I honestly have no clue if that's accidentally or "accidentally", and maybe he's trying to separate himself from the Charlottesville marchers by dismissing them as "losers" and posioning himself as more rational/reasonable than Trump on North Korea before he gets fired, or what the actual fuck. Especially given that he was reportedly delighted and "proud" about Trump's press conference statements.
I've decided what I'm going to do is just try to help people in whatever way I can, which always feels like a good course of action to me.
So, I have this Russian friend on twitter. She's fannish, her name is Sasha, her twitter account is locked. We met in Black Sails fandom earlier this year. She's very delightful and funny and lives in St. Petersburg.
This year she'd really like to get married. She and her girlfriend have been together for about 5 years. Needless to say, a marriage is not possible in Russia (or Ukraine, where her girlfriend is from). So, they've thought up a plan to travel to Denmark to get married later this year, and they've been raising money mostly through their Russian fandom friends, to make the trip possible. Russian fandom doesn't really do paypal (other money transfer methods are easier), so when I asked how I could help they basically opened an account with PP just for me.
There's no public post about this fundraiser, no kickstarter page. I honestly don't even want to link their account names on twitter to this public post, although I of course asked them what details I could share before writing about this on DW.
Anyway, if you're looking for the usual safeguards to make sure this isn't a scam - they're not really available in this case. I can only tell you that I know this person and trust them and I've helped their marriage fund and have no regrets.
So, if you'd like to throw some money their way, or signal boost this to your friends, their paypal address is: blindpilot at yandex dot ru
(Also, Sasha has pointed out that if you'd like more details about what the money is for, you're welcome to email her at that address.)
But it does have one advantage over The Murdered Brother, and that's that the framing story makes sense. I can see how you might chop your sister up after you've knocked her up. I mean, I wouldn't do it, but I wouldn't do half the things people do in ballads. If I had no moral compass, though, then I might well look at murder as the solution to everyday social problems like an inconvenient pregnancy. Even in a ballad, though, killing your brother because he cut down a withy wand that might've been a tree is just strange.
(And their mother doesn't give a damn, it seems, no matter who killed whom and why. There's some seriously messed up family dynamics here. Sometimes you really have to wonder about the people who wrote these things.)
Silver Composition in Coins Confirms the Story of the Rise of Rome
How Edmond Halley Kicked Off the Golden Age of Eclipse Mapping
Probiotic Bacteria Could Protect Newborns From Deadly Infection
Nobody Knows What Lies Beneath New York City
Pretty sure I've seen this exact premise in, like, a thousand Harry Potter fics. Because how else are you gonna get Draco and Hermione to hook up?
Female Inmates In Federal Prisons Will Now Have More Access To Tampons & Pads
The next time somebody tells me that they or anybody else can't be a bigot because they have one $GROUP friend, I'm going to point them to this article about Eduard Bloch, who was personally exempted from anti-Semitic persecution by... Adolf Hitler. Yes, really. Yes, my jaw dropped too.
Solving a Murder Mystery With Ancestry Websites
Justice Department at odds with DEA on marijuana research, MS-13
Severe Housing Needs May Return to Foreclosure-Crisis Levels
This Is Why Taking Fish Medicine Is Truly a Bad Idea (This may be a sign that things in this country are really, really bad.)
They Got Hurt At Work — Then They Got Deported
White nationalists are flocking to genetic ancestry tests — but many don't like their results
Steve Bannon once said Breitbart was the platform for the alt-right. Its current editors disagree. Is the incendiary media company at the nerve center of Donald Trump’s America simply provocative — or dangerous?
Psychologists surveyed hundreds of alt-right supporters. The results are unsettling.
Trump Knows Exactly What He’s Doing
In Ukraine, a Malware Expert Who Could Blow the Whistle on Russian Hacking
Philippine police kill 32 in bloodiest night of Duterte’s war on drugs
I made my first (four) vid(s) in 2009. I only made a second vid this year. There’s an eight year and some months gap in between those two data points. That's not because I haven't had ideas. My spotify "VIDDING" playlist is currently over two and a half hours long. I have another spotify playlist where I quarantined most of my Star Trek ideas. It's called "USS SHAME SPIRAL." I have an iTunes playlist for some songs that aren't available on spotify. Probably ~30% of these ideas are more or less immediately viable, where "immediately viable" means I'm still full steam ahead with the idea, I already have the skills and tech to make it, I've watched/read all my source, all I need to do is acquire everything in the right format, clip, and vid. I'm just clinically bad at being self-motivated.
So, I'm going to talk about what motivated me those two times I did actually vid and maybe it will unlock the secrets of brain.
( Enter the Wu-Tang )
( Desperado )
All these stories are well-written and thought-provoking. I particularly liked the one by Ursula Vernon, which reminded me about her story Pocosin which I loved, and led me to find her whole book online Summer in Orcas. Highly recommended all around!
Just noticed there is a live Kickstarter for Summer in Orcas in case you love the online book and want one of your very own. I now have a paperback coming to me sometime, yay!
I also recently backed Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction / Uncanny Magazine and the bonus for backing this is I get emailed a bunch of great essays by people with disabilities about what SF means to them.
One of my friends was recently talking in Slack about his role as a moderator at a Worldcon panel, and one of the things people agreed was a moderator’s role was keeping the panelists on topic.
And I wanted to put a word in for the times when that doesn’t happen.
The times when you have all sorts of keen ideas–either as a moderator or a panelist–about what this panel will be, and you get up on the panel, and it’s interesting, and it’s active, and it’s going places, people are engaged, discussion flows freely…and the places it’s going are not where you thought. Sometimes really not where you thought. And you have to use good judgment, because when you have a panelist who has already been bloviating for five minutes about book five of their own fabulous off-topic series and takes a breath to start in on book six, it’s time to jump right on in and get that panel back on track.
But when you’re having a really good discussion among lots of people, and it just doesn’t happen to be the good discussion you thought you were going to be having? Square your shoulders, take a deep breath, and wave goodbye to the panel not taken.
It might have been a beautiful panel. A lovely panel, an insightful panel. It might have been such an important panel that you can propose it again under a different name. (Or y’know, the same name. Sometimes audience members notice that there is more–or something in the first place–to be said.) But it is not the panel you are having right now. And taking a panel that is full of inspiration and ideas and energy and turning it into a panel that has been stopped in its tracks and wrenched around is not a success condition. It’s just not.
I was on a panel at Readercon where Maria Dahvana Headley was the moderator, and she asked the panelists a question, a good question, an insightful question, a question that might have taken us interesting places. And Max Gladstone said, “I’ve been reading about hyperobjects.” I think I blurted out something encouraging like, “Good!” so this is also on me. (I have been known to encourage Max. Maria has been known to encourage Max. Random passersby…well. You get the idea.) And then Max kept talking about hyperobjects, and it was interesting, and everyone in the room was interested, and…I caught Maria’s eye…and we could both see her question disappearing over the horizon. We traded little smiles as we saw it go. Goodbye, little question, goodbye! Because then we went from Max’s hyperobjects to whatever else that made the other panelists think of and then whatever questions the audience had and then the audience still had questions but the panel was over…and it was fun and everybody was talking after with thinky thoughts…and saying, “Stop, Max, stop! do not talk about this interesting thing! Talk about the other interesting thing!” would have made everybody feel stifled and weird and the total number of interesting things talked about would almost certainly have been fewer.
Sometimes there is still time to say, “Wow, cool, that was really interesting, but I wanted to get back to this idea Maria had twenty minutes ago/the panel description/that question Beth asked that I don’t think we fully answered/whatever.” But often there really, really isn’t, and that’s okay.
And this is true in less formal conversation, too. Extremely often I come home from my monthly lunch with one friend, I think, we didn’t even get to this bit, I forgot to tell him that–or I’ll be driving him back to his office and trying to quick hit the highlights of major life areas the leisurely lunch conversation missed. The Minnesota Long Goodbye is legendary in these parts, possibly because of this, possibly because it just takes us a long time to put on winter gear and you might as well catch up on how auntie is doing in the meantime, but possibly because there are always going to be The Conversations Not Taken, and oh crud now that you’re leaving it occurs to me what they were.
I think we all know about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, and that’s relevant here, but there’s also not letting the good be the enemy of the other quite good. And you can tell yourself you’re not aiming at the perfect panel, you’re just aiming at the on-topic one, and that’s all very well, but writers and fans and sometimes editors and agents and artists being what they are…goodbye, panel that might have been, farewell, you were interesting, on to the panel that is and how it can be its best self.
Yeah. I said cheap and mass produced. These statues have neither artistic nor historical value. “Why did the statue go down so easy? Many “Lost Cause” era C monuments were mass-produced in the cheapest way possible for mass distribution. There wasn’t even a layer of the most basic mortar holding the pedestal to the base. Gravity was enough for granite. Cheap, tacky crap.”
Antonia Noori Farzan @ Phoenix New Times: Activist Turns Confederate Memorial At Arizona Capitol Into Participation Trophy
She immediately got to work crafting two banners that say "2nd Place Participant" and "You lost, get over it."
David Krugler @ the Daily Beast: America's Forgotten Mass Lynching: When 237 People Were Murdered In Arkansas
What made 1919 unique was the armed resistance that black Americans mounted against white mobs trying to keep them “in their place.”
Ken Schwencke @ ProPublica: Service Provider Boots Hate Site Off the Internet
“This is fucking serious. 8/12 changed everything,” tweeted Pax Dickinson, a lead technical voice for the far right, referencing the Charlottesville rally.
Nicholas Fandos, Russell Goldman, & Jess Bidgood @ NYT: Baltimore Mayor Had Statues Removed in ‘Best Interest of My City’
History could not and should not be erased, [Kaylyn Meyers, 29] said, but men like Taney did not belong on a pedestal in a nice public park, either.
siderea: [US] Fwd: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's Address of May 19
Starts good, gets great: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's magnificent address of May 19 on the removal of the Confederate monuments from New Orleans. It's 22 minutes long, and, Americans, it's absolutely worth making the time. Beautiful, firey, and uplifting, it's worth hearing it delivered rather than reading a transcript.
The reports look at the impact of technology on society. They're piecse extend beyond the gee whiz to always consider technology's political impacts as well as social justice concerns.
What initially caught my eye is their sensible assistive tech reporting. No inspirational nonsense, no "this one gadget will change everyone's life!"
( two samples that spoke to me )
I find their weekly newsletter handy, as it's got has just the right amount of teaser text plus links to the full stories.
Finished: Will Save the Galaxy for Food by Yahtzee Croshaw. An entertaining pastiche of Golden Age of Sci-Fi novels, about what happens after the Golden Age of Star Pilots is brought to an end by the invention of quantum tunneling space travel which eliminates the need for spaceships and pilots. It's a light, easy read, gently funny, though there are a few plotholes big enough to sail a spaceship through. I originally chose it to read because the cover and the tone of the blurb made me think of Keith Laumer's Retief books; it's not quite as full of weird aliens and odd customs, but there's a definite Retiefishness about it.
Abandoned: Terraforming Earth - Phase 1: "The Plagues Era" (FutureScape, #1) by Dean C. Moore, an Instafreebie book. Technically better than a lot of the other self-pubbed books I've tried to read (though it still has its share of typos and incorrect words), but ultimately I found it boring. Not enough depth to the characters for me to care about them. Abandoned 15% in.
What I'm currently reading:
The Girl in the Tower (The Bear and the Nightingale #2) by Katherine Arden. I really liked the old-Rus fairytail world of the first book, and it's a delight to return to. This time, Vasilisa is dressed as, and masquerading as, a boy (♥), while bandits and Tatars menace the countryside. (You see, hamsterwoman, being nicknamed Vasya has proven prophetic!) So far I'm about halfway in and particularly enjoying the gentle fantasy aspects of the story.
What I'm reading next:
I'm planning to hit the library for the Beth Cato books I mentioned last week, though actually I'll probably finish my current read while we're in Wyoming eclipse-hunting, so I'll likely be reading something already on my phone first.
What I'm currently watching:
Game of Thrones. We're about a week behind but may catch up tonight. The special effects are very cool, but honestly the thing that impresses me the most is the geology of Dragonstone. What amazing tilted rocks! (Unless they're CGI...)
What I'm currently playing:
I picked up Dragon Age: Origins for $5 from a GOG sale a while ago, and although I usually spend most of my time outdoors and active in the summer, I'm unable to do so at the moment for injury reasons, so I started playing. It's fun so far though unsurprisingly I die a lot.
What I'm currently writing:
crossovering: Well into my assignment, which is a lot of fun.
remixrevival: Um. Still dithering about which story to remix.
femslashex: MUST WRITE LETTER AND SIGN UP.
Btw, I recently read a piece on writer's block that I liked a lot, So you're having a bad writing day: Consider: the act of telling a story is you CONJURING AN ENTIRE UNIVERSE INSIDE YOUR MIND and then using words as knives to CARVE THAT UNIVERSE INTO REALITY SO THAT OTHERS CAN VISIT YOUR IMAGINATION. “Today I am going to make a world out of my brain that you can go to in your spare time,” you say aloud, hopefully realizing that this is far more significant and far more bizarre than tying your shoes or blowing your nose.
Writing is hard, and that's okay. (Clearly prolific authors who update frequently are wizards.)
Alan Dugatkin & Lyudmila Trut, How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution: Short but fun book about the Soviet/Russian project to breed tame foxes. Wolves and foxes are related enough to make the attempt plausible, but zebras and horses are also closely related enough to breed, and zebras haven’t been successfully domesticated despite numerous attempts, nor have deer except reindeer (even though they live near humans and aren’t usually aggressive towards us, not to mention being important food animals, all of which suggests domestication would be favored if it were feasible). The Soviets picked the least reactive and aggressive foxes and bred them; calmer foxes appeared within three breeding seasons. And slightly greater tameness also shortened their breeding cycle and raised fertility a bit higher, bolstering the theory that in-bred tameness had complex effects on the whole animal. (Unfortunately, these shorter mating cycles didn’t allow multiple fox generations within the same year—although the scientists had sold the project to the Soviet government on the promise of increasing fur production, the shorter cycles meant that the mothers didn’t produce enough milk for their pups, whom they ignored. The scientists hypothesized that a longer transition might have let milk production catch up with increased fertility, as with dogs and cats and pigs and cows.)
Later generations began to exhibit tail-wagging, whining, licking hands, and rolling over for belly rubs—still later, some of the tame foxes’ tails curled, again like dogs. Tamer foxes retained juvenile behaviors longer than wild foxes—wild fox pups are “curious, playful, and relatively carefree when they are very young,” but that changes at around 45 days, when they become more cautious and anxious. After only a decade of breeding, tamer pups stayed curious and playful twice as long.
Tame foxes began gazing into humans’ eyes, which for wild animals is a challenge that can start an attack. Humans themselves, though they weren’t supposed to interact differently with the foxes, couldn’t resist talking to them, petting them, and loving them. When dogs and owners gaze at one another, both see increased oxytocin, leading to increased interactions/petting, “a chemical lovefest.” Adult foxes began to engage in object play—extended play with objects that are known—which wild animals don’t do. (Birds, chimps, and even ants play (with mock fights), but play is usually skill practice.) The tamest fox one year lived with the main researcher for a while, like a dog, and when she returned to her group, she began seeking out caretakers when other foxes were being aggressive toward her. Tame foxes began to demonstrate loyalty to particular caretakers (unlike simply being calm around humans) and jealousy of other foxes who might take their favorites’ attention. They began to bark like guard dogs when strangers appeared. They learned social intelligence: tame fox pups were as smart as dog pups in interpreting human behavior, and smarter than wild fox pups. So selection acting on tameness brought social intelligence along with it, suggesting that there was no need for humans to have bred dogs to be smarter: it could just happen.
The Soviets also tested their work by creating a line of incredibly aggressive foxes using the same selection procedures. Workers were terrified of the new line. When aggressive fox pups were swapped with tame fox pups and raised by mothers from the other line, the pups behaved like their genetic mothers. Genes clearly played vital roles, though tame foxes’ bonds with individual people also showed the role of learned behaviors. The genetic changes worked by changing production of hormones and neurochemicals, like oxytocin. These chemical pathways might help explain why the changes could happen so fast. Tame foxes had higher levels of serotonin than their wild cousins, as dogs have more than wolves.
The evidence supports a theory of destabilizing selection—genes may be similar, but the activity of those genes is very different as between wolves and dogs, chimps and humans. The dramatic changes of domestication seemed to come not primarily from new genetic mutations that were then favored by selection, though that played a role, but from changes in the expression of existing genes that led to very different results. For example, tame foxes started being born with white stars on their foreheads, which happened because the embryonic cells responsible for coloring hair had been delayed in migrating to their places by two days, causing an error in the production of hair color. The expression of the relevant gene was affected by the other changes caused by selecting for tameness. We may even have selected ourselves for tameness using similar mechanisms—we have lower levels of stress hormones in groups than our chimp cousins, we can breed all year round, and our kids stay juvenile longer, like those of other domestic species. And the bonobo may be in the process of doing the same thing, though I’m not sure they’ll have a planet to inherit when their brains get as big as ours.
Speaking of which, the collapse of the Russian economy nearly led to the fox project’s demise. Many foxes starved or nearly starved; others were selected for sale for fur to keep the project alive, a process that also deeply traumatized their caretakers. In 1999, however, a popular science article about the project came out in the US, and they received enough donations to stay afloat, because humans are sentimental. Maybe someday you’ll be able to get your own tame fox pup.
Duncan Green, How Change Happens: Green works in international anti-poverty programs, and argues for a systems approach in which one iteratively works with groups at different levels of the system, leveraging elite points of entry while taking direction from people on the ground. I thought the concept of “positive deviance” was useful—find people in the group you’re trying to help who’ve overcome the problem you’re trying to solve, and see if you can help other people do the same thing, using the positive deviants as the model.
1. I swung by the cobbler's on my lunch break in hopes he might do leather repair other than shoes (the stitching attaching the shoulder strap on my beloved black handbag unexpectedly gave way yesterday). He initially said no, then changed his mind to yes when I showed it to him, and he did a gorgeous restitching job in time for me to pick it up on my way home.
2. The leftover carrot-zucchini cake I made for the friend who runs my D&D group (in honor of his birthday, and last night being the last D&D session of our current arc) was enthuastically devoured by my coworkers.
3. I had chicken dumpling ZOMG-so-much-spinach soup for lunch, and it was good. (I finally made the damn soup Monday night, after two weeks of stressful waffling on when exactly I'd get to it, so to have that done, and to move on to the simple pleasure of enjoying it, is very good indeed).
I'm pretty sure it's impossible for me to get everything I have to get done at work this week before I leave early Friday for a few days of vacation, but I've already managed more than I'd thought I might when pulling a 12hr work day Friday wasn't enough to whittle it down to a reasonable amount.
One day at a time is enough, betimes.
I was testing the solar filter for the camera, in preparation for Monday’s eclipse. We won’t be seeing the total eclipse, but I’m hoping to get some good shots of the partial.
As I was processing the results, I realized I’d captured sunspots! (Those dark spots in the upper left.)
Click to embiggen.
For those who wonder about such things, this was taken on the 100-400mm lens, fully zoomed to 400mm. ISO 640, f/10, with a 1/3200 shutter speed. I had to set everything manually, because the camera overexposed the shot if left to its own devices.
I think next time I’ll try to reduce the ISO down to about 100 and see if that gets rid of the minor graininess.
Processing involved cropping the shot, noise reduction, and an orange overlay.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Upon re-read, I realize that there is a small problem with the timeline in the book. Not in the usual time travel sense, which would be more or less okay, but in the educational calendar.
Vivian arrives in Time City during their half term, which I understand to be a short vacation in the middle of the semester - like midwinter recess in NYC. She attends school for two or three days, maybe as long as five - and then the whole city shuts down for two days of ceremonies! (And also the dramatic conclusion, but nobody knew that yet while the ceremonies happen every year.)
If they know, as they must know, that the kids will all have two days off, why not schedule their break a few days later so as to encompass the holiday? Instead of this on-again, off-again nonsense, which can't be good for their learning.
(Of course, I'm saying this from a city which only a few years ago started school on a Wednesday and then immediately took the next two days off for the Jewish New Year. Which, okay, it's an important holiday, but still. Start the year on a different day then!)
Never Buy Drawing Paper Again With This Endlessly Reusable Art Notebook
Why Northern Long-Eared Bats Love Nantucket
Robot, heal thyself (I'll confess - I love headlines the most when they make a pithy reference. I don't care if it's a sophisticated reference or a very low-brow one, I love them, and I love being able to say I got the joke, no matter how obvious it was. Also, this is a cool article. It's not just the headline. But I love the headline.)
You’ll Never Be as Radical as This 18th-Century Quaker Dwarf
The Story of the DuckTales Theme, History’s Catchiest Single Minute of Music
Tougher than steel: Japan looks to wood pulp to make lighter auto parts
Why NASA is sending bacteria into the sky on balloons during the eclipse
How America's First Self-Made Female Millionaire Built Her Fortune
Glass may not seem an obvious material for a bone replacement. But UK surgeons are finding that bioglass not only is stronger than bone: it can bend, bounce and even fight infection.
American evangelicals’ antigay gospel forced him to flee Uganda. Then Christians in California offered him a home. A refugee’s story in words and pictures.
I’ll get my goat: Kazakhstan's ancient sport for modern times
The Moral History of Air-Conditioning
Labor-short Japan more at home with automation than US
The Repercussions of the Black Teacher Shortage
They were partners in fighting crime. The only problem: Neither was a cop. But when one friend turned on the other, things got real.
Same-sex couples do not influence their adoptive children's gender identity
The Wealthy Activist Who Helped Turn “Bleeding Kansas” Free
“Barack Obama is to blame”: 13 Alabama conservatives on Charlottesville
Confederate statues removed across southern US states – in pictures
Eight Confederate leaders are honored with sculptures in the halls of Congress.
Historians Question Trump’s Comments on Confederate Monuments
What Trump gets wrong about Confederate statues, in one chart
How Baltimore Removed Its Confederate Monuments Overnight
When Silicon Valley Took Over Journalism
What possessed a family man from Ohio to smuggle a Bible into North Korea?
Young Afghans see opportunities dwindle as security worsens
How a Conservative TV Giant Is Ridding Itself of Regulation
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history.
Indonesia clinic gives relief to Muslims with tattoo regrets
It took decades to unravel Nixon’s sabotage of Vietnam peace talks. Now, the full story can be told.
Popular Pesticides Keep Bumblebees From Laying Eggs
70 years later, survivors recall the horrors of India-Pakistan partition
Squeezed by an India-China Standoff, Bhutan Holds Its Breath
US teen drug overdose deaths inch up after years of decline
Sentenced To Adulthood: Direct File Laws Bypass Juvenile Justice System
Went to the GP's surgery to pick up my repeat prescription this morning.
"Oh, we haven't done that," says the receptionist. "I was trying to get in touch with you yesterday," (the phone never rang) "It's too early"
Me: "Hang on, we're half way through week 3 of a 4 week prescription and I'm going on holiday* tomorrow."
Receptionist: "It's due on the 29th"
Me: "And I'll run out on the 28th"
Her: "And we'd fill it that week. When did you say you were going on holiday?"
Me: "Tomorrow. In the morning"
She then proposed getting it signed off during the afternoon and me coming back for it (they theoretically shut at noon on Wednesday, and it was after 11:30), but then changed her mind, her terminal must have flagged the doctor was free, and walked it through there and then.
It's never been this complicated before!
Just to make things even more fun, I'd taken crutches rather than the chair and started to feel very wobbly in the middle of all of this. Hopefully just lack of sleep, I crashed when I got home and has to go to bed for a couple of hours. Which meant I didn't get around to going to the chemists til late afternoon. It's a straight roll down a slight incline from where I park, which is just as well as my pushing was pretty crap today. I suspect my shoulders aren't entirely happy after the shed re-roofing, plus my tyres needed blowing up. Getting the prescription was trouble-free, but pushing back up the slope wasn't going to happen, so I got out and used the chair as a walker. That wouldn't have been a problem if my legs hadn't decided to go very wobbly in the middle of the damned road! Fortunately with no cars about.
* Up to see the folks, Dad turns 80 on Saturday, so expect my presence to be intermittent for the rest of the month.