July 31, 2015
Well, stuff happened but it ended in the middle of a two-part story, so it was rather unsatisfying. It'll be better once ep 6 comes out.more...
True magecraft and spirit magic can make for a nasty combination.Then Rory got out and Princes Pina died a little inside.
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at July 31, 2015 04:16 PM (ohzj1)
Italica was one of the nations who sent out their military at the Emperor's call and got it annihilated in the second battle with the JSDF. The Count (the ruler) was one of the dead. The current ruler is 11 years old; she's the youngest daughter of three left behind, but her sisters had been married off.
Not quite. The count died before the Empire launched its' invasion through the gate (Note that the conversation confirms the Empire committed to an invasion through the gate before they had scouted out what might lie on the other side.). The families that the older sisters married into were struggling for influence and guardianship of the youngest sister during her minority.
I also would not say that the knightly order commanded by Princess Pina is a toy or not particularly useful. They were trained by an experienced officer (Grey, who is with the princess.). That biggest problem they have is actual combat experience as well as for Pina, actual combat experience in combat. That is obvious problem that you simply can not train your way out of, although you can train to handle it better.
Itami is interesting because while he was the subject of humor several times, his otaku nature is notable in the episode for being completely absent. He is a capable and canny commanding officer when he wants to be - the trick is making him want to be most of the time (Although, a good but lazy officer might arguably be best at commanding in difficult situations.). Note that aside from intervening with the recon group, he has already made arrangements for support, which the gunship in the preview and Episode 6's title of 'Ride of the Valkyries' is a complete give-away.
Posted by: cxt217 at July 31, 2015 04:45 PM (VnWAB)
Posted by: CatCube at July 31, 2015 05:30 PM (fa4fh)
Wow...Two typos in one sentence.
That biggest problem they have is actual combat experience as well as for Pina, actual combat experience in combat.
That biggest problem they have is lack of actual combat experience as well as for Pina, lack of command experience in actual combat.
Posted by: cxt217 at July 31, 2015 06:04 PM (VnWAB)
Have they changed the word they use for Itami's rank? They've promoted him to captain in dialog, but what he's wearing on his collar hasn't changed, AFAICT.
The word they've been using is "taichou" 隊長, which means "commanding officer". It's like "skipper" in the Navy; it doesn't imply any rank. It's an acceptable way to refer to your ranking officer, no matter who he is.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 31, 2015 06:29 PM (+rSRq)
As for the next episode, I guess I don't have to spoiler it, because they've already given it away--the air cav commander is quite a character. CMoAs abound!
Posted by: BigD at July 31, 2015 06:37 PM (VKO9N)
Re Taichou the problem the translator is having is that in English there's no Army term equivalent to "Skipper" in the Navy. In the US Army and the British Army and all English speaking forces derived from those traditions, soldiers refer to officers by actual rank plus sometimes their name. The translator could be using "lieutenant", Itagami's actual rank, but for some reason has decided to go with "captain", which is two ranks higher.
Equivalent naval terms in Japanese are senchou (a ship's captain) and kanchou (captain of a warship). Marika's crew uses "kanchou" for her in Mouretsu Pirates because the Bentenmaru is heavily armed, even though it isn't formally part of any military service.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 31, 2015 06:44 PM (+rSRq)
Princess Pina is acknowledged by the emperor, so she is part of the royal family, and 10th in line to the throne, so she has no realistic shot at as things stand.
Looking forward to next episode, seeing Rory the Reaper do her thing. I just hope Kurabayashi meets expectations. I was rather disappointed in how the anime redesigned her character.
Posted by: Whelk at July 31, 2015 08:53 PM (xzBca)
I was intrigued by the exchange between Leili and Itami about his improved grasp of trans-Gate language. He offhandedly attributes it to being hit in the head when the Princess flung the door open. However, just after that, as he regained consciousness, Rory leaned over him very closely, staring into his eyes. Makes me wonder if she did something to his mind at that moment.
Pure speculation on my part, but I've seen similar actions in other works turn out to mean something.
And, of course, now I've got that awful song from the 70's stuck in my head....
Posted by: Clayton Barnett at July 31, 2015 09:08 PM (lU4ZJ)
I suppose a better translation would be "commander," but that could create confusion with the Navy rank, and also carries specific connotations of authority in English. "Captain" probably answers the mail best of all.
I think Itami's only one promotion from the actual grade of captain--he's been promoted again since the first episode. When they commissioned him, he had one star in his rank insignia, and now he's got two.
Posted by: CatCube at July 31, 2015 10:26 PM (fa4fh)
I have to admit: I just read the manga up through ep 37. There's no hint at all that Rory did anything strange to him, and the whole question of how he picked up the language never comes up.
The good news: This isn't going to do the Gasaraki Tango. That whole business ended up being settled with a sequence that was almost comedic.
The bad news: for a long time Itami fades into the background. There's a lot going on and Itami isn't involved in very much of it. But there's a new arc starting in maybe chapter 38 and Itami will be in the middle of it.
The best scene? Tuka shouting at a member of the Diet, "Are you an idiot?"
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 31, 2015 10:27 PM (+rSRq)
There's no hint at all that Rory did anything strange to him, and the whole question of how he picked up the language never comes up.
As I said, it was speculation. We've seen Lelei use overt magic, and heard implications about Tuka's abilities. That Rory effortlessly carries that silly pole-arm and fights so well indicates that she may not use magic, but is magic, befitting her as-yet undefined 'demi-god' status.
Speaking of whom: everyone seems to know who she is. I've seen nothing in the backgrounds to indicate that trans-Gate has printing presses, so are there Emloy temples that have her image in them throughout the Empire? In talking with Grey, Pena seemed to indicate that the Empire has its own orthodox religion; perhaps it is pantheistic, with Emloy one god amongst several?
Posted by: Clayton Barnett at August 01, 2015 01:37 AM (lU4ZJ)
Pina came up with a plan. Wasn't a terrible plan, as they go, considering that before Itami and the gang showed up, they were already in pretty dire straits. However, to work, the plan required the enemy to cooperate... and they didn't, of course.
A plan that might have worked would have been to use Itami's team as a central reserve, but to be fair, she's got no idea just how good the JSDF soldiers are, she can't be sure that they're friendly forces, and she doesn't trust Rory any further than Pina can throw Rory's axe. And further, if she grew up in court as an illegitimate daughter, she's probably used to thinking in terms of being in a poltical snakepit - if she holds Itami back, he can just let her get chewed up by the bandits, and if he can win, he holds the town. Pina's decision wasn't wise from the viewpoint of the viewer, but it wasn't out of character at all. Assuming that other people will react to a situation in the same way you would is a fault of many real-world leaders as well.
What's really interesting is that Itami knows that Pina's screwing up by the numbers, but doesn't insist on changing the plan. Of course he's in a completely different tactical situation - he can hold the gate until morning against the entire enemy force, withdraw just about any time he might want to, and has overwhelming reinforcements on the way. So even if he shuts up and soldiers, his force isn't particularly threatened. But to get his way, he'd have to push her out of command, and there's one thing his troop can't do... and that's hold the town. Split them up to cover everything and they can get defeated in detail. Hold them together and they'll hold their position, but the rest of the town gets chewed up and spit out without other troops to hold it. If he's really trying to protect the town, he has to have the other defenders defending it, even if that means they're not protecting it well.
(And it was a good gamble - the bandits might not have attacked at night at all, or they might have come in with only a few people and not broken through, or they might have come in at the gate he was covering. Heads he wins, tails he still doesn't lose...)
It'll be interesting to see how they bail out of this one. Rory's the wild card here. We know that she's powerful enough that a dozen men are absolutely no threat to her; can she take a hundred? Or enough to hold the gate, at any rate? More to the point, she's a threat that the men attacking would immediately understand... and, quite possibly, constitutes a fate worse than death. We don't know how much of her speech from ep 3 is intimidation, but if we take her talk about hating lies at face value, and put it together with that, then there might be spiritual consequences that go beyond just dying.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 01, 2015 03:06 AM (qxzj1)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 01, 2015 09:54 AM (+rSRq)
Regarding Rory's notability (And I actually have no idea why this part of Gate need to be spoiler-proofed, since it was mentioned in Episode 5 and shown before.):
Pina mentioned that she has seen Rory once at a national religious ceremony before. We do have proof that Rory has traveled around the lands enough that even children from rural villages (Like from Coda.) know who she is by sight.
It occurred to me that the recon group and Rory alone might be enough to stop the bandits cold, if the bandits had any sense - but some of the bandits seemed to be controlled by bloodlust more than anything else.
Anyone else noticed that one of the major roads Italica is on is named 'Appia'?
Posted by: cxt217 at August 01, 2015 10:21 AM (VnWAB)
Rory's powerful, she's unaging, she's... unkillable to a certain degree. But there's still probably some kind of limit of what she's capable of; likely she couldn't charge Arnus Hill and take the gate alone. (And of course, having sussed out the moderately-benign motives of the troops there, it's probable she wouldn't want to.) Can she stop a small local army cold on her own? Presumably we will find out.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 01, 2015 11:13 AM (qxzj1)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 01, 2015 05:47 PM (+rSRq)
...some of the bandits seemed to be controlled by bloodlust more than anything else.
I don't think that's what it was. I think it was desperation. They have no where else to go, no other way of surviving. They can't go back to the Empire; the emperor would order them all executed. No one else would hire them because no one else would trust them. There aren't any other towns nearby besides this one they might plunder, that would yield enough plunder to survive.
They win here or they die. If they don't win, all they have is a choice of deaths. A clean quick death in combat is better than a slow painful death by starvation or disease..
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 01, 2015 05:51 PM (+rSRq)
I have to say, I'm impressed with Itami's grasp of the politics he finds himself in. It's rare to find a junior officer who can grasp the bigger picture, and Itami seems to be one of those.
He's realized that the vast gulf between the JSDF and local forces is discounted, and is using this as an opportunity to show an Empire leader how overmatched she is while nominally "on her side." Giving them a reason for détente will save a lot of money; artillery shells are expensive.
I wonder if the reason the bandits didn't attack the south gate is because the JSDF forces silhouetted themselves when those three scouts were checking things out. If some of the bandits were survivors of the daylight attack, they may have recognized them guarding that gate and decided to seek success on one of the other gates.
Of course, if they knew that the JSDF was assisting in the town's defense, they probably would have decided discretion is the better part of valor. Maybe they thought the gate with few guards and no lookout fires was an obvious trap and declined the gambit.
Posted by: CatCube at August 01, 2015 06:44 PM (fa4fh)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 01, 2015 07:50 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 01, 2015 08:55 PM (qxzj1)
The night attack was the second attack by the allied armies. The first was made in daylight, and its failure is what drove the lord (his name escapes me) to try a night attack.
Posted by: CatCube at August 01, 2015 09:08 PM (fa4fh)
The night attack was the second attack by the allied armies.
The allied armies staged three attacks in total. The last attack was the night attack, when King Duran tried the wiser course of action, only to discover the JSDF was prepared for that as well.
Posted by: cxt217 at August 02, 2015 06:38 AM (VnWAB)
July 30, 2015
I think I've mentioned that there are certain moments in certain shows that, when I reach them, I pause the show and just look at the image for a while. This is one of them, from Fairy Tail episode 189.
July 28, 2015
Never let it be said that this show has any class.
(Not that anyone would be inclined to say such a thing, of course. NSFW below the fold.)more...
A lot of female characters in anime wrap a white strip of cloth around their chests instead of wearing bras or something else. Erza does that in Fairy Tail and Hallie Tribeca and her gang do it in Nanoha Vivid and they're not the only ones. I see it all the time.
What is that called?
July 26, 2015
Her name is Mikan, and I stole borrowed this picture from Metanorn because I'm not watching this show.
Posted by: ubu at July 27, 2015 04:59 PM (GfCSm)
Posted by: Ben at July 27, 2015 05:13 PM (S4UJw)
Posted by: ubu at July 28, 2015 08:24 PM (GfCSm)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 29, 2015 06:03 AM (RqRa5)
July 24, 2015
While we were away, the JSDF engineers have been busy.
I'm not sure I'd pick a star fortress as an ideal design for this (they work a lot better if you've got a moat, and that isn't possible here), but it isn't terrible. And they've nicely partitioned it so that even if an enemy force breaks into the outer wall, the entire fort won't fall.
Anyway, Scout Squad 3 comes back with its group of refugees, and there's a bit of confusion and consternation about that. But ultimately it's decided that it's a good thing, and the JSDF will take them in and provide for them.
Magician, meet backhoe. The engineers build a refugee camp -- outside the wall. It goes up very fast, which shouldn't be a surprise.
To get all that supply into the new region they must have been running trucks bumper-to-bumper through the gate.
One of the first things that goes up is a bath.
Chuka, the elf, is suffering from PTSD and isn't quite right in her head. She can't seem to accept that her father is dead. She draws twice as many clothes as she needs (some for her, some for a man) and gets twice as much food as she needs (and half goes to waste).
But on a practical level, she's worried about the fact that they're receiving all this charity from the JSDF. "We eventually have to support ourselves. Will we have to sell our bodies?"
Lelei, the mage, has been working on trying to learn Japanese, and is making great progress. She's been doing other things, too.
She learns that the JSDF has no use for the corpses of all these dragons they killed. It turns out that dragon scales are very valuable, and she's gotten permission for the refugees to collect them, and to sell them. "We aren't going to have to sell our bodies." Considering how many dragons died there, they should be able to keep busy for a long time.
This is the nearest town that's still intact. It's called "Italica". Whoever drew it needs to learn more about how towns were fortified in the middle ages, because it's got a blind spot. An attacking army could climb one of those hills from along the river and attack down into the town. (It wouldn't be easy but it would be a lot easier than assaulting that wall.)
Aside from that, it's a pretty good imitation of a motte-and-bailey. Except that the bailey should be elevated, and this one isn't.
(By the way, it also means that the locals haven't invented any kind of artillery. Curtain walls like that are completely useless if the enemy has artillery, whether cannons, trebuchets, high-powered mages, or tamed kaiju. If that town has been safe all this time, then the JSDF fortress will be too.)
Regardless, the next episode is "The Battle of Italica". The princess and her column are coming in from one side, and Scout Squad 3 is taking the three girls to this town from the other side with their first load of dragon scales, and presumably there will be some sort of clash.
Also, word has gotten back to Japan about wholesale slaughter of civilians, and opponents of the administration are trying to claim that it was the JSDF that did it, not a kaiju. So the Diet has summoned witnesses: Itami (commander of the JSDF unit that witnessed it) and some of the refugees, and that's maybe in the next episode, too, or maybe the one after.
I wonder if Lelei's magic will work in Japan? I wonder if she'll need to find out? Since by then Lelei's mastery of Japanese will probably be sufficient, she's going to be the star witness, obviously. And I hope to hell no one makes Rory mad.
(A stupidity: the Premiere of China wants to send half of his citizens through the gate. Which is idiocy considering what a bottleneck it is. If they loaded them onto trucks bumper-to-bumper they couldn't even keep up with China's population rate of increase, even assuming there was anything for them on the other side besides starvation and violent death. I guess the writer wants us to believe that the Premiere is stupid, but I don't believe that any national leader is that stupid.)
After reading your reviews on this show, I decided to give it a shot. Despite the "everybody other that Japan is evil and stupid" I'm enjoying it. I can forgive the writer some prejudice in favor of his country, though. I'll probably end up paying for a Crunchyroll subscription to keep up on this.
The star fort is probably a reasonable structure, though not really necessary with modern weapons--the M2s they have mounted can place accurate fires a long ways. If you're not worried about artillery, though, fixed fortifications are probably not a bad idea. However, they've built it wrong. They have a fence arranged in a star pattern, where they should have an elevated berm there with machine guns on it. The purpose of the "arrowheads" on the star points is so you can place fires back along the wall to the inside corners of the star from the outside tips of the arrowhead. When it's just a cyclone fence, as they have here, it really serves no purpose. They could probably use HESCO bastions like they did for the rest of the walls. The background artist probably worked from a drawing and didn't look too closely.
As far as the moat goes, they could certainly build one. Drainage would be kind of a pain in the ass, but they're in the bottom of a valley so they could certainly provide an outlet.
I was trying to figure out what those hydraulic excavators were doing (other than "look like construction"). They weren't digging a basement or anything, and leveling ground is much, much, much more efficient with other equipment. They still get a pass from when they had that king lead a cavalry charge and get his horse fuckered up on a wire obstacle. Most fiction seems to forget about concertina wire, and it gets used everywhere on a real modern battlefield.
Posted by: CatCube at July 24, 2015 08:11 PM (fa4fh)
I think those clear areas between the outer fence and the first curtain wall are probably mined. If you can't have a moat, a minefield will suffice.
The problem with a moat is where to get all the water from. I assume that for water inside the camp the engineers have dug some wells, but for a moat that wouldn't be sufficient.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 24, 2015 09:48 PM (+rSRq)
The clear area could be mined, though as much as the Japanese government seems to be fretting about public and world opinion, they probably wouldn't want to blow off the Ottawa Treaty. It's hard to say if the writer even thought of that, though. Either way, if they were mining the area they still wouldn't need to have the jogs in the fence line.
And moats don't have to have water. I think on star forts they usually didn't--they just wanted the wall of the fort to be at the same elevation as the surrounding ground so the enemy couldn't place direct fires onto the face of the wall. Besides, we do modern obstacles with dry ditches, though they're mostly to stop tanks. If all you're concerned with are dismounts, wire obstacles are a more efficient use of effort since you don't need heavy equipment and you don't risk providing cover in the ditch.
Posted by: CatCube at July 24, 2015 10:05 PM (fa4fh)
Posted by: CatCube at July 24, 2015 10:11 PM (fa4fh)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 24, 2015 10:20 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 24, 2015 10:21 PM (+rSRq)
Keep in mind that the JSDF has very little organic knowledge about a lot of aspects of war - no combat veterans, a complete break in military tradition, and a training culture entirely geared towards peacetime and, well, inoffensiveness. It's entirely possible they laid out a traditional star fort because someone asked "hey, what should we make the fort look like?" and looked it up on Wikipedia, without necessarily understanding the logic behind all the defensive features and whether they apply in this situation. Not saying they're stupid or ignorant, just that it's really easy to take for granted that armies are supposed to know this stuff - our guys aren't working out of sixty-year-old textbooks when they lay out a firebase.
I don't know that we can conclude anything about the presence of artillery just by there being walls in the town. We KNOW there are dragons of several varieties and some kind of orc/beastman thing; there may be other monsters about. A big honkin' wall may not stop the king and his siege train, but might be just the thing to help you live through an invasion of goblins or wargs. If they weren't having to defend that thing, there'd be houses on both sides of the wall, lining the roads in and out, etc. You only crowd into a fortification like that when you are worried that you'll need it. (Or possibly, as Steven said, we're thinking about this too hard, and the town was drawn that way because it looked nice in a manga panel...)
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at July 25, 2015 12:07 AM (uqQHL)
As was pointed out to me, this started as a light novel, so the writer likely just mentioned 'their fortified base' in passing. Echoing what Avatar wrote, I'd imagine that the manga artist read that, looked up "forts" on Google Images, and drew what looked good.
I was intrigued this ep by the exchange between Itami and Lt. Yanagida, who comes across as an intel officer. The losing radio contact is nice for the 'otaku-with-a-heart-of-gold' character development, but why didn't missing more than one check-in result in an air sortie of helos or jets? Recon Team 3 could not have been that far from their base. In fact, looking at the map of 'the land through the Gate,' I'd guess they were only miles away.
More overthinking? Yeah. Thing is, when you encounter what seems to be shaping up to be a gem of a series, you expect the best, even to the point of wanting to help.
"And I hope to hell no one makes Rory mad."
*snort!* It's a thing of beauty.
Posted by: Clayton Barnett at July 25, 2015 01:58 AM (lU4ZJ)
Of course, the straight course of that river doesn't make much sense, either; Rivers meander, particularly in almost flat areas. Maybe it's actually a canal, not a river, and the hills are where they got rid of the dirt.
From a defensive standpoint, though, with magical beasties, I suppose there could be something about those woods that makes them a less than desirable attack route. Rabid dryads, or something.
Posted by: Brett Bellmore at July 25, 2015 04:20 AM (L5yWw)
A fire against that wall would be useless because that wall is made of concrete.
Direct fire as in "cannon fire coming in at no or nearly-no elevation", right?
I was speaking "Army" again without thinking about it. Avatar is mostly right, except that the term "direct fire" encompasses small arms as well.
You could be right about the walls being concrete, though I originally didn't think they were. They had HESCO bastions in the scene 9 minutes in where the refugees are introducing themselves, but the rest of the artwork is inconsistent. I'd expect they'd use HESCOs for the outer wall., but on closer inspection they certainly could be concrete.
Posted by: CatCube at July 25, 2015 07:16 AM (fa4fh)
When I said "a fire against the wall" I meant burning lumber. That's a legitimate tactic against a wooden palisade, for example. (Or more simply, throwing oil on the palisade and then setting it on fire.)
We already know that the natives don't have any kind of artillery, or else Italica wouldn't look like it does.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 25, 2015 08:33 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Big D at July 25, 2015 12:10 PM (VKO9N)
Posted by: BigD at July 25, 2015 12:16 PM (VKO9N)
Honestly, if we say "half" is less an absolute numeric description and more of a way of emphasizing the importance, the Chinese premier's idea isn't a bad one. By our standards, the Chinese economic expansion of the last 30-40 years has been explosive, but that's slowing down as the low-hanging fruit of an industrial revolution are mostly picked out. Nothing on offer in China is even remotely as lucrative as the idea of vast new continents populated by people who don't even have firearms. Having a serious policy of Growth By Settling... darn it, what's our word for "the world on the other side of the gate"?... solves some very serious problems for China, including demographic (lots of young men with no available women) and political ("feeling oppressed? Head out for the New Territories!")
And Japan is in a terrible position to take similar advantage. They don't have a big population surplus, especially not a poor one who would find a farming life to be congenial. They don't have an expansionist impulse (we didn't merely cut it off, we seared the stump). They haven't had a settler tradition in recorded history.
(The US is kind of in the middle there. An extremely successful settler tradition, a cultural tradition that isn't rooted in ethnicity, a lot of good-government memes, and well, complete military dominance over the country where the gate happens to be sitting doesn't hurt. On the down side, a serious tradition of self-government, so any government body that arose there would probably be separate from the US proper...)
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at July 25, 2015 02:29 PM (uqQHL)
I was intrigued this ep by the exchange between Itami and Lt. Yanagida, who comes across as an intel officer. The losing radio contact is nice for the 'otaku-with-a-heart-of-gold' character development, but why didn't missing more than one check-in result in an air sortie of helos or jets?Well, the conversation indicated that they were communicating, but in short bursts.
The scene with Yanagida was certainly interesting.
Where is JAXA? I mean, the next thing they ought to check is to get a telescope look at the star pattern of the world. How many moons does this world have? Hell, transport a LAMBDA rocket or something similarly small through and put a satellite in orbit. It's possible that there are continents/islands with no indigenous peoples and thus settleable without grief or guilt. Set up an airstrip at the gate and fly there.
If it IS an alternate Earth, then physics just got a huge discovery. If it's an alien planet in a far away system then that's an important bit of info too.
Also set up EM wave detectors around all the magic users and find out what frequencies they are broadcasting on (Ocatrine obviously) and if they can't then physicists get ANOTHER budget increase .
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at July 25, 2015 09:53 PM (1zM3A)
That's a good idea but it isn't urgent. For the time being there's a huge logistical bottleneck and they have to prioritize things which are militarily necessary: helicopters, spare parts, fuel, ammunition, food, building supplies, barbed wire, and so on.
JAXA can wait until the political and military situation is sorted out.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 25, 2015 10:33 PM (+rSRq)
"If it IS an alternate Earth, then physics just got a huge discovery. If it's an alien planet in a far away system then that's an important bit of info too."
From the manga (which I am assuming to be canonical)... a year there is about 386 days and their days about 23 hours. That would seem to point to an entirely different world.
No one's ever mentioned issues with gravity. Nor have we seen any modern device not work there, so perhaps the same physics applies. That leads me to suspect that Leili & Kato's 'magic' is just a science we've not discovered here on Earth.
Posted by: Clayton Barnett at July 25, 2015 11:57 PM (lU4ZJ)
Which could also explain the radio issues in the first expedition. If you're enough beyond line of sight propagation gets interesting. Conventional AM at night on earth can go quite a ways, right? Otherwise, don't you have to bounce off of the ionosphere, the occasional micro-meteorite, or a space sat? So radios optimized for well developed Earth might plausibly show unusual limits at distance until adjustments are made, or com satellites are in operation, and those would take a long time to be put in place (custom built after the orbital space environment is discovered). Yeah, lots of chances for us to play armchair Engineer and Scientist.
Paranoid me would be preparing for that gate to close without warning. E.g. after we (inevitably ^_^) discover we are interfertile with at least the human form natives (and either way would be very interesting, plus no doubt the elf's DNA and, say, CAT scans are being checked out with great interest), I'd be making sure there's a good enough library, and stocks of machine tools and metal stocks, food and seeds, and small arms ammo (the basic stuff without explosives have > 1/2 century shelf lives) so that the outpost could thrive if that happens. Hmmm, fuel for electricity and engines could be the biggest issue there.
Although for some reason that sort of thing doesn't seem to be factoring in anyone's plans. But that's another thing the on earth political craziness could play into, suppose it gets so bad someone decides its best to close the gate. People like the mage and/or Rory might be handy in that case. Heck, Rory might make them an offer they can't refuse....
Posted by: hga at July 26, 2015 04:44 AM (51wyD)
As fast as they built the fort it should be doable.
You're right it doesn't apply to our heroes here...
I'm holding out for the Rocket Girls crossover.
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at July 26, 2015 05:34 AM (1zM3A)
As far as preparing an airstrip to explore a wider area from the air: I had wondered why they didn't have any fixed-wing assets, just the helicopters we've seen. This is strange, since they are facing an enemy with air assets (the dragons), and helicopters aren't very good at air-to-air (though in-universe they can apparently work well against an enemy not expecting them).
It occurred to me around the third episode that the gate is too small for any fixed-wing aircraft of decent size. They could get a small general aviation-type aircraft through (think Cessna), but a large cargo or fighter aircraft would have to come through in pieces, and I can't think of anything that's intended to be disassembled and reassembled in a field environment. I'm sure the Japanese government is working on it, but it'll take time to develop this capability, which would be unique worldwide.
Posted by: CatCube at July 26, 2015 09:18 AM (fa4fh)
When I refer to the GATE as a "bottleneck" it's not just the reduced capacity for shipping supplies through it. It also isn't very big physically, and a lot of things won't fit.
So far the JSDF quartermasters seem to have done an outstanding job on the place. I wonder whose idea it was to lay a cable through it?
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 26, 2015 09:40 AM (+rSRq)
But what are they getting with fixed-wing craft? Helicopters are fine for short-range recon. They're probably better than jets for the kind of anti-dragon work you'd worry about (could you even lock an AMRAAM onto Puff?) And the choppers have much better open-field capability, which is important in a world where -no other air strip exists-. Any fixed-wing craft that goes up must land there too, no matter what conditions, because there's literally nowhere else to do it.
I expect that a wise US president (which possibly excludes the not-Bush in this show) would loan the Japanese a bunch of drones in exchange for data sharing.
I expect "what if the gate suddenly closes?" is not a consideration that the Japanese planners are worried about.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at July 26, 2015 09:54 AM (uqQHL)
So far the JSDF quartermasters seem to have done an outstanding job on the place. I wonder whose idea it was to lay a cable through it?
Whoever the JSDF has in charge of their generators, I'm sure. (It's the engineers in the US Army.) Generator plants for a base of that size would consume immense amounts of fuel, and running commercial power through the gate would be an obvious way to avoid a lot of traffic and to save costs. Though, with a fixed gate with no enemy presence would probably justify a pipeline, which is far and away the most efficient way to transport liquids. I don't recall pictures of the current gate, but IRL it would probably look like a utility tunnel at this point, with pipes and cable races all along the perimeter.
But what are they getting with fixed-wing craft?...
I think that the success of rotary-wing aircraft against those dragons is probably attributable to the Imperial forces not being used to this type of combat. I think those were AH-64s they had, and the fire-control systems on those were never really intended for air-to-air combat. The dragon riders can't stay stupid forever, and they'll start having occasional successes. (This is assuming that the writers don't make helicopters invincible by fiat--given their treatment of other countries' politics, not a great assumption, I admit.) Some of the magic we've already seen could probably be used to whack a helicopter, if the caster was either on a dragon or positioned on the ground in the right terrain. Air-to-air is more a fighter jet core competency, but it's probably going to be a while before that matters, especially if they avoid getting into battles where the enemy can learn.
As far as using an AMRAAM against Puff, if he returns radar I don't know why it wouldn't work. I don't know if there's a limitation in the guidance computer to exclude low-speed returns that would need a programming change. However, the radar itself can pick up all kinds of things. Even civilian ones will get flocks of birds, buildings, and occasionally traffic. These are usually very slow speed and in predictable places, and the radar excludes them from the operator's display. I was taking a tour of an approach facility in Springfield, MO, and the controller told me that there was a hill in I-44 where they'd get returns off of highway traffic under the right atmospheric conditions, and they programmed the radar to ignore returns below a certain speed in that spot.
However, reconnaissance is where I think that fixed-wing would really make money. Most long-range UAVs use satellites for control, so I think that in the Special Region, they'd be pretty limited in range. I know I'd want to have a rough idea of what's going on around me for as far as I could send out aircraft. As Steven pointed out, though, the gate severely limits the size of what can be brought to bear. UAVs would be the best bet, but the ones with range still require a pretty good-size runway.
Posted by: CatCube at July 26, 2015 01:12 PM (fa4fh)
The cable I was referring to was data, probably fiber. That's why they can now have a cell tower that connects back to the network in Japan.
I think that laying a power cable would be terrifically dangerous. It's a catastrophe waiting to happen. They are much better off with local diesel generators, even if the fuel has to be hauled through that tunnel with trucks.
(A fuel pipeline gives me the willies, too. Gad!)
Probably about a quarter of the truck traffic in that tunnel is fuel, anyway. It's not that big a deal.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 26, 2015 02:48 PM (+rSRq)
Aside from the logistics of building an airbase with supporting infrastructure (Including workshops to assemble and prep aircraft.), someone at the Fandom Post noted that moving all the material and equipment from Japan TO the gate would be a massive undertaking, since you have to ship them through an urban environment. I seen naval aircraft with folding wings (Which Japan does not have.) suggested as being the ideal type of aircraft short of Harriers to be shipped through the gate. But partially disassembling aircrafts and moving them through using HETs seem a better idea. It had to be the way for the JSDF to ship the excavators through the gate, because you can not send those in one piece.
(I am a bit late coming to this because while I did see via Crunchyroll - which I have a number of guest passes for - on Friday, shortly after it was posted - I was at Otakon and the wifi was spotty. Fun Girls und Panzer panel, though - and where else other than a gathering of military buffs can you see someone running around with a model of a Panzer IVH?)
Posted by: cxt217 at July 26, 2015 03:35 PM (JOdbP)
It had to be the way for the JSDF to ship the excavators through the gate, because you can not send those in one piece.
I doubt they'd need to do anything special for the HYEXs. The gate looks to be around 15', maybe a little higher--I don't know the dimensions for JSDF tanks, but tanks are typically pretty tall and there's a fair bit of room over them.
A John Deere 270LC on an M870A1 lowboy trailer with the arm slightly out of travel position will just lose the hydraulic hoses on the top knuckle going under the Biggs Road bridge on I-65 NB in Indiana, which is posted as 14'-7". If the gate was a little under 14'-6", they might have to road the HYEXs, but I don't think it's so short that it won't clear one on its own tracks. If somebody has done a better estimate of the gate dimensions, I'll defer to them.
Posted by: CatCube at July 26, 2015 05:03 PM (fa4fh)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 26, 2015 06:06 PM (+rSRq)
As to the backhoes, I suspect that the buckets were removed and then they drove themselves through with the arms completely folded and flat level. Then you don't have to allow for a trailer in your height calculation. The bucket would be brought in later, on a truck.
Another possibility is that the backhoes were lifted apart, with the track part shipped separately from the cab and the arm.
In that case you'd need a crane at the other end to put them back together, but you'd only need one. And there are some pretty amazing cranes out there which are designed to be transported on city streets and not take out bridges; I'm sure one could be found that would fit through the gate.
Given that they spent 3 months doing planning before moving through the gate, it's not impossible that some of this gear was custom made, or custom modified. This is a "cost is no object" kind of problem, obviously. The Japanese government gave the planners pretty much a blank check.
Someone up there wondered why they had backhoes at all, rather than things like bulldozers and graders. I think the answer is that a backhoe is more versatile. It can level ground (I've seen it done), for instance. It isn't as good as a bulldozer at doing so, but there are a lot of things a back hoe can do that a bulldozer cannot do even badly. All things considered I do think that back hoes were the best choice for the initial wave of heavy construction equipment.
A back hoe isn't limited to just using a bucket. They also have hammers (for taking out boulders and tree stumps without having to use explosives) and I've think seen goats feet, and a back hoe can be used as a crane very easily.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 26, 2015 06:15 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: cxt217 at July 26, 2015 06:23 PM (JOdbP)
The manga features Cobras and Hueys "soon", and Phantoms and Chinooks later on. I look forward to the non-readers' reactions to the air cav commander.
For power, couldn't they just run steel pipe through an upper corner of the gate, and then run an insulated line (like those used for buried lines) through that? They domed-off the gate on the Shibuya side, so they have plenty of control over the immediate environment. Of course, lots of stuff is fighting over priority, so it's hard to guess what the status of individual projects might be.
Given that the initial force had to immediately take the hill, obviously they had to make do with traditional military generator logistics at first, and may still do so at this point.
Posted by: BigD at July 26, 2015 07:41 PM (VKO9N)
For power, couldn't they just run steel pipe through an upper corner of the gate, and then run an insulated line (like those used for buried lines) through that?
No, not really. The problem here is the quantity of power needed. The kind of line you're talking about is good for a few megawatts, but that base needs more power than that.
So there are really only two ways to make that happen: higher voltage or higher current.
If you go with higher voltage, you have a problem with insulation. You have to run two lines (hot and return) and they're right next to each other. If the voltage difference is high enough, it will breach the insulation and short.
If you go with higher current, your problem is heat. The wire will have some resistance, and heat dissipation is I²R, it goes up as the square of the current. Do too much of that and your insulation will burst into flames, and then the line shorts. Or the conductor will melt and open, and then you don't have any power going through.
If you run two pipes on opposite sides of the tunnel, that helps a bit, but not as much as you'd think. You still have one problem or the other. The pipe is grounded so if the voltage is too high and it breaches the insulation, the hot can still short to the pipe instead of the return. And you get all kinds of excitement.
And if you go with high current, you can still smoke the insulation, and again you can short to the pipe. And you can still melt the conductor.
I figure they need something like 100 megawatts for a base that large, and in the real world the only way to deliver that kind of power is high voltage, with the wires physically separated using air as the primary insulation. That's not practical in that tunnel; too many opportunities for vehicles to interfere with the wires.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 26, 2015 09:06 PM (+rSRq)
I see some visceral objections to the idea of powering that place with diesel generators. So let's run some numbers just to get a first approximation of the size of the problem.
Diesel fuel is about 35 megajoules per liter. If you figure your generator at about 35% efficiency (though I bet they're better than that) then to produce 100 megawatts you burn 9 liters per second.
A tank truck can un anything up to 44,000 liters. Figure 30,000 as a happy medium. Then one truck load of diesel can power the base for just under an hour. You burn 26 trucks of fuel per 24-hours.
That, of course, assumes a constant load of 100 megawatts. In practice power consumption varies and the overall usage average is going to be less. So somewhere between 20 and 25 trucks per day of fuel for electrical generation.
And that isn't really very much of a load on the logistics. I figure they can probably put several hundred trucks per day through that tunnel.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 26, 2015 09:17 PM (+rSRq)
I don't doubt you could run that base from generators and tank trucks. We run Bagram Airfield off of generators, and that makes the fort shown look like Coda Village. I question whether they would, given a commercial power source very close by. Deployable power is unreliable, expensive, maintenance intensive, and very inefficient.
Field Manual 3-34 estimates a load of 2,450 kW for a 3,500-man brigade (US). However, that's for a pretty austere environment. This PPT has figures from 249th EN BN (PRIME POWER) for 12,950 kW for a brigade, which is probably closer to the truth for a comfier base like we saw in the episode. According to Wikipedia (the three most trusted words in information!) the unit responsible for the defense of Tokyo is the 1st Division, with a strength of 6,300 men. Assuming they sent the whole division, that's a power requirement of about 26 MW. I don't know what the highest voltage you can run through an insulated cable (as opposed to an overhead conductor), but I know they make cables in 22kV from personal experience. I make 26 MW/22kV=1181 A, but in 3 phases, you've got 1200 A/3=400 A per phase. That doesn't sound crazy to me. The figure I used was in kVA, so I don't think it needs to be corrected for power factor.
None of that is to say that they wouldn't have gensets as emergency power (that's only smart), but I still don't think they rely on them as the primary power source.
cxt, those excavators were utility, (like you see on a construction site), not production (large mining). Look at the size of the operator in the cab relative to the equipment.
I'm sure the JSDF uses Komatsu, but they look to be about the same size as the John Deere equipment we use in the US Army. About 10-11 feet in travel configuration, plus trailer height. Easy to bring through, and if the gate is juuust a bit too small, like Steven and I said, you can road on it's own tracks so you don't need the trailer.
Excavators are versatile, and we used the hell out of ours on my last deployment, but there's still plenty of work they're not good at. (You have me on "goat's foot"--I don't recognize that attachment.) Leveling a piece of ground that's larger than the swing of the arm is one of them. Now, you can certainly make good use of them in conjunction with a dozer, where the dozer pushed dirt into a stockpile and the excavator loads trucks. For the base of the size we saw, I guarantee they'd have a full set of earthmoving equipment.
Posted by: CatCube at July 26, 2015 11:15 PM (fa4fh)
Even if grid power is made available, I would expect a full set of generators and a week's worth of fuel to be stored on-base just in case--and when you add in the vehicle fuel (including those thirsty choppers), there should be enough reserves to dig in and hold out for months at minimal power, if the Gate were to close. At that point, a lot would depend on what their emergency plan was.
Posted by: BigD at July 27, 2015 01:37 AM (VKO9N)
Cable brochure: https://www.generalcable.com/NR/rdonlyres/77BB059A-77D9-4EAE-BE55-B7C3661DB89F/0/GEN37727SilecBrochure_FA.pdf
Detailed exposition with lots of data on how to do it: http://www.nexans.com/Corporate/2013/60-500_kV_High_Voltage_full_BD2.pdf
Of course, it would be bad if one of them develops a fault. Then again, they're running all sorts of high explosives through the gate, or if the fuel tank farm catches on fire, etc. etc., there are no civilian level "safe" options.
Posted by: hga at July 27, 2015 05:35 AM (51wyD)
Assume the land for some staging areas is available in case of emergency. My ol' textbook on Japanese law has a lot to say on Japan's weird land ownership, but one of the weird results is that there IS some empty land, or barely-developed, smack in the middle of Tokyo. Boring reasons, no need to discuss here.
It's fair to say that a JSDF base will consume less power than an American base of the same size. Almost certainly less air conditioning in there, for one...
Man, this is fun. And a new company licensed the manga over the weekend for US release, too.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at July 27, 2015 09:56 AM (uqQHL)
Indeed, although it could be tested before putting the brigade through, e.g. terminate it with a BIG resistor, back everyone out, and see what happens!
Then again, given that we can assume gate physics is not yet well understood, the potential a Tragedy of Bashtarle plus or minus centered in the middle of Tokyo is to be avoided. Yep, run a pipeline.
Good to hear about the manga being licensed, I like it.
Posted by: hga at July 27, 2015 12:01 PM (51wyD)
Posted by: David at July 27, 2015 12:59 PM (dr1tX)
And a new company licensed the manga over the weekend for US release, too.
Sekai Project is new to manga publishing, but they have been around a few years, helping to push visual novels from Japan to a Western audience, especially the big name titles like Clannad, for example. While some of the games are adult-only hentai releases, others (Like Clannad.) are all ages.
Not bad for a company that originated as a fan-translation group for Japanese VN. We have to see about how they go about doing the project, since every other company releasing manga in the US right now were started by people who had experience working in manga publishing or the domestic book publishing industry. But if MangaGamer could do it, why not?
And I actually had a chance to go to the Sekai Project panel at Otakon where they announced it, too, but real life intervened.
Re: the excavators - I did not say they were the full-sized equipment used at resource extraction sites (The sheer size of those would mean a major effort to bring them through the gate, along with their support infrastructure - and that is assuming they went for mobile equipment only. And for that to happen, they need to have a much WIDER secured perimeter.), but it does appear to me that the JSDF is beginning preparation for resource extraction. Given the size of the base the engineers built in the span time, they needed a full kit of mechanized engineering equipment and then some...And that is probably not enough for what else they should be building.
I do find it interesting that the it appears the base's vehicle entryway seems to be designed against VBIED.
Posted by: cxt217 at July 27, 2015 04:21 PM (JOdbP)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 27, 2015 05:07 PM (+rSRq)
Ok, I'm officially nitpicking that scene...
Posted by: ubu at July 27, 2015 07:49 PM (GfCSm)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 27, 2015 08:15 PM (+rSRq)
You might be missing the big 'dragon in the room' in the scene there - given the time that passed, why are the bodies of the dragons still lying around? The JSDF should have buried the bodies of the beasties, for both reasons of health and aesthetics .
And for those who minds go to low places - can you see what is wrong in the quick edit of the princess and the other member of her order of their ride to Italica?
Posted by: cxt217 at July 27, 2015 09:15 PM (JOdbP)
Posted by: Whelk at July 28, 2015 06:35 PM (xzBca)
July 22, 2015
The Magic Eight Ball says, "Jack Shit."
The third episode of Bikini Warriors was even more stupid than the other two, and it's clear that the show has no redeeming features. Not even the fan service, which is getting repetitive. I might also mention that the animation is distinctly low budget, and I'm getting tired of endless closeups of their boobs, as amazing as that may seem.
GATE has been interesting, but I took a peek at the manga and it seems that the next part of the show will be in Japan, and the main story is American nastiness. In other words, we're going to do the Gasaraki shuffle, and I'm not interested.
Joukamachi no Dandelion wasn't offensive, particular, but it's surprisingly dull for a show about people with super powers. I didn't even bother watching the third episode.
Fairy Tail is doing the Tartaros arc now. I've read it in the manga, and it isn't a fun time. Lucy is going to take a major casualty, for one thing. And it has a sad ending, though at the rate its going it'll be months before we get that far. I haven't bothered watching the last two episodes.
I haven't watched any of the new Dragon Ball series. I've had enough of fighting by sweaty men. And it's placed after the recent movie, which means we've climbed so far up the power curve at this point as to be preposterous. (In the movie, Goku got yet another major power boost, which exceeds even Super Saiyajin 3. (Super Saiyajin 4 was GT, and GT isn't canon.))
I watched one episode of Sky Wizards and then panned it as being a by-the-numbers harem show with a classic Marty Stu as the male lead. I haven't noticed if there have been any more episodes of it because I'm not interested.
And that leaves me with goose-egg for things to watch this season. Good Grief.
I'll try to find things to post here, but it won't be about the current season because for me the current season is a complete and total loss. (I'm sure you all have found shows to watch; please don't tell me about them.)
But probably it's mostly going to be cheesecake. Which is not the worst thing I could do, I guess.
Posted by: 50srefugee at July 22, 2015 07:09 PM (OoOF7)
I had wondered if they would have the temerity to insult Teh Won, but clearly, they're going to stick with the original "evil cowboy monkey Bush", who was in office when the story was first written.
That whole part made absolutely no sense in the manga, as did the part about everybody being sure that Japan would lose to a bunch of Romans with plate armor and auxiliary orcs, when they had already beaten back an invasion out of the blue in a single afternoon with a scratch team. There's no way IRL that anybody serious would expect an expeditionary force to lose short of magic on a scale not experienced in the first fight. The US, in that time period, would be shoveling MRAPs, Javelins, and other toys into Japan in exchange for a piece of the action, not sitting there holding the idiot stick.
Hopefully they skip past that part in a hurry and get back to the good stuff, particularly the economic and cultural shocks to the fantasy world, as well as the grognard stuff.
Posted by: Big D at July 22, 2015 07:21 PM (VKO9N)
Posted by: sqa at July 22, 2015 07:31 PM (2LmS/)
As for our host's current concerns, based on the manga GATE doesn't look awful. Yeah, there's posturing by a more photogenic "evil cowboy monkey Bush", but in the end he says "Eh, the Japanese are our allies and right now we'll benefit from what they're doing." Probably much more significant, making a lot more sense, and very dangerous are the thoughts of the PRC's leadership, and much more interesting is the concern by at least one Japanese superior about temptations to repeat the previous century's imperial mistakes.
Then we get back to another expedition, that harem/group of women orbiting our hero won't get any bigger staying at the base!
It doesn't look to me like it's going to be any sort of conventional harem, e.g. as mentioned that's not even really Rory's thing, and as I mentioned I've heard she later takes a role that's very suited to her, one I'll now note would likely have her regularly interacting with our hero but probably not all the time.
The elf is a special case at least two times over (the second should become apparent in the next episode), and as I recall from the manga the mage is there to among other things learn new stuff, time to spread her wings after her apprenticeship. The next woman is a trip, but I'd be very surprised if she orbits him closely, at least immediately, due to their respective political positions (I'd hint at more but my copies of the manga are off-line while I upgrade my file server/avoid systemd like the plague).
Posted by: hga at July 23, 2015 06:47 AM (51wyD)
Joukamachi no Dandelion is going to develop a character or two per episode, and none of them are interesting. Sky Wizards is exactly as you described it: we got maid and playboy bunny outfits in episode 3.
I actually missed the twist in episode 1 of School Live! because I shut it off thinking it was some sort of cute-girls-doing-cute-things anime, so it cracked me up when I tried the second episode and was completely confused. I don't know if I'll last through the season, but for now it's a little different fare.
I forgot how silly Aquarion was until I started watching the extended first episode of Logos. Naked mecha transformation sequence confirmed; off button on remote pushed.
Everything else I've watched is worth about one line each:
Charlotte isn't terrible, but it needs to get to whatever conflict it's hinting at soon.
Classroom Crisis managed to take a story that should have been about the colonization of Mars and instead focused on office politics and budgeting.
Shimoneta is about as fresh and fun as a pair of panties on one's head can be.
Game of Laplace is a detective story without any clues or mystery involved, leaving you feeling as detached as the protagonist.
Ushio to Tora is 48 Hrs with youkai.
Rokka no Yuusha is this season's required epic anime, complete with too much story and not enough time to tell it.
God Eater is World Trigger, Mark II.
I'm still watching most of this, but there are no series this season that are really 'must watch'.
Posted by: wahsatchmo at July 23, 2015 08:59 AM (r4uXE)
That's good to hear, especially the point about "imperial mistakes". I can live with President Monkey is an occasional aside, as long as the Gate War itself remains the focus.
Posted by: 50srefugee at July 23, 2015 12:44 PM (OoOF7)
Which could be the whole point of inserting him in the story right then, although, yeah, it would have been nice to avoid the insulting stereotype. But with the otaku hero acquiring something of a harem of an elf, a mage, a loli-goth, and probably an [you'll find out soon enough], I suspect those of us wishing they'd avoid stereotypes will be disappointed. We'll just have to see how it all plays out, but so far, despite the inherent dangers, they've pulled it off.
Posted by: hga at July 23, 2015 02:38 PM (51wyD)
July 21, 2015
It must be nice to enjoy your work so much!
July 20, 2015
(Nothing in particular...)
Actually, I'm getting a bit pissed off. Saturday I ordered some things from a place in Nevada and paid $20 for overnight shipping. They shipped it by Fedex and it was supposed to be delivered today.
On Sunday it said it would be delivered by 3PM, but later it changed to "by 8 PM". As I write this they've got another 10 minutes to meet that deadline.
I would have thought that someone paying extra for express delivery would get priority on delivery, but I guess not.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 20, 2015 06:50 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 20, 2015 07:02 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: David at July 20, 2015 07:10 PM (+TPAa)
Though, rather than "No estimate" it changed to "Damaged in transit, returning to sender". It wasn't a particularly fragile item, so I think the UPS truck got in a pile-up somewhere.
After business hours, of course, so "2 day" delivery for the replacement was 3 days, plus the weekend... so my original 2-day order took a week to deliver.
Amazon did get the return, eventually, so I assume the UPS driver was ok. It was hard to be grumbly about that one, though, not knowing exactly what happened...
Posted by: Mikeski at July 20, 2015 07:41 PM (/KkcU)
I doubt that bridge was involved. The package tracking said it went to Memphis, and was at Portland at 3AM today.
In other words, if there's a problem it was local.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 20, 2015 07:48 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: David at July 20, 2015 08:18 PM (+TPAa)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 20, 2015 09:53 PM (RqRa5)
Oh, to be sure, a hurricane or heavy snowfall on the east coast could throw a spanner into the works, but it's not their fault that an airplane can't fly in 100mph winds, or trucks can't drive with a foot of snow on the roads. But that actually doesn't happen all that often, and when it does? It's usually only a day's disruption.
Usually if there was a delay in getting boxes of textbooks, it was on the publisher's end, not FedEx or UPS.
Posted by: Wonderduck at July 20, 2015 10:48 PM (jGQR+)
It looks like my box is being treated as normal traffic, not as overnight. It reached the Portland sorting center Sunday evening, and rotted there yesterday. The online tracking says it reached the Lake Oswego office at 7 this morning. I think that's too late to get onto a truck for delivery (and anyway, the tracking system would say if it was on a truck), so it'll probably get delivered tomorrow.
This looks like a simple sorting error. From Nevada to Portland it was treated as overnight (which is why it went through Memphis) but someone at the Portland sorting center tossed it in the "normal" basket instead of the "express" basket, and it's been in turtle mode ever since.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 21, 2015 07:54 AM (+rSRq)
It's a little peculiar that it went through Memphis in the first place. Normally, FDX overnight shipments with both a West Coast origination and destination route through its regional hub in Oakland rather than go to Memphis and back.
Posted by: DavidS at July 21, 2015 08:13 AM (UW9Nu)
I thought that all overnight deliveries went through Memphis. That way the local offices don't have to sort them. The Memphis sorting facility is built and staffed for it.
The tracking page now says my box is in a truck, so I guess I get it today after all. Sure hope so.
I'm also getting a grocery delivery today, but I'm sure that'll be fine. It's my 151st delivery from them (according to the receipts I get) and they've only been late one time.
And the driver phoned me when it became clear he couldn't make schedule, and he apologized and explained when he showed up. (One of their trucks was down that day.) I bet Fedex doesn't explain or apologize.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 21, 2015 08:59 AM (+rSRq)
The worst they can do is tell you to pound sand because the shipping schedule isn't "guaranteed" or some other such lawyerism.
Posted by: Mikeski at July 21, 2015 10:08 AM (/KkcU)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 21, 2015 10:19 AM (+rSRq)
Well, that was pretty measly. The Fedex delivery person leaned the box against my door, put my mat on top of it, and snuck away without knocking.
Anyway, I got it. And now I can take my nap.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 21, 2015 01:35 PM (+rSRq)
Not to sidetrack, but I learned about Oakland's operations a few years ago when working with a Big Three auto manufacturer with a major parts depot in Arizona. It was during a UAW contract year, and sickouts and slowdowns were the rule. It was killing the outbound metrics, since numerous shipments missed the 5 PM cutoff time to be loaded for Memphis. Trying to figure out a solution, the FDX ops manager mentioned that west coast origin/destination packages went to Oakland and plane didn't leave until 9 PM at the time. On the tracking label, the series of two letters followed by four letters determine the hub routing. Once I figured out which Oakland-bound codes those were, I had the junior supervisors hold back those pick tickets in favor of the earlier Memphis-bound packages, and then released those west coast tickets later in the shift. Long story short, that corrected the on-time issue in less than a week.
Posted by: DavidS at July 21, 2015 02:50 PM (UW9Nu)
Cleverly hidden from thieves!
I had a UPS guy put something on my doorstep without knocking a couple weeks ago. Except I was sitting ten feet away with an open window. I went out to get it, saw it was for another apartment, and hoofed it over to him to give it back before he got in his truck. Second time that week he'd left something for the other end of my building.
Posted by: RickC at July 21, 2015 05:11 PM (FvJAK)
Good thing I lived in a good rural neighborhood.
Posted by: Brett Bellmore at July 21, 2015 05:19 PM (L5yWw)
This is of course why I have most deliveries sent to my office.
Posted by: J Greely at July 21, 2015 05:21 PM (fpXGN)
Not to defend your retailer or FedEx, however, FedEx Air services (Overnight and 2nd Day Air) is always counted in M-F business days. Large e-tailers build their shipping hubs near FedEx facilities, but even if FedEx accepts a package over a weekend into their system (or more likely, it's scanned and loaded into a trailer) they will always stick to the 'business day' delivery schedule. FX 2nd day shipped on Wed will arrive Friday. Shipped on Thur will arrive on Monday (unless the extra fee is paid for Saturday delivery). In this way air service is actually sometimes slower than local ground delivery if the recipient is in a 1 day zone. So an order placed on Saturday via FX Overnight shipping, even if the shipper places the parcel into the system over the weekend, should be expected for delivery the following Tuesday, as that is the 'next business day' after Monday (the first business day after shipment) according to FedEx's air delivery schedule. Tuesday delivery would be correct for a parcel if the order was placed Saturday via overnight shipping.
Also, most FX air parcels, regardless of origination, still get sorted thru the superhub in Memphis. If I ship a FX Air Parcel across the street, it will still probably go to Memphis and back.
Posted by: Bob (aka Robert) at July 21, 2015 09:40 PM (/38s5)
I'm aware of that. I entered the order last Friday evening. The retailer shipped it last Saturday, by "next day" delivery. So it was scheduled to be delivered yesterday, Monday. The package went to Memphis sorting center on Sunday and then reached the Portland sorting center Sunday evening. In the past when I've had packages doing that, the package reaches the local truck barn in Lake Oswego by about 3 AM the next morning and gets put onto a truck for delivery that day.
That's what should have happened this time, too. Instead, my package spent a day at the Portland sorting center, and reached the Lake Oswego truck barn this morning (Tuesday).
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 21, 2015 10:18 PM (+rSRq)
July 19, 2015
I keep running into the fact that the word "immortal" has two meanings that aren't necessarily all that closely related. One meaning is approximately "ageless" -- it means the person doesn't grow old. The other is "unkillable" -- it means the person cannot die.
In anime we run into both kinds. Yukikaze in Dog Days is immortal in the first sense. We know that tochigami can die because her mother did die, leaving her alone in the forest, where Brioche found her.
Ban in Nanatsu no Taizai is immortal in the second sense; at various times he's been chopped into pieces, burned to ash, and came back. The second kind of immortality usually implies the first kind as well; Undead Ban doesn't seem to be aging.
This comes up in mythology, too. The Norse Gods were immortal in the "ageless" sense, but one of their myths involves one of those gods (Baldr) dying after he thought he had become unkillable.
I think I'm going to stop using the word "immortal" and use "ageless" or "unkillable" instead in order to eliminate that ambiguity, unless I want to imply uncertainty. (Brioche in Dog Days is ageless, but is she also unkillable? Not known. So I will refer to her as "immortal".)
Posted by: Boviate at July 19, 2015 03:27 PM (XRvFv)
Posted by: Siergen at July 19, 2015 04:19 PM (4pDXl)
I dunno. Being unkillable without being unaging sounds hellish to me. As you get older and older and more and more feeble, it's going to be terrible.
But being unaging also sounds pretty hellish to me. Watching friends and loved ones age and die; making new friends and then watching them in turn age and die.
And boredom would be terrible, almost poignant. After a couple of thousand years, what could there be to do that you hadn't done a hundred times before?
I think immortality would be just about the worst curse imaginable.
Alan E. Nourse wrote a book which included a story about immortality. The basic hook was that they had discovered how to make people immortal, and the government decided it would only bestow that "blessing" on great scientists, great artists and composers and writers, and the like.
The main character in the story was someone who was picked for this, and refused it. Because he noticed that the people who got it became perfectionists and never finished anything.
I hope the human race never achieves immortality. One problem with it is that it means people like Fidel Castro would live forever. In our world, if there's no other way to get rid of maggots like that we can at least outlive them. But if they are immortal, then what?
But an even more important reason: if it becomes widespread, necessarily that would mean no more children.
And a world without children would be a world not worth living in.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 19, 2015 04:56 PM (+rSRq)
The Misenchanted Sword made use of the "unkillable but not unaging" problem, and between Highlander and all the vampire series, the problems of the unaging have pretty much been milked dry. And of course the central problem of Time Enough For Love is giving an immortal a reason to live (and I must admit, as lifelines go, "boinking hot redheads" is a pretty good one).
Posted by: J Greely at July 19, 2015 11:07 PM (ZlYZd)
In the anime Strike the Blood there's a character named Vatler who is a vampire and whose main character motivation is that he's bored stiff and looking for things to entertain himself. Sometimes he helps the good guys and sometimes he impedes them, entirely as a function of how complicated and exciting he can make the situation.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 20, 2015 06:47 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Ben at July 20, 2015 07:28 AM (EdhH3)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 20, 2015 09:41 AM (+rSRq)
Banks' Culture had a population which was effectively ageless, but society tended towards "allow yourself to age gracefully and die in the mid-four-or-five-hundreds" though anything from instant suicide to complete functional immortality (both senses) was available.
Unkillable is -hard- for science to do; if you can do unkillable, then at that point any aging you do is purely voluntary.
Ageless works a lot better in an environment where scarcity is at a minimum. Ageless plus Earth-only turns into dystopia scenarios right quick.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at July 20, 2015 04:34 PM (pWQz4)
That would not be productive.
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at July 20, 2015 05:18 PM (ohzj1)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 20, 2015 05:30 PM (+rSRq)
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