan. [see The Fall of Japan ch.5 for the timeline and full texts of the diplomatic cables].
  14. There is a detailed discussion of most of the points you raise in an article by the military historian and Pacific War expert Richard B. Frank called ‘No Recipe For Victory” available on the website for the National WWII Museum New Orleans https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/victory-in-japan-army-navy-1945 There had been a long standing division of opinion since January 1943 between the chiefs of the US Navy and the US Army over how best to achieve the unconditional surrender of Japan. The US Navy favoured a blockade that would have involved starving the Japanese population into surrender. The US Army favoured an invasion plan called operation Downfall subdivided into two parts: - i. Operation Olympic to seize control of the southern island of Kyushu which was scheduled to begin in November 1945 ii. Operation Coronet to invade the Tokyo region on Honshu about 1 March 1946. The argument over whether to go with a naval blockade or an amphibious invasion of the archipelago was settled in favour of the Army’s invasion plan at the Honolulu Conference in July 1944. Doubts then arose because of the massive casualties sustained during the invasion of Okinawa in May 1945 (49,000+ with 12,000 killed including the 4-star general in command of the operation). Admiral Nimitz privately said he could no longer support the invasion plan in the light of this, and even more concerns were raised by fresh military intelligence that Japan had moved such large numbers of troops and aircraft into Kyusuhu, that the US landing forces would be in a 1-1 combat situation with no numerical advantage there - a scenario described as “a recipe for a bloodbath”. The main problem with a naval blockade was that it would have taken a very long time to complete. The US Navy’s own estimates suggested that the Japanese would not collapse until 1947 at the earliest. Critics pointed out that the high level of social control traditionally found in Japanese society along with the ruthless suppression of dissent by the Japanese military government would have led to the prioritization of feeding those involved in sustaining the war effort, while leaving millions of civilians to starve to death - a prospect that even the most hawkish supporters of a blockade were reluctant to discuss in detail. There was also considerable concern in the USA about a possible loss of will to carry on fighting an endlessly protracted war in the Pacific against an enemy with no history of military compromise or surrender. Finally there is the question of the intense firebombings that began on 10 March with the 279 plane Meetinghouse raid on Tokyo which levelled 2 square miles of eastern Tokyo, and probably killed over 100,000 civilians. The Meetinghouse raid was quickly followed by similar raids against Nagoya on 12 March, Osaka on 14 March , Kobe on 18 March, and Nagoya again on the 19 March. - These raids were deemed a military success by Major Curtis Lemay who was in command of the USAAF strategic bombing campaign - and yet these raids had had largely ceased by May 1945 - why ? i. The USAAF had run out of incendiary ordnance. These raids had depleted their entire stock. ii. From May 1945 onwards the USAAF had to urgently redeploy southwards to support the US invasion of Okinawa which had run into unexpectedly intense opposition including sustained kamikaze attacks. iii. These fire-bombing raids had no discernible effect in weakening or deflecting the resolve of the Japanese leadership to carry on fighting to the bitter end - regardless of the civilian casualties sustained. As a matter of fact the Japanese government did not begin to consider any diplomatic solutions to end the war until the morning of 6 August just after the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and when they did, the first Japanese diplomatic overtures were made towards the Soviet Union in the hope of enlisting their help in brokering a cease-fire - hopes that were promptly dashed when the Soviet Union belatedly declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria.
  15. If your absolute unit is at 0°K, then you should probably seek medical advice ?
  16. A newly created Wikipedia page about MV Dali offers some more information. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Dali I’m not sure exactly what type of marine fuel that suggests ? The auxiliary electrical generating capacity is large, because ships of this type may need to cater for ‘reefers’ or refrigerated container units.
  17. There is some interesting reporting written by people with relevant maritime experience in the Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/03/27/baltimore-bridge-ship-captain-electrical-failure-pilot/ It seems that the auxiliary generators failed twice - the ships lights came back on, then went out again. Some eye-witnesses also reported seeing quantities of black smoke coming from the boat’s funnel after the initial loss of electrical power, which may have been a standby emergency generator kicking in. The crew perhaps lost control of the steering system with the rudder stuck in the starboard position - there was also a 10 knot wind on the port bow which would have pushed the ship to starboard, and into the pylon. Contamination of bunker fuel used in ships is most often associated with the presence of water which can encourage the growth of microbial biomass that can block filters, injectors, and damage marine engines. The use of biodiesel and low sulphur marine fuels can exacerbate this problem apparently. https://echamicrobiology.com/knowledge-hub/common-problems/marine-fuel-quality
  18. According to the WSJ and NBC News reports, investigators are looking into the possibility that contaminated fuel may have contributed to the collision that caused the collapse of the 1.6 mile span of the Francis Scott Key bridge across the Patapsco River Baltimore just after 1.24 a.m Tuesday. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/rare-mayday-preceded-baltimore-bridge-collapse-couldnt-think-worse-sit-rcna145212 A 1000’ long cargo ship called the Dali broadcast a rare Mayday call shortly after leaving harbour to warn shore authorities that it had lost power and steering control, before slamming into a bridge support column 4m later. There was just enough time to close the bridge to vehicle traffic, but not enough time to evacuate a team of maintenance contractors who were out on the bridge filling in potholes - 6 of them are now presumed dead. Officials have now recovered the black box data recorders from the Dali, the USA Army Corps of Engineers has been mobilised to clear the wreckage, and President Biden has said the bridge will be rebuilt at the expense of the Federal government at a cost of around $600m.
  19. It's widely believed to be an artistic prank up in Clifton Village. This was the back-story: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2024/mar/23/banksy-plaque-bristol-adulterer-banksy-artist-husband-roger?CMP=share_btn_url&fbclid=IwAR1ZNfDN7tK_aI2A_pIIRK9mcrug-1KZzaW3pZH7oqTNpTVO5OgA_1nIXOQ
  20. Spotted this week in a very smart district of my hometown
  21. As of May 1945, the USA had enough fissile material available to manufacture just 3 atomic bombs. One of these nicknamed ‘Little Boy’ was a ballistic gun-type device that worked by firing a slug of Uranium 235 along a barrel into another sub-critical mass of U235 to cause a chain reaction with a 15 Kiloton explosive yield. This was never tested because the engineers were certain it would work at the first time of asking - so they simply assembled and dropped it on Hiroshima - but there was no other Uranium 235 available. The scientists had used up their entire stock of weapons grade Uranium 235 refined over a 3 year period in building this single weapon. https://www.census.gov/history/pdf/fatman-littleboy-losalamosnatllab.pdf The other two devices both relied on an HE implosion lens to compress a hollow sphere of Plutonium 239 into a critical mass with an explosive yield of around 21 Kilotons. This novel Plutonium implosion mechanism was a highly complex engineering challenge to perfect, and absolutely had to be tested by proof firing one of the devices nicknamed ‘The Gadget’ at Los Alamos to ensure it worked. After the Trinity test on 16 July 1945, the USA now had just 2 atomic bombs left available for use - One Uranium device, and one Plutonium device nicknamed ‘Fat Man’. American military planners believed they would need to drop at least two bombs to convince the Japanese to surrender, and they reasoned it was better to actually run out of ammunition, rather than *look* as though they were running out of ammunition. It was a gamble that worked, because after the bombing of Nagasaki on August 9th, the Japanese concluded that America had an entire production line running, and that a third weapon would shortly be dropped on Tokyo if they did not offer their unconditional surrender immediately. In reality the USA had no other nuclear weapons that could have been deployed against Japan at that time. It is said that they could have cobbled together another Plutonium 239 device by a cannibalising a laboratory test-rig nicknamed the ‘Demon Core’ - which is another entire story - and would have taken months.
  22. I would suggest that you read The Fall Of Japan by William Craig (1968) which provides a good readable account of the Pacific war, and which covers the following points in some detail: i. The USA leadership did not know it had a viable atom bomb until the Trinity test took place in the New Mexico desert on Monday July 16th 1945. Even the top US military commanders i.e. General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz who were leading the war against the Japanese in the Pacific knew nothing about the Manhattan project until they were subsequently shown films of the test firing at Los Alamos. ii. All of the US planning for the military defeat of Japan had been finalised at the Honolulu conference a year earlier in July 1944, and was predicated on a massive amphibious assault using conventional forces that might well cause over 1 million American casualties according to American planners who had recently witnessed US casualties of over 40,000 suffered when capturing the tiny garrison island of Okinawa in May 1945. iii. The Japanese knew perfectly well that the allies would need to carry out a two-stage occupation of the Japanese archipelago, starting with the capture of the island of Kyushu. Their defensive plan Ketsu-Go developed by the Japanese army aimed to break the morale of the invading forces by inflicting massive casualties on the only two suitable landing beaches available on Kyushu as they came ashore. iv. When the Japanese did surrender, and turned over the details of their battle plans, American strategists found that Japan’s Ketsu-Go planners had anticipated almost every single detail of the Allied invasion plan. One of the few details in the US order of battle that had eluded Japanese military intelligence was the real purpose of the 509th Composite Bombing group, which was the unit that actually dropped the atomic bombs. v. The Japanese government had absolutely no intention of surrendering to the US under any circumstances, Their premier Suzuki had rejected an ultimatum issued to Japan by the allies following the Potsdam conference on 2nd August using the Japanese phrase mokusatsu 黙殺 which means “with silent contempt”. Even after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed on August 6 and August 9 respectively, high ranking Japanese military officers staged a bloody coup in a failed attempt to prevent the recording of Emperor Hirohito’s surrender speech from being broadcast on Japanese radio the next day. vi. It was the US Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson who first suggested using the new atom bomb to end the war at a cabinet meeting shortly after the Trinity test. It was said that Stimson himself personally removed Kyoto from the list of possible targets, because he and his wife had spent their honeymoon in that beautuful ancient city some years earlier. President Truman later confided to a biographer that one compelling reason why he authorised the atom bombing of Japan was because he believed that he would have been impeached for incompetence by Congress in his role as Commander-in-Chief if he had refused to use the bomb, and had proceeded with a conventional amphibious assault that cost a million allied casualties instead. (Archive photo taken at the Honolulu conference in July 1944. Neither MacArthur nor Nimitz knew of the existence of the Manhattan project).
  23. Researchers in the Graduate school of Engineering at Chiba University Japan have discovered that adding caffeine to specific platinum electrodes can enhance the efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells. https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=62709#:~:text=Despite%20their%20promise%2C%20fuel%20cells,platinum%20electrodes%20by%2011%20times. Their study which was published in Communications Chemistry on February 3rd, 2024 claims that Professor Nagahiro Hoshi, along with colleagues Masashi Nakamura, Ryuta Kubo, and Rui Suzuki conducted their experiments by submerging platinum electrodes of varying types in a caffeine-containing electrolyte. They discovered that caffeine increases the ORR (oxygen reduction reaction) activity by up to 11 times with Pt(111), and by 2.5 times, with Pt(110) at a molar concentration of 1 × 10^−6 . This can potentially increase fuel cell efficiency, and decrease the need for extra platinum catalysts. The really intriguing question is however, what prompted this line of research ? Did someone accidentally drop an extra strong cup of コーヒー or kawa in the electrolyte one morning ?
  24. A new YT video by the well-known ‘Mentour Pilot’ channel goes into more detail about the overlap between the Inmarsat ACARS satellite tracking data of the MH370 flight, and that of the WSPR (weak signal propagation reporter) dataset mentioned above. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5K9HBiJpuk It provides a highly lucid account of the flight operations procedures from a pilot’s POV, based on research by two French pilots Capt Blelly and Jean Luc-Marchand, along with links to the latest WSPR research sites including a very recent paper from 15 February 2024 by Dr Hannes Coetzee and Prof. Simon Maskell - ‘How Does WSPR Detect Aircraft over Long Distances - 15FEB2024’ https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/vzftcvfx01lhbt3xfgyu5/How-Does-WSPR-Detect-Aircraft-over-Long-Distances-15FEB2024.pdf?rlkey=p8dcu8q3ww741joa922bdikng&dl=0 This offers some worked examples of how WSPR data can be used to track large aeroplanes in flight.
  25. A Chilean LATAM Airlines LA800 flight from Sydney to Auckland NZ suffered a ‘Technical Event’ on Monday that sent the 787 Dreamliner jet plunging 500 feet in an instant, injuring some 50 passengers, 12 of whom needed hospital treatment on arrival in Auckland. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/latam-flight-from-sydney-to-auckland-nose-dives-passengers-and-crew-thrown-into-ceiling/MBE4BNFIFJD73DDZJ3USYZYL5M/ Passengers subsequently told reporters that the pilot had apologised to them after the incident, and said that he had lost control of the plane after “All the gauges went blank”. The nature of this technical event appears to be related to an AD (Airworthiness Directive) originally issued by the FAA in 2015. https://www.aviationtoday.com/2015/05/05/boeing-787-power-issue-to-receive-software-fix/ The issue identified is a glitch with the GCU processors which control the AC generators used to power the aircraft’s electrical systems. The problem can arise if the aircraft’s avionics systems are left continuously powered up for 248 days or longer. An internal system counter in the controller chip overflows and forces a fail-safe system reset. This previously unknown issue was apparently only detected during extended laboratory bench-testing over an 8 month period. This was a potentially catastrophic failure in a fly-by-wire passenger jet. It was mitigated only by the fact that the the airliner was flying at a cruise altitude of 35,000 feet. During the emergency the plane was briefly descending at 4000 feet/minute (according to FR24) before the the event was fully brought under control. If this had happened at a lower altitude during the final landing approach, it could easily have led to the total loss of the airplane along with all the passengers and crew.
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