The last few days are counting down toward Christmas break and during the time of the break there will be no posts as no only is this a major break from exams for most college students but it’s also a time to relax for a lot of people as the year winds down to a close. As we quickly approach the end of 2011 I’d like to remind everyone that the 2011 winter wrap-up post will be on December 31st which will sum up the highlights of 2011 from the internet to real life and everything in between.

So without further ado, let’s get to today’s post.

First off is a collection of figurines who’s post can be reached by click on the image.

buy figure here

buy figure here

 

buy figurine here

 

All figures can be pre-ordered from J-list and will arrive April 2012.

Next up non-touhou fans are pissed and want touhou banned from Comiket.

 

Comiket 81 “Now Fujoshiket” “Touhou Should Be Expelled!”

Author: Artefact

Once again the increasingly overpowering dominance Touhou worshippers and creepy fujoshi exert over Comiket is the subject of much discussion, thanks to the release of the latest circle numbers for the upcoming C81 – and so pronounced is their dominance that some are now calling for them to be forcibly hived off into their own events.

The circle statistics for Comiket 81:

Touhou: 2690

Tiger & Bunny: 1170

Hetalia: 1000

Sengoku Basara: 842

Vocaloid: 492

Prince of Tennis: 460

Reborn: 458

Gintama: 438

Blue Exorcist: 428

IdolMaster: 417

Inazuma Eleven: 398

Madoka: 350

Tomodachi ga Sukunai: 322

Nintama: 298

Arashi: 282

Durarara: 278

Lyrical Nanoha: 271

One Piece: 254

Naruto: 244

Magi: 227

K-ON!: 200

By now there is a certain amount of resignation about all this:

“Hardly any Hetalia…”

“They really ought to spin these off into their own events when they get to this scale. The way they use the venue is pretty wasteful.”

“With that many single work circles they really are more suited to having their own events.”

“I don’t think it’ll happen, Comiket has a lot of prestige for these circles.”

“Who’s to say how many are too many? Are Tiger & Bunny and Hetalia OK? If the organisers just decided your favourite needed to get lost and have its own event, you’d be pissed.”

“I think when one work totally dominates an entire hall it might be said to be too numerous. It has never been this pronounced, has it? Even compared to previous booms, there was never anything dominating the event like this.”

“1500 is the ceiling really. But Touhou has nearly twice that! They’re just too numerous.”

“Shouldn’t they just chase out the fujoshi? Is all men that bad?”

“Commoners associate Comiket with men buying ero-doujinshi, so it would be better just to ban male oriented ero.”

“Just chase out the Touhou maniacs and fujoshi and I’ll go.”

There do not appear to have been much in the way of management efforts to alter Comiket’s circle composition, so an eventual transformation into a 25% Touhou, 75% fujoshi event may yet be inevitable.

And with that we move on to the west.


Syria: back to the future

For the second time in four months, the UN commissioner for human rights, has urged the security council to refer Syria to the ICC

For the second time in four months, the UN commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, has urged the security council to refer Syria to the international criminal court for investigation. The first time, in August, the estimated civilian death toll from Syria’s crackdown on what started as peaceful unarmed protests stood at 2,000. Yesterday Ms Pillay estimated the death toll at over 5,000, and called the situation intolerable. Syria said her report was not objective because it relied on the testimony of defectors, and yet concrete evidence of shoot-to-kill orders is mounting. Tomorrow Human Rights Watch will publish a detailed investigation naming 74 commanders who told their soldiers to fire on unarmed protesters.

The issue is not only what is happening inside Syria, but where this is leading. Russia and China remain implacably opposed to a UN security council referral to the ICC, arguing that the same process was abused as a cover for regime change in Libya. Russia has gone further, supplying Syria with cruise missiles and announcing the deployment of an aircraft- carrying missile cruiser and two support ships to prevent a blockade. But they are not alone. Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has warned of the snowball effects of a sectarian war in Syria, and has refused to demand the ousting of Bashar al-Assad.

Regional tremors are already being felt. Burhan Ghalioun, head of the rebel Syrian National Council, pledged to cut ties with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, were the rebels to come to power, despite the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Hamas’s close ally, forms part of his council. The statement was an evident inducement to the US, whom they want to persuade to establish a no-fly zone. But it provoked fury from Hezbollah, which stands to lose not only a patron if the Ba’athist regime in Damascus falls, but also a supply route for its Iranian-produced rockets. Month by month the conflict in Syria is becoming internationalised.

There are also worrying signs of sectarianism. Whether this is a card the Assad regime is playing in its no-holds-barred attempt to retain power or whether sectarianism is building in its own right, the result is the same. The conflict in Homs, which started as a civil rights struggle between demonstrators and loyalist security forces, is turning into an uglier and more familiar conflict between members of the Shia Alawite sect, from which the Assad family originates, and Sunni Muslim defectors from the army. Each side blames the other for the mutilated corpses recovered in the streets. The international community is moving towards targeted sanctions, but the paradigm for Syria may not be Libya in 2011. It could be Iraq in 2006.

And now

 

Maybe, say nuclear scientists… but if we could just have a few months to make sure

Steve Connor

Despite excited reports yesterday morning on the BBC that the particle has been “glimpsed”, the Cern laboratory in Geneva yesterday merely confirmed that measurements by its £5bn Large Hadron Collider have come closer than previous searches to detecting the sub-atomic particle whose existence was first hypothesised in the 1960s.

Scientists said they have eliminated 95 per cent of the energy range where the Higgs may have been hiding, but are not yet ready to exclude the possibility that what they have detected is merely background noise rather than the real thing. They said that final, definite proof will now have to wait until 2012.

Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, head of Cern, urged: “Please be prudent. We have not found it yet. Stay tuned for next year.”

Professor Themis Bowcock, head of particle physics at the University of Liverpool, said: “If the Higgs observation is confirmed, this really will be one of the discoveries of the century.”

Dr Stephen Haywood, head of the Atlas Group at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, said: “This is what many of us have been working towards for 20 years. This is just the start.”

Q&A: Key to the sub-atomic world

Q. What is the Higgs boson?

A. It is a sub-atomic particle, or “boson”, that was first proposed theoretically in the 1960s by Professor Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University. He suggested that in order for matter to have mass, it must be influenced by a hypothetical particle that creates a field, called the Higgs field, which spreads throughout the Universe.

No one, however, was able to detect the Higgs boson because of the energy levels needed to collide other sub-atomic particle together in order to winkle it out.

Q. How does the Higgs work?

A. The most celebrated analogy is to compare the Higgs particle to a party activist as a famous politician, perhaps a former female Prime Minister, moves through a room full of activists all wishing to see or talk to her.

The movement of the politician is influenced by how many other people cluster around her. The Higgs particles are like these party activists and the former Prime Minister is like matter itself.

The more interaction there is between the Higgs particles and matter, the more mass that this particular matter possesses – and the heavier it is in gravity.

Q. Why is the Higgs particle so important?

A. To try to understand what is going on at the sub-atomic level, physicists have come up with a theory called the Standard Model. It explains three of the fundamental forces that interact at the nuclear level: the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force. The Higgs particle is part of this Standard Model, which is why it was proposed in the first place. Frustratingly, though, it is the only boson or particle predicted by the Standard Model that has not so far been detected. This may be because it is difficult to detect (which is undoubtedly is) or that it doesn’t exit.

Q. Why is the Higgs particle so difficult to find?

A. To find sub-atomic particles, it is necessary to collide other particles together at high energies using a machine such as the £5bn Large Hadron Collider, which accelerates sub-atomic particles called hadrons at 99.9999991 per cent of the speed of light. Sensitive detectors at the sites where the hadrons collide are then designed to monitor the tell-tale signs of a Higgs particle. There are two detectors or experiments trying to find the Higgs, one is called Atlas the other is called CMS and both are searching at similar energy levels. Unfortunately, there is a lot of “noise” coming from other particles and collisions that can mask the existence of the Higgs. Sophisticated statistical analysis is the only way of improving the certainty that a Higgs has truly been detected.

Q. What if the Higgs does not exist?

A. Then it would mean that the Standard Model is not correct, or at least not correct in the way it has been understood. Failing to find the Higgs has been said by CERN scientists to be an even more intriguing event than actually discoving its existence – although particle physicists would say that given that they have built a hugely expensive machine largely on the belief that it exists. The non-existence of the Higgs would mean that physicists would have to go back to the drawing board in terms of trying to understand what is going on at the sub-atomic level.

I will see you guys all next time. Goodnight everyone.