jesse_the_k: Cartoon drawing of original Mac with screen displaying the "happy Mac" smile indicating successful boot (old Mac)
is "Future Tense," a collaboration between Arizona State University, the New America foundation and

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.
jesse_the_k: Two bookcases stuffed full (with books on top) leaning into each other (junk4)

Past imperfect : history according to the movies edited by Mark Carnes

4 of 5 stars )

Truevine by Beth Macy

4 of 5 stars )

Chenoo by Joseph Bruchac

3 of 5 Stars )

A Life Discarded by Alexander Masters

3 of 5 stars )

  1. discovered in my Cumberbatch-completist mode ↩︎
jesse_the_k: amazed Alanna (hero of Staples/Vaughn SAGA comic) (alanna is amazed)

Transcendent: the Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction ed. by K.M. Szpara 5 of 5 stars )

Trish Trash Roller Girl of Mars, vol 1 by Jessica Abel (4 of 5 stars) )

jesse_the_k: Closeup medical drawing of an eye where lower lashes are four fingers crawling up over the lower lid (hand eye comic)
One of my favorite fic authors has published a novel )

EXOG by Peale McDaniel is available at Evernight Publishing. It's less than a latte to enjoy instant gratification in any e-format you choose.

It was a lovely evening's read, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

a taste of text )
jesse_the_k: uppercase Times Roman "S" with nick in upper corner, text below reads "I shot the serif." (shot the serif)

Making a Point: The Persnickety Story of English Punctuation

David Crystal5 of 5 )

I'd appreciate knowing what you mean when you deploy the swung-dash (~) character?

jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
contents: outdated language, patronizing assumptions, great tech

A creative way to reuse an out-of-date Android 4.4 (or better) smartphone/tablet: transform to an MP3 audio player with the most direct UI I've ever seen.

Exact step-by-step details from the inventor, Marcin Simonides:

If you live in the United States and can't read regular print because of any impairment, NLS (National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) provides thousands of books for free.
jesse_the_k: Closeup medical drawing of an eye where lower lashes are four fingers crawling up over the lower lid (hand eye comic)
In my last post I neglected to include my single #1 fave online disability-culture resource:
It's multimedia goodness—in addition to pix & reviews, the Graphic Medicine site offers a podcast.

There are many places to read about the social construction of disability. I treasure this site because it helps me understand impairment, and the social construction of medicine.

let me recommend this site to you )
jesse_the_k: Two bookcases stuffed full (with books on top) leaning into each other (junk4)
By Blood—Ellen Ullman5 of 5 )

Madness: A Bipolar Life—Marya Hornbacher5 of 5 )

Lock In—John Scalzi3.5 of 5 )

Peace meals: candy-wrapped Kalashnikovs and other war stories—Anna Badkhen5 of 5 )
jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
There was ample reading on our trip to the North Woods.

Rhinelander, pop 8000, used to support two daily newspapers; now it's down to one company which publishes a weekly tabloid as well as three shrunken broadsheets a week. Which is to say there wasn't that much in the way of newspapers. Turns out that life without the net or the news is okay.

We are all completely beside ourselves )
Four Freedoms )
My Life In the Kitchen )

The whipped cream on top: the origin of Rhinelander's name. We'd always assumed it hitchiked with the thousands of German immigrants who spread all over Wisconsin in the 19th century. The truth is more mercenary: the capitalists who'd purchased extensive timber lands realized it was worthless without transportation. They convinced F.W. Rhinelander, president of a railroad with a line nearby, to extend the rail service to the town. In return for naming rights (and eventually half the land) the railroad arrived. Fortunes were made via clearcuts, and it took fifty years before there was any logging opportunities again. Tourism and paper mills bridged the gap.
jesse_the_k: Two bookcases stuffed full (with books on top) leaning into each other (junk4)
Recently read
I finished MAD AT SCHOOL by Margaret Price. It's outstanding. Yes the language is pitched a couple feet over my educational level, but worth it. Among the nifty ideas:
  • "Mental disability" as a label for people currently tabbed as "mentally ill" and "cognitively disabled." Price argues that the level of disdain and prejudice is the same; that general expectactions are similarly thin; and that an academy founded on rationality exhibits equal confusion as to why people with mental disabilities matter, much less belong in those hallowed halls.

  • Very detailed deconstruction of the "mentally ill mass shooter" stereotype, with scores of useful references. Also lots of disheartening detail as to how the ongoing "security theater" is connected to the academy via prevention of mass shootings. An excellent avenue for further research is why campus rape — a definite, long-standing problem — is not seen as a scourge worth concerted action, and is certainly not receiving $100,000 grants.

Some Fabulous Sherlock (BBC) Fanfic
Many writers explore John and Sherlock’s close relationship without the slash goggles. Sometimes Sherlock is asexual; sometimes they are like brothers; sometimes they develop a demi-sexual relationship. These variations are speak to me particularly as the partner in a thirty-six year relationship.
Four fics, from short to medium, when you click )

Currently Reading
Pebbles on the Hill of a Scientist by Florence Barbara Seibert
Encountered this scientist’s name in passing, and was (foolishly) surprised to learn a woman got her PhD in biochemistry in 1923. Turns out she was surrounded by female doctorates in both high school and Goucher College. She goes on to discovered the crucial difference between boiled and distilled water; the skin test for TB; and a host of other TB-related details which await me. She survived polio as an infant and turned to lab work because she couldn’t see herself undertaking the physicality of an MD. This autobiography was self-published in her retirement: it’s full of intriguing detail, as well as artless writing conforming to a dull pattern quite unlike Seibert’s lively explorations of science and education.

Reading Next
I thought I’d be reading Far from the Tree but the library edition was too heavy for me to hold. I’ve got it as an ebook so I’ll turn my attention back to paper for now. So the next book will be Carole Nelson Douglas’ Good Night, Mr Holmes. A proper parson’s daughter narrates the adventures of that most capable detective and opera singer Irene Adler. A published ACD-canon AU, eight books in all! I hope it’s a tasty counterpoint to the terrible way Adler’s handled in Sherlock (BBC).

Finally, this gorgeous animated vid by PES has been nominated for an Oscar! From YouTube to the Academy! No caps, no need: ambient sound only.
It demonstrates making guacamole, but substitutes similar yet ridiculous shapes. That is: avocado is a hand grenade; onions are dice; peppers are lightbulbs )TRAGICALLY THE VIDEO HAS DISAPPEARED FROM THE NETS :(
jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
Recently Finished: Two winning science-y books

Too Big To Know by David Weinberger. For a very long time, human knowledge was what fit on paper (no mention of oral cultures). Now the Net removes the requirements of publishing contracts, printing limits, salability. Everybody can be a publisher. And so, there's a whole lot of knowledge; so much that it's ... Too Big To Know.

Author brings lots of Internet, journalism, and librarian experience to the question of, "How will we know what to learn?" Challenging, intriguing, probably 30 ways wrong but very enjoyable.

Delusions of Gender by Cornelia Fine. Stacks up the various studies that claim that male and female differences are hardwired into the human organism, and demolishes them one-by-one. Author is funny, provides tons of footnoted details, doesn't mention some statistical issues that even statistically-illiterate me think relevant. Nothing so delicious as the deconstruction of Simon Baron-Cohen.

Currently Reading: Many megabytes of Sherlock BBC fanfic

I prefer my works not-in-progress, and several of my fave authors have finished up novel-length narratives. In particular:

The Art of Seduction by [ profile] flawedamythyst
Sherlock maintains his intense focus on data and experiments, but the field is human sexual congress. Hilarious with tender and sad bits. Also lots and lots and lots and lots of sex, which ends with Sherlock emitting yet another "Dull!" and swirling away.

Not What Is Said But What Is Whispered by [ profile] sirona
It's the good old "characters read the fanfic" trope, but this one didn't squick. Instead I laughed and giggled at the (can you still call it 'epistolary' if it's) email.

Next Up: Many more megabytes of Sherlock BBC fanfic

And when I'm not on a bus, I have Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson (audio read by Alison Larkin) which claims to consider kitchen tools and gadgets from the beginning of history and their impacts on how we cook. Perhaps the mystery of the vegetable slicer will be unveiled?

And when I want to hold an actual book in my hand, I've got How To Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers. I'm not really at all Buddhist (or even JewBu), but I want to read this book in honor of my acupuncturist Kate Behrens. She surely is a Buddhist, and has improved my life greatly. Easier first step than joining a meditation community.
jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
As a break from all the fanfic I’ve been inhaling, I’m re-reading Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. This will be my third time through. I was too stoned to remember my high school trip on the high seas. The cassette tape audio edition by a mellifluous American stage actor (name escapes) distracted me when I was stuck in bed a couple decades back. I think it fascinates me because it's epic, it's full of weirdly specific detail, the language rolls and pitches, and I grew up in the area where whaling created magnates.

My plan is to read a chapter online each day, and then read it again in audio. Modern technology eases the way.

While there are scores of instances of Moby-Dick online, I prefer this one:

It provides definitions of words which have fallen out of common use in 21st century English. (Who knew that "mole" was a jetty?) The low-key site design permits me to enlarge the font as needed.

There are more than one hundred different audio editions available on request at your library. For free,, the audio fellow-traveller to Project Gutenberg, has one:

To me the reader sounds like he’s acting, not reading. (I didn't link directly to Librivox because interface Reasons.)

Fortunately a stray tweet connected me to Peninsula Arts with Plymouth University, UK and their “Moby-Dick Big Read.” They’ve undertaken to produce and freely distribute an audio version of the complete Moby-Dick via the internet, with many different readers contributing.

They started on 16 Sept 2012 with Tilda Swinton slyly whispering “Call me Ishmael.” Other readers are famous (Cucumberpatch), appropriate (John Waters on whale foreskins, Stephen Fry on UST between Ishmael and Queequeg), unknown but talented (Capt R. N. Hone, Merchant Mariner), and much more famous (David Cameron).

Every chapter is at the Project's home page
for streaming or downloading.

You can grab it from iTunes or stream at your computer via Soundcloud

I know Moby-Dick has a fearsome reputation, but it’s the whale that’s big. The book is lighter than many fantasy doorstops — just 135 10- to 30-minute chapters.

(This literary enthusiasm is brought to you by Twitter. I kvelled about the project, and numerous tweeps were like, "Melville? Why? Really?" I spammed my list with cetacean promotion for 15 minutes and discovered I'd talked myself into it.)
jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
I've been falling down a Sherlock (BBC TV version) rabbithole. It's been a lot of fun. One of the reasons is that the Sherlock Holmes canon is entirely in the public domain, and writers have been playing with it for more than 100 years.

The realization? I could spend the rest of my life reading nothing but Holmes pastiches, fanfiction, essays, scholarly meditations, as well as watching scores of movies (in English, Russian, and probably a dozen other tongues) and I still wouldn't read them all.

Completism is dead!

Also reading The Ticking is the Bomb by Nick Flynn. Beautiful writing, tragic meditations on parental failings, personal failings, torture and samsara.
jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (Default)
This is the funniest NYTimes article I've read in years. I doubt the author intended me to be laughing so hard, but....
begin quote  Men flirted and showed off their muscles through tight-fitting tank tops. Women with no shoes gyrated next to men with no shirts. A D.J. played deep beats. Shachar Keizman, 24, climbed atop an armrest and peeled off his shirt to reveal a chiseled torso. People screamed and stuck dollar bills in his shorts. ¶ Then the lights went down, and Channing Tatum got naked. quote ends
Yes, the Times reporter is amazed to find that the new movie Magic Mike, featuring male strippers, is drawing audiences of gay men! How surprising!

Also of interest & from the NY Times, runner & dak amputee Oscar Pistorius has qualified for the South African Olympic Team.
begin quote His presence on the most prominent stage in sports will no doubt rekindle an international debate over whether his J-shaped, carbon-fiber prosthetic blades give him an unfair advantage. quote ends

Direct from me:

  • New pains. Feh. One thing that's comforting about chronic pain is I become well-acquainted. This new stuff I don't understand yet. Could it be something worth bringing to medical attention? or is it just another meaningless annoyance? Also, keeps surprising me. There again? again? again? Grrr.

  • Finished Code Name Verity, a gripping YA novel set in World War II England and Occupied France. Two "girls" — one very posh and one very working-class — meet shuttling airplanes for the RAF aviators. Their epic friendship takes them across enemy lines, class lines, and moral lines. Author Elizabeth Wein threw an excellent virtual launch party at her, with links to the historical characters that sparked her imaginative yet usefully accurate book. I was particularly struck by her descriptions of handling flying when things go terribly wrong. Wein herself is a pilot. I wished I'd known before I began that there is significant violence in the framing story: one of our two heroines is tortured by the Nazis. Wein's afterword helped me understand that she included these horrors to ratchet up the memorability — Never forget, and never again.
  • jesse_the_k: White girl with braids grinning under large Russian beaver hat (JK 10 happy hat)
    Making Light is a blog hosted by the SF editorial power couple, Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden. As with most blogs, there's a regular crowd; mostly the discussion stays inside geeky rails (While I have disagreed with TNH many times, I do appreciate her willingness to tightly mod the place so it's generally worth the time spent reading). Click to read me squeeing about other people's language games )

    So if you feel like giggling about genre, read on!
    jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (Beating heart of love GIF)
    Disability rights is to disability studies as feminism is to women's studies. It's fundamentally interdisciplinary: it's literature and philosophy and law and ethics and medicine and bioengineering and pyschology and physical therapy and poetry and societal development. It's a field of thought where the people with disabilities are the subjects, thinking our own ways forward instead of the objects, under study by the experts.

    And lots of interesting reading is available online for free!
    Here's the Table of Contents for the RDS journal out today )

    Misc. Misc.

    Apr. 6th, 2011 06:07 pm
    jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (Flashy Bipolar means 2x fun)
    Yet again, meloukhia snags a large twisty fish on stormy seas: We're All Mad Here explores the imaginary bright line between the good crazies and the bad ones. I have to agree that people inch back a bit when learn my bipolar diagnosis, and since I am free to do it, I like to use this logo whenever even marginally relevant.

    Amanda Boggs (aka Ballastexistenz) is side-stepping some writer's block with a new blog You Need a Cat:
    begin quote And just because something’s small-scale doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. ”Important” doesn’t have to mean “big”. quote ends

    Current events -- LJ's DDoS, Egypt's successful net shutdown, the hand-lettered signs in every yard which may have turned the tide in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race -- gave me new appreciation for this enlightening and amusing meditation on the abuses and best uses of the internet: Ethan Zuckerman's condensed presentation of The Cute Cat Theory Talk at Etech.
    begin quote Blocking banal content on the internet is a self-defeating proposition. It teaches people how to become dissidents – they learn to find and use anonymous proxies, which happens to be a key first step in learning how to blog anonymously. Every time you force a government to block a web 2.0 site – cutting off people’s access to cute cats – you spend political capital. Our job as online advocates is to raise that cost of censorship as high as possible. quote ends
    jesse_the_k: Two bookcases stuffed full (with books on top) leaning into each other (junk5)
    FOGcon 2011: Your Favorite Book No One’s Ever Heard Of
    moderated by Lisa Eckstein & Jesse the K

    An enthusiastic group spent 75 minutes sharing recommendations for great books that haven't received great attention. We briefly discussed on-line searching strategies when seeking out-of-print books.

    For searching library holdings, the Worldcat union catalog is very handy. Create an account there, and the search results automatically show the nearest library holding that book. In addition to print books, Worldcat shows ebooks, net resources, non-English translations, braille and audio editions, and distinguishes among various publishers. It also provides Amazon and Alibris links and displays GoodReads comments. and both offer a marketplace for independent sellers, at lower prices than Amazon. Professional used-book sellers are more likely to be found there; on a quick check I saw almost no duplication of holdings between them.

    On to the books!

    ♥ Lisa Eckstein

    Matt Ruff You may be familiar with his Tiptree-winning Set This House in Order, but his earlier works are worth finding:
    The Fool on the Hill
    A fantasy set at Cornell University (Ithaca NY, USA), featuring a cast of humans, sprites, dogs and cats. Story is about storytelling and the battle against evil forces.
    Sewer Gas & Electric
    While it's set in a future where a plague has killed off all Black people, it's somehow still a zany adventure about a Black father & daughter who somehow survived and now pilot a submarine with a motley crew of ecoterrorists.

    ♥ Anita

    Jack London
    Call of the Wild
    Adventure story told from the dog's point-of-view, gives a new perspective about life.
    Since it's in the public domain, it's available all over the net; there's this HTML version in chapters as well as audio versions in a variety of file formats.

    Christopher Paolini
    Eragon: the Inheritance Cycle
    Hero finds a magic stone which enables him to catch dragons. The writer was only 15 when he published the books!

    ♥ Mike Higashi

    Barry Hughart
    Bridge of Birds
    Fantasy set in ancient China, with lots of humor. Picaresque journey of #10 Ox (younger son) to find out what catastrophic fate awaits his village. Mike explained this series was cruelly unsupported by its publisher, but WorldCat shows there are indeed two other books, published with Birds in an omnibus as The chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox -- once in 1998 by Stars Our Destination Press and republished again in 2008 by Subterranean Press.

    Michaela Roessner
    Two volumes:
    The Stars Dispose
    The Stars Compel
    Set in early 1500s Florence, this fantasy includes some historical characters (Catherine de Medici, Leonardo da Vinci). Central, fictional character is youngest of a long line of gifted cooks; he combines that learning with artistic urges to create edible art and navigate supernatural dangers. Includes recipes at the end!

    ♥ Lauren Schmidt

    Daniel Abraham
    The Long Price Quartet, comprising:
    A Shadow in Summer
    A Betrayal in Winter
    An Autumn War
    The Price of Spring
    An epic fantasy series where poets are magicians, summoning things to into existence by mentioning them in poetry. Magic is not the principal focus: Lauren liked watching the complex character developments as they interact and age. Also handy to bridge the George R R Martin drought.

    John Christopher
    Tripods series comprising
    When the Tripods Came
    The White Mountains
    The City of Gold and Lead
    The Pool of Fire

    Alien/robots control the mind of everyone past puberty, leaving the kids to save the world in this young adult series from the 1960s.

    ♥ Micah Joel

    Sid Jacobson & Ernie Colón

    The 9/11 Commission Report: A Graphic Adaptation

    It doesn't get more gripping or true-to-life than this. The Commission's report makes page-turning reading on its own; when combined with the informative graphics, it's a winner. A good way to remember (or be introduced to) the time Before.

    ♥ España Sherriff

    Kirsten Bakis
    Lives of the Monster Dogs

    In a near-future, steampunkly New York, a tale of uplifted humanoid dogs. Told after the fact by a human, it evokes the societal changes Before & After 9/11. The human narrator is also a kind of liaison/PR agent for the dogs, whose origin is tragic and whose end is imminent.

    ♥ Mary Holland

    Leslie Barninger
    Shy Leopardess

    The final book of a 1940s trilogy, the first two are terrible and not recommended. This volume follows a 12-year-old as she grows into the power of her Duchy, along the way falling in love with two of her squires in a setting somewhat like Medieval France.

    ♥ Naomi (Copperjet)

    Suzanne M Beck & Okasha Skat'ski
    The Growing

    Lesbian romance set in a post-apocalyptic South Dakota, with suspense, sex, Androids and Native Americans. Addresses issues of feminism and Native spirituality while evoking a beautiful landscape.

    ♥ Jesse the K

    William Horwood

    Two tales collide: indefinite past young boy fighting a horrific monster while present (1980s) girl programs a text adventure game about how to fight the monster. Book plays with memory, history, and legend as boy & girl meet in the present. Both have cerebral palsy; the past boy is institutionalized; the present girl is able to live at home thanks to improved attitudes & assistive technology. One of the few SFF books which explores the horrors of institutionalization; it captures the thrilling possibilities of early 1980s computers.

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    Jesse the K

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