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January 10, 2005

Open thread 35
Posted by Teresa at 04:43 PM *

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day …

Comments on Open thread 35:
#1 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 05:11 PM:

...The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea...

#2 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 05:13 PM:

35.

Most prominent 35, apparently.

But also, 35 is nice enough. I, too, wonder what this is.

#3 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 05:26 PM:

Looks like a hurdy-gurdy to me, Kip.

#4 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 05:37 PM:

Can I rant, can I, huh, huh?

Couple of days ago I received my first spam from someone claiming to be collecting money for the tsunami victims. But even that was beaten by the spamware sellers who were eager to tell fundreaising organisations that they had really cheap lists of email addresses to send begging spam to...

There are times when I wish I believed in the existence of a literal hell...

#5 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 05:38 PM:

Not to be mistaken for a hurly-burly.

35 is a semiprime, by the way. :-)

#6 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 05:43 PM:

Ohhhhh, I REALLY want a plush Anubis! I have an image and two mirror-image candleholders (plus a little faiance chachke) of him, but nothing cuddly. By "I really want one" I mean badly enough to give them my email address so they can notify me when it's back in stock.

Let no man* doubt my commitment to my spiritual path.

*Women, of course, are allowed to doubt whatever they want...I'm not stupid.

#7 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 05:48 PM:

I don't giving Troll & Toad your e-mail address is a problem - while I've never ordered from them myself I understand them to be reputable.

However, if you want a plush Anubis Right Now (and I think you do), Noble Knight claims to have them in stock (and they're definitely reputable - I've ordered from them).

#8 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 05:52 PM:

Thanks, Dan. And it's the same one, too (Toy Vault). Now if I could only find a plush Ganesha, I'd be all set.

#9 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 05:56 PM:

Xopher, you HAD to make me look, didn't you?

http://givemetoys.zoovy.com/product/AC_10578

Not plush, but definitely in the same neighborhood.

#10 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 06:01 PM:

Thanks TChem. Not cuddly though. Ganesha, of all gods, should be cuddly. Despite his non-cuddly reputation, Anubis is a Comforter as well.

And thanks again, Dan. I ordered the Anubis from Noble Knight. I mistakenly clicked the Add to Cart button twice and it said "You have exceeded our available inventory of this item." I'm pretty sure that means I got the last one they had.

[jumps up and down] I'm gonna have a 'Nubis cuddle toy!!!! Yay!!!!

#11 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 06:06 PM:

Troll & Toad's plush Godzilla monsters are also pretty cool.

#12 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 06:08 PM:

FIRST PO --

Oh, sorry: not slashdot.

Xopher: I contemplate the orgy of plush lovecraftian horrors on the coffee table in the living room, and my debit card curses your Anubis.

(Middle Kingdom/Lovecraftian slash dioramas, here we come ...)

#13 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 06:11 PM:

Anybody have any suggestions of good games for older folks (73), which are memory-oriented?

My father woke up one day in August feeling like he'd been away on a trip for a long time, and having forgotten large chunks of the last 50 years or so. He still has trouble retaining things. I'd like to get him engaged in some sort of activity that would exercise things, in hopes of staving off or slowing down further losses.

Thanks,

Jon

#14 ::: Toni ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 06:20 PM:

Fourteen pairs of aerial before and after photos of tsunami devastation:

http://homepage.mac.com/demark/tsunami/9.html

#15 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 07:37 PM:

Probably not the sort of thing Jon had in mind, but I was irresistibly reminded of this by Teresa's Sprodzoom link:

http://www.ansible.co.uk/ai/pcwplus/pcwp1989.html#jul

Summary: Dave Langford explains how maths/computer geeks entertained themselves, or at least did severe damage to their brain cells, before Doom was invented.

#16 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 07:40 PM:

Xopher:

For a not-so-cuddly and much pricier Anubis, here:

http://www.stuffemal.com/morphs/Anubis.html

More here:
http://www.stuffemal.com/morphs/morphs.html

Charlie, they have a Cthulhu:
http://www.stuffemal.com/morphs/Cthulhu.html

#17 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 08:23 PM:

law enforcement agencies in both states have decided to focus on crimes within polygamous communities that involve child abuse, domestic violence and fraud, http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/polygamy.html

http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_2517264

Article Last Updated: 1/09/2005 10:28 AM

Polygamy guide aims to provide info to outsiders
"The Primer": The manual details history and customs to help law enforcement and social workers
By Pamela Manson
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
"The Primer" - which was put online Thursday at http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/polygamy.html - includes a history

#18 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 08:35 PM:

Charlie Stross wrote:

Xopher: I contemplate the orgy of plush lovecraftian horrors on the coffee table in the living room, and my debit card curses your Anubis.

It took me a while to have people understand that Cthulhu really was my backseat driver... and then he went on a hawaiian vacation, and hasn't been seen since :)

#19 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 08:52 PM:

xeger wrote "and then he went on a hawaiian vacation, and hasn't been seen since :)"

Er, which island? I can keep an eye out for him if he came to Oahu. ;)

#20 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 09:06 PM:

Xopher, if you find a plush Ganesha, I want one.

#21 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 09:47 PM:

The classic memory game is Concentration (or Pelmanism) -- deal out a deck of cards face down, turn them up in pairs, and when you get two cards of the same rank and color (say, both red Queens), remove the pair. Obviously, you can play with a partial deck, and you've probably already got the equipment. There's a computer variant, using mahjongg tiles, that's on the "Buncha Mahjongg Variants Cheap On One Disk" I've got, and there are probably versions on other many-cheap-games collections.

I'm not sure if the inductive-logic games like Mastermind or Black Box would help, but they have the advantage that another person is playing, but in a non-competitive mode (that is, one person sets up the puzzle, and provides answers as the other player tries to solve it -- Concentration can be played with lots of people, but a person with memory loss would lose a lot.

#22 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 09:57 PM:

Kate Nepveu wrote:
Xopher, if you find a plush Ganesha, I want one.

I'm not Xopher, but a quick inquiry on an IRC channel yielded this link.

Additionally, these things just look odd.

#23 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 10:01 PM:

Bill Blum, that is gorgeous--more than I can afford at the moment, but absolutely gorgeous. Thanks--I will make a note of it should I have the spare cash.

#24 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 10:04 PM:

Bill, I'm not Xopher either, but thank you for finding that: I went looking for a bit earlier and didn't find one.

#25 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 10:23 PM:

I have Ganesh and three other deities in handy fingerpuppet form, which I bought at an art supply store in Norfolk. They call them "Handy Hindus." Mine occupy a sort of de facto shrine on the mantel, near the glowing aliens and a select collection of small rabbit figures we've happened upon in our travels. Um, and other stuff. I wouldn't want to mislead anyone into thinking I had a tidy mantel.

Mr. Ford beat me to Concentration, but I'd just like to point out that the statement -- Obviously, you can play with a partial deck, and you've probably already got the equipment. -- when accompanied with the proper facial expression, doubles as a subtle putdown. In its spare time.

#26 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 10:40 PM:

Dare I say this? Xopher is correct that 35 is a very appropriate number for this open thread because, as with 2005, it is a semiprime.

#27 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 11:18 PM:

Jon H--My mother and her homies at the assisted living facility have a regular game of Trivial Pursuit and seem to enjoy it...

#28 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 11:57 PM:

The Anubis that Steve links to bears an uncanny resemblance to my belgian. A bit too chunky to be an authentic Egyptian diety.

I'd get the anubis Teresa linked to, but I'm beginning to suspect that at the gates of the underworld it is not your heart that is weighed against a feather, but the amount of useless crap you leave behind for your relatives to sort through.

#29 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2005, 11:59 PM:

Linkmeister offered to lose sanity points:

xeger wrote "and then he went on a hawaiian vacation, and hasn't been seen since :)"

Er, which island? I can keep an eye out for him if he came to Oahu. ;)

He did come to Oahu, but I'm apparently not allowed to say anymore ...

#30 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 12:33 AM:

Oh, this is scary:

Little plastic cubicle dweller figures and furnishings.

http://cubefigures.com/home.html

They need to make a Break Room set, with a water cooler and a coffee maker with a carafe left empty by some selfish bastard.

#31 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 12:45 AM:

Why, it is indeed a hurdy-gurdy. Says so right at the bottom.

How odd. I'd always thought they were box-shaped things you wore around your neck. With a monkey who wore a vest similar to yours. Never trust cartoons, I guess, is the moral here.

#32 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 01:01 AM:

Um, right, xeger. I understand. Well, better Oahu than the Big Island, what with the volcano and all.

#33 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 01:16 AM:

Chatter about hurdy-gurdys, and some of the
other things above, like poetry and gods and
whatnot, have reminded me of an amusing quote:

"You've caused such a pandemonium that I'll have to set a radiating disorientation spell to confuse the pursuit you've certainly roused."

[...]

"What's a pandemonium?" whispered one of the men in the rear.

"It's like a calliope," answered a companion. "I heard one played at the Harmony Fair last summer, when I went there to see my sister's boy play his organ."

"His what?"

"His organ."

"Lord. People pay money to see things like that?"

Can anyone name the author being silly
(without resorting to online resources)?

#34 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 02:08 AM:

Just got back from talking with Rob Morrow, Judd Hirsch, the passionate David Krumholtz, and the creator/writers of NUMB3RS at a screening with my former teacher, Gary Lorden, professor and executive officer for Math at Caltech, who is NUMB3RS' Math consultant. This is a great TV show! You can find a lot about it online, and I'd like to be brief. So let me say that, although they are not pitching it as Science Fiction, I'd say that it must be as "FBI Special Agent Don Eppes recruits his mathematical genius brother, Charlie Eppes, to help the Bureau solve a wide range of challenging crimes in Los Angeles. Inspired by actual events, NUMB3RS depicts how the confluence of police work and Mathematics provide unexpected revelations and answers to the most perplexing criminal questions." Writer/Creators Cheryl Heuton & Nicolas Falacci set this at a thinly-disguised Caltech, and were inspired both by Richard Feynman and an actual serial rape solved by a Canadian mathematician -- and the equations on the blackboard are real. The Point-of-View FX of the math genius are a great cross between A Beautiful Mind and CSI. Please watch the premier on Sunday 23 January 2005 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, before moving to its regular Friday 10:00 time period on 28 January 2005. Then deluge David Sperber, the press contact at Paramount Television Network, (323)956-4323 with praise (assuming you like it even half as much as I did, and SF novelist Dr. Tom McDonough did). Deluge was a bad word; there's a Flash Flood Watch mudslide oozing under my North garden door right now, gotta go.

#35 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 02:31 AM:

Mentioning television, could I put in a quick AAARRRGHH! and bad thoughts towards our local Network Nine, who suspended West Wing broadcasts (just after Zoe's kidnapping) for about 9-12 months, started them up again about 3 weeks ago, moved them from Monday to Tuesday, started again this week on Monday (yesterday) & announced that they were playing another episode tonight ....

Ganesh, St Anthony, Anubis, or your supra-human being of choice Knows what they plan on for next week! Assuming there's any plan at all; perhaps dice are involved.

Anyway, I'm going off to see Cosi Fan Tutti tonight, along with not having nasty virus, which should cheer me up.

#36 ::: Sam Dodsworth ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 05:07 AM:

Owlmirror:

Tim Powers, The Anubis Gates. One of his two best (with On Stranger Tides), in my opinion.

How about this, which the opening quote brings irresistably to my mind:

The cur foretells the knell of parting day;
The loafing herd winds slowly o'er the lea;
The wise man homeward plods; I only stay
To fiddle-faddle in a minor key.

#37 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 06:23 AM:

I don't usually care much for soft toys, but that Ganesha is darned cute. It's probably a good thing I don't have any disposable income at the moment!

I also have a Ganesha finger puppet - he lives on a shelf in my office with Pinky and the Brain. The Brain doesn't seem to have the hang of the mantra, so he hasn't yet been granted the ability to take over the world (phew!).

Yesterday, a friend I hardly ever see sent me a Jane Austen figure puppet - her head (that of the puppet - not my friend) is also a magnet. I am a lucky woman...

#38 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 08:10 AM:

From the free-market flu article:

"Dumping more than 8 percent of your output every year is not a good business plan."

Like, say, mass-market paperbacks?

#39 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 08:24 AM:

Tis indeed a hurdy-gurdy (French Vielle a Roue -- wheel fiddle). They come in many forms, from plain box to lute to what looks like a round-backed guitar-like body in that picture. The crank turns a rosined wheel under the strings, the keys press lightly against one or two melody strings tuned in unison. There are also drone strings and a trompette string -- that's the one with the little bridge under it at the top of the instrument in the picture. By varying the speed that you crank the wheel, you can make the bridge rattle against the soundboard for a rhythmic element. The drone string at the bottom is hooked away from the wheel to keep it from sounding, it would be used to play music in other keys. With melody over drones, it has sort of a bagpipey sound to it.
Just to confuse things, hand-cranked player-organs have also been called hurdy-gurdys. I don't know where the monkey comes in.

#40 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 09:16 AM:

What is the significance of a number being semi-prime? I understand from the examples given here that that means it has only two prime factors (besides itself and one) -- what is special about such a number?

#41 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 09:18 AM:

Oh and would e.g. 175 (= 5 * 5 * 7) be considered semi-prime, or does it have to be the product of first powers of two prime numbers?

#42 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 09:37 AM:

I don't know where monkeys come from, John. I don't know how they reproduce, or what they eat...but I know they were born to clean bathrooms.

#43 ::: Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 09:43 AM:

My mother and her homies at the assisted living facility have a regular game of Trivial Pursuit and seem to enjoy it...

The kind of memory needed for Trivial Pursuit (information learned well in the past) is actually one of the last things to go in older people with memory problems. People hold on to things they learned in school or in young adulthood for a long, long time. It's the recent stuff, and the ability to put new information into memory, that's the problem.

In 1999-2000, I worked doing neuropsychological evaluations at a veteran's hospital. I commonly had interchanges with vets that went like this:

Rivka: So, tell me what you did during the war.

Vet: [gives detailed and well-organized account of Korean War service, including dates, place names, and unit numbers.]

Rivka: Okay, and let's talk a little bit about some recent news. President Clinton got into a lot of trouble last year - what was that about?

Vet: It was, um, I think there was something about a girl.

Or the shorthand version: "Who was the first president of the United States? And who is president now?" To most of us, those are equally easy questions. To someone in the early stages of dementia, the first question is still easy, but the second one is trickier.

#44 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 09:44 AM:

Stray thought...

On Friday, Deo volenti, we will learn what the surface of Titan looks like, from the inside.

Has any enterprising reporter thought to ask Kurt Vonnegut what he thinks?

(After all, Ray Bradbury is constantly being interviewed about Mars. Titan belongs to Vonnegut, no?)

#45 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 09:54 AM:

My husband likes to get books with brain exercises in it -- is it a bad sign that I can't remember a single title now?
I do remember what one of them said -- learning new things is good. Typical brain exercises it had was doing routine things in a new way -- use your left hand to brush your teeth, dress in the dark, or pick a new route for your commute. Something about building new brain connections.

#46 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 10:38 AM:

Dare I say this? Xopher is correct that 35 is a very appropriate number for this open thread because, as with 2005, it is a semiprime.

And here I thought that by mentioning it first I might preempt your mentioning exactly the same thing. Silly me.

The Anubis that Steve links to bears an uncanny resemblance to my belgian. A bit too chunky to be an authentic Egyptian diety.

If I had a dog that looked like that, he'd be named Anpu (best guess as to how Anubis' name was actually pronounced). Gorgeous dog, btw.

I'd get the [A]nubis Teresa linked to, but I'm beginning to suspect that at the gates of the underworld it is not your heart that is weighed against a feather, but the amount of useless crap you leave behind for your relatives to sort through.

Well, since your heart is supposed to weigh exactly the same as the feather (the heiroglyph for Maat, which is the proper balance of life), perhaps leaving just the right amount is a good thing...and I certainly wouldn't call a plush Anubis -- or even a teddy bear -- "useless." But then I have a soft-toy velociraptor, so my judgement may be suspect...

Jeremy Osner, I'm mostly kidding when I say "No, no, nooooooooo! Shutupshutupshutup!!!!!"

#47 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 10:42 AM:

Oops, sorry, consider the questions retracted then...

#48 ::: Dru ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 10:48 AM:

As someone on the wrong end of the distribution curve for familial and non-familial Alzheimers (Volga River German descendant), here's what I recall:

moderate to heavy caffine drinkers have a lower incidence of agressive onset

take those anti-oxidants all you can, especially in fresh food form

there are several experimental drugs that target different neurochemicals and plaques being tested now

games that employ learning new facts and cover new areas of interest, methods of doing things are apparently more effective than quizing on topics or memory games, mainly since everyone learns those games in various forms throughout their lives. The important thing with developing new pathways is not to pressure the person or make them feel like they are failing if they have a bad day.

Honestly though, have you had your father professionally evaluated? There are many faces to the catch-all "dementia". It sounds like he might have had a micro-stroke, and the treatments for stroke patients are different. The sooner you start on a targeted treatment, the better the general prognosis for delayed onset.

The Mayo clinic, NYU Silberstein facility and many others will have better advice. If you are near a research institue, you might have better chance of a tailored treatment.

Hope that helps somewhat.

#49 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 10:50 AM:

Jeremy Osner:

Yes, it has "to be the product of first powers of two prime numbers" -- or the square of one prime. 49 is thus semiprime.

175 = 5 * 5 * 7 is a 3-almost prime, and the product of two distinct primes. A semiprime is the product of exactly two primes, not necessarily different. The product of the three different primes is called a sphenic number. Why do semiprimes matter? The RSA algorithm is one of the most important of computer security systems, and the first of the "public key cryptosystems." RSA is based on semiprimes. Specifically, it's easy to multiply together two 1000-digit primes to get a 2000-digit or 2001-digit semiprime, but it's almost impossibly hard to factor a big semiprime even if you know it's a semiprime. Coincidently, I spoke with Adelman (the "A" in RSA) at the 3-day conference this past weekend, "Engineering a DNA World." He was interested in molecular computers solving semiprime problems.

See:
Semiprime -- from MathWorld

Emirpimes -- from MathWorld, one of my goofier yet inexplicably popular inventions of 2004.

RSA Encryption

Almost Prime -- from MathWorld.

#50 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 11:03 AM:

I move that the last post be disregarded by the jury, and stricken from the record, with no prejudice to posters of either question or answer. ;-)

Soo -- why does Titan belong to Vonnegut?

#51 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 11:06 AM:

Teresa, if you haven't heard this story, I suspect it would please you:

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/01/11/MNG5NAODFA1.DTL

If this were in a book, no one would believe it...

#52 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 11:11 AM:

I am very disheartened that there's no streaming feed of Steve Jobs' keynote from Macworld today...

#53 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 11:23 AM:

There must be something, because I can't connect to the Mac World Expo website at the moment.

However: my spies are everywhere, so I wait patiently.

#54 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 11:31 AM:

Actually, Bill, it may be for the best. I, for one, will have an easier time of looking busy at work today now that I won't be going "ooh" and "aah" at the computer screen every few minutes.

Of course, hanging out around here does nothing for my productivity either.

#55 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 11:32 AM:

Xopher: I have a soft-toy velociraptor.

Oooh, where'd you get it?

--Mary Aileen

#56 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 11:45 AM:

Alas, Mary Aileen, I cannot recall. Perhaps at the Museum of Natural History? It was a long time ago.

#57 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 12:05 PM:
Anybody have any suggestions of good games for older folks (73), which are memory-oriented?

Based on Rivka's explanation, I'd say that if your father wants to play something more engaging than Pelmanism, just about any standard card game would be good for exercising short-term memory - rummy, gin, pinochle, skat, bridge, etc. Some of these (such as bridge) require more memory work than others, but they all require some to play well.

NonObSF - Simon Illyan playing a tarot game as light therapy after losing his eidetic memory chip.

#58 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 12:25 PM:

Okay, I am about to ask for someone to find me the truly impossible - but since we've had plush Anubis and plush Ganesha (I want one!!!) crop up, I feel oddly confident that if anyone can find this, someone who reads Making Light can.

Does anybody know if there exists any classic-rock style music (Or, in a pinch, modern top 40 pop will do), sung in Lithuanian?

No, I'm not joking. It's petty and it's silly, but oh, so ideal.


On other topic: If someone else ASKS JVP for a math comment, I don't object to him bringing one up. It was the unasked-for ones that were the problem. Unless of course, Teresa disagrees.

#59 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 12:45 PM:
Does anybody know if there exists any classic-rock style music (Or, in a pinch, modern top 40 pop will do), sung in Lithuanian?

This place appears to have some, although you should check on any particular CD you want to buy, as some appear to be sung in English.

#60 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 12:56 PM:

Lenora Rose:

I agree, again willing to be corrected by Teresa. Rather than pushing my own agenda, I do want to be a resource for legitimate questions from this community. If the answer would be too long or too technical, I would NOT post it here, but put it somewhere else, or request that the person who queried contact me by email. In this rare case, semiprimes have evolved from an extremely obscure backwater of Number Theory into a billion dollar industry, very important to the internet. I am trying to learn proper blog manners, like a grizzled prospector stumbling through the boomtown that grew up around the mines he'd worked alone for decades, and I am genuinely grateful to Teresa and Patrick for their time and patience in teaching me.

#61 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 01:07 PM:

Sam Dodsworth wins an all-expenses-paid round-trip
to the past (or future); certain restrictions do
apply.

Alas, I did not know who the parodist was, but
Google found him easily enough.


#62 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 01:14 PM:

Tangentally to the memory issue, one of the
substances believed to slow or halt Alzheimer's
is curcumin, one of the main ingredients in
curry powder. India apparantly has very low
instances of Alzheimer's.

The stuff is currently undergoing clinical
trials
, so it is still unproven as a therapy.
But I think I shall eat more Indian food -- if I
can remember to do so.

#63 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 01:57 PM:

Oh, forgot to mention, when I was growing up the curfew signal was a siren, not a bell ... ah, the good ole days.

#64 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 01:57 PM:

Mary Aileen, Xopher, we have a soft T-Rex that we definitely got at the American Museum of Natural History, along with a plushie squid.

#65 ::: Kathy ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 02:03 PM:

Re - living in a store - shades of "Evening Primrose" which I heard as radio drama on an old time radio program (broadcasts of classic American radio shows.)

#66 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 02:32 PM:

OK, I'm glad I wasn't watching the keynote live.

I would have screamed my bloody head off when they rolled out the Mac Mini.

#67 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 03:58 PM:

Owlmirror, that's interesting! I went to the spice pages linked to in the particles a while back and found that curcumin's what's in turmeric. So I wonder if pickles made with turmeric would also help? Last time I made pickles with my own spice mix, many moons ago, turmeric featured in the recipe.

#68 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 04:04 PM:

Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions.

I'll see if I can get him interested in playing some concentration.

Owlmirror: We heard about curcumin/turmeric a couple of years ago, from a family friend who's a PhD AIDS researcher at NIH. I've been trying to get my folks to use it, but it ain't easy. New tricks, etc.

Dru: It's pretty sure it's not alzheimers, because it was sudden, not gradual. We think it's "multiple-infarct dementia", but it's hard to say, because any damage was too small to show up on an MRI. After his regular doctor and neurologist were a little baffled, we took him to a gerontological center at UCONN's medical center. Who were also a bit baffled, I think.

#69 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 04:08 PM:

Nerts is a good memory game as well and is fast paced, especially with four players.

How to play Nerts:

Each player has their own deck. They need to be distinct enough so that you can tell them apart as you'll be mixing them together and need to separate them back again at the end of each round. Decks with cartoon character backings are useful.

Basically, the game is competitive solitaire. Lay out four cards face up in front of you. Deal out thirteen cards, also face up and set them to one side. This is your Nerts pile.

With the rest of the deck in hand, you flip over three cards and either place them in front of you, as you would in solitaire (descending order, red on black on red, etc.) or place them in the center of the table between players, starting with aces. Everyone builds suits on these aces, (hence the need for distinct decks) drawing either form the deck in your hand or from the four lines in fornt of you or from the Nerts pile.

The face down deck in your hands is slowly shuffled as you turn over every third card. Every so often, a stalemate is reached this way when no one can do anything. So you flip the top card which shuffles the deck and start anew, flipping three cards at a time.

The first person to place all thirteen of their Nerts cards either in line in fornt of them or in the suit piles calls out "Nerts!" and the round ends. Points are tallied form the comunal piles in the center of the table, one point for each card laid down. The cards are separated into their decks, shuffled and the game starts over. First person to reach 75 wins.

#70 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 04:55 PM:

Bill Blum enthused:

OK, I'm glad I wasn't watching the keynote live.

I would have screamed my bloody head off when they rolled out the Mac Mini.

No kidding! The first description I could come up with about the effect that had on me wasn't at all PG-13. Hot Damn. Apple (between all of the announcements) really made my day today.

As it turns out, my first hit of Apple was free - we were gifted with a tibook as a wedding present... but we've been paying ever since :) Still - really good stuff all the same :) [0]

[0] Allow me to accompany this with the note that my usually blue Apple koolaide does have occasional green tendancies - but I'm trying to ignore all that today.

#71 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 05:53 PM:

Epacris: It's worse than you think! This is the second week they've broadcast The West Wing on Monday and Tuesday nights. This means you probably missed last Tuesday night's episode. If you e-mail me I may be able to lay hands on a tape for you.

#72 ::: Toni ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 06:22 PM:

Bathroom Buddies:

http://www.richardwho.com/collections/collection177.asp

#73 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 07:20 PM:

mayakda wrote at 11:03 AM:

Soo -- why does Titan belong to Vonnegut?

but later, at 1:57 PM:

Oh, forgot to mention, when I was growing up the curfew signal was a siren, not a bell ... ah, the good ole days.

Is this a hint that you no longer need your question answered?

#74 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 07:44 PM:

This is awful . . . yesterday, I found myself *looking for fruitcake*. The low-end, brick-shaped, plastic-wrapped fruitcake sold as gift items around Christmas.

The only ones I found were selling for six bucks and were easy to pass up . . . but what if I find a joint selling them cheap?

Please, someone tell me that those cherry things are full of dioxin.

#75 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 08:12 PM:

We've bought a number of things from the Stuffe & Nonsense people someone linked to above. Including a stuffed echidna and a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater. We also have a marvelous plush T rex acquired at the National Zoo gift shop. Jill will have to confirm as I can't find it in their online shop.

MKK

#76 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 08:16 PM:

And if you need cute alpaca-wool dolls made to order:

From Jay Lake's blog

Is it just me, or does the third one look like a cross between the Big Bad Wolf and Kosh from Babylon-5?

#77 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 08:47 PM:

Lenora Rose, I emailed your request to a friend of mine who I expected to be able to help, and I include her reply below:

"Although there isn't a whole group of classic rock in Lithuanian, as Lithuanians are more metal and goth fans when it comes to rock, I can give you a few places to start:

http://www.mikesradioworld.com/eu_lt.html
lists a lot of Lithuanian radio stations that mix Lithuanian rock and pop in with other international groups.

http://www.siela.info/siela.htm
SIELA (which translates to "Soul") is a Lithuanian goth band. I was friends with these guys when I was in college.

http://digihara.com/adamkus/mokslas/pagan.html
is an article written in English that may help serve as a springboard for what you're looking for."

Hope this helps.

#78 ::: redfox ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 09:12 PM:

Crossword puzzles are also good for memory stuff, and widely considered therapeudic.

#79 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 10:26 PM:

Anybody have any suggestions of good games for older folks (73), which are memory-oriented?

My dad's about that age and has what may or may not be early Alzheimers, and he seems to do well with Shanghai. It uses a lot of the same skills as Concentration but it's more challenging as a strategy game and seems more adult/less therapeutic or at least more fun.

#80 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 10:28 PM:

I should say (in case Shanghai is obscurer than I think) that it's a single-player form of computer Mahjongg

#81 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 11:18 PM:

Well, it's an open thread ...
I just got hold of v.3 of Lord Chesterfield's Letters, wherein he nags his son to suck up only to the higher-ranking young sprigs in Paris. And I seek the wisdom of anyone with a grounding in 18th c. vulgarity, please.
On p.6 of my edition, he cautions to be on one's guard against "Monfieur le Comte or Monfieur le Chevalier in handfome laced coat, et tres bien mis" (usually to be found in the company of "fome ladies of condition")
"Well, if you were to accept of this kind offer ... you would find au troifieme a handfome, painted and p--d ftrumpet, in a tarnifhed filver or gold fecond-hand robe ..."

Any guesses what "p--d" might stand for? I looked at Partridge's Slang dictionary, and "pissed" or "pissed-up" meaning drunk is 20th c. though "pissing" means paltry from 16th-19th c. - but the word is definitely p--d, not p--ing. I've looked through Grose's 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, but nothing looks terribly obvious in the P chapter.

If this is an inappropriate post, apologies and please delete.

#82 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2005, 11:22 PM:

I would guess p--d to mean "poxed".

#83 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 01:44 AM:

I think Dave Luckett has it in one; poxed. See the OED:


trans. To infect with the pox (i.e., usually, with syphilis). Also in imprecations (cf. prec. 3). Also transf. and fig. Hence poxed (p{rfa}kst) ppl. a.

1682 DRYDEN Medal 266 And the pox'd Nation feels Thee in their Brains. 1710 SWIFT Jrnl. to Stella 29 Sept., The dean friendly! The dean be pox't. 1712 ARBUTHNOT John Bull III. iii, Jack..persuaded Peg that all mankind, besides himself, were poxed by that scarlet-faced whore. 1766 T. AMORY Buncle (1770) IV. xiii. 249 She..lives..to ruin the fortune, pox the body, and for ever damn the soul of the miserable man. 1784 PRINCE WILLIAM Let. 23 July in P. Ziegler King William IV (1971) iii. 51 Oh, for..the pretty girls of Westminster..such as would not clap or pox me every time I fucked. 1802 G. GALLOWAY in Admirable Crichton 70 Tho' we were pox'd wi' poverty and law. 1846 Swell's Night Guide 45 These kens are tenanted by a blackguard..school of pugging shakes, whose chief fame is in..poxing a swaddy. 1933 M. LOWRY Ultramarine i. 51 That boy got all poxed up to the eyeballs, voyage before last... Yes, he was poxed all away to hell.

The only other possible fit I can think of is "pimped." It's OK in terms of the era, but I don't think it fits as well (pimped could mean to pimp for someone, also, to act as a voyeur; which is what made me think of it).

#84 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 01:50 AM:

On my computer, the single-player Mahjongg game is called Taipei.

#85 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 03:38 AM:

Re Apple minimac (Mac Mini, whatever) -- <whimper> -- a friend who's an Apple convert has been wafting various tempting experiences & objects before me. He trailed this link across my email this morning ... mmmmm ... I still, aesthetically, prefer a cuboid form to this one but, practically, this looks very good indeed. [Beats back surge of technolust by looking at elbow-deep drifts of legal paperwork I need to get on with before a looming deadline.]

The pitch in the linked-to promotional pages is a good one, with it fitting into existing peripherals & systems, and doesn't seem to threaten the higher-end user market too much. It looks like there'd still be a reasonably marked difference that would allow those dedicated Mac-users who wish to, to stay feeling superior.

Having used WinXP in other places, I don't want it. Over the weekend I tried to install a 'cut-down' Adobe image organizer version which simply, and quite rudely, refused to run on such an untermensch of a system. I don't have much use for music, but with my personal photos & historical records image archive, there would be between 15,000 and 20,000 files only part-classified that need better handling. Apple has always slanted more that way; iPhotos tempting.

I wonder what ratio the $AU/$US will be by the time one can obtain them here? (Whenever that is. There are 16 countries with iTunes stores right now. Australia is not one of them.) At the moment a straight conversion makes a price in $AU half as much again as in $US -- a big improvement on nearly double as it was not long back. I think that makes the price between 10 and 14 pre-tax day's pay on an "average" income -- less than a month after-tax.

#86 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 03:45 AM:

Jonathon re West Wing -- Life has been so scrambled (hoped-for catching up over Christmas-New Year break fell well below hopes); see note above on "elbow-deep drifts of legal paperwork" -- that I've lost track of much.
West Wing is probably one, but with the [unsure, uncertain] hope of a) possible repeats; b) possible borrowed tapes; c) renting DVDs in the future (perhaps even borrowed Region 1 DVDs, with many extra features not found on Region 4 ones), in the way of resurrections, I am curling my lip in the general direction of the contemptible fleawits who apparently intend to make us all get pay-tv in despair at what they deign to allow to dribble out on free-to-air. [I am not addicted; I can give it up anytime I want!]

Does any of that make sense?
Cup of tea, I think. Then back to the paperwork

#87 ::: Edo ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 06:44 AM:

Epacris, regarding photo organization: I don't know if iPhoto will handle that many images and still be useful. At 4,000 photos it was slow and it became nearly unusable as I approached 8,000. About 6 months ago I finally gave up (I was using the most current version at the time—4.something) and started using iView Media, which works on Macs and PCs. It's fast, even with 13,000 or so photos and can leave images where you put them (iPhoto likes to copy them into its own filing system) and catalog items on removable media. Plus the annotation and organization functions are nothing short of amazing.

#88 ::: Edo ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 06:51 AM:

Addendum about iView Media: the standard version (US$50) has a limit of 8,000 items per catalog (a catalog similar to an iPhoto library file). But you can have multiple catalogs. The pro version (US$200) boosts the item limit to 128,000 per catalog and you can search multiple catalogs simultaneously.

#89 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 07:03 AM:

Edo - which version of iPhoto were you using? The last version (the last one announced before yesterday, that is) introduced incredibly zippy picture scrolling and resizing, even for my now-creakily-slow iBook.

I can confirm that MKK and Jordin procured a plush T-Rex from the National Zoo. I can also add that its plushy fur was not green or brown or blue, but jazzed up in multicolored tie-dye. Perhaps when she is feeling better she can somehow incorporate it into a Friday kitty blogging episode?

#90 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 08:55 AM:

Two places online wherein much plush lust may be slaked -- or, alternatively, stirred -- including dinoplush desire. Approach with caution. (Isn't a beanie a type of hat?)

#91 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 09:16 AM:

Is this a hint that you no longer need your question answered?

I guess, although I confess I never read any of Vonnegut's books. Not sure why ...

#92 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 09:18 AM:

... back to photo organisation ... (For current use, would still have to be PC-Windoze based, but. And Mac needs at least current 80Gb for programs & data storage.)

In the release of the new Apple stuff today, these are the mentions of specific numbers (dont know what size images) on the apple.com site in relation to image organisation.

"With iPod photo, you can carry up to 25,000 of your favorite photos in your pocket."
"... iPhoto finds a photo or group of photos you’re looking for as quickly as iTunes can find a single song or album ... Even if you have ten thousand — or more — photos to search through."

#93 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 09:28 AM:

Stefan - fruitcake is *good*! Why is searching for it a bad thing?

(Unless it's that you're specifically hooked on the very cheap Christmas ones - in which case, go make some homemade cakes. They taste much better. :)

#94 ::: Edo ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 10:23 AM:

For those of you who aren't interested in excruciating technical detail about photo management, please skip over this post.

I don't think I was completely clear about iPhoto. I found that for my needs, on my system (1Ghz Aluminum Powerbook with 1Gb of RAM), that iPhoto (Jill, it's version 4.04) became unusably slow when my photo library grew to about 8,000 images. It may have been a couple of thousand less, though—it was a gradual process that started in the low thousands. My 8,000 photos took approximately 14Gb of space including the iPhoto-generated "changed" files from all of the photos I rotated to portrait orientation in the program.

I started looking for alternatives when a 50-image slideshow with a simple transition and no music took upwards of 10 seconds per image when specifically set to show each for 3 seconds. I would routinely see my processor load stay at 100% for minutes at a time, just scrolling through the library or watching the spinning beachball. With no other applications running. I did all the usual troubleshooting.

In any case, I found iPhoto to be very useful early on because it is very snappy and fun with a small library. However now that I store a lot of my photos offline but still need easy access to them, I can't live with one iPhoto feature. When importing photos, it copies everything to its own library with its own folder hierarchy on my hard drive. I am simply running out of room! Plus I like to keep my photos organized by event or project rather than by date.

As for capacity, iPhoto may not have a documented upper limit for the number of images it can handle but I'm talking about usability rather than theoretical limits. It just plain got bogged down when I threw too many images at it, kind of like gridlock: the route and end result were the same, I was just crankier by the end of it because it took so much longer than it should have and I spent so much time waiting and wondering when things would start moving again. In iPhoto's defense, I will say that iView Media does take its time sorting 15,000 images by date. But simply scrolling through thumbnail images doesn't summon the spinning beachball.

I've been watching the iPhoto upgrades hoping that Apple will add some of the features iView Media has. If they offer user-controllable image importing (as in "No, don't copy these to my hard drive, just build a thumbnail and let me tag them."), I'll consider switching back.

And I repeat: iView Media's annotation features are amazing.

#95 ::: Dru ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 10:28 AM:

Jon H:

You might want to take a look at www.boardgamegeek.com. They helpfully break down games (of all sorts, not just board games) by mechanic.

The memory and pattern related categories have hundreds of games. Reviews and commentary for each game are common, so you might be able to find something that would build new pathways while still being, well, fun.

The added bonus being that the games might might hide the "work" aspect for others in the family, while involving multiple people in a positive manner.

The impact of having family around in these situations has shown to be very positive, especially when multiple members can socialize. The stigmas of age and disability leave a lot of people struggling alone.

Anyhoo, just though that the site might be a place to start.

#96 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 10:28 AM:

re: poxed

Shakespeare’s Writings Indicate He May Have Had Syphilis
Shakespeare’s name usually inspires thoughts of kings, fairies, lovers, wars and poetic genius--not syphilis. However, some passages in his plays and sonnets indicate that the Bard may have suffered from one or more venereal infections, according to an article in the Feb. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

#97 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 11:01 AM:

Sigh. Xopher gets a plush Anubis. I would have liked a plush Set, but the one at Stuffe and Nonsense is a little pricey. Sigh.

#98 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 11:40 AM:
However, some passages in his plays and sonnets indicate that the Bard may have suffered from one or more venereal infections, according to an article in the Feb. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Unless there's a lot more to the original article than is indicated in the Science Daily piece, I call bollocks. The passages certainly indicate that Shakespeare was aware of the symptoms of syphillis and other STDs, but it's a big leap from that to the assumption that he had the symptoms himself. It reminds me of the arguments that use a few references to legal matters or whatnot in the plays to prove that he must have had more education than his background indicates and therefore was Bacon or de Vere or whoever - as if no one could ever learn about anything outside of school or their profession.

#99 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 11:48 AM:

Laura, wow, those ARE pricey. But Setesh isn't exactly a Comforter...I mean, if I had one of those in the house I'd not only not keep it on the bed, I'd lock it outside whenever I needed to sleep!

#100 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 12:05 PM:

Plush caltrops? PLUSH caltrops? Plush CALTROPS? PLUSH CALTROPS? The world reels on its axis. Or something.

MKK--who would love the plush shoggoth

#101 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 12:24 PM:

Xopher - it's true that he's not cuddly. But somehow I've always had a soft spot for him.

As the info page at Stuffe & Nonsense explains, Set wasn't necessarily seen as evil - more of a Trickster. Some Pharaohs named themselves after him.

But what really fascinates me is that nobody knows what animal he's supposed to be.

#102 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 12:29 PM:

Mary Kay:

I'm a little weirded out by the plush caltrops in the same way I'm weirded out by this very realistic-looking brick made from small flecks of glued-together foam, sort of like particleboard but brick-shaped, colored, and squishy. It's realistic-looking enough that people stumble when picking it up because they brace for the mass of a brick. Cruel people then immediately look for an unsuspecting acquaintance to throw at and watch them duck.

I have the plush shoggoth, it's cute, at least to me, and it has enough flexibility and traction to stay on top of one's head like a thick small cap with large fringes. I keep meaning to make the beanbag chair shoggoth I designed a couple of years ago.

#103 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 12:36 PM:

Oh hey, Mac people here -- query:

How can I get the "software update" to quit telling me every few days that there's an iPod upgrade? How can I tell it "I don't have one, I'm not going to get one, so please F'KOFF!"? I hide the update each time, but that's all it lets me do, and it's as irritating as the non-endings on slasher movies, because I know the stupid thing is going to be back again and again.

So.
Help.
Thanks.

#104 ::: genibee ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 12:41 PM:

Ohhhhh, they have a Sekmet! I like Bast, Horus, and Anubis, but I'm very drawn to Sekmet. Although she looks a little too friendly as a plushie!

#105 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 01:09 PM:

Kip W:

Try the following:
Run Software Update. The iPod Update should show up in the Software Update window.
If there's more than one update shown, click the iPod one to select it.
From the menu bar, choose the command Update>Ignore Update.

That should hide that iPod Update. If they release another one later, it'll appear, and do the same Ignore Update to that one.

Hope this helps.

#106 ::: PinkDreamPoppies ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 01:15 PM:

If you have any luck getting the iPod Update to become inactive, let me know. I would make the update inactive, but it kept coming back until finally I said "hell with it" and installed it anyway.

Also, does anyone have any idea if iTunes will continue to be updated by Software Update or if I'm going to have to go to the iTunes website to download new versions?

(And yeah, my reaction to the miniMac, too, was so not PG-13.)

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 01:52 PM:

it's true that he's not cuddly. But somehow I've always had a soft spot for him.

Me too.

As the info page at Stuffe & Nonsense explains, Set wasn't necessarily seen as evil - more of a Trickster. Some Pharaohs named themselves after him.

But what really fascinates me is that nobody knows what animal he's supposed to be.

Hmm. I think he was definitely seen as evil a lot of the time...though "good" and "evil" aren't really concepts that translate into Egyptian. The only word for "good" that they had really means "what Pharaoh loves," for example. Or so I'm told.

I expect that the reason no one knows what the Set-Beast was is that it's extinct. Hunted thereto, would be my thesis. But I have no evidence for this.

#108 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 02:00 PM:

On fruitcakes: bake one.

Jo Walton had a lovely recipe on her blog on December 23rd: Cousin Beryl's Fruit Cake Recipe
http://www.livejournal.com/users/papersky/

(I'm sorry I don't know how to link it to the specific entry)

I tried it and it was easy, and my partner Martin was extremely happy with it. I hope I can find more of the necessary candied fruits when I want to do this again. I found that a 7 inch tin (Brit.) equates to a standard American loaf pan.

Jo, thank you!

#109 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 02:05 PM:

Xopher:

It is hard to believe that there was never any such animal. Although maybe the point is that Set doesn't belong to the ordinary world? And yes, sometimes he was pure evil. But he just doesn't look evil to me, no matter what.

I like your Dark God thing - will have to meditate on it. My conception of him has a lot to do with dreams - the dream world - as well as death. I also think it's important that Hades/Pluto was known as the god of riches (hidden treasure?)

#110 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 02:24 PM:

I don't believe the animal never existed, just that it's now extinct. I think that its association with Setesh and therefore evil made Egyptians hunt it until it was wiped out. As I said, though, I have no evidence for this; it's just wild speculation on my part.

Pluto is "the wealthy one" because all beings come to him at last; therefore he has more than any other god. Oh, and: out of all the (many) sites on the net that have it, I couldn't find one that had the whole Charge correctly; that one has "Lakchos" instead of "Iakchos," but it gets the grammar in the last sentence right, so I went with it.

#111 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 02:38 PM:

The Joy of Cooking has a fruitcake recipe or two, which I've enver tried, since I don't cook or bake much. But I do admire TJoC's writing style-- so unabashedly authoritative and superior.

#112 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 03:02 PM:

PinkDreamPoppies - I ran Software Update this morning (manually) and it downloaded the latest iTunes.

#113 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 03:22 PM:

Jonathan Vos Post: thanks for the answer, and the links. Interesting stuff.

#114 ::: JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 03:42 PM:

Jon H---
If it's memory loss and it's baffling doctors, demand that your dad be blood-tested for Lyme disease. "Alzheimer's" is just one of the many diseases Lyme can be and is mistaken for.
I still have huge holes in my memory from my long undiagnosed case of Lyme but I've been treated and I'm now recovering and more comes back every day. Good luck to you and your dad.
---Janet
P.S. Old server went belly-up; please note COAs.

#115 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 03:44 PM:

To Make Software Update Ignore an Update
N.B. This works on a file-by-file basis; you will have to do this again, for instance, to ignore the next update for the iPod.

1. Open Software Update
2. Select the name of the file to be ignored in the file list.
3. Select Update menu and then select Ignore Update.

Since I suspect I'm telling you something you tried only it didn't work, I'll also point out that in the same menu you can chose to Download only, or Download (and keep) and install, which is a Smart thing to do, sometimes.

If you've tried this and it didn't work, it may be because of a permissions issue; repair permissions. It may also be because of a corrupt plist; there are free utilities to repair these, or locate them, if you're terminal shy.

#116 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 03:46 PM:

Why shouldn't Set be made up? Were the ancient egyptians really unable to make up the equivalent of a Hephalump or a Boojum?

Another possibility:

Set wasn't based on an extinct animal. He was an alien, like in that episode of Dr. Who.

#117 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 03:52 PM:

hey just a quick question, a short story positing that bush, rumsfeld, cheney, and wolfowitz were serial-killing pederasts who invaded iraq so as to supply their secret orgies with easily disposable arabic boys - would this be considered too extreme for polite society and might i get in trouble? i thought it sounded quite good but what do i know, i thought a secret agent elvis presley with a vampire howard hughes and a homosexual love affair with j. edgar hoover was a surefire concept.

oh, and i don't see how Set wasn't evil, considering the whole sibling-killing body parts spreading thing. hmm, i wonder if the cheney character could do something similar....

#118 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 04:00 PM:

Xopher said:

I couldn't find one that had the whole Charge correctly; that one has "Lakchos" instead of "Iakchos"

Now see, when I read that I thought, "Shouldn't it be Iakchos? Or maybe this is some god I've never heard of."

Also, I didn't mean to imply that you said the animal never existed.

Stephan said,

Set wasn't based on an extinct animal. He was an alien, like in that episode of Dr. Who.

Yes, I was thinking of that episode, in which Set is referred to as "Sutekh." Set, Seth, Setesh, Sutekh . . . why does he have so many names.

#119 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 05:00 PM:

Off topic (but this is an open thread, right?), I was earlier today directed to this essay, by Ronald Sider, about the hypocrisy of American evangelicals. A fascinating read, but while I think we'd all be better off if more evangelicals were as thoughtful and committed as he claims to be (and apparently is), I have to admit that the whole thing makes me more than a bit uncomfortable. I wonder if anyone else has a similar reaction?

#120 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 05:07 PM:

Jonathan Vos Post:

If the answer would be too long or too technical, I would NOT post it here, but put it somewhere else, or request that the person who queried contact me by email.

But how would you tell that it was too long or too technical? Oh, well, I guess you're learning.

This reminds me that I once mentioned the inverse Wythoff array, and suggested that anyone who wanted to know more send me e-mail. The followup from JVP failed to convince me of sufficient interest among the readership of Making Light and did not include a usable e-mail address.

In case the top of this message is hard to decipher, my e-mail address is haoyuep@aol.com, which might be useful for anyone who looking for an effective way of requesting more information. Yow, am I huffy yet?

#121 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 05:46 PM:

Theresa: Have you considered putting a Particles link to your spectacular contribution on Neil Gaiman's site?

#122 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 05:52 PM:

Yes, I was thinking of that episode, in which Set is referred to as "Sutekh." Set, Seth, Setesh, Sutekh . . . why does he have so many names.

Because heiroglyphic only writes consonants, and we only have theories (based on other languages writing Egyptian and vice versa, and on Coptic) as to what the vowels were. Also the sounds changed over time -- remember the civilization of Ancient Egypt lasted thousands of years -- a hell of a lot longer than ours has so far!

And bryan, the theory wasn't that Set didn't do anything wrong, just that he was changed in the womb so that he would. I.e. it wasn't exactly his fault. I think he counts as pretty evil, even though he established the maat we live in today -- with Osiris in the underworld and like that.

#123 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 06:09 PM:

Jeremy Osner:

You're welcome!

Dan Hoey:

You're right. At risk of being spammed by someone harvesting this, I can be reached offline at:
jvospost2(AT)yahoo.com

Can We See This Prehistoric Man-Bites-Dog-In Plush Department:

Dinosaur Fossil Found in Mammal's Stomach

Math Puns Left as Exercises for Readers:

Fill in one here on "Set Theory" and
"Egyptian Fraction.", Eric W. Weisstein. From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.

#124 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 07:30 PM:

Although it's not the most prestigious poll in literature, the eighth annual P&E Readers Poll is now underway. Voting will end on 31 January. Voters can nominate (which counts as a vote) or vote for anything in the categories that was published last year in each category.

Please do encourage everyone to participate. You can even nominate your own work in an appropriate category regardless of whether it was online, in audio, or in print.

#125 ::: PinkDreamPoppies ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 08:45 PM:

At the time, I ran through and repaired permissions and plist files to no avail. Also, a manual run of Software Update shows no new versions of iTunes, but iTunes is alerting me that a new version is available.

I'm not at all worried, though; compared to the crap that I have to fix on the computers at work, a bit of annoyance with Software Update is cake. I mean, it's not like I'm running the kernal debugger just so I can figure out which DLL file is killing all of the computers in a classroom.

#126 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 09:25 PM:

My old favorite analogy for the Mac was that it's like a demented servant who insists on doing things for you. "Don't fret yourself, Master, I'll erase the hard drive for you."

I have repeatedly 'ignored' the iPod update, and the damn updater keeps dragging it back to my doorstep. Buzz off, thou idiot servant! I may try the "download and delete" option, though I hate to even give them that much satisfaction for all the irritation they've given me.

Hm. Quark tech support today told me that Adobe Type Manager doesn't work at all in OSX, either in regular or classic mode, so I guess the last year has been a sort of hallucination. Now that I know, I expect I'll look back at everything I've printed and see that, contrary to recollection, everything (including the dingbats) has been printed in Courier. Not looking forward to going in in the morning.

Dan, I'm impressed beyond belief at your AOL handle. Much the way I envied Joe Mayhew for his invertible signature. However, I can type my name upside down too:

swe!||!M d!>|

...and I'm proud! Ya hear me? Proud!! (Works best in sans-serif, of course.)

#127 ::: PinkDreamPoppies ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 09:43 PM:

I have to admit that I'd much rather have the demented servant who insists on doing things for me than the flighty, unhinged servant that is Windows. While the Mac Servator will limp about whispering of all the things it will take care of for me, the Windows Servator will shuffle around asking me what it can do for me, not doing what I ask, inviting random guests into my house, randomly refusing to perform tasks, and eventually kicking the bucket such that I'm forced to cut it open in order to revive it so that it can . . . go back to not doing as I ask.

#128 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 09:53 PM:

"Jeeves, the old digital armoire seems to be giving me the cerulean fisheye. Again."

"May I suggest a seven-iron, sir? Followed by a trip to the eighteenth green."

"Give the beast a sporting chance, eh, Jeeves? Just so, then. Fore!"

#129 ::: JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2005, 11:48 PM:

So everything went flu-y on me. Maybe these are our new COAs. Maybe not. Geez. Back to bed.

#130 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 12:25 AM:

I have finally stopped taking the Mac-PC wars to heart, and I am much happier. Mac still gives me the fidgits, and it still does all these things I hate, but I figure it's because I imprinted on the other, not because the insane things Macs do are inherently stupid and unhelpful.

I like things transparent and simple, and Mac doesn't seem that way to me, though Mac people always tell me it is.

#131 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 12:54 AM:

I thought it was physically impossible to respond to ancient posts, but you've got two instances right now -- "Namarie Sue" and "Slushkillers." At least one of those is a sincere attempt to join a conversation, and the other probably is though I don't understand the connection.

#132 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 01:51 AM:

If anyone has a link leading to a plush Avalokiteshvara (hey, I'll settle for a Quan Yin!) I'd be interested in seeing it....

#133 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 02:06 AM:

Michael, after reading Sider's essay, I wonder how much hope he really has that his message will get through to those he's addressing. There's almost a forlorn tone to it, as though he knows that very few American evangelicals will seriously listen to what he has to say.

That said, it's encouraging that at least one theologian recognizes just how full of baloney many of the leaders of that movement are.

#134 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 03:11 AM:

Epacris clarified:
I don't think I was completely clear about iPhoto. I found that for my needs, on my system (1Ghz Aluminum Powerbook with 1Gb of RAM), that iPhoto (Jill, it's version 4.04) became unusably slow when my photo library grew to about 8,000 images. It may have been a couple of thousand less, though—it was a gradual process that started in the low thousands. My 8,000 photos took approximately 14Gb of space including the iPhoto-generated "changed" files from all of the photos I rotated to portrait orientation in the program.

Interesting! At 14G I can only speculate that you must be taking photos at a much higher resolution than I am - I've got just shy of 8000 photos, but they're only taking up ~3G of space (iPhoto 4.0.3 for anybody that's following along). I did find the earlier versions of iPhoto to be annoyingly slow, but iPhoto's a good 90% application, like many of the things that Apple produces.

I'm very glad to see that they're finally doing subfolders though. That was infuriating.

#135 ::: Edo ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 04:48 AM:

xeger, it was actually me that clarified about iPhoto. As for my photos, I shoot at the highest quality and highest resolution on a 3.2 megapixel camera. The average file size is about 1.2Mb.

The reason the full library takes so much space has to do with the way iPhoto manages files when you edit images. It backs up the file to a subfolder called "Originals," so even when you so much as rotate an image 90 degrees, it creates a duplicate. (As an aside this is a good thing. If you're curious, read up on lossy/lossless JPEG rotation. As far as I know, iPhoto's rotate function is lossy.) I shoot a lot of portrait-oriented images—about a third—which means that when I use iPhoto my disk fills up about 35% faster with the changed files than if I simply add up the nominal file sizes of the originals.

#136 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 05:37 AM:

I think that's possibly the first time I've seen someone refer to Windows as transparent and simple. :-)

#137 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 05:48 AM:

I wonder how many of those new responses to old posts are coming here from Neil Gaiman's journal? Most or all of them, I suspect.

(Neil just posted a big long letter from Teresa, and it included links to a number of publishing-industry-related Making Light entries.)

#138 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 07:33 AM:

PinkDreamPoppies: While the Mac Servator will limp about whispering of all the things it will take care of for me,

Yeth, marthter. Igorth are like that...

#139 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 08:35 AM:

Or the shorthand version: "Who was the first president of the United States? And who is president now?" To most of us, those are equally easy questions. To someone in the early stages of dementia, the first question is still easy, but the second one is trickier.

After the 2000 election, the second one got trickier even for the folks without dementia...

#140 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 08:38 AM:

On a more important note, the folks over at Crooked Timber are pushing the envelope of what a blog can do with their six-part (plus intro and response) symposium on China Miéville.

Isn't it neat to see a genre expand before your very eyes?

#141 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 10:11 AM:

Kip, the best use I've seen recently of the inverted name handle would have to be "umop apisdn," who posted in this thread about the recent religious imbroglio over on Chad's site. It may not be original, but that's the first time I saw that one and it gave me a pleasant little "Aha" jolt in the middle of some otherwise vaguely unsettling reading.

#142 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 10:20 AM:

Tom Whitmore said:

If anyone has a link leading to a plush Avalokiteshvara (hey, I'll settle for a Quan Yin!) I'd be interested in seeing it....

These folks have a plush Buddha, FWIW.

You'd think someone would have a plush Quan Yin, as ubiquitous as she is.

#143 ::: PinkDreamPoppies ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 12:03 PM:

Actually, in the Mac/PC war I'm more or less neutral. I have a Mac at home that I'm wildly in love with (a victim of Patrick's linked-to iProduct), but I make a living taking care of a few hundred PCs for a middle school. I joke about the inpenetrability of Windows, but I know that once you know the tools and the tricks there really isn't a whole lot that Windows does that's mystifying. Crash screens, memory dumps, and illegal operation errors are all extremely useful things that help me keep the computers at work up and running smoothly and efficiently; the Mac crash reports, meanwhile, are generally unhelpful insofar as diagnosing problems is concerned. My Mac crashes less, looks better, and is---to my mind---a hundred times more user-friendly in the way that preferences are set and tweaked, but it's harder to "get under the hood" of the operating system and this creates a certain degree of frustration: if you don't like something the way Apple has set it up, it's a bit harder to change it than in Windows.

So yes, as a confessed Apple geek I'm stating plainly that both systems have their strengths and weaknesses and I cannot fault, for a minute, anyone who chooses Windows because of its strengths. I'll now go back to work, complaining about how I have to work with so many freaking Windows computers when my Mac works just fine.

#144 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 12:10 PM:

It's a small point, but I feel the need to point out that PC != Windows... :-)

#145 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 12:31 PM:

Edo redirected me:

xeger, it was actually me that clarified about iPhoto. As for my photos, I shoot at the highest quality and highest resolution on a 3.2 megapixel camera. The average file size is about 1.2Mb.

Hmmm. We're not that far off, then.

The reason the full library takes so much space has to do with the way iPhoto manages files when you edit images. It backs up the file to a subfolder called "Originals," so even when you so much as rotate an image 90 degrees, it creates a duplicate. (As an aside this is a good thing. If you're curious, read up on lossy/lossless JPEG rotation. As far as I know, iPhoto's rotate function is lossy.) I shoot a lot of portrait-oriented images—about a third—which means that when I use iPhoto my disk fills up about 35% faster with the changed files than if I simply add up the nominal file sizes of the originals.

Yes, I'm aware of that. I also tend to shoot a fair number of portait oriented images, which then end up being rotated, of course. My memory says that iPhoto stores metadata about the rotation of the image, and renders on the fly these days, though. Perhaps the difference lies somewhere in the (fairly recent) reconstruction I had to do the last time I lost a hard drive.

PinkDreamPoppies puzzled me with:

The Mac crash reports, meanwhile, are generally unhelpful insofar as diagnosing problems is concerned.

I'm curious - how do you find them less helpful? One of my long term examples of poor error returns is the ubiquitous "DOS ERROR 31" which was "an error has occured". Another example that I found recently was: "Error: no error has occured" (but that was a unix application).

#146 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 12:49 PM:

The "usefulness of dead languages" particle was really great! Go look. If that happened to me I'd be instant friends for life with the other person.

Which brings me to something I've been thinking about for a long time. When you know about something really obscure, hardly anyone gets your jokes about it, or understands your references to it. But when someone does...well, that's just one of the experiences that make life worth living. Staves off suicide for another week at least.

Of course, I'm what I call intellectually curious: I like to learn new things just because learning new things is intrinsically satisfying.

#147 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 01:09 PM:
I'm curious - how do you find them less helpful? One of my long term examples of poor error returns is the ubiquitous "DOS ERROR 31" which was "an error has occured". Another example that I found recently was: "Error: no error has occured" (but that was a unix application).

Nothing to do with the OS, but my favorite (if that's the word) example along these lines was an error I saw the Clipper 5.2 compiler produce once: "Error 2980 [or whatever]: Something terrible has happened." Fortunately, I saw it on someone else's screen.

#148 ::: PinkDreamPoppies ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 01:19 PM:

I am fully aware that PC != Windows, but it's a useful shorthand in the PC vs. Mac debacle. For what it's worth, my experience with *nix suggests that they are even easier to "get under the hood" than Windows but also staggeringly less intuitive and "user-friendly."

Spinning off onto another topic, it seems that which operating system is most "user-friendly" depends entirely on one's definition of that term. My position has always been that something is user-friendly when it has a small learning curve, fewer hoops to jump through to change common settings, and error messages that are relatively free of technical language that is of little to no use to non-geek users. (The ability to run programs without crashing I consider to be a basic feature of an operating system such that crash frequency is not part of user-friendliness so much as it is a measure of whether or not the operating system was or was not ready to be publicly available.) I've always felt that even though I may be able to program and use command lines and am not intimidated by acronyms and geek-speak, I don't want to be bothered with those things.

Others, meanwhile, might feel that user-friendliness is defined in terms of how accomodating the software is to customization on as many levels as possible and the presense of error messages that can give one specific, detailed information about the problem. There are people who think that a good operating system is one that allows them to change as many features as possible to the full extent of their ability and knowledge. In this view, I suspect, user-friendly means that it is friendly to "power users" rather than "average users." (I'm almost tempted to claim that rather than being user-friendly OS's, the ideal for this group would be an OS that provides for user freedom, but that would lead inevitably to the abusive phrase "user-free operating systems.")

There's something swirling in the deep recesses of my mind about how these opposing points of view remind me of differing views of the market and market forces, but it's incoherent enough that I'll spare myself the embarrassment of writing it.

#149 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 02:21 PM:

User-friendliness is task dependent, not OS dependent.

I find Macs actively user hostile; they have one button mice and (in the laptop variations) trackpads, both things I find very hard to use. So a very basic and common task is actively unfriendly, and this colours my experience of the entire OS.

I find Windows actively user hostile; Windows has no meaningful console shell, so very simple things -- like 'take this bunch of files and move them over there with consistently changed names' are very, very difficult. (Not to mention 'delete all matching pattern' or 'move all matching pattern'.)

I don't think that makes me a 'power user'; I think the entire idea of a 'power user' is deeply unhelpful. Everybody uses half-comprehended incantations to deal with computers some of the time, and even if you know a whole stack of highly complex incantations to a level of comprehending their interactions with each other, you might not have any idea what's really going on in there when you use the incantations. (I'm thinking of SQL, but there are a plenty of other examples.)

#150 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 03:04 PM:

Graydon -- there are Unix-y console programs that run on Windows. I could not point you to one as its been a while since I used one but they were not hard to find when I needed one. And worked quite well for the kind of task you describe. (There are also GUI programs to do this kind of thing but I have never found them very useful.)

#151 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 03:10 PM:

As regards the "Usefulness of Dead Languages" particle -- my linguistics professor, William Diver, who had been in the Navy during WWII, told us about when his ship was boarded by the Italian navy -- nobody in his crew spoke Italian and nobody in the other crew spoke English -- but he was able to negotiate with the Italian captain, in Latin.

#152 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 03:16 PM:

Amusingly, Graydon's SQL analogy (writing SQL being, BTW, a big part of what I get paid for) reminded me very much of the (in?)famous Chinese Room Argument. What that says about my own Turing-test sufficiency, I'm not sure...

#153 ::: Kathy Li ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 03:25 PM:

Kathy wrote: Re - living in a store - shades of "Evening Primrose" which I heard as radio drama on an old time radio program (broadcasts of classic American radio shows.)

Synchronicity: BBC's Radio 7 7th Dimension slot is airing a dramatization of "Evening Primrose" this week (along with "The Company of Wolves," "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" and Tanith Lee's "Red as Blood.")

Me, I prefer the 1966 TV version of Evening Primrose (score by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Goldman, starring Anthony Perkins and Charmian Carr). It always makes me think: Twilight Zone: The Musical.

#154 ::: PinkDreamPoppies ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 03:30 PM:

User-friendliness is task dependent, not OS dependent.

I'll get to the rest of what you said later, but would it not make sense to call an OS more or less user-friendly based on the number and proportion of user-friendly tasks it performs? It would seem that you yourself follow this formulation as you go on to refer to the Mac OS and Windows both as "actively user hostile."

#155 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 04:13 PM:

Jeremy Osner: My linguistics professor, William Diver, who had been in the Navy during WWII, told us about when his ship was boarded by the Italian navy -- nobody in his crew spoke Italian and nobody in the other crew spoke English -- but he was able to negotiate with the Italian captain, in Latin.

Did the captain speak Latin? Or was it that modern Italian is close enough that Diver's Latin was intelligible to the man, and vice versa?

#156 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 07:09 PM:

Graydon & Jeremy Osner - I've found Cygwin to satisfy most Unix-y console needs on Win32. It also includes an X-windows emulator, which has worked well enough for most of my needs.

http://cygwin.com/

The default behavior is to download packages from the web. If you would prefer to install from a CD, you can download an ISO image here:


http://www-inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/~instcd/iso/

Another one is Mingw, which I haven't used much. I think it includes at the very least a bash shell.

http://www.mingw.org/

#157 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 08:34 PM:

Owlmirror --

I know about cygwin; have used it, even.

It's a brave honest try, but it's not quite the thing. It is most especially not a native part of the OS, nicely integrated with everything else. (Eg., try using the windows version of command line perforce with it. It will run, oh yes, but you will have an entertaining time of writing the perforce client spec.)

PinkDreamPoppies --

Well, actually, I said I find both of those operating systems user hostile, because some basic tasks I need to perform a lot are set up in a way that isn't friendly to me.

Since no one uses a tenth of what a modern desktop computer can do, how friendly a particular OS happens to be is hugely dependent on what you are trying to do and who you are, it's not a property of the OS.

Really; I did user support in a highly heterogeneous environment for years and years, and got to see this in action. The same task in a mainframe console and a Solaris GUI was easy on the one hand and impossible, driven-to-tears frustrating on the other, frex, and which hand was which depended on who was doing it.

#158 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 08:47 PM:

My high school Latin teacher, an old man in the early 1960s, told us of a time in his youth when he travelled by ship from Australia to Europe -- my guess is it was the 1930s. A Catholic religious brother himself, he was delighted on the first day of the voyage to meet a priest of a similar age. The priest was Spanish, and spoke no English. In response to my teacher's overtures in French, he said, "Je parle Francais comme une vache Espagnol." So they opted for Latin, and had a very good time of it for their many weeks at sea.

#159 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 09:02 PM:

Graydon: Mac OS X natively supports right-clicking for mice that have a second button, as well as the scroll wheel for mice that have one.

Since the Mac mini doesn't include a mouse, you don't even have to throw it away....

#160 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 10:04 PM:

Christopher --

I don't want right clicking half as much as I want the middle button for paste. I don't know if that stayed in OS X or not.

Though, truth to tell, I dislike mice in general; this machine has an IBM trackpoint keyboard, so I don't have to take my hands off the keys to use the pointing device.

The mini is cute, but add in a decent amount of RAM and the thing gets into the price range of a Shuttle Opteron system, which I'd find much more tempting. (A G5 generic box would be very tempting, but no one seems to be making those.)

#161 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 10:28 PM:

Dave and Lisa - thank you!
I think that must be it. Alas I only have the Oxford Universal English Dictionary, which has first instances and changes of meaning, but skimps horribly on the quotations. So thanks especially for the citation!
Now I'm finding myself curious about the standards - what gets dashed and what doesn't? Strumpet is evidently okay, but poxed isn't. Hmm. Back to the late right honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope for more instances, I guess. (Plus - must check whether the redoutable Lady Hester Stanhope was related!)
Dan - I saw the Shakespeare-syphilis note elsewhere, and was also doubtful. It's not as if VD and VD treatments weren't part of the popular consciousness in Elizabethan England. Would he have put refs to them in his plays if it was such specialised knowledge? He was playing to the groundlings, after all.

#162 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 10:43 PM:

Graydon: that may work in X11 apps, but won't normally work in native Mac apps. Many mouse vendors ship Mac software that lets you program the buttons, though, so you can always set it to send Cmd-V.

#163 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2005, 10:51 PM:

On iPhoto.

It's a great product. But it's not really meant for the kind of use it gets from people with serious interests in photography or very large image collections. iViewMedia Pro is much better for that.

You can have multiple libraries in iPhoto.

I'd also like to recommend a free utility called iPhoto Diet. It will let you choose to purge duplicate images, deleted images, unrotated images.

http://pages.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/~fuhrer/personal/freestuff/

For the Mac geeks, it'a AppleScript, given a GUI with AppleScript Studio, and open source.

BACKUP YOUR IMAGE DATATBASE FIRST.

Not that I've ever had any problem, but if I hadn't backed up my images, I would have had a problem; such is the nature of digital karma.

#164 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 03:41 AM:

Tom Whitmore (and Laura Roberts): she's not quite plush, and in context with the other available goddesses on site she's rather generic, but hey, she's some sorta soft toy Kwan-Yin. But if your heart is set on Avalokiteshvara, they do offer custom goddesses (and handy pocket-sized mini-goddesses).

#165 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 09:44 AM:

Another Mac question -- I guess it's a Mac question because this only happens on my Mac. When I load a comment thread here, or when I open certain other blogs, it loads and loads, and then the main text part vanishes, leaving the left-hand sidebar in control of the field. This happens whether I'm using Netscape 7 or Mozilla. I have to hit "back" to read comments, etc.

Yeah. Gripe, gripe, gripe. Also, could someone make it stop raining here so much? Thank you.

#166 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 10:14 AM:

In other news, Huygens seems to have made it down in one piece. Telemetry to follow, via Cassini, hopefully by afternoon.

#167 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 10:24 AM:

Michael, there seemed to be something a little slithery about that essay about evangelicals. Not enough to invalidate the main points, but it would shift from "evangelicals don't give as much as other Christians" to "they don't give as much as they used to" to "they aren't *all* tithing" in a way that made it seem as though the author was as interested in viewing with alarm as he was in being clear about what's happening.

Is working for social justice identically equal to following Jesus? It seems to me (very much from the outside) that giving immediate help to poor people would be enough to count as obedience.

I twitched slightly at the survey which asked people whether they gave "a lot"--"a lot" is not well defined.

I was pleased to see that there are surveys asking about behavior as well as about belief and observance, and somewhat bemused at the number of people who are willing to spend time answering questionaires and give what are probably truthful answers about disreputable behavior.

I'm dubious about the ending--Sider seems to assume that what's needed is for evangelicals to repent, and then they'll behave better. He isn't looking at the more likely transition phase in which some of them have repented and others haven't.

There are other things which made me uncomfortable about the article (is people living together before marriage all that bad?), but that's simply because I don't agree with Sider's core beliefs.

What made you feel uncomfortable about it?

#168 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 10:29 AM:

Eric -- the captain of the Italian ship spoke Latin, as was appropriate to an educated Catholic of that time. I do not believe Latin and modern Italian are mutually comprehensible.

#169 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 10:51 AM:

When I was taking the train from Rome to Naples a little over a decade ago, I was pleased and surprised to find a large selection of the Latin classics (and some mediaeval works as well, such as Dante's De Vulgari Eloquentia) in Latin in the railway station bookstore. This would suggest to me that familiarity with Latin is relatively widespread in Italy. Along with similar, though non-Latin-related, experiences with bookstore selection elsewhere in Europe it also brought home how absolutely awful the level of cultural literacy is, by comparison, in North America.

#170 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 02:24 PM:

For anyone who might be interested, I've added the above mentioned tye-dyed stuffed T Rex to my usual Friday cat blogging. Go here and click on the thumbnail.

MKK

#171 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 02:39 PM:

Mary Kay: *Great* T Rex. (And the cats are cute, too.)

#172 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 03:26 PM:

Kookahol Khristians....

Elaine Donnelly of the so-called Center for Military Readiness is someone who had evaded my radar. A protege of Phyllis Schlafly (who if she were a fan would belong on the Mid-Atlantic Fan Fund permanent candidate list), she instituted her particular rightwing pressure propaganda organization to drive women out of the military. Note that she is yet another of the Queen Bee Hypocrites for Familee, Familee, Familee who are notable for telling other women how the proper place of Womanhood is graceful wife and motherhood and domestic attentiveness, yet she was placed on military advisory boards by Bush I without her apparently having ANY personal military service time or formal academic study of military topics.... and every time there is anything said about women in the military this [set of deleted expletives] pops up as a Quoted Authority and is there to defecate all over any women with the temerity to want a life other than administative flunky in military service or dump on homosexuals

http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_4721.shtml

"Military Boots 770 Gays From Its Ranks
"By Staff and Wire Reports
"Jun 21, 2004, 07:52

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, a conservative advocacy group that opposes gays serving in the military, said the loss of gays and lesbians serving in specialized areas is irrelevant because they never should have been in those jobs in the first place.

"We need to defend the law, and the law says that homosexuality is incompatible with military service," Donnelly said. "There is no shortage of people in the military, and we do not need people who identify themselves as homosexual."

or those who object to mandated prayer at the US Navy Academy etc. etc.

She came to my attention today because of a posting on a list I'm on, and I started smelling the stench of an ideologue with a fake intellectual "organization" behind her that is pure ideological sectarian bigoted partisan, that impugns Christians who believe in tolerance and freedom and self-determination and self-will, not ruled by Big Daddy and Queen Bee Exception saying "Do as I say, not as I do!" and assaulting and defecating and sliming anyone not acceding to them. She's not a Christian, she's a Kookahol Khristian....

I suppose she thinks that Alexander II of Macedonia, Julius Caesar, etc., never belonged in any military, either, and that Molly Stark, Molly Pitcher, and the Biblical Deborah should have stayed home cooking dinner....

#173 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 03:48 PM:

Pictures from Titan are up!

#174 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 03:57 PM:

Wow-- the designer of Monty Python's Holy Grail plushies also takes custom commissions. Her galleries have prototype pix of the Knight of Ni (with herring) et al, as well as random others such as *two* plushies of Hugo Weaving-- one as Agent Smith, the other as Elrond, and the latter even has a companion plush of Elrohir.

#175 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 05:28 PM:

Julie L., don't goddesses need feet? I thought the entire range was a bit generic.

At this moment, everything I can see out the window is pink and lavender. The sun is going down and the colors of the clouds are reflected off everything else.

We have new cheetah cubs at the National Zoo:

http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/AfricanSavanna/

#176 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 06:30 PM:

Miss Teresa has been nominated for a Koufax Award for Best Writing.

#177 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 07:54 PM:

I was reading one of the older threads on writing and publishing (many thanks Teresa for putting that list together for Neil Gaiman's blog) and I noticed a section of a scam letter which read "It is the first real fantasy novel ever to be published by an African"

Well - *is* there any African f/sf? I'm aware of stuff like _My Life in the Bush of Ghosts_, but that's not what I'm thinking of. I'm thinking of stuff which is more obviously genre sf/f. I imagine there probably is/was some white South African sf at some point, but what about black Africa?

I have no reason for wanting to know this, but who needs a reason?

#178 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 08:50 PM:

Well, any link with "Claude" in it gets my attention, naturally.

And I can only imagine what the Jack Chick confirmation hearings would be like...

Priceless.

#179 ::: Edo ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 09:03 PM:

Julie L., you didn't happen to notice whether or not the designer of the Hugo Weaving plushies had any samples of him as Mitzi Del Bra in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert did you? I had a quick look but didn't see any.

#180 ::: Edo ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 09:07 PM:

Here's a working link for the allmovie.com entry for Priscilla.

#181 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 09:11 PM:

Steve Taylor, there's Nancy Farmer's writing, notably _The Ear, The Eye, and the Arm_, that comes to mind.

amazon link here

#182 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2005, 10:16 PM:

Appropos of nothing -- Live Journal gives this message today:

Our data center (Internap) lost all its power, including redundant backup power, for some unknown reason. (unknown to me, at least) We're currently dealing with bringing our 100+ servers back online. Not fun. We're not happy about this. Sorry... :-/ More details later.

Yikes.

#183 ::: Sally Beasley ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 12:07 AM:

Jeremy Osner: I visited Italy 20+ years ago, and found that I could communicate fairly well by using my memories of high-school Latin and adding Italian endings to the words. In fact, I found I could communicate in Italy almost as well as I could in France with high-school French.

These days I'd probably be better at pronouncing Italian (or semi-Italian), too, after having some singing training.

#184 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 12:12 AM:

Edo: didn't see any Mitzi plushes there, though that doesn't mean that someone else hasn't undertaken that dread burden. At the least, someone may've customized a Barbie-type doll in his honor; frex, this site has a number of cloth art dolls modeled after some of the Hindu pantheon (but still no Avalokiteshvara) as well as some Barbies in what I can only describe as Bollywood cosplay.

Marilee: I did notice the lack of feet, which gave me weird thoughts about Arianrhod. But that vaguely amphora-like abstract shape seems to be common among the goddess-doll industry (there are several other websites with similar objects, executed in other media such as beading and fused glass as well as felt/fabric).

Mind you, while I suppose that the deified Barbies here do have feet, it's not like you can see them under their long gowns. But at least some of them have adorable little live steel weapons to make up for it. (Hmmm, maybe that explains where their feet went....)

#185 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 12:50 AM:

Steve Burnett wrote:

> Steve Taylor, there's Nancy Farmer's writing, notably _The Ear, The Eye, and the Arm_, that comes to mind.

Thanks - but I was actually wondering about SF by africans, not about africa - and from the bio I found at Barnes and Noble, she's from the USA.

Some of the books do sound interesting stuff though.

#186 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 01:03 AM:

Steve Taylor:

Sorry, my mistake. I should have read your first paragraph where you wrote

...I noticed a section of a scam letter which read "It is the first real fantasy novel ever to be published by an African"

with more attention and noted the "by" as a hint of what you were looking for.

#187 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 01:35 AM:

Internap seems to have those problems from time to time, Paula. At my previous job we hosted one of our products at Internap Seattle. One day, supposedly by mistake, someone actually hit the Big Red Switch and shut down the entire facility.

#188 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 01:41 AM:

Our stuffed dinosaurs have started a nine-year family argument - they started out as Teresa Dactyl, Sluggo Saurus, Traci Teratops and Brian T. O'Saurus, but then we found out about brontosauri and I tried to change his name to Anthony Patrick O'Saurus. My brother, who is a huge troublemaker and who my daughter thinks hung the moon, said he was really a she and her name was Emily Brontesaurus.

She, of course, sided with her uncle. My husband sided with me. We've been split into factions over this for years.

#189 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 01:44 AM:

I do not believe Latin and modern Italian are mutually comprehensible.

I know someone who used to teach classic languages, and he said that the latin they spoke in Rome, as distinct from church latin, was pronounced very much like modern italian.

#190 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 04:17 AM:

Here's an Open Thread sort of idea that occurred to me recently;

Did Achilles have a twin brother who chose oppositely?

How would we know?

(Been reading Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze, and recommend it highly.)

#191 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 06:22 AM:

David Goldfarb:

I recall that the sadly botched but sometimes watchable film "Troy" has some Achilles/brother lines such as:

Achilles: [to his men] Myrmidons! My brothers of the sword! I would rather fight beside you than any army of thousands! Let no man forget how menacing we are, we are lions! Do you know what's waiting beyond that beach? Immortality! Take it! It's yours!

Achilles [to Hector, referring to Paris]: "Perhaps your brother can comfort them. I hear he's good at charming other men's wives."

That would have had extra zing if Achilles had had a peaceful brother. So would these, from the film Memorable Quotes from Troy:

Agamemnon: Achilles is one man!

Briseis: Why did you choose this life?
Achilles: What life?
Briseis: To be a great warrior.
Achilles: I chose nothing. I was born and this is what I am.

Achilles: He killed my cousin!
Priam: He thought it was you. How many cousins have you killed? How many fathers and brothers and sons and husbands, how many, brave Achilles?

We know that Patroclus was Achilles' foster brother and closest friend. That would be powerfully motivated if Patroclus essentially replaced, in Achilles' heart, a genetic brother who died tragically, or was exiled, or abandoned his family and left a deep-felt need for brotherhood in Achilles.

Achilles and Antiachilles. This would, in my humble opinion, make for a really interesting short story, which I am ill-equipped to write. Hence I sincerely suggest that you write it.
Plausible well-paying markets include "Realms of Fantasy", "Asimov's", and "The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction" -- all of which have editors who have some knowledge of and interest in The Classics. I believe that many Science Fiction and Fantasy editors would leap at the chance to print a well-written story that flatters the audience by assuming that they have an appreciation of literature wide enough to embrace both titanium spaceships and bronze-helmeted iron sword-wielding warriors.

Mythically, one could to tie this to Elvis having had a twin brother who died at birth.

See also: "Artotrogus calls the soldier Achilles’ brother (forgetting or not caring that Achilles has been dead for many centuries and did not have a brother." THE SOLDIER

In my opinion, "Troy" failed because they stripped out the Fantasy element. As one critic pointed out, we might not believe in the gods, but we need to understand that the characters did.

Please forgive me the length of this posting, Teresa. I think I am legitimately enthused by David Goldfarb's idea, and want to lend him support to run with it.

#192 ::: Vicki Rosenzweig ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 08:23 AM:

Taking advantage of your open thread to note that I am feeling pathetically cut off this morning. My ISP has been the victim of some kind of very weird attack on its DNS or something. They're working on it, but for the meantime that's an email interruption and my Web pages not visible to the world. LiveJournal being down at the same time means I can't easily tell my friends "Hi, I'm still here, it's just panix." And I can't even connect to AIM. I can browse the Web, and even [deus volente] post here, but I can't use my usual ways of putting out information.

And while there's nobody I especially need to contact this morning--on the only email that especially wants an answer, my correspondent wouldn't see same until Monday even if I sent it now--being cut off leaves me with the great desire to babble to all my friends. Most of whom are sensibly still abed, especially those on the West Coast.

On the off chance anyone reading this thread has been desperately trying to reach me to offer advice, chocolate, or random gossip, it's a listed phone number and nobody in this household is asleep right now. And I might even remember to check the non-panix-related email address included with this comment.

#193 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 09:22 AM:

Sympathies, Vicki. As you can see from the front page, we're experiencing the same email woes for the same reasons.

Some email to panix does appear to get through, but it's extremely unreliable.

#194 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 10:13 AM:

Vicki and Patrick,

It's an awful feeling, this livejournal-and-email-ectomy.

Simultaneously, I am unable to email anyone at my University, just as my wife goes before the personnel committee to decide if she gets a 3-year contract, and as I'm marshalling supporters against the fascist dictator who has crippled the College of Arts & Sciences, and her unpublished and unpublishable minion whom she elevated to Chairman of Natural Sciences & Math (who only has an Ed.D and so resents anyone with a Ph.D. and publications), who collectively forced out (fired or harassed until they quit) several staff and faculty whom she personally disliked, and promulgates a Hostile Workplace.

Can't chat, and can't jihad. So you have more than just my empathy over panix and LJ. Does this situation analogize to something like a lobotomy, a castration, or the streets being blocked by snow when you have to get to work and meet friends for dinner? And shouldn't there be a quintessentially 21st century neologism? Any clever ides, folks?

#195 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 11:41 AM:

Jonathan, you're over-reacting. Yes, I feel cut off. But I'm not, nor is Patrick, as you can see from the very fact that we're having this discussion online.

My faculties and limbs are all present and functional. (Or, if they're not, it isn't because my email is down and I have to write on paper or save to my downloaded client if I want to do journal-ish things.)

This isn't even as bad a power outage.

Oh, and I cannot speak for your wife, but is it really prudent to be calling someone a "fascist dictator" while trying to get something past a committee that person chairs?

#196 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 12:08 PM:

Re: computer mail problems. Sympathies to all! I have been having weird changes in my visuals (screen size and type size online, and my color set up till I fixed that part) that I worried were caused by a virus, but a local expert checked and says no. I guess it's just my antique machine showing its age! At any rate, since some of the problems involved window size, it got me thinking about a handy old word -- defenestration. I expect that could be revamped to describe some problems (or solutions?) relating to us non-Apple users.

#197 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 12:56 PM:

Vicki:

You're right on all counts. I thank you for being so polite in telling me.

Maybe the analogy should be to a sprained finger, or twisted ankle?

My wife probably wouldn't even have wanted me to mention her. I stand by fascist dictator for the Dean, and the majority of the personnel committee (which the dean does not share) have already told me that they will give the libels and sladers by the Dean and her nearly-illiterate henchman ZERO weight of evidence, as the bias against my wife and myself is so "outrageous and sigusting" (said one) and "appalling" (said another). The Dean's boss, the Senior VP of university, comments that the Dean and Chairman have no friends at all in the entire campus community, except for the Dean's lover whom she elevated to assistant dean (normal in human society) and maybe the head of IT and the underqualified Dean of Faculty.

Vicki, you're right also on a deeper level. I am clearly being irrational to some extent, which is hardly news for the very generously tolerant people in Making Light community. My wife and I are literally, medically, traumatized by attacks on us from the malefactors.

Some of my coauthors are begging me to allow them to litigate against the malefactors, as writings that say that my wife and I are not qualified to teach nor do research are also damaging to our coauthors at other universities.

The rational sequence of events would be: (1) I lie low until after my wife gets her 3-year contract, which is the closest thing to tenure there. (2) Move ahead with the formal grievance procedures already pre-announced. (3) Ensure which new position I have, whether teaching or administrative, and at which campus, and allow the checks to clear my bank for compensation for past damage. (4) If the above is not satisfactory, prepare to litigate.

As I drove my son to his college campus this morning, he agreed with you that I'm being irrational. He cited my displaced priorities, and that my wife and I are literally having nightmares and crying out in our sleep over the continuous assaults on us at the university.

I hope that my honesty and openness in describing this on Making Light overrides the distasteful nature of the situation, and my strident (shrill?) tone at times. I thank you again for your kind words.

#198 ::: S. E. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 01:01 PM:

Great. Plot bunny. And I've got a novel to finish this weekend. *thumps head on desk*adds curfew notecard to list*

#199 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 03:26 PM:

African SF/F: In the category "technically true, but...," Tolkien was African. I found a nice article here about the LOTR:FOTR movie premiere celebration in Bloemfontein, Tolkien's birthplace. Local fans call themselves Haradrim.

As to Subsaharan Africa, I'll let others make the fine distinctions between one genre and another, but Nigeria is home to a flourishing horror movie industry (clips here). My guess is that the genre-story-telling impulse in Subsaharan Africa skipped text and went from the oral tradition "straight to video." Nigerian genre films are popular throughout Subsaharan Africa, and among overseas expat communities.

From a film-maker's perspective, supernatural horror has the same fantastic story elements as SF and fantasy, but is much cheaper to produce and easier to sell. So, I think there is the impulse to tell fantastic stories in Subsaharan Africa, but for a variety of historical, financial, and cultural reasons, the form it takes is video rather than literary, and horror rather than science fiction/fantasy.

Another issue limiting the exposure and development of African SF/F might be linguistic. Isn't most African literature in English/French/Afrikaans/etc.? I know that Nigerian genre videos are overwhelmingly in Yoruba, Ibo/Igbo, etc., which are not typically literary languages, right? Is there a connection between genre fiction and "the vulgar tongue"?

#200 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 03:40 PM:

Now me, I not only have no email and no LJ, the Northwest has unleashed awesomely unpleasant weather on Portland--everything is covered with ice--, and I can't even go out to see my Mother in the hospital.

Well, I have a good stock of spaghetti and so far heat and electricity. And IRC still works. Could be worse.

#201 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 04:56 PM:

The ice in Portland is rather dramatically nasty.

It isn't like yer classic East Coast ice storm that turns the world into a crystal fairy-land, with welts of thick ice on the roads that just plain shout "DO . . . NOT . . . DRIVE!" assuming you can even open your car doors.

This is *subtle* ice that makes the pavement look merely wet but is treacherously slick.

I walked the dog for an hour starting at 7:00 this morning. In a weird switch, I walked on the relatively traction-affording grass while Kira stuck to the sidewalks. Saw a few minor spin-outs that would have been disasters if the roads weren't almost empty.

If I didn't have a new computer to set up, I'd be seriously cabin-feverish.

#202 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 05:02 PM:

My aunt and Julia's aunt, who are her mom and my mom respectively, volunteer at a monthly church soup-and-bread lunch for the elderly.

Coutesy their recipe book, a gloppy, rich, artery-clogging soup especially fit for sloppy cold weather:

8 cups cubed potatoes.
Chopped onion.
1/2 pound ham or bacon.
3 cans chicken broth
1 can cream of whatever soup
pinch dill seed
pinch pepper
bar of cream cheese

Put everything in crock pot except cream cheese.

Cook for four hours on medium, tightly covered.

Put in softened, cubed cream cheese; stir well.

Cook another four hours or so. Stir well, server.

Freezes well.

#203 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 05:36 PM:

JVP pondered:

Can't chat, and can't jihad. So you have more than just my empathy over panix and LJ. Does this situation analogize to something like a lobotomy, a castration, or the streets being blocked by snow when you have to get to work and meet friends for dinner? And shouldn't there be a quintessentially 21st century neologism? Any clever ides, folks?

I'm rather fond of the term datastarve [0]

[0] Courtesy of Daniel Keys Moran if I recall correctly.

#204 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 06:22 PM:

The term datastarve is relevant, but this is more like data hunger: most of the net is still there, and I have all these fine books. I could even turn on the radio, and will in a bit to listen to Vin Scelsa.

Hmm. A term for being unable to send data might be useful.

#205 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 06:36 PM:

Vicki commented:

The term datastarve is relevant, but this is more like data hunger: most of the net is still there, and I have all these fine books. I could even turn on the radio, and will in a bit to listen to Vin Scelsa.

Heh. I suppose calling it 'the early stages of datastarve' would be pushing the metaphor. Personally I don't tend to differentiate strongly between the ability to send and receive data in this context - it's still a lack of connection :)

The last time I was unable to send/receive email due to circumstances well out of my control still had me in the twitchy early stages of datastarve, despite access to the rest of the Internet. I didn't have access to -my- part of the Internet[0] :)

[0] Not that I think that email alone makes the Internet - merely that I strongly noticed the absence in that context.

#206 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 07:02 PM:

xeger, I use the same term and from the same source. My partner laughed at me when I used the term without thinking or explaining it, as its meaning was obvious from the context.

Vicki, how about datamute, or netmute?

#207 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 07:41 PM:

Short meditation on climate and place: Summer is New York City's least-loved season and winter is much-loved; there are so many iconic images of the city in the snow, and many of the popular yule songs are about that winter--"White Christmas" is about nostalgia for it. On the other hand, Portland's summer is wonderful, warm, with days that go on forever, and it's hard to love winter, especially when the western wind and the southern rain combine to blanket the city in ice. Brrr. Brrr.

#208 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 07:56 PM:

This guy makes really cool downspouts & gutters:

http://www.artofrain.com

There's no prices on the website, but the WashPost blurb that led me there says $600 for the snake up to $1200 for the twin elephants. No donkeys.

#209 ::: chris bond ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 08:52 PM:

In the vein of not exactly answering the question you asked:

Steve Taylor asked:
I imagine there probably is/was some white South African sf at some point, but what about black Africa?

White south African SF writer, living in South Africa:
Dave Freer

#210 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 09:03 PM:

My parents highly recommend these shoe grippers for ice; I haven't ordered any yet but am strongly contemplating it.

#211 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 09:57 PM:

I get the datastarve thing. I'm in temporary housing, and I don't really want to be driving around on the somewhat icy streets to get to a broadband connection, so I've had to call up a friend and get a dial-in number for my standby ISP. Call me spoiled, but I really dislike the dial-in experience.

It looks like we'll be spared the worst of the ice storm here in metro Seattle, but I'm very glad I was able to drive up here last week instead of this weekend as originally planned. I don't envy the folks in Portland, who are facing a combination of truly bad driving conditions and unfamiliarity with the danger of winter weather.

#212 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 10:03 PM:

Larry Brennan wrote (slowly):

I get the datastarve thing. I'm in temporary housing, and I don't really want to be driving around on the somewhat icy streets to get to a broadband connection, so I've had to call up a friend and get a dial-in number for my standby ISP. Call me spoiled, but I really dislike the dial-in experience.

I quite understand. A move-or-so ago we were reduced to (slow) dial-up shared via wifi between machines, and there Just Wasn't Enough Data, Dammit.

It was still better than none.

#213 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 10:08 PM:

Xeger - I wrote pretty quickly, I just transmitted slowly! With pretty much the same setup you describe, wifi (airport) dialed in at 56k. Glad to have it, but nonetheless ugh.

#214 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2005, 10:38 PM:

Kate --

I use these; they're not as lightweight as the Yaktrax but, well, hobnailed sandals are *very* traditional.

#215 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2005, 01:00 AM:

In the old radio telecom days you had either simplex or duplex circuits. On the former you could transmit or receive, but only one at a time. On a full duplex circuit you could do both simultaneously. Maybe e-mail could be considered in the same manner.

(Not that it does the user any good to know what to call the situation, unless the user expects to be conversing with a specialist who might be able to fix it.)

#216 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2005, 02:58 AM:

I have not only been on dialup for the last couple of months, I've been on dialup in a country where local calls are very much not free, and staying in non-geek houses where the occupants have seen no need to pay the extra to get unmetered dialup access. I've had severe withdrawal symptoms (and I've missed you lot rather badly).

I've got broadband access this week. :-)

#217 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2005, 03:39 AM:

I'm pleased that someone was enthused about my little idea. I don't have the chops to write it myself, though -- for starters, it's just a conceit, not an actual story.

One point I do think needs to be clear: nothing happens to Achilles's brother. Literally. He's the one who chose the long life and obscurity where Achilles chose a short life and immortal fame, and he is so obscure that nobody remembers his name, nobody remembers he ever even existed. He didn't die or be exiled or anything like that, he became the chief of an obscure back-country village and lived to be 80. Eventually the village was destroyed by an earthquake and a couple hundred years later nobody even remembered there was a village there, let alone that it had a chief who had a name.

(When Odysseus visited Hades in the Odyssey, he saw Achilles, who repented of his choice. I spent all of Niven, Pournelle, and Barnes's Achilles' Choice wondering if they were going to remember that, and was ultimately disappointed.)

#218 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2005, 05:58 AM:

David Goldfarb: Do you know Dory Previn's song:
Did Jesus have a sister
a little baby sister
did Je-e-e-esus have a sister
was she there at his death?

#219 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2005, 05:37 PM:

Didn't Casselbury/Dupree (not sure if I'm spelling there names correct) have a really sweet version of "Did Jesus Have a Baby Sister"?

#220 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2005, 09:08 PM:

Linkmeister wrote,

In the old radio telecom days you had either simplex or duplex circuits. On the former you could transmit or receive, but only one at a time. On a full duplex circuit you could do both simultaneously. Maybe e-mail could be considered in the same manner.

Er, no. A simplex circuit was one way (unidirectional), period. A half-duplex (hdx) circuit was directional but only one way at a time. Fdx circuits sometimes were typically two channels, one in one direction, one in the other.... On the satellite communications systems I dealt with, for example, the transmit frequencies to the satellite and the receive frequencies from the satellite were not the same bands, even. While to someone on a satellite phone it wasn't usually obvious, there were two entirely different channels in use to provide two-way communications.

#221 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2005, 10:46 PM:

Some SF and fantasy have addressed the contrast between short and famous lives versus long and less intense, e.g., the line from Diane Duane's _The Door into Summer_ of "A short life, but a merry one," regarding the protagonist of the book trying to find/make a focus for his magic so that he can use it--but at the cost of magic users having more eventful, but -shorter- lives than those who aren't. Another example is from _This Immortal_ by Zelazny, IIRC. I don;'t remember details well enough, but there was something in it about a character who died young and his works were famous, and if the character had continued living and written more, would the view of him had had changed, as he continued writing and his body of work increased by was regarded as less unique over time, and as instead of youthful prodigy dying young without having the time to reach his full promise and power being someone whose continuing body of work, as above, was that of someone with a long life and not some to mourn over how little time he had had and how much more he could have accomplished in a longer life....

Orson Welles hit his apogee with Citizen Kane. Someone suggested that he change careers because Welles would never be able to equal/surpass his work on the film. ...

But there are counterexamples--Gauss lived a productive and relatively long life. Doc Edgerton, inventor of the strobe, holder of a bunch of other patents, instructor to generations of freshmen, underseas archaelogy explorer, Loch Ness Monster hunter, co-founder of the company which built triggers for bombs the US Government doesn't like to talk about, etc, lived a long productive life, and despite his inventions making him an extremely wealthy man, continued working and teaching freshmen up until his final months. The same was true of Charles Stark Draper. Jimmy Doolittle of Doolittle's Raider fame, had an earned aeronautical doctorate, proved that Luke Skywalker flying didn't work and that flying on instruments did risking his life getting the evidence regarding flying in bad weather (to which the line, "there are old pilots, there are bold pilots, there are no old, bold pilots" has relevance) without instruments, was the head of a major US company, and lived a long life... Then there are the people who did famous things in their youth and then turned to other endeavors, "You mean X is still alive?!" Or, there are people with reputations in different fields of endeavor, whose reputations don't extend across the the gulf between.... Hedy Lamar co-invented spread-spectrum frequency hopping, an invention which was more than a generation advanced from when it actually was exploited in real world use--it was decades in advance of where telecommunications was, and it wasn't until the advent of massive amounts of digital signal processing and the availability of microprocessors, that the technology came into its own. The world knew her as an actress, the telecom world knew her as someone who was not only an actress, but the inventor of a technlogy decaded ahead of its time.

#222 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2005, 08:21 AM:

My favourite example of 'long, productive life' is Ernst Mayr. He had a lot to do with the neo-Darwinian synthesis in the 30s, as well clambering all over New Guinea observing birds; he's still publishing innovative stuff at a hundred and one.

Glory over length of days is a false dichotomy; it might not have been for Achilles, that collision of divine wills, but for the rest of us it's at best an assertion about probabilities. (Glory is risky, sure, but so is cooking breakfast.)

#223 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2005, 09:50 AM:

Paula: but did Doolittle take into account that Luke's X-wing might flex? (sorry, I had to....)

#224 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2005, 05:56 PM:

Teresa: Thanks for the link to the Ebert glossary -- I have been runnning across references to it for some time, but have never found it all online.

Paula: Some years back I covered the arrival of a B-25 for a new air museum and actually got to meet Gen. Doolittle and other survivors of the Doolittle Raid. (I can still hear one of them explaining the Chinese wording of the blood chit on his leather jacket.) The General was sharper in his mid-80's than most tacks. In addition to your notes, he was commander of the 8th Air Force in 1944-45, running the WWII air war against Germany at it's height.

Another good example would be Luis Alvarez, who started out WWII designing bombing radars, moved to helping invent Ground Controlled Approach, and ended up at Los Alamos designing detonators for atomic bombs. His postwar work with bubble chambers got him the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physics. He seemed to be interested in everything from the Kennedy assasination to dinosaur killing meteroites.

#225 ::: Sajia ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2005, 06:30 PM:

It's occurred to me that one could create a decent parodic fiction/screenplay generator out of Ebert's glossary.
In fact, I'm kind of wondering if Pratchett ever made use of it.

#226 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2005, 07:37 PM:

Doolittle was the only reservist to command a numbered Air Force.

-------------------------

Luke Skywalker and his X wing... sigh. Isn't George Lu/k/e/cas' track record for inane dialogue when not rewritten by competent writers sufficient grounds for rejection and demonstration of technical incompetence?

----------

AND the Alvarez Layer, yes?


================

What's astonishing looking back 200 years is the lifelong friendship and corrspondence between Col. Loamis [something like that] Baldwin, Revolutionary War Continental Army officer, whose house is a Chinese restaurant these days overlooking a remnant of the Middlesex Canal which he was an investor and chief designer of and built by the first stock corporation in the United States and breeder of the Baldwin Apple, and Count Rumford, FRS, also originally from Woburn Massachusetts, who fled the region for Europe accused of Loyalists sympathies where he became a famous inventor, scientist, stateman, and endower of university chairs, including one at Harvard. Rumford Baking Powder was named after him, invented by a Harvard researcher who occupied the Rumford chair at Harvard, in honor of Rumford's belief that cooking was a paramount field of importance and endeavor.

#227 ::: Edo ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2005, 08:29 PM:

If you enjoyed Ebert's glossary, you might like The Laws of Anime.

#228 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2005, 08:33 PM:

Yes -- with his son Walter.

in honor of Rumford's belief that cooking was a paramount field of importance and endeavor

A man of rare discernment and wisdom.

#229 ::: Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2005, 11:49 PM:

For your mid-winter chocolate imbibing pleasure, here's the recipe I came up with today for spicy hot chocolate:

1 16 ounce can Ghirardelli ground chocolate and cocoa
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground chipotle powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Mix this all together in a big bowl, and put it up in Mason jars (or try to get it all back into its original container, minus what you drink right away).

Three level tablespoons in 8 ounces of hot milk of choice (we're using 1% over here). Zowie. It's really good, and fixes all my complaints with the other spicy hot chocolates I've had (that they were simultaneously too hot but not spicy enough -- nothing but cayenne in the mix is my guess).

#231 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2005, 04:13 PM:

May I please pass along this request, with the edress having been slightly edited to discourage spam harvesters?

--------------------------------

I’m looking for good SF titles using inventions as a major element of story, for a 3-6 grade level reading groups. Where do you look, what do you suggest?

Craig "Bookman" Seasholes
Happy Medium School Library
620 20th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98144
library(AT)happymedium.org
324-4847 x818
www.happymedium.org

#232 ::: Sajia ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2005, 05:22 PM:

Edress is a very convenient word. How recently has it been coined?

#233 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2005, 08:28 PM:

Paula Lieberman wrote:
the line from Diane Duane's _The Door into Summer_ of "A short life, but a merry one," regarding the protagonist of the book trying to find/make a focus for his magic so that he can use it--but at the cost of magic users having more eventful, but -shorter- lives than those who aren't.

Summer was Heinlein. :-) Duane wrote Fire, Shadow and Sunset, and is still working on Starlight if I remember correctly. And yeah, Herewiss and Segnbora both make the choice in that series.

Digression: my copy says on the blurb that Herewiss is 'the sole possessor of the power of the flame,' in a fascinating example of unintentional sexism. [for those who hadn't read it, he was the first man to have the power in usable measure.]

#234 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 12:21 AM:

Re: edress

Well it's been in webopedia since the beginning of 2003 at least.

http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/E/edress.html

http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Words04/neologisms/e.html

And Google brings up 6,000 instances of it.

#235 ::: Dylan O'Donnell ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 05:44 AM:

The first usage of 'edress' on Usenet appears to be September 1991. 'e-dress' is somewhat earlier, July 1987.

#236 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 10:20 AM:

Apropos of nothing (but isn't that what open threads are for?), there is now a Movable Type plugin that prevents spammers from collecting pagerank from comment spam: http://www.movabletype.org/news/2005/01/movable_type_nofollow_p.shtml

This follows an announcement by google:
http://www.google.com/googleblog/2005/01/preventing-comment-spam.html

#237 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 11:55 AM:

OK, I can't find it now, but someone was talking about another character named Harry Potter, way before the Harry Potter books. Here's another: TWO characters (Jr. and Sr.) from a 1986 movie called Troll.

#238 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 12:22 PM:

Oops. It was a listserve I belong to, and not here at all. (In case you're curious, they pointed out that the first person turned into a Scotsman by the Blancmange From Outer Space in an early episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus is named Harold Potter.)

Move along, nothing to see here.

#239 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 03:15 PM:

FX: bangs head on keyboard

I have just seen an author at a perfectly respectable ebook publisher say that she's sold the print rights to her books to PublishAmerica so that those who insisted on having a print copy of the book could do so, if they wanted to pay silly prices.

Now trying to think of a polite way of saying "NO!!!". Collected urls from here, the Rumor Mill and the Water Cooler so far... I think she may be aware that they're a vanity press, so it's the dodgy aspects of the contract I want to focus on. Suggestions, anyone?

#240 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 04:32 PM:

Further to the comments on Aha! on RPG monsters, there are many fun ones in the Munchkin card games, including "Monster The GM Made Up Himself" (+1 against male players, +1 if it's Saturday, -2 against Elves, etc).

#241 ::: Bobbi Fox ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 04:49 PM:

Alas, the link to "One does not simply walk into Mordor"
http://big-big-truck.com/sa/mordor.gif
now results in a 404. (I was able to view it 1/2 hour ago).

Methinks the traffic got too much.

#242 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 05:43 PM:

Christopher: in the category of "Warning: DM dangerous when annoyed", Glenn Blacow (DM around MIT in the \very/ early D&D days) created the Little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes and the Scientologist to deal with a couple of the rule hacks that most aggravated him. (LOLiTSs believed ifunctional halfbreeds were subversives, and Scientologists lunched on characters that had traded all their Wisdom for Intelligence.)

#243 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 07:58 PM:

I'm getting

The referring document was: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/

The requested object does not exist at the specified location. The link you followed is either outdated, inaccurate, or the server has been instructed not to let you have it.

on "One does not simply walk into Mordor."

#244 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 08:10 PM:

Got the answer. From big-big-truck's FAQ:

I tried to post one of your pictures somewhere and it won't show up! What gives?

I have blocked remote linking of nearly all my image files. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, but the truth is, it is rude to use someone's bandwidth without permission. Bandwidth use costs money, so using up someone's bandwidth by remote-linking their files is a bit like making charges on their bank card. Last year, big-big-truck.com got hammered by a number of remote links, and the result was several hundred dollars in overage charges from my webhost.

#245 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 08:31 PM:

There's a copy of "One does not simply walk into Mordor" here, as well as other places I'm sure.

#246 ::: stasia ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 09:50 PM:

Ninja Wizards Rule! If you liked "One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor" you might want to check out A Catapult?, Boromir's Imaginary Phone and The Ring. There's also Of Mice and Hobbits.

#247 ::: Sally Beasley ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 10:13 PM:

Rose: what is "chipotle powder"? I don't think we get it in Australia.

#248 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 10:25 PM:

Sally: chipotle is a mild, smoky chile pepper. If you can't find any, use really really good paprika or mild cayenne.

#249 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2005, 10:29 PM:

I have a question, which perhaps the more bibliomanic here can answer.

I recently read two books in sequence, and spotted a strange similarity between two scenarios in these two books which had much in common (see quotes below). For those who have not read the books, the context scenario was a road which is outside of our reality. And I guess the question is: Is there some well-known text which describes a road with many old shoes scattered along it?

I suppose it is possible the Ms. Clarke is referencing Ms. Jones, yet I am reluctant to conclude that, because Ms. Jones explicitly references the Lyke Wake Dirge in her text for parts of her scenario, and yet that doesn't seem quite the same as what Ms. Clarke writes about.

Perhaps the question itself is excessively Baconian, but I thought it worth a try.

"And I will tell you something else very curious. There were a great number of discarded shoes everywhere I went. Presumably they belonged to other travellers. They were of a very ancient style and much decayed."

-- Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke


"Down on the ground were quite a lot of old shoes. There wasn't much point wondering how they'd come there."

-- Deep Secret, by Diana Wynne Jones



#250 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 12:48 AM:

It was Door into Fire by Diane Duane that I meant. I developed the distressing tendency to sometimes think one word and type a different one..... I knew perfectly well that Door into Summer was Heinlein's, and Door into Fire Diane Duanes, and went and typed Summer instead of Fire.

#251 ::: Edo ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 04:28 AM:

Sally, World Spice in Seattle has a wide selection of culinary treats, including chipotle. Here's the unframed page. To navigate to that page from the main site, click on the "Pure Chiles" link in the left-hand column and then on "Smoked Chipotle Morita" on the page that appears in the frame. World Spice does mail order though I don't know if they send to Australia. I've never ordered from them—I only discovered them after I came to Japan, and sometimes it's difficult or cost-prohibitive to find some of the ingredients I like to spice—they came to my attention via cooking tech guy Alton Brown.

#252 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 08:09 AM:

I have to chime in with a word of support for World Spice, one of my favorite stores anywhere. I came across it by chance a couple of years ago while walking up the back way into Pike Street Market and I could smell it well before I could see it. It was the first place where I smelled real cinnamon and I strongly endorse their curry powders and tofu scramble mixes.

#253 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 09:28 AM:

Just got a phone call from a friend at a local ambulance chaser firm: "Bill, got time to help out today? We have a major problem with our computers."

~50 Windows desktops and laptops with docking stations, and they're ALL INFECTED with various virii.

Improperly configured antivirus software ( no network admin, it was all set up initially by one of the partner's kids, who's away at college )---- and a partner's laptop that was infected at home. What a combination.

I'm going to have to fight to keep a straight face for the rest of the day.

#254 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 09:35 AM:

Owlmirror:

This is probably not quite the answer you're looking for, but I'm reminded of the planet that Zaphod Bebblebrox visited in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe which had long ago passed the Shoe Event Horizon, beyond which it is no longer economically possible to build anything other than shoe shops. That was also outside our reality, and it was also a deserted place with shoes scattered on the ground.

#255 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 10:27 AM:

Owlmirror:

I can't remember the title of the story, the author, or the (Horror?) anthology -- but someone started with the observation that one sometimes sees a single shoe at the side of the highway, never a pair, and extrapolated a creepy reason why.

#256 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 10:43 AM:

Re Shoe Meme :) I wonder if the respective authors had both been to a Barry Kosky production - I think it was Verdi's Nabucco - where a long scene was played out on a stage littered with discarded shoes? He may have got the idea from European productions.

I think that was meant to be a reference to the piles of shoes (etc) gathered from Jews as they reached the Nazi camps. They, and others' memories, were often the only identifiable thing left of their former owners.

Here, with a growing population from Islamic & Eastern cultures, you do more often see neat little sets of shoes lined up outside houses, but this image seems different.

#257 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 11:30 AM:

This is a cool toy for the typography crowd- a "lorem ipsum" generator.

#258 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 11:44 AM:

Congrats, Teresa! Making Light is the Blog of the Day over at Growabrain today! (As part of a pretty cool foodie links post, too!)

#259 ::: Harriet C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 12:09 PM:

Just wanted you to know that in observance of the day, I'm wearing the Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero long-sleeved T, as one of the most appropriate texts to meditate on under the circumstances.


HLC

#260 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 12:33 PM:

Harriet, I'm just wearing black, and observing Not A Damn Dime Day. So far no one's asked me about it.

#261 ::: Kathy ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 01:55 PM:

It was niggling at the back of my mind that "inaugural" sounded a lot like another word I know.

Upon looking it up, I discover that there is a connection - which gives me pause, and leaves me thinking about augury.

#262 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 02:19 PM:

Kathy - that's interesting. Though personally when it comes to GWB I think less about augury than haruspication.

#263 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 02:21 PM:

On an entirely frivolous note, I have just discovered that Mars, Inc., is willing to sell you M&Ms in 21 custom colors, and will even do custom printing on them. For details, see http://mms.com. This is the power of the marketplace, to quote that ad for whatever it is.

#264 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 02:25 PM:

For just multicolored M&Ms, the big Toys R Us on Times Square has many colors, which you can mix as you wish. I particularly enjoyed having a bowl of BLACK emmons (as we call them) on my desk at Halloween.

#265 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 02:40 PM:

Years ago, in college, I was exposed to the work of a photographer who liked to take pictures of single shoes, and I told her about a book called One Shoe Makes It Murder (if memory serves, Man).

I believe it was Gene Fowler's mother who, on losing a treasured glove from a moving train, swiftly threw the other one after it so that somebody might find a pair. Now, that was class.

The talk about the earlier Harry Potters misses the best-known: Jon Singer's a hairy potter. Just ask anybody.

#266 ::: Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 02:55 PM:

Sally: Here's the link from Penzey's on chipotle powder. I'm not sure what to tell you to substitute -- maybe half as much cayenne to start, and see how you like it? Chipotle has a smokier, deeper heat to it than cayenne, but with the other spices in the mix, I think a smaller amount of cayenne might do.

I just saw in Fine Cooking that the supermarket spice brand, McCormick, is carrying a ground chipotle chile now! It's a good time to like food.

#267 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 06:50 PM:

Hi folks.

Have a lot to do? Well, the best possible start to getting everything done is to read this article about avoiding procrastination.

#268 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2005, 09:01 PM:

I'm wearing my only blue winter outfit with my He Lied, They Died button. I actually got out today, so other people saw them.

#269 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2005, 10:56 AM:

Ozland, and Sydney in particular, being both very multicultural and food-obsessed, I was fairly sure there'd be a source somewhere. Here are two I've found online.

Herbalistics (They say they are "a new medicinal plant nursery located in Northern NSW. We are specialised in sourcing and growing rare, unusual and hard to propagate plants, both native and exotic.")
Dried Herbs » Chipotle (Smoked Jalapeno Chilli): These are Jalapeno chillis that have been smoked in fruit tree wood and then sun dried ... Sweet, smoky, bitey, hot.

Herbie's spices "We stock the largest range of culinary Herbs & Spices in the Southern Hemisphere" (In Rozelle/Balmain. Run by the son of John and Rosemary Hemphill, Australian pioneers of the herb and spice scene in the 1950s.)
Chilli Chipotle Powder 30g: A delicious smoked, dried jalapeno. Use in soups, stews and casseroles. Vegetarians find them an excellent substitute for ham in vegetable soup. Heat level – 5/10.

There used to be a lovely grocery store in Crows Nest that for many years had a whole large section of special American food that was otherwise hard to get here (expats visited from afar), but I've heard it closed down - possibly bought out by a large new organic/health food store that's opening new branches.
Not that far away, in Neutral Bay (US connexion there) a good Mexican/American place called "Rattlesnake Grill" almost closed down too, but seems to have come back.

#270 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2005, 12:33 PM:

Thanks for the link, Harry. I've added a permanent link in my browser to his "Get Back To Work" page for motivation.

#271 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2005, 12:37 PM:

I wore my "Save the Bill of Rights/ImpeachBush.org" sweatshirt and thought about the protest 4 years ago. I also obseved Not a Penny Day successfully. Since I'm recovering from knee surgery and more or less housebound, it wasn't difficult, but still.

MKK

#272 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2005, 05:10 PM:

A request for the collective wisdom:

I'm preparing a version of the Jimmie Rodgers song "Peach Picking Time In Georgia" for group singing by persons unknown, but probably leaning leftward. The song contains the lines

When the pickaninnies pick the cotton
I'll pick a wedding ring

From an abstract point of view, this is good songwriting, playing on multiple meanings of "pick" (a running theme of the song). Unfortunately, it's rather difficult to take an abstract view of the word "pickaninny."

I'm trying to find an inoffensive substitution that doesn't suck. The best I've come with so far is "when the cotton-pickers pick the cotton," but I haven't managed to convince myself that the redundancy is amusing rather than annoying (although I like the faint whiff of Yosemite Sam). "When the field hands pick the cotton" is OK, but very bland.

Any ideas?

Of course, I'll put the original in a footnote or something; I don't want to misrepresent the song, I just need to offer an alternative.

#273 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2005, 05:42 PM:

"...the boys in Georgia" is the first thing that comes to mind. If your sensibility is such that "boys" is unacceptable, "folks" would also fit. "Union workers" is probably more Woody Guthrie than Jimmie Rodgers, and "John Deere tractors" has other problems.

#274 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2005, 06:00 PM:

If your sensibility is such that "boys" is unacceptable,

It took me a minute to even figure out why it might be, so probably not. In this kind of song I think "boys" usually means "good ol' boys" rather than "black men."

The problem with "the boys in Georgia" is that the early part of the song is spent establishing which states do what, and Georgia is peaches not cotton. It needs to be "the boys in Mississippi," which is a little harder to fit in... but can be made to work, I think. Thanks for the suggestion!

#275 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2005, 09:09 PM:

Some further thoughts:

boys down yonder
field hands down home (poor scansion, but)
Southern field hands

#276 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2005, 11:12 PM:

Harry - I'll check out your link to the article about procrastination. But I'll do it later.

#277 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2005, 09:02 AM:

"Boys down in the Delta"?

#278 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2005, 12:47 PM:

"Migrant workers" ?

... except that doesn't really help with 'offensive'.

Hrm. Harvest is late september/early october in Louisiana...

"When the geese fly south along the railroad" (hmmm - can you tell that I'm from the north?)

"When the monarchs fly above the cotton" ? It's picturesque, at any rate - and I expect that the migration's particularly noticable.

#279 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2005, 04:34 PM:

I've written another letter to the WashPost. One of their writers had an article on political divisions yesterday and part of it said:

"And something else happens out here on the inaugural streets, something that never quite translates on TV: It's not the shouting so much as it's the muttering. The way the patriots make jokes about the hippies, but only barely audibly. The way someone throws a snowball at a cowboy near 10th Street, and then won't own it. It's the weariness of the great American divide. The bored teenager forced to walk around with her dad and his giant dead-fetus poster; the peacenik nibbling glumly at her whole-grain bagel."

So I wrote saying that I refused to give the appellation "patriot" over to Bush supporters. I don't support him and I'm still a patriot. I originally considered including something about the journalist being openly gay and would he like to contrast "moral man" with "gay" but decided it wasn't really needed and would inject something more people could argue with.

Don't know if they'll print it, but I'm a patriot, dammit.

#280 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2005, 08:39 PM:

Are you too good a writer to get a rejection letter?

Fear not, you can buy this vintage rejection letter from F&SF on eBay for only $24.99!

And if you like that, I've got a couple of BRAND NEW ones that you might be interested in...

#281 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2005, 09:24 PM:

BLEAK HOUFE PUBLIFHERS
Divifion of Ye Carolingian Monopolies Group PLC

Efteem'd Mr Pepys:

Your lately receiv'd journal, London Made Me, (or) Annoyances of a Functionary, has croffed our Defk and occafioned much comment among the better folk of this eftablifhment. But we fear -- nay, we are mortified and brought to fluxful effufions thereby -- that ye Commonplace Booke has paffed its vogue. Ftyle it contains, Wit it contains in profufion, but alas! ye ftem-winding action fequences that fo inflame ye wibblies among ye Broadfheet Claffes are, as our Northern fubeditor notes, "nowt on." We would, as ye moft modeft of propofals, offer that you draw upon your noted experiences with His Majefty's Navye, and bend your Fcribbling Member to ye production of an Aquatick Roufer, on ye order of Ye Hunte After Ye Orange Mynheer, or, Drebbel's Fubmerfible Revenge.

May we courteouf'ly add that this does not conftitute a Manufcripte Folicitatione.

#282 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2005, 10:25 PM:
This is a cool toy for the typography crowd- a "lorem ipsum" generator.

Jeremy Gillick has a Lorem Ipsum generator extension for Firefox and Mozilla, FWIW.

#283 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2005, 01:26 AM:

Mike Ford, I blame you for the fpittle on my difplay.

#284 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2005, 07:03 AM:

[wicked grin] The M&Ms matter reminds me of a Christmas jape a friend played on a child of some of his friends. She'd asked for an Eminem CD, so he bought & carefully wrapped a large bag of M & Ms, handing it to her with a well-practised innocence. I don't know if he'd alerted her parents beforehand.

Apparently her expression was a classic.

Naturally he swiftly followed up with the actual CD. But I do wonder if he might be expecting something similar in return, say for his birthday this Wednesday. (I've noted that there is a new type of sweet thing called "Pods", in case people want iPods.)

#285 ::: Tiger Spot ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2005, 10:30 AM:

Epacris -- That reminds me of something my parents once did to my brother at Christmas. He'd asked for a microscope, so my parents got him a really nice one that used up his portion of the Christmas budget. But they felt bad that he wouldn't have so many presents under the tree (they claim), so Mom went down to the school and borrowed the die-cutter to make 10 or 15 little paper microscope-outlines. She wrote "This is not an expensive microscope" on each one and wrapped them up quite nicely so he would find them on Christmas morning.

#286 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2005, 11:06 AM:

re: cotton-pickin'

You could re-do the line entirely so that it scans ok without having anyone specific picking the cotton, since no matter what you call the folks picking the cotton, someone is going to read it as "slaves." Possibly accurately, depending on the age of the song.

I'm thinking something like "when the cotton's ripe for picking" - good old passive voice, always helpful for dodging a bullet. :)

#287 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2005, 11:14 AM:

well ok, I guess that's not really passive voice, since cotton is now the subject. Weasel voice, maybe.

#288 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2005, 01:50 PM:

I'm leaning toward "when Mississippi picks the cotton." The song has two running themes--states and the word "pick"--and this substitutes one for the other. It also scans and sounds like the original; even the vowels are the same. I figure a little synecdoche never hurt anyone.

I'm sure people will still think "sharecroppers" (hopefully not "slaves", as the song is from 1932), but I don't want to whitewash history, just remove a fightin' word.

Lots of good ideas in this thread--thanks!

#289 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2005, 01:59 PM:

Arghhhhh!

Water! There's water all over my basement, and I have no idea where it's coming from!!!

Dammit! How long can it take a plumber to appear?!?

#290 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2005, 02:05 PM:

On a Sunday? A long-g-g-g time, xeger.

It might be better to think in terms of "Towels!" or "Shut-off valve!", rather than "Keyboard!"

#291 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2005, 02:26 PM:

Bruce wrote:

It might be better to think in terms of "Towels!" or "Shut-off valve!", rather than "Keyboard!"

Heh. I'd already done the "shut-off valve", and towels ... aren't much use when you're talking something between 0.5-4 inches of water depending on the part of the basement. A 5G wet/dry-vac doesn't do a damn'd thing about that much water - and I can't trust that pouring the water down the drain won't just send it right back out again...

I'm fairly sure that it won't - but fairly sure isn't certain ;)

At any rate, I have a sneaking suspicion that the sump pump isn't doing it's thing - but not enough know-how about them to be able to absolutely determine (a) what sort of sump pump it is (b) whether the area it'd normally drain out to is frozen solid, causing it to overflow, despite functioning correcting or (c) whether mucking about with the float will cause it to try and turn on, anyways - and if that's a good idea at all.

... so really - being at the keyboard is all about sharing my angst, and not putting the phrase "I'm an engineer - I can fix anything" into action, and making the situation worse.

#292 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2005, 03:18 PM:

The record rainstorms in Southern California performed a reverse triage on boxes of books and documents in my garage. Only the most collectable first editions, and the documents (literary, legal, scientific) not extant in electronic form nor duplicated (and which I was soon to scan) returned unto pulp. Spent 2-3 days repacking boxes from the garage, throwing out the pulp, and moving the survivors, labelled properly, into the 8'x8'x16' shed, which withstood the deluge and mudslide.

On a more positive note, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 10-digit code which is used to uniquely identify a book. To learn the secret of the error-detecting checksum for ISBN, see:

Eric W. Weisstein, "ISBN." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.

#293 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2005, 07:15 PM:

Paula Span's article on PublishAmerica is in today's WashPost:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25187-2005Jan20.html

#295 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 08:25 AM:

There's a certain dogged persistence to these...

#296 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 09:25 AM:

Watching news reports of heavy snowfall in the Northeastern states, and the difficulty in some areas of getting out for supplies, I found myself wondering how Patrick & Teresa were doing.

(Hey, you two! Don't... eat... the hamster! We'll arrange an airdrop if you need one.)

#297 ::: Tracina ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 09:35 AM:

Tim Walters: When the field hands pick the cotton" is OK, but very bland.

How about "When the hands are pickin' cotton"? There's a bit of wordplay in that, as in the original.

FWIW, I'm in the Upper South, and the cotton here was harvested in mid-December.

#298 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 10:31 AM:

There's a certain dogged persistence to these...

Yes, they're determined sons of bitches...

#299 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 12:00 PM:

Tim Walters: I perform with a group that does a lot of "Americana"-type 20s and 30s music, and this issue comes up with some frequency. My personal preference is not to change anything.

First of all, audiences can be remarkably sophisticated about America's past. I regularly sing "Darktown Strutters' Ball" in diverse venues for diverse audiences, and have never gotten a negative reaction.

Second, it's hard to be consistent: I've heard singers edit the word "colored," but leave "yellow" (as in "The Yellow Rose of Texas"), even though "yellow" is by far the more offensive term, albeit unfamiliar to modern audiences.

Third, some of those old songs actually make a potent statement about racism (again, check the original lyrics to "Yellow Rose of Texas"), and by editing the lyrics, you whitewash the inherent contradictions of Jim Crow America.

I'll never forget the first time I heard the unexpurgated lyrics to Show Boat. That first word sung by the chorus--almost as offensive in 1928 as it is today--made it clear that this was not some wide-eyed, cotton-candy, marshmallow-fluff musical about moon and June and spoons. That one word, so easily edited out, changes the meaning of every lyric that follows.

BTW: "pickaninnies picking cotton" refers specifically to child labor. So the proposed edits all cover up not one but two sins.

Maybe for balance, you should just follow the unedited Jimmy Rogers song with Nina Simone's "Mississipi God Damn."

#300 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 12:30 PM:

Tim Walters et al.:

A good treatment of the issues of African-American culture and music as represented through "white" pop music may be found in:

JAZZBO
by CLAUDIA ROTH PIERPONT
Why we still listen to Gershwin.
The New Yorker
Issue of 2005-01-10
Posted 2005-01-03

"... the Gershwin debates, which long outlived the quarrels over jazz while adopting many of the same racial and social implications, and which offer a view of what Gershwin called the American soul, along with the apparently inseparable issue of our musical style. The voice of that soul, according to Gershwin, is 'jazz developed out of ragtime, jazz that is the plantation song improved and transferred into finer, bigger harmonies.' Writing in 1926 in the magazine Theatre, he reassured a nervous public that he was claiming not that the American soul was 'Negroid' but that 'it is black and white . . . all colors and all souls unified.'"

#301 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 12:58 PM:

HP: My preference is the same as yours, and if I were singing it myself for an audience, I wouldn't change it. But in this case, it's preparing something for others to sing, and I feel that, not knowing their preferences, I should have an alternative ready. The original text will also be there.

I like the "Mississippi Goddamn" idea--another roll call of Southern states, but with a very different intent...

#302 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 04:11 PM:

If you ever become bored with Lorem Ipsum, you might consider investigating ungreek.toolbot.com. I think it's kind of nifty.

#303 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 04:32 PM:

Does anybody else find dogeared books annoying?

#304 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 07:05 PM:

Charlie Stross, I hate you. Iron Sunrise kept me up till 2:00am last night because I had to get through the embassy scene before putting it down for the night. Now I'm strung out on all the caffeine I needed to get going this morning.

#305 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 07:28 PM:

Needless pedants (ſuch as myſelf) will note that (a) Majuscule (capital) "S" would not have been written in the long form & (b) two such characters together would have been written and a long- and terminal- form ligature [1] & (c) there *is* a character for ſaid long form: &#383; (or) Unicode 17F [2]

Thus:

BLEAK HOUSE PUBLISHERS
Diviſion of Ye Carolingian Monopolies Group PLC

Eſteem'd Mr Pepys:

Your lately receiv'd journal, London Made Me, (or) Annoyances of a Functionary, has croſsed our Deſk and occaſioned much comment among the better folk of this eſtabliſhment. But we fear -- nay, we are mortified and brought to fluxful effuſions thereby -- that ye Commonplace Booke has paſsed its vogue. Style it contains, Wit it contains in profuſion, but alas! ye ſtem-winding action ſequences that ſo inflame ye wibblies among ye Broadſheet Claſses are, as our Northern ſubeditor notes, "nowt on." We would, as ye moſt modeſt of propoſals, offer that you draw upon your noted experiences with His Majeſty's Navye, and bend your Scribbling Member to ye production of an Aquatick Rouſer, on ye order of Ye Hunte After Ye Orange Mynheer, or, Drebbel's Submerſible Revenge.

May we courteouſ'ly add that this does not conſtitute a Manuſcripte Solicitatione.


Kudos to Mr. Ford nevertheleſs, of courſe.


______________________

1. Of course, it would depend on the era, and the writer. But given that the rest of the spelling & tone is modern, I would aſsume that modern exactitude would be used in the orthography

2. Well, it works on *my* machine...

#306 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 07:37 PM:

Those decorative vacuum covers are really sad. They probably sell them to people whose closets are full of Franklin Mint paraphrenalia, or Rubbermaid storage crates packed with Christmas decorations.

So . . . where do you put your vacuum cover when you are using the vacuum? Only a slob would just throw it on the floor. What we need are inflatable vacuum cover caddies designed to hold your precious decorative covers upright when not in "use."

Hey, how about vacuum covers that look like giant robots, or Pokemon, or famous movie monsters? Buy one of those and the kids would be begging mom to store the Electrolux in a corner of their room, freeing up more space in the parlor for a custom shelf unit specially designed to display Mom's stash of Heritage Mills This Land of Ours series of collectable salt & pepper shakers . . . one for each county in the union.

#307 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 08:52 PM:

Stefan suggests "vacuum covers that look like giant robots, or Pokemon, or famous movie monsters?"
How about, for fandom, the Cthulu, Dagon, Cave Troll, Sand Worm, etc. vacuum covers (I particularly like the idea of the Santa Sand Worm, or Elvis Cthulu version). Following other earlier strands in the thread, some of the household guardians (Lares, Hestia, Hathor, brownies, perhaps?) could be suitable.

Perhaps some of the knitted or crocheted toilet-paper-roll cover patterns could also be adapted? Probably best in easy-wash yarns -- there was a lady from Tasmania who collected plastic supermarket shopping bags, cut them in strips and crocheted them into mats & other wet-area objects, among other frugal habits. Those have a limited colour-range, however.

#308 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 09:06 PM:

There must be someone in fandom who's built an R2-D2 shroud for his or her Roomba. It would have to be lightweight, as they don't generate that much tractive torque, but 2-ply Bristol (plate, of course -- no vellum-finish droids in this shiny future) would do nicely, and a basic LED lighting system wouldn't weigh more than an ounce or so.

And speaking of LED illumination, since DC motors are also DC generators waiting to happen, using a low-drag coreless Mabuchi to reward one's hamster with wheel-powered disco lights would, uh, er . . .

Say, what about all that dog poop in the environment? I suspect Scrappy-Doo.

#309 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 09:53 PM:

It actually took me a second to figure out that this was meant to allow you to leave your vacuum cleaner out in plain sight. (As a bachelor who lives alone, I don’t have any problem doing that even with a naked vacuum, but that’s another story . . .)

Yes, it saves closet space. But at what cost to your soul?

#310 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 11:30 PM:

I dunno about vacuum covers, but I join with Epacris in a newly-discovered desire for novelty TP roll covers (Cthulu variations preferred). I, unfortunately, posess no patience for crafts unless I'm helping kids.

Attention entrepreneurs! High-margin market opportunity! Size of at least one!

BTW - when I was a kid, those woven plastic bag rugs were all the rage. We had one by the kitchen sink for years.

#311 ::: Sally Beasley ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 11:34 PM:

Epacris: I live in Western Australia, not Sydney. However, if I can't find chipotle powder locally (maybe at the same shop where I get the Ghirardelli hot chocolate powder) I'll try one of those online sources. Thank you.

#312 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2005, 11:48 PM:

Here's hoping all on the East Coast are well, safe and warm. That was a hell of a storm.

I'm only going to be occasionally here for a while, last Wednesday my beloved laptop (Mac iBook G3) was taken out of my unlocked car while I went into the vet to pick up my more-beloved cat Fergal's ashes. Less than 5 min.... My email is still a shambles, I have to call Roadrunner to figure out how to set it up. The computer I'm using is one from work, a OS 9 G3. It's pretty but not nearly the same thing.

Best wishes, and until I post otherwise, my email actually should be pmurray@ascendmedia.com.

#313 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 01:57 AM:

John M. Ford: ...reward one's hamster with wheel-powered disco lights...

Here's a hamster-powered nightlight .

(A hamster wheel has low revs, so they recommend winding your own coils.)


#314 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 01:59 AM:

Sally: you might also try Fresh Provisions, open 24 hours, in Mount Lawley. Alternately, the new David Jones store in the city (in the food court area) might conceivably stock it. God knows they stock everything else.

#315 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 06:21 AM:

Kitty sushi toilet paper covers:

http://www.deviantgoods.com/products/kittymaki.html

#316 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 09:06 AM:

John Ford writes:

> And speaking of LED illumination, since DC motors are also DC generators waiting to happen, using a low-drag coreless Mabuchi to reward one's hamster with wheel-powered disco lights would, uh, er . . .

That could never happen.

http://www.otherpower.com/hamster.html

#317 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 09:51 AM:

Sick frugal habit admission, inspired by the grocery bag rugs:I make braided rugs out of old pantyhose. Can't bring myself to throw them away, because that's what my mother and grandmother did with theirs. Also obsessively make Amish dustcatcher rugs out of old t-shirts and other knit scraps.

And way upstream JVP mentioned ISBN numbers. Don't look now, but they're going to 13 digits in 2007...http://www.niso.org/standards/resources/ISBN.html

#318 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 10:50 AM:

I feel guilty throwing out plastic grocery bags. I have saved them to the capacity of my bag saver, but never, ever use them. When I was a kid my mom used them to keep our feet dry, and to make our boots easier to don and doff.

It never occurred to me to make a rug out of them. Maybe because I had asthma as long as I had rugs, and it went away and never (well, hardly ever) came back once I got rid of them all. Still, such a rug would make a great doormat, wouldn't it?

I make only one secondary use of the plastic grocery bags. I unpack them without picking them up, leaving them sitting there on the floor. Then, one at a time and alternating feet, I kick them up to shoulder level and snatch them out of the air. A minor leg exertion, but good for the balance, I find.

Then I throw them away. As I said, my bag saver is full.

#319 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 11:20 AM:

Bakadyne Electrics Dai-Nippon Ltd Present:

HAMGYRO SUPERFUEL MOTORCAR OF TOMORROW

"Nation what control meep-meeps control all cosmos." -- Diet Sumito, Industrious Overlord

FOUR NOW SHIPPING KINDS:
Hamgyro "Amazing King" Twin
Hamgyro "Mecha-Robo" Quadro
Hamgyro "Super Daikaju" Six
Hamgyro "Shogun Emperor" Eight

Note: Six and Eight Cage Models encorporate Auxiliary Energy Unit using clean-flaming methane (natural side-product of hamster effort) to power optional laptop, Playstation, headlight, etc.

Frequency Asked Question: Why is hamsters in twos?
Answer. Hamster require motivation. This know to Scotland engineers as "Impulse Drive." (Exception: Hamsolo "Mega-Ninja" Moped employ "Frustration Overthruster.")

(Theme song)
Here he come, here come the auto,
It a hamster within:
It a hamster and it overtake when traffic codes permitting.
It travel down the path like hell-emergent bat
Is Year of Hamster now, no Chicken, neither Rat
And when it meet Mitsubishi
Make wee on other car
If him not get exhausted
Goes very far
Hamster-go-go, hamster-go-go, hamster-go-go-go!
(Press to download as ringtone.)

#320 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 12:25 PM:

All of the grocery stores I frequent have plastic bag recycling barrels.

I save smaller plastic bags, including newspaper bags, and bring them to one of the dog parks. There are bins at the enterances for them. They're not as eco-friendly as biodegradable dog-crap bags, but it's better they get used for something and it's a Good Thing that they encourage people to pick up after their dogs.

#321 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 01:11 PM:

No, no, Stefan, not dogs again! The dog spammers will come back! For excellent dog pooper-scoopers and backyard composters, go to......

#322 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 01:25 PM:

Paula Helm Murray:

Sincere multiple sympathy. No jokes about cats and computers; you must be in real pain over this. Much hope that your files were backed up on diskettes or CDRs or attachments emailed to folks.

Reminds me of when the staff of The New York Review of Science Fiction got out of a car in New York City, set on the car hood the Macintosh with the files for the issue they were about to submit to the printer, walked around to the other side of the car... and the Mac was already stolen.

In L.A., I'm told that when thieves break into a car to steal a laptop, they get $50 to $100 max on the street for it, as cash or drugs. That's so much less than the value to the ripped-off owner. I'm also told that the fee for whacking someone in a drive-by shooting has plummeted to the same $50 to $100. When I was young, I found anarchy seductive. Now, I want it only on the internet, minus spam and worms. Is our country so disintegrated, or am I just getting slightly coneservative in my old age, or both? Anyway, sympathy, empathy, and good wishes.

John M. Ford:

You're brilliant, as usual. Well done!

#323 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 01:35 PM:

Stefan Jones: As it happens I have Rubbermaid crates full of Christmas decorations, but I'd never ever buy the vacuum covers. My sister or mother probably would, but not me.

Xopher: I find that if I leave the bags lying on the kitchen table, when it comes time to clean the kitchen I can grab one and put all the trash in it, thus making only one trip to the trash can. Which is at the other end of the room because that was the only place for it. We also use them when we scoop the cat boxes, but with your allergies you probably don't have a cat.

MKK

#324 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 01:41 PM:

Plastic bag recycling barrels are great. If only there was some way to recycle them immediately, instead of taking them home and bringing them back again. Very inefficient.

#325 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 02:05 PM:

Mr. Ford, my hat is hanging in the coat closet, but I'm tempted to go put it on so that I may take it off again.

Let's very hamster!

#326 ::: Tracina ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 02:13 PM:

Regarding plastic bags: Taking your own cloth bags to stores means that you don't have to throw away or recycle plastic ones. Plus you don't get purple fingers or cuts on your hands from the narrow plastic straps, and the bottoms don't tear and spill your groceries. Nor do the cloth bags fall apart in rain or snow, as paper bags do.

#327 ::: dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 02:31 PM:

Although it's not the most fashionable look, I find that plastic shopping bags make excellent trash bags for the 3 gal (?, 5?) containers I use in my bathroom.

#328 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 02:38 PM:

MUCH IMPORTANT ERRONEOUS MESSAGE

For "Daikaju" in previous message of tinned meathood, please are reading "Daikaiju."

To Daikaiju so offended, politely ask for regurgitation of Works Unit #3. At least of capital equipment. Keep hamsters as apology. We have more.

#329 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 04:16 PM:

John, re Roombas and R2-D2:

My current plan for a Roomba (Plus model) is to mount a wireless webcam and a couple of LEDs on stalks on a Roomba, apply an appropriate paint job, and build a Farscape DRD for the house. I'll be slightly surprised if this hasn't already been done by someone else out there.

#330 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 06:56 PM:

Xopher: don't the supermarkets near you have plastic bag recycling things? They do here, and it's very useful.

In other news, someone has entertainingly accurate comments on Dan Brown's writing at http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000844.html.

They only cover "The Da Vinci Code", the lucky souls. I made the mistake of getting both Digital Fortress and DVC, since they were going cheap, and Oh. My. God. They're currently at the bottom of my "read if there is really NOTHING ELSE in a five mile radius" pile.

Admittedly I only made it a few pages into DF, and a few paragraphs into DVC, but that was enough.

#331 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 08:11 PM:

Paul: Just read DVC, and then you can imagine that you've read his other books, because they all follow the exact same formula. I've read two and feel no need to read any more, ever ever ever.

I enjoyed DVC partly for the way it hacks up a bunch of sacred cows, and partly for the way it hacks up the English language.

My favorite bit is when he describes his heroic symbologist (!) by having him look in the mirror and then saying what the guy sees in the mirror. Rather than just, y'know, describing the guy.

What makes this extra-yummy is that he does the mirror description in Angels & Demons as well, which is the book that comes before DVC, about the same heroic symbologist.

That said, it's a fun book, in the way that romance novels or middling-quality porn or unauthorized bios of famous people are (sometimes) fun.

#332 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 08:18 PM:

Well, Christmas ornaments in Rubbermaid tubs, check. We also use cardboard ones we get at Loewes, which I like better.

Plastic bag recycling, check. We take ours to our rented mailbox - since they're always handing them out to people to put their mail in (this _is_ Seattle). They also take good paper bags, for sunny days.

But Yellow Rose of Texas? Oh, my, I've spent all my life thinking she was a blonde... Blame it on all my tall, blonde, Scandinavian cousins.

#333 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 08:36 PM:

Thank you for the sympathy Jonathan. I've had so much other worse hurts this year that, in the grand scheme of things, it's just a pain in the arse. (Since last Feb, two dear, dear friends and one very gentlemanly sweet cat have passed.) AND we're insane with work at work (I work for a trade show publisher...)

Last backup was 12/29 to CD but everything that was active was on a computer at work too. It's a thing and can be replace. AND I resisted the urge to ever put a file of numbers on it -- like SS, credit cards, etc. And they can't hock it, at least in the neighborhood, there's a program that the legit pawn shops require the start-up disc to come with a computer you're pawning.

My guess, from the call the next day, is it's either a druggie or a drunk (they didn't leave a number). And it's a Mac OSX, so it works differently than any computer most people have been exposed to. There's a certain irony there.

#334 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 08:43 PM:

In the meantime, Teresa is steadily clawing her way up the list of book editors in the P&E Readers Poll at http://www.critters.org/predpoll

#335 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 09:18 PM:

My grocery store takes anybody's plastic bags, including the newspaper bags, so I just take them back the next time I go shopping.

#336 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2005, 11:20 PM:

MORE snow incoming.... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

#337 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 12:25 AM:

Paula Helm Murray: still, my condolences. Losing a tool, even one that can be replaced and is backed up, is a PITA. Last time my Palm broke, I limped along half-brained for a day until I could find the old one and get back to 3/4-brained (the old one didn't have all the functionality I've become dependent on).

Paula Lieberman: noooooooooooooooooooooooo! I just finished digging out from the last batch!

#338 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 01:22 AM:

Thought:

USB "Jump Drives" and the like can now be bought in 512 mb and 1 gb capacities. This is enough to handle a LOT of documents, a Quicken backup, and even a bunch of pictures.

Backing up your vitals stuff to one of these before you leave the house with your laptop might not be a bad idea.

* * *

GRRR . . .

Just got a piece of real-mail from Intuit, telling me that my copy of Quicken 2002 won't be supported come April. That means no more downloading stock prices.

Bastards.

There's no reason to do that, beyond spurring sales for the new version.

Bastards.

If I had known this, I would have gotten the Basic version along with my Tax software . . . it would have been essentially free.

Bastards.

I may switch to Microsoft Money out of spite.

#339 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 04:31 AM:

We've been using Quickbooks at the copy shop where I work and it does what we need very nicely except that the folks at Intuit have blackmailed us into buying unneeded upgrades twice in the last four years. Grr. (And it's still cheaper than paying a payroll service or a full-time bookkeeper. Even so.)

#340 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 06:13 AM:

How should I pronounce "Hayden" in the surname "Nielsen Hayden"? Is it like the English words hi + den, or is it like hay + den? Note: I hope it is the former, because it's how I've been pronouncing it for as long as I've been reading this blog. I'm assuming that Nielsen is pronounced like kneel + sen (but am willing to be corrected). Googling found me the correct pronounciation of Teresa, which is as-expected.

(why I'm asking).

#341 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 11:02 AM:

There are no plastic-bag recycling containers near my grocery stores AFAIK. That would take up actual room (if you've never lived in Metro NYC you don't know what a critical issue this is).

But Yellow Rose of Texas? Oh, my, I've spent all my life thinking she was a blonde... Blame it on all my tall, blonde, Scandinavian cousins.

I'm worse than that. I assumed the Yellow Rose of Texas was...you know, a rose. As in, a plant. But then I don't think I've ever heard the words to that song...when I hear an instrumental of it, my brain goes "Because I could not stop for Death He kindly stopped...for-ME!"

novalis, 'Hayden' is pronounced like a really cozy cave (a den lined with hay - though the vowel in 'den' is pretty reduced, as in the 'ton' in Hatton). You have Nielsen correct (as a command to one's male offspring before the altar - similar reduction applies).

#342 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 11:10 AM:

In follow-up to my urging you to watch, here's a good review with photos.:

MAA Online: Math Games:
The NUMB3RS TV show

Ed Pegg Jr., January 21, 2005

The pilot got at least 21,000,000 viewers, according to a publicist I spoke with yesterday during a photoshoot of Gary Lorden and his Math team at Caltech for the Friday issue of USA Today. If it keeps half of that for the Friday 2nd episode, it is a genuine hit.

Ed Pegg Jr found a weird coincidence between the 8 actors in the show and Christopher Lee...

#343 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 11:37 AM:

Xopher wrote:
I'm worse than that. I assumed the Yellow Rose of Texas was...you know, a rose. As in, a plant. But then I don't think I've ever heard the words to that song...when I hear an instrumental of it, my brain goes "Because I could not stop for Death He kindly stopped...for-ME!"

You too?!? It's really distracting to find myself starting to sing that out loud - up there with realizing that I'm halfway through singing (mostly sotto voce) the masochism tango in a profoundly inappropriate venue...

#344 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 11:59 AM:

John M. Ford:
For "Daikaju" in previous message of tinned meathood, please are reading "Daikaiju."

Not to be confused with the surprisingly good Southern Kabuki-mask-wearing monster movie surf rock band of the same name.

#345 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 12:04 PM:

I just checked out that Atlanta Nights link. I blush for my city.

For the benefit of those who've been out of the loop, may I ask where and how this conspiracy took place? I might just have to buy this book, for the same reason I once got Jim to send me one of his surplus copies of The Pleistocene Redemption. (For which I still owe him a beer, and which debt I fully intend to discharge one of these days.)

#346 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 12:46 PM:

Is it too late to add

All your hamster are belong to us!

Or would that be just tasteless & derivative? (Not unlike certain tinned products...)

#348 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 01:53 PM:

Zvi, she says she'll correct 'duck tape' to 'duct tape'. But actually it's called duck tape because it's made from duck, a light cotton fabric.

I'm more pedantic than an Onion parody of pedantry. Wow.

#349 ::: Zvi ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 02:01 PM:

Xopher, in my idiolect, the product is generically 'duct tape' -- I've never called it duck tape. Specific brands may be '3M Brand Duct Tape'[tm] or 'Duck Tape'; i.e., Henkel refers to their specific brand as Duck® Tape brand duct tape (which makes me laugh):
http://www.duckproducts.com/

Here's the real explanation:
http://www.octanecreative.com/ducttape/duckvsduct.html

Their conclusion is either name is appropriate (but since Duck is branded, I'd use duct!).

#350 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 02:48 PM:

There's an Associated Press article about Publish America that I thought the denizens of Making Light might be interested in. (via LISNews)

#351 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 02:55 PM:

I call it "gaffer tape," just to be contrary.

BTW: This may be old news to any UKers reading, but I found it hilarious and brilliant. It took a bit of digging and Googling for me to determine that it's a promo for a new Channel 4 series. Be sure to click The Canon and check out the writing samples.

Via this post at Crooked Timber, which details an attempt at hoaxing a vanity publisher, and is probably also old news to all but me.

#352 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 04:09 PM:

I thought "gaffer's tape" was a description specific to the black stuff used in the theatre. (Black, as it is often used to tape down lighting cables that snake around surfaces which are generally painted black). It is also a bit less perniciously goopy/sticky than duct tape.

#353 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 04:51 PM:

Well, "gaffer" is another word for electrician, and I always called the black tape "electrical tape," so you could be right. Mostly, I mentioned gaffer tape (as I stated) just to be contrary.

It seems to me, though, that all of these tape names are basically labels of convenience. Scotch[tm] tape is of course a proper name, and cellophane tape, plastic tape, paper tape, magnetic tape, etc., all describe the tape in some material way. As does duck tape, less obviously. But duct tape, gaffer tape, first-aid tape, etc. describe how tape is used. If a gaffer used duck tape instead of electrical tape to tape down cords, would it not become gaffer tape by virtue of a gaffer using it?

(Oh, and speaking of first-aid tape, I now keep duck/duct tape in my medicine cabinet, because there's nothing better for treating plantar warts.)

#354 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 06:36 PM:

HP wrote in a fit of unfortunate misunderstanding:
It seems to me, though, that all of these tape names are basically labels of convenience. Scotch[tm] tape is of course a proper name, and cellophane tape, plastic tape, paper tape, magnetic tape, etc., all describe the tape in some material way. As does duck tape, less obviously. But duct tape, gaffer tape, first-aid tape, etc. describe how tape is used. If a gaffer used duck tape instead of electrical tape to tape down cords, would it not become gaffer tape by virtue of a gaffer using it?

Yikes! Not at all. They're distinctly different.

Gaffer tape is a cloth tape with a low-tack adhesive that doesn't leave behind a horrible sticky residue on carpet, cords or people, and doesn't take paint (or worse) off the walls. It can be easily torn with fingers or teeth, and is a pleasure to use. It is designed to be removed after a short period of use.

Duct tape is -also- a cloth tape, but has an extremely high-tack adhesive, and is designed to hold things together on a long term basis. It -sticks- (at least the good stuff does). You should be able to patch a hole in your canoe with duct tape, and not worry about it until the end of the trip (presuming you got the surface dry before you put the tape on). If you use duct tape to hold down cords, they're going to be sticky and collecting dirt/sticking to themselves and not uncoiling cleanly for -years-. If you use duct tape to tape curtains to drywall, trying to remove it will take off the top skin of the drywall. It -sticks-.

Electrical tape is a non-conductive vinyl tape which (again) shouldn't be used to tape down cords, because it tends to leave behind a sticky residue. It's designed to insulate electrical connections, and protect them from the surrounding elements.

First-aid tape could refer to one of two things, one being a cloth tape used to hold bandages on (and sticky as all getout too!) - and the more recent version being an odd fibre tape that seems to hold bandages down just as well - but hurts much, much less when removed.

FWIW, if I caught a gaffer taping down cords with either duct tape or electrical tape, if it wasn't their first time out, I'd send them home. Any gaffer doesn't know better after their first gig is likely to do other daft things, and I'm better off shorthanded.

#355 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 06:55 PM:

I used to think people (and companies) which called duct tape duck tape were being cute, until I remembered that "duck" is a kind of light canvas and that "duck tape" is the original name for the stuff, although perhaps not for the metallized variety.

#356 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 07:23 PM:

First-aid tape could refer to one of two things...

Far more than two. There's cloth, porous paper, elastic foam, porous plastic, and two kinds of waterproof occlusive -- a plastic, and an older, heavy cloth style. All of these are used for wound dressings ("bandaging"), depending on the exact circumstances; the foam, for instance, is good on irregular areas, and will give if the wound swells, and the paper is the least allergenic and the one for the field bag if you're only going to have one sort. (It's more waterproof than one would expect.)

There are also Steri-Strips, which are a tape surgical closure. They're powerfully adhesive and quite waterproof; I've been held together by these for days of not-quite-full activity and daily showers.

For some weird reason, I am reminded of Marx's delighted fascination with the fact that the Birmingham foundries produced over three hundred types of specialized hammers.

#357 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 08:02 PM:

Steve, the story behind Atlanta Nights is explained in detail by Jim Macdonald on the Absolute Write "Background Check" board:

http://p197.ezboard.com/fabsolutewritefrm11.showMessageRange?topicID=209.topic&start=5541&stop=5560

(sorry about the clumsy link. I'm terrible at that stuff.)

#358 ::: Edo ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 10:51 PM:

Bob, thanks for the hamster-driven generator link. I mentioned it to a friend the other day, who pointed me to the Melonpool web comic, which is said to include a space ship powered by a 300-pound hamster in a similar device.

#359 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2005, 11:07 PM:

There are also Steri-Strips, which are a tape surgical closure. They're powerfully adhesive and quite waterproof; I've been held together by these for days of not-quite-full activity and daily showers

Blinking

You were the cause of Dripclave?

#360 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 12:38 PM:

xeger: The point I was trying to make is that:

* You can name a tape after what it's made of (e.g. duck).
* You can name a tape after how it's used (e.g. duct).
* You can assign a proper name to a tape (e.g. Duck[tm] Brand).

These are three unrelated species of label. The fact that an object has one kind of label doesn't tell me anything about what its other properties might be. "Gaffer tape" tells me how the tape is used, it doesn't tell me what it's made of. I could not have confused gaffer tape with electrical tape or duc[k|t] tape if that were not the case.

Heck, if I lived in a faraway land untouched by 3M products, "Scotch[tm] Brand(r) Magic Tape" would mean absolutely nothing to me. And I imagine that "clear matte tape suitable for wrapping paper" would be the last thing I'd associate with "Scotch tape." I'd probably assume it was a euphemism for "not tape at all."

#361 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 01:33 PM:

Sticky Tape with Pretty Pictures Dept.:

U.S. Postal Service Forthcoming Stamps 2005

Muppets; Reagan; Deciduous trees; Barbara McClintock, Josiah Gibbs, Richard Feynman, and John von Neumann...

#362 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 01:39 PM:

Stefan: I used to think people (and companies) which called duct tape duck tape were being cute, until I remembered that "duck" is a kind of light canvas and that "duck tape" is the original name for the stuff, although perhaps not for the metallized variety.

Yes, as I said.

#363 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 01:41 PM:

Hooray, all twelve of Clarence Lee's Chinese New Year postage stamps collected on one sheet!

#364 ::: Alex R ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 01:59 PM:

Comment on duck/duct tape:

I remember hearing some home repair gurus on the radio mention that one thing that you should never use duct tape for is...

...taping ducts together. (Over time, the tackiness goes away, and the tape falls off your ducts.)

#365 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 02:41 PM:

Oh, gosh, now that I'm a published writer I guess I need the Lulu cap from PublishAmerica!http://www.lulu.com/themes/home/hat.php They don't say you have to publish with them to buy one! I can declare myself a content creator so the whole world will know!

#366 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 03:30 PM:

HP left me wondering if the pages we're on are even touching at the edges:

* You can name a tape after what it's made of (e.g. duck).
* You can name a tape after how it's used (e.g. duct).
* You can assign a proper name to a tape (e.g. Duck[tm] Brand).

These are three unrelated species of label. The fact that an object has one kind of label doesn't tell me anything about what its other properties might be. "Gaffer tape" tells me how the tape is used, it doesn't tell me what it's made of. I could not have confused gaffer tape with electrical tape or duc[k|t] tape if that were not the case.

Er... by that rationale, you should believe that electrical tape has eletricity flowing through it ...

(although I rather like the idea of Gaffer tape being made of gaffers... )

#367 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 03:31 PM:

Merriam-Webster now lists Bush's "nu-kyu-lar" as a valid pronunciation:
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=nuclear

(Seen on MetaFilter.)

#368 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 04:24 PM:

Proof once again that Merriam-Webster is a shitty, shitty dictionary. As if we needed more.

(Hmm, having said THAT I'd better check my American Heritage and make sure it's still on the side of the angels...when I get home.)

#369 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 05:37 PM:

Having a Senor Mysterioso on your desk is so last year -- what I want is a complete set of Hieronymous Bosch action figures. If I could only find the order page . . .

#370 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 05:43 PM:

Same here, Claude. What a great thing with which to decorate your cubicle!

I would arrange a few choice figures around the Klein Bottle on my oddities shelf.

#371 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 06:17 PM:

Xeger, I guess I'm on some kind of home-brew, amateur semiotics page, which is probably not entirely comfortable trying to fit in a comment box, and indeed, may not touch your page at all, which seems to be the page where different types of tape are distinguished from one another.

I'm really not terribly interested in tape. Tape is just one of an infinite number of things that can be named in reference to other things, or given a unique and arbitrary name. The same thing can have two different names; the same name can refer to two different things. A name can refer to a thing that in turn refers to other things, and soon one wonders what faked two-headed babies and spearfishing have to do with film lighting.

All of which might strike some people as so obvious it's not worth mentioning, whereas I could meditate on this sort of thing all day when the real world is getting to be a bit much.

#372 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 06:30 PM:

Oh, I like tape. I've probably got 30 varieties, plus color variations within variety.

#373 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 06:49 PM:

Paula -- there is a difference between being held together and being held up, just as there is a difference between prostrate and prostitute (as an English teacher once had to point out...).

#374 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 07:25 PM:

Christopher Davis: a bit late (my memory takes a while to catch up), but can I take this moment to point you at Red Feline Backup, a Palm backup program written by a friend of mine? :-)

(It's free software, so I'm not trying to make him money or anything...)

Admittedly it's aimed at backing up to memory card rather than PC, but still.

#375 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 07:58 PM:

there is a difference between being held together and being held up, just as there is a difference between prostrate and prostitute (as an English teacher once had to point out...).

I once deeply offended a friend by offering her some moral support... turns out she thought I meant hers were deficient in some way. Ehrm, no.

#376 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2005, 08:08 PM:

Atlanta Nights by Travis Tea (mentioned in Particles) has made MetaFilter; a bit of the review by Our Own Teresa is featured.

In addition, Atlanta Nights has been listed as a "notable new release" in Lulu.com's monthly newsletter.

Buy one! Better still, buy a dozen!

#377 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2005, 12:52 AM:

The interesting folks at Bleach Eating Freaks have created an Office Bricolage contest. Click over to see who can make the deadliest weapons out of office supplies.

Quote from the winning entry: "This weapon can actually penetrate flesh, muscle and eyeballs."

#378 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2005, 04:32 AM:

Claude and Stefan, re the Hieronymous Bosch action figures, did you try the Contact link at the bottom of the page? There's a Florida address and email at the very end. Not sure about the phone number, as it seems to be missing a digit.

#379 ::: Mary Aileen reports old spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 03:40 PM:

294 is undeleted spam

#381 ::: Dan Hoey sees probable spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2010, 04:34 PM:

One-time poster, apparently non-personal URL, and no content that I can decode.

#382 ::: Cadbury Moose spots probable spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2010, 08:58 AM:

Presumably just a spam probe, as there;s no URL embedded in it.

#383 ::: Julia Jones sees SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2010, 01:01 PM:

Looks like another spam probe @386.

#384 ::: Cadbury Moose sights spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2010, 08:22 AM:

And yet another probe (or a failed attempt) at #388 as there's no link in the post.
Maybe Mr Electric Cigarette needs to put another shilling in the meter?

(If it was sixpence would that make it hexameter?)

#385 ::: Cally Soukup sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2011, 01:41 PM:

flattering spam, but still linkspam.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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