Food in England

Sep. 23rd, 2017 09:22 pm
mtbc: maze B (white-black)
[personal profile] mtbc
From Oxfam I am pleased to have obtained an old hardback in good condition of Dorothy Hartley's Food in England. From her writing she seems a positively interesting person. I have been curious about what English cuisine was like before the changes in society wrought by the twentieth century and she does a very good job of providing a detailed picture of what people ate and how they made it, especially in rural communities; clearly she has been a curious traveler. While the book does have organization, it is also delightfully random: one never knows quite what the next section will bring. I appreciate how she keenly relates so much about ways that are now largely forgotten, at least in the world I know.
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I've been paying attention to the many attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)* and what's been really obvious in the last year is that the Republican majority don't actually want to repeal it.

There seem to be three different groups:
1) Republican Senators who can see that Obamacare is actually about as right-wing a way to have universal healthcare as you can get**, and don't actually want to get rid of it.
2) Republican Senators who may or may not be in favour of Obamacare, but can see that their constituents are now attached to their healthcare, will be furious if they lose it, and only have a slim majority which they are terrified of losing at the next election.
3) Republican Senators who really are against Obamacare.

The problem here is that all three groups need to pretend that they're in category (3), because they've spent the last decade telling their supporters how terrible Obamacare is, to the point where there are voters who support all of the individual parts of the bill, and even the "Affordable Care Act" but will be will be against Obamacare.

And the longer the ACA exists, and the more that voters understand about it (as is happening the more Republicans talk about it) the more popular it gets. To the point where a majority of the public are now in favour of it***. But the Republican Party now has a central point of belief that "Obamacare is bad".

Which means that in order to be against it, but not actually remove it, we're left with a few Republican Senators taking it in turns to vote against repeal, on various largely spurious grounds. Being very careful to say "Oh no, I hate Obamacare as much as the next person. But I can't vote to repeal it this time, because of a minor provision. Maybe next time." - and then the next time a _different_ Republican Senator can do exactly the same thing.

None of which means that Obamacare is safe. It's balanced on a bunch of senators believing that if they repeal it they'll lose their jobs. So every time a repeal bill is put forward they have to be persuaded _again_ that the public still cares. And I am very grateful for my US friends who are involved in getting people to phone their representatives every time it comes up.

But I am moderately hopeful that we'll make it through to the mid-terms without it being repealed. Because I don't think that a majority of the senate actually wants it to be.****


*There were over 50 of these between 2011 and 2014, goodness knows how many we're up to now
**Not surprising, as it's very similar to RomneyCare.
***But only 17% of registered Republicans. It's the swing voters who have moved.
****But don't trust me. This is just my impression from what I've read from, frankly, a long way away.

I won another Crawl Sprint game!

Sep. 23rd, 2017 03:55 pm
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
[personal profile] hilarita
Cut for boringness for many people. But I won a Line Sprint, pretty vanilla Minotaur Fighter of Uskayaw
Read more... )

(no subject)

Sep. 23rd, 2017 06:46 am
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Thursday was family games night, with pizza. [personal profile] sithjawa joined, as well as the partner's large array of siblings and their spouses/etc.

After games were done, my partner showed me Who Framed Roger Rabbit? out of the "You haven't seen that yet?" queue. And we watched more of The Orville, and I tested out my stand mixer by making some cookies.

Friday, in honor of the equinox, I baked a sweet cardamom loaf. Then we did a shopping run, and my partner made dinner.

These past two days have involved a lot of small gas-powered motors around. Partner has summoned a yard maintenance company to take care of some of the tree, bush, weed, and tenacious invasive morning glory things that the ex neglected in the interminable six months leading up to departure. It's been loud, but is so much better looking now. Though there are still some more things left for today, like the stack of lichen-covered branches in the driveway.

The Blood is the Life for 23-09-2017

Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

Tabs and links in web browsers

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:23 am
mtbc: maze C (black-yellow)
[personal profile] mtbc
The current iteration of our website at work is well-received but some of its a tags for the hyperlinks use a target="_blank" attribute which means that a new tab or window is always opened when one clicks on the link. That this persistently irritates me makes me suspect that I may be an atypical visitor to the website.

For the most part I think of browser tabs as to-dos. For mouse-like peripherals I use input devices that offer me at least three buttons. For hyperlinks I expect one of the buttons to replace the content in the current tab and another to open the content in a new tab. So, I always have effortless means at hand to select one behavior or the other and this manual target override feels like that choice is removed to no good end.

I hypothesize that we may have gone with this website design because it works better for people with more normal setups and that mine is abnormally useful by default. Alternatively, I may be unusual in being mindful of the choice of where to open the new content as I click around.

Tolerating golliwog toys

Sep. 22nd, 2017 07:42 pm
mtbc: maze N (blue-white)
[personal profile] mtbc
Via [personal profile] andrewducker I found a recent YouGov poll revealing that a majority of the British public does not consider it unacceptable or racist to sell or display a golliwog doll. Liberal Democrats tend to be among the minority but they are used to that. Regarding golliwogs I am in the majority so I felt obliged to reflect on this. For me it is not just about if things are in fun because I would have a problem with, for example, somebody using a Ku Klux Klan costume for fancy dress at Hallowe'en. So, why the difference in my instincts?

I suppose that I regard golliwogs as being of a more ambiguous character and I do not wish racist people success in defining things according to their favored interpretation. The significance of a KKK costume is unambiguous but many have used golliwog toys without ill meaning. My feeling is usually that it is worth the risk of reminding people of bad things if it allows other interpretations to prevail through still being used, or at least not to die into obsolescence without a fight.

This is why I have been irritated by the acceptance of words like oriental as being offensive. That a once fine word has been used offensively does not require that as a community we should accept that it now entails intent to demean. Offensive meanings gain power and they occupy increasingly many symbols if innocent uses are denied currency.

Naturally I am open to being persuaded that I am wrong to want to preserve an innocent view of golliwogs but I suspect that whatever insulting baggage they bring is rather more a symptom than a cause of the societal issues that need fixing.

New Forest otters!

Sep. 22nd, 2017 07:51 pm
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
[personal profile] hilarita
And some other things that aren't otters. But mostly, otters.

Before going to the Lib Dem party conference, Drswirly and I went to stay in Christchurch, because of its proximity to the New Forest Wildlife Centre, which has a lot of otters. Did I mention the otters?
I found Christchurch a bit stultifying, and the kind of place I don't at all feel at home in, because it's quite clear that I'm not really their type of person. Christchurch was the kind of place that had a UKIP office prominently on one of the main streets. (It's now shut, which is definitely an improvement, but Christchurch was definitely a UKIP heartland.) It was next to a curry house, which I found mildly pleasing, though I'm not so sure the curry house owners would have agreed. We went to otters first, and then later wandered round the town. (I haven't posted pictures of the town; it's not that interesting. There's a mildly interesting bit of castle, and a mildly interesting Norman church (in places), but it's not really a particularly notable example of the genre. I may upload some bits to wikimedia commons, if I can be arsed to manage their categorisation system.)

I'm going to put a cut in, because there are a lot of otters.
Read more... )
For those people who didn't wade through the pictures of mustelidae, you should at least look at:
a gif of a contact-juggling otter!

and a short video of a giant otter squacking on command.
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Jane and I went up to Nethy Bridge, near Aviemore, and stayed at the Lazy Duck in one of their Eco-Lodges. Which is a cabin built for two, with electricity, gas cooking, and (distant, wobbly) wifi, right next to a large duck pond full of a variety of different species of ducks.
Loads of photos and four videos )

What it’s like for girls

Sep. 22nd, 2017 03:39 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
I've always dressed androgynously and worn my hair long since childhood, because of being nonbinary, but this was the first time I'd got this treatment. I think it gets more common after puberty?

When I was about fifteen, I participated in a thirty-mile walk to raise money for charity. The final checkpoint was a pub, and of course everyone went into the beer garden and lay down on the grass.

Now you know how when you've been exerting yourself, you can walk fine until you stop, whereupon your muscles seize up. Well, after lying on the ground for a few minutes I got up because I needed to go into the pub and find the toilet, and of course I could hardly walk. So I hobbled towards the pub door.

A middle-aged man walked up and held my elbow, saying, "Let me help you, my dear."

First thought: wtf?! Why has this creep grabbed my arm without asking?

Second thought: Oh! In these baggy walking clothes, he thinks I'm a girl.

Third thought: Wait a moment. That means that girls get this sort of treatment all the time and I'VE NEVER NOTICED.

It was seriously a life-altering moment.

(no subject)

Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:21 pm
fluffymormegil: @ (Default)
[personal profile] fluffymormegil

Dear Northampton Partnership Homes,

If you are going to threaten me with legal action if I don't telephone you, you could at least make your hold system actually useful by giving me SOME KIND OF BLOODY IDEA whether I'm going to be waiting five minutes or twenty-five.

Cruel disregards,
me.

Interesting Links for 22-09-2017

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

The Blood is the Life for 22-09-2017

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

The Good Place: Season 2, Episode 1

Sep. 21st, 2017 12:32 pm
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Absolutely fantastic. Do not click on cut unless you've already seen it. The whole series is streaming on nbc.com.

Read more... )

Managing project backlog

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:14 pm
mtbc: maze C (black-yellow)
[personal profile] mtbc
At work we seem good at accumulating to-do items. Our Trac has many open tickets. Back when our workload was lighter, from Trac I would pick off the occasional longstanding bug and fix it. We since moved to Trello where we already have many labeled cards spread across many long lists on many boards. Trello is a virtual version of how I used to array post-it notes on my cabinets and walls. I have some thoughts about how this large backlog of Trello cards can be organized but in general there is an interesting management problem to be solved that our move from Trac to Trello does not much address.

I wonder how other large projects manage. Our increasingly many backlogged Trello cards do capture a lot of useful ideas, knowhow, investigation, etc. even if they must presently lie dormant. It is difficult to maintain enough awareness of them to know which to promote when to a more active board. We have other non-backlog boards for specific versions and products that reflect intent to act on their cards. Personally I fear that, as with Trac, we are already approaching a point where whole regions of our Trello space are largely neglected and forgotten, though by no means worthless.

I find Trello far from ideal but, assuming that we keep using it, I wonder what approach is best. Personally I favor dividing the backlog among our team, handing items around as best fits what we know. The idea is that we would each spend just a little time each week organizing our part and cycling a little further through it. Many of the to-do's in our brief review should be quickly handled as it still not being their time or accepting that they will never happen. Then, management need only consider those that members of our team put forward as candidates for acting on.
hilarita: casting my stoat (stoat)
[personal profile] hilarita
...as a member of the Lib Dems.

tl;dr - Conference is a pretty excellent place, provided that, unlike me, you have more social skills than a dead hermit.

Quite a lot of Conference is for the srs activist and/or candidate for some kind of political office. There is a fuckton of training, if that's your sort of thing.

However, they've also put quite a lot of effort into general activities, and activities for newbies. Sadly, some of those activities clashed with Important Brexitty debates (which was a bit of a problem this year, because of the number of new people who'd joined specifically because we're one of the less fuckwitted parties over Brexit*). Also, some of these were in the evening, by which time my energy had buggered off somewhere and was having a little lie down. 8/10, would work better for those people who aren't snooze stoats.

They're also encouraging of having new people speak at Conference, which was extremely good. They were very keen to put new members to good use. I found the info on how to fill in Speaker's Cards and so on very useful. 9/10 (I'm docking one point because I'd dearly love there to be a web form, not a pdf or a piece of paper.)

The debates were generally very well run - there's a clear protocol, and people follow it. Most of the motions seemed well-chosen; I'm grateful for those people who've blogged about the process involved with choosing motions and amendments - it really helped me to work out what was going on. 9/10

OK, you get some points for having a Conference app. But you lose several points for the navigation system. Sorry. 5/10, must try harder.

And I'm incredibly glad that I got to take part in Lib Dem policy making, because, as a member, I got a vote! I could turn up, and vote on motions! It's almost like it's a democracy or something! 10/10

So - good Conference. I'm not sure I'll go again, because I'm almost totally incapable of spontaneously talking to people (I can respond when people come up to me, but this is generally insufficient for these kinds of events). Also, just being around so many people (lovely though the people were that I spoke to) was very draining. I've spent most of the past 48hrs on the sofa, with the Internet and computer games (and my partner). Fortunately, this Conference was at a time when I could roll it into my annual leave, so I have time to recover. It didn't really help that Bournemouth and my asthma don't mix well, especially with a hotel on East Cliff. I'd prefer flatter cities for Conference.

I'd like to be more involved with LD policy making, but preferably from my sofa, where I don't have to go anywhere and pretend that I can pass for a reasonably sociable human being.

* We're still being rather incoherent, split, and downright confused about how to present our extremely strong support for the EU, because every so often people whinge But The Will Of The Peeeeople... We're managing to clear the low bar set by the Conservatives and Labour, but frankly, toddlers can step over that bar nine times out of ten.

I no longer get the hang of Thursdays

Sep. 21st, 2017 12:40 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
Had my passport interview today. Everyone told me it was fine and normal but I thought it was weird and intrusive. How many of your bedrooms look onto your back garden? Where did your parents go on their honeymoon? But it was done quickly and kindly, by a big guy with amazing facial hair and who had actually heard of Minnesota because he's an American-football player.

The worst thing about it was that we had to go all the way to Salford for it, which took ages. I turned out to also need to go back to the university because you can't sign up for language classes online, you have to go in person to the place I was twice yesterday where no one told me this. (I presume it's because they need to check the level people are at if they want to do anything other than beginner's level in their language, because there was a lot of that happening. But surely abject beginners should be able to apply with the system we have to use to do everything else?) But I filled out the form so hopefully that's done.

Which means all my bureaucracy should be done that can be done for now, which is good as all of tomorrow will be taken up with volunteer training at Manchester Museum (which is just a different kind of in-person bureaucracy, as little or none of it will be relevant to my role).

And I had a smear test today, and that's all this morning, so frankly not only am I done with today, but I think I need a medal.

For future reference, though, having a lot of local friends means a lot of them share the same doctor's surgery, and I'd heard a lot of good things about the new nurse who frankly could hardly have been worse than the old one. And she lived up to everything I'd heard about her; she didn't mention my weight, even though she did mention my blood pressure a lot which is fair enough as it was high when she checked it. She even took my height and weight which I know will be for bullshit BMI things the NHS makes them do, but while she said "Five four" as she read my height off the thingy, she then looked at the scale and said "weight...[mumbly mumble]" like she was just reminding herself long enough to go write it down (which is exactly what she was doing) so far from making a big deal of it she ensured I didn't know it at all which is the best thing for my mental health.

And when she asked if I wanted a sexual health screening done at the same time I said it was a good idea because I have two partners but it's okay and they know about each other and etc., she actually said "Oh, so you're poly?" Which left me really taken aback! I've never had a health professional know the word before. And she asked me if the partners were "male, female or other" so didn't assume sexuality or binary gender, which made me happy.