January 2017

Apr. 22nd, 2017 09:35 pm
[syndicated profile] lecta_feed

Posted by Mary

We finished January this year with a week away at Lake Macquarie. I realised last year that we hadn’t had a holiday as a family that didn’t involve winter sports for a couple of years. So we went away to a cabin in a little resort and mostly had a relaxed time.

Because of timezones, V’s birthday falls across US presidential inaugurations every fourth year (so, twice now). He celebrated his seventh birthday dubiously by reading the TRUMP skywriting that someone placed over Sydney above the protests as we drove out of Sydney. And so kicked off bad news year.

The holiday was a gentle thing, which we wanted. There was a heated pool next door. V learned to dive badly, and A took many flying leaps into my arms, way out of her depth. We managed to get to the actual beach every day. I celebrated the first day with a bluebottle sting at Blacksmiths Beach. We had not been to the area before, so we vaguely thought that Caves Beach was named for someone Caves, perhaps. No, it’s named for actual caves. Fortunately we learned this during our holiday and got there at low tide to see the caves several times. We ended the trip with a swim at Catherine Hill Bay, admiring the rundown wharf and the weatherboard shacks, and drove up over the headland into the middle of an eerie empty luxury estate; the roads laid down to build out beach views, but no ground broken on housing yet. There will be a north-south divide in Catherine Hill Bay soon, clearly.

I went back to work around the time of the attempted US refugee and immigration ban, and put together a fundraising campaign for several tens of thousands of dollars for Australia refugee organisations. Among other things, it was a strange flashback to my previous career. My main memory of that week is literally dark because the main gathering at work was around an internal staircase in a dimly lit area. I haven’t had the needed energy and will to stick at it constantly since, but I’m glad I started the year with some focus on Australian immigration politics and activism.

ponyville_trot: Six cartoon ponies in a huddle (Default)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
happy_family_by_vindhov
Source: http://vindhov.deviantart.com/art/Happy-Family-632921583

In the interest of Being Excellent and considerate of those who plan to watch this episode, all references to the content of this episode are stashed under the cut and will remain so hidden for at least a month. Someponies like to watch MLP:FIM in herds and it can be a while before they get all their ponies together. 8^) As spoilers are also likely to be in any comments: don't read if you haven't yet seen the episode unless you like being spoiled. When you're ready, drop in a comment and say what you thought of this episode!

After a month, I hope Episode Discuss posts will be so far off the top page that it'll probably take the tag to find them, so about a month after posting the cut will be removed. 8^) Sometimes I go back and drop in little extras into the posts, like comics and links to the music.

Broadcast starts at 11:30 am Eastern Daylight Savings Time, which should work out to 4:30 pm UTC, 8:30 am PST and maybe about 11:30 PM Down Under. Confused? Look at the PonyCountdown widget on the community page! At the moment there are just three and a half hours left to go.

Written by Sammie Crowley. Sammie Crowley is a newbie to the MLP:FIM writing team with as yet no other episodes to their name. Fresh meat!

For those of you following Twitter, you can follow writers Nick Confalone (Hearthbreakers), Mike and Will Fox (The Gift of the Maud Pie), Joanna and Kristine (Gauntlet of Fire), Dave Polsky (Rarity Takes Manehattan) and Jennifer Skelly (Buckball Season). Other twits in the early morning chorus may include the likes of Meghan McCarthy, Jayson Thiessen (Supervising Director of MLP:FIM), Andrea Libman , the voice of Dragon Lord Ember Ali Milner, Big Jim (storyboard work, voice of Troubleshoes and Director of MLP:FIM), Mike Vogel and Josh Haber. The hashtag to watch should be #MLPseason6.

Review for episode 3, A Flurry of Emotions, below the cut. )


Catch the show and throw in your two bits in the comments! Copy/paste your reviews into the comments, spread the wealth!

Watch A Flurry of Emotions on DailyMotion: here in LQ and over here in 1080p. This time the YT Bot has taken a powder and so, here it is on Youtube.

Download links for A Flurry of Emotions: (I'll fill in the blanks later)
As seen on Discovery Family in 1080p: broadcast version.
In 1080p without logos: a href="">logoless.
In 1080p, without logos and colour corrected: a href="">colourful.
They're all mkv format files.

Read all the transcripts, including that of A Flurry of Emotions over here on the MLP wiki of transcripts.

Clear, free, logoless screengrabs from the entire episode get uploaded to the episode wiki within days of broadcast on the MLP Wikia Gallery pages, here.

The links to official channels and purchasing DVD's and episodes are now in the community sticky.
altamira16: Tall ship at dusk (Default)
[personal profile] altamira16
This was a book recommended by someone on Twitter. It is the 2014 Winner of the Philip K Dick Award for distinguished science fiction. I really enjoyed it because I like science fiction dystopia and empowered female protagonists.

In this book, there is a nurse in the hospital maternity ward in San Francisco taking care of women and babies when some unknown disease hits. Women in late pregnancy catch a fever, their babies die, and then they die. Other people in the household become infected and also die, but no one dies like the women. Eventually, the nurse catches the disease too. She wakes up in her house to a man trying to rape her. Once she escapes from the man who has broken into her house, she runs into a gay man who introduces her to the post-apocalyptic world where most people have died, and the survivors are mostly men. He does not want to stick with her because women are dangerous. They lead to fighting among men who try to take them as slaves. The unnamed midwife scavenges for the biggest pile of birth control she can find and a chest binder and disguises herself as a man as she wanders the US to see if there are any people left.

There were only two little parts that bothered me. I think someone called a motorcycle that was not a Harley a rice-rocket, and I think this is what Californians call Asian motorcycles. I wish they wouldn't. Then at the end, one character talks about someone being lynched. After reading about the violence involved in real lynchings, it was surprising to see someone discuss lynching in such a superficial way. When that character turned out to be black, it seemed like "here is the token black character discussing lynching."

Lost City

Apr. 20th, 2017 09:35 pm
ponyville_trot: Six cartoon ponies in a huddle (Default)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
lost_city_by_insanerobocat
Source: http://insanerobocat.deviantart.com/art/Lost-City-664728234

Good balance and colour. Fab wings. Lacks eyes.
beable: (16 - The Tower - destruction and renewal)
[personal profile] beable
Mal: Ship like this will be with you ’til the day you die.
Zoe: That’s ’cause it’s a death trap.


My car, in the words of the mechanic, is no longer considered roadworthy. It has thousands of dollars with of mechanical issues wrong with it, and the body is sufficiently corroded that it can no longer be loaded onto a hoist, and the bumpers are partially attached to the car by happy thoughts.

I've now signed up for Vrtucar, and will have the summer to decide if that is suitable for me or if I need to go car shopping and start budgeting for car payments again.

I had designs on turning my car into an art project when it was near the end of it's lifespan - something akin to the Electric Mayhem paint job from the original Muppet Movie:



Given both the costs involved in painting the car, and the fact that I really ought not to be driving it around much, it doesn't seem practical. Though the prospect of trying to fund it on Kickstarter is entertaining:
main goal: cover the costs of the paint and related costs
stretch goal #1: cover the required mechanical repairs so that my car is suffuciently safe to drive to actually pass inspection!
stretch goal #2: cover the required repairs to the body so that this art car can decorate society for years to come!
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
When I was eight or nine years old, I think my parents went through a chunk of "how do we support this weird kid?" planning and work. Around this time I remember coming across a book my parents had acquired, something like How To Deal With Your Gifted Child, the kind of book that has 70 pages of large-print line art-illustrated stories to read to your kid and discuss with them, followed by 40 pages of smaller-print nonfiction prose meant just for the adults. I read the whole thing, of course. Pretty hard to prevent a kid who loves reading from reading the whole book and finding use and joy where she can.

Another one of the paperbacks that made its way into our house around this time was about word puzzles, trivia about English, neologisms, and so on -- it had something to do with Mensa, I think. This is how I learned that the twelve most common letters in the English language are, in order, ETAOINSHRDLU.

Also I remember being given a collection of modern British short fiction and essays, for use in a supplemental tutorial or something -- this is how I read my first George Orwell, his essay "Shooting an Elephant", and my first D.H. Lawrence, his short story "The Rocking-Horse Winner", and my first taste of how truly dark Roald Dahl could get, "The Great Automatic Grammatisator".

The advice on dealing with myself, as a gifted child, helped some -- I got it into my head that an aversion to doing things that I wasn't already good at would be harmful, for instance, even if I couldn't prevent acquiring a bit of it anyway. Everyone who comes out of childhood has scorch and stretch marks. I'm glad I got an early start on Dahl, Lawrence, and Orwell, warning me about technology's effect on art, obsession's effect on childhood, and imperalism's effect on the oppressor, respectively. And though ETAOINSHRDLU caused me to regard "Wheel of Fortune" the way many programmers feel about Sudoku -- that it presents problems to humans that properly ought to be solved by computers -- and thus be a bit of a funless jerk for a while about a TV show that provides pleasure to many people, it's has proven useful in countless games of Hangman, and in an inadvertent audience participation moment during a play I saw in Manchester in 2014.

There's a bit in Sherlock Holmes: A Working Hypothesis where a lecturer, solving a Hangman-style puzzle and mocking the audience for our wrong answers, says something about the likelihood of the next letter. I blurted out something like "E, then T, then A, because the twelve most common letters in the corpus of English-language writing, in order, are ETAOINSHRDLU". The speaker teased me occasionally for the rest of the act, and I later learned that several other audience members inferred that I must be a castmember, a plant.

More and more frequently I find that other people in my communities treat me as though I must be one of the cast, not one of the audience. As though I am important. One way of looking at impostor syndrome is that it looks at two people with the same characteristics and pasts and treats one as less important, always the audience and never the cast, solely because it's the self. The How to Deal book had stories about kids who got swelled heads, and stories about kids who never believed they were good enough. "Shooting an Elephant" said: once you're in the cast, you have to follow the script or there'll be hell to pay. And ETAOINSHRDLU has long represented to me the power of double-checking whether something really is random, and finding patterns, and sharing them with others, empowering us. Which can break a kind of fourth wall between watching and acting.

In a little over a week, I'm a guest of honor at Penguicon, and one of my sessions will be a reprise of my LibrePlanet 2017 keynote, "Lessons, Myths, and Lenses: What I Wish I'd Known in 1998" (description, video, in-progress transcript). I'll give the audience a menu of topics and they'll select the ones I talk about, and the order. It'll be massively different from the LibrePlanet version because the audience will choose different topics or a different order, barring deliberate collusion. One reason I'm doing my Guest Of Honor talk this way is because there is too much to say, and this way each story or insight has a fighting chance to get said. But another is that I have given written-in-advance keynote speeches enough times before that it's in danger of becoming a habit, a local maximum. And -- perhaps this does not speak well of me -- I think this particular audience participation method also provides a release valve for the pressure of being the Important one in the room. Instead of performing as a cast of one, I turn everyone into a plant.

To close out, my favorite chunk of Orwell, the ending of "Some Thoughts on the Common Toad":

At any rate, spring is here, even in London N.1, and they can't stop you enjoying it. This is a satisfying reflection. How many a time have I stood watching the toads mating, or a pair of hares having a boxing match in the young corn, and thought of all the important persons who would stop me enjoying this if they could. But luckily they can't. So long as you are not actually ill, hungry, frightened or immured in a prison or a holiday camp, Spring is still Spring. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.

Penguicon in a little over a week

Apr. 20th, 2017 09:13 am
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
I'm one of the Guests of Honor at Penguicon, April 28-30 in Southfield, Michigan. Penguicon is a combination of an open source conference and a science fiction convention. Here's my schedule including some more funny bits and some more thinky bits. It'd be lovely to see some Dreamwidth acquaintances there!

The importer has (mostly) caught up!

Apr. 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Our content importer has mostly caught up with its backlog; almost everything that's still listed as being "in the queue" are jobs that were tried, failed once or more with a temporary failure, and are waiting to try again. (The importer tries a few times, at successively longer intervals, when it gets a failure it thinks might be temporary/might correct itself later on.) This means that new imports scheduled now should complete in hours (or even minutes), not the "several days" it's been taking.

If you tried to schedule a second import while the first one was still running, at any time in the past 10 days or so, you may have confused the poor thing. If you think your import should be finished by now and it isn't, and you're seeing "Aborted" on the Importer Status part of the Importer page, feel free to open a support request in the Importer category and we'll look into it for you. (It may take a little bit before you get a response; those of us who have the access to look into importer problems have been really busy for the past two weeks or so, and I at least need a few days to catch my breath a bit before diving back into the fray! But we'll do what we can.)

I hope all y'all are continuing to settle in well to your new home!
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
My longtime friend Zack Weinberg ([personal profile] zwol) needs help in his research to measure Internet censorship. He's a grad student at Carnegie Mellon University, an sf fan, and a longtime open source software hacker.

The short version is: go to https://research.owlfolio.org/active-geo/ and hit the Start button on the map.

More details:

Zack's doing experiments in "active geolocation", which is when you try to figure out where a computer physically is by measuring how long it takes a packet of information to go round-trip between one computer and other computers in known locations. This has been studied carefully within Europe and the continental USA, but much less so elsewhere.

More specifically, Zack is trying to develop a technique for verifying that VPN exits are in the country that their operator claims they are. His larger research focuses on measuring Internet censorship, for which he needs network vantage points in precisely the countries where it's hardest to get reliable server hosting. He could go with the commercial virtual private network (or VPN) providers who say "sure, I have a host in Malaysia/Ukraine/Iran/etc. you can choose to use," but how can Zack know that they're telling the truth? Commercial VPN operators may prefer to locate their hosts in countries where it's easier to do business, and only label them as being in harder-to-access countries.

So Zack is looking for volunteers who can visit that page, which will run measurement scripts, on computers physically located all over the world. South America, sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania locations are especially helpful, but he can use data from anywhere.

Once you click "Start" on the map at https://research.owlfolio.org/active-geo/, the page will run a test/demo to see whether you could help. If you can, then you'll see the consent form below to ask for more information about your location and you'll see the CMU’s Office of Research Integrity and Compliance notice.

Here's more about the research questions he is investigating, here's how to help using a command-line tool in case you'd like to give him data from a computer that you only have remote shell access to, and

In case you want to spread the word about this request, here's a public tweet you can retweet:

I'm looking for volunteers to help with a research project: https://research.owlfolio.org/active-geo/ Especially want people outside Europe and North America.


And you can ask [personal profile] zwol for more info if you have any questions.

Thanks!
[syndicated profile] jeremiahgrossman_feed

Posted by Jeremiah Grossman

How would you react if I told you that computer security experts are six times more likely to run just an ad blocking software on their PCs, over just anti-malware? Would you be surprised?



That was the result from a Twitter poll I conducted last year, in which more than 1,000 self-identified computer security experts shared that they are more concerned about ads than malware. While social media polls are admittedly unscientific, I’d argue these numbers are actually pretty close to reality, which means that roughly three-out-of-four computer security experts largely view ad-blocking as a more indispensable part of protection than anti-virus software by far. Let that sink in for a moment.

Malvertising, or malicious ads, are hurting people – a lot of people. Anyone who is familiar with the malware problem will tell you that. As just one example of many, last year ads appeared on the New York Times, BBC, AOL, NFL and other popular websites in a malicious campaign attempting to install “ransomware” on visitors’ computers. To put things into context, the chances are better that the average internet user - roughly 99 percent of the population - will be hacked via their own browser then they will by a nation-state. The reason for this? Online ads.



I understand the business model… really, I do. Publishers rely on their viewers seeing ads because that’s how they make their money. In return they provide all of us with free content and services. If ads are blocked, publishers make less money, and the free content and services dries up. On the other hand, these same ads are one of the leading threats to personal security and privacy. So, what we have here is an online version of a Mexican standoff. Neither side is able to proceed without exposing themselves to danger. 

So here we are without many technical options:  the only thing internet users can do to protect themselves is to install an ad blocker (like hundreds of million of users have already done); and the only thing a publisher can do is to use an ad blocker detector on their website(s). This allows them to decide to block content and/or issue a plea to whitelist their ads. Unfortunately, the technology model for publishers to ‘safely’ include third-party content such as ads into their pages is also lacking. There just isn’t a comprehensive and scalable way to check billions of ads daily to see if they’re safe to distribute – or if the origin of an ad is reputable. Of course, publishers can also supplement or replace advertising revenue streams with a paid-for-content model, hosting conferences, asking for donations, and so on.

Let's also be very clear— neither the publisher, advertisers, or the ad-tech industry that binds everything together takes on any liability for malvertising, infecting a user with malware, or the resultant damage. This also means that they have zero incentives to meaningfully address the problem, and never ever seem to want to talk about the security concerns that make ad blocking an essential security practice. They only want to talk about the money their side is losing, or how to make ads more visually tolerable. But even if ads magically become less obnoxious and less costly in terms of bandwidth, we still have the security problem. Until the advertising technology industry admits that their product - the ads themselves -  are simply dangerous, there can be no real resolution.

[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by brainwane

A sort of topic-specific collection of links from about the last year, broadly talking about inclusion in communities, online and off, especially in geek(y) spaces.

What kind of discourses and conversations do we want to encourage and have?

  • Nalo Hopkinson’s WisCon 2016 Guest of Honor speech: “There are many people who do good in this field, who perform small and large actions of kindness and welcome every day. I’d like to encourage more of that.” In this speech Hopkinson announced the Lemonade Award.
  • “Looking back on a decade in online fandom social justice: unexpurgated version”, by sqbr: “And just because I’m avoiding someone socially doesn’t mean I should ignore what they have to say, and won’t end up facing complex ethical choices involving them. My approach right now is to discuss it with people I trust. Figuring out who those people are, and learning to make myself vulnerable in front of them, has been part of the journey.”
  • “On conversations”, by Katherine Daniels: “I would love for these people who have had so many opportunities already given to them to think about what they are taking away from our collective conversations by continuing to dominate them, and to maybe take a step back and suggest someone else for that opportunity to speak instead.”
  • “Towards a More Welcoming War” by Mary Anne Mohanraj (originally published in WisCon Chronicles 9: Intersections and Alliances, Aqueduct Press, 2015): “This is where I start thinking about what makes an effective community intervention. This is where I wish I knew some people well enough to pick up a phone.”
  • “The chemistry of discourse”, by Abi Sutherland: “What we really need for free speech is a varied ecosystem of different moderators, different regimes, different conversations. How do those spaces relate to one another when Twitter, Reddit, and the chans flatten the subcultural walls between them?”
  • “Hot Allostatic Load”, by porpentine, in The New Inquiry: “This is about disposability from a trans feminine perspective, through the lens of an artistic career. It’s about being human trash….Call-out Culture as Ritual Disposability”
  • “The Ethics of Mob Justice”, by Sady Doyle, in In These Times: “But, again, there’s no eliminating the existence of Internet shaming, even if you wanted to—and if you did, you’d eliminate a lot of healthy dialogue and teachable moments right along with it. At best, progressive people who recognize the necessity of some healthy shame can only alter the forms shaming takes.”

How do we reduce online harassment?

  • “Paths: a YA comic about online harassment”, by Mikki Kendall: “‘It’s not that big of a deal. She’ll get over it.’ ‘Even if she does, that doesn’t make this okay. What’s wrong with you?'”
  • “On a technicality”, by Eevee: “There’s a human tendency to measure peace as though it were the inverse of volume: the louder people get, the less peaceful it is. We then try to optimize for the least arguing.”
  • “Moderating Harassment in Twitter with Blockbots”, by ethnographer R. Stuart Geiger, on the Berkeley Institute for Data Science site: “In the paper, I analyze blockbot projects as counterpublics…I found a substantial amount of collective sensemaking in these groups, which can be seen in the intense debates that sometimes take place over defining standards of blockworthyness…..I also think it is important distinguish between the right to speak and the right to be heard, particularly in privately owned social networking sites.”
  • “The Real Name Fallacy”, by J. Nathan Matias, on The Coral Project site: “People often say that online behavior would improve if every comment system forced people to use their real names….Yet the balance of experimental evidence over the past thirty years suggests that this is not the case. Not only would removing anonymity fail to consistently improve online community behavior – forcing real names in online communities could also increase discrimination and worsen harassment….designers need to commit to testing the outcomes of efforts at preventing and responding to social problems.”

What does it take to make your community more inclusive?

  • “Want more inclusivity at your conference? Add childcare.” by Mel Chua and then “Beyond ‘Childcare Available’: 4 Tips for Making Events Parent-Friendly”, by Camille Acey: “I’ve pulled together a few ideas to help move ‘Childcare Available’ from just a word on a page to an actual living breathing service that empowers people with children to learn/grow alongside their peers, engage in projects they care about, and frankly just have a little break from the rigors of childcare.”
  • Project Hearing: “Project Hearing is a website that consolidates information about technology tools, websites, and applications that deaf and hard of hearing people can use to move around in the hearing world.”
  • “Conference access, and related topics”, by Emily Short: “This is an area where different forms of accessibility are often going at right angles.”
  • “SciPy 2016 Retrospective”, by Camille Scott: “SciPy, by my account, is a curious microcosm of the academic open source community as a whole.”
  • “Notes from Abstractions”, by Coral Sheldon-Hess: “Pittsburgh’s Code & Supply just held a huge (1500 people) conference over the last three days, and of course I’d signed up to attend months ago, because 1) local 2) affordable 3) tech conference 4) with a code of conduct they seemed serious about. Plus, “Abstractions” is a really cool name for a tech conference.”
  • “The letter I just sent to Odyssey Con”, by Sigrid Ellis: “None of us can know the future, of course. And I always hope for the best, from everyone. But I would hate for Odyssey Con to find itself in the midst of another controversy with these men at the center.” (This is Ellis’s post from April 7, 2016, a year before all three of Odyssey Con’s Guests of Honor chose not to attend Odyssey Con because of the very issue Ellis discussed.)
  • “The realities of organizing a community tech conference: an ill-advised rant”, by Rebecca Miller-Webster: “…there’s a lot of unpaid labor that happens at conferences, especially community conferences, that no one seems to talk about. The unpaid labor of conference organizers. Not only do people not talk about it, but in the narrative around conferences as work, these participants are almost always the bad guys.”
  • “Emotional Labor and Diversity in Community Management”, by Jeremy Preacher, originally a speech in the Community Management Summit at Game Developers Conference 2016: “The thing with emotional labor is that it’s generally invisible — both to the people benefiting from the work, and to the people doing it. People who are good at it tend to do it unconsciously — it’s one of the things we’re talking about when we say a community manager has ‘good instincts’.”….What all of these strategies do, what thinking about the emotional labor cost of participation adds up to, is make space for your lurkers to join in.”
  • “White Corporate Feminism”, by Sarah Sharp: “Even though Grace Hopper was hosted in Atlanta that year, a city that is 56% African American, there weren’t that many women of color attending.”
  • “You say hello”, by wundergeek on “Go Make Me a Sandwich (how not to sell games to women)”: “Of course, this is made harder by the fact that I hate losing. And there will be people who will celebrate, people who call this a victory, which only intensifies my feelings of defeat. My feelings of weakness. I feel like I’m giving up, and it kills me because I’m competitive! I’m contrary! Telling me not to do a thing is enough to make me want to do the thing. I don’t give up on things and I hate losing. But in this situation, I have to accept that there is no winning play. No win condition. I’m one person at war with an entire culture, and there just aren’t enough people who give a damn, and I’m not willing to continue sacrificing my health and well-being on the altar of moral obligation. If this fight is so important, then let someone else fight it for a while.”
  • “No One Should Feel Alone”, by Natalie Luhrs: “In addition to listening and believing–which is 101 level work, honestly–there are other things we can do: we can hold space for people to speak their truth and we can hold everyone to account, regardless of their social or professional position in our community. We can look out for newcomers–writers and fans alike–and make them welcome and follow through on our promise that we will have their backs. We can try to help people form connections with each other, so they are not isolated and alone.”
  • “Equality Credentials”, by Sara Ahmed: “Feminist work in addressing institutional failure can be used as evidence of institutional success. The very labour of feminist critique can end up supporting what is being critiqued. The tools you introduce to address a problem can be used as indicators that a problem has been addressed.”
  • “Shock and Care: an essay about art, politics and responsibility”, by Harry Giles (Content note: includes discussion of sex, violence and self-injury in an artistic context): “So, in a political situation in which care is both exceptionally necessary and exceptionally underprovided, acts of care begin to look politically radical. To care is to act against the grain of social and economic orthodoxy: to advocate care is, in the present moment, to advocate a kind of political rupture. But by its nature, care must be a rupture which involves taking account of, centring, and, most importantly, taking responsibility for those for whom you are caring. Is providing care thus a valuable avenue of artistic exploration? Is the art of care a form of radical political art? Is care, in a society which devalues care, itself shocking?”

Book review: The Wife Drought

Apr. 17th, 2017 09:28 pm
[syndicated profile] lecta_feed

Posted by Mary

My quest to be a paid book reviewer remains stalled for two reasons: first, I’ve never once asked anyone for money to do a book review, and second, this book review comes to you express, hot out of the oven, fresh from the year two thousand and fourteen.

Annabel Crabb’s The Wife Drought: Why women need wives, and men need lives is titled and marketed on the old “women need wives” joke, ie, an adult in their home to make meals and soothe fevers and type manuscripts for free.

Crabb is also a well-known Australian political journalist — the ABC’s chief online political writer — who is best-known for hosting a cooking with politicians TV show, and probably next best known for her comic writing style, eg:

Right then. The parliamentary consideration of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act has concluded. The nation has experienced the special thrill of watching its elected representatives fight like ferrets in a bag over a legislative clause even John Howard couldn’t get excited about, and can now dully register the fact that all this fuss has produced exactly zero changes to the clause in question.

Annabel Crabb, There is nothing free about Mark Latham’s speech, April 1 2017.

One or the other of the title’s reliance on the hackneyed complaint about women needing wives, or Crabb’s journalist persona, caused a lot of people I know to write off this book unread. The marketing runs with this too:

Written in Annabel Crabb’s inimitable style, it’s full of candid and funny stories from the author’s work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife’ in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.
Penguin Books Australia

I suggest you don’t write it off, at least not for those reasons. It’s quite a serious book, and Penguin has buried the lede: intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia. The research is central to the book: Crabb did a lot of one-on-one work with demographers to extract answers to questions that no one had answers to about gender, work, money, and career progressions in Australia. Some of the findings the book contains are in fact new findings prompted by Crabb’s questioning of demographic collaborators (who are acknowledged by name, although not as co-authors).

I found two discussions especially interesting: the way in which Australia makes part-time work fairly readily available to women with young children and the many limits of that as a solution to pay and career progression disparities between men and women; and the evidence suggesting that, contrary to the widespread perception that men are hailed as heroes by men and women alike for participating in the care of their young children, they are actually discriminated against by their workplaces when they do so.

After that Crabb’s writing style is just an added bonus to keep you going through the book. If you’re going to read a demographic exploration of gender and labour in Australia in the 2010s, it’s certainly a nice bonus that it happens to be written by Annabel Crabb of all people. Instead, the major caution I would give is that it’s very middle-class in both point of view and content, without much discussion of that limitation; and is largely focussed on women partnered with men. Assuming that the work lives of middle-class women partnered with men in Australia is of interest to you, recommended.

Alternate Questions

Apr. 17th, 2017 01:15 pm
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
Is it still in vogue for US tech companies to ask quantitative estimation/implausible-problem questions like "how many phone booths/piano tuners are there in Manhattan?" in hiring interviews, particularly for programming-related jobs? Fog Creek asked me one of those in 2005. There was even a book, How Would You Move Mount Fuji?: Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle -- How the World's Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers.* How many companies are still into that?**

I ask because I came up with a couple you could use, maybe for a digital humanities kind of position:

  1. How many people, throughout history, have actually been named "Flee-From-Sin"? I feel like you see this as a jokey Puritan first name in books like Good Omens or the Baroque Cycle, but was it a name that some non-negligible number of people actually had?
  2. Out of all the people currently within New York City limits, have more of them written a sonnet or a dating profile? What's the ratio?

* That's right, two subtitles. That's how you know you're getting a lot for your $16.00 MSRP.

** It's hard to tell these things sometimes even if you listen to lots of people discuss hiring and recruiting. "Five Worlds" and its decade-later ramifications apply to work culture, not just software development methodology. Stripe's engineering interview aims to "simulate the engineering work you'd do day-to-day" (link via Julia Evans) so I think you can expect your interviewer won't show up wearing a question-mark costume and screeching, "Riddle me this, Batman!" This software engineer, who's just been through scads of hiring interviews, doesn't mention puzzle questions. This level of detail ain't exactly on the "How to Become a Computer Programmer" page in the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the US Department of Labor -- but then again we already knew that the assessment vacuum in software engineering skills is a huge problem.

Alternate Questions

Apr. 17th, 2017 09:16 am
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
Is it still in vogue for US tech companies to ask quantitative estimation/implausible-problem questions like "how many phone booths/piano tuners are there in Manhattan?" in hiring interviews, particularly for programming-related jobs? Fog Creek asked me one of those in 2005. There was even a book, How Would You Move Mount Fuji?: Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle -- How the World's Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers.* How many companies are still into that?**

I ask because I came up with a couple you could use, maybe for a digital humanities kind of position:

  1. How many people, throughout history, have actually been named "Flee-From-Sin"? I feel like you see this as a jokey Puritan first name in books like Good Omens or the Baroque Cycle, but was it a name that some non-negligible number of people actually had?
  2. Out of all the people currently within New York City limits, have more of them written a sonnet or a dating profile? What's the ratio?



* That's right, two subtitles. That's how you know you're getting a lot for your $16.00 MSRP.

** It's hard to tell these things sometimes even if you listen to lots of people discuss hiring and recruiting. "Five Worlds" and its decade-later ramifications apply to work culture, not just software development methodology. Stripe's engineering interview aims to "simulate the engineering work you'd do day-to-day" (link via Julia Evans) so I think you can expect your interviewer won't show up wearing a question-mark costume and screeching, "Riddle me this, Batman!" This software engineer, who's just been through scads of hiring interviews, doesn't mention puzzle questions. This level of detail ain't exactly on the "How to Become a Computer Programmer" page in the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the US Department of Labor -- but then again we already knew that the assessment vacuum in software engineering skills is a huge problem.

[Cross-posted to Cogito, Ergo Sumana. I'm doing this just now for new Dreamwidth followers, but usually I don't cross-post from there to here; check out [syndicated profile] sumana_feed if you want to follow that blog.]

[syndicated profile] adulting_feed
“You know, everyone is just a ghost driving a skeleton covered in meat, so I figure there’s not *that* much to worry about.”

- My physical therapist is the most chill dude ever
altamira16: Tall ship at dusk (Default)
[personal profile] altamira16
This book is a study of North Korean propaganda done mostly from information found in South Korea because westerners can't just walk into the Pyongyang and ask to see all the propaganda. Myers said that no one really took the study of the propaganda seriously because it is too political for the cultural journals and too cultural for the political journals.

Myers's thesis is that there is really nothing there when it comes to Juche Thought. It just does not make any sense. Kim Il-Sung was not that educated. Juche Thought was an erudite philosophy created by some people who were not really interested in creating a coherent philosophy. They needed some educated sounding nonsense to serve as philosophy. Myers proposed that the North Korean government operates under Confucian paternalism.

In early propaganda, Korea was visualized as a younger sibling to Japan. That vision of Koreans as children has made them view themselves as innocents who are under attack from outsiders. As history moved on, any assistance from outsiders was erased from North Korea's official history, and the Kims were treated as parental figures (the state is both a mother and a father but mostly a mother) that North Koreans needed. Spontaneity is seen as a positive quality in children. I found that odd in a land where people don't really have the freedom to move about.

The roundness of the Kims is seen as the childlike quality of all Koreans. But at the same time, the leaders are seen as parents giving hugs to children and protecting their people in a lot of the propaganda. Here is Kim Il-Sung hugging a little girl.

As the hardships of the 1980s and 1990s approached, there was a lot of imagery involving involving storms and waves. The storms and waves represented the outside world, and the leaders had to stand up to defend North Korea against them. Here is a picture of former President Clinton and Kim Jong-Il sitting in front of a picture of waves. Attacks from the outside world seem to strangely make the leader of the country more powerful because it gives the parent-leader purpose and support.

The penultimate sentence of this book summarizes it nicely.

"In any case, the prevalence of motherly authority figures, the glorification of 'pure' racial instincts, the denigration of reason and restraint-- all these things encourage rashness among the DPRK's decision makers just as they encourage spontaneous violence among average North Koreans."

In a lot of the propaganda, Americans look a little bit like Ebeneezer Scrooge or offensive caricatures that you might see of Jewish people. They are men with hollow eyes and large hooked noses. In the linked example, there are some hollow-eyed American soldiers torturing a Korean woman by pulling out her teeth with pliers. The woman is a wearing white which is symbolic of purity and innocence.

I found it odd that Americans looked like Jewish caricatures because North Koreans are not necessarily as critical of Jewish people as they are of American and Japanese people.
ponyville_trot: Six cartoon ponies in a huddle (Default)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
Trixie_by_Dawnf1re
Source: http://dawnf1re.tumblr.com/post/138175127887/all-my-patreon-doodles-are-done-for-this-month

Since this season started with two episodes back to back but they weren't two parts of the same story, I've given episode two a separate discussion post.

In the interest of Being Excellent and considerate of those who plan to watch this episode, all references to the content of this episode are stashed under the cut and will remain so hidden for at least a month. Someponies like to watch MLP:FIM in herds and it can be a while before they get all their ponies together. 8^) As spoilers are also likely to be in any comments: don't read if you haven't yet seen the episode unless you like being spoiled. When you're ready, drop in a comment and say what you thought of this episode!

After a month, I hope Episode Discuss posts will be so far off the top page that it'll probably take the tag to find them, so about a month after posting the cut will be removed. 8^) Sometimes I go back and drop in little extras into the posts, like comics and links to the music.

This was broadcast at noon EDT, right after Celestial Advice.

Written by?

For those of you following Twitter, you can follow writers Nick Confalone (Hearthbreakers), Mike and Will Fox (The Gift of the Maud Pie), Joanna and Kristine (Gauntlet of Fire), Dave Polsky (Rarity Takes Manehattan) and Jennifer Skelly (Buckball Season). Other twits in the early morning chorus may include the likes of Meghan McCarthy, Jayson Thiessen (Supervising Director of MLP:FIM), Andrea Libman , the voice of Dragon Lord Ember Ali Milner, Big Jim (storyboard work, voice of Troubleshoes and Director of MLP:FIM), Mike Vogel and Josh Haber. The hashtag to watch should be #MLPseason6.


Review for episode 2, All Bottled Up, below the cut. )


Catch the show and throw in your two bits in the comments! Copy/paste your reviews into the comments, spread the wealth!

Watch All Bottled Up on DailyMotion, here (this is the full 22 minute episode). No YouTube links as YT is taking them down within minutes of the videos going up.

Download links for All Bottled Up:
As seen on Discovery Family in 1080p: broadcast version.
In 1080p without logos: logoless.
In 1080p, without logos and colour corrected: colourful.
They're all mkv format files.

Read all the transcripts, including that of All Bottled Up over here on the MLP wiki of transcripts.

Clear, free, logoless screengrabs from the entire episode get uploaded to the episode wiki within days of broadcast on the MLP Wikia Gallery pages, here.

The links to official channels and purchasing DVD's and episodes are now in the community sticky.

(no subject)

Apr. 15th, 2017 11:50 am
beable: (the doubtful guest)
[personal profile] beable
All my comments are belong to us!
ponyville_trot: Six cartoon ponies in a huddle (Default)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
Celestia_slate_composure
Source: http://www.furaffinity.net/full/7051339/

Here we go! An hour of My Little Pony to brighten the spring! Celestial Advice followed by All Bottled Up. (All Bottled Up has a separate discussion post.)

In the interest of Being Excellent and considerate of those who plan to watch this episode, all references to the content of this episode are stashed under the cut and will remain so hidden for at least a month. Someponies like to watch MLP:FIM in herds and it can be a while before they get all their ponies together. 8^) As spoilers are also likely to be in any comments: don't read if you haven't yet seen the episode unless you like being spoiled. When you're ready, drop in a comment and say what you thought of this episode!

After a month, I hope Episode Discuss posts will be so far off the top page that it'll probably take the tag to find them, so about a month after posting the cut will be removed. 8^) Sometimes I go back and drop in little extras into the posts, like comics and links to the music.

Broadcast starts at 11:30 am Eastern Daylight Savings Time, which should work out to 4:30 pm UTC, 8:30 am PST and maybe about 11:30 PM Down Under. Confused? Look at the PonyCountdown widget on the community page! At the moment there is just an hour left to go.

Written by? IMDB doesn't know yet.

For those of you following Twitter, you can follow writers Nick Confalone (Hearthbreakers), Mike and Will Fox (The Gift of the Maud Pie), Joanna and Kristine (Gauntlet of Fire), Dave Polsky (Rarity Takes Manehattan) and Jennifer Skelly (Buckball Season). Other twits in the early morning chorus may include the likes of Meghan McCarthy, Jayson Thiessen (Supervising Director of MLP:FIM), Andrea Libman , the voice of Dragon Lord Ember Ali Milner, Big Jim (storyboard work, voice of Troubleshoes and Director of MLP:FIM), Mike Vogel and Josh Haber. The hashtag to watch should be #MLPseason6.


Review for episode 1, Celestial Advice, below the cut. )


Catch the show and throw in your two bits in the comments! Copy/paste your reviews into the comments, spread the wealth!

Watch Celestial Advice on DailyMotion, here (this is a full 22 minuted fixed upload). No YouTube links as YT is taking them down within minutes of the videos going up.

Download links for Celestial Advice:
As seen on Discovery Family in 1080p: broadcast version.
In 1080p without logos: logoless.
In 1080p, without logos and colour corrected: colourful.
They're all mkv format files.

Read all the transcripts, including that of Celestial Advice over here on the MLP wiki of transcripts.

Clear, free, logoless screengrabs from the entire episode get uploaded to the episode wiki within days of broadcast on the MLP Wikia Gallery pages, here.

The links to official channels and purchasing DVD's and episodes are now in the community sticky.

an unexpected adventure

Apr. 15th, 2017 12:04 am
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
[personal profile] zorkian

Oliver was on spring break this week so he had no school, so his mom dropped him off Thursday night and I took a day of PTO today for some Father & Son time. We planned breakfast (pancakes, of course -- at Peter's Cafe down in Millbrae). [personal profile] afuna joined us for that then she hopped on the BART and headed off to work while the kid and I went south to San Carlos Airport.

We had a mission -- my airplane, N171MA, needed a bulb replaced. I also wanted to do some administrivia that I'd not done when we got back from our trip to Baltimore. The aviation data (charts, obstacles, and navigation data) needed updating and I wanted to pull down the latest flight and engine data logs to do some analysis. Also, I wanted to wash the plane and make it nice and shiny!

We took care of a few of the things and then we hopped aboard and started up. I requested permission from Ground Control to taxi across the runway to the wash rack on the other side and we got stuck about 10 minutes waiting for a clear time to cross. (They can't have airplanes crossing active runways and the weather was beautiful: there were a lot of airplanes coming and going.)

Eventually we made it across the runway and I vaguely knew where we were going but had never actually been to the wash rack before. I ended up going down the wrong aisle into a dead end. One of the things about airplanes is that virtually none of them can go backwards. They only go forwards. If you end up going down an aisle that doesn't have an exit like I did today, you have to shut everything down and disembark, fetch the hand tug, and then reorient the bird yourself. It's slightly annoying, particularly when you get turned around (unf! heavy!) and then have to ask Ground Control for permission to taxi because you "missed". Whoops.

We finally got around to the wash rack which was more complicated than I expected and I ended up parking in front of what I thought was the rightmost of two washing spots. I realized halfway through that you were intended to park in the middle of the two hose reels -- the one on the left was attached to a 55 gallon drum of soap and the one on the right was for rinsing. I didn't feel like repositioning by hand for a second time in one day so I just used the plain water and did the best we could.

When we were done Oliver asked if we were going to take off now. I had not planned on flying anywhere and was only there to do incidentals related to aircraft maintenance, but it wasn't like I had better plans... I asked him if he wanted lunch and if he wanted to fly somewhere to get lunch and he seemed keen on the idea. It's important to note that this would be his third flight ever and his previous two were short flights and we didn't go anywhere really -- plus [personal profile] afuna was on those flights to help if anything went south. This would be a real flight: ~30 minutes to Petaluma, lunch, ~30 minutes home -- and no backup.

He was keen on the idea and I got excited so we got ready to go and then departed. Blasting off into the brilliant blue sky -- I love my airplane. It's an amazing machine and flying is the most wonderful feeling and there I was, my son next to me with his red headset on. I had the stupidest grin on my face. As soon as we launched, Oliver piped up on the intercom: "Dad. Don't turn us upside down." I assured him I would definitely not turn us upside down.

We were cleared through the SFO Bravo airspace and it got a little bumpy. Unfortunately because of the large amount of air traffic in the area (particularly going north from San Carlos!), I was pretty constrained in where I could fly and I couldn't really alleviate the turbulence but it turned out that he didn't seem to mind -- it was a little bumpy but at least once he said it was fun. (I had quietly grabbed the sick sack and prepared it just in case...)

At some point near SFO we were cruising along and out of nowhere Oliver said, "Dad, I'll help!" and leaned forward, grabbed the control stick, and pulled back. This immediately caused the airplane to pitch up and startled the poor kid. I basically always fly with my hand on the stick so I gently brought us back to level but I think he cured himself of wanting to grab the stick!

We made it up to Petaluma and landed without incident and took a selfie. He wanted to hop up on the wing, so that's why he's standing up here:

We went to the Two Niner Diner (a lovely place!) and he wanted grilled cheese, french fries, ketchup, and a strawberry milkshake. They make 'em right, too: brought him the shake and a tin with some extra. His little mind exploded "I get two milkshakes?!?!" and he was in nirvana. The staff was super taken by him and by the end of the meal he gave the proprietor a sudden hug and she got a little startled and said "That made my day -- you have no idea, you really made my day."

The flight home was pretty uneventful. Oliver fell asleep halfway back and I debated flying circles just to make the moment last longer but ended up just heading back and landing. I made what is probably my smoothest, shortest landing yet in the plane and managed to taxi off at the Foxtrot exit from 30. (I know that won't mean much to anybody but it feels good.)

When we got home later, Oliver gave me a hug and said, "I love you Dad. This is the best day ever."

I'll be over here in a puddle of warm fuzzy feelings and goo.

Waiting For The Spark

Apr. 14th, 2017 09:39 pm
ponyville_trot: Six cartoon ponies in a huddle (Default)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
waiting_for_the_spark_by_ncmares
Source: http://ncmares.deviantart.com/art/Waiting-for-the-Spark-639268821

A little less than 14 hours to go before Season Seven! Looks like the countdown clock got adjusted at last. I'll be posting the links to the streams and such the like tomorrow, as usual.

Dreamwidth communities

Apr. 14th, 2017 02:47 pm
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
I've been doing my own little bit to share lore and links in the comments of the latest Dreamwidth news post, and to welcome people coming to Dreamwidth in the wake of the latest LiveJournal change.

I've put a new book review, of Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, in [community profile] 50books_poc, I've recommended several RSS feeds in [site community profile] dw_feed_promo, and I've suggested a couple of face-to-face New York City meetups in [site community profile] dw_meetups and [community profile] nyc. I've subscribed to [site community profile] dw_community_promo but haven't posted anything there yet; perhaps next week!
dw_news: Drawing of newspaper labeled 'The News' with DW logo (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_news
Hello, Dreamwidth! Goodness, this past week has been unexpectedly exciting, hasn't it? A warm Dreamwidth welcome to everyone who's just joining us: we're glad you're here, and we hope you're liking the new digs.

Before we get into all the things I have to cover, though: Given the reasons most people are citing for not wanting to agree to LiveJournal's new ToS, I'd like to take a moment and ask: if you're able to (and only if you're able!), please consider donating to the Russian LGBT Network/Российская ЛГБТ-сеть. They not only do excellent work across the Russian Federation, but are currently mobilizing to help evacuate LGBT people in Chechnya who are in danger of detention or death. (EDIT: If you're outside Russia, you can donate through All Out; the Russian LGBT Network website won't accept donations from outside Russia.)

To our friends in Russia who are LGBT and those who are against the mistreatment of anyone because of their sexual orientation: We stand with you. Please stay safe above all else, but if it would be safe for you to post that link, the LGBT Network is asking that as many people as possible publicly share the information that the LGBT Network is ready to help. (They also ask that you do not contact people in Chechnya directly to let them know, as there are reports the authorities are searching people's phones and computers for evidence of sexual orientation.)

The rest of this post is primarily to give y'all new folks a brief orientation (or as brief as I am ever capable of; no one has ever called me concise) to help you settle in, although I hope at least some of it will be useful (or at least interesting!) to those of you who have been with us for a while. Come with me as we discuss Dreamwidth's history, a bit of what (we think) makes us special, the answers to a few common questions about how we roll, and a few useful tips that may help you with the transition.


Dreamwidth 101! )

Whew! That was a lot to throw at y'all at once, I know. (Yes, I always am this longwinded. And I always use this many parentheses.) Everybody who's been here for a while: thank you for your patience as I got our new arrivals up to speed! We'll be back in a few weeks with a code push and a bunch of new features and fixes, so the next news post should be more broadly applicable.

In the meantime, let's have a welcome party in the comments:

* If you're looking for new people to subscribe to you, leave a comment with some basic info about your journal and what you tend to write about! Then everybody can browse around and meet each other. (There's also [community profile] 2017revival and [community profile] addme, both of which are unofficial but bustling lately; holler if you know of any more.)

* If you've been here for a while and have a favorite community that's active, drop a link and a brief description!

* If you're new or you've been here for a while, and you're looking for an active community on a particular topic, leave a comment with what you're looking for and people can recommend you some options. (We've done this a few times before, as "the great community rec-o-matic", and it's never a bad time for another round.)

* If you know of any scripts, resources, extensions, tools, or toys that will help someone make the move, get settled in, or customize their DW experience once they're here, drop a link and a description in the comments. (We can't be responsible for unofficial tools, scripts, extensions, etc, so use at your own risk, but I know there are a bunch of them floating around!)

Finally, a quick note on the importer queue: it's still going, I swear. The jobs finishing now are the ones that were scheduled around 48 hours ago, though, so we really appreciate how patient y'all are being!

As always, if you're having problems with Dreamwidth, Support can help you; for notices of site problems and downtime, check [site community profile] dw_maintenance and the Twitter status account. (We can't do support through Twitter, though! Open a support request instead. Me trying to fit into 140 characters is not a pretty sight.)

Comment notifications may be delayed for an hour or two, due to the high volume of notifications generated after an update is posted to [site community profile] dw_news. This was posted at 5:30AM EDT (see in your time zone). Please don't worry about delayed notifications until at least two hours after that.

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