With #trilema dark, its time to feed the blog. Let's do some tourism. Read the rest of this entry »
To address my continued shortcomings, it is time I caught up on practicing the methodology of sanity. Thus far managing Pizarro has been a mix of increasingly routine administration and reactive action as sharp unpleasant edges and rocks are encountered with the mix weighted too heavily to reactive activity. The most recent, unpleasant clash with reality has been the failure of the market in the forum to prove competitive to the market outside the forum when swallowing the datacenter's monthly feeding needs. This is paired with the sad fact that Pizarro's fiat reserve, which helped to weather Bitcoin's winter is now fat, passive, and depreciating against BTC without being put to any productive use.1
Pizarro's monthly fiat needs fall into two distinct categories:
- 2834.06 USD - To the datacenter, invoiced on the 30th of the month, due in 10 days.
- Just under 2000 USD - Keeping presence on the ground, various bills due a various times of the month. From the difference between 2000 and what gets spent the fiat reserve has been growing between 150 to 200 USD each month.
The on hand fiat reserve sits at 5704 as of the June 29th report. If used to back a price floor on monthly auctions for the entirety of the datacenter's fiat needs, it would be reduced by 49.7 percent, and exhausted if called upon twice to cover an entire month. There's also 1537.64 USD on deposit with the datacenter.
The local market buying bitcoin consists of:
- "The Bicycle Guy" - Capacity to reliably provide 1000-1500 USD within 1% of reported spot price within an afternoon. Summoning the fiat to provide the datacenter payment the one time he did thus far required a weeks notice and strained his capacity. Bulk of his business is fiat and Bitcoin into and out of Venezuela. Has provided most of the locally acquired fiat. Have met.
- Less Favorable Rate Guys - One frequently advertises ability to buy up to 5000 USD in Bitcoin within 5% of spot. Due to their choice of bank, transfers take more time. Others offer smaller sums or less frequent offers to buy.
- Border Crossing Argentines - Advertise occasionally in Uruguay.
- Wide Spread Guys - While there are actors as listed above who buy bitcoin within a 5 percent of spot and take heftier premiums from folks buying Bitcoin off of them, there are a few folks who insist on big spreads in both directions. Very small advertised capacity. Still worth another round of conversations.
- Retarded Payment Networks Crowd - Insist on paying for Bitcoin through Mercado Pago, a sort of Latino Paypal or other incredibly niche methods like "recarga telefonica" members of this crowd are frequently not actually in Uruguay, occasionally not even in Latin America.
This reveals an avenue to act in meeting more of the unfamiliar traders even if it means taking the boat to do so.2
Getting Fiat From Outside of Uruguay
There are a few options for reliably bringing USD fiat to Uruguay.
- Western Union - 8 USD fee, well supported in Uruguay, can reliably fulfill transfers up to 1,000 USD. For higher sums it can be a challenge to find a local agent in Uruguay with the full amount in dollars.
- International Wire - Fee dependent on sending bank around 25-50 USD, works reliably.
- Physically Carrying Benjis - Works but requires a person to travel
Two routes are completely unworkable:
- Cash In Mail - Not feasible. A birthday card sent without cash in early February 2018 by my mother arrived in November of 2018.
- Transferwise - Explicitly banned for bad behavior
With this laid out, we can attack the auction problem. From September 1st3 through the end of the year there are 16 weeks. Our fiat needs through the end of the year are:
4834.06 * 4 = 19,336.24 USD All together
Could be met by auctioning 1208.52 USD weekly every week to cover all of Pizarro's fiat needs through the auction process. At this time the sum seems a bit on the heavy side in light of the forum's past auction participation. The fiat reserves and local market are likely to get a workout.
2834.06 * 4 =11,336.24 For just the datacenter, remainder of fiat expenses met with local market and reserves.
This could be met with actions for 708.52 USD weekly every week in the forum. As a smaller number, more folks will likely have the cash to bid for the prize. The local market and fiat reserves can readily support competitive prices, while also being counted on to deliver the other 500 USD in fiat weekly. This is the solution I am inclined towards at present. Of course there's one more way this could be cut.
8000 for other fiat, met with 500 USD weekly auctions. Local liquidity and reserves counted on for paying the datacenter
While this option puts a nice round 500 USD up for bid in the forum every week, I have reservations starting weekly auctions at 500 USD a week could leave the forum stuck through inertia at carrying only 500 USD weekly in bandwidth. Starting instead with the middle option leaves room to adjust up or down. Starting at the bottom leaves only up or stagnation as options.
Based on feedback I will publish an auction plan for the rest of 2019 on Pizarro's blog July 21st, 2019.
- In late 2017 and early 2018 local fiat-Bitcoin liquidity was tighter, anxieties were higher, and having a dedicated "oh shit!" fund seemed to make sense. BTC kept trading down and sitting on fiat made sense for an extended period. Now there's a halving around the corner and 10 kilodollar Bitcoin is here to stay. Having a fiat reserve is still necessary, but it needs to start being leveraged. [↩]
- Exploring the boat situation: one line on a less popular route recently folded (archived). Colonia Express tends to run ~1500 pesos / 50 USD each way to go from the Tres Cruces Bus terminal to Buenos Aires. Buquebus tickets run ~3000 pesos / 100 USD to go from the Port of Montevideo to Buenos Aires each way. [↩]
- Chosen because it neatly marks the last trimester of the year. Also starting weekly auctions creates the opportunity to do one last monthly auction in August for the full datacenter wire using the fellow advertising greater local liquidity as a reserve, or failing using the fiat on hand as a reserve. Having the transaction to offer him means having something to talk about. [↩]
Around the corner from the habitation module is a Frente Amplio clubhouse. A neighbor relayed to me that on election night they were in the right place at the right time to see a crow of derp pour out in anger. The derps proceeded to the nearest dumpster where they proceeded to... systematically and impotently remove garbage and place it outside of the dumpster. Not even, try to burn the dumpster... just take the trash an put it somewhere else. When I walked past the aftermath later that night I just thought it was an especially inconsiderate trash miner. As it was the night the trash trucks were scheduled to come by later anyways, all evidence of the incredibly impotent protest failed to endure as far into the future as the next morning.
Lets look at the inner workings of this fountain of Butthurt.
The Frente Amplio
Bald yuppie social democrat/democratic socialist Daniel Martinez "won" with just a smidge over 40 percent of the vote. Carolina Cosse came narrowly into second through support from Mujica's MPP faction over the third place finisher from El Partido Comunista de Uruguay, a bearded hipster who calls himself Óscar Andrade. Everyone else trailed these three substantially.
These three flavors of socialism vary in their marketing and their desired ends.
- Martinez and the sitting two time president Tabaré Vázquez favor a Nordic Socialism that enters into a polite stagnation where everything is shit, but anyone who could object has long fucked off to anywhere else. This sector isn't afraid of invoking the Christian thing when it comes to justifying Pantsuist Puritanisms. They just engage in obscene levels of Gymnastics to make shit fit. Martinez cast his own ballot at a polling place located near 21 de Setiembre1 and Bulevard España in the ambiguously "is this block Pocitos, Punta Carretas, or a forgettable pocket barrio" ritzy for Uruguay zone.
- Mujica runs the MPP which supported Cosse's run, but didn't extend support to the post voting vice-presidential candidate selection process. The MPP's ideology might be likened to anarcho-communism, but in practice in appears to actually materialize in a veneration of "just scraping by" as an activity. Carve outs and programs to benefit the not necessarily idle, but definitely not being employed at substantial expenses in time and treasure to "service" incredibly small niches characterize MPP positions.
- El Partido Communista - The traditional "labor is sacred" party with its own local twists. Growth appears to be driven by not unjustified perception by los trabajadores that the MPP is more interested in vagrant interests than their own. Strict view of economics as zero sum and singular focus on getting a bigger piece of the pie for the trabajadores even if the pie shrinks to nothing.
Since Martinez won with a plurality and not a majority, his very recently announced vice-presidential pick will wear the pre-candidate label through the FA's convention. At some earlier plenary, the FA decided at least one person on top of their ticket must be a woman. This naturally would have suggested Cosse as the second place finisher and only FA woman running for the slot, except her brand is sufficiently toxic the MPP would not endorse her as vice president despite giving her a presidential campaign apparatus. In an apparent joke, the Partido Communista immediately turned around and endorsed her.
Martinez ended up yesterday picking complete unknown Graciela Villar has choice for running mate, if the Frente will allow him to do so. The rumors that Villar is just an established FA minister in drag are already circulating (archived). Provided they don't split over their differences, the FA will be carrying the advantage of Uruguay being a mandatory voting country into the general election. A split in the FA is not out of the question in the near to mid term as the self-identifying Left continues to accumulate resentments.
The National Party
Luis Lacalle Pou won a clear majority in the National Party internal giving he a free hand moving forward. He was the most voted candidate between all of the parties by a very wide margin. During his victory speech, he exercised his free hand to declare Beatriz Argimón his running mate. Beatriz is a long haired blond woman who appears to my eye to carry herself in the manner of an adult woman in contrast to the old/fat/Merkel gendered hags of the FA like Cosse and Villar.
The postcount party the Blancos held was a big show of party unity and included calls for the rest of the opposition to join in defeating the FA to save Uruguay. Little time was spent on the platform of "shocks" that won him the nomination. Herrerismo, the small country stay in our lane but defend the hell out of it nationalism, is dominating the actual conversations between Uruguayos. Why wouldn't it be when Uruguay's most important economic metric, the market value of agricultural fields, has been falling since 2014.
Yet in spite of unity in the National Party, newcomer and distant second place figure Juan Sartori has simultaneously gone on vacation and tilt at the same time. This man who had the appeal of spending time living outside Uruguay and building businesses inside and outside Uruguay in the end leaned too hard on the impulse to insulate himself from the Uruguayos in favor of dropping pronouncements from on high. This continued thrashing is likely to be a fountain of lulz for the forseeable future. In the interim the local rags are talking about Sartori voters as though they are a unified "sector" in the manner of the MPP or PCU.
For bonus lulz, during the campaign the Sartori press organism raised concerns over a "voting list"2 supporting Lacalle Pou which included the line "Un bagayero, un patriota" which roughly carries the meaning that "a smuggler is a patriot." In the case of Uruguay this is both true in practice and deeply recognized as a truth in the culture. Unactionable complaints were filed with the police over the slogan with hand wringing and whining emitted by the classes that contribute the stone to the soup. Anyways, it is clearly a winning national campaign slogan.
The Talvi guy who identifies as an economist managed to edge out old gendered twice president Julio Sanguinetti garnering a clear majority in the least voted of the three major internals. Instead of a unified show of force as a singular, if irrelevant Colorado Party, Talvi answered Luis's Party of the Party with one on one media sitdowns election night. To the best of my knowledge no Colorado running mate has been chosen. Now that the competition has gone from intra-party to inter-party, militants from the other parties are very helpfuly spreading particular points of Talvi's very detailed platform.
Guido Manini Ríos, Uruguay's commander in chief of the Army3 from 2015 to earlier this year, took roughly 50,000 votes in the uncontested internal for the "independent" Cabildo Abierto party. Guido and his family are dedicated Colorados of the militant branch of the Colorado Party that governed during the dictatorship years, and by all appearances Cabildo Abierto was a shell of a party waiting for Guido to get fired in order to define the party. The local rags credit Sanguinetti's loss to an intra-Colorado dispute manifest into defectors leaving for Cabildo Abierto.
The Colorado Party and its splinter Cabildo Abierto survive based on a sort of heritable fandom every bit as bitter as the Peñarol versus Nacional futbol rivalry. The split is such that a woman Guido approached to be his running mate had to reject the approach in public citing family loyalties. Back before the mass Italian arrivals, Uruguay was a harder country. A country of men, and those men fought prolonged civil wars between the urban Colorado party controling the port and the rural Blanco, now National party holding the fields.
Other than branding loyalty, Guido's campaign is fueled by hyping the manufactered insecurity and proposing the "Caja Militar" ought to be priviledged over the other welfare programs successive Uruguayo governments have overburdened the country with. It's not a platform for electoral success on its own, and the conditions for a military coup just aren't here. There's maybe enough energy here to split the Colorado Party into still further irrelevance for a couple election cycles splitting the 8-15 percent of dedicated Colorado voters into still smaller chunks. The odd way elections work here, the fellow still might end up with a legislative seat, but that's doubtful.
The Obvious Prediction
The October general election results will almost certaintly lead to a November run off between Luis Lacalle Pou and Daniel Martinez.
- In Uruguay it is not Septiembre. The "p" is incompatible with their accent so they killed it by dictat. [↩]
- Voting in the Party internals here consists of placing up to 2 pre-printed voting lists inside the balloting envelope. This creates problems for the very marginal who can't print and place lists in the hands of their supporters. [↩]
- The Army of Uruguay presently recovers a substantial chunk of its operating expenses and acquires new material through participation in UN peacekeeping missions. They also operate the national anti-aircraft artillery which consists of roughly a dozen 20 millimeter cannons. Organized into four divisions the Army suffers an excessive ratio of General and Colonels to other personel. Similarly the Navy suffers from an excessive ratio of Admiralds and Captains to ships. [↩]
As promised, here is a look at one of several market segments it may be worth chewing through with a mechanized conversion engine. For this first installment let us look at a group which is having a moment in the popular discussion space three years after their guy had his moment in the Republican space, the Elliot identifying self-aware surplus males. Or as they prefer to self identify, incels.
Why market to self admitted losers? Consider the following points of ideological allignment:
- Deep Hatred of the Femstate - Unfortunately this also tends to be accompanied by preferences for different flavors of socialism, but it is a short move from where their discourse is centered to the Republican imperative to disenfranchise bitter old women for they are the root of all evil.
- Not anti-hooker Puritans like their "Manosphere" predecesors - Wheras the bizarre characters making up the backbone of the old manosphere/pill realm focused on ethically sourcing free range pussy in a complete surrender to both the Puritan and Pantsuit objections to sex work.1 There is cognitive dissonance and lack of consensus in the ranks on the subject over whether patronzing hookers
- Their Loserdom is Deeply Internalized - Rock bottom and possibility of surrender and all that. Also, they tend to be sufficiently disillisioned to resist the tempation to view Trump as their secret best friend unlike the folks embracing their manliness in weird Anglo-Puritan ways.
The bulk of them, like the bulk of idiotic humanity is likely too far gone for anything, but that happens even when Mircea fishes for sluts in the place that says its supposed to have sluts. It's possible that one or more angry young men out of the millions is open to doing something about their situation, and unlike the average "dominant identifying" sense of humor guys, their resignation might make them hungry enough to try something.
Group solitications would likely fail for the same reason they have in the past failed to hook promising leads from other populations. Bias towards their known, comfort heirarchy and the ensuing ant defense tactics. In their language, every positive action is derided as a "cope". All of the sex-having apparently goes to some guys named "Chad", the bodybuilder-tattoo uniformed folks doing the Pick-up thing and apparently ruining pink markets around the world.2 The obsess over millimeters of bone they may or may not have ignoring ample examples from history where dozens of hookers kept armies of thousands of men laid while on the march.
The size of this pile is immense to the point Anglin and Weev shifted the editoral spin of their Socialist Stormer in a not entirely unsuccessful attempt to appeal to these surplus males as a group. I am strictly uninterested however in groups or numbers. I am interested in mechanically tossing ropes into their pits of melancholy with the hope some might climb. Other might hang, but that is already incredibly common in their community. The #trilema channel is pointedly not the place to be receiving the climbers, thusly #pizarro and the other aspiring castles are going to need irc bot attention.
The sad state of the world is that it seems the place to start churning through in search of live intelligences is also the place most sad.
- The primary Puritan objection is that sex work is sex, while the primary Pantsuit objection is that sex work is work. [↩]
- The mechanism for this which I suspect from Mircea's observations of his travels is they go around doing their "nomad" thing and their "pick-up" thing. The result is girls who'd normally be selling mis-perceive the arrival of their chance, and get burned. Eventually the cycle breaks with the guys talking about how "Eastern Europe is ruined" before going to Jesus while the girls are abandoned to pastoral bovinity. [↩]
The outlook is looking a lot like it did the last time I visited the issue. Lacalle Pou still leads the Blancos despite Sartori taking Larrañaga voters, the irrelevant Colorado primary is still a coin flip, and Martinez still has a commanding lead within the Fat Foreheads coalition. The minor parties are still irrelevant.
One peculiarity about how the party internals work here versus the party primaries back home is that here, they vote off of lists. The voters are expected to arrive to the polls with their chosen list which includes their candidate and anywhere from 50 to 500+ names of delegates supporting their candidate. They are also expected to bring a small light source because voting happens in the "dark room" which is apparently their solution to privacy. Thusly everywhere in the city with appreciable foot traffic has collections of "militants" handing out lists for "their" candidates. In nearly all cases the "militants" appear to be hired help.
There is a certain peculiar ethic as to how they hand out the lists. The folks are far too honest to dump them into the trash and declare mission accomplished. Instead they will hand out 3, 5, 9, or 10 lists so long as you appear receptive to receiving the lists. Because the culture war is a war, I have been declining offered lists of the Colorado and Frente candidates with a simple "Gracias, pero soy Blanco." I doubt this will have a profound impact in any particular situation, but over enough interactions it may "humanize" the Blanco cause in the same way my response to the Trump question "Of course I voted for Trump" grits the femstate's gears.
The list givers seem to follow certain trends. Luis and Larrañaga have a lot of Uruguayas and old men. Sartori has a lot of young Dominican and Venezuelan men. Both Colorados have a lot of far Venezuelan and Dominican girls along with
dorks "average guys" wearing their candidates flags like capes. Meanwhile the Frente and minor leftist parties are presenting fat old women, metro-gendered cocksuckers, and the actual unwashed poor of the streets as their public image.
The pichi above is "militating" for the minor leftist party UP. Ten feet into the future he will navigate around the dumpster into the street to avoid a dog barking in reaction to his proximity. He went into the street for several passing persons as well before our paths diverged. I have no doubts he earnestly supports the candidate and party whose flag he is carrying or he wouldn't be taking on the great personal risk of being this far outside his comfort zone. By this I don't mean there aren't pichis in my barrio, but that he is not a pichi of this barrio. Few things are more dangerous for the unwashed than being somewhere that one is both unwashed and unknown. Even bearing the message of "more gibs for the unwashed" modern democracy can't change the hard reality where more mouths pleading for "una moneda para comer algo" means less monedas to go around.
Making something involves taking something else. This in itself is morally neutral. A cow can be taken and made into delicious beef. A wild field can be made into a farm field. A tree can be taken and depending on the tree it can be made into a wide variety of things. The old causes and purposes, whether the action is motivated by a case or conducted towards fulfilling a purpose reigns in the moral realm.
This leads to where we left off last time. Whether the purpose is "a chicken in every pot", "ending world hunger", or any other ends based activity, evil finds a way. The how of this is a well documented dance of debasement frequently papered over as substitution.
In portions of civilized world that cultivate wheat, there exists bread, a product whose methods of production have been passed down through tradition. The best breads are prepared by specialist bakers. Bread has a short window of time where it may be consumed at its peak quality. As bread degrades over the course of the day, wheat cultures have all developed means of coping with the bread's decline until all of the bread has been eaten. The introduction of train travel and the short life of bread lead to the development of the "Pullman Loaf" to allow an activity resembling baking to occur in a train kitchen and yield something resembling bread. Further "optimizations" and the introduction of chemistry has lead to bread's displacement in the market by still further debased simulacra. These bread-like carbohydrate sponges feature uniform textures with shelf lives that can be measured in weeks. In the type-exemplar "Pan Bimbo" visible mold blooms frequently develop before any signs of staleness appear in a complete reversal from how actual bread degrades over time.
An issue that emerges in sophisticated industry is that the complexity of waste products left after an activity tends to increase with the sophistication of the activity. This in itself is morally neutral. Some things just can't be had at all without producing a bunch of dioxins. Activity proceeding to purpose rather than from cause tends to bury the costs necessary to address waste products in the darkness of the future.
The USG's EPA maintains a "national priority list" of "Superfund" sites contaiminated in a wide variety of ways and presenting a numerous hazards. Back in the 1990s when environmental discussions covered several topics instead of a singular focus on carbon, several example sites on the list dominated the coverage, which was spun as a problem of emergent from private activity. On the contrary, the bulk of superfund sites are listed for consequences of USG activity. Let us consider four of the loudest examples:
- Love Canal - the City of Niagra Falls New York took control of a failed reseidential development that included a canal and proceeded to use the canal as a dump site. Eventually Hooker Chemical company receives authorization to landfill their waste in the canal in 1942. They buy properties buffering the waste disposal site and eventually become the sole user of the site in 1948. In 1952 Hooker capped the landfill with a clay seal. The local school district approached Hooker seeking to buy the site. Hooker turned the site over for a single dollar in 1953 with a recommendation the site only be used for purposes not requiring underground facilities and the following text in the sale agreement:
Prior to the delivery of this instrument of conveyance, the grantee herein has been advised by the grantor that the premises above described have been filled, in whole or in part, to the present grade level thereof with waste products resulting from the manufacturing of chemicals by the grantor at its plant in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, and the grantee assumes all risk and liability incident to the use thereof. It is therefore understood and agreed that, as a part of the consideration for this conveyance and as a condition thereof, no claim, suit, action or demand of any nature whatsoever shall ever be made by the grantee, its successors or assigns, against the grantor, its successors or assigns, for injury to a person or persons, including death resulting therefrom, or loss of or damage to property caused by, in connection with or by reason of the presence of said industrial wastes. It is further agreed as a condition hereof that each subsequent conveyance of the aforesaid lands shall be made subject to the foregoing provisions and conditions.
What happened? After taking posession of the dump site the derps began excavating. The first documented violation of the clay seal came in January 1954 with derps digging the basement for an intended school making it down to waste storage drums. The school's final chosen location was a mere 25 meters away. In 1957 the school district sold more land from the disposal site to the local housing authority. An representative from Hooker showed up and once again repeated this the site was not suitable for anything requiring underground facilities. The seal would be repeatedly be breached to run sewer and water lines as well as to steal clay from the seal to use as fill dirt elsewhere. No one could have predicted the ensuing disaster. Occidental Petroleum which acquired Hooker in 1968 was found negligent but not reckless at trial for having sold the property to retards. The retards were indemnified per USG tradition.
- Times Beach - NEPACCO found itself producing substantial amounts of thick oily dioxin residues in a facility that produced military herbicides for the USG's failed attempt at regime selection in Vietnam. For some time NEPACCO had been responsibly, but very expensively sending the dioxin wastes to an incinerator for destruction. Looking for less expensive ways to dispose of the dioxins NEPACCO through a, possibly fictitious, intermediary found waste oil dealer and retard Russell Martin Bliss willing to dispose of the waste for a mere 125 USD per load. Bliss proceeded to mix the dioxin containing wastes with used crankcase oil he sold to refiners throughout the Midwest.
What got attention however was Bliss's "one weird trick" to make your dirt less dusty. He sprayed waste oil on his own farm and horse arena's dirt to keep the dust down. Some folks noticing what he did to his property proceeded to hire him to oil their dirt roads and enclosed horse arenas. When spraying other people's properties Bliss used oil expaned through the addition of the dioxin containing wastes. In May 1971 he did this the first time leading to the deaths of 62 horses over the next several months until a substantial depth of containated soil was removed from the area. His customers and their two young daughters suffered profound illness as well. A month later he sprayed arenas at two more stables killing still more horses while children visiting these sites suffered chloracne. Unfortunately this was a hundred years to late for the aggieved Missourians to get their rope and hang Bliss from a tree until dead. Instead everyone wanked around with a USG CDC investigation.
One year later the settlement of Times Beach, too poor to have paved roads, hired Bliss to do his one weird trick on their 23 linear miles of dirt roads. Not being enclosed as the horse arenas were, nobody in Times Beach was aware what happened until the EPA published a report in 1982 on Bliss's business in their town a full decade later. In the media panic which followed the Feds did a forced buyout of Times Beach, built an incinerator, and made a lot of noise on this low hanging fruit of the superfund list. The place is a park now. Mission accomplished in 1997 at a cost of 200 million USD.
- Valley Of The Drums - Some fellow, likely the property owner A.L. Taylor with a tract of valley land in Kentucky got into the hazardous waste disposal business. He kept sealed drums above ground and exposed to the weather. There were leaks with runoff and a fire in 1966. In spite of awareness of the dump after the 1966 and numerous nuissance complaints neither Kentucky government investigated the site until 1978. A.L. Taylor died in 1977. As recently as 2008 more barrels were found near the "remedied" site. Mostly notable for the open air collection of barrels being very photogenic.
- The Hanford Site - Located along the scenic Colombia river the US Military and US Department of Energy have used the site to do a variety of nuclear things, sloppily. Reactor cooling released several terabecquerels of radioisotopes into the river daily. Per the USG's own 2014 estimates they were spending 3 to 4 billion USD annually on site cleanup and suspected total cleanup of the site would end up costing ~120 billion USD for 2014 values of USD. The figure doesn't include incident specific costs incurred addressing leaks, tunnel collapses, and other ongoing issues complicating the site.
Many USG Department of Energy sites have Hanford like problems on a smaller scale. Many US military installations have listed or listable yet undisclosed dumping ground. Nevada, home to the Groom Lake/Area 51 site notably only has three listed superfund sites. All three of Nevada's listed sites are mining related. The lack of listed USG sites in Nevada draws suspicion when large swatches of Nevada are used for munitions testing including 928 nuclear payloads.
Chinese owned Legendary Media recently put out a new Godzilla flick with a big Hollywood budget and assembled under Toho supervision. The film is being, like many other films these past few years, suffering a divide between negative reviews from Anglophone critics and glowing reviews from lay viewers. Of course we live in a time where through mass market rent seeking, Disney has built a change sucking vaccum that manages to bathe in favorable "professional" reviews while putting out finished products with declining visual quality1 including computer generated animations sequences that bear little resemblance to "live action" as the term could be understood.
I took the Peruana to see the first 3D showing in the country yesterday. There were ~9 heads total in the auditorium though in fairness a 17:00 Thursday afternoon showing isn't going to draw a crowd here. To get to the verdict on the film, there's some context to wade through first.
Godzilla Final Wars - 2004
The last of the actor in suit films, this is the product of decades of very typically Japanese making the product more extreme than its predecessors in every dimension at the same time. The humans are in an indeterminate future where Japan is very incredibly important, dominating the world government and fielding airship/submarine/drill captained by a token Gringo Captain Coolie. The world government ends up being a reptillian plot which the Japanese and their Gringo Captain Coolie must save the world from through submission to Godzilla.
While the majority of the spoken language is Japanese, there are substantial stretches of conversation in English. None of the English is subtitled, either the Japanese viewer has languages, plural or shame.
The humans, human looking reptillians and their subplot with human/reptilian hybrid slaves and Keisers serve to frame the giant monster fights, of which there are many. Creature effects are done the honest, old fashioned way with 120 pound actors putting on 200 pound foam suits of armor and taking their lives into the rest of the crew's hands.
One endearing thread in the films is the very overt, Patriotic influence which pervades the film. The shortest kaiju clash in the film is 90's American Godzilla being summarily executed by honest Japanese Godzilla via the Sydney Opera House. Every Gringo other than Don Frye's Captain Coolie is an idiot.
Despite the ridiculousness of the Human element the film can be enjoyed as the pinnacle of an art that involves putting actors in costumes several times their own weight. Had it come out in 1984 rather than 2004 it could have been an international blockbuster.
Shin Godzilla - 2016
After Final Wars flopped at the box office, it took Toho 14 years to get the balls to put out another live action Godzilla film. Except Godzilla himself is no longer live action, instead being replaced by photorealistic2 computer animation. With Godzilla doing the kaiju bit solo, this film is all human drama. Godzilla's plot is limited to making landfall as a sort of larval Godzilla with gills, learning to breath air, and sprouting arms.
Shin Godzilla is a study in bureaucracy and its ineptness. Japan, that most super of world superpowers in Final Wars has been demoted to a sort of Asian Uruguay and given an ultimatum by the evil Yankees and still more evil UN to do something about Godzilla or get nuked. The Japanese Self Defense Force and US Military using hardware that exists in the real world manage to embarrass themselves being defeated in the field. Japan is saved from nuclear attack when Godzilla gets tired and takes a nap out in the open where the Japanese manage to freeze him in situ. The film ends with Japan facing an ultimatum to make sure Godzilla stays frozen or the nukes will fly.
The obsessive look at bureaucracy makes this film a slog but it remains far more watchable than any of the recent Marvel Presents Disney Space War Princess flicks.
Godzilla King of Monsters
The film most recently viewed, and the only one viewed on the big screen. Once again the human drama is back to framing and provoking the kaiju fights. The villain is an obnoxious old woman who became estranged from the father of her children after their son was collateral damage in an earlier Kaiju incident.3 She copes with her loss by working on a MacGuffin that can engage in a sort of rough communication with Kaiju. In Spanish the equivalent would be a sound board offering three inflections of "todo bien" along with "concha de la lora", "chupa mi culo", "ñeri", and "una moneda para comer algo".4 The MacGuffin this flick is less magic device and more generic device that happens to be the only one that holds a recording that reassuringly says "todo bien" in Kaiju.
The old hag field tests the boom box on a larval Mothra, and as soon as she achieves success her ecoterrorist buddies storm in and kill everyone but her and her surviving biogoop. That she was one of the eco terrorists is left less than credibly ambiguous to the camera until she broadcast a speech laying out the ecoterrorist agenda around the flick's midpoint. Nevermind that she woke up King Ghidora before the reveal while she was stuck between her buddies and her ex-husband in a mundane firearms standoff. All but the most broken risk/reward evaluators in that situation would favor letting the bullets fly and any number of gunfight deaths are favorable to waking up King Ghidora.
The sad anti-social truth the "professional" critics won't take is that old woman logic demands waking up King Ghidora. No, the unbelievable part of the film involving humans is the unjustified leap in technology. The film establishes itself as a sequel to a 2014 film that didn't feature any pronounced vehicles without IRL counterparts and only takes place five years in the future. In those five years the film's producers suppose not only will the V-22 tiltrotor aircraft become the preferred method for shuttling VIPs, they can have their own flying submarine/aircraft carrier without conceding to an indefinite leap into the future as Final Wars did. When the US struggles to bring a new aircraft of a familiar type into functional condition after two decades, bringing an unfamiliar and more complex type up in five boggles the running evaluator.
Every scene with Kaiju in this film is strictly excellent cinematgraphy. There is lots of excellent photorealistic giant monster on giant monster violence. Unlike recent Disney productions5 nothing that made it to the big screen was half baked. Godzilla is terrifyingly brutal and ancient. The three headed alien yet Asian dragon King Ghidora is an awe inspiring fount of terror. Mothra is the most nighmarishly benevolent giant insect that won't plague your children's nightmares because King Ghidora and a wonderful flying lava dinosaur Rodan will be happy to take that job.
While not a contender for the best film in history,6 this is a solid contender for the best application of computer generated animation in history, and it is unlikely to be beaten anytime soon. There is one particularly spectacular sequence which zooms out on the spectacularly awful Ghidora which lit a portion of the brain invoking feelings of reverance. The actual points to nitpick the movie with went unmentioned by the "professional" critics while everything else beats its contemporaries despite the objections of the "pros" to their shame. With a ticket to see the 3D print going for the same price as a kilogram of entrecot, it was worth the price of admission for the spectacle.7 The hardware in Huawei's flagship humilates Apple's flagship and so it seems Legendary's flagship has humiliated the last several Disney flagships for merely having been edited.8
- By this I do not mean the effects age poorly. I mean the effects in newer films stand out as more jarringly sloppy than in earlier films. [↩]
- In this area Toho succeeded where Disney increasingly fails. [↩]
- Godzilla did some pest control killing some nuclear dung beetles before they could nest [↩]
- In English the limited options could be represented as "we cool?" (inquisitive), "we cool" (reassuring), "fuck this", "suck my ass", "my friend" (as said to a stranger), and a generic provocation along the lines of "you got the time". [↩]
- Including critically lauded Black Panther where the apex fight scene could have been lifted from a Playstation 2 fighting game. [↩]
- Or even of the past year [↩]
- Walking back the Peruana asked if the mom died. It seemed ambiguous so the natural answer was "Espero que sí" and this met with joyful laughter. [↩]
- note: Japan went from superpower in their own minds to being this mere footnote in the review. Sure there were Japanese actors in the film, but Japan? WHy would Godzilla need Japan. All Godzilla wants is your submission. [↩]