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November 12, 2006

Open Thread 74
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 02:56 PM *

But to returne to our oracle of Apollo at Delphos, who was called Pytho, for that Apollo slue a serpent so called, whereof the Pythonists take their name; I praie you consider well of this tale, which I will trulie rehearse out of the ecclesiasticall historie, written by Eusebius, wherein you shall see the absurditie of the opinion, the cousenage of these oraclers, and the deceived mind or vaine opinion of so great a doctor bewraied and deciphered altogether as followeth.
Comments on Open Thread 74:
#1 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 03:17 PM:

And nou for aught ful otherwyse...

#2 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 03:24 PM:

Oh dear, the programming language wars have spread to ML...

#3 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 04:03 PM:

the programming language wars have spread to ML

Damn right!

Perle, pleasaunte to prynces paye
To clanly clos in golde so clere,
Oute of oryent, I hardyly saye,
Ne proued I neuer her precios pere.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 04:03 PM:

Was there not, perhaps, a Pythonist of the hill, or Monte?

#5 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 04:09 PM:

Aye, Fragano, he was a mountebank.

#6 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 04:15 PM:

And speaking of Apollo... And of flying Pythonists... Why did NASA can its DC-X program?

#7 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 04:53 PM:

Serge:
I doubt not because of snakes on planes, except they were of the two-legged species.

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 05:02 PM:

Politics, eh, PJ? The DC-X was years ago and yet I remember clearly the test ship going up, stopping there then moving sideways, and finally landing softly. I think there was one test flight that didn't go well, but you'd think they'd have fixed the problem then resumed work. At least, the engineers would have fixed the problem if they'd been allowed. Still, I'm not sure what political interests were opposed to the DC-X. Commercial ones? Who would that be? It's not like any private enterprise had been pouring enough funds into its own heavy-lifter program, in spite of Jerry Pournelle's wet dreams that one would if given the chance.

#9 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 05:14 PM:

The DC-X program was halted by copyright concerns from DC and Marvel.

#10 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 05:22 PM:

Ross Smith, #2: And of course ML is a programming language, too

#11 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 05:43 PM:

oracular responses enigmatic, cryptic, abstruse, unclear, obscure, confusing, mystifying, baffling, puzzling, perplexing, mysterious, arcane; ambiguous, equivocal, Delphic. antonym clear, unambiguous.

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 05:45 PM:

James, your explanation makes more sense than a successful technology getting ditched because of a political fight.

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 05:49 PM:

I just went to World O' Crap and it looks like the War Over Xmas has already started. Well, the conflict isn't going to stop this here atheist from putting up his Xmas tree tonight. No Nativity Scene though. Thta'd be pushing it. Besides, our new puppy might run away with one of the Three Wise Men.

#14 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 06:37 PM:

I hadn't seen any movies in months; I determined to catch up this weekend. I ended up going to two just yesterday:

Flag of Our Fathers was a wonderfully well done and wrenching WWII story. The action alternates between the battle of Iwo Jima and the travails of three servicemen -- the survivors of the group who raised the flag on Mount Surabachi -- touting War Bonds on the home front.

This is not a gung-ho flag-waving John Wayne style WWII movie. It is a bleak and moving meditation on heroism, depicting the horrors of battle (NOT . . . FOR . . . KIDS, NO, NO, NO, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!) and what it does to the men who do the fighting. It slows down a bit toward the end, when it switches to the present day, and the son of one of the flag-raisers starts narrating. Still, two thumbs up, plus a third for director Clint Eastwood.

Babel is the third film by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu. Like Amores Perros and 21 Grams it presents the stories of several people from widely varying walks of life. In this case:

* A deaf-mute Tokyo teeny bopper.
* Two Moroccan farm boys.
* An American tourist couple.
* A Mexican nanny living in San Diego, trying to get to her son's wedding.

If you've see either of Iñárritu's earlier films, you know the rest of the formula: Something terrible happens, and people suffer and strive and screw up. Connection are made and the stories converge. You watch, utterly transfixed, cringing and hoping something goes right.

Not as utterly bleak and personal as 21 Grams (which was produced in English), not as cleverly constructed as Amores Perros, but a stunning piece of filmmaking. I probably owe the theater a few bucks for the rents my fingernails left in the armrests.

#15 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 07:11 PM:

Stefan, there was a film made about Ira Hayes (an American Indian survivor of the flag-raising) in 1961. Called The Outsider, it starred Tony Curtis as Hayes. It was really dark (in all ways -- b/w film), although I saw it three straight nights, which may have had an impact on my memory.

One of my commenters tried to find it at NetFlix and was unsuccessful, but it might be available somewhere.

#16 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 08:14 PM:

An admittedly dumb question here. Courtesy of my wife, who sold an astonishingly large portion of her Magic card collection to do so, I have an iPod. My problem is simple: Apple's earbuds fall out of my ears. I do have a lightweight pair of Koss folding headphones that I can use, but if I'm doing yardwork the foam gets sweaty. Are there any inexpensive earbuds that sound good yet don't fall out of the ears? I've tried the seperate speakers that have a hook for the ear but they hurt like hell. Any suggestions appreciated!

#17 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 08:25 PM:

Tony Curtis as Ira Hayes?

He is depicted in "Flag of our Fathers", and to judge from the real-life photos of the three shown in the closing credits they didn't do a bad job of casting.

#18 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 08:27 PM:

Abi #5: Yette was hee an clerke of Oxenford.

#19 ::: Victor S ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 08:41 PM:

Serge, #6 & #8 -- IIRC, the DC-X program was not in fact a NASA program. It was funded by the Air Force, I think, and executed by private contractors. After those successful flights, which put egg on the faces of the people at NASA who'd said it couldn't be done, the equipment was transferred to NASA. Jerry Pournelle predicted at the time that the craft, renamed "Delta Clipper", would survive maybe one flight before NASA managed to destroy it. At the time I thought he was being awfully gloomy.

Sure enough, NASA decided to fit a new, exciting, highly experimental LITHIUM-alloy fuel tank. Surprise -- that tank caught fire during the next flight. The whole craft was destroyed. And of course, there was no budget to build another. Everything was reserved for high-budget shuttle follow-ons from the usual suspects, or Space Station Ed. Certainly not for an embarrassing not-invented-here project.

NASA is not always, or even frequently, the good guys. The evidence of that punches me in the gut every time.

#20 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 08:43 PM:

Stefan, I knew a lot less about films than I do now, but Curtis played that role very well indeed. I still remember the last scene of Hayes dead in a gutter.

I really wish I could remember the audience reaction; I saw it at a drive-in in Bagdad Az, which isn't far from a few reservations.

#21 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 10:55 PM:

I wasn't doubting Curtis's acting chops, just the "white actor playing an indian" phenomena.

I'll have to look around for the film.

#22 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 11:00 PM:

And Johnny Cash recorded a haunting song about Ira Hayes which we sang at home. It had Johnny Cah's usual elephantine rhythm and galumphing lyrics, but that's cool sometimes.

#23 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 11:04 PM:

Let me ask my own stupid question:

A number of websites I go to (less than 10%) I can't read because the left inch or so of content is off my screen. I'm sure this is a simple matter to take care of but I don't even know what to call the problem to look it up. Can someone help me out here?

Thanks.

#24 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 11:25 PM:

IMDB has a listing for The Outsider:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055270/

But there's no DVD or even a current VHS! Bummer.

#25 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 11:40 PM:

Bruce: I had the same problem with the iPod earbuds - supposed to fit everyone but don't me. Some of the cheap Sony earbuds from the local drugstore worked fine for me and sounded OK; at around $15 IIRC they're virtually disposable. The slightly triangular and thicker shape made them stay in my ears much better. At some point I'm thinking of trading up to the more expensive in-canal type earbuds.

#26 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 11:43 PM:

It had Johnny Cah's usual elephantine rhythm and galumphing lyrics, but that's cool sometimes.

His last album contains a cover of "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails which gives me goosebumps.

#27 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 11:54 PM:

The term's "NIH" for "Not Invented Here."

It's done all the time by third raters and incompetents...

#28 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 12:00 AM:

Greg, that song does that to me, too. Have you seen the video? Juan found it and showed it to me.

Serge, speaking of the Three Wise Men, I am reminded of the offspring of a friend of mine who said he thought it was the Three Wise Monkeys, wasn't it? Since then, I have contemplated acquiring a creche, just to put the Three Wise Monkeys in it.

#29 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 12:26 AM:

Minor nit: "American IV: The Man Comes Around" isn't quite the last Johnny Cash album.

I still haven't heard "American V" yet, but I will, on the strength of IV, which was full of sadness and beauty.

* * *

I'm about to take the dog out for a walk in a rain storm with "hurricaine strength" winds. Queah weathah we're havin', eyup.

#30 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 12:29 AM:

ML isn't just a programming language, it's one that has its own mini language war. There's a split between its two main dialects, SML and OCaml.

#31 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 12:35 AM:

Bruce & Clifton, do the earbuds fall out because they're too big or too small? I don't have an iPod, but sometimes need to use earbuds with my cell phone and the buds are too big. I ended up getting a headset, since I'm usually home when I'm on the phone that long, anyway, but I wouldn't mind earbuds that fit.

#32 ::: Jordin Kare ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 12:51 AM:

The DC-X program was halted by copyright concerns from DC and Marvel.

Thereby allowing Lockheed Martin and Disney to proceed with the Mickey Mouse X-33 program....

Victor S. -- not quite right. DC-X was a project of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, SDIO. (The SDIO division that funded it was run by then-COL Pete Worden, who is now director of NASA Ames. The actual program manager was an Air Force major, Jess Sponable, and one of the "pilots" was filker Mitchell Burnside-Clapp. I was at the first public flight test, and drove back from the test range to Las Cruces with Pete Worden, pitching a new program to him. My boss was driving, and kept turning around to join the back-seat discussion -- nearly ran us off the road several times.)

DC-X was damaged by an in-flight fire on its last flight. It autolanded successfully despite having a gaping hole blown in its side, but needed substantial repairs. At that point it was under heavy budgetary and political attack -- Clinton was in office, SDIO was being cut back, and DoD was raiding anything space-related for funds to keep their main new-launch-vehicle program (NLS) alive. The net result was that NASA got named the sole national agency for reusable launch vehicle development. DC-X was transferred to NASA, rebuilt as the DC-XA, and made a few more flights, but on its last flight the ground crew forgot to reconnect a hose in the landing gear. It flew, set down, and one landing leg didn't extend, so as soon as the engines shut off it fell over, rupturing tanks and triggering an explosion that destroyed it.

So it was killed by funding problems, national politics, and plain old human error, not NASA technology choices. DoD might have done a better job of running the program, and the one that followed it(NASA did pick the high-tech/high-risk option for X-33, and it failed badly). But it's equally possible DoD would have killed the program completely after the first fire, had NASA not taken it over.

#33 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 01:58 AM:

I flick one or both of my earbud earphones in & out again fairly frequently as the environment demands. This means I keep the cords looped up over the top of my ears from the back, so that they'll safely dangle down at the front when removed from the canal. Would this be of any help to your earbud problems?

#34 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 05:45 AM:

Stefan: interesting. I saw the trailer for Flags of our Fathers over the weekend and its hand-on-heart screeching about HEROISM and so on actually made me embarrassed to the point of nausea. "The Last King of Scotland", on the other hand, should be a classic...

#35 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 08:27 AM:

Something which made me smile this morning. I was looking at pictures of trucks by way of Google Image Search with my two-year-old when I came across this "404 not found" message:

Page does not exist
You have followed a link to a page that appears, unfortunately, to have been misplaced.
In the words of John M. Ford, "We're not lost. We're locationally challenged."
#36 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 08:45 AM:

Victor @ #19 and Jordin Kare @ #32... My thanks to both of you about what happened to the DC-X. What a bummer.

#37 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 08:49 AM:

elise @ #28... A creche with the Three Wise Monkeys? That sounds like something cross-cultural, maybe Chinese-American with maybe Three Monkey Kings. That also reminds me of Gary Larson's Far Side cartoon that has the Three Stooges meet the Three Wise Men...

"Three wise men, eh? More like Three Wise Guys."

#38 ::: Victor S ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:19 AM:

Jordin -- thanks for setting the story straight. And for offering it as a course correction, rather than triggering my auto-destruct...

Any chance you'll be at Boskone next February?

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:24 AM:

Oh no...

Here's an excerpt from today's column by Jon Carroll who was in New York City last week:

But there was something not quite right about the scene. The fire damage was just wrong somehow, and the cars were curiously intact except for their fenders. There was an official-looking person standing nearby, so I asked him the question one so often asks in Manhattan: traffic accident or art piece?

"Oh no, it's a Will Smith movie. They were shooting it all last night. Explosions and fireballs and everything. See, there's this killer virus on the loose that turns everybody into zombies, except Will Smith doesn't get it, so he has to fight the zombies all by himself. I think the movie is called 'I Am Legend.' "

I know where I'm NOT going to be when that movie opens.

#40 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:31 AM:

Re: the particle on management consulting. A great book with the same thesis is the wonderfully-named Consulting Demons, by Lewis Pinault.

#41 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:33 AM:

Serge, #37: Venerable Ancestors and the Golden Buddha protect us, three Sun Wukongs? Given what a single one was capable of... well.

#42 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:37 AM:

Will Smith in "I Am Legend"? Good grief. He's on some kind of one-man mission to smear monkey faeces all over the entire corpus of classic sf, isn't he?

(Next: Will Smith IS Hari Seldon in "FOUNDATION"! With The Rock as Salvor Hardin!)

#43 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:43 AM:

"It is only to the wise that Apollo speaks with a double tongue."

Mary Renault.

#44 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:46 AM:

"Oh no, it's a Will Smith movie. They were shooting it all last night. Explosions and fireballs and everything. See, there's this killer virus on the loose that turns everybody into zombies, except Will Smith doesn't get it, so he has to fight the zombies all by himself. I think the movie is called 'I Am Legend.' "

Sounds more like a remake of The Omega Man.

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:51 AM:

At least, The Omega Man had Anthony Zerbe as the leader of the evil mutants. And some footage from Woodstock...

#46 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:18 AM:

ajay... The Rock as Hari Seldon.

#47 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:26 AM:

May I be the first of many to point out that Omega Man is I Am Legend with a title change and the usual Hollywoodization.

#48 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:30 AM:

About Johnny Cash's latest albums... His recording of "Hurt" got some serious airplay, in Chicago at least, and not on some county station. The alternative rock station Q101 played the song in regular rotation. I guess at first people were amused by the novelty of hearing an old man like Johnny Cash singing a Nine Inch Nails song, but after the novelty wore off, people actually found they liked the performance for itself. In fact, since his latest album came out, Q101 has been regularly playing a new song from it that Johnny Cash wrote himself, "God's Gonna Cut You Down."

I guess there was something about him that never got old. He's still a hit with the kids.

#49 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:31 AM:

cd... You're right, three Monkey Kings would be a bit much.

#50 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:36 AM:

Jon... I think that James's point is that the Will Smith version will have to do more with the Seventies movie than with the Matheson book. Meanwhile, there was an Italian adaptation done in the early Sixties with Vincent Price. If I remember correctly, that was a fairly faithful version, in tone and in plot.

#51 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:44 AM:

Serge- no, I think he's better suited to delivering one-liners like "Never let your sense of morals prevent you from kicking ass" and "Violence is the only resort of the competent".

#52 ::: joanna ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:49 AM:

#23 Jeffrey--

I really like the Koss "Plug" headphones. They use earplug foam to surround the speaker tube, and both fit well, block outside sound, and stay in well. I also find them very comfortable.

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:01 AM:

Maybe, ajay, but I liked the way the Rock used his lower jaw to crush fire ants in The Scorpion King.

#54 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:01 AM:

Joe, that "God's gonna cut you down" song is titled "Run On For a Long Time," and it's a traditional spiritual. There is a really, really rocking version of it made a few years ago by The Blind Boys of Alabama (on the "Spirit of the Century" album). And today we have Johnny's posthumously-released version, and I heard on the radio a version by Moby. Great song.

#55 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:06 AM:

I'm coming to the conclusion that the Torchwood people in Cardiff are afflicted with some sort of PTSD. It's established in the first episode that it's set after the end of the most recent Doctor Who season, and episode 4 reiterates that.

The Torchwood organisation must be desperate for staff.


#56 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:21 AM:

rm,

You are right that the song is a traditional. I was wrong there. But, on the album the song is titled, "God's Gonna Cut You Down."

Great song whatever it's called.

#57 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:23 AM:

Jim: Reginald Scot, at a guess?

Delta Clipper: A sad loss. That video footage of the test flight was so beautiful, and the project so promising.

#58 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:37 AM:

#55: Dave Bell:I'm coming to the conclusion that the Torchwood people in Cardiff are afflicted with some sort of PTSD.

*smites forehead* Of course. That makes so much sense. I do have to wonder if the rest of the world would really be in such deep and pervasive denial about what happened though.

#59 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:38 AM:

On Salon today:

Lieberman, who has said he will caucus with the Democratic Party despite having lost Connecticut's Democratic senatorial primary to Ned Lamont, not to mention the Democratic vote in the midterm election, wouldn't commit unequivocally to his party: "I'm not ruling it out," he said, "but I hope I don't get to that point."

What a bum he is. I think Susan needs to pay him a visit.

#60 ::: Dave Bell targets spam and scam ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:52 AM:

A heads-up for Jim: there's some Pyramid-Scheme advertising hitting websites, with a very prominent use of the Tesco branding, a major UK supermarket. A whois on shopping#spree#on#us.co.uk (delete the hashes, I'm trying to avoid creating a target for Google) returns an address which he should recognise from Jamuary this year. and a literary agency from New York in Nevada.

There's a lot of stuff uses the mailing address, and some of it might even be honest. Anyway, I doubt this outfit's use of Tesco trademarks is authorised, and I've already sent off an email to Tesco.

Maybe aggressive trademark lawyers have some uses.


#61 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 12:10 PM:

Jim: Reginald Scot, at a guess?

Indeed, from The Discoverie of Witchcraft.

#62 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 12:13 PM:

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post has a link to an article that might be of some interest:

...Bush's head suffered about $25,000 in damages...

Before you rejoice, here's the rest of the sentence:

...when a Madame Tussaud's visitor attacked it the day before last week's elections...

#63 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 12:25 PM:

Joe J @ 48:

My stepmother teaches high school art, and says that Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra are the only artists all of her students can agree on.

#64 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 12:55 PM:

Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra?

I can see a connection. Partly, I think it's the concept of a song's words being important; being more than just musical sounds.

Of course, that's partly the music Sinatra started out with, and he kept going with those songs. And both of them were around long enough that they weren't just a question of fashion. They became part of the landscape against which other singers were strutting their stuff.

And maybe another part of it was that they sang stuff that we could get away with singing. They could sing them right, but the songs didn't come out of our mouths sounding like a 12-bar train-wreck.

Heck, that goes wider than them. I'm trying to rememmber the last time I heard a pop record that sounded like it could be played by four ordinary guys with guitars and a drumkit.

No, music isn't easy, but so much of the modern stuff is logistically difficult.

#65 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 01:19 PM:

Jim: It was cousenage and bewraied that suggested it to me. Of course, there's also the tone and the subject matter. Reginald Scot wouldn't recognize liturgical drama if it bit him.

#66 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 01:39 PM:

Jo #43: I remember that line as "It was only to greatly honored ones that Two-Tongued Apollo spoke with so clear a voice."

The context was Philip of Macedon getting the prophecy "Wreathed is the bull for the altar; and the slayer, too, is ready." In Fire from Heaven he takes this as a good omen for his planned invasion of Persia, but as it happens he's assassinated that same day.

Now, maybe she used the line as you quote it in another book...if so, I'd guess it was The Mask of Apollo.

Dave #55: What does it mean to be set "after" a season of time-travel stories? I'm sure there may be key events, but...'after' must have a somewhat modified meaning, surely?

#67 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 01:51 PM:

I really loathe Christmas decorations that go up before Thanksgiving (or, for that matter, before Halloween).

Different holidays, different decorations. Please.

#68 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 01:51 PM:

What's the word about the new James Bond movie? I was kind of curious about it until I came across an interview with the actor where he used a very rude word about women, a word that rhymes with 'runt'.

#69 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 01:58 PM:

Xopher; the finale for last season's Doctor Who was set in present-time London, and it involed some serious changes and trauma in the world, so actually, it does make sense to say it happened "after" that.

Even so, the current Doctor Who hasn't been mucking with chronology for the stories happening in modern-day London and/or Cardiff. If Rose went back home to visit mom, it was always some days or months after the last time - this is even a plot point in Early Eccleston, where it turns out she's been missing for a year (Or was it half a year? Irrelevant) between visits -- and it never occurs to her or the Doctor to go "Whoops, let's just pop back in a few weeks ago, how's that?" (ARGH!)

jc: I think it would show more guts on the part of the writers and the tv series to have everyone know and accept more of what's going on, and have people on the street willing to deal with it; and I suspect more of them have an inkling than we've been shown. But... it would make for a harder job for the writers, since suddenly you're talking imaginary world backdrop, not real world. Not that this should stop them, but I feel sympathetic to their decision, as with so many other shows, to have "superpowers/magic/aliens in the modern day" be a *secret*. (Even Buffy only ahd her classmates fully "in on it" right before she graduated high school and got a new crop of strangers and distant acquaintances as backdrop.)

Annoyed, but sympathetic.

#70 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 02:40 PM:

At work, I handle environmental cleanups. Teresa's "Arsenic and old cemeteries" particle made me recall a bureaucratic tidbit that I have always found amusing. Embalming chemicals, be they arsenic or formaldehyde, are applied in quantities large enough that the embalmed corpses, if analyzed, would probably qualify as hazardous waste. Years ago, I ran across an actual EPA regulatory interpretation on this specific issue. EPA declared that in this circumstance the chemicals have not been disposed of; they have been "used in the manner intended". They therefore cannot be classified as wastes. And if they're not wastes to begin with, then they can't be hazardous wastes, regardless of how much arsenic Great-Grandpa has in him.

#71 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 03:16 PM:

Dunno if anyone else has seen this yet or not (or if anyone thought it worth commenting upon) - the whackjob who sent Keith Olbermann that fake anthrax last month is, in addition to being a Free Republic mouthbreather, also a sci-fi contrarian...

#72 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 03:31 PM:

I just followed the link, protected static.

"...steroid mutated superbabes that can punch the lights out of men, but never get punched back in return?.."

I'd agree that the guy definitely has issues.

#73 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 03:37 PM:

Jeffrey Smith @ 23: A number of websites I go to (less than 10%) I can't read because the left inch or so of content is off my screen.

Probably what is happening is that your screen set to be X pixels wide, while the web designer has directed the web page to be X+Y pixels wide. If you tell us what resolution your screen is and what web pages this is happening on, we can confirm.

I believe most web browsers will show a scroll bar at the bottom of the page for you to see the rest. Opera, my browser of choice, will rearrange the contents of the page so you don't have to scroll with a click of a button or the press of Ctrl+F11.

#74 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 04:04 PM:

Serge: yeah, that line was particularly weird... And this chunk:
...the puerile baggage of Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry, Rockne O' Bannon, etc., etc. It is time to end their reign of Left-wing innuendo, their anti-American, anti-mankind cynicism and fatalism.

What informed their 'puerile baggage'? Let's see... the first two were decorated WW2 vets who pushed back against McCarthyism and other anti-democratic strains in American culture. Oh, yeah - in Freeperspeak, that's anti-Americanism. Silly me.

The guys over at Sadly, No! are having a field day with him, and are keeping a pretty good list of all his various incarnations.

#75 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 04:08 PM:

Yep, Lenora, that's about it. Maybe not exactly here-and-now, but near-future. I think the London and Cardiff stories in DW have to be a few years from now, because there's a different Prime Minister, but one story was set at the time of the planned London Olympics, and Torchwood wasn't secret then. I think that sets a limit.

While there's a couple of bits of evidence in Torchwood which are obvious if explained, what is clearly said in the first episode is that it is taking place not long after the last episode of the first David Tennant season. There's a more explicit connection later. That's the local continuity, as seen by people who aren't time travellers.

As for why the Doctor and Rose couldn't have gone back a few months so that Rose wasn't missing, it isn't hard to see, from the Father's Day episode, that bad things can happen if somebody messes with their own history.

#76 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 04:12 PM:

Serge, speaking of the Three Wise Men, I am reminded of the offspring of a friend of mine who said he thought it was the Three Wise Monkeys, wasn't it

We might have the Adoration of the Dinosaurs up again this year. No sodomy will be in evidence.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 04:31 PM:

Sandy B... I was just thinking that it's been a long time since those two words had come up in one post.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 04:34 PM:

About the Doctor and Rose... I don't know why it took me so long to notice, but my wife's baby sister looks a lot like Rose. Come to think of it, her hubby does remind me of Christopher Eccleston. Could it be...? Naaah.

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 05:13 PM:

Salon.com quotes right-winger Mark Steyn...

"...I get the feeling here without wishing to be any more homophobic than I'm normally accused of, but in my part of [the] country, almost every lesbian you run across tends to be someone who's just been in a couple of really bad marriages and despaired of men, and I notice that in Europe, a sort of similar trend is that women who have been in a couple of bad marriages with western men basically embrace Islam as a way of, you know -- and again, whether it's your sort of boorish English soccer lout or your kind of sweet, you know, new male that, 'I'll do the ironing, darling' type, that it does seem that the women up here in the north country embrace lesbianism just as a kind of general weariness with the available range of males. So I noticed that there's something similar with the women in Islam in France and Belgium..."

#80 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 05:24 PM:

Serge @ 79:
'Clueless' comes to mind as a desciption for Steyn.

#81 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 05:27 PM:

So, last night I downloaded and listened to an episode of Exploring Tomorrow called "Mimic." (Exploring Tomorrow was a short-lived radio series, similar to Galaxy magazine's X Minus One, except that it took its stories from Astounding, and each episode was hosted by John W. Campbell.)

"Mimic" is the story of an astronaut who returns from a deep-space mission after five years. His sister begins to suspect something is wrong, and it's revealed that her brother has been assimilated by a shape-shifting alien, and the alien is still hungry. Pretty standard, but plenty entertaining. Anyway, John W. Campbell as host interrupts the story from time with some inane, rambling analogy about "what would happen if you let a pair of tigers loose on an island full of sheep," and concludes, "the tigers would eat all the sheep, until there was nothing left to eat but tigers, and therefore, the monster in tonight's story is impossible, and these events are inconceivable in the real world." (Paraphrase.)

I thought, "Waitaminute -- did he just dismiss the very story he's presenting? What's that about?" Then later it occurred to me that "Mimic" uses the same plot device as Campbell's "Who Goes There?"!

Could some of you who know more about Campbell than me (I'm guessing that's approximately all of you) speculate as to what was going on in Campbell's brain?

#82 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 05:37 PM:

Clueless and a few other words that'd trigger the disemvoweller, P J...

#83 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 05:47 PM:

Serge: The only steroid mutated superbabes I can think of are the Draka, and I'd think the idiot in question would admire them.

#84 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 05:54 PM:

Not likely, Fragano. They'd laugh at the guy if he asked them for a date. Which is probably what his whole psyche is built upon. "Chicks don't dig me, but I'll show them, hahahahahahah!!!"

#85 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 06:04 PM:

Protected Static, Serge, that story makes me sorry that it's not actually possible to drum someone out of science fiction. I'm just grateful that he hangs out at Free Republic. Let them bear the disgrace.

#86 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 06:20 PM:

The results I'm getting from the Googlism particle aren't what I'd expect. They pull their information from Google, right? When I tried my mom's name, it returned nothing ("Sorry, Googlism doesn't know enough about" her). Going to Google proper and searching on her name, I get 507 hits, including multiple reviews of her book. When I tried my dad's name, again, nothing — Google comes up with 733, including the Wikipedia article on him. (Vanity-googling my parents is more interesting than doing myself, I find.)

#87 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 06:50 PM:

Re: #37, #41 & #49, and multiple Sun Wu-Kongs:

IIRC, one of the many tricks that the Great Sage Equal to Heaven learned was the art of turning his hairs into copies of himself (who would, I think, merge back with him after doing whatever needed to be done).

I can see him doing it just so as to mess with people.

A three Monkey-Kings sculpture would no doubt have the "See-No-Evil" one peeking, the "Hear-No-Evil" cupping one ear so as to hear *better*, and the "Speak-No-Evil" one would be sticking out his tongue through his fingers.

#88 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 07:02 PM:

Owlmirror... That sounds like a hilarious sculpture of the Monkey King. I'd probably buy it if I saw it at a con's artshow, provided it doesn't set our mortgage back a decade.

#89 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 07:05 PM:

Yeah, Teresa, but unfortunately you know what it is that people will see as the weirdest part of his personality. Not that he is a Republican geek, but that he is a skiffy type.

#90 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 07:17 PM:

Serge #68: I heard a review of Casino Royale on BBC Radio 4 tonight and the general feeling was, "Hurray! The Bond franchise has finally decided to take itself seriously!"

Sebastian Faulks said that he thought it was the best Bond film so far. Praise was heaped on the new actor chap, the script, the music, the character development, the plot -- basically everything.

#91 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 07:35 PM:

Madeline Kelly said (#90):
I heard a review of Casino Royale on BBC Radio 4 tonight and the general feeling was, "Hurray! The Bond franchise has finally decided to take itself seriously!"

In fact, the BBC website now has a review of the new Bond film, and it is indeed quite positive. Another article quotes positive reviews from the Daily Mirror, the Daily Telegraph, and the Times.

#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 08:17 PM:

Still, madeline, I'm really bugged by the actor's use of a very derogatory term toward women. As far as actors who played Bond are concerned, my favorite after Connery remains Timothy Dalton (but let's skip the movie that had Wayne Newton in it). I'm not sure what rank I'd give David Niven or Woody Allen in the Bond pantheon.

#93 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:02 PM:

I've seen several local (DC-area) reviews saying that it's the new Bland film.

#94 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:15 PM:

The news feed to my ISP had this up tonight:
Early Roman Shipwreck Carried Fish Sauce
By DANIEL WOOLLS (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
November 13, 2006 6:39 PM EST

MADRID, Spain - A shipwrecked first-century vessel carrying delicacies to the richest palates of the Roman Empire has proved a dazzling find, with nearly 2,000-year-old fish bones still nestling inside clay jars, archaeolgists said Monday. [snip]

1500 amphoras, formerly holding fish sauce (read garum), but now containing only fish bones, because the seals weren't hermetic. It's a 100-foot-long ship, in 80 feet of water. The archeologists are very happy.

#95 ::: John Emerson ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:20 PM:

OT, but this is too much fun. Drop over to Unfogged for the "Unsuggester" thread.

Or to find the exact opposite of your favorite book, go here:

http://www.librarything.com/unsuggester

For example, the exact opposite of "Atlas Shrugged" is Flann O'Brien's "The Poor Mouth".

But the exact opposite of "The Poor Mouth" is something by Terry Pratchett; Pratchett is the opposite of almost everything, because apparently his fans read no other books. Flann O'Brien is only #2, because his books are less popular than Pratchett's.

#96 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:39 PM:

Lexica: Googlism (quite an old site, I remember playing with it years ago) looks only for the exact phrase match "X is ...".

Thus though I show up on a number of web pages, Googlism only sees a few references to me, mostly due to activity on tech mailing lists, where somebody said "Clifton Royston is such-and-such..."

(Even so, it does seem oddly limited in what it finds. Searching for the phrase "Clifton Royston is" manually on Google turns up a number more references.)

#97 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 09:54 PM:

Alas, Blogspot appears to be out, went to check how Ms. Snark was doing and got:
-------------
Internal Server Error

Error 500
-------------
Checked other blogspot bookmarks, all same. Hope they're back soon, Ms. Snark is a high point in my day and I got whacked today with work. Insanity, thy name is gift marts....

#98 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:08 PM:

Serge #84: Well, he seems to share some of their worldview. On the other hand, you're probably right.

#99 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:43 PM:

the city waits to hear the urgent call
the leader's house is guarded all the night
the enemy's been spotted near the wall
a shepherd's said to have fainted at the sight
the army marched off yesterday to fight
we've had no report heard nothing at all
our god we're told will help defend the right
our soldiers will not die nor the city fall
farmers report the crops are touched by blight
the harvest this year will be very small
the summer birds have already taken flight
away from us even the vermin crawl
but we'll come through our city will survive
we are in spite of all fears still alive

#100 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:25 PM:

Howard #81: I never met Campbell, but I've heard and read from people who had that he tended to have ... enthusiasms ... that depended on a lack of careful reasoning (Scientology, the Dean Drive, the Hieronymus machine, krebiozen(sp?), ...), and to have a habit of stating opinions as vigorously as possible. Such people aren't always aware of their own contradictions.

It's also possible that he'd had some time to think about the idea behind "Who Goes There?", which would hardly be the first highly-rated SF story to be massively implausible if you try to trace it back.

#101 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 11:36 PM:

John Emerson, that Unsuggester toy is wonderful! It told me that the exact opposite of The Selfish Gene is Little house on the prairie. *glee*

Philosophical quibble: I don't think it's possible to be OT in an Open Thread.

Automated sorting quibble: Pratchett (likewise JK Rowling, likewise the Beatles when it comes to music) really messes up every "people who like this also like that" algorithm I've ever seen. Surely there is a computational way to correct for: this item is so vastly popular that everyone likes it, and therefore you can't use it to predict what other things someone might like?

#102 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:14 AM:

I am having far too much fun with the Unsuggester. Apparently my favorite books aren't liked by people who are big into depressing modernist and classic works, computer programmers, knitters, and pastors. Given how many knitting, programming, and depressing modernist books I have, this is all the more amusing. (I don't have any depressing modernist books about programming knitting patterns, but it's only a matter of time.)

#103 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:26 AM:

I got my MythTV box up and running yesterday; the first item I recorded was "Prime Suspect," which I'm watching right now. (While, in the background, a Michael PAlin travelogue is being sucked down to disk for later.)

It's curious how effortlessly and casually the cops bring surveillance photos into the equation. They do that on Law & Order now and then, but here the Eye seems quite pervasive.

#104 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:54 AM:

Sandy B @76:
"We might have the Adoration of the Dinosaurs up again this year. No sodomy will be in evidence."

Ever since the Christmas episode of MISTER BEAN, I've felt that no Nativity is complete without a T. Rex and helicopters.

#105 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:05 AM:

fade,

(I don't have any depressing modernist books about programming knitting patterns, but it's only a matter of time.)

ahahahaha. i wonder who will write the great american depressing modernist novel about programming knitting patterns.

individeweal,

Pratchett (likewise JK Rowling, likewise the Beatles when it comes to music) really messes up every "people who like this also like that" algorithm I've ever seen.

i would think everyone who likes terry pratchett likes douglas adams. i could be wrong, of course. people are funny.

#106 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:18 AM:

Stefan @103, I think I read somewhere that Britain is the most officially watched population in the world in terms of number of cameras positioned around the country.

I ran into the Unsuggester when I was looking at my LibraryThing earlier today but hadn't checked it out. If you tell it "The Tao of Pooh" you get a zillion books about Christianity.

#107 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:29 AM:

I don't understand Library Thing. For one thing, I'm way too lazy to catalog all my books. For another thing, what do we do with the catalogs? Find somebody who owns the other Valerie Freireich book -- and then what? Whine at them because they have it and you don't?

#108 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:34 AM:

Lucy, I don't use it this way, but I've seen a lot of people who tag their books geographically. "Fiction, spare bedroom" or "Poli-sci, downstairs" come to mind.

The most useful thing about it to my mind is the ability (if you've got a cellphone with 'Net capability) to check your library while in a bookstore; it prevents you from buying duplicates.

#109 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:27 AM:

Re #37 and #28, my take on the Three Kingly Monkeys came out a little different.

O Melchior, you brought me gifts of gold
To make a crown that you refuse to see:
You hide your eyes lest kingship make me bold,
Seduce me on the heights, corrupting me.
And Balthasar, who gave me frankincense,
Is deaf to my pronouncements. Are your fears
That I'd usurp my Father so intense
That cowering, you cover up your ears?
My Caspar, bringing myrrh, forshadows loss
And closes fast his mouth, unreconciled
To thoughts of death, the shadow of the cross:
A monstrous gift to bring a newborn child.
My kings, this all was planned, and you might trust
I'll do not what I choose, but what I must.

#110 ::: Kristjan Wager ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:36 AM:

I find it surprising that I haven't seen any mention of the fact that Jack Williamson has passed away. He was published in nine decades (in the twenties and forth), and was a giant in the field. May he rest in peace.

#111 ::: Individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:46 AM:

Miriam, I, as a human, would make quite a lot of predictions about someone who likes Pratchett. But automated algorithms usually end up telling me that people who like Pratchett also like something ridiculous, like Dan Brown or Catherine Cookson or the Left Behind books. (Not that it's impossible to like books from very different genres, of course, but for less stellar authors the algorithms tend to come up with stuff that common sense agrees is related.)

Whether we humans are right or the dumb machine are right depends on your perspective. There are just so many people who have read at least one Pratchett novel and liked it, that asking "what sort of things does this group of people also like?" ends up being equivalent to asking "what sort of things are popular with the whole population being measured?"

#112 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:33 AM:

Linkmeister said (#108):
I ran into the Unsuggester when I was looking at my LibraryThing earlier today but hadn't checked it out. If you tell it "The Tao of Pooh" you get a zillion books about Christianity.

You know, I just tried it with Foucault's Pendulum and got pretty much the same thing, including the same books by "John Piper" (although a vampire romance novel and something called Daughters of the Moon: Goddess of the Night showed up in the middle of this, looking a bit out of place).

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:37 AM:

(The Nativity: in a stable in Bethlehem, a baby lies in a manger. His mother, Mandy, is startled by the noise as three camels arrive outside.)
Mandy: Aaaagh! Who are you?
Wise Man 1: We are three wise men.
Mandy: What?
Wise Man 1: We are three wise men.
Mandy: Well, what are you doing creeping around a cow shed at two o'clock in the morning? That doesn't sound very wise to me.
Wise Man 2: We are astrologers. We have come from the East.
Mandy: Is this some kind of joke?
Wise Man 3: We wish to praise the infant.
Wise Man 1: We must pay homage to him.
Mandy: Homage? You're drunk, it's disgusting! Out!
Wise Man 2: We were led by a star.
Mandy: Led by a bottle, more like. Get out!
Wise Man 3: We must see him. We have brought gifts.
Mandy: OUT!
Wise Man 1: Gold, frankincense, myrrh!
Mandy: Well, why didn't you say? He's over here..

#114 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:16 AM:

Individ-ewe-al: I think the most important thing to note about the automatic recommendations for such books is that they are probably extremely useful in at least one sense: they are what they are because the majority of people who buy such books only buy other books that have been wildly popular. For people who are only interested in wildly popular books, these recommendations are therefore spot on.

#115 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:41 AM:

The Helsinki Complaints Choir. (Via lsanderson's LJ)

Re: earbuds. I'm using a slightly upscale pair of Sonys that cost about 39.99. Their selling points are that they have a sort of floppy collar that softly hugs the inside of your ears, shutting out a lot of outside sound. They are the poor man's noise cancellers. They last a long time. I wouldn't have had to buy a second pair, but I somehow slammed the wire of the first pair in the peppermint tin I was keeping it in. I'm more careful now.

#116 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 10:59 AM:

Apparently my favorite books aren't liked by people who are big into depressing modernist and classic works, computer programmers, knitters, and pastors.

THE PLAIN AND THE CROSS
by
Lucia D. Lammermoor

Bob Gunderson, minister of a small knitting village in Minnesota in the 1950s, finds himself facing two challenges: his parishioners are being driven into penury by competition from the new Hollerith Automated Knitting Machines, and he himself is suffering a crisis of faith. As winter comes, with the town's young men fighting in Korea, Gunderson faces a long, dark night...

"A powerful, disturbing work of knit-punk from the author of 'Purl Harbor'" - San Francisco Examiner

#117 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:52 AM:

Lucy at #107: Part of LibraryThing's appeal is just your standard "Shiny!", but I'm starting to find it useful for checking whether I have a copy of a particular book *in this house* without having to find it first. Since a lot of my books are in storage, knowing I have a book is not the same thing as knowing it's readily accessible. It's also useful for checking bibliographic details without having to find the book when I'm discussing a book online. If I was reading more, I'd probably find the suggestions on other books to try useful.

I need to work out how to download it into my Palm, that I may go into BookBuyers and know whether that desirable out-of-print classic is something I already own. That's where it could be really useful.

But the reason I started it was because it was a very easy way to catalogue my books, which I wanted to do for insurance purposes. As I've found out, shipping companies are more inclined to cough up without arguing for damaged/destroyed books if you have a detailed list of what the books were and what their value was... That it is an off-site catalogue is even better.

#118 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:56 AM:

It's been a whole week since the Election and the bloom isn't off the rose yet. I like that.

#119 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:00 PM:

So: I'm definitely going to PhilCon, unless I get struck by a meteor or something. Thanks to Susan, I finally got them to admit that they DO have a room for me; thanks, Susan!

Anybody else going?

#120 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:14 PM:

She's good, isn't she, Xopher?

#121 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:26 PM:

Yes she is. Yes yes.

#122 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:28 PM:

No kidding, Xopher. I still wonder how she managed to get the people in charge of LAcon's newsletter to put an item reminding me to check for messages at the darn board. Or words to that effect. I still have a copy of that newsletter issue.

#123 ::: John Emerson ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:33 PM:

This has become obsessive for me. Results at my URL. Did you know that the opposite of Dan Savage's "Skipping to Gomorrah" is Thomas Hardy's "Far from the Madding Crowd"?

#124 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:46 PM:

You can see videos of all four Complaints Choirs, including the original (Birmingham) here.

#125 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:48 PM:

Xopher,

I came across this article on cnn.com today and I thought of you:

Soldiers' widows sue for pagan symbols on headstones

The Star of David is OK, as are more than a dozen variations of the Christian cross. Even the atomic whirl used by atheists gets the thumbs-up from the federal government.

But a Wiccan symbol representing earth, air, fire, water and spirit isn't recognized by the federal government for veterans' grave markers.

The article goes on to say that there are "approximately 1,800 active-duty service members identify themselves as Wiccans, according to 2005 Defense Department statistics." It's more than reasonable that they deserve to have recognition of their beliefs on their headstones, but try explaining that to the christian right folks who equate anything pagan with evil.

I'm sure there's much more to this issue than I can understand, and I know that there are a few people around here of pagan faiths that might be able to comment on this. So, I thought I would post it here.

(I apologize Xopher if I have wrongly identified you as a Wiccan if you are not.)

#126 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 12:51 PM:

Xopher, Serge:

Stop now.

It's all attributable to a glass of POJ every morning and a large collection of black footwear. Also, wearing funny things on my head.

[returning to her sulky my-state-is-full-of-idjits hole]

#127 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:02 PM:

wearing funny things on my head

Like Princess Aura's tiara?

#128 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:05 PM:

Susan... Did Joe really win because of the idiot faction of the Democratic Party? It was my understanding that he did because the Republicans voted en masse for him.

#129 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:30 PM:

Now I want to go catalog all my books at LibraryThing just to confuse it.

I entered Pride and Prejudice -- one of my favorites -- and was told, basically, that I ought not program computers. I found this amusing, because my job last year (which I quite liked) consisted entirely of coding. In FORTRAN 77, no less.

#130 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:42 PM:

Lucy @ 107:

I've been meaning to use Library Thing to catalogue my son's book collection (in what spare time?) - he was recently gifted his second Each, Peach, Pear, Plum and his third Goodnight, Moon.

I've been using it on my on collection as well, since I have a terrible memory for the names of authors I hated. I've wound up being seduced by the slick packaging and buying second helpings of crap more than once. I intend to be soley responsible for an upswing in the use of the "craptastic" tag.

Plus, as someone else said, shiny! As someone with fairly impressive aphasia that comes with tiredness, I really just love the name.

Incidentally, I suppose neither of those titles actually have the punctuation I've given them. But, dammit, I believe in the serial comma and the post-vocative comma. Please don't be too harsh.

#131 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 01:49 PM:

Serge:

Lots of factors.

Whether the only idiots here were Dems is open to question.

#132 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:02 PM:

Thanks for the link, Susan. I'm hoping we'll see your account of the whole thing one day.

#133 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:16 PM:

Eric #70:

I was wondering whether old-style embalming might affect the classic Brit murder-mystery exhumation scene. It now occurs to me to wonder about current-day practices. Dibsies on doing a murder mystery where this matters, or, better yet, kills off all the exhumers.

#134 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:26 PM:

Joe J #125: I am very much Wiccan, and I appreciate your letting me know this. Didn't Rumsfeld try to throw the Wiccans out of the services? I seem to remember something like that; he got swatted down, of course. The Army has (until recently) been one of the most tolerant employers as far as my religion goes; you can have 'Wiccan' on your dog tags, and they had my friend Judy write a section on Wicca for the Chaplain's Manual.

Susan #126: I'm now thinking about which of the silly-things-to-wear-on-one's-head I should bring to Philcon to photograph you in.

Caroline #129: If you enjoyed a job programming in Fortran 77, perhaps you shouldn't program computers...for the same reason an alcoholic shouldn't drink!

#135 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:26 PM:

Library Thing is now functional with :CueCats, and it even intermittently has some in inventory to sell to users. Having already gotten the vast bulk of my collection into it, I don't need a barcode entry device, but if one's faced with a huge collection and no time for data entry, that might be an appealing option.

#136 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:27 PM:

miriam #105 wonder who will write the great american depressing modernist novel about programming knitting patterns.

Gotta be Richard Powers. (_Galatea 2.0_, _The Gold Bug Variations_)

#137 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:32 PM:

Julia Jones #117 I need to work out how to download it into my Palm, that I may go into BookBuyers and know whether that desirable out-of-print classic is something I already own. That's where it could be really useful.

I keep buying duplicates of scholarly things. My husband keeps buying me duplicates of just ... things. Having the list available via Pocket PC or his computer could save a lot of embarrassment and expense. (Soon, soon ... I already keep lists of series author mysteries on my pocket computer, in my purse.)

#138 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:34 PM:

Oh, and Julia @117, there's nothing to download from LT into your Palm, as I understand it. There's a URL you go to (using your phone/PDA). Enter your userid and Hey Presto! your catalog is viewable, along with the search function.

More LT widgets here.

#139 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:35 PM:

Julia Jones #117 Part of LibraryThing's appeal is just your standard "Shiny!", but I'm starting to find it useful for checking whether I have a copy of a particular book *in this house* without having to find it first. Since a lot of my books are in storage, knowing I have a book is not the same thing as knowing it's readily accessible.

We have a bunch of books carefully stored in the garage; we took pictures of various piles before we packed them, so we'd know what we had, and they live on both computers. Unfortunately, after a couple of years of raiding the storage and moving things about, the picture numbers on the boxes in no way match the actual contents.

#140 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:50 PM:

Sarah's comment at #130 made me realize that one could use Library Thing to catalog one's anti-collection, of books one never owned and would never want to.

Then my head exploded.

#141 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:55 PM:

To Xopher and Joe J re: Wiccan symbols: My understanding is that there is a list of gummint-recognized symbols that can be used, and the contention is that if there was a single or at least a -very small number- of recognized Wiccan symbols, they would adopt them, add them to the list, and everything would be fine. Part of the problem (from the gummint PoV) is that there is no Wiccan central authority to tell them "this is the Wiccan symbol." They do not want to have the obligation of putting absolutely anything the customer wants on the gravestone. Also, this being the gummint, it would take a while, as much bureaucratic mulch would need to be mulched to create the artwork, approve it, have the Head Wiccan approve it, add it to the list, etc.

Maybe I've been misled on this, but the explanation seems very plausible to me.

#142 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 02:56 PM:

Sarah, I also believe in the post-vocative comma, the complex-list semicolon, and the serial comma.

#143 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:00 PM:

Sarah, Xopher--So I guess we should add Copyediting to the list of creedal religions? I believe in the pluperfect in "if" clauses.

#144 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:01 PM:

DaveL: this indicates an institutional prejudice against religions without an authority structure more than anything. Since the gummint is itself an authority structure, this is unsurprising. With the military involved it's less surprising still.

This isn't a huge issue. While we far outnumber Quakers these days, our numbers aren't large, and most Wiccans prefer cremation. I suppose you could be cremated and yet have a marker; I myself hope to be scattered (given the unliklihood of my real preferences being honored).

#145 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:03 PM:

TexAnne: [long talk about the difference between 'believe in' in a creedal sense and 'believe in' in a prescriptive sense deleted here]

If I were not so tired I might have written the whole thing.

#146 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:06 PM:

But a Wiccan symbol representing earth, air, fire, water and spirit isn't recognized by the federal government for veterans' grave markers.

What it represents depends on whom you ask. . . five-limbed humans being another popular story.

As far as "Head Wiccan"... *sneezes and laughs at same time*

...where was I? Ah yes, the Society of Friends must give them fits as well.

#147 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:08 PM:

#70 and #133: you don't want a cemetary near your drinking water. Nasty stuff leaches out of litches! Exhuming corpses is moderately dangerous, regardless of embalming. They're dead meat, full of bacteria or chemicals to kill bacteria. Use gloves, wash your hands. It's always amazing how many archaeologists survive to old age ... but a fair number die of exotic lung conditions. (So do some librarians.)

I used to tell first aid students "everything your mother told you about catching bad things if you don't wash your hands is absolutely true!"

#148 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:13 PM:

Xopher, were I less tired, my joke would have been funnier.

#149 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:20 PM:

Xopher - I hate being photographed. I look awful in pictures. The only good photograph of me in recent years is - surprise - with a funny thing (specifically, a sailor hat with a big pom-pom) on my head. I find that pom-poms have a positive effect on my mood. Maybe I should go dig up that hat. Or maybe it's round fuzzy things in general - lavender maribou deely-boppers worked wonders at worldcon, where I was miserable for reasons unrelated to the con.

Serge - on the bright side, the Dem challenger locked in the tight recount here in CT is maintaining his lead and will probably be declared the winner tomorrow. It isn't quite as much of a squeaker as the infamous Eddie Munster race was and hopefully won't drag out as long.

#150 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:20 PM:

Why an atomic symbol for atheists? Not that I mind being associated with Atom Ant. I'm curious though.

#151 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:25 PM:

Sandy B #146, it represents many things all at once. That's what's so cool about it. Another set is Mother, Maiden, Crone, Green Man, Horned God. Yet another is the Cycle of Life: Birth, Initiation, Love, Repose, Death (and thence on to Birth).

And Wiccans are much more likely to serve in the military than Friends! Though it's far from unheard of for people to join the Society of Friends after military service, so there might be some issues there.

TexAnne: "Save the subjunctive, would that we could."

#152 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:27 PM:

Susan—*scribbles furiously*

#153 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:29 PM:

Pom-poms, Susan?

Meanwhile, we also have a tight race here in Albuquerque. They're still counting the votes and it looks like Heather Wilson is very slightly ahead of Patricia Madrid. I hope Madrid catches up, but, if I find myself with 6 more years of Heather, I can always remind myself that she's been de-fanged by the House's majority now being Democratic. Woohoo!!!

#154 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:32 PM:

Linkmeister at #135: I don't have a (US) mobile phone, so can't use the online version, though I agree it's a nifty and genuinely useful tool. My real problem is that I have a Palm IIIxe, which worked perfectly well with the old WinME machines but has not yet been persuaded to communicate in any meaningful fashion with my shiny new WinXP laptop. Working out why the Palm Desktop software will only talk to my Palm from within an admin account and not a user account is on the To Do list -- but I have been foolish enough to commit myself to not one but two book deadlines by the end of the year, and I'm not prepared to devote a couple of days to screaming at XP right now.

It has just occurred to me that the Google wifi service is now up and running, which means that if I take my laptop with me to BookBuyers... But this doesn't really work for dropping in while I happen to be passing.

#155 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:52 PM:

Wiccan symbol representing earth, air, fire, water and spirit

Is there a symbol for this?

signed
wiccan virgin

#156 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:53 PM:

nonnewtonian fluid particle sidelight:

WOW!

I mean really

WOW!

#157 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 03:57 PM:

Greg, that group is one of the things the pentacle stands for.

#158 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:03 PM:

that group is one of the things the pentacle stands for.

Ah, will check out "pentacle" from the wikipedia library tonight. thanks.

#159 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:06 PM:

Julia -- I don't know from Library Thing, but I cataloged my home library in EndNote and was able to export the database as a plain Wordpad file. Not pretty, but could easily be uploaded onto my PDA and is searchable. You may want to see if your PDA will take a plain text file of some sort and if Library Thing will export same.

Henry Troup at 147, thanks a lot. Now I'll be watching myself for signs of exotic lung disease, out here in the library annex with nothing but ancient dissertations and journals to keep me company. But I'm not surprised -- I never had asthma attacks until the massive mold outbreak at the last place I worked.

I, too, am a proud believer in the serial comma. Long may it prevent confusion! Anathema to editors who remove it from my writing! And I promise to helpfully add it to all items that cross my desk for editing!

#160 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:11 PM:

I have converted many a person brought up in the benighted world of serial-comma deniers with Teresa's example of what can happen when you leave it out:

This book is dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand and God.

#161 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:20 PM:

And Wiccans are much more likely to serve in the military than Friends!

My great-uncle Chad, the conscientious objector, drove an ambulance in WWI.

So it's possible in theory.

Despite being [I hope] the stupidest thing I've said today...

#162 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:24 PM:

Greg, the symbol Wiccans wish to have on the gravestone is a Pentacle, which is a five point star inside a circle. (Many LEOs wear a variant of this known as a sherriff's badge.)

Just wait until the Veterans Administration has to deal with a grave marker for a deceased soldier whose religious preference was Asatru...

#163 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:25 PM:

And how is what you said stupid, Sandy B?

#164 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:25 PM:

And how is what you said stupid, Sandy B?

#165 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:42 PM:

*checks she's in an Open Thread*

Just quickly, I'd like to try an experiment: can people list some books that feature time travel. Just as many as you can off the top of your head.

Thanks.

#166 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:47 PM:

the time machine, Wells.
the time ships, Stephen Baxter.
the star kings, Edmond Hamilton.
The sword of rhiannon, Brackett.
time and again, Clifford Simak.
time is the simplest thing, Simak.

Asimov had at least one sideline Foundation/Empire novel written in the Fifties(?) about a man from today who gets zapped into that future.

#167 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:57 PM:

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
Time After Time
The Girl, The Gold Watch, And Everything
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Doomsday Book, Connie Willis

#168 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:58 PM:

#163-4: the Society of Friends must give them fits as well.
Where "them" is the military... in which Quakers are not often found...

*facepalm*

Time travel:

"All You Zombies" [Heinlein, short story]
"Time after Time" [author? possibly mainstream/breakthrough]
There was a series (three or so?) by John Barnes.

I'm drawing a weird blank on specifics- I know I've read a couple dozen, but can't remember any specifically. It's a really really easy type of story to screw up, and I think it specifically attracts stupid people. It's almost impossible to write one that doesn't have a sloppy, cheap, obvious ending.

Of course now I start remembering time travel stuff by really good authors.

There was a Tim Powers one.

And Fritz Leiber wrote one or more.

Connie Willis, "To Say Nothing of the Dog."

I'm going to stop before I embarass myself any more.

#169 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 04:59 PM:

More time travel:

The Time Patrol (et sequelae), Poul Anderson
Up the Line, Robert Silverberg
The Man Who Folded Himself, David Gerrold
The End of Eternity, Isaac Asimov
The Time Ships, Steven Baxter
Timeline, Michael Critchton
Lest Darkness Fall, L. Sprague deCamp
The Big Time, Fritz Leiber
The Great Work of Time, John Crowley (novella)
The "Company" stories, Kage Baker
Bones of the Earth, Michael Swanwick

Tons more where those came from (the cobwebbed depths of my never garbage-collected memory, that is).

#170 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:00 PM:

You might be thinking of Powers's The Anubis Gate, Sandy B.

#171 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:01 PM:

The "Tim Powers one" is The Anubis Gates.

The first three or four times I typed that it came out "Time Powers one."

#172 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:05 PM:

In #110, Kristjan Wager writes:

I find it surprising that I haven't seen any mention of the fact that Jack Williamson has passed away. He was published in nine decades (in the twenties and forth), and was a giant in the field. May he rest in peace.

Marilee mentioned it over in Open Thread 73, and Patrick posted Particle. But gee whiz, I expected more chatter as well.

Will anyone ever have a career that long again? First sale 1928, last manuscript still, no doubt, in the pipeline 78 years later.

Obituaries have appeared in the L.A. Times and the New York Times.

The latter says:

In 1976, Mr. Williamson was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America, only the second author, after Robert A. Heinlein, to be so honored.

Which is a little misleading; lots of other writers have since been named Grand Masters. But it is fitting that Jack Williamson was one of the first two. After all, he had been publishing well-regarded stories for 48 years at that point, and showed no signs of slowing down even though, at 68, he was one of the oldest of all SF authors...

Little did they imagine that two Hugos and a Nebula were in his future. Or maybe SFWA's members did imagine it-- after all, they are professional visionaries.

He coined "terraforming." He coined "genetic engineering." He went to war, and came back. He went to school and got a PhD. and wrote a critical study of H.G. Wells. He taught for many years at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. All along, he kept writing SF novels.

I didn't know Jack Williamson at all well, and only met him a few times. Among his many distinctions, he was the first to incorporate the shiny new idea of antimatter or "contraterrene matter" into science fiction, in the stories incorporated into Seetee Ship and Seetee Shock.

I once got to show him the antiproton factory here at Fermilab. I am very pleased about that.

He was a giant in science fiction. I'm glad I got to shake his hand.

#173 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:17 PM:

Are these supposed to be non-overlapping lists?

The Time Machine (Wells)
The Proteus Operation (Hogan)
Doomsday Book (Willis)
To Say Nothing of the Dog (Willis)
(blanking on the name) Diane Duane's second cat-wizard novel
"A Gun for Dinosaur" (lead short story in eponymous anthology) (de Camp)
Knight in Shining Armor (Deveraux)

That last one is a bit embarassing.

I have had To Say Nothing of the Dog sitting around for the last two weeks, after buying it on the multiple recommendations of friends. I've read the first few chapters but I am bouncing right off it - I keep putting it down and picking up something else instead. I loved Doomsday Book and people keep telling me that I should thus love TSNotD; does it pick up dramatically in the middle or something?

#174 ::: Petter Hesselberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:25 PM:

More time travel: Time Enough for Love (RAH). He also wrote at least one more short on the subject (in addition to Zombies), but the name escapes me for the nonce.

#175 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:29 PM:

*blink, blink*

So quick, with the titles.

How about Night Watch by Terry Pratchett?

#176 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:33 PM:

Xopher at 160:

Hehe! I really want to share that quote with someone here at the office, but I'm afraid the set-up would be too laborious. I'll just giggle on my own, then.

Were I not already claimed for a G-d, I'd start the First Church of Copyediting. Would we have to excommunicate ourselves every time we slipped up, though? How would the expiation process work?

#177 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:40 PM:

Sandy B. @168: "Time after Time" [author? possibly mainstream/breakthrough]

I think that might have been Jack Finney. He did more than one story with “nostalgic imagination” as the engine for time travel.

#178 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:50 PM:

#168 Sandy B. and #177, Rob Rusick, The Jack Finney novel is _Time and Again_, which also had its world premiere as a musical 10 years ago.

#179 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 05:57 PM:

Wasn't there some time travel in one of Anne McCaffrey's first "Dragonriders of Pern" novels?

Jasper FForde, The Eyre Affair (rather peripherally, though)
S.M. Stirling, Island in the Sea of Time

And if overlapping is OK, then I guess additional ones that came quickly to mind would be:
H.G. Wells, The Time Machine
Tim Powers[*], Anubis Gates
Michael Swanwick, Bones of the Earth
Poul Anderson, Time Patrol books
John Crowley, Great Work of Time

[*] typed "Time Powers" the first time, too...

#180 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:07 PM:

I assume we're not supposed to consult our libraries for this, just go off the top of our heads?

Time And Again is indeed Jack Finney, and is kind of a mainstreamy romance SF novel, if that isn't too much a contradiction. (I think there is also a sequel called Time After Time)

Skipping those I noticed posted upstream *
Thrice Upon A Time, Hogan
The Man Who Folded Himself, David Gerrold
The Door into Summer, Heinlein
Eon and its sequel Eternity by Greg Bear is a somewhat different spin on time travel
The End of Eternity, Asimov
Kaleidoscope Century, John Barnes (a book which made me want to go wash my mind out - very disturbing.)

Andre Norton's Time Traders novels - 5 or 6 of them, I think, starting with The Time Traders and including Galactic Derelict which fully won my heart to SF when I was 13 or so.
Greg Wolfe's New Sun series is time-travel SF, though I'm sure some readers don't quite get that part.

Do cross-time/parallel-time novels count? There's a whole long list or sub-sub-genre of those, including Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen and the Crosstime series, and a couple more Heinlein stories.

(BTW, The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything isn't exactly a time-travel story, it's a time manipulation story - the ability to pause time but not to reverse it.)

* The Time Machine, 'All You Zombies', Bones of the Earth, etc. but I just skimmed so I'm probably duplicating some

#181 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:14 PM:

Heinlein's "by his bootstraps"...

Lots of things by A.E.van Vogt.

#182 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:15 PM:

"the legion of time", by the late Jack Williamson.

#183 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:29 PM:

Do Farmer's Riverworld stories count as time travel?

#184 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:32 PM:

No, Linkmeister, you fool!

#185 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:38 PM:

Two more time travel tales:

Singularity Sky by Charles Stross (perhaps time travel attempted is more accurate)
Millennium by John Varley

#186 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:39 PM:

Larry Niven wrote stories about a man who, when he travels back in time, keeps bumping into fantasy creatures like unicorns and such.

Someone called Mike Shupp wrote a series of novels for Del Rey that really gave me a headache. And I didn't care for his referring to Jimmy Carter as a penaut farmer.

Moorcock's adventures of the Lord of the Air, which went cross-wise in time and forward, to realities where zeppelins are the modern form of transportation.

#187 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:49 PM:

Serge @ 184, Hmm. I'm trying to decide whether I should use Richard Burton's or Sam Clemens' voice in responding to that.

#188 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:56 PM:

Clemens, Linkmeister, definitely Clemens...

#189 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 06:58 PM:

I have another appeal to the wide-ranging knowledge of the posters here -- there's a quote I'm very fond of, which I thought was by Samuel Johnson. However, my Google-fu is failing to find any citation for it. Does anyone know a source for the statement, "I can conceive of no knowledge so useless that I would be better off in ignorance of it"?

#190 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 07:00 PM:

Moorcock wrote Kane of Mars, about a man who is hurled far back in time to when Mars was populated with ugly monsters and beautiful maidens. (As opposed to today's boulders with names like Yogi Bear.) Unfortunately, he was a bit too successful in his pastiche of Burroughs (Edgar Rice, not William S.)

#191 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 08:07 PM:

Time travel:

Madeleine L'Engle's 'Tesseract' novels.

#192 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 08:08 PM:

Serge #186: Les penauts, est-ce que sont faciles de cultiver?

#193 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 08:12 PM:

I don't know, Fragano. I never tried growing peanuts so I don't know how easy they are to grow. Oh, I see... You're referring to those Mike Shupp novels. Darn. I'm slow today.

#194 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 08:19 PM:

Serge #193: I have grown peanuts (or ground nuts, if you prefer). They're pretty easy.

#195 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 08:53 PM:

Serge @ #181: That's it - Heinlein's "By his bootstraps" is the other canonical Heinlein time-travel story I and others were trying to remember, I think.

... and @ #186: The Niven time-travel/fantasy stories were collected as The Flight of the Unicorn

That reminds me, there's also a good Niven time-travel short story called "One-way Street". (The more the subject tries to go the wrong way in time, the more accidents he causes...)

The Paradox Men, by the great Charles Harness

Fragano @ 194: I never can manage to grow the roasted kind which I like. (OK, it's an old chestnut.)

#196 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:00 PM:

Clifton Royston #195: You need an open fire for that old chestnut.

#197 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:04 PM:

Goodness... Fragano, I hope you don't think I had problems with Jimmy Carter being a peanut planter. It's Mike Shupp who did.

#198 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:13 PM:

Fragano beat me to Madeleine L'Engle...

Sturgeon's Venus Plus X has some (putative) time travel. Or maybe not.

There're also a slew of books with relativistic time travel themes - The Forever War, for instance.

#199 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:33 PM:

Re: #189; this is as close as I have been able to come: “It is better, of course, to know useless things than to know nothing.” (Seneca)

#200 ::: flaring ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:47 PM:

Just today I've been hit on the head several times by forcibly standardized non-standard verb forms: lighted instead of lit, weaved instead of wove.

I'm noticing these things everywhere now and I'm starting to cringe reflexively. I 'm afraid that next I'll be seeing runned and seeked.

Is this some sort of editorial trend? Or editorial idiocy?

#201 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 09:54 PM:

Susan in #173: Willis' Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog are set in the same universe, but are not in the same mode at all, at all. I love them both, but TSNofD is very much slapstick comedy, like Bellwether and Remake (which are both a little more accessible). I do think it takes a couple of chapters to get into TSNotD. If you prefer more serious stuff, try the novellette Fire Watch (I think it's in a story collection of the same name), also in the same universe but more in the same vein as DB. And Lincoln's Dreams.

#202 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:10 PM:

Richard Matheson's bid time returns, which was filmed as somewhere in time...

#203 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:29 PM:

"Up the Line" by Robert Silverberg.

#204 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2006, 11:32 PM:

Teresa, does Patrick know you're swiping his links?

#205 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 12:52 AM:

That's what I get for skim-reading. The other DaveL got there before me.

#206 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 03:53 AM:

flaring (#200):
I'll admit that "lit" rings a little truer to my ears than "lighted," but "lighted" has actually been around as an alternate form for quite a while, and is listed in dictionaries; a little googling shows that Dryden, Milton, and Pope have all used it at one time or another.

Oh, and there was a 16th Century playwright who used it, too:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

"weaved" -- how was it used? My American Heritage Dictionary actually likes "weaved" as the past tense for certain senses (e.g., "make a path by moving from side to side").

(And, sure enough, if you google for "Shakespeare" + "weaved", you get a couple of hits...)

#207 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 04:56 AM:

It's always amazing how many archaeologists survive to old age ... but a fair number die of exotic lung conditions. (So do some librarians.)

(suppresses obvious Indiana Jones reference)
(suppresses obvious Umberto Eco reference)

OK, I'm done here.

#208 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 06:39 AM:

Thanks for the Time Travel lists. I asked because I was looking at the books tagged time travel on LibraryThing (a list of more than 3,000 titles) and noted that a relatively recent best seller that features time travel had been tagged with it only twice, despite more than 1000 people applying tags to it. It got me thinking about the possible difference between subgenres and plot devices - we think of a book like The Time Machine being about time travel, but as a plot device in a book about lots of other things it may be overlooked. I found another example on the list - Dragonflight (and Moreta, and The White Dragon). Sarah's suggestion of Night Watch by Terry Pratchett may be a third. Anyway, I was curious to see how long it would take people to list those examples when asked for time travel stories. Well done Peter Erwin.

I may be reading too much into it. Only about 1/7 of books are given tags, and many of those are simply tagged science fiction or fiction. And looking now, I see Diana Galbadon's books are tagged time travel three times as often as Wells' The Time Machine is, for a comparable number of copies. I have no idea what that means.

#209 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 07:09 AM:

Serge #197: I was clear that you had nothing against Jimmy Carter being a peanut farmer.

#210 ::: Jenny ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 07:10 AM:

Time travel:

Children's/ young adult
The Story of the Amulet by E. Nesbit - great book!
Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling - maybe more visionary than literal time travel.
The Old Powder Line by Richard Parker - has a time-travelling train and a lot of paradox and strangeness.
A Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price - time travel story w/ C16th Border Reivers, strictly it's an alternate universe rather than time travel, but does a very good job of portraying a modern person trying to adapt to a historical culture.

Adult:
A Scientific Romance by Ronald Wright (historian of science in London at the millennium discovers H. G. Wells' time machine, which takes him to an abandoned future England: well-written, sad).
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffeneger- has anyone mentioned this yet? I did not like this book, but it does what it says on the tin.
The Fetch by Robert Holdstock - read this a long time ago and forget the details, but it had a haunted child able to travel to the past and bring back artifacts.

I have to say time travel stories often freak me out excessively, even when the story probably isn't intended by the author to be frightening; especially stories where people travel within their own lifetimes. I'm not quite sure why. It's partly the thought of encountering your own extinction - either death or the non-existence before birth - but also a queasiness at the thought that there might be something uncanny about reality, that you might get to the wrong place, horribly unmoored. Is there a name for this sort of vertigo concerning time?

#211 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 07:21 AM:

Poul Anderson's the time patrol...

#212 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 07:22 AM:

Fragano... Phew.

#213 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 07:25 AM:

It's always amazing how many archaeologists survive to old age ... but a fair number die of exotic lung conditions. (So do some librarians.)

Speaking of librarians, I see that the TV Guide is giving us advance warning about The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mine, to be aired Dec 3. Considering that the original Noah Wiley movie did for Shangri La, I should probably run for the hills. On the other hand, this new movie still has Bob Newhart as the Head Librarian and martial-arts expert.

#214 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 09:49 AM:

Greg London [156]:

nonnewtonian fluid particle sidelight:
WOW!
I mean really
WOW!

All together now:
"There's Oobleck in the bath tub: the con's not over yet! It's pleasantly disgusting, and it's thick, and white, and wet...."

A pool of Oobleck is definitely cooler than the bathtub was.

#215 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 10:08 AM:

As a reviewer, I should probably be trying to add to the list of time travel books, but since my memory is so lousy I'll just revert to minor-nitpick proofreader mode. #180: Greg Wolfe's New Sun series... -- the name should be Gene Wolfe.

#216 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 10:21 AM:

Time travel stories...
Island in the Sea of Time et seq., Stirling
By His Bootstraps, Heinlein
Time After Time
The Anubis Gates, Powers
Household Gods
Time Enough for Love, Heinlein
The Door into Summer, Heinlein
A Fisherman of the Inland Sea, LeGuin
A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Twain
Doomsday Book, Willis
To Say Nothing of the Dog, Willis
Fire Watch, Willis
The Man Who Folded Himself, Gerrold

Another LeGuin story whose name I can't recall, and also "Semley's Necklace" if you count forward time travel.

#217 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 10:34 AM:

To Xopher and Joe J re: Wiccan symbols: My understanding is that there is a list of gummint-recognized symbols that can be used, and the contention is that if there was a single or at least a -very small number- of recognized Wiccan symbols, they would adopt them, add them to the list, and everything would be fine.

The problem is that the neopagan community is saying, "OK, then, how about we start with a pentagram", and the authority in charge of approving symbols is dragging its heels.

Part of the problem (from the gummint PoV) is that there is no Wiccan central authority to tell them "this is the Wiccan symbol."

Yes, precisely; they are not willing to accept the opinion of 85% of neopagans* that a pentagram would be acceptable because there's no "central church".

What it really, really looks like is the government having decided they don't want there to be a pagan symbol, and using the excuse that there's no neopagan pope to avoid allowing it.

The list of currently permitted symbols is somewhat enlightening, really.

They do not want to have the obligation of putting absolutely anything the customer wants on the gravestone.

I'll bet you could cover all but the occasional schmuck by allowing a pentacle, a Thor's Hammer or similar, and a Triple Moon. And hey, if the Izumo Taishakyo Mission Of Hawaii can have a symbol...

Also, this being the gummint, it would take a while, as much bureaucratic mulch would need to be mulched to create the artwork, approve it, have the Head Wiccan approve it, add it to the list, etc.

There is no Head Wiccan. That's the excuse they're using to not allow it at all. Because the response of most every pagan who's queried being an immediate "Yes" is apparently not sufficient.

*Wouldn't work for, say, Asatru, but a large majority of neonpagans would be contented if not prefectly satisfied.

#218 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 10:42 AM:

Henry Troup @ 174:
#70 and #133: you don't want a cemetary near your drinking water. Nasty stuff leaches out of litches! Exhuming corpses is moderately dangerous, regardless of embalming. They're dead meat, full of bacteria or chemicals to kill bacteria. Use gloves, wash your hands. It's always amazing how many archaeologists survive to old age ... but a fair number die of exotic lung conditions. (So do some librarians.)

I worked for an IT contractor on the 3rd runway project at Lambert-St. Louis Int'l Airport; part of the runway construction involved relocating 2 large cemeteries and one small one. One of the land acquisition contractors we worked with had moved part of a cemetery during a previous expansion of the airport, and some of the guys who worked that job had some amazing stories: the 8-year-old boy who was perfectly preserved except for a thin greenish pallor, buried some 75 years prior; the way that by the end of the project they could tell if someone had died from tuberculosis (or other infectious agents) because of the differences in the smell and color of the earth filling the grave...

#219 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 11:42 AM:

Civil war/alternate universe/time travel: Bring the Jubilee, by Ward Moore.

#220 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 11:49 AM:

Re: military grave symbols... who was the Head Atheist they conferred with before adopting the atom as the symbol for atheism?

#221 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 12:05 PM:

A couple more:

"The Shadow Out of Time", Lovecraft
_Time For the Stars_, Heinlein (are we counting relativity?)
_The Night Lands_, William Hope Hodgson (old, largely forgotten, and @$^!ing great)
_Books of Magic_, Neil Gaiman

#222 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 12:40 PM:

Rob @ 220 sez: "who was the Head Atheist..."

Paging PZ Myers.

#223 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 12:50 PM:

aquila,

i was gonna say the one harry potter book (the third?), because even though it was a plot point & not the theme, it got on my nerves.

cause like, the time machine is given to hermione so she can take more classes. it seems a pretty lame reason to mess with the fabric of reality, which it does seem to be able to do when it comes into the plot (they can change the course of events, & there's no evident controls or exceptions to that). & again, like so many rowling devices, there is loud humming at why this device can't be put to even more useful aims, like stopping good guys dying.

but i am afraid to get into that stuff, cause there are real harry potter scholars out there, & i'm not one. i'm not a fan, i'm just a person who reads each book in one sitting as soon as it comes out, & then feels angry about it.....

#224 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 01:17 PM:

Want to get into movies with time travel? Just watched the 3 Back to the Future movies back-to-back. Better than I remembered, mostly, and my daughter got a kick out of the 80's era clothes (what? That looks perfectly normal to me!)(Oh, and there were certain moments when Michael J. Fox did something and we turned to each other and simultaneously said "Miles"...). Let's see -- Galaxy Quest, too, with the Omega-13.

If time travel forward is allowed, Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters.

#225 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 01:25 PM:

Well, since Janet opened that door...

12 monkeys
world without end
the original Planet of the Apes series
the time tunnel ("In color!")

#226 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 01:42 PM:

There is no Head Wiccan.

That was my point. I guess I should have put scare quotes around it.

Paging PZ Myers.

He was running a search and poll to come up with a good atheist symbol just a week or so ago. I personally liked the one that looked like DNA. The atom one was on the list, too.

#227 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 01:44 PM:

The DNA symbol makes more sense than the atom, for atheists.

#228 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 01:48 PM:

miriam - yes it was the tags on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that got me thinking about it in the first place.

Jenny - The Time Traveller's wife has been tagged with time travel more than any other book.

#229 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 01:48 PM:

& again, like so many rowling devices, there is loud humming at why this device can't be put to even more useful aims, like stopping good guys dying.

OK, I have to say that in the last one, when Young Master Potter sneaks into a REALLY SMALL place in an invis. cloak and gets found and stomped... I felt a certain amount of pleasure.

Gee, took how many books for a building full of hundreds of magical experts-in-training to get wise to ONE of the plot devices?

#230 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 02:02 PM:

Movies with time travel: Time Bandits.

#231 ::: Holly Parkis ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 02:24 PM:

In the vein of time travel and open threads (and delurking), I have a can't-think-of-the-title query -- does anyone remember a Golden Age-era post-apocalyptic short story about a man who had invented a time machine before the Nuclear Holocaust (TM) and who then found ants with lungs in his backyard, and, in his grief and despair, took them waaay back in time in order to let them found a new society? And it all ended very badly? My google-fu is tragically insufficient.

#232 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 02:28 PM:

That story doesn't ring a bell, Holly.

#233 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 02:36 PM:

Time travel novels not yet mentioned:

163? by Flint et.al.
Replay, Ken Grimwood
Lest Darkness Fall, de Camp
The Timeline Wars(?) by Charles Ingrid? -- All I remember is the first novel starts with someone at college having a spherical volume which included his dorm room transported several thousand years into the future.

And as I recall, there was a very odd look at time-travel and timeline-based wars in a book I read in the past 5 years. But for the life of me I can't remember the title. Something about a war spanning the timeline, which winds up breaking time, but(!) the story keeps going from there.

#234 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 02:40 PM:

Aquila @ 208:

I may be reading too much into it. Only about 1/7 of books are given tags, and many of those are simply tagged science fiction or fiction. And looking now, I see Diana Galbadon's books are tagged time travel three times as often as Wells' The Time Machine is, for a comparable number of copies. I have no idea what that means.

I'm not sure either, but there's probably a doctoral dissertation in there somewhere.

#235 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 02:41 PM:

Malthus - I think that last series is Mike Shupp's.

#236 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 02:46 PM:

PJ is right, Malthus. That was indeed Mike Shupp, hater of Jimmy Carter and of peanut farmers.

#237 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 02:57 PM:

Is the time-travel-with-ants story "Let the Ants Try" by Robert Silverberg? It sounds about right.

#238 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 03:01 PM:

More time travel from Simak... Mastodonia and Our Children's Children.

#239 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 03:20 PM:

#223 -- Re: Time as a plot device in HP, please note in "Order of the Phoenix" the jolly crew causes all the Time Turners to be broken -before- one of the protagonists dies, so they can't "turn back time" to save the deceased.

Now if you're quibbling with a death at the end of one of the earlier books, I have no answer for that one.

#240 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 03:56 PM:

I love time travel stories. And even stories about time that don't involve actual travel, like Timescape by Greg Benford. Silverberg's Up the Line is one of my favorite books; he wrote others as well (Hawksbill Station, The Time Hoppers). Moorcock's Behold the Man is another great one, and I don't think anyone's mentioned that yet.

I was really disappointed in Andre Norton's The Time Traders the last time I read it: The plot is about developing time travel to find something in the past. The Russians finish their time machine first, oh no -- we Americans must hurry! Because if we finish our machine a week after them, we'll get to the past a week after them and they'll have had a week to find the alien device or whatever. Not good time travel theory.

#241 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 04:01 PM:

Fritz Leiber's The Big Time...

#242 ::: flaring ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 04:08 PM:

Peter (206)--
Thanks for clarifying things for me. I suppose that I've seen "lighted" before yesterday, but something about the rhythm of the sentence it was in made me expect "lit". When I didn't get it, it jarred me out of the story (I hate that). After that I was just hypersensitive, and seeing "he weaved the two together" made me despair for humanity despite the recent election.

And now, I need to go re-read some Shakespeare.

#243 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 04:24 PM:

I've given up on plot consistency with the Harry Potter books. I mean, quidditch is an impossible game. It Just Wouldn't Work. Compared to that, little things like the fabric of the universe? Meh.

#244 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 05:16 PM:

In #231 Holly Parkis writes:

In the vein of time travel and open threads (and delurking), I have a can't-think-of-the-title query -- does anyone remember a Golden Age-era post-apocalyptic short story about a man who had invented a time machine before the Nuclear Holocaust (TM) and who then found ants with lungs in his backyard, and, in his grief and despair, took them waaay back in time in order to let them found a new society? And it all ended very badly?

"Let the Ants Try," by Frederik Pohl?

#245 ::: Holly Parkis ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 05:20 PM:

DaveL -- yes, yes, yes! My hero. The Internets (and Bill Higgins, my also hero!) appear to believe it was written by Pohl, though.

As for time travel books that have not yet been mentioned, time paradox of a sort plays a pretty big role in the Dark Tower series, specifically Drawing of the Three.

Also, Time Pressure & Lifehouse, by Spider Robinson, as well as his Callahan series.


#246 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 05:26 PM:

I played games with time in The Prisoners of Bell Castle and Timecrime, Inc.

#247 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 06:11 PM:

Re: 242

Otherwise we'd have A Clean Well-Lit Place."

#248 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2006, 10:41 PM:

Behold, a name from the past:

One Phlp Shrpshr, for whom disemvoweling was invented way back in 2002 on this very site, has surfaced today on Steve Gilliard's blog.

He hasn't learned anything in the interval.

#249 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 02:43 AM:

The atom logo comes from the American Atheists.

#250 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 04:38 AM:

Well, people beat me to identifying "Let the Ants Try"; but I can comment that DaveL (probably) thought it was by Silverberg because he (and I!) read it in the anthology Mutants, which Silverberg edited.

#251 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 06:27 AM:

Another time-travel classic... The Hounds of Tindalos, by Frank Belknap Long.

#252 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 06:33 AM:

Marilee... So the atom symbol comes from some atheist association? I'm not sure what their logic was. That reminds me of Alan Moore's Watchmen. There is a scene where Doctor Manhattan is about to launch on a crime-fighting career and the govt feels he should have an emblem and, since he can control matter, they suggest that very atomic symbol. He feels it doesn't mean anything and comes up with a variation, based on hydrogen - a dot with a circle around it, and a dot on the circle. Not very exciting though. I still think the DNA symbol makes more sense.

#253 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 08:20 AM:

I don't think the Bohr atom, or the DNA helix, are particularly good symbols for atheism. To me they symbolize Science.

It is demonstrably true that science can be advanced both by atheists and by people with firm religious convictions; in fact, it is a neutral ground where scientists of all faiths, or no faith, can collaborate.

So using a symbol most people would associate first with "science" is not a good way to say "I have no religion."

Of course, I am a scientist, and may be too sensitive about this. I can imagine a Roman executioner irritated at Christians who appropriate the symbol of his profession...

Not that I have a better suggestion for the American Atheists. But "atheism" doesn't come across when I see a picture of an atom. Or a DNA helix. Or laboratory glassware. That's my retort.

#254 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 08:58 AM:

Bill Higgins... It IS rather difficult to come up for a symbol that stands for something-that-is-not-that-other-thing. I guess I saw the double helix as... Oh, what the heck. I think I'll follow the old rules about how much digging to do when one is already inside a hole.

#255 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 09:08 AM:

Bill Higgins @253:
That's my retort.

Lest the pun thread be petri-ng out?

#256 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 09:34 AM:

Why would an atheist want any symbol? Just leave it blank.

#257 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 09:41 AM:

FYI: The "lamest superheroes" Particle is incorrect in one crucial point.

Vibe does in fact have a cult following: The Absorbascon blog, by Scipio, the funniest gay classicist comics blogger on the web.

#258 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 10:00 AM:

Joe J wrote: " His recording of "Hurt" got some serious airplay, in Chicago at least, and not on some county station."

Generally speaking he hasn't gotten much airplay on country stations in YEARS.

His recording of Hurt has arguably become the canonical version.

Compared to Cash, Trent Reznor just sounds like a whiny little emo twat when he sings "I hurt my self today".

#259 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 10:07 AM:

I got some coupons from Borders, but I doubt I'll use them to acquire O.J.Simpson's If I Did It, Here's How It Happened..

#260 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 10:29 AM:

If I wanted a symbol on a grave marker, I would be happy with a double helix--not because I'm an atheist, but because it's a nice shorthand for the idea that we're a species of animal, not robots or disembodied minds, related to lots of other species.

I've got my organ donor card, and don't much care what happens to my body after the usable parts have been recycled. (If I had a house and a garden, I'd borrow Lee Hays's idea of being cremated and having the ashes scattered on his compost pile; that isn't practical in a sixth-floor Manhattan apartment.) I suspect that the main thing my survivors will want on any grave/niche marker will be my name, and maybe some quote they consider suitable. But, well, if they decide they'd like Jewish or atheist or other symbols, that's fine too: I'm not the one the marker will be for.

#261 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 10:45 AM:

Vicki... When I kick the bucket (ever seen Jimmy Durante do exactly that upon passing away in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World?), I'm planning to do pretty much the same thing as you, except for the compost part. I'd like my ashes scattered around Mount Lassen's volcanic sources of boiling water, but there's probably a law against that.

#262 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 10:58 AM:

Actually, Vicki, I'm not planning to do anything myself when I pass away.

#263 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 11:14 AM:

Salon.com's War Room shows Reality again outdoing any of the Onion's parodies...

'...Bush's Agriculture Department has struck the word "hungry" from its annual report on what it's now calling "food security." (...) The report measures the number of Americans who can't afford to put food on their table during at least some period of the year. The Agriculture Department's Mark Nord says "hungry" is "not a scientifically accurate term for the specific phenomenon being measured" in the report. Thus, people formerly described as suffering "food insecurity without hunger" -- meaning that they'll probably get something to eat, somehow -- and "food insecurity with hunger" -- meaning that they'll go without food for stretches of time -- shall henceforth be known as sufferers of "low food security" and "very low food security."...'

#264 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 11:55 AM:

Bill Higgins #253 Not that I have a better suggestion for the American Atheists. But "atheism" doesn't come across when I see a picture of an atom. Or a DNA helix. Or laboratory glassware. That's my retort.

I label myself a devout technologist. The atom symbol fits, for me, although maybe a resistor symbol would be a trifle less intimidating.

#265 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 12:02 PM:

A resistor, joann? Resistance is futile.

#266 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 12:17 PM:

The Internets (and Bill Higgins, my also hero!) appear to believe it was written by Pohl, though.

Isn't Pohl one of Silverberg's pseudonyms? Or vice versa?

Actually, I remembered the title but my googlefu danced out of the room and I read the editor (as Dave Goldfarb suggested) rather than the author.

Stories about other species taking over after homo sap. screwed up would be an interesting topic. "City," by Simak would be a start, with dogs. "Hothouse" by Aldiss had ants. "Midsummer Century" by Blish had birds. Lots of Varley has cetaceans. And of course there is "Planet of the Apes." There must be others.

#267 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 12:26 PM:

DaveL... Strictly speaking, "City" ends with ants taking over the Earth, not dogs. Simak wrote a story in the early Eighties of a human ship coming back and finding robot Jenkins still the caretaker of the Webster House, which is the only portion of the planet that the ants left alone.

#268 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 12:30 PM:

Speaking of dogs... One thing that really bugged me about Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars is that nobody - and I mean nobody - had non-human companions on Mars. No dog. No cat. Not even a budgie.

#269 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 12:41 PM:

Serge at 259 said: I got some coupons from Borders, but I doubt I'll use them to acquire O.J.Simpson's If I Did It, Here's How It Happened..

What editor let that one get by? My red pencil is twitching. Surely "If I Had Done It, Here Is How It Would Have Happened, Had I Any Grammatical Skills Whatsoever." O temopra, o mores.

Leaving the subject matter aside entirely.

#270 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 12:55 PM:

"One thing that really bugged me about Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars is that nobody - and I mean nobody - had non-human companions on Mars. No dog. No cat. Not even a budgie."

They had their eyebrow mites...


#271 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 12:58 PM:

"The atom symbol fits, for me, although maybe a resistor symbol would be a trifle less intimidating."

How about a capacitor. It fits for atheism, because there's a central void which not only doesn't prevent it from working, but is required...

#272 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 12:58 PM:

Too late to worry about an off the top of the head time travel title counts - polluted sample.

2 for time travel done right -

White has one (Tomorrow is Too Far IIRC) where the time traveller moves in time but is not locked in place on a rotating sphere in orbit around the sun which is moving toward...... and so time travel is really space travel.

There's a puzzle short someplace in which the humans think the aliens have FTL but it's only a little convenience - human stowaway discovers it's STL to the right spot then time travel back to when the destination is there

Robert Forward threw in a little time travel in the first, may have been the second Starquake, of his duology of life on a neutron star - as I recall not so much for the plot but so he could show humungous rotating columns and throw in more good science to the limit.

#273 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 01:05 PM:

They had their eyebrow mites...

I don't think that Animal Planet's TV network is going to have a show titled "the eyebrow mite whisperer" any time soon, Jon.

#274 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 01:08 PM:

Speaking of people whose first name is 'Jon'... Tonight's episode of Smallville is supposed to have guest character Jon Jones, aka Jon Jonzz, aka the Martian Manhunter. That might be enough to make me go thru the effort of remembering to watch it.

#275 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 01:12 PM:

My favorite Time Travel Story:
The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold

The protagonist is given a time-travel belt by a mysterious stranger and proceeds to:

win the bets on horse races by reading tomorrow's paper

have past and future versions of himself as sex partners

be both of his parents because there is an alternate timeline in which he is female

when older, be unable to have a relationship with the female version of himself because the younger version of himself got there first

and finally give up in disgust, get rid of the time belt by being the mysterious stranger who gives it to his younger self.

I think that's how it went, anyway.
After reading that, I figured "this says everything that needs to be said about time travel" and didn't read any more time travel stories.

#276 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 01:16 PM:

Erik Nelson... Having someone be both of his parents? Heinlein did it first in all you zombies.

#277 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 01:17 PM:

Mars needs coyotes!

#278 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 01:22 PM:

Mars needs coyotes!

All these years I thought the Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons were set in the American Southwest...

#279 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 02:19 PM:

Time travel stories I haven't seen mentioned yet: Steven Brust's Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille and Daniel Keys Moran's Continuing Time series, which I think starts with Emerald Eyes.

You could also make a case for travelling-forward-only in Vernor Vinge's The Peace War and Marooned in Realtime (which is, so far, my favorite of all Vinge's books).

#280 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 02:20 PM:

Oh! And the fun Time Fugue fight in Roger Zelazny's Creatures of Light and Darkness.

#281 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 02:25 PM:

In the space machine, Christopher Priest merges the War of the Worlds and the Time Machine.

#282 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 02:49 PM:

Serge said: Strictly speaking, "City" ends with ants taking over the Earth, not dogs.

Yikes. How could I forget that? It creeped me out when I first read "City."

Adding to the list, in Poul Anderson's "Brain Wave," the prediction at the end is that the super-intelligent humans will leave the Earth to the now intelligent animals, IIRC.

And getting back to time travel, there's Harry Turtledove's "Guns of the South," though it's really mostly alternate history IMHO.

Alfred Bester's "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed" was a classic short deconstructing the whole idea of changing history.

#283 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 03:13 PM:

DaveL... You might like that "City" story written in the early Eighties. It's a nice wrapup to the whole thing. As for other "After Man (and Woman)" stories, didn't Stapledon deal with that?

#284 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 04:05 PM:

I've always felt that [UNICODE 2204] should be appropriated for use as an identifier for atheism. Nobody ever listens to me, of course.

#285 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 04:31 PM:

Very open-thread comment...

Due to recent events, I've been writing sonnets. Not all of them are for ML, of course - the one on my company's new risk recording system, for instance, won't turn up here.

In light of this, I was explaining the classic sonnet structure to a friend. I was talking about the Italian pattern, with an octave and a sestet, and about how the pair of 4-line units in the octave was useful for setting up two similar alternatives which the sestet then twists to an unexpected resolution.

And I stopped, thinking about SF slang.

Sonnets are a Motie form of poetry. The octave is the "one hand/other hand" pair, and the sestet is the gripping hand.

#286 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 05:27 PM:

Time travel movies and nobody's mentioned Terminator?

The only TTM I can think of that I actually liked the plot of?

Huh.

(there was no sequel of any sort. )

#287 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 05:40 PM:

Sandy B... You didn't care for 12 monkeys? How could one not like a movie where the loonie house is run by Frank Gorshin, aka the Riddler?

#288 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 06:00 PM:

abi at #285: Due to recent events, I've been writing sonnets. Not all of them are for ML, of course - the one on my company's new risk recording system, for instance, won't turn up here.

<plaintive> It won't? </plaintive>

signed, Lexica (who works in risk management)

#289 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 06:07 PM:

In #284 J. H. Woodyatt writes:

I've always felt that [UNICODE 2204] should be appropriated for use as an identifier for atheism. Nobody ever listens to me, of course.

Speaking as the guy who objected to the atom, I think that is an excellent suggestion: from mathematics, the symbol for "There does not exist:" ∄.

Appropriate for atheism in general, particularly appropriate for an atheist's tombstone.

For extra points, figure out how to make a clever chrome There Does Not Exist Fish for your bumper.

(By the way, I note that in that long list of approved graveyard symbols, none are exclusively Catholic. A simple cross will do, I guess.)

#290 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 06:07 PM:

Lexica,

OK, but it's more about the mandatory fields in our new application (PlanView) than anything else. It's the introduction that never got included in the one-page quick reference.

Recording risks is done in PlanView now.
The forms have changed from what we used in PRIME.
This briefing tells you what to say and how,
The basics, anyway, for when you're short of time.
Use wording as sugested by this sheet
And in your action plan record details
Of what you'll do, and when, and whom you'll meet,
With fallbacks if your first intention fails.
Remember as you write that those who read
Your text may not be technical or see
Details of your project. They will need
Plain terms, not TLAs. Be jargon-free.
In time these practices will be the norm.
Till then, this sheet will help you with the form.

I was partway through an octave on probability and impact for a more abstract treatment of risk, but I couldn't find the turn for the sestet. If I do, I'll be sure to let you know.

#291 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 06:12 PM:

Vicki in #260 writes:

I suspect that the main thing my survivors will want on any grave/niche marker will be my name, and maybe some quote they consider suitable. But, well, if they decide they'd like Jewish or atheist or other symbols, that's fine too: I'm not the one the marker will be for.

Since I know you in various fannish contexts, I'm imagining a silhouette of a propeller beanie.

#292 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 06:13 PM:

Strictly speaking, and in reference to the suggestion of using a capacitor... Being an atheist doesn't mean there's a void in me. It's filled with other things (which religious people also feel), like the amazement at how dogs fit within a human family, how they are alive, and feel needs not that different from ours. Don't worry, I'm not going to show pictures of my new puppy again.

#293 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 07:17 PM:

abi - that is just lovely. And except for the first two lines, it is widely applicable.

#294 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 08:05 PM:

I may have asked about this before: if so, my apologies. I remember reading a review of Interzone some years ago that praised a short story in it about how Baron Munchaussen had won The Gulf War. Has this been reprinted anywhere? I'd sort of like to read it...

#295 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 08:40 PM:

Is anyone else getting strange mental images from the juxtaposition of "Punditslash" and "The Pooch is Screwed" in the recent comments listings?

And I always thought I had such a *clean* mind.

--Mary Aileen

#296 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 09:02 PM:

Finally a baby picture suitable for public consumption!

#297 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 01:05 AM:

Nice to have one senator I can respect.

#298 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 03:12 AM:

This poem reminded me very much of Mike.

A brief preview:

THE SPELL AGAINST SPELLING
George Starbuck

(a poem to be inscribed in dark places and never to be spoken aloud)

My favorite student lately is the one who wrote about feeling clumbsy.
I mean if he wanted to say how it feels to be all thumbs he
Certainly picked the write language to right in in the first place.
[...]

#299 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 04:41 AM:

Serge, 292: ...like the amazement at how dogs fit within a human family, how they are alive, and feel needs not that different from ours.

I get this, too! I am often boggled to see a cat inside a house, making demands just like any other member of the house. But it's not human. It's not even bipedal! It's got a strange little triangular head! It's a whole other lifeform, and it's living among us. Weird. Neat, though.

#300 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 05:25 AM:

Madeline F @299:

I get this, too! I am often boggled to see a cat inside a house, making demands just like any other member of the house.

Actually, we felt this way about our first child when he started to move about. We were so used to being just the two of us...

#301 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 06:00 AM:

Madeline F... Thanks. It does give a sense of wonder that humans share a home with non-humans. I'm not sure what we are, from a cat's point-of-view, besides the creatures that attend to their every whim. ("No, Petronius, this is not a door into summer.") Did their ancestors go in prides? Meanwhile, it's easy to understand a dog, once we remember that their ancestors lived in packs, and not that long ago, and that humans basically co-opted that. I remember once reading in Science News the suggestion that dogs are the descendents of losers who couldn't hack it among real wolves. That being said, I think dogs are smarter than cats. They have to be, being social animals.

"What! Dem's fighting words!"

#302 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 06:03 AM:

abi... What you said about your first human kid has me laughing. It also reminds me of my boss refering to her first born as a science project. Is that to be expected from a UCLA math student married to a Caltech graduate?

#303 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 06:05 AM:

Susan... Congratulations for having a senator with a backbone. And for your being an aunt. Looking forward to being called Auntie Suzie?

#304 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 06:06 AM:

Mary Aileen Buss @ #295... That had occurred to me too.

#305 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 06:08 AM:

I mean, Mary Aileen, the juxtaposition had occurred to me too, not the conclusion that you don't have a clean mind, of course.

#306 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 09:02 AM:

Susan: Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh!

I got to have my great-nephew run in circles around me this past weekend, as well as seeing his year-old sister flirt with her uncle, her father, and her grandfather.

I hope yours are doing well, and making good progress.

BTW, you're giving me senator envy--if Lamar didn't have a gummint job he'd have to write another book, and Mr. Corker will be there to look after his money.

#307 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 09:24 AM:

fidelio:

I'm just glad to finally have a picture that doesn't look like something out of a horror film - the first set were mere moments post-C-section and featured purplish tadpoles dripping blood all over the doctor's latex glove like something out of "Alien" - ewww!

(Why no, I don't have any maternal instinct, why do you ask?)

The two babies together in this picture do not yet make it to five pounds total between them, but they're doing pretty well and gaining weight. And now they're starting to look cute and baby-like. And apparently preemies don't cry, so they're very calm babies - they eat, they sleep, they get their diaper changed, repeat ad infinitum.

#308 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 09:24 AM:

Jon Carroll today:

"...Imagine a world without novels. That was most of recorded history -- Alexander the Great did not have a juicy thriller by his bedside to read before drifting off; Eleanor of Aquitaine was imprisoned without the solace of a hefty midlist book about a sprawling Armenian family in turn-of-the-century Greece. (Turn of the 12th century, that would be.) People found other ways to amuse themselves, like farming, pillaging and contracting tuberculosis..."

#309 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 09:25 AM:

Serge @#303 -

No diminuitives. There are limits to family feeling. Just Aunt Susan.

#310 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 09:31 AM:

No Suzie allowed, Susan? The only person ever allowed to call my Sue that was her grandpa. She wasn't too thrilled when her quite young nephews started refering to her as Auntie Suzie, but she sort-of got over it. (Me? I'm Uncle Surge.)

#311 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 10:55 AM:

I'm glad they're doing well, Susan--very early tiny babies are always worrisome. I suspect they will get around to the noisy part in their own good time.
Also, they always look better after they've been cleaned up and allowed to recover from the shock of the move, c-section or no c-section, full-term or early.

#312 ::: Thel ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2006, 01:01 PM:

For anyone interested in the recent flooding in the Pacific Northwest, here's a slideshow from the National Park Service summarizing the flood damage in Mount Rainier National Park. (18 inches of rain in 36 hours? Wow.)


#313 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 01:26 AM:

Serge, I'm quite sure my cats think I'm just a really big cat. My sister-in-law, who is Chinese, calls me "Ma-e." She can't even manage what kids do: "Ma-e-e." She can, however, call my brother "Rick."

#314 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 06:16 AM:

So you're Catwoman, Marilee? Holy blogging, Batman!

#315 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 06:25 AM:

"I can't stand the thought of my party having as its three front-runners three open adulterers, Newt Gingrich, Giuliani, and McCain," Dornan said.

Yes, he's running for Prez. This should be fun.

#316 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 06:56 AM:

Marilee... Did you ever see the Far Side cartoon that showed cops looking at a lab filled with microscopes and other scientific devices, each instrument with a dead cat next to it? Remember one cop saying...

"Yes, gentlemen, curiosity killed those cats."

I miss Larson. Gary Larson, that is. Glen Larson, not so much.

#317 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 09:38 AM:

I see in Sidelights that The Yes Men have punked Wharton.

#318 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 11:28 AM:

A propeller beanie might be okay, but a pen is more my speed, I think. (The silhouette of a keyboard looks too much like any other random rectangle, I think.)

Maybe organ donors should have that mentioned, proudly, on their markers.

#319 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 11:47 AM:

Time travel:

Kage Baker's Company novels and stories. Most of the protagonists aren't Travellers, just folks recruited substantial distances in the past and made immortal. They are, due to a glitch in the processing, susceptible to Theobrome, their drug of choice, and resort to it in time of stress. One scene has an upset operative munching on the brown discs (think Ibarra) as if they were rice crackers.

#320 ::: somebody wordy ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 12:30 PM:

Demiurgent (Snark-Burns) on a new kind of Otherkin: (previously on ML)

I just don't see why someone who thinks he's the reincarnation of Legolas's cousin thinks he's got moral superiority over someone who thinks he's the reincarnation of Revolutionary Girl Utena's cousin, you know?

#321 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 12:39 PM:

#308 - Serge - not to mention reproducing themselves, always a crowd pleaser.

#322 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 01:26 PM:

I am not well educated in economics, and so this bit from the Wikipedia entry on "Odious Debt" is not self-evident to me:

Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International (one of Canada's leading environmental and public policy research institutes) and author of Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption, and the Third World's Environmental Legacy has stated that:
"by giving creditors an incentive to lend only for purposes that are transparent and of public benefit, future tyrants will lose their ability to finance their armies, and thus the war on terror and the cause of world peace will be better served."

Couldn't it be argued that this would simply lead to creditors being pickier about which tyrants to finance, and being willing to take actions to protect their investment (the regime)? What am I missing?

#323 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 01:48 PM:

Susan,

Oh wow. They look like real babies, only smaller!

I am expecting a nephew next year. He doesn't look nearly so cute or baby-like, though he may already be about the size of one of your sister's kids. My sister-in-law sent pictures already, expecting us to coo over him. I think that's just because she's so attached to the child.

#324 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 01:58 PM:

Those heartless bastards in the UK insist that Dragon sausages must contain real dragon meat!

Don't they know that dragons are endangered? What will the Otherkin think?

(link courtesy BoingBoing, natch.)

#325 ::: Therese Nor�n ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 02:30 PM:

Regarding the recent sidelight about legalising slavery to get rid of African poverty: I have lost all ability to distinguish between satire and reality. I'm glad this was a prank/piece of conceptual art, but the idea isn't too far from what I've heard from free market enthusiasts.

#326 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 03:02 PM:

Odious debt: Are you thinking what I am thinking?

#327 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 03:05 PM:

Clifton, according to the current online report in The Times in your link, those Welsh Dragon sausages are "made with chili, leak and pork".

Which is a worry.

#328 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 03:07 PM:

Epacris @327:

This is why we store uncooked meats on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.

#329 ::: Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 03:49 PM:

Re: 312 and the flooding at Mt. Rainier.

Oh yikes! I've camped in the campsite that's still there in slide 6. I only live in Portland and I hadn't heard of any of this (that'll teach me to depend on the Guardian online for my news). Thanks for the news!

#330 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 05:26 PM:

Yeah, it took me a few minutes to figure out that the WTO/slavery piece was a prank. If they hadn't actually used the word "slavery" (and if the site's domain had actually looked like a WTO domain) I might have fallen for it.

#331 ::: Sugar ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 05:52 PM:

Epacris at 327: The sausage-maker also says:

"I don't think any of our customers believe that we use dragon meat in our sausages. We use the word because the dragon is synonymous with Wales."

I'm taking this to mean that his sausages also don't contain whale. Personally, I'm glad we've got trading standards officers to make sure our Soylent Green really is people!

somebody wordy at 320: More on those Otakin here, as featured on Fandom_Wank a while back.

#332 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 06:20 PM:

So, Jimmy Dean sausages are made of . . . ?

* * *

Hmmm. Maybe it's time for Lore Sjoberg to write up an Otherkin Hierarchy.

#333 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 06:30 PM:

So, Jimmy Dean sausages are made of . . .

Seems pure ham leaves the question open?

#334 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 07:19 PM:

Hmm. When are they going to come down on the makers of Dragon Stout (an excellent drink, btw)?

#335 ::: Watch Meteors tonight KfS ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 08:31 PM:

If you are in Western Europe or Eastern North America, tonight is a good night for watching meteors. By tonight I mean 4:45am UT 19/11, or 11:45pm EST 11/18, which is a predicted peak for the Leonids. They (the smart people in astronomy) have reasonably precise peak times nowadays.

If you're in New England, eastern NY or eastern Canada, you might get an especially fine show for a brief while centered around the peak time, where you might see very long and bright Earth-grazers. If they happen, they'd be bright enough to see even if you're in deepest, brightest urbia.

There's just something fun and back-of-the-brain addictive to watching a dark sky for the random bright slices of meteors. And there's always the faintest hope that the smart people have it wrong and there'll be a meteor storm instead of just a gentle shower. (Unfortunately, we're just not hitting the comet dust trails like we used to, so overall the Leonids may have peaked compared to 2001 or earlier.)

Dress warm, be able to lean back or lie back to get as much sky-view as possible, and if you have binoculars use them to check out the trails of the brightest meteors. The darker the sky the better, but even an urban or suburban sky can show some meteors if you can be where there's no direct light to ruin your eyes' adaptation.

-Kathryn from Sunnyvale, which will not have spun far enough east to make the shower visible.

#336 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2006, 10:59 PM:

TomB: Odious debt: Are you thinking what I am thinking?

I think so, Brain, but where are we going to find a rubber chicken, six cases of masking tape, a sodomized dinosaur, and a jar of true kosher pickles at this hour?

#337 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2006, 01:02 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @335: Thanks for the alert. I kept an eye on the time and the sky. Unfortunately, it turned out to be too overcast here (western NY) to have any hope of seeing meteors. Meteors piercing the cloud cover, I'd just as soon not see...

#338 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2006, 01:16 AM:

Sour Death Balls. People of all ages consuming same, caught on film.

I laughed, they cried.

#339 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2006, 01:22 AM:

Serge, I haven't seen that Far Side cartoon, but I have two cartoons taped up by the computer. The first is from Rhymes With Orange and has a woman on a psychiatrist's couch saying "My friends and family are worried that I spend all day in bed. My cats, however, presented me with a lifetime membership to their species." I spend most of the day in the recliner.

The second is from Pickles: 1. Grandson says to Grandma "Gramma, do you think Muffin knows she's a cat?" 2. Grandma replies "No, I'm pretty sure she thinks she's just a person like us." 3. Grandma says to Muffin "Isn't that right, Muffy? You think you're a furry little human, don't you?" 4. Muffin thinks "Not true. I think all of you are large homely cats."

#340 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2006, 05:25 AM:

Fandom shoots collective self in collective foot:

(Wikipedia, referring to Hogfather movie)
"In March 2006, the production company, impressed by Discworld costumes seen at fan events, announced that fans with appropriate costumes would be offered the opportunity to appear in background scenes. This was announced by a fan on the Usenet newsgroup alt.fan.pratchett, and caused a flurry of negative posts, with some criticising the company for using fans as unpaid extras, and others questioning how much quality control would go into the costumes used. In the wake of this unexpected criticism, the opportunity was withdrawn."

#341 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2006, 11:46 AM:

(Since my thing for today seems to be providing links to comics) The latest Mutts features very catly behavior. Now imagine that with a 20-pound cat like mine...!

#342 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2006, 08:16 PM:

re: the "TV Tropes Wiki" particle:

...hey! Where did my weekend go?!

#343 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 12:20 AM:

The Dragonfruit flavor of Vitamin Water does however contain in tiny print (or used to) the words: "Contains no actual dragons." Just, you know, so people don't worry about it.

#344 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 12:59 AM:

Clifton Royston: The Dragonfruit flavor of Vitamin Water does however contain in tiny print (or used to) the words: "Contains no actual dragons."

It's for the Vegans.

#345 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 01:20 AM:

Vitamin Water is exported to Vega?

Man, the shipping must be a killer.

#346 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 07:14 AM:

Stefan Jones #345: I hear it only costs a Lyra....

#347 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 09:58 AM:

I think there's a Vegan-American neighborhood in Brooklyn.

#348 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 10:09 AM:

Muffin thinks "Not true. I think all of you are large homely cats."

Yes, Marilee, that IS probably what cats think about their pet humans. When they think.

#349 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 10:51 AM:

Turkey Day is coming soon and, this year, Sue and I decided to celebrate with her family, in the San Francisco Bay Area, so we flew to Oakland on Saturday. The Southwest Airlines flight was uneventful and actually arrived 5 minutes early . A fat lot of good that did us though. Thirty minutes after everybody from our flight had made it to the baggage pickup, we were still waiting for suitcases and baby carriers and everything else to start thudding out. While looking around in boredom, I noticed a young couple, especially the t-shirt of the young man with the stud-adorned goatee.

So many right-wing Christians, so few lions

Frankly I wouldn't have minded tossing to the lions any Southwest official who'd have dared show up. What irritated me the most is that they didn't bother telling us all what was going on. Maybe it was simply that a conveyor belt was busted. Or maybe they had found some shampoo bottle in someone's suitcase that struck such terror in their quivering hearts that they had to call Homeland Security.

#350 ::: Dan R ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 11:12 AM:

Concerning the WTO/slavery particle: I thought that this *must be* a hoax, so I snooped back on the links in the article. Tracing back to the WTO website there is a disclaimer stating that the speaker is misrepresenting himself as being associated with them.

The photos also make him look somewhat Borat-esque.


#351 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 11:22 AM:

Julia Jones: if you ever get your Palm talking to your computer again, here's one way to get your LibraryThing DB on it: export as CSV from LibraryThing (under the "Joy") tab, save from Unicode to ANSI (may not be necessary on all machines), then import into "DB Editor," a freeware Palm app.

Exporting as tab-delimited text is also an option, of course.

#352 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 11:24 AM:

Faren Miller at #341... Thanks for the link to the Mutts strip. The doggie's behavior reminds me of our puppy's. Looking at my Cagney's able-to-jump-over-tall-buildings-in-a-single-bound behavior, maybe I should have called him Krypto after all.

(In case you're interested, I saw the strip's characters available as figurines in a comic-book store.)

#353 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 01:06 PM:

My friends and family are worried that I spend all day in bed. My cats, however, presented me with a lifetime membership to their species.

I think there's a line in one of the Miles Vorkosigan books about a "young officer who realised his pet cat did nothing but eat, drink, sleep, groom itself, play games and fornicate, and so named it 'Imperial Cavalry'".

#354 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 01:26 PM:

Sounds like Miles all right, ajay...

Meanwhile, here's what Jon Carroll had to say about his cat Archie...

...I know that cats have brains the size of walnuts and that a lot of the crafty behavior we ascribe to them is simply hard-wired predator behavior, but I thought at least the animal whom I have fed and petted and cared for for nearly a decade would be able to pick me out of a lineup. Now I'm not so sure...

Apparently, if Jon Carroll comes thru the front-door, Archie is all lovy-dovy. If he comes thru the backdoor, Archie then acts as if he was intent upon the extermination of all things feline.

#355 ::: Aconit ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 01:45 PM:

Serge, if the cat is over ten, there's a chance it's developed vision problems, just like older humans, and can't immediately tell who a person in unfamiliar circumstances is.

#356 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 01:52 PM:

True, Aconite, but did have a cat whose vision was never a problem, but her operating system (*)still seemed to have only two settings: one) the universe exists solely to feed me, two) the universe is out to destroy me.

(*) yes, I am a computer programmer. How did you guess?

#357 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 06:46 PM:

Serge @ #354:

My cats react completely differently to me depending on what room of the house I am in. Petting is only acceptable in certain locations; in other locations, it is perceived as an attack. Most of the cats' adjustment to civilization has come in the form of being more relaxed in the few Chosen Locations and not even slightly less nervous anywhere else.

#358 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 07:01 PM:

Cats ARE alien creatures, after all this time, aren't they, Susan?

#359 ::: Alan Yee ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2006, 08:52 PM:

How appropriate. Now that Google ads are displayed on Making Light, New York Literary Agency, Vantage Press, and iUniverse are on the side of the page for "On the Getting of Agents." Doh.

#360 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 10:53 AM:

Teresa, how's this for yarn? (Very SFnal.)

#361 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 11:35 AM:

Serge, years ago we adopted a feral part-Siamese (Magick), who had a similar personality. While he was Jan's cat and would allow her to pet him, there were times when we returned to house that he would flee from both of us, with an expression on his face that said "the ax murderers have returned! Run!"

I never recall the first Yule he spent with us without a chuckle. Magick must have been somewhere napping when we got the tree into its' stand. When he came into the living room and saw the tree for the first time, he ran to it, reared up on his hind legs, threw his front paws out to the side as far as they would go, then wrapped them around the nearest branch, which he then rubbed his face into, all the while making odd little chirping noises.

Jan and I stared at him, then each other, and I said, "We should have called him 'Dances-with-Trees...'"

#362 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 11:47 AM:

Lori, cats are allowed to have as many names as they require. For example, the cat downstairs is usually called Shadow, but is also known as The Fat One, Caticula, Sootball, and by many other names.

#363 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 12:02 PM:

We had a cat named Loki, aka Fat Muzzle, aka the Beast with Ten Neurons. Our current feline is named Jefferson because we rescued him on July Fourth in 1998. Sue wanted to call the kitten Ben Franklin until I pointed out that he was too skinny and that 'Jefferson' would be more appropriate - although, like the actor who played Jefferson in 1776, he has bulked up quite a bit. (What? Nobody recognized him as Jill Hennessy's dad in Crossing Jordan?) His only other name is the Bad Cat. Luckily he stopped climbing Xmas trees early on.

#364 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 12:20 PM:

Oh, lord -- the 'Naming' of cats...

I don't think any of ours has a single name.

My first Siamese was Pyewacket, aka Pye-wicked, Wack-kat, Wicked-wacket...

Of the current batch there's: DC, sometimes called Deese, or Dee-cee deucey; Kitsumi, who also answers to Kitsi or Miss Kitz; D'Artagnan or Dart; Alibi also called Bi-cat or Silver'sinnian; and Marcus, aka Marky.

Most of the crew are Siamese/Balinese, the odd man out is Alibi, who is a Siamese/Abyssinian cross.

#365 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 12:37 PM:

I've just read the 'Externalities' sidelight, but would like to note that while I've lived in Charlie Rangel's district I've never lived in Brooklyn.

#366 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 12:49 PM:

#364 Lori Coulson --

Same here. I have two cats, officially named Ada and June. Ada gets a lot of suffixes -- Ada-cat, Ada-love, Ada-sweet, Ada-my-heart, Ada-ling -- but June has a lot of names. June, Junalie (often embroidered to Junalia or Junaliacat), Juniper, Junebug, Juney-cat, and Little White Cat (descriptively).

Both of them got called Dammit You Little Bastards yesterday, when I came into the guest room to find that they had utterly destroyed my flannel sheets. Huge, gaping holes from little cat teeth biting and shaking, as if breaking a rodent neck or tearing off a piece of meat from a large kill.

It's a good thing they're so cute.

#367 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 01:08 PM:

New assassination in Lebanon,

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel -- a key member of the anti-Syrian majority in the Lebanese parliament -- has been shot dead in Beirut.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/11/21/lebanon.shooting/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

#368 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 01:25 PM:

Both of them got called Dammit You Little Bastards yesterday, when I came into the guest room to find that they had utterly destroyed my flannel sheets.

That's a Bathtub Offense in my opinion. Too late now, of course, unless you wrap them in the ruined sheets and tumble them around before dropping them in the icy water.

#369 ::: Pantechnician ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 01:29 PM:

RE: Odious Debt

Isn't odious debt an inevitable result of extremist starve-the-beast political tactics?

I was going to link to the wikipedia page about the tactic, but I don't know how links work here.

#370 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 01:37 PM:

Pantechnician, the line right above the Forget Personal Information button explains it.

#371 ::: Pantechnician ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 01:42 PM:

Whoops. Thanks, Xopher. Here's the link. I was forgetting to enclose the url in quotation marks.

#372 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 01:44 PM:

About "Externalities"—I think Rangel has forgotten that there was a draft when Shrub was of draftable age. The children of the rich decision-makers (or "deciders" as they're now called) will never have to go to war. They can always buy their way out of it. As long as there are humans who can be bribed, the draft can never be fair or just.

Nor can any draft that does not include women.

Universal military service is a better bet; I don't like it for other reasons, but justice isn't a factor. Even someone who can't serve in a combat capacity (or who can bribe a doctor to SAY s/he can't) can be sent to a combat zone. UMS would also force reconsideration of the status of gays in the military; if they have no choice about being there, everything changes. Or maybe it would just lead to a lot of gay boys being locked up...see why I don't like it?

#373 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 01:47 PM:

My Audrey and Phoebe are affectionately known as Oddball and Feeble, or Odds and Feebs. Collectively, they have received one of my linguistic miscegenations and become Chache, or just Cha for one.

Monster was known as Moo or (when we were being cute) MooMooMooMooMoo; same root as Chache.

#374 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 02:24 PM:

Audrey, Susan? As in Audrey the flesh-eating plant, or as in Audrey Hepburn?

#375 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 02:44 PM:

The safe maximum number of Cat Entries for this thread has been exceeded.

Further Cat Entries may adversely effect the fabric of time and space.

Proceed with caution.

#376 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 02:47 PM:

Serge:

Audrey and Phoebe as in As You Like It.

#377 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 03:27 PM:

Susan... Doh.

#378 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 03:30 PM:

Further Cat Entries may adversely effect the fabric of time and space.

But, Stefan, how do we know if this is a cat entry unless we measure it by observation? No, I don't have a cat called Schroedinger.

Oops. Reality just collapsed.

#379 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 05:40 PM:

But, Stefan, how do we know if this is a cat entry unless we measure it by observation? No, I don't have a cat called Schroedinger.

Oops. Reality just collapsed.

No, the Open Thread just bifurcated into two separate universes. (One of which now has too many cat entries.)

Everything's fine as long as none of the posts start destructively interfering with each other.

#380 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 05:56 PM:

What about the Far Side cartoon that shows Pavlov as a neighbor of Freud and training his dog to respond to the sound of a bell by chewing on Freud's cat?

Does that count as a cat post? (No, I won't make lame puns about scratch posts.)

#381 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 06:01 PM:
I sent the Externalities     os etiuq desu reven eW
 link to my mother, who has stac ruo rof semankcin
  been saying much the samemron eht eb ot smees sa
   about the draft.  Con  B  naem hiht seoD .ereh
    sidering that she ha  O  laer ton er'ew taht
     d a baby partly to   O  rO  ?elpoep tac yl
      keep my father out  M  era stac ruo taht
       of 'Nam, that's q  !  ?stac yllaer t'n

The rest is silencecnelis si tesr ehT

#382 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 06:19 PM:

Ahhhh . . . I think my dog Kira must have studied under Pavlov.

I once had to pry her jaws from around a cat. Blood everywhere. Kira's, not the cat's; she got bit on the tongue sometime during the melee.

#383 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 06:28 PM:

Hmmm... When I click "view all by" next to a post of mine, the resulting list is empty. Maybe Peter Erwin was right and the cat comments caused Reality to bifurcate into two separate universes, and the VAB option sends me to the universe that was spared the feline comments.

#384 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 06:34 PM:

Stefan... Back in 1998, not long after we rescued Jefferson the cat, we took him to the vet for a routine checkup. Our vet expressed some concern about some bald spots making a circle on his head. I had to explain that this was because our oldest dog enjoyed holding his head in her jaws. He was and still is quite the mellow cat. Still, our oldest dog eventually stopped doing that. Just as well because Jefferson would have wound up looking like he had a monk's tonsure and I'd have had to rename him Brother Catfael.

#385 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 07:09 PM:

Attention moderators: If you go to the "Last 400 posts", everything between Serge's post (just above) and this one is comment spam. Quite a number of old threads have been hammered and need to be purged.

So do the spammers; Beria would do nicely.

#386 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 07:25 PM:

I miss the days when spam was about Christina Aguilera and barnyard animals.

#387 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 07:46 PM:

Clifton Royston #385: You are much too merciful. I'd want them handed over to the character played by Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man.

#388 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 07:49 PM:

To our dear hosts - have y'all considered using Askimet? It does a pretty nice job of trapping comment spam (at least the WordPress version does).

I have no idea what it would do to site performance...

#389 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 07:53 PM:

Time Travel: The Door Into Summer, Heinlein, more of a juvenile.

My Tommy is also known as Tomboy, Tomasne-Chaton-Chaton, Tompuss, Tompuss Est Iocundum, & Tombolo. His one sister is variously Sara, Sara-chan, Saracat, & Sarapie, and his other sister is Mookitty, Mookie, Moo, Miss Moo...

I'm staying in one universe only.

#390 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 08:04 PM:

There's loads of comment spam masquerading as posting; the comments all contain a proverb and link to a sex site. There are too many to list, but most of the latest comments are spam.

#391 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 08:08 PM:

Lisa --

Yeah, folks have been on it; it's been hard to keep up with...

#392 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 09:41 PM:

I suppose there's no way to identify the originating ISP and blacklist it, or some such? Only I seem to recall reading that spammers are migrating to ISPs du jour set up specifically to send spam, because the legitimate ones are at last moving to shut them down.

It would be obvious from the above that I know nothing about the matter whatsoever, mind you.

#393 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 09:46 PM:

Dave: They also make use of hijacked PCs, so there's no one particular ISP to block.

#394 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 09:53 PM:

Ah. I take it that a continuously updated firewall, plus virus filters, plus a weekly full-system scan-and-disinfect with the latest antivirus, is enough to ensure that my PC isn't hijacked? If it still could be, I'd like to know what further measures I might take. I'd be very embarrassed if I were unwittingly giving aid and comfort to these bottom-feeding ratbags.

#395 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 10:05 PM:

What with Thanksgiving in two days, I want to thank Bittman at the NYTimes for writing up Lahey's no knead bread recipe. The zillions of bloggers writing on it (example with the recipe in case the first link goes hiding behind a wall) are right- it makes a very, very nice loaf of bread- a perfect crunchy crust and all- with almost no work.

The no kneading not only means no kneading, it means no needing to clear much counterspace- this is helpful. Easy on the hands, easy on the mind.

Took me all of 8-10 minutes (plus the 16+2 hours rising), which includes the searching about trying to find my cast-iron pot. (I used a glass casserole instead- has to be lidded and thick for heat transfer.) I didn't even use instant yeast, just ordinary rapid-rise. I've read that some stores sold out of instant yeast, possibly because of this recipe.

Start one now for the experiment, and then start two batches Wed. afternoon to have ready for Thanksgiving dinner. Mmmmmm, fresh bread.

#396 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 10:51 PM:

Dave:
Ah. I take it that a continuously updated firewall, plus virus filters, plus a weekly full-system scan-and-disinfect with the latest antivirus, is enough to ensure that my PC isn't hijacked?

That's better than most people do... You're probably fine. You'll be even better if you've got a couple of anti-spyware apps in that mix, too (I say a couple only because they don't all quite find the same malware).

#397 ::: Teresa reports the deletion of all those nasty little spams ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2006, 11:59 PM:

Well over a hundred of them. I miss MT Blacklist. Thank you all for the heads-up.

#398 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 12:18 AM:

Did I rave about Happy Feet here yet?

About my surprise and delight over the fact that a movie about singing and dancing pengins could be both visually beautiful and kind of deep?

#399 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 12:26 AM:

Kathryn in Sunnyvale - yes, I've been having fun with the bread recipe, too. Regular active yeast works fine. I did find that the proportions as given are a bit wet for me - adding more flour gives it a better end texture. But it really is a very easy and forgiving recipe which makes a lovely crunchy loaf. I just started my third batch tonight, will bake tomorrow night, and serve at my parent's Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.

#400 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 02:16 AM:

Oliviacw @399,

People with bread expertise have noted that the printed recipe differs from the online video instructions: the video has 1 1/2 cups water (354 grams water) for 3 cups flour (468 grams). The printed recipe has 1 and 5/8 cups water, which- as you say- is too much.

ohhh. fourhundredth post.

#401 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 03:58 AM:

in another thread, I may have linked to too much Kipling.

I'm not quite sure if that's possible, but in the last few days I've seen more froth on my screen that was produced by the combination of hot cappucino, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and St. Trinians.

At least the wingnuts don't get their froth onto my keyboard.

#402 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 09:27 AM:

Any idea what triggered the attack on the site?

#403 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 12:12 PM:

Any idea what triggered the attack on the site?

I'd toss something out about "not meddling in the affairs of spammers" but I'd want to end it with "for they are crunchy and good with ketchup" which just destroys the quote. Uh. Insofar as that nugget of fandom can be destroyed further.

As for what triggered it? Who knows - this crap comes and goes in waves; I help run a geeky little group blog, and the stuff that our spamtrap catches really ebbs and flows. Some days we get tons of the same stuff, over and over; other days, we might get one or two attempts.

We're using WordPress - my own site uses a combination of BadBehavior and Askimet; BadBehavior blocks most of them, and Askiment traps the remainder. The group blog runs Askimet only, and while it traps everything, it does mean I need to review a queue of attempts every so often (if I want to - the list gets purged automagically every 15 days).

#404 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 12:29 PM:

For those who don't read his LJ, Bill Higgins - Beam Jockey's brother died yesterday. In an ironic coincidence, his brother's name was John M. Higgins, and the links in Bill's posting lead to an outpouring of comments similar in tone to those we saw here for another John M.

#405 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 01:21 PM:

protected static... Maybe the attack against the site wasn't an attack, but a side-effect of the reality-bifurcating caused by the cat-related posts and Making Light is a sex site in the other universe.

#406 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 01:39 PM:

...and Making Light is a sex site in the other universe.

What, man!? Do not dinosaurs and sodomy already qualify!? What such a universe would hold, I shudder to think.

#407 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 01:45 PM:

And in that evil universe, protected static, our host doesn't have a beard.

#408 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 02:53 PM:

But our hostess does.

#409 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 04:23 PM:

But our hostess does.

Damn. Beat me to it.

#410 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 04:34 PM:

Speaking of alternate worlds - and recent Ian Fleming discussions here - I want to give a big plug for Charlie Stross's The Jennifer Morgue from Golden Gryphon press. So, PLUG:

It's a great Fleming take-off, with a very different James Bond. It does a particularly brilliant and twisted job of making all the Bondian elements (sinister supervillain and all) fit rationally into the Lovecraftian universe of the "Laundry" agency. (I don't think it's necessary to know the backstory from The Atrocity Archives, though it doesn't hurt.)

I had some rather creepy dreams after reading the first quarter of the book, too.

#411 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 04:41 PM:

Pre-holiday brain reset video:

We are here to protect you from the terrible secret of space.

Are their stairs in your house?

#412 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 05:19 PM:

I'm reading the January Asimov's and I highly recommend Jack Dann's story "Cafe Culture." It's about how hate fractures and grows. It's worth the price of the entire magazine.

#413 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2006, 06:58 PM:

Clifton Royston #410: That's a good recommendation. I should note that I knew both

(1) the first man killed by James Bond in the films;
(2) a character in the last canonical Bond novel.

#414 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2006, 02:05 AM:

One of the characters in "ER" tonight mentioned "A Sound of Thunder."

The Chinese have managed to substantially increase the panda conception rate in captivity by showing the males panda porn.

#415 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2006, 02:44 AM:

I suppose yopu will have at least heard of the movie Borat

I rather suspect that there was a bar in Londinium where a Jewish wide-boy was telling jokes about the Romans.

Though I'm thinking more Max Miller: "So Julius Caesar, sleeping all alone in his bed—now there's a funny thing—[...]"

#416 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2006, 11:12 AM:

"Romanes eunt domus."

#417 ::: mike shupp ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2006, 04:17 PM:

186: Dude, that book came out TWENTY YEARS AGO. Get over it!

More seriously, Tim Harper is generally (a) pro-spaceflight and (b) reasonably militaristic. He WOULDN'T have had a favorable impression of JImmy Carter.

If it makes you happier, I'll go so far as to say I personally give Carter credit for good intentions, if not always for performance. But it was Tim Harper's story I was telling, not mine.


#418 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2006, 04:44 PM:

417: Sure.

#419 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2006, 06:55 PM:

Brain dump onto open thread:

Massive paper slice on hand, now swelling up and oozing unpleasantly.

Face hot, bright red, and tingling due to careless application of what seems to be a new allergen in the form of a face cream. Should know better. Arrgh.

Dead and pre-dead people everywhere.

Cynical Company on CD. Don't get up.

No time, no time, no time, too much to do, arrggh.

Weekend will be better. NYC, friends, History Boys, DeLovely, black faille, happydanceteach. If I can just get there.

#420 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2006, 07:07 PM:

hand, now swelling up and oozing unpleasantly

Ouch.

Take care, Susan.

#421 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2006, 09:35 PM:

Serge:

Actually, the damnit-this-is-NOT-hives thing with the allergenic cream is even more annoying. I am about to go lie down with an icepack on my face and really, really, really hope that I don't have to trot around NYC tomorrow looking like I should've been in the Macy's parade or (better yet) manage to get my eyes swelled shut and be unable to go properly laugh at History Boys (un soldat blesse'! snicker)

It's doubly annoying that this is due to my own stupidity in using an unfamiliar product. At least the paper cut is routine bit of damage with a predictable course.

I refuse to have hives. Refuse, refuse, refuse.

#422 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2006, 09:41 PM:

That must have been quite a paper cut, by the way, Susan. Or is that a normal reaction for you?

#423 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2006, 09:03 AM:

Serge: normal reaction. Swelling is down this morning, it merely looks pink and angry. My face feels like a peeling snakeskin, though at least it's not burning and swollen anymore. Perhaps there will be a nicer face under the one which is about to fall off.

#424 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2006, 09:11 AM:

Susan... Does it mean you have a very good immune system, or a lousy one? I've acquired cuts and bruises from working in the garage and around our big backyard, with nary any swelling. The worst was when a cactus spine got into one toe right above the nail and that wasn't such a big deal and it eventually worked its way out.

#425 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2006, 03:08 PM:

Serge: I think it's an *overactive* immune system, hypersensitivity, etc.

Susan: My sympathies! I had terrible hives (though not oozing ones) all summer and into a long hot autumn, but now colder weather is helping a lot -- a few days ago we hit a new low for the year: 8 degrees F! As for the cream, what a drag, and how typical of manufacturers. My latest sensitivities also extended to anything with mint in it, and what do all ChapSticks include? (Even the "Vanilla".) I finally found a lip balm that didn't make lips tingle or swell up, but it took a lot of searching.

#426 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2006, 09:38 AM:

Faren: I started reacting strongly to Chapstick for the first time a couple of years ago, so it's now permanently out of my life. Blue Blistex is my new friend. But it's been years since I've had a serious reaction and I've gotten careless. So now my entire face is peeling off in strips to remind me not to use strange products.

Feh.

#427 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2006, 10:13 AM:

Of course, Faren... I realized after I posted my comment that a 'lousy' immune system would not do anything. And it did plenty to Susan.

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