August 29, 2015
It's from here. And it's the last frame of the first part of the trilogy:
We must identify all the Sues! Help me out!
I got most of them. The back row, left to right: a Jedi, a Sailor Scout, a Naruto-ninja, My Little Pony, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Supergirl. On the front row on the right is Marvel Avengers but I can't place the other three. Anyone got any ideas?
Posted by: RickC at August 29, 2015 09:17 PM (FvJAK)
Posted by: cxt217 at August 29, 2015 09:24 PM (gbKL5)
Posted by: cxt217 at August 29, 2015 09:24 PM (gbKL5)
Posted by: cxt217 at August 29, 2015 09:25 PM (gbKL5)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 29, 2015 09:38 PM (+rSRq)
August 28, 2015
I sure didn't expect the way this started.
UPDATE: One of the reasons I don't read SF&F any more, and instead spend my time on anime, is that anime generally doesn't preach. There are a few shows that do, but those I don't watch.
Sturgeon's law applies -- at least; sometimes I think Sturgeon was an optimist -- but there are shows that entertain me without trying to change my life.
If Mouretsu Pirates has an agenda, I sure haven't noticed it. Likewise for Railgun.
Most of the people involved in creating manga and anime subscribe to Walt Kelly's goal in life: "To have fun while making money." They have fun, and they want us viewers to have fun.
And usually that is all they want. And that's all I want.
I've been re-reading older SF recently. I put all the stuff from Baen's free CDs on my tablet, and I got a Scribd account, which is great if you want to browse for interesting titles rather than read the latest best-seller.
Just finished reading Greg Bear's Eon for the first time in 20+ years, and it stood up pretty well. It didn't even get nominated for a Hugo when it came out, but I'd rank it ahead of most of the winners from the past decade. (2004's winner, Paladin of Souls, is better, but that's fantasy rather than SF.)
I started getting seriously into SF&F around 1980, and looking back at the Hugos winners and nominees from then, I didn't know how good I had it. Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise, Varley's Gaea triology, Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle, Niven's Ringworld Engineers (not his best, admittedly), Cherryh's Downbelow Station, Julian May's Pleistocene Saga, Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, Cherryh's Chanur series, Brin's Uplift series, Neuromancer, The Peace War, Footfall, Ender's Game, George Alec Effinger's When Gravity, Fails, Cyteen, Hyperion, The Vor Game...
Starting from 1980, 1994 was the first year that there wasn't something truly exceptional on the ballot. Lately, meh. Well, 2011 wasn't bad. But mostly, meh.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 29, 2015 04:07 AM (PiXy!)
The difference between then and now is that while sci-fi and fantasy authors did preach back in the past, sometimes fairly often, in their works - that was not their main purpose in creating the work. The good authors understood that the most important job of the author was to entertain the readers, preferable to make the readers spend money on the author, but even that was secondary to entertaining. Just like how authors of non-fiction work's most important job is to inform the reader, the good authors recognized that everything else came after the most important thing they had to do, sometimes well after. Many people back even in the past failed to recognize that (The original 'Logan's Run' novel comes to mind, which felt like it was written by a high school freshman who just discovered a reference encyclopedia.), just as many people do today (Seriously, 'change the world,' is what the host of the 'visual novel as art' panel at Otakon 2014 actually said was the most important thing in it - and I had a hard time trying to not laugh.), but the ones doing the writing and publishing knew better.
Unfortunately, we got too many authors and publishers today who believe that preaching on behalf of a cause (Or maybe no cause - maybe they just want to preach against something because it is there.) is the main purpose. And ignoring Sad Puppies, even people who simply say 'This is tearing us apart. It is not good' like Baen editor Toni Weisskopf (Heir to the late, great Jim Baen.) get attacked and snubbed by the SJW/Progressive/outrage lobby. I do think that most of think that preaching does make good entertainment. But that is just an even more damning indictment of the 'banality of outrage' followers.
Posted by: cxt217 at August 29, 2015 06:56 AM (gbKL5)
cxt217, I made the mistake of buying the omnibus edition of the three Logan novels, and the even bigger mistake of reading them all. The authors hated the movie for not showing the scope of their world, and for raising the age brackets from 7/14/21 to 10/20/30, but I'd have to insist that not only was the movie objectively better, so were the tv series and the comic book.
Posted by: J Greely at August 29, 2015 08:40 AM (ZlYZd)
The title of this episode was "The Hakone Mountain Night Battle" but Rory didn't end up involved. That'll be next episode. (Oh, well.)
First half of the episode was spending the night at Risa's place, and then going shopping the next day.
The second half was at the hot springs. And there was only one potential "buy the BDs" shot, and that not certain. I suspect this isn't that kind of series, frankly.
This episode was all setup; lots of little things that happened (like the Pina and Bozes discovering Boy Love manga) which establish grounds for later events, but nothing really noteworthy in itself.
There wasn't any rubber duck at the onsen, so Lelei amuses herself in the hot spring by levitating a ball of water.
(She eventually lets go of it and it splashes on her head.)
Unfortunately, Episode 9 is also the episode where classic Japanese stereotypes about foreigners - in this case, Americans - start hitting full force. I was not impressed by it, as well as the sudden forgetfulness regarding the SFGp - Delta Force helped train the SFGp, so why would the Americans be surprised at how good it is?!?
Posted by: cxt217 at August 28, 2015 02:24 PM (gbKL5)
Concerned about the loss of honor of his fellow politicians, he opens the door for an entire country's dishonor? I assume the "invitation" to visit will be rather unrefusable.
I hope I got this wrong, because this was a really good series up until this point.
Posted by: topmaker at August 28, 2015 04:54 PM (2yZsg)
Yeah, that's what happened. I'm not sure how long this is going to last; it might be one ep or two. At the very end, the Americans get their noses pushed in, and after that Earth politics don't intrude on the story any longer. The story moves back to the other side and stays there.
Right now my guess is one more ep, but I could be wrong. I didn't think this episode would end where it did (chapter 21). This plot arc ends with chapter 24. At this point I'm leaning towards two episodes, but only time will tell.
I'm hoping not, because if it's two episodes then it is likely that this will be a one-cour series and I'm hoping for two cours. (Chapter 46 would be a fantastic place to end a 2-cour series.)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 28, 2015 05:18 PM (+rSRq)
Yeah, I remember you making that comment earlier. I am tempted to start reading the scans, but I am seriously afraid of losing interest in the anime because I got so far into the story. Sometimes that happens and sometimes not. I haven't quite figured out the rationale of which and why.
Posted by: topmaker at August 28, 2015 05:23 PM (2yZsg)
Right now, I am trying to decide whether to pretend that this part of the story never happened, because frankly, the story has dropped to retard-level stupidity in a single episode.
Posted by: cxt217 at August 28, 2015 05:53 PM (gbKL5)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 28, 2015 06:54 PM (+rSRq)
So. On the first hand, we know Lelei's magic works cis-Gate - in our world. This is confirmed on the second hand that only Rory is strong enough to wield her silly pole-arm.
That would seem to imply, on the gripping hand, that all of their Secondary World forces work in "our world." I think that has some rather astonishing implications both for technology and religion.
I'm not exactly sure what a host of mages such as Lelei might do in our world, but I frankly confess myself perplexed, as an orthodox Catholic, as to how to incorporate someone like Rory and her master, into the grand scheme of things. I'm sure for a writer in Japan - Shinto, Buddhism - it's not a big deal; but as a writer such as me that tries to stay within the lines of my own faith, it's a really great puzzle!
Of course, what's a significant puzzle to me is likely of no account to the author. Still, as was alluded to in the thread below, this series is worth discussing. Love this show! Thanks for putting up with us, Steven!
Posted by: Clayton Barnett at August 29, 2015 02:21 AM (lU4ZJ)
I can, for the sake of storytelling, accept that the US is desperate to meet with the cross-gate individuals, the US has a black ops squad, and the US is willing to use any means necessary (including the Black Ops squad) to get to the cross-gate individuals.
Operationally, I have a lot more trouble with:
1. Not being smart enough to bring night vision equipment on a night assault.
2. Not having the foggiest idea what kind of defenses you are up against, like the capabilities of the Japanese troops, or that (in the manga, at least), they've got a drone blimp with thermal imaging watching your every move. Seriously, you have spy satellites, and this is obviously a very important operation; use the tools you have!
Plot-wise, the US has a trump card that gets them an insane favor from the Prime Minister, one that will automatically be exposed to the public when the kidnapping gets reported. I have a massive problem that he didn't use it to just call in a secret meeting between the guests and US representatives (which would be a lot less embarrassing for the US and the Japanese PM). At the very least, he could have had the Japanese PM call off the defenses before half the US assault team was dead.
There were a couple of nods to somebody having half a clue, at least. The US was at least smart enough to equip its assault team with COTS rather than US gear, and it looks like the Japanese are shown to have come to the conclusion that the 'survival gamer' cover story works best for everyone earlier than in the manga.
Based on the previews for next episode showing some of the stuff from the very end of the trip, I strongly suspect the next episode is the last in Japan.
Posted by: Civilis at August 29, 2015 08:13 AM (KlrGc)
I also play active diplomatic and military defense for Japan--helped by the fact that IRL Eagles and Hornets should have been assisting in counterattacking the Imperial invaders. Russia and China are active threats in this scenario, and putting a carrier or two west of Japan (ostensibly in case of the Alnus base being overrun) keeps them sober.
Japan can do a lot of stuff by themselves, but if they want to hunt for oil and other goodies, they don't have the expertise--they have tons of seismograph experience, but for earthquake detection, not mineral surveys. We also can provide better drones than they can slap together on a short timeframe, and we have *much* better logistic experience. We're also "cheaper" than the other big players--while we'd want some say in things, we'd have no problem with leaving the lion's share of the profit to Japan.
Actually, as mentioned above, one of the absolute biggest things we could possibly get would be to have Lelei's master provide contacts to the school, so that they could get a volunteer transfer student over to the US and learn all about magic (if Terrans can learn to cast... wow).
Posted by: BigD at August 29, 2015 05:17 PM (VKO9N)
Russia, China, and the US don't want to just meet and talk to the girls. They want to kidnap them for ransom. The idea is that to get them back, Japan will be forced to agree to let the other country send its own people through the gate and to help exploit what's on the other side.
I don't think any of those countries would actually act like this, of course, but in the story that's their motivation.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 29, 2015 06:35 PM (+rSRq)
"Archer," "Saber," "Servants," "the grail has been filled."
My wife couldn't stop laughing at that point: "The writer really liked Fate/Stay Night, didn't he?"
For me, I feel sorry for the guy that put his field glasses on Rory; at this point, a clean death is his least bad outcome.
I like BigD's idea from his last paragraph: get Lelei's master to setup shop in Japan and start training mages. I wonder if they could use Secondary World forces to clean up something like Fukushima?
Posted by: Clayton Barnett at August 30, 2015 02:02 AM (lU4ZJ)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 30, 2015 02:22 AM (+rSRq)
Dangit, Steven: now you have me wanting to watch 'The Longest Day' again... and it's already past my bedtime!
And, speaking of open codes, I recall how Halsey was stung by the padding "The world wonders."
Posted by: Clayton Barnett at August 30, 2015 03:36 AM (lU4ZJ)
August 25, 2015
I am finding Lelei to be the most interesting character in this series, and I'm getting more and more impressed with her. She's 15 years old, but she's really intelligent and she's very resourceful. Her magic power hasn't really been unleashed yet in the anime, but it has in the manga and she's no slouch. LOADS of spoilers below the fold, OK?more...
Keep in mind that in the anime, Lelei learned how to properly wear and use a MOPP suit, while she was starting to learn Japanese. Aside from the obvious issue (Where did she get a MOPP suit in her size?!?), that requires intelligence and good observation skills, especially if you can not read the instructions to do so.
One thing that can really help with the hearts and minds mission for the JSDF is providing basic medical and sanitary treatments. There is nothing that can win gratitude faster than being able to treating a sick and/or injured child...
Posted by: cxt217 at August 25, 2015 09:34 PM (gbKL5)
Lelei isn't really any shorter than Kuribayashi, and the JSDF would have to stock MOPP suits in sizes to fit women the size of Kuribayashi.
What's more interesting to me is how Lelei even learned that such things exist. If I had to retcon it, I'd guess that she was talking to Kurokawa and complaining about the stink, and Kurokawa then told her about those suits. And by that point Lelei is already in enough with the JSDF to be able to get one loaned to her.
Later on, it wouldn't surprise me if she used the Collective's money to buy several of them, since they were going to be used nearly every day for months.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 25, 2015 09:57 PM (+rSRq)
There are all kinds of things that could potentially be sold on the other side which are cheap and common here.
Sugar, for instance. If their technology is what it seems to be, the only source of natural sweetener available to them would be honey -- assuming they have the equivalent of honey bees there. (That was all the Romans had, and there wasn't very much of it. So the rich people relied on something they called "Lead Sugar", which turns out to be lead acetate. Supposedly it does taste sweet. But of course it's also is poisonous, and it's believed to be part of why Caligula went insane. He was very fond of the stuff and ate a lot of it.)
Condiments like mustard and soy sauce should go well. (We see mustard being used in one scene.)
The nice thing about that kind of goods is that it's so cheap here that the markup would be titanic (50:1? more?).
Bulk spices should be very valuable. Black pepper, in particular, but that's not all by any means. (Curry powder, anyone?)
Balsamic Vinegar? (the real stuff, not the crap they sell in my grocery store)
I can see an increasing trade in tea, too. Some of these kinds of things would start small; with samples being given (!) to merchants to take to their rich clients to test. And if the rich-but-stupid ask for more, then the merchants would send word back to the Collective, and it would go into the next order back to Japan.
We have better metals and alloys than anything they could ever have. I can see a case of kitchen knives selling well.
I suspect that almost any kind of top quality liquor could find a market, not just brandy. Scotch, Tequila, Bourbon... And liquers like Cointreau and Amaretto.
The possibilities are virtually endless.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 25, 2015 10:27 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: CatCube at August 25, 2015 10:29 PM (fa4fh)
No, I suspect salt would not be worth hauling through the gate; I doubt the markup would be anything like as high as for some of the other stuff.
The Quartermaster isn't going to let the Collective take over all the capacity; they'll be rationed, and the Collective will want to prioritize extremely valuable goods over the merely expensive ones. (And I doubt salt would even rise to that level.)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 25, 2015 10:41 PM (+rSRq)
Truly, finer words have never been spoken.
Posted by: Wonderduck at August 26, 2015 12:01 AM (jGQR+)
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 26, 2015 12:27 AM (qxzj1)
Well, I didn't originally think so but looking at it again you might be right.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 26, 2015 01:08 AM (+rSRq)
But possibly not on the dangerous level. Oh, sure, in a direct confrontation Rory mops the floor with anyone else we've seen so far. But Lelei with a physics textbook is -scary-, because her magic is actually pretty flexible... and gets stronger the more she understands about the world.
On the topic of trade. The major question is this - are more gates possible? If so, then a real bulk trade of commodities will probably come into being eventually. If not, then at some point the traffic through the Gate will be completely dominated by Japan-side traffic. (Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Empire is not a really big customer, and their economic system is toast in the medium term - it simply won't be permitted to continue. Either Japan will be forced to step aside for American-and-other troops to end it, or Japan will end it by themselves in order to preempt such an action. That said, the wealth difference is so great that maybe, just maybe, some kind of compensated manumission might be possible?)
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 26, 2015 02:48 AM (qxzj1)
The trade balance across the gate is going to depend a lot on what the Empire and the surrounding kingdoms have, and there are a lot of options that may not have occurred on screen that I'm sure people in universe would be thinking of. Oil might not be worth the price to extract unless Japan gets embargoed, but keep in mind that there may be some which is easy to extract. Likewise, rare earth metals, if easily extracted, could be valuable enough on Earth to ship.
Then there's the fantasy stuff. We've seen what dragon scales can do, and super light / tough material has a lot of applications; if they can't be synthesized on Earth, it might definitely be worth it to farm them, even with the obvious danger. Are there fantasy metals like mithril, and if so, what properties do they have?
Then there's magic. Combat magic may be obsolete in the Empire, but what else can magic do? A while back, I was chatting with a couple of veteran RPG players and the subject of the utility of magic in the real world, and a lot of the non-combat D&D stuff is potentially incredibly valuable even with modern technology. To use simple examples, you could give farms double the yield and protect them from pests without fertilizer or pesticide or instantly cure someone of any disease.
Posted by: Civilis at August 26, 2015 06:52 AM (UkqiM)
As smart and savvy as she is, she's probably realized the potential economic dislocations inherent to the situation. A way to ameliorate that for a while is to mark up luxury goods to around normal prices, a bit above normal for things superior like Earth cloth and sufficiently novel like spirits, a bit below for various spices that are identical but a lot cheaper from Earth.
While that'll be a sink for local currency, the collective and the JSDF can put some of it to good use back into the local economy. Someone from Japan who knows his fairly recent history might mention it to her, or she ought to be reading it in due course (is it safe to assume she's working on her written Japanese?), see e.g. Sakoku(鎖国, "locked country") and Tokugawa coinage.
Posted by: hga at August 26, 2015 06:53 AM (yPwiB)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 26, 2015 07:07 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Will at August 26, 2015 09:55 AM (lGJcR)
What I find interesting is her attempt to unify the science/technology aspects she's been learning from the JSDF with what she knows of the local magic. God forbid she ever catch wind of nuclear physics.
You can have plenty of knowledge and skill, but unless you also have the infrastructure to utilize it, you are not going to do much. Right now, nuclear physics would be answer Lelei's quest for knowledge, but it would hardly be practical or even usable for most things she is doing. Unless the JSDF want to kickstart the industrial revolution in the fantasy world, there will be limits to how much Lelei or anyone from the fantasy world can use with the knowledge they learned.
Posted by: cxt217 at August 26, 2015 12:01 PM (gbKL5)
Posted by: Siergen at August 26, 2015 12:49 PM (4pDXl)
Posted by: cxt217 at August 26, 2015 01:11 PM (gbKL5)
Centrifuge to laboriously separate U-235 from U-238? Nah, just cast a spell so the 235 goes to the top of the can and the 238 to the bottom. Done!
Granted that actually setting off a nuke via magic would be a completely different issue (also, er, Lelei hasn't demonstrated the kind of range that would make that even remotely a good idea...)
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 26, 2015 01:31 PM (qxzj1)
I'm going to work in D&D terms, because that's the complete fantasy magic system I have on hand (Well, Pathfinder, aka D&D 3.75). Start with a 5th level cleric, who can cast Contagion, which inflicts a disease on the target individual. Give the cleric (an evil cleric, obviously) knowledge of some Earth diseases to inflict, say, Ebola. Way more destructive than a nuke, even if it takes a while longer. The cleric, even being in contact with patient zero, can likely keep themselves disease free (and likely knows how to do so, since they've read the Earth epidemiology textbook).
Alternatively, if you want chemical warfare, there's the villain in Order of the Stick that's able to summon Chlorine elementals...
Posted by: Civilis at August 26, 2015 01:44 PM (KlrGc)
Given: a bag of holding, defined as a device that creates a tiny pocket universe for each item placed into it. Add a magic user with the ability to summon up to a few kilograms of any material he sufficiently understands and a good physics text.
Result: a bag of holding containing a few kilograms of anti hydrogen delivered as tribute to the big bad.
Posted by: David at August 26, 2015 02:02 PM (+TPAa)
The best D&D campaign I've ever been in lasted for five years, and we never got above 4th level. First edition, no less. None of this triple-class, half-elf half-leprechaun half-beholder crap... four humans and one dwarf. At one point, we helped a small town fight off a raid by goblins being led by a handful of hobgoblins. It was glorious. It was thrilling. It was a slaughter. The town burned, and while the party all survived, it was a near thing.
None of this "10 pounds of antimatter in a bag of holding" stuff! Fighting a God? Hell, we had problems fighting Doug, the town drunk.
Posted by: Wonderduck at August 26, 2015 03:03 PM (jGQR+)
If she gets her hands on a physics or chemistry book and starts understanding matter and the universe at an advanced level, with the ability to manipulate it all directly with magic, she'll be really dangerous.
Posted by: Will at August 26, 2015 04:29 PM (lGJcR)
She's already really dangerous. Lindonite mages have a reputation like that, which is why Pina was freaked to see Lelei step out of the car at Italica. Then Tuka, which was even more freaky, and then Rory, which was the icing on the cake.
But Lelei herself is recognizable as a Lindonite mage because of the staff she carries (according to Pina) and the Lindonite school is about using magic in combat.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 26, 2015 06:22 PM (+rSRq)
But she has the potential to become dangerous on a strategic level. Battle magic's not used much because of inherent limitations on the power - it's just not that effective to try to will phlogiston into existence and set it on fire. By using magic that's more congruent with reality, as it were, she can get a bigger result out of a smaller change. Forget nukes for a second - using magic to change refraction a little bit, couldn't you make a burning lens of pretty magnificent size? That sort of thing.
Another comment on trade. It's true that "charging whatever the market will bear" is a good idea. At the same time, it also opens up opportunities for arbitrage. If you're charging a 100x markup for your spices, couldn't you ask a soldier to run a sack through on his next trip for only a 30x markup? Even if you've got to give him a big bribe on top of that, you're still making out like a bandit compared to PX Industries. So when it comes to pricing, it's best to keep levels from getting sufficiently high up that merchants are better off going outside your semi-official channel and onto the black market, as it were.
In the long run (and ignoring what happens when the Empire folds up), they'll do much better if they keep prices high enough for a tasty profit, but low enough that it's not worth it to try to deal with individual JSDF members. Once that channel gets opened, closing it would take a lot of work...
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 26, 2015 09:46 PM (pWQz4)
Don't forget some of the tertiary effects of the trade. Every aspect seems to help out Japan in some way. Note the chapter (going from memory here) where Pina throws the party for the senators, and shows off a sample of Japan's goods, only for the Zorzal in the china shop to show up. Everyone was shocked by the quality of the goods and the taste of the foods, even Zorzal. The subsequent opening of the PX in the capitol made an equal impression on the Empire's other classes.
Now I'm wondering what the numismatic value of Imperial coinage is vs. the commodity value of the base metals on Earth--of course, Imperial coins would have tremendous collector value on Earth if Japan just auctioned them off, but if there's a melt-value arbitrage play, *that* could be done without anyone ever noticing, as long as there are no trace impurities/background mana radiation/etc. that could give the "new" gold away...
Posted by: BigD at August 27, 2015 04:45 AM (VKO9N)
Posted by: Will at August 27, 2015 09:42 AM (znZBT)
I wonder if these "Romans" are using lead acetate as a sweetener like ours did....
Posted by: hga at August 27, 2015 12:00 PM (cjzee)
It was chapter 40, and we have to remember the extreme bottleneck for shipping anything back to Japan. Another thing missing from your list is diamonds, which are used as currency.
Most of this prospecting is speculative, trying to identify useful ores in case, someday, the Japanese decide to try to build an industrial complex on the other side. In that case oil (or coal) will be essential and ores for things like tin, zinc, aluminum, iron and so on will be of interest. But in the short term, about the only thing they could find that would be worth exploiting immediately would be Rare Earths, and even that only if they could be partially refined on the other side before being sent back through the gate.
I don't think the king will regret this. For one thing, an alliance built on mutual self-interest is the strongest kind of alliance, and now he has that with the JSDF. Which helps his situation with the empire, and that's all to the good. If the Japanese find something immediately to exploit, then it means there will be nonstop traffic between Arnus and Elbe, plus detachments of the JSDF in Elbe, and that's also a fine thing. Even if they're extracting things and taking them away and not paying taxes on it, it's still going to benefit his economy (see Italica).
Plus most of what the Japanese are looking for he wouldn't know what to do with even if he found them.
I can believe that oil would get exploited immediately, as soon as the Japanese could build a small refinery. Having a local source for fuel would drastically reduce the demands on trucking through the gate, which would be very helpful. (Your tankers go to-and-from Elbe instead of to-and-from Japan through the gate.)
Ironically, that might result in more trade goods. A lot of what would be produced by a refinery is not of local use to the Japanese. After you extract gasoline, diesel, and kerosene (jet fuel) what's left is a waste produce, so you might as well try to sell it to the locals (for instance, lubricants).
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 27, 2015 12:13 PM (+rSRq)
After you extract gasoline, diesel, and kerosene (jet fuel) what's left is a waste produce, so you might as well try to sell it to the locals (for instance, lubricants).
A lot of what remains after you refine crude oil would be very useful to an industrial society, but not nearly as much to a pre-industrial one. You would be better off raising the technology and industrial levels of the Empire and then sell the byproducts.
The complexities of sending through the components of an oil refinery and what you need to assemble on site will probably cause headaches for traffic management through the gate. Add to the type of oil you find (Light sweet or heavy sour.) and what you want the refinery to be able to produce and the list of items to be shipped through the gate will get long in a hurry.
Posted by: cxt217 at August 27, 2015 01:15 PM (gbKL5)
Oil, well, ideally like over here you'd find some light sweet crude and mostly fractionally distill it, you might need to do more for jet fuel for jets (I gather jet fuel is becoming a near universal military fuel in the West). Send remaining fractions to diesel electric generators, later boilers for steam turbines, for in material terms electricity is probably the true key to modern civilization.
Posted by: hga at August 27, 2015 05:32 PM (cjzee)
for in material terms electricity is probably the true key to modern civilization.
One thing that Twilight: 2000 emphasized was that a modern economy and society needed electricity, and a working power distribution network, to function, if not more than as much as oil. If either the means of production or worse, the distribution network ever suffered massive damage (EMP courtesy of ICBMs conducting fractional orbital bombardment, to name one.), society would come to a screeching halt, assuming it did not collapse in short order.
Assuming the crude oil was of good quality, which is not guaranteed, refining diesel fuel would be relatively easy. Gasoline would require more processing, especially since all gasoline do not come from the distillation column in equal qualities. Jet fuel would require even more processing, depending on the feedstock used. You also have to take into account the expected usage rates - a single F-4 will require just under 48 barrels of jet fuel to fill its' internal fuel storage.
One byproduct of oil refining that can be a very useful trade item to the empire would be petroleum coke, which would be a better fuel for heating or manufacturing than wood or charcoal (The expected fuel sources for a medieval society.). The downside is that a refinery capable of producing coke will probably be considerably more complex than if it simply produced diesel fuel.
Posted by: cxt217 at August 27, 2015 07:19 PM (gbKL5)
Local oil refining doesn't have to supply the entire needs of the base. If it even provides part, that helps relieve the supply flow from Japan, and gives them capacity for other, more long range things to be shipped in. (Like more drilling equipment.)
This whole endeavor is subject to considerable budgetary limitations, though the "budget" isn't money, it's shipping capacity. Someone is spending a lot of time figuring out how to divide up the existing capacity through the gate so as to optimize the mission. For the time being, trucking going back to Japan is mostly going empty, so if they can come up with goods from the far side worth returning to Japan, they'll do it. But that capacity is also really limited so there are a lot of things that just aren't worth shipping, particularly later.
The reason the Collective is being granted shipping slots from Japan is mainly because they're a source of local currency plus a substantial asset for information gathering. But they can't have much, because so many other things need to come through.
It reminds me of the Red Ball Express in France in 1944.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 27, 2015 08:50 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 27, 2015 09:06 PM (+rSRq)
It's 0522, I'm in an IV clean room in mask, covers, etc., towards the end of my shift, taking my break, reading about Lelei.
That'd be a "yes!," Steven. God bless us; there's none like us!
Posted by: Clayton Barnett at August 28, 2015 01:26 AM (MWJe1)
Posted by: sqa at August 28, 2015 04:18 AM (OdfLH)
For local heating, as well as stuff like iron and steel production, I'd assume at some point they'd be looking for coal.
Hmmm, things in general are a bit unsettled for these sorts of industrial plants and transport networks, imagine a fire dragon vs. a refinery....
Posted by: hga at August 28, 2015 05:00 AM (cjzee)
Local oil refining doesn't have to supply the entire needs of the base. If it even provides part, that helps relieve the supply flow from Japan, and gives them capacity for other, more long range things to be shipped in. (Like more drilling equipment.)
There are fairly small refineries whose main purpose is to provide refined fuel of whichever kind to either alleviate shipping requirements for fuel or eliminate them - like mining companies or air force bases in out of the way locations, or even to support oil drilling operations in remote regions (All the refineries in Alaska, including one at Prudhoe Bay, for example.). One of three (Yes, three.) refineries built in the US since 1998 started with a capacity for 3000 barrels per calendar day. So building a small refinery is definitely possible - but shipping all the equipment for it and all the equipment to build and maintain it would be a major burden on traffic management through the gate...And all the more so, since the refinery will be producing fuel that will require more processing than a simple distillation column will accomplish.
Petroleum coke comes from cracking long chain hydrocarbons, which you need for heavier crudes and more favorable mixes of light outputs. Technically more complex as well, and often requiring prior removal of sulfur (kills catalysts). I'm assuming that the demand for light outputs isn't huge compared to the total throughput of a basic refinary, and a demand for the heavy fractions for electricity (also used here on Earth to power ships, and oil heating).
Since even power generation by the JSDF will probably be dependent on diesel fuel, any refinery in the fantasy world will have the overwhelming majority of its' output in the form of light distillates, not heavier bunker fuel. And being able to produce petroleum coke would demand the refinery be more complex, and require more sophisticated equipment, all of which will up the what needs to be shipped to the building site.
Still, until coal mining in the empire produces sufficient quantities of coal, petroleum coke would be a considerable better fuel source than any non-magical fuel.
Posted by: cxt217 at August 28, 2015 02:22 PM (gbKL5)
That's why I latched onto the manga when I first came across it. Soo many opportunities to think things through. I've had similar ideas in the past, but they tended to involve "unit gets tossed into fantasy (often Clarke's 3rd Law fantasy) world with no way home". Gate is a refreshing new concept, with lots of technical details to puzzle through; it and Log Horizon have kept me occupied this year.
Posted by: BigD at August 29, 2015 02:34 AM (VKO9N)
Jesus has been doing things like this for centuries. Elvis started doing it shortly after he died.
And now it's Trump: his face showed up in a tub of butter.
By the way, today's word is "apophenia".
August 24, 2015
So I'm thoroughly bored with all my PC games and decided to see what might be available for my Kindle Fire.
And what do you know, there are a scad of games which are "FREE!"
But every one I looked at includes a warning that they contain in-app opportunities to spend real money for power ups. Which is to say the game is prohibitively hard if you don't do that, right?
UPDATE: So maybe I should visit GOG again? Problem is, I've bought seven games from them and only ever play two of them.
Posted by: David at August 24, 2015 09:59 PM (+TPAa)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at August 24, 2015 10:02 PM (RqRa5)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at August 24, 2015 10:06 PM (RqRa5)
I'm currently on a WOW kick again. Won't last forever but it's some fun in the meantime. Next month has a couple of rhythm games... Persona 4 Dancing All Night and the Mirai DX vocaloid game.
And Paradox announced they were going to do a space-type sim with a Europa Universalis flavor. Oy. That's like sugared crack for me.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 25, 2015 02:33 AM (qxzj1)
So maybe I should visit GOG again? Problem is, I've bought seven games from them and only ever play two of them.
I bought and played more games from GoG than seven or two, and last week, they answered (At least in part.) the single most desired item on my wish list, when they started rolling out the Classic AD&D games published by SSI. So there is hope for something at GoG.
I also got around to watching Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou and rather enjoyed the anime. However, the anime only covered just over a third of the light novel series it was based on, and reading the translation of the light novels left me conflicted.
Posted by: cxt217 at August 25, 2015 05:46 PM (gbKL5)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 25, 2015 06:48 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 25, 2015 07:25 PM (+rSRq)
GoG has proven to be a treasure trove of titles that I wanted to see back in circulation - Darklands, Covert Action, Imperialism, the SSI-published AD&D games - and no download client to worry about. Even some of the classic games from Japan like Ys is appearing on GoG, which is even better.
Regarding Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou:
I read all 13 volumes of the light novel series, and the first 10 volumes were pretty good and would have worked well as an anime - but the last three were where the plot went into deus ex machina territory and made me want to put down the series. You know it is going to be bad when they kill off one of the two leading female characters in a very horrible fashion.
But at least we got this picture from Volume 2 of the light novels, which Wonderduck might find of interest. Sadly, I had to link the picture itself, rather than the page for it, due to the link not working properly.
Posted by: cxt217 at August 25, 2015 07:55 PM (gbKL5)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 25, 2015 08:22 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: J Greely at August 25, 2015 08:25 PM (ZlYZd)
Posted by: cxt217 at August 25, 2015 08:38 PM (gbKL5)
First, she's stacked. Second, she's a nerd. Her thing is designing tech clothing and accessories, like LED platform shoes.
Which she makes herself, or at least she helps.
This time it's spy shoes. There's an amazing amount of stuff hidden in those shoes.
Posted by: BigFire at August 24, 2015 12:20 PM (O7l6D)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 24, 2015 01:07 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Siergen at August 24, 2015 03:46 PM (4pDXl)
Posted by: David at August 24, 2015 09:56 PM (+TPAa)
But, man, that photo of her in the overalls at the soldering bench is hot. Last woman I saw that had that appeal was a welder at Battlebots.
Posted by: Brett Bellmore at August 25, 2015 02:47 AM (L5yWw)
Posted by: J Greely at August 25, 2015 10:47 AM (ZlYZd)
August 23, 2015
So I happened to get up a bit before 5 AM, and having nothing better to do and not being sleepy, I monitored the "live timing (spoiler)" section of the F1 website and watched the race.
I'm looking forward to Wonderduck's writeup of this one because it was a lot more interesting than most of the recent races. There was actual racing going on this time, including spectacular passes, and a lot of real competition. (A lot of that is because this is one of the best tracks used in F1.)
It probably was a lot of fun to really watch, instead of just looking at the leader board and reading a live-blog, like I was. And even that was fun.
UPDATE: I feel like writing more. Huge spoilers below the fold.more...
August 22, 2015
I've been smelling wood smoke all day, and I was beginning to wonder if Beaverton was burning down. Actually it's smoke from the Cougar Creek Fire, which was started by lightning on August 10 and has been burning ever since on the east face of Mount Adams.
The problem with fighting it is that it's really a long way away from anything, in the middle of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It's pretty much equidistant from Portland, Tacoma, and Yakima. And current weather isn't helping: hot, dry, and gusty. Plus it's burning through a big area of standing-dead Lodgepole Pine killed by bugs to its north, which is nearly ideal firewood, dry and full of resin, and pine needles all over the ground. So the current estimate for containment is October 1. (!!)
They may not be seriously trying to stop it in the north, both because it's particularly dangerous there, and because in the long run getting rid of all those dead trees will be a blessing by opening up the land.
But it sure does smell scary here right now.
Posted by: Ben at August 22, 2015 05:13 PM (S4UJw)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 22, 2015 05:43 PM (+rSRq)
I thought you were kidding, but you weren't.
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PORTLAND OR
447 PM PDT SAT AUG 22 2015
GREATER PORTLAND METRO AREA-CENTRAL WILLAMETTE VALLEY-
NORTHERN OREGON CASCADE FOOTHILLS-NORTHERN OREGON CASCADES-
UPPER HOOD RIVER VALLEY-WESTERN COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE-
CENTRAL COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE-GREATER VANCOUVER AREA-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...HILLSBORO...PORTLAND...WILSONVILLE...
SILVER FALLS STATE PARK...SWEET HOME...GOVERNMENT CAMP...
ROOSTER ROCK...MULTNOMAH FALLS...CASCADE LOCKS...HOOD RIVER...
447 PM PDT SAT AUG 22 2015
...AIR QUALITY ALERT IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 PM PDT SUNDAY...
OREGON DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY HAS ISSUED AN AIR QUALITY
ALERT...IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM PDT SUNDAY.
A SMOKE AIR QUALITY ALERT HAS BEEN ISSUED. WILDFIRES BURNING IN THE
REGION COMBINED WITH FORECASTED CONDITIONS WILL CAUSE AIR QUALITY TO
REACH UNHEALTHY LEVELS. AIR QUALITY MAY BRIEFLY REACH VERY
UNHEALTHY LEVELS LATE TONIGHT INTO SUNDAY MORNING.
POLLUTANTS IN SMOKE CAN CAUSE BURNING EYES...RUNNY NOSE...AGGRAVATE
HEART AND LUNG DISEASES...AND AGGRAVATE OTHER SERIOUS HEALTH
PROBLEMS. LIMIT OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AND KEEP CHILDREN INDOORS IF IT
IS SMOKY. PLEASE FOLLOW MEDICAL ADVICE IF YOU HAVE A HEART OR LUNG
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION...PLEASE VISIT THE WEB SITE AT HTTP://WWW.OREGON.GOV/DEQ
For whatever it's worth, it hasn't been annoying so far; none of the "eyes burning" or any of the rest of that. At least so far.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 22, 2015 05:48 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 22, 2015 09:09 PM (+rSRq)
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