nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
I have been outrageously busy at work this week and I don't have the brain to string these together into a proper narrative. My apologies. So: Have a series of happy photos from the past week or so.

20170617_171856
[Keiki with freshly dug potatoes in his fist, ready to deposit them in one of the two white bowls in front of him.]

We ate our first potato harvest tonight. Yum!

+6 )

Lothian Transport are awesome

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:11 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
At 2:06pm on Sunday I posted my feature request for the Lothian Transport app.

At 3:14pm the following afternoon I received an email saying
Sorry, street names and localities should have been added to the search screen before now. I’ve sent an update to the Google Play store just now so you should have an update available in the next few hours.
and about 45 minutes later my phone automatically updated to the latest version and I could see this:


I emailed back saying that this was awesome, but wondering why one of them just said "Edinburgh", and got this in response:
Unfortunately sometimes we can’t control what we get back from Google’s Places API. If Google decides that a place doesn’t need to have more than the town/city listed, then that’s all we get I’m afraid. We also mix in Foursquare and Google Geocoding data where appropriate as well.

It helps to include a bit more in your search, such as ‘Morrisons Granton’ or ‘Morrisons Ferry Road' rather than just ‘Morrisons’. The more you type in, the more accurate the results. It also takes into account your current location – typing in ‘Morrisons’ while you’re near Hyvots Bank will give you results geared towards South/West Edinburgh rather than North/East Edinburgh.

As to your other point (distance to search result) - at the moment, showing distance isn’t possible. We use Google Places to match search queries: that service is great because you can type in anything - ‘Morrisons’, ‘Tesco’, ‘pizza in Leith’ etc. and it comes back with accurate results. However, it doesn’t give the app the location of each place. Instead it gives the app a ‘Place ID’ - once you’ve tapped on a search result, the app sends the Place ID to Google which sends back the exact coordinate of the search result. If that changes in the future, we’ll be sure to include distance as part of the search result.


Which was a fascinating look at how their systems work in the background.

If only more places were so responsive to users taking an interest.

Meanwhile, in Austin, Texas

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:41 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Sunset is the same time as in NYC, but sunrise is an hour later.

So... from here to Wavre, the time of sunset is different this time of year but the time of sunrise is the same. And from here to Austin, the time of sunset is the same this time of year but the time of sunrise is different. But on the other solstice, it's the other way around - Austin and NYC share a sunrise time, Wavre and NYC share a sunset time.

There is some way this all makes sense, and I know I've had it explained to me before, but... I guess it didn't make enough sense. (It has something to do with how the sun appears to move in a figure 8?)

Semi-related, Mr. "How did they know it was noon?" reminded me of something. There is an algorithm to convert sundial time to clock time, and vice versa. Apparently, when mechanical clocks first became common, their time was considered inaccurate, and true time was sundial time. This is blindingly obvious the second you hear it explained, but it didn't occur to me until I happened to read it on Wikipedia while looking up common sundial mottoes. (It's later than you think!)

There must have been a middle period in there where the younger generation was chronically annoying the older generation by showing up for things at clock time when the older generation obviously meant real time.

*******************


The Deseret Alphabet, a 38-Letter Writing System Developed by Mormons

Pictures: Colored Honey Made by Candy-Eating French Bees (There's something to pointlessly engineer - flowers with multicolored nectar to make multicolored honey! If they think they can sell pink pineapples, colorful honey is sure to be a hit. And it won't be garbage, so it won't be gross.)

Census: US growing older and more racially diverse

The Mussels That Eat Oil

When the Bus Stop Button is Broken

Medieval medical books could hold the recipe for new antibiotics

Man sent home from work for wearing shorts in over 30°C heat comes back in a dress

Memory for stimulus sequences distinguishes humans from other animals

This ‘Indian Dr. Seuss’ Is Very Fond of Nonsense

How the Liberal Arts Help Veterans Thrive

Urban agriculture only provides small environmental benefits in northeastern US

Supreme Court Says You Can't Ban People From The Internet, No Matter What They've Done

People with disabilities at risk in Central African Republic

Abused children find Japan’s shelters provide little comfort

Desperate Venezuelans set sights on Colombia as worry mounts

Hundreds of Inmates Still Confined to Tent City During Phoenix Heat Wave

Former immigration detainees challenge labor practices

How Our Modern Lifestyles Perpetuate Slavery

War-torn Yemen to get cholera vaccines as death toll mounts

U.S. will take weapons from Kurds after Islamic State defeat: Turkey

Yay, I have sandals!

Jun. 22nd, 2017 04:34 pm
aunty_marion: Thee is not required to attain perfection (IDIC-Kraith)
[personal profile] aunty_marion
As Some Of You May Know (Bob), I spent last weekend 'mum-sitting', i.e. spending the nights with my ex-boss's elderly mother, who has mild Alzheimer's; Suky wanted desperately to be able to get away for more than one night without worrying about her mother, so she booked me to stay there. (She lives in Walthamstow, but she's over there about every other day.) Anyhow, it seemed to go OK, though the travelling down to Mornington Crescent in that heat was exhausting; and she paid me in advance.

So I'd drawn out some of the dosh for spending money, and have topped up my Amazon account with a bit; Paypal's not too bad at the moment, so that can wait. But today I went up to North Finchleyand bought stuff; )

Only down point of the day, really, was that I found a mouse in one of the traps this morning. Obviously dead, so I had breakfast before disposing of it. I hope I'm not going to get another influx; it's been over a year since the last one that got in.

Madeley and Blists Hill

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:15 pm
cmcmck: (Morandi)
[personal profile] cmcmck
 We took a bus over to Madeley yesterday. It's about six miles or so from us.

We were going to Blists Hill which is a former heavy industrial site- coal and lead mining, clay extraction and iron and steel founding and brickmaking. Classic Midlands industrial complex.

It also has the remains of railways and the Shopshire Union Canal plus an inclined plane to get canal traffic down to the River Severn.

In more recent times, it's been turned into a living history museum with buildings slated for demolition being moved in to create a late Victorian town. The date placed on the town as seen is 1900.

As we walked through Madeley to get to Blists Hill we passed the King's Barn. This is now converted to dwellings but is one of the places King Charles II hid out after the disastrous Battle of Worcester (on his way to Boscobel -you may remember I posted from there a while back)

It's a very fine example of a Tudor barn indeed!



More pics )

Interesting Links for 22-06-2017

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm

The Blood is the Life for 22-06-2017

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
oursin: Photograph of a statue of Hygeia, goddess of health (Hygeia)
[personal profile] oursin
[R]ed tape also means regulations that protect citizens, at a certain cost to companies that otherwise have little incentive to sacrifice some profit to mitigate risk. It is because of red tape that you cannot buy a flammable sofa, and that you are very unlikely to die in an air crash.

Much red tape, indeed, is the frozen memory of past disaster. Modern regulatory regimes as a whole came into being in the late 19th and early 20th centuries because of public outrage at the dangerous practices of unrestrained industry.

This is perhaps partly similar to the phenomenon that having effective infrastructure and ongoing regular maintenance of same is not as dramatic a story as horrendous accidents.

It's possibly also analogous to people becoming anti-vaxxers, because vaccination programmes have been so successful that there is no notion of the risks there used to be from common diseases of childhood.

For the first few years of 'there were no new cases of polio in the last twelve months' this is news. And then that becomes the default setting.

For those who decry 'Elf and Safety, I recommend a salutary reading of the London Medical Officer of Health reports from the C19th, freely available digitised and searchable online.

There are some Victorian values one can get behind, and the rise of public health is one of them.

On other Victorian values, however, and those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it, this person seems unaware that providing tied housing contingent upon working for a particular employer is nothing like a 'welfare state':

it was recently reported that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is spending is around $30m to provide short-term, prefab housing for 300 of its employees because Silicon Valley housing is in such short supply. Tech giants helped cause a housing crisis in Silicon Valley, now it seems they are becoming landlords. It’s feudalism 2.0.
Not so much feudalism as C19th model towns, e.g. Saltaire, founded by businessmen to keep their workers contented and (I hypothesise) spurning the trades union movement (having had to do with a late C19th enterprise with some of the same elements of benevolent paternalism towards the workforce).

And, looking at that article, was New Lanark really quite the same thing? Enlightened capitalism not quite the same as utopian socialism.

Also had the thought that people who are 'regulation BAD' seem to reverse this opinion when it comes to panic measures against terrorism that are often symbolic rather than proven efficacious.

(no subject)

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:40 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] woldy!
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I'll never understand how sunrise and sunset work.

Also, be sure to do today's Google doodle. I could do that all day.

*********************


Cow herd behavior is fodder for complex systems analysis

Making Cents of Currency’s Ancient Rise

The Lion-Shaped Maps That United a Nation

African farmers’ kids conquer the marshmallow test

Summer solstice: the perfect day to bask in a dazzling scientific feat (First comment: "How did they know it was noon?" I can't even...)

Discovery could lead to sustainable ethanol made from carbon dioxide

She May Be The Most Unstoppable Scientist In The World

Dinosaurs got an evolutionary assist from huge volcanic eruptions

The Great Uprising: How a Powder Revolutionized Baking

Why the 'peculiar' stands out in our memory

Incredibly pictures of NYC when it was covered in farmland

'Human Project' study will ask 10,000 to share life's data

The App That Does Nothing

DNA reveals how cats achieved world domination

The ATU Fable Index: Like the Dewey Decimal System, But With More Ogres (I don't really care what happens in "Bunnies Beware of the King", but I'm more than a little perturbed that I can't even read the entire synopsis for 910J: Never plant a thorn tree.)

Chimps' cultural traditions extend beyond family

A Good News Story About Diarrhea — With One Surprising Exception

The Forgotten Trains of India (Photojournalism)

South Africa's District Six Cookbook Helps Preserve A Lost Community

Forever green: Cemeteries make more room for natural burials

Debate heats up over teaching climate change in US schools

Bosnian students keep up their protest against segregated schools

Afghan de-miners cling to hard but much-needed jobs

What Is the Point of Sean Spicer's Briefings? (I've got a question for Sean Spicer. "Do you know that you make yourself a laughingstock every time you hold one of these briefings? How much are you getting paid to shred your dignity to bits? Are you sure it's really worth it?" Damn, that's such a good question, rather than waiting for a journalist to ask it, I should send him a postcard. Or I could go traditional - "How do you sleep at night?" Postcards are cheap, I can send both questions.)

Iraqi forces advance on Mosul mosque where IS declared caliphate

What Is Putin Up To in Syria?

US interrogates detainees in Yemen prisons rife with torture

It's Midsummer

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:06 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Midsummer always takes me by surprise. The sun seems to set so early! I keep thinking that it set later when I was a child, during the summers.

And well, yes, that's because it did. Most of my memories of childhood summers take place in Belgium. The sun didn't set in Wavre today until 10pm. It set here at 8:30.

Logically, I know that I spent many more summers in NYC than in Belgium (and I also spent a few in Austin, with my other grandmother), but... somehow, in my memories, except for the 4th and the occasional trip to the beach, it's always Belgium. And in Belgium, the sun stays up forever in the summer. (It sets correspondingly earlier in the winter, but we never were there in the winter.)

Been doing Quick Draw

Jun. 20th, 2017 10:30 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Google would win at pictionary.

The trick is not to draw well, but to draw like everybody else. A quick sketch of a rectangle with a fin on it is better than a beautiful, photorealistic picture of a shark - and apparently, the entire world, when confronted with "animal migration", decides to make a few m-birds and call it a day. (The algorithm is entirely too fond of throwing out "animal migration" as a challenge.)

Solstice

Jun. 21st, 2017 10:37 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
It's been so hot and my hair's so thick that I shaved most of it off this evening.
A selfie where I try to show off that the sides of my head are shaved. My dark hair is longer on the top and combed off to one side.
Feels much better now. But no doubt this means the heatwave is over. You're welcome.

It's the longest day of the year in this hemisphere, a bittersweet occasion for me because I'm sad to think the days are getting shorter now already. It feels like I haven't had a chance to get used to or appreciate them yet. It's been a real catastrophe curve of a year, so time passes without me noticing it.

Reading: Tam Lin

Jun. 21st, 2017 07:55 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock, which is a modern reworking of the Scottish ballad 'Tam Lin' as a suburban English adolescence, is one of my favourite books ever, so ever since someone mentioned Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, a reworking of the same ballad as the student experience at a Midwestern US liberal arts college, I've wanted to read it, and I finally got to the point where I wanted to read it enough that I actually ordered a copy a couple of months ago. (It isn't published in the UK, so there's no ebook version available, and I do tend to give more thought to purchases of paper books than ebooks.)

Dean's retelling covers three years and a couple of months of Janet Carter's life as a student at Blackstock College, pursuing a liberal arts degree with a major in English literature, building friendships, learning how to get along with a wide range of people and exploring romantic relationships, and at the same time investigating a book-throwing ghost and trying to work out why it is that everyone in the Classics department seems rather strange. Translating the plot of a ballad into a 450-page book leaves a lot of space around the plot for Dean to paint a picture of the college atmosphere, the pressures of studying and the delights and unreality of spending four years isolated from the world, surrounded by learning and other people who want to learn and share your interests. I found the liberal-arts college background familiar enough to make me rather nostalgic for my own student days, but different enough to be fascinating, and I liked the characters and their interactions a lot. I particularly enjoyed the way the friendship between Janet and her two roommates develops, from a very prickly relationship at the start (they have very little in common) to a real friendship and mutual support network, and the way that the college environment masks the very real peculiarities of some of the Classics students.

For me, this felt like the book I wanted Jo Walton's Among Others to be; a literate and literary study of growing up bookish, with a liminal fantastic element. Among Others simply didn't do it for me, but this did, and while I will never love it as much as Fire and Hemlock (which, interestingly, is also a very literary book - I read a lot of things for the first time because they were mentioned in it) I did like it a great deal.

(no subject)

Jun. 21st, 2017 08:14 pm
lexin: (Default)
[personal profile] lexin
Smokey and I are throwing ourselves around in attitudes, as it’s very hot (for Britain) and very humid. I’m all miserable and sweaty, and I’m sure I can say the same for Smokey but she only sweats through her paws. She has quite sweaty paws, though, and was once found to be allergic to a specific type of kitty litter for that reason.

In other news, I’ve done the first pass of ripping my DVDs to soft copy. I’m left with a few irritations – some of the seasons of Criminal Minds didn’t rip properly and I’ll have to rip them again, this time into MKV files. Plus the titles got somehow mixed up (it was obviously my fault) on the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films, and I’m going to have to go through them patiently and make sure the right title is attached to each film. But it is mostly done.

I’m still following what’s coming out about the Grenfell Tower fire – the worst case of a fire since WW2, I think, and was totally avoidable if Kensington and Chelsea had just listened to the people who lived there and actually spent money on the place where it was needed. ‘Not political’ indeed! Ptui!

Is £70,000 a year rich?

Jun. 21st, 2017 03:35 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Arachnia Janeway)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I think the argument boils down to two things: what you earn, and what you picture in your head as a rich person's lifestyle.

£70,000 is in the 95th percentile for personal income. This means that if you earn £70,000 you earn more than 94% (or thereabouts) of people. If you're earning more than 94% of your fellow countrymen, you ought to be rich, right? Like, if you're better off than the vast, vast majority of people, you should feel well off, or else how must the poor buggers on less than you feel?

The problem is, of course, that £70,000 doesn't actually buy that much these days. Like, it won't get you a mortgage on a decent house anywhere in the home counties. It won't buy you a new car and a couple of holidays every year after housing costs. It won't pay school fees for your little ones to go to private school once you've paid for housing costs either. £70,000 a year doesn't feel rich; and that's what the problem is.

If you look at the lifestyles our parents had, well, this is what my parents did in the 80s:
  • owned a home
  • bought a new car every two years
  • didn't go on foreign holidays but DID send me to private school
  • were in the pub three nights a week
etc., etc.

Now, I'm not saying they didn't work for that: they did. My dad had two full time jobs (mild mannered biology teacher by day, superchef by night) and my mum worked 9-5 too. They worked bloody hard. But the same amount of work in the same jobs these days would get you, if you were lucky:
  • a rented house that is one of three poky little Barratt boxes built in the back garden of the kind of house your parents owned
  • a second hand banger that you run till it dies, or a bus/rail pass
  • a cheap holiday for now, but only until brexit happens and then we have to pay visa fees and the exchange rate is knackered and oh look we can only afford Butlins
  • Pre-loading because the pubs are so bloody expensive, thank you alcohol duty escalator
Now most of the people I see arguing about this are either saying "£70k is mega rich, you're in the 95th percentile FFS" or "£70k is not that rich when you consider what you can buy" but not many are following both thoughts through.

How bloody scandalous is it that even if you're in the 95th percentile you are still struggling, and you are well worse off than your parents would have been on an equivalent income adjusted for inflation etc.? If 95% of the country is not getting a good enough income, that's a bloody disgrace and somebody ought to do something about it.

Anybody know any politicians?
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
The relevant part (and the reason why I am posting this) will also be made bigger and bolder for those hard of thinking people. I thought I'd post the whole thing again though, just because it's periodically useful to do so.

Hello! There now follow some handy hints on how to make the most of your Reading My Blog experience:
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Interesting Links for 21-06-2017

Jun. 21st, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished Binti. Reminded me a bit of other things I have read over my sff reading life, but well-done, may well go for the next one.

Sarah Gailey, River of Teeth (2017). Okay, everybody mentions the hippos, but isn't it, underneath that, a combination western/caper tale where an unlikely team is brought together and has its own tensions besides the issues with what it has to do? (not that that isn't a good armature). Enjoyable, but ended abruptly and cliffhangingly, and is the new thing (see Binti above) of issuing novellas which are only the beginning of a longer story arc the new allotrope of serialised fiction? (but hey, it worked for Middlemarch, though at least Ms Evans indicated that it was an ongoing story.)

Dana Stabenow, Bad Blood (2013). Not quite as good as the last one I read, I think, but ended with A Thing that makes me want to go on to the next quite shortly to see how that pans out for Kate Shugak.

Two short pieces of Barbara Hambly's 'Further Adventures': Hazard (2017) (Sunwolf and Starhawk) and Elsewhere (2017) (Darwath).

Picked up in booksale, Arthur Ransome, Missee Lee (1941). I remembered very little about this, even though I later discovered I already had a copy on my shelves. I don't think it was ever among my favourites of the Swallows and Amazons books; but I've found, on re-reads of these books, that somehow they do not do for me what they did in youth - something about the style? I don't know. Also, early C20th rendering of Chinglish, sigh.

On the go

Elizabeth George, A Banquet of Consequences (2015). I was considerably off these when they were turning Lynley's Epic Manpain up to 11, but this one was very cheap in a charity shop and promised mostly Havers. And really, do we not want more of the scruffy maverick with constant disciplinary issues who is also a woman? - the 'top brass not pleased' is massive at the beginning of this one. Okay, it's got a standard E George riff on 'all unhappy families are different in baroquely complicated ways, and there are no happy families' (the misery handed on is not so much a coastal shelf as the Mariana Trench), but I have stuck with it, though have just been irked that over 500 pages into the narrative they are only just looking into how anyone might have got hold of the somewhat unusual toxic substance involved.

Also, on the ereader, because I don't want to tote around a damn great fat paperback, from the romance bundle, Ivory Lei, How to Wed an Earl (2013) - not got very far, but seems as, 'be betrothed in infancy by respective parents' is how...

Up next

Well, in another charity shop found the preceding volume by Elizabeth George, Just One Evil Act (2013), which, I daresay, will reveal what got Havers into the deepest of disgrace and quite possibly the depths of depression, but I'm not sure I really want to commit to going straight on to another of these. Or maybe the next Stabenow in the series.

Or I could look through my tbr piles, actual and virtual.

spiralsheep: Martha laughing (Martha Laughing)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Once upon a time I threatened to post a cap of Funko Four for every fourth Doctor serial....

The Fourth Doctor and Robot

- Sounds more like a fic prompt than a science project: "Why suitcases rock and fall over - puzzle solved". "Scientists crack the problem of why two-wheeled suitcases can rock from side-to-side and turn over". (Source: BBC News online feed.) P.S. In case you're wondering the scientists' solution is, "one should accelerate rather than decelerate to attenuate the amplitude of oscillations", and not "zomg there's an alien in mah luggages!!1!!"

- Saintliness is next to Greavsieness: I earnestly believe that each part of the UK has the patron saint they deserve. You only have to look at what they're most well known for....

Cry God for England and St George: hunter of endangered species, and battler against imaginary wrongs. 'Nuff said.

Scotland (when it's pretending to be one country), St Andrew: martyred on the wrong sort of cross.... *cough cough*

Ireland, St Paddy in the green: fractious with fellow human beings, but doesn't actually like nature either. Be gone all you serpents and gerroff my lawn!

Wales, St David: good at community politics, and an excellent role model for Anglican bishops (which is probably not what this Cymric Catholic intended).

Cornwall, St Piran / St Perran, whatevs, as if he'd care about spelling, lol, and as he's the one you're least likely to be aware of I shall enumerate further:
1. Most famous for the miraculous RE-discovery of tin (no, rly, "rediscovery"), because someone else had already discovered it, obv, and if you're going to claim a miracle then it's best to set the bar low for maximum believability. This is the miracle commemorated in the Cornish flag of a white (tin) cross on a black (hearthstone) background.
2. Could swim, and was kind to wildlife.
3. Miraculously lived to be 200 years old... and then died by falling down a well while drunk (no, RLY). :-D
4. In conclusion, BEST PATRON SAINT EVER in the UK.

[Disclaimer: the preceding ethnic stereotypes have all been tested on persons of the relevant background and agreed to be accurate, although the Scots tended to alternate swearing with laughing and the Welsh contingent tried to force me to admit that I'm secretly "spiritually" Welsh, lol.)

The Fourth Doctor, I want to believe

Somebody’s woke af.

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:01 am
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Humuhumu: “Keiki, are you a boy?”
Keiki: “No!”
Humuhumu: “Keiki, are you a girl?”
Keiki: “No!”
Humuhumu: “What are you, Keiki?”
Keiki: “I’m a KEI-KI.” syllables of name drawn out emphatically

20170620_194627
[Humuhumu and Keiki in the bath, giving themselves bubble beards.]

The Blood is the Life for 21-06-2017

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

Happy Solstice

Jun. 21st, 2017 10:16 am
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Arachnia Janeway)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... especially to all those of us who fear the filthy day star and can now look forward to inexorably encroaching cool soft darkness for the next 6 whole months :)

(no subject)

Jun. 21st, 2017 10:09 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] adrian_turtle!

FMK #15: LGBT& Content

Jun. 20th, 2017 11:03 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Last week's F winner was Journey to the Center of the Earth! K was Malevil, which means another giant tome I no longer have to shelve, yay.

I am still behind on reviewing stuff because I had Six Wakes and All Systems Red and A Close and Common Orbit all in at the library, plus All The Sedoretu, and sometimes you just have to priortize?

But in honor of the Tiptree anthology I picked up for the sedoretu story in it (and Pride), this week's theme is LGBT& content! (Most of these are Tiptree or Gaylactic Spectrum finalists, in fact.)
How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll! Bear, Chabon, Doran, Gerrold, Lackey, Monette, Orlando & Rebelka, Scott, St. Clair )

Stuffs

Jun. 21st, 2017 10:14 am
ironed_orchid: marilyn monroe with birthday cake (marilyn)
[personal profile] ironed_orchid
I had a birthday last week, I am now 45, which I think makes me officially middle aged or something.

My dear friend Charlie Quinn has a Patreon which I support and as a result I get sent postcards which they have designed. These postcards come in an envelope because they are not always safe for work. The June card is a very good example of NSFW language but completely awesome and amazing.

click )

I love it so much. The Trash Panda magnet in the photo was a gift from colleague and made by one of her amazing talented daughters who makes fantastic pins and magnets and stickers and cards and things and here are some examples of her works, but is currently taking a break from her Etsy shop due to life. Here are some examples including a much better photo of the Raccoon magnet: click because biggish )

(Her twin sister also makes amazing arts, mostly in the form of delicate vulva vases but also some other quirky ceramics like these claw handled mugs.)

---

I'm having a Hogswatch party on Saturday, I have even ordered a leg of ham. I have the next few days off and will be cleaning all the things then cooking all the things. I'm looking forward to it and wish that many of you could be there.

more sedoretu

Jun. 20th, 2017 07:02 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
So instead of an FMK review this week you get more talking about sedoretu (not the moiety post yet, that's coming. Probably.)

The opinions on the poll about bookmarking were interestingly split - pretty consistently 2-1 in favor of bookmarking, but the anti-bookmarking people seem to feel more strongly about it. I guess the only solution is for more people to start adding stuff to that collection so mine don't stand out as much!

I also finally read Another Story, or, a Fisherman of the Inland Sea, which is the first and longest of Le Guin's O stories. Or possibly I had already read it and then blocked it out. I am... not sure how I feel about it? It is definitely the most SF-based of them, with quantum physics and interplanetary travel and so on (and probably the most useful for people who want to think about sedoretu in the context of a much larger and more cosmopolitan society than we see in either "Mountain Ways" or "Unchosen Love".)

blehhhhh )

Anyway, I still really really like the worldbuilding!

I have managed to narrow it down to ten prompts in the Sedoretu fest that I probably *could* write. (As opposed to the ones I most want to see written, which includes many that I am definitely not the person to write.) They all have pros and cons, which I shall now ramble about here:

Discworld, HP, Sagas, O, LM, Nimona, SW:TFA, Barrayar )

...this is weirdly stressful compared to a prompt meme community where I can just blather on in comments without committing to anything until somebody else either writes the thing or I know exactly what I am doing

Last Orkney pics for 2017. Scapa Flow

Jun. 20th, 2017 08:10 pm
cmcmck: (Default)
[personal profile] cmcmck
 On our last day in Kirkwall, we took a walk out to Scapa Flow.

As far as British naval history goes, this is a famous place. It was once the home of the Royal Navy's main battle fleet and the battleship HMS Royal Oak still lies at the bottom, torpedoed by a U boat with the lost of most hands.

Naval divers still go down twice a year to replace her battle ensign.

It's a quiet and unwarlike place now. A beautiful place.

There was a Dutch three master, the Thalassa, tied up alongside.


last Orkney pics! )

It's too darn hot

Jun. 20th, 2017 07:55 pm
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
[personal profile] hilarita
Especially in my house (1970s greenhouse) and my office (2013 'green' building).

I'm particularly cross about the office. It's lovely in some ways. It's very energy efficient. It has only passive cooling (except in the server room), which is just about OK when the temperature only goes up to 25 degrees. It then gets progressively less efficient, until at around 28 degrees it stops doing anything much at all. There's no dehumidifier. This means that my lungs crap out, and I start not being able to breathe very well, and my heart rate goes up even when I'm sitting still.
We have fans in the office, which keeps the temperature down to 'only' a couple of degrees above the outside temperature. It does fuck all about the humidity. Mysteriously, I can't really work when it's that hot - I have basically constant headaches, and have to mainline cool liquids (not too much water - hyponatraemia is no fun). This would be fine if there was such a thing as 'so hot they send you all home'. I *can* work from home; however, it's not much better there. It's only better at all because I can wear far fewer clothes than is acceptable even in my office.
I wouldn't mind taking a day off work from time to time. However, there are usually (well, OK, since I started working in this building) at least 5 days at around 30 degrees, plus another couple of weeks at 25+. That's too much time to take off work. I love the environment, and generally approve of not fucking it over egregiously, for the sake of all the people in the world who will be deeply affected by climate change. But trying to kill me off for 3 weeks a year (a total that's only likely to increase) isn't great either.
I'd like to have some air con, or at least some dehumidifiers. I don't want it American Cold (i.e. so bloody cold you need a jumper on) - I just want it kept to around 25-26 degrees, so I can at least not risk having a stroke.

Uuuupdates

Jun. 20th, 2017 07:35 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
(1) I am a bit groggy and out of it post Minor Medical Procedure for Mystery Menstrual Symptoms; A was v good about shunting me around the hospital when I was too sore to particularly want to push myself/bringing me things/etc. Everything looked healthy; I was a Model Patient; biopsy results are unlikely to show anything concerning, so ??????????

(2) House viewing this morning was VERY CONFUSING. It has a garden! That contains a well-tended hydrangea, and rose bushes, and fruiting apple and plum and probably-cherry (there's definitely a cherry, I'm just not sure whether it's ornamental), and maybe a crabapple, and a vegetable patch, and a patio. And a nice kitchen. And the conservatory would be dining room/games room/music room and would be lovely esp. in the rain. So now I'm just trying to convince us (... myself) that we'd actually be able to fit the furniture into it, which is currently proving Difficult; I am intending to ask to have another viewing and actually take a tape measure this time. (Wider wheelchair just about fits in the front door. It's rampable. I should be able to get a powerchair in. There's an airing cupboard for letting dough rise in. Etc etc etc...)

And the final volume

Jun. 20th, 2017 06:54 pm
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

The collated version of Volume the Twelfth is now available to those who care to download it, thanks as ever to the good offices of [personal profile] clanwilliam.

Any expression of appreciation may be made here: PayPal, tho' 'tis ever possible that you may wish to save your pennies against the appearance of the edited and revised version.

oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

I was responding to someone else's post and saying that I'm actually quite hesitant about recommending some of the writers/works that I love, because I can see that they have very individual and distinctive styles and that these may not work for everybody.

Some while ago (but failed to save the link) read a post somewhere pointing out that if you write a book or make a movie or [whatever], that people really really LOVE it is pretty much certain that there will be some people who really really HATE it; and that people who are aiming to make something that will appeal to everybody end up with a bland mush* that nobody HATES perhaps but nobody goes raving enthusiastically about either.

For some people, and maybe in some genres, this is a feature and not a bug: I have lately been reading various romance authors and a lot of them seem fairly interchangeable to me, i.e. I would not pick up a work and immediately know it was by YX rather than XY. See also some of the comments I have made about the reissued 'Golden Age' mysteries I have been sent as freebies and made myself read. Sometimes e.g. Allingham may irritate me intensely, but you know that you're reading a book by her and not Any Old Person.

Me myself I am a sucker for a distinctive voice provided that it is fresh rather than derivative (suspect this may account for why I like the Flashman books but not the various works that have tried to do the same thing, without, I depose, anything like GMF's abilities).

Though I am also generally twitchy about people who proselytise for authors/works/movies; possibly the flipside of that is people who diss on something you're reading or have on your shelves, which is rude. (Plus, if you a person who reads ALOT, you are going to have books about that are not favourites of your heart or indeed anything but something you are reading, because reading is what you do, they are at least a step up from the back of the cereal packet.)

As I have heretofore remarked, there is no book that everybody SHOULD read.

*Though is there not a proverb about porridge and no danger of world shortage of oatmeal?

miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... and to nobody's surprise it is Vince Cable.

I like Vince, as a person. I like his stance on bees. I like his dancing.

None of those three things makes him suitable to be leader of the party, though. I mean, yes, he's got long service. And he did that one joke when he was acting leader that one time. But I'd really like something more than that to enthuse about in a potential leader.

Plus, there's all the things that make him unsuitable to be leader:
  • He's not a liberal, he's a technocratic centrist. This is fine if you are (shadow) chancellor; commendable, even. It's not acceptable in the leader. The leader needs to inspire. Technocratic centrism is the opposite of inspirational.

  • His stance on brexit is... at odds with the majority of the party's members and voters is probably the kindest way of putting it, and is already bringing out the "but we must appease the racists! We can't tell people they are wrong!" faction. If he wins, and maintains this stance, I predict a halving of our membership in pretty short order.

  • Tuition fees. OK, so he's not entirely to blame for the policy cock up (all those of us who voted for coalition, myself included, must take out share of that blame) but he is the person responsible for the catastrophic mishandling of the implementation and representation of it, and a big part of the reason Labour, why a party which introduced and then trebled tuition fees, can still point at them like an albatross round our necks.

  • The British Press, bless them, are not known for their nuance and balance. His name will be "Sir Vince Cable, the man who privatised the mail" - whether he wins the leadership or not, tbh.

  • Ten years ago he declared that by his own reckoning, he was too old. I do not believe he has got younger in that time.
All that said? I'll give him a fair hearing at hustings. He'll have his chance to impress me. I just don't see him doing it.

So far, to my knowledge, the field looks like this:

Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine
Probably standing: Norman Lamb, Ed Davey
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

If anyone else declares that they are definitely standing I shall go into my reasons further, but based on Ds&Ps, and subject to persuasion at hustings, I expect my ballot to look like this:
  1. RON
  2. Davey
  3. Cable
  4. resigning from the party
  5. Lamb
There has been talk that there might be an online ballot this time, rather than a paper one. If that is the case I shall lobby very hard indeed for it to have at least one free text box for write in candidates and/or voting RON. Voters should be able to express their displeasure at the options on the ballot on any and every ballot, this one included.

Kirkwall

Jun. 20th, 2017 11:24 am
cmcmck: (Default)
[personal profile] cmcmck
 We headed back to the main island (unoriginally named Mainland) to spend the last few days of our holiday in the capital, Kirkwall, to get used to the idea of city life again!

We decided to take a walk up Wideford Hill, the highest point at this end of Mainland.


More pics: )

Outsourcing

Jun. 20th, 2017 10:24 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Returning to the business of self-publishing these memoirs both in pretty bound volumes and as ebooks -

- yr amanuensis was looking over the Smashwords and Lulu sites yestere'en.

And thinking that there would be a fair amount of faff involved, and then noticing that Lulu (I may not have got that far with Smashwords) offers a package deal for doing the formatting &C, and that I am coming into a little legacy shortly -

But then thought, surely there are talented and competent people among my readers or their associates who would be prepared to undertake this for a fair price?

(It is the business of the wealthy man/To give employment to the artisan.)

I still have some final editorial touches to make to the Word documents, but if anyone is interested in this, or can recommend someone, please speak comment or DM me now.

I also revisit the matter of covers and whether there are any among the readership of artistick ability, or knows of any such, who would be interested in undertaking cover design for appropriate remuneration?

My latest thoughts on titles and covers )

(no subject)

Jun. 20th, 2017 09:40 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] bzeep and [personal profile] tournevis!

Half wakeful or half wake-empty

Jun. 20th, 2017 12:01 am
radiantfracture: and i know which way the wind is blowing (barometer)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
I gave my students a midnight deadline for their online exam, and then extended it to one a.m. because I was worried that so few of them had submitted it.

Now I'm sitting up in case someone sends me a desperate last-minute email.

Or else I'm sitting up waiting for the latest podcast episode of Twin Peaks Rewatch to drop (it's by the inimitable Idle Thumbs reviewers, from whom I would listen to discourse about anything at all, and indeed often do, because they discourse so well.)

Or else I'm sitting up waiting for my antiquated old MacBook to copy over some music files (it is so old it can't properly cast my music unto the cloud.)

Or else I'm just sitting up.

{rf}
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
So... which cookout am I attending? (And why couldn't they have scheduled this better? How'm I gonna make both the Central Park potluck and the Central Park ice cream social?)

(no subject)

Jun. 19th, 2017 11:36 pm
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
[personal profile] kaberett
hello everybody I know I owe a lot of you replies various and am working on it, my life should get a little less hectic for a while as of tomorrow morning unless we do make a snap decision to move house (~250m, positive reasons) once we've viewed a thing tomorrow morning, thank you for bearing with me, love meme is still open and is still getting a trickle of comments and I am working on responding to y'all, especially the folk I want to say thank you to for making me cry in a good way <3

Incrementality

Jun. 19th, 2017 07:17 pm
oursin: The Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel (Delphic sibyl)
[personal profile] oursin

I was synchronicitously pleased to find this blog post crossing my line of sight earlier today: Prospecting for kryptonite: the value of null results, because I had been thinking about incrementality and the time it takes for things to see results, and this is not just about scientific research.

Lately, at a symposium-thing I was speaking at, in the question/discussion bit somebody asked, was [change in the law] down to its being the Permissive Society at the time. And I was, actually that change in the law was made by people who had been working towards it for several decades, and had finally got into positions of power and influence and had the clout to bring it about, and it was more the final outcome of stuff that happened in the 30s than something that can be attributed to its beneficiaries, the Sixties Generation.

I think I've moaned on before about the 'Spaceships of the Gods' hypothesis and the idea that certain forms of knowledge came from Out There, because Infinite Regress: who found out how to build pyramids in the first place? why couldn't they have put on the show right here in the old barn gradually developed the capacity to do so over time and trial and error. The pyramids did not grow up overnight. So it might just as well have happened here as Somewhere Else and been brought to us by ?benevolent aliens.

There was also a good post somewhere I came across about archival research and how it is not opening a file and DISCOVERY!!! it is looking through files files files and putting little pieces together.

Yes, there are moments when everything comes together, and when the outcome of the process finally surfaces above the horizon: but it doesn't Just Happen. There was history.

Local walkies

Jun. 19th, 2017 04:52 pm
cmcmck: Vettriano (Vettriano)
[personal profile] cmcmck
 On Sunday we wandered up to Sunnycroft as the Daimler was out of wraps for its annual once a year. The old lady who owned the house left everything to the national trust- literally everything- the house is exactly as it was on the day she died even down to the contents of the drawers, shelves and cupboards. The Daimler was her car (chauffeur driven of course. It's a 1955 Daimler Regency Mk II).

A corner:



More pics )

Social media & recipes

Jun. 19th, 2017 09:44 am
tempestsarekind: (Default)
[personal profile] tempestsarekind
An enjoyable piece on recipes by Bee Wilson:

Social media and the great recipe explosion: does more mean better?
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/18/great-recipe-explosion-social-media-does-more-mean-better-instagram-pinterest
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/55: Lord of All Things -- Andreas Eschbach (translated from the German by Samuel Willcocks)
the digested version of a story already squeezed to bursting, a story of Arctic islands, Russian subs, and a steel fortress that fell to dust.


A book of two (unequal) halves: a promising beginning, but the rest is weakly plotted, gruesomely sexist and poorly characterised.

It starts well. Hiroshi is the half-Japanese, half-American son of a cleaning woman. He likes fixing things, and befriends Charlotte -- daughter of the French ambassador -- after fixing a broken doll. spoilers and irritation )
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] bitesizedreading
How did your weekend reading go? If you planned on anything specifically, did you read it?

Don't know why I'm surprised

Jun. 19th, 2017 01:09 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
So, Sociological Images decided, for Father's Day, to post a piece about how estrangement hurts fathers. First there were a few comments from people pointing out that wow, that piece is very one-sided and that, in fact, mentally healthy people do not generally cut themselves off from their parents for no reason whatsoever. And in that vein, I linked to Issendai's study of estranged parent forums - and if this is a subject that interests you, you'd do well to read it.

Well, they must've been linked somewhere, because they're now inundated with very sad parents who have no idea why their kids estranged them, and want all the commenters who are estranged from their parents to know that they're terrible people. I'm going on the record now - Rose Pernice's daughter is estranged because her mother is a highly unpleasant person. I only needed a few comments to glean that piece of information, not that she'd listen if I tried to explain it to her.

Things like this are useful to read. I look at these exchanges and go "Wow. No matter how annoyed I am at my family, at least I can say they aren't this bad."

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Jun. 18th, 2017 09:11 pm
qatsi: (baker)
[personal profile] qatsi
I was hesitant about booking a holiday in Portugal in mid-June, but was persuaded to go ahead. We had a good time - eventually - although, really, much of it was too hot for me; generally into the 30s and possibly hitting 40°C in Lisbon yesterday.

Things didn't get off to a good start, when we tried to check in on Thursday evening, 12 hours beforehand; BA's website just gave us an error message and told us to go to the airport. So we waited for the exit poll, raised our eyebrows, and went to bed, getting up the following morning at ridiculous-o'clock. There was an unexpected queue at 5:30 in the morning at the entrance to Purple Parking, but the airport wasn't too busy.

Unfortunately, we were told, BA had overbooked the flight. We were given standby boarding passes and told to wait. Later, we were told to take everything airside. This didn't seem entirely correct, but it was a new experience, so we did exactly as we were told. Security, however, insisted that our hold baggage had to go back to the drop-off desk; so, we did that, returned, and ended up having to run through Heathrow Terminal 3's delightful "retail experience".

We made it onto our flight, but our checked baggage did not. Though we both had suspicions, we weren't informed of this until a semi-decipherable tannoy announcement at Lisbon told us to go to the baggage enquiries desk. Many years ago I had a colleague to whom this happened, and I knew his luggage had been couriered to his hotel by the evening, so I had hopes this was a standard process. It seemed to be so; but BA promised the luggage would be on the afternoon flight, and it wasn't. Our hotel was informed that it would be on the overnight flight, and it did indeed turn up by the following morning, but it didn't make for the most relaxing of starts.

Fri 9th: Arrival, somewhat discombobulated. The Metro appears to be straightforward to navigate and we head to the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, which houses a considerable collection, including some interesting Persian carpets and Turkish ceramics. We walk across the Parque Eduardo VII to the Aqueduto das Aguas Livres, a survivor of Lisbon's 1755 earthquake.

Lisbon - Aqueduct



Sat 10th: After reacquainting ourselves with our possessions, we head off to explore the city centre - Baixa and Chiado. It comes quickly to our attention that there are many people wandering around the streets more-or-less openly offering drugs; one assumes that the police don't care much.

Lisbon - Elevator


Later in the day we head over to the Castle. As well as taking in the building and museum, we pause to listen to the tango band rehearsing on an outdoor stage in the gardens.

Lisbon - Castle



Sun 11th: We take a tram to Belém. By this point it is becoming apparent that the Vivagem cards for public transport (basically like Oyster in London) aren't of the greatest quality (they're made of cardboard) and are prone to failure. Although the card only costs 50 cents it's quite annoying that you have to be so careful with them. The tram is packed and Belém is even busier; it's about a half hour queue in baking sunlight to get in to the Mosteiro doe Jerónimos, which is very ornate but otherwise not especially spectacular. The queue for the Tower on the riverfront is shorter, though not trivial.

Lisbon - Tower of Belém



Mon 12th: We head out to Sintra. The train from Rossio station is straightforward, but once there, the Rough Guide map isn't entirely clear and the text doesn't explain strongly enough that you should get the bus to the palace at Pena. Naïvely I reckon it's about a kilometre, but I haven't allowed for poor signage. We do eventually make it on foot, but our patience is tried. Fortunately, it's worth it. We return via the Moorish Castle.

Sintra - Pena Palace


Sintra - Moors' Castle



Tues 13th: Another trip to Sintra, this time for the Palácio Nacional and the Quinta da Regaleira. Though I've only visited the house at West Wycombe Park, the cave system in the grounds at Regaleira suggests to me the Hell-Fire Caves; the Initiation Well seems like an inside-out Tower of Babel.

Sintra - Initiation Well



Wed 14th: We wake up to the news of the Grenfell Tower fire; after the attack in Borough Market and the coalition of crackpots, it adds to the stream of disturbing UK news. We spend the day in Lisbon, firstly in the Alfama district, visiting the Paneão Nacional (Pantheon), São Vicente de Fora, and the Water Museum at Barbadinhos. Although there's an exhibition we're really there for the steampunk of the preserved pumping station.

Lisbon - Barbadinhos Steam Pumping Station


Later we trek out to Estrela; the basilica is disappointing, but the nearby park is pleasant and a granizado is refreshing.

Thurs 15th: More museums. There's a queue of about 15 minutes just to use the automated ticket machines at Cais do Sodré station, but once we get to Alcântara, the streets are quiet. The Museu do Oriente is excellent, but sadly it's almost deserted. After lunch we go to the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, which has a respectable number of visitors but is far from busy.

Lisbon - Musical Instruments of the Chinese Opera at Museo do Oriente



Fri 16th: We take a long-distance trip to Porto. We're a bit pressed for time, given the hilly nature of the city, so we don't venture too far from the centre, and don't make it to Vila Nova da Gaia, where the wine lodges are. But we do experience a Franceshina for lunch, and see the famous Lello bookshop.

Porto - Bridges across the Douro


Porto - Lello Bookshop



Sat 17th: It turns out the botanical garden is closed, so we skip that part of the plan and move on to the Decorative arts museum. After lunch we take in the small Casa Museu Dr A Gonçalves. Although Lisbon Airport is chaotic and the check-in machine tells us to go to gate "undefined", the flight home is smoother. I notice smoke on the ground as we ascend from Lisbon Airport and wonder if it's a wildfire; we are oblivious to the catastrophe going on a few hundred kilometers away, though the train to Porto passed through Coimbra. On return, only about half of the electronic passport gates are in use for some reason, and Purple Parking's IVR is awkward and unforgiving, hanging up rather than repeating a question when you didn't hear it clearly the first time.

Lisbon was busy, but it didn't strike me as particularly commercial: the metro doesn't start until 6:30 in the morning, and there are often long intervals between trains. Likewise, the local trains were patchy - good for Sintra, but not so good in the direction of Cascais. Food was good though sometimes slow, and the hawking waiters in the city centre were even worse than the drug-dealers and selfie-stick sellers.

Lisbon - Trams

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