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.

Mutiny Part 4

Mar. 22nd, 2017 10:45 am
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
With the departure of Chris, one of the key unifying factors among the crew (viz. hatred of Chris) has vanished. This is a dangerous time for Ant. With no-one else to blame, will they turn on him? Things are made tenser, at least according to Philip Glenister, because they are, for the fourth time in the series, approaching "the most dangerous stage of their voyage."

Getting through the Great Barrier Reef )



*And given what Ant finally fell out with Chris over, I was unimpressed by him standing in the prow wearing his harness like a lei AGAIN, during a gybe in a biggish swell very close to the reef. Getting him back if he fell in wouldn't be any picnic.

Reading Goal Update

Mar. 22nd, 2017 10:31 am
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
[personal profile] forestofglory
I've decide to modify my non-fiction reading goal for 2017. My original goal was to read 10 academic monographs in 2017. However I was struggling to define academic monograph and also had some books I didn't think counted that I wanted to read on my shelf. So after talking it over with some friends I've decided to change the goal to 12 scholarly books, where scholarly is defined as written by a scholar not a journalist.* I upped the number of books to 12 (or one a month) since I'll be including some less dense books.

Having made this decision I've started reading Mary Beard's SPQR, which has been really interesting so far. The introduction promised some discussion of food and trade which I'm really looking forward to.

*Who is a scholar is not clear cut. For example I have book about planning written by practicing planner is he a scholar? I'm going to say yes for proposes of this book challenge. Because he is an expert in the field and not a journalist. Anyways I think "who is a scholar?" is an easier question to answer than "what is an academic monograph"
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  

Tower of London

Mar. 22nd, 2017 01:00 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
[ghosts, death; parody of "Streets of London" by Ralph McTell]

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the Tower of London
Face full of grace with a queenly charm?
She's no breath for talking,
she just keeps right on walking
Carrying her head
Right underneath her arm.

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

And in the topmost turret
You'll meet Sir Walter Raleigh
Cursing at his fall like an angry tar
Looking at the world
With a chip on his shoulder,
Each and every midnight
He smokes a mild cigar.

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

And have you seen the playroom
Of a pair of ghostly princes?
Such endless games in a place like theirs!
Careful where you sit if you
Accept their invitation:
They don't have ghostly cushions
On all their ghostly chairs

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

A touch of frost

Mar. 22nd, 2017 08:12 am
mtbc: maze F (cyan-black)
[personal profile] mtbc
Despite recent Spring-like weather it was below freezing when I left the house this morning; I let the car warm up for a few minutes blowing air to clear its windows. The frost may have surprised the daffodils at least as much as it surprised me.

In Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency mention is made of the possibility of a car with heated side mirrors. To me such a thing seems achievable and desirable for days when those mirrors are obscured by frost: it would save on spraying deicer.

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 )

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.

Slacking off exercise

Mar. 21st, 2017 07:55 pm
mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
[personal profile] mtbc
I had been managing to average over 23 of the cross-trainer's calories per minute. In pushing my workouts to be a little harder and longer I had hoped to be drifting up toward 25 calories/minute but my power level seems to have firmly plateaued. So, I shall now push it in the opposite direction: try working out a little less and see if my power level settles at least above 20 calories/minute. After all, the point is to be getting enough exercise to be acceptably healthy.

Digression

Mar. 21st, 2017 11:43 am
onyxlynx: Many umbrellas of various colors descending across a building façade.  What?! (It's Raining Umbrellas!)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
In spite of his friends' concern, Rosenblatt seems unable to restrain his reflexive impulse to deconstruct.
The Onion on compulsive deconstruction.  May be triggering for graduate students.

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.

Sara Cox's Danceathon

Mar. 20th, 2017 07:33 pm
mtbc: maze G (black-magenta)
[personal profile] mtbc
Comic Relief has been raising money for charitable causes for very many years in the UK. To some extent it, or at least the idea and name, has spread to other countries, but here it is now an established institution. This year's Red Nose Day comes this Friday.

What their formal mission statements are I don't know but, broadly, BBC Radio 6 Music carries a wide selection of music, BBC Radio 1 carries plenty of popular music to which one might expect the youth of today to listen (as a teenager I liked the weekly chart rundown) and BBC Radio 2 carries a fair bit of older popular music, among other things. A number of voices on Radio 2 started out on Radio 1 and shifted over as they and their audiences aged. Radio 3 gets the classical music. These stations are available as online streams.

Sara Cox is a familiar voice, mostly from BBC Radio 1, and she also appears on various BBC television. She was born not far in time or space from where I was. At the moment, for Comic Relief, she is engaged in a 24-hour danceathon: Radio 2 plays music from the 1980s and she dances along, livestreamed online.

I like the music of the era and I haven't been able to resist watching Sara from time to time for a few reasons, including:

  • Fatigue is a powerful force: despite the ongoing scrutiny, I expect that after a while we end up seeing Sara much as she really is underneath. I also wondered how she would flag as the hours went on. However, at the time of writing, she is still doing well and seems genuinely nice: the more I watch, the more I am inclined to root for her.

  • As somebody to whom dancing is quite alien, I figure that somebody who engages in an unchoreographed 24-hour danceathon is quite the opposite of me: I get to see extended video of somebody for whom dancing comes naturally and I can study how they do it.

So far it all seems to have been a good idea and Sara comes across warmly and is probably doing plenty of good for charity. One thing I had not anticipated but have enjoyed is watching her react and adjust as each new song starts.

Update: The following morning Sara was still doing well and the danceathon raised over one million pounds for Comic Relief.
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.

Sociable weekend

Mar. 19th, 2017 03:01 pm
azurelunatic: (Pacifica)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Friday: I woke up at a sensible hour, and did housework. Purple emailed me about the afternoon's beer bash, and I collected myself to go to that. I was running a little late, but made it at last, just before Purple arrived himself. I ran into a few people, and saw people from my old team sitting around the fire pit.

I collected with them there, and Purple soon joined me.

One of my old team had been going through some significant personal changes; she talked a little about that. I gave her reciprocal information, and my card with my real name, and the information to join the tech-slack. (Later, I would ping a former colleague who had done some pioneering work on that process in this workplace, and thank her, since it sounded like my old teammate had gone through a much better experience with the workplace bureaucracy than the former colleague had.)

She and Purple proceeded to talk synthesizer projects until she left to catch her train.

I will need to email my old manager about when to visit in the next few weeks.

The food offerings were surprisingly edible for the context. It was corned beef and cabbage sandwiches with slightly inexplicably rubbery rolls, some under-fried potato-and-cabbage fried things (tasty, but with the consistency of glue), various very green vegetables (cucumber, peas, broccoli, asparagus, and possibly more), cheese soup, and ... green hummus. No green beer, though.

It was a gorgeous evening, not quite too warm. We were joined by the Scruffy Canadian briefly. Someone who I thought might be the Cute Receptionist wandered by. Since I'd missed connecting with her the last time I thought I saw her, when she got close enough I called the name. In case it was her.

It was her. We caught up a bit. Purple teased me.

We hailed lb as he was headed out of the office with his deep dish pizza leftovers. There was a good chat, including some wtf-ery over a github thread that a new arrival in channel had shared (and participated in). There are some statements, such as "An SJW's work is never done", which have radically different meanings based on the context of the person who said it, and since we don't know them that well yet, we are uncertain whether this person is working for the greater good, or complaining about people working for the greater good.

There were dinner plans. I nearly accidentally left my phone in Purple's office until it tweeted.

Dinner was nice. We really should go to the Thai restaurant near the Trader Joe's more often, since it's delicious, close, and reasonably priced. Despite the bell peppers, prawns, and peanuts in nearly everything. (I am attempting to figure out whether peanuts take the surface of my mouth off the way walnuts do, because that would just be ... perfect.)

The Signal app has resolved some of its issues for voice calls, and my partner and I were able to talk nearly all the way home. It only cut out at the place that still gets me a lot on regular network calls, where 35 joins 280 by San Andreas Lake.

It's lovely to say a sleepy goodnight to my partner as we both settle into our beds, and go to sleep with the connection open, knowing that the other is there. I swapped my old Douchebag Headphone (the around-the-neck model with the earbuds) for one that purportedly connects to two devices automatically (it did not, but it wasn't a downgrade) and thus my partner got my old one. (It so happens that I'm the one who digs leading-edge tech, and they like to squeeze every last drop of usefulness out of old tech, so we are an excellent pair there.) They are enjoying it. I was delighted when I saw them in it, because the colors are accidentally representative of both of our favorites.


Saturday started out quietly, with various audio and video chat. One of the video chat things was marred by no helpful audio coming through from the other end; I should have reset when I noticed that it wasn't doing so well.

A friend just had some technically-minor surgery, and I had made plans to go over and say hello and congratulate this weekend. There was a little bit of plan-changing, but in the end I went over there in the afternoon and said hello and such. My aunt had stopped by with some fabric for me and some cashew butter for them. Due to the placement of the surgery, we kept ourselves to heartfelt arm-clasps and some back-patting.

When I got back down to the street, I discovered that a Very Large Pickup Truck had pulled up alongside me with its hazard lights on. Unfortunately, the driver was nowhere in sight, and I wasn't sure if I had enough room to pull out. (I was parallel parked, with a sedan nearly touching my bumper in the back, and a Prius a good distance in front of me, and less than a car length of space on the diagonal to get out.) I decided that I would make one try at it, and if I didn't have clearance that I was comfortable with, I would stop and wait for the driver to return.

It turned out that even though I think there was only one foot of clearance on each side, I was able to get out. (My partner cheered me on.)

I wound up picking up dinner on my way home. They did manage to get my order wrong, although in a different way to what I thought: I thought they'd gotten the wrong thing to the right receipt entry; they had in fact gotten the order entirely wrong from the receipt on down. The replacement was also subtly wrong, but I was not going to argue at that point. (My partner, who had been on the phone the entire time, heard my order and was able to verify that if it was a hallucination that I'd said that, it was a shared hallucination.)


The calendar sharing is going well so far.

There had been an incident. (My partner and I arranged a date; it hadn't gone in their calendar because they thought they'd remember it. Unfortunately, three people managed to step square in each other's complicated traumas, and it took a while to recover. With a lot of communication and crying.) After that, I shared my social calendar with my partner (not the full-on calendar with the specifics on the doctor appointments and such). I also shared the "shadow calendar" I'd made for them, the one that has their work schedule and all the stuff that they tell me about when we're planning our weeks. It's not yet time for us to share a single social calendar.

My partner has shared that calendar on with the friends they're staying with until the situation with the ex gets cleared up. They're not quite comfortable sharing it with others ... just yet. That may change, as the weeks go on.

Today, I'm setting up the week to come, and doing the various communication that goes with it. It's not sexy or glamorous, but it's the little bits of caring contact that helps sustain a relationship. I have to remember to translate the four to five calendar entries that make up one doctor-type appointment into a single block in the social time, ideally when entering it, but at minimum when setting up the week to come.

My attention deficit disorder was diagnosed in the fall of 2015. For a while, I'm not sure exactly how long, I've had to start with the actual time of the actual event I'm going to, and schedule backwards and forwards from that, in order to make sure I have a fair chance of getting there on time and in good order.

First I enter the event, with its actual duration.

Then I figure out where I'm going to be before the event, and figure out how long it takes me to get to that place from the place I am going to be before that. (It usually takes me an hour or so to get from home to any given place in the city of San Francisco; 45 minutes to get to old-work; an hour to get further down-peninsula; anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour to get across the Bay.) I make a separate calendar entry for the transit time, with a little wiggle room.

I figure out where the next place I need to be is, and I do the same thing for that side.

I then give myself an hour's notice to start getting ready, even if I'm scheduled for something else at that time.

If it looks like it's close to my likely sleep time, I count back an hour further and allocate that as wake-up time. (If I haven't slept enough, I will use the wake-up time for an extra hour of sleep, and try to do any complicated prep the night before. Using a checklist, if possible. Sometimes this warrants an entry of its own.)

If it's early enough, I will count back eight hours from the wake time, and schedule that as sleep.
When it's a scheduled sleep time, I will have to schedule myself a bedtime reminder, which is an hour before sleep.

Sometimes, there's a chance that events will run long. In the case of my regular dentist, they've been known to run an hour late. So for them, I schedule in that buffer time. Just in case.

If it's a doctor appointment, the actual appointment goes in my bright red non-negotiable deadlines calendar, and all the ancillary things get in my main calendar. If it's not a doctor or similar, the main event goes directly in my personal calendar.

When it's something that's going to affect my social calendar, the fore and aft transit times and the event itself get globbed into one block of time that I'm unavailable for other events. Since my social calendar can be shared with people who don't need any personal details, unless it's a public(-ish) event, it gets described in vague terms. Dr. X at this address on this floor for this purpose gets vague-ed into "Doctor Appointment."

Stuff in my partner's shadow calendar get vague-ed up the same way. Why yes, my partner is going to X event at Y venue, there is a topic, and they're going with Z. That is "With Z at [vague description]." Or "Date with Z." Before my partner shared the calendar with their hosts, I scrubbed back through and edited a few items that I'd put on there, which had a little too much detail for general consumption. Even so, their hosts were clearly reading through past events, because I overheard Ms. Documentation read out the title of one (with some questions), and I promptly collapsed in giggles. Oh, dear.


There are two current crocheting projects, one of them started a while back. The older one is the penis-based sex ed hat, a sequel to the vagina-based one. So far I have urethra, bladder, glans, some ductwork, and I need to stuff the first testicle before I can close it up. (The testicle is blue, naturally.) I will probably put a drawstring or something on the scrotum so the testes can be examined easily.

The other one is a lace nightgown out of black #10 crochet-cotton thread. I'm putting #6 clear blue-green iris beads on it here and there. We'll see how long I take to finish that one. The beads are in a narrow prescription bottle that fits nicely inside the ball of thread.

I have been going back to paper to-do lists for daily use, and attempting to scan them into my image archives. I've started dating them so I have a better idea of how things went. It's been a fairly reasonable system for reminding me of what I need to get done, and I can move things forward in a helpful way. Sometimes I start pages ahead of time for stuff that needs to be done on a specific date.


After a week and a half of the new meds, I am encouraged at what they're doing with my sleep. That may wind up being a separate entry.