September 16th, 2014

Posted by Maya

Readers, I am forced to humbly apologize to the Senate Republicans. Just this morning, I blamed them for, yet again, blocking legislation to address pay discrimination. But it turns out they might be on to something. According to latest data from the Census Bureau, even without the help of the Paycheck Fairness Act, the gender pay gap narrowed last year from 77 cents to the dollar to…drumroll please!…78 cents!

paygap

I know. Game-changer, right? I mean, sure, it may not be statistically significant, and yes, progress in closing the gender wage gap has been stalled for about a decade now. But hey! Last year the gap actually widened, so I think this calls for a celebration! Drinks all around. We’ll pick up the tab–78 percent of it at least.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

posted by [syndicated profile] boingboing_newfeed_feed at 04:42pm on 2014-09-16

Posted by David Pescovitz

TiVo-Mega-660x556
Available early next year, the TiVo Mega has 2TB of hot swappable RAID storage, 6 tuners, includes a lifetime TiVo subscription, and costs $5,000. Load it with years of shows you'll never watch!
spfestmod: (Road Not Taken Mod)

Posted by ambulancedriverfiles

In this week’s episode of Inside EMS, co-host Chris Cebollero and I discuss the difficulty San Francisco FD is having meeting EMS response time standards. The FD crunched the numbers, said they needed 42 more paramedics, and the city gave them only 16. Unsurprisingly, they’re still having difficulty making their response time standards, and now ...
spfestmod: (Road Not Taken Mod)
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posted by [personal profile] giandujakiss at 12:52pm on 2014-09-16 under
while listening to the Little Shop of Horrors soundtrack.

Good to know.
brainwane: A silhouette of a woman in a billowing trenchcoat, leaning against a pole (shadow)
posted by [personal profile] brainwane at 12:47pm on 2014-09-16
My ex (whom I broke up with in May 2001) is now a senior director of engineering at an SF startup; whoa. More path-crossingly, he participated on a GNOME mailing list in 2010, at the same time that I was in that community, and I didn't realize. We basically haven't talked since the early 2000s so my impression of him is stuck then -- is that he's a LARPing, Mac-using, LiveJournaling guy in his early twenties who wants to study martial arts in China. I have way more of a public web presence than he does, so if he wanted to he could have gradually changed his impression of me as I changed.

(I'm not on Facebook so I look up people from my past occasionally, e.g., today when I made a joke about physics majors, and am always surprised.)

I wonder whether a guy like 2014 him would get along with a person like 2014 me, now, if we met fresh. It's not out of the question that we'll run into each other someday professionally.

I suppose deciding to leave Wikimedia is making me think about breakups more generally, and about the closing off of possibilities. I won't know WMF's textures as closely after I leave it behind. They have a future without me and I won't even know about the internal arguments, much less take part in them. It's a strange thing, a parting -- not that it is unusual, but that it estranges you from a part of yourself.
posted by [syndicated profile] boingboing_newfeed_feed at 04:36pm on 2014-09-16

Posted by Rob Beschizza

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Described by USA Today as "something like an employee manual," the U.S. Senate Handbook is just full of craziness.

The architect of the Capitol can provide a compact refrigerator for a senator's office and a piano for events. And "each Senator receives annual paper allowances for blank paper, letterhead paper and envelopes" based on population with a formula of "one and one-third sheets of blank paper per adult constituent." Thus the Illinois senators each receive 11,605,333 sheets of blank paper; the West Virginia senators receive only 1,874,667.

Congressional watchdogs say it's imperative that the Senate handbook be made public.

The Washington Post enumerates 20 of the nuttier rules found in the document.

5. You can borrow a piano for office functions.

6. If you want to put a U.S. flag or your state flag outside your office, the Senate Stationary Office can get those for you. But you have to bring the flags into your office every night.

...

11. "Senators are allotted a total of 50 picture frames" every year. This number includes a maximum of 20 gold picture frames.

Posted by Rob Beschizza

A 65-year-old woman died yesterday after jumping into a lake at a Bangkok zoo containing hundreds of adult crocodiles, reports the BBC: "Thai tourist attractions are said to often have lax safety rules."

According to reports, she took off her shoes before jumping into the middle of a pond said to be up to 3m deep that contained hundreds of adult crocodiles.

Staff tried to use long sticks to stop the crocodiles from attacking her, according to the Bangkok Post.

Earlier that day, Ms Wanpen's family had tried to file a missing persons report after they discovered her disappearance, but they were reportedly told to wait for 24 hours.

Posted by Xeni Jardin

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Fanciful and funky sculptural works in cardboard by Bartek Elsner, a designer and art director based in Berlin. The street art is particularly bold! Here's his “paper blog.”

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Posted by Rob Beschizza



Explore and shoot in the infra-red near-darkness of apocalyptic ruins filled with ancient monsters; the surprisingly terrifying GIF above says everything about this 2D, top-down action RPG. There's no demo, but it's very nearly reached its Kickstarter goal--I'll be right on top of it when it comes out next summer.

Posted by Rob Beschizza

Personal Audio LLC owns patents related to podcasting—"episodic content transmitted over the internet"—and a jury in Marshall, Texas has let CBS know it.

Personal Audio is a holding company, cobbled together from the patents that were left after a failed startup that Jim Logan founded in 1996. The company became one of the poster children for problematic patents when it claimed that its patent number 8,112,504 was infringed by podcasters, including comedian Adam Carolla. Instead of settling quickly, though, Carolla fought back hard before settling last month.

Adam Carolla is another podcaster sued by these guys; he settled for up to $500,000 last month. Trials will now move forward against NBC, Fox, and other deep-pocketed companies who host HTML files that allow episodic content to be transmitted over the internet, that being the technology patented by Personal Audio LLC.

posted by [syndicated profile] boingboing_newfeed_feed at 04:14pm on 2014-09-16

Posted by David Pescovitz

Kelly Sparks (fashion director at Joyus, wife of me) points us to a fantastic series of Vines showcasing the Vogue editors' favorite looks from New York Fashion Week, including this incredible clip of a technicolor dress from the Thom Browne Spring 2015 collection.

Posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates

It's been two year since I parted ways with the NFL and opened up my Sundays to other things. At the time I thought of it as a "personal boycott." In other words, you don't stop watching pro football with the intent of igniting a movement, or of affecting one wit of change in the NFL. You do it so you can sleep at night, so that preserve your own morality. I left to keep my side of the street clean in the particular way that I like.

I regret losing a common language and a common culture. The NFL allowed for a bridge to other people with whom I had virtually nothing else in common. (Indeed it is interesting that my French studies began in earnest around the same time I stopped watching football.) But everything I've seen since has served to confirm the suspicions that led me to stop watching.

I still follow the news around the game, the way one might follow the doings an ex-spouse. (Oh, Tony Romo. Danny White will always love you.) A few weeks ago I saw that John Abraham was retiring because he had been suffering from "severe memory loss" for over a year. It now appears that Abraham will return to the team:

Abraham, who suffered a concussion in Week 1 against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football, left the team last Tuesday. He saw a neurologist Monday, which is one of the last stages of the NFL's concussion protocol, Arians said. If Abraham is cleared to play, the NFL's active sack leader could be back in the starting lineup Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Arians said Abraham, who suffered his first reported concussion, had been texting him for the last three days. About 30 minutes before Arians met with the media Monday afternoon, Abraham told his coach he could announce his return.

It's very hard for me to imagine myself watching a game in which John Abraham was playing, and I can't help but wonder how Abraham’s coaches and teammates feel. If Abraham is already suffering severe memory loss, there is no scenario in which football improves his prognosis.  What will John Abraham be in 10 years?

The crisis around head injuries—or rather the NFL's nonchalance about head injury—forced me out of the game. But since I've been gone sensitive about the body in ways that I wasn't before. Only now has it begun to occur to me that a torn ACL is not merely an abstract that will keep my favorite player off of the field, but a part of the human body that has been damaged. That damage will likely haunt that particular human body long past its playing days.

Part of this my own mix spirituality and atheism. I generally think of the ghost not in the machine, but as the machine. My body is me, and while my brain is particularly important, when I dislocate an ankle I have injured part of myself. Anyone who is being honest about football knows that injuring people is part of the game. This film of Deacon Jones has always been a favorite of mine, for both its eloquence ("My lateral movements along with my initial speed was just fantastic.") and candor:

You got this 260 pounds up to 4.5 and you got an angle on him, he should go to the hospital, and that's exactly what I tried to do. No remorse in my heart, I tried to put him in the hospital every time I tackled. I wanted to hit and put my back into it, you know, Boom! That's gonna provide that shot that's gonna put the intimidating fear of God into that running back. Let him know and make him go back to that huddle and say to that quarterback. "Dammit, I'm not running in Deacon Jones' area anymore." So each time he came over there, I tried to tear his damn head off.

Players don't talk like this today. But I can remember cheering when seeing an opposing quarterback writing on the ground. And we now know from brain science that the "small hits" that accumulate to cause CTE are in fact injuries. The philosophy that undergirds John Abraham's return to the field is a kind of mysticism that does not quite regard the brain as an organic part of the body. A man who is suffering from "severe memory loss" as a result of playing football, and then goes out to play again, is playing injured. But he is not playing "injured" in a way that will keep him from attempting to injure other players. And maybe that's the point.

Somehow in my time away, I missed that they've exhumed the body of Jovan Belcher—the pro football player who murdered his girlfriend and then himself. They are looking for signs of brain injury. In college, Belcher was a member of a group called Male Athletes Against Violence. Noted neuropathologist Bennet Omalu, who is doing the tests, said he'd bet "one month's salary" that Belcher had CTE.

This article was originally published at http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/09/boycotting-the-nfl-pro-football-and-the-sanctity-of-the-body/380275/








posted by [personal profile] herooftheage at 12:19pm on 2014-09-16 under
So I was in a poker hand with KQs. Three people limped in, the cutoff raised it to 10, I reraised to 30, everyone folded except the cutoff, who called. Flop was JT7 of my suit. The cutoff checked, I bet 45, the cutoff raised all-in, and I called. He flipped over JJ, and was sad when the board didn't pair.

After the hand, he sort of melted down a bit, and scoffed at my re-raise, and said he'd given me more credit than that. I didn't bother to defend my reraise.

The thing is, my opponent thought I had an overpair because players at my level play too predictably. While I would normally just call with KQs, occasionally I reraise with it, and my randomizer device told me this was the occasion, and it worked out. I get that the guy was upset that rather than being a 12-1 favorite to win the hand, he was a 2-1 dog, but really, if someone did this to me, I'd classify it as a good play, not a poor one, presuming he doesn't do it all the time. The point is to balance the different lines out so your opponents can't be sure of what you've got.

Posted by Cory Doctorow

Todd from We the Builders writes, "100 people worldwide 3D printed pieces for this three foot tall sculpture of the Houdon bust of Benjamin Franklin.; all 200 pieces were mailed to Baltimore where they were assembled at the Baltimore Node Hackerspace."

I wrote about We the Builders in August -- great to see them finish up old Ben Franklinstein! He'll be on display at World Maker Faire in NYC this weekend.

Ben Franklinstein is done! Give yourselves a hand.

(Thanks, Todd!)

Posted by Rob Beschizza

Coshocton, Ohio, has about 11,000 residents, a church, and a strip club. Dueling protests are apparently a weekly event, and local law enforcement has had enough of policing them: "The protests are becoming more personal and more problematic, so we felt the need to plead with both sides to at least stop for a while."

Posted by John Scalzi

And here it is:

Yes, I have three TV shows in development at the moment, which is very cool and wonderful for me and which means I’m having a totally giggly moment over here.

BUT:

Hey, remember that there was supposed to be an Old Man’s War movie? That was optioned for five years and never made it to the big screen. Same thing could happen with Old Man’s War, the TV series. Or Redshirts, the TV series. Or Lock In, the TV series. Lots of things are optioned and put into development, rather somewhat fewer of them get the greenlight to go to screen. Even shows that get greenlit can be pulled before they air. And then once a show gets on the air, it may not survive past the first season, or even the first few episodes. In film and television, nothing is ever assured.

So, it’s possible that everything I have in development makes it to series. On each of these potential series, I’m working with super smart people, all of whom have sold things in film and TV before, and each of whom has been successful in LA in a way I find tremendously encouraging — it’s why I decided to let them adapt what I’m writing. But is it probable that everything I have in development makes it onto the screen? Well. We will see. It is a long journey, full of detours, potholes and opportunities to run off the road and over a cliff. Not just for me but for anyone.

This is just my way of reminding everyone that the very good news I got for Lock In is the start of a process, not an assurance of a series and success. The same goes for OMW and Redshirts. Everyone involved, including me, are working hard to make it happen. And at the very least I personally am having a fair amount of fun as it goes along.

I’m enjoying the moment — I really am. But I’m aware it is a moment. Now the real work begins. Maybe we’ll get to screen and maybe we won’t. But just like I’m enjoying the moment now, I’m going to try to enjoy the journey, too, wherever it leads. No matter what, the books exist, and that will never change.

So let’s see what happens next.

(comments open for a couple of days)


cereta: Penelope Garcia (Garcia)

Posted by Katie

domestic-violence1People are justifiably outraged by Ray Rice’s treatment of his then-fiancee Janay Palmer. But what’s even scarier is that one out of five men admit that they’ve committed domestic violence against a partner or spouse. A new nationally-representative study by the University of Michigan asked 500 men the following question:

 Over the course of your relationship, how often have you ever done any of these things (pushed, grabbed, or shoved; threw something; slapped or hit; kicked, bit, or hit with a fist; beat up; choked; burned or scalded; threatened with a knife or gun) to your current spouse/partner?

Nineteen percent, or one out of five men, admitted to doing so at least once. And, of course, these were just the men who were willing to report it to the researchers, which means that the phenomenon is likely ever more common. The lead author of the study, Vijay Singh, explains, “If men could enter responses in a private way, (the percentage) could have been even higher.” The rate would also go up if it included other kinds of abuse: “It did not ask about emotional abuse. It did not ask about sexual abuse,” Singh said.

But even one out of five is unacceptably high. To put it in perspective, domestic violence is more common than diabetes.

As Singh points out, this study shatters the idea that domestic violence is committed by easily identifiable and publicly violent “other people.”

When people think of men who abuse their partners, they often think of violent people who they have never come across, or people they have only heard about in the news… However, our study showed one out of every five men in the U.S. reported physical violence toward an intimate partner. It’s likely that we’ve all met these men in our daily environment. This is an issue that cuts across all communities, regardless of race, income, or any other demographics.

So, as we think about Ray Rice, let’s remember domestic violence isn’t rare. It’s an epidemic. The only difference with Ray Rice is that we saw the video.

Related:
The Language of Possession
Quote of the Day: James Brown on toxic masculinity
How to know that you hate women

AvatarKatie Halper is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker. 

Posted by Rob Beschizza

Longsword fencing is a popular new event, a rigorous and fast-moving blend of reconstructed medieval martial arts and modern sporting standards.

Posted by Rob Beschizza

cm1

Panasonic's CM1 weds a 1-inch camera sensor (as found in high-end point-and-shoots like the Sony RX100 and Canon's just-announced G7X) with a smartphone running Android 4.4.

It has a fixed f/2.8 Leica lens, a mechanical shutter and a control ring, reports The Verge's Vlad Savov, and at 21mm thick, is clearly intended as a camera-with-a-phone rather than a phone-with-a-camera. It'll be 900 Euro, with no plans yet to release in the U.S.

Also announced by Panasonic was the LX100, a small camera with an even larger Micro Four Thirds sensor. It's fixed-lens, though, and conspicuously bigger and heavier other high-end point-and-shoots (and even Panasonic's GM1, a highly-rated MFT compact with interchangeable lenses), so it perhaps compares more to pro compacts such as the RX1 and Fuji's X series. It has a sub-$1000 price tag, though, and 4K video.

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Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

“Advocates might want to try different language (or a different approach) in their campaign to reform the criminal justice system,” writes Jamelle Bouie for Slate. She drew her conclusion after summarizing a new pair of studies, by psychologists Rebecca Hetey and Jennifer Eberhardt, looking at the relationship between being “tough on crime” and the association of criminality with blackness.

In the first study, 62 White men and women were interrupted as they got off a commuter train and invited to chat about the three strikes law in California. Before being presented with an anti-three strikes petition, they were shown a video that flashed 80 mugshots. In one condition, 25% of the photos were of black people and, in another, 45% of the photos were.

Among the subjects in the first “less black” condition, more than half signed the petition to make the law less strict, but only 28% in the “more black” condition signed it.

2

A second study in New York City about the stop-and-frisk policy had a similar finding:

3

The results suggest that white Americans are more comfortable with punitive and harsh policing and sentencing when they imagine that the people being policed and put in prison are black. The second study suggested that this was mediated by fear; the idea of black criminals inspires higher anxiety than that of white criminals, pressing white people to want stronger law enforcement.

So, as Bouie concluded, when prison reformers and anti-racists point out the incredible and disproportionate harm these policies do to black Americans, it may have the opposite of its intended effect. Hetey and Eberhardt conclude:

Many legal advocates and social activists assume that bombarding the public with images and statistics documenting the plight of minorities will motivate people to fight inequality. Our results call this assumption into question. We demonstrated that exposure to extreme racial disparities may make the public less, not more, responsive to attempts to lessen the severity of policies that help maintain those disparities.

“Institutional disparities,” they add, “can be self-perpetuating.” Our history of unfairly targeting and punishing black men more than others now convinces white Americans that we must continue to do so.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Nicked from nwhyte

These days, everyone is talking about the Scottish Independence Referendum, especially when they’re not talking about ISIS. But sadly nobody has managed so far to explain this complicated topic in an easy to understand manner. So we commissioned a panel of Western Middle East experts and asked them to apply their unique approach to the subject with their customary disregard for cumbersome nuance and the stifling requirements of accuracy. The result is this fascinating article. - See more at: http://www.karlremarks.com/2014/09/we-give-scottish-independence.html#sthash.JIvxOJgH.dpuf
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)

Posted by Terence P Ward

Whether it’s spelled Voodoo, Vodou, or Voudoun, this frequently-misunderstood religion of the African diaspora is starting to get a makeover in the American consciousness. A traditionally secretive religion, Vodou has long been represented in movies and television shows as being focused on sticking pins in dolls and making people into zombie slaves. That image is starting to change, however, in ways that could make members of the Pagan community sit up and take notice.

In contrast to the Hollywood vision of Vodou, an exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago seeks to present an accurate picture of Haitian Vodou through its artifacts. According to a press release about the exhibition, “Vodou: Sacred Powers of Haiti looks beyond myths and manufactured Hollywood images – exhibition visitors will see no dolls with pins

© Canadian Museum of History, Frank Wimart

© Canadian Museum of History, Frank Wimart

stuck into them. Instead, the exhibition explores the underground history and true nature of a living religion and reveals Vodou as a vital spiritual and social force which remains an important part of daily life in Haiti.” Text and video of members of the religion are used to explain the symbolism behind, and uses of, the more than 300 objects, many of which are on loan from the Marianne Lehmann Collection in Pétionville, Haiti.

Patrons of the Field Museum will come away with some understanding of Haitian Vodou, one of the major branches practiced in the United States today. The other is Louisiana or New Orleans Voodoo, a tradition which evolved in that southern city thanks in part to the fact that slave families were more likely to be kept together than they were in the East. Followers of the two paths kept mostly to themselves in the city, according to a profile of the religion in Newsweek, although initiation into both wasn’t entirely unknown. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina changed all that; many Vodou practitioners lived in the Ninth Ward, which bore the brunt of the damage when the levies broke:

“After Katrina, the remaining members began to forge a new, cross-faith community. The mixed ceremonies and social gatherings served a support network for participants from both sides of voodoo as they rebuilt their lives. “We became more close-knit. Those of us who stayed and didn’t evacuate opened what lines of communication had been closed,” says Michael “Belfazaar” Bousum, an employee of Voodoo Authentica and a priest of New Orleans voodoo.

“The new scene has also encouraged members of the ancient religion to create a web presence —- forums such as “Vodou, Voodou, Vodoun, Vodun” on Facebook and “A Real Voodoo Club” on Yahoo Groups are popular —- as well as welcoming outsiders to their events for the first time. “Before, you really would have had to know who a mambo or a houngan was to participate in a public or private ceremony. You would have to be in the inner circle. Now it’s accessible with a few keystrokes,” says Parmelee. “Plus, people who left are returning. The community is definitely coming back.””

New Orleans Healing Center

New Orleans Healing Center

The most impressive demonstration of this new face of Vodou is surely the New Orleans Healing Center, a 55,000-square-foot complex which has become a focal point for the religion since it opened in 2011. The center hosts public ceremonies, a bustling shop, and has gone a long way towards normalizing perceptions of this religion in New Orleans. It cost a reported $13 million to build, including both public and private funds, and represents the type of infrastructure many Pagans yearn for, and others shun.

There are many reasons why such an massive project was possible in the Vodou community, while similar ideas remain dreams for Pagans. For one, while there are different schools of thought, Vodou is not an “umbrella” of often unrelated faiths, as Paganism is. For another, Paganism is wrestling with questions of money that Vodou has mostly put to rest.

Lilith Dorsey

Lilith Dorsey

“Gardner said not to charge for spiritual services,” explained Lilith Dorsey, who writes the blog Voodoo Universe, but “Marie Laveau was the first to charge for services.” She was referring to Gerald Gardner, whose contributions to Wicca in the 1950s set the tone for many conversations in the Pagan community today, and 19th-century Vodou priestess Laveau, whose impact on New Orleans Voodoo was equally seminal. “Some people may have no other way of making a living,” she said, “they might be uneducated, or crazy, or this is just the only skill they have.” Instead of having a cultural bias against accepting money, in Vodou it’s expected.

One of the interesting details about this mainstreaming of Vodou is the monotheistic bent it’s taking. The Newsweek article is quite clear on that point, saying that both New Orleans and Haitian Vodou “are monotheistic (the highest god is Bondyè, the “good lord”), are mostly oral- instead of text-based and celebrate thousands of cosmic and natural spirits (akin to Catholicism’s saints).” Since Dorsey writes about Vodou for a Pagan site, The Wild Hunt asked her if Vodou is a monotheistic religion.

“That’s a sticky question,” Dorsey replied. “It’s more acceptable to be monotheistic in this culture. I approach it anthropologically: if you offer to it, it’s a god or goddess. I consider lwa and oreshas to be gods. In the Catholic Church they call them saints, but they function like gods.” However they function, though, in her experience, “People don’t want to have a lot of gods.”

Dorsey, who maintains connections to the Vodou communities in New Orleans and New York City, also said that not everyone is happy with the public face of Vodou that is emerging. “Will it be good? I can’t say. On one hand, the more neighbors you have who practice Voodoo the more okay it seems. I have neighbors who are okay with Voodoo but not with ‘evil Santeria.’ On the other hand, public ceremonies mean cameras, and there are things one should not be taking pictures of. “That’s hard for the average person to determine. I do a class on ritual blessings for camera, and once you start talking about photography, that’s another whole level.”

Art museums and shiny new healing centers are signs that the face of Vodou is changing fast. Dorsey said that, like water, it will find its own level. When it does, it could be possible to draw some conclusions about how Pagan religions may change as they become more normalized, for good or ill.

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camwyn: (Canada)
posted by [personal profile] camwyn at 10:30am on 2014-09-16
... Etsy? Why do you seem to think I'm in Canada?

Seriously, I'm signed in and you have my snail address and my IP address shows me as being in Massachusetts, so why do all the prices show up in Canadian dollars?

Is the Great Maple Spirit after me again?

ETA: I checked my account settings; not only did it show 'Region' as being Canada and all my prices in Canadian dollars, but my language of choice was marked 'English (UK)'. Bzuh.
kass: Geoffrey facepalms (geoffrey)
posted by [personal profile] kass at 10:21am on 2014-09-16 under ,
I am so done with this cold. Unfortunately the cold is not done with me. :P

I am grateful for hot tea and for an ample supply of tissues. (Also for this giant jar of cashews, almonds, and dried cranberries, which are appealing protein-rich snacks at times when nothing else sounds good.)

Work is somewhat overwhelming at this juncture. I feel as though I'm trying to run at double my usual clockspeed to get everything done, except the cold has slowed me down. Too fast and too slow all at once.

Moar tea. Stat.

Posted by Maya

3079998.largeSurprise! For the 4th time since 2012, Senate Republicans have blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The GOP, of course, claims that it’s not that they’re against equal pay for women. It’s just that–well, to be honest, it’s not entirely clear how they finish the end of that sentence. Some argue that the Paycheck Fairness Act–which would prevent pay secrecy and increase penalties for discrimination–just isn’t the best way to ensure pay equity, but remain decidedly vague on what, precisely, they would propose instead. Mostly, though, they take the route of denying that the gender pay gap is really a problem at all. On this year’s Equal Pay Day, the GOP strategy seemed to be to dismiss the pay gap as “nonsense” and “a bogus issue” and call people who worry about pay inequity liars. (For some real facts, go here.) 

The Senate’s vote yesterday was entirely expected, of course. The GOP says the only reason Democrats brought it up for a vote again, when they know it won’t pass, is for political gain going into the mid-terms. And as Irin Carmon notes, “The only surprise was that they gave Democrats the political fodder of allowing another vote to proceed on the bill — and that the GOP did so in a midterm election year when women voters are one major key to obtaining and retaining control of the Senate and House.” Politico suggests that the GOP’s move was just a cynical attempt ”to eat up Senate floor time and disrupt planned votes on raising the minimum wage and responding to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby contraception decision.” Cool, guys, thanks for the reminder that you treat legislation that profoundly affects people’s lives as nothing but political chips! Given that Congressional Republicans seem to have forgotten that they were elected to actually pass legislation, forcing votes for political fodder seems to be the only move Democrats have left to play.

So as the mid-terms come up, let’s all remember that Senate Republicans don’t believe in equal pay protections, a fair minimum wage, or birth control coverage.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 10:11am on 2014-09-16
Happy birthday, [personal profile] copperwise and [personal profile] noveldevice!
falena: Alan Rickman: Looking very annoyed. Caption: No Bloody fangirls! (omg fangirls!)
How come no one has told me of any of these things?

1) Tom Hiddleston sang at some festival in the US. [livejournal.com profile] silviarambles, I'm looking at you. Yes, the music choice leaves a lot to be desired (country, so not my thing), but Hiddleston with a guitar proved a bit of a test for my already-tried reproductive sytem. <3

2) Alan Rickman is in a new period drama with Kate Winslet!!!!. I'm having Sense& Sensibility flashbacks, and it's a positive thing. Alan Rickman in a costume. And Kate Winslet is just such an ace actress and one of the few non-rake-thin actresses in Hollywood.


3) There's a new period drama on ITV airing next month with Andrew Buchan!!! It's about the Great Fire of London, huh. I don't have high expectations but I'm easy for costume dramas and I've had a thing for Andrew Buchan ever since The Fixer (a sadly under-appreciated show). I'd got used to him in period garb with Garrow's Law and now he's back. I feel spoilt.

Bonus hot!Brit link: Short interview with Rupert Graves (Lestrade off Sherlock) . Something about this man really does a number on my hormones. I fancy a lot of British actors, it's no news, but Rupert Graves triggers a peculiar animal reaction in me. I want to have hot monkey sex with him and give him loads of children scratch that, he already has five and with my track record with fertility and his we'd end up having a football team of our own soon enough. It's a combination of gravelly voice, accent and salt-and-pepper hair plus boyish grin. It's a whammy of irresistible for me. (I blame it on watching a lot of ER with early days Clooney in my formative years, if you're wondering).
Mood:: 'silly' silly

Posted by Rob Beschizza

Bv-ljqrIgAAF4DK.jpg-large

On the left, the U.S. edition of the August 29 edition of Newsweek, featuring a cover story about the Ebola crisis in Africa. On the right is the Europe, Middle East & Africa edition, with a different story. [via]

Posted by Cory Doctorow


Carl sends us, "beautiful, authentic-looking temporary tattoos designed by famous tattooers, including Dan Smith, Dean Sacred, BJ Betts, Dusty Neal, Myra Oh, and many more."

Temporary Tattoos | Tattoo You (Thanks, Carl!)

camwyn: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] camwyn at 09:35am on 2014-09-16
I'm awake.

No, seriously, I'm awake. This weekend I went to the Boston Local Foods Festival and one of the vendors was Steem Caffeinated Peanut Butter, so today I went to Brueggers and got a bagel with nothing on it to test out the jar I bought, along with getting some regular iced coffee. The peanut butter is supposed to have 170ish mg of caffeine per two tablespoons, which puts in the same league as eight ounces of brewed ordinary Starbucks coffee (according to Caffeine Insider- I've seen several different numbers for Starbucks caff levels). I can't vouch for this, as I don't have the means to chemically analyze the PB and as I said I did get some regular coffee alongside it, but the PB did have that slightly bitter taste I've noticed in the past when I've bought high-caffeine food items like Sky Rocket flavor syrup, which had 100 mg of caffeine per ounce.

The point of the PB being caffeinated is supposed to be a slow release of the stimulant in conjunction with protein and vitamins, so as to avoid quite as much of a surge-and-crash scenario as you'd get if you just chugged the appropriate amount of coffee. That, and if you're the kind of person who gets caffeine withdrawal headaches, it's easier to bring a jar of peanut butter or to make some peanut butter sandwiches on a long trip than it is to bring a thermos of coffee, and if you're going camping or hiking or something, you won't have to lug a percolator or buy caffeinated energy jellybeans from the sporting goods store. Plus, well... this is the Boston area, and the area is riddled with colleges, and the colleges are heavy on the technogeek side. These are people who will caffeinate anything.

Anyway, it's decent peanut butter even if it's prominently labeled 'DO NOT GIVE TO ANIMALS, THIS IS PEOPLE FOOD ONLY', so I'm gonna keep it at work for use on breakfast foods.
posted by [syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed at 12:59pm on 2014-09-16

Posted by John Scalzi

There’s the saying that “Freedom isn’t free” — but how to express that concept in a way that makes it more than just a bumper sticker platitude, and fold in some steampunk aweseomeness to boot? With Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon, author David Barnett may have just the ticket. Here he is to explain how it all comes together.

DAVID BARNETT:

America is screaming.

At least, that’s what it sounds like to The Nameless. He isn’t really called The Nameless, of course, but he can’t remember his name. As he tells one character in Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon:

“They call me many things. The Indians call me Spirit, in more ways than I can remember. The witches of New Orleans like to call me Fantôme. The Mormons in New Jerusalem think I’m Satan, and the civilized folk of New York don’t believe in me at all!”

The Nameless is a weird mash-up of Natty Bumpo from Last of the Mohicans and Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name, criss-crossing the America of 1890 in search for… well, he doesn’t really know. All he knows for sure is that he woke up on April 18, 1775 with no idea who he was. All he was really sure about was that America was screaming, and somehow he had to put that right.

April 18, 1775 is an important date in the calendar in Gideon Smith’s world. It’s when the British put down a nascent American rebellion and ensured that the country – or at least most of the Eastern seaboard – remained in British control. The Spanish still hold much of what we know as Mexico – New Spain, to them. But their constant war with the French back in Europe means their tentative forays north of the border have had to be scaled back, to the point where they didn’t put up much of a fight in 1868 when a breakaway Japanese faction fetched up in San Francisco, took over and rechristened it Nyu Edo, capital of the newly-established Californian Meiji.

There are other factions and independent settlements in North America, of course – the French nominally hold Louisiana, there’s a Free Florida which is a safe haven for runaway slaves from the Confederacy, and Texas is dotted with fiefdoms run by mostly tyrannical former British governors who decided they were too far away from New York and Boston – and a world away from London – to pay too much heed to what they wanted.

This fractured America is, I suppose, one of the big ideas in this, the second Gideon Smith novel. But though he’s not often on-stage, The Nameless is another big idea, linked closely to this. America, he feels, should not be this patchwork of territories controlled by proxy from far away. And that sort of gave rise to what’s the real Big Idea in Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl – the one that we’re all shackled to something, even if we don’t know it. And that freedom can be achieved, though often at a price.

The British governors in New York and Boston are chained to the whims and fancies of London, thousands of miles away. They can barely keep their cities running with the taxes that have to be paid back to Britain, and they certainly can’t expand into the wide open territories to points west without the resources they need. The Governor of New York, Edward Lyle, knows that his city is in thrall to the coal that keeps the lights on and the traffic moving, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep that happening.

Haruki Serizawa is a scientist working on a top secret project for the Californian Meiji. He and his wife Akiko hoped America would be a new world for them and their daughter Michi, but he is frustrated that the new settlement cannot fully cut its ties to the old country.

Inez Batiste Palomo is the daughter of the Spanish governor of Uvalde, a border town all but forgotten by Ciudad Cortes (Mexico City, to you and me). Her father cleaves tightly to tradition and expects her to do the same, but she’s a modern woman in a world that’s changing fast.

And Gideon Smith is the boy from nowhere, the fisherman appointed to be the Hero of the Empire by Queen Victoria herself. Gideon is shackled to Victorian mores which despise the different, which make it difficult to be anything other than rich, white and male. Yet here he is, in love with a mechanical girl. His society, the one that made his dreams come true, just doesn’t hold with the freedom to love who he wants.

And, I suppose, the book, the whole Gideon Smith series, in fact, is perhaps my own attempt to break free of the constraints – real or perceived – that some feel the “steampunk” genre imposes. I wanted to write a working class hero who didn’t have a double-barrelled name, one who dragged himself up by his boot-straps and demanded the world take him on his merits. One who – once he knows how the world works – has severe misgivings about it. I wanted to create a steampunk world where diversity was celebrated, differences discussed, and expectations challenged, if not overturned.

I’m not sure, as a white male with a roof over his head and a steady job, whether I’ve succeeded in that. But as the characters in Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon find out to varying degrees, freedom rarely comes without some effort.

—-

Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s Web site. Follow him on Twitter.


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