June 24th, 2017
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lokifan at 06:30pm on 24/06/2017 under
I do feel like there’s a level of identifying with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend songs that suggests you’ve lost control of your life.
pm215: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] pm215 at 04:50pm on 24/06/2017

I got distracted from sifting through holiday photos, but here finally are the last two albums from my Scotland holiday back in May:

The Orkney set includes photos of the Grain Earth-House, an iron age underground cellar that would have originally had a roundhouse on top of it, and also the Wideford Hill cairn. Both of these are "minor" as Orkney archaeology goes (the Earth-House is actually kept locked up and you have to get the key from a local cafe), which meant I was the only person there.

mtbc: maze B (white-black)
posted by [personal profile] mtbc at 03:40pm on 24/06/2017 under ,
I noticed that in household conversations we give odd names to some of our foods. For instance, today I bought butter. Our butter dish has the outward appearance of a ceramic hedgehog. So, to refer to butter from the block in the dish we speak of hedgehog butter. Or, the connection may be looser: for example, we eat Star Wars cheese: comparevisual styles. ) In their attempts at specificity I wonder what names other families come up with. In that latter case, perhaps the same as we have.
mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
posted by [personal profile] mtbc at 02:18pm on 24/06/2017 under
Money is well-known to have a non-linear utility function. For example, from my position I would gladly trade a ⅓ chance of winning $20m for a ⅔ chance of winning $5m. What I have not thought through clearly is the effect on lottery tickets: can it make sense to buy only one ticket or, if it is worth buying any at all, is it likely that buying a few would make even more sense?

On the one hand, if running a lottery is profitable and the utility of money decreases the more I win then that might argue for never buying lottery tickets: the ticket cost is worth too much to me. But, the procedure by which unwon jackpots commonly roll over might make ticket-buying make sense at least for linear utility if the number of tickets purchased does not increase proportionally to the larger jackpot. Can rollovers ever make it rational to buy a bunch of tickets? Perhaps the non-linearity is always enough to scotch even that idea.
squirmelia: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] squirmelia at 11:30am on 24/06/2017
I arrived in Kraków on Monday afternoon and decided to do the [community profile] flaneurs challenge III. (d), take the first left, then the second right, etc. I prefer to use the adaptation of take the first left, then take the first right, etc.

Write up and photos )
June 23rd, 2017
ann_leckie: (AJ)
posted by [personal profile] ann_leckie at 06:04pm on 23/06/2017 under

Some things I’ve read recently!

The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata

If you didn’t read Nagata’s The Red Trilogy, well, you might want to consider doing so. But whether you have or you haven’t–The Last Good Man is near-future military sf. It’s tense and compelling, and features a middle-aged woman protagonist, an ex-Army pilot who now works for a private military company. During a rescue mission she discovers something that casts a new and disturbing light on an event that she’d thought, well, not safely in the past, but over and done with and accurately understood. But she wants the truth, no matter the cost. If near future and/or military is your jam, don’t miss this.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

This is volume 1 of the Murderbot Diaries, and I suspect a certain percentage of my readers don’t need to hear anything more. Go, purchase, download! You will enjoy this.

Murderbot is a SecUnit–a security android, part organic part mechanical, that isn’t supposed to have any sort of free will. It does, though, and having achieved that free will it secretly names itself Murderbot and then works hard to hide its freedom of thought from the corporation that owns it. It doesn’t actually want to murder anyone, though. It just wants to be left alone to watch its stories. Unfortunately, someone is trying to kill the humans Murderbot has been tasked to protect.

I’m not kidding, I can almost guarantee that my readers will enjoy this. I have already pre-ordered volume 2, which is out in January.

Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns

So, Lesbian Space Pirates. Out at the end of October. That may be all I need to say.

Or not. Our heroines hijack a colony ship in a bid to join a famous band of space pirates–only to discover the pirates are not, as widely believed, hiding out on Barbary Station rolling in money and loot, but are in fact trapped there by the station’s renegade AI. Why is the AI doing what it’s doing? Is it conscious? Does it matter when it’s trying to kill you?

This book is good fun. Set in the Solar System, lots of action, I really enjoyed this, and I bet you will, too.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

mtbc: maze D (yellow-black)
posted by [personal profile] mtbc at 07:14pm on 23/06/2017 under ,
Many American states have the notion of secondary traffic offenses: the police may not pull one over for committing them but if stopped for some primary reason, like speeding, then secondary charges may follow. It depends on the state but secondary offenses are acts such as using a cellphone or not wearing a seatbelt.

I find the concept bizarre. I don't know if the theory is that being pulled over constitutes some kind of seizure under the Fourth Amendment or if the legislature really did not want to pass, say, a seatbelt law so making it difficult to enforce was the only way to get enough votes at all, or what. I am curious to know what the thinking really is and the degree to which it makes sense. I am not aware of an analog in English or Scottish road traffic law.
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
posted by [personal profile] liv at 03:12pm on 23/06/2017 under
Recently two special interest groups I'm second degree connected to have been involved in scandals around religious attitudes to homosexuality.

The leader of a tiny UK political party, the Liberal Democrats, resigned because
To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me.
And a tiny UK Jewish denomination, Orthodox-aligned Sephardim, are up in arms because R' Joseph Dweck taught something about homosexuality in Rabbinic sources and commented
I genuinely believe that the entire revolution of…homosexuality…I don’t think it is stable and well…but I think the revolution is a fantastic development for humanity.


This stuff is minor on the scale of things, but the media love the narrative of gay rights versus religious traditionalism. Anyway lots of my friends are religious Jews or Christians who are also gay or supportive of gay people and other gender and sexual minorities. So lots of my circle are exercised about one or both of the incidents.

opinions )
location: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Music:: Black Sabbath: Who are you?
Mood:: 'contemplative' contemplative
davemerrill: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] davemerrill at 08:29am on 23/06/2017
War is sexy, racist, sexist, slightly kinky hell over at this week's Stupid Comics!

http://misterkitty.org/extras/stupidcovers/stupidcomics536.html








BY THE WAY; you may remember me discussing the DMCA takedown notices the Let's Anime blog had been receiving from "Remove Your Media LLC" on behalf of Funimation, Sentai, and other anime localizers. The latest round came on behalf of Nozomi Entertainment. Well, I mentioned it on the Twitter and Nozomi got back to me pretty quickly, asked some questions about the blog posts, and then they got in touch with Remove Your Media and Google and suddenly my posts were OK again.

So that's a victory for common sense, I guess, as well as a gold star for Nozomi, who does a great job on their DVD releases and does a great job sticking up for the fans.
wildeabandon: (books)
posted by [personal profile] wildeabandon at 09:22am on 23/06/2017
Gosh, I've not done one of these for a while...

The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
This is a series of essays about the experience of being an ethnic minority in the UK. A lot of the ideas were things I'd encountered before, but all presented thoughtfully and engagingly, so it would be a really good starting point for someone who hadn't thought much about race relations to introduce themselves to some of the common ideas and experiences. But there was also a lot that was new to me. Thoughts about representation and tokenism in popular media, about the relationships between generations with different levels of integration, about colourism and casteism, and about the impact on ethnic minority children of growing up learning that stories are about white people.

Seed to Harvest (Wild Seed, Mind of my Mind, Clay's Ark & Patternmaster) by Octavia Butler
This is a collection of four of the five Patternist novels (the fifth is set in the same universe, but I understand doesn't include any of the same characters, and is disliked by the author). These are all exciting and easy to read novels, but other than that and the plot thread that runs between them, they have surprisingly little in common. Wild Seed is alt-history, Mind of my Mind is a near future story about psychic mutants, Clay's Ark is gritty apocalyptic stuff, and Patternmaster is in a distant future that feels more like fantasy than sf. They're all great though - lighter than Kindred, but still packed with ideas about society and hierarchy.

Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
This book has a phenomenal amount of detail about the anatomy involved in five major lifts - the squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, and power clean. A fairly tedious read, but one which I hope will make me less likely to injure myself.

Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity by Fr James Martin SJ
I really like Fr James Martin, and his "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything" is one of the best books about life and religion that I've ever read. This is a short book in two parts; first an essay based on a talk about how the Church hierarchy and LGBT Catholics can heal the divide between the two groups, and secondly a series of suggestions of bible passages and questions that LGBT Catholics and their allies might find useful in prayer and reflection. I liked the essay, although more because it echoed a lot of my own thoughts back at me than because I learned much from it. I think that the more traditionalist members of the church could benefit a lot from reading it and taking it to heart. I think that most LGBT people, especially those who aren't Catholic, would find the suggestion that they too need to show respect, compassion and sensitivity towards those in the hierarchy who have hurt and oppressed them quite frustrating. I have a lot of sympathy with that, but ultimately I think that Fr Martin is correct, both because we are called to love all our neighbours, not just those whom it's easy to love, and because I don't think we will see change any other way.
June 22nd, 2017
watervole: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] watervole at 06:47pm on 22/06/2017
 Watched a programme on Japan today and googled Hokusai afterwards.

Remember all those tentacle sex fan porn stories?  (Harry Potter fandom in particular has it's share)

Nothing new!

Hokusai's print "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife' is below the cut....  (If I've worked out correctly how to do a cut.  It's been a long time since I used one)

Read more... )
wildeabandon: musical notes on a stave (music)
posted by [personal profile] wildeabandon at 08:51am on 22/06/2017
Apparently it's the time of year for reviving old hobbies. I recently got to the top of the waiting list to join the London Gay Men's Chorus, so I'm going to be starting rehearsals with them in September. I'm a bit nervous about this, because singing in public is scary, but also really excited. I'm switching my piano lessons to singing ones for the time being, which should help with the nerves, and having external things to practice for will hopefully mean that I'm a more assiduous student than the last time.

Yesterday I also went climbing for the first time in years. I used to climb quite a bit when I was a teenager, and then about five years ago I tried going with [personal profile] emperor as a day trip from Ardgour, and found it depressingly difficult. Since then my strength to weight ratio has improved significantly, so last night I had a much easier time hauling myself off the ground. I was still distinctly conscious that the kind of strength you need in order to lift a heavy thing and then lower it five times before putting it down and having a break to recover is quite different from the kind of sustained effort you need to put in climbing a wall. I started with what was probably the easiest route on the wall, and then gradually increased in difficulty until I found a couple of routes that I made it up but just barely, and a couple more that I couldn't manage, but which are now on my target list for next time.
June 21st, 2017
mtbc: maze H (magenta-black)
posted by [personal profile] mtbc at 10:10pm on 21/06/2017 under , ,
In The West Wing (1999) the senior White House staffers chronically work very long hours. How does this make sense? Is it good for their cognition to be ongoingly compromised? Can there not be enough staff to take on the workload? Perhaps the problem is that they would not be able to leave notes for each other or that they do not have enough room to put all the people or something. It does seem as if there has to be a more effective way for them to work. Maybe we are supposed to believe that they are so superlatively good at their jobs that even half-asleep they outperform some next-best people who might instead be on duty to catch some acute situation.
squirmelia: (dreaming)
posted by [personal profile] squirmelia at 09:52pm on 21/06/2017 under
Flower made from print outs of Ingress intel maps of London:

Ingress map flower
mtbc: maze C (black-yellow)
posted by [personal profile] mtbc at 06:34pm on 21/06/2017 under , , ,
In the School of Life Sciences where I work we produce systems like the Image Data Resource which is full of strange pretty pictures acquired from expensive microscopes and used to justify scientific conclusions. There is also some initial proof-of-principle code for reproducing analyses via the IDR Jupyter Hub. OMERO.figure is also rather neat: turn the raw image files acquired from the microscope into figures ready for Adobe Illustrator to put into your paper; information in the figures like timepoints, scalebars, etc. is derived from the metadata encoded by the microscope as it acquired the images.

Modern academic life is highly competitive and journals are far more keen to publish interesting new discoveries, however lucky, so there is great career pressure report the right kinds of findings. Further, many of them turn out to be difficult to impossible to reproduce. Even despite this, my impression is that the kind of research misconduct I have in mind is, at its core, well-intentioned: the results may be a little doctored, or an unusually significant subsample, or whatever, but the researcher does generally believe the hypothesis that they are trying to prove, they are just exaggerating the evidence for it.

I figure that our work stuff might be useful if it helps to encourage a culture of sharing all the raw data and the procedures by which it was analyzed. But, I wonder if this papers over a more fundamental problem: that the people generating the hypotheses are also those testing them. I am amused to be thinking of this as a conflict of interest.

I can see why it happens. The people who have the idea are probably the more enthusiastic about testing it. Maybe not many labs are used to working with those cell lines or protocols or whatever at all so it is not like any lab could just pick up the work. And, even if we had a system where the people who generate hypotheses are separate from those who test them, one can see that there is still scope for mutual back-scratching and the like. One can imagine the specifics of the experimental design would be something of a negotiation between the hypothesizer and the tester.

So, I am not saying that even this pipedream idea of having researchers' hypotheses tested by third parties is a good one even if it were workable. But, I do wonder if there is some related but realistic way in which scientific research could be restructured to make it more trustworthy.
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
posted by [personal profile] liv at 06:06pm on 21/06/2017 under ,
Recently read: Not reading much or posting much at the moment because [personal profile] cjwatson is visiting and I'm mainly paying attention to him. I'll update here later in the week, probably.

Currently reading: Nearly finished: Too like the lightning by Ada Palmer. I'm really enjoying the resolution of the political intrigue plot, but I'm a bit annoyed by the sophomoric speculation on the philosophical implications of sadism.

Up next: All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders.


Music meme day 8 of 30

A song about drugs or alcohol

Two from opposite ends of the spectrum: my ex-gf used to sing me this ridiculously soppy song, Kisses sweeter than wine by Jimmie Rogers. Which is really only tangentially about alcohol but it's connected to happy memories for me. And I couldn't leave out the most explicitly druggy song in my collection, Heroin, she said by WOLFSHEIM.

two videos )
location: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Mood:: 'satisfied' satisfied
June 20th, 2017
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
Previously unread.

First book by Daniels that I've read. On the whole, a pleasant surprise. I suspect this is in the "YA" bucket, not because of the content, but based on the formatting. Wider line-spacing, for one. Also a very quick read, based purely on the ebook-reader's page number function, 300 pages, or within 1%-2% error margin, started on the morning commute, finished during the evening commute. Clear YA sign, that. 250 pages, I could've believed it was just the quality of the book (the better, the faster I read, or something like that). Where was I?

Ah, yes. We follow Danny Tozer, who, when the book starts, is a teen with one set of problems, which quickly change for whole other set of problems, which slowly transmute to a third, somewhat related, set of problems. The rapid change at the start have something to do with "a dying superhero just gifted his powers to you", and the slow transmutation is definitely related to the same thing (and various other reactions of the book's world to this).

This is not the bookmeme post I was planning, but this one is better, even though (until now) it didn't mention lesbians, nor trans-phobic feminists. But you can't have it all, people.
baratron: (poly)
I haven't been posting more than comments because it's been too hot to switch my computer on. My laptop is "built for extreme gaming" and therefore has two heavy-duty fans, one for the CPU and the other for the GPU. Unsurprisingly, it belches out A LOT of heat. Given that it's been over 30 degrees C during the day and even over 25 at night, I haven't had much desire to add to the house temperature. I've been playing Dragon Quest VII on my 3DS instead of Elder Scrolls Online on my computer, and just checking in with my Guild for 30-60 minutes at 3 am when it's as cool as it's going to get.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I shall be 41, which is quite shocking. I don't FEEL like I should be middle-aged yet - even if extended life expectancy means we now have "early" middle-age from 40 to 55 and "late" middle-age from 56 to 70 or 75, and you don't become "elderly" until you're properly decrepit. One of my birthday presents will be a visiting Grant, which means I am now attempting to do battle with entropy such that there will be enough space in the house for him to stay.

To do... )
Mood:: 'hot' hot
davemerrill: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] davemerrill at 04:02pm on 20/06/2017


I found this poster for the 1966 release of "Hentai" at the "Temple Of Schlock" blog, which is this aptly named deep-dive into super obscure exploitation films that were released under two or three names in fourwalled theaters in small towns and regional cities across America.

http://templeofschlock.blogspot.ca/2017/02/the-endangered-list-case-file-158_20.html

I posted it on Twitter and it's gotten a lot of traction and some amusing @s from people who either want to argue with its translation of "hentai" or aren't sure why it's funny. If you don't think kitschy old movie posters that have to work hard to explain themselves are funny, then I don't know what to tell you.

The yard sale went well. We beat the rain, sold a bunch of stuff, I got a new bicycle seat and a plastic Doraemon bank and a new yoga mat. I don't think there was as much foot traffic as last year, but we seemed to make about as much money, so go fig. Sunday we went out to the woods and did some walking, some catching up with the new Twin Peaks, which I'm enjoying a lot.

The old anime hell domain name went bye bye, so I bought a new one that is a work in progress at the moment.

http://anime-hell.com/

It's 2017 and this is the first domain name I ever bought and the first website that I've built myself. (Shain does all the work on Mister Kitty). There's a learning curve, but that's what life's about, learning new skills.

This week it's hot and rainy and cool again and rainy and hot again. This weekend is the Anime North post-con banquet, which means free Chinese buffet, and maybe a comic book show. We kind of need to save money for next month's vacation, though, so we might not go to that. I'm working on a review of the "Osamu Tezuka Story" that Schodt translated for Let's Anime. Need to get back to drawing comics too. And I gotta put that new seat on my bike. Always something to do.
mtbc: maze I (white-red)
posted by [personal profile] mtbc at 08:42pm on 20/06/2017 under , , ,
An aspect of European Union membership that I greatly value is their focus on personal data privacy. This has similarly attracted me to the UK's Liberal Democrat party but rather less so: given how very little they bother to mention it in campaigning I would guess that they may not care as much.

I have been struck by how poor the BBC's choice is to soon make login compulsory for viewing content online. I have already mentioned how I would be fine with providing my television license number and how I do not want them to attempt to personalize their content for me. The compulsory login indeed relates to personalization: they want age, gender, postcode. In practice this is not yet a great burden to me because nothing in the process prevents me from simply lying for every login; I am a fan of services like BugMeNot. While the BBC do retain these personal details, their corresponding log of viewing history is indexed via some anonymized viewer identity code.

One facet of this that disappoints me is the BBC's naïveté. Their news archives now carry many years of history of very sensitive databases leaking from various organizations whose data security would have been expected to be good. If there are databases of everybody's details and television viewing habits being held by a well-known organization whose funding is often under political challenge then it will very plausibly leak regardless of prior public assurances made by ill-informed representatives. This risk is not so clearly worth the benefit that it ought to be imposed on all.

I am also intrigued by a contrast in attitudes between the US and the UK regarding how governments and corporations should handle personal privacy. Generally businesses are far more restricted in the UK than the US with regard to collecting, using and sharing our data, though perhaps only because of the EU. However, in the US the government is trusted far less: for example, it would be entirely normal for an American local library to not record my borrowing history but locally I am not even permitted to opt out of such.

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