(no subject)

Aug. 31st, 2015 03:52 pm
twistedchick: mountains, Jackson Brown quote: You do what you can to keep your love alive -- try not to confuse this with what you do  (love alive)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I saw Denali from a parking garage in Anchorage. I can't tell you how far away it was, but it was big enough to be seen from there -- the visibility problem was that Denali makes its own weather. It's that big. It has its own clouds, its own snowstorms, its own ground frost. It is more than 100 miles long, nearly that wide -- 90,000 square kilometers, 34,749 square miles. In comparison, Rhode Island is 1,212 square miles. It is, in fact, larger than Maine and just a bit smaller than Indiana. It is a home to bears, moose, eagles, otters, foxes, ravens and many more creatures.

And now it has its own name back.


The Great One has its name again.

... the icon is not Denali. Denali cannot be captured in an icon.

(no subject)

Aug. 31st, 2015 02:46 pm
twistedchick: mountains, Jackson Brown quote: You do what you can to keep your love alive -- try not to confuse this with what you do  (love alive)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I'm not sure it would be possible to set aside half the earth for rewilding. What about those of us who don't really like living in cities? And where would the food come from?

Religion, racism and the consequences of Republican policies in vivid graphs and maps.

An easy Daily Kos guide to the conservatives in one handy chart.

Oliver Sacks, the doctor.

When Bobby Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel, where he had just finished making a speech, he walked into the kitchen to greet the people who had cooked the food. He reached out to shake hands with a 17-year-old busboy -- and collapsed into his arms. It has taken decades for Juan Romero to come to terms with holding his dying hero in his arms.

What happened to investigative journalism? It morphed.

RIP Ned Brooks

Aug. 31st, 2015 03:03 pm
supergee: (mourning)
[personal profile] supergee
This has been a Year of the Jackpot in fandom: Art Widner, Peggy Rae Sapienza, and now Ned Brooks, stalwart fanzine producer and Southern Fandom Press Alliance member for many many years. All are great losses.

We are informed that although he was in his late seventies, he climbed up on his roof to repair it and suffered a fatal fall. A few years ago Max McGee, star of the first Super Bowl, died the same way at a similar age. I am not getting up on any roofs.

ETA: Local newspaper writeup

(no subject)

Aug. 31st, 2015 12:26 am
twistedchick: sunshine artwork: 'here comes the sun' (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I do not know the language of the stars
Or how they shine on us from far away.
Their scholarship and science a mystery are
To me. I look for them at close of day
And watch in silent awe the distant light
As it makes patterns in the cobalt sky
That only we can see. A spaceman's flight
Beyond the galaxy might leave him shy
A constellation or two, for what he sees
Is ruled by where he stands and how he aims
His telescope into a slice of space
And all the ancient patterns skewed apace.
Even if all the stars remain the same
The universe around them still swings free.


Aug. 30th, 2015 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Always presume everyone you are dealing with has recently received bad news. Be gentle & forgiving." -- Caitlin Moran, 2014-01-01

Happy Birthday rushthatspeaks!

Aug. 29th, 2015 10:38 pm
chomiji: A chocolate cupcake with a birthday candle and the title Birthday Love! Make a wish ... (birthday love)
[personal profile] chomiji
I hope you have had a wonderful day!


Aug. 29th, 2015 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a flash, a moment - a little makes the way of the best happiness." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

[Happy birthday to [info] - personal zenlizard !]

(no subject)

Aug. 28th, 2015 06:16 pm
twistedchick: (last spoon)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I am slowly gaining strength. I can get all the way through the short (24-form) version of Tai Chi without falling over, though I don't do the low dips on Snake Creeps Down that I should. Today I did that as well as the first third of the longer version (66 forms).

But the truck battery is dead and needs a charge. Or (I hope not) another battery. And it is 2000 miles late for an oil change.

And the SU is not well. stuff )

Suzette Haden Elgin Papers

Aug. 28th, 2015 08:56 am
ithiliana: (Default)
[personal profile] ithiliana
Robin Wayne Bailey is making an appeal on Facebook to save a vast archive of material that belonged to the late Suzette Haden Elgin.

From his post:

An antique dealer in Arkansas who purchases abandoned storage lockers for his business recently acquired one that contained all the papers, books and original artwork of Suzette Haden Elgin.

Suzette was much loved throughout Midwest and southern fandom and seen at many conventions during the eighties and nineties. A linguist, she retired from the University of San Diego and resettled in the Ozarks. She founded the Science Fiction Poetry Society and the Ozarks Center for Science Fiction. For a list of her many books, check Wikipedia (I’m writing this on an iPhone). The antique dealer contacted LOCUS, who then contacted me. I verified with Suzette’s husband that he had no room for what reportedly are “hundreds” of boxes. If any fan group is interested in rescuing any of this material, I’ll pass along the antique dealer’s contact info. I hope someone can save it. Please share this across all fannish channels.

You can reach Bailey with a Facebook message.

I'm notifying all the archivists I know who work with sff collections, both on Facebook and private email, but I wanted to post here, and encourage people to circulate as widely as possible.

If you're not on Facebook, you can see the information at File 770

Mathematics and the Pobble

Aug. 28th, 2015 07:50 am
supergee: (pythagoras)
[personal profile] supergee
New book on the irreducible complexity of math.

As it happens, I was there when Greg Chaitin began the quest that led him to this book. In 1962 he was in the Science Honors Program, a Columbia University summer school computer program for bright high school kids. I had been in it three years earlier, programming an IBM 650 in machine language and eventually a seemingly magical advance called Fortran, and I returned as an unpaid lab assistant when Greg was there. One of the issues discussed in the program is the halting problem: How do we know if a program can complete in finite time? Thinking about that leads to the kind of provability problems Godel discussed, and Greg came up with an advance on Godel that I do not pretend to understand.

(Confession: Greg was a nerd, even by the standards of a program for gifted high school kids. I must admit I mocked him for being one. We all know about the guy who really wants to beat up "fags" or at least laugh at them. Same thing. I was a latent nerd in full denial, and I took it out on others.)

Thanx to [livejournal.com profile] andrewducker


Aug. 28th, 2015 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Most of the music I've become interested in is hybrid in its origins... Classical music, of course, is unbelievably hybrid. Jazz is an obvious amalgam.. Bluegrass comes from eighteenth-century Scottish and Irish folk music that made contact with the blues.

"By exploring music, you're exploring everything."

-- Edgar Meyer, bassist and composer [thanks to [info] - personal fidhle, who spotted it in a video, for sending it to me]


Aug. 27th, 2015 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Friends are God's way of apologizing for your family." -- Wayne W. Dyer, The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way [via Goodreads]

"The capacity for friendship is God's way of apologizing for our families." -- Jay McInerney, The Last of the Savages [via Goodreads]

What's in a name?

Aug. 27th, 2015 05:05 am
supergee: (thumb)
[personal profile] supergee
Elizabeth Bear on Title Construction for Fun and Profit
twistedchick: child in helmet: you wanna tell me what war he's gearing up to fight? (what war)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Tonight I am watching Die Hard 2 for issues of reality and nonreality. cut for length )
Conclusion: the powers that be decided this one had to be Bigger! Better! But that meant longer and sloppier. Way too much time devoted to splashy death scenes and pyrotechnics. Not enough time with quirky minor characters. They could have done a lot more with less.

But as a movie to watch when it's 95 degrees outside? Pretty good, even now.

So here's my issue, crossing fantasy with life. Terrorists have taken over the ancient Roman-era city of Palmyra. These terrorists, who abuse women and children, are blowing up ancient temples and monuments that go back thousands of years, destroying history, culture, civilization, knowledge.

Where, when we need him, is John McClane? Or do we need Indiana Jones? Both?

supergee: (rocket coyote)
[personal profile] supergee
SJWs didn't invent women and minorities in sf. From Playboy, which also has a long and admirable history of science fiction, though nowhere near as long.

Schoolbooks & Sorcery

Aug. 26th, 2015 09:34 am
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
My story "The Delicate Work of Bees" will be in the upcoming Schoolbooks & Sorcery anthology! There are some great authors in the lineup -- including Nina Kiriki Hoffman, who I've been a fan of since I was in high school!

I swear I wrote this story before Jupiter Ascending came out and all of fandom simultaneously started going wild over bees. (The main character is a young witch in training, who is apprenticed with her beekeeper aunt.)
supergee: (spray)
[personal profile] supergee
When the Department of Homeland Security made us all show our papers to buy Sudafed because NARCOTERRORISM!!! I figured that they wanted crusades against Homoterrorism and Pornoterrorism but figured that even the American public wouldn't buy that one. Once again I was insufficiently cynical. Behold the Rentboy crackdown.


Aug. 26th, 2015 05:22 am
supergee: (pissed)
[personal profile] supergee
Rape is not funny. Including prison rape.

Thanx to Avedon's Sideshow.


Aug. 26th, 2015 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Once again I ask the question of my African-American cis brothers and sisters? When will #BlackTransLivesMatter? When will your trans brothers and sisters see ministers and politicians decry the loss of these lives as loudly as you do for cisgender Black people?" -- Monica Roberts, 2015-07-21

[see yesterday's quotation re: invisibility"]

[syndicated profile] project_censored_feed

Posted by admin

Pre Order the Book Now! Censored 2016: Media Freedom on the Line is now available for pre-ordering (shipping mid-September). The official release date for our new book is October 6, but you can be the first one on your block to have the latest from the Censored series, published by Seven Stories Press, by ordering now! Read about the latest […]

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(no subject)

Aug. 25th, 2015 11:16 pm
twistedchick: sunshine artwork: 'here comes the sun' (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Assorted thoughts on re-watching the original Die Hard movie:

-- it's all timing. Built like a swiss watch. The editing is *precise*, mechanically accurate.

-- The joy of watching Bruce is he shows it all on his face. He has an expressive body, but John McClane would be *lousy* at poker.

-- In a very real way this is a movie about character. not just about a heist, murderous thugs and the pyrotechnics. This one has to do with what individuals do in a high-stress deadly situation.
The company owner dies for his honor -- he will not give up the codes. Ellis, the coke-head salesguy, is weak and betrays John. Holly is steadfast, staring down Hans, insisting on better care for the people who are hostages. Her loyalty is to the people in the building. John's loyalty is to her, but his protectiveness is toward the people she protects, as much as possible.

-- This is the first major movie for Alan Rickman. Here, he constructs a character with entirely different body language and accent than his own. There are hints here of what will become Severus Snape, in his tone of voice, in some of his reactions.

-- Bruce Willis is creating a character here also, one strong enough to survive the next several movies. This is his break-out role as well. Part of the joy of watching him in this is that he is not Ahnold. He is a moderate-sized Everyman. He is not super-tall, or super broad or heavy. He has muscles that look real and not like a gym rat. He doesn't fight like someone who knows he can win; he fights like someone who has to win to stay alive. And he never comes out of a fight unscathed.

-- Beethoven's Ode to Joy is being played by the string quartet at the party. It shows up again when the vault opens, and at the end of the movie. Three different moods.

-- This movie has a sly and subversive sense of humor that I love. That is why it is on my list of favorite holiday movies.

-- Bonnie Bedelia does not have the most expressive face -- but you can see her thinking, which works for this part. There are never enough roles for intelligent women; she does well with this one. And her slugging Willaim Atherton, sleazeball reporter, at the end -- that is purely beautiful, because he is a disgrace to the profession.

-- The crew of terrorists spend a lot of time speaking German. It does not interfere with understanding what is going on. This is excellent writing. (far better than the book)

-- I love Reginald VelJohnson in this movie. He takes a cliched character, the cop who has to find his courage in a crisis, and makes him human. He is intelligent, perceptive, loyal and dedicated. I want him on my side in a crisis, just as he is on McClane's side.

-- The big blond villain with the muscles and the dancer's moves? Is Alexander Godunov, formerly a Russian ballet dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet. You might recognize him from his other movie role, as an Amish farmer in Witness.

-- At some points the delicate soft-footed sneaking around is reminiscent of Looney Tunes: "Be vewy vewy qwiet. I'm hunting wabbits."

-- I doubt that Rolex will use this movie for advertising.

ETA: What happened to the musicians? There is a string quartet playing at the party. Do we see any of them again? I don't think so.

a note about polls

Aug. 25th, 2015 07:44 pm
twistedchick: sunshine artwork: 'here comes the sun' (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
1. Candidate 1 is 4 points ahead of Candidate 2.

There is no actual statistical difference, because the margin of error is 5%, which means on either side of the average if you are within 5 points it could just be a counting error.

2. Candidate 1 is 10 points ahead of Candidate 2.

This may be significant, if the margin of error is 5%. But if the surveyors are sloppy and the margin of error is 10%, it could also be negligible, a case of counting error.

Therfore: whenever there is a poll announcing that one candidate is ahead of another, always look for the margin of error and do a little math. And watch for the way the media will spin it; that may tell you more than the numbers.


Aug. 25th, 2015 05:32 pm
twistedchick: sunshine artwork: 'here comes the sun' (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
You know, after 61 years, I'd think that I have some understanding of how my body reacts to things, what works and what doesn't.

Apparently not since the surgery. my body, the experiment that keeps on changing )

The other thing of note is that we had a visitation the other night from... something... that howled, cried, moaned and otherwise made eerie noises late at night. My first guess is coyote. We have one in the area -- it's been seen -- and it might have been out there howling at the moon, or complaining about the neighbors, or critiquing the park renovation -- who knows what it might wish to critique? Second guess is bobcat, which is unlikely -- too urban, wrong kind of landscape, but they do make odd noises sometimes. Third guess, and I rather hope it isn't -- is eastern cougar. They do make ungodly unworldly noises, and they do it wheneverthehell they want. But this is a settled urban neighborhood, without the kind of open spaces a big cat would want; the narrow stream-bordering park at the end of the street runs from the city to the county park, but the county park is fairly surrounded with houses, and I just don't see where a big cat could live, let alone hunt without being observed or noted. And the Dept. of Whatever has determined that No Eastern Cougars are left in this area... ignoring, I'm sure, the one a few years ago just across the river in Fairfax County that was munching its way through Americanized Canada geese (the oversized ones that don't migrate but procreate). But the Dept. of Whatever tends to ask questions of locals like, "Did you see a little cat or a big cat?" and assume that little means housecat and big means bobcat when the locals might think little means bobcat, and big means long slinky thing with green eyes and a very long twitchy tail that was on the road in front of me and ran off. So I am not entirely trusting the Dept. of Whatever on this.

So it's a Mystery. And I am keeping Beautiful from going out at dusk, just because. Even if there's no medium or larger cats, that coyote is around. I do not want her becoming dinner. Let it go after golf-course geese instead.

(no subject)

Aug. 25th, 2015 02:39 pm
twistedchick: Big Dipper -know where you are? (know where you are?)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Extraordinary exile, by Rebecca West. An eyewitness account of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

Anything for a vote. Some shenanigans in the past and their results


Aug. 25th, 2015 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me." -- Ralph Ellison (b. 1914-03-01, d. 1994-04-16), Invisible Man (1952, Random House)


Aug. 24th, 2015 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Here's the thing about rights: if you don't support them for everyone, including people you deem immoral, you don't support the right. You're just extending a privilege to some folks." -- Daniel B. Holzman-Tweed, 2015-08-20

(no subject)

Aug. 23rd, 2015 11:52 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
Sometimes it's hard being a Chomskyite in a world of people who don't know linguistics.

Like, at one level it doesn't even matter to the majority of language learners whether language is represented in your brain as deep structure (a little like computer code, with strict rules about nesting and syntax and recursion) or just a huge database of statistical data that, like my Swiftkey keyboard, can predict that when I type "most," the next words are often "important thing." I don't know that it much impacts the best strategies for learning languages either way.

But I do end up chasing down a Theory now and again, because "more comprehensible input" is usually the best advice I have, and that leads back to Krashen, and the whole idea of comprehensible input as the foundation for everything else sort of sounds like weird magic snake oil unless you go all the way back to Chomsky and his ideas for how your brain processes and models language.

There are not a lot of people writing at a curious-amateur level for people who want to know basic linguistics. Steven Pinker is actually pretty good when he's writing about linguistics instead of writing wrong political stuff (he represents a lot of stuff as true that's actually pretty controversial, but I agree with him about most of the controversial stuff, so I don't mind as much as I should). Bill Bryson is just incredibly wrong about most things.

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