Reading Wednesday 22/03

Mar. 22nd, 2017 10:26 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
Recently acquired:
  • Can neuroscience change our minds? by Hilary and Steven Rose. Steven Rose was a big influence on getting me into bioscience, so I excited to learn that he's written a new book about debunking neurobollocks, a subject close to my heart. And that he's written it in collaboration with his wife, a sociologist of science.

  • Three non-fiction books to give as belated bar mitzvah presents: I went with A history of God by Karen Armstrong, 1491 by Charles Mann, and The undercover economist by Tim Harford in the end. I reckon that gives a reasonable spread of perspectives, periods and cultures to get a curious teenager started.

  • A whole bunch of mostly novels for a not-very-sekrit plot.

Recently read:
  • This is a letter to my son by KJ Kabza, as recommended, and edited by [personal profile] rushthatspeaks. It's a near-future story about a trans girl, which has minimal overt transphobia but quite a lot of cis people being clueless, and also it's about parent death among other themes.

  • Why Lemonade is for Black women by Dominique Matti, via [personal profile] sonia. Very powerful essay about intersectionality between gender and race. I've not actually seen Lemonade yet, because everything I've read about it suggests it's a large, complex work of art which I need to set aside time to concentrate on, I can't just listen to the songs in the background. And I'm a bit intimidated by the medium of a "visual album".
Currently reading: A Journey to the end of the Millennium by AB Yehoshua. Not much progress.

Up next: I am thinking to pick up How to be both by Ali Smith, which has been on my to-read pile for a while. We'll see.

Rabbit chuppah!

Mar. 22nd, 2017 10:28 pm
lethargic_man: (beardy)
[personal profile] lethargic_man
Thanks to the talented Sarah Behrnd, the rabbits are now more prepared to get married than we are! —Thanks, Sarah!

View piccy )

ceb: (exams)
[personal profile] ceb
FLOATING PENNYWORT WORKING PARTY ON THE UPPER CAM, SATURDAY 1ST APRIL
2017

The invasive Floating Pennywort has in recent years colonised the lower
Bourn Brook, the River Cam and some of its minor tributaries, and is
affecting an SSSI near Wicken. It is also spreading down river on the
River Ouse and has been found as far down river as the Denver Sluice.
Since 1990, when it was first found in the wild on the River Chelmer in
Essex, it has spread rapidly and each year the number of affected sites
is expanding exponentially. In high season there are long stretches of
the Cam where dense mats reach out towards the centre of the river, and
in one part it has grown from bank to bank. It is a threat to
bio-diversity, a nuisance to river users and could increase the risk of
flooding.

This week contractors for the Cam Conservators have been removing as
much as they can from the upper Cam by mechanized means, but inevitably
this will leave floating remnants and inaccessible patches. If left,
these remnants will soon grow. The Cam Valley Forum and associates are
organising a major volunteer punt day on SATURDAY 1ST APRIL ON THE UPPER
CAM, and we are inviting you to join us. The target is to remove as much
as possible on the day, from Byron’s Pool to Scudamores boat station.
Scudamores are kindly giving us ten punts for the task, which will need
a minimum crew of one experienced poler, a raker and a netter. And just
as important, we also need people on the bank to rake out easy-to-reach
Pennywort and to help with lifting out filled bins from the punts and to
dispose of the material on the bank. Not everyone feels comfortable on
a punt in which case a bank job would be ideal. Up to forty people may
be required to take this project forward and we hope that you have the
enthusiasm and time to be part of this unique experience.

If you would like to take part, or have any queries please contact Mike
Foley (Cam Valley Forum) on mfpfoley@gmail.com

We envisage a early start time between 9 – 10 am and those punts that
go the furthest (Byron’s Pool) will not necessarily be out for longer
as there is much to do in the Grantchester Meadows area. It would be
very useful if you could supply details of your experience, how long you
want to be involved, and whether your role would be on land or on water.
An indication of whether you possess a long handled rake and are
prepared to bring it would also be useful.

More detailed information will be available to those who express an
interest.

Mike Foley

The end is in sight.

Mar. 22nd, 2017 01:28 pm
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
My last exam for the business degree will be on 11th September.  And then I am FREEEEE.

I am banning myself from making any more time-eating long-term commitments until at LEAST the end of the year.  A friend who has known me for over two decades outright laughed at me when I said this :-P  

Done

Mar. 21st, 2017 10:07 pm
ceb: (Default)
[personal profile] ceb posting in [community profile] qec
Worldcon:
* emailed V re noticeboards
* emailed J re file formats
* emailed S re shippers
* emailed K re costumers
* emailed V re display
* emailed V2 re memberships
* emailed tech re tech stuff

Full

Mar. 21st, 2017 09:48 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
So this weekend I went to two synagogue services (in two different cities) and one church service, and I had a quiet going out for lunch and talking date with [personal profile] cjwatson and a bouncy metal gig date with Ghoti. And went to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast and just about managed to squeeze in a little bit of time talking to [personal profile] jack. Um, it is hypothetically possible that I may have over-scheduled myself a bit.

I had fun, though )
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Heads up: I just got an extremely suspicious email purporting to be from Patreon, requesting support for a political project to defend Federal funding for the arts.

One problem: I got two copies, one to my current actual secret Patreon email address, and one to my honeypot email address - the Patreon-exclusive email address I decommissioned after I learned of the theft of creators' email addresses from Patreon about two years ago.

I checked Patreon's front page and blog and there's nothing there about this political project.

None of the links in the email actually go to Patreon.com, they go to a third party service - which is not unusual for corporate mass-mailings, but which is still... unreassuring.

I strongly recommend not clicking any of the links in the email if you get it.

Announcing the Shim review process

Mar. 21st, 2017 01:29 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
Shim has been hugely successful, to the point of being used by the majority of significant Linux distributions and many other third party products (even, apparently, Solaris). The aim was to ensure that it would remain possible to install free operating systems on UEFI Secure Boot platforms while still allowing machine owners to replace their bootloaders and kernels, and it's achieved this goal.

However, a legitimate criticism has been that there's very little transparency in Microsoft's signing process. Some people have waited for significant periods of time before being receiving a response. A large part of this is simply that demand has been greater than expected, and Microsoft aren't in the best position to review code that they didn't write in the first place.

To that end, we're adopting a new model. A mailing list has been created at shim-review@lists.freedesktop.org, and members of this list will review submissions and provide a recommendation to Microsoft on whether these should be signed or not. The current set of expectations around binaries to be signed documented here and the current process here - it is expected that this will evolve slightly as we get used to the process, and we'll provide a more formal set of documentation once things have settled down.

This is a new initiative and one that will probably take a little while to get working smoothly, but we hope it'll make it much easier to get signed releases of Shim out without compromising security in the process.
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Canonical link: https://siderea.dreamwidth.org/1325674.html

It has come to my attention that some of the Blue Nation is unclear on what is currently playing out on the Right in response to Ryancare. This is terrible: you're missing out on some top-shelf schadenfreude.

A crucial confusion is, apparently, not understanding that there are several different factions over on the Right right now. If you attempt to understand what is happening over there by generalizing from all the things everyone over there does, things look very self-contradictory. I mean, even more self-contradictory than they actually are.

Before explicating the factions and their agendas, I need to take a moment to recount how it has been long much observed that messing with Obamacare wouldn't work or wouldn't be possible, because of the Three Legged Stool principle. The Three Legged Stool of Obamacare was... [3,700 Words] )

This post brought to you by the 127 readers who funded my writing it – thank you all so much! You can see who they are at my Patreon page. If you're not one of them, and would be willing to chip in so I can write more things like this, please do so there.

Please leave comments on the Comment Catcher comment, instead of the main body of the post – unless you are commenting to get a copy of the post sent to you in email through the notification system, then go ahead and comment on it directly. Thanks!

Done

Mar. 20th, 2017 09:53 pm
ceb: (Default)
[personal profile] ceb
* science week neuron thing
* room escape! success with 15s to spare
* craft shop browsing
* ordered flowers for mum
* ordered present for mum
* cancelled science week ticket for thing I can't go to after all
* text to C

BSFA:
* ballot box construction
* shiny letters!
* proofread newsletter for D
* emailed N & R

Worldcon:
* met S and J
* met H and J
* talked to T about benches
* emailed V about umpteen web page changes
* emailed E
* plus assorted small emails

Buying a Utah teapot

Mar. 20th, 2017 01:38 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
The Utah teapot was one of the early 3D reference objects. It's canonically a Melitta but hasn't been part of their range in a long time, so I'd been watching Ebay in the hope of one turning up. Until last week, when I discovered that a company called Friesland had apparently bought a chunk of Melitta's range some years ago and sell the original teapot[1]. I've just ordered one, and am utterly unreasonably excited about this.

[1] They have them in 0.35, 0.85 and 1.4 litre sizes. I believe (based on the measurements here) that the 1.4 litre one matches the Utah teapot.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
... presented as a series of e-mails, sent/received over the past week or so.

Read more... )

ANTHONY NOLAN. AREN'T THEY GOOD.

Shopping

Mar. 19th, 2017 05:49 pm
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
Yesterday I took Nico shopping for new school shoes after his dance classes.  We returned with:
  • a grey snood with soft fake fur lining for me
  • a sparkling purple hat with yellow stripes for him
  • a fleece-lined grey hat with earflaps and a rainbow space invaders stripe pattern for me
  • a new dressing gown of incredibly soft fleece for him
  • new Peppa Pig slippers for him
... oh yeah, and a new pair of school shoes.

(The first three items were from the local charity shop, which I sloped off to while he was in class, which is possibly cheating.)

Weekly Notebook

Mar. 19th, 2017 02:06 pm
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
[personal profile] purplecat
Sunday: Last week ended in Stoke-on-Trent playing Cthulhu (thankfully not into the small hours, but certainly quite late). After a large-ish breakfast we returned to Manchester where I went on a long run and attempted to catch up with my to-do list.

Monday: After my morning run my foot suddenly started hurting - same leg where I pulled a calf muscle a few weeks ago. At the time I was unsure of diagnosis, though I now think I've acquired a mild form of plantar faciitis which afflicts the ligament running along the base of the foot and is a bugbear for runners. Since I wasn't actually planning to run again until Saturday I just left well alone and got on with life which mostly involved failing to write a lecture on Machine Ethics.

Tuesday: Tuesday involved driving to Liverpool in order to deposit miscellaneous lego robot equipment. There was a fair amount of walking up and down stairs, not to mention walking from the university to the nearest street which doesn't have Residents' Only parking. My foot was feeling better, but was still quite painful.

I saw several project students all of whom were well on track for their "bench inspections" next week (my weaker students have become conspicuous by their absence. I'm trying to convince myself this is not my problem). I also discovered that the lecture on Machine Ethics I was trying to write was actually a lecture on Verifying Ethical Autonomous Systems, this actually make life a lot easier.

Wednesday: Flew to Bergen where I was to deliver my freshly written lecture to Matryoshka's Machine Ethics students. The university had booked me into a very nice hotel with complimentary brownies available. I met up with Matryoshka once I arrived and, after a little confusion, in which I stood outside her department texting that I couldn't find it, we went out for dinner.

Thursday: I gave my lecture - well two 45 minute lectures and then left Matryoshka trying to organise her students into project groups. Matryoshka gave me a draft paper on verifying properties of filter bubbles on social media, so I amused myself trying to figure out how to actually do this.

Friday: Matryoshka showed me around Bergen. The weather in Bergen is, I gather, mostly like the weather in Manchester, so we trudged through torrential rain to view various Hanseatic warehouses. We had lunch in a fish restaurant which had been recommended but found it rather disappointing. Then we went up the funicular railway to the top of the hill. As we ascended it started to snow. By the time we got to the top my foot was also complaining. Fortunately Matryoshka had pain killers on her person, so we stopped for coffee and muffins in a souvenir shop while they took effect and then went for a very short walk, admired the views we couldn't see because of the thick cloud cover, and the suddenly archetypal Scandinavian scenery we could see (snow covered paths through coniferous forest). Both of us had extremely cold and wet feet by this point.

We returned to Matryoshka's office where I managed to dry my shoes and socks in front of her heater while we discussed modelling filter bubbles as biological processes (mostly because the tool I was looking at had fairly well defined techniques for modelling biological processes). It seems at least plausible that the opinions on social media platforms could be viewed as biological processes so Matryoshka is going to look to see if this can be justified (beyond it's a cute idea) while I'm going to look at the nitty gritty of building a model.

Then I caught the Flybussen to the airport and came home. By this time the sun was shining brightly, the snow had all melted and Bergen was looking extremely pretty and not at all damp and cold. There will be a Bergen picspam in due course.

Saturday: I spent a lot of yesterday reading up on plantar fasciitis. There are plenty of symptoms I don't have but the pain in my foot has localised to the classic location for the complaint - though when under the influence of ibuprofen its now more a weird slight itch than a pain. Recommendations seemed to be anti-inflamataries (B. recommends continuing to take these for at least a week after I'm pain free), stretching of both calf muscle and plantar ligament, and not running in old shoes. I bought new running shoes a couple of months back, but they exacerbated a bunion I have and so I'd regretfully given them to Barnardos.

So far I've always purchased running shoes on a "cheap pair from Decathlon" basis but if I was going to have trouble with my feet it seemed like it might be time to get a more expensive pair from a specialised running place that did gait analysis. Googling gait analysis rather suggested it was a pointless exercise as done in running shops but B. persuaded me that even if it was pseudo-science I would probably still get a better pair of shoes from a place that offered the service. I was having a bit of a self-confidence crisis by this point - partly because I was anxious about buying an expensive pair of shoes that I might end up not using and giving to charity - so B kindly drove me to a running shop and stood around looking supportive while the (I presume) Saturday Girl analysed my gait ("looks all right") and very diffidently offered me some shoes which I purchased (they cost at least twice as much as any shoes I've had previously so I do hope they don't do terrible things to the bunion). I also set up a revised and much reduced training schedule for the half marathon at the end of May, based on various online offerings all of which involved far less running than I had been doing (B. is unaccountably smug about this for some reason). So we'll see how it all goes.

Since I was in a specialist running shop and spending silly money on trainers, I also spent £10 on a "pediroller", a kind of stiff foam roller for massaging the underside of the foot. I'm very pleased with this. It's a very pleasant sensation, though I've no idea if its actually doing any good, but it's quite tempting just to sit at my desk rolling my foot backwards and forwards on it all the time.

The Pit by Neil Penswick

Mar. 18th, 2017 11:18 am
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Doctor Who)
[personal profile] purplecat




The Pit is widely regarded as the worst of the Virgin New Adventures novels. I only have dim memories of the one time I read and I recall mostly being a bit bemused and feeling that William Blake was underused. I recently listened to the Doctor Who Bookclub podcast discuss the book and they certainly didn't like it much. Their final conclusion was that there were some potentially interesting ideas in there, but that the execution failed to explore them in a way that brought anything much to life, and the structure meant the whole story ultimately felt rather pointless with the Doctor, Benny and Blake making no real impact on the events.

Cold feet

Mar. 17th, 2017 08:42 pm
juliet: (Default)
[personal profile] juliet
This winter I conducted an Experiment on my feet, specifically: how long into the winter and in what conditions can I (comfortably; this wasn't intended as an experiment in foot-related suffering) continue to wear sandals?

Now it's spring again (at least here: there are daffodils in full bloom and I was cycling in a T-shirt again yesterday) I can probably declare the experiment finished and draw appropriate conclusions. Which are:

  • Anything above 10oC and sandals are perfectly comfortable.

  • Anything below about 2-3oC mark is definitely too cold, even if dry. This only happened on a very small number of days this year, though it was an unusually mild winter.

  • 3-10oC depends largely on how wet it is; if it's wet underfoot or actively raining then it's likely to be chilly, although at the top end of that range might be OK anyway, depending on what sort of mood I'm in and how long I'm likely to be out.

  • There is a difference between 'walking the dog' (or other walking-around-outside activity), 'going somewhere indoors by public transport', and 'standing around in a playground'. If I'm mostly going to be on a bus/tube and then indoors, sandals are fine even getting down towards the zero mark. If I'm standing around in a playground (especially if wet), boots might be wiser even if it's closer to 10. Walking the dog I'm only out for 30 minutes at a time anyway so even if it's chilly I'll probably cope. (When it's freezing that's still long enough to be properly uncomfortable, though.)

  • If cycling rather than walking then your feet don't move enough to keep warm; toe-coverings required. But in fact I've been wearing bike sandals all year round for about 8 years now and just wear waterproof socks with them. This is obviously a fashion disaster but if I'm going somewhere where I can't just take my shoes off on arrival (which in general I prefer if at all possible[0]) I carry proper shoes with me.

  • Fewer people than I would have expected appeared to either notice or comment on my footwear choices, even in the middle of December.


So it has been very informative!

There was a purpose to this beyond scientific experiment; my knees are happier when I wear sandals than when I wear boots, so the less time I spend wearing boots the better. I am pleased to discover just how feasible it is to minimise boot-weeks.

[0] I just don't much like shoes! The RFH don't mind you wandering around without shoes on. I got told off in the British Museum once, also on a train when walking between carriages.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
On the one hand, I've been having some really constructive meetings with teachers and support staff this year, relating to the needs of both children, including one in my lunch hour today. On the other, there's that horrible letter about attendance.

At the start of last week I managed to deliver two Politely Cross letters to school.  One went directly back to the "Pupil Welfare Officer" robustly defending the reasons for Charles's absences. The other went to the head teacher and the chair of governors to point out the strategic problems with sending letters like that (destruction of parental goodwill, and increased attendance of sick children, with all that implies) and asking them to review both the timing and wording of the letters. 

So far I have had a holding response from the head to say she has received and noted our letter, but is very busy right now and wants to give it a proper response.  This week we got a letter to all parents asking us to lobby Justine Greening about changes to school funding, which is probably one of the things the head is busy with.  I'd be a lot more willing to write lobbying letters if I hadn't had that one about attendance though ...



Photobucket

Mar. 17th, 2017 02:41 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Thanks to everyone who let us know that Photobucket images were not loading properly on some pages. The problem seemed to be mostly limited to HTTPS requests; Dreamwidth maintains a list of known high-traffic image sites that support HTTPS, so that our secure content proxy service doesn't cache them unnecessarily. Unfortunately Photobucket seems to have recently changed their site configuration such that HTTPS requests aren't being served as expected, and we've now taken it out of our list of "proxy-exempt" sites.

If you continue to have issues, make sure you're not using HTTPS Photobucket links. It's a bit counterintuitive, but if you use HTTP instead, it will be automatically transformed on our end to an HTTPS link that uses p.dreamwidth.org.

Hope that clears everything up for now! Let us know if it doesn't...
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Overgrowth (AKA the realistic ninja rabbit game)

Oh look! Cute anthropomorphic rabbits. This is going to be bloody, isn't it?

I only played a little of this. I love the basic mechanics. You control a humanoid rabbit walking around a 3d environment. AIUI, the characters are actually composed of separate limbs etc not just treated as a moving cylinder. You have a whole bunch of ninja moves, but they mostly depend on how you're moving and the attack button: like, "high kick left" is done by "move left and press attack". That means, it's easy to cause attacks to happen, and if you just want to spam *some* attack, it's easy to do so. But if you want to do specific moves which are necessary to the situation, or to roll with attacks and come to your feet, you need a bunch of practice. So there's an immediately apparent bunch of skills, not just "abilities which are unlocked".

It really feels like ninja combat: many enemies can be taken out in one punch, unless they block in which case you need to vary the attacks. Knives are dangerous: you need to knock them away, but can then roll to pick them up and have a big temporary advantage over one enemy.

Disturbingly, you get bloody as you get hit or cut. Not excessively for the amount of damage you've taken, but it's a real contrast to non-anthropomorphic-rabbit games, where you're usually immune and enemies usually go straight from "upright" to "shower of stars" or "shower of blood".

But I didn't put a lot of time into the actual game, so I don't know how it would be to play for longer.

Virus called Tom

Hilarious setting, a mad scientist who sends an intelligent virus (you) to take revenge on a corporation who sidelined him. You slide around a grid, trying to rotate tiles so circuits become complete. Quite fun, but I didn't persevere.

Ninja Pizza Girl

You're a teenage girl delivering pizza by dodging, jumping, ducking obstacles. Each level has a few implicit challenges: first to complete it at all, and then collect all the items and finish with an excellent time, which unlocks stuff.

The banter with her father and little brother are funny, and generally uplifting: they tease each other a lot, but are quite good for each other.

You periodically meet rival ninja pizza deliverers, who function as enemies, except your character doesn't lose a life, instead, they're knocked off their feet, and tauntingly laughed at until they stand up, which is really quite emotion-provoking. And when you get a good momentum going, the screen lights up whizzy and rainbow, but when you're knocked over repeatedly, it goes grey and dull. Many of the unlocks are self-care things which make the world happy again.

January 2017

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