August 22nd, 2017
corylea: A woman gazing at the sky (Default)
posted by [personal profile] corylea at 10:55pm on 2017-08-22

DelphiPSmith has been seducing me into Harry Potter fandom (purely by being friendly and intelligent and a writer as good as I'd like to be one day). I knew she was trying to get people to sign up for her Hermione/Snape story exchange, so I tried my hand at a HG/SS story, to see if I could do it.

What came out is "Trauma is my Normality," which is a strange little story and not at all the sort of thing anyone would like to receive as a gift. :-) 

It's just under a thousand words, if you feel like reading my first foray into HP fandom.  I used a different pseudonym for this one, so as not to confuse my Star Trek readers, but really, Weird Little Stories should be my name for everything. :-)

twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
posted by [personal profile] twistedchick at 07:33pm on 2017-08-22
I was looking at a catalog today and found the most frightening t-shirt I've seen in a while.

The design was meant to be patriotic and comforting -- a kitten looking out from under a draped American flag. I can't fault the idea, though it's not to my taste.

However-- on a shirt? The kitten is all head and it's huge -- the size of a small leopard. And with the shading, it appears to be emerging from the wearer's chest, confidently searching for more food...

Facebook Kittens/Alien.

Not for the win. ewwww.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
posted by [personal profile] twistedchick at 11:28am on 2017-08-22
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
posted by [personal profile] madfilkentist at 10:42am on 2017-08-22
Harvey Silverglate put it much better than I did. This isn't surprising.

I offered the mob too many excuses. Saturday was just a terrible day for free speech in Boston.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
There’s this glurgy poem about the Earth being a few feet in diameter. It’s an incredibly cheesy poem (and will you check out the cheesy website I found when I went searching for it to write this post), but I’m kind of partial to it for what it reveals about human psychology. It ends as follows:

“People would love it, and defend it with their lives because they would somehow know that their lives could be nothing without it.

If the Earth were only a few feet in diameter.”

This gap, between real things and representations of things, is at the heart of something I’ve been struggling to get my head around in recent months. The passion I see for stories, be they movies, games, or—gasp—sometimes novels, is something that I share, and yet it boggles me that as much as they affect culture in a broad sense, they seem to often have little impact on the individuals most devoted to them.
long and with pictures )
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
posted by [personal profile] twistedchick at 10:35am on 2017-08-22
Some Confederate statues are being removed, some covered, some may be moved, and some won't go anywhere.

I have no problem with the Confederate monuments at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park. They mark the locations where people stood or died when stuff happened; they are largely markers saying this unit was here, sometimes with names, sometimes not. They assist with understanding what happened in the battle. I don't recall offhand that there was anything glorifying the South there, in the way that there is elsewhere; but it's been a few years since I walked the entire battlefield, tracking troop movements.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
I'm rereading Georgette Heyer's 'These Old Shades' and I just came to the place where it mentions, in a phrase in one sentence, Justin Alastair's secret efforts to put Charles Edward Stuart on the throne instead of George I. And that made me imagine a fanfic crossover that I have brain enough to write, though I'd love to read it. The other source would be Outlander, specifically the second volume where Jamie and Claire are in France attempting, subtly, to stop the Stuart uprising because Claire knows its outcome and wants to save the lives that would have been lost at Culloden, not to mention the destruction of the Highlands. The main problem in writing it would be viewpoint and style -- These Old Shades is written in a very mannered style, and the Outlanders, which are mostly from Claire's viewpoint, are a modern view of a past era. If it were from Justin's viewpoint -- he would not be quite the cynical onlooker that he is in 'Shades', at 45. He'd be a bit more like young Rupert, and I'm not sure how to do that. If it were from Claire's viewpoint, he might come out looking like a younger version of St. Germaine, which would not do. But what I would love to see is Justin's reaction to one of Claire's famous set-downs, whether aimed at him or at someone else. I suspect they would end up good friends, though I have no idea what Jamie would think of that.

Unfortunately, Leonie would not be able to be there in 1745 -- and her next appearance is in 'Devil's Cub', which I think dates to something like 1775 or 1780. By that time Jamie and Claire are in the Colonies, and I don't think they visit Paris together again for a while, though Jamie is there before that with his print shop. So the dates don't line up for a confrontation between Dominic, Leonie and Justin's son, and Bree, Claire and Jamie's tall, outspoken, red-haired daughter who wears breeches (Leonie would like that, though.)
jducoeur: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jducoeur at 09:28am on 2017-08-22 under

Mind, I largely agree with the decision, at least for now. But let's not lose sight of the obvious attempt to distract away from more contentious matters...

avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
We've been binge-watching The Mentalist, which is very good, and we're on the last season now. In the season we just watched, around about the sixth or seventh episode, the show's Big Bad, Red John, was unmasked, and James Hibberd in Entertainment Weekly had some thoughts about that here:

I think he missed the point. (Next bit won't make much sense unless you've read the article.)

Read more... )
minoanmiss: Minoan Lady walking down a mountainside from a 'peak sanctuary' (Lady at Mountain-Peak Sanctuary)
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
vvalkyri: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] vvalkyri at 07:14pm on 2017-08-21 under
because there are some from eclipse day, here in Missouri. watched a little from the house, then drove the couple miles to the eclipse party at the little antique store. had multiple indirect and direct viewing devices, and 57 seconds of totality seemed to go by in an instant. when i got back to the house i was moved to see if i could get a decent picture on the phone (well, currently a minitablet - it won't do phone until i xfer the contacts and get a smaller form factor SIM) and I did. i'm happy to have bought the $35 lowest end solar binoculars, and late in the game figured out a way to cheat on the "nope,can't sight then put them to your eyes" was to sight through the eclipse glasses, then put the binocs up, then close eyes, remove eclipse glasses, and look through the binocs. that way at worst you're only barely off from where your target is; else it can be hard to find the sun with 10x25.
cellio: (hubble-swirl)
posted by [personal profile] cellio at 06:59pm on 2017-08-21 under
We didn't travel to see the total eclipse. Here in Pittsburgh we got just over 80% coverage, so some coworkers and I went to the roof of the parking garage armed with minimal tools to see what we could see. The pinhole cameras were mildly interesting but low-res; none of us had thought to bring interesting things like collanders to make eclipse art on the pavement. One of the other people there lent us glasses for a few minutes, which was nice.

The view through the glasses was very neat -- just a sliver of sun. The picture I took through the glasses shows a much fatter sliver than was really there. I think the yellower sliver inside the larger orange-yellow sliver might be real and the rest bleed-through or something:

It was still pretty bright and sunny out, even with only 20% of the sun directly visible. It's not like you get dusk-quality lighting. I did notice that it wasn't *as* bright as usual; in particular, not only did I not have to squint like I normally do when outdoors on bright days, but I could even *take off my glasses with transition lenses* and not have to squint. That was pretty neat!

I took a quick photo without the glasses (I figured my phone could handle a very brief exposure). It shows no occlusion. Is that what people foolish enough to look with the naked eye would see? So they'd endure vision loss for... not a whole lot of anything?

These people improvised a pinhole camera that worked better than the one I'd prepared in advance:

austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] austin_dern at 12:10am on 2017-08-22 under ,

Finally, the quarterfinals, and my first round to play. It's been several hours. I spent some of it walking around the con. Some of it watching other tournaments. Some of it watching [profile] bunny_hugger. Some of it putting up my best game ever on Lethal Weapon 3, a game I despised back in the 90s and which now I ... yeah, I guess I see what to do so now it's just boring with a lot of repetitive callouts.

I'm high seed. I get to pick what bank we play. I go with my scouting data and choose the Cirqus Voltaire bank. The tournament official asks what position I want. I say third, and then think of the joke: ``juggler''. He doesn't hear it, so I save the joke for the next round, when it gets as much appreciation as it deserves. Normally when people pick position they choose either the last spot available --- so they can better judge how risky they have to play --- or first --- so they can get it over with and not worry. I've been settling on second or third, partly because it's just felt good. Partly, it throws other people off. [profile] bunny_hugger has to explain, during the round, how it is I ended up playing third if I had my free pick. There was one moment during the rounds that someone went up during what was my odd-choice turn. Had he plunged, that would've been a disqualification for him and a compensation ball for me. I don't go looking for that, but I am aware doing slightly trivially odd stuff can put people off their game. And, goodness, I'm in the finals of Pinburgh. I need all the edge I can get.

So, Cirqus Voltaire. With [profile] bunny_hugger's assurance that defeating the Ringmaster is indeed something you can do, I focus on doing that instead of the many, many other ways you can get multiball going. It pays off: I beat ten million points, double any other player's score. First game down and I have three wins. There's three games to go, and the top two finishers move on to the semifinals; I'm already in a good spot.

Next game: Mars Trek. As first-place finisher the first game, I'm the last person to pick order, which is how I ended up going first. It's an electromechanical game. It's five balls. I just have to have one good one; failing that, no bad ones. I have my good ball early on, I think my second ball. I'm edged out on the last ball, but it's good for second place: 451,000 to 548,900. Yes, [profile] bunny_hugger's second-place score (563,700) would have beaten this whole group. I have five wins, one loss, and I'm in the very slight lead. There's no assurance of how many wins will get me to the next round (other than twelve, of course), but if I get get above six I'm probably in.

The late-solid-state game: Genesis. It's a punishing one. You shoot the major shots to collect body parts for an android and start multiball; if you're a wizard, you collect all the body parts and activate the Maria-class android. The two easiest body parts to get, on the instance of this I'm familiar with, are the ramps. Neither is an easy shot. I will go down to third place in this. Six wins, three losses; if I can do anything on the last game I'm probably in, maybe at the cost of a tiebreaker.

Also, thinking over the game, I realize something. I check the instruction card, and know that I need to test something when I can, trusting that I get into the next round.

The last game is the early-solid-state, Stars. The goal is keep the ball alive, and hit banks of drop targets. Easier said than done, since, early-solid-state game. But there's some hope. The ball does bounce some off the center post, even though it hasn't got the rubber sleeve around it. This means if the ball is plunging down the center and you don't move to save it, especially not by hitting the flippers, it might bounce right back onto the flippers for you. It does this once for me. I have to come from behind on the last ball, but I get most of the way there, finishing at second place with 97,105 points. Yeah, nobody knows why there's a 5 points there. The third-place finisher got 69,908. First place got a clean 132,000 and as [profile] bunny_hugger will note, her score that was only good for second place (208,200) would have creamed all our scores.

The important thing: I have eight wins, the most of my group. I'm on to the semifinals. I'll have my pick of game bank again. And I can test what I think I've learned about Genesis.

Trivia: The size of Algeria's French-speaking population is uncertain; estimates range from as low as 110,000 (of thirty million, at the time of this source's 2005 publication) to a quarter of the population. Source: Empires Of The Word: A Language History of the World, Nicholas Ostler.

Currently Reading: A Gambling Man: Charles II's Restoration Game, Jenny Uglow.

PS: The Summer 2017 Mathematics A To Z: Jordan Canonical Form, something really important that we never actually do.

August 21st, 2017
cellio: (writing)
posted by [personal profile] cellio at 05:57pm on 2017-08-21 under ,

I wrote a short short story (~500 words) inspired by today's celestial events. Check it out on Universe Factory, the blog of the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange community.

I got the idea a few days ago and, well, I just had to.

redbird: spiral galaxy Arp 32 (arp 32)
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
posted by [personal profile] sabotabby at 05:28pm on 2017-08-21 under , ,
I vaguely heard that the US was getting an eclipse (as in this was all over my FB feed) but assumed it wasn't going to affect here, but I found out yesterday that, no, indeed, we were getting 72% of an eclipse. A woman's paycheque worth of an eclipse. So I made last-minute plans with [personal profile] metalana. She is an A++ good influence on me as she makes me shoot RAW, so they came out slightly better than expected, and also made pinhole viewers since getting eclipse glasses at the last possible moment is not a thing that can be done. At any rate, we didn't need to bother, because during an eclipse, the usual rules of capitalism and urban living get suspended. Everyone came out to the beach and people were happy to share their eclipse glasses and show off their homemade viewers, which ranged from two pieces of paper to someone's modded-up telescope. The telescope people invited us to hang with them and gave us Coke and were generally lovely. Pointing a DSLR at the sun is not as dangerous as pointing your eyes at the sun, but is kind of pointless unless you have more sophisticated gear than either of us have, but I did get some awesome shots of shadows and things we found whilst wandering around.

Pictures that are not pictures of the sun )But let's be honest here; cool photography and socializing with your neighbours is not what makes Eclipse Day great. The best thing is that, after a number of my friends joked that Cheeto Benito was going to look directly at the sun like a fucking moron, CHEETO BENITO FUCKING LOOKED AT THE SUN LIKE A FUCKING MORON. This is the actual best thing to happen and I am so overjoyed you have no idea.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
posted by [personal profile] twistedchick at 03:58pm on 2017-08-21
We had an 85% eclipse, which means it got a little darker and the birds weren't singing though the insects were -- nothing shuts up a cricket. I have some phone photos of the light coming through the leaves in crescents on the sidewalks. And then it poured rain for ... 10 minutes? And the sun came out again, starting to strengthen. So, not the biggest deal -- but we were out on the front steps with our homemade cereal box viewers and so on, and the neighbors on either side came over and hung out and watched it with us, which was very cool.
bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bunnyjadwiga at 03:32pm on 2013-10-19 under , , ,
Steven Pinker just published, in the New Republic, one of those self-congratulatory science pieces with the whining about how people are taught too much humanities and not enough science, with the oh-so-approachable title: "Science Is Not Your Enemy An impassioned plea to neglected novelists, embattled professors, and tenure-less historians". (Adam Frank, in "The Power Of Science And The Danger Of Scientism" explained, "Thus, scientism is the "science can explain everything," (or, at least, "science explains everything important"), kind of position some folks take in arguments about religion, philosophy, the value of the humanities, etc;" For medievalists, this is the kind of attitude displayed by that dreadful nonsense, A World Lit Only by Fire. In fact, it's the kind of attitude that led the Enlightenment 'historians' to describe a 'middle' or 'dark' ages in which the church persecuted people for not believing the Earth was flat-- though the orreries installed in churches at in the Middle Ages and Renaissance for the calculation of Easter clearly rely on a non-flat Earth.)

Anyway, someone deliciously smacks down Pinker and his scientism:
"In Which Steven Pinker Is A Total Ignoramus Who Should Go Read A Fucking Book And Get Himself Some Fucking Education"

I'm as pleased with scientific progress as the next person but everyone should be thinking about how they are thinking about things-- and asking themselves if they are really using the right tools for the right problem. (Which is what the article Pinker was responding to was saying: ) 
bunnyjadwiga: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bunnyjadwiga at 03:29pm on 2013-10-21
 “I also work here because I love books, because I'm inveterately curious, and because, like most librarians, I'm not well suited to anything else. As a breed, we're the ultimate generalists. I'll never know everything about anything, but I'll know something about almost everything and that's how I like to live.” 
― Josh Hanagarne, The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
gale_storm: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] gale_storm at 09:25pm on 2017-08-21 under
...from a Mike Oldfield song, which I've loved for a long, long time!

"Moonlight Shadow"

The last time ever she saw him
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
He passed on worried and warning
Carried away by a moonlight shadow.
Lost in a riddle that Saturday night
Far away on the other side.
He was caught in the middle of a desperate fight
And she couldn't find how to push through

The trees that whisper in the evening
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Sing a song of sorrow and grieving
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
All she saw was a silhouette of a gun
Far away on the other side.
He was shot six times by a man on the run
And she couldn't find how to push through

I stay, I pray
See you in Heaven far away...
I stay, I pray
See you in Heaven one day.

Four A.M. in the morning
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
I watched your vision forming
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
A star was glowing in the silvery night
Far away on the other side
Will you come to talk to me this night
But she couldn't find how to push through

I stay, I pray
See you in Heaven far away...
I stay, I pray
See you in Heaven one day.

Far away on the other side.
Caught in the middle of a hundred and five
The night was heavy and the air was alive
But she couldn't find how to push through
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Carried away by a moonlight shadow
Far away on the other side.
Mood:: 'artistic' artistic
jducoeur: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jducoeur at 02:49pm on 2017-08-21 under

Having not done the advance planning needed to procure a pair of the dorky-but-necessary goggles for directly looking at the eclipse, I did the quick-and-dirty version instead: creating a "pinhole camera" by taking two index cards, punching a hole through one with a needle, holding them a couple of inches apart, and adjusting the distance between them until I got reasonable focus.

Quite neat -- while not nearly as spectacular as being in totality no doubt would have been (both my parents and my boss flew to the Carolinas for it today), it provided a good firsthand illustration of the principles as the visible dot in my "camera" went from circle to crescent over about ten minutes or so.

The one negative observation: I am now nearsighted enough that actually observing this now requires taking off my glasses. (Even my bifocals aren't good enough to resolve that level of detail. But at least my eyes are Really Good at Up Close and Tiny nowadays.)

tb: (music)
jducoeur: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jducoeur at 02:37pm on 2017-08-21

Spreading the word (h/t to [personal profile] mindways) -- Fatal Encounters is a site doing research that everyone has talked about for decades but ever-so-conveniently not actually performed: how many people are being killed by police, under what circumstances, and how has that been changing over time? In an absence of data, talking heads fill the void with their own assumptions, and that needs to change. So they are building out an as-comprehensive-as-possible searchable database on the subject.

They're currently running a modest IndieGoGo campaign to fund operations for the next six months. It looks to be a good cause, and I've tossed a few dollars into the pot -- check it out...

metahacker: A picture of white-socked feet, as of a person with their legs crossed. (Default)
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
posted by [personal profile] liv at 12:50pm on 2017-08-21 under ,
A favourite song with a person's name in the title: Several options for this one, but I'm going with Hey there Delilah by Plain White T's. I generally really like songs that tell a bit of a story, and I can imagine the characters in this one so vividly. I like the balance of emotions; it's a sad song about missing a lover, but it's also optimistic and the music is at least somewhat catchy. And I like that they're apart because they're both pursuing their careers, it's not some passive muse waiting for her artist boyfriend to come home. It's not my usual musical style; indeed I discovered it simply by listening to chart radio like some young person who's in touch with the recent music scene.

Besides, I've been in long-distance relationships pretty much my entire adult life, so I can really relate. But no longer; I haven't posted about this in public yet, but in a couple of weeks I'm properly moving to Cambridge. So I'll be living full time in the same house as my husband and the same town as my Other Significant Others. And I won't be spending every Friday and Sunday evening commuting. I'm really really looking forward to this next phase in my life, but also at the moment up to my ears in arranging the move, and quite emotional about leaving the situation I've been settled in for 8 years.

This weekend I lead my last Shabbat morning service with my lovely community. They are understandably nervous about the future without me, and I will miss them absolutely terribly. I talked a bit about Re'eh, making sure that there's no comparison between Moses saying farewell to the Israelites and me saying farewell now. I discussed keeping sanctity while you're living in an imperfect situation, far away from Jewish centres. What compromises can you make (eating meat without making a Temple sacrifice) and what lines can't be crossed (worshipping in Pagan sites)? Then it will go well for you and your children after you, for all of time, because you will do what is good and right in the eyes of the Eternal your God. And we ate cakes made by my sister and the community gave me some really nice silver Shabbat candlesticks with engraved stands.

[personal profile] jack came up to help me sort the flat out. In lots of ways the decision making is the harder part of packing than the physical labour, so having my husband with me was an amazing help. I am really looking forward to living with him and properly sharing the work of running a household, because we're such a great team. Not just one day in the distant future when our dreams come true, but next month:
We'll have it good
We'll have the life we knew we would
My word is good

video embed )
Mood:: 'rushed' rushed
location: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Music:: Miss Kittin: BatBox
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

I had to Google myself to see how long I had LastPass. I can't recall but it feels like forever. I think it was since I still had a LiveJournal, and I deleted the last one of those (this blog) back in 2008. Google tells me I first wrote about it on Anti-AOL in 2009 and my Dreamwidth tags tell me I did so here in 2010, so I'd guess I've used it for at least 7 but possibly as long as 9 years.

Page confirmation after deleting LastPass tonight

But realizing there is no fix for the blank site list dropdown and blank search results in the Firefox add-on really does kind of enrage me:

  • Basic functionality - lists that populate on demand, search results that display as you type - have been missing for weeks, no one knows why and devs don't respond or fix issues
  • There's no workaround; the only workaround others advise (using the latest beta version) doesn't work for me
  • My own workaround doesn't work for me
  • We shouldn't have to scratch around for our own fixes or workarounds - LastPass has a paid and premium version, so the add-on owner makes money while bugs that wreck basic functionality go unfixed and people like me go nuts for all the fiddling with and wasted time trying to make it work or working around what's broken

Also unfixed (that I've dealt with personally; there's probably more)

  1. LastPass keeps telling you your Master Password is wrong though you watch yourself type it correctly; keeps giving you a big black X next to the password field (workaround: quit Firefox; restart and try again)
  2. If you get your Master Password wrong the password form field goes blank the second time and the search box goes blank on all successive tries (workaround: quit Firefox; restart and try again)
  3. LastPass will go weeks throwing an error on my Dreamwidth password for this blog, then will go just as long without throwing it, alternating with throwing the error only on my first log-in per session, but not on any successive log-in, alternated with throwing errors on every log-in within every session

Not a bug, but weird (1) or flat-out inexcusable (2):

  1. LastPass has different login dropdown styles on Dreamwidth; one is a long, stylish list in greyish-beige with a unique font that I see maybe once every 10 logins for no discernible reason on this site but no other; the other is the standard white background
  2. And I now think LastPass is what's hammering Firefox's memory usage and slowing it to a crawl, not Wordpress and not Firefox itself, like I previously thought.

I am just *gaaaah* so fucking done with LastPass.

marnanel: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] marnanel at 10:37pm on 2017-08-20 under
Fun read, but I'd expected better: the book can't decide whether it's comedy science fiction or political thriller. The SF part is well-handled, but the political stuff confuses me; I briefly considered drawing a diagram while reading so that I could keep up with who was working for whom. One moment you're reading some lovely SF about sheep DNA and the brains of the dead being uploaded into intelligent agents. Then you're suddenly pitched into the middle of a fight scene which looks like it dropped out of a Wachowski film; it doesn't work half as well in print.

But the biggest problem with this book is the sexism. In almost all the story there is *one* major female character, Robin. She and all other women are referred to by their first names; all the men are referred to by their surnames. Robin is described well, as seen by the male viewpoint character, and there's a lot of action *involving* her. But she rarely does anything that affects the situation; for much of the story she's just a McGuffin.

To its credit, it has the best opening line I've seen in years: "Dirk Moeller didn't know if he could fart his way into a major diplomatic incident. But he was ready to find out."
jducoeur: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jducoeur at 04:56pm on 2017-08-20 under

In the wake of Charlottesville and the past week, I strongly recommend reading this article in the Guardian, which explores a bit of the ideology of this particular chunk of the far right. The heart of it is a reminder that Nazism is national socialism, and they are making hay with a philosophy that is basically a racist (and inegalitarian) corruption of classic socialism. It's bullshit, but seductive bullshit, now just as it was to Germany in the '30s.

It's a bit skin-crawling to think about (it's a bit hard to come up with a more exact opposite of my own worldview), but we're going to have to understand the enemy if we're going to fight them. And I think it's clear that we are going to have to fight them -- at the very least, this is a dangerous and rising memeset that needs to be opposed now, and vigorously...

corylea: A woman gazing at the sky (Default)

Harry Potter fandom is having a story exchange for those who enjoy the Hermione Granger/Severus Snape pairing. If that interests you, you can find more details at

I never thought that pairing made sense, but a friend of mine writes it, so I've been reading her stuff, and I'm slowly becoming a convert. Since I mostly read and write in Star Trek TOS fandom, it's been interesting dipping my toe into the waters of another fandom. I've been amused to see how many things I thought were exclusive to Spock fans are actually way more widespread than I'd realized. One small and trivial but amusing example: I read one story where Hermione Granger thinks that surely no one else could be as expressive with a single eyebrow as Severus Snape, and I had to leave a comment that said, "Miss Granger, may I introduce you to Mr. Spock?" :-) There are a ton of Snape-Spock parallels that I'm finding in fan fiction, and it amuses me.

What I find more troubling about Granger/Snape stories is how many of them have the theme of a good woman's redeeming a troubled man through the power of her love. While I admit that's a compelling theme, it's also a dangerous one. It's always a bad idea to enter a relationship thinking that you'll change your partner. For one thing, it's disrespectful to presume that you know better than your partner does about who that partner should be. For another thing, you can't MAKE anybody change; they can only change themselves. Also, given how much domestic violence there is, I find the notion that a woman can change a troubled or violent man if only she loves him enough to be both oppressive and potentially dangerous.

Of course, part of what fan fiction is FOR is for making the world (including fictional worlds) the way we want it to be, rather than the way it actually is. But it's very clear to me that romantic fiction can also be a sort of a drug and can also be a form of indoctrination. Let's brainwash women into believing that love is the only thing that will make them happy, then further brainwash them into believing that they can make a bad guy good if only they love him enough.

Of course, drugs aren't all bad, and if mature women want to improve a bad day by reading or writing a little romance, I have no problem with that. I do worry about the effect of all of this on teenaged girls, though -- what do these stories do to girls who don't have enough real-world romantic experience to understand what parts of the stories are realistic and what parts are purely fantasy ... and should stay fantasy?

I'm sure there have been dissertations done on fan fiction from a literary standpoint in English departments. I wonder if there have been any done in Psychology departments about what all of this reveals about what women believe or what they want or what they turn to for comfort or inspiration. Read enough of the stuff, and various themes recur over and over again, suggesting that these themes are common to the psyches of many women. Too bad I'm no longer in academic psychology; I'd love to be an adviser on such a dissertation. :-)

Anyway, none of that is meant to discourage anyone who wishes to join the Granger/Snape giftfest. It's just that even when I'm reading fanfic because I'm having a bad day and need the self-medication aspects of it, it seems that I don't manage to turn my brain off entirely. :-) And since my first doctorate was in Social Psychology and my second one was in Clinical Psychology, I can't help but think about either the impact of social forces on the individual or what the things people chose to read and write say about their inner lives. :-)

twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
posted by [personal profile] twistedchick at 02:05pm on 2017-08-20
When I ask you not to show images of that torch march, or of the Swastika, it's not because I think sweeping them under the digital rug will Solve All Our Problems about race in America.

We all have to work through our own mental crap, the stuff we inherited from parents and society and friends. That's our job. That's each individual person's job -- to figure out for 'self what is true and right and honest and compassionate.

But that doesn't mean we are obliged to take on what those symbols represent. We are not obliged to be on the side that believes that hatred, racism, and genocide will make a better world.

We know that's not true.

In the meantime, we do not have to do the Nazis' work by spreading their images, by giving them our minds. We don't owe them that. We don't owe them anything, not one thing.

In Second Life terms, they're griefers. They get their rocks off by causing trouble, by hurting people, by causing damage. Unfortunately, in real life, I cannot press two buttons and ban them from the US. I don't have that power here. Neither do you.

So we need to keep them out of our heads. And not allow them to add to the pile of stuff we're already dealing with.

It's important to know who your enemies are. It's also important to know when they are trying mind games and to not let them win.

(Apologies if this is not as thoughtful as usual. I have a hell of a headache.)
flwyd: (Vigelandsparken circle man)
posted by [personal profile] flwyd at 11:59am on 2017-08-20 under , ,
Discussing coming of age rites, I noted that they should be tailored to the kids involved. “Some boys need to learn how to man up. Other boys need to learn how to man down.”
Mood:: 'quixotic' quixotic
location: Rocky Mountains
Music:: Drum circles
mrs_sweetpeach: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] mrs_sweetpeach at 12:37pm on 2017-08-20 under , ,
Click here )
Mood:: 'busy' busy
location: Home and on my corner of the couch
mrs_sweetpeach: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] mrs_sweetpeach at 12:34pm on 2017-08-20 under , , ,
Click here )
Mood:: 'busy' busy
location: Home and on my corner of the couch
gingicat: the hands of Doctor Who #10, Martha Jones, and Jack Harkness clasped together with the caption "All for One" (all for one)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
posted by [personal profile] madfilkentist at 07:51am on 2017-08-20
Not a shining day for Boston, but not as horrible as I thought it might be. Here I'm going by's coverage. Timing notes follow the article. They're the times of the posts, not necessarily when things happened.

Reported events from Saturday )

Conclusions? The number of people trying to intimidate or harm people must have been relatively small, considering the size of the crowd, or there would have been far worse. Nonetheless, it's significant that every act of aggression, or nearly so, came from people masquerading as "anti-Nazis" or "anti-racists." (They're neither, but just bullies.) They're the kind people who shout down speakers or block access whenever they can. The kind who think their throwing rocks and urine is "kinetic beauty." They usually confine their actions to college campuses, where they think they won't be punished.

It's very disturbing when the police commissioner says it's a "good thing" that people can't get to hear a message he doesn't want them to hear. That's the voice of the police state.

Also disturbing is the lack of any intellectual content to the protest. It was, as far as I can see, basically an exercise in name-calling. Or at least that's all that we get to hear through the usual news reporting. When they use "nazi" to insult anyone whose message they don't like, it accomplishes two things:

(1) It trivializes actual Nazis. In Charlottesville, there were actual, swastika-wearing Nazis chanting "blood and soil." Nazism supports many of the worst forms of brutality ever devised, including the murder of millions.

(2) It mainstreams Nazism. If everyone you dislike is a Nazi, then maybe Nazis aren't so bad. At least some people will think that way.

Is this the new normal in America? Mobs forming to intimidate every speaker they don't like? Then we might as well give up on America.

Update: Based on this Eagle-Tribune article, people were prevented from hearing the speakers. According to one account, "They spoke for about 40 minutes. Whenever they got loud enough for anyone over here to hear them, people booed them and drowned them out."

On the other hand, the rally itself sounds strange: "The group had gathered to share members' views on free speech, but did not allow any members of the press inside the barricades. They had no public address system and could not be heard by the thousands that had gathered to protest the rally." Nor by those who gathered to hear it, it seems. That would explain the lack of coverage of content. If they wanted to be heard, why did they not bring sound equipment or let any press in?

The Eagle-Tribune article notes that Antifa people were present, and it's reasonable to suspect they were behind the worst acts. The article notes that in one case of bullying, some protesters "shouted for them to not engage physically, and others still helped police escort him to safety." I think the overwhelming majority of the crowd was good people, but the danger is letting the pro-violence, anti-free speech people become their public face.

Update 2: A bike ride later, what remains disturbing to me is that thousands of people were so upset that someone they didn't like was speaking in public that they had to denounce it in exaggerated terms. These people had just a Facebook page rather than a real Web presence, were confused about how to get a permit, and didn't have a PA system. The event would have gone by without any notice, but that would have been horribly unforgivable.

Update 3: The more I learn, the harder it is for me to excuse the people involved. There have been people bragging of driving anyone so much as wearing a "Make America Great Again" cap out of the downtown area.
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Update, 8-21-17: the fix below (switching back to 32-bit Firefox) works great until you restart Firefox, then tada, it never works again. So I guess there is no answer short of trying every version of the LastPass add-on - really not a good idea when latest versions are patched for security vulnerabilities and so on and oh, LastPass, how completely unusable you are, let me count the ways.

Since discovering my fix only works until restart I've disabled LastPass and installed KeePass/KeeFox because I had online work to do and wasn't about to keep playing games with a broken password manager. KeePass has its own issues (mainly, when it stores more than one login for a site it tends to autofill the wrong one, leading to a lot of "copy username/copy password" clicking and pasting) but though it's not for the faint of heart (it's sort of an old-school program with about a gajillion options I haven't even glanced at yet) it does seem less batshit fucking insane to deal with, overall.

So, the LastPass blank dropdown menu and blank search results panel is very annoying. The dev hasn't updated the add-on since June and is responding to exactly zero complaints about this and other issues on his Firefox review page, though there might easily be dozens.

Which came to bite me, too, when Firefox finally let me have their latest multiprocess (e10s), 64-bit compatible version earlier this week (e10s is still automatically disabled if you install any add-on that isn't yet e10s capable); ever since I've had both LastPass problems, and saw others are having them, too [Example 1, Example 2, Example 3].

To fix these issues, just switch back to Firefox 32-bit. It's not even necessary to remove Fx 64-bit. It's actually better if you don't, so Firefox can just poke around in your profile folder and recreate the Firefox you've got in the 32-bit version you're about to get (just be sure to create a shortcut or a target that you can easily tell apart from the 64-bit icon).

32-bit Firefox runs LastPass perfectly, fixes the blank dropdown list of log-ins for each site and fixes search result panels showing up blank.

For everyone leaving bitter reviews [Example 1, Example 2, Example 3] and sharing the version number that allegedly works better [Version 4.1.62a]: I tried it in 64-bit Firefox, but it gave me all the same blank dropdowns as before.

My guess is the problems are not confined to any particular version. After I installed the May 31st version and saw the same issues it became clear the latest version is not at fault - it's 64-bit Firefox - and I'll gander that's no matter which version of LastPass going back to the earliest 56*-capable version you pick.

So if you've got 64-bit Firefox, try going back to 32-bit (here are the 32-bit installers. If you have automatic updates turned off, keep checking the directory for the latest). Run Firefox 32-bit with whatever version of LastPass you have and see if that fixes the problems.

austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)

And on to another busy week at my mathematics blog. What might you have had on your Reading Page if you added this to it?

Plus, What's Going On In Gasoline Alley? May - August 2017 So that should clear some things up. And now the big moment ... our last ride on Mean Streak!


Catching the sunset behind Mean Streak as the green train makes one of its last ascents.


Finally! We waited for a front-seat ride and here we are, ready to get it when the green train pulls out.


Ride operator taking a picture for the people in the front row.


Our chariot awaits! The gold train approaching the station for what would be our final ride on Mean Streak. Note the hill it drops down, a bunch of gravitational potential energy that couldn't be put to some entertaining use.


The pall-bearers gathered as nearly off-stage as possible. The eulogy for Mean Streak was being delivered here, even as the ride was still, you know, crowded and running two trains. (The third had already been taken off and set up as a prop in the ride graveyard.)


o/` People take pictures of the summer ... o/` The funeral ceremony for Mean Streak, guarded by people recording or photographing the whole thing. Behind it, Mean Streak rumbles on, heedless of the jokes about how rough it supposedly was

Trivia: Light bulbs became a comic strip standard for representing inspiration only in the 1930s. Source: American Cornball: A Laffopedic Guide to the Formerly Funny, Christopher Miller.

Currently Reading: A Gambling Man: Charles II's Restoration Game, Jenny Uglow.

August 19th, 2017
mrs_sweetpeach: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] mrs_sweetpeach at 11:56pm on 2017-08-19 under , ,
Patrick's IndyFurCon 2017 Video
Seriously, go check it out.
location: Home and on my corner of the couch
Mood:: 'happy' happy
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
Here's the thing. The point of the white supremacists' march in Charlottesville was to make us feel afraid and helpless. You know this and I know this. But there's a psychological bit in there that a friend on Facebook pointed out that I had missed.

It's this: the symbolism of them carrying torches. Something about that apparently goes back to a primordial bit of the brain that keeps the fear going. Maybe it's the shared ancestral memory of towns and cities burning centuries ago -- every one of us has, somewhere in our history, some ancient family member who was burned out of a home in some war or other. (I can tell you that my own ancestral fear of being burned out goes back two generations, to when my grandfather's blacksmith's shop went up in flames in midwinter, and it was a hard fight by the local fire brigade to keep the house nearby from going up as well. If both hadn't been next to the river, the family would have been homeless.) But the point is that something nearly primordial in us sees campfires as friendly (we cook over them) and torches as hostile, unfriendly and dangerous. And when it's a mob with torches? Especially dangerous and frightening.

And those of us who post and repost news items are spreading images of torches. We're doing the frightening for them and keeping it going. Think about what happened when we kept seeing the Twin Towers collapsing in the weeks after 9/11, when the horror and the fear just did not go away because those images kept feeding it.

So this is what I am asking you to do:

1. If, anywhere on any social media, you have posted a picture from Charlottesville with torches in it, please delete it. Or edit it so it's a bunch of ugly white men without torches. We already know what happened there -- everyone knows. We don't have to see that picture any more. We don't have to spread their message of hate for them. That's not our job.

2. Take extra care to keep your own mind free from that image, and from the fear that it and other images of the Charlottesville riot can foster. Make sure to spend time with loving pets, or out in nature, or with people you love or doing things you care about. Make sure to put joy in your life on purpose, not by accident, in whatever way pleases you. Take time to appreciate good things around you. Joy and appreciation are powerful weapons against fear; they set the ground for generosity, caring and peace.

Thank you.
minoanmiss: Minoan lady watching the Thera eruption (Lady and Eruption)
julian: Picture of Julian Street. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] julian at 09:28pm on 2017-08-19
In the spirit of solidarity with Charlottesville, I went off to laugh at neo-Nazis with 20,000-40,000 of my closest friends, and get labeled an anti-police agitator by our Very Own President, today.

The general idea, as transmitted in one of the orientation sessions I went to, was to show up, stand tall, and nnnnnot let ourselves get drawn into confrontations by the white supremacists, who would be trying their darndest to make this happen.

So I got decked out in my "I stand by my Muslim neighbors" t-shirt and wandered down to Roxbury Crossing, found fairly organized Socialists a-plenty, and got the best poster off them ever. Picture with a new friend from much later in the march, slight content warning for concentration camp imagery:

One cuts pictures. )

They also had lynching ones, but basically I'm squicked by blood and gore, whereas the concentration camp one might well be triggering to some, but it also had people pausing to look at it, nodding to me soberly, and moving on. (I also got several high-fives for the shirt.)

Anyway, I eventually found the actual Black Lives Matter march leaders, plus Tito Jackson (candidate for mayor) doing his best preachin', and then we got started late. (Because, it is a march and it is required.) Soon enough, I stumbled onto my brother and his wife, or more accurately he stumbled across me while admiring my poster, and had marching partners. (I was going to hook up with Dedham Unitarians, but I couldn't find them.)

Since we started late, and because 20,000 marchers move slowly, we missed the so-called "Free Speech Rally" entirely, since they got shuffled off at 1:30 or so, and I wasn't even to the Common by that point, I think.

I did encounter some AntiFa-plus-BLM activists around 3:30 or so down by Park Street T stop, who had found some of the white supremacists who (for agitation reasons) had stuck around. One of them got pizza thrown at him (which almost hit me as I ducked into the convenience store), and then another one was rather literally surrounded by people *entirely* willing to argue with him until the cows came home, so I figured that was pretty much covered and bailed. As it turns out, there was a little bit of violence after that, but not much at all.

About 25 arrests for minor things, and a white supremacist arrested for carrying a gun without a permit or something similar. There were also some people throwing rocks (and bottles filled with piss, wtf?) at the police, sigh. Overall, the police were incredibly helpful during the march, and then got somewhat violent as the day progressed, but they were only slightly more pissy than I expected. Overall, worth thanking.

Link smatterings: Scale of the so-called "Free Speech Rally", as compared to counter-protestors. Roxbury Crossing area, around when things started, some Globe photos.
redbird: "white privilege: you're soaking in it" with picture of bathwater (white privilege)
gingicat: the hands of Doctor Who #10, Martha Jones, and Jack Harkness clasped together with the caption "All for One" (all for one)
mrs_sweetpeach: (Default)
On Saturday, my first shift at IFC was keeping folks out the hallway before and during the Furry Parade and helping the furries stay more or less in formation. I've been told their heads obstruct their vision and I saw that in action when one of them veered out of line heading in the wrong direction and had the folks behind him or her follow right along. I saw what was happening and darted in front of him or her, stuck out my arms so that I was sure to make contact, and turned him/her in the proper direction. The folks behind immediately began going in correct way. I stayed in that spot for the remainder of the parade and there were further escapees, at least at my location. The parade terminated inside the courtyard that lies in the center of the hotel buildings. That's what's in the photo on today's page, only it does not show all 300+ furries. It shows the center of the grouping, including the woman who runs the animal rescue they support and her dog. True to form, I have no idea what her name is but I remember her dog's name is Daffodil.

After dinner with Les & Stephanie I went up to our room to recharge my devices and apparently my own internal battery as I fell asleep reading Twitter and was out for about an hour and a half. I then went down to Operations and hung out there until my next shift. Once again I was keeping non-attendees and minors of all stripes out of the 18+ panels. About an hour before my shift ended I swapped places with Dee, who had been stationed outside the dance. Once again I felt compelled to move with the music and I stayed there after my shift ended until the dance itself was over. Afterwards [ profile] jebra went for a walk around the first floor of the hotel and he showed me where the fitness center is located and gave me a quick tour of the bar and the rooms behind it. This came in handy on Sunday when I decided to check out the Dealer's Den. Didn't find anything that tempted me, other than art pieces by one of our friends. I'm toying with the idea of commissioning a piece but, like my next tattoo, I have no idea what I want. That's why my next tattoo has taken longer than I've been married to get. (More than thirty years for those who lost score.)

By the time we ended our walk I was tired and my knees were in agreement that it was time to go to bed. So I did.

Before the parade I took two photos of Uncle Kage, one of him holding up his "Picture of Kage $5" sign (for which I did indeed pay $5 to the charity) another of him wearing one of my cat beds on his head (which was relative steal at $1 (but only because he knew it was one of the 25 beds I was donating to the rescue)). I shall treasure those photos forever. I love Uncle Kage even though I don't think he recognizes me yet. He is extremely well known in the Furry World, and known in the wine world and the scientific world as well. At the Motor City Furry Con I was disappointed that I had to miss his talk on science an pseudoscience due to my shift being at the same time, but then I learned that it's always the same talk and that there's a recording of it on youtube. I then watched the video (Science, Pseudosciene & Outright Scheiße" and *really* fell for him. Which reminds me, in the last week or two I learned that some folks are now refusing to vaccinate their pets for fear of them becoming autistic. Crazy.

Anyway, on Sunday at IFC we slept in a little, packed out, and went down to Ops. [ profile] jebra came on duty around noon, but I didn't have any shifts, so I visited the Dealer's Den then returned to Operations to hang out with the Dorsai before the auction. It was then that Alkali learned someone had inflated a Bounce House in one of the big rooms for the furries to enjoy. He blurted something about "liability" and went off to investigate. I wanted to see this as the idea of furries bouncing around sounded hilarious but I didn't quite catch the name of the room and ended up at the Furry Games. It wasn't Olympic-like, what I saw was the final game which was sort-of a game of Musical Chairs played with a large blue ball. The furry left holding the ball when the music stopped was eliminated. It wasn't a Bouncy House but the music was good and it was fun to watch.

Next up for me was the Auction, so I went and laughed my butt off (Uncle Kage is an excellent auctioneer) and accidentally got caught up in the excitement and bid on and won a signed poster of the DJs who performed at the con. I thought the poster was kinda cool but I could have taken a photo of it if I was interested in having my own copy, but when I learned that to follow was a recording of all of the concerts, I bid. I won't get the audio for another month or two but what the heck. I'll have it, I like it, and that was another $40 for the charity. Oh, any the one cat bed I put into the auction went for either $20 or $30, not as much as others have gone for in the past, but Alkali won the auction and I love that he has it for his kitty. And I got to see the con chair wear it on his head as the bidding began. Sadly, I wasn't quick enough with the camera to capture that memory.

We left the con around 5 pm and began the long drive home. We had to reroute our path shortly after getting onto the freeway due to a multi-car injury accident somewhere further up the road, but Waze came through and we found an alternate route that was both moving and not insanely crowded.

We got Dee back to her place around 10 pm and ourselves home around midnight. Speaking of Dee, on Friday she gave a copper and swarovski crystal bracelet I have yet to take a photo of. It's handmade and entire gorgeous.

Monday morning sucked as when we got home we still had to unpack the car, put things away, exercise (it isn't good for me to do nothing but sit all day), shower and get ready for the work week. I think I was up until 3 am.

I don't remember Monday at all, nor Tuesday other than I was working on the scrapbook page and trying to clean off my desk at work. As usual, I failed in the desk-clearing department.
location: Home and on my corner of the couch
Mood:: 'determined' determined
zenlizard: (BrainOnAPlate)
posted by [personal profile] zenlizard at 12:05pm on 2017-08-19 under
Mood:: 'chipper' chipper
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
posted by [personal profile] twistedchick at 11:00am on 2017-08-19
Dreamwidth will not allow me to respond to replies to comments in other people's journals now. It simply will not allow me onto the page.

Petra: when I was there, St. Bonaventure University was 1800 people in all, plus 200 or so grad students, so fairly small. Not without its bad behavior by some and a number of outright scoundrels, but I don't recall Paladino being one of them.
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
posted by [personal profile] madfilkentist at 06:46am on 2017-08-19
One of the people charged with violent acts in Charlottesville is from New Hampshire and has libertarian connections. I have no personal connection with Christopher Cantwell and don't believe I've ever met him, but the matter concerns me. The Free Keene group in southwestern New Hampshire has a good piece on him.

Cantwell espoused libertarian views at one time, before becoming an alt-right white supremacist. Even back then, the article says, he supported violence against the police. Staying clear of someone like that is a good idea, if only for your own safety. He claims he used pepper spray only in self-defense, and that's a matter for the legal process. It's his ideas which concern me.

Cantwell's own account is disturbing reading. He makes it clear that he supports the alt-right and its underlying notion of "race identity." It's incompatible with any sound concept of libertarianism. Libertarianism holds people should be evaluated as individuals. Race identity holds that people are just specimens of a physiological type.

I post tweets for LPSeacoast, the seacoast branch of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party. At first I wasn't aware of the need to distance ourselves from the alt-right, any more than we need to distance ourselves from the Taliban. But there are always people ready to tar their opponents by association. Brian, who's better attuned to practical politics than I am, caught on to this first. For the past few days, we've been hammering on this point.
gingicat: (just me - laugh)



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