erinptah: (lighthouse)
[personal profile] erinptah
Photos of the Boston construction of America's first subway system.

"On Jupiter, which has 69 moons, it's possible for there to be multiple eclipses occurring at the same time. On Pluto, whose moon appears much larger in its sky than the Sun, total eclipses can happen every day for years on end." [Video]

"The only music that was allowed were classic composers, or simple folk tunes, whose words were all about how great socialism was." So Soviet Russia got an underground cottage industry in illegal music...recorded on discarded X-ray film.

Doctor Who co-creator Sydney Newman advocated a female Doctor in 1986. (As well as some very '70s companions.)

People tend to lose track of actual facts about the Bible, including how Lovecraftian it is: There are twelve pearly gates, they're carved from a single pearl each, and they are never, ever closed.

Literally as I was about to post

Aug. 18th, 2017 06:12 pm
rydra_wong: Doonesbury: Mark announcing into a microphone, "That's guilty! Guilty, guilty, guilty!!" (during the Watergate scandal) (guilty)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
to ask whether any kindly person was running www.hasstevebannonbeenfiredyet.com:

The Independent: Steve Bannon: Trump 'decides to remove chief strategist' from White House role
CBS live updates (warning: autoplays stuff)

"A person close to Bannon" said it was TOTALLY HIS IDEA Y'ALL, IT'S ALL PART OF HIS MASTER PLAN DON'T YOU SEE.

ETA: Recommended: http://plaidadder.tumblr.com/post/164338863264/goodbye-steve-bannon-you-were-fired-too-late
http://plaidadder.tumblr.com/post/164340936634/how-is-this-playing-in-breitbartville-not-well
rydra_wong: the illuminated Sarajevo haggadah (sarajevo haggadah)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Thanks to folks at [community profile] thisfinecrew for links, and links that led to other links among the following:

Solidarity Cville: Donate -- suggestions and links for local groups to support

Indivisble: Stand in Solidarity with Charlottesville - Find an Event

The Nation: Here’s What You Can Do After Charlottesville

Indivisible: Are Your Members of Congress Doing Enough to Respond to the Charlottesville Terrorist Attack? -- though this is several days old and therefore lacks a script for HOLY FUCK THE PRESIDENT IS DEFENDING NEO-NAZIS (EVEN MORE) WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

SPLC releases new edition of Ten Ways to Fight Hate guide after Charlottesville attack

Politico: GOP chairmen resist hearings on white supremacy

They don't want it. Demand it.

[tumblr.com profile] plaidadder: Three Democratic members of the House have introduced a censure resolution.

You can read the text here.

Censure is a formal reprimand. It is not legally binding, but it is rare, and Sends a Message. MoveOn.org originally organized around a campaign to get Congress to censure Clinton instead of impeaching him.

This may be an attempt to accomplish something less difficult than impeachment; or it may be a trial run to see how many Republicans are ready to jump from the Trump Train.


ETA: Politico: Pelosi endorses censure of Trump over Charlottesville response -- apparently at least 79 Democrats have signed.

Not directly Charlottesville-related, but interesting and could be worth asking your reps to support:

H.R.1987 - Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act

To steal Wikipedia's explanation: "This bill would replace the Cabinet as the body that, together with the Vice President, determines whether Section 4 should be invoked. Under the bill, an eleven-member commission would conduct an examination of the President when directed to do so by a concurrent resolution of the Congress."

(Which, basically, shifts the power to forcibly 25th-Amendment the President back towards Congress to a greater degree, as opposed to depending entirely on the Cabinet which that President apppointed.)
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
[personal profile] nanila
Poll #18711 Eye candy
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 38


Which?

View Answers

Vin Diesel
8 (21.1%)

Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock
15 (39.5%)

Yes, yes please
8 (21.1%)

Fast AND furious, hurr hurr
6 (15.8%)

No thanks, fit bald men aren't my thing
12 (31.6%)

I have a really short attention span. What was the question?
5 (13.2%)

Cake, anyone?
19 (50.0%)

Ticky!
13 (34.2%)

Helsinki, Worldcon

Aug. 18th, 2017 12:04 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
That was not the Worldcon I would have liked; I'd hoped to do as several of my friends did, and travel overland and explore some of the region. Or at least to really get immersed in the con itself. And I'd have liked a proper holiday with my partners and their children, which hasn't really happened this year though we've had a few short breaks.

In reality I was only able to go for the long weekend. I spent an eye-watering amount of money on a trip that didn't quite work for me, between flights, accommodation, Worldcon membership (when I actually only ended up attending for half a day), and just general living expenses in a not very well planned trip to an expensive city. It feels churlish to complain about being in a position to spend a bit too much on a less than perfect trip, and in many ways it was good, just not quite what I'd hoped for.

more details )
oursin: The Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel (Delphic sibyl)
[personal profile] oursin

Was lately reading something about (male) travellers and those Amazingly Beautiful Women they saw somewhere a long way away after arduous journeying, which might be partly about Exoticising the Other, but also, I think, about there being some place (or time) which is not boring old Here, where things are amazing.

On the, Not Like The Women I Have To Deal With Here And Now In The Present, a friend of mine has a piece somewhere or other (actually I think it's in a volume in which I too am represented) about certain late C19th French (male) intellectuals complaining that women of their day were by no means comparable to the HOTT witty libertine ladies of the Ancien Regime in their salons.

And this led me to the thought that maybe if you are living in it no time is Perfect and Ideal: some may be better than others, for more people, maybe. Just as there were people who found, for them, good lives in times/places that are not usually thought of as utopian eras and most time-travellers would not put on their bucket lists.

Anything close-up and quotidien is, I depose, something the flaws in which you are going to apprehend fairly acutely. Though possibly the upside of that is, that they are the flaws and hindrances that one has developed work-arounds for (see Katharine Whitehorn on the little niggles about one's house that one hardly notices any more but has to warn visitors about).

Daily Happiness

Aug. 18th, 2017 01:41 am
torachan: onoda sakamichi from yowamushi pedal with a huge smile (onoda smile)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I got a small paid translation job tonight. Due Tuesday morning Japan time, which means Monday evening for me, so that gives me plenty of time. A lot of times when these guys ask me it's super last minute and the time zones make it impossible, so I'm always happy when it's one I can take.

2. I made chocolate chip cookies. Haven't done any baking in ages since it's been such warm weather, but it really hasn't been bad the last week or so and it really didn't heat up the house too much to make these.

3. I finished another book today, which puts me at fifty books so far for the year. I can't believe it! My goal was originally twenty! It's at sixty now, but I think I'm going to have to end up upping it again at this rate.

4. Molly was sleeping with her paw over her face, and when I went to take her picture, she moved her head but still kept her paw in the same place, which was super cute.

Weekly Reading

Aug. 17th, 2017 10:32 pm
torachan: (Default)
[personal profile] torachan
What are you currently reading?
I read about a chapter more on Attack of the Theater People, but that's it. I think I've only managed to read before bed one time this last week, and every other night I stayed up too late and went straight to sleep. (Even the nights I went to bed early I was too tired to read.)

What did you recently finish reading?
I finally finished The History of Forgetting. This book was kind of a mish-mash of the history of LA, LA in fiction, and some actual fiction about LA. The latter is the weakest part of the book and I think dropping it would have made it a better book overall. A random sixty-page novella dropped in the middle of a work of non-fiction could possibly be made to work, but it didn't here, at least not for me.

I did like the parts that were actual history of LA and a look at how LA has been portrayed in books and movies over the years. This was published about twenty years ago and a lot has changed downtown since then, and I'd be interested to see the author's thoughts on those changes. It looks like an updated version of the book was released about ten years ago, but even that was before the real downtown revival.

What do you think you'll read next?
Well, I have three books marked "currently reading" on Goodreads that I haven't actually started on, so hopefully one or more of those! People in Trouble by Sarah Schulman is what I just added to GR tonight as my current physical book. I read several books by her a few years ago and really liked them, but for some reason never read the last two I had bought at that time, and when looking for a new book to read tonight after finishing A History of Forgetting, I spotted them and decided to go with that. I've also still got Hollow City, though since I'm also reading Attack of the Theater People, idk if I will actually make any progress on this until I finish that, since I don't like switching between ebooks. Then finally I've got The Big Picture: Murals of Los Angeles, which I found in a pile of books on the curb the other day while out on our evening walk.
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

I.e., this week has been mostly getting the new computer to do those things which it ought to do, and leave undone those things which it ought not do -

Among which the most disturbing was the discovery this morning that Thunderbird was marking ALL, yes ALL, incoming mail as Junk and also as Read, fortunately I did discover that this was happening.

There has also been wrestling with getting to be able to talk to the MyCloud as part of my home network rather than via a remote interface connection.

There was the oops, I needed to do a backup of This Thing, That Thing and The Other Thing from the old computer, and having to sort that out.

There is all the finding the passwords and activation codes for things for which I entered a password when I first activated the thing, and never since.

There is also the loss of some things - don't seem to be able to have the little slide-show widget thing of photos on my desktop, chiz - and finding that the new versions of things are Not What We Expect - the new Kobo Desktop App is quite horrid.

But on the whole, we are reasonably satisfied with the New System - its speed in particular is commendable.

However, I am annoyed with Opera, which I was intending using as my secondary browser to avoid Microsoft and Google, but the main thing I wanted a secondary browser for was so that I can log into The Other DW Journal without logging out of this one, but Opera, for some reason I wot not of, insists on autofilling the login screen with the details for this account rather than the other - la, 'tis tedious vexatious.

(no subject)

Aug. 17th, 2017 05:37 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] negothick and [personal profile] quiara!
erinptah: (Default)
[personal profile] erinptah
"[Kevin Pratt-King] had asked McCain for help after being diagnosed with the same form of aggressive cancer, glioblastoma. Instead of offering aid, according to Roy’s tweet, McCain advised them to move to a different state."

"Social workers began going door to door in San Juan housing projects, explaining that a pill could be taken daily to prevent pregnancy. Once women were told what the pill did, they signed up by the hundreds. However, these women were not informed that they were part of a clinical trial or that the treatment was experimental."

"Side effects [of the vaginal implant] can range from chronic pain and loss of sexual function, to major complications like the implant protruding through the bladder, or bowels, even necessitating removal of organs ensnared in the mesh. It can shrink inside your body, slicing through nerve endings, tissue and organs."

"If someone makes the effort of going to doctor after doctor, and all they are given is a pat on the head and told, 'Oh, sweetie, you'll be OK—you just need to smile more,' that is a failure of the physicians." Article covers both social biases (like doctors assuming a woman's problems are psychosomatic instead of doing tests) and biological ones (like researchers only testing on male mice, leaving them with huge gaps in knowledge regarding biologically female humans).

"The Gay Men’s Chorus posed to illustrate the impact of AIDS. Those dressed in black, with their backs turned, represent those who had died." This 1993 photo is a punch in the heart.

"The military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on transgender troops’ medical care."

And for something more hopeful:

An experiment, recounted in comic form: If you put rats alone in cages, they'll addict themselves to morphine. If you put them in an enriching environment with a bunch of other rats to hang out with, they'll avoid it.

Gisella Perl, the "Angel of Auschwitz" -- who got that title by providing abortions, so the Nazis wouldn't have pregnant Jewish women to experiment on.

"As what was thought to be the largest referral service in the country, which referred an estimated half million women for abortions in its six years of existence, the [Clergy Consultation Service] had significant market power that it leveraged to reduce the going rate for an abortion." The name isn't a euphemism. It was literally a coalition of Protestant and Jewish religious leaders.

"Intersex advocates are rejoicing at a paper released by three former US Surgeons General. The surgeon-generals called for an end to forced medical surgeries on young intersex people."

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK

Aug. 17th, 2017 09:57 am
rydra_wong: Doonesbury: Mark announcing into a microphone, "That's guilty! Guilty, guilty, guilty!!" (during the Watergate scandal) (guilty)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
I just woke up to find that somehow Steve Bannon accidentally(?) gave an interview to a left-wing political magazine and I can't cope with these things before multiple cups of coffee.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/17/steve-bannon-calls-far-right-losers-trump-warns-china-trade-war-american-prospect
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/us/politics/bannon-alt-right-trump-north-korea.html

I honestly have no clue if that's accidentally or "accidentally", and maybe he's trying to separate himself from the Charlottesville marchers by dismissing them as "losers" and positioning himself as more rational/reasonable than Trump on North Korea before he gets fired, or what the actual fuck. Especially given that he was reportedly delighted and "proud" about Trump's press conference statements.

seriously wtf

Daily Happiness

Aug. 17th, 2017 12:14 am
torachan: (Default)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Kinda busy day today at work, but not too bad.

2. Day off tomorrow!

3. We had watermelon tonight after dinner and there's some left for tomorrow, too.

4. Playful Chloe. :D

Wednesday is positively summery

Aug. 16th, 2017 03:53 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished The Color of Fear: up to usual standard.

PC Hodgell, The Gates of Tagmeth: these have definitely succumbed to a kind of Dunnett syndrome, in which there is some huge mysterious meta-arc going on, occasionally alluded to, but each episode deals with some particular problem that Jame (mostly) has to face (there were a few other viewpoint sections in this one) in the foreground and doesn't seem to be advancing the longer game particularly. On the other hand, kept me reading. On the prehensile tail, so not the place to start. (Are there really only 8 books in the Kencyrath sequence? only I have been reading them for decades, so it seems more.)

JD Robb, Echoes in Death (2017), as the ebook had finally come down to a sum I consider reasonable for an ebook. The mixture as usual, pretty much. Okay, not the most sophisticated of mystery plots, I got this and the twist very early on, but it's the getting there, I guess.

On the go

Discovered I had a charity-shop copy of PD James, The Private Patient (2008), the last of the excursions of Dalgleish, which I had not already read for some reason - possibly because I wasn't at that time sufficiently keen on PDJ and AD to shell out for a trade paperback.

Up next

Dunno, really.

rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Trump reverts to blaming both sides in Charlottesville including 'violent alt-left'

Note: this headline is an understatement. The morning briefing headline does not pull its punches:

Wednesday briefing: Trump's words of comfort for Nazis

Mic.com: 5 takeaways from Trump's off-the-rails presser on Charlottesville violence

[tumblr.com profile] la-belle-laide points out a hell of a tell:

ALSO? The moment after he asks to define “alt-right” and is told that John McCain said that alt-right were the Neo-Nazis involved, he said: “Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at us – excuse me – what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?“

US.

The alt-right Neo Nazis is “US” to him.


I mean, we knew. I don't think anyone who's been paying attention is surprised that Trump thinks this. What terrifies me is that a) he's out-of-control enough to say this shit in public, and b) the Republicans might let him get away with it.

The Hill: WH sends GOP talking points saying Trump ‘entirely correct’ on Charlottesville

[tumblr.com profile] plaidadder comments:

Anyone you see tomorrow saying that, well, you’ll know they’re ‘just following orders,’ and that they always will.

Also, fuck the Republicans who will oh-so-bravely-and-controversially Tweet that neo-Nazis are evil, but not criticize Trump by name.

In fact, fuck the Republicans who will daringly tut and shake their heads sadly at Trump by name over this, but do nothing to stop him or remove him from power.

Vienna: Tiergarten Schoenbrunn

Aug. 16th, 2017 01:27 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Fish
Keiki squats down to look at the fish in the polar bear enclosure at the Vienna Tiergarten.

The Schoenbrunn should definitely make the top ten of every visitor attraction list of Vienna, if not the top three. It’s the gigantic former summer palace of the Hapsburgs, and the grounds alone merit at least a half-day stroll to explore fully. There are gardens, fountains, hidden playgrounds, an enormous glasshouse full of palm trees, and even a zoo.

Despite having visited the Schoenbrunn grounds many times, I’d never been to the zoo, which is allegedly the oldest in the Western world (founded in 1752). Now, with two small children, one of whom is animal-obsessed, I had good reason to go. The children and I set out early one morning to travel via the Viennese underground to the palace.

Humuhumu was keen to learn how to navigate the transport system. She got very good at spotting the way to the correct train lines, and proudly announced when the next train would be arriving after we got to the platforms.

It took us 45 minutes to get from our temporary abode to the Schoenbrunn and, conveniently, it was just about Cake O’clock when we arrived. We detoured around the palace entrance and stopped off at an Aida Konditorei, a chain of inexplicably pink cafés that serve extremely nice cakes, coffees and hot chocolates (apart from the one near the opera house – avoid that one; everyone who works there is sick of tourists and very grumpy).

We walked into the Aida and chorused “Guten Morgen” at the round-faced, unsmiling woman behind the counter. She broke into a beaming grin and showed us to the table next to a tiny play area containing toys and books, which the children pounced upon. (Throughout the trip, I encouraged the children to greet everyone we met in German, to say please and thank you in German, to order their food using the German words and, when I felt confident in my knowledge of the right phrases, I coached them to make requests in German. I was astonished at the abundance of goodwill toward us that this produced.) Humuhumu ordered her hot chocolate and cake in German, and was rewarded with an additional pink meringue, which she received with an unprompted “Danke schoen”. When we left, Keiki crowing “Wiedersehen” over my shoulder with his dimpliest smile, the server came out from round the counter and gave each of the children an extra biscuit, which, to be honest, they didn’t really need after all that sugar!

Full of energy, we bounded into the grounds of the Schoenbrunn and raced around whilst waiting for the grandparents to join us at the entrance to the Tiergarten (Zoo). As vast as the Schoenbrunn grounds are, they are not big enough to house a comprehensive collection of the world’s animals, so cleverly the Tiergarten is focused on a limited number of species and provided them with luxurious accommodation.

Keiki and Humuhumu loved the place, particularly Keiki. Once he spotted the meerkat enclosure, we couldn’t get him to finish his lunch. Neither could we readily tear him away from the penguins. In fact, Granddad had a bit of a job keeping Keiki from clambering into their pond to join them. We communed with the seals. We watched a polar bear chewing meditatively on a traffic cone. And, of course, Humuhumu found a climbing wall and had to try everything.

It was a wonderful place to spend a sunny afternoon, and we will certainly return to the Tiergarten on our next trip to Vienna.

Further photos beneath the cut.
+++ )

Reading Wednesday 16/08

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:28 pm
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
Recently read:
  • Dzur by Steven Brust.

    I didn't love this; I'm not sure how much it's a weaker member of the series and how much it's me. It is book 10 in a set of 19, of which the last five are still to be written. I may have left it too long since I read the previous volumes, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. I decided I couldn't be bothered following all the complex allusions to the meta-structure of the whole series, and as a single novel it's never more than just ok. I didn't find Vlad's voice or Loiosh's asides witty, and the pacing dragged, and I didn't care about the mystery. Because I hadn't been following the chronology properly, the twist at the end wasn't a delightful surprise, it just unsatisfyingly didn't make sense.

    When I was reading 50 books a year, I intended to read the whole series, because both the individual novels and the way they fit together into a complex whole appeal to me. Now that I read more like 15 or 20, I'm thinking I may drop this. Not sure; one weaker book doesn't mean the whole series isn't worth bothering with.

  • A taste of honey by Kai Ashante Wilson. This was a Hugo-nominated novella, which meant that several of my friends read it, and were enthusiastic about it. So I ended up reading the copy from my Hugo packet on the way back from Worldcon, which is not exactly in the spirit of things. And I regret not reading it in time to vote for it, not that it would have made much difference since McGuire's Every heart a doorway (which I wasn't keen on) won by miles.

    Anyway, this is a really amazing fantasy romance story. It's beautifully written, great characters, twisty, thought-provoking plot. The worldbuilding is really deep; looking it up it turns out this is a companion novella in the setting of a novel, which I'm now definitely going to seek out. I had dismissed Wilson's Sorcerer of the Wildeeps mainly because the name is so clunky; I assumed it was parodic or just really generic swords and sorcery.

    It's hard to describe exactly what's so great about AToH without spoilers, but it's a really moving romance, and has a lot to say about choices and sacrifices made for love. [personal profile] jack thought it maybe needed some content warnings; some of the content is about homophobia and abusive parenting. To me it didn't feel like misery porn, it felt as if it centred its variously Queer characters and described some of the bad things in their life as well as the good. But I can imagine some readers finding it hard going.

    Up next: The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. I'd been meaning to read this, though I'm a little scared of what I've heard about it, and I've now bumped it up my list since the sequel won a second Hugo.
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