Prompt:Q notices the Minions are acting strange when anyone(especially the 00s) enter Q Branch. He learns they are all "Team 007"! Making sure NOBODY but Bond gets near Q.
Hello! Thank you for your ask! Tee hee~ I had fun! And it turned out much longer than I thought, too. I hope you like it, @klaine43!
Factor 1: Appearance (87% approval)
Factor 2: Charms (95% approval)
Factor 3: Skills (92% approval; other areas still up for debate)
Factor 4: Compatibility (verbal spats that sound like flirting) (93% approval)
Factor 5: Loyalty (97% approval)
Factor 6: Caring (including bringing in tea and food) (85% approval)
Presence in Q-Branch out of mission (8/10)
Factor 8: Sincerity (without baiting for new equipment) (89% approval)
There were rhythms to how Q-Branch worked. In time of crisis, everyone contributed and worked together at matching speed and a high level of synchronization, like a well-oiled machine, the sound of quick typing and humming of computers prevalent despite the occasional raised voices to announce reports and results.
Q had always appreciated this about his minions, and he had always made a point to congratulate them on a job well done whenever they had finished preventing another disaster from exacerbating and going tits up (even more so that it already was, that is).
“Ah, 004,” Q looked up from where he had been working at the central computer, adjusting his glasses. It had been a long day filled with 007 and his infuriating shenanigans again, in Seoul this time, and his eyes were itching some. “Welcome back. I trust Peru didn’t turn out too hot.”
004 grinned, brushing her hair back over her shoulder. “Hot would be an understatement,” she said, hazel eyes bright under the unforgiving fluorescent light as she regarded him.
However, before he could answer her, Jessica rushed over. “Q,” she called, there was an odd note of urgency in her voice. “There’s a document that you need to sign?”
He looked at her, eyebrow raised. “I’ll look at it once I’ve—”
“It’s a day late already, and the accounting department is harassing me about it.”
“Oh.” He blinked before making a slightly disgusted face. “They’re demanding the receipts for Project LL-03, aren’t they?”
In other words, Project Laser Lipstick Take 3.
When Jessica nodded quickly, he sighed and suppressed the urge to roll his eyes.
“Sorry, 004,” he turned to tell the agent. “Duty calls. R will oversee your equipment check-in.”
And with that, he followed Jessica away back into his office. Never once stopping to analyze the small sigh of relief that went about his entire department.
During normal working hours where the most chaotic a scene could ever
get was in the face of a device exploding and triggering fire alarms
overhead, the atmosphere was one of easy-going efficiency, a few screams
of burnt eyebrows or singed hair or not.
All in all, Q knew
how his minions worked—he had hand-picked them through tight selections
after all. He was confident that he did.
“No, I’m here to see Q,” a familiar voice caught his ears, and he turned around to see 009 sauntering, literally ignoring Nathan’s slightly shaken questions by his side. But really, who wouldn’t be just a bit afraid of the Double-Os; these people were highly dangerous and reckless, and with a license to kill to boot as well. Traits that 007 was demonstrating remarkably well in Saudi Arabia right then, to Q’s dismay.
“009. You’re here for your equipment, yes?” Q approached him, spotting a few minions scurrying off somewhere out of his peripheral vision.
The man nodded, raven hair slicked back and hands in his pockets, a charming smile unfurling on his lips.
And suddenly, there was a scream, accompanied by: “Fire! FIRE!”
Q’s eyes widened, already turning there to see what was going on. “My apologies, 009, but it seems like R will have to outfit you this time.”
Ly was already showing Kim from accounting, who everybody knew took every chance she could get to go down these tunnels, to the door. “Don’t worry,” she assured the woman briskly. “We’ll make sure Q receives the documents.”
“There’s nothing to worry about. Jessica already promised she wouldn’t have them half-buried in the trash accidentally anymore.”
Jessica, who had been watching the whole ordeal, smiled and nodded innocently as if on cue.
“I have something to talk to Q,” Kim insisted. “Q!”
And heavy metal door slid closed behind her, successfully cutting her call off.
Q looked up from his drafting table, blinking. “What was that?”
“Nothing, nothing!” was the quick, general reply.
“I think it’s the draft!” One minion spoke up, and immediately, the others nodded in agreement.
“It’s been horrible lately, hasn’t it?”
“Yes, yes. Definitely so.”
Q frowned pensively before going back to work on the prototype idea he had been brewing for days now, which should have been realized on paper, at least, by then if it hadn’t been for James-Bloody-Bond’s pesky fiasco in Italy.
“Miss Moneypenny,” Nathan greeted, and instantly, he knew he was right when he said that, No, he couldn’t do this.
But then again, it was Eve Moneypenny. Secretary or not, the woman was a force of nature of her own. Who among them could even really go up against her?
Oh, why did R have to take her bathroom break now?
“Are those for Q?” he prompted. “I can make sure he gets it later—” She pulled the files out of his reach, and smiled in that attractive, supposedly benign way that sent cold shivers down Nathan’s spine. “—on…”
This was one of the reasons why they couldn’t afford to cross her off the list in the first place.
“I can do it myself, thank you,” she said, stilettos clicking decisively on the floor as she continued her strides into Q-Branch. “Where is Q anyway?”
“Uh… he’s busy!”
She scoffed softly. “Isn’t he always.” Her eyes spanned the entire room of minions who were working and decidedly trying hard not to look like they were paying keen attention to what was going on. “I’ll check the office first then.”
“Really, Miss Moneypenny,” he hurried to follow her, taking a breath and doing the brave thing: sliding to stand in front of her and successfully stopping her in her path. “I-I can take care of it.”
If he had only felt a bit of a shiver before, his stomach was positively dropping now, the one frosty word of his name creeping at the nape of his neck.
He turned around. Q was there just a distance away, one eyebrow raised and arms crossed in front of his chest. “Nathan,” he repeated, slowly. “What are you doing?”
Q stepped closer to the center of the room. “In fact, what have you all been doing? And don’t think I haven’t noticed what’s been going on.”
The entire branch fell silent.
Q sighed and turned to Eve, extending a hand. “I’ll handle this from here.”
“Oh no,” Eve replied, leaning one hip against a desk, amusement quirking her lips. “I’m quite fine where I am. Carry on,” she waved a hand, “I won’t disturb.”
Sucking in a breath that didn’t quite turn into a sigh, he turned his attention back to his minions, pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose. “Well?” he prompted again, impatient, arms crossed in front of his chest.
When no reply was forth coming, Q closed his eyes. “Answer me now before I put all of you on cleaning duty in TSS and volunteered technical assistance for the Help Desk.”
They all paled. And quickly, previously tightly-sealed lips were then stammering at the same time.
This was the reason why they weren’t active field agents.
Q frowned in exasperation but tried to listen anyway, and the only phrase that he was able to make out was this: “Team 007.”
“What in the bloody hell is ‘Team 007′?” Q snapped, turning now to inflict the entirety of his baleful glare on Nathan, who squeaked once.
Oh God, Nathan swallowed. Just why? “We’ve agreed that… I mean, after a lot of calculating and data-collecting, we decided that…” He attempted at stalling and looked around: his comrades seemed to have abandoned him in the middle of the battle field. Bugger them all to Hell. “We’re-team-007-and-Bond’s-the-most-worthy-agent-to-woo-you-so-far!” he blurted out in quick succession.
Q stood there, stock still, his mouth opening and closing as he tried to formulate the proper response to this. And Eve’s sniggering wasn’t helping.
“First of all—” he began.
“Well, I have to say I’m flattered,” a familiar voice spoke up, and it was Q’s turn to stiffen. There Bond, James-Goddamn it-Bond, was, rugged with a hint of stubble on his face, most probably the direct result of his recent extended mission; tired, yes, but thankfully whole.
The man even had the audacity to smile that charming, disarming way of his.
“007,” he cleared his throat, straightening his back. “You weren’t supposed to be back until tomorrow.”
Bond rolled his shoulders in an easy shrug. “I hopped on the earliest flight back.” He smiled, striding in, posture all confident and very much at home. Well, to be fair, he had been spending an increasing amount of time down here whenever he was on British soil as of late. “Apparently the right decision, given the highly interesting conversation that’s going on here.”
Blue eyes looked around, and the minions ducked, some blushing out of embarrassment.
“Yes, apparently, I no longer have the right to decide on my own love life anymore,” Q said, directing this to the room at large. The minions were now practically disappearing under their cubicles. Scared, he was sure, of the punishment they knew Q was very seriously considering. Chastised, however, was a different matter altogether.
“How can you blame them?” Bond was now in front of Q, and in the full bright light of the central station, Q finally realized that the damning man was wearing that all-too-fetching navy blue suit of his. “They are just defending the best result of their little project.”
Q glared. “Don’t let this stroke your ego too much. Something must have malfunctioned somewhere in there. Faulty codes and all.” And no, the back of his neck wasn’t burning up.
“Come now, Q. You need to have some degree of confidence in your subordinates,” Bond implored.
“Yes, the same subordinates who purposefully nearly burnt down a quarter of our lab,” Q scoffed. Nathan was no longer anywhere to be seen.
“There are goals that are worth fighting for, after all.”
Q snorted, indignant. “What? Like your goal of wrecking every single piece of tech I give you?”
Bond hummed. “No,” he said, voice lowering a timbre and the hint of innocent nonchalance in it was just too strong for Q to ignore. “Like my goal of asking you out for dinner.”
Q’s eyes widened before he started flushing a wholesomely lovely shade of red.
“Will you?” Bond smiled, encroaching rather too close now. However, Q detected no contrived playfulness in his eyes or tone. “Go out to dinner with me?”
Perhaps it took him a little long to process what was going on, but Q immediately jolted out of his mind when Eve nudged him in the ribs.
He smoothed down the front of his rumpled cardigan, cleared his throat after what suspiciously sounded like ‘must we do this here’, and said, “Yes.”
If Q-Branch had screamed and cheered that day, no one would be the wiser.
They were too far under ground to bother anyone anyway.
That’s right! This picture was created at night by looking through the earth at the sun.
It wasn’t made with light though – the image visualizes the flux of neutrinos coming from the sun. Neutrinos are sub-atomic particles created in the nuclear furnace of the sun, and they can pass through nearly anything. Billions of neutrinos shoot through our bodies every second, and they fly with ease through the rocky bulk of the earth.
Scientists have built a giant neutrino observatory in an abandoned mine shaft 3,000 ft below Mount Kamioka in Japan. It’s called the Super-Kamiokande - and it’s essentially a 13 million gallon tank of ultra-pure water, rigged with sensors that can detect the extremely weak interaction of neutrinos with other matter. This picture shows the tank when it is empty and undergoing renovations.
The observatory looks down – through the earth itself – to collect data from solar neutrinos. This image is the result of about 18 months of data collection.
(Why does the observatory need to be underground? The rock shelters the observatory from the noise of cosmic rays.)
Sun image: Robert Svoboda and K. Gordan
Super-K image: courtesy of Kamioka Observatory, ICRR (Institue for Cosmic Ray Research), The University of Tokyo
The Cygnus spacecraft will blast off from our Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 7:40 p.m. EDT carrying more than 5,100 pounds of science, supplies and equipment.
Let’s take a look at a few of these experiments:
Low-temperature fires with no visible flames are known as cool flames. The Cool flames experiment examines these low-temperature combustion of droplets of a variety of fuels and additives in low gravity.
Why are we studying this? Data from this experiment could help scientists develop more efficient advanced engines and new fuels for use in space and on Earth.
Light plays a powerful role in our daily, or circadian, rhythms. Astronauts aboard the space station experience multiple cycles of light and dark every 24 hours, which, along with night shifts and the stresses of spaceflight, can affect their sleep quantity and quality.
The Lighting Effects investigation tests a new lighting system aboard the station designed to enhance crew health and keep their body clocks in proper sync with a more regular working and resting schedule.
Why are we studying this? Lighting manipulation has potential as a safe, non-pharmacological way to optimize sleep and circadian regulation on space missions. People on Earth, especially those who work night shifts, could also improve alertness and sleep by adjusting lighting for intensity and wavelength.
A user-friendly tablet app provides astronauts with a new and faster way to collect a wide variety of personal data. The EveryWear experiment tests use of this French-designed technology to record and transmit data on nutrition, sleep, exercise and medications. Astronauts use the app to complete questionnaires and keep medical and clinical logs. They wear a Smartshirt during exercise that records heart activity and body positions and transmits these data to the app. Finally, rather than manually recording everything that they eat, crew members scan barcodes on food packets to collect real-time nutritional data.
Why are we studying this? EveryWear has the potential for use in science experiments, biomedical support and technology demonstrations.
Fast Neturon Spectrometer
Outside the Earth’s magnetic field, astronauts are exposed to space radiation that can reduce immune response, increase cancer risk and interfere with electronics.
The Fast Neutron Spectrometer (FNS) experiment will help scientists understand high-energy neutrons, part of the radiation exposure experienced by crews during spaceflight, by studying a new technique to measure electrically neutral neutron particles.
Why are we studying this? This improved measurement will help protect crews on future exploration missions, like our journey to Mars.
Ahead of launch, there will be various opportunities to learn more about the mission:
What’s on Board Science Briefing Saturday, Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. EDT Scientists and researchers will discuss some of the experiments being delivered to the station. Watch HERE.
Prelaunch News Briefing Saturday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. EDT Mission managers will provide an overview and status of launch operations. Watch HERE.
LAUNCH!!! Monday, Oct. 17 coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. EDT Watch live coverage and liftoff! Launch is scheduled for 7:40 p.m. EDT. Watch HERE.
Facebook Live Starting at 7:25 p.m. EDT you can stream live coverage of the launch on NASA’s Facebook page. Watch HERE.
I recently saw an article that claimed being obese while pregnant can take up to 17 years off the child's life. It was in a newspaper so I'm 99.9999999% certain it's bullshit, but since you clearly know a lot more about the science than I do I thought I should defer to your judgement - exactly how much bullshit is this claim?
Well, the study in question actually measured the telomere lengths of newborns and observed a correlation between the birthing parent’s pre-pregnancy weight and the length of said telomeres.
Telomeres are a “cap” on the end of the DNA, and scientists believe that their length may reflect some aspect of cellular aging, with shorter lengths being indicative of weakening cells.
But none of this tells us anything about why the babies with fatter birthing parents had shorter telomeres. The authors assume that it is due to the “poor nutrition” of the fat parent, which created an “adverse environment” in utero. But of course, they did not actually measure nutrition or eating habits. Why collect actual data when you can make fat phobic assumptions instead?
And then they made it even worse by using data concerning changes in telomere lengths in middle age to estimate the “lost lifespan” these babies might have. You cannot generalize from an acute within-person change to a stable individual difference, and you cannot generalize research from middle-aged people to infants. It is absurd.
So yeah, it’s BS, and this type of irresponsible “science reporting” does nothing more than fuel moral panic about weight.
North Korea is in the news again. The latest as of this writing is that not only has Sony pulled The Interview from theaters because of the hacker attacks and threats, but Paramount has pulled Team America from showing in theaters from which the former was already recalled. I am also informed that another film about the country with Steve Carrel otherwise just about to start shooting has been cancelled.
Let me say this without any ambiguity: The Interview is a racist film. It is bloated with nationalist chauvinism’s tired clichés about its enemies. It is purposefully inflammatory and the outrage from North Korea is what the U.S. wanted. One doesn’t need to even watch the film to know this for the same reasons that one didn’t need to see Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! to know it’s a sexist film.
North Korea has been a target of western mockery for many years. It’s not hard to poke fun at totalitarianism. But given how serious the current matter is and given the amount of media coverage, you’d think people would be aware of the history of the place. But the media isn’t interested in seriously examining history or broader contexts about this issue.
Korea, after a brutal occupation by Japan, was split in half at the 38th Parallel by the United States and its allies in 1953. This was after a brutal war which took 2-3 million Korean lives. It was lead on the American side by General Douglas McArthur, one of the most savage racists this country has ever produced. Harry Truman had to fire him before he could drop an atomic bomb on China. From the onset of the war until the democratic uprising in 1987, South Korea was run by a puppet government installed and supported until the end by America. During the Clinton Administration, steps were being taken towards reunifying Korea. This was completely reversed during the Bush Administration. Tariq Ali tells an anecdote about a debate he had with a senior Rumsfeld advisor. After the debate he asked this person why they decided to keep Korea split. The advisor told him “You don’t know the South Korean generals like we do. When they talk about reunification you see the glint in their eye and the glint is that if Korea is reunified, they will be a nuclear power and if Korea is a nuclear power, there’s no denying the Japanese the bomb and if Korea, Japan and China all have the bomb, then it will be very difficult to get what we want there.” Divide and conquer. Keep divided and keep managed. Since the end of the Korean War, the United States has kept a massive military presence in South Korea which continues to this day.
There are now 30,000 plus American servicemen stationed in South Korea. In every place in the world where the United States has bases, especially in southeast Asia, soldiers rape, murder and cause havoc often with impunity. This is because of visiting forces agreements, which mean that soldiers are under their own military’s jurisdiction, never the hosting nation’s. Local economies are destabilized by the base’s impositions both ecological and in terms of the soldiers’ wants and excesses. You may have heard of the transgender woman who was recently murdered in a bathroom stall in the Phillipines by an American soldier. He was prosecuted by his chain of command even though there was a widespread call to have him stand trial in a Filipino court. You may also know about the fight by locals in Okinawa over getting rid of the US base there, which has brought staggering ecological damage and harbored soldiers who raped and murdered women with impunity for decades. All of this is the extreme end. What is also unspoken is the limited freedom from U.S. economic, political and military policies and the even less examined social and cultural effects. All of this North Korean planners see and are naturally wary of.
North Korea for all the mockery made of its irrationality, is quite sane in the belief that it is surrounded by hostile powers. The bilateral alliances between South Korea, Japan and most of southeast Asia and the United States are direct military threats. If you somehow don’t think they are, you should be willing to accept that the U.S.S.R., separated from it by the Bering Sea, was not a direct threat to the United States and neither was Missile Crisis-era Cuba. Nearly every country that surrounds North Korea besides China is to hostile to it. There are constant military provocations. Probing of airspace. Parking submarines and navy ships near territorial waters. Incidents on the border. China is its sole ally and provides most of the aid, including food, that helps keep North Korea from collapse. In return, North Korea provides mainly its mineral resources and some agriculture. It is not unlike many other states in the Global South, also called the developing or third world by the less considerate. In some discourses, they’re called peripheral states while the industrial and militarily powerful states are called core states. Peripheral states provide raw materials to industrialized core states. Core states strongarm and pick peripherals’ leadership to ensure their supply of cheap goods. In return these often undemocratic governments, like those of Idi Amin, Pinochet, Somoza, and Suharto get to stay in power. The only difference is North Korea’s imperial master is China, not the U.S.
Crises involving North Korea usually go about in a simple way. First there is some provocation carried out, usually by the U.S. and/or its allies. Some nuclear submarines or aircraft carriers are publicly parked in South Korean waters or a new base, like on Jeju Island, begins construction. The North Koreans respond with a missile test or some other such nuclear saber-rattling. There’s condemnations all around, everyone gets in a panic, and finally some diplomacy sets in. With the negotiation process the U.S. gets to pretend it’s an impartial broker and the North Korean government gets to keep in power and a little aid so its people can stay above starving. Oh, and the U.S. gets to justify having nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers and tens of thousands of troops half a world away from the country they’re supposed to defend.
The Interview is a unique play on the provocation strategy. This has been the recent trend in American aggression: finding creative ways to reduce the need for brute military force to maintain the empire. This is why we have drone warfare. It’s much cheaper to have men with joysticks in air-conditioned rooms in Nevada blowing up wedding parties in Yemen than sending commandos in. This is why we have dragnet surveillance and bulk data collection. Less spies thinking their cover is blown and shooting their way through crowded Pakistani markets to make their getaways. This is why we have films like The Interview. It’s much less dangerous to put out a provocative, racist propaganda film than to park a nuclear aircraft carrier a little too close. It worked incredibly well by U.S. military planners’ perspective. The threat was a 9/11-style attack, which is much less destructive than a nuclear weapon. The damage was a security leak at Sony and some cancelled movie contracts, which is also much less terrible than a nuclear weapon. Nuclear Armageddon, may I remind you, is what is usually at stake in the game being played.
I shouldn’t have to explain why films lambasting totalitarian regimes while glorifying western freedom are racist, but I will. The predictable question posed in defense of the film is “Well, if they’re really a totalitarian state, what’s racist about being accurate about it?” Anyone who’s had to endure racism can tell you it doesn’t end at obviously inaccurate squinty-eyed, buck-toothed cartoons. The caricatures have to come from somewhere and are usually disseminated in slightly more subtle ways. Generally media finds humiliating instances like the imagery around North Korea. It zeroes in on them and ignores everything else. That’s why you have reality TV shows perpetuating stereotypes of the poor, especially black people. Racism in the end is about reducing the other to an abstract threat. It’s about saying the other can be understood from the outside in simplistic ways.
So you have a dictatorship like in North Korea which is humiliating enough for its own for its people. U.S. media crows about the Kim dynasty’s vanities like he’s an NBA player. They constantly reminds us what a weak, backwards, primitive, dangerous and controlling little country North Korea is and how we have to contain it. By contrast, they remind us, the U.S. is a strong, forward-thinking, modern, secure and free superpower and ‘we’ have every right and indeed an obligation to promote that freedom around the world. It is the same damned thing with every “other” out there. Putin, Hussein, Bin Laden, Ho Chi Minh, you name it. It’s racism at its most elementary because the point is to make people think of “North Korea” the threat to American security with its crazy leaders and inept though frightening weapons and forget about North Korea a country with a people who have a history the United States did a hell of a lot to create and a miserable status that the U.S. perpetuates. Arguably more important than making an ideal other, it makes people think of the “America” that fights for freedom and justice around the world, not the number one terrorist state in the world where cops and soldiers murder and torture with impunity.
What is shocking to the mainstream media about this affair is the fact that North Korea is capable of cyber attacks. The racist assumption here is of course that North Korea is too backwards, too primitive, too refusing of superior western ways to be capable of pulling off such an attack. I’m reminded of what Edward Said said about the 1967 Israeli-Arab war; how the western media was full of empty orientalist rhetoric about how the Arabs can’t fight and they’re too cowardly only to be shocked when Egyptian army crossed the Jordan River and proved they could fight just like anybody. Of course if it was as easy as proving people wrong, racism would have been over as soon as it started. Racism, this kind in particular anyways, continues because it reinforces the belief systems that are created to guide and justify American foreign policy and bait its adversaries into the endless cycle that it dominates and controls.
Now of course I haven’t seen the film as I’m sure most people haven’t. I suppose if you haven’t been paying attention, you can question my judging the film as racist that way. Well, if you are, let me first point to the absurdity of defending a film where the heroes are supposed to be morally in the right for assassinating a leader—any leader—to destabilize and change the regime in a country that isn’t even their own. The fact that America thinks it has the right to do this is incredible enough. The fact that they do this regularly anyway and brag about it with films like this is itself a pattern of terrorist tactics.
But even if you ignore the absurdity of the film you’re trying to defend, there’s still the picture it presents of North Korea: of a totalitarian state with a self-aggrandizing buffoon as a leader. As an aside, this is the same picture of a ‘Communist’ country the United States has used as a foil to its “free” market and “free” press. The description of the North Korean figurehead isn’t inaccurate, but if you don’t ask what that portrayal leaves out, you’ve failed to see the whole picture. Ask yourself this: does this film showcase the real and legitimate anxiety of a country with tens of thousands of a hostile nation’s troops at its doors? Does it show anything about what the people in this country really think of its leadership? Does it show the constant, punishing economic blockade that North Korea faces because of the U.S.? If you think the film being an hour and a half or two hours isn’t enough time to cover all that, which is a pretty weak excuse anyways, you still have to ask: Why this portrayal of North Korea? What informs it? What’s the point of a story like this? I don’t think the answers to these questions are innocent at all.
The last, or should I say first bastion of defending racist propaganda like this, especially if it’s funded by a massive corporation like Sony, is free speech. The first amendment is abused and transformed into a pretty incredible bludgeon for all sorts of people who want impunity for their actions. The idea of reducing this affair to a free speech versus censorship issue is starting to prove one of my suspicions: that chauvinistic, hatemongering people are beginning to use the tactics of the gun “rights” crowd’s rhetoric as a model in their bid to warp the concept of free speech to their agendas. But that’s a whole other analysis.
The general idea here is that Sony caving to threats and cyber attacks sets a precedent that making fun of North Korea is off-limits and thus wears away at free speech. It makes free speech seem like a besieged country we live in that we’re slowly ceding territory from, which is ridiculous. It does free speech as a principle no harm to ask these questions: Free speech for whom? To make what kind of statements with what intent? At whose cost? For whose benefit? I have to ask those so righteously concerned with free speech here where their concern is for the very unambiguous assaults on free speech taking place today. Where were you for the whistleblowers and journalists as the Obama Administration threatened and jailed more of them than any other presidency? Where is your concern for Chelsea Manning’s free speech? Where is your support for the people who protest outside of UN climate talks who can’t use the words “Keystone XL” on their signs when John Kerry’s in town? Where are you for the people in democratic countries like Japan who want American military bases out of their countries yet whose voices are continually suppressed in mainstream media? If you’re so concerned about a major media corporation’s right to free speech but not these issues, I have serious doubts about your motives.
The other argument is that caving in to these attacks validates the practice of terrorism. First, my answer to that is if you’re so concerned about not letting terrorism be a viable tactic, I suggest you tell the United States to stop terrorizing people around the world with its bases in 75% of all countries, massive torture center networks, dragnet global surveillance, economic thuggery by the WTO, World Bank and International Monetary Fund, ships and planes and submarines threatening nuclear holocaust and carpet bombing on anyone who opposes its policies and the rest of the obscene terrorist project that is the maintenance and expansion of its empire. In my opinion, if you want terrorism to be an illegitimate means and yet you ignore the biggest terrorist state in the world, you have absolutely no legitimate arguments to make.
But that doesn’t address the argument about legitimating terrorism by caving into demands. I won’t address this in a massive amount of detail, but I’d advise you to study the history of the kind of terrorism, usually by nonstate actors, that you’re so keen to oppose. The vast majority of what constitutes terrorism in the popular imagination is carried out by desperate people who come from from desperate situations. 9/11 and essentially all radical Islamist attacks for example were and are carried out by people from states whose governments are undemocratic and rely completely on western support in exchange for oil and other resources. Saudi Arabia is the prime example. These are desperate people whose actions are a product of the violent situation imposed upon them.
I can and will say I condemn all attacks and threats of attack, including those by North Korea or hackers associated with North Korea. But if you stop at condemning North Korea for this, you ignore the source of and thus impede any solution to the problems that creates such violence. Under international law, ‘aggression’ is the supreme crime encompassing all others. It is defined as the use of force or threat of force. If you think it’s okay for the United States to have the right to commit what under international law are acts of aggression but you condemn Al Qaeda and North Korea for such actions, I can only assume it is because you think the United States is better and more moral than other countries. Thinking your country is better than others and thus has the right to do to them what they can’t to you is textbook nationalist racism. There is absolutely no historical basis for such an assumption. I cannot state it more clearly: thinking that your country is morally superior to another is a racist belief.
I’m pretty sure Seth Rogen and James Franco aren’t going to read this, but if you two are, you should be ashamed of yourselves for being pawns in this vicious game. So should the hackers sending terror threats. I’m no Ghandian but I don’t agree with Frantz Fanon, either. I don’t think armed conflict or acts of terror are practical or productive. As I’ve said before, they’re usually desperation tactics; actions taken by people who don’t think they have any other choice.
Lastly, the ‘you’ I’m really here to address. If you’re one of the people who’s all hyped up in jingoistic free speech rhetoric about The Interview, all I can say is that whatever “victory” against the forces of North Korea and the spectre of censorship you end up getting out of watching this vile racist trash is as pathetic as the image of that struggling little country you feel so superior to. If you’re feeling a bit embarrassed for being excited about this film, good. You should be. I hope you re-evaluate how you think about these things.
New science-y webcomic! I’m really happy to hear that you guys really like my science-related comics, so I’ll try to create more of these in the future! They need more time to make, though, so they’re not going to come out more frequent than once every 3-4 weeks :)
P.S.: Colour isn’t the only thing about our vision that our brains meddle with and interpret subjectively. You know that blind spot we all have? The one formed at the spot our optic nerve connects to our eyes so no cones or rods could exist to collect light data? Ever wondered why we never, ever *see* our blind spots? I mean, there should be a black spot where the blind spot exists, right? Yeah, our brain automatically fills estimated data into our blind spots so our vision *appears* seamless. Our brains are the original pros at Photoshop. In fact, almost every single aspect of our vision is modified by our brains.
New Horizons is an Interplanetary space probe launched by NASA on January 19, 2006. The primary goal of this space mission is to study the Kuiper belt and gather deeper insights about Pluto and it’s moons.
After travelling for 3463 days and 3 Billion miles, it is finally in at Pluto.It is the First ever spacecraft to visit Pluto and for the first time, we would be able to see the remarkable High-Resolution photographs Pluto by Wednesday afternoon.
Why Wednesday? It is because the probe is busy collecting data and not transmitting any of it and since it take around 4.5 hours for the data to reach the earth from the probe, the wait for the images is inevitable.
Here is a photo of Pluto taken by the New Horizon on July 12 as it approaches Pluto.
Setting the debate: How big is Pluto?
Although the seminal data from the data is yet to be received, scientists have already started to crunch on the available data.
The size of the previously known dwarf planet was always debated upon and now the New Horizon has sealed it. The mission scientists have found out that Pluto is 1,473 miles (2,370 kilometers) in diameter.
This was determined from the images obtained from LORRI ( Long Range Reconnaissance Imager).
Pluto is Red!
In addition to determining the size of Pluto Images taken by the New Horizon also reveal that Pluto is Red is color. ( Is that a heart ? )
Things would get really captivating once the core data starts pouring in. But till then hang on to your seats as one of the most remarkable events in the history of space exploration is about to transpire.
“Scientists returned to the Amazon rainforest in December to collect data on one of their biggest finds of 2012: a spider that uses insect corpses and jungle trash to build big, spider-shaped decoys in its web.
But these Peruvian spiders, presumed to be a new species of Cyclosa, are not the sole sculptors of false arachnids. A second decoy spider lives in the Philippines, on the island of Negros. Finding two spiders that make such similar designs, 11,000 miles apart, has left scientists wondering how the behavior evolved and if the decoys serve as lures for prey or as an anti-predator defense system. The discoveries also suggest there may be even more sculpting arachnids.”
Last weekend my fellow seasonal biologists and I spent the weekend at Mad Island Wildlife Management Area. Mad Island abuts the Matagorda Bay, which feeds into the Gulf of Mexico. It was purchased in order to preserve the coastal wetland habitat for wintering waterfowl. Public access is limited, but luckily for us, our supervisor has special connections and organizes this trip every year.
Here is someone putting a band around a birds leg.
The main purpose of this trip was to band a few wetland/saltmarsh species. For those who are unfamiliar with bird banding here’s a brief explanation. In short, birds are caught (usually by a mist net), marked with an identifying band around the leg, and then released. Why is this useful? The data collected from banding birds can be used in several different ways.
Whenever a bird is banded, the information is gathered and sent to the Bird Banding Laboratory. After the birds that have been banded are released, many of them are caught elsewhere allowing biologists to generate a map of the movements of birds.This is how bird migration routes, wintering sites, breeding and nesting areas were discovered.
Some bird banders use additional color bands to mark individual birds within a study site. If each bird in that site is given a different color combination, then one can study the behaviors and local movements of those birds from a distance. This is exactly what some of the other seasonal biologists are accomplishing on Fort Hood with the Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo.
When a bird is banded, there are a few other measurements that can be taken. These include wing, bill, and tail length, the weight of the bird as well as age and gender, which can sometimes be very difficult to determine. Depending on the study, some biologists will draw a very small amount of blood, but that is only for special circumstances.
Back to our banding experience! Usually, mist nets are strategically set in areas where there are high concentrations of birds. However, the species we were focusing on were more difficult to catch. The method we used was to first walk in a straight line through the grass until we flushed a bird. Then we would run to the area where that bird landed and form a large circle around it. A mobile mist net that we were carrying was quickly set up on one side of the circle. Then we all slowly started walking in toward the net hoping to flush the bird directly into it. We were successful most of the time, but occasionally the bird would sneak through and escape. It was extremely comical especially since the ground was uneven, which made running an adventure.
Here is one of the birds that we caught. This is a Leconte’s Sparrow.
Leconte’s Sparrow being releases.
This Marsh Wren is a species that can be very hard to see.
Sedge Wrens are another Wren that is harder to find. One reason is due in part to the way it blends into its habitat.
The Analyst has found this out due to the data dango-mushi collected.
The scanners in this city are all illegally remodeled. It’s a nest of latent
What kind of trick was used?
They have built a friend-or-foe identification signal
that SEAUn army had been using all along into the hue scanners. An opponent judged as belonging to friendly
troops becomes their target. Almost all of the military policemen committed
a Psycho-Pass falsification using this trick.
*Mika calmly walks down the ladder with the drone-carrier*
So they manipulated the Sibyl system via such an audacious trick?!
There’s no way for them to manipulate the system, is there? It was just silently accepted.
From the very start Sibyl’s aim was to crash the State Military Police all at
once. If you had taken the hint, it would’ve not cost so much time and effort.
You’ve made a complicated detour, senpai.
What do you mean?
I mean, think about those guys. There was no need to read their hue by a cymatic
scanner. Even so, we had to use it until infrastructure improvement for the installation
of the system in SEAUn would be made. When Shambhala Float was completed, we would
take a wait-and-see attitude. And then we would just have to find evidence of
this insidious plot and crush them. *thrums
on the drone* Tracing down a fugitive Enforcer is just an excuse to send
Are you… satisfied with that?
What needs to be done is done by those capable of doing it. Read the situation, senpai.
… Well then, let’s now do what needs to be done!
Dr. Felicity Arengo is the associate director of the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. This month, she is conducting a census of flamingo populations in remote regions of South America. Read the first post in the series here.
We are standing at the edge of Laguna Grande, surrounded by snowy peaks and magnificent volcanic rock formations that seem almost cartoonish. From here we can see most of the lake, covered with pink dots. Two hours later we have an estimate for this section, but will have to count at three other points to cover the whole lake.
When we are done we tally our results for the whole lake: over 15,000 Puna Flamingos are present. We also counted 50 Andean Flamingos and a single Chilean Flamingo small numbers in comparison. We’ve counted up to 18,000 Puna flamingos here in past years, but our lower count this year is not necessarily alarming.
This year we find around 160 chicks, some around a month old: gray and slightly larger than the fluffy, white two-week old chicks, and there are still 100 flamingos sitting on eggs. Timing for different groups of mated pairs is slightly offset, occurring in several waves over the breeding season. We also count around 520 abandoned nests with eggs. Flamingo eggs and chicks are very vulnerable, experiencing high mortality, which is why our work with communities near these sites is as important as collecting data.
Apparently some ponies think so nowadays, though it’s never been established why. When I tried gathering data on the matter I wasn’t able to collect enough data points upon which to base a conclusion.
I certainly don’t try to be cute. I have so many other things to think about, and my appearance is very plain, for practical reasons. Perhaps it is one of those things where the more you try to be cute, the less cute you are? Cuteness isn’t well documented, despite being such a well-known concept. There are some theories, but they don’t apply in my case.
Initially it was quite odd and embarrassing to be called cute, though I have gotten a bit more used to it (though I still get somewhat flustered). I wouldn’t want to get too used to it though; I don’t want it to go to my head, or seem like I think I’m better than other ponies, but on the other hoof it’s quite rude to not accept a compliment, so it is something I need to adapt to.
I’m still not sure why somepony, having the opportunity to ask a question on any of a multitude of topics which I am well versed in (though I wouldn’t call myself an expert), would use their paper, envelope and stamp (which they presumably paid good money for) to tell me I am cute.
In every system and subsystem of magic that makes use of the diagram called the Tree of Life, there are Pathways which join the Ten Spheres (which are themselves found at the intersection points of the Four Worlds). These have their own particular set of meanings and understandings, and the initiate who would learn to tread these paths must learn well the correspondences — for the correspondences in their chosen system are the keys to the gates of the paths between the spheres.
The pathways are commonly associated with the Tarot cards and with the Hebrew alphabet, and in the Western Mysteries these two signs are among the most potent and effective keys to the pathways. Likewise, twelve of the pathways are connected to the signs of the Zodiac; another seven with the planets; and three with the ‘higher three’ of the Elements (fire, air, and water). These pathways are also endowed with musical scales, and with colors, for those who make visual art or music as part of their work to walk the paths.
How do the pathways serve the magician?
It is a simple question with a complex answer, or more accurately, many complex answers, not all of which are to be found in this essay. This is merely intended to be an introduction to the practice, and its rationales.
First of all, Pathworking is an exercise of active imagination, in which a journey is imagined to take place between any two of the Ten Spheres. The journey is initiated by the presentation of certain symbols to the traveler at the start of the journey, other symbols during the passage, and still other symbols at the end of the trip. In this way, the practitioner experiences a set of awarenesses in turn, allowing them to repeat the journey again themselves. The journey, or pathworking, is usually different each time; but given that it begins and ends with a given set of symbols, the journey itself is framed in a context, and is given the chance to have heightened meaning.
The technique is of relatively recent origin; my first encounters with it were with Israel Regardie’s Big Book of the Golden Dawn (Ok, that’s not it’s real name, but it’s the way I think of the book). It appears to have emerged during the Occult Revival at the end of the 19th century, among communities of French and British occultists (mostly upper and middle class?) who didn’t want to do all that sewing, scribing, and iron-mongering that earlier systems of magical training required.
However, the technique owes much to earlier styles of Mystery schooling, particularly the one which we are so fond of, even today, known as theater. In ancient Greece and in Egypt before that, certain sacred dramas would be enacted before, and for the benefit of, new initiates. The presentation of particular symbols to the audience, along with key words and phrases (and perhaps with the inclusion of strong psychotropics in the initiates’ food), would serve to instill and inculcate particular ideas and values into the initiates’ minds.
At the heart of it, the Four Worlds, the Ten Spheres and the Twenty-Two Paths are an attempt to map the interior consciousness as experienced in mystical and altered states of awareness. This is terribly difficult: the only tools we have to describe these states of mind are language, mathematics, music, visual and performance arts. Thus, internal mystical states must be described using the language of exterior, everyday awareness, through metaphor and simile and artistic expression.
The essential genius of the Tree of Life, and its underlying geometries and interrelationships, is that of the way in which exterior setting can inform and even guide interior life. The Tree of Life, in whatever magical system is adopted and trained within, offers a series of images and relationships — called correspondences — that have grown out of the tradition’s work with the Tree. And just as those images and relationships have grown out of the Tree of Life, so can those images and relationships be used to project us back into the Tree of Life, and along its pathways and through its spheres.
In other words, the images and objects and scents and letters and other correspondences of the Twenty-Two Paths and the Ten Spheres are keys of a sort, which help unlock complex portals in our minds between one part of our internal experiences and other parts. The act of viewing the symbols that open the Pathway, or calling them to mind while in the right state of mind, opens that conscious pathway to us, and gives us powers or capacities after repeated travels down the same route.
The method is not foolproof.
Indeed, it is not only not-foolproof, the system of the Twenty-Two Pathways is at high risk of being misused: the would-be initiate may be presented (by her own hand, or by someone else’s; by accident or deliberately) with the wrong symbols at the start of the interior journey; the proud, regular practitioner may omit certain key correspondences and mis the journey; the journey may take place completely correctly, but the journeyer may fail to 'unpack’ the meaning of the journey in meditation and reflection.
However, the system also has tremendous advantages. Once each pathway has been traversed carefully, using a given (and unchanging) set of symbolic keys, at least three or four times in each direction, a curious thing happens. The symbols begin to appear to the initiate or practitioner in dreams. Then, after further travels along the Pathways, the symbols begin to make their appearance in waking life. Then, after still further practice, they can be used to trigger certain states of mind, and achieve certain powers or capabilities.
The Twenty-Two Pathways thus represent (with the Ten Spheres and the Four Worlds) thirty-six specific internal states of mind which the magician can learn to achieve and manage. More than that, though, some of these states of mind are valanced — that is, one can experience them differently when traveling in one direction along a path than along the other. The result is an extraordinarily broad, powerful and subtle framework for understanding one’s own psyche, and also for exploring the realms of being which are not precisely cognate with 'physical reality’.
There will be readers of this essay who will say, “where’s the scientific proof? Where is the data? Why should I bother?” But the nature of this work — collecting objects and images that represent the Pathways, learning their correspondences, going on journeys of imagination along the Pathways using the objects or images or mental toolkit that accompanies them, and recording the results of these mental experiments — is very much a process of scientific investigation with very personal (and not usually repeatable) results.
At the same time, though, it is the very investigation of the Pathways using these methods that result in the unfolding of the interior life of the mind, dream, heart, and spirit — those mysterious realms from which deep insight and discovery in the sciences and the arts and in all human endeavors often emerge.
We have only to look at the emblem-books of the grandfathers of chemistry, those much-derided alchemists, to find Pathway images combined and recombined, juxtaposed and re-presented, to glimpse how much of the modern world might be owed to the complexities of this form of interior investigation.