Po-neighs a Round the Whorled

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:38 am
ponyville_trot: Six cartoon ponies in a huddle (Default)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
jewel_in_the_sky_ponies_around_the_world_by_fluttershyhiker
Source: Jewel in the Sky by ElementalFX AKA Fluttershyhiker.

What time is it? Ponies Around the World time. Adventr!

It's easy. Take picture of pony toy/drawing/shirt/whatever near something recognizable in your neighbourhood. (♪ ♫ A landmark is something in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neigh-bor-hood. Would. You be. My neighbor? ♫ ♬ ♩) Upload to a working online gallery (not Photobucket, ha ha ha ha, ha. humph). Snag the URL to a copy of your picture that is less than 2,000 pixels wide or high. If that's complicated, just resize it to less than 2,000 pixels on the longest side on your computer before uploading it to a gallery. Now go here and fill in the fields.

lyra_at_big_ben_london_by_cabraloca
Source: Lyra at Big Ben, London by Cabraloca.

First field: link to your image on the web, the URL has gotta end in .jpg, .png or .gif or it's no good.
Next field: link to the blog where you get all chatty about your picture. I just link to the gallery where my pictures are. I think you can leave this blank.
Next: Give your picture a name.
Next: "your name". Ha ha ha. Use an online name or make something up.
Email: Make something up but put an @ in it. I use Flickr.com as a domain. Works every time.
Next: Gallery. Right. I link to my Dreamwidth blog. Why not? I think you can leave this blank too.
Next: La description. Be descriptive. Tell us about the context or something. You gots a 1,000 character limit. It's better than Twitter.
And then, dance the Captcha-cha-cha, press submit, et voilà. Enfin terminé. Unless you want to do it again for four more pictures. You totally could. You have 24 hours left. Go go go!

Draw_Me_Like_One_Of_Your_French_Girls_by_adlynh
Source: Draw me like one of your french girls by Adlynh

All the pictures end up here. I know this because I'm older than dirt and I've seen stuff. Go take a look!
Look, I did it! What do I win? )
[syndicated profile] hypatia_dot_ca_feed

Posted by Leigh Honeywell

This post was co-authored by Valerie Aurora and Leigh Honeywell and cross-posted on both of our blogs.

We’re thrilled with the recent trend towards sexual harassment in the tech industry having actual consequences – for the perpetrator, not the target, for a change. We decided it was time to write a post explaining what we’ve been calling “the Al Capone Theory of Sexual Harassment.” (We can’t remember which of us came up with the name, Leigh or Valerie, so we’re taking joint credit for it.) We developed the Al Capone Theory over several years of researching and recording racism and sexism in computer security, open source software, venture capital, and other parts of the tech industry. To explain, we’ll need a brief historical detour – stick with us.

As you may already know, Al Capone was a famous Prohibition-era bootlegger who, among other things, ordered murders to expand his massively successful alcohol smuggling business. The U.S. government was having difficulty prosecuting him for either the murdering or the smuggling, so they instead convicted Capone for failing to pay taxes on the income from his illegal business. This technique is standard today – hence the importance of money-laundering for modern successful criminal enterprises – but at the time it was a novel approach.

al_capone_mural_cropped_480
A mural depicting Al Capone smoking a cigar in front of a bridge and a subway, used under CC-SA from Wikipedia

The U.S. government recognized a pattern in the Al Capone case: smuggling goods was a crime often paired with failing to pay taxes on the proceeds of the smuggling. We noticed a similar pattern in reports of sexual harassment and assault: often people who engage in sexually predatory behavior also faked expense reports, plagiarized writing, or stole credit for other people’s work. Just three examples: Mark Hurd, the former CEO of HP, was accused of sexual harassment by a contractor, but resigned for falsifying expense reports to cover up the contractor’s unnecessary presence on his business trips. Jacob Appelbaum, the former Tor evangelist, left the Tor Foundation after he was accused of both sexual misconduct and plagiarism. And Randy Komisar, a general partner at venture capital firm KPCB, gave a book of erotic poetry to another partner at the firm, and accepted a board seat (and the credit for a successful IPO) at RPX that would ordinarily have gone to her.

Initially, the connection eluded us: why would the same person who made unwanted sexual advances also fake expense reports, plagiarize, or take credit for other people’s work? We remembered that people who will admit to attempting or committing sexual assault also disproportionately commit other types of violence and that “criminal versatility” is a hallmark of sexual predators. And we noted that taking credit for others’ work is a highly gendered behavior.

Then we realized what the connection was: all of these behaviors are the actions of someone who feels entitled to other people’s property – regardless of whether it’s someone else’s ideas, work, money, or body. Another common factor was the desire to dominate and control other people. In venture capital, you see the same people accused of sexual harassment and assault also doing things like blacklisting founders for objecting to abuse and calling people nasty epithets on stage at conferences. This connection between dominance and sexual harassment also shows up as overt, personal racism (that’s one reason why we track both racism and sexism in venture capital).

So what is the Al Capone theory of sexual harassment? It’s simple: people who engage in sexual harassment or assault are also likely to steal, plagiarize, embezzle, engage in overt racism, or otherwise harm their business. (Of course, sexual harassment and assault harms a business – and even entire fields of endeavor – but in ways that are often discounted or ignored.) Ask around about the person who gets handsy with the receptionist, or makes sex jokes when they get drunk, and you’ll often find out that they also violated the company expense policy, or exaggerated on their résumé, or took credit for a colleague’s project. More than likely, they’ve engaged in sexual misconduct multiple times, and a little research (such as calling previous employers) will show this, as we saw in the case of former Uber and Google employee Amit Singhal.

Organizations that understand the Al Capone theory of sexual harassment have an advantage: they know that reports or rumors of sexual misconduct are a sign they need to investigate for other incidents of misconduct, sexual or otherwise. Sometimes sexual misconduct is hard to verify because a careful perpetrator will make sure there aren’t any additional witnesses or records beyond the target and the target’s memory (although with the increase in use of text messaging in the United States over the past decade, we are seeing more and more cases where victims have substantial written evidence). But one of the implications of the Al Capone theory is that even if an organization can’t prove allegations of sexual misconduct, the allegations themselves are sign to also urgently investigate a wide range of aspects of an employee’s conduct.

Some questions you might ask: Can you verify their previous employment and degrees listed on their résumé? Do their expense reports fall within normal guidelines and include original receipts? Does their previous employer refuse to comment on why they left? When they give references, are there odd patterns of omission? For example, a manager who doesn’t give a single reference from a person who reported to them can be a hint that they have mistreated people they had power over.

Another implication of the Al Capone theory is that organizations should put more energy into screening potential employees or business partners for allegations of sexual misconduct before entering into a business relationship with them, as recently advocated by LinkedIn cofounder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman. This is where tapping into the existing whisper network of targets of sexual harassment is incredibly valuable. The more marginalized a person is, the more likely they are to be the target of this kind of behavior and to be connected with other people who have experienced this behavior. People of color, queer people, people with working class jobs, disabled people, people with less money, and women are all more likely to know who sends creepy text messages after a business meeting. Being a member of more than one of these groups makes people even more vulnerable to this kind of harassment – we don’t think it was a coincidence that many of the victims of sexual harassment who spoke out last month were women of color.

What about people whose well-intentioned actions are unfairly misinterpreted, or people who make a single mistake and immediately regret it? The Al Capone theory of sexual harassment protects these people, because when the organization investigates their overall behavior, they won’t find a pattern of sexual harassment, plagiarism, or theft. A broad-ranging investigation in this kind of case will find only minor mistakes in expense reports or an ambiguous job title in a resume, not a pervasive pattern of deliberate deception, theft, or abuse. To be perfectly clear, it is possible for someone to sexually harass someone without engaging in other types of misconduct. In the absence of clear evidence, we always recommend erring on the side of believing accusers who have less power or privilege than the people they are accusing, to counteract the common unconscious bias against believing those with less structural power and to take into account the enormous risk of retaliation against the accuser.

Some people ask whether the Al Capone theory of sexual harassment will subject men to unfair scrutiny. It’s true, the majority of sexual harassment is committed by men. However, people of all genders commit sexual harassment. We personally know of two women who have sexually touched other people without consent at tech-related events, and we personally took action to stop these women from abusing other people. At the same time, abuse more often occurs when the abuser has more power than the target – and that imbalance of power is often the result of systemic oppression such as racism, sexism, cissexism, or heterosexism. That’s at least one reason why a typical sexual harasser is more likely to be one or all of straight, white, cis, or male.

What does the Al Capone theory of sexual harassment mean if you are a venture capitalist or a limited partner in a venture fund? Your first priority should be to carefully vet potential business partners for a history of unethical behavior, whether it is sexual misconduct, lying about qualifications, plagiarism, or financial misdeeds. If you find any hint of sexual misconduct, take the allegations seriously and step up your investigation into related kinds of misconduct (plagiarism, lying on expense reports, embezzlement) as well as other incidents of sexual misconduct.

Because sexual harassers sometimes go to great lengths to hide their behavior, you almost certainly need to expand your professional network to include more people who are likely to be targets of sexual harassment by your colleagues – and gain their trust. If you aren’t already tapped into this crucial network, here are some things you can do to get more access:

These are all aspects of ally skills – concrete actions that people with more power and privilege can take to support people who have less.

Finally, we’ve seen a bunch of VCs pledging to donate the profits of their investments in funds run by accused sexual harassers to charities supporting women in tech. We will echo many other women entrepreneurs and say: don’t donate that money, invest it in women-led ventures – especially those led by women of color.


[personal profile] mjg59
In measured boot, each component of the boot process is "measured" (ie, hashed and that hash recorded) in a register in the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) build into the system. The TPM has several different registers (Platform Configuration Registers, or PCRs) which are typically used for different purposes - for instance, PCR0 contains measurements of various system firmware components, PCR2 contains any option ROMs, PCR4 contains information about the partition table and the bootloader. The allocation of these is defined by the PC Client working group of the Trusted Computing Group. However, once the boot loader takes over, we're outside the spec[1].

One important thing to note here is that the TPM doesn't actually have any ability to directly interfere with the boot process. If you try to boot modified code on a system, the TPM will contain different measurements but boot will still succeed. What the TPM can do is refuse to hand over secrets unless the measurements are correct. This allows for configurations where your disk encryption key can be stored in the TPM and then handed over automatically if the measurements are unaltered. If anybody interferes with your boot process then the measurements will be different, the TPM will refuse to hand over the key, your disk will remain encrypted and whoever's trying to compromise your machine will be sad.

The problem here is that a lot of things can affect the measurements. Upgrading your bootloader or kernel will do so. At that point if you reboot your disk fails to unlock and you become unhappy. To get around this your update system needs to notice that a new component is about to be installed, generate the new expected hashes and re-seal the secret to the TPM using the new hashes. If there are several different points in the update where this can happen, this can quite easily go wrong. And if it goes wrong, you're back to being unhappy.

Is there a way to improve this? Surprisingly, the answer is "yes" and the people to thank are Microsoft. Appendix A of a basically entirely unrelated spec defines a mechanism for storing the UEFI Secure Boot policy and used keys in PCR 7 of the TPM. The idea here is that you trust your OS vendor (since otherwise they could just backdoor your system anyway), so anything signed by your OS vendor is acceptable. If someone tries to boot something signed by a different vendor then PCR 7 will be different. If someone disables secure boot, PCR 7 will be different. If you upgrade your bootloader or kernel, PCR 7 will be the same. This simplifies things significantly.

I've put together a (not well-tested) patchset for Shim that adds support for including Shim's measurements in PCR 7. In conjunction with appropriate firmware, it should then be straightforward to seal secrets to PCR 7 and not worry about things breaking over system updates. This makes tying things like disk encryption keys to the TPM much more reasonable.

However, there's still one pretty major problem, which is that the initramfs (ie, the component responsible for setting up the disk encryption in the first place) isn't signed and isn't included in PCR 7[2]. An attacker can simply modify it to stash any TPM-backed secrets or mount the encrypted filesystem and then drop to a root prompt. This, uh, reduces the utility of the entire exercise.

The simplest solution to this that I've come up with depends on how Linux implements initramfs files. In its simplest form, an initramfs is just a cpio archive. In its slightly more complicated form, it's a compressed cpio archive. And in its peak form of evolution, it's a series of compressed cpio archives concatenated together. As the kernel reads each one in turn, it extracts it over the previous ones. That means that any files in the final archive will overwrite files of the same name in previous archives.

My proposal is to generate a small initramfs whose sole job is to get secrets from the TPM and stash them in the kernel keyring, and then measure an additional value into PCR 7 in order to ensure that the secrets can't be obtained again. Later disk encryption setup will then be able to set up dm-crypt using the secret already stored within the kernel. This small initramfs will be built into the signed kernel image, and the bootloader will be responsible for appending it to the end of any user-provided initramfs. This means that the TPM will only grant access to the secrets while trustworthy code is running - once the secret is in the kernel it will only be available for in-kernel use, and once PCR 7 has been modified the TPM won't give it to anyone else. A similar approach for some kernel command-line arguments (the kernel, module-init-tools and systemd all interpret the kernel command line left-to-right, with later arguments overriding earlier ones) would make it possible to ensure that certain kernel configuration options (such as the iommu) weren't overridable by an attacker.

There's obviously a few things that have to be done here (standardise how to embed such an initramfs in the kernel image, ensure that luks knows how to use the kernel keyring, teach all relevant bootloaders how to handle these images), but overall this should make it practical to use PCR 7 as a mechanism for supporting TPM-backed disk encryption secrets on Linux without introducing a hug support burden in the process.

[1] The patchset I've posted to add measured boot support to Grub use PCRs 8 and 9 to measure various components during the boot process, but other bootloaders may have different policies.

[2] This is because most Linux systems generate the initramfs locally rather than shipping it pre-built. It may also get rebuilt on various userspace updates, even if the kernel hasn't changed. Including it in PCR 7 would entirely break the fragility guarantees and defeat the point of all of this.
[personal profile] alexbayleaf

Originally published at Spinster's Bayley. You can comment here or there.

I recently took part in a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) – 15 days of classes and hands-on activities covering everything from ecology to passata-making, spread over the first half of this year. I’d been told that doing a PDC makes you see the world differently. I must admit that I didn’t find this to be […]

Church welcome

Jul. 16th, 2017 03:57 pm
maco: white brunette woman with a white headcovering and a blue dress (Default)
[personal profile] maco
This morning I went and visited the Skyline Vineyard Church in Virginia. I was very impressed by how friendly they were, and I wanted to write it all down.

Welcome in the Vineyard church

It starts with arrival. I had my Google Maps telling me where to go, but you know how sometimes it's a bit off about exactly how far down the block a place is? Handily, they had these 10-15ft tall flags either side of the driveway. I spotted them before I even saw the steeple.

There was a greeter (in a Skyline Vineyard t-shirt) standing on the front porch. "Hi! First time here?" He shook my hand and introduced himself. Then he opened the door, pointed out the refreshments table, and introduced me by name to two people who'd been chatting in the lobby.

I went to get a cup of tea. They had someone stationed to pour coffee and hot water. That person also made a point to welcome me and introduce himself. As I was putting the lid on my cup, a woman walked up to me and introduced herself. She handed me an envelope (8.5x5.5) and told me this is their welcome packet. She told me that inside I'd find a connection card, and I probably should've let her finish explaining just to see what she said, but I knew what a connection card was thanks to the Church Communications group on Facebook. She did explain a little, that it's just to get some information, and that there's space on the back for feedback and space in case you have something you'd like them to pray for. You don't always see those on connection cards. The back also asked how you found them.

Also inside the welcome packet was a paper explaining what communion is and how they do it.

The guy who poured the hot water for tea/cocoa and poured coffee also pointed out snack trays. There were a few round cocktail tables near the snacks to encourage people to stand around and chat a bit rather than head straight to their seats.

Welcome in a Friends meeting

Often our meetings are in schools and other rented space. Even in meetinghouses, meetinghouses just aren't that recognizable to people who aren't already used to Quakers. I'm not sure I've ever seen a meeting with a lit-up sign until my meeting got some solar spot lights a few months ago (so good luck finding a meetinghouse at night). Mostly if there's a meetinghouse, the sign tends to be simple painted slabs of wood, with text of an appropriate size for foot traffic or perhaps the horse & buggy traffic that was common when the place was built. The text is usually too small for someone driving a car at speed to read, though. There's one meeting I've visited several times and accidentally driven by every time. You'd think I'd learn to recognize it, but I only visit annually, so it's like I'm a newcomer every time. If there's not a meetinghouse, just rented space, then a 1m tall A-frame sign (like you see for advertising the specials at a sandwich shop) seems to be normal.

So, off the bat (and really, this isn't just me, I've heard it from others before, including about the one I keep driving by), if you've had trouble finding the place, you're starting off a little harried and maybe a little late if you had to double back and look for the building.

Joshua from Church Hoppers podcast recorded an episode after he visited a Quaker meeting for the first time. He tells me nobody talked to him until after worship was over. I can see how that'd be the case. (And ok, I've finally listened to the episode now.)

From what I understand, tradition would have worship start as soon as the first person sits down to worship. Traditional meetinghouses don't have lobbies. Thus, if you're in a traditional meetinghouse and you follow that "worship starts on arrival" tradition, the porch is the only place to talk to a newcomer, say hello, chat a bit, explain the way we worship, etc. Given a goodly sized porch roof and nice weather, that probably works out. Winter's probably not so good, though. You'd want to get straight inside where it's warm, and then you get in there, and no matter how "early" you got there, everyone's already in worship, and... well, this is where that joke about the newcomer tapping the guy next to him to ask "when does the service start?" ("when the worship ends") comes in.

At least at Adelphi Friends and Friends Meeting of Washington (FMW), people file in ahead of time, and then the start of worship is actually announced. FMW has head of meeting read out a brief explanation of waiting worship. Adelphi has singing (call out a hymn number) until it's time. When the piano stops, the worship starts. Both have a lobby type area. Neither is very big, but you can fit a few people. This allows more chance to greet new people than the old fashioned way.

I've been to a bunch of other meetings (Pittsburgh, Marlborough PA, Fifteenth Street in NYC, Takoma Park, Bethesda, Stillwater, Greene Street, London-Euston, Frome). Some of them do the first thing. Some do the second. Pittsburgh has a larger lobby area. The really small ones, I've usually been there at the right time to be handed something and put to work with setup, so I don't know how showing up after setup would be. Or, you know, I've walked in late. That happens too.


My first visits at 2 Quaker meetings

I'm just going to use a couple meetings I know well as illustrations, but I assure you, I've seen these patterns elsewhere.

I don't think I ever had the "normal" new person experience at either FMW or Adelphi, though. At FMW, I went to the little meeting next door because I was nervous about the huge crowd in the main meetingroom. Turns out you can be anonymous in a crowd more easily. Oops. At Adelphi, my first visit was with my husband, who'd grown up as a kid in that meeting. I don't think I'll ever have the "normal" new person experience at any meeting, unless I wear my hair down and go in costume as a regular 21st century woman.

If I'm remembering December 6, 2009 correctly (not guaranteed), then I think someone was at the door to Quaker House when I arrived. A brief hello and a point up the stairs to the room where worship occurs. Afterward, there was an announcement of tea/coffee/cookies in the meetinghouse basement. I went over, and I'm not sure I even grabbed anything to consume. I walked into the assembly room door and stood just inside the door, against the wall. A young woman named Lucy saw me from across the room and made a bee line. "Hey, you're new here, right?" Turns out we were going to the same college (I as an undergrad, she as a grad student). She introduced me to some of the other young adults. The next week I went to the main meeting, and I absolutely did not introduce myself during "stand and introduce yourself" time. That was a room with 70 strangers. Heck no. What if that turned into an altar call like at that Baptist church I visited with my family the week before? Nope. No way.

I don't remember much about my first time at Adelphi. By then I'd worshipped at FMW for 3 years and Friends of Jesus for about 6 months, so there wasn't shiny newness about going to meeting. Like I said, my husband grew up in that meeting. I don't particularly remember anyone talking to me before going in to join in the singing, but there are greeters, so that probably happened. There's a potluck lunch every week after worship. We hadn't brought anything, so we didn't stay (thinking it'd be rude). Nowadays, they make a point to say "whether you brought something or not, you're welcome to join us." At the end, just like at FMW, newcomers (and "returning after a long absence") were asked to stand and introduce themselves. By this point I'd visited other meetings and was more used to that routine. And we'd shown up with the intention of asking the meeting he grew up in to marry us, so we weren't worrying about the ability to slip away.

The usual

Ordinarily, FMW has someone on the front bench stand at the start and read out a welcome and an explanation of what's about to happen with us all being very quiet. Ordinarily, someone is posted at the top of the stairs, at the indoor entrance to the meetingroom. I don't believe anyone is posted at the wheelchair-accessible entrance or the other two exterior entrances to the meetingroom. Someone might be at the entry door that's at the foot of the stairs. (I can't remember) Also, it's been a few years since I regularly attended there, so things could've changed—grain of salt.

I don't think I have ever been given a welcome/newcomer packet when visiting any meeting. I know Adelphi has them, and I know they're not new. Maybe things were just a little hectic at the time, or they'd been misplaced or whatever. They do give them out now. Most meetings seem to go for "there are pamphlets over there; help yourself."

Some meetings also have the doors close at worship time (what it seems Joshua was expecting, since he was surprised to find his noise had been audible to the worshippers). Some meetings expect latecomers to open the door and walk in. Some expect them to wait for a particular time before they go in (especially if they keep kids in for the first part of worship, then have them leave for kids stuff). Friends Meeting of Washington switched from one to the other while I was there. That they're supposed to wait until a certain time may or may not be clear to late newcomers. I don't know how common it is for the greeter to wait until the late arrival time to catch late-arriving newcomers.

The Differences

Here are the two main differences:
  1. who bears the burden of introductions?
  2. when do you get to meet people?
Who bears the burden?

At the Vineyard church, the greeter recognized me as new. The greeter introduced himself immediately. The greeter remembered my name long enough that he introduced me. The regulars were proactive about introducing themselves.

In every Quaker meeting I've been to, the guest is expected to proactively introduce themself. "Please stand up in a room full of strangers and introduce yourself to us." In many meetings, everyone wears nametags. Do we rely on our nametags and fail to introduce ourselves? Probably. I'm pretty sure I do. I need to work on that.

Do we know our own communities well enough to immediately recognize new people? I'm sure the small meetings do. It's easy to say "you're not one of the usual 8 people." It's harder with a bigger group, but it's worth the effort. Greeters really need a certain gift for recognizing faces.

When do you meet people?


At the Vineyard church, the time before worship was dedicated to getting to meet and talk to folks. Afterward, people seemed to just grab the kids and head out. I did chat a little with a couple of people who turned out to be very interested in Pennsic. (One had asked whether I had any travel planned.)

In most Quaker meetings, the time after worship seems to be dedicated to getting to meet and talk to folks. There either is no time before worship or it's dedicated to a Bible study, Bible reading, or hymn singing. Joshua says in his podcast that he found it awkward to find his way through to the right room, discover the door had been open and his saying "wait, which way do I go??" in the hallways had been intruding, and then sit down silently with a bunch of perfect strangers and no introduction. The "good morning" didn't come until the end. Awkward start; friendly end.

Conclusions

I think Quakers need to rethink these two points. Well, I'm sure many churches need to work on choosing and training greeters well and cultivating a culture of proactive welcome. A lot of them are bad at it!

I know, I know, we're a denomination full of introverts (speak for yourselves—I'll talk your ear off, once I have a topic). But there's a difference between being introverted and being rude. If you're an introvert and find yourself face to face with a guest, spot your nearest extrovert and introduce the two.

The part about making people feel comfortable before they enter worship is something I think is worth exploring. Joshua said in his podcast that even having signs saying something like "please join us in silent worship in this room" would've been helpful toward making him feel less awkward/embarrassed about his arrival. Is it actually a theological imperative for us to hold socialization until the end?

And I know those tall flags aren't cheap, but a 10-footer is $200 if you have dirt to jam it into or $250 if you need to set it out on the sidewalk. VistaPrint's probably got coupons too. They've always got coupons running. Maybe that's something your meeting can work into its budget if it's having trouble with visibility. (Yes, Philadelphia. I know, Philadelphia. You have gigantic highly-visible meetinghouses. Thanks for rubbing it in.)

Derpy's Cloud Mail

Jul. 15th, 2017 06:52 pm
ponyville_trot: Six cartoon ponies in a huddle (Default)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
derpy_s_cloud_mail_by_mysticalpha
Source: http://mysticalpha.deviantart.com/art/Derpy-s-Cloud-Mail-570946443

I'm still trying to get through this Harl-Equine romance novel. The Life and Times of a Winning Pony by Chengar Qordath. I keep finding things I'd rather do, like take another nap. After 400 pages it's still focused on the angst of being so incredibly good at "banging" that three mares are bickering over who gets exclusive rights to sexy Cloudkicker. She's the narrator and mane character and I have no sympathy for her. She's the expert on everything who lectures you constantly from the pinnacle of her vast experience. Sex between mares is "banging" and apparently very physical. At no point do I get the impression that Cloudkicker is female. I see her as a know-it-all white male telling all the boys what it's like to get laid by all the chicks while keeping it all so vague that the author teaches you absolutely nothing. A lot like sex ed in school. The book is one drawn out morality play on the downside of being a swinger.

Things that continue to annoy me: male voice, getting lectured, zero sexual mechanics, Mary Sue levels of adoration and erotic attraction, the military as the pinnacle of proper pony society and the blinding clarity of the message that one-night stands are fun but empty -- for a wholesome, good, fulfilling life, get hitched. I still have four hundred more pages to find out if it ends the way I expect it to, in a menage a quatre with a banging orgy every night. Four mares, banging what? Heads? We'll never know.

Do Potterheads write equally clueless Snarry fics? No, I don't want to read any Snarry porn. I'm only reading this book because I bought it and it's MLP.

media

Jul. 13th, 2017 08:36 am
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
Experienced recently, keeping it short here more as a log than as reviews:

Reading:
Nicola Griffith's Slow River on an accurate recommendation from [personal profile] watersword. So good. Wow for the realistic abuse content, ggggnnnnnngggh for the competence in water treatment facility management scenes. I feel like people who liked China Mountain Zhang, for the personal journey stuff and the mundane futuristic scifi stuff and the emphasis on physical labor and managing complicated processes, might be likely to also like this.

(Reread) a few Tamora Pierce books from The Protector Of the Small quartet for comfort. Still comforting.

All the Birds in the Sky: finished, LOVED everything except the last 10 pages which were just okay.

Started Hild and am having a tough time getting the world into my head.

Am most of the way through Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which is fairly breezy.

A bunch of Jon Bois stuff which is SO GREAT.

Visual:

In Transit, documentary, loving and unexpected. Way more about people and way less about the train itself than I thought we'd see. I had a lot of nostalgia for my times on the Empire Builder.

Schindler's List -- saw this for the first time. Stunning, of course. I'm glad I saw it on the big screen. I am glad I saw it on a Friday night when I'd had a good day and I didn't have anything in particular to do the next couple days.

Jurassic Park -- awesome and fun, maybe my 3rd or 4th time seeing it. I could probably see this once every 12-18 months.

Steven Universe -- all caught up now, love the songs, love Lion, amazed and surprised every few episodes.

A Man For All Seasons -- saw this in high school I think? So many good burns in this movie, and a fascinating portrayal of an actual conservative.

Wonder Woman -- better as an Event than as a movie (in contrast some movies don't have to be Events, like, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever or whatever). The message the movie wants to speak is in direct opposition to the basic visual and structural form of a tentpole superhero blockbuster film. But there are fun bits.

Yuri!!! On Ice -- I'm glad I saw this and I respect it a lot but I don't love it. I think that it's the restaurant that doesn't punch you in the face for a bunch of the intended audience, and I'm not part of that audience.

Audio:

Leonard's podcasted conversations with our friend Lucian about 90s nostalgia -- I enjoyed Lucian's recurring "because Kurt Cobain" explanations of his teenage quirks.
[syndicated profile] blog_namei_org_feed

Posted by jamesm

The schedule for the 2017 Linux Security Summit (LSS) is now published.

LSS will be held on September 14th and 15th in Los Angeles, CA, co-located with the new Open Source Summit (which includes LinuxCon, ContainerCon, and CloudCon).

The cost of LSS for attendees is $100 USD. Register here.

Highlights from the schedule include the following refereed presentations:

There’s also be the usual Linux kernel security subsystem updates, and BoF sessions (with LSM namespacing and LSM stacking sessions already planned).

See the schedule for full details of the program, and follow the twitter feed for the event.

This year, we’ll also be co-located with the Linux Plumbers Conference, which will include a containers microconference with several security development topics, and likely also a TPMs microconference.

A good critical mass of Linux security folk should be present across all of these events!

Thanks to the LSS program committee for carefully reviewing all of the submissions, and to the event staff at Linux Foundation for expertly planning the logistics of the event.

See you in Los Angeles!

A bike holiday to Castlemaine

Jul. 11th, 2017 10:56 am
[personal profile] alexbayleaf

Originally published at Spinster's Bayley. You can comment here or there.

It’s deep winter in Central Victoria, and rather than being at Deep Winter (in lovely warm northern New South Wales) I’m… still in Central Victoria. While I would have loved to go spend a few balmy days with regenerative farmers and food sovereignty activists, I couldn’t get all the pieces to fit together quite right. […]

Jon Bois

Jul. 9th, 2017 11:57 pm
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
I need to go to sleep, but:

There are some people making speculative fiction right now who don't get enough mainstream attention, in my opinion, or even enough attention from the circles of feminist scifi fans I generally hang out with. Like, some of you know about them, but others don't, and if you don't, I feel an urge to shake you by the lapels as I tell you about them, to ensure you are fully aware. Like, Alexandra Petri is consistently doing really interesting speculative work in her Washington Post column. Alexandra Erin's "Women Making Bees in Public" is an amazing piece about the necessity of being fierce and spycrafty in order to be a woman, about bees, about unexpected beauty, and about doing a chunk of work every day and witnessing what emerges.

And Jon Bois does some digital humanities writing and videos (often using the lens of sports history to dig up interesting stories and statistics), and writes fiction, again, often using the lens of sports to think about meaning, uncertainty, loss, and kindness. Jed's blog post about Bois's fiction pointed me to a few of his pieces and I'm just enthralled -- The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles is 40,000+ words and is complete, and 17776 is in serialization right now (here is a MetaFilter thread where I'm discussing the chapters as they go up).

His work is so loving and he's so consistent about making connections, stories, ideas that feel immediately real and of-course-it-would-be-like-that, finding the alien in the familiar and the familiar in the alien. The humaneness, that is what I am trying to get at. I need to sleep -- I hope you give him a try.
altamira16: Tall ship at dusk (Default)
[personal profile] altamira16
I saw Grinspoon at The Conference of World Affairs earlier this year. He rambled a lot, mostly about things I like. I bought his book to see if his written thoughts were more organized than his speaking style. There were so many things to like about this book, but I got really bogged down and would have preferred two or three smaller books to this long one. I was hoping that this would be a good place to begin reading about climate change, but it didn't really go too deeply into that.

Grinspoon is an astrobiologist. The field seems like it might be a form of theoretical science or just really deep background on science fiction. In the early chapters, he wrote lovingly about his encounters with Carl Sagan. Sagan was a family friend who inspired Grinspoon in his academic career.

Grinspoon wrote about how we confirm climate models by applying the models to planets other than our own and checking to see if the predictions are correct. He discussed the Gaia hypothesis, and I found the notion of Earth being in a symbiotic relationship with the life that exists on it to be a little odd.

Later, he wrote about SETI and whether or not we should consider METI. If there are aliens out there, should we shout at them and make our presence known? I thought that his discussion about how the probability of finding intelligent life was calculated was interesting. Basically, intelligent life would have to exist for long enough for us to find it and overlap in time with our own civilization. We would not be able to find intelligent life that takes a very long time to develop or life that developed and died before we had a chance to discover it. One way for us to increase our chance of finding other life is to increase our own longevity by maintaining Earth in a way that will sustain humanity.

Throughout the book, he wrote about the Anthropocene, the period of human history affected by human activity. The critique of this is "Have humans been around long enough to be considered on the geologic time scale?" When we talk about the history of the planet, we are talking about millions and billions of years. Humans have just not been around that long. In addition to the Anthropocene epoch (tens of millions of years), he proposed a possible Sapiozoic era (hundreds of millions of years) where the planet is guided by a really smart life form.

One thing that he mentioned toward the end of the book was that the doomsday warnings about climate are going to get some people to disengage and give up and that we must stay optimistic.
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