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Mar. 27th, 2017 08:56 pm
thnidu: blank white robot/avatar sitting on big red question mark. tinyurl.com/cgkcqcj via Google Images (question mark)
[personal profile] thnidu
This is my laundry hamper. It's lined with a laundry bag of some synthetic fabric. I came in just now from an afternoon of errands & stuff, took off my shoes, and, looking down, saw what looked like a black sock sticking out through one of the holes. But it isn't a sock.



Now, how the heck did that happen?

Read more... )

Library e-books

Mar. 27th, 2017 06:11 pm
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
I don't much like e-books that I can't keep. Till very recently, I'd never borrowed an e-book from a library. However, I figured it was a no-loss proposition, so I borrowed (if that's the right word, which I'm not convinced of) James Gleick's The Information from the Kingston Library, or actually from the state library. That's the book I found out about "Napoleon's Telegraph" from.

It's all a bit bizarre. For contractual, not technical, reasons, the library can only lend out so many copies at a time. The book expired today, as I was in the middle of reading a sentence. Just gone. It's rather appropriate that I was reading about entropy.

However, I was able to check it out again immediately. The hard part was getting it to put the book back on my "bookshelf" after checking it out. The Kingston Library uses an app called Overdrive. I'd say that Overdrive sucks, except that that insults sucking. As most of you know, I have a bit of experience with library software, and I've never encountered (or written) any this bad before.

GOP D&D

Mar. 27th, 2017 01:52 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
New game.  Do not read with mouth full.

Okay, everyone, roll for initiative ...

Done last week: (20170319Su - 25Sa)

Mar. 27th, 2017 08:55 am
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

Nasty, uncomfortable things!

As my dedicated readers (all three or four of them) are probably aware, Rainbow's End is being sold. It goes on the market, in fact, in a couple of weeks. (BTW, if you want a superb 6-bedroom house in West Seattle, complete with concert hall, ...) In order to present the place in the best light, we have vacated the top two floors, replaced the carpets, and removed the stair lifts. Colleen and I have been sleeping on our sofabed in the Rainbow Room.

Saturday, we moved. Or, rather, went out to a terrific Japanese restaurant in Port Townsend to celebrate the Younger Daughter's birthday, while our moving crew hauled what turned out to be three truckloads of stuff to the apartment. The plan was for us to drive home; pick up (cat) Ticia, (guinea pig) Clea, and (guitar) Plink; come back to an apartment full of boxes; and get settled in. Um..., not quite. In retrospect, leaving Clea at home was the best decision I made all day.

Because the keys, with the all-important fob that gets one into the building and then the elevator, slipped off a box and went through the crack between the elevator and the floor.

Meanwhile, I was driving home. Attempting to follow slightly confusing directions, on a phone that suddenly did not have a visible display! It was particularly confusing because I had missed a turn, and the phone was trying to direct me to turn around. But I didn't know that, either. I pulled off at an intersection in Kitsap that had a convenience store where I could use a bathroom, and switched to Colleen's phone. Fighting, again, with Google Maps, that wanted to direct me to a route it thought was faster, using a ferry. The last thing I needed was to wait an hour or two if I missed the ferry. Of course, I spent nearly that long in a traffic jam in Tacoma.

The traffic jam in Tacoma was where N called me to give me the bad news about the keys. The backup plan was to get buzzed in using the building manager's door code. Which worked fine until I used it too many times figuring out how to keep the garage door open, and said building manager started sending it to voice mail. (I'd thought that it was automated. Nope.) Leaving me outside in the cold, Colleen and Ticia inside waiting for an elevator, and both our phones, plus the litter box that actually had litter in it (we'd sent an empty one ahead), in the van.

After some kind person finally let me in, we proceeded to the apartment. Which is where we determined that we had no phones, no cat litter, and no way of getting back into the elevator after getting them. After meltdown, panic attack, or whatever it was, I proceeded to knock on doors until I found someone who actually opened the door and said they would buzz me in. I arrived downstairs just about the same time as the police, who were investigating an apparent intruder who was knocking on peoples' doors. This is apparently a standard MO for homeless people in the area.

Fortunately, at this point I was well beyond the panic and able to see the humor in the situation, so I had a pleasant conversation with one cop while another went upstairs to knock on my door to confirm with Colleen that we actually lived there.

It wasn't until I got back to the apartment that I took a good look at the phone and realized that the screen wasn't dying, it had just had its brightness turned all the way down. I also figured out that setting up my phone to let people in couldn't be done without having an account set up on dwelo.com. And we had a nice visit from the young lady who had called 911 to report me.

I've lost track of how many anxiety meltdowns I had; at some point I got over the panic and had a nice bout of acute depression.

We have spent the rest of the weekend in the apartment, finding out what's missing and what we have to send back to Rainbow's End to go into the storage pod after all.

Today has been cozy and domestic, sorting through boxes and figuring out which things we actually have room to keep in our apartment's tiny cabinets. And eating veggie, because while I was able to find two cans of crabmeat, the only can-opener we had was a battery-powered one that Colleen had just purchased. Batteries not included.

Oh, and did I mention the scratches I got as I attempted to corner a terrified Ticia and get her into her carrier? Those too.

Meanwhile, here we are.

Notes & links, as usual )

posted late because my emacs client is flaking out. Probably due to the HTTPS redirection.

solarbird: (made her from parts)
[personal profile] solarbird

Build reports are nice enough. (I wrote up a little errata post yesterday, by the by.) But the real question, of course, is how does the RK-47/990B kit mic sound?

Early impressions are surprisingly good. Even with only the single microphone, there’s a sense of presence and space – even with a purely mono signal path – that I normally have to dual-mic to attain. Also, it has tremendous precision – this is a mic capable of great subtlety. And the amount of gain built into the microphone itself is crazy – this is one spicy meatball of a microphone. That’s something you won’t hear in recordings, but it results in a lower noise floor, which is always good.

Let’s start with some unsubtle differences, ones that’ll show up on laptop speakers. Because while I’ve never liked the MXL-990, they sell a zillion of ’em, and we should make a couple of direct comparisons.

Here’s a snippet of chords from “Lukey,” alternating between the MXL-990 (unaltered factory) and the RK-47/990B. It starts with the MXL-990, then transitions in-song to the RK-47, then back and forth. It ends with the RK-47. It’s a pure mono signal path until prepped for uploading to Soundcloud.

And here’s a short melody, on zouk – again, starting on MXL-990 (factory stock), then RK-47, then back to MXL-990. The last phrase is repeated to allow us to end on the RK-47; also, I wanted that ending bit to be presented on both microphones. The glissando really highlights some of the differences.

But that’s shooting fish in a barrel, as it were. The MXL-990, while popular, is not a good microphone. We should do comparisons to microphones I actually like – let’s say, the M-Audio Nova. At about twice the price of the MXL-990, it’s still a cheap microphone, just one I consider entry-level competent. But it has issues – not the least of which being it’s kind of a noisy beast as these categories of microphones go.

So let’s take the easy swing – here’s a sharply boosted noise level comparison of the RK-47 to the M-Audio Nova, at equivalent gain levels. This is not the noise you’d actually hear; I recorded a silent room at gain appropriate on each microphone for instrument recording, then cranked that recording up 32db for easy noise levels comparison.

Unfortunately, this really requires headphones, because it’s RK-47 on left, Nova on right:

NOT SUBTLE. But also, an easy shot. The Nova is noisy and everybody knows it. There are some mods out there to improve that, but they change the sound a bit in ways I don’t like, so I work with it.

comparison of waveformsSo let’s dig down a bit. Pictured here is a snippet of waveform from a bit of music played, in mono, over my studio monitors, into identically positioned microphones relative to those speakers. These two recordings were made simultaneously.

You’ll note in this highly-zoomed-in render how the RK47 waveform remains clear and unmuddled in these extremely rapid changes, while the Nova’s blurs into a bit of a mush. That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about, and also, the sort of thing you can hear in these very short snippets of horns from a jazz track. This comparison requires headphones, possibly good ones:

They’re short because they must be uncompressed for best comparison – sorry about that – but listen to them a few times and compare. Note how the edges of detail – bits which add flavour – are blurred in the Nova, but retained in the RK-47. Neat, eh?

That out of the way, let’s step up a level in comparator microphones. Oktava 012s are considered very good affordable microphones, particularly strong in their price ranges, and street for a new 012 and one pickup is comparable to the cost of this kit. With a second head (to add a second pickup pattern, as this mic has), it’s a bit more. They’re small-can capacitor instrument mics, rather than large-can, but we’re doing instrument recording, so that’s fair. The components inside – particularly older ones picked up used – can be a bit dodgy, but the design is great and the pickups are great, and you can upgrade the iffy capacitors and the suspect transistor if necessary. I have, of course, done this with mine.

Here’s the intro to “King of Elfland’s Daughter,” on the Oktava 012 (upgraded components) and the RK-47/990B kit. This recording repeats phrases, with the Oktava 012 first, then the RK-47/990B. Pure mono signal path, identical recording setup made within a few minutes of each other, but not simultaneously, as you can’t put two microphones in exactly the same place and I wanted the most equal comparison I could, modulo performance limitations. This probably also requires headphones, as the 012 is a pretty darned precise microphone itself:

44.1khz/16-bit uncompressed WAV file version here.

Once again, I’m finding that the RK-47 has a real staging advantage. There’s a sense of in-the-room presence with the RK-47 that I can make happen by dual-miking with my other microphones and mixing down, but not directly in mono.

Now, I don’t want to leave the impression that it is BEST AT ALL THINGS, because it’s not. These aren’t the only recordings I made – they’re just ones that show differences best. The first example I found was mandolin – the Nova likes my mandolin better than the RK-47 does. The specific response behaviour and foibles of the Nova work in its favour; a single RK-47 may have more presence and precision than a single Nova, but the Nova recording sounded more musical just the same. I’m sure there will be other examples as well.

In the end, I think this will probably become a heavy-use microphone in my kit. It may even become my go-to mic on the zouk – I need to do some stereo and multi-distance comparisons before I will know that for sure, but it’s looking very good. I also like what it does with piccolo and flute. I haven’t done any playing around with fiddle or drums, and one thing I want to play with is a two-mic setup with the ribbon kit mic I built, to see how those behave together – it’s a mic placement technique I’ve wanted to try for a while, but have never got round to testing. Now is probably the time.

I kind of wish I’d ordered the matched-pair version of this microphone kit. But it would’ve cost twice as much and I couldn’t know in advance I’d like it this much, so.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has posted the story "Hidden Complication."  World Worker finds out about Halley's mistake and goes to clean up the mess.
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Hidden Complication
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 1 of 1 (complete)
word count (story only):

:: This takes place beginning Saturday morning, but the central characters do not meet until after noon. Date adjusted because post did NOT post, just spinny ball of death the first time I tried! ::




A message had woken Lukas in a single electronic chirp, long before his body had soaked up enough rest to be more than groggy. Not even four cups of excellent Turkish coffee helped make him more alert, but the moment Lukas read the message, he was fully awake and reaching for his mouse.


“World-- I made a mistake. That information I wondered about, that I asked you to look for? I… I didn't realize that it's going to make the subject FURIOUS. Can you lock down everything you scraped together? I told my Da and he rushed to go talk to the subject. This is awful. Worse than awful. I'm sorry I dragged you into it.”



He was already rolling out of bed, not bothering to dress, carrying the laptop to the table and wing chair positioned to give a beautiful view of the ocean beyond the thick almond bisque curtains. A few keystrokes began the process of triple-checking the cage of traps and misdirects he'd placed around the caches of data he had gathered in a few hours' work done weeks ago. It actually took him three times longer to check the protections than he'd spent on the original project.

His stomach growled and lurched, finally cutting through his focus to demand attention. It was nearly noon, and he'd missed more than two meals. It took minutes to dress in his clothes from the day before, ending with the sharp 'skkksh' of closing vrip-tape on the black athletic shoes he had worn.

Lukas checked his wallet, his passport for the trip, and the time. Then he brought up a line prompt to type “Format C:\” By the time he'd eaten and bought a change of clothes, his laptop would be an innocuous sarariman's loyal sidekick. He even kept a Blackberry, in his laptop bag, complete with 'work notes' and messages from 'coworkers.' The hotel had a safe set in the closet, but that wasn't a very secure location. He simply lifted the seat cushion and concealed the happily humming laptop beneath it.

If the laptop overheated, so much the better. Internal fuses would blister the motherboard, then trigger an internal H-1506 halon fire extinguisher. Buying all new gear and customizing it would make his next job easier, anyway.

He snagged the camera bag, which held far more than the digital camera he preferred, and let himself out of the hotel room, determined to find food. As he sorted through the maps he'd been memorizing while waiting in the hospital the day before, he also tried to calculate how many meals he had missed this time. It was important, because it changed the types of foods he should eat first, and those he should eat last.

Finding a frozen yogurt shop didn't seem likely anywhere but the tourist shops.

A grocery store was much easier to find. Shopping took slightly longer than dressing had, but only because he struggled to remember whether any of Bog's extended family were vegetarian or vegan. He worried more about the weight of the bags he carried than the total on the register screen, and had already dialed a water taxi by the time the last bag was ready to go.

Lukas let his thoughts dance and dart, sweeping from immediate to future possibilities the way some people played a large fish on a line. He made no small talk, shaking his head when the taxi driver tried to entice him into trying a club with a wide, white-painted pier surrounding the restaurant on three side. The pier was lined with equally white wrought iron tables and chairs beneath bold, brick red umbrellas. There was even a maitre d' standing on the landing area beside the gangplank, smiling pleasantly as she waited for the next customers to arrive by sea.

At the correct dock, the money changed hands in a smooth, practiced maneuver that World had spent two months learning, back when he'd been healing from a broken hip and stuck in traction. It took himself and the driver to unload the bags onto the dock, and all four hands to get the bags settled in an arrangement that he could carry the few hundred yards to the Finns' bungalows. The outboard motor of the water taxi roared cheerfully away.

“World?”

Lukas sighed, putting away his name and putting on his identity World Worker turned to stare at the worried, damp-eyed child he'd come to see. “Hi, Bog. Obviously, I got your message. Are you grounded?” What he didn't say was 'Are you in trouble enough for me to grab you and your baby brother and run?' He'd spent weeks, once, back when Bog first started chatting on his favorite boards, studying the family. He knew that the odds were astronomically against Bog needing an escape hatch, but his life had been shaped and then shattered several times in the year he was ten, and his caution never, ever quieted more than it did when watching the carefully saved, quintuple-encrypted footage of the family at some SCA event on the California coast.

“Da says I can't go anywhere without an adult, and we'll decide the rest of it when he gets back,” Halley sniffed.

World stared, pointedly, around the small dock.

“I slipped away. We're literally within shouting distance, and Mrs. Wu has the doors and windows open,” Halley admitted, even as a note of brittle defensiveness crept into the last few words.

“So, now you're in even more trouble. May as well make yourself useful for the moment, then.” World offered the easiest bag to reach.

Halley accepted the bag of food, looking up in confusion as World Worker put the next bag into thon's free hand, then slung his camera bag over the child's head, too. He carefully hung another cloth bag holding bottled sodas on Halley's left shoulder. When the child staggered, World nodded seriously. “There. That's how I feel right now, Halley. You've got a lot of extra weight to carry, with no real idea what to do if it doesn't get to the 'right' person. You've made me carry someone else's secrets, and I'm not happy about that.”

The child took a wobbly step closer, scowling. “I didn't mean to!” Another step brought Halley squarely opposite the older man. World adjusted his glasses, watching the child's waving hands. “I didn't find out anything!”

“But I did,” World insisted. “That's what I'm carrying around.” he tugged the strap on the camera bag. “The rest of it is all tied up with whether we're going to continue to be friends, Halley.”

Wobbling, Halley scrubbed the palm of thon's right hand over thon's face. “But that's the heavy part!”

“Yes,” World agreed. “You've put me in a position where I know a lot of things about someone who will NOT want me to know them, at all. Black Hat rules say that I can just ignore it forever. Ideally, the two of us can pretend that we don't know each other and will never meet each other, even if we're standing side by side in a random elevator.”

“But you won't tell anyone what you found! Why is that a bad thing?” Halley sniffed, thon's lip wobbling.

“To be your friend, I have to decide whether to follow your parents' rules,” World told the child gently. “Your parents are blindingly white hats, Bog. They're going to want me to do the right thing, not the black hat thing. I could pretend not to know all of this, except--”

He sighed heavily. “Except.”

Bog sniffed again. World reached out, taking back his camera bag and the heavier of the two grocery bags. “Which of your parents is available?”

“Mum. Da… Da's already back in --” Halley began.

World held up a hand, despite the bags he carried in it. “Don't even. Remember, I already know, and that's the problem. I'm going to have to find some kind of restitution for the other person, too.”

The little shoulders dragged lower, and several tears spilled. “I'm really sorry, World. Could I help you with it?”

He shook his head slowly. “That depends upon the other party, and what they want. Let's go talk to your mother.”

The young man who strolled onto the dock seemed to be hoping to catch the attention of the water taxi. Only when he had reached the middle of the dock did he change direction, putting himself between Halley and World. “Halley, who is he?”

“He's a friend. Mum knows him,” the child rushed out. “And now everybody is mad at me!” More tears fell.

World visibly clenched his jaw. “Yep. I am. Given the same number of hours as I put into that project, I won't be. Finding out I don't have to replace my laptop will smooth things over even faster, but we both know that you have no influence over whether that happens. Maybe we'll both get lucky.”

Halley scrubbed thon's left forearm over thon's eyes. “I'm sorry.”

“All right,” World agreed easily. “That's a start. Now, who is this person and why should they have any online presence at all?”

“Hey!” the newcomer protested. “I'm here to keep the kid from getting into trouble, and you look like trouble with capital letters!”

“This is Luigi,” Halley explained. “And you can call him World Worker. It's… It's time to go get Mum, isn't it?”

“Yep,” World agreed, popping the 'p.' “And I get to watch you get in trouble.”

“That's MEAN!”

“When did I ever say I was nice?” World retorted. Some of the fear was easing, finally unraveling the knots in his stomach. The kid had made a mistake, yes, but it was fixable. He'd make sure of it, and that the family had enough time together to rebuild the broken trust.

“You brought lunch,” Halley defended stoutly. World hid a smile as the kid turned toward one bungalow, marching with uneven strides due to the heavy bag in the small hands.

-30-





nanosecond:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second#SI_multiples

sarariman (salaryman)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salaryman
Note: World Worker gathered this word into his vocabulary via a video game, and later a pen and paper role-playing game. It is most assuredly not a compliment, rather like the word 'muggle' from Harry Potter fandom.


[Author's Note: Totally NOT my day. Missing line break.]

thnidu: Gay-friendly poly-friendly pagan-friendly monogamous straight Jew (friendly)
[personal profile] thnidu
From Quartz

The idea of monogamy as a relationship ideal is based on flawed science

March 22, 2017

Is monogamy actually better than non-monogamy?

It’s still very much an open question—and one with no clear answers, in part because scientists can’t break free of a certain worldview gripping their field.

Monogamy is so much a part of the emotional makeup of Western culture that even people who study relationships fail to notice their biases towards it, according to research due to be published this week. And that means the very way we study intimacy has some fundamental flaws.

The primacy given to monogamous unions isn’t surprising given the historically patriarchal societies that dominate the world: An economic system predicated upon handing down property from father to son is invested in certainty about paternity and on clear family lines.

But times have changed. Researchers from the University of Michigan set out to determine whether the ways psychologists and other scientists study relationships are geared up to deliver results that—even unconsciously—promote monogamy. They concluded that the very way we study intimacy is problematic.

Terri Conley, the study’s lead author, said that our attitudes to monogamy are “so ingrained as to be invisible.”

“It’s not even that we think about it being right,” she said. “We just see it as the only way.” The way that science assesses relationships has skewed what researchers find, according to the study, due to be published in Perspectives on Psychological Science

.


Click headline for story

good morning, it's 27 march 2017

Mar. 26th, 2017 11:38 pm
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
The NYC attack on a randomly-chosen black man by a white supremacist was explicitly intended to achieve a political purpose through fear and intimidation. See "White supremacist who killed black man only regrets his victim wasn’t younger and ‘more successful" and also, "Timothy Caughman’s Murder Was a Lynching and Donald Trump has said nothing," both of which are excessively important. 8pol seems not to be bothering to talk about it, 4pol isn't talking much but what discussion there is blames it on false flag/MK-ULTRA.

Meanwhile in Russia proper, "Protesters Gather in 99 Cities Across Russia; Top Putin Critic Is Arrested." Brave people. Of course, "The Trump Administration Is Silent After Russia Arrests Hundreds Of Protesters." He's too busy making an ass of himself printing fake invoices and handing them to Andrea Merkel expecting payment, I guess? That didn't work with Mexico, why the fuck would it work with Germany? ("Germany slams ‘intimidating’ £300bn White House bill.")

Remember how Trump promised brutality and savagery in the middle east? He may be delivering on that, as "Trump’s War on Terror Has Quickly Become as Barbaric and Savage as He Promised." This is, of course, how to ramp up the war. "The west condemned Russia’s bombs – now coalition attacks are killing civilians in Mosul" is another story on the topic.

"Pussy Riot's advice on how to defy Putin and Trump" is pretty straightforward, but I include it as part of the shared struggle. They have no illusions about what's going on. In related organisational/structural news, "A Harvard study identified the precise reason protests are an effective way to cause political change" - which is to say, people who attend protests are afterwards more likely to do things and get others to do things as well. The multiplier is nontrivial.

Post-healthcare-reform continues: "Blaming conservatives, Trump signals new openness to Dems" (presumably a lie), "Donald Trump is giving a lot of mixed messages about whom to blame on health care" (true), "Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War" (point and laugh, children), and "Reince Priebus lies after GOP debacle: ‘Obamacare is imploding and exploding and every other adjective’," indicating that Priebus doesn't know that "imploding" and "exploding" are verbs.

I suspect "Trump taps Kushner to lead a SWAT team to fix government with business ideas" is going to be a bit of a do-nothing position, not because they might not want to do some of these things, but because they still don't have a staff worth mentioning. Still, be aware. Kushner has no qualifications on this other than being Trump's son-in-law, and is overbooked already, so... yeah.

Only one immigration/expulsion/travel ban story at the moment: "‘Dreamer’ immigrant in Oregon detained by US authorities."

"An Oklahoma School Had a Christian Sex Educator Speak to Kids, and (Surprise!) It Was a Disaster."

And finally, locally, "McCleary roundup: Senate GOP’s budget plan draws swift opposition from Democrats, teachers union" - nothing to do with fascism, really, but a lot of Washington State people are subscribers, so there's your education funding update. It's hard to keep up with 'normal' things right now, but you need to. It's just life.

It's March 27, 2017; this is the news )

Fidget Spinners

Mar. 27th, 2017 12:49 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 [personal profile] technoshaman tipped me to these clinical-grade fidget spinners.  Multiple shapes, colors, and bearing options.  

Offspring continues ill

Mar. 27th, 2017 01:38 am
archangelbeth: Bleary-eyed young woman peers up, pillow obscuring the lower half of her face. Text reads: SO not a morning person. (So Not A Morning Person)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Slowly recovering. No fever. Less nausea. But not well.

Hope for well enough to hit up school tomorrow. This is terrible. O:(

I continue tired, having gotten to bed around 2:30 (early!) and then had a chunk of awakeness around 8 or 9 that didn't end till around 11. So I was in bed for over 10 hours (well, had the sleep app running, anyway...) but only got a bit under 7 of actual sleep, as far as I can calculate.

Got a chunk of editing done. Go me.

Havva Quote
G____'s right hand has been eminent domained into kitty furniture.
E____ says, “When you take over someone else's Chinese food order that's eminent lo mein.”
E____ says, “But when you do it to someone's salad it's eminent romaine.”
G____ [to E____]: nice!
arcangel groans at puns
E____ says, “You don't want to take food that's gone bad, though. Eminent ptomaine.”
arcangel says, "ewww"


INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )

Sunday Stone-Scrabbling

Mar. 26th, 2017 10:01 pm
radiantfracture: and i know which way the wind is blowing (barometer)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
Today was approximately evenly split between napping, working, and walking, which is not such a bad way to go about things when you can.

I have been enjoying the landscapes I've seen in others' posts, have been feeling even a little envious of their moss-banked waterfalls and rugged declivities -- which envy is mad, given where I live, but the sphagnum is always greener, etc.

Therefore, here are a few photos from today's scramble along the rocks in Beacon Hill Park. The path is a bit dodgy at the best of times, and today it was muddy and the rocks were wet, but I find if I'm willing to lower my centre of gravity more than dignity strictly allows, I can achieve some fair progress.

The rocks are something remarkable -- huge rounded whalebacks banded, veined, and streaked with surprising colour.

In the spirit of shared beauty, then: Photos from today's walk )

As I cried out through the wind to S and LB, in my gamin enthusiasm, "This is a downtown park." That's a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one.

{rf}

Finding Just the Right Star

Mar. 26th, 2017 06:06 pm
gridlore: The word "Done!" in bold red letters. (Done!)
[personal profile] gridlore
The setting for my novel is really starting to gel nicely. After much searching, I've finally settle on where the main character hails from. As I worked, many details about the planet, it's culture and history, and the form of government came together.

I had originally wanted to put my system in Epsilon Eridani. But that was soon discarded. The system isn't right, and far too close to Earth for my purposes. E.Eri might show up as a setting for some important scene or the other, or just be discarded. What I ended up with was Beta Hydri, a type G2 IV star some 24.33 light years to our Galactic south. A very old system, with on;y 500 million years left before expansion and death, but time enough for humans. It's much brighter than our Sun, and as I generated it, has eleven planets.

The first three are airless, tidally-locked rocks all within 1 AU of the star. They are named Mongoz, Kobara, and Chooha (Mongoose, Cobra, and Rat.) There is occasional mining and scientific operations, but the tiny worlds are pretty useless. Moving out, all the worlds except the main world of the system are named for heroes from India's fight for independence from Great Britain. Lakshimbai is a sub-Jovian world with a small family of moons, and is the headquarters of the Hydran Navy's operational arm.

Naya Ghar (New Home) is home to the bulk of the system's 7.9 billion residents. Slightly smaller than Earth, with .77g of gravity and an atmosphere 1/5th as dense as ours, the surface is nearly half water, with the planet carved into a series of landmasses separated by channels and small seas. There is life, mainly in the oceans. Land forms are mainly plants and smaller animals. There is considerable evidence that the world once had a thick atmosphere for a long period.

Cities are a combination of underground warrens and sprawling surface facilities. Going outside on a summer's day requires a respirator and emergency oxygen supply. The days are 18 hours long, a year is 2.13 standard years. or 1,037.6 local days. Older cities tend to be named for Indian cities on Earth, while newer settlements are named for local terrain features.

Naya Ghar has two moons, both of which are in fairly distant orbits. Their tidal forces are relatively weak, with the exception of those times when their orbits cause them to exert a tidal pull on one side of the planet. "Flood days" are a well-known phenomenon and are seen as part of life on the shores of the many waterways.

There is an ongoing effort to terraform Naya Ghar. Working with the powerful firm Planetary Development Incorporated efforts have begun to thicken the atmosphere in hopes of reaching double the current pressure with an oxygen level that would allow people to walk outside freely. Critics point out the amazing diversity of life already on the planet and the probability of this life being destroyed.

Next out, at 2.78 AU, is Khan, a small Mars-like world wracked by near constantly dust storms. Virtually worthless, it has become home to a colony of Punjabi Sikhs who tired of the Hindu majority on Naya Ghar. Despite near poverty, the colony has become something of a tourist destination and the Hydran military has a strong Sikh component.

The next four worlds are all large gas giants, all with smaller than normal sets of satellites. Chandrasekhar, Bismil, Lahiri, and Bhagat all support vibrant Helium-3 scooping and refining operations. The system's hyper-limit as at 11.04 AU, between the orbits of Bismil and Lahari.

Finally, the is frozen Bahdur, 41.4 AU from the sun. A sub-Jovian, Bahdur has been judged as too distant for economically feasible scooping operations. It has become the main training ground for the Imperial Hydran Navy due to, in the words of one Admiral "It has plenty of worthless rocks to blast into worthless gravel." The planet and it's immediate surrounds are marked as off-limits to unauthorized vessels.

The central star, Beta Hydri, is either called Hydri or just Ravi (Hindi for "Sun") by the residents. As most of the population lives in sealed cities and rarely see the sky anyway, the name doesn't matter to them much anyway.

The system's population is primarily from the Indian subcontinent. After the spasms of the mid-21st century and the Warpox plague, reducing the excess population of India became vital. Later waves of immigrants came from North America and Central Asia. Hindi and English are the languages most spoken, with Hindi being the official language of the state.

Tomorrow, the Great Hydran Empire! Or the Mahaan Haidraan Saamraajy (The Raj, to most people.)

A Nyrond on Patreon

Mar. 26th, 2017 04:53 pm
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
[personal profile] thnidu
The person mundanely named Jonathan Waite, long known in filkdom and fandom as Zander Nyrond, is now on Patreon as Zanda Myrande. So far she* has posted a sonnet and two brief stories, all as good as I remember his** earlier creations being.

* Preferred pronoun
** As they were then

EDIT Mon 2017.03.27 1921 UTC for pronouns
solarbird: (made her from parts)
[personal profile] solarbird

A bit of errata on the micparts rk-47/990B kit microphone build report yesterday:

First, I didn’t mention that the board kit includes extra capacitors, to be used either for different capsules than I chose, or to tailor the response curve of the microphone. I went for flattest response, but I could’ve had more or less high-end responsiveness by choosing which included tone capacitors to use.

Second, I said that the “omni” switch setting probably wasn’t really going to be actually “omni,” but was more likely to be figure-eight or the like. This was in response to both the capsule design, grille design, and older pictures of the circuit board which appeared to indicate that. In testing, I discovered that I was mistaken – as you can see here, levels as seen in waveforms made by holding a tone generator at the four cardinal directions remain constant. But read on, after the graphs, because there’s a catch:


rk-47 set to omni, against tone generator at 30cm, front, right, rear, left positions

And here’s the same test, with the mic set to cardioid:


rk-47 set to cardioid, against tone generator at 30cm, front, right, rear, left positions

And here’s an M-Audio Nova, same conditions, for comparison:


nova, cardioid, against tone generator at 30cm, front, right, rear, left positions

The total pickup is certainly omnidirectional. But this is not a true basket head on this thing, there are support brackets on the left and right sides, and that does affect tone! High-end harmonics definitely fall off on the left and right sides.

So while it does qualify as an omnidirectional microphone in “omni” mode, I’d have to call it flawed in that mode, and use something else – like an Oktava 012 with the omnidirectional head, which is built for true omnidirectional pickup and does not exhibit this behaviour.

Alternately, I suppose it might be usable in that mode if you’re recording someone who is a tad screechy – aim the wrong side at the performer and presto, fewer high harmonics. EVERYBODY WINS XD

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

Moana

Mar. 26th, 2017 03:10 am
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
On Thursday I saw Moana at the Haverhill Library. I think it's one of the best Disney animated features. The interaction between Moana and Maui was nicely handled, and I really liked the grandmother. At first I thought the chief was just like Grug in The Croods ("Never not be afraid!"), but he turned out to have an understandable, if not entirely rational, motivation for holding Moana back.

Philosophically, it bothered me that the movie presented a world where humans are at the mercy of supernatural forces, and their active role is limited to persuading those forces to help them. It would have bothered me less if it had been presented as a straight legend, but being a Disney movie, it had to have lots of intentional anachronisms. Then again, the line "If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you're a princess" was the funniest in the movie.

Aspie Potter POA chapter 6

Mar. 26th, 2017 04:16 am
fayanora: Steph bouncy (Steph bouncy)
[personal profile] fayanora
Book 3, Chapter 6 of Harry Potter and the Trouble With Neurotypicals is published!

Series blurb: Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, is a young and abused Black boy with Asperger's syndrome, and is hated by his guardians, the Dursleys. A little over a week before his birthday, he discovers that he is also a wizard, and the Dursleys knew all along. Not only is he a wizard, but he's also famous in the wizarding world! An AU fanfic.

Chapter blurb: Harry and Sirius try tackling how to catch Peter Pettigrew. Harry also has a thought about the dementor memories that has Lupin and Dumbledore concerned. Ron and Harry start trying to figure out how Hermione is getting to all her classes, by using the scientific method.

Links to book 3, chapter 6:

AO3 version

FF.net version

BigCloset version

good morning, it's 26 march 2017

Mar. 26th, 2017 12:31 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
The day after.

I've talked about the six month, the two year, and the four year wars. This may be the beginning of the end of the six-month war. It is, at very least, the end of the beginning: elected Republicans are no longer universally afraid of the Trumpists, and are no longer lining up behind him and his movement. The neofascist movement is still very much alive and very, very dangerous, as a whole, and this is one of the longer wars, but this goal - of capturing the entire government functionally unhindered out of the electoral box - has been smashed.

Not that they won't keep trying, of course. The six-month war is not over. But the skies - for the moment - are clear over London.

So let's look at what happened. "Pence: Trump 'won't rest' until ObamaCare repealed" - as I said, they won't stop trying. But "Inside the Trumpcare meltdown," we learn that "Steve Bannon Thought He Could Bully Republicans On Health Care. He Couldn't." The steamroller has broken down. It's a Democrat saying it, but "Dem rep: 'We must pause the entire Trump agenda' until Russia investigation complete" - that's not going to happen, because there's far too much consolidation of power going on inside the executive branch that he's managing simply by not appointing people. (See: the two year war.) But it can be talked about.

As fallout, "Trump asked his supporters to watch Fox News host. She then called on Paul Ryan to step down." There's barely any attempt to keep up a united facade now. This will further hurt the legislative agenda, but will not hurt the continuing personalisation of rule and the executive branch. If anything, it will help it. But, again - the two year war.

The investigations continue - and perhaps, if the Republican civil war ramps up, they will become useful leverage for the establishment GOP, and something might happen. "AP Exclusive: US probe of ex-Trump aide extends to Cyprus" is following the Russian money. "Boris Epshteyn, Trump TV Surrogate, Is Leaving White House Job" - his style was very much of Putin's Russia, and now he's being levered out. The CBC report that "A former NSA analyst says the Russia investigations could end Donald Trump's presidency," and there are rumours from a "CNN analyst: Sources say Mike Flynn may have turned on Trump and become a witness for the FBI."

What they were building for, of course, is their ult attack - a broad racial-religious war against Arabic Muslims. That's still the biggest card they have in their hand. And they haven't forgot it, not for a minute. "Civilian deaths from US-led airstrikes hit record high under Donald Trump" shouldn't be ignored. "U.S. Investigating Mosul Strikes Said to Have Killed Up to 200 Civilians" - the US is claiming procedures haven't changed, but the rise in civilian death toll is staggering, and other local sources say US procedures have changed. Finally, a US senator says, "Trump Is Dragging Us Into Another War... And No One Is Talking About It."

We most certainly are.

Possibly tangential, possibly related: "Five months, eight prominent Russians dead." Clean-up, consolidation, or coincidence?

Before this administration, this would've been the biggest headline: "Senate to vote on Neil Gorsuch nomination to Supreme Court in first week of April in a political clash with big ramifications." We need to force a loss here, or a rules change, because I'm confident that the Republicans will change the filibuster rules as soon as a judicial filibuster is used against them; they're a paper tiger at best, now, and more likely, an excuse to inaction. Or so it seems to me. Obviously, I'm not on the ground.

Before this administration, this would've been in "news of the weird" territory only, but we are where we are: "Alex Jones Admits He Blew It With Pizzagate Allegations, Sort Of." I don't think that'll bother the conspiracy goons.

Finally, a couple of cultural warfare stories of import: "Transgender passengers uneasy about TSA shift on pat-downs." and "Utah's governor signs abortion-halting legislation." The headline on the latter is misleading; the bill requires doctors to tell women taking RU-486 and similar drugs that if they only take one pill the abortion can still be halted. There is no medical evidence for this of which I'm aware, and I can't see it being a good idea. But, well, those are facts, and considering facts to be the problem...

...well, that is, in and of itself, part of the problem.

Good luck out there.

It's March 26, 2017; this is the news )
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer
An Undertow of Choices
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 3 of 3 (complete)
word count (story only): 1693

:: This story takes place on Saturday morning, a bit before “The Courage To Fly” (part one, part two, and part three) begins. ::

:: Author's note: a correction to the number of parts, because everyone encouraged me to actually WRITE Aida's fight scene. ::


back to part two
to the Danger and Discovery index
:: Thank you for reading! ::




They knew each other well, whether trivial things like favorite colors or important matters like whether to feint early or just before the 'best' strike, in order to gain that fraction of a second that offered the tiniest bit of leverage. Sand shifted with each step and lunge, spraying behind Simon's shoulders as he twisted and rolled to keep all his limbs in play despite his current limitations. Aida's hands remained stiffly bladed, but her control kept several inches of air between her hand and the target.

Grappling, and defending from the ground, Simon's expression faded into the blank focus of a career soldier. Aida narrowed her eyes, turning all of her senses to the subtle cues to Simon's next move. Within several breaths, her muscles felt warm and loose, relaxing into the familiar motions. Compared to this, chess was like watching a galloping horse through a zoetrope… with five minutes or more between each image.
Read more... )

Well, at least it's Saturday

Mar. 25th, 2017 11:16 pm
archangelbeth: Bleary-eyed young woman peers up, pillow obscuring the lower half of her face. Text reads: SO not a morning person. (So Not A Morning Person)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Kid still sick, but not feverish. Hopefully the queasy will go away over the weekend.

Spouse very tired despite nap. Probably part of the sickness. Greeeaaaaat.

Watched the episode of DS9 where Odo gets his shapeshifting back. Well-done pair of A-plot/B-plot. Bittersweet.

...crap, I need to edit. *headdesk* So darn sleepy. Ravenpenny, poke me tomorrow in DMs. *headdesk*

Havva Quote
w_______ says, "Hmm. What's the smallest set of Archangels for which "if none of these is for it, you're not getting it approved" holds true? (Assuming something which would need approval beyond mutually-cooperating-because-friendly Archangels, anyway.)"
w_______ says, "I'm guessing it would include both Yves and Dominic, and probably Laurence, but I'm not sure who else."
f___ says, "If both Novalis /and/ Michael say NO, it's probably a bad idea."
w_______ says, "True enough!"
f___ says, "If Novalis, Michael, Janus, and Dominic /all/ say NO, then you should probably feel bad about having even asked in the first place."
--Yes. Yes, you should.


INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )

The Streets of Gotham

Mar. 25th, 2017 05:22 pm
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
[personal profile] gridlore
I was ranting a few days ago about how comics never change. Nothing affects the status quo. Death, dismemberment, crippling injuries, nothing is permanent. Even in cases where we see the damn body, where it is absolutely clear that the character has died, inevitably he comes back, good as new in a matter of months.

Take Green Lantern, for example. Simple enough concept.. Hal Jordan is brought to the side of a dying Abin Sur who tell Jordan that he is heir to Sur's position as a Green Lantern. Jordan gets a ring that gives him power limited only by his imagination and strength of will. The ring needs to be recharged on a regular basis. Series goes on for a few decades, with Jordan stepping aside as the Lantern once or twice. Then he goes crazy, becomes a being called Parallax, tries to destroy the sun, is defeated, becomes uncrazy, and dies. Dies. Dead. We have the body. Open casket funeral. Jordan's spirit becomes The Spectre, a major magical being on the DC universe. Pretty cool, huh? We had a new Green Lantern, An established hero had gone on to become one of the most powerful beings in existence, and other characters had to deal with the aftermath of all this happening.

Until DC changed everything back.

Now I understand why the comics companies do this, they are heavily invested in the established mythologies they've created, and changing things brings up the threat of losing fans. But just think what it would be like if the threat of death and the ravages of time were very real in these settings. Take Batman, as an example.

Batman first appeared in May, 1939. Let's say that he was 27 at this time. That would have made him around eight when his parents were killed. Plenty of time to train obsessively and build an arsenal of weaponry. Robin first appears a year later as a boy of 10 or 11 years. Being completely insane, we'll give Bruce a 25 year career as the Batman before he realizes that time is catching up to him. Bruce Wayne is still a very spry 52, and Dick Grayson would be in his mid-thirties and ready to take over as Bats. But after that?

Well, since Bruce Wayne had suffered seeing his parents die at his feet, he was well-known for his philanthropy when it came to the needs of orphans and other children in need. The Wayne Orphanage (est. 1943) was hailed as one of the best facilities of its type. Later becoming the Wayne Fund for Children, Bruce was a vocal advocate for extending a helping hand to the kiddies. That, and he was looking to train his eventual successor. By the time that Bruce hangs up his cowl in the mid-60s, his team (and he'd need one) has become very good at selecting and training promising candidates and instilling in them the vigilante mindset. Even the ones not selected to be Robin would be more likely to wander off and set up shop as a street level hero. In my universe, Oliver Queen was an angry kid who found a home at the Wayne program and an outlet for his anger in archery... At the worst, Wayne has an corps of trained reconnaissance agents on the streets. At the best, the kids stop minor crimes in the way they were taught.. quickly, quietly, and without being seen. Most of these actions are attributed to Batman, only increasing his legend. The kids who are recruited tend to earn scholarships to prestigious universities and fund jobs waiting for them at Wayne Enterprises.

Today we're on our fifth Batman. The people of Gotham are aware that ever so often there's a new person filling the role, but they don't care. The various parts of the Wayne legacy are run by Dick Grayson, although he's turning over more and more of the day-to-day operations over to younger executives. Industry watchers have noted how insular Wayne Enterprises (and the Wayne Family Trust) is, with very few executives coming from outside the corporation. Wayne Manor is the headquarters for the Trust and the charitable activities, and is also where Bruce Wayne is buried. A good number of people suspect that the Wayne empire and the Batman are closely linked, only only a select few ever learn the whole truth. Even the recruited kids are led to believe that the Wayne family worked with the original Batman. When a new Robin is selected, he gets told the whole truth. Retired Batmen serve as advisers to the new guy.

Then we have the Joker, one of the most enduring villains in comics, having plagued the DC universe since 1940. One thing about the Joker is that he is not buff. Indeed, most portrayals have him being thin unto being cadaverous; yet he has survived multiple bouts of hand to hand combat with the Batman with no long term injuries, and has even fought actual metahumans (including Superman) and not only survived but shown no long term effects. He's also insane. The Joker's schemes run from the pathetically silly to the horrifically deadly, and he himself is shown as not knowing much about his past.

Could it be that he vat of chemicals that bleached the Joker's skin also gave him a healing factor that makes Wolverine look like a piker? The Joker's body is constantly rebuilding itself.. including his brain. Normal people have fairly stable brain structures, with new connections being made only when necessary. The Joker is constantly rebuilding, which results in muddled memories and a short-circuited decision making process. The one thing that does stick in his head is that he wasn't always this way and Batman is to blame.

The Joker may well be immortal. Short of actually blowing him up or burning the body in a crematoria, he'll heal and come back to Gotham time after time (indeed, at times he may not remember there is anything outside of Gotham.)

So, what happens when a Batman retires or dies? The Joker needs a focus, he needs someone to blame. He'd probably not care about the changing chins underneath the cowl, all he knows that this is the Batman, the one who made him the Joker. In time, the Joker would even come to truly believe that the new hero was the original one who pitched him into that vat.

I can even see where one of the reasons for keeping the Bat motif is to keep the Joker focused on the Batman, so he doesn't go off on innocents.

Just my two cents.

(large portions of this were previously published in my journal.)

In further NorCal news

Mar. 25th, 2017 03:36 pm
subbes: An excerpt from Cat & Girl. A teacher says "Follow your dreams," to which Girl responds "my dream leads to scurvy." (My Dream Leads To Scurvy)
[personal profile] subbes
Friends, chums, and comrades went to Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco town hall with Jackie Speier. Pelosi is reticent about meeting with constituents - like Feinstein, she prefers to keep them far away unless they're paying $15,000 for a plate at a fundraising dinner, or asking only pre-written questions. In keeping with this tradition, tickets were required, space was limited, and the event wasn't really publicized until late, but we still managed to snag enough space - I gave up my space and the three extra seats I'd reserved to anyone who needed 'em (reserved for "Rosa Luxembourg," "Tony Benn," and "Jeremy Corbyn" so hopefully they weren't checking IDs at the door).

The town hall was ostensibly to talk about resisting - i.e. an opportunity for Pelosi to pretend that the Democrats are doing more than being milquetoast centrists (and that they totally would be doing all this resisting, even if we weren't overloading their switchboards and offices with calls and faxes and letters and e-mails and sometimes straight-up visits because it's the only way to get to them). I trust you know why I disagree with this claim.

What I'm seeing on Twitter is that we managed to get in some good questions about the need for single-payer/guaranteed healthcare, and Pelosi biffed the response - at one point claiming the ACA was further left than medicare for all - if anyone can explain the logic of this to me I'd be grateful, because... what? But then, she's the same one who responded "we're capitalist and that's just the way it is" to an earnest young socialist's off-script question: she... does not do well with unscripted Q & As.

Gads, and people wonder why the DNC is so unpopular. Look at them! Just look!

Poem: "A Tornado of Thought"

Mar. 25th, 2017 01:33 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the March 7, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] sweet_sparrow. It also fills the "creative solutions to limits" square in my 3-1-17 card for the Disability Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Calliope thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem includes some touchy topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It has emotional upheavals, Vagary's continued stress over Calliope not wanting to do things with him, Calliope's continued stress over his closeness, tornado formation, interrupted therapy session, which triggers Vagary's abandonment issues, unexpected changes in superpowers, Calliope looming over Vagary, emotional suppression during an emergency, an emergency dispatcher doing a shitty job, negotiating with supervillains, stormchasing, exhaustion, crashing with friends at a weather station, and other challenges. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

Read more... )
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Okay, recent experiment shows that if you edit, on DW, an imported-from-LJ post and turn on crossposting for it, you wind up with two versions on LJ, the original, and the edited-and-crossposted one.

Humpback Whales Organizing

Mar. 25th, 2017 01:29 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 [personal profile] siliconshaman tipped me to this report about humpback whales forming superpods.  He's already working on a story about it.  :D

I figure, in Terramagne, they're either discussing "Should we all move to the Maldives?" or "That really romantic bay in Japan has stopped murdering everyone who goes there.  Who wants to go on a mating trip?"

good morning, it's 25 march 2017

Mar. 25th, 2017 01:39 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
I thought it would be a good day to checkout the channers. 4pol is full of interracial porn and it's driving the nazis crazy and they want to know where the hell the mods are. It's hilarious. Also, (probably) fake Christians are mocking the fascist atheists particularly hard. There are also a couple of old-fashioned women-hate posts, and they still very much believe in the child-molestation-ring-run-out-of-a-pizza-restaurant conspiracy theory. Insofar as they have a discussion on the ACA, it's that TRUMP IS STILL A GENIUS and this is genius at work. There's some dissent on that, but it appears to be the majority.

A set of them are scared about ISPs selling browser histories. Specifically about being outed as white supremacists and neofascists.

8pol is more organised and coherent. They hated the GOP bill, and like 4pol, they're in camp GOD EMPEROR TRUMP IS A GENIUS and it's part of a plan to force out Ryan. Though there is _some_ whistling past the graveyard in it. There is also some out-and-out pushback ("Muh 4D trans-dimensional chess!"), but not a lot.

Now, to the non-obvious news. (If you missed it: the GOP/Trumpcare bill was withdrawn when it was clear it would not pass. I'm skipping that; we all know.)

Let's start with Russia: "The plot to sell America's foreign policy for foreign oil _and_ steal an election in the bargain began at the Mayflower Hotel." This is _incredibly_ explosive. But it's also a bunch of connected dots. Worth looking at, but be careful. "Nunes gives away the game: The GOP will never exercise real oversight on Trump" is an opinion piece, but probably a good one. "Trump’s Terrifying Comey Tweet" is a little clickbaity but the article's okay.

"Partisan split at House intel committee over canceled open hearing" is a bigger deal. Why is this meeting suddenly closed-door? See previously: Nunes. And, off to the side, we have "Paul Manafort’s Business Partner Left Pro-Trump Group Because of Russia Ties, Sources Say" and "Marine Le Pen of France Meets With Vladimir Putin in Moscow."

"Ex-CIA Director: Mike Flynn and Turkish Officials Discussed Removal of Erdogan Foe From U.S." should cause the government to fall. In a normal circumstance - if the contents are confirmed, anyway. But that was also true of a torture programme, and that didn't happen. Regardless, it's bad. And we have "Bannon Tells Trump: ‘Keep a Shit List’ of Republicans Who Opposed You."

I'm not going to completely ignore heathcare: "‘Hello, Bob’: President Trump called my cellphone to say that the health-care bill was dead" is something I watched unfold live on twitter; it was pretty bizarre. "How disastrous for Trump is healthcare collapse?" asks the BBC - very.

In neofascists, we have the world's tiniest violin: "Neo-Nazi fears stabbing of black man may lead to ‘unfair’ discrimination against white supremacists." Nice and appropriate use of quotes there. "Donald Trump’s Rise Has Coincided With an Explosion of Hate Groups" - no kidding. Also, YouTube is in trouble due to ad placement beside all this fascist content on their service, with "More brands, Starbucks included, pull ads from YouTube in widening boycott."

Civil rights my shiny metal ass: "Trump’s civil rights division will be headed by staffer who railed against civil rights for trans people." Yeah. And locally, "Aerospace firm Electroimpact agrees to pay $485K after AG finds ‘shocking’ discrimination against Muslims."

Also locally, "Was KOMO just bullied into airing right-wing rhetoric?" Looks like it. Sinclair is terrible and leans on local stations for things like this a lot.

"Lamar Smith, unbound, lays out political strategy at climate doubters’ conference" talks about how they intend to discredit climate change research.

Our last two are tales of two billionaires: "The Billionaire on a Mission to Save the Planet From Trump" and "The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency." Because yeah, that's how it works, whether you like it or not.

Good luck out there.

It's March 25, 2017; this is the news )

Books Post – Norse Mythology

Mar. 24th, 2017 09:38 pm
radiantfracture: (Default)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
I seem to have endured a flurry of dopamine-click-led not-entirely-well-advised online book ordering. Things keep arriving, often things that are not quite what I imagined they'd be when I ordered them, if I remember ordering them at all.

An elderly yet still robust copy of Brigid Brophy's The Snow Ball arrived today (discussed brilliantly on Backlisted here). That can only be a good thing.

And this week I sat right down in the middle of the Salinas Valley (page 353) to read Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology.

I hadn't read any Gaiman in a good while. I thought it would be happy to check back in with him, and with the Norse myth-world of my childhood.

Norse Mythology's dust jacket is beautiful: a soft matte black infinity dusted with stars, with a lustrous Mjolnir in the centre.

Some of my favorite stories from the mythos are in Gaiman's book (the forging of Mjolnir, the birth of Sleipnir), and some I didn't know as well (the mead of poetry). Some of the gods I feel most affinity for are less prominent (Baldur, Bragi).

Gaiman and I are both totally hot for Loki, so that works out, because Loki kind of is the protagonist both of this retelling and, arguably, the mythos itself. I'm not a traditional storyteller or an anthropologist, but it seems to me that Gaiman picks up on the culture-hero role of tricksters like Loki as creators and bad/fortunate role models.

I’ve loved Gaiman's use of this mythos in other works: Sandman especially, and American Gods. Norse Mythology itself isn't a wholly successful adaptation for me.

Why? )

Ultimately, reading Norse Mythology made me want to re-read the book of Norse myths I had (or at least read) as a child. I did a search; the book must almost certainly be the d’Aulaires’, probably in the 1967 version.

I found it in a Popular Online Bookstore, and then, on even sexier second thought, at the local library.

Now I will say positive things about a book, to prove I can.

Just when East of Eden was fading me out, Steinbeck dropped deeper into the workings of Cal's character, and my faith flared up again. Steinbeck is very good at imagining the inner lives of people without ordinary empathy. I find it exhausting to be in those minds for such long stretches, but this is not the same as the work not being well done. The work is done very well.

{rf}

Sleep would be nice

Mar. 24th, 2017 11:39 pm
archangelbeth: Female Borg (10of30)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Getting to bed at 4:45 in the morning sucks.

At least it's Friday.

Took Friskie to vet. Vet wants her to stay around 10 pounds -- a little chub for luck, basically -- and we should weigh her again in a couple months to make sure she's staying in that area and not losing weight. Aside from when the vet performed indignities on her, Friskie actually seemed to have a pretty good time getting a massage while the vet checked her over.

Kid was still sick, plus didn't get to sleep till gods know when -- I'm betting 4:30 or later.

Hopefully the queasy and fever will fade soon. O:(

Called mammogram place to schedule repeat mammogram 'cause they didn't get a good look at the left bosomal half.

Called Congresscritter.

Please call your congresscritters and tell them not to vote to let data/phone/cable companies mine your data and sell it. Vote for privacy! You already pay the phone company. You already pay for data, almost certainly. DON'T LET THEM DATA-MINE. (Among other reasons, there are laws on the books that would let the government just purchase such data and get all your web-browsing logs, etc., without having to go through the sticky part of getting a warrant.) Computer privacy should be bipartisan.

I need to make another call and I need to edit but I do not think I am going to manage those things tonight. Especially not the call. boo.

Have some amusing links.
https://twitter.com/_youhadonejob1/status/832709276133052416 (TEN APPROVES!)
https://twitter.com/_youhadonejob1/status/833684824338599939
https://twitter.com/_youhadonejob1/status/833773254686945280 (...no.)
https://twitter.com/_youhadonejob1/status/840018432309501952 (HECK NO)
https://twitter.com/_youhadonejob1/status/843808371513966592 Jedi Entrance Only.
http://wenchlatte.tumblr.com/post/158791468121/wearedragonrider-wearehealer-elbdot-im MAGICAL GIRL LIZARDS!
https://annleckie.tumblr.com/post/158794015761/darling-child-tisarwat-so-orbit-publishing-has -- I need to preorder this book but without a title in iBooks I cannot AUGH AUGH AUGH

Havva Quote
Zeeli says, "The chaotic neutral kobold might not have been the best choice in interrogators. :p"

INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer
An Undertow of Choices
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 2 of 3 (complete)
word count (story only): 1388

:: This story takes place on Saturday morning, a bit before “The Courage To Fly” (part one, part two, and part three) begins. ::

:: Author's note: a correction to the number of parts, because everyone encouraged me to actually WRITE Aida's fight scene. ::

back to part one
to the Danger and Discovery index
on to part three




She found Tolliver in the living room of the next door bungalow, helping Simon with the laundry list of daily exercises he needed to maintain what flexibility and muscle strength he had in his legs. Rather than interrupt, she kicked off the sandals and tucked them under the coffee table now perched on one of the square, squashy armchairs. As she lowered herself to the floor, she asked, “Uncle Simon, do you need a breather before another workout?”

“Him, she asks,” Tolliver groaned, rolling his eyes in an exaggerated grimace. “I'm the one doing all the work here. Simon just gets to sit and enjoy the view.”
Read more... )
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Earth Hour is a thing that is happening tomorrow – or today, by the time you get this. It's a light fast: no* illumination for one hour. It's a world-wide observance to demonstrate opposition to climate change and light polution.

It happens tomorrow (Saturday, March 25) from 8:30pm to 9:30pm in your local timezone. All you have to do is turn out your lights for that hour.

Please join the millions of people around the world doing this, if you can swing it.

Locals: the Cambridge Community Development Department is asking folks to participate, and will be giving out hot chocolate at the main library branch during Earth Hour to celebrate.

* There seems to be an understanding that candles, phosphorescence, and fireworks are okay? So this is Reform Earth Hour? Presumably Conservative Earth Hour is where you can have a candle or glow-stick, but only if it was lit before Earth Hour started, and an Orthodox Earth Hour where you will damn well sit there in the dark.

Oh, and for those who don't get the title of this post, the string to search is "how many Jewish mothers does it take to change a lightbulb?"

D&D campaign, part duex

Mar. 24th, 2017 05:32 pm
gridlore: A Roman 20 sided die, made from green stone (Gaming - Roman d20)
[personal profile] gridlore
I'm really pleased by how well my proposed D&D campaign was received the other day. Having several people say "I want in!" is a refreshing change. I'll start finding maps and doing the research to make this game a cool reality.

If it does happen on roll20, I might ask for players to help fund a gamemaster's membership for me to help make for the best experience. This would allow me to get all the goodies that make online tabletop games great. Based on my current experiences with roll20, I'd probably want to use Skype for communications.

But I do have a complaint. "D&D meets Twilight: 2000" was a way of giving a quick analogy for the game's setting, not a promise to mash two entirely dissimilar games and settings together. The setting I'm planning is a take on the Battle of Manzikert, fought in 1071 between the Byzantine Empire under the Emperor Romanos IV against the Seljuk Turks under Arp Arslan. In the real battle, Romanos was betrayed and captured. Arp Arslan asked his royal captive what he would do if their roles were reversed. "Kill you, more than likely." was the reply. The Turkish warlord told Romanos that he was going to something much worse: let him go.

Historians point to that battle as the point where the Roman Empire began its long slide into ruin. It's also a great setting for the type of game I want to run, a game where the characters are already established, and have an immediate, pressing, need to work as a team to survive.

Thinking about it, the campaign could take several paths, all of which could run into each other with some meta-plots running in the background.

First of all we have The Long Road Home. This is the most basic concept. The characters, after coming together in the wake of the rout, decide to work their way back to civilized lands. It's a reasonable goal, and would make for a fine episodic campaign. The push is obvious, survive to reach home. The pull could be a desire to expose Constans Logios as a traitor, or to raise a new army, or to just get back to normalcy. All sorts of fun roadblocks to throw here, and a recurring foe in the agent of the enemy sent to hunt them down.

Secondly, the players could decided to be the Merry Men of Cappadocia. They steal from the evil and give to the good. The area where the battle took place still has many humans, now enslaved and forced to farm and labor for the enemy. They need heroes to save them! Again, this would a good episodic game. The characters would need to find a safe hide-out, gain allies, and then begin striking the enemy where it hurts. This would also lend itself to a running villain. I like boss fights at the end of a campaign. This one would require a more detailed map of the area the players will be operating in.

Next, is the Lawrence of Cappadocia option. Forget raiding, raise an army among the locals and wage guerrilla war against the oppressor! I think in this case a more constant style would work as the characters work to recruit their army from local nomads and lead them to victory. While fun sounding, this one might bog down into a wargame, and I haven't read the mass combat rules yet. But still, it would appeal to players who want to change things on a larger scale.

Then there's the "Run In The Wrong Direction" possibility. Like the first, it involves getting away from the battlefield and heading home, but in this case, the characters are forced further and further into unknown territory until they have a much longer road. I really like this concept, because it gives me a chance to really do so world building on a grand scale in a fantasy realm. Keep pushing east and you come to places like India, Southeast Asia, China, and beyond. How do you ever get home? Admittedly, this option is the hardest for me as a game master, as it would require a ton of creative work. Plus, the players have to agree to a railroad for the first couple of adventures. Still, if you like road trips. . .

I can absolutely see these ideas merging. The campaign might start off with trying to get home, then coming to the defense of a small village and sticking around to protect the locals, who eventually form the nucleus of a resistance. If that resistance is shattered, the crew might find themselves many leagues from any known landmark and hunted by an army.

All good stuff. I'd be interested in seeing what people like from these ideas.

Friday Yardening

Mar. 24th, 2017 06:30 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today I planted three Here Lies Butch daylilies beside the patio where the herb gardens are, and mulched around them.

Weather is warm but very blustery.

There are still two white eggs in the mourning dove nest by the kitchen window.

The barrel garden has a purple hyacinth budding beneath it.  The first of the purple grape hyacinths have opened near the patio.  Daffodils are budding in the inner ring around the maple tree, and a purple crocus is blooming there.  I saw the first blue-and-white violet blooming today. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The newsletter from Trails for Illinois encourages forwarding. So here is some nature and pathfinding news from my area.

Read more... )

Poem: "A Dangerous Thing with Style"

Mar. 24th, 2017 02:49 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the March 7, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] curiosity. It also fills the "money" square in my 12-1-16 card for the iPod Shuffle Music Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Cuoio & Chiara thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )

335

Mar. 24th, 2017 09:44 pm
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
CNN headline right now: GOP PULLS HEALTH CARE BILL AS DEMS CHANT, 'VOTE! VOTE!'

Let the finger-pointing commence!

*glee*

adventures in--oh, that wasn't so bad

Mar. 24th, 2017 01:38 pm
chanter_greenie: a lilac tree in bloom (Wisconsin spring: lilac season)
[personal profile] chanter_greenie
Took today off, because I was offered it and pounced; I badly, badly needed it, what with K the awesome coworker's family tragedy throwing everything at work for an understandable loop. That poor woman and kiddos... For explanation, K's husband died unexpectedly on Valentine's Day, of a lightning fast and almost always lethal illness. :( :( I do not in the slightest resent K being out, because what kind of class A prime example of a jerk would I be if I did? But wow do I ever need the vacation day! So, had last Friday off and did absolutely zilch. Have today off as well, and have already done considerably more.

Cut for minor, non-graphic medical detail of the dentist-type variety. )

Now, there shall be more coffee, rare daytime weekday DX, and later on, cheering on the Badgers as they beat Florida! One can hope... Well, if you're me, one can hope her bracket isn't busted by the end of the night!

At least this tooth isn't busted. I know, that's a reach for wordplay. :) Still.

The Creation of Water

Mar. 24th, 2017 01:30 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
New studies indicate that Earth may make its own water deep below the surface.  Just in case Gaia wasn't awesome enough already.

As a Pagan scholar, this makes me think about goddesses who created life by themselves, without assistance from a god. Parthenogenetic life formation relates closely to a shift from celestial water to cthonic water.  Alternatively, one might argue that either underworld gods are more life-oriented than formerly thought, or we should really be looking for cthonic goddesses.  On the third hoof, this raises interesting points regarding those underworld deities who are hermaphroditic. This could make for some fascinating ritual inspiration.

Discuss. 

Milkweed and Monarchs

Mar. 24th, 2017 01:17 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Someone finally got around to fielding a study which indicates that milkweed is necessary but not sufficient for monarch butterfly survival.   Other factors contribute to their steep decline.  Sure, you can grow milkweed, that's a great thing to do.  But don't think it will "save the butterflies."  It just slows the loss a little.  Other factors lie outside what humans are willing to change, such as pesticides; or able to change, such as climate change.  Even on a national scale, responses are limited, because monarchs have transnational migration routes.  Serious conservation efforts would require collaboration between America and Mexico, which seems unlikely.
solarbird: (made her from parts)
[personal profile] solarbird

After a few suggestions that I do so, I finally went ahead and splurged for another kit microphone – the micparts RK-47 capsule and amplifier circuit board, both sized to use the dirt-common MXL-990 microphone case.

The MXL-990 is kind of a go-to microphone for people just starting at home recording. I don’t recommend it, even in that role; I think it’s a nasty piece of kit and sounds terrible. Even at $50 – the used price, roughly – you’re better off spending another $40 and getting a low-end AKG or Nova. But it is about the cheapest condenser microphone with XLR out that you could pretend to treat like a real mic, and that has meant a thriving mod community.

Here are the basic parts included with the kit. I didn’t have the capsule out – the actual thing that vibrates to sound – because it needed to stay in its protective box until installation.

This is technically an MXL-990 mod, one wherein nothing is kept but the case and socket. It’s also a nontrivial assembly, so I’m going to talk about building in this one, and have some sound samples in the next.

You can see the instruction booklet over on the right. It’s quite clear, and has some important commentary, about extra care being needed not to touch certain components any more than you have to, and which parts are particularly sensitive to heat. It does not say up front that about 25 pages in it will suggest that you use a couple of chemical products if you have them, so I ended up having to order some purple loctite and conformance coating.

If I had it to do again, I probably wouldn’t order the conformance coating, because the MDA sheet on that is not attractive. But now that I have it, I might as well use it. If anyone local needs some, let me know.

As you can see, the board is clearly labelled:

For the most part, this is one of those insert-and-solder projects. The tolerances are reasonable, though they were emphatic about working at a meaningfully lower iron temperature than I prefer. If you use 60/40 lead solder, their temperature would be fine.

(I ran at 350°C, which is a little hotter than they recommend, but I use silver solder, and it seemed to work out. In these cases, I solder only one leg from each component, then cycle back to the start, and do the second leg, then cycle around again for the third if necessary. This lets the heat that is building up in the component itself dissipate, reducing peak temperature inside the component. This is most important with semiconductors, usually – particularly transistors.)

They also have you cleaning the board with isopropyl alcohol regularly, and suggest cleaning your iron between each solder point. I don’t know if they just meant wiping the tip or actually using the sal ammoniac, so I kind of compromised. (Though for the most sensitive components, I did do a complete sal ammoniac cleaning between each point.)

This is the board essentially complete:

The process is a bit fiddly, I have to say. They’re quite strict in the manual about flux cleanup and so on, so you’ll end up using tweezers and foam swabs and lint-free cloth and and and. Still, with kits this expensive, it’s best not to take chances.

You might note that the connections on the switch are not made yet; that’s because you’re wiring two of the leads from the pickup to the circuit at these points directly. Those connections are where they’re most persnickety about how things are to be done – but I followed their directions precisely and it worked out.

Here’s the new RK-47 pickup canister in its mount:

I’m liking this canister already, at this point. I know, I know, “good feel” is silly, but this capacitor pickup has a good materials feel to it. The mounting system you see in use is also partly a replacement – the original was a ring mount system; this is a saddle, larger, and is also where you need the threadlocker. I’m not convinced MXL used a threadlocker on that post, but I see how the larger, heavier pickup does kind of call for it.

Once the board is mounted back into the bracket and grille, you end up with this:

And once you’ve wired the three leads from the pickup and the three from the XLR connector, you’re pretty much ready to test.

I did have an initially-worrying test result: voltage at the primary test point – the one you conduct before any audio checks – was running high. The manual had a lot to say about what you’ve probably done wrong if it runs low, and further tests to isolate your mistake, and spends a couple of pages going on making sure you’ve got a bare minimum of 45V going to the exciter, with a preferred minimum of 50v, and an “operating range” of 50-62v, where 60v is optimal.

The range on mine ran from a low of 62.45v to a high of around 68v, so I was concerned. But it turns out the actual operating range is 50v-70v – they just don’t expect anybody to be able to get to the upper end. Support even said that if I was mostly recording quiet material I could safely crank it up to 65v full-time for an even hotter pickup, but, heh, that’s not what I generally do, so I’ll leave it where it is. XD

As for the sticker – I put “MP-SVS” over the “MXL” logo because at this point, it’s not an MXL microphone in any way, so why would I keep that? It’s just silly. MP-SVS is MicParts-Supervillain Studios, naturally. I also changed the model number to RK-47, after the canister number.

I did not mention before that this is a switch-selectable dual-pickup-pattern microphone:

That will let me try an instrument miking style I’ve wanted to try for a while anyway. The only downside of using an existing microphone housing is that the switch has to live on the inside, and you have to unscrew the bottom of the housing to get to it. But it’s just twist-open, so not really an issue.

Regardless, as you can see, the switch says “cart” (for cartioid) and “omni” (for omnidirectional), but I think I’m pretty sure it’s really more figure-eight, given the construction of everything and what the switch does. And pictures in the manual actually agree with that – the printing on the board is different in the photos.

An optional modification to the case involves coating the lower half with silicate caulk (or a couple of other listed materials). I, of course, did that too:

The idea is that this reduces case resonance. Does it? I dunno, I just went ahead and did it because silicon caulk is dirt cheap – the local hardware store down the hill had a small tube for three dollars. The lack of silicon at the top is necessary – the upper part of the case scrapes into the lower half quite tightly, and any added material would be scraped off right away. As you can probably see, it’s even scraping off its own coating.

This is what it looks like all put together, and put in the standard MXL-990 shock mount:

As always, larger versions of the photos are at my Flickr account.

All in all, I’d call it a straightforward well-documented build. It’s far from the most difficult I’ve done. Not a good starter project, but if you’re reasonably good with a soldering iron, you’re going to be fine.

And this is already a long post, so I’ve decided to make it Part 1 of 2, and will talk about the important part – what the result sounds like – next time. Spoiler: a whole hell of a lot better than an MXL-990. But it also has audibly (and visibly, in the waveform) finer and more precise pickup than, say, my Novas.

I’m also going to see if I can’t do some comparisons to my Oktava 319 and possibly the (already-improved via mods) Oktava 012s as well before next time. That, too, might be interesting.

Have a good weekend, everybody!

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