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August 18, 2007

Logic Puzzle (Open Thread 90)
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 06:07 PM *

Miss Teresa started an Open Thread. The first five folks who posted in it were (not necessarily in this order, abi, Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers), chris y, debcha, and ethan. Remarkably (or maybe not so remarkably) all five of their posts were poems in a different poetic form. What order did they post in, and what kind of poem did each supply?

  1. Ethan posted before the person who wrote a haiku but after the person who wrote a villanelle.
  2. Debcha didn’t write the limerick.
  3. The person who posted a double dactyl posted first, but wasn’t Bruce.
  4. The sonnet, the haiku, and the limerick were posted in that order.
  5. Everyone applauded chris y’s villanelle.
  6. Abi commented later in the thread, “I wish I’d written the limerick; it’s so much better than my effort, and the haiku is better still.”
  7. The sonnet was written by someone whose name starts with the vowel.
  8. The haiku was a particularly witty response to the villanelle.
  9. Debcha had hoped to have the first post but instead came in fourth.
  10. Chris y posted after abi but before the person who posted the sonnet.
  11. Remarkably, no one parodied William Carlos Williams.
Comments on Logic Puzzle (Open Thread 90):
#1 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 06:57 PM:

1fg: Nov'f qbhoyr qnpgly
2aq: Puevf l'f ivyynaryyr
3eq: Rguna'f fbaarg
4gu: Qropun'f unvxh
5gu: Oehpr Pbura(FcrnxreGbZnantref)'f yvzrevpx

^^

(probably got something wrong somewhere and making fool of self, but eh)

#2 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 06:57 PM:

Is this Open Thread 90?

#3 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 07:04 PM:

Should I perhaps have put that in rot13, by the way? Fool of self made...

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 07:05 PM:

This is just to say
that I have shattered the logic puzzle
you put up on your blog.

I am sorry,
it was so Aristotelian
honest and cold.

#5 ::: Derek Tattersall ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 07:07 PM:

I get the same answer as KristianB.

I would note that lines 7 through 10 of the puzzle are not required for the solution. Lines 1 through 6 are enough to solve it.

Derek.

#6 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 07:16 PM:

Whoohoo! I may not be right, but I'm wrong in company.

#7 ::: aquaeri ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 07:51 PM:

I get the same solution, except that the facts aren't consistent: How can the haiku be a witty response to the villanelle when debcha had hoped to post first?

#8 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 07:53 PM:

[not looking at other answers before posting]

1. nov cbfgrq gur qbhoyr qnpgly
2. puevf l cbfgrq gur ivyynaryyr
3. rguna cbfgrq gur fbaarg
4. qropun cbfgrq gur unvxh
5. Oehpr cbfgrq gur yvzrevpx

#9 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 07:56 PM:

Higgledy Piggledy
Kristian Melvin* B
Posted the logical
Answer so fast!

Yet, inconceivably,
No Williams parody?
Suspension of disbelief
Gone here at last...

-----
* I needed a middle name. What can you do?

#10 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 07:57 PM:

I don't care who wrote what or in which order; I want to read that thread.

#11 ::: elissa ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 08:00 PM:

aquaeri: Because although Debcha had hoped to post first, she didn't. She posted fourth. (See clue #9.)

#12 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 08:06 PM:

Thanks! Solved.

elissa: But she was writing it in response, and a first post isn't a response, and a response isn't a first post. How could she have intended a response to be the first post?

Not all the clues were necessary to solving, but they helped me see I'd got it right, as they were in agreement with what I put down.

#13 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 08:12 PM:

I think aquaeri's point is that "hoped to post first" carries an implicature that she hoped to post that poem first, which isn't possible if it was a response to an earlier one. But you often have to restrict yourself to entailment in logic puzzles, and it's not a very strong implicature to begin with.

#14 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 09:07 PM:

I read it that Debcha wanted to post first, just to be first, but by the time she read the thread someone else had posted first. So she read the thread, and composed a response. If she'd gotten there early enough she would have composed a completely different post.

#15 ::: Konrad ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 09:08 PM:

Derek #5: Really? I didn't need 7, 9, nor 11, but I did find 8 and 10 to be useful. Did you assume 4 meant "without gaps"?

#16 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 09:22 PM:

First post denied me!
Like Chris, I think fair trade for
dactylic Abi.

Because it's not enough to have poetry and pastiches all over the place, we must also have talking about poetry and pastiches, and now speculation about the content of an imaginary poem posted in response to another imaginary poem. Debcha, I am sure mine is not as good a response as the one the imaginary (or real) you would have produced, but it is something.

#17 ::: Gigi Rose ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 09:24 PM:

I had no clue how to do these puzzles until about 10 years ago when they used them at the Junior high where I taught. (I learned how to do them in self defense, I can't have students knowing more than I do.) Our test scores improved. I'm not sure this was one of the reasons, but I suspect it had something to do with it.

#18 ::: Jeff Davis ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 09:36 PM:

Konrad #15: I'm not Derek, but I definitely made that assumption. It doesn't appear to be wrong.

Gigi Rose #17: Is there a particular technique that one should use to solve these things besides putting the position of each element on paper? I'm usually not good at logic puzzles; I'd love to know if there's some method I should be applying.

#19 ::: Janni ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 09:41 PM:

I told myself I wasn't going to sit down and work it out.

Of course I had to sit down and work it out.

(Got the same answers everyone else seems to have.)

#20 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 09:43 PM:

Konrad @ 15:
#8 is definitely redundant, given #1.[*] I know that I made use of 7, 9, and 10, but there could be some redundancy elsewhere I didn't notice. (And, for what it's worth, I didn't assume that 4 meant "without gaps.")

[*] Unless it was intended that "particularly witty" should be a clue... but that's not how these puzzles work.

#21 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 09:50 PM:

Jeff at 18, I was taught to draw a grid for simple ones-- name and poem only-- and then a more complex one for ones like this. It's three grids together in a corner-L shape. Across the top I have position and poem, running vertically I have name and poem, and I just fill in Xs and Os as I go through the clues. I'm not sure how I'd lay out a more complex one, like if we'd had to handle the subject of the poem as well.

#22 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 09:56 PM:

abi 9: You needed a middle name?

#23 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 10:02 PM:

Same answer here, too. (And I didn't look. Really. )

#24 ::: Nomie ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 10:02 PM:

Bibbedy bobbedy
Dutch transplant abi
responds to the thread with some
pleading for plums.

Fluorosphereifically
Icebox is opened; "i'm
inside ur kitchen, and
pwnin ur crumbs."

*ducks*

#25 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 10:05 PM:

Abi @9: You could have my middle name, I don't use it much, but it wouldn't fit.

Generally: Since this is an open thread, does anyone know anything about Maum Meditation? Specifically the organisation?

#26 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 10:05 PM:

"Walter Carlos Williams" was, of course, later known as Wendy Carlos Williams, following metrical reassignment surgery.

Jim was probably thinking of someone else.

#27 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 10:20 PM:

Lovely. Been a while since I've had to grid one of those out.

I once got away with writing a poem instead of an essay— for a poetry class, natch. The trick is to know that the professor will be impressed instead of annoyed, especially as a poem on the definition of poetry, improvised, is not likely to be much good.

I wish I had that poem. It would be good for a laugh.

#28 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 10:21 PM:

Derek et al: I thought I'd needed #7 and 9, but I tried it again with just 1-6 and got the same solution.. I didn't assume that 4 meant without gaps.

#29 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 10:28 PM:

PNH@26: "Walter Carlos Williams" was, of course, later known as Wendy Carlos Williams, following metrical reassignment surgery.

I prefer her solo poetry to the poetry she wrote with the Plasmatics.

#30 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 10:45 PM:

Got it. I hate logic puzzles, but this one was too much fun to pass up.

#31 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 10:47 PM:

Then, of course, there was Wendy Melvin Donaldson, who wrote about an alternate universe where Iraq planned 9/11.

#32 ::: -dsr- ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 11:08 PM:

KristianB solved
the logic puzzle
that he found
in your blog.

You were probably expecting
people to take longer
and argue
the validity of syllogism

Please forgive him
he solved it
so quickly
and properly.

#33 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 11:10 PM:

Oh, I love these! I just got in, but I couldn't resist. ROT 13'd for any other latecomers...

Svefg: nov jvgu gur qbhoyr qnpgly.
Frpbaq: puevf l jvgu gur ivyynaryyr.
Guveq: rguna jvgu gur fbaarg.
Sbhegu: qropun jvgu gur unvxh.
Svsgu: Oehpr Pbura jvgu gur yvzrevpx.

#34 ::: Betsey Langan ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 11:11 PM:

1: Nov, jvgu gur Qbhoyr Qnpgly
2: Puevf, jvgu gur Ivyynaryyr
3: Rguna, jvgu gur Fbaarg
4: Qropun, jvgu gur Unvxh
5: Oehpr, jvgu gur Yvzrevpx

#35 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 11:29 PM:

Patrick @ #26:

This is just to say
I have excised the plums
that were in my...

oh, never mind.

#36 ::: myrthe ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 11:41 PM:

Oh! I have something to contribute to a Making Light thread!

Diatryma @ 21, your system extends neatly. Just tack the new category to the end horizontally, and tuck it in the middle vertically. My attempt at an ascii illustration was woeful, but I'm sure a nearby newsagent will sell Puzzle books with examples, which is where I learned it. Come to that, I'm sure Google can find examples. Alas I'm stuck at work, or I'd look them up.

#37 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 11:42 PM:

I cannot help but link to this XKCD cartoon.

#38 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2007, 11:45 PM:

I thought Walter Carlos Williams wrote those Dread Empire's Plums books. I devoured the first two--they were really cool!

#39 ::: Jeff Davis ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 12:09 AM:

Diatryma @ 21 (and myrthe @ 36): Ah, like this.

Further poking about on the interwebs returns the Zebra Puzzle, a six-dimensional logic puzzle attributed variously to Einstein and Lewis Carroll. I'm scared to try it.

#40 ::: Evelyn Browne ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 12:10 AM:

1. nov, gur qbhoyr qnpgly
2. puevf l, gur ivyynaryyr
3. rguna, gur fbaarg
4. qropun, gur unvxh
5. Oehpr Pbura (FcrnxreGbZnantref), gur yvzrevpx

#41 ::: Evelyn Browne ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 12:12 AM:

Oh, dear. I should have rot-13ed that, shouldn't I?

#42 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 12:19 AM:

William, and Walter, and Wendy have nothing to do with the case.
The creation of verse in the threads we traverse
helps keep Making Light our own place.
Pastiches will keep us amused,
and puzzles will sharpen our brains.
The words that we write on this blog day and night,
are as dear as the blood in our veins.

#43 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 12:46 AM:

qbhoyr qnpgly - Nov
ivyynaryyr - Puevf
fbaarg - Rguna
unvxh - Qropun
yvzrevpx - Oehpr

A few of those clues didn't really take me anywhere, though, so I might be missing something.

#44 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 01:56 AM:

I agree that the latter 4 clues were unnecessary. My method of just drawing up a list and slotting the poems and authors in when I was sure of them worked well enough here, but would probably break down (into the grid, if further structure can be called a break down) as more items were added to the initial puzzle.

#45 ::: Evan ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 02:20 AM:

(I apologize in advance if I guessed anyone's sex wrong.)

A Making Light poster named abi
Had a dactl that wasn't too shabby
Said she: "This is no trouble!
Why, I'll make it a double!"
Then posted it, quick as a tabby

Chris Y took a bit of a chance:
He composed in a form fancy-schmanced.
"Of this ball, I'll be belle,
With my fine villanelle!"
Said Chris Y, just before being pantsed.

Then ethan composed us a sonnet:
It was hard work, and he got right on it
Such extravaganzas
Of well-crafted stanzas!
We all wished that *we* could've done it.

Now Debcha felt slightly morose:
"I tried to be quick, not verbose,
For writing haikus
Takes a short-winded muse,
But still I'm in fourth! Well, 'twas close."

And finally there was Bruce Cohen
Whose limericks are widely-known
For hilarious rhyme
And for scansion sublime--
Shitloads better, I'd say, than my own.

#46 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 02:25 AM:

Actually, I've sort of been hoping for an open thread to mention two things, so I'll pretend we're just treating this as such. The words are used in the original post, after all. With no gaps, either.

First, I tried Mimolette for the first time this week. They have a bunch at Gourmet Garage right now. It was great, except persistent thought of tiny red hexapods scurrying across my gums.

Second, I've been thinking of putting up a desert-themed display in the bookstore's F/SF section. Does anyone have any suggestions?
So far I may use:
Dune
Sandworms of Dune
Acacia
A Canticle for Leibowitz
The Temptation of Saint Anthony (gothic fantasy of the highest order)
Soldier of Sidon
That cyberpunk novel that Tor reprinted a year or two ago, set in a future Norther Africa, if I can ever find it on my shelf and order a few copies.

A standing rule seems to be that I'm considering a desert to be a biome, the "bio-" root being the key point. Thus extraterrestrial deserts are no problem. Nor, clearly, are post-apocalyptic wastelands. All standard lunar deserts are. I've also decided to exclude all martian settings, whether full of flora or not. There are just too many of them, and I want these deserts to feel hot. Given all that, if anyone has a good book or two that I should be sure to include, I 'd love the help.

#47 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 02:32 AM:

Woo-hoo, a logic puzzle! I love these. I used to play on a site called chatgames.com that had them weekly, but they don't any more.

I got the same answers as everyone else, and I concur that clues 7-10 are unnecessary. (And no, I didn't assume that #4 meant "in a row".)

Jeff Davis@39: Thanks for that link. I can tell that's going to waste a bunch of my time in the near future. :-)

#48 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 02:34 AM:

That last post was missing a key preposition and article in there.

Apologies mistake y'all.

#49 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 02:36 AM:

Evan @ 45

Thank you for the compliment.

#50 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 03:20 AM:

Wow, I haven't done logic puzzles like these in simply ages. Got the same answers as everyone else, by means of making a column for names and one for poem-types, and slotting them in when sure. Surprised at how easy it was.

And I did assume that #4 meant "without anything inbetween". Now I see that I shouldn't have done (although I got the right answer).

#51 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 03:37 AM:

Dang it, I missed out on the fun. I love puzzles, and I did take the time to figure it out before I read comments.

Gursky - books that have deserts* as a primary residence that come to mind:

Chaz Brenchley's Outremer
Melanie Rawn's Dragon series
CJ Cherryh's Faded Sun novels (Serge, am I remembering this correctly? I haven't read the Faded Sun books in a looong time. I associate them with deserts)
Alan Dean Foster's Pip & Flinx book Reunion

I've got a few others ideas rolling around in the back of my brain, but I am going to bed. I'll see if the unconscious/subconscious/not-tired brain floats the other titles to the surface.


*I initially read desserts and was wondering how Dune related to tasty snacks. Sandworm Surprise? Bene Gessarit Biscotti? Arrakis Cobbler? Then I came to my senses.

#52 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 06:06 AM:

Bruce, of the Cohen clan,
(Speaker to Managers)
Writing a limerick,
said to his friends:

"Wouldn't the blog be more
illuminatory
if we wrote poetry?"
(Here the tale ends.)

#53 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 06:17 AM:

Higgledy Piggledy
Abigail Sutherland:[*]
amateur poet (as
everyone knows).

We should encourage her
enthusiastically:
amateur nothing, she's
up with the prose!


[*] I know "Abigail" is all kinds of wrong, but the scansion! The scansion!

#54 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 06:26 AM:

candle @53
I know "Abigail" is all kinds of wrong

Not in the slightest. I answer to both Abi and Abigail in RL*. Abi just takes less time to type, and after the curious incident in the Spanish class**, has become my nom de note et net.

but the scansion! The scansion!
The bells! The bells! (Agreed)

-----
* Except when the Dutch pronounce it. "ai" is not a diphthong in Dutch, so they pronounce it "Abigah-el", and I don't recognise it as my name. I'm almost tempted to change the spelling to "Abigeel" to get them to say it right‡, but I think I'll just go to Abi.

** OK, the incident wasn't really that curious, but you are now, aren't you?†

‡ Right for values of "makes me look up from my work", not in some Platonic abstract sense of rightness.

† And, sorry, you're going to have to stay that way. It's not worth explaining.

#55 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 06:28 AM:

Lizzy L said @ 30:
Got it. I hate logic puzzles, but this one was too much fun to pass up.

That's kind of my feeling about them. I find it easier to solve logic puzzles if they deal with something intrinsically interesting[*]. In one sense, that goes against the point of logic puzzles -- ideally, one should reduce them to a set of purely abstract entities and relations -- but there are only so many times you can contemplate re-arranging entities A, B, C, D, E.

[*] I remember two logic puzzles in particular from when I took the GRE's: one dealt with arranging different kinds of power tools along a bench, the other with arranging different kinds of books along a bookshelf. The former was tedious; the latter was easy, since it was something I could imagine doing for fun....

#56 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 06:34 AM:

Walter Carlos Williams was the poet's evil twin;
He wasn't a physician and he didn't just stay in.
No, Walter, he took passage on a ship bound for Belize,
And asked how he would live his life, he answered "As I please."

He thrilled to eating hardtack and the sound of native drums
And he didn't have an icebox and he didn't care for plums.
He never saw a barrow, whether black or white or red,
And he never saw New Jersey, and before long he was dead.

His life was all ideas, and it wasn't much in things:
But William stayed at home. I wonder why the caged bird sings?

#57 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 07:13 AM:

abi @ 54... the curious incident in the Spanish class

Sounds like the title of a mystery novel. Hmm... Spanish... When I think of you and of Spain, I am reminded of the time you went for that drastic way not to have to shave your legs ever again.

#58 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 08:38 AM:

Thanks for this! I used to love doing these as a child - they came in books with the grids laid out so you could keep crossing off the impossibles unlit, voila!, the correct answers are left. Ages since I did one though.For this one I just wrote the negatives down in a Notepad document until I got the order of poems, then of people. As other have noted, clues 1-6 were all that was needed.

Gursky @ 46 Re. desert-themed books, off the top of my head:
Hammerfall (C.J. Cherryh)
Sword-Dancer (Jennifer Roberson)
There's lots of Arabian-themed fantasy around which might fit the bill - particulars can be supplied if requred.

#59 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 08:51 AM:

Gursky @46:

That cyberpunk novel that Tor reprinted a year or two ago, set in a future Norther Africa, if I can ever find it on my shelf and order a few copies.

When Gravity Fails, by George Alec Effinger? I shall have to get a new copy myself.

#60 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 09:21 AM:

Gursky@46: Are you thinking of When Gravity Fails? There were a few more in the series, including one where the lead is dumped in the Rub' al-Khali (the Arabian peninsula's Empty Quarter), which is about as desert as it gets. IIRC, Liz Williams's City of Bones qualifies if you're allowing cities surrounded by desert and I haven't confused it with another of hers.
Also: Dry Water (Eric Nylund) and Child of a Rainless Year (Jane Lindskjold) -- the desert is perhaps not the main theme, but is a dominating presence in the towns where the stories happen. Nylund may be OOP (~9 years old), but the Lindskjold is recent and IMO her best yet. (Her two Athanor books are set in Santa Fe et al but IIRC aren't strongly desert-connected.)
Tania is correct about The Faded Sun, but I have no idea where you'd find it; Hammerfall is relatively recent, and the jacket says it's set on a desert world, but I haven't read it yet.

#61 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 09:37 AM:

Abi #54: 'Abigeel;' dat is de geel Abi.......

#62 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 09:43 AM:

More desert books: Mercedes Lackey's pink dragon books (Joust et al) are set in a semi-Egypt. Lindskold has The Buried Pyramid, set in the real one. The argument could be made that Left Hand of Darkness is a cold desert, but that may work better for a 'books that make you feel cold in August'.

#63 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 09:48 AM:

Tania @ 51

Then I came to my senses.

Such a shame. I think you were on to something there. How about Death By Fedaykin? Maud' Dib Mousse? Corrino Crumble?

#64 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 10:49 AM:

CHip, 60: The City of Bones you described is by Martha Wells (not to be confused with Cassandra Claire's YA book of the same name, which looks awful IMO). Liz Williams did Banner of Souls and Empire of Bones.

#65 ::: Mark Wise ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 10:55 AM:

Gursky @46

A recent cheese discovery here is Taleggio. We've taken to calling it apple butter. It was Meant to be smeared on slices of tart apple.

#66 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 11:02 AM:

Soo Soo Soufflé? Liet-Kynes Lite Kandy? Pre-Spice Parfait? Harkonnen Halvah?

#67 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 11:11 AM:

Tania@51: I initially read desserts and was wondering how Dune related to tasty snacks.

Doon. Arruckus. Dessert Planet.

Elias Weiner's classic should be added to the desert books list. :)

#68 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 11:27 AM:

abi @ 54

"* Except when the Dutch pronounce it. "ai" is not a diphthong in Dutch, so they pronounce it "Abigah-el", and I don't recognise it as my name. I'm almost tempted to change the spelling to "Abigeel" to get them to say it right‡, but I think I'll just go to Abi"

Odd. I've always said "Abigah-el" and the closest I've ever been to the Netherlands was 30K up. Any other PNWers do the same, or is this just another Margaret linguistic oddity?

#69 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 11:36 AM:

A day and a half later (I hate being away from the computer!) I got the same answer. It took me a little longer than it should have*, I think because I was assuming that the sonnet couldn't possibly have been me, seeing as I'm pretty sure I couldn't write one if the 2008 election depended on it.

Oh, and speaking of Walter/Wendy Carlos, she's from Rhode Island, which is yet another reason that it's the Best Damn State in the countryworld.

Gursky #46: Great, now I can't shake the feeling of "tiny red hexapods scurrying across my gums." Yick.

*That's not where the day and a half came from. I swear. It didn't take that long.

#70 ::: Derek Tattersall ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 12:16 PM:

I enjoy these kinds of logic puzzles.

No I didn't start out assuming that #4 meant no gaps. But, with the other clues, 1-3,5,6 - it leaves only one spot the Villanelle could be in.

Derek

#71 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Speaking of logic puzzles (and the newly-refurbished title of this post), the BBC is reporting on the "least believable on-screen romances" here.

Number one: Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen - Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

#72 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 02:58 PM:

Michael @ #67: That is perfect!! How on earth have I missed this classic parody?

Gursky - I thought of one more:

Emma Bull's Territory - takes place in Tombstone, AZ.

#73 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 03:10 PM:

Looking for people knowledgeable about the ins & outs of mp3/ID3 headers.

I'm testing a new toy which is supposed to help me archive my EXTENSIVE cassette-tape collection to CD and MP3 formats. The problem I'm having is that Nero (which I'm using to create the CDs) doesn't play nicely with the .wav tracks I've created, and iTunes doesn't play nicely with the .mp3 extractions of them. In the latter case, tracks play in what appears to be a completely random order, even though the list appears in the order I want them to play.

I suspect that I need to follow a specific format when I name the tracks, but I can't find anything with Google that will tell me exactly what that format is. My partner suggests that it's a hyphen-delimited string along the lines of track#-artist-album-title-genre; does that sound right?

#74 ::: kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 03:21 PM:

Gursky @46,

Robert's Salt fits the desert classification.
McHugh's Necropolis might- someone who's read it more recently...?

Abi @54 re Abi @OT89.809 on deserts and noise.

This is desert, filled with complex ecology and long history.

and this
is the dry dead bed of a lake 20,000 years gone. Not that it isn't good for solitude, but name aside, it isn't at all like the various National Park deserts of the west and southwest here.

(But today, 120 hours away from heading out there, I'm near-incapable of thinking bad things about Burning Man*. I should stop writing about it.)

-----
* other than finding their "Green Man" theme for this year to be quite funny. Old NorthWest Europe mythology, fine. But 'green'? When one art project is going to burn 2.4 Gigawatts of energy in 1 minute? Even with the carbon credits, Oy.

#75 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 04:10 PM:

Kathryn @74
I'm simply noise intolerant. That's just a part of my makeup. It's not a criticism of Burning Man.

When I say I don't regret not going because of the noise, that means that apart from noise I greatly regret the low probability that I will ever go.

Not criticism. Just sour grapes, Aesop style.

(And yes, the deserts I love are the California deserts; the high desert around Bridgeport - particularly Bodie - and the low desert of the Eureka Valley*. I tend to prefer BLM land to National Parks land, just because it's a little less managed.)

------
* Or, for the full on clothing optional hot springs in the desert experience, the neighbouring Saline Valley.

#76 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 04:48 PM:

Grids appear to mess things up/make them harder for me. I end up drawing digraphs with blank spots, just the sort of thing I do when plotting, outlining, or doing anything else with a not-quite-yet fixed order. (Sort of state diagrams without loops.)

I hadn't had any kind of approach at all until I decided to take the LSAT, at which point the not-so-good results on that section in the GRE suggested I get a prep book and get myself around some sort of method. Then I found that the suggested thingy only worked about a third of the time, but my own thing worked quite well. I figured I wasn't being graded on how I solved the problems, only *if* I solved them, so ...

#77 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 04:50 PM:

Diatryma #62: The argument could be made that Left Hand of Darkness is a cold desert, but that may work better for a 'books that make you feel cold in August'.

What I call "window into winter" books. (Like the "door into summer", only the reverse.)

#78 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 06:17 PM:

Lee @ 73 -- I'm fairly obses^H^H^H^H^H knowledgeable on ID3 tags and use iTunes, but don't know Nero. I'm missing an important step in your process.

As I understand it, you're
1. somehow making WAV files from casettes
2. burning those as audio CDs, which play as you want
3. creating MP3s from ??? using ???
4. importing those MP3s into iTunes, which plays them out of order

Is that right? If so, can you fill in the question marks in step 3?

What you're reallying trying to set (assuming you're using ID3 v2.3 which is a reasonable assumption in the absence of good reason otherwise) is the TRCK tag (and, if it's a multi-tape/CD album, TPOS). The naming will only be important if whatever software you're using for setting the tags uses that to fill in the tags.

#79 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 06:17 PM:

KfS @ Open Thread 89 #801:

That would be great, hope to see you there! There's some ongoing churn on the gig schedule--you might want to check that link again right before you go.

Abi @75:

With some obvious exceptions, such as walking next to a rave or a sculpture that went FOOM at intervals, I didn't find BM to be particularly loud. I brought earplugs for sleeping, as advised, but never used them. There was plenty of sound going on, but it was like distant fireworks--I could tell it was loud in an absolute sense, but it wasn't moving a lot of air where I was.

That said, I might have been lucky in my campsite (although it was fairly close to the center), or I might have a higher tolerance than you, and I'd certainly hate for you to go and not be able to stand it. But it's a data point for you.

By the way, I also love Bodie.

#80 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 06:20 PM:

Lee @ 73: In the latter case, tracks play in what appears to be a completely random order, even though the list appears in the order I want them to play.

Are you sure you don't have shuffle play turned on for that list (the button with intertwined arrows)? That seems much more likely than an ID3 tag problem. You might get a bad ordering from the latter, but it would show up visually as well.

#81 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 07:04 PM:

I'm a bit lazy (and getting into this conversation late) but *I believe* you can solve this with only clues #1, 3, 4, 5 & 9. I say this because I was too lazy to read all of the clues and I figured it out....

#82 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 08:55 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 74

Wait, do you mean they're going to burn for 1 minute at a rate of 2.4 gigawatts (total energy 144 gigajoules) or they're going to burn 2.4 gigajoules in 1 minute (average power 40 megawatts)? Either way, that's one energy intensive art project. What are they doing, casting molten rock?

#83 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 09:08 PM:

I've loved the New Mexico desert since I got a summer job assisting a surveying crew north of Albuquerque. This was in 1965, and the land was complete scrub, with a few rather stringy cattle on it. The land was being sold for $2 US per acre, and developers were starting to circle.

This is what it looks like from above now. Remember, not one of those buildings existed then, and the roads. what there were then, were just somewhat graded dirt. I sure hope they figured out what to do with that one 400 ft. wide arroyo that flooded every afternoon in summer when the rains came.

#84 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 09:23 PM:

Abi @75, Tim @79.

You like Bodie? You'll like this Bodie (picture).

Bruce @82,
The latter: 2.4GW burned in one minute for the art project Crude Awakening. Includes the description "largest flame cannon in history." At a preview event the lead artist described another part of the project as the "single loudest noise generating device ever built by humans." That latter bit is on top of the 100 foot wooden oil derrick.

Most of the time Burning Man is about small subtle surprises. Sometimes not.

#85 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 09:30 PM:

If this is an open thread, can someone who knows about roses help me?

I'm looking for a breed of rose that can best be described as "a rose proper": blood red, with 5-7 petals and yellow stamens. I don't much care what its growth habit is, as long as it can be sucessfully container-grown. Any suggestions?

#86 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 09:42 PM:

Todd, #78: At the time I wrote that, I'd tried 2 different methods of creating .mp3 files: (1) using the software that came with the widget on the .wav tracks created in the previous step, and (2) taking the Nero-created CD and running it thru CDex, my normal CD-ripping program.

Tim, #80: *headdesk* You called it. I don't have a CLUE how Shuffle got turned on for that list (I've noticed that I can have it default to on or off in different playlists, but normally I keep it off on the main Music library list!), but it was.

After consultation with my local audio-software experts, I'm now trying a slightly different approach that makes use of iTunes instead of both Nero and CDex. (I'm a complete n00b about a lot of the advanced functions of iTunes, which is why I ask my local experts.) Watch this space for further reports!

#87 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 09:52 PM:

A brainstorming help request (that almost belongs in the 'Internal Passports' thread.)

Imagine a performance art piece at a crowded festival where a hyper-patriot (all possible meanings) of a US type does the following:

1. zips up to people while looking extremely patriotic (very red white and blue*)

2. Asks them ??? to prove that they're patriotic- where the questions could be real**.

3. Hands them a copy of the Bill of Rights (laminated wallet type) and zips away.

1 and 3 I can take care of.

But I'm having trouble thinking of good questions. I know some folks last year who built a portable airport security gate and had fun acting like hyper TSA people and asking people to go through. I'm inspired by that, but my props can only be questions and then the Bill of Rights at the end.

Surprising, funny, pointed patriotism questions anyone? Thanks!

------------
* fine 4th of July wear. All made in China.

** Steven Colberty real.

#88 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2007, 10:32 PM:

Abi: Just pretend that Abigah-El is your Krypton name, and you now have superpowers because of the yellow Dutch sun.

-----

Fun fact: In his youth, Walter Carlos Williams briefly corresponded with Lester Maddox Ford.

#89 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 01:30 AM:

In the last post I made about software development in the Bad Sources thread, I promised I'd take the discussion to the open thread, and this seems to be it now.

My take on software is highly personal, first because I'm not originally a student of computer science or software*, and second because for some years my job was to evaluate software technology and transfer it into the corporate software process at Tektronix. Because of where I've worked and who I've worked with, I've gotten to know many people who've been involved in writing about, consulting in, and selling software development techniques and methodologies. So some of my opinions are based on my opinions of the people involved as well as of the technologies they're involved with. I know that's not very scientific, but then the subject matter isn't very scientific either. Very little of the writing on the subject of software development is based on careful experimental design and analysis, and for all the talk of metrics, very little good data is available on how software is developed in real projects.

The other major reason why there's no science of software development is that any software project has to be involved, to a greater or lesser degree, with organizational politics. So there are often reasons why accurate measurement of the effectiveness of the processes in use is not desired, and even more often reasons why the actual progress is not reported or perhaps even known.

I look at the spectrum of development methodologies as running from the extreme of central control, highly structured project organization and planning embodied in the waterfall method to the other extreme of local decision-making, unstructured communication, and short-term planning of XP and agile programming. While it's true that the spectrum is usually considered to also run over the range of organization size and project complexity, where waterfall is suited primarily for large, complex projects, and XP for small, short-term projects, I believe that this is very much an over-simplification.

There is one principle that seems to hold true across the spectrum of development projects: the organization and architecture of software is determined by the structure of the organization which develops it. I wish I knew who first came up with this idea, I don't, but I certainly can't claim it for myself.

* I was a hardware technician who became a systems engineer, and then decided that since the work was mostly software, I might as well have the job title.

#90 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 02:42 AM:

Bruce, I would be fascinated to hear your take on (sometime Making Light reader) Scott Rosenberg's Dreaming in Code.

Howard (#88), IIRC, Lester Maddox Ford wrote occasionally under the name Ford Milo Chevrolet.

#91 ::: Earl Cooley IIi ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 03:09 AM:

One thing that interested me about the agile/extreme programming movement was the idea of embedding technical writers in the programming team in a larger than normal ratio of tech writers to programmers, with the goal of matching emergent working software with equally emergent complete documentation. It seemed, though, that too many software organizations think of dedicated tech writers as an unwarranted luxury. Every bit of tech writing I've done while programming and doing tech support fell into my lap by default because I could usually spell moar betr than the other members of my team. heh.

#92 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 03:17 AM:

#91: Howard (#88), IIRC, Lester Maddox Ford wrote occasionally under the name Ford Milo Chevrolet.

And would not a Ford by any other name get as much mileage?

#93 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 03:21 AM:

I got to this thread late and have nothing to add at present except my wild appreciation for Evan's communication of the answers. That it was five limericks in a row would have been enough, but that each limerick encompassed much of the characterization of the clues (e.g. debcha wishing to be first) was pure icing.

#94 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 03:37 AM:

For those who might be interested, I have now successfully converted 2 cassette tapes to archive CDs and .mp3 files in my iTunes library. Details (including all the dead ends) and a product review here. Summary: there was a bit of a learning curve involved, but overall the product works as advertised.

#95 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 04:49 AM:

Bruce Cohen # 89: Conway's Law?

#96 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 05:23 AM:

Stupid Zebra puzzle. Stupid almost practically OCD me. Stupid three in the morning.

Now that I've solved the bugger, may I be permitted to finally go to sleep?

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 05:46 AM:

Howard Peirce @ 88...

Who says she has to pretend? Didn't you notice that, when her family was still in Scotland and she'd fly from Amsterdam to see them on weekends, she didn't say how she flew there? Did she think we wouldn't catch that strange ommission? And when some of us met her in Berkeley, she was always careful to stay away from bicycles with a kryptonite lock on them.

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 06:00 AM:

nerdycellist & ethan... Re what was said in thread #89 re Across the Universe and the Beatles being overused... Even though I was born in 1955, which means that I was around when the radio would play new songs by the Beatles, I was such a square that I never paid much attention to what was going on in the 1960s. Then I went to college in 1973, getting a ride with someone who was the drummer in a band, and thus I was introduced to the Beatles after they'd each gone their way. Anyway, come to think of it, isn't their overuse in advertising a recent thing of the last 5 years? I somehow manage to tune most of that out. No matter what, I still enjoy them, especially George's "within you without you"...

#99 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 10:06 AM:

Desert SF? Hmmm, Turtledove's "Down in the Bottomlands" (title?) works. There are a number of short stories set on Mercury; I think one or two of them have inspired "Year's Best Science Fiction" covers. The Gunslinger, with its wonderful first line (I think Drawing of the Three is also set in the desert, but I'm not certain).

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 10:16 AM:

A man looks at a portrait and says: "Sons and brothers, I have none, but this person's father is my father's son." At whose portrait is he looking?

#101 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 10:24 AM:

Tania @ 51... CJ Cherryh's Faded Sun novels (Serge, am I remembering this correctly? I haven't read the Faded Sun books in a looong time. I associate them with deserts)

That is correct. Kesrith... Shon'jir... Kutath... I think that's the order of the books, but it's been a long time.

#102 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 10:51 AM:

Serge @100: Uvf qnhtugre.

#103 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 10:58 AM:

Jakob @ 95

That could be the original source. I'd guess I first heard it about 4th hand or so; it would take some digging to verify that there wasn't another, independent source.

#104 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 11:01 AM:

Only recently, with the debate over making the Felix Chevrolet sign a designated landmark, have I finally realized fully why the writer/singer/bandleader of "Pico and Sepulveda" chose the pseudonym of Felix Figueroa. I already knew about Figueroa, and for all these years, I hadn't even wondered about "Felix."

#105 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 11:06 AM:

Serge @100
It is an image of flaxen-haired Doreen Grey, whose timeless charms have captivated Society for so many seasons now.

Yet I doubt that her many bosom-bows would know her as she is shown, with her face marred and marked with all the cruelties, petty and great, that a beauty may commit on her helpless acquaintance.

Yvxr sngure, yvxr qnhtugre

#106 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 11:16 AM:

Bruce Cohen #103: I'm not a software chap, but IIRC I first came across the idea in the jargon file, which referenced Conway.

#107 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 11:46 AM:

Deserts figure prominently in several Terry Pratchett books; Pyramids is the first that comes to mind.

'Altissimo' is a superb blood-red just-more-than-single rose crowned with golden stamens. I don't know how successful it'd be in a container, since it's a short-growing (in my experience) climber. No scent, though.

#108 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Another desert novel: Courtship Rite aka Gaia, by Donald Kingsbury. The semi-eponymous planet is perhaps more scrub than sandy desert, but the dearth of edible native species makes it as hostile as the deepest Sahara.

Also, I remember a novel called Salt by author unknown, about which I recall almost nothing, except there being a rape in the middle of it. Seemed almost self-consciously literary when I read it, but I mention it in case someone else liked it.

#109 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 12:20 PM:

108: "Salt" by Adam Roberts, perhaps? And, yes, I agree.

#110 ::: Suzanne F ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Regarding desert sf: Tim Pratt's Strange Adventures of Rangergirl takes place in an Old West desert (and Santa Cruz).

#111 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 12:42 PM:

Kip W... abi... Correct. I first came across it exactly nine years ago, in some column by Marylin vos Savant. It had originally been cooked up by one Warren Buckland.

#112 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 01:09 PM:

THE HUGE GOD ADDRESSES THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITIES

I am Her twin and Her son.
I was born when She gave birth
To Herself, and grew as She grew.
You say She abhors me,
But I am greater than all
Her other children; greater
Than all of them combined.
I surround Her and embrace Her,
Though I have no substance.
You, in your small bubble,
Can go nowhere else unless
You first pass me.
Touch me unprotected, and
I will draw the breath
From your body, the warmth
From your flesh. I am nothing,
But I encompass everything.

Who is speaking? (This isn't hard. Not much of a riddle, really, more of a poem.)

#113 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 01:18 PM:

Carrie S. @85: What you're looking for is commonly known as an "old" rose.

Most likely candidates are R. gallica or R. damascena.

#114 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 01:51 PM:

I'm pretty sure, since it violates the "money flows towards the author" rule, but Author House is a scam, right?

Lori, cmk, thanks, that gives me somewhere to start looking for roses. :)

#115 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Lori, cmk, thanks, that gives me somewhere to start looking for roses. :)

I'm pretty sure, since it violates the "money flows towards the author" rule, but Author House is a scam, right?

#116 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 02:24 PM:

Serge (98)

I think all it would take is for me not to hear another Beatles song (no excerpt, no arrangement) for the next, say, five years - I think then I could actually listen and fully appreciate them. I feel the same way about Copland; overexposure makes me change the radio channel anytime Rodeo or Appalachian Spring makes an appearance. I'm not sure how many years those would have to go away before I could tolerate them again.

Pachelbel can just go away.

#117 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 02:31 PM:

I agree, R. gallica was the first thing that came to my mind as well, until I looked again at "blood" red; it's usually described as "light" red, I think. I am nearly sure there are no strong reds among the Damasks, though.

What I did think of later was the modern Gallica hybrids such as 'Poinsettia' and 'James Mason.'

#118 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 02:33 PM:

nerdycellist... Considering how long it took advertisers to stop using Carmina Burana after Excalibur came out, you might want to abandon all hopes of 5 years without the Beatles.

#119 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 03:03 PM:

I could go a long time without hearing Stairway to Heaven again...

#120 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 03:05 PM:

Xopher @#112: inphhz?

#121 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 03:17 PM:

I guess inphhz as well.

(I venture either havirefr or angher for the "she" in the poem, mostly because I like the rot13ed names).

#122 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 03:38 PM:

Mary, Neil: Inphhz is correct. Told you it wasn't hard.

As for "She"—the fourth line will let you know for sure whether it's Havirefr or Angher, if you really think there's a difference.

#123 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 04:12 PM:

Oh, well, in for a penny, in for a Pound.

I thought Walter Carlos Williams wrote those Dread Empire's Plums books. I devoured the first two--they were really cool!

Isn't everyone actually thinking of Walter Juan Carlos Williams, author of speculative fiction, poet of the commonplace, and Spanish monarch?

"Shadows cast by the plasm light

under the Shield,

the head is tilted back,

the long shadow of burning legs

presumes a world taken for granted"

on which the dolphin trills."

--Walter Juan Carlos Williams, "Shadows" (from Pictures from Constantine)

#124 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 04:18 PM:

re myself @87,

The "Flamer Bingo" thread is a near-canonical list of troll and flamer sign.

Has anyone here seen something similar for questioning patriotism? i.e. What do patriot-trolls say?

The bingo thread itself has a couple ("The president is doing God's work.."). I've seen short lists at Glen Greenwald and a few other places (in response to claims that Republicans have never questioned Democrat's patriotism, for example). But I haven't seen a longer list / don't know who might have one.

Any pointers here or by email much appreciated.

#125 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Kathryn: I get a fair amount of "What are you, French?" To which I reply, "Yeah, culturally, pretty much. How many languages do you speak?"

#126 ::: ACW ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 07:43 PM:

Gursky @ 46: The Gandalara series by Garrett and Heydron fits your criteria. The actual geographic identity of the desert is the main "mystery" of the series.

#127 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 09:05 PM:

Ah, you folks are great. A thousand good suggestions and no-one cruel enough to point out that mites actually have eight legs.

The book on my shelf I was trying to remember, that I later found when callous morning came calling to wake my girlfriend and let me turn on the lights in our studio apartment, was indeed Effinger. Specifically, his A Fire in the Sun, which I rather liked.
I've put some of your suggestions on order at the bookstore. Usually my displays don't actually sell any books*, but I have fun choosing them regardless.

*Last month's for instance. Apparently anyone who cared about the Heinlein centennial already owns his books. Silly me, I thought Farnham's Freehold would fly off the shelf with sheer kitsch power alone.

I somehow thought "can you grok it?" was sheer placard gold, too, until I slowly realized that no, no of course they could not grok it. I was, in fact, trying to sell them the book that would allow them to grok it. Like advertising a Mandarin for Beginners course in Mandarin.

#128 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 09:05 PM:

OK, Open Thread question: Can any of you Latin types tell me how to say "Behold, I am Justice manifested"? I need it for a story. Medieval Latin would be ideal (so I think there's an 'ego' in there, right?).

#129 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 10:26 PM:

Kathryn: "What is habeas corpus?" "What citizens of the U.S. are barred from voting?"
IMO, knowledge is an important part of patriotism, but my imagination is blanking (mercifully) on the sort of question that could be answered "Ditto!" if you're looking to be sardonic.

Carla: Our "Mr Lincoln" (thanks to TNH for the identification) grows in a small compass -- not a windowsill-sized flowerpot but it might fit in a tub. Gorgeous smell and petal color, but I haven't noticed the stamen color and it might be more petals than you're looking for. (I'm not sure I've ever seen a rose with just 7 petals.)

#130 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 11:03 PM:

Kathyrn, #124, I sometimes get asked why I don't have an American flag on anything. (I wrote and installed a software patch while on a submarine under fire. I don't need a flag to be patriotic.)

#131 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 11:42 PM:

Marilee @130,

I used to not own 'patriotic gear.'

But when I saw the wide range of garish stuff on super deep discount at a Large National Store I had to grab some.

As said, every last piece was made in China*, thong shoes to headscarf. If I try a hyperpatriot act**, I'll have leave the tags on for the irony.

-------
* to be fair, the flag they sold was made in the US. But it wasn't on sale, and I didn't buy one.

** although I've got too many art projects already, and I'd need a shtick to go with the costume. It's like thinking about how many costumes to bring to a SF convention- easy to get carried away.

#132 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 11:45 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale as Lady Liberty, maybe?

#133 ::: Lauren ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2007, 11:46 PM:

Altissimo rose is not a delicate flower in California. It is a brute, often referred to as Attila The Rose.

You can find it growing up the walls at the Huntington Museum, Art Galleries and Botanical Garden's Tea Room. Sometimes, it gets really hungry and has a patron for lunch.

Here's a URL for the Huntington's Rose pages.


#134 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 12:02 AM:

Gursky, were you there? I was stuck in the dealer/exhibit space the whole weekend....

Because just about every generaton of my men-folk have been in some branch of service as far as I know (I'm' certain about mine and earlier generations, I expect that male pretty-much-unknown-cause they're on my fahter's side have signed up for more current warfare, I think the whole yellow ribbon thing is stupid.

Someone whose blog I read regularly who was in the service got berated at a gas station for not having the magnetic stickers on their car. The woman who berated him got really defensive when he pointed out that the stickers don't send money to the troops and that he had been collecting and sending along goods to actually help the troops in the field (http://skippyslist.com/2007/08/21/warning-signs/)

I got talked out of joining the army by my dad (Air Force Major, at the time reservist) and my brother (Army Captain, active) in my early college years. After I got a little older and more experienced I realized they regarded the woman's service as little more than a lesbian recruiting system and they were scared of that for me (silly men!). (I realized it from the language they had been using, not any overt "this is what it is" kind of thing."

When I realized this I was amused but I did not go sign up.,..

#135 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 12:40 AM:

Meta Logic Puzzle: Out of the 11 clues listed, what is the smallest number of clues that can be used to arrive at the correct answer? Which ones? How many different unique combinations can you come up with?

(I have it down to five, or four if you allow that "before" and "after" mean "directly before" or "directly after.")

#136 ::: Nomie ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 12:43 AM:

Xopher@128:

"Behold, I am Justice manifested"? I need it for a story. Medieval Latin would be ideal (so I think there's an 'ego' in there, right?).

I think "Ecce, Iustitia repraesentata sum" would be more or less right. (Feminine ending for "repraesentata" to go with the first declension feminine noun.) You could substitute "aequitas" for "iustitia" and not change the rest. Unfortunately, medieval Latin's out of my depth, since I ignore anything after the fourth century CE; medievalists?

#137 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 01:44 AM:

No Paula, I was just talking about the humble little display I put up in his honor at the bookstore where I work.

#138 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 01:55 AM:

Would the Powers That Be consider posting a link to whatever the current Open Thread happens to be, near the top of the ML main page? For a while there, the open thread was deep, deep into the main page, about half-way down.

#139 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 03:18 AM:

To whoever was asking about the meaning of the numeric labels on the cards near the end of the novel, The Prestige:

I just finished reading the book myself, and was briefly puzzled by them. I believe if you go back and read the part about the playbills near the beginning, in the main narrator's meeting with Kate, you will find the clue. If you want me to be more specific, fur fnlf gung gur qrgnvyf Natvre abgrf bofrffviryl ba gur onpxf bs gur cynlovyyf naq va uvf wbheany vapyhqr qnl naq gvzr bs cresbeznapr, zngvarr/riravat (Z naq R), nzbhag cnvq, naq nqqvgvbanyyl abg bayl n pbqr ahzore sbe rnpu onfvp gevpx ohg sbe rnpu inevnag va ubj ur cerfragf vg. Guhf V guvax gur 2359 jbhyq or inevnag 59 ba gevpx 23 (juvpu zhfg or VA N SYNFU), naq nf cbbe Avpxl jnf abg cerfragvat n gevpx uvf erznvaf jrer pbyqyl pngnybtrq nf 0000.

#140 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 10:28 AM:

Can any of you Latin types tell me how to say "Behold, I am Justice manifested"?

First, grow a pencil mustache and put some pomade in your hair. Wear too-tight trousers, an ascot, and a smoking jacket. With a cigarette holder in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other, stand with your hips slightly forward, look at your lover through half-closed eyes, and say, with a slight Castillian accent, "Behold, cara mia. I am Justice, how you say, . . . manifested!"

Or did you mean the other kind of Latin type?

#141 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Nomie 136: Thanks. I think I may just go with "Ecce, justicia sum," ('j' at the beginning of a word is, I believe, Med. Lat. practice, though it was still pronounced the same); 'representata' is accurate, I'm sure, but it sounds awkward.

Howard 140: Latin, yes, but not Medieval.

You're a bad man. I can picture Antonio Banderas saying it. Must bleach brain.

#142 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 10:47 AM:

@Xopher #141: Antonio Banderas? I was thinking Raúl Juliá.

#143 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 11:01 AM:

Paula Helm Murray (#134): I do have a couple of magnetic ribbons that did help the troops, because I bought them from my brother's unit's Family Readiness Group. However, they're on my minifridge at work, not on my nonexistent car/truck/SUV....

#144 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 11:44 AM:

Paula @ #143:

I highly recommend The Asylum Street Spankers song "Stick Magnetic Ribbons on your S-U-V", which seemingly annoys both people who understand it and people who miss the point.

#145 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 11:45 AM:

oops! I should mention the link is to youtube and may be considered NSFW, depending on where you work.

#146 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 12:39 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 139 -- ahh, that makes sense, although I think it must be variant 2359, not just variant 59. Thanks!

#147 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 02:43 PM:

WRT the latest Particle: Karl Rove wants to have his CGI modelled by Crispin Glover??

#148 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 03:13 PM:

"Behold, cara mia. I am Justice, how you say, . . . manifested!"

So, the Continental will be heading up the New Avengers, then.

"What's this? I see... evildoers! through my... periscope! Quickly, the champagna bottle!"

#149 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 05:32 PM:

whether it's Havirefr or Angher, if you really think there's a difference.

I have the idea that one is the action of the other; so one abhors while the other is surrounded and embraced; one acts, the other is. Or, as came into my head when I thought about it

Gur jnl V frr vg, angher npgf
Juvyr gur havirefr whfg vf;
rkcerffvat havirefny snpgf
vf ubj jr frr jung angher vf

(Which, although unpronounceable in rot13, would rhyme if it could be spoken)

#151 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 08:52 PM:

Serge back at #132: Kathryn could be American Maid!

Time to go home read some Tick.

For all of us that love books for their nifty selves, not just the wonders they contain: Unusual Books and Book Sculptures.

#152 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 10:15 PM:

Okay, this is weird. My last two posts to Making Light have vanished.

#153 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 10:19 PM:

...But they still exist in my "view all by" page. Immediately after I post, I can see them in the comments. The previous comment is #152, and this will probably be #153. However, sometime between when I post them, and when I return (probably about 24 hours later), they have vanished off the page. What's going on?

#154 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 10:30 PM:

Gah, never mind.

#155 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 10:44 PM:

Ooh, somehow I just tore my gaze away from the posts long enough to find the Edited By NH list. It seems Patrick edited the new trade version I mentioned above (the one I couldn't see on my shelf through the late night computer screen gloaming) of A Fire in the Sun. Thanks man, it was good work.

#156 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2007, 11:34 PM:

Neil 149: Me likey! Natura sola sufficit.

#157 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 01:30 AM:

OH MY GOD Kristen Bell is going to be on Heroes!

I just had to change my pants, like, nine times. Because of the peeing. From the excitement.

#158 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 02:25 AM:

Michael, #142: So was I.

ethan, #157: That would be funnier if I didn't have a UTI right now. ;-p

#159 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 02:30 AM:

Todd: V qba'g guvax ur pbhyq unir qbar gung zber guna 2360+ gvzrf, nf ur jbhyq unir gb unir gung znal havdhr inevnagf; V qba'g guvax ur pbhyq unir orra qbvat vg gung znal lrnef, be gung znal gvzrf n qnl. (Naq jbhyqa'g gur pnir or engure zber guna shyy?)

#160 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 02:51 AM:

Lee #158: Oy. Ten thousand apologies, and my condolences.

#161 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 03:14 AM:

Clifton: Tbbq cbvag; V unqa'g gubhtug gung guebhtu irel pnershyyl. Ohg va gung pnfr, gur "/23" vf whfg erqhaqnag juvpu fgvyy obguref zr n yvggyr.

#162 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 03:30 AM:

Paula, #134, I tried to enlist in the Navy to anger my father at one point, but I'm too blind. But my father's family has been water military for many generations.

Ah, googling tells me that Kristin Bell was in Veronica Mars.

And I found that one of the ComicMix guys had the same opinion that I did about Flash Gordon.

#163 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 06:51 AM:

Marilee @ 162... I saw only part of Flash Gordon's pilot, but I'm afraid I'll have to agree. (Sorry, Xopher.) I came into the story just as Our Heroes got zapped to Mongo, so I may have been spared some of the offense. Still... I actually didn't dislike Flash himself, especially when his tactics to cope with being taken captive on an alien planet was "Smile, everybody! Smile!" Gura V pnzr npebff Zvat gur Zrepvyrff naq ernyvmrq jvgu ubeebe gung gurl unq ghearq uvz vagb gur obevat PRB bs n ovt pbecbengvba. Naq uvf qnhtugre Nhen juvavat "Bj! Lbh'er uhegvat zr!" Ab Bearyyn Zhggv, fur.

#164 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 10:09 AM:

Serge: transliterations like Zvat gur Zrepvyrff naq ernyvmrq look like they belong in the Pooh/Lovecraft thread -- just what I imagine the squamous types would say to each other as they slither along, looking to devour us.

#165 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 10:23 AM:

Faren @ 164... Yeah, rot13.com often makes words sound like they were uttered by a human reduced to a gibbering state after being in the presence of Pooh.

#166 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 01:34 PM:

What pisses me off most about the Flash Gordon series? That it got greenlit, and Dresden Files got axed.

Meh.

#167 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 01:47 PM:

Skwid @ 166... I thought that Dresden was simply cooking up its next short season, like most of the Skiffy Channel's series.

#168 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Knitted food! The photos include knitted sushi and a knitted burger. I'm tempted to make a run over there some time, just to look at the pictures in the book.

#169 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 02:48 PM:

PJ @ 168... We've been told that fiber-rich food is good for one's health, but isn't this pushing things too far?

#170 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Well, if you use silk or wool, it should count as protein.

#171 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 03:39 PM:

Serge, so did most fans of the show, apparently. I never saw anything like an official announcement, just heard a rumor, went snooping, and found a SciFi Wire story that Paul Blackstone was accepting a part on some show about CEOs and (buried at the bottom) that the 2nd season of Dresden was cancelled.

I'm kind of baffled about it, really, because from what I was hearing it was getting good ratings for SciFi...

#172 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 03:40 PM:

PJ, 170: And fiber!

#173 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Skwid @ 171... Go figure. TV producing is a strange world, eh? Meanwhile, I heard that Galactica's next season will be the last one. I hope they wrap it up tidily. And that Baltar falls into the Sun and burns to a crisp.

#174 ::: Rozasharn ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 04:08 PM:

Following up on Serge and Skwid's comments on the Dresden Files:

I found a brief news report of the cancellation, with links for fans who wish to lobby for the show's renewal, here: http://www.tvscoop.tv/2007/08/the_dresden_fil_1.html.

Since the star has accepted a role on another show, I'm not sure how they could arrange to bring him back.

#175 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 04:21 PM:

The folks on Jim Butcher's blog talk like it's dead beyond hope of resuscitation, and I trust they'd know.

That this will be Galactica's last run was known prior to the end of the third season. It's a good thing, IMO, as I think the story arc is flowing naturally towards a conclusion at this point. Coming in late November will be a new BSG TV movie, set largely on the Pegasus prior to its encountering Galactica, and then the fourth season proper starts in January. I can't wait!

#176 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 04:25 PM:

Skwid... I agree that BSG is finally moving to a conclusion. I only hope they don't screw up.

#177 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Rozasharn... I am especially going to miss Dresden's Bob the Ghost.

#178 ::: Rozasharn ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2007, 05:23 PM:

Serge, I'll miss him too. Bob's appearance was one of the most dramatic differences from the books, and it added a lot to the humor and vibrance of the show.

#179 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 08:07 AM:

I just discovered (via the blog theamericanscene.com ) a book http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/SHLGRA.html which analyzes three models for the interaction of the government with the economy. Their models are called the invisible hand, the helping hand and the grabbing hand. This seems like something other people here would appreciate ...

#180 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 09:46 AM:

179

They clearly forgot the goosing hand.

#181 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 01:41 PM:

Back from trip, reports being made at my Lj (Better than salt money.

Some adeventures (some more normal, some of the Baggins variety) mostly good times. Horses did well, scenery was nice, didn't get far enough, and spent too long; though the urge to stay was strong as well.

Snagged some wireless on the road, and read the swatjester thread as we drove home. Was comforting to see homely things, like the (relatively) mild flamage that takes place here.

Coffee is in the cup, crap is still in the trailer, everyone else is still abed.

Too long on the trail
Horse's rider turns around
Leaves the trees for home

#182 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:13 PM:

It seems that at the recent North American leaders' summit in Montebello, Quebec, the protesters couldn't be counted upon to be sufficiently disruptive that the police would have to act... so the police tried to surreptitiously help things along. Unfortunately, the protesters were too determinedly civil and refused to participate.

CBC story:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2007/08/22/ot-police-070822.html?ref=rss

My take:
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Montebello%20police&w=13291357%40N00

#183 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:18 PM:

Harry Potter and the Big Box Store: Harry and his friends battle Lord WaldeMart.

#184 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:31 PM:

And here I was waiting for The Dresden Files to reach terrestrial TV in the UK so I could get someone to tape it for me (not having a TV), and now I find it's been cancelled (at least the books are still going)! I'm already suffering through the enjoyment/misery of watching Firefly knowing that when I reach the last episode that's it (having picked up the DVD set due to (a) enjoying Serenity and (b) good vibes picked up from this community) and now - it's deja vue all over again...

#185 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:12 PM:

Terry @181:

Welcome back.

#186 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:36 PM:

abi Thanks. The damned haiku is all your fault.

Leaving in about ten days for a trip I've always wanted to make (the Galapagos) which reminds me to remind you to think about the picture you want.

#187 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 05:13 PM:

Terry @186
I'd much rather be blamed for a haiku than for what I'm currently blaming myself for.*

I'll email you about the photo. But Galapagos! Cool!**

-----
* My 3 year old daughter is at the emergency room with her dad right now, with either a broken or a dislocated finger. She slipped in the shower I made her take. Had I let her have a bath, as she wanted, it might not have happened.

** I mistyped that as "Cook!" and almost left it, though of course the correct exclamation would be "Darwin!"†

† But that's just nice-speak for Dam.

#188 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 05:19 PM:

abi @ 187... Don't blame yourself about the Road Taken or Not Taken.

#189 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 06:23 PM:

Abi: It happens. My "little" sister (the middle one, who is now... lessee 40-18=22, and has three kids) was going back to her chair (at the age of 1 1/2, or so, and tripped, right onto the hard wooden arm, at the cubical corner.

Took three stitches. Sooner or later they all break themselves. Some are more serious than others and there's nothing you did to make it happen.

Enough of the Polonial advice (having been in my late-teens/early twenties for the birth of two kids, while I was still living with my folks, and having spent time as an au pair I am probably as ready as any non-parent can be to deal with them).

You could also say "Melville" but he hated the "Enchanted Isles", so perhaps it's not the best of ejaculations when one thinks of them.

It is cool, and something of a surprise that we're going. It was added to a different trip (on which I am not going), and I wanted in on that (I was pickling with envy, until I got the gumption to say I wanted to go).

Frigate birds and tortises, sea-going iguanas and finches.

Blue-footed boobies.

Five days on a boat, and a couple of day trips (the timing of one-week boat trips doesn't work right). Maia is skipping two-weeks of school to make her trips, and I'm trusting the plants to others (again) so I can go.

It's tight, for money, but there are rumors the islands will be closed, and when else were we going to be in the area?

#190 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 07:40 PM:

Marine iguanas! I don't remember what Darwin called them, but it was not complimentary.

Abi, my mom's mom once dislocated her daughter's arm by accident. My dad managed to take a layer or two of skin off my chin with industrial-strength gum-removing solvent. Do not feel guilty that you wanted your daughter to be clean.

#191 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 09:08 PM:

Has anyone else caught "water me, when I tilt" as an earworm, to the tune of the first line of "Shock The Monkey"?

OK, how about now?

#192 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 09:37 PM:

My dad sliced off the tip of my left hand index finger with a pair of nail clippers when I was a baby. I'm still missing a teeny bit of fingerprint on that finger, although it's not noticeable unless you're looking for it.

#193 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:18 PM:

My brother broke his leg when he was three years old. It was on the outside, just above the ankle, which meant he could walk with it broken; it was the shocky silence that tipped off our parents.

#194 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:30 PM:

abi, if nothing else you have provided her with a great story to tell when she's older (even if it's only a day or two older).

My mom zipped my chin into my coat when I was a kid. I live in the sub-arctic and have a fear of zipping my coat all the way up. Btw, it was a great bruise, looked just like a zipper.

So, how's she doing now?

#195 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:55 PM:

abi, my father hit/punched/kicked/etc. me every day. That's his fault. Having your daughter take a shower is not your fault.

#196 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:59 PM:

I managed to knock my little sister down hard enough to make her go in for stitches on her chin* when she was four or five. Both of us were out at the park with our very large dog and he ran past her on one side while I ran past on the other, and without meaning it at all we clotheslined her neatly with the leash right onto her face on the pavement.

I'm really not sure what my parents were thinking, in letting an eight-year-old run around with a very large and only moderately trained dog on a leash. Probably that the dog could use some exercise, and it would do me some good to get out of the house and go to the park with my little sister for a while.

* With a large blunt needle, because they were out of little ones. I could hear her shrieking from the waiting room. Being very young myself, I was mostly concerned about whether or not I would get in trouble for it.

#197 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 12:13 AM:

Modesty Blaise fans: Do you find Sabre-Tooth kind of lacking? After reading the first one, I thought it was kind of a letdown. Is something wrong with me? Or with the book?

...Or both? Or, for that matter, neither?

#198 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 12:35 AM:

i have a computery question that is making me want to break things. hey! here is an open thread. perhaps someone familiar with illustrator & acrobat writer (6.0.2 professional) can help me?

i have a pdf that i made in illustrator. it has three layers: a drawn image, some shadows, and more drawn images (handlettered text in speech balloons & captions). i need to put these pdfs together in acrobat to make one big pdf (comic pages in sequence).

acrobat just now started, sorry for the shouting, but inverting the top layer only, so all the speech balloons are black where they should be white, etc.

i open & open & open the files in illustrator & they're right, i open & open & open the files in acrobat & they're wrong. i printed out one page to see if it's just showing up wrong on the screen, & the printout's wrong, too.

i may have given acrobat ideas because i did have cause to invert some of the text-images, to white on a black background. but that was in photoshop, before it got to illustrator to get to acrobat, & also all the text-images were inverted, not just the ones that may have been inverted already.

am i making sense? does anyone have an idea what's happening?

#199 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 01:18 AM:

They (the Hub and the girlie) got home at midnight our time. She'd been asleep on and off in the emergency room, and had behaved well apart from screaming in fright at the fist sight of the doctor for some reason.*

She came home with a cast on her arm, as solemn and as sweet and as strong as I have ever seen her, and went straight to bed.

I am proud of her. Within a few minutes she was looking for the upside. "At least I can wiggle the other fingers." "At least I can wiggle my other hand." "At least Alex [her brother] can wiggle his fingers." "At least the stars are pretty tonight." Classy kid.

I feel guilty - less so now, since it's clearly minor - because she wanted a bath and I insisted on it being a shower. And because I was in there with her, conditioning her hair, when she fell.

She's going to be very annoyed when she realises that she can't ride her bike today.

-----
* screaming when they straighten a broken finger counts as well behaved, though.

#200 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 01:54 AM:

nerdycellist @ 192

What's with string players and knives? Nadia Solerno-Sonnenberg tells a blood-curdling story (she plays it for laughs, but ...) about cutting off most of one finger while chopping onions. Got it reattached and spend the next year doing rehab, but got lucky and got all the dexterity back, so she could still play professionally. Gah! Gives me the shivers just thinking about it. It's not the mutilation so much as the loss of the music. It would be to me as if I lost my sight and couldn't take pictures anymore.

#201 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 01:58 AM:

A friend's father sliced his own thumb off at the knuckle, upon which he supposedly looked at it, said, "Huh," got the superglue, and glued it back on. I've seen the thumb, so I know it was pretty definitely severed and inexpertly reattached, but the rest is just hearsay.

Apparently the use of the thumb, including feeling in it, is just fine. This completely boggles my mind.

#202 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 02:27 AM:

Patrick @ 90

Sorry this is so long after your post; my access to ML is limited to non-work hours these days, and the house remodeling is stealing a lot of the time that remains, so I have to skim, and sometimes miss things.

I haven't read Dreaming in Code, but I think I'm going to now that you've mentioned it. I'll get back to you when I can.

This comment isn't just an apology and a promise, though, because the title, Dreaming in Code, reminded me of some of the more, erm, fringe-oriented movements in software that I've tripped over in the last few years.

Aside from the stuff that since has become orthodox, like the open-source movement that's coalesced around Eric Raymond's book The Cathedral and the Bazaar, there are some less well-known and still avant-garde ideas floating around in the infosphere. One of them is the "Futurist Programming Movement", which is not as political as it's early 20th century namesake. I don't know a lot about the specifics of the movement, but I know of Paul Haeberli's work, and I'm moderately impressed with some of his ideas. Another is Richard Gabriel's Feyerabend Project. Richard is trying, among other things, to find an objective way to prescribe the mathematical quality of elegance, since elegant software is much more likely to both work well and be easier to maintain. Richard and I meet at conferences every once in awhile, and I attended one of his workshops on the subject. I think he's got something there, but I don't know what yet. He thinks there should be some way to make aesthetic qualities objectively useful; my experience of photography agrees with him*.

Hmm, it's getting late and this is starting to get long. I'll see if I can go into this subject more thoroughly in the next few days on my own blog. Thanks for the forum.


* The effects of composition, shape, and color palette on the viewer are at least partially the result of the way the human visual system works.

#203 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 02:51 AM:

abi,

I'll join the chorus: accidents happen to kids, and there's not much you can do about it. Just try to get over those moments of terror, and go back to appreciating your child.

For about 8 or 10 years there our younger son Jeremy was really accident prone. To the point where we started to get funny looks from the emergency room doctors, clearly having dark thoughts about child abuse. The climax to that came one day when Jeremy was about 6 or 7 and he and I were rough-housing (not very roughly) and he grabbed my hand as he fell over and dislocated his elbow. We took him into the hospital immediately, and when the doctor started examining the arm, Jeremy started screaming in pain; the the doctor reset the arm and Jeremy suddenly stopped yelling, as if in great surprise, because it didn't hurt any more. The resident who examined him was rather suspicious of all this, so he talked to the attending physician, who took a look at the records, took one look at Jeremy, and said to us "Oh, he's accident prone, isn't he?" That, of course, didn't much relieve the sense of guilt I had for the next few days, but at least it removed an additional burden I might otherwise have had to deal with.

The thing about being a parent is that you just don't have time to feel bad about things until after it's all over; before that you're going to be too busy dealing with the situation. And afterwards you need to make sure that the kid doesn't get a bad feeling about it all from you. It sounds like your daughter isn't likely to do that; good work.

#204 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 03:42 AM:

abi, I can't blame my parents for the one childhood accident whose scars I retain, but I can tell you it passes and becomes a conversation point.

I incurred a compound fracture of my ring finger when I was about 11. I ended up with a soft cast and boxing glove affair for about 3 months during a Los Angeles summer (when I got that thing off, my hand had an odor and appearance straight out of the worst B-movie you ever saw). I still have a double nail on that finger.

But. I got treated on the SS Hope, a hospital ship berthed in Long Beach. For an 11-year-old, that was the coolest thing ever.

#205 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 05:56 AM:

My nephew Everett (age 1 1/2) recently managed to fracture his wrist at a playground. His arm is in a cast, and his parents are supposed to keep him from running and jumping. (This is very much against his natural inclinations.)

Well, they're also packing for a move. He got up onto a suitcase, about 4" off the ground. His mother said, "No jumping!" and took him off. Then his sister got up onto it and jumped. Well, after that there was no restraining him....from fracturing his other wrist. Whee.

#206 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 08:10 AM:

Bruce and abi: amusing study shows sharp decline in pediatric emergency room visits on Harry Potter book release dates.

I don't have any cool childhood injuries, but as an adult I did manage to tear an anterior cruciate ligament in a shopping incident (turned a shopping cart loaded with gravel and concrete pavers over on my knee, about 30 seconds after a clerk asked if I needed help and I replied, "No, I got it.").

BTW, abi--what everyone else said. Don't beat yourself up. Random stuff happens.

#207 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 08:34 AM:

P J Evans #193:
Yep, the fibula isn't a weight supporting bone. I know, I'm missing 20cm of the one on my left. I had an open Tib/Oblique Fib fracture (I did something stupid for a Bostonian, I crossed Mass Ave. -- in a cross walk, what was I thinking? So rod in Tibia, bolted both ends. Fib heals first, and ends up a bit longer than proper. They had to take a section of the Fib out so that there'd be enough pressure on the pieces of Tib for it to heal (they also took out the distal bolts which may have been part, or all, of the problem). Once the bones fragments got real close, the osteoblasts got busy). Original prediction: 6 weeks on crutches, actual 12 1/2 months (6 extra weeks due to my insisting that the rod come out). The gap in the bone is annoying when I wear boots, especially ski boots, otherwise no problem. The related soft tissue injuries in knee and ankle still bother me (14 years later).

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #203:
The standard instruction for applying traction to a broken femur is to increase tension until the patient's face relaxes (the ends of the bone aren't pressing painfully on anything anymore, etc). Similar thing for reducing dislocations (but there is also the tactile sensation of the bones slipping back into place, supposedly).

#208 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 08:50 AM:

When I was little, we moved into a house that has cellar steps down from the outside. One day my mother was weeding along the edge of the stairwell and I came up behind her; she turned to tell me to be careful, bumped me, and pushed me off. 25+ years later, I still have the scar on my chin from hitting the gravel at the bottom.

Which is to say, these things happen and you should not feel guilty.

#209 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 09:23 AM:

abi @ 199... Glad to hear the news. Your kids are indeed great kids. Then again, what else could they be?

#210 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 11:15 AM:

I was noodling around with the latest version of Google Earth the other day* when I found a placemarker someone left a couple of years ago on the site of the base I spent a year at in Vietnam back in the Second Age. Weird; it used to be a small compound, about the size of two football fields, surrounded by rice paddies; the nearest hamlet was about half a klick down the road. Now the satellite photo barely shows where the perimeter fence was. It looks like parts of the battalion office and the comm center are still there, and the barracks buildings; because they were built on concrete pads they would have been worth keeping. But the entire area is buildings now, no trace of rice paddy. Not sure what I'm feeling right now; it's not exactly nostalgia, and it's not exactly remembered fear.

* Nice planetarium mode ... "I see stars inside!"

#211 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Carrie S. (208)

I seem to recall the most common scar is just under the chin. I have a variation of it, a small angled scar on my lower lip.

I got it falling down and catching my face on the wing nut which held the leg of the table I knocked over on the way down.

I still recall (vaguely, I was 3-4) the trips to the dentist to have the tooth rebuilt. It probably shaped my tastes, because the nature of the cap prevented me from certain types of sweets (lest it be pulled off).

Bruce Cohen (STM) Being a (lapsed) cellist, who cut almost the entire tip off his, bow-hand, pinky, [I was whittling, the kife was sharp. I set it down on the arm of the chair, it fell. I was removing my had from the area when the edge brushed my pinky. It didn't, quite, remove the whole tip. I stuck it in my mouth, and called my sister; that she might butterfly it. I have an interesting, if faint, scar] I think it might be that we do so much with our hands.

Further lots of that is delicate; with things in our hands, so we assume we have the same level of desterity with other things. Sometimes that's not the case.

Then again, I seem to have in mind that lots of athletes lop off fingers with power hedge-clippers. Those things scare me. I won't use one.

#212 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 11:53 AM:

Seafood at Burning Man, by Violet Blue

#213 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 11:56 AM:

210: that must be a pretty strange feeling. I visited the former Clark AFB a few years ago and found it an extremely odd, almost Ballardian place - two miles of desolate runway, surrounded by completely overgrown base housing and used only by courier planes and a few superannuated USAF pilots in light aircraft. And Pinatubo near enough to cover the whole area in feet of ash. But I never actually saw it as a working airbase.

You might want to read "Beaucourt Revisited" by AP Herbert: http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/show/52138-A-P-Herbert-Beaucourt-Revisited

#214 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 12:07 PM:

When I was seven I was running down some stairs, tripped, and landed hard on stones. Broke my right arm. It happens.

#215 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 12:15 PM:

The chin scar is really common. Baby Sister (who leaves for college today) fell while running at the pool. I think my brother has one, but the one on his forehead is more apparent-- two rounds of stitches because he tore it open pretty soon after getting it fixed the first time. Mom blamed me for some reason; I am still a bit resentful. He also has a dip in his tongue from where he bit it about halfway through, ridgey fingernails from scarlet fever, and some nice dog-bite marks on his arm. We could see the layers of tissue when he came in.
My own scars aren't as good. I have a thing people think is a mole which began as a cat-scratch-thing, dog bite on nose, dog bite on hand, dog bite on arm (that one had incisor marks for a few months), cat scratches on wrist, piranha bite on finger (my stupidity), barnacle scrapes on legs....
I love my body's recuperative abilities. I've not broken a bone yet, but if you want housepet-related injury, I'm there.

Abi, it could be worse. She could have broken *your* finger. Although then you'd get to guilt her for years.

#216 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 12:23 PM:

And here's a photo of Abi's daughter Fiona. I like the mechanical hand.

#217 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 02:11 PM:

As regards the Wired News item on "internet" -- it's interesting thinking about the tendency to capitalize or not capitalize, in English, important things of which only one exists. I wonder if the early capitalization has to do with the Internet having been a very particular realm in which we did not all coexist: usage similar to, say, 'the White House'. Whereas the internet is now common territory: more like 'the world'.

#218 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 05:27 PM:

regarding the particle describing the most recent style update from those gneiuses at wired... i wonder if they're planning to stop capitalizing words like: congress, capitol, treasury, and my personal favorite, god. probably not.

p.s. from a practical standpoint, the decision to stop capitalizing 'internet' and 'web' makes sense, but only as a recognition that there is no such thing as the singular public internet or the worldwide web anymore. there are only locally available and privately provided views into the various internets and webs that used to be nominally public . oh, i'm sorry... were you using that notion of 'The Public Domain' before we destroyed it? sorry about that. better luck next time, suckers.

#219 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 08:13 PM:

WikiPirates. "Do not meddle in the affairs of filkers..."

#220 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 09:01 PM:

ethan, #201, superglue wouldn't exactly have connected all the blood vessels, so the end would have rotted and fallen off. I do have a friend whose husband had to have a piece of glass dug out of his knuckle (she owns a bead store and he works for her), and he didn't stop lifting and carrying and opened the stitches before the wound was healed and then wouldn't go to the doctor, so his knuckle looks like it was severed and reattached.

My brother has the chin scar. We were playing on a parking lot and he tripped and hit his chin on one of those concrete things they put at the front of parking spots.

#221 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 09:21 PM:

Marilee #220: I had the same objection about the blood vessels, but the whole family swears up and down that it's true anyway. I think perhaps it's somehow partly true in a way that I can't figure out--maybe he didn't actually sever it and superglued a severe injury shut? Who can say.

#222 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 09:41 PM:

Eric Johnson looks so good in a slave collar!!!

OK, "Flash Gordon" is suggestively erotic camp. It's funny, and they do both hot women and hot men. Fun for all.

#223 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 10:16 PM:

Xopher... But what we've seen of Mongo so far looks anything but exotic. Another British Columbia-like alien planet as Richard Dean Anderson once pointed out in StarGate before saying "Eh?" Oh, but I do like Eric Johnson as Flash. Meanwhile, where are Barin and Vultan?

#224 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 11:52 PM:

When I hear "Eric Johnson", I think of the guitar virtuoso.

Has Ming's daughter Aura been cast yet? It's going to be difficult to top Ornella Muti's iconic portrayal of that role.

#225 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 11:59 PM:

Earl @ 224... Aura has been there since the first episode. Unfortunately. She's no Ornella Mutti. And their Ming is no Max von Sydow.

#226 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 03:19 AM:

Ming the Merciless has been turned into Ming the Merely Grumpy.

#227 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 03:22 AM:

And I figured out another reason why I don't like the new Flash Gordon series:

The color scheme is wrong. They use a lot of muted colors, browns especially, and a lot of dark shots.

Flash Gordon needs to be done in bright primary colors. It needs to have some... ummm... flash.

#228 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 03:32 AM:

ethan @221:
but the whole family swears up and down that it's true anyway

Indeed. But I know a nation of folk who will swear blind that a haggis is a little fuzzy creature with one pair of legs shorter than the other (for the hills, you know) that runs through heather backward.

omnes:
Fiona is much better, and hasn't let the injury damage her cofidence or get her down in the least. She didn't throw a tantrum about the bike ban, though she did argue with surprising persuasivenes (for three) about the ways she could still ride.

And I'm much better now too. Thank you for the reassurance and support.

#229 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 04:41 AM:

j h woodyatt @ 218
i wonder if they're planning to stop capitalizing words like: congress,

Lower-cased, congress means something slightly different (I was going to say completely different when I was reminded of what congresscritters think the pages are for). Also there's a certain irony in you, who do not* capitalize your nom d'net, grousing about others' quirks of capitalization.


* ack! Is that construction correct?

#230 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 05:05 AM:

I prefer "electronym" over "nom d'net". Don Webb used electronym in the mid 90's to more elegantly refer to email addresses, but I like it better than "handle" (BBS handle, etc.)

p.s.: One of the reasons I'm posting to ML at this hour of the night is to avoid returning to playing BioShock until the sunlight makes it safe again....

#231 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 06:58 AM:

Terry Karney @ 211: "I think it might be that we do so much with our hands. Further lots of that is delicate; with things in our hands, so we assume we have the same level of desterity with other things. Sometimes that's not the case."

That makes a strange sort of sense. I have some dancer friends who are amazingly graceful on the dance floor and yet somehow guaranteed to walk into every desk corner in a 50-mile radius. I theorize that dancing has got them in the habit of moving in such elegant ways that they are constantly trying to move like that, but without the benefit of choreography (or an empty stage). So they would always be thinking "If I take two steps, then pivot on the ball of my foot to the left, I should be able to slide past that person without bumping into...grrk! Desk-corner in the thigh!"

#232 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 07:14 AM:

abi @ 228... she did argue with surprising persuasivenes (for three) about the ways she could still ride

Goodness. You did spawn a Girl Genius. Next, she'lll probably steal the egg beater, improve its performance and use it to motorize her bicycle.

#233 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 07:16 AM:

Bruce Arthur @ 226.. Ming the Merciless has been turned into Ming the Merely Grumpy.

His employees probably call him Ming Rhymes-with-Boring.

#234 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 11:38 AM:

Heresiarch, 231: I never made a living at dancing, but I had years and years of training. Dancing is just fancy walking--after a while you don't need to think "two steps and pivot," you just do it. When I run into a desk, it's because I'm thinking about something more interesting than where the furniture is.

#235 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 11:48 AM:

Long interesting article here about the Portugese fantasist Jose Saramago. (Interesting both for Saramago himself, and for the background on 20th-century Portugese politics.)

#236 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Bruce 226: Ming the Merciless has been turned into Ming the Merely Grumpy.

It's the Banality of Evil. This Ming isn't as gaudily deranged (thanks PNH) as the older version—instead he's the kind of evil we see in our world every day: the corporation that takes political power and enforces a monopoly with draconian laws. He's more...well, OK, less unrealistic than the previous one.

ibid., 227: Same principle. The evil in our world is drab and conservative. FG is showing our world exaggerated, not some other world, and it's no longer a total comic book. (Reference is only to four-color printing, pace you comics fans.)

Bruce 229: ack! Is that construction correct?

Yes, it is, assuming you're talking about the verb form prior to the asterisk, and not the incorrect French contraction following it...the 'e' in 'de' can only be elided when the following word begins with a vowel. Nom de Net, please, though actually (ref. Earl 230) I like 'electronym' better.

TexAnne 234: Dancing is just fancy walking

West African proverb: "If you can walk, you can dance; if you can talk, you can sing." The latter is possibly aided by the fact that many West African languages are tone languages (Yoruba, Hausa, and Twi just to name a few), which means you actually need some pitch sense to speak them correctly, but the former applies everywhere.

#237 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 12:26 PM:

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is pretty damn cool.

#238 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 12:32 PM:

#210/213: Seeing a formerly-remote area overrun by "civilization" isn't uncommon, given the way most cities in the U.S. sprawl. Googlemap 10835 South Glen Road, 20854; my parents built the multi-gabled house in 1951, and I can clearly remember that the 1/2 x 3/4 - mile lot across the road had cows on it. (Don't look too closely at that space now -- several people committed architecture there.) The more-compact house next door is a fake-Georgian put where it could make best use of the lot after it was subdivided, which our house hadn't been placed to make easy; they've also erased substantial berry and vegetable gardens and an orchard.
   Or look around 7101 Democracy Blvd 20817, noticing the winding stubs of Bells Mill Rd that were left after a 6-lane "boulevard" was rammed straight through the area to connect one of the US's first malls with the interstate. To the west, the area between Seven Locks Rd and what they now call Democracy Ln was a huge summer camp (almost all the way up to where Inverness Ridge Rd is now, and mostly woods); it was all townhice by ~1989. The pond is the only remaining trace, and they've probably kept it only because the nearby spring keeps that spot too wet to build in easily; even the multipurpose building (a community theater in 1989) is gone if I'm reading the pictures correctly. (Can't be certain as it was just over the edge of the we-can't-zoom-here zone on top of Seven Locks Rd.)

The U.S also has its strangely-abandoned areas, even close to cities. Try 7280 Macarthur Blvd 20818; the white-roofed buildings are still walled with sandstone cobbles from when this was a Chautauqua in the 1890's, but it was a thriving amusement park when I moved away in 1967. (It had been a trolley park, but an asset-stripper destroyed the trolley network a few years before that.) It looks like more of the park traces are gone now; when I visited in 1995 I noticed all of the concrete underlay of the minigolf course (the carpet was long-rotted) and 3 ~30-foot sycamores where the roller-coaster loading area had been. (I was there in December; the broken-down leftover bits (some since cleaned up) made it look like a set for Batman: The Killing Joke.) I haven't even been in working amusement park since 1992; omnia mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis.
   Worse is 430 Commonwealth Rd 01778; the flat area left of the driveway end used to be the lab where I had my first professional job -- Dow pulled out and I suspect the town decided to cap the land just to be sure. So omnia mutantur, nihil interit is literally untrue. (Thanks to Fritz Leiber for the omnias -- The Big Time has a million of 'em.)

#239 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 01:06 PM:

Any chin scar I have is from way-post-childhood skydiving clumsiness. (I'm not even sure it's there under the unshavenness.) What I specialized in was chipped teeth, at least 4 in my adult set. Somehow I didn't break the skin even when the chip was caused by my chin colliding with a fellow 3rd-grader's scalp. (At that age I was the tallest in class, and he was one of the shortest). And there's the 1" round on one knee due to trying to race a bicycle around a tight corner \and/ not cleaning the mess up afterward. (I don't think my mother realized how much crap had gotten into it until it turned gray-green.)

#240 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 01:10 PM:

Xopher... About Ming... Sure, he's less unrealistic than the older one, but... Remember that this is Flash Gordon. It's not supposed to have the kind of villains that we have to put up with in the real world. These things are supposed to be larger than life. Still, I'd have put up with this new Ming if he'd been played by a better actor. Take Max von Sydow but without the silly makeup and the gaudy costume, and he could project menace. What's-his-name is just plain dull. So is this Mongo, come to think of it.

#241 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Terry Karney @ 211: "I think it might be that we do so much with our hands. Further lots of that is delicate; with things in our hands, so we assume we have the same level of de{s}terity with other things. Sometimes that's not the case."

Case in point

Twenty+ years since I first poked my way around a keyboard and I still can't find the right keys all the time.

20 years since I last handled a cello, and I can still find the notes (I just lack alacrity, tone and intepretation, but practice and I could get those back).


#242 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 01:36 PM:

#240: I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Charles Middleton's sixty year old corpse would make a better Ming than that guy they're using.

And where are the farging spaceships?

I'm gonna guy rustle up a DVD of the original serials. And a copy of Les Preludes.

#243 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 01:44 PM:

Stefan Jones... And where are the Hawkmen?

#244 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 02:58 PM:

Serge,

That's going to be the breaking point for me, if the Hawkmen don't show up. The originals were just effin' cool; but Brian Blessed was so ... sublime?, no, certainly not; ebullient, yes, but that's only part of it. Ah, I have it: much larger than life as we know it. To not even go there, not matter how hard it would be to equal Blessed's performance is just artistic cowardice.

#245 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Amazon has a three-DVD set of the Buster Crabbe adventures. The copy suggests that they are in serial form, which is the way I want to see 'em.

Aha! Free MP3 of Les Preludes

Y'know, WAY EARLY in the history of "Star Wars," George Lucas stated that it was his intention to recreate the glory days of the old serials. The corny lightning-bolt cuts used between some scenes are evidence of this. Damn shame he got all pretentious and Joseph Campbellish. Darth Vader was better as a pulp villain, not the star of a psychodrama.

#246 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 03:22 PM:

To be fair, Flash Gordon doesn't have the budget it needs. Still, good actors aren't necessarily more expensive. Or good writers. Or good costume designers. Or... You get the idea. There may be someone out there who could have had the vision and the inventiveness to overcome TV's limitations.

Meanwhile, I still chuckle when I think of those episodes of Voyager where Paris used the holodeck to experience the adventures of Captain Proton, cousin to Flash.

#247 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 03:48 PM:

I really like the guy who's playing Flash, I'm just not nuts about the direction the producers? writers? Powers that Be? decided to take. It feels Stargate-y to me - maybe Stargate with a side of X-files - and as mentioned above, just not gonzo enough. Sometimes I like subtle in my sci-fi; just not with Flash.

I'm pretty bummed about the Dresden cancellation, but not surprised. I caught a couple of episodes, enjoyed them and then figured I should immediately stop watching before I got involved, since it was sure to be cancelled. (also, I knew I needed to stop before I developed a crush on a character who was technically just a skull. Damn that Terrence Mann and his righteous speaking voice.)

About dexterity and music - I'm a passable cellist, and have made a few bucks here and there. I don't think my missing bit of fingertip, or the broken left hand (done in a fall onto icy concrete) would have made the difference between being a hobbyist and a professional. Not like, say, a great deal more talent might have. I don't think I'm more accident prone with my hand and fingers, but I'm constantly tripping and spraining things, bumping into stuff and generally being a klutz. I'm terrible at sports and hopeless at dancing, so I generally assume that's related to my awkwardness.

#248 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 05:52 PM:

nerdycellist,

I mentioned that our younger son was accident-prone? He was a real klutz through much of his childhood, and we found out why at about the age of 8 when he as diagnosed as having in general rather loose ligaments in his hands, arms, and legs. This made him clumsy and uncoordinated. The treatment was to have him take keyboard lessons*, and get on a soccer team for a year.** The point being that sometimes there are physical reasons, not just general dorkiness, that cause clumsiness.


* He ended up with the organ rather than the piano, because of all the cool things you can make an electronic organ do.

** A social nightmare for us hippie parents who had rejected the whole suburban middle-class lifestyle.

#249 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 08:21 PM:

Bruce, when I went to the college my parents insisted I go to, I comped out of everything except religion (but only because they didn't allow you to comp out of religion) and majored in music and drama. All voice majors were supposed to take piano, but they were short piano student slots, and since I already knew how to play organ, I got to take organ lessons that year. A real pipe organ!

#250 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 08:46 PM:

Re the new Flash Gordon: Episode one was okay, but not very
distinctive. Episode two was okay, but not very distinctive. Episode
three, I found myself fast-forwarding through the wedding scenes;
I didn't even want to start with that crap.

Then they got to alien women self-righteously intoning "Marriage
implies consent to the patriarchal violence inherent in the system" --
or whatever the line was -- and I had the show safely deleted from my
recording schedule within six seconds, tops. Retread feminist debate
in the first three episodes of a SF show is *never* a good idea. (See:
that godawful first-season Stargate episode. And: that godawful
first-season ST:TNG episode.)

For what it's worth, Ming was fun at the beginning, when he was being
polite. That had some depth to it. Since then, he's been...
undistinctive.

This is not my show.

#251 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 09:37 PM:

Marilee @ 249

Neat, I love pipe organs. Did I mention that I work for one of the very few companies left in the world that does nothing but build church and theatre organs? These days it's a subsidiary of a Japanese company that makes electronic instruments for rock musicians. We don't make pipe organs per se any more, all our organs are basically Linux computers with organ keyboards, tab and piston bars, and pedals. But for the traditionalists, we make a gadget that plugs into the organ to control a set of pipes.

I don't play the organ myself, but it's nice sometimes to be working away on the organ software and have someone fire up a console to test it by playing Bach.

#252 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 11:11 PM:

Apropos of an open thread, I saw Stardust again today with a friend and his mother. Said friend had to deal with two weeping women at the resolution of the show, verklempt with the happenings.

It hit all the buttons for an enjoyable, complete story. I liked it a lot. It isn't great art but it's worth a look, and Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Di Nito have great excuses to chew up the scenery.

I know I'm gonna buy the DVD. And from my review of trailers/previews, it's going to be an expensive fall... lots o'.f movies I'm going 'oooh I want to SEE that on the big screen

#253 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 12:15 AM:

Mom plays the piano and organ for church, and when there was a church-wide mandate to give all the buildings the same organ, she got dibs on the old one. It's just a console (? - not a pipe organ anyway) and it's now ensconced happily in the dining room (which has never been used as such) in their 1100 sqft ranch. A few years back she bought some fancy-ass digital piano that had a reasonable organ setting with a good touch so she could practice the hymns at home any time of the day or night with the headphones plugged in so as not to disturb my dad. Now even with only one speaker hooked up to the organ (two was just too much space for their house) she could probably be heard halfway down the block.

Until my brother picked it up, she had here original upright piano as well as the digital piano and organ in the house. I told her all she needed was a harpsichord and a virginal and she could have a whole set.

#254 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 01:07 AM:

nerdycellist @ 253:

She would also need an Ondes Martenot (second link is YouTube, but worth it--especially to a cellist, as you will see).

#255 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 11:07 AM:

OK, that's seriously cool. I need one. How sad that this instrument never became standard in the recording studio. I'm thinking specifically of tv shows that have been cheaply scored; the great swells of fake strings during dramatic moments are really jarring. The vibrato on that instrument could make quite the difference.

I did appreciate the piece of music at the end of the clip. Naturally.

#256 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 12:25 PM:

Nina... It was good to see you and your hubby at Bubonicon last night. I hope you had a safe trip back to Phoenix today.

#257 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Miscellaneous thought: Remembering the Sixties' injunction " Turn on, tune in, drop out" (or whatever order those were in), I much prefer "Making Light"'s quote from John M. Ford: "Say what you mean. Bear witness. Iterate." That one can't be used as a mantra for dope-using slackers like the young George W. Bush.

#258 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 01:47 PM:

From the Phoenix New Times website, a photo slideshow of "art bongs", super-deluxe and/or complex bongs and the glassblowers who make them.

Some of these things look like alien spaceships. Then there are the Homer Simpson and Nightmare Before Christmas inspired bongs, too.

#259 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 02:17 PM:

Who is handling moderation duties for ML during the busy Worldcon travel season? I have an issue to present that probably shouldn't wait until after the convention is over.

#261 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Earl @259:
As far as I am aware, only Patrick is going to Worldcon this year (Teresa is not listed as going on the nielsenhayden front page, and Jim doesn't list Worldcon in his upcoming conventions on his site. I don't know about Avram; his blog hasn't been updated lately*.)

If no one answers your call, try a direct email to Jim or Teresa?

-----
* Probably something to do with some other site he posts on. Dunno.

#262 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 02:31 PM:

Beaten to the punch!

#263 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Earl... What is the issue? An overabundance of puns in recent threads?

#264 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Bruce C @ 251

Would you know if anyone builds digital keyboards with spinet-sized keys for us small-handed people? (I'd get one that does organ/harpsichord/piano ... if I could find one with smaller keys, and the full range of octaves.)

#265 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Serge #263: Wait, we can get moderation for that?

Teresa! Teresa!

#266 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 03:31 PM:

ethan @265:

ajay is toast in that case.

#267 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 04:11 PM:

ethan... Humph... I was tempted to respond that I've never been so offended, but the, the last time I said that, Abi was in the same room and shot back that I should wait, and that the evening was still young.

As for you, abi, before you try to make ajay sound like the worst of punsters, need I remind you that, but a few days ago, you were guilty o extremely atrocious puns?

#268 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 04:33 PM:

P J Evans @ 264

Sorry, the only ones I know about are toys (literally, little 25-key things). There are probably some made for high-end digital pianos, but I don't know of any sold separately. Those made for lower-grade instruments aren't going to be performance-grade piano-style keys, i.e., weighted keys with variable action; I don't know how much that means to you.

Tomorrow at work I'll ask around among the heavy-duty instrumentalists.

#269 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Serge @267:
Thus do I sacrifice one of my sub-personae to save the core abi. So low do I stoop.

(d'you think it'll work?)

#270 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 04:49 PM:

James D. Macdonald #260: Thanks, I found your email address, and in the process realized who you were back in the GEnie SFRT days. I feel better already, just knowing that. I guess I wasn't paying enough attention to that point when I started participating in ML. heh.

Serge #263: No, it's nothing like that, and it's not something I feel comfortable discussing in explicit terms in a location where the Google indexing spider crawls. In any case, puns are not a problem with me, as people like Aaron Allston have relentlessly desensitized me to most of their ill effects over the years. I haven't felt like jumping from a moving automobile to avoid an oncoming pun in many years.

#271 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 05:00 PM:

Tim 254: Coolest instrument EVAH. (Yes, it has supplanted the Theremin in my heart for that title.)

I want one. Damn. It's pretty hard to find any place to buy one...finally found a place that sells a kind of modern knock-off, but you really have to dig to find the price, and it's not clear they'll actually sell you one.

#272 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 05:04 PM:

Thus do I sacrifice one of my sub-personae to save the core abi.

"Captain! The core can't take it anymore!"
"Scottie, I need those abilithium crystals!"

As for what happened after abi's acrifice, here it is.

#273 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 05:33 PM:

There was one person in the 1980's Austin BBS scene who had somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 meticulously documented distinct online personae. He had enough argumentative diversity to sustain multiple sides of a major, highly entertaining flamewar all by himself.

#274 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 05:34 PM:

question on the proper setting of a science fiction time: if the time that a science fiction story is being set in presupposes technical differences from the present so different that they are in the 'looks like magic' dept. should it be so far in the future that the characters and their reactions to the technology as being the way things are do not need to relate to how things are today; in other words so far in the future that all of us can be presupposed dead?

Note that this is not the same thing as asking if we will live in a future with technology that seems magical to us, we surely will, but from a story told now should with technology that would be magical to us now for the sake of suspension of disbelief should the time be far enough from now to get rid of the question of how people now would feel about this magical technology?

#275 ::: Mark D ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 06:42 PM:

Pipe Organs....Ondes Martenot....then the particle on curiosities of bell ringing....

Time for a link.

#276 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 07:57 PM:

For what we are, for all the debts we owe,
we pay the bills, and the payment comes slow.

A million memories on each heart batter,
the world we have is never once the same;
we live with meanings hidden in the chatter.

On certain days, the sycophants will flatter
but they won't ever want to take the blame;
a million memories on each heart batter.

Earth passes round the sun and we get fatter,
age gives us plain excuse for present shame;
we live with meanings hidden in the chatter.

The truths that we have learned will one day shatter,
and we shall be extinguished with the flame --
a million memories on each heart batter.

Tomorrow we will think of the mad hatter
and all he said to the young future dame:
we live with meanings hidden in the chatter.

We think that what we do will surely matter
that life's much more than a most subtle game.
A million memories on each heart batter,
we live with meanings hidden in the chatter.

#277 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 08:16 PM:

Bruce, #251, no, I didn't know that was where you worked! I'd played church organs for years, so I was used to the stops and pedals and such (I always played best barefoot), but it was neat to play a real pipe organ. The teacher was thrilled to have someone who already had some knowledge. It belonged to the church associated with the college.

#278 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 09:45 PM:

Turkey Get a Clue Department...

========================================
[and email to info@johnkerry.com BOUNCES...


From:
Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2007 9:23 PM
Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure)

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients failed.

info@johnkerry.com

======================
To:
Subject: Regarding "Leonardo DiCaprio --11th Hour"

I very nearly deleted the email with the subject like "11th Hour" from the sender "Leonardo DiCaprio" expecting that it was SPAM.

If your people want email to NOT get thrown into the electronic garbage can, please get a few clues about using COMMON SENSE for emailing (and please get RID of the SPYING that tries to stick PEEPHOLES on people's computers when visiting Sen Kerry's website! Talk about SPYING on people, do you REALLY need to put tags on visitor;s computers that stay until 2037?! How would you like it if you walked into a store and someone injected an RF ID tag into your butt the instant you walked in the door to TRACK you? That is in effect what a "cookie" does.. somehow I do NOT think that Samuel Adams, John Hancock, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, etc., would approve or consider it anything but offensive and indecent and uncivil!):

1. Spammers and malicious emails often claim to be from celebrities... there are such noxiousnesses as "Britney Spear goes bra-less" on the "From" line... so anytime I get email purporting to be from a celebrity when I have not subscribed to any mailing list from that celebrity, I suspect it's spam...

2. The title "11th Hour" is the sort of thing that a spammer or malicous email generator would use for a subject line.

3. There is NOTHING in either the FROM line or the subject line to indicate that this apparent piece of SPAM or malicious email actually is from johnkerry.com for people who are subscribed to the johnkerry.com mailing list.

4. If it looks like spam or a malicious message, MOST people are going to delete it sight unseen and unread, assuming that it gets through their anti-spam filters in the first place.

5. Therefore, this message is NOT effective... and whoever presumable got PAID to generate it, is an incompent who should never have been hired to woek on any email campaign in the first place, the person does NOT have CLUE about email and NETIQUETTE. You would be FAR better off to contact e.g. Daniel Dern and Bobbie Fox, two constituents of Sen Kerry, Daniel is a long time computer trade journalist and author of articles and books about the Internet, Bobbi does website design and such, instead of whatever highly overpaid and overrated incompetents came up with the incredibly STUPID idea of using Leonardo DiCaprio's name on the FROM line and "11th Hour" as the subject line for any email you expected anyone to actually LOOK at, instead of identifying the email as being from johnkerry.com and a title that would make it clear that the email is neither spam NOT malicious!

#279 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 10:01 PM:

#274 ::: bryan

question on the proper setting of a science fiction time: if the time that a science fiction story is being set in presupposes technical differences from the present so different that they are in the 'looks like magic' dept. should it be so far in the future that the characters and their reactions to the technology as being the way things are do not need to relate to how things are today; in other words so far in the future that all of us can be presupposed dead?

If possible, make it "transparent." That is, if it's ordinary to the characters, then try to avoid doing -technical- descriptions unless the viewpoint character deals with the tech guts and likes talking about it... instead, describe the effects. The classic was something like Heinlein writing that a door dilated. The more one tried to do detailed technical description of somethinng that doesn't exist and one doesn't have a technical clue about, the worse the results tend to be as far as contributing to the willing suspension of disbelief instead of exploding it....


Note that this is not the same thing as asking if we will live in a future with technology that seems magical to us, we surely will, but from a story told now should with technology that would be magical to us now for the sake of suspension of disbelief should the time be far enough from now to get rid of the question of how people now would feel about this magical technology?

Concentrate on the story. Conventions in SF include "assume that supraluminal travel exists." Note that e.g. C. J. Cherry doesn't go into detail about jump engines generally, only that they exist, and focuses on some of the effects of it on people and hani. Schmitz in The Witches of Karres described the Sheewash Drive as "something you have to do yourself" I think it was, said by one of the three girls, and Captain Pausert got a brief glimpse of something metal they were using.

One makes nonexistent technology in fiction or fact [government contract proposals....] by describing the effects and what can be done with it....

#280 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 10:39 PM:

Holy Crap:

Government Training Clergy to "quell dissent."

'A KSLA-TV news report from Louisiana has confirmed the story that Clergy Response Teams are being trained by the federal government to "quell dissent" and pacify citizens to obey the government in the event of a declaration of martial law.

The report confirms the existence of a nationwide Homeland Security program which is training pastors and other religious representatives to teach their congregations to "obey the government" in preparation for a declaration of martial law.

A whistleblower who attended one of the training sessions reports that the feds were recruiting religious leaders to help implement government Homeland Security directives in anticipation of a terrorist attack or a nationally declared emergency.'

The first directive was for pastors to preach to their congregations Romans 13, the often taken out of context bible passage that was used by Hitler to hoodwink Christians into supporting him, in order to teach them to "obey the government" when martial law is declared.

It was stressed that the pastors needed to preach subservience to the authorities ahead of time in preparation for the round-ups and to make it clear to the congregation that "this is for their own good."

#281 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 12:45 AM:

That subthread on software development whetted my apetite for the subject. So rather than just have it die off, I'm continuing it on my blog. The initial post of an occasional series is up here.

#282 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 01:53 AM:

Were I as talented, or as persistent, as some of the other folks hereabouts, I might have been able to come up with something clever to say about "videogrames". I'm not, though, and I haven't.

The rest of you are free to have a go, if you want.

#283 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 03:18 AM:

nerdycellist @ 255: How sad that this instrument never became standard in the recording studio. I'm thinking specifically of tv shows that have been cheaply scored; the great swells of fake strings during dramatic moments are really jarring.

I think of that sort of thing as "the Mighty Wurlitzer meets the Uncanny Valley."

While the keyboard-centric MIDI protocol has held back controller design to some extent, there are electronic instruments out there capable of expressive performance. I just bought a wind controller (new toy, oh-way-oh), and for a mere gazillion dollars you can snag a Haken Continuum and get your finger vibrato on.

Xopher @ 271: Coolest instrument EVAH.

They didn't even show one of my favorite things: the bizarre collection of custom speaker cabinets incorporating springs and gongs for additional timbral wackiness.

That said, they also didn't mention that they're fragile enough that you have to travel with two. In fact, I remember hearing that there was a Martenot breakdown during the SFS's Turangalîla (not on the night I was there, though). I highly recommend seeing that if your local orchestra ever puts it on; it's a ravishing piece (Boulez called it "whorehouse music," so you know it's got to be good), and it's much easier to hear the cool stuff the Martenot is doing live than on record. And in our case the Martenot player gave a great pre-concert demo.

finally found a place that sells a kind of modern knock-off, but you really have to dig to find the price, and it's not clear they'll actually sell you one.

I assume you mean this. I don't know anything about that unit, but the company is real and sells stuff.

#284 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:02 AM:

About what bryan said at #274... Would a society where technology looks like magic to us be even easier to knock off its feet than ours is?

#285 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:28 AM:

Stefan @#280, that is really disturbing if true. I would like more substantiation than I'm getting from Google News.

#286 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:50 AM:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is resigning today.

I'm going to grill me a steak for dinner tonight!!

#287 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:57 AM:

Lila #285: The KSLA-12 TV news report seems to confirm it, although who knows how many layers you'd have to dig through to get the truth: Homeland Security Enlists Clergy to Quell Public Unrest if Martial Law Ever Declared

#289 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:41 AM:

nerdycellist,

Speaking of new instruments, the Media Lab at MIT has a group that investigates user interfaces to music, called the Hyperinstruments or Opera of the Future Group. You can't buy these things (unless you want to give the Lab a substantial endowment, I guess), but some of them are very cool. Here's the Hyperstrings page, which might appeal to a cello player.

#290 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:45 AM:

Adrian @ #288: I was looking for confirmation of the "clergy response teams trained to keep people in line during martial law" story, not the Gonzales resignation. Gonzales is all over the wire; the clergy story seems only to have been carried by one Louisiana TV station and copied by other sources.

#291 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:04 AM:

"Clergy Response Teams"

And how do non-CHRISTIAN clergy feel about this?... or for that matter, Christian clergy who believe in tolerance and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights and religious freedom etc.?

The KHerISTIAN Fascist Coalition, turning the USA into a kleptotheocracy....

#292 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:18 AM:

Well, at least now we know the results from the Faith-Based Initiative Program....

#293 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Last night my husband and I watched an interesting duo on cable TV (only missing 15 minutes of the second one when we switched stations after the first): 21,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Independence Day. Despite the obligatory Mad Scientist organ solo in League, James Mason/Nemo came across as a justly cynical former idealist and ultimate tragic martyr for the cause of peace, with Kirk Douglas as the irritating American yahoo (despite his interesting "odd couple" scenes with Peter Lorre, which should play well in the Castro). As for Independence Day, a mere 11 years old, a lot of it seems unintentionally poignant -- shots of the twin towers (before the squid aliens demolish NYC) and a faith in good old American know-how and massive bombing attacks to save the day (once the hunk hacker has done his job). The president there may look like San Francisco's current mayor, but I wonder if his exploits sent GWB into a wet dream that ended up with that flight deck "Mission Accomplished!" nonsense.

I was an infant when 20,000 Leagues first came out, so it took several viewings for me to realize how close Hiroshima was in memory back when it was made -- less than a decade. And despite the pet seal and Kirk's singing, it doesn't seem much like a typical Disney film.

#294 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:41 AM:

Earl Cooley @ 292... Faith-Based Initiative Program

Cue in Ephrem Zimbalist announcing that the TV show they're about to watch is Effff... Bee... Eye

#295 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:27 AM:

Lila--aw, geez. Please accept my apologies. :(

#296 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:36 AM:

#278 ::: Paula Lieberman
[frustrated by spam]

Let's say I make money from companies hiring me to generate and send spam. I tell them that people will follow links in hopes of dating movie stars, or whatever. I don't care if you as spamee have a program that deletes it, or if you ever see it more than fleetingly as you hit the "Trash" button, as I've been paid. If some do follow, that's gravy.

Sadly, anyone you reach with attempts at feedback is not going to care.

#297 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 12:55 PM:

Carol #296

I expect that the message really was endorsed by the Celebrity in the particular case, as opposed to spam that uses a celebrity name the way that the Weekly World News used Batboy and tabloids use Diana once Princess of Wales, Lindsay Lohan, Brad Pitt, etc.

Unlike tabloid covers, however, spam is NOT "opt out" in the sense of not having the tabloid shoved into the shopping bag you take home like it or not....

#298 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 01:14 PM:

Having returned from Montana, sans the college sophomore, with the impression that more of the state is burned than left whole. With, also, a desire to spend very much more time in the hot pool at the Spa Motel in White Sulphur Springs.

I hereby declare myself irreparably behind on everything and thence more clueless than usual, even.

(The news of Gonzalez resignation has made the morning sweet).

#299 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 01:47 PM:

Carol (#296) I thought Paula's problem there (#278) was a genuine, informative mass-mailing that made itself look like spam. I hope they spelt it OK, that's one of the big suspicion markers for me, along with weird grammar.

Awoken by blasted helicopter manouevres[sp?] happening over Central Sydney 'tonight' (it's 0345, people!). Ruddy APEC. Now will try to sleep again so I can function at work & beyond later today. *Grumble* I s'pose it could be a 'police operation', but we've had days of helicopters buzzing us and motorcade rehearsals blocking off streets, so that's a first reaction now.

#300 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 01:57 PM:

#299 Mez
Carol (#296) I thought Paula's problem there (#278) was a genuine, informative mass-mailing that made itself look like spam.

That's it, exactly.

#301 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 03:27 PM:

Today's Girl Genius begins with Kaja and Phil Foglio introducing an apocryphal adventure of Agatha Heterodyne, "Revenge of the Weasel Queen". I ferret's going to go downhill very fast.

#302 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 03:42 PM:

more fun with Wikiscanner: Somebody from an IP address associated with the American Enterprise Institute last September added "f*** this turd" to the section of Mike Bloomberg's Wikipedia page discussing same-sex marriage.

#303 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Serge #301: Moderation! I demand moderation!

#304 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 04:31 PM:

ethan @ 303... Your demand will be met with otter contempt.

#305 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Serge 304: I have no respect for the rights of otters, I admit.

#306 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 04:59 PM:

Xopher... I will consider mongoose cooked only if Teresa says so. Then my fate will be sealed.

#307 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 05:14 PM:

Serge, you're just trying to weasel out.

#308 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 05:16 PM:

John Houghton @ 307... I walrus-pectfully ignore that comment.

#309 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 05:18 PM:

T'ermine'ate the mustelid puns.

#310 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 05:20 PM:

Serge, it's a good thing that Teresa isn't running an underground fur farm down in one of those really cold formerly sealed coal shaft-and-human-made-cave facilities in the Appalachins-- or you'dd be liable to being covered in her mine. And as for the sealed fate, if you take that faulty laptop when you visit some old sailing port with noisy sea mammals that has replica ships, beware of splinters from timber that wasn't completely planed of the outer layers and isn't smooth, with the splinters and all the noise, the bark is much worse than the byte....

#311 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 05:29 PM:

Xopher @ 305, I hope Rivka can persuade or teach you better than that.

#312 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 05:36 PM:

Great humming polecats!

Republican Senator joins B.J.'s Warehouse

"Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8."

#313 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 05:54 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 310... Teresa isn't running an underground fur farm

I thought that, like most editors, she did run such a farm, although in her basement if not in the Appalachians. The Basement of Doctor Teresa sounds pretty scary, like something out of Howard Waldrop's mind. Hmm... I suddenly feel (sea)cowed and shall refrain from punning.

#314 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Serge wrote

I thought that, like most editors, she did run such a farm, although in her basement if not in the Appalachians. The Basement of Doctor Teresa sounds pretty scary, like something out of Howard Waldrop's mind. Hmm... I suddenly feel (sea)cowed and shall refrain from punning.

Didn't you know that down in the basement, she's been thinking about starting up a new convention on a Mediterranen island, called Concrete?

#315 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 06:08 PM:

Paula et. al.

Ah, I see. Sorry.

#316 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 06:09 PM:

Stefan #312

http://www.ontheissues.org/Senate/Craig_Thomas.htm

What did the apparent hypocrite get caught presumably with his pants at least partly undone, doing, I wonder?

And will this get him out of the US Senate, I hope?, after a censure, or will he even get censured?

#317 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Paula #316: TPM Election Central has more details about the actual allegations. It sounds mostly plausibly deniable to me -- put his suitcase down in front of the stall door, tapped his foot, touched another guy's foot with his own, and flashed his hand below the stall wall. Of course, it's hard to keep up a pretense of being fully innocent after pleading guilty, not to mention apparently trying to pull rank to get out of trouble.

#318 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Can I have my underground fur-farm coat martinized?

#319 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 07:11 PM:

Terry, # 318
Can I have my underground fur-farm coat martinized?

Don't do with the Pinesol, though.

===========
#317 Todd (thanks)

How about a Dating Service for outed Republicraps--match e.g. the senator with Ted Haggarty....

#320 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 07:14 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) writes: "Also there's a certain irony in you, who do not* capitalize your nom d'net, grousing about others' quirks of capitalization."

It's an alias derived by abbreviating of my full legal name, and I'm pretty sure there isn't a useful distinction between the capitalized version and the all lower-case version. If there were, I'd be really annoyed about it.

There is (or at least, there has been) a useful distinction between the capitalized and non-capitalized version of Internet, i.e. between the Internet and the various other internets which are not the Internet.

I maintain that Wired, by making this change, is smudging that distinction. I'd offer a wild paranoid conspiracy theory to explain why Wired might do this, but it's so dumb that even I can't relate it with a straight face. I think Wired has just decided that what the capitalization has traditionally signaled isn't comprehensible to their audience, much less all that important, and they've tossed it, probably without thinking much about the consequences. That doesn't mean there won't be consequences if this construction takes hold.

For what it's worth, I saw this change coming a few years ago and started referring to the Internet as "the public Internet" in my technical correspondence. It tends to make the messages wordier than I would like, and it hasn't caught on yet, but it does eliminate the ambiguity. Perhaps, it will catch on if I stop capitalizing the 'I' like those sooperhipsters at Wired have chosen to do.

#321 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 07:20 PM:

j h 320: I don't know of any other internets. Could you elucidate?

The private ones are usually called VPNs or intranets.

Or are you being sarky and I'm missing the joke?

#322 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 07:28 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 314... Didn't you know that down in the basement, she's been thinking about starting up a new convention on a Mediterranen island, called Concrete?

Plus or Minos Patrick? Without him, Delos is great and I should probably stop before I embarass myself and have people think I am from Crete.

#323 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 07:39 PM:

Xopher #321, I'm not j h, but I'll take a shot at it anyway.

Back in the olden days (after the days of yore, but before yesteryear), before TCP/IP was ubiquitous, there were lots of different networking protocols. They differed in all sorts of ways, from the lowest physical levels (how many volts are on the wires) up to the highest levels (what word processor file format do you use?), and somewhat bizarrely to our current minds all those things were generally assumed to go together.

That is, you'd run a Banyan Vines network over Token Ring with Type 1 Connectors, using the Vines addressing system. Or you'd run a Network Novell network over Ethernet with 10-base-2 in a ring configuration. Or you'd run AppleTalk over twisted pair with a star/hub configuration. If you changed any of those things, you'd be expected to change all of them, and you'd have an entirely different network.

Any attempt to get two or more of these networks talking to one another was an internetworking project. The end result, if it was at all successful, was an internetwork, or just an internet.

#324 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Oh, and yes— for the record— I do regard Irony as one of the principle virtues.

#325 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 07:43 PM:

ZOMG. How's this for a candidate for most ridiculous Wikipedia edit ever... on the page for Irony, you will currently find the following header:

This article appears to contradict itself. Please see the discussion on the talk page.
Um...

#326 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:06 PM:

Quick question: I have 3 Barbara Pym books in a binding: Excellent Women, Jane and Prudence, and An Unsuitable Attachment. I can't seem to get that into the first. Is it worth reading any of them, or should I just consign the book to the to-be-given-away pile?

#327 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:12 PM:

Nancy #326: I suspect if you can't get into Excellent Women you may as well stop there. I re-read Pym regularly and that's probably my favorite.

I mean [from memory, not checking for precise wording], "love must be like having a large white rabbit suddenly thrust into your arms"? Who can resist it?

#328 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:16 PM:

Open thread complaint registry: I'm a late convert to Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series, and I object. There's only one copy of Yendi listed as owned in the entire Hawaii State Library system, and it's been tagged as lost in the catalog.

This is not good. Once I'm involved in a series I don't like to miss one, yet apparently I'm going to have to.

#329 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:22 PM:

Xopher @ 321 asks: "I don't know of any other internets. Could you elucidate? The private ones are usually called VPNs or intranets. Or are you being sarky and I'm missing the joke?"

I'm not being snarky, and it's not a joke. Todd Larason @ 323 explains the more archaic usage of "internets" in the plural form as a way of distinguishing IP-based internets from others, e.g. Appletalk, ISO, et cetera. I was thinking of a different distinction— admittedly a pretty technical one— that's relevant to people like me in the Internet engineering community, i.e. the distinction between the public Internet including the default-free zone and the transit networks operating as common carriers, and the various private internets that you often see referred to as "intranets" or "B2B networks" or what-have-you. It's important to us because we like to think we're documenting standards for the operation of the public Internet as opposed to the various internets that aren't public.

This more modern usage is basically the result of carrying forward the definition you find in RFC 1392 (written in January 1993 and quite dated now):


internet: While an internet is a network, the term "internet" is usually used to refer to a collection of networks interconnected with routers. See also: network.

Internet: (note the capital "I") The Internet is the largest internet in the world. Is a three level hierarchy composed of backbone networks (e.g., NSFNET, MILNET), mid-level networks, and stub networks. The Internet is a multiprotocol internet. See also: backbone, mid-level network, stub network, transit network, Internet Protocol, Corporation for Research and Educational Networks, National Science Foundation.
What the Internet was in 1993 is still more or less what it is today: a multiprotocol internet (it's both IPv4 and IPv6 now). It's just much larger and the pieces are owned and operated by a more diverse collection of players. You can still see this convention in use by reading more recent IETF documents. Culturally, we still cling to this distinction.

One of the interesting and arcane bits of controversy in the IETF these days sorta revolves around whether the idea of a "public" Internet makes any sense now. Some folks think it's time to recognize that the thing is all privately owned and operated from the top all the way down. Even the DNS root and the BGP default-free zone are just their own weird domains with unusual operating principles. Certainly, some people will never need them. Maybe, none of us do? That seems to be the thinking.

Or, do we? Perhaps, there is something to be said for having a single global root of the public DNS namespace, and a single global addressing and routing system. I would say so, but I don't think the nice folks at Wired magazine were thinking about that issue when they decided to "clean up" their orthographic conventions.

In any case, I'll soon have to be qualifying the word 'internet' with the adjective 'public' if I expect anybody to know that I'm really talking about the three-level hierarchy of backbone, transit and service provider networks that actually connect the Public together, as opposed to the internet qua internetworking system, embodied in the protocol specifications, the running code and the rough consensus about how nodes and routers are supposed to function together going forward.

#330 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:27 PM:

side particle: Miss South Carolina answers a question.

My gawd, my head is spinning, spinning, faster, spinning, I think it's going to explode, make it stop, it's gonna blow,

IIEEEeeee-yaaarrggghh!!!!

#331 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:34 PM:

Xopher @ 321 asks: "I don't know of any other internets. Could you elucidate? The private ones are usually called VPNs or intranets. Or are you being sarky and I'm missing the joke?"

I'm not being snarky, and it's not a joke. Todd Larason @ 323 explains the more archaic usage of "internets" in the plural form as a way of distinguishing IP-based internets from others, e.g. Appletalk, ISO, et cetera. I was thinking of a different distinction— admittedly a pretty technical one— that's relevant to people like me in the Internet engineering community, i.e. the distinction between the public Internet including the default-free zone and the transit networks operating as common carriers, and the various private internets that you often see referred to as "intranets" or "B2B networks" or what-have-you. It's important to us because we like to think we're documenting standards for the operation of the public Internet as opposed to the various internets that aren't public.

This more modern usage is basically the result of carrying forward the meaning described in RFC 1983 (written in 1993, updated in 1996, and now showing some age):


internet: While an internet is a network, the term "internet" is usually used to refer to a collection of networks interconnected with routers. See also: network.

Internet: (note the capital "I") The Internet is the largest internet in the world. Is a three level hierarchy composed of backbone networks (e.g. Ultranet), mid-level networks (e.g., NEARnet) and stub networks. The Internet is a multiprotocol internet. See also: backbone, mid-level network, stub network, transit network, Internet Protocol.
What the Internet was in 1996 is still more or less what it is today: a multiprotocol internet (it's both IPv4 and IPv6 now). It's just much larger and the pieces are owned and operated by a more diverse collection of players. You can still see this convention in use by reading more recent IETF documents. Culturally, we still cling to this distinction.

One of the interesting and arcane bits of controversy in the IETF these days sorta revolves around whether the idea of a "public" Internet makes any sense now. Some folks think it's time to recognize that the thing is all privately owned and operated from the top all the way down. Even the DNS root and the BGP default-free zone are just their own weird domains with unusual operating principles. Certainly, some people will never need them. Maybe, none of us do? That seems to be the thinking.

Or, do we? Perhaps, there is something to be said for having a single global root of the public DNS namespace, and a single global addressing and routing system. I would say so, but I don't think the nice folks at Wired magazine were thinking about that issue when they decided to "clean up" their orthographic conventions.

In any case, I'll soon have to be qualifying the word 'internet' with the adjective 'public' if I expect anybody to know that I'm really talking about the three-level hierarchy of backbone, transit and service provider networks that actually connect the Public together, as opposed to the internet qua internetworking system, embodied in the protocol specifications, the running code and the rough consensus about how nodes and routers are supposed to function together going forward.

#332 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:35 PM:

I don't know how that happened, but #329 shouldn't have been posted. Read #331 instead.

#333 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 08:51 PM:

Linkmeister, re Yendi: it's been put in an omnibus called _The Book of Jhereg_, which I'm pretty sure is still in print.

#334 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:01 PM:

TexAnne, thanks. Alas, even under that name the library doesn't have it. Hmm. I guess I'll have to hit the used book shops.

#335 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:25 PM:

bryan@274: depends on what you want in the story. IMO, Vernor Vinge characters are excessively blase' about their tech -- but there's a story in the Boucher anthology (hence >50 years old) in which the punchline is the editor complaining that the time traveler couldn't have found future people to be so blase'. Reactions are more appropriate for an abrupt dislocation -- you could make a story about that -- where the Ralph 124C41+ of everybody marveling at the quotidian doesn't fly in modern SF.

#336 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:40 PM:

bryan @274: Not a direct response, but your question reminded me of an account by Edmund Carptenter in his book Oh, what a blow that phantom gave me!. He was an anthropologist, and a contemporary of Marshall McLuhan in Toronto (worked on constructing the Toronto subway during the 50's). He described an isolated island group that had been contacted (during the 30's?), and the initial contacts were filmed. 30 years later, these same people are shown the films of those early contacts. They have had 30 years of absorbing the wider world culture; they saw the images of themselves 30 years earlier and refused to believe they were the same people.

At least, that's how the story was told...

#337 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:46 PM:

That should be 'Edmund Carpenter'...

#338 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:50 PM:

j h: Thanks, that's exactly the information I didn't have. (But 'sarky' wasn't a typo for 'snarky'; it's (British?) short for 'sarcastic'.)

#339 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 09:51 PM:

Argggh, and only after hitting Post did I realize I should have said it was nasty, British, and short.

#340 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:30 PM:

Rob@336: They have had 30 years of absorbing the wider world culture; they saw the images of themselves 30 years earlier and refused to believe they were the same people.

I think that's a standard human development feature in most folks. We respond to the world through the filter of our personal worldview. We track and follow changes that occur as registered by that worldview.

We have little capacity for seeing our worldview itself, though, so we have little capacity to see it change.

Psychologists testing children for their capacity to understand the volume of water being held in different shaped glasses saw similar results in as little as one year. The experiment involved something like pouring a glass of water into tall/skinny container, and then pouring the same glass of water into a short/fat container, and then asking kids to identify which container held more water. Kids who failed generally said the tall glass held more water. They'd tape the experiment, kids would fail the test. A year later, they give the same kids the same test. Then they'd take the kids who passed and show them the tape from last year where they failed. The kids would generally make accusations that the tape was photoshopped or CGI or something. They could not believe it they had failed something that seemed so obvious to them now.

They had no experience, no memory, of their worldview changing, of their brain rewiring, so that it could suddenly register the concept of "volume" that could be independent of "height". As far as the kids were concerned, they hadn't changed in the previous 12 months.

But the tapes were clear that they had.

#341 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 10:34 PM:

j h @320: It's an alias derived by abbreviating of my full legal name, and I'm pretty sure there isn't a useful distinction between the capitalized version and the all lower-case version. If there were, I'd be really annoyed about it.

According to a certain species of lunatic, a name in all capital letters does not refer to a person but to a government-created artificial person.

Yeah, I don't know either.

#342 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:08 PM:

Greg London: Geez, I still can't judge volume independent of height. Ask me anything remotely spatial and I'll give you the wackiest wrong answer you never imagined possible.

To this day, for instance, I have no idea what room in my parents' house is underneath the bedroom I grew up in. If I think real hard, I might remember being told which one it is, but I could never figure it out on my own.

I still don't understand how the streets in my current neighborhood (of two years) meet up the way they do. I know they do, through practice, but it makes no sense to me.

#343 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Ethan, I'm the same way. I have mental maps of my town, but they don't connect at all. I'd never notice if a house had an extradimensional room added on; I have to think to connect 'window I look out of' with 'window on the side of the house as I walk by'.

I was once a test subject for a friend of the family's undergrad child-psych project. She had me, at seven, and a younger friend do the water thing. I remember realizing that wider glasses held more around that age-- I felt very smart-- and sort of remember not knowing that. But I had younger siblings, so what I knew was also defined by what they didn't know yet; it wasn't something everyone knew, so I might not have felt weird acknowledging that I didn't.
Or maybe I am creating a false memory of that. Memory is so much fun.

#344 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 12:09 AM:

I remember, in first grade, thinking that my money -- a big pile of assorted coins -- was more in some indefinable way when spread out in a glittering heap then neatly and compactly piled into nickels, dimes and such. It seemed to me that the heap had to have more buying power . . .

#345 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 12:39 AM:

I woodchuck all you punsters overboard if I didn't think it would make me look shrewish.

#346 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 12:44 AM:

Strange how my response to the Miss South Carolina particle is so perfectly summed up by the particle two before it.

#347 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 12:52 AM:

Greg, please tell me what the deal with the SC beauty is. Verizon hasn't talked to me in five days now and I still don't have an IP address. I'm on dial-up.

I'm behind with the WashPost, and I found a couple of interesting things:

In the process of a free speech suit, the ACLU managed to get the "Presidential Advance Manual" in which not only are volunteers at each speaking site supposed to keep protestors out of the sight of the president and the press, but they're supposed to have "rally squads" to out-shout protestors or maneuver them out of the way. The specificity is amazing.

The WashPost has a columnist named Dana Milbank who writes "Washington Sketch" most days. It's a political column and he adds some humor to it. This piece is a mash-up of Congress & the White House and Batman. Exceedingly funny. (A lot of people who write the Post think this column should be op-ed, but the humor is bipartisan.)

#348 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 12:54 AM:

Jen Roth @341, I've heard of them. Aren't they related to the species of lunatic who believes that U.S. flags sporting gold fringe are some kind of false flag?

#349 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 01:01 AM:

Gold fringe doesn't make a flag a false flag; that would just be insane. It's simply that any court with such a flag is showing itself to be an Admiralty Court and thus operating under civil law rather than common law and thus has no lawful constitutional jurisdiction. See how much more reasonable that is?

#350 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 01:03 AM:

Astonishing: the Miss West Carolina video (the (also) in TNH's particle). I mean, the video itself is utter genius on many levels, but then I poked around at some of her others and for one thing, girl is British (amazing accent work on the "West Carolina" character!), and for another thing, she has a hilarious video called Becoming Miss West Carolina, where she claims to use "makeup wipes" to become "instantly more beautiful" and to "lighten hair." I'm deep in the throes of being totally impressed.

#351 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 06:04 AM:

Tania @ 345...I woodchuck all you punsters overboard if I didn't think it would make me look shrewish.

Mouse this go on?

#352 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 06:35 AM:

j h woodyatt @ #325:

This article appears to contradict itself. Please see the discussion on the talk page.

You didn't, I take it.

(See the discussion on the talk page, I mean. It seems entirely reasonable to me.)

#353 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 07:14 AM:

Submission advice?

1. if the guidelines don't specify a font & size, what's a good default? I generally do TNR, but 10 points seems uncomfortably small and 12 points seems annoyingly large. 11 seems iconoclastic.*

2. if the guidelines don't specify a word count, should I include it anyway? I'm at the very short end of the magazine's acceptable range.

*I realize I have succumbed to authorial insanity at this point.

#354 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 08:02 AM:

Hi to the fluorosphere from Burning Man. I wasn't planning to be much online this week, but since I'm awake at 5am.

The odd event that just happened here was the Man burned Monday (early Tuesday, technically). Signs point to arson, because it happened right as totality started in the eclipse. I was up for that, and didn't quite notice that the Man was on fire until it hit me "he's colored green this year, not orange."

In fandom terms, this would be like both the Hugo winner data being released days early and all the masquerade costumes lost in an odd accident.

#355 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 08:06 AM:

Mary Dell, I'd go with 12-point, since it's easier to read, and put the word count on.

#356 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 08:37 AM:

269: Just popping my head round the corner to say I ATEN'T DEAD.

Or, as Emma Goldman would have said, "if I can't pun, I don't want to be part of your fluorosphere".

#357 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 08:48 AM:

ajay #356: You ATE the DEAD?!? Zombie thread redux...

#358 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 09:06 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 354... In fandom terms, this would be like both the Hugo winner data being released days early and all the masquerade costumes lost in an odd accident.

Considering your campaigning for a worldcon combined with Burning Man, we could wind up with the Man burning prematurely plus the Hugo winner data being released days early and all the masquerade costumes lost in an odd accident.

#359 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 10:50 AM:

Marilee @ 347:

During a pageant, Miss Teen South Carolina was asked why so many Americans couldn't locate the US on a map. Here's a transcript of her answer (swiped from metafilter):

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because...ah some...people out there in our nation don't have maps and...ah...I believe that eh-education such as in South Africa and the Iraq everywhere like such as and I believe that they should....our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or-or should help south Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for our gen..."

She later said that she had misunderstood the question. She got into the finals anyway.

#360 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 11:02 AM:

Serge @ 358

Or perhaps the Man, Burning, draped in all the costumes, and holding a Hugo.


Come to think of it, has anyone ever nicknamed the Burning Man Gully?

#361 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 360... Or maybe someone steals all the outfits that were going to be used in the Regency Dance, not knowing that this means incurring the Wrath of Susan.

#362 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 12:30 PM:

You may recall that Peter Jackson was talking of a remake of "The Dambusters"

This YouTube video might really confuse him..

#363 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Hey, everybody, go look at the new BoingBoing, starring TNH as the Moderator!

#364 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 12:52 PM:

We had a great view of totality here in Hawaii. (OK, clouds kept coming and going, but clear patches kept coming back around the moon.) I woke the boy up near midnight just before it went total, when there was still a crescent of light on one edge beside the glowing red face. He came outside, looked up at the moon, said "Huh", and trotted back in to bed. I was afraid he wouldn't remember it but he did.

On a completely different note, Boing-boing readers should check out the "New Boing-Boing" page today. If you read it all the way down, you'll see that they're bring back comments, with Teresa as moderator. WOOT!

#365 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 12:54 PM:

TexAnne: Jinx!

#366 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 01:15 PM:

Todd Larason #349: If you want a really weird world-view look up the League of Pace Amendment Advocates.

#367 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 01:24 PM:

Whoa, cool, Teresa!

#368 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 01:28 PM:

Congratulations, Teresa!

#369 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 01:29 PM:

ethan@342: I still can't judge volume independent of height.

If I recall correctly, this was a rather basic test. Pour water from a pitcher into regular glass A until A is full. Then pour water from A into a tall skinny glass B. Then refill A till full, and pour into a short, fat glass C. The kids were then asked something like "Which glass currently has more water in it?"

I believe the point was to test whether the kids had the capacity to hold the sequence of events in their mind so that it was clear that B and C must have the same amount of water, regardless of shape.

If they don't have that capacity, then it becomes a purely visual test, looking at B and C without any knowledge that they both contain "A" amount of water.

The thing that makes it interesting is that a kid who failed the test would watch a kid who passed the test and it would seem like magic. The kid who passed the test would probably more often than not, be unable to explain it to the kid who failed so that the failing kid could pass a similar test. The point where the kid who failed suddenly can pass is almost a moment of satori, where the same koan is senseless before, but brilliance after.

The filter through which we view the world is to us like water to fish.

#370 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Marilee@347,

Sharon posted a transcript at 359. The thing is that the text doesn't quite transmit the same level of pain that the video does. It was pretty clear to me that she didn't understand the question, but as happens when people get on stage, their brain prioritizes "looking good" over "making waves". So, she started to answer before she understood, at which point she could not stop without making it more obvious that she started talking before she knew what she was talking about.

#371 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 01:51 PM:

Nancy CM #326:

Consign. (To the briny deep would be my choice.) I had _Excellent Women_ sitting round taking up shelf space for nigh on ten years. I swear, I really swear, that I tried *three* times to get into it, and each time I got annoyed.

#372 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:11 PM:

Clifton @ #364, I was outside at 11:20pm when the eclipse was about halfway across. As befits the incurable optimist in me, I had my Canon A-1 SLR (film camera) out and braced myself on the car and took a few shots. The automatic shutter speed was about 3 seconds. We'll see.

Kudos to the Advertiser for the series of pictures Jeff Widener made.

#373 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:13 PM:

I thought Miss South Carolina did a pretty good job of answering immediately-- are they allowed to think for a moment?-- and spending a few words saying nothing. Looking intelligent while talking until you figure out what you want to say is a skill, just not one we like to know we need.

#374 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Congrats, Teresa.

#375 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Serge #329: That sort of thing can only lead to Chios.

#376 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:45 PM:

Fragano @366 -- pointers for the Pace Amendment folks? All I can find in a few minutes Googling is that they were racists who wanted to repeal the 14th amendment, which is odious but not particularly weird.

#377 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Greg London #369: Oh. I think I could do that. But if you had tall-skinny glass A and short-fat glass B both full of water at the same time, I would probably start talking about maps of South Africa.

#378 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:50 PM:

I join in the congratulations, Teresa.

They won't know what hit them until it's too late.

#379 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:50 PM:

Todd Larason #376: It's the text of the 'amendment' that's weird. I can't find it online, but it specified what ancestries, and what share of ancestries, would be permitted to reside in the US (excluding, in the process, any Native Americans).

#380 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:57 PM:

fidelio 378: On the contrary, I think they'll know exactly what hit them, and exactly why they were hit. Arbitrary and capricious Saint Teresa the Luminous is not.

Congratulations, Teresa!

#381 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 03:11 PM:

Fragano @379: Ahh, interesting. The full text would be in James Pace's "Amending the Constitution" http://www.amazon.com/dp/0961526807 it seems, but I don't think I'm willing to spend even $.60 for it, and neither Amazon nor Google has it digitized.

A family member used to be on both Lyndon LaRouche and the John Birch Society's mailing lists. Those were fun days.

#382 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Todd Larason #381: I was sent a copy of the amendment years ago, when I was a wire service stringer, and was astonished.

I found the core text, btw: "No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non- Hispanic white of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro blood, nor more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or nonwhite blood, provided that Hispanic whites, defined as anyone with an Hispanic ancestor, may be citizens if, in addition to meeting the aforesaid ascertainable trace and percentage tests, they are in appearance indistinguishable from Americans whose ancestral home is in the British Isles or Northwest Europe. Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States."

#383 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 08:08 PM:

Linkmeister @372

I shot a few frames on the digital, and was getting pretty significant motion blur at 4 seconds on a 160mm effective focal length. (On a tripod). Then again, there was also some significant foggy haze that cut down the contrast here (Whidbey, WA), so even if I were to stop the moon in it's tracks, it wouldn't have had a lot of definition. (Such as I was seeing before the eclipse, where I was metering at ISO 100, F8, 1/100 sec.)

#384 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 08:16 PM:

Ugh, Fragano. Although the court cases would be interesting for a while at least. Would a person of Hispanic descent (whatever that means) merely need to find one person of British descent (again, whatever that means) whom they superficially resemble? Or would it need to be all people of British and NW European descent? Or does 'indistinguishable' really mean that, and only identical cousins may apply?

#385 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 08:37 PM:

Regarding the particle about Miss Teen South Carolina...

Some folks might want to read the rest of the story.

Upton was taking her flubbed answer - and the attention - in stride.

"Everything did come at me at once. I was overwhelmed and I made a mistake. Everybody makes a mistake. I'm human," she said Tuesday. "I seriously think I only heard about one or two words of the actual question."
Upton's former principal Creig Tyler remembered her as a well-rounded student.
"She took college-prep and honors courses and performed well," Tyler told The (Columbia) State newspaper.
It sure is painful to watch her flub that question, though... isn't it?
#386 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 09:21 PM:

Xopher@339: Brian Ameringen precedes you by many years. He's also been seen wearing another button saying "H. H. Munro is a wry swine", which has an extra twist in it.

#387 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 11:14 PM:

Sharon M, #359, Gracious! Thanks!

Greg, #370, and thanks to you, too. I hope she wasn't really that stupid.

Congrats, Teresa! They're lucky to have you!

#388 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 11:55 PM:

Fragano @ 379

Yet more proof that most of this country's problems stem from extremely lax immigration policies and enforcement on the part of Native Americans.

#389 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 01:20 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 344: "I remember, in first grade, thinking that my money -- a big pile of assorted coins -- was more in some indefinable way when spread out in a glittering heap then neatly and compactly piled into nickels, dimes and such."

Any dragon in your family tree, perchance?

#390 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 04:58 AM:

389: I hear you. One of the best things about travelling in Laos lo these many years ago was that the Lao kip converted at 65,000 to the pound, and the largest denomination note was 1,000 kip. Which meant that paying for anything at all meant hauling out an immense wad of notes with a rubber band around them and peeling them off one at a time in (inevitably) a Brooklyn accent.

#391 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 10:39 AM:

CHip @ #386: "H. H. Munro is a wry swine"

I like that.

#392 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Remember the early 1950s movie The Day the Earth Stood Still? My wife asked me if I knew that it's being remade. I said yes, unfortunately. Did I know who they got to play Klaatu? With dread, I asked "Who?"

Keanu Reeve.

#393 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 12:03 PM:

Serge #392: Woah.

#394 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 12:32 PM:

Keanu Reeves is apparently terribly professional: he shows up on time knowing all his lines and everyone else's lines too. He'll do his lines all day without tantrums. The movie will not be held up by any prima donna nonsense from Reeves.

He's also a terrible actor, but as you know Bob, 90% of movies are going to be crap anyhow, so why not hire a "star" who won't break the budget or screw with the schedule?

I'm surprised Lucas didn't cast him as everyone in the Star Wars prequels.

#395 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 12:35 PM:

I think The Day the Earth Stood Still is a great choice for a movie to remake right now. Unfortunately, the choice of Keanu Reeve tells me they're probably doing it for all the wrong reasons.

Then again, he was also in A Scanner Darkly, and that was about as well-intentioned as you can get without being actually any good.

Huh. According to imdb, the guy directing it directed the awful The Excorcism of Emily Rose and is attached to, no joke, an upcoming Paradise Lost project. I guess I know what aspects of the Day the Earth Stood Still story he's interested in...

#396 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 12:47 PM:

Well, who knows? Maybe that remake will actually be enjoyable. Still, I'm not going to rush in, no matter who plays Klaatu.

One movie I'd like to see remade is Forbidden Planet. It's probably one of the most sophisticated SF movies ever made, as far as concepts are concerned. The direction though could have been improved. I think.

#397 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Another one for the misread thread titles department: Japan opens a can of gay bathroom sex. Seen while scrolling up the "previous 1000 comments" page quickly.

Embarrassingly, Serge, I haven't seen Forbidden Planet. It's always lingering towards the top of my netflix queueueueueueueue, and then at the last minute I'll be reminded of some other movie and it'll get replaced.

#398 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 01:10 PM:

The Day the Earth Stood Still A fresh adaptation from the original story, "Farewell to the Master", might be worth watching and Reeves might be able to play Klaatu acceptably well. I suppose the giant robot would be a digital creation, so I suppose Andy Serkis is most qualified.

#399 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 01:13 PM:

ethan... I'll lend you the movie if you want. Just email your real-world address to me. It may turn out not to be your cup of tea, but if you pay attention to all the concepts that they throw at you, you'll see what I mean. Travel thru hyperspace, the need for protection when jumping back into normal space, the navigational hazzards that that entails, why there's no way something living could withstand a disintegrator, for example... Oh, and the reason why we have laws and religion, in an exchange that probably was quite subversive for an early-1950s movie...

#400 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 01:18 PM:

Serge, thanks so much for the offer, but if I have the movie in my hand, with no incentive to watch it soon and send it back to get another one, it'll just linger, unwatched, like all the DVDs I own and never watch.

I've moved it to #4 in the queueueueueueue, so hopefully this time I'll actually watch it. As for it not being my cup of tea, I sincerely doubt it.

#401 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 01:36 PM:

I was leery of the prospect of another remake, this time "Halloween", but then I found out that Rob Zombie was doing it, and felt better about it.

Rob Zombie had this to say about John Carpenter in an interview with Variety: "The original 'Halloween' is hallowed ground to me, and I talked to him about it and he was very supportive of what I wanted to do," Zombie said. "He said, 'Go for it, Rob. Make it your own.' And that's exactly what I intend to do. Over 25 years and a lot of movies, a very scary character became something of a Halloween cliché, with Michael Myers dolls that play the Halloween music when you press their stomachs. By the end of the sequel cycle, there was little connection to the original. I take that film very seriously, and I want to make it terrifying again."

#402 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 02:02 PM:

Keanu Reeves is a decent human being who doesn't happen to be very bright (by his own admission). He works out all right in movies that don't require a lot of acting chops (The Matrix, for example, where as a just-unplugged person his woodenness was entirely plausible).

I've seen The Day the Earth Stood Still several times, and I thought Michael Rainey was if anything too expressive, too culturally appropriate, too human. Maybe Keanu can improve on that.

Ahhh, they'll probably put in a bunch of raygun battles and car chases and spoil the whole thing. If the SFX budget is more than $1.29, it's gonna be a crummy movie.

#403 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 02:20 PM:

I'm all messed up on my feelings about Halloween. The original version, when I finally saw it last year, bored me to tears (I don't think it's just a question of novelty, because I'm usually pretty good at putting myself in the place of the original audience, at least intellectually--I think I just didn't like it, and wouldn't have no matter what), so I don't have any vested emotions in the story itself. But then Rob Zombie--House of 1000 Corpses was the silliest, dullest piece of garbage, but The Devil's Rejects was far and away my favorite movie of 2005. So now the question is--is he a good director who got off to a shkay start? Was The Devil's Rejects a fluke? I desperately want it not to be a fluke, so now I'm all invested in Halloween being good...but then, the original was so boring!

And then the whole cycle starts over in my head.

#404 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 02:28 PM:

Reeves is quite a good actor within his range; it's just that his range is not terribly wide. But Klaatu strikes me as falling dead within it. I expect him to be fine, assuming the script is decent.

#405 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 02:56 PM:

Oh, I wasn't questionning Keanu's professionalism, or his being someone I might enjoy meeting. I just am not sure he can pull it off. Rennie was perfect, projecting intelligence and culture. And he was pretty much unknown to Americans, which made him believable as an alien. Speaking of actors who bring in baggage, Klaatu was originally going to be played by Spencer Tracy. A cranky Klaatu... Just what this Mission of Peace needed.

"Gort? Screw the barada nikto. Just incinerate everything."

#406 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Mary@353: Submission advice?

standard manuscript format is described here.

Use a fixed width font, such as courier.
size: 12 point
double spaced
1" margins
(with a ragged right margin)

plus some more tips.
Each point is explained in the link.

#407 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Ugh. I misspelled Michael Rennie's name. Ten lashes with a VHS copy (shredded and made into a whip) of the movie.

#408 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 04:59 PM:

Xopher... Don't forget to put DVD shards at the end of the whip.

#409 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 06:51 PM:

Serge #392: Is that a hitherto unknown relative of Christopher Reeve? *Ducking*

#410 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 06:53 PM:

Ethan #397: Now that is an image!

#411 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 06:57 PM:

Todd Larason #384: The court cases would be unending.* And persons who had more than 1/8 Native American blood would be expelled (to where?). On the Hispanic blood issue, that would definitely mean that a Chilean friend of mine with a very Iberian surname would be acceptable thanks to his blonde hair and blue eyes.

* Think of all the expert evidence on blood quanta there'd have to be.

#412 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 06:59 PM:

Bruce Cohen #388: Indeed!

#413 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 07:02 PM:

Fragano #410: I can't even figure out what image it creates...what does Japan look like opening a can, and what does a can of gay sex look like?

In other news, I'm reading Sixty Days and Counting right now, and I just got to the bit where there's an entry from the President's blog, and at the end it says there's something like five million comments. My first thought was to wonder how many of those comments said "FIRST!!!1!!" My second thought was to wonder who was moderating.

#414 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 07:06 PM:

Ethan #413: I'd say about the same as a can of straight sex. (On the other hand, a can of gay Republican bathroom sex would contain two elephants and a chap with a VERY LARGE bucket and spade.)

#415 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 07:15 PM:

Greg 406: Very useful link. But he seems to think he has the right to restrict people from linking to it without permission. Odd, for someone so otherwise sensible.

#416 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 07:27 PM:

Niall McAuley @ 398

A remake that actually followed the idea behind the original story would be nice. In the story (which was quite short), it turns out that the robots were given complete control of the defense of galactic civilization, with the duty to destroy, on their own initiative, any planet which shows it's a threat by using nuclear weapons. Gort is left behind on Earth as judge, jury, and executioner, if necessary. Not quite as optimistic as the movie.

#417 ::: . ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 07:31 PM:

.

[posted from 82.128.18.226]

#418 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 07:43 PM:

How about, instead of Keanu Reeves, they were to cast Adam Baldwin? He's much more physically imposing, and comes across as very intelligent. And he has a lot more range than Reeves, which might not be a bad thing.

#419 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 08:02 PM:

Klaatu is dead for most of the story and any of the Baldwin boys could do that, but the producers would rather have Keanu, because he'd show up for filming every day and he'd know everyone else's lines, which is kind of intimidating.

#420 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 08:10 PM:

Adam is no relation to Alec and the rest of the mob. He's the guy who played Jayne in Firefly and Serenity. He was also in Angel (playing a demonic nasty).

#421 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 08:13 PM:

Niall McAuley, Adam Baldwin is not related to the Baldwin Boys. This is the person who played both the useful thug Jane in Firefly/Serenity and the ultimate corporate enforcer Marcus Hamilton on Angel. He's capable of a lot of actual acting.

#422 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 08:24 PM:

Sorry, Bruce, I never saw Firefly or Angel, and fell asleep during Serenity. From the IMDb, I recognise his face from Stargate: Atlantis.

I'm not certain that he'd be better at playing a corpse than the more famous Baldwin boys who have more practice.

#423 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 08:26 PM:

Serge #405: Michael Rennie associative link Jean Elizabeth Martin crossref ArmadilloCon, accessing...

I was admiring some of JEM's artwork at ArmadilloCon years ago, and asked her "Do you always put yourself in your paintings?" She did grin, and it was explained to me that the lady in her painting which included a pharaonically attired Michael Rennie was, in fact, Jane Seymour. It was probably the best accidental compliment I could possible have made under the circumstances.

#424 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 08:38 PM:

Fragano @ 409... Actually, Keanu Reeve is the love child of George Reeves. Or was he Steve Reeve's?

#425 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Bruce Chen @ 416... My understanding from reading about Bates's Farewell to the Master in an early issue of Cinefantastique is that The Day The Earth Stood Still did use the story's central idea, which is that the robot, apparently a tool of Klaatu, really is the latter's master. That being said, it's a fine movie I never tire of watching and a remake is totally pointless (except to make some studio a bit richer). Heck, why not remake To Kill A Mockingbird, while we're at it?

#426 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 08:56 PM:

Earl Cooley @ 424... Seymour never did it for me, but I can think of worse people to compare a woman to. Heheheh...

#427 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 09:09 PM:

Serge@426: I remember the CFQ article, but I don't remember it making that false claim. ISTR mention of the original being referenced (mutated by political pressure?) as -"we have given them much independent authority"-, but Gort clearly was not the one in charge.

#428 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 09:23 PM:

CHip @ 428... OK, not an exact use of the original idea, but, if I remember correctly, the movie's Klaatu did say that, once Gort and its likes have made a decision, they cannot be stopped. Maybe I should go get that crow's carcass out of the freezer.

#429 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 09:38 PM:

Serge #425: Oh dear me. I'm now going to have my brain scrubbed.

#430 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2007, 11:09 PM:

Serge Re: 392: I suspect that Keanu Reeve will be able to convey an alien being convincingly. Xopher's comments at 402: [..] I thought Michael Rainey was if anything too expressive, too culturally appropriate, too human. Maybe Keanu can improve on that [..] are appropriate ... although how could we sympathize with true aliens? (it is their alieness that proves them evil — if we like them [ET], they must be good).

#431 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 12:01 AM:

ethan @400: There's a lot to like about Forbidden Planet (for certain value of geek).

Electronic music. As an aside, the use of classical music in 2001: A Space Odyssey was described as a case of frustrating expectations: Clarke described the audience's expectations as for electronic music as in Forbidden Planet.

Of course, the saucer in the Forbidden Planet ended up in at least one Twilight Zone story, and I think 'Robbie the Robot' ended up in more than one.

Much of the design was picked up for Lost in Space. Although not the same spaceship, a similar layout (with a central astronavigational console) was used. The same designer who created 'Robbie the Robot' for Forbidden Plantet created the robot used in LIS (eventually, the robots met and had a smackdown).

Leslie Nielsen plays a 'serious' role as Commander John J. Adams. The relationship between this character and Lt. 'Doc' Ostrow (Warren Stevens) has been described as anticipating the 'Kirk-Bones' relationship in ST-TOS.

The 'invisible monster' effect was used in an episode of LIS, and the 'monsters from the id'* was used in a Peter Davidson Doctor Who, 'Snakedance'.


*'Monsters from the id' is a bit of a spoiler, but you'll have to watch the Forbidden Planet to get the point.

#432 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 12:05 AM:

Can I still edit? No? (for 'Plantet' read 'Planet').

#433 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 01:54 AM:

Niall McAuley @ 423

Point taken. Although Alec Baldwin for damn sure couldn't hold still long enough to act dead.

#434 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 03:18 AM:

Maybe it's because it's three fricken am, and my brain is fricken fried, but this was fricken funny.

#435 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 03:58 AM:

Greg, it's not even 1 am here and that is really fricken funny! I wonder if you could call that "Surrealistic Polo"?

#437 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 09:30 AM:

[Adam Baldwin] was also in Angel (playing a demonic nasty).

"Can you pick out the one word in that sentence you probably shouldn't have said?"

Possibly my favorite quote from the entire run of Angel. Though a close runner-up is "I'm made of felt. And my nose comes off!"

#438 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 09:52 AM:

And, of course, in Full Metal Jacket, as Animal Mother, the suspiciously Jayne-like M-60 gunner.
"Don't let that fool you. Under fire Animal Mother is one of the finest human beings alive. He just needs somebody to throw grenades at him for the rest of his natural life."

(standing round a dead marine)
"Better you than me."

#439 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 10:21 AM:

xopher@415: Very useful link. But he seems to think he has the right to restrict people from linking to it without permission.

Good grief, I missed that. That sort of thing was in vogue in the early days of the internet when people were running their servers on 286's and bandwidth was measured in kbs. The article is copyright 1997, so maybe it's fallout from the ancient days.

#440 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 10:25 AM:

ajay,

He just needs somebody to throw grenades at him for the rest of his natural life.

huh. is that a flannery o'connor reference? or a weird coincidence?

#441 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 10:38 AM:

Michael Rennie was my very first movie actor crush object when I was a little kid. Keanu Reeves? Ugh.

I know I'm just about the only tennis fanatic on this site, but you should have seen Roger Federer's all-black outfit last night. Along with the way he was playing (mostly), it was so "dark angel" I could almost see the sooty wings!

#442 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 10:41 AM:

PS: Yes, some details of that outfit were slightly ridiculous, but once he was in motion that became irrelevant.

#443 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 11:03 AM:

Faren @ 442... I was wondering who I'd have wanted to see play Klaatu in a remake, and I couldn't come up with many names besides Christian Bale and Edward Norton.

#444 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 11:07 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 432... Leslie Nielsen plays a 'serious' role as Commander John J. Adams. The relationship between this character and Lt. 'Doc' Ostrow (Warren Stevens) has been described as anticipating the 'Kirk-Bones' relationship in ST-TOS.

I wonder if that relationship was also inspired by Gunsmoke? Luckily, Forbidden Planet's influence upon Star Trek didn't include Earl Holliman's character.

#445 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 11:33 AM:

a few years ago, I was watching some old (50's?) movie about some captain of an American naval ship operating in the Atlantic during WW2. The engineer had a thick Scottish accent.

I kept waiting for him to say "I kenna change the laws of phyics". It was like watching "The Searchers" just after watching a Star Wars marathon and going, "Holy crap".

Can't remember the name of the movie though.

#446 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 11:38 AM:

441: It's a quote from the film, taken originally from one of the short stories by Gustav Hasford ("Body Count") that the script was based on. I've never read any Flannery O'Connor so don't know what you're talking about...

#447 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 12:06 PM:

Greg @446: When The Mote in God's Eye was first out, the authors took some flak that their Scottish engineer was a 'Scotty' rip-off. In their defense, they claimed that the Scottish engineer was an established type even before 'Star Trek'.

Serge @445: Luckily, Forbidden Planet's influence upon Star Trek didn't include Earl Holliman's character.

Well, Scotty on occasion would comedically get into 'the stuff'.

#448 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 12:49 PM:

Rob Rusick... Scotty on occasion would comedically get into 'the stuff'

Luckily though, Scottie never was seen wearing an outfit that belonged in a greasy-spoon joint.

#449 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 03:43 PM:

Forgive me. The fourth
post haiku was wittier.
So wry and so apt.

I'm not sure how I managed to miss this Open Thread entirely, but I'm honoured at my inclusion as one of the poets (although I think the above might be my first effort for ML).

In other news: I taught my first class of the semester this morning - yay! Happy New Year to all the students and academics of the Fluorosphere!

#450 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 04:10 PM:

debcha #450: Welcome back to the word mines.

#451 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Oust the Schmuck and his theocrat buddies:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/083007A.shtml
(excerpt)

"Pentagon Chaplain Accused of Aiding Proselytizing
" By Jason Leopold
" t r u t h o u t | Report

" Thursday 30 August 2007

"... the Pentagon's top chaplain opened its doors yet again to another evangelical group whose leader recently spent two days at the facility proselytizing, passing out Christian literature, and "saving souls."

"....David Kistler, President of Hickory, North Carolina-based H.O.P.E. Ministries International, embarked on a "DC Crusade" along with dozens of members of the evangelical organization for two weeks that included two days inside the Pentagon proselytizing and preaching the "gospel" to government employees and "saving souls."
"....
"Weinstein said the lawsuit has been delayed only because of the "overwhelming, non-stop reports of out-of-control Christian fundamentalism his organization has been receiving" from soldiers who indicated to Weinstein's staff that rampant Christian fundamentalism has plagued the halls of the DOD and soldiers on the battlefield in Iraq are being forced by their superiors to accept Jesus Christ as their saviors. Weinstein, a former White House attorney under Ronald Reagan, general counsel H. Ross Perot and an Air Force Judge Advocate (JAG), has called for Congressional hearings into the Pentagon's attempts to "Christianize" the military and the DOD."
"....
"Two weeks ago, following a story published by Max Blumenthal in The Nation, the Pentagon scrapped plans to send so-called "Freedom Packages" to soldiers in Iraq. The packages, put together by the fundamentalist Christian ministry called Operation Straight Up, contained among other things, Bibles and the apocalyptic computer game "Left Behind: Eternal Forces," in which "soldiers for Christ" hunt down enemies of Christianity."

What is, this, the Russian Army pre-Revolution drafting Jews for thirty or forty years' service with non-stop proselytizing at them the entire time to the State Religion?

Note that other Christian denominations get witnessed at, too, and that the Southern Baptist Convention targets Roman Catholics and in eastern Europe Orthodox Christians, along with proselytizing non-Christians....

#452 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 06:39 PM:

For Susan or other dance mavens:

I need some other word, if it exists, for a do-si-do. The word should be a movement/step from some dance that was highly respectable in New York/Boston high society circa 1907. Not knowing any such dances, I ask those who do.

(Context: describing what happens when two people are, say, in an art gallery, moving in opposite directions, and instead of colliding, they somehow, magically, switch places.)

#453 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 06:54 PM:

Pass back to back.


The french term,, from whence the modern is Dos a dos (which is to say, back to back).

There might be an italian term as well, but I don't know it.

#454 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 07:07 PM:

@454 Dos a dos

The new term being windows a windows...

#455 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 10:29 PM:

Serge@445: I recall either an entire panel, or a panel that got hijacked early, on the topic of the action leader and the wise sidekick // the king and the counselor // .... IMO, Clement deliberately used it in Mission of Gravity (1953, so it predates both Gunsmoke and Forbidden Planet; but the tradition goes back at least to Arthur & Merlin.

#456 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 11:16 PM:

The new term being windows a windows...

Sometimes also refered to as "cross-purposed forks", while done in a more modern free style.

#457 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 10:58 AM:

Terry #454: Pass back to back

Which makes it obvious that I was asking for the wrong thing, drat it all.

What I'm looking for is a sideways exchange. One person goes behind the other, both facing the same direction (in this case, the wall of pictures). The front person takes one step (to the right, say), while the back person will probably need to take at least two steps in the opposite direction. The maneuver should be fairly familiar to us literate types as the old bookstore switcheroo.

#458 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 01:24 PM:

Paula Lieberman: Your name just came up in the taxi from the Quito Airport to the Hostel Sta. Barbara (where we are now, before we head to lunch).

The cast of characters on this madcap adventure is:

Me
Maia
Pat (her mother)
Alan Frisbie, who was telling about a trip cross-country with you, himself, Bounder and someone I didn't place enough to recall now.

The catalyst was the complex, and moderately worrisome approach to Quito (several righ angle turns, in DC-9, at low-ish altitudes, while descending over ravines and below mountaintops... it seems to be geographicly driven). We got to talking about various other approaches and he said the mmost exicting take-off he'd done was in a civil aviation bird; from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, when weight/altitude/engine power made it impossible to load more than half a tank of fuel, if the bird wasn't to end up in pieces floating down the Colorado.

Sounds like it was fun.

#459 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 01:32 PM:

Terry @ 451

Denver in '81. They rented a light plane and flew from Orange County to Denver and back. It was supposed to be a turbocharged plane but turned out not to be (last minute rental of oxygen tanks and masks).
Frisbie described the approach to Denver as ATC asking them if they could get some more altitude as they flew through canyons trying to keep within the plane's altitude limit.

Coming back, they had to spend some time at Grand Canyon waiting for the area to cool off so the plane had enough lift to get off the ground.

#460 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 01:40 PM:

from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, when weight/altitude/engine power made it impossible to load more than half a tank of fuel, if the bird wasn't to end up in pieces floating down the Colorado.

You are a cruel flirt, sir. Now I need to get some air time, dammit.

#461 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 02:22 PM:

I don't have much strong memory of the trip, it was a long time ago.

However, I don't remember it being a really big deal to me with the altitude--several years earlier I'd been in a Cessna 172 flying over Pike's Peak with two other people in the plane, the plane was up over 16,000 feet (Pike's Peak was something like 14,441 feet or so). Granted, back when I was living in Colorado Springs and working in Cheyenne Mountain, my body was much more adapted to altitude at the time than someone living at sealevel, where the atmospheric pressure is higher and there's more oxygen per unit volume....

The really horrible thing is, that I -did- have a current pilot's license and the time and must have been doing some of the flying, but I don't have any more real memory that a hazy looking out the cockpit of small plane at mountains recollection! "There I was at 10,000 feet" and I don't remember much about it! I do remember landing and taking off from an airport in Colorado at the top of a mountain, I remember some flying out in Colorado, I remember the haze over in the LA South Basin that restricted visibility, but....

#462 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Of Political Officer Appartchiks and Health...

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/083107D.shtml

"In Emails, Political Pressure on Ex-Surgeon General
"By Christopher Lee
"The Washington Post

"Friday 31 August 2007"


" "He needs to be the SG [Surgeon General] with specific speeches, on specific topics addressing the Secretary's and the president's agenda - which will become more political as the re-elect gets underway," Turenne wrote.

"In a Sept. 25, 2002, e-mail to Schofield, Turenne described Carmona as "wandering" and "not focused on the president's/secretary's agenda."

""These documents confirm that White House and HHS officials improperly sought to influence the activities of the Surgeon General to achieve political goals," Kennedy wrote yesterday in a letter to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt...."

Kennedy, chairman of the Senate health committee, obtained the e-mails as part of a probe into political interference in public health matters. In his letter, Kennedy noted that many of the White House e-mails were sent from Republican National Committee accounts held by White House officials, and he requested more documents.

#463 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 03:22 PM:

#463: Some GOP flak was on NPR this morning, on the occasion of Rove's departure. Short version: "He was just a very effective campaigner and people resent that."

No, no he wasn't. He was a manipulative weasel who perverted public institutions for political gain. Never forget that. He needs to be hounded and harried and disgraced and jailed if they can find something that sticks.

#464 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 03:33 PM:

I don't remember who it was that mentioned Girl Genius here (it was mentioned at least twice), but thank you. I hadn't heard of it, and now I'm sucking up the archive as fast as I can get away with without getting in trouble at work.

I want to buy some of the collections, and I'll be attending Dragon*Con this weekend. Finding a collection in the dealer's room is instant gratification, but if the writers/artists profit significantly more from website sales, I'll order from Studio Foglio's page and wait. Does anyone know? Also, is there a good way to find out if there will be anyone representing the comic at D*C so I can gush?

#465 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 04:59 PM:

Exploiting the open thread here, I wanted to point out a link I followed from Gene Expression. Apparently, several big academic publishing houses have hired a famously nasty PR consultant to attack the whole open-access movement, in which peer-reviewed academic papers are put online and made available for free.

Nature Article

This relates vaguely to the DMCA discussion and the Wikipedia discussions we've had here, and more to the ongoing discussions of evil PR and astroturfing.

#466 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 07:14 PM:

"President Bush will be viewed as a far-sighted leader who confronted the key test of the 21st century." -- Karl Rove

Wow. We're about 8% of the way into the 21st century and Bush has already figured out and confronted the key test!

I can imagine Rove's great-great-grandchild saying the same thing about Bush's great-great-grandchild after he signs a law banning cybersex between uplifted coyotes and plasma creatures living in the Sun's chromosphere.

#467 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 07:58 PM:

So you know how Peter Jackson took The Lord of the Rings and changed a bunch of details but really, he got the feel right? And you know how most people were happy with the first X-Men film because the essential characters were all themselves, even if they were a little skewed from the comics?

Not everyone is that good, looks like.

I just watched a trailer for The Dark is Rising. I think I'm gonna cry. I love those books. I re-read TDiR every winter, and they're fscking murdering it. At least, if the trailer is any indication of what the movie's like.

We'll start with, Will Staunton has an American accent...

#468 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 08:36 PM:

joann: it sounds like a do-si-do is not at all what you're looking for; IIRC that involves people ending up in the same place. This is called a whole gyp in morris dancing, where a net exchange of places is a half gyp. ("Net" because some morris styles involve large excursions.) Still not what you're looking for because people are facing each other before and after (which means they both turn net 180 degrees) but closer.

There are also many contra dances which net out to bookstore shuffles, but usually that's the result of several maneuvers with their own names. "casting" is a single maneuver like the shuffle, but involves one person doing a 360 (turn 270 while stepping outside the line, walk down while the neighbor sidles up, complete the turn).

Yes, Susan, I can hear you fuming from here. Feel free to be more precise than my 35-year-old memories....

#469 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 09:14 PM:

R.M., they're not listed as dealers at Dragon*con, and there's no mention of con-going on Kaja's LJ or the Studio Foglio LJ. The current mini-episode starts with their going on vacation.

I don't know anything about their pricing arrangements; I bought all mine online.

#470 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 02:43 AM:

Studio Foglio have said many times that they encourage people to buy their books from comics retailers, as this encourages the retailers to stock their stuff.

#471 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 06:21 AM:

Did the issue of how tall Modesty Blaise is ever get settled? At the risk of repeating, here's what I've just found while reading The Night of the Morningstar

Her height, thought Ben Christie, was about five feet six or seven; not small, but seemingly so when compared with the legend surrounding her name.

(I don't think there's any unreliable-narrator-stuff going on, but Christie is lying down and recovering from being beaten and drugged at this point)

#472 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 10:39 AM:

We did have a couple of people citing Modesty's height as five foot six, back in the heptalogies thread (from the first novel; from the first sequence of the comic strip). That detail seems to be pretty consistent.

The question of how tall Modesty is -- in the sense of whether five foot six is "tall", "about average", or what -- was not definitively settled.

#473 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 11:17 AM:

The question of how tall Modesty is -- in the sense of whether five foot six is "tall", "about average", or what -- was not definitively settled.

Seems to me that when the books were written, 5'6" would have been on the tall end of average for a woman.

#474 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 02:12 PM:

Hmph! I ask a Modesty Blaise question and no one answers. Neil asks a Modesty Blaise question and the next two comments answer him. I'm gonna go cry myself to bed. Even though it's two in the afternoon.

#475 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 04:05 PM:

The courtiers like big bustles, and they can not lie.
http://squidflakes.livejournal.com/198545.html

I think it may be mixing periods a bit, but who cares.)

#476 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 05:06 PM:

ethan #475:

Our abject apologies. That is, I started to write something, found that I needed to ponder it, and then got distracted by something or the other, no doubt to be found on Making Light.

To answer: it's certainly not as nutty as some of the later ones, but I've always thought it to be worthy.

(Dedicated readers will no doubt know exactly why I was wondering on first reading if O'Donnell had jumped the shark in The Impossible Virgin, even though it would be another 25 years or so until sharks were jumpable. If you see what I mean.)

#477 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Ethan - I'm pretty sure I read Sabre-Tooth some years ago, but my memory is hazy and I can't find my, or indeed, anyone elses copy. Which is a pretty useless answer.

My question was stupid, as if I'd searched properly I would have known the answer. Your question was interesting and hard to answer. Don't cry yourself to bed (unless you really want to, of course).

The good news is I've canonically established that Modesty is "not small".

#478 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 07:58 PM:

A small datum-point. Within the last 5-10 years I have seen a survey of some physical characteristics of Australian women. The only one that's stuck is that their 'average height' was between 5'4" and 5'5" (around 1.64m).

I wouldn't call anyone above that "tall"; that would have to be a distinct chunk above average, like at least half a head.

BTW, I've used this figure many times while pointing out how awkwardly & badly designed things like our local bus shelter seats, and indeed seats in buses, are for women of average height like me — maybe even contributing to DVT, but certainly yet another reason discouraging people from using public transport, and helping to make people's lives more miserable.

#479 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 09:01 PM:

Thanks Marilee. I looked at Kaja's LJ, but didn't know if there were other sources of info or not, and I wasn't sure what guests' names to look for in the D*C info.

And David, thanks for that info. That means I get to go for the instant gratification on them. I'll be hitting the dealer's room and asking about them tomorrow. (Maybe with hardcopies in hand I'll succeed at pimping them to my husband. I've been trying but he hasn't taken the bait yet.)

#480 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 09:42 PM:

I just saw the third X-men movie. Damn that's depressing. So much death, and all for nothing.

I hope they don't make a fourth one. That would really be no fun at all.

#481 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2007, 12:03 AM:

I'm 5'8" most of the time, and that was tall until about 20 years ago.

#482 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2007, 01:43 AM:

I thought I'd do a Finally Get Around To Some Day project this long weekend: Digitizing my few remaining vinyl albums.

For some reason, my stack included records I never remembered listening too, much less owning: Three Judy Collins albums. Percy Faith and his Orchestra performing songs from The Sound of Music. The soundtrack to Gigi. A JFK Tribute album. How did I come to have these? Did they belong to a family member and accidentally got packed with my stuff when I moved west? I suppose, since know one has expressed grief or puzzlement about missing records at family get-togethers, that I can safely donate or toss them.

The stuff I know is mine is more troubling. Do I really WANT mp3s of the three Steve Martin and four Monty Python albums I haven't listened to in 20 years? Do those half-dozen Talking Heads discs have anything my Talking Heads CDs don't? And that literal-album of shellac 78s I bought for a quarter so I could show a co-worker where the name "album" came from . . . do I have any obligation to preserve it ("Piano Reflections by Joe Reichman") for posterity?

There's something creepy and deeply disheartening about this activity.

#483 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2007, 02:04 AM:

The right-hand sidebar ad for the National Book Festival features a striking piece of artwork.

The full image, by Mercer Mayer, can be seen here.

#484 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2007, 03:15 AM:

Stefan Jones #483: Three Judy Collins albums. Percy Faith and his Orchestra performing songs from The Sound of Music. The soundtrack to Gigi. A JFK Tribute album.

This is similar to what Gaiman & Pratchett tell us in Good Omens about any tape left in a car for more than a fortnight turning into The Best of Queen. Each of those albums you name is spontaneously generated in any batch of records left unattended for more than a month.

Re: Sabre-Tooth, I didn't dislike it enough to stop reading the series (though I am taking a break until I can get the stack of books I currently have out from the library to a more manageable size), but it just seemed kind of...diffuse, maybe?...compared to the first book. Vaguely unsatisfying for reasons I can't quite name.

On a completely unrelated, vague, and personal note, I find it amazing that, just as one reaches the verge of utter desperation, suddenly plans for making both the short and long term vastly more wonderful than one had thought possible suddenly materialize, out of nowhere. I almost don't want to say anything about it for fear that the bubble will burst, but things might be looking up for me for once. If I can make it through the next three weeks (a pretty big if), I think I can make it through the next few years on the inertia. In a good way.

#485 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2007, 07:37 AM:

My plan for a desperation-free wonderful future for myself is to win the lottery. It's the only practical way.

#487 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2007, 09:19 AM:

Xopher, that's sad news. Psmith will be devastated.

#488 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2007, 10:41 AM:

Carrie@468: So you know how Peter Jackson took The Lord of the Rings and changed a bunch of details but really, he got the feel right?

Well, except for Farimir's change of character. That was just wrong in so many ways.

#489 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2007, 11:47 AM:

Completely miscellaneous question:

Can anyone recommend to me another Bollywood movie that resembles Dil Chahta Hai? It's one of my favorite films of any kind, and so far my attempts to find more like it have failed.

On a related note, does anyone know of a source for legal Bollywood soundtrack CDs?

#490 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Earl Cooley III #486: That would work, too. If you come up with a good method for doing so reliably, let me know?

#491 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 12:50 AM:

Carrie S:

Possibly my favorite quote from the entire run of Angel.

"Lie to me" in the last episode. Although I admit almost laughing myself into an early grave at the question "What is a Smurf?"

#492 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 01:11 AM:

I just started watching Heroes on DVD (never having seen it before).

It's hella cool so far.

#493 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 01:12 AM:

Earl: That's been my plan too, but it hasn't panned out so far. I suppose I should buy tickets.

#494 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 01:12 AM:

ajay,

I've never read any Flannery O'Connor so don't know what you're talking about...

hmm. googling....

it's from the short story a good man is hard to find, which i read for class in high school. the quote goes, "She would of been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life." spoken by the person who has just shot her fatally.

here's the whole story.

it's definitely my favourite line out of o'connor, but i guess it wasn't enough for me to seek out more.

#495 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 01:39 AM:

"Lie to me" in the last episode.

For poignancy, that totally wins, but I think the bit about the blood has a little extra bit of cool.

Best threat from the Buffy/Angel canon, IMO: "When I get this chip out, they're going to be finding your body for weeks."

Although I admit almost laughing myself into an early grave at the question "What is a Smurf?"

Oh yes. That and, "Lorne. Lorne Green. Bonanza?" [Cordelia and Wesley stare blankly] "14 years on the air doesn't mean anything?" [More blank] "OK, now I feel old."

#496 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 02:18 AM:

While we're talking about Buffy, thanks to all here for persuading me to finally try it. I've been slowly making my way through the seasons - about half way through Season 3 - and having a great time with it. Hard to pick out a favorite moment so far...

#497 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 03:05 AM:

Xopher @ 487

Aw, crap. Something told me even before I followed the link that you weren't talking about the singer, dancer, and Resident Alien.

That's a shame. I'm not a fanatic beer-lover, but I much prefer what's available now in the US to what there was 30 years ago, and I think he had a lot to do with that. Shows you that sometimes a prophet can have great effect even in a foreign country. And I suspect that without his writing about it I wouldn't have gotten a taste for Belgian beers.

#498 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 03:36 AM:

Mary Dell #493: It only gets better.

#499 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 03:41 AM:

Not the Jackson who did morning drive-time radio in LA, either (KABC, I think).

#500 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 04:14 AM:

Earl, #486, you have to bargain with the Wiccan gods to win the lottery.

Xopher, #487, the WashPost obit.

#501 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 11:02 AM:

Now that I'm aware of scribd.com, I decided to post a document on it - in this case, my "Amazing Closet-Sorting Algorithm," by which various of my friends have come to swear. It's a one-page word doc with some formatting (bold, indents, numbering, that sort of thing).

After the upload it says it's converting it into various formats, which will take "a couple of minutes" and that there are 54 docs in queue ahead of mine.*

I walked over to the Burger King on the corner, got breakfast, walked back, and now there are 45 docs in queue ahead of mine.

How are these pirates getting stuff online, anyway? I have to assume that the SFWA has managed to suddenly make scribd the busiest site on the internet.

*I know I have tense disagreement in this post. It's a chronic problem in my writing. However, I also have a croissanwich, so I'm turning my attention to that instead of fixing my tenses. Sorry.

#502 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 06:54 PM:

#485:

This is getting even stranger.

The sleeve for Monty Python and the Holy Grail contained an LP titled Here We Go Again by the Kingston Trio. I didn't realize it until I stepped in and turned up the volume a bit. From the sounds of it, they're the kind of group that were mocked in A Mighty Wind.

I'm going to finish digitizing it. Just in case.

I still don't know what I'm going to do with the half-dozen or so 16" transcription disks I ended up with. They contain episodes of a music program by an Air Force Reserve band. Supposed to be sent to radio stations, which presumably had the equipment to play 'em.

#503 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 08:03 PM:

Hey, the Kingston Trio was well-known, a great group!

#504 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 08:08 PM:

The links in the "Geek cakes" particle don't appear to actually lead anywhere.

#505 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 08:12 PM:

Mary Dell - Can tense disagreement be anything other than chronic in nature? I'm sure it's the influence of Chronos himself. Convinced, even.

#506 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 08:22 PM:

Tania #506: Tense disagreement might be solved by a tenson.

#507 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 09:00 PM:

Lila (#490): What aspects of Dil Chahta Hai did you particularly like? I don't watch a lot of Bollywood movies myself but most of the rest of my family does - I'd be happy to inquire on your behalf. It'd be easier if I could say that you were looking for movies that have some particular set of qualities.

As for legal Bollywood soundtracks...I get the impression that the 'legality' thing is not big in India, and that it'd probably be much harder to buy an official CD than a grey-market copy. Do you happen to live near a major city with a South Asian population? Any grocery store would probably carry at least some CDs, and the people there would be an excellent resource for other places you could go look.

#508 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 09:08 PM:

Frangano #507: That would be marvelous to behold. I sometimes foul up tense when I'm writing, but I figure it's because my tensile strength is weak.

#509 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 09:17 PM:

Tania #509: Tension, apprehension and dissension have begun!

#510 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 09:45 PM:

Mary Dell @502

Thanks for making public your closet-sorting algorithm - it is most timely for this antipodean spring cleaner.

Now, does anyone have a clever, simple, crafty thing to do with about a grillion black (well, blackish) t-shirts which (OK, grey, and occasionally spattered with bleach) are precious but not really wearable?

#511 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 09:55 PM:

vian - precious how? Sentimental precious? Do they have decorations that make them memorabilia? I've seen quilts made from various t-shirt fronts.

Otherwise, I'd say tear them into strips, braid the strips, and make a rug.

#512 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 10:04 PM:

Tania @#506: Can tense disagreement be anything other than chronic in nature?

Hee! Very good.

vian #511: Tee shirts are very easy to make into throw pillows. You can also make them into funky skirts, like my friend Lucky does over here.

#513 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 10:33 PM:

debcha @ #508: it's hard to describe. While there are individual aspects of the film I like (the soundtrack; Aamir Khan, whom I've also seen in some other films), it's the whole package deal that appeals to me. Trying to pick out the "good bits" is like trying to do the same for Casablanca. It's all good bits.

Oh, okay, I can think of one thematic thing: the parents. All the parents in the film are wonderful. And that's something you rarely get in American films.

#514 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 11:06 PM:

Lila...hmmm. I haven't seen it, but my understanding is that Dil Chahta Hai is thematically pretty different from most Bollywood movies. But an inquiry to my sibs is pending - stay tuned.

#515 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2007, 11:36 PM:

About average height - when I worked at Pier 1 (this would have been '91-'93), we were told that the average height in the US was 5'7" and to place certain items at eye level. I remember because I am 5'7". How average of me.

The other interesting thing that I remember is about loss prevention (shoplifting). They told us that most people who shoplift don't enter the store with that intention, and the most effective way to prevent them from becoming shoplifters is to make eye contact and greet them at the door.

Well, I thought it was interesting.

#516 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 02:40 AM:

Tania @ 506

Mary Dell's tensorial problems are a symptom of a great disturbamce in the temporal continuum. It's this same disturbance, I believe, that yesterday caused me to premember the unofficial motto of the Time Patrol, of which I am currently designing a T-shirt:

Been there, undone that
#517 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 04:05 AM:

Teresa: the links on the latest particle ("Geek cakes") are broken.

#518 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 08:39 AM:

re #503: Okay, how many people here felt really, really old on learning that Stefan Jones didn't know who The Kingston Trio were? [raises hand]

#519 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 09:23 AM:

Hmmm. I reckon I can think of a use for one of these.

#520 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 09:36 AM:

Jules #520: Oh, my sweet lord. The road to insanity would be a short one if someone were to inflict one of those on me.

#521 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 09:53 AM:

Jules #520: That gadget could get you a one way trip to Guantanamo Bay or Lite Brite jail.

#522 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 10:11 AM:

Mwz: #479

I call it "the curse of the six foot male," because everything seems designed for the the comfort and convenience of six foot males--automatic toll collectors, ATM/charge/credit card machines user interface area heights, counters at banks and car rental agencies for the customers, mirrors in restrooms, the damn collating table leg extensions at NESFA, computer lab tables, the height of the swipers at every supermarket within twenty miles of where I live that I've been in with the sole exception of Stop & Shop, store aisles (stuff way up over my head), instructions high I can't -see- them, let along -read- them, for various things at variious places; Cessna and Piper single ending FIXED landing gear planes (ironically, the twin-engine movable gear planes made by Cessna, did NOT require the use of #(*^#$(Y#IO@#PO# cushions/phone books/briefcases for me to be see even horizontally, let alone a runway for takeoff and landing, out of the cockpit, and reach the controls; any sedan or hatchback car made in the USA by Ford (even the hatch on Ford's smallest US-made car I can't reach to SHUT when it's open. Why don't I buy US-made cars? Simple, anything I have trouble seeing over the dashboard of, gets an automatic and non-waiverable disqualification. And the Taurus that my parents had had, had an door less-than-90-degree-corner, at the level of my forehead/eye and I got HIT in the forehead with the )#(%$#()$Y# door trying to get and in out of it... I really, really REALLY HATE MALE designers who design things with the automatic unquestioned assumption that they are the Standard Person.. that is, they don't ever look at things like demographics and consider that "acessibility' and "usablity" for five foot tall women, and 40% of the women in the USA are no more than 5'1" are things they should even CONSIDER considering. They design for what's easy for them to reach and do, and don't even consider that there are short women (and short men) who can't reach or even SEE what are are comfortable heights for the six foot male to reach, and convenient to see, at. I can't even -see- the damned text on the too-high electronic swipers, it's too close to my eyes at a bad angle, since is at the level of my NOSE for most installations with small type and does not move much... and I;'m supposd to SIGN something at the level of my nose?! I snarl at these abominations and their perpetrators a LOT.

I keep vindictively hoping that someone will chop the damned designers legs off the at the knees and force THEM to go around stuck at MY height and see just how cheery THEY are with everythign designed for someone a foot taller than they are....

Oh, about the planes--can't get a certificate for flying the twin engine planes without first getting the Single Engine Land certificate... the twin-engine planes have a wider range of seat adjustment (yes, there is seat adjustment in both height and distance from the controls, on single engine fixed gear planes, but there is -more- adjustment available on the twin engine planes, to get closer to the controls and up higher). It's effectively once again, bar the entry gate to women, whether or NOT it's INTENTIONAL... and the fact that the more expensive higher performance planes DO have the adjustments, makes me VERY suspicious.

It would be less expensive to build planes for 5'1 pilots, by the way, because less material would be necessary (smaller plane), cable runs would be shorter (smaller plane), the mass would be less meaning a less powerful engine consuming less fuel (which would mass less) would be necessary, lower operating costs (lower fuel consumption_), etc. ....

#523 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 10:30 AM:

I call it "the curse of the six foot male," because everything seems designed for the the comfort and convenience of six foot males

That's because everything was: RAF pilots, to be specific. Seriously.

In WW2, when they were designing planes, they did a lot of measuring of the guys who were going to be flying them so as to come up with some limited set of standardized measurements they could use to make sure all the planes could be used by all the pilots. And the RAF had a height minimum.

And after the War, when folks were designing other things and needed or wanted sets of standardized numbers, why, there was this handy set the Brits had done! Why bother doing it again?

Thus, the world is designed for the convenience of 6-foot males.

#524 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 10:33 AM:

I'm 5'3", and have a lot of the same problems reaching things. The one area that seems to be getting better at recognizing size differences is clothing -- lots more things are available in "normal" and petite these days, so I don't always have to do clumsy alterations or just hitch up my pants legs. (And some of the stuff is even affordable, espec. in the online Outlet sections.) Now, if only they'd make more wide shoes....

#525 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 10:41 AM:

Paula @ 523

Second the rant ... I hate stores that put stuff on shelves more than six feet off the floor, and if there's a ladder, it's off-limits; any stools for standing on that they might have probably also have someone sitting on them. (I also hate clothing/shoe companies who figure that if the average height/size is increasing, they can stop making the smaller sizes, thereby leaving people who actually wear those sizes hunting for clothes and shoes that fit.)

#526 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 10:52 AM:

The flipside of Paula's concerns is that well-designed things get my business. I buy my gas almost exclusively at Mobil because my local stations have done a lovely redesign of the interface at the pump - large backlit LCD screen that is readable even when the sun hits it, credit card readers that are indifferent to the card orientation, audible feedback that is loud enough to be useful, buttons labeled with octane ratings and ordered from low to high.

However, I am still waiting for the actual gas nozzle to be redesigned with ergonomics that reflect its usage: that a) the new standard is that you have to hold it the whole time because of static discharge issues and b) that it's uncomfortable for a large fraction of users (I'm 5'7 and female, and it's too large for my hand).

#527 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 10:59 AM:

#516 Sharon

"Average" gets very misleading very quickly--most people can bend to reach/see below their eye height and shoulder height. Short people cannot reach/see beyond their height limit. Eye level to a six footer is above the five footer's head. Something that the six footer can reach on that just over the head shelf, I can't even see what's on the blasted shelf, and can't read the price label at the front of the shelf.

But back to "average," there's a bimodal average--the average height of women in the US is 5'4", the average height of males is 5'9" ... put them together and... one gets average gender discrimination against women. And, the six foots and 5'9" types can BEND OVER. But those in power would rather not pay any attention most of the time (there is the exception of Stop & Shop for the checkout counter flat area for signing charge slips)to the disaccommodation of short people.

Them and their damned Procrustean beds...

#528 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 11:48 AM:

Bruce Arthurs at 519, *raises hand*.

523 et seq: My current "curse of the six foot male" example has to do with the intersection between computer printers and generic computer desks: the controls on the printer are on top of the printer. The printer shelf is on top of the generic computer desk. The combination puts the controls about three inches above my eye level.

I am not going to address the matter of the Annoy-a-Tron, because I am not a good enough person to not think about who needs one, just as a learning experience.

#529 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 11:53 AM:

"What I'm looking for is a sideways exchange. One person goes behind the other, both facing the same direction (in this case, the wall of pictures). The front person takes one step (to the right, say), while the back person will probably need to take at least two steps in the opposite direction. The maneuver should be fairly familiar to us literate types as the old bookstore switcheroo."

In English dance, this would be called a "Mad Robin"*. I suspect that's a neologism though -- the dance "Mad Robin" which includes this figure is quite old (1686) but I think using it to refer to the figure is a good deal younger. I also doubt that this would be current to a typical person in 1907.

In short, I probably haven't helped you at all, but you've given me a new way to explain the Mad Robin.

* More precisely, a Mad Robin does this and goes back again, with the other person in front, just as a do-si-do returns to the original position if not otherwise specified. But I assume this sort of cheating is OK by you.

#530 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 12:13 PM:

523: speaking as a six-foot male, I would like to assure Paula that, while much of the world may well have been designed for my convenience, long-distance mass transit bloody well wasn't. Coaches and airliners, in particular.

524: I find it very unlikely that the RAF had a six-foot minimum height during WW2. In fact, I don't believe it. Men were shorter then than now, and this would have ruled out a lot of potential pilots. A maximum height is more likely - even today, there are maximum heights for some aircraft, like the Harrier, because tall men simply can't fit in.
This is from the wiki on Guy Gibson:
"After several operational sorties with 106 Squadron he considered two members of his allotted crew sub-standard and had them replaced. However, when a visiting Air Ministry team considered his 5' 11" tall rear-gunner (Pilot Officer John Wickens) too tall to be a Lancaster gunner, Gibson told them to forget the rules, as his gunner was staying."

And this is from an interview with a Spitfire pilot on the BBC People's War site:
"I went in for one of the medical examinations, and they measured my height. I was 5 feet 3 inches tall, and the medical officer said I was half an inch too short to be considered for pilot training."

#531 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 12:22 PM:

531: I didn't say the minimum was six feet, merely that there was a minimum--in fact I don't know what the minimum was, but the fact that one existed implies that there were a significant number of applicants who fell under it. This skewed their average towards taller men and biased their measurements.

#532 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Lila (#490): My sister, who is currently living in India, responded with the following:

"By the same director/writer: Try Lakshya (young man finds what he is looking for in the army) or Don (stylish remake of 70’s gangster film...sort of John Woo style....)."

And she also recommended the following recent Bollywood movies:
2007 – Metro, The Guru
2006 – Lage Raho Munnabhai, Woh Lamhe, Rang De Basanti, Black
2005 – Bluffmaster, Taxi 9211, Devdas
2004 – Kal Ho Na Ho

I haven't seen any of these, so I have no editorial comments to offer. Anyone else....?

#533 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 12:29 PM:

I really hate it when I think of the useful stuff after hitting "Post".

The reason there was a minimum was because they were consciously going for the "tall==heroic" button. Stupid, for many of the reasons Paula lists, but perhaps vaugely defensible from the standpoint of improving morale? I tend to think not, but I am not a 1940s military specialist, nor even a 1940s civilian.

#534 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 12:29 PM:

532: Ah, but if there were also a maximum - as would seem likely, given that aircraft aren't very roomy - that would have the opposite effect...

#535 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 12:40 PM:

David S #530:

Still looking for a high-society type dance word. Something out of waltzes, redowas, Lancers, or whatever ballroom dances were current in New York or Boston dos of the period. (Which is why I really wish Susan were present.) Folk-dances, alas, are not *quite* it, although I'm delighted to see that there is a vocabulary. Is there any lexicon of ballet partnering/corps moves? Anyone?

More context: I've got a *very* high-society (400-level) young widow from New York and her older Boston companion in an art gallery in Venice. Think late Henry James-type milieu. This is all fairly tightly in the young widow's POV, so I don't want to go all anachronistic.

#536 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 12:46 PM:

At 5'3", there is indeed stuff on grocery shelves that I can't reach. What really bugs me is the fact that it's always the stuff that I want, because of a set of shelving and marketing guidelines that say "We know you can't shelve eveything at eye level or thereabouts. Therefore, put the old-style vanilla stuff at the top or the bottom of the shelves, leaving the middle space for the flashy 'new! allegedly improved!' offerings."

So in order to get at the smaller bags of unscented non-scoopable cat litter, I either have to have my 6'4" husband do it, or climb the shelves in a most indelicate and dangerous fashion. If I get much older and shorter I'll be able to call it discrimination against little old ladies.

#537 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 12:50 PM:

joann @ 537

I'm wondering about the markets that put the glass jars of instant tea on the top shelf (where I can reach, barely, the front of the shelf, but not farther back) - this in California, home of unscheduled falling objects. At least some markets put them on the bottom shelf, where they'll probably survive falling on the floor, and where we short people can reach them.

#538 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 12:59 PM:

PJEvans #538: California, home of unscheduled falling objects

Gotta love the phraseology. I went through several Bay Area quakes in the 80s (missed the Way Too Big One by a year or a week, depending on how you look at it), and nothing fell down in my presence that should not have. But after every one, there were always the TV news videos that involved much glass winding up on the supermarket floor. You really think they would have learned.

#539 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 01:36 PM:

Paula@528: the average height of women in the US is 5'4", the average height of males is 5'9" ... put them together and... one gets average gender discrimination against women.

That's some rather emotionally loaded accusations.

To discriminate means to treat someone in a way not based on merit. If shelves are designed to make the most of a fixed floor space, then there really isn't discrimination because there isn't any intent to treat someone not based on their merits.

#540 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 01:43 PM:

Greg @ 540

Maybe not intentional, but when they don't make it easy to reach stuff on upper shelves (either with steps or with tall employees around to reach stuff for you), it's effectively discrimination, and women get more of it, because there are more short women than short men. You get really tired of 'standard size' furniture that's too big.

(FWIW: the average height in my father's family was 5ft1 for women and 5ft3 for men. Just saying.)

#541 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 01:49 PM:

I read the damned military human factors documents, and somewhere at home have a copy of one... for pilots back in the 1970s, the military took 5'10" -- which is taller than the average adult male in the USA by the way, as "standard" plus or minus six inches --that was two standard deviations yielding from the fifth to 95 percentile of -male- height, which put the design of aircraft cockpits in the military for from 5'4" to 6'4", with waivers for an inch or two literally more or less.

Northwest Airlines had had a policy of not hiring anyone to be a pilot who was below six feet talll--and that was back in the days when the airlines liked to hire men with military pilot experience, and banned women from being flight engineers and pilots.

#542 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Greg #540:

Paula, PJ and I have all made our heights known to the public. Would you do us the favor of letting us know yours? Because I have the smallest nagging suspicion that you may have never needed to worry about this little problem. Believe me, when it colors the way you shop, the way you arrange your house, the cars you choose (and here I have a reverse problem which I am only to happy to accommodate: my husband is literally too tall for most cars, particularly those of US origin), it can seem sufficiently like discrimination that there is no practical difference.

(I'd be delighted for you to prove me wrong on the height thing, but ...)

#543 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 01:56 PM:

The shelves are designed to put the maximum of product on display FOR TALL PEOPLE. Anything on a shelf I can't -SEE- effectively DOES NOT EXIST FOR ME! I cannot buy something I do not know is there because it is NOT there as far I as LITERALLY can see! I get aggravated when I can see an item that I cannot see a PRICE for, much less reach... and that's for things that aren't cut off from me SEEING them!

As regards what gets shelved where, in a lot of cases there is what essentially are kickbacks for product placement on specific shelves--that is, it's NOT customer demand that drives the initial and much of the continuing placement of products on shelves, it's what the manufacturers are paying the stores (or not paying...) to put the products in specific locations or prime viewing/accessibility areas, and what the store designers decide, and what the individual store managers and the stocking clerks decide--most of whom are NOT short, and NOT female! (After all, there are those high shelves, so the restockers get hired I suspect with height as a consideration...)

#544 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 02:07 PM:

One thing that really horks me off about grocery store product placement is when they randomize the location of things every once in a while because people wandering around the store looking for something allegedly make more impulse purchases. Bleargh.

#545 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 02:13 PM:

I'm 4'11". T'ain't nothing out there designed for me. (Except possibly Terry bicycles, but I digress.)

I don't expect anyone to design for me. It would be silly. Yes, it's a pain in my neck (and wallet) to send things to the tailor all the time, or to hem things myself. It's a headache to get to a new office and have to ask for a stepladder so the top shelves of my bookcases are practical again, or to request a new desk chair because my feet don't touch the ground in the one that's in the office. It's a nuisance to have to reject cars solely because they don't "fit" me.

But really, I'm pretty far at one end of the height curve and yes, it's all a pain, but there are much more severe annoyances associated with being this short, so I save my rage for those and don't sweat the design issues.

#546 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Earl #545:

Obviously these marketing types have not taken into account those of us who go into a store with a tightly defined idea of what we want (after all, we make lists), get the item(s), or not, and then leave. We don't try to buy something else. I have a rather weird condition where if something is not in its expected place, I literally cannot see it sometimes, and may spend up to five minutes fruitlessly looking before I am put out of my misery. After that, I'm not about to try something new. And I hate it when they change the packaging.

(Local reference you'll get: I get very antsy and fussed in the main veggie aisle of Central Market. Stuff moves around by the week, it seems like, as it goes in and out of season.)

#547 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Egads, I feel like a giant. I'm a smidge below 5'10", and the spouse is somewhere around 6'2". When we rebuilt the kitchen in the cabin, we built it to our scale.

I always get things down from high shelves for people who can't reach them. Happens every week in the grocery store, and I don't mind at all.

#548 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 02:36 PM:

To our hosts: new open thread?

Otherwise and off topic: I just heard a Chautauqua lecture on NPR on development and learning. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/09/04/midday2/

I am now listening to it again with a notebook and pen. What this man says makes sense. I recognize things. He's not a particularly fluid speaker, but the content! I really advise spending the time to listen to this. (I just had one of those NPR moments, where you don't get out of the car until the story ends...except in this case it took my lunch hour. So much for taking the car out of park.)

#549 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 02:53 PM:

One of the local supermarkets had a restorcker who was at least seven feet tall.

If you wear bifocals you'll know a lot of stuff is badly designed, so you have to cock your head at an odd angle to see stuff.

One of the local banks has a very artistic lighting scheme, which generates a lot of thoroughly awkward shadows and reflections on the ATMs.

And yes, ATMs use Windows XP. Last night I watched one swallow my card and reboot.

(And these guys want me to use Internet banking?)

#550 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:06 PM:

Dave Bell @ 550

Friday morning I watched one of the ticket machines at my train station going through continuous reboot. (Boot, fail, boot, fail, boot ...) Fortunately the other machine was working.

Yep, Windows.

#551 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:10 PM:

On heights and product placements, an international perspective:

I'm 5'6" tall. In the last few months I've gone from being relatively tall (in Scotland) to being fairly short (in the Netherlands).

I used to have to make sure, when (for instance) pulling a binder out of a set of shelves and setting it somewhere to leaf through with a colleague, to put it sufficiently low. My neighbours used to call me "that tall girl with the long hair."

Now when my colleagues take things off shelves to look at with me, I find myself stretching and craning (or jumping up and down*). And I'm among the smaller women in every crowd.

Another thing I've noticed is that there are national assumptions about product placement in supermarkets. My acid test is where you find the sugar: in Britain it's with the flour and the baking ingredients. In the Netherlands, it's with the tea and coffee.**

Other difficult items:
eggs (never, by the way, refrigerated in either European country, and always brown)
pickled gherkins

And strangest of the strange: hot dogs come in cans. Or jars.
-----
* only when it's funny
** I've been out of the US so long I can't remember where it is there. Answers?

#552 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:15 PM:

joann@543: it can seem sufficiently like discrimination that there is no practical difference.

no, there is no practical difference. The difference I was pointing out was one of intent. If someone intended to discriminate, to go out of their way to make life difficult for some group, then I'd have a stronger reaction than if that same person was driven by some other, non-discriminatory motivation. If you think the reaction should be the same regardless of intent, then we'll have to agree to disagree on that.

#553 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:15 PM:

abi 552: The sugar is in the Baking Needs aisle here in Hoboken.

#554 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:17 PM:

"And yes, ATMs use Windows XP. Last night I watched one swallow my card and reboot."

It's going to be even better when they start using Vista.

#555 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:22 PM:

For the curious, Mary Dell's closet-sorting algorithm is here.
Delightful.

Dil Chahta Hai on Netflix, Amazon.

#556 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:22 PM:

Joann @#574:

Poking around Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_partner_dance_terms
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_ballet_terms
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dosado

I believe the kind of dancing you're thinking of is nowadays known as "vintage ballroom dance." The move you're describing may be a form of "pass," but googling "ballroom dance pass" produces predictably unhelpful results.

#557 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:30 PM:

Loose sugars are usually with baking supplies and spices. Sugar cubes can be found with coffee and tea. Here in the PNW, home of Fred Meyer.

#558 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:34 PM:

Tania @558
I had forgotten that American supermarkets often place baking supplies and spices together. Neither British nor Dutch ones do.

British spices are generally with sauces - mustard, ketchup, brown sauce - and oils. I haven't figured out where the Dutch spices go.

#559 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:34 PM:

I actually own several Kingston Trio albums. I am officially old.

For your enjoyment, one of the social commentary songs they did so well: Google Video of The Merry Minuet.

Singularly appropriate even 50 years later. It was on the "Live at the Hungry i" album.

#560 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:46 PM:

#519: I've HEARD of the Kingston Trio, just never knew what they were about.

If it makes you feel better, I know who the Nairobi Trio are.

#561 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:48 PM:

Sarah #546

I don't expect anyone to design for me. It would be silly.

That's around the 25th-30th percentile of adult female height in the US I suspect--and that many people should NOT be summarily have their existence denied/glossed over/pretended to not be Worthy of notice... Note that there are stores that specialize in Big and Tall for men, that men's clothing gets sized by height and width and neck diameter measurements...but women Don't Seem to Matter. "I don't expect...." Who -should- things be designed for, the 6' males who are not that much as a larger percentage of the population than 4'1" women?! The standard deviation of male height is 3", a six foot male is one standard deviation off from 5'9". A 4'11" female is more than one standard deviation off from the 5'4" average for women, however, there i that -claim- that women do most of e.g. the grocery shopping.... (Although the local supermarket I shop in, there are times when it looks like it's 50-50. I've seen adult males go shopping with one or two or three schoolage children, along with men shopping solo, and men shopping with women, with wife and offspring, etc., and though I haven't seen it there, there are probably men married to one another who go shopping in the region, too.

#562 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:53 PM:

Linkmeister @#560: The only Kingston Trio song I can bring to mind at the moment is "Tatooed Lady," most likely because my dad still sings it to (at) me from time to time. I'm not tattooed from head to knee, nor am I a sight to see, but I do have a bit of ink.

We had a few KT records when I was growing up, but we tended to favor the Clancy Brothers. We also listened to our record of Cowboy Songs a lot, because it featured "Blood on the Saddle."

Unrepentant folkie, here.

I felt very, very old when I had to explain who Led Zeppelin was to an intern at my office. And saying "Stairway to Heaven" didn't produce even a flicker of recognition.

#563 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:55 PM:

abi @5559: So the Brits group spices with condiments? That makes a certain amount of sense.

#564 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 03:58 PM:

Paula @562

Using this height chart (and pretending to be 20 instead of 36), 4'11" puts me at below the 3rd percentile for height for US women. I simply can't feel outraged about my lack of height being catered to.

I don't pretend that I don't have trouble finding clothing, but there's certainly a decent petite women's clothing market in the US and there are stores that cater specifically to the short.

And I'm afraid I don't follow your grocery store point.

#565 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 04:14 PM:

Greg #553:

It can be -worse- to be left -out- completely via no provision for existing, than to be deliberately left out--at least in the former case one is acknowledged to exist and be worthy of being discriminated against/admitted to actually exist, as opposed to, "You are not even worthy of being NOTICED to have an existence, you don't exist and aren't of sufficient relevance to get an admission of existence!"

It's a denial of existence... in the first sequel to Joan Vinge's book The Snow Queen, there's a scene where someone of the upper class gets forced to acknowledge/speak to a member of a lower class, which no upper class member has ever since the social stratification solidified, acceded to so recognizing....

It's de facto discrimination, because since ther is no acknowledgement of existence, there is absolutely nothing done for accommodation...

#566 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 04:20 PM:

Mary Dell, "Tom Dooley?" "Charlie on the MTA?"

#567 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 05:14 PM:

Oh, right, Tom Dooley! Duh. We used to make up variants to that one - hang down your head and yell, poor boy you're going to hell, that sort of thing.

#568 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 05:49 PM:

"The John Birch Society"? Wasn't that also the Kingston Trio? (Side A (for ordering purposes) being "The Golden Vanity"; otherwise your order would be sinking in the lowland, lowland, low, sinking in the lowland sea.)

#569 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 06:41 PM:

Sarah #565:

Thanks for the link. That gets me to 30th percentile.[*] If *I* can't reach something, then almost a third (and maybe more) of the adult female population can't reach it either. Which suggests that there's something wrong, somewhere. Because we're the ones that all the marketers assume ought to be the target customers for groceries and the like. (Not to mention clothing!)

* It occurs to me that these percentiles probably get more skewed toward the shorter end as the ages increase, because height seems to have been increasing with each generation, I'm told. Someone 30 years or so older than the 20 allowed for on your chart is more likely to be short; any given height, therefore, would be at a higher percentile.

#570 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 06:46 PM:

Tania #558:

Sugar cubes with the coffee and tea? Hmm. Maybe *that's* what happened to all the sugar cubes around here (Austin): they migrated on a stocker's whim. I'd about decided they'd been deeveed entirely.

I can check this theory tonight or tomorrow.

#571 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 06:47 PM:

Mary Dell #557:

Thanks ever so. If all else fails, I can just say "Julia passed behind Mrs. Stuart."

#572 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 06:51 PM:

joann, 571: "Deeveed"? All I can come up with is "D.V." = Deus volente.

#573 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 06:56 PM:

TexAnne #573:

"Devalued". From Brunner's _Shockwave Rider_.

We adopted the term and have used it for about 30 years.

#574 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 06:59 PM:

Ah, thanks, joann! OK, now I need to go read that book.

#575 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 07:54 PM:

When I was in college in the late 60's, our prof demonstrated mean, median, average, etc. by using the heights of the two dozen or so students. Half a dozen of us women were 5'2", which skewed the bell curve considerably. Over the past several years, I've stabilized at 5'.

My greatest height grievance is womens' towel dispensers in public restrooms that occasionally are hung over 4' from the floor. That's not just water to the elbow, guys, it's water to the armpit. This once made me irate enough to initiate espionage into the mens' to verify that their towel dispensers were LOWER. Both were right above where the identical wall tile ended at different heights. Utterly no sense to the discrepancy.

Hey, Greg - I too would like to know how tall you are.

#576 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 08:01 PM:

Paula (#566): While I sympathise with your frustration, I submit that there is a wide gulf between 'We don't realise you have a problem (or realise the magnitude of it),' and 'We don't acknowledge that you exist.'

Personally, I think it's remarkable how far North American society has come in the last twenty years, in terms of designing for a range of users - think about widespread usage of Braille, audible signals for pedestrians at intersections, curb cuts and wheelchair ramps, and the like. And certainly the design of modern cars reflects the fact that women are the buyers and drivers - think powered doors on minivans, for example - in a way that they didn't two decades ago. I think there is a long way to go, still, but I think awareness of these issues is increasing every day.

#577 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 08:08 PM:

Kingston Trio sings "Charlie on the MTA"? Cool - I guess I know who they are too.

Although I have to admit that I am partial to the Dropkick Murphys' version, 'Skinhead on the MBTA'; I think the addition of 'Oi! Oi! Oi!' is an improvement.

#578 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 08:08 PM:

It was quite a shock when somewhere between my late fifties and early sixties I dropped two inches in height. The degenerating discs... I wasn't aware of it at all, until one day getting a routine check up the nurse said, "Let's get your height." All my adult life I've been 5' 6" and now I'm 5' 4". Weird. I don't feel shorter.

#579 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 08:09 PM:

carrie,

The reason there was a minimum was because they were consciously going for the "tall==heroic" button. Stupid, for many of the reasons Paula lists, but perhaps vaugely defensible from the standpoint of improving morale?

yeah, it's funny thinking about this coming from an israeli military background. where fighter pilots are undoubtedly the most idolized & sought after men (& it is almost all men; all the female pilots i've heard of flew cargo or passengers) in the idf. as evinced by the "witticism", "the best [men] to flight school, the best [women] to the pilots."*

but the dirty secret about fighter pilots, whispered around the rest of the idf, is that they are very short. for the efficiency reasons paula stated.

indeed, the idf fighter pilots i've met, though oozing machismo, were my height or shorter (5'6").


*er, it works better in a heavily gendered language.

#580 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 08:31 PM:

abi, #552, the bagged sugar is with the flour and baking stuff, but the cube sugar is with the tea & coffee at my store.

I'm 5'8", but I'm partially paralyzed on the left side and fall over easily so I don't have anything on the top shelves of my cupboards. I don't have stuff in the back of the shelves of the fridge, and if they get shoved back there by accident, I use a reacher to get them. In a store, I smile at likely people and say "Would you please reach me that?" and so far, everybody has. I thank them, of course.

#581 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 11:20 PM:

It's pretty striking to me how often people make dumb design decisions, without apparently even noticing. When we first had a baby, I started noticing how many tasks required both hands, even when it was immediately obvious that they could have been done with one. People just flat didn't think about it. Of *course* you should need two hands to get a paper towel in the bathroom, or to open 90%+ of packages. (The others require three hands, a knife, and patience.)

More recently, I've noticed the bizarre decision to put urinals at a height where even a short adult man would have a hard time hitting them. The problem here becomes obvious when your six year old boy wants to use them, and must either find a sit-down toilet or leave a puddle.

And there are so many other examples. Furniture with sharp corners. (Why would *anyone* design a knee-level table with sharp corners? Have these people no knees?) Faucets that require more strength than a healthy six year old kid has to turn on and adjust temperature for. Or those new handsfree ones, which at least 30% of the time have the temperature set too hot, making it a real joy to get your kids to wash their hands after using the cleaned-once-a-week airport toilets. Airline beverage carts with sharp corners (why not pad the damned things, since you hit ten knees on every fking trip, and eight of them are mine?) Back when they had smoking in restaurants where I lived, people inevitably set the smoking section in the middle of the nonsmoking section, even when a nice isolated room was available. And of course they didn't do something really wacky like, say, put in a vent fan so that air would flow into the smoking section instead of out.

None of this appears to be active malice or even greed. I mean, it can't really be cheaper to set the urinals and sinks and paper towel dispensers too high for small kids to use, and presumably it doesn't save much money to make it impossible to get napkins or ketchup one-handed at the fast-food restaurant. It's just that nobody who has any power to decide how these things are designed notices that they've screwed 20 or 30% of their customers, for no profit whatsoever, just from not thinking through their design.

What was that quote? Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain.

#582 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2007, 11:49 PM:

Marilee @#581: I'm 5'8", but I'm partially paralyzed on the left side

Say, my sister has that, but on the right side. Not much fun, but manageable. She HATES to ask people for help, though. Not because she's embarrassed, but because she's as stubborn as a mule, which is, ultimately, why she's mobile in the first place...

I'm 5'8", so I'm the designated reacher-of-things in many contexts. I also have long limbs, so I can generally reach higher than similar-height people. This annoys my 5'8" teammate, because he thinks (of course) that he's 5'9". I know a few men who seem to have body dysmorphia, but instead of looking in the mirror and seeing a fatter person, they see a taller person.

#583 ::: Rozasharn ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 01:23 AM:

Carrie S. @ 468, Bellatrys reviewed the upcoming Dark is Rising movie here. Sample quotation:

---
The most prominent point has been the claim of eliminating or "downplaying" (whatever that means) the pagan elements in the originals, by an admittedly-evangelical-Christian company dedicated to producing works of sound Christian entertainment - at least as they define "Christianity."

So what exactly have they downplayed, and what added, that would constitute taking out the heathenry and putting in the Gospels?

Well, judging by the trailer and the descriptions of the script and shooting by those who are making it, they have taken out - in addition to the King Arthur element , which I might remind you was according to Tolkien too Christian a mythos to work as proper epic fantasy - they have taken out all of the moral ambiguity and inner struggle in the originals, and replaced it with sex, greed, and violence.
---

#584 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 02:07 AM:

P J @ #569, According to All Music Guide "John Birch Society" was recorded by the Chad Mitchell Trio and appeared on four or five of their albums.

#585 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 02:33 AM:

Lizzy L @ 579

Same thing happened to me in my mid 50's when I ruptured a disk (despite what TNH says in the thread on spin, that should be in the passive voice, because I sure didn't do it, damn thing ruptured itself. In fact, several doctors were never convinced that it happened at all). I lost about an inch in height. Then a couple of months ago I had a physical and was told it had come back. Agsin, not something I did.

albatross @ 582

Opening a plastic bag usually requires 2 friends and a broadsword, though I've occasionally made do with a blowtorch.

Also note the "automatic" paper towel dispensers in restrooms. Just have to wave one hand over the photocell, and it dispenses a length of towel — just long enough not to be useful. If you want more you have to pull on the towel, and you need both hands, one on either side, or it binds up and won't come out at all.

#586 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 02:55 AM:

Re ergonomic design. I went to my bookshelves to find my 1955 paperback of Henry Dreyfuss' "Designing for People" (turning very brown), intending to wave it around as proof that designers back then had the information they needed about average dimensions of men and women and their various parts, and that it was sheer lazyness that prevented them from using the data.

Then I looked up the charts in the book. Pages 32 - 35 show dimensioned drawings of the bodies of average size adult men and women, and children of several ages, also showing some of the reach and angle of rotation of the limbs. Aha, says I, here's the data! But — the drawings were substantially different between the male and female adults. I'll ignore the fact that a keyboard was shown with the appropriate 15° incline under the man's hands and nothing under the woman's, that's just an effect of the expected sexual stereotypes of the time. But why, for instance, does the man's figure show the cones of visual coverage and the range of head and arm movement, and the woman's and the children's do not? The man's also shows leg clearance under a table, and the other's don't. Were the others measured for these variables, or was it just assumed they were the same?

And this was the man who convinced everybody, in the US, at an any rate, that designing for the way people were shaped was important. Looks to me like even he wasn't willing to think it all the way through.

#587 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 02:59 AM:

Clifton Royston @ 494: "Earl: That's been my plan too, but it hasn't panned out so far. I suppose I should buy tickets."

I figure that my chances of finding a winning ticket on the street are probably about the same as buying one.

Jules @ 520: Hey, so that is what my computer is evolving into! It has starting beeping randomly, maybe once or twice a week. Clearly, it's only a matter of time.

#588 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 03:30 AM:

Oh, and if you like Bollywood, you owe it to yourself to see Koi... Mil Gaya, "India's first Science Fiction Musical with elaborate special effects." It is the best sf/romance/comedy/drama/action Bollywood movie you will ever see. Still not convinced? Okay, I guess I'll have to bust out the big guns.

#589 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 04:44 AM:

viz. the "Atrocies in american airports" particle:

I realise that an article's credibility should not stand and fall on the credibility of its neighbours -- but I have to say that this particular article's neighbours (ranging from the bluntly-titled "9/11 was a hoax" to some chap's glowing account of how little he had to pay to get his unique sci-fi masterwork published) don't do it any favours.

#590 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:04 AM:

Belated thanks for the t-shirt recycling suggestions to them as made 'em. My plans for a quilted memorabilia futon cover proceed apace!

(And Bruce, if you get the "been there, undone that" t-shirt up, do let's know ... )

Cheers.

#591 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 09:22 AM:

584: Thanks, I shall read the whole thing when I get home--no LJ from here. But the quote does not fill me with hope that the trailer was just badly put together.

#592 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 09:58 AM:

Oh, and another thing: I see that the movie-makers have committed the same error I did, that being starting the series with The Dark is Rising rather than Over Sea, Under Stone.

In my defense, that's because my school library had the first but not the second. But still. Got awfully confusing when I moved on to Greenwitch and suddenly there were these three kids I was supposed to recognize...

#593 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 09:59 AM:

When Open Threads get this long, it feels as though they're too tall for my dial-up computer to reach! Discrimination? (I refuse to do the winky-face thing after this, but I am mostly kidding.)

Any other fellow-sufferers out there with wide but not very large feet? Over-tight shoes can be a health hazard, so I'm still using a lot of old canvas ones (in nice colors) that I can't seem to replace.

#594 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:08 AM:

My mom has wide feet and tall arches-- she hates shoe shopping because there was only one store that had shoes that fit her as a child, and they were all ugly. I hate shoe shopping because she turned grumpy the second we hit the store. Her sister has slightly narrower feet and arches high enough that when she broke her foot, the doctor attached a note to the foot-shape-thing so the orthopedist wouldn't think it was a joke. My brother got the big wide feet-- he loves his Birkenstocks.
I'm often scouting for nice shoes that look good on my feet, rather than the sixes and sevens of my friends. They're good feet, I didn't get the insane arches or the width, they get me where I'm going, but they are not tiny.

#595 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Making Light was inaccessible yesterday afternoon when I was trying to post, and ate a post...

The curves of that website are skewed ones--there are -different- iso-something-or-others for "white," "hispanic," "black," and "other" women.... something like 17% of the US population is now or soon will be categorizable as hispanic, and note that the curve for percentile height of 20 year olds is shorter comparing hispanic women's height to "white" women's height. Women from the eastern Pacific Rim and south Asia tend to be short--there are lots of women either in attire characteristic of India or wearing headscarves indicative of south Asian Islamic culture in the supermarkets I shop in, and they're almost all short.

The assumptions of uniform distribution for making nice smooth curves, don't seem to be to be good assumptions--it's not the nice smooth symmetrical "normal distribution" curve with the single peak that fits what it is, constant-1 times e to the minus constant2-times-(x-squared)--the curves are multimodal, that is, there are multiple peaks, there are valleys, etc., and change in height over time also puts in skewing that means that taking a simple-minded average and standard deviation and proclaiming that here are the numbers, is misleading... It's the stuff of Michael Flynn's talk "How to Lie with Statistics."

I was looking for a site with actual demographic data and couldn't find it, instead of a bogus calculator full of what seems to me to be bogus assumptions... This whole discussion comes out of the general characteristic of taking the path of least attention and concern and consideration, of assuming "everyone else out there is just like me or a Standard Person Defined as a tall White Male for vision, for mobility, for ability to reach...." and not doing actual demographic investigation and analysis... just as the assumption is that women do the shopping and the ads get pitched to make women feel inadequate as they are but buying these cleaning products will give them self-esteem and power [somewhat paraphrasing and reinterpreting some of the stuff that Tony Cherubini who quit the network commercial and nonprofit TV industry for small town producer-video-instructor-small-farmer life, told me years ago]. The stores don't really distinguish -who- does the shopping, because debit cards don't say which of the people with the family account are doing the buying on it, cash doesn't carry data about the buyer with it, etc. So the pronouncement is out there that women do the grocery shopping and I'm still waiting for the ads showing males doing laundry, cleaning, cooking, buying groceries, etc., as if they do it as an ordinary daily chore and part of their life, instead of the damned Clorox bimbo slave housewife and mother whose sons and husbands piss all over the toilet, for her to HAPPILY go about cleaning up after (I'm using coarser language, but that radio ad actually was the most to my perspective outrageous of an ad compaign in which not ONE other member of a household ever evinced the slightest attention to a) not making repulsive messes, b) cleaning anything up, or c) regarding Mama as other than an slavish appliance that would automatically revert everything to sparkling clean. "Mama makes the house fresh with the magic of Clorox" went dancing about in the wake of all the other members of the family who give slobs a good name for tidyness and cleanliness, cleaning up everything.... )]

#596 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:18 AM:

All you shoe-searchers might want to know about www.zappos.com where you can search by size, width, color, etc. for men's, women's, and kid's shoes.

It might be easier pickings than the mall shops.

#597 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:18 AM:

Rozasharn @ 584, oh, is that why the trailer made me weep and facepalm?

(My boyfriend thought I was having some kind of attack. Afterwards I wailed "They RUINED it! They're MURDERING it!" He never read the books and has no idea why I was so offended, but patted me sympathetically anyway.)

The notes in that review confirm all the impressions I got from the trailer. Unfortunately.

#598 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:23 AM:

#594 Faren

I have narrow heels and wide front of foot area, as opposed to the lasts generally used that the toe area is narrow and the heels wide... different populations have different foot shapes, it's one of the archaelogical tools to distinguish among the populations of Great Britain in antiquity and prehistory.

#599 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Paula@566: as opposed to, "You are not even worthy of being NOTICED to have an existence,

Lemme put names to that:

Bob: "You, Alice, are not even worthy of being NOTICED to have an existence."

Except Bob had to have noticed Alice to say that. And having noticed Alice, Bob choose to actively ignore her and discriminate against her. You have taken the scenario of no intent to discriminate and turned it into active discrimination. i.e.

Tall Bob: "We have noticed you short women and have decided that you are not worthy of consideration of our shelf designs. We will design our store shelves to be fit for us tall people. Take that!"

If Bob did not intend to discriminate, then representing it as if he did intend to discriminate would be unfair.

#600 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:29 AM:

I'm very confused.

1. The assumption that women (who are often short) do most of the grocery shopping is discriminatory.

2. Placing shelves high up in grocery stores inconveniences short women and is therefore discriminatory.

There's no way to solve this, is there?

I mean, if the shelves get moved down, doesn't that just enshrine the assumption that women do the grocery shopping, so we ought to put the shelves down where the little dears can reach them?

And if the shelves stay where they are, doesn't that just enshrine the "denial of existence" problem?

#601 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:33 AM:

Linkmeister @ 585

You're correct, of course. (Brain glitch. One of the cogs lost itself temporarily. The heat. Something.)

#602 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:38 AM:

Faren

4 extra-wide, if they were actually findable. I buy in the 'youth' section, where at least some athletic shoes fit. (Nike and Ecko do, Puma is narrower.) The local 'Work Boot Warehouse' claims to have women's 4 and extra-wide, but whether they have them in the same shoe is another matter.

(It's cooled off to normal for the season. We have fog this morning. Hurray!)

#603 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:45 AM:

Caroline @ 598: Maybe we should get together and do our own versions. Fandom could do it, you know it could. The books are short, even--one movie each would likely be plenty.

Grumble "downplaying the pagan elements" grumble "leaving out King Arthur" grumble "Will's an American?!" grumble grumble.

You'll note however that Merriman is still British, as all Magical Mentors must be for some reason.

#604 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:46 AM:

#576: Both were right above where the identical wall tile ended at different heights. Utterly no sense to the discrepancy.

There may be no sense to why the tiles ended at different heights, but drilling through tiles without cracking them is hard enough that it's a complete explanation of why a lazy or incompetent fitter would put a towel dispenser above existing tiles if at all possible. Unless I'm misreading what you mean.

#605 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 10:48 AM:

Greg, I can understand your point and Paula's. It's sort of like putting ramps on sidewalks and into buildings-- first, you* realize that not everyone is able to walk up stairs. If you don't have a ramp, people will accuse you of discrimination, but you never said, "I want to keep people with wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, and people whose legs just don't bend that well out of this building." You just assumed that such people do not exist or do not pertain to your building. Even if you don't mean to actively exclude people, you passively exclude them. I'm not sure 'discriminate' is the right word, but I can't think of a better one.

*This is not a second-person you.

#606 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 11:14 AM:

Carrie S. @ 604, I would not at all be opposed to that.

I have consumer-grade video-editing software, and I'm not afraid to use it! Take that, Walden Media!

I saw that trailer and said "They made him into a little TWERP!" And if there's one thing Will Stanton never was, it's a twerp.

I also started my series reading with The Dark Is Rising, only because that book was given to me first. Luckily I went back and filled in with Over Sea, Under Stone before going on to Greenwitch. I remember going up to the friend who gave me the first book, during seventh-grade lunch, and bouncing up and down excitedly because all the characters just met each other!

Anyway, so, yes. I think one movie each would be quite sufficient.

#607 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 11:16 AM:

Diatryma@606: I'm not sure 'discriminate' is the right word, but I can't think of a better one.

There's a hole in our lexicon.

#608 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 11:43 AM:

604: You'll note however that Merriman is still British, as all Magical Mentors must be for some reason.

You will understand the reason why in time, young lady. *twinkles Britishly*

Actually, it seems that Magical Mentors are allowed not to be British as long as they're black. (The infamous Mystical Negro phenomenon.)

#609 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 12:16 PM:

I have consumer-grade video-editing software, and I'm not afraid to use it! Take that, Walden Media!

Right! And we'll need someone to do SFX, of the live, during-processing and CGI varieties.

I saw that trailer and said "They made him into a little TWERP!" And if there's one thing Will Stanton never was, it's a twerp.

Casting the kids is going to be the hard part.

#610 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Greg 608: Diatryma@606: I'm not sure 'discriminate' is the right word, but I can't think of a better one.

There's a hole in our lexicon.

Hmm. When someone ~discriminates by just assuming that every couple is made up of one man and one woman, we call that heterocentrism. TAB-centrism, maybe?

Institutionalized discrimination is another term. Or passive discrimination.

We need a term that emphasizes that the person didn't necessarily have hate in hir heart, but simply wasn't thinking broadly enough.

#611 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 12:32 PM:

A Conservative with a Conscience tells how he tried to stop the torture memos.

#612 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 12:36 PM:

#606 ::: Diatryma

It's sort of like putting ramps on sidewalks and into buildings-- first, you* realize that not everyone is able to walk up stairs. If you don't have a ramp, people will accuse you of discrimination, but you never said, "I want to keep people with wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, and people whose legs just don't bend that well out of this building." You just assumed that such people do not exist or do not pertain to your building. Even if you don't mean to actively exclude people, you passively exclude them. I'm not sure 'discriminate' is the right word, but I can't think of a better one.

*This is not a second-person you.

It's an omission--the people don't -exist- to the designer. It never occurs to the designer to consider that mobility-impaired people exist or if they exist, that building design should accommodate them: the designer is designing with the implicit assumption that everyone else is like the designer and walks up and down steps, has no trouble negotiating up and down a curbstone, that comfortable field of view (I don't want to say "eye level," because when e.g. I put up pictures on the wall at home, I have to -consciously- think of where -my- eye level is, otherwise I almost automatically put things where I'm used to seeing them on walls generally --
That is, there is default behavior, which is what what is accustomed/acclimatized to, and internalizes, unless there is some substantiative overt obstacle preventing one from automatic assimilation of the situation and using it as default.

Er, translating--people who can walk up and down stairs without much trouble, don't particularly notice stairs consciously that they negotiate on a regular basis. It becomes automatic to go up and down those stairs without conscious attention, and when thinking about buildings, one then has the reflexive definition that stairs belong on buildings--because that's what one sees and goes up and down everyday, the stairs become internalized and invisible as regards considering them as things to think about as issues. Only if one has issues with stairs does one think of them as issues/obstacles/[literal] impediments, or if one is dealing with people who have issues with stairs, and has to keep consciously remembering that stairs are issues/problems, if not for them, for people they are concerned with.

it is discrimination, because the folks with mobility issues, are being left out of the equation of "requirements/things to consider when designing and constructing buildings." It's as if they shouldn't exist even though they do exist. Their requirements don't get considered unless the designer gets slammed over the head, repeatedly, with it in way too many cases. In the pure form, I would say it's a form of sociopathy, an inability to consider or consider relevant, anything that is not one's own situation.

Regarding Sarah S' comments about short women versus women--it is discrimation in both cases, there is absolutely no real conflict involved--the people responsible for supermarket design and the ad producers are not the same people, and they each are looking from their own particular bigoted views, and being sociopathic about it. The marketing people don't care about the anger that women like me feel about the portrayal of women as household slaves--their intent is to brainwash women who identify with the situation of wanting a clean house and having a family that makes messes, of feeling empowered with Clorox Wipes to at least make the house clean and feel good about -that- and and power via Housecleaning Supremacy and Competence.. and persuade them also that they shouldn't have any other foci to their lives (see "Southern Baptist Convention What We Believe stuff....) than subservience.

The supermarket builders are out to put maximum amounts of product in minimum amount of space, and the anger of under half of the femal population regarding inacessible items, isn't something they particularly have any concern about... THEY are not the ones who are trying to get at objects placed inaccessibly for them, they are like the designers of staircases who consider stairs normal, and to whom those who have difficulty with stairs, are nonexistent/of no pertinence/can't make THEIR lives miserable [until ADA...]

Until and unless the designers and marketeers internalize that women and particularly short women are PEOPLE (and short men, and movement-impaired and vision-impaired etc.) and deserving of respect and consideration as opposed to being targets with no respect and consideration of the women's/short women's/short men's/disableds' concerns involved, the discrimination stays....

Women formerly were locked out of military pilot status, because they were women. It was a combination of social values and attitudes and beliefs and not wanting competition from women--which again is social values and attitudes--and utter disdain for the desire of any woman to be a military pilot and utter disdain that any woman might have the ability along with the interest to be a military pilot. "Women, they're women, they shouldn't be pilots." Pure unadulterated bigoted discriminatory prejudicial credo and arrogance and sociopathy....

#613 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 12:43 PM:

Bruce C #586: Opening a plastic bag usually requires 2 friends and a broadsword, though I've occasionally made do with a blowtorch.

The most important tool in my kitchen is not my knife. It's the kitchen shears I keep around to cut open plastic bags.

#614 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 12:47 PM:

Alan B #605:

That was what it sounds like to me, too. Where they screwed up was not noticing which room had the taller installation. Unfortunately, there is *no* accounting for construction types. The designers could specify anything they like, and the builders will still behave according to their notions of propriety, which usually seem to involve least effort.

#616 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 01:31 PM:

I agree, Paula, it's just that my definition of 'discrimination' implies that it's active rather than passive. I do not deny that there is a problem, but the word is not perfect. I think I'm with Xopher that 'passive discrimination' might work better.

A girl* I knew in college did a research project on campus accessibility... after she broke her leg and spent some months in a wheelchair. She didn't concentrate on the big issues, like most of the dorms not having elevators or one building that cannot be entered without stairs, but on false accessibility-- wheelchair ramps she couldn't find, curb ramps with a one-inch drop to them so she couldn't get up them, door-opening buttons she couldn't reach. I expect they're doing better now, but there was a lot to improve upon. The one thing the campus really did have going for it was that it's in Illinois, so it was flat.

*When will my friends become women?

#617 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 01:40 PM:

#615 ::: joann

...Unfortunately, there is *no* accounting for construction types. The designers could specify anything they like, and the builders will still behave according to their notions of propriety, which usually seem to involve least effort.

That's why oversight and regulation exist, to forcibly impose compliance with what people might otherwise dispense with. Once it becomes customary to do something, it becomes automatic. Shy of that, however....

#618 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Diatryma #617: A girl* I knew in college [...] *When will my friends become women?

When you talk about what they're up to in the present tense.

(These days, for me, "girls" are anything under 30 or so. "Women" are my contemporaries, within a decade or two. Then there's the matter of "elder stateswomen", but I'm not going there.)

#619 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 02:19 PM:

#618 Paula:

This is what we do with ADA and fire codes and building codes, but I suspect it only works with a tiny fraction of the bad design problem. There must be a couple million decisions involved in designing and putting up an office building, and maybe the rules can impose sensible decisions (assuming the rules are sensible--definitely not guaranteed!) on a few hundred. And obvious public safety issues have led us to have an infrastructure for publishing and enforcing rules on how to design and put up buildings. We just don't have that infrastructure, and probably couldn't afford it, for the millions of other dumb design decisions that smack us in the face every day.

I wish I had an answer. I don't think you can pass a law against dumb or thoughtless, or that you can enumerate any significant fraction of sensible design decisions in law or rules.

The ADA examples prove that, right--it's common to see setups where someone has put in curb cuts and ramps, but done it in a way that's massively inconvenient or dangerous or not really quite functional. Almost certainly, that's not intentional--the ramp and curb cuts cost the same whether they're sited intelligently or not, and hardly anyone explicitly wants to screw over people in wheelchairs. But it's a nice example of how you can get a legal requirement for certain sensible things like ramps and curb cuts and elevators, but still not get an accessible building. I suspect that any attempt to solve the broad bad design problem with law runs into the same issues.

Is there a good solution, other than trying to reward designers of usable products by buying them?

#620 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 02:26 PM:

Carrie S. (593), Caroline (607), I can do you one better: I started the series with The Grey King, because that's what was on the Newbery Award Winners display.

#621 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 02:43 PM:

There are some charts of American adults' height/weight percentiles (somewhat sorted by gender, ethnicity, and age) here. There are also some refs for worldwide comparisons of Body Mass Indices in the "Race and National Differences" section of the same site's bibliography section. Notably, because of general trends in limb/torso proportions, people of Asian ethnicity tend to have higher percentages of body fat than the standard (Caucasian-based) BMI charts would suggest; the converse is somewhat true among African-Americans. I would further surmise that the last stat doesn't nec'ly hold among all people of African descent, due to African-Americans' relatively limited geographical origin from West Africa within a much wider pool of body-type variations throughout the continent, compared to the variations within Europe and Asia.

#622 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 02:56 PM:

Paula@613: Women formerly were locked out of military pilot status, because they were women.

Yes. And that's not the same as a tall male supermarket owner designing his shelves for people his height.

Discrimination is treating an individual based on the group they belong to, not on their individual merit.

The store owner is treating everyone the same as far as he knows. (Or he's simply trying to maximize product in a fixed floor space, and height/gender isn't a concern.) He isn't intending to discriminate against women, he isn't intending to discriminate against short people.

Tall men do not get into the grocery store business to discriminate against short women.

And if you're throwing them into the same bin as overt, intentional, sexist behavior, then you need to get better bins.

Or get out of the binning business.

#623 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 03:00 PM:

Diatryma @ 617 -

Did you go to Illinois Wesleyan? Because I had a flashback when reading your comment to an article I read in the Argus or the Vidette about the exact same problems. Either that, or there are multiple universities in Illinois having the same problems with access.

#624 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 03:06 PM:

Faren, my right foot is 9.5 WW, my left foot is 10 WW. I figure it's no wonder I like to swim, I have paddles!

Before working in a hospital (no open toe shoes), I wore lots of Birkenstock and Dansko. For girly shoes Munro and Franco Sarto. Now that I have to wear closed toe shoes and comply with some silly dress code, Nordstrom* remains a godsend for finding dress/girly shoes, as I can usually find an attractive shoe that fits.

*Shop the sales and Nordstrom Rack

#625 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 03:08 PM:

EClaire-- yeah. I graduated in 2002, and I think the research was done in 2000-2001. I expect a lot of universities and buildings in general do have the same problems, though.
So are you another IWU person? I'm at Iowa now, even deeper in the corn.

#626 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 03:14 PM:

Yep, I graduated in 2000! Wow. I spent the last 5 years living in Portland, Oregon, and loving it, and just moved back to Bloomington. It's so weird not having any mountains on the horizon! Small world!

#627 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 03:47 PM:

P J @ #602, No, I'm not correct, AMG is correct. I just didn't have a memory of the Kingston Trio singing it. No excuses required.

The Mitchell Trio had some notable alums, including John Denver and Roger McGuinn.

#628 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Oh, drat. I flubbed my graduation year. High school was 2002, college was 2006. I saw yours and thought, "Hey, maybe we knew each other!" and then, "No, that is way too early."
Anyway, if you see an IWU student wandering around this winter wearing a hat encrusted with sea anemones, I made that. The hat, not the student.

#629 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 04:17 PM:

Greg 623: Discrimination is treating an individual based on the group they belong to, not on their individual merit. The store owner is treating everyone the same as far as he knows.

The law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges.

#630 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 04:30 PM:

#620 albatross

#618 Paula:

This is what we do with ADA and fire codes and building codes, but I suspect it only works with a tiny fraction of the bad design problem.

The actual preferred intent when written by clueful sorts, is to get people to if not think about what they're doing and comply with intents such as making buildings effectively accessible to people, get them into design habits which promote accessibility, and have it be one of their criteria when designing....

The checklist system that the military and some other organizations have that require checking off things and soemtimes having someone who's an expert or official designee in some area for certification, provides some assurance for compliance, and that someone with a clue has looked over it. The whole formal Professional Engineer certification system and requirements for legally signing off on commercial buildings, on bridges and roads, etc., is one for safety and the assurance that the building/tunnel/bridge won't collapse--and if it does, the PE who signed off is legally liable for the failure, unless e.g. fraud on someone else's part get proven. Elevating ADA to that level might be drastic, however, it would probably dramatically increase the accessibility of buildings, particularly if the PE gets legal responsibility. Checking that ramps really work and access is actually present, can't be more difficult than e.g.inspecting rods and concrete sampling and epoxy [see, "Big Dig, Wrong Type of Expoxy, ceiling panel collapse, wrongful death, big lawsuit...] for materials properties and correct applications and use of materials with appropriate tensile strength and curing conditions....

There must be a couple million decisions involved in designing and putting up an office building, and maybe the rules can impose sensible decisions (assuming the rules are sensible--definitely not guaranteed!) on a few hundred.

Often the rules are commonsense sorts of things and "were the instructions followed for setting the concrete? Please provide the documentation..."

And obvious public safety issues have led us to have an infrastructure for publishing and enforcing rules on how to design and put up buildings. We just don't have that infrastructure,

I think that at least some of it exists--ramps and rules for things like angle of inclination, width, type of materials, weight loading, gaps allowed, etc., are not anything new... the distance between rails on railroad tracks got standardized a long time ago, also requirements on railroad ties, etc. There are all sorts of long-standing regulatings of height minimums for attics, for crawl spaces, ventilations recommendations, distances of different types of pipes and wires from various things in buildings, the height of electrical outlets... the lists go on and on and on. When OSHA first go enacted, there were hundreds of pages of material going down to what toilet seats had to be made of (solid materials, no laminate originally, it got eased up later).

and probably couldn't afford it, for the millions of other dumb design decisions that smack us in the face every day.

Much of it is lack of paying attention or laziness....

I wish I had an answer. I don't think you can pass a law against dumb or thoughtless, or that you can enumerate any significant fraction of sensible design decisions in law or rules. consider what they're doing, and get them into the habit of paying attention...

The ADA examples prove that, right--it's common to see setups where someone has put in curb cuts and ramps, but done it in a way that's massively inconvenient or dangerous or not really quite functional. Almost certainly, that's not intentional--the ramp and curb cuts cost the same whether they're sited intelligently or not, and hardly anyone explicitly wants to screw over people in wheelchairs. But it's a nice example of how you can get a legal requirement for certain sensible things like ramps and curb cuts and elevators, but still not get an accessible building.

They did it wrong then, ignoring the spirit of intent of the law... better than nothing, but not better than designing with the intent to be accessible, instead of putting in a ramp because the law says there must be a ramp....

I suspect that any attempt to solve the broad bad design problem with law runs into the same issues.

The issue is one of perceptions--the law is playing two-by-four-on-the-mule-to-get-its-attention....

Is there a good solution, other than trying to reward designers of usable products by buying them?

One way might to be mandate that before the building get approval for use, that someone has to travel around in it and use the facilities who uses a wheelchair....


#623 ::: Greg London

Paula@613: Women formerly were locked out of military pilot status, because they were women.

Yes. And that's not the same as a tall male supermarket owner designing his shelves for people his height.

Yeah, the latter has even less of a clue... the former shuts women out of the cockpit and then designs the cockpit for the 5th to 95th percentile of male height, the latter is ignoring customers and doing customer disservice... for someone in a service industry, that is obnoxious. Would he do the same to his male customers if he thought there were lots of male customers?!

Discrimination is treating an individual based on the group they belong to, not on their individual merit.

There are lots of different types of discrimination, there is discrimination on an individual basis.... "discrimination" as a word merely means making one more more distinctions and screening based on the one or more distinctions, as in "discriminating taste" which tends to be a positive use of the word.. that's why the term is "discriminated against when someone is being given the brushoff for being of a discriminated against group, or for some other reason. It's discrimination to make someone take a bath if they've been mucking out sewers before allowing them into a cocktail party, on the basis of "you -stink-!," it's discrimination to refuse to hire someone to paint rainbows who can't distinguish between green and red--if the requirement is "normal color vision" soemone with abnormal color vision is not capable of doing the job! Discrimination agasint someone when the person is capable of doing the job but has been denied the opportunity because of e.g. race, creed, color, national origin, gender, etc., involves a factor that has nothing to do with the actual work.

In the case of, "I can't reach that!" the real question is, "Who set the standard for reaching?!" A six foot male setting a reaching standard for the general populace is discrimination against short people; someone setting the reaching standard in their own private home, is a purely private, personal matter, not job and work and public disaccommodation.

The store owner is treating everyone the same as far as he knows.

He's exhibiting discrimination, applying his personal non-general reach metrics to the general public--instead of using ergonomics he's using himself as the measure of all things, which is arrogance....

(Or he's simply trying to maximize product in a fixed floor space, and height/gender isn't a concern.)

Again, that is discrimination, by using his personal metrics instead of considering the customer base interests. In the privacy of his own home, fine, but the store is supposed to be serving the public and accommodating them. Note that a lot of supermarkets have mobies these days for patrons who have mobility impairments, to use....

He isn't intending to discriminate against women, he isn't intending to discriminate against short people.

He has not done anything to accommodate the consumer who is below average height, and that is discriminatory against short people... it's disaccommodation and inconveniencing, again.

Tall men do not get into the grocery store business to discriminate against short women.

Men didn't go into the military per se to discriminate against women, but they were discriminating against women nonetheless....

And if you're throwing them into the same bin as overt, intentional, sexist behavior, then you need to get better bins.

The effect being the same, pragmatically they don't look a whole lot different from the perspective of the offended-against party. Or as the store clerk in the market halfway between MIT and Harvard said at the student with the loaded cart at the ten or fewer items line, "Do you go to Harvard and can't add or MIT and can't read?"

Or get out of the binning business.

Says the person who doesn't have the offense perpetrated against himself.

#631 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 04:38 PM:

Xopher The law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges.

That is a different level of intent than the store owner. The store owner isn't actively prohibiting something.

If "centrism" (and I use that word since I can't think of anything better to fill that hole with) is the same as active discrimination, then the following groups of people can claim supermarkets actively discriminate:

poor people, people who can't get transportation, people who can't carry groceries, people who have obscure food allergy (xxx), people who are trying to eat proper nutrition (my recent annoyance), people who can't bend over, people who can't reach high, people who can't walk, people who can't speak, people who can't see.

because no supermarket is going to place all of its food in small, easy to lift packages, at a consistent height of 3 feet 6 inches from the floor, with nothing no higher and no lower, with all the junk food separate from all the healthy food, all marked in braile, with people assigned to carry it for you and deliver it to your home or spot under the bridge, for free.

At some point individual merit has to mean something or "class discrimination" means nothing.

#632 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 04:40 PM:

In California law*, there are two possible bases for a successful discrimination suit:
- differential intent, ie, the defendant's behaviour was intended to discriminate against a particular group, and
- differential impact, meaning that the defendant's behaviour had the effect of discrimination, regardless of intent.

The law surrounding differential impact was controversial, obviously. I can picture Greg's reaction on reading this.

But the thing is, as adults, we are responsible for the forseeable consequences of our actions, even if they are unintended. To take an extreme example: I may not intend to kill anyone when I drive recklessly into a crowd of people, but I am accountable if I do so nonetheless.

On a smaller scale, a tall male business owner may not have the intent to inconvenience short and/or female shoppers. But if he can reasonably forsee that they will be inconvenienced**, and decides that their inconvenience doesn't matter?

-----
* As I understand it, or understood it 15 years ago. IANAL, but I was a paralegal on a sex discrimination suit.
** say, by watching them struggle to reach things on the top shelves in his or other people's shops. A defense of our theoretical shopkeeper that excludes the ability to change his shop if he so chooses is a little weak.

#633 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 04:47 PM:

abi: That is, he knew or should have known that some of his customers would be impacted.

Greg, I don't see where merit comes into this at all. I don't understand what you mean with that sentence.

#634 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 04:47 PM:

Greg, it isn't active discrimination, it's just not thinking. They know that they have customers who can't reach the top shelves, they just think 'Oh, they'll ask for help if they need it'. Then they don't bother to consider where that help is going to come from, or whether it might be a good idea to provide reach-extenders that customers can use to reach the stuff on top shelves, or maybe build the bottom shelf to function as a step.

#635 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 04:56 PM:

#632 Greg

The requirements for labelling ingredients on food came about for reasons that included food allergies. The fascist kleptcratic oligarchs who put in a junta to remove the idea of government for the people, as opposed to for the fattest profit of the oligarachs, have been removing every public interest rule and regulation and structure for data collection that could be used to show unfairness that they can get at to dismantle, from Mine Safety, to discontinuing collecting data about women in the workforce which was the basis of many a discrimination lawsuit, to purging the Justice Department of anyone pursuing civil rights cases denying people voting rights who are poor/Hispanic/dark-skinned and instead pushing essentially fraudulent cases to remove likely-to-vote-Democratic voters from the voting rolls and from access to voting locations and equipment (wrong information distributed about polling locations, locking up voting machines in districts seen as Democratic in Ohio three during the last Presidential election, etc.)

They're trying to get rid of labelling requirements, and they're promoting redefining "Chocolate" as cocoa powder with whatever adulterant fat or oil they can get cheapest instead of cocoa butter....

#636 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 04:56 PM:

Paula@631: Would he do the same to his male customers if he thought there were lots of male customers?!

If he was clueless, yes. If he wasn't clueless, then it is active discrimination. Once again, you continue to twist the circumstances so that the store owner somehow is a male actively looking for ways to discriminate against women, rather than allowing for any possibility at all that the owner might be a woman, or that a store owner of either gender might be doing it for non discriminatory reasons, i.e. more product per square foot.

There are lots of different types of discrimination

No. Discrimination is very simple. It is treating an individual in a way that is not based on the individual's merits. "discriminating taste" has nothing to do with it. It's a completely different connotation of the word.

It's discrimination to make someone take a bath if they've been mucking out sewers before allowing them into a cocktail party

Of course it isn't discrimination. It's based on merit, and showing up in sh!t waders to a cocktail party gets you kicked out.

You have expanded the definition of discrimination to include anything that prohibits anyone from doing anything they want at any time for any reason, and you have completely eliminated any concept of "merit" being applied to the process. If covered in filth and smelling like shit isn't merit but discrimination then life must make you feel miserable, because everything is discrimination.

#637 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:04 PM:

Xopher , I don't see where merit comes into this at all. I don't understand what you mean with that sentence.

Since your example of the law against sleeping under bridges changed the context of intent, I'll shift it back to the store owner example.

if a store owner is "discriminating" against poor people because they can't afford the store's groceries, then the word discrimination has become meaningless.

There are noble reasons to help the poor and have programs like food stamps and unemployment and subsidized housing, but "fighting discrimination" isn't one of them.

#638 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:14 PM:

Greg, try looking up a definition of discrimination. I'm making a distinction between "discrimination" and "discrimination against" that seems to be too discriminating for you to deal with.

As for the store owner/operator, the person could be a tall woman, too. It's usually de facto discrimination against short women because of that difference in average height, that people discriminated against the most by the unthinking posting of bills at a six footer comfort level, by counters too high and by car seat to dashboard distance too great, are more likely to be female than male, but there's discrimination against short men, too--they get paid less than taller men, for one thing. Because the 5th percentile of male height is not that far from the 50th percentile of female height, a male has to be really short to get the full short shrift effect of being short.

The gender discrimination is associational with the fact that women tend to be around 8 percent shorter than men, and that women tend to get ignored and brushed off a lot more than men do... consider the "women talk more than men do" allegations, which turn out to be very bogus... there are skewed perceptions involved, that don't put equal weighting and a lack of bias into the listeners. When measurements get made of how much time women speak and how much men speak, there isn't a whole lot of difference involved.... just bigoted perceptions.

#639 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:18 PM:

Heads up, guys.

This feels like one of those discussions that leads into endless, grinding postings, point by point refutations, lastworditis, and general lack of either consensus or agreement to disagree.

In particular, Greg, looking at the posting patterns over the last part of this thread, I worry that you're straying into "Greg against all comers" territory.

I have no objection to agonising, grinding, and exhausting discussions between consenting adults, of course. Enjoy.

#640 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:20 PM:

debcha @ #533, thank you!

linkmeister @ #567, I hope that "Charlie on the MTA" is the reason the Boston subway add-value cards are called "Charlie cards" because that's what I told my kids when we were there. I sang them the chorus too.

Heresiarch @ #589, thank you too! (Ah, Bollywood, where everyone can dance and nobody--at least nobody you see on camera--can sing.)

#641 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:27 PM:

The store operator has both expensive and inexpensive items for sale usually, that is not discriminating against poor people, there are cuts of meat at different price points, brown eggs in New England are $0.20 a dozen less expensive than white and vice versa in California and there is no nutritional difference, there is store brand merchandise that's less expensive than national name brand merchandise, and the store owner is NOT telling the customer how to split up the customer's purchasing... the poor person has the CHOICE to blow money on junk food or nutritious food, just as the wealthier person does--and oh, by the way, I know a millionaire who shops the day-old bread and meat because he's stingy.... and there are poor folk who splurge on expensive food at the other side. The store is not preventing or forcing the person what to buy from what's available...

The issue of affordable foodstores in poor neighborhoods hinges more on safety issues... there's a big Stop & Shop near the less desirable areas of Boston, because the store chain realized that there was an opportunity to make money there from the people there.... equating "poor" and "bad neighborhood" isn't a identity relationship--yes, some poor neighborhoods are bad ones, and vice versa, but there are also high income areas with a lot of crime and high crime areas with a lot of income. Having access to a supermarket is something that involves there being -space- for a supermarket and for cars to park and some amount of security for the store and patrons to not feel threatened by crime , and having the location be one that the chain feels will provide the profit desired--and some supermarkets are in poor neighborhoods, and some are several miles away from people in McMansions on five acres of land... those big houses on those huge lots, don't have ANYTHING near that that you don't need a car to get to and from!

#642 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:31 PM:

Greg 638: I was thinking of the short people, actually. The bridge thing is a way of saying "you're in the grip of a false equivalence."

How about discrimination is "inappropriately differentiating between people on any basis not reasonably relevant to the transaction in question." Because I don't think my merit or lack of same has anything to do with my shopping in a grocery store. A cat may look at a king.

Not giving groceries to people who do not have the money to pay for them is not discrimination under the above definition. It WOULD be discrimination, I'm sure you'd agree, to stop anyone under 5'10" at the door, saying "sorry, we don't allow shorties to shop here."

Putting the goods up too high for us shorties to reach? Well, I can see an argument that that's discrimination, though I personally think it's just stupid (they lose the business on that item, and once we go to another store for that item, we buy other things there too).

I've reached many a thing down for other people, though I'm only 5'7" myself. I once broke a huge jar trying to reach it down; I felt terrible, but in fact it shouldn't have been so hard to get to. I offered to pay but the store owner (little place in Hoboken, otherwise delightful, take you there sometime) refused.

There are a couple of things I think you're missing in this conversation, Greg. One is that Paula's examples (correct me if I'm wrong, Paula) were designed to show that not all discrimination is inappropriate; she wasn't advocating unwashed sewer workers being welcome to the cocktail party. The problem is that 'discrimination' has a standard meaning, which Paula was using, and a political/quasi-legal term-of-art meaning, which you and I employ (note that any term about which you can say "let's try this definition" is a term of art).

The other thing I think you may be missing is that the argument that shelf height can be a form of discrimination is based on the idea that a) placing things up high makes it harder on shorter people, b) shorter people are disproportionately women, and c) this means that placing things up high has the effect (though not necessarily the intent) of discriminating against women.

My local grocery store has an interesting way of dealing with this. If they do enough volume on a particular product, they stock it in columns: that is, one shelf will have a single row of (say) Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail, and the shelves above and below will have exactly the same thing. The next row over on ALL the shelves is the Cran-Raspberry, then Cran-Grape and whatever. This takes no more space than putting all the Cran-Raspberry way up high, but is much better for the store's customers.

I know you do see why that's better; I just want to point out that relatively minor changes can make big differences.

#643 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:34 PM:

And of course Paula, and abi, and Paula again posted while I was writing that. Sigh. WHEN will I learn to refresh before posting?

#644 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:39 PM:

Xopher @ 643

I was thinking that stocking stuff in columns might be a good idea, and you have a market that actually does it.

#645 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Looks pretty, too. Also makes it easy to compare nutrition information (Cran-Raspberry has more carbs, IIRC).

#646 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:51 PM:

Columns... that would work so much better....
There wouldn't be patches, and I would be able to reach the macaroni and cheese without crouching and looking very undignified. There would be problems when you don't have an entire column's worth of something, but then you split it from the middle, so the middle has both. Shelves might be a tiny bit harder to stock, but... columns.

#647 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 05:56 PM:

It WOULD be discrimination, I'm sure you'd agree, to stop anyone under 5'10" at the door, saying "sorry, we don't allow shorties to shop here."

Yeah, that would be discrimination. There is no merit in preventing people from entering the store simply on that basis.

The problem is that 'discrimination' has a standard meaning, which Paula was using, and a political/quasi-legal term-of-art meaning, which you and I employ

That she kept comparing store shelves to the military prohibition against female fighter pilots sort of pointed me in the direction that she meant the "non-merit-based interaction" rather than, say, having the discriminating taste that prefers high class truffles rather than run of the mill fungus.

The other thing I think you may be missing ... that placing things up high has the effect (though not necessarily the intent) of discriminating against women.

again, repeatedly comparing the store shelves to fighter pilots seems to me an indicator that some people do not have a bins that differentiate between active discrimination and unintentional centrism. Everything goes in the same bin. There is no difference.

Not only that, but folks writing the narrative behind the store shelves so that not only was the store owner aware of the issue, but that he choose to implement poor shelving techniques anyway out of spite, indicates that the interpretation of the raw data (shelf height) was loaded with bias.

The original point of my objection was to point out the lack of distinction between active discrimination and what I'll for now call unintentional centrism. What seems obvious since then is that there is massive bias in the interpretation of facts for some folks that prevents them from seeing this distinction. And trying to make this distinction in the face of embedded bias is a waste of time.

#648 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 06:13 PM:

Greg 648: The original point of my objection was to point out the lack of distinction between active discrimination and what I'll for now call unintentional centrism.

Hmm. Would you object to calling that second one "passive discrimination"—'passive' indicating a failure to act?

I think the fundamental difference is that you think it matters what the store owner was thinking, and some others in this conversation do not. I have empathy for everyone, which inclines me to your point of view, but also I see how such a distinction could be gamed, which makes me think it probably shouldn't matter.

There's a bar in my neighborhood which has banned baggy clothes and workboots. They want the yuppies on my block but not the guys from the projects a block away. (I never go in there, and it's only partly because I always wear workboots, except at the office.) They can claim, and probably will, that they just want people to be dressed neatly, but in fact they're trying to keep out blacks and all working-class people.

See where I'm going with that? They're discriminating, but they can claim they had no such intention. Now I personally don't think the law should intervene against this bar; I just will look down on anyone who goes there. But it's that kind of thing that leads to the idea that it doesn't matter what the store owner is thinking; it can't, because then an actively malevolent store owner can hide behind that excuse.

I don't think anyone here seriously believes tall men who own stores are rubbing their hands together and saying "Let's see how we can make life more miserable for those goddamn shrimpy women! Oh, I hate them so!"* It's just that a bullet in the head is a bullet in the head, whether it was a stray shot or an act of deliberate malice. Yes, the LAW needs to differentiate those cases, but it doesn't matter at all to the victim.

*If I'm mistaken about this...I will join you in pointing and laughing at anyone who does believe that.

#649 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 06:20 PM:

Also: I don't think anyone built fighter jets to discriminate against women, either. I think there was an existing policy of discrimination against women in the USAF, and that led to the jet designers designing cockpits to the sizes of their likely users, all of whom (they quite reasonably believed) would be tallish men.

Then, of course, that gives the USAF an excuse to keep women out of the cockpits. "They're just not tall enough!" "We'd have to redesign our cockpits!"

But in both cases, it is the USAF who is discriminating against women, not the cockpit designer.

#650 ::: VCarlson ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 07:01 PM:

Going back to shoes:

#594 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 09:59 AM:

[snip]

Any other fellow-sufferers out there with wide but not very large feet? Over-tight shoes can be a health hazard, so I'm still using a lot of old canvas ones (in nice colors) that I can't seem to replace.

Count me as one. Short wide feet with high arches and high insteps. I also have a weak ankle and an aversion to pain that keep me out of heels (mostly). I've never had a pair of shoes that were too wide. My mom had a pair of New Balance sextuple E shoes that I didn't steal. Though I was tempted. They didn't feel too wide, though.

There was a period when I went looking for men's/boy's athletic shoes, on the theory that male shoes actually seemed to be designed with actual human feet in mind. My feet are smaller than the smallest men's shoes, I was told, and when I asked to see the boy's shoes, was told they didn't get that big, leading me to theorize that if you're male, a)your feet magically skip over the size mine are/were or b)you wear girl's/women's shoes while you're in that awkward size. I find a) to be marginally more believable.

American shoe manufacturers seem to feel that if your feet are short, they're also narrow, and the converse. This means my stepmother also has trouble finding shoes to fit, as she has long, narrow feet.

Me, I live in Birkenstocks, a pair of Mephistos, and New Balances.

#651 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 07:23 PM:

V Carlson @ 651, my son's feet did, indeed jump from the largest boy's size to a men's size nine, and then grew to their current size 11 1/2 in about eight months. It was an expensive time of life.

I am in possession of feet which are wide and flat in the metatarsal arch and with a high instep, and generally unsatisfactory for most of the purposes to which one would like to put one's feet. Always have been, although now that I'm a diabetic in my fifties it sucks even more than it did when I was a seventh grader wearing orthopedic saddle shoes. Shoes made for bad feet are not made for my lifestyle and budget, so I troll Nordstrom's Rack for wide women's shoes and Famous Footwear for men's shoes to workin (I got a pair of Steve Madden driving boots for five bucks at FF, and they're good for everything except mud and hot weather).

If I were rich I'd have someone make me two pairs of twelve-eyelet logger's boots, without the caulks, one for work and a spiffier pair for town, but as it is I keep spending three times as much time and twice as much money shopping for so-so shoes.

In my next life I would like to have B width feet, a C cup chest, and good teeth. Just for a change.

#652 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 09:24 PM:

JESR @#652: Zappo's has an amazing shoe selection and you can browse by width. For example, here are 2,000 women's casual shoes in width EE. They do free shipping in both directions, which overcomes the oddity of buying shoes without trying them on first. I've ordered from them and they're very good with returns.

For cheaper fare, Payless used to carry a lot of wide shoes but I don't remember if they do any more - I'm blessed with average-width feet. Size-10 gunboats, but not particularly wide.

#653 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 09:34 PM:

Mary, I have looked at Zappo's, but mere width is no guarantee that shoes are going to work with my particuarly weird feet.

I hate that, because some very cool shoes are only available online.

#654 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 09:47 PM:

That's where the 2-way shipping comes in. It's a pain, but (particularly if you have some available credit or cash) you can buy 4 pairs and try them on, then immediately return them if they don't fit. Then repeat. We've done something like this for my brother and his wife, who both have hobbit feet (wide, no arch). Zappo's is nice about returns.

#655 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 12:15 AM:

Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction

By Sidney Blumenthal

"Sept. 6, 2007 | On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam's inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again.

Nor was the intelligence included in the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which stated categorically that Iraq possessed WMD. No one in Congress was aware of the secret intelligence that Saddam had no WMD as the House of Representatives and the Senate voted, a week after the submission of the NIE, on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. The information, moreover, was not circulated within the CIA among those agents involved in operations to prove whether Saddam had WMD."

Please. Somebody give the guy a hummer. Or arrange for him to be found sleeping with a live boy or dead woman or inflatable goat.

#656 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 12:20 AM:

Would you object to calling that second one "passive discrimination"—'passive' indicating a failure to act?

Yes, because discrimination means:

to interact with an individual on a basis other than individual merit

Failing to act resulting in discrimination is different than acting in a centrist way that others see as discrimination. Acting in a centrist way means that you think you're interacting with everyone based on merit, but somewhere you assumed that everyone is similar to you in some way. And here's the thing for me: as a life coach, these sorts of assumptions come up all the time, with everyone, everywhere, relating to anyone. It is a part of being human. It's one of the things that makes even a simple one-on-one relationship maddeningly difficult. Therefore I think intent must be taken into account when looking at a situation.

Yes, if you allow rules such as "dress codes", then places like the bar you mention can game the rules to keep out minorities. But that does not mean that the rules must ignore any distinction that can be gamed by trolls, because you'd have no rules and simply judgement calls.

I never said it would be easy or clear cut. And I know it is a concept that can be gamed by bigots. But I also believe that someone who truly does not intend to discriminate should not be held to the same account as those who do intend to discriminate.

If you or anyone else thinks that intention should not be part of the equation, that the only thing that matters is the practical effects of a behaviour, than that's one thing. If you think intention makes a difference, then it should not be thrown out simply because someone can misuse it and game the rule.

However, I do know that if intention matters, then it is imperitive that the distinction be made between intended discrimination and unintentional centrism. And that if intention is to be ascertained from a particular situation or whether someone is gaming the rules, then that's a decision that can only be made by those not predisposed to a biased decision.

#657 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 12:26 AM:

Mary Dell, #583, I am generally a stubborn person and I was very reluctant to ask for help in the beginning, but I've hurt myself enough times that I just ask now. I was also the reacher when I was well;I have long legs and arms, now hidden by fat. Here, this will show you. That's scanned from a Polaroid, so not the best picture, but you can see I was tall and skinny.

Faren, #594, I have the opposite problem. I wear a size 10 AAAA with AAAAAAA heels. Very few of those are made and they come with high heels which I can't wear anymore. The best shoes I've found are the Easy Spirit AP1s -- they come in AAA with AAAAAA heels and I just wear thick socks. Good thing I'm not invited to formals anymore! They go up to EE starting at 6 if that helps. AP2s are the same sizes, but canvas and brighter colors.

albatross, #620, and it's not just screwing over people in wheelchairs, a lot of curb cuts are situated better for folks in wheelchairs than they are for folks like me, who can't walk very far without falling down. I've seen lots of strip malls with a curbcut at each end and one in the middle. It's usually easier to wheel to the curbcut and wheel back on the sidewalk than for me to do that walking. An awful lot of accessibility is designed for folks in wheelchairs and there are a lot more of us who need accessibility and don't use wheelchairs or scooters. (I'd like an electric wheelchair so I could go to museums and such again, but the doctors won't give me the scrip yet.) But even places you think would know, like two of the purpose-built buildings of my HMO, make mistakes. Both of them have brick pavers at the entrance and I almost-fall on the way in and out all the time.

#658 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 12:32 AM:

Xopher@660: "They're just not tall enough!" "We'd have to redesign our cockpits!"

Just for a complete list of related trivia, the US space program had a maximum height. You had to be 5 feet 11 inches or shorter to go into space.

The space capsules were cramped, so height was a luxury we could not afford. Was that discrimination? Or merit?

#659 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 12:53 AM:

The Time Patrol T-Shirt design can be seen here.

#660 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 01:37 AM:

abi, a haiku for you.

Mary Dell, I tried the Zappo's search -- they had two flat shoes in my size, a New Balance (in white and black, much like my AP1s) and something that was $250.

#661 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 02:01 AM:

Bruce @ 660: I like it! I'm finishing up the audiobook of First Among Sequels, and at the spot I'm listening to, the Chrono Guard certainly seems to have this type of attitude.

#662 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 02:05 AM:

Xopher @ 649: "I think the fundamental difference is that you think it matters what the store owner was thinking, and some others in this conversation do not."

I think it depends on which aspect of discrimination you think is more important. Is discrimination primarily something that people do, or something that is done to people? If the former, then intent matters enormously. If the latter, then intent doesn’t matter at all: the effects are the same.

I’ve found, in my journeys through these vast and untamed ‘nets, that people tend to see discrimination through the prism of their own experience of it (or lack thereof). Those who are in the (potentially) discriminating class tend to see discrimination as something that people do. People in the discriminated-against class, in contrast, tend to see it as something that is done to people: specifically, them. They tend to be much less interested in the why of it. It’s equally inconvenient (or horrible) either way.

I can see the merits of both views. I agree that there is a very important difference between intentional discrimination and unintentional discrimination. The thing is, though, they’re both still discrimination. You don’t get to define unintentional discrimination away. Discrimination is defined as "Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit." It doesn't say anything about intentionality.

#663 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 02:26 AM:

Thanks for posting the particle about Riverbend's escape from Iraq. I've been wondering about that.

#665 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:09 AM:

Heresiarch@663: Discrimination is defined as "Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit." It doesn't say anything about intentionality.

To discriminate means to judge, to percieve some difference, to distinguish from, all of which require the person to make an active judgement that a difference other than merit exists and treat the person based on that non-merit way.

If judgement is no longer required to discriminate, if any behaviour that fails to interact with a statistical distribution of the local population is deemed discrimination, then merit, once again, has been rendered moot. Because merit will always be overridden by population statistics.

If some measure of merit is deemed neccessary for joining my group, but my group's statistical distrubution fails to match the local population by having 50% women and 50% men and W% white and B% black and so on, then by redefining "discrimination" to mean any interation that fails to follow the local population distribution qualifies as discrimination. By removing intent, you've just set the requirement that every organization have a distribution exactly matching the local population or someone must shout discrimination.

No. That's not what the word means. Judgement, discerning, observing some difference, distinguishing some feature, finding out something about a person other than merit and then relating to that person based on that non-merit status is discrimination.

If you remove the judgement, the intent of the observer, then you have completely redefined the word into something else entirely.

#666 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:27 AM:

Marilee @661:
Excellent. I love it.

Heresiarch @663:
people tend to see discrimination through the prism of their own experience of it (or lack thereof). Those who are in the (potentially) discriminating class tend to see discrimination as something that people do. People in the discriminated-against class, in contrast, tend to see it as something that is done to people: specifically, them. They tend to be much less interested in the why of it. It’s equally inconvenient (or horrible) either way.

You have just nailed the reason this conversation is diverging. Beautifully done. Rereading the previous comments, you really can see who is identifying with whom in the hypothetical transaction of shopkeeper and customer.

My view is that, even if you are in the fortunate group who can identify with the shopkeeper, basic empathy suggests that you try to see the world from the customer's view, rather than just telling him/her that it isn't really discrimination because it wasn't intended (subtext: so suck it up).

#667 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:39 AM:

Greg London @666:
If some measure of merit is deemed neccessary for joining my group, but my group's statistical distrubution fails to match the local population by having 50% women and 50% men and W% white and B% black and so on, then by redefining "discrimination" to mean any interation that fails to follow the local population distribution qualifies as discrimination. By removing intent, you've just set the requirement that every organization have a distribution exactly matching the local population or someone must shout discrimination.

Yes, but...
Never believe in a meritocracy in which no one is funny-looking.

So very often these merit-based selections "just happen" to end up with nothing but tall white men in them. Straight ones. With good teeth. After a while, the notion that this is a coincidence loses plausibility.

#668 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:47 AM:

I think Cory Doctorow has made a small slip in his Particled Article on the impossibility of DRM.

He makes mention of the fact that the cipher system dioesn't need to be a secret. The security in in the key. And then he refers to Alan Turing and Enigma.

I'm going on slightly hazy memory of Kahn's The Codebreakers: it's certainly an American cryptographer of the WW1 era, who published. I'm not sure if it was Yardley or Friedman, but William Friedman sounds the better fit of the two.


#669 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 05:03 AM:

Dave Bell @ 669:
Why do you think Cory Doctorow slipped up in this case? I'm not understanding what you think was wrong.

#670 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 08:28 AM:

Xopher #650:

I suspect that this process, where your standards of training and equipment and procedure are built on the assumption of only men (or only large men) doing some job, is pretty common. For example, when you design equipment for some job, you might determine how much weight you can put on a person's back based on the current population of all large men doing the job. Even if that was a pretty arbitrary decision, it now turns out that hardly any women can do the job, because they mostly can't carry that much weight on their backs. Or if you designed fighter cockpits starting from the assumption that only women would fly them, you would probably do the opposite--any guy above about 5'10" would just not fit in the cockpit.

Now, sometimes, requirements of a job are genuinely related to the job--it's nice if the fireman can actually carry an injured adult man over his shoulder, for example. But a lot of times, the strength or size requirements seem like they're just "this is what all the people we tried this equipment on could do."

#671 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 08:43 AM:

FWIW, most big-chain grocery stores in the US do scarily minute analysis of shelf placement as it relates to sales. That's why, for instance, there's so much candy and junk at kneee level just by the checkout, where you have to stand in line with the kids (I worked at one of the companies that does this analysis, so this isn't just paranoid speculation, honest!). It's also why the soup isn't alphabetized, because it turns out you buy less of it, if the kind you want is easy to find.

So it's possible that the height assumptions in the stores are based on putting the stuff they want to sell the most* at arm level for the average shoppers, and the stuff that they don't care about selling goes where it's hardest to reach. That still doesn't make it any more convenient to be shorter than average and trying to reach something that's less popular than, for instance, wonder bread. But the motives that create that situation may be less discriminatory, and yet more sinister, than they appear.

*and yes, manufacturers can pay for better placement.

#672 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 08:57 AM:

abi #668:

The thing is, meritocracies can be full of funny looking people, but usually they're not a reflection of the surrounding population in sex and ethnicity terms. Mathematical fields tend to be overwhelmingly male, and overwhelmingly white/East Asian/South Asian, and the whites are often Jewish. That's a meritocracy, but it lends itself to charges of discrimination, and demanding serious math talent probably has a different impact on different groups. In my own field (cryptography), this is the reality you see at every conference and workshop.

I think a broader form of Teresa's law is that meritocracies seldom reflect an ethnic and sex distribution that is ideal for the political or social goals of the organization. Even if you live somewhere/when where "everyone knows" that only white men can be programmers, a meritocracy will give you some women and some brown/black programmers. Even if you live somewhere/when where "everyone knows" that everyone has the same ability to be programmers, you'll probably end up with more men than women, and a skewed ethnic distribution. (Or maybe this will change in the future, but if so, it probably still won't change to exactly reflect America.)

And this implies that demanding a politically or socially acceptable set of outcomes (making the meritocracy only white males, only Protestants, making it "reflect America", requiring political balance between liberals and conservatives, etc.) will break a meritocracy.

#673 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 09:13 AM:

abi #667:

I can see a couple different threads of discussion here:

a. There's a moral meaning to the term "discrimination" in this context, and it's negative. The implication there is drawing a parallel between "back of the bus, uncle" and shelving some stuff in a location that's inconvenient for a lot of short women. Maybe that's not the implication anyone should take, but it's certainly the sense I get from a lot of this discussion.

b. There's an implied legal/political meaning, in the sense that we outlaw a lot of overt discrimination. So it seems like we're also at least potentially talking about something someone should be subject to lawsuit for.

c. The specific stuff being complained about seems to me to mostly be about dumb or thoughtless design. Not always, but I think that's usually the case. Turning dumb or thoughtless into grounds for either moral condemnation or legal action seems like it's very seldom going to lead to anything good. That is, both the implications of (a) and (b) strike me as being pretty bad ways to address the set of problems we're talking about.

#674 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 09:24 AM:

Greg 659: The space capsules were cramped, so height was a luxury we could not afford. Was that discrimination? Or merit?

You're using 'merit' as a term-of-art, and I don't understand your definition of it. Could you clarify?

If merit is what I think it is (a person's demonstrated worth, including education, talent, and experience), then under your definition of discrimination that example would qualify. But not, note, by my definition, where despite being meritorious, a 6-foot man can be excluded from that capsule for a reason that really is relevant to the transaction.

It's no more discrimination than "You must be this tall to ride this ride." There are legitimate reasons in both circumstances to place upper or lower bounds on suitable height.

Women are automatically disqualified as sperm donors. They may be just as good at what they do as men (i.e. their merit is equal), but they can't do that job. That's not discrimination under my definition. But it would be under yours, mod the term-of-art definition of 'merit', which is why I'm sure you're using one.

#675 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 09:30 AM:

Lila (#641): Indeed it is, to much amusement from folks who said "they're naming their new fare collection system [which, of course, incorporated fare hikes] after a character in a protest against fare hikes?"

Even more so, in that past fare hikes could be mitigated by pre-purchasing tokens at the old rate; with the new system, that's no longer possible.

Greg London (#659): If it was all about merit, then at least one of the Mercury 13 would have had a chance to fly. I'm sure they all made it in under the height limit.

#676 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 10:11 AM:

Xopher #675:

IMO, at least as interesting a question is how you determine which potentially relevant criteria for hiring or other transactions are allowed to be taken into account. This often seems to involve a tradeoff between somewhat relevant criteria and impact on some minority group, and it looks like the kind of decision that's just hard for almost anyone to do a good job with.

Frex, is a felony record relevant for some random job? Note that blacks have much higher rates of felony records than whites, and men have much higher rates than women. Most employers would probably prefer not to have felons working behind their cash registers, or watching their kids, or helping close up the store at night, for good reasons. And yet this has a different impact on different groups. It's hard for me to imagine that there's a good imposed-from-above way to make this tradeoff, though if this becomes a matter of law, it will be decided in Congress or in a courtroom somewhere and imposed on people far away from the decisionmakers.

All kinds of similar things exist: Height, strength, IQ, grades in school, work history, people skills, thickness of accent, etc. These things aren't distributed evenly across the world, and they have some relevance for many jobs, and can also be used as ways to discriminate. (Are you rejecting applicants with thick accents to keep hispanics out, or because you need your receptionist to be understood easily?) In the extreme case of this, you get gerrymandered job descriptions written for a specific person. On the other extreme end, you get bottom tier jobs where all that's wanted is a warm body that will show up and do what they're told. And to tangle up the mix, you get cases where the law *requires* certain kinds of irrational discrimination (requiring legal documentation to work, Federal jobs with veterans' preferences, some kinds of affirmative action, citizenship requirements for some jobs, credential or licensing requirements whose purpose is to protect some group from competition).

#677 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 10:22 AM:

Marilee (#658 and #661): I'll have to check out those Easy Spirit shoes you mention. I had the same problem with a zappos.com search -- very few things my size, and all too expensive. All I need for most of the year is canvas shoes. I finally found some black ones that actually fit at Wal-Mart, but wide, inexpensive canvas shoes in blue, dark green, or dark red seem to have vanished off the face of the earth. Since I'm a bit obsessive about color combinations in what I wear (despite working at home and not going out much!), I guess I'll just keep wearing the beat-up oldies.

#678 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Greg #657

Failing to act resulting in discrimination is different than acting in a centrist way that others see as discrimination. Acting in a centrist way

Just what do you mean by "centrist way"? The height average in the USA for all persons is below 5'6" tall (remember that there are small children and they are a significant fraction of the population...) "just like me" for height, unless that height is the average for the entire country, and the person is -female- (more than half the population is female, and since gender tends to be quantized, it quantizes to "female") therefore the "average" person is woman, and going to be a short woman, averaging in children as "people." So, if being "centrist" in height, means going to -the center- for the USA average for height over all the people in the country, that six foot male most definitely is NOT "centrist" acting as though everyone else is the size of that six foot male with the same vision instantaneous field of view and reach and general footprint.

means that you think you're interacting with everyone based on merit, but somewhere you assumed that everyone is similar to you in some way. And here's the thing for me: as a life coach,
these sorts of assumptions come up all the time, with everyone, everywhere, relating to anyone. It is a part of being human. It's one of the things that makes even a simple one-on-one relationship maddeningly difficult. Therefore I think intent must be taken into account when looking at a situation.

Seems to me that you're taking your own sets of biases as universal... there are people out there who when they design things, do consciously think of people other than themselves. E.g., at Noreascon IV one of the things done before the convention started, was sending someone around in a wheelchair to check for accessibility, even though nobody on the committee was wheelchair-bound.

As regards astronauts and Mercury, the reality of spaceflight is that the larger one makes a space vehicle, the more expensive and the greater the difficulties involved for building the launch system. Making the Mercury capsules larger would have required a lot more effort and expense for e.g. the rockets to be more powerful--bigger means heavier, heavier means bigger boosters and engines, which gets more expensive, and since the volume increase makes a mass increase that's faster than linear, the expenses and effort go up faster than linear....

The basic decisions come down to "who get accommodated?" Most of the time that decision is not a conscious one--that's one of my main points, that it is discriminatory to not even bothering thinking about that very basic decision! The default isn't always the unvoiced unconsidered value "everyone else is like me" -- very often people who are short arrange things the way they're acclimatized to things being and that way is the way that's most efficacious for taller people!, or someone who's quite tall will arrange things, again, in the way the person is accustomed to that's most comfortable for people of a more average, and lower, height.

Years ago on a TV game show, a baseball player with a Polish surname deliberately spelled his name incorrectly in response to the host requesting the game show contestants spell his last name--he did that so that it would be more likely to match what the non-celebrity contestants would write down. One of them spelled it correctly, another spelling it incorrestly the way the player deliberately spelled it wrong (that being the most common way that people tended to spell it incorrectly).

My point with that anecdote was that the baseball player was very deliberately doing something to accommodate other people without anyone telling him he should consider anyone else.

When someone is automatically and seemingly arbitrarily left out of accessibility/consideration, that's discriminatory. There are situations where the cutoff is a deliberate one--weight and size and health limits for riding roller coasters because there are points at which trying to accommodate everyone would make the roller coaster uneconomic to build and operate and/or cause it to cease being a roller coaster--remove the height and speed and it's no longer presents a life threat to people with e.g. cardiac trouble, but then it's not a roller coaster anymore, either.

Another question is, "what are reasonables levels of accommodation and reasonable levels of limits?" Blocking someone for something based on purely cosmetic issues that don't involve "take off the makeup/take a bath/wear a hairnet-so-you-hair-will-not-go-in-the-food/wear gloves for food preparation/wear-some-other-color-that-won't-upset-the-animals/etc., is usually arbitrary and exclusionary--skin color, natural hair color, etc. and blocking based on gender when it doesn't involve sperm donor or egg donation is usually arbitrary. Defining jobs so that no one of a particular religion finds the employment conditions reasonable, usually is intentionally discriminating against people of that religion... until the repeal of Blue Laws, it was very rare for businesses to be open on Christmas and Easter, meaning that Christians of the varieties celebrating Christmas and Easter on those days of business cessation got their holy days off, but people of other religions didn't (Christians of other branches got Easter off as it's on a Sunday, but not their Christmas...] Few businesses give time off to Jews for Jewish holy days, or non-Judaeo-Christians their holy days off.... and most organizations don't bother to even consider them when scheduling events, and that gets EXTREMELY irritating.

#679 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 10:44 AM:

Mary Dell @ 672

That kind of thing (manufacturers paying for shelf placement) is why I don't see my favorite kind of instant hot cereal in stores any more: it's a small company, going up against Quaker Oats. (I can order it online, if I want to get it by the dozen.)

#680 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 10:44 AM:

Mary Dell @ 672

That kind of thing (manufacturers paying for shelf placement) is why I don't see my favorite kind of instant hot cereal in stores any more: it's a small company, going up against Quaker Oats. (I can order it online, if I want to get it by the dozen.)

#681 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 11:08 AM:

Having first paused to solve the puzzle, I decided to read the 677 articles before responding. So I have a fair number of comments queued up, and I hope it isn't seen as rude to pop a bundle in at the end.

First, the puzzle. Heresiarch (135) asked how few of the clues would be sufficient to solve the puzzle. He got five, or four when "before" and "after" are interpreted as consecutive. I have a fractional improvement in the former case. So that you may decide to try this for yourself, the answer is in rot13.

By the way, did any one else notice that there is the minor error in clue 7?

Answer: Pyhrf sbhe naq gra tvir hf nov orsber puevf orsber fbaarg orsber unvxh orsber yvzrevpx; fvapr gurer ner svir cbrzf, jr pbapyhqr gurfr ner pbafrphgvir. Nqqvat pyhr bar be frira zngpurf rguna jvgu gur fbaarg, gura nqqvat pyhr gjb be avar zngpurf qropun naq Oehpr jvgu gur unvxh naq yvzrevpx, erfcrpgviryl. Va beqre gb zngpu nov naq puevf jvgu gur qbhoyr qnpgly naq ivyynaryyr jr arrq pyhr guerr be svir. Gur senpgvbany vzcebirzrag vf gung gur ynfg pynhfr bs pyhr guerr vf haarprffnel.

#682 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 11:23 AM:

On chin scars (190,194,196,208,211,215,220,239) I noticed a scar on my chin about a year ago while shaving. I couldn't place where it came from, until I realized that it must have come from my spleen-rupturing, wrist-spraining, road-rashing, consciousness-losing bicycle accident five years earlier (I still don't remember it happening—if I hadn't been wearing a helmet I might not remember a whole lot more.).

It took me five years to notice the scar because I didn't shave.

#683 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 11:34 AM:

The point is that to discriminate means to judge, to percieve some difference, to distinguish from, all of which require the person to make an active judgement that a difference other than merit exists and treat the person based on that non-merit way.

There is no discrimination if the person accused of the deed did not discern of any differences. It's not even passive discrimination. It is something else, the best term I've heard so far is centrism, which essentially means to assume everyone is like you are, which exactly reflects a lack of discernment.

The only way to passively discriminate is to know of a difference and do nothing to fix it. If someone doesn't know, it isn't discrimination.

Yes, for gawds sake, it can be gamed. You can find groups with no funny looking people.

That does not mean you alter the definition of discrimination to get rid of whether or not the person observed a difference and intended to act on it.

You do NOT charge everyone who kills someone else with murder in the first degree. A car accident that kills someone has a different intent. A response that occurs in self defense has a different intent. A killing that was thought out and planned has the intent of murder one.

And, hey! look at that! people who planned a murder end up being convicted of murder in teh second degree because the police can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was murder one.

That is not an excuse to get rid of the different intentions behind murder to make sure the cold blooded killers don't go free.

If you think you're going to come up with a measure of discrimination that does not involve the observation and intent of the accused, then you've done nothing but lump everyone into the equivalent of a "murder one" charge.

YOu can keep arguing about all the baddies that will slip through the system. And I refuse to endorse an approach that does the equivalent of putting self defense in with murder one. If you insist, then I think we both understand the other's positions, and we'll just have to agree to disagree.

I think that for some, it is a case of the victims determining the punishment, acting as judge, and jury. Those who have shoved in my face the fact that they've been discriminated against, are probably the equivalent of someone who has had a family member killed by violence, and now lobby for the death penalty for all killers. I'm not trying to minimize your experience, but I won't go along with something that's clearly wrong just because you've been wronged.

I will not support it. I will not agree to it.

#684 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 11:40 AM:

Merilee (#195), I'd like to thank you for your candor in describing your father's violence. No one else has mentioned it in this thread, and perhaps it is old news on Making Light; I haven't been keeping up continuously. But I am deeply moved, both in horror and sympathy. I honor you for your bravery in not banishing those memories from your attention.

#685 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 11:43 AM:

Dan Hoey #682: By the way, did any one else notice that there is the minor error in clue 7?

No there isn't. My name starts with the vowel. "a" is just a vowel. "e" is the vowel to end all vowels.

Sorry, abi, but we all know this to be true.

Hey, does that lessen the number of clues needed?

#686 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 11:53 AM:

From:

http://www.webster.com/dictionary/discriminate

Main Entry: dis·crim·i·nate
transitive verb
1 a : to mark or perceive the distinguishing or peculiar features of b : DISTINGUISH, DIFFERENTIATE
2 : to distinguish by discerning or exposing differences; especially : to distinguish from another like object
intransitive verb
1 a : to make a distinction b : to use good judgment
2 : to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit
===================

De facto when someone is left out because the definition or assumptions about reach/height/skin color/etc. someone is using as metrics leaves them out, however intentionally or unintentionally, that discriminatory.

#687 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 12:00 PM:

2 : to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit says nothing whatsoever about intent, only outcome. "Overlooking" or "ignoring" or other such leaving out or failing to consider, really does "make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit." -- being left out is usually NOT done on a basis of "merit." Being overlooked/ignored/pretended to not exist/etc., is rarely an issue of merit, and more usually is more of an issue of bigotry, ignorance, willful ignorance, failure to notice, failure to care ("After me, nothing,"), marginalization, etc., and those are discriminatory, too, that someone doesn't have any interest or concern or consideration and can't be bothered to pay attention/notice.

#688 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 12:03 PM:

j h woodyatt (325) and Paul A. (352) on the Wikipedia Irony article marked with a tag indicating self-contradiction. Editor Eleland, who added the tag on August 2, claimed that the article actually did contradict itself, e.g. on whether someone being killed by a falling safety sign was ironic. I personally believe* that the tag was added as an ironical jest. That was the rationale given for deleting the tag on August 28 (one day after jhw mentioned it here).

#689 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Paula, the words that keep showing up in all those definitions are to judge, to percieve a difference, to distinguish, to make a distinction. All of those require the person to observe a difference, to perceive it and act on it.

You are not discriminating if you blindly reach into a bin of cherries and grab what you can grab, even if it turns out you pulled nothing but tall, male, cherries. You did not observe, so you did not discriminate. You assumed all the cherries were the same.

If you decided that cherries with stems tasted better (and lets assume that taste is independent of stems), then you are observing a difference from one cherry to the other, discerning the one with stems from the ones without, and discriminating between them on some non-meritous measure.

Being overlooked/ignored/pretended to not exist/etc., is rarely an issue of merit, and more usually is more of an issue of bigotry,

Since you are able to determine a priori the motivations of an individual accused of discrimination before you've actually seen the evidence, I will assume you are prejudiced in these sorts of cases. You are biased. Prior to evidence, you already have a determination of guilt.

Worse than that, you are angry about it. So, clearly, you are unpersuadable. Therefore I will stop trying to persuade. If you continue making biased and prejudiced statements, however, I may point them out.

#690 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 12:49 PM:

Mary Dell #672:

I was taking the facts--already known to me--in your analysis into account when I complained that it was really tough for me to reach anything (traditional cat litter, say) above the flash-and-trash.

In other words, why marketing sometimes (oh, hell, frequently) is not always the Greatest Idea.

#691 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 12:51 PM:

On the Miss Teen South Carolina particle, Aimee Teegarden asked the contestant, "Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the United States on a world map. Why do you think this is?" I suspect that part of the reason is that a fifteenth of Americans are under five years of age, and a thirtieth of Americans are visually impaired. I don't know the percentage who are hearing impaired, or non-English speakers, if the "recent polls" were conducted in spoken English. There may also be respondents who didn't pay attention to the question, or who found the poll intrusive in their lives and made it go away in the simplest way possible. Does anyone know what recent polls these are?

Greg London (370, before the current unending pointlessness) referred to how the video communicates Ms. Upton's pain in answering the question. While I have no doubt that was painful (see her NBC "Today" show appearance), I was impressed with the poise, smoothness, and apparent conviction with which she delivered her statement. I was shocked at how well she didn't show her pain on the video. On NPR's "Wait, Wait..." show, they joked that she is shortlisted for Attorney General.

Of course, the real losers here are the pageant winner and first and second runners-up. Nobody know their names, while the fourth-place finisher is all over the news.

#692 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 01:08 PM:

P J Evans (551) noted endless Windows reboots on a ticket machine. I saw a slightly more disconcerting phenomenon—a plane schedule window that popped up a "Symantec Antivirus is disabled" balloon for a second. This balloon pops up momentarily at irregular intervals, possibly when the antivirus definitions are being updated. The condition usually corrects itself immediately, so I have gotten into the habit of just going on working, and checking the status bar later. So I kept on looking for the flight number, found it, then suddenly croggled when I realized what I'd seen.

#693 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 01:10 PM:

Kudos to my bank, HSBC: the replacement card arrived today, Thursday, after I contacted them around midnight, Monday.

I wonder if the amount of spam I gat claiming to be Royal Bank of Scotland has any connection to the offending Windows ATM being one they operate?

#694 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Dan: I was impressed with the poise, smoothness, and apparent conviction with which she delivered her statement.

Yep, with poise, smoothness, and conviction, she delivered complete nonsense.

Alternatively, she could have been straight, said she didn't understand, ask for the question to be repeated, and dealt with the real problem of kids who don't know their geography.

As it is, she got an A+ in looking good and an F in addressing a real problem.

It was the fact that she was confused, knew she was confused, knew she was talking gibberish, but found it more important to look smooth than to give an intelligent answer that I found painful.

#695 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 01:14 PM:

Dan Hoey @ 692:
Does anyone know what recent polls these are?

Mark Liberman of Language Log notes that an actual recent poll (pdf file) puts the number of "young Americans"[1] who cannot find the US on a world map at 6%, not 20%; he suggests that the 20% figure is something of an urban legend, and speculates about some possible origins. From the report summarizing the poll:

Nearly all (94%) young Americans can find the United States on the world map, and Canada
(92%) and Mexico (88%) are nearly as familiar. Wide majorities can find bordering bodies of
water including the Pacific Ocean (79%) and the Gulf of Mexico (75%).

Of course, there are some less than encouraging results in that poll; e.g., only 50% can find the state of New York on a map, and 63% can't find Iraq.

[1] Defined as "between 18 and 24" and living in the continental US, in this case.

#696 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 01:17 PM:

Sorry if I wasn't clear: Cory attached Alan Turing's name to the idea that you didn't need to keep the mechanism of a cryptographis system a secret. I'm pretty sure that this goes back to Friedman (who broke a book cipher without needing to discover the book used).

This might have been sloppy phrasing. And the Bletchley Park team were certainly helped by knowing the details of the machines. And that still fits with the general tenet: if you want people to be able to view digital media, you have to let them know how to decode it.

#697 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 01:30 PM:

Mary Dell (583) said, "I know a few men who seem to have body dysmorphia, but instead of looking in the mirror and seeing a fatter person, they see a taller person."

First, I think the word you want is "anamorphia". "Dysmorphia" is a faulty shape (and "body dysmorphia" refers to preoccupation with perceived body faults) but, hey, I'm just playing erudite.

At 182cm, I've never known whether to call myself six feet (exaggeration), five eleven (incorrect rounding), five eleven and a half (do I sound preoccupied?), or five eleven and five eighths (quick, where's the DSM?). I also don't usually think of myself as tall, because I know tall guys: they're the guys who are taller than me. On the other hand, I usually think of guys shorter than me as average height, down to about four feet, though sometimes I notice guys with short guy syndrome, a particularly offensive form of internalized body dysmorphia.

#698 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 01:38 PM:

OK, now everyone's all angry, and people are starting to quote dictionary definitions (which is a bad sign when we're supposedly talking about the right way to deal with a social phenomenon).

I think that, even more than Godwin phenomena (which thank gods have not appeared here), is a sign that the subthread has ended its useful life.

#699 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 01:44 PM:

Dave Bell @ 697:
Ah, OK, I think I see.

Of course, the Turing/Enigma story is more likely to be recognizable to readers of the Guardian, and is a more dramatic and obviously meaningful story.[1] And clearly the Germans hadn't learned from the example of Friedman.


[1] Though the story itself was kept secret until, what, the 1960s?

#700 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 02:07 PM:

Diatryma (617) mentions a college student who researched campus accessibility after being wheelchair-bound for some months. This reminds me of the 1992 Worldcon (Magicon), whose chair-riding committee member Bill Wilson was instrumental in alerting the hotel to some missing curb cuts between the Peabody and the Convention Center, in a way that got them fixed.

#701 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 02:26 PM:

I can see this developing into a "when I was a lad" thread.

My brother works in education statistics, and a large part of his job is keeping the grades for British A-level exams consistent. He's one of the few John F. Bells you'll find on Google. In one case, a pubished paper, the exam syllabus had been unchanged for some twenty years, and some old exam scripts turned up. So they were able to check the marking in the same way as they did for the current exam work.

In Britain, at least, the general better exam results in A-levels are an improvement in the students' work, not a fall in exam standards.

I think there's something brewing: he was bending my ear about a few things this last weekend, including what he sees as the poor teaching when we were at school. He reckons we could both have passed the old Oxbridge extrance exams, because they were designed to look past knowledge to see how you attacked a problem.

Personally, I think the David Bell of 1976 wasn't quite the David Bell who blazed across the firmament of fandom in the late Eighties.

Most of the rest of what he said seemed to be based on the idea that the Universities aren't doing a good job of managing their exam standards. The numbers getting the highest pass grades are small enough that the year-on-year variations are suspiciously small.

I don't share my brothers ability with math, but we do have a slide-rule inculated* talent for making rough arithmetic approximations.

(I confess I am bidding on eBay for a slide rule like the ones we used at school. Anyone know how to clean ballpoint pen ink off plastic. It could well be a Crimble pressie. "In cas of emergency, break glass.")

*But not according to the top definition that pops out of Google: something called the Urban Dictionary which purports** to be a dictionary of slang. For that word to have acquired that meaning feels a trifle odd.

#702 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Dan Hoey: @#698: Well, I was being facetious - the people I know with body dysmorphic disorder (and there are a few) tend to perceive themselves as fatter than they really are, rather than imagining some other imperfection, but I know that the disorder is not actually synonomous with failings in size perception.

Nice to know the right name for that, though, thanks!

#703 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Bruce #660:

Some Time Patrols ("All You Zombies" comes to mind) seem to feel that the worms/snakes should bite their own tails. Or is that a comment on undoing Time?

#704 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 02:42 PM:

Paula Lieberman @#679: Children should not be included in your average, unless you believe they should also be included in the pool of potential astronauts.

#705 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 02:45 PM:

The point about the mechanism of a cryptosystem not needing to be a secret is, in any case, implicit in how cryptanalysis works.

Consider a monoalphabetic cipher: One plaintext letter is always represented by the same ciphertext letter. You have devised a way of generating the cipher alphabet from a keyword. Perhaps you use the keyword to control a series of letter-swaps.

But the basic mechanism used to break the cipher--freqency analysis--completely bypasses that complexity. The Dancing Men cipher that Watson describes Holmes as solving has no remnant of alphabetical order in the cipher alphabet.

More generally, whatever complexity is used to generate a repeated pattern, cryptanalysis homes in on the repetition.

If anything, Cory misses the point that DRM has to supply both the mechanism and the key to the intended reader. The secrets, whether necessarily secret or not, can never be truly secret.

Instead of trying to capture a U-boat intact, all one needs to do is buy a DVD player.

#706 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 02:53 PM:

Dave Bell @#697: I read his Turing reference merely as an example of what can go wrong when you keep a cypher secret: that if it's broken, that is also secret...from you.

#707 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 03:17 PM:

Xopher @(intra alia)699:
If you wanted to know why I wrote that sonnet, well, there you go.

#708 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 03:34 PM:

#706 Dave Bell:

The idea that the cipher's strength should not depend on the secrecy of the cipher is usually called Kerchoff's principle. For any heavily-used cryptosystem, it's hard to keep at least a few samples from being captured by an enemy. This really amounts to the idea that you should be able to separate the secret part of the cipher (the key) from the part that you assume is known to the attacker (everything else).

It's possible to attack simple cryptographic systems without knowing the internals, just by looking at statistics. But there are an enormous number of different statistical flaws possible in a cryptosystem, and in order to know which ones to check, you need some idea of the underlying mechanism. For example, if I tell you this cipher is a stream cipher based on LFSRs, you can look for certain properties that are known to exist in various badly-designed LFSR-based stream ciphers. If I tell you this is a stream cipher based some RC4-like slowly evolving permutation thingy, you're going to want to look at very different properties. If I put together a moderately complicated cipher, it can be all but impossible to attack it just requesting plaintext and ciphertext for encryption/decryption, even if it's a cipher that can be trivially broken once you see the thing.

#709 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 03:39 PM:

No, Greg, you are the one who keeps sticking the "judge" (verb form) in there. It's your biased definition, which I do not consider a legitimate sole definition.

You seem to be claiming that systematic exclusion of groups [via e.g. not bothering to think of/notice/care about their existence, and thereby since they are invisible that or those people's perceptions, they don't exist to bother noticing and factor into account in the first place) is NOT discrimination. I vehemently disagree.

It's, yet again, marginalization--I've seen it done to women by women, such as when Barbara Newell was President of Wellesley College, and was quoted saying, "Wellesley students and MIT men" and claiming that women felt like they didn't belong at places like MIT... I wrote her a scathing letter saying noting that I was an MIT student and was incensed as being treated as though female MIT students did not exist. "The only time that I feel I don't belong at MIT is when people like you refuse to acknowledge that I exist!"

Since you don't seem to get defined to not exist in that fashion, your arguments on the subject ring extremely hypocrital to me. Yeah, sure, right, it's NOT discrimination. Bullshit to that.

#710 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 03:42 PM:

joann @ 704

It's a comment on not being able to draw an Ouroborous I like to look at. I've tried it any number of times, and they always come out looking like either pieces of string or bait worms. And there's nothing I could find in the public domain that looked good either. The Borromean Snakes I used came originally from some heraldic device or other in the 14th century, I think, so I should be good on copyright 'til the next go 'round of extensions, about the time Mickey Mouse hits senility.

But I'll take credit for a subtle comment on undoing time. Sure, that's the ticket.

#711 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Okay, that's the backlog. Just a few extras and echoes.

In #683 I mentioned my bike accident. I didn't notice the date until after I posted it. That accident was six years ago today.

In #686, ethan claims that "e" is the vowel to end all vowels.. I don't think all vowels ends with what he thinks it does. If we get classical, though, "litteraturæ semivocalæ" ends with "æ", which looks especially nice upside-down. Speaking of which, "ethan" spelled upside-down is "ueyta", which not only ends with a vowel, it dang well do begin with un. (Please don't take my interest in upside-down spelling as some sort of disrespect. Consider my e-mail address).

Ethan also asks, seriously or not, Hey, does that lessen the number of clues needed? Uuu....

Greg (#695) mentioned, of Ms. Upton's poise, As it is, she got an A+ in looking good and an F in addressing a real problem. Which was the point of my Attorney General remark. Nonetheless, I think that an eighteen-year-old might be cut some slack in deciding that you've got to give up and ask to have the question repeated, especially on her first Teevee appearance (which she said it was on the "Today" segment. But maybe I'm being overcredulous).

Thanks to Peter Erwin (#696) for clarifying the demographic question.

Dave Bell (#702) I think you want "inculcated".

Mary Dell (#703) we're all facetious, of course, and I understood what you meant. I was just saying that "dysmorphia" would have to be about bad shape. "Eumorphia" would be good shape, while "anamorphia" would be distorted shape.

abi (#708) You wrote the sonnet? I thought you wrote the double dactyl? Or is #640 a sonnet in disguise? I have to thank you for it, in any case, along with Xopher for #699. We can only hope.

#712 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:00 PM:

:Z1L@ haoy uap
Not in this thread. It's just that I was inspired to write a little something on our Xopher recently. 699 (and pretty much everything since 630, though previous comments were excellent as well) is simply proof that I was right to do so.

#713 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:03 PM:

uep
uap +ou
sdoo

#714 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:10 PM:

Dan Hoey #712: Are you familiar with Upside Down by Scruffy the Cat? I have less than no idea what the hell they're on about in it, but it's a good song and you just reminded me of it.

"ueyta" sounds like...something. A non-humanoid extra-galactic lifeform from the original Star Trek, maybe, or maybe the name of a character in a book about linguists in space.

#715 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:11 PM:

I do not, for whatever record anyone might be keeping, think that writing someone's name upside down is the worst insult you could ever give them.

#716 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:12 PM:

ixuey+ (h1L# 'E1L#) !qe

#717 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:21 PM:

Xopher, #699:

I was responding to Greg's The point is that to discriminate means to judge, to percieve some difference, to distinguish from, all of which require the person to make an active judgement that a difference other than merit exists and treat the person based on that non-merit way. and then 690 Paula, the words that keep showing up in all those definitions are to judge, to percieve a difference, to distinguish, to make a distinction. All of those require the person to observe a difference, to perceive it and act on it.

Since he was claiming definition precedence, I went to an on-line dictionary for definition--and then he CONTINUED to claim that there is judging involved in discriminating (and then asserting an analogy that I don't see any congruence to the issues with of someone reaching into a bowl and grabbing cherries.... if the issue is that there are red cherries and yellow cherries, and that grabbing a handful of cherries out of a bowl that has ONLY red cherries in it, and then claiming there is no discrimination against yellow cherries when not even looking to see if there are any yellow cherries in the bowl BEFORE grabbing....

That is, discrimation against someone UPSTREAM of the selection point, is STILL discrimination against!!! If someone can't get past the gate to the gate to the gate due to the first gatekeeper turning away all the girls, or all the people with dark skin, or all the people who are short, or all the people who are tall... it DOES NOT MATTER when the people two gates beyond use for selection criteria, there aren't going to be people who got eliminated at that first gate, to select from!


Or to use math terminology, the there's a biased pool. My whole point is that there is bias involved--the bias of ignoring/eliminating/discounting groups of people on the basis of height/gender/skin color at an early stage of down-selection, such that there CONTINUES to be a bias involved, regardless of what happens later, unless the pool to select from changes by opening up and remediating that initial injustice!

That gets back to assumptions written and unwritten. The Mercury 13 got eliminated purely because they were female, and it wasn't until the 1980s that a woman got launched into space by the USA.

There are lots of "oppportunities" restricted to people with specific credentials, with gotchas involved as regards the acquisition of those credentials. Elizabeth Moon has written in on-line forums about how male teachers refused to teach math to her and the other girls who were her schoolmates, meaning that anything that required math literacy as prerequisite, she and they were barred from thereafter.

Few women of her generation in math and science? With teachers like the one she had, it's no wonder... and even if she hadn't had a teacher who barred the gates against girls, she still would have faced misogyny among college faculty and admissions probably, and guidance counselors who pushed girls into nurturing and clerical and public school English and primary school teaching and away from careers as scientists, engineers, politicians, MDs, lawyers, etc.

Little things like "where's the nearest bathroom?" make a difference-one of the Aero and Astro buildings at MIT the nearest rest room market "women" was in another building, and not every floor was there access through! The Aero and Astro building adjacent to the building with no toilet facilities for women, in five above ground floors and one basement, had -two- women's restrooms.... Building 9, on the other side, had two or three, and was the building that one had to remember which floors one could get to to cross over from was it Building 33 or Building 35...

Little things like that DO make differences, regarding what majors to select and stay in...

#718 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Paula, Greg, why don't we play it like in Marienbad*, where the one who gets the last word loses?

#719 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:35 PM:

ethan (#715, #716) I'm gobsmacked. I never heard of Scruffy the Cat before, nor even the concept of upside-down insults. I was just making sure that you knew I was playing, because some people are touchy about their names. Thanks so much for the link, cause that's some weird lyric.

#720 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:35 PM:

Deu 61L: I think that's a good idea. The last one AFTER your post of course; we don't want to lock Paula into the loser position on this.

#721 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:56 PM:

'(Deu +ou 'uep s,+! pue) '1ZL# ,aydoX

I agree perfectly, and if this makes me lose I'll count myself lucky it's over.

#722 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:57 PM:

Dan #695

Greg (#695) mentioned, of Ms. Upton's poise, As it is, she got an A+ in looking good and an F in addressing a real problem. Which was the point of my Attorney General remark. Nonetheless, I think that an eighteen-year-old might be cut some slack in deciding that you've got to give up and ask to have the question repeated, especially on her first Teevee appearance (which she said it was on the "Today" segment. But maybe I'm being overcredulous).

A bimbo is a bimbo is a bimbo, and I have never been a fan of any gender of such (the male ones are more difficult to identify, they tend to be in suits at tradeshows, e.g. the way one identifies a male booth bimbo is by asking a technical question about the product the male BB is supposed to be marketing. The male BB will then either start spouting a rote script with no cognizant technical content, or hem and haw, or otherwise respond in a way demonstrating that the BB is technically non-cognizant--sometimes one can see the virtual rattling braincell indicators with the person being completely clueless technically--there is a script of prepared responses, stop it and they will start it up again from the original start point as one response).

What was C'Mell's comment in Norstralia, "Dumb breeding stock," or some such?

#723 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 04:58 PM:

Personally, I would prefer to declare it a game of Calvinball, with no winners or losers.

Silence in these matters does not have to equal consent or concession - just unwillingness to continue arguing.

#724 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Dave @ 697:

Actually both you and Cory are mistaken. The concept that the security of a cipher should rest on the keys instead of the encryption algorithm is called Kerckhoffs' principle after the Dutch cryptologist Auguste Kerckhoff. It is one of the six principles of practical cipher design published in 1883:

  1. The system should be, if not theoretically unbreakable, unbreakable in practice.

  2. The design of a system should not require secrecy and compromise of the system should not inconvenience the correspondents (Kerckhoffs' principle).

  3. The key should be memorable without notes and should be easily changeable.

  4. The cryptograms should be transmittable by telegraph.

  5. The apparatus or documents should be portable and operable by a single person

  6. The system should be easy, neither requiring knowledge of a long list of rules nor involving mental strain.
A century and a quarter later, they remain good rules.

#725 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 05:05 PM:

Whoops -- Auguste Kerckhoffs

#726 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 05:06 PM:

#705 Mary

I was looking at height not in terms of astronaut corps eligibility (and notice that STS has a wider envelope of height allowed than Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, or perhaps the former Soviet space program), but in terms of access for e.g. going shopping (kids do get stuff at stores off the shelves as competent shoppers, and there are 16 year old and under employees at supermarkets and other retail establishments).

#727 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Dan Hoey @ #698:

Obviously, you're 5'12".

#728 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 05:50 PM:

Trip the Space Parasite, that's it! A leap inch!

#729 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 05:57 PM:

Paula @#727: I agree that kids - teens, at least - should be considered in making design choices, as should a wider range of folks generally. But I don't think that including all ages of children in figuring "average height" gives a particularly useful picture, for our society anyway, which sets children into a special category in almost every situation.

I also agree that the average adult in this country is shorter than me (I'm 5'8"), and that everything I encounter, with the exception of airplane seats, is designed to be comfortable for me and people of my height, which isn't fair.

A little OT, because it's not about average height etc, but Beanie Baby is a good blog about raising a daughter who's capital-L Little - here's a good post about having an "invisible" condition.

#730 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 07:05 PM:

Bruce #711:

I also confess to wondering about a possible biohazard warning.

#731 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 07:24 PM:

Dan Hoey @ 712: Nonetheless, I think that an eighteen-year-old might be cut some slack in deciding that you've got to give up and ask to have the question repeated, especially on her first Teevee appearance (which she said it was on the "Today" segment. But maybe I'm being overcredulous).

I think not. As someone who suffers from stage fright, I can tell you that when the panic hits (which it did for me as recently as Friday night), only two things are likely to happen: (1) complete inability to speak or (2) a gush of drivel (or, in my case, playing as if I'd never heard the song before). Staying compos enough to buy myself some time isn't really an option, and wouldn't help anyway. Having finally steeled myself to watch the video, I'd say she has exactly my symptoms.

My own teenage television appearance was considerably less coherent than hers, and could just as easily have made me a worldwide laughingstock if it had happened in the YouTube era. If that makes me "dumb breeding stock" (Paula Lieberman @ 723), well, at least I don't have kids.

#732 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 07:27 PM:

Myself @ 732: That "I think not" isn't clear at all, even to me. I think I meant that you (Dan) weren't being overcredulous. But I'm not sure.

Yes, I was reliving some experiences while typing...

#733 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 07:30 PM:

:0ZL# haoy ued
It's a very rinkydink website, http://tinybum.com/ has a lot of info about Scruffy the Cat and a whole bunch of mp3s you can download (I actually didn't know about this website until I just went to find out if their stuff had ever been issued on CD). I highly recommend them--very solid 80s college-radio rock, like a less idosyncratic Replacements or a waaaaay less arty Pixies, but better than that sounds.

#734 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 07:37 PM:

Crap, I'm no good at this. I mean uep, not ued. And I suppose there's no reason for me not to have made that StC website a link.

My excuse is that, a) I just woke up from one of those half-hour naps that turns into three hours, and b) my mind is generally reeling from the good news I seem to keep getting these days.

#735 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 07:50 PM:

ethan 735: Whyn't you tell us some of it. I could really use some good news right now, even if it's someone else's.

#736 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 07:53 PM:

Paula (#710): It's, yet again, marginalization--I've seen it done to women by women, such as when Barbara Newell was President of Wellesley College, and was quoted saying, "Wellesley students and MIT men" and claiming that women felt like they didn't belong at places like MIT... I wrote her a scathing letter saying noting that I was an MIT student and was incensed as being treated as though female MIT students did not exist. "The only time that I feel I don't belong at MIT is when people like you refuse to acknowledge that I exist!"

Paula (#718): Little things like "where's the nearest bathroom?" make a difference-one of the Aero and Astro buildings at MIT the nearest rest room market "women" was in another building, and not every floor was there access through! The Aero and Astro building adjacent to the building with no toilet facilities for women, in five above ground floors and one basement, had -two- women's restrooms.... Building 9, on the other side, had two or three, and was the building that one had to remember which floors one could get to to cross over from was it Building 33 or Building 35...Little things like that DO make differences, regarding what majors to select and stay in...

While I'm sure that you felt like you belonged at MIT, I think it should be possible to concede that Newell had a point. And note that the women you should be asking about belonging are not just those women, like you, who were enrolled at MIT, but also those who left or those who visited and never matriculated.

(Note that I do not disagree that Newell was in error to use the term 'MIT men'; she certainly should not have been complicit in perpetuating the exclusion of women from MIT.)

#737 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 07:58 PM:

Dan Hoey @ 712: Nonetheless, I think that an eighteen-year-old might be cut some slack in deciding that you've got to give up and ask to have the question repeated, especially on her first Teevee appearance (which she said it was on the "Today" segment. But maybe I'm being overcredulous).

Yeah, she did OK for her first time. I've done some public speaking and some training gigs, and I know for a fact that had it not been for the time spent doing numerous improv classes, karaoke, and similar practice sessions of public communication, that I probably would have locked up. It's still painful to watch, though.

If she's going to try to go into some sort of public lifestyle like an acress or similar, then she will definitely have to practice the interview questions some more. As it is, in a beauty pagent, no harm done.

Of course, our president talks about as unintelligible every day as she did that one time. So who knows, she might go far yet.

;/


#738 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 08:17 PM:

ethan (#735): "I mean uep, not ued."

I know I started it, but I propose a moratorium on writing upside down. Nobody's any good at it, even me (I've just been proofing my stuff like mad, and hoping Xopher doesn't take exception to being called Xophe' 'cause I can't do rs without dipping into the Hebrew block, and that stuff goes right-to-left and really weirds me out). And it seems like prolonged proofreading might cause motion sickness, without the motion. Worse, we might have some Light Maker drop a display on their head or something. That would create a great disturbance in the fluorosphere.

But I'll second Xopher's request for the good news. We could all use some. I just hope it's not the stuff about Jesus, which I've already heard enough.

#739 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 08:24 PM:

I propose a moratorium on writing upside down.

SECOND!!!!

#740 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 08:56 PM:

good news:

I got two awesome ready-to-customize doll heads today. I'm absurdly excited about them. I can't start painting them until tomorrow after work, but I've already had a lot of fun taking weird "before" pictures of them (I photog all my craft projects as I go).

ok, who else has some (good news, not doll heads, necessarily)?

#741 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 09:17 PM:

ok, who else has some (good news, not doll heads, necessarily)?

I got back from Burning Man happy and inspired, despite pulling some boneheaded stunts. Don't know if that's news, exactly, but it's good.

#742 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 09:59 PM:

I'm also back from Burning Man and the floor has finally stopped swaying (unjacked RVs, like boats, will do that to you). After 3 showers and soaking my hair in oil I've finally gotten the dust and tangles out.

So while that isn't news, I'm catching up on the nifty news of the past 2 weeks. Congratulations Patrick!

Hi Tim- did you have a good burn(s)*? If I'd ever made it much beyond Boreal or 4:30 I'd have dropped by Math Camp / your shows.

----
* I caught the 1st burn, but only because the noise of totality made me get up for the eclipse. (Oh, wait, I posted about it. Seems like a very long time ago, that.)

#743 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 10:27 PM:

Hi Tim- did you have a good burn(s)*?

Very much so, although not at all in the way I expected... but then I didn't expect it to be the way I expected, if you know what I mean.

If I'd ever made it much beyond Boreal or 4:30 I'd have dropped by Math Camp / your shows.

You didn't miss much re my shows. Two of out three were cancelled, one due to a dust storm howling through the venue and one due to a comical series of misunderstandings ("What is this stuff? I want chicks in here shaking their booty, not chilling to ambient music!"). The third was hamstrung by my aforementioned stage fright issues and the guitarist's being (he claims literally) asleep on stage (it was 0345 on Saturday). Fortunately, burners are very nice, and nobody threw anything at us.

Math Camp was a big hit, though. We had standing room only at the lectures. I'm not much of a mathematician, but I was able to contribute a "proof of the day" (Cantor's diagonalization proof of the uncountability of the real numbers).

Where were you camping? I took a random art car ride that let me off at 2:30 and Habitat, and walked back via Jungle Luv and the Hat Party, but other than that I didn't get to that wing of BRC.

#744 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 10:32 PM:

Dave Bell, #702, maybe Goo Gone Ink Remover. I don't know if you have it over there.

Mary Dell, very cute doll heads!

Ethan, tell us the good news!

I think the closest I have is that I got new lampshades for the living room today. They're the same kind as the old ones, but being new, they're in much better shape, and the linings are white instead of the light-affected dark beige, so there's more light.

#745 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2007, 10:42 PM:

Kathryn - welcome back, I missed you and was wondering how you were doing.

#746 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 01:27 AM:

abi @ 667: Thanks!

"My view is that, even if you are in the fortunate group who can identify with the shopkeeper, basic empathy suggests that you try to see the world from the customer's view, rather than just telling him/her that it isn't really discrimination because it wasn't intended (subtext: so suck it up)."

I think basic empathy also suggests that, even if you naturally identify with the customer, you try to see it from the point of view of the tall shop keeper. He is a person too.

Dan Hoey @ 682: I deleted my answers, unfortunately, and I have to run and wash the cat now. I'll get back to you.

Dan Hoey @ 719: "Last word loses" is how I judge the winner of every net debate. Once you can reduce your opponent to repeating points you've already refuted/don't even need refuting, you've won. (You even get a prize: all your free time back!)

#747 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 02:50 AM:

Awesome doll heads, Mary Dell! Rather spacey, them just sitting there in your hand. Do they sing "I ain't got no body"?

Good news? The remodelling, despite all the alarums and excursions, is still on schedule, and we might just have a bathroom in the house again by the end of next week. With a big bath tub!

#748 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:07 AM:

I've been vague about my good news (which, no, is not that thing about Jesus), partly out of a weird vestige of superstition that tells me that if I talk too much about it it'll go away, and partly because it's complicated and long and non-chronological and, well, vague itself. But here goes.

Short version of the background: I've been in a terrible terrible rut in the three years since I finished college. I've been completely unproductive in terms of things I want to be doing, I wasted two years in a hellhole of a mind-sucking shit job, I got fired from the job I settled for after spending months looking for another one, and am about right now nearing the realm of severely having absolutely no money to live off of. Meanwhile, my beloved Providence feels like it's crumbling around me, neighborhoods and businesses I love devoured by condos, the public library deliberately mismanaged nearly into non-existence, all of my friends moving away one by one (and not being replaced by new friends, ever). All this, and for the life of me I couldn't think of a plan to make any of it better.

But then! Out of nowhere one of my closest, dearest friends, one of the few who still lives here, tells me she's moving to New York City in a few months to find better work (she's a graphic designer, primarily for the web), which depresses the hell out of me. But then it gets better: through a bizarre confluence of seemingly unrelated events and connections and so forth, she suddenly realizes she's shockingly well-positioned to go into business for herself and start her own firm. Like, really, shockingly well-positioned, to the point where it almost feels dream-like (this is the bit where I'm scared talking about it will make it go away).

Anyway, upshot: she's going to hire me to do her copywriting and information architecture (which I'll be learning as I go) while simultaneously giving me as much freedom as I need to go to school for Library Science, which I've wanted to do all along. So, blammo, I'm not just getting out of my rut, I'm moving out of it, to New York, to work for/with my friend, doing something I sincerely want to do. At the same time, I know it's dangerous to rely so heavily on her and her plans working out, but without even thinking hard a whole bunch of not-undesirable backup plans keep occurring to me. It's looking pretty solid, in other words, that I'll be able to move to and live happily in NYC. Moving there, by the way, has been seeming more and more appealing all the time recently anyway, because I have a pretty large network of friends and family there, and because, hell, I like it. I'll miss Providence, but I won't miss watching what I love about Providence disappearing.

But, for a variety of reasons, this all won't be happening until May at the soonest, and I have to live until then (which is what I was talking about here, pretty much). So I went to a temp agency today, not hoping for much, but, lo and behold, an hour after I walk in, I'm starting Monday doing Library Science-related work in walking distance of my house for better pay than I'd possibly expected from temp work. Not just that, but the order for this job came in to the temp agency while I was there. As in, had I come any other time I probably wouldn't have gotten it.

So. Kind of diffuse, kind of complicated, kind of vague. But it's all making me deliriously happier than I've been.

#749 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:37 AM:

ethan @ 749

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. We must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

Surf's up!

#750 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:43 AM:

Alan Weisman's book 'The World Without Us' reminds me of a similar-topic essay I think I read within the past 15 years, but haven't been able to find. Anyone here remember an essay like that?

This essay was likely by an SF writer and covered the question of "when will the last things made by humans disappear from the solar system?".

(I'd also like to state for the record that my unfinished novella that has a human extinction backdrop was started years ago. I also loved Rachmaninoff's 3rd long before Shine.)

#751 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:51 AM:

ethan @ 749

Nice when serendipity strikes - good luck with everything!

#752 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 05:05 AM:

ethan,

wow, that sounds great! i am hoping hard at the universe not to fck this up for you now.

i have a friend who got her mlis a couple of years ago, & library work seems to be very scarce (as hinted at in your local library's gutting). but with the momentum you've got going, i firmly suspect that librarians will be the most competitively sought-after professionals by the time you graduate.

#753 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 05:33 AM:

Dan Hoey @ 682: Bravo! That's just about exactly the same answer that I got. Gur gevpx vf hfvat sbhe naq gra gb ybpx qbja gur beqre. Nsgre gung, vg'f whfg svyyvat va, jvgu n ybg bs bcgvbaf. Gur gevpx sbe qbvat vg jvgu sbhe pyhrf vf: vs 'orsber' zrnaf 'vzzrqvngryl orsber,' gura pyhr bar nyfb gryyf lbh gung puevf jebgr gur ivyynaryyr, nf jryy nf rguna gur fbaarg.

Claude Muncey @ 725: "Actually both you and Cory are mistaken. The concept that the security of a cipher should rest on the keys instead of the encryption algorithm is called Kerckhoffs' principle after the Dutch cryptologist Auguste Kerckhoff. It is one of the six principles of practical cipher design published in 1883:"

My feeling was that Cory Doctorow meant WWII and Bletchley Park was the end of efforts to keep a cipher safe through secrecy, not that it was the very first time anyone realized it was a bad idea. Breaking Enigma (and Shark) was so big and dramatic that afterwards it was impossible for anyone to pretend that secrecy could substitute for a well-tested cipher. It wasn't the beginning of the end, it was the end of the end.

#754 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 07:10 AM:

Yay ethan, that's not diffuse, not vague, and not JC. Complicated, yes, but to change something like life you need complicated, or at least complicatable. So hooray for your prospects, and remember those beautiful words we just got from Tim Walters (#744) in another context:

[...]not at all in the way I expected... but then I didn't expect it to be the way I expected[...].
You might even get a leg up on the copywriting, information architecture, and Library Science stuff during the downtimes between now and May.

#755 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 08:23 AM:

#749 YaY! you were due for a good break, ethan, and I hope this all stays on track for you.

#756 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 08:29 AM:

ethan @#749:

Wow, excellent! The temp job sounds great, and I heartily applaud the move to the big city, speaking as someone who's done it (Chicago, in my case). The opportunities you can find in a big place are many, and are often amazing. I came here when I was 25, and it wasn't easy, but I eventually found literally everything I was looking for (Career, friends, experiences worth writing about) and a few things I wasn't (husband, house, car). I miss Indiana, and life isn't perfect, but making that move was the best thing I ever did.

#757 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 08:30 AM:

ethan-

I needed to hear good news from *somebody* today, and yours is good enough to feel like good news from multiple somebodies. Hurray!

#758 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 09:16 AM:

ok, who else has some (good news, not doll heads, necessarily)?

After five months of hard work, I've just finished the first draft of my new book. Since, back around Christmastime, I'd felt so discouraged and unhappy about the whole "professional writer" caper that I was thinking about giving it up, this is huge news for me, something I didn't think I had in me. Faith restored!

#759 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 09:32 AM:

Heresiarch @ 754

WWII and Bletchley Park was the end of efforts to keep a cipher safe through secrecy

From the perspective of mathematicians and professional cryptographers, perhaps. I can attest from personal knowledge that considerable efforts continued to be expended by governments, especially including the US, to keep their cryptosystems' designs secret for at least the next 25 years after Enigma. I would be somewhat surprised if thia has changed even now.

#760 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 09:49 AM:

Debcha #737

Newell was being from my perspective, a complete hypocrite--she was giving an interview that included status-of-women-look-how-wonderful-Wellesley-is-and-there-is-this-exchange-program-between-MIT-and-Wellesley, and talked as if MIT were an all-male institution with no female students and without there ever having been female students, despite Ellen Swallow Richards', who had been the first female MIT student and graduate, existence being prominently featured on a relatively large bronze plaque in Building 4 on the entry area wall opposite a set of large doors opening onto the Killian Court. I don't remember the graduating class year she was in, but it was no later than the early 1920s, and MIT has had female students ever since.

Talking about promoting the lot of women in math and science and engineering and talking about the status of women in them, when one is from an elite female liberal arts school with a schizophrenic reputation--one part of it being being in the forefront of women's and family and social studies, another part being as a school which generates female professionals including scientists (not engineers however) (I don't remember if Wellesley is a graduate degree granting institution or not), and then there are the women there who are the equivalent of Harvard's legacy students, who are NOT there for anything inherently academic, they're they either because they were forced to it by the family and they want to not be there, or they're after an Mrs degree to attach to someone who'd going to get a Harvard degree and the social status and economic position that often accrues to men with Harvard degrees. That is, there is a strong strain of traditionalism at Wellesley, which any woman at MIT in the 1970s and earlier had had to buck and fight simply to get past the society deterrents to girls aspiring to go to places like MIT. By the time someone female got to MIT, she tended to be extremely radicalized as regards "traditional" roles and models and lifepaths for women, and highly resentful of the restrictions and constraints society prescribed for women, due to years of barraging with crap about being freaks for being female and overtly interested in and competent in and wanting to professionally be in math/science/engineering instead of being e.g. a Southern Belle and aspiring to a life involved in any or several of nurturing/caretaking/homemaking/clerical work/secretarial work/nursing/fine-non-commercial-arts/noncommercial crafts/volunteer ladylike pursuits.

Basically, Ms Newell had a view of women and academia in which the women at MIT despite the fact that we existed and had existed for decades, were nonexistent and not worthy of acknowledging the existence of. She wasn't reaching out to us, she was dismissing us entirely as existing, even though she was supposed to be promoting women. Talk about hypocrisy and marginalization.... She was talking about women at MIT as not existing, totally slightug the women who were at MIT, as if we, again, were completely nonexistent. Reality check failure, spectacularly to me, and offensively.

#761 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 09:56 AM:

Yay, ethan!

Since I'm now in the library field (software to put multiple incompatible catalogues into one user-friendly search engine), I'm particularly delighted that you're doing this.

Three reasons:
1. I want you to be happy, and finally you sound like you are, and will be;
2. I want there to be more intelligent and interesting librarians out there; and
3. I want to be able to pick your brains about library technical things in a few months, once I get through the easy stuff.

But mostly 1. Yay!

#762 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 09:57 AM:

Being that this is an open thread... does anybody have recommendations on an 'easy'[0] way to secure a bag of ice to one eyebrow, so as to still allow typing, and not take up the use of one hand?

[0] Can be handled with commonly available household items, and can be easily removed without pulling out hair/making a mess/making matters worse than what already requires icing.

#763 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 10:00 AM:

Yay, ethan!

[and as regards not wanting to talk about and celebrate something prematurely--there is nothing worse than having one's hopes and aspirations raised and then having them crushed and blighted instead... that's what e.g. led to the Russian Revolution, unmet expectations and the Tsar's troops firing on civilians who had not to that point been anti-Tsar: it radicalized and tempered Stalin, Lenin, and Trotsky, and literally the rest is history. The same is true generally for revolutions--people who had expectations of rising up to higher social/political/economic status who discovered they were blocked under the existing system, that all their expectation would come to nothing, unless they overthrew the existing order and reorganized to a system where they no longer were blocked from rising in power/financial status/social status.

#764 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Aargh. I just goatse'd myself with a Google image search. (I was looking for pictures of one of the Muppets, believe it or not.)

The worst part? I'm at work, disgusted and amused, and I can't tell anyone, because then I'd have to explain.

#765 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Xeger @ 763

If you have a headband left over from that 1960s theme party, tape the bag to it and put it on your head. If you don't have a headband, you can make one out of duct tape, although you may regret that when you take it off.

#766 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 10:19 AM:

Depending on your resources and how precise you want the icepack to be, you could make a skinny icepack, roll it in a towel, and tie the towel around your head. If you have a floppy icepack (I was raised with frozen vegetables) you can arrange it so there's a bend in the middle, then use something (necktie? Towel? Shoelace?) to hold that on your head, but that's going to take up more space than is perhaps necessary.

#767 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 10:22 AM:

#760 Bruce:

NSA (and presumably other governments) try to keep their cipher designs secret, but I'm sure they don't assume that secrecy when doing their own security analysis of ciphers internally.

A bunch of snake-oil ciphers are kept secret, for security-by-obscurity reasons.

RSA kept RC4 secret (as a trade secret) for many years before it was leaked. They had done some analysis internally, and had the resources to do a decent job of it, but they didn't have the kind of resources of the whole crypto community.

People sometimes keep algorithms secret to make interoperability hard--some DRM schemes have done this, though it seems like this is not so common anymore. The Clipper scheme used a classified algorithm, Skipjack, which was later declassified after Clipper seemed like an obvious failure. Probably one reason for this was to make sure that you had to use key escrow to get the benefit of the NSA-designed algorithm.

The cellphone industry kept a bunch of its encryption/key derivation/hashing algorithms secret. Partly, this was probably security by obscurity, but they also didn't want it to be obvious how terribly weak their crypto was.

#768 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 10:22 AM:

#760: See, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_cryptanalysis#Origins_of_differential_cryptanalysis

DES was public, but the design behind making it resistent to differential cryptanalysis was kept secret.

And the Germans believed Enigma would be unbreakable even by someone who knew the details of how a machine worked. Bletchley was about keeping secret that that wasn't true.
The question is, had they invited public cryptanalysis of Enigma, would they have strengthened the design as a result, or would they merely have given the Allies a better start at breaking it.

#769 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 10:32 AM:

My good news is that I turned 55 earlier this week.

In spite of my tendency to piss and moan on a semi-regular basis about getting old, that's good news because it means I'm now eligible to retire from the Postal Service.

Financially, I'm in a position where I'd have to get another full-time job (or a very lucrative part-time job) for at least a couple of years to make ends meet on retirement pay.

But the idea that I could submit retirement papers and tell my bosses they won't have me to kick around anymore is... nice.

And tempting. Even if I have to work 40 hours a week after retirement, that would still save me ten to twenty hours a week over my current situation of forced overtime and cancelled days off. (Today, except for one day for a family funeral for my Aunt Jean, is the first SDO -- Scheduled Day Off -- that I've actually had off for about four months.)

Very, very tempting....

#770 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 10:36 AM:

768, 769

The motivation for the secrecy clearly had nothing to do with the safety of the cryptosystem. During the time I worked in that area, and was constantly being warned of the terrible danger to the Free World if I let slip a single detail of the systems I worked with, I read an article in an unclassified and not all obscure technical journal that described how to break the ciphers I used without any knowledge of the internal design, merely knowing in general what kind of algorithm generated the keystream (there were only a few obvious choices at the time) and having access to sufficient encrypted stream and some knowledge of the protocols (not the precise content) of the cleartext. All of these were readily available to anybody who care to know about them, or could make intelligent guesses.

#771 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 11:08 AM:

Kathryn #743: Speaking of Burning Man, has anyone written a post-apocalypse story where Burning Man attendees are all that's left to rebuild society?

#772 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 11:33 AM:

Paula (#761): Thank you for the additional context (and no, Wellesley does not have graduate programs). My point was that that Newell could both be a jerk for denying the existence of female students at MIT (by referring to MIT men) and also be correct in saying that (some reasonable) proportion of women feel like they don't belong at MIT. And I can totally understand why this would make you upset, since you were both dealing with all the BS discrimination against women that was endemic in engineering/scientific academia and having your efforts demeaned to the point of nonexistence.

I have to admit that I was startled when you wrote that you 'never felt like you didn't belong' at MIT; while I don't doubt that you were/are a remarkable person for having ended up there, I would have been astonished if you never felt discriminated against or marginalized. I went to engineering school in the late 80s and I thought it was pretty bad (even though at the time, I was probably pretty clueless and just unquestioningly accepted a lot of misogyny and homophobia as 'part of the culture'). The stories I've heard from women who went through in the 70s make my hair curl.

#773 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 11:46 AM:

debcha #773:

My own late 70s story is truly weird, now I think back on it. I decided that I really needed to go back to school and get a computer science degree, since a major in history had qualified me to sell paint and hardware for roughly 10% above minimum wage.

So I toddle off and re-enroll as a special student, for the introductory course. And things are going along, and suddenly the halls are papered with announcements for the brand new "Women in Computer Science" program. Fine, says I, I don't ordinarily go in for the support group thing, but maybe this time it would be a Good Thing, particularly since I don't see any other women in the class, and perhaps a little mentoring would come in useful a couple years down the pike when it comes interview time.

So I go and find the advisor for this program, who happens to be a woman who is chairman of the department, only to be told that I'm too old, already too well-entrenched, and, in fact, get this, *too damn over-qualified* for the program.

At which point I decided she was a complete ninny, and never had any reason to change my opinion.

#774 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 11:54 AM:

xeger, this may be coming way too late to help with your request above, but I often get severe headaches that respond really well to a cold compress right over my right eye, but I can't go lie down or it's hard to find an icepack because I'm not at home. What I found for those times was a product called BeKool which are soft gel strips that adhere to the skin. I keep some in my suitcase and some in my desk at work.

They're not quite as good as an icepack, but they do help and you can definitely remain upright and even mobile, while using them.

Most chain drugstores carry them. You can keep them in the fridge to get them extra cold, too.

#775 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 12:00 PM:

The question is, had they invited public cryptanalysis of Enigma, would they have strengthened the design as a result, or would they merely have given the Allies a better start at breaking it.

One of the biggest flaws that BP exploited was the fact that Enigma never enciphered something as itself - plaintext L was never cipher L. This was spotted fairly early on by the Poles, IIRC, and conceivably would have been rectified if the Germans had known about it early enough.

To be honest, though, the Germans were on their way to making it effectively unbreakable - in late '44/early '45 they were starting to issue each individual U-boat with its own key. This would probably have made Enigma secure against even a vastly enlarged BP, since there just wouldn't have been enough traffic in a single key for an analysis to succeed. (Prior to that, all the subs in the Atlantic used the same key settings, changed every month.)

But it's easy to overestimate BP. Don't forget that, for most of 1942, for example, BP was blacked out of the Atlantic net, and thus didn't have any impact on the convoy war at all. Better weaponry, better tactics and other intelligence like HF/DF would have won the Battle of the Atlantic without BP - not to mention the material advantage of the US shipbuilding industry. It might just have taken longer.

#776 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 12:03 PM:

I should add, of course, that Enigma was a commercially available system. While you couldn't have bought a set of Kriegsmarine rotors on the open market, and the plugboard was also a Wehrmacht invention, the basic machine wasn't secret - the principles of its operation, including the never-enciphers-as-self flaw, were open to examination. It's just nobody did. There wasn't a big crypto culture then, and Enigma wasn't a commercial success - it was expensive, heavy and complex.

#777 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 12:24 PM:

In #751 Kathryn from Sunnyvale writes:

Alan Weisman's book 'The World Without Us' reminds me of a similar-topic essay I think I read within the past 15 years, but haven't been able to find. Anyone here remember an essay like that?

Could it be an excerpt from Gregory Benford's Deep Time (which I haven't read)? There appears to be a related essay here.

I think John W. Campbell played with this idea in one of his editorials, long ago.

Also, consider the Long Now people.

#778 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 12:26 PM:

OK, I have to brag about this somewhere, and you guys are the only ones who will be as amused by it as I was.

Background: Last weekend was my friend Dave's birthday. His wife asked me to run a roleplaying game one-shot, since he hardly ever gets to play (as opposed to gamemaster) any more.

I chose a medieval (gonzo-medieval, not RMA) background, where none of the player characters had ever been out of the town they were born in, were totally illiterate peasants etc. The only person in town who could read was the priest.

Now the players were much more educated, so they had a hard time keeping a straight face when the priest approached the evil aliens ("Saracens!" cried the first NPC to see them) holding up a cross and saying "Dominus vobiscum...et in terra pax hominibus..."

Unfortunately they never went to the village wisewoman for healing. She was called Crazy Mary, and believed to be a witch, because she chanted magic words under her breath while bandaging. Magic words like "Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu..." She did make the giant alien robot flinch by shouting "Μακριά, κακό!"

And when the priest died, his last words were "Obesa cantavit!"

#779 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 01:00 PM:

RIP Madeleine L’Engle (from Publishers Weekly)

Just as C.S. Lewis taught me to read, L’Engle taught me sensawunda, and that- thousands of SF stories and books later- was a joy.

#780 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 01:02 PM:

My friend Tim's Burning Man pictures are up, and now I can never be President.

#781 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 01:21 PM:

debcha #773

It was MIT, and there was that near-universal "I'm not the smartest person in my classes anymore" experience, along with "the professor teaching this class is one of the world experts, and is imperfect!"
Yes, there was misogyny, but it was hardly unique as regards socially disgraceful behavior, attitudes, etc. There were various cases of which some folks would occasionally take their feet out of their mouths--I put it that way, because there were some people who had a near-perpetual case of foot-in-mouth disease. We're not talking about people selected for social graces or being accustomed to other people being polite to them, quite the contrary... put together a collection of bright curious types whose backgrounds include a lot of being weighted down as in The Marching Morons, and the response when let out of Think Stupid or Be Beaten Up for It jail, doesn't tend to include an excess of the social graces which so often got used as attack weapons! It was also a place full of ADHD types, warped senses of humor, and a lot of competitive pressure.

"Belonging" is an independent variable from "treated respectfully," particularly when the standards for "respect" are moving targets.... problem sets didn't care about the gender or size or shape of the student regarding being solved, nor did lab equipment...

Basically, the overall society was hostile towards women outside of approved social roles. There was misogyny at MIT, but it didn't put official roadblocks in the way of women taking classes--there were individual professors who discriminated against students apparently on all sorts of different bases. There were systematic biases--the one keeping women off the faculty in more than miniscule numbers which was still in effect in the 1990s, for example, was a systematic in a lot of ways unconscious one--but they weren't as bad as at e.g. ROTC Summer Camp at Tyndall AFB, Florida, where I was reviled for not only being female, but also for being a Northerner, for not keeping to proper roles for women in the minds of Southern Baptist rightwinger never-been-out-of-the-Deep-South management-and-phys-ed-major males who expected to become pilots (and wouldn't know x from y in an Algebra 1 public school class....), and for being technical and scientific-method-oriented instead of demure and deferential and submissive and ladylike and nurturing and intent on an administrative/clerical or nursing or teaching lifepath....

I was part of the "MIT Community" and accepted by MIT and my classmates etc. as such--as opposd to the revilification by the male ROTC Summer Camp students who weren't from University of Florida or Georgia Tech--those cadet were High Intelligence Life Forms. The ones from The Citadel, Auburn, Univeristy of Alabama, etc. made trees look like attractively intelligent species...

My dormfloor had a reunion a few weeks back. One of the people who was there is an Army O-6 -- full "bird" colonel. She's a decade or more younger than I--I was the third woman in ROTC at MIT and the three of us were the first women commissioned as military officers out of MIT.

The gender bias is still out there, and these days in some ways it's worse than it was 32 years ago--back then the fact there was gender bias was intuitively obvious to the most casual observer generally--the bigots for the most part were not casual observers, they were malicious mandaters of the old double standards and implacable roadblocks doing their damnedest to continue suppressing women.

Today, there are all those rollbacks and subterfuges by the Schmuck and his buddies, turning the Defense Advisory Council On Women in The Service into a Family Values institution with that POS Elaine Donnelly and her revolting ilk as members who think women other than themselves should be locked in purdah, terminating the collection of data about women in the overall workforce in the USA so that there can't be any data to use to prove discrimination in wages and promotion, and there is all that damned evangelizing promotion of sects which preach that women belong as submissive and subordinate to the husband and master, within the military and the rest of the government run by the Schmuck...

Anyway, the colonel dealt with bigots in various training she had, including a senior officer training schooling. She's got a sunnier and more positive and upbeat air to her than I ever had, and got around the bigots, and in the Army of ROTC summer camp arranged things such that those the bigots were looking down on, banded together and worked so well together, than some of the bigots quit in tears as being ranked at the bottom with a hispanic and a woman as the two highest peer-ranked cadets.

But my point that it's a generation later, and the common culture retains some extremely noxious varieties of gender bias still, with very deep roots.

#782 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 02:04 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @780:
Madeline L'Engle is dead?

Sigh. The only person who taught me more about coping with not belonging than Meg Murray was Spock.

(Which neatly fits much of the rest of this subthread.)

#783 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 02:08 PM:

abi, 783: Me too.

Requiem æternam dona ea, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ea.

#784 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 02:14 PM:

abi (762): There are several librarians around here (myself included) to ask your library technical questions of. I am delighted that ethan is poised to join our number.

#785 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 02:37 PM:

(fx:delurk)

#780 Kathryn, #783 abi, re: Madeline L'Engle

Oh, /frell/, another one bites the dust. /A
Wrinkle in Time/ was one of my earliest SF
reads -- others (that I can remember after
umpty-mumble years) include /Catseye/ and /Lord
of Thunder/ (Andre Norton, but you all knew
that), and the short stories /Dekabrach/ (Jack
Vance, except I can't google it, help!) and /The
Trouble With Emily/ (James White, also deceased,
gloom).

I picked up other L'Engles in my later years,
but they didn't have the same impact, possibly
because I'd got more curmudgeonly during.

#786 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 02:43 PM:

ethan - hurrah! My bestest chum is a librarian, and the other parts sound exciting too. The temp job falling in your lap is fabulous. I'll do the Snoopy happy dance for you once the boss is out of the office.

#787 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 02:49 PM:

hedgehog, karthryn, abi, TexAnne:

Me too. Although I read _Wrinkle in Time_ shortly after it came out, it's to some of her other books, mostly the Austins series, that I return to in times of, oh, spiritual discomfort. Her adult books pulled no punches in that department.

#788 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:03 PM:

I read a Wrinkle in Time as a kid, but didn't read anything else of hers until my wife re-introduced me to it a few years ago. She did some really wonderful books, capturing the sense of loneliness you often have as a smart bookish kid, and in her adult books capturing the sense of what it's like to love people who are flawed and sometimes betray you in painful ways, but you still love.

I reread _Certain Women_ about a week ago, and handed it to my wife to read on a very Madeline L'Engle-esque trip she's taking this weekend to watch sea turtles be released. We were joking as she packed that this was the kind of trip where the teenage female character would have an adventure in a L'Engle, and maybe be beguiled by Zach or rescued by Cannon Tallis.

*Sigh*

#789 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:03 PM:

I'm not certain why, but Arm of the Starfish was the story that stuck with me.

Time to visit the library and do some reading and raise a glass in memory.

#790 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:10 PM:

I'm sitting in my office, almost in tears. Madeline L'Engle is one of my favorite authors, ever, and some of her books are places I go when I'm in deep pain. Her autobiographical books have been a help as I have grown and matured. I kept expecting to hear about farandolae in biology class.

May she burn as brightly in Heaven as she did on Earth.

#791 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:20 PM:

All: Thanks for the yays and well-wishes.

I'm really depressed about Madeline L'Engle. I'm searching for a next sentence and not coming up with one.

#792 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:22 PM:

Mary Aileen @785:
There are several librarians around here (myself included) to ask your library technical questions of

Taking you at your word...do you have any links to a really good online reference for the MARC 21 fields? I mean, I'm clear on the easy stuff like 100 (personal name of the author) and suchlike, but when I get into the more detailed areas (added entries and linking entries in the 700's), the field title alone no longer suffices.

I'm presuming you don't know the ins and outs of the European formats such as vubissm@rt.

(It goes without saying that if you ever want to have a play with our software, or rant about what you want out of a public-access catalogue system, I am All Ears.)

#793 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:30 PM:

A moment of silence for Madeleine L'Engle - A Wind in the Door is my favorite of her books, but I've read many and loved most of them.

On the topic of height and the design of things - my husband and I have done a lot of moving in the last year or two, and generally do it ourselves with rental trucks. The Penske trucks are well-priced and well-maintained, but they are basically standard delivery-type trucks. At 5'6", I am barely tall enough to use the build-in steps and handles to climb in and out of the back - I have to stretch and lunge, and sometimes do a controlled drop on the last two inches getting back down. It wouldn't be that hard to make it easier for shorter people to get in and out - a drop-down step to help climbing up, and placing a second external handle about 6-8 inches lower would do it. It's also hard to climb into the cab, for the same reasons. But amusingly, once you're in the driver's seat, there's no problem adjusting things for a shorter height.

#794 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:39 PM:

abi @ #793, I don't know how much time they have available, but the LibraryThing developers (Tim and Abby; he's the programmer/founder; she's the librarian) have devoted a ton of time to those kinds of questions. Their e-mail addresses are on the LT LT Blog.

#795 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:40 PM:

hedgehog (#786) mentioned the short story "/Dekabrach/ (Jack Vance, except I can't google it, help!)"

There is, oddly enough, a mention of "A Dekabrach Called Wanda" in a discussion comparing someone's mental image of the Pnume/Phung gait to John Cleese.

But I also found "decabrach" in an online Russian translation entitled "Дар болтунов," which AltaVista translates as "The Gift of the Chatterers," probably the good vodka/rotten meat version of "The Gift of Gab". That was published in Astounding in September, 1955, and collected in the Jack Vance Treasury and Silverbob's Alpha 3. I forget where to find a better bibliography, so there may be other sources.

#796 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 03:53 PM:

Linkmeister @795:
We're in touch with LibraryThing (and are huge students and fans of it, and importing their tags into our new tagging thing). They have both even said nice things about my bookbinding, which is mighty handsome of them considering that Abby also binds books*. (I haven't seen any of her work, but I'd like to.)

-----
* Which is a coincidence, but a cool one.

#797 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:01 PM:

I don't even remember the title of the first L'Engle book I read; it was in 1965 or so, and therefore before A Wrinkle in Time was even published; AWiT was one of the first new hardcover books I ever bought.

Being able to say "It's like Cammazotz" when trying to elucidate a bad piece of urban design or social environment has left me infinitely indebted to her.

#798 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:04 PM:

Dan Hoey @796, thanks for decoding. Now you've
said _The Gift of the Gab_, I remember that
title. I think this is a persistent memory
glitch, so in another year or ten I shall once
again be sure it's called _Dekabrach_.

I believe I read it in an anthology called
_Worlds of SF [some number]_. I can still
remember the shelves it was on in the library.
(That was also where I found _The Trouble with
Emily_.)

#799 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:07 PM:

ethan:

OCLC has a really good MARC reference.

#800 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Er, sorry, that was abi asking for the MARC info. Don't mind me...

#801 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Madeleine L'Engle didn't teach me to love poetry, but she did confirm for me that the I was not the only person in the world for whom it is a first language.

And it is entirely possible that the combination of searching out the source of the title of A Ring of Endless Light and an encounter with Donne's "Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" at an impressionable age fated me to study Renaissance literature.

#802 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:09 PM:

oliviacw @ 794

A few months ago I had to take a driving class for work. The full-size vans being used had no steps low enough for those of us under about 5ft6 to get in without either help or indignity. And although I could adjust the seat so I could reach the pedals, when I did that my sterneum was about three inches from the steering wheel (far too close for my safety).
When I was a kid, we had a VW 'Transporter' (read 'pickup') that was at least as high off the ground. We kept a footstool in it to get in and out with.

#803 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:15 PM:

do you have any links to a really good online reference for the MARC 21 fields?

It's not entirely identical to MARC-21, but there's OCLC's Bibliographic Formats and Standards. I just checked with our cataloging trainer, and she says that there's no difference in meaning between the bibliographic fields and subfields, just that each standard uses different fields for various types of local holdings data (ie, MARC-21 doesn't use the 049 or 951, OCLC-MARC doesn't use the 035, etc).

And I can't believe that something I've got to deal with all the time at work just became useful on ML.

#804 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:18 PM:

OCLC has a really good MARC reference.

Heh. That's what I get for checking that I'm not misremembering in thinking the formats are very similar--someone else gets there first. :)

(Disclaimer: Bib Formats is at times the bane of my existence. But then, I only need to use it when I've got some cataloger calling and asking me, a non-cataloger without an MLS, what goes in what field. Can they not read straight out of the manual themselves? That's all I can do for them!)

#805 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Jennifer Barber @804
Thank you! I needed that sort of an insight into what goes into the records that we then extract and transform. We have a fair bit of internal expertise, but my job as both tester and new kid is to poke and probe at any assumptions we've made.

We take all flavours of MARC; I shouldn't have specified 21. It's just the one I've been working on of late, purely because I have a large sample of it that I've been using for test data.

(This job is just too good to believe - I get to run my fingers through multiple catalogues of multiple libraries, like a miser runs his fingers through gold. AND I get to break things. AND I work with geeks and book geeks. AND a couple of them want to learn bookbinding from me. AND it's in the Netherlands, close enough to the house to bike to work. AND I could go on but I'm boring everyone.)

#806 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Jennifer Barber (#804) wrote, "And I can't believe that something I've got to deal with all the time at work just became useful on ML."

That's because Information wants to be Useful, too. Maybe even moreso than Free.

#807 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:28 PM:

Apologies for the ommission. Thank you, Jen Roth, as well. It must be good if both of you recommend it.

#808 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:29 PM:

It's good that you checked -- I was being sloppy and not noting the difference between the standards.

I think I have an MLS. I know I was on the graduation list for August, and I know I passed my summer course. I've just never received any kind of official documentation. It's kind of disconcerting, really.

#809 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:32 PM:

Dan Hoey @807
That's because Information wants to be Useful, too. Maybe even moreso than Free.

On a thread thick with librarians and library fans, you're preaching to the choir...

#810 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:33 PM:

God bless Madline L'Engle, who taught me that He cannot be either confined or defined.


Oliviacw @ 794

I'm now 5'9", but I remember having to climb up those steps into the cab when I could barely push down on the bottom step. I view the climb and the drop as normal...Then again, Daddy had to have a car seat that would be easily portable between his car and semis. (and they didn't keep us in car seats nearly as long when I was young. I remember going down the interstate sitting on phonebooks so I could see over the truck dash.)

#811 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:36 PM:

As long as there's already library shop-talk going on, does anyone know the origin of the ANSCR system of cataloging audio recordings?

Recently I've been volunteering at a local branch where each CD has an ANSCR code individually applied, but the overall filing system is an utter mess because the shelf labels don't take the alphabetical order of ANSCR categories into account. (Opera box sets are in a completely different area from the rest of the classical music; they're tucked into a knee-level shelf underneath the pop/rock section and surrounded by audiobooks, without any indication elsewhere of their existence.) Which has nothing to do with the system's origins, really, but I'm just curious (and have acquired search fatigue from just trying to track down what the system is called in the first place).

#812 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:37 PM:

abi, if you're working with multiple varieties of MARC, you might also find the MARC Format Conversions useful. It's not something I ever have to deal with, thank goodness!, but it's got charts of how MARC-21 fields correspond to UNIMARC. It's not entirely useful--doesn't get down to the subfield level, much less indicators--but as a first-glance type of thing....

#813 ::: abi hears evil chuckling ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:41 PM:

...and realises it's her own.

Jennifer, you've just given me the test script (essentially) for a whole tranche of testing I've been itching to do all month.

#814 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:45 PM:

Always glad to be of service. :)

#815 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 04:53 PM:

Because it's nearly the end of the day, and Friday....

LC's MARC Standards docs

Julie, can't find anything useful on the origins of ANSCR.

#816 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 05:11 PM:

I add my sorrow for the loss of Madeleine L'Engle. A Wrinkle in Time is one of those books that, in some indefinable way, help shaped the child I was into the person I am today.

#817 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 05:33 PM:

Paula (#773): I take your point that feeling like you belong can be orthogonal to feeling respected, not discriminated against, etc. I certainly never felt that I didn't have a right to be in my engineering physics program. But a lot of women (still) question whether they belong in rigorous engineering programs; while everyone is struggling with the material, it's female students who look around at their peers and faculty and think (consciously or unconsciously) that they don't belong.

I can't speak to military culture, but it's absolutely clear to me that the treatment of women in engineering academia has made gigantic strides even since I was an undergrad. Personally, I'm pretty happy to get rid of most of the overt discrimination, even if the subtle kinds might still exist. And I'm heartened by the fact that most of my male colleagues under forty are aware of and consciously address many of the more nuanced gender issues (I will admit that I am at kind of an unusual place).

#818 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 05:33 PM:

Speaking of libraries, a guy over at a baseball blog just posted this link to some beautiful pictures of libraries as public spaces.

#819 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 05:40 PM:

Gee, debcha, I'll say that's an unusual place. The money behind it comes from a one-time major league baseball player whose lifetime batting average was .316? That's startling.

His baseball career stats here.

#820 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 05:42 PM:

Me too on L'Engle. AWIT got me thinking about social pressure and totalitarianism at a very early age; when much later I heard Thoreau's line about different drummers, I remembered that little boy, bouncing his ball on the sidewalk after all the other little boys had stopped, and his mother shrieking and grabbing him.

I already knew by then that I wasn't going to be bouncing my ball in time with other boys. But I might have just struggled to exist if AWIT hadn't given me the perspective to see that my struggle could be a component of a larger one: a fight against dogmatism and social homogeneity that will always continue.

I wonder if she was consciously parodying the stultifying society of the 50s and early 60s when she wrote that part? I'm pretty sure she influenced Tim Burton (think of the bright sameness of all those houses, cars, and people in Edward Scissorhands).

#821 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 05:49 PM:

abi, I assume you've seen the Library of Congress's detailed listing of MARC 21, with examples? I could also ask my sister, the cataloguer, for suggestions.

#822 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Mary Aileen @822:
I had seen that one, but I needed some parallax. I think the OCLC links will give me that.

I wouldn't want you to trouble your sister. Wait till I get a really meaty query!

#823 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 06:39 PM:

Hmmm . . .

I own shares in about two-dozen companies.

The only two stocks whose value went up today were in companies who make mobile / manufactured homes.

There's something vaguely ominous about that.

#824 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 07:12 PM:

#824:

Obviously, you should be investing in companies that specialize in repossessing and selling houses. Then you'd be rolling in dough.

My brother sells houses to poor folks
My sister triple-mortgages 'em in
My mother just does repossessions
My God how the money rolls in!

#825 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 10:15 PM:

On another site, in a discussion about "Creationism vs Evolutionism (sic)" (and you can tell just from that that the stupid is going to be deep in there), someone actually posted the following:

Think about this, if man descended from monkeys, then where did the women descend from. Did one of the monkey's one day just decide to remove its penis and have breast implants? In order for man to reproduce there had to be a woman.
Every time I think I've found the limits of human stupidity, I find yet another record-breaker.

#826 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 11:01 PM:

For some reason, my brain came up with "repossess" where "foreclose" would be better. Let's try again:

My brother sells houses to poor folks
Then sis triple-mortgages 'em in
My mom handles all the foreclosures
My God, how the money rolls in!

#827 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 11:08 PM:

Xopher, there are no limits to human stupidity, although many people spend their lives exploring the far frontiers.

#828 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 11:47 PM:

ethan, #749, yes, a bit complicated, but all heading in the right direction!

xeger, #763, a bandanna. So what'd you do?

abi, #797, I finished Edward Eager's Seven-Day Magic last night and in it, Abigail mends a book binding.

Paula, I almost went to MIT in 1972. I got a full scholarship from them (and Duke) and was going to take the one from MIT and when my father heard that, he erupted in anger and violence. I was a minor, I had to go where they wanted me to, which was a small religious liberal arts school. Then Mother died, my father remarried, my step-mother banished my brother to the next-door neighbors, and I never went back to school. When I became emancipated at 17 so I could become my brother's guardian, I found out I probably could have been emancipated earlier and gone to MIT, but it was too late then.

Nice picture, Tim! You look so good with inset lace!

#829 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 12:54 AM:

Until I was 11, I didn't know SF existed. Then one day out of the blue my Godmother said, "Oh, Mary, you like to read, perhaps you'll like this," and handed me A Wrinkle in Time. Bless her.

And, of course, bless Madeline L'Engle. 88 years...good show.

#830 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 07:24 AM:

On a completely unrelated note, the best web comic I've found since xkcd.

#831 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 08:34 AM:

Linkmeister (#820): I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know if a .316 batting average is good or bad.

I just took a look at Olin's home page and realized that you can tell we're new (that's why we are so excited about just being accredited) but you can't really tell that we have gender balance in our students, and the highest proportion of female faculty of any engineering school except Smith (which is a women's college, of course).

Marilee (#829): Stories like yours make my heart ache.

#832 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 08:38 AM:

There is a fun essay in today's New York Times about Knopf's archives and the rejection letters therein (registration may be required).

#833 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 08:52 AM:

debcha (#833) I avoid NYT registration by getting a ticket in from Google. Of course, that's probably just as invasive to my privacy, but I can't seem to avoid Google. I guess there's the possibility that big G is selling my name, address, and browsing history to the Times.

I'd better stop theorizing before I go into paranoid catatonia.

#834 ::: Essex ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 09:15 AM:

HI... newbie alarm. I'll dare... think I am falling in love with those pages! I'm German and hit upon nielsenhayden.com via the Evil Overlord Plot Generator. Haven't stopped grinning quite yet, and also, suddenly it's always three in the morning in front of the screen before I notice.
#763 ::: xeger- hope things have gone much better by now, but anyway: how about a bathing cap, preferably the stronger kind made of rubber? Most preferably the 70's type with rubbery flowers on it? Seriously: put it on, stuff part of the ice bag or cold compress under the fringe, adjust it, and don't dance.
Heile heile Segen... Soon get better!

#835 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 10:17 AM:

I don't classify Making Light people as anything but that-- yeah, there are lurkers, commenters, insightful commenters, and poets, among other things, but that's not a hierarchy at all, and people hop categories according to topic. I can do poetry about invertebrates, even if I never did find a satisfactory rhyme for 'barnacle', and I'll comment on lots of topics whether I know them well or not.
So. Welcome! You'll find yourself developing a healthy green glow over the next few weeks. Over time, this may lead to allegations of extraterrestriality and posthumous cemetery lights.

#836 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 10:21 AM:

I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know if a .316 batting average is good or bad.

It's solid, but not fantastic. .400 is really damn good; .200 is iffy.

#837 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Someone on a mailing list set me off all over again about the Schmuck. Tell me why again this [insult deleted] is presiding over the government of the USA and has not been hauled for among other things abrogration of the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States, High Crimes and Misdemeanors, and promulgating torture contrary to numerous US laws? [someone seems to have gotten convicted this past week on torture committed outside the USA--oh, I remember, it's the son of Charles Taylor who presided over enormous misery and offensiveness in Liberia, the son is a US citizen by birth, and convicted of torture by a US court, for his action in Liberia... why is this same set of metrics not being applied to the Oval Orifice Oligarch?


The set-off line was
> And Bush should have to explain why he has failed to catch [Osam bin Laden etc.]

And my response was,

The Schmuck is a eager mostly loyal mouthpiece for his fellow skuz buddies who got him those big fat lucrative sleazy business deals involving the Texas Rangers baseball team and the stadium (the land was eminent domained from a working businessman's business who had wanted to continue doing business, the landowner got his property rights, that the Schmuck is always talking about
but in this case his actions showed just how much respect he has for anyone not one of his cronies and "property rights" of the them..., dispensed with and got paid a pittance for his land with buildings that he had NOT wanted to sell, he had had a business there he wanted to continue run, with employees, etc. The Schmuck got financing with Other People's Money, particularly the general public, and then sold out for tens of millions of dollars of proft--at the expense of the original property owner, and taxpayers and others who footed the REAL bills... the Schmuck is a essentially a mobster engaged in racketeering, but his buddies have immunity by their wealth and influence to all sorts of things, and so does the Schmuck--note that he got left alone by the Security and Exchange
Commission, note that his Texas Air National Guard records have interesting gaps--purged of "adverse information" long ago, and he was issued a new driver's license upon his accession to Governor of Texas. He's a corrupt piece of protected excrement, and Osama bin Laden was the effectuator of his assuming monarchical power in the USA...

#838 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 11:17 AM:

Wow, getting a job (my good news) has seriously cut into my ML time.

Ethan @ #749, congratulations! I know the feeling exactly, having walked into an animal shelter just as an elderly gentleman was (tearfully) surrendering the exact dog I wanted (a longhaired dachshund who subsequently led to my involvement with DRNA).

xeger @ #763, if you're still looking for a solution (or for next time) my suggestion would be using the pants part of a pair of pantyhose as a stocking cap. If looking ridiculous is a problem, or if you don't have easy access to an appropriate-sized pair of pantyhose, of course, this will be suboptimal. But it would work at MY house.

kathryn @ # 780, oh no!! That is a severe loss, even though not untimely. (NYT article.) I envision my mother (same age, died 7/3/07) having some really interesting conversations with her.

Tim @ #781, President of what? (I like the mylar yurt.)

Xopher @ #826 et al, Camazotz has stuck with me more vividly than any other SF image I can think of. And its being named after the Zapotec Death Bat is just icing on the cake.

debcha @ #832, .316 is pretty good. "Bad" starts somewhere below .200, also known as the Mendoza Line.

#839 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 11:38 AM:

Paula, there's certainly reason to be angry at the Bush administration, but... do you ever just stop and have some fun in your life?

The "voice" (which I may of course be misreading) of your commentary on Bush and cronies is so angry, so consistently, that I worry we'll hear the news someday that you've been found dead of apoplexy.

(The "voice" would be a lot calmer if you broke up some of the run-on sentences you write. Sometimes you write like the love-child of William Faulkner and the Rude Pundit.)

It's been, jeez, I think about twenty years since we've seen each other in person, but I do feel some concern for you. I've had my own problems with intransigent anger over the years (diagnosed with OCD in 1995)(Patrick & Teresa smack themselves in forehead: "Well, that explains a lot!"), and it's not a good condition to be stuck with.

So I hope you can tell me that, yeh, you do have times in your life when you laugh and smile, read a book, watch a movie, have fun with your friends, and don't think about that bastard in the White House.

#840 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 11:46 AM:

... the short stories /Dekabrach/ (Jack
Vance, except I can't google it, help!)

Who needs Google when you have Making Light? Jack Vance, "The Gift of Gab" (Astounding September 1955).

#841 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Speaking of height, and "universal design" (which means designing for all shapes and sizes), let me recommend Henry Dreyfuss's Designing for People. Dreyfuss was one of the great industrial designers, responsible for such things as the old, comfortable Western Electric telephone handset and the circular Honeywell thermostat, and he is still worth the attention.

#842 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 02:34 PM:

Bruce 840:

My father died last year at the age of 99 1/2 and the rants that he'd go on with regarding long dead people, including his father who died in 1957, are far beyond my rant level!

My point is that yes, life does go on, sort of, but looking at the evil that's been done effected by the current regime, the religious bigotry that's gotten institutionalized in the military, the injustice and opposition to equal opportunity in the presently oxymoronically called "Justice" Department, the destruction of the entire social order and culture of Iraq (see the particle regarding Raed...)... I'm incensed, and upset as what has been lost--world heritage, lives and livelihood, HISTORY, freedom, the values of the Founders of the USA, human rights.... it feels like Germany in 1929-1933. And when do the theocrats start overtly the mass arrests and disappearances, as opposed to the unknown non-systematic number of "renditions" and the silent incarcerations on the basis of "enemy combatant" or "terrorist" allegations [shades of the Stasi) of foreigners in the USA and even US citizens?

#843 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 02:55 PM:

debcha, A .316 BA is good (it means that the hitter is successful around 30% of the time he faces the pitcher). Mr. Olin had a very short career, so the rule of small sample sizes should be considered.

The highest career BA was .367, held by a certain Ty Cobb, one of the meanest, nastiest, most-bigoted people ever to play the game. His average was attained over a career of 20-something years, while Mr. Olin's was over in not quite two.

Both men went on to be quite successful in their post-baseball lives, though. Cobb was a banker in Georgia, and you know about Mr. Olin.

#844 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 03:48 PM:

Paula, please consider Bruce's observation from a personal point of view, as evidenced in this open thread. I respect and honor and thank you for taking the hint about the really virulent rant (not that you were solely responsible for it). Then there was the eighteen-year-old who I thought should be cut some slack for acting immaturely (#712). I wanted to respond to your ideas (#723) on it—I've greatly enjoyed some of our past conversations—but I didn't want to engage in an argument over whether someone in stage fright can look like a bimbo, or whether eighteen-year-olds bimbos can grow out of their bimbosity to become thoughtful, engaged adults.

I'm glad your father lived at least a nigh-century, and I offer sympathy for your recent loss. But please consider whether constant rage is a good way to live your life. It so easily becomes a defense against engaging with people. You can concentrate on the your disagreements and ignore their message, and others may find it unpleasant enough to stop bothering with you (or if they do engage, we end up with the virulent, unending rant that gets nowhere). It sounds like Marshall Rosenberg's philosophy of nonviolent communication might help.

I picked up Speak Peace in a World of Conflict to look at Rosenberg's ideas, and I have to say I didn't get very far. In part, I gave in to the irritation I feel with his style, which reads like it was written for morons. But I have just realized that I am demonstrating the very thing I am cautioning you against. So I'm going to felch my pride and read this now. And I hope you can find a way to get beyond your anger. Please try. You are worth more than that.

#845 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 04:13 PM:

Randolph @ 842

Take a look at comment #587, where I looked up my copy of Dreyfuss for the first time in a couple of decades. That comment aside, I agree, it's a great book, and had a lot to do with how I approached the issues of computer-human interaction when I started to work on GUIs in the 80s. I really wish more "interaction designers" had read Dreyfuss and Donald Norman before they started believing religiously in gui-builders and widget toolkits; it's always seemed to me that if you're designing mediators between humans and machines it would be well to know as much about what the humans need from the interaction as you do about what the machines need.

This problem is hardly unique to software. I think it's the cause of a lot of the design flaws we've been talking about: a tendency to focus much too closely on the immediate technical needs of the implementation ("how do I get the most product up on the shelves I've got?") or the entity instigating the design ("what's the best way to satisfy management that we're optimizing our display for profit?").

#846 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 05:08 PM:

Paula, I just wanted you to know that I fully support your use of invective here on Making Light. As a mere Journeyman, it is a great pleasure for me to watch a grandmaster polemicist create masterworks of the Craft.

#847 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 06:26 PM:

debcha, #832, I still ended up with a job that was normally held by someone with a doctorate. Didn't get paid like one, which would be nice these days on disability, but I had the work and the interest. MIT would have been nice, though.

Lila, #839, I'm sorry to hear about your mother dying. I hope you find comfort.

#848 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 07:06 PM:

Nice Lovecraftian graphic here, related to American politics c. 2007.

#849 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Bruce Cohen, #846: I'm sorry; I didn't read back carefully enough. I think Dreyfuss's office had that information for women & children as well as men; it probably just didn't make it into that book. In any event, I'm pretty sure the information is in Architectural Graphic Standards. Wiley does a version for interiors, and I'm fairly sure there are references for industrial designers. Distressingly, I am not aware of one for computer setup; the old Bell Labs VDT book (which I have a copy of...somewhere...) is about the best I am aware of for office setups, and it is nearly 25 years old.

#850 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Marilee @ #848, thank you. Finding comfort is a work in progress.

Linkmeister @#844, there's a nice throwaway line about Ty Cobb in Field of Dreams; something to the effect of "He wanted to come play too, but we wouldn't let him--nobody could stand the bastard!" He was reputed to file his cleats to needle-sharp points for the purpose of sliding into the basemen's shins.

And now for something completely different--while searching (unsuccessfully) for a commercially-available DVD of "The Voyage of the Mimi" (a PBS series from the '80s that introduced me to sign language, humpback whales, and how to build a solar still), I discovered to my immense surprise that the token kid on the show was none other than Ben Affleck. Who knew? (And damn it, now the theme song has taken firm hold as an earworm.)

#851 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 07:50 PM:

Linkmeister, #849: You can buy a bumper sticker.

#852 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 09:13 PM:

I'm looking for some help subscribing to Making Light comments using RSS -- I've found that the comments' fields simply don't work in most of the Mac RSS readers I've tried, or work buggily.

Any other Mac users out there using RSS to read comments? If so, what client do you use?

Thanks!

#853 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2007, 11:32 PM:

Huh!

I've been digitizing my modest collection of vinyl LP records. Last night I captured "The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart" to disk. Pretty timeless stuff.

About an hour ago, I was watching an episode of the new A&E drama "Mad Men." In once scene, the characters -- advertising guys, circa 1960 -- are chuckling over a Bob Newhart routine playing on vinyl LP. One guy picks up the jacket to read it: "The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart." Later it gets tossed out of the office by an irate employee.

A Plate of Shrimp moment, for sure.

#854 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 01:43 AM:

Stefan @ #854, what are using to digitize your vinyl? I've got roughly 300 LPs, and while many of my fifty or so CDs are dupes of those, there are others I'd rather not spend $10-$19 a pop to get. I'd still like to have them on CD, though.

Randolph @ #852, It would be amusing to see how many remarks I'd get with that sticker on the back of my 10-year-old Geo Metro.

#855 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 01:58 AM:

Stefan - That "Mad Men" is a hell of a show, isn't it? We love it at our house.

In one recent episode, the Master of the Universe type head of the agency (played in a bit of stunt casting by Robert Morse, who starred in "How To Succeed In Business (Without Really Trying)") proselytizes for "Atlas Shrugged," which we discussed here not too long ago.

#856 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 02:29 AM:

A question: Now that they've gone and made Flight of the Living Dead, how long will it be before the zombie airplane novel I've been planning to write for the past two years won't seem like a ripoff?

Also, mine would be better.

#857 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 04:30 AM:

ethan @#857:

I have had it with these motherf&king zombies on this motherf&king plane!

#858 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 04:45 AM:

ethan,

Also, mine would be better.

well, get on it!

(acourse, i shouldn't be talking. i'm so slow at my comics that at least one graphic novel with a female israeli soldier protagonist has been published while i've been working on mine.)

#859 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 05:49 AM:

ethan... You could call yours Dead-eye Flight

#860 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 07:12 AM:

(857,858,860):

Braaains on a Plane.
In-flight snacks of the living dead.
Eight miles high, six feet under.
Shambling in the sky.
Coffee, tea, or thee.

They're not getting any better. I think the first is best.

#861 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 08:06 AM:

Oh, drat you people and your inspirations...

All you brains are ours
Though you don't know
We're shambling here along the aisle
Our clothing ragged, marked with stinking stains.
And the dawn is breaking
Above the cloud
The pilot's seen us
And screamed aloud
Already we're so hungry
We want brains

So scream now and try to flee
See the things you shouldn't see
Hide somewhere you think you can defend
Cause we're zombies, on a jet plane
Don't think that you'll be safe again.
You'll die before the end.

There will be times you think you'll win
The door is locked. They can't get in.
I tell you now that it won't hold for long
Every time you run, we'll follow you
Every place you hide, we'll come for you
When we break through, you'll know your hopes were wrong.

So scream now and try to flee
See the things you shouldn't see
Hide somewhere you think you can defend
Cause we're zombies, on a jet plane
Don't think that you'll be safe again.
You'll die before the end.

Now the time has come to kill you
One more time
Let us bite you
Then close your eyes
We will eat your brain
Now you stir; you're one of us.
So tell your fellow passengers
Their screaming and their struggles are in vain.

They scream now and try to flee
See the things they shouldn't see
Hide somewhere they think they can defend
But we're zombies, on a jet plane
Don't think that they'll be safe again.
They'll die before the end.

#862 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 08:22 AM:

I'm singing in the brain
Just singing in the brain
What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the brain
I've a smile on my face
I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
Just singin',
Singin' in the brain

#863 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 08:50 AM:

Come fly with me, come fly, we'll fly away
If you could use some neuronal chews there's a doc in seat 5-A
Come fly with me, we'll fly, we'll fly away....

Once we get you up there, where the air is scarified,
you'll just hide, adrenalized.
Once we get you up there, we'll be holding you so awfully near,
you won't even fear
oh, your brain my dear, we'll be zombies together.

Weatherwise, it's such a lovely day
Just say braaaains and we'll take the plane down to Acapulco bay
well it's perfect for a shamble 'neath the moon, they say,
Come fly with me, we'll fly, we'll fly....

#864 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 09:34 AM:

Lizard, booby, finch
Heaving Swell, restless land
Sadly turning home


Beauty before me
To the left of me
To the right of me
Above me and below me
Beauty all around me
And beauty behind me

I don't wanna go home!

#865 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 09:46 AM:

I love this place.

(At first I thought 861 was a poem, too.)

#866 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Madeleine l'Engle?

Sigh. I packed a couple of her books (Wrinkle, and Swiftly Tilting Planet). Re-read the first on the plane. Still nice, but it didn't hold up as well as I recalled from my last re-reading.

But it's sad to hear.

#867 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Oh, drat. Now that I'm actually awake, at least one of those should be 'come die with me'. Lyrics are not my forte at eight in the morning, nor any other time of day.

#868 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 11:27 AM:

Perhaps there should be a lulu.com or otherwise "published" printed collection edition of various selected poems as Poetry from Making Light....

[I fully admit to being other than a disinterested observer in this....]

#869 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 11:36 AM:

Wing to wing and runway to runway
Watch zombies fly starts on Sunday
Wing to wing and runway to runway
All the zombie are in flight.

#870 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 11:39 AM:

Diatryma, Serge - those are both great. But I'm afraid 'zaaaahmbies, on a jet plane' is the one that's been put on infinite loop on my mental stereo. Damn you, abi.

#871 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Conductor, when you receive a brain,
Munch in the aisle of the passenjare train!
A blue trip slip for an eight-cent brain,
A buff trip slip for a six-cent brain,
A pink trip slip for a three-cent brain,
Munch in the aisle of the passenjare train!

CHORUS
Munch, brothers! munch with care!
Munch in the presence of the passenjare!

#872 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 01:00 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale #780: Lewis and L'Engle were my earliest exposure to full-length science fiction.* I, too, mourn her passing.

* In just about that order. My primary school's library had both the space trilogy (which they provided out of order, so I read That Hideous Strength before Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra... and I read them before I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) and A Wrinkle in Time).

#873 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 01:20 PM:

Ethan #749: Congratulations! I hope you get everything you wish from this opportunity.

#874 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 01:37 PM:

My zombie lies over the ocean,
My zombie lies over the sea.
My zombie eats brains with lotion,
O bring back my zombie to me, to me, o bring back my zombie to me.

#875 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 01:46 PM:

debcha (#871) ... I'm afraid 'zaaaahmbies, on a jet plane' is the one that's been put on infinite loop on my mental stereo.

You mean something like...


The red-eye is quiet, it's half past ten.
My guts are growling like angry men.
Why don't you go to sleep and be my food?

My body's undead, my hunger is great,
I know what's just beneath your pate,
Already I can taste the spinal fluid.

So lean back and close your eyes,
Nod off and I'll claim my prize,
Your cranium holds everything I need.
I'm a zombie on a jet plane,
Don't want the drinks or nuts or multigrain
Oh braaains, it's time to feed.


I've always been able to nod off on a plane, until now.

#876 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 01:50 PM:

debcha @ 871... Thanks. I found it rather sick that I'd take the lyrics from a Gene Kelly musical and turn them into a zombie's happy song. (Co-starring Dead-ee Reynolds.)

#877 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Too brief a liberty, then back to work,
to ordinary, quotidian grind
determined to sharpen each dull young mind
into a sharp intellectual dirk.
There isn't time to take in every quirk
but you just have to deal with what you find
and in that dealing be both hard and kind
for far too many relish still the murk.
You hate confinement in a flying can
but seeing other places is divine.
Each journey has a grammar you must parse,
teaches you something far outside the plan,
allows you a small taste of different wine;
but still you have to get there on your arse.

#878 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Ay not I, O not Ow, Pounding pounding in our brain.
Ay not I, O not Ow, Don't say "Brine," say "Brain"...
The brain in Spain stays mainly in the plane!
By George, she's got it! By George, she's got it!
Now, once again where does it brain?
On the plane!
On the plane!
And where's that soggy plane?
In Spain! In Spain! The three
The brain in Spain stays mainly in the plane!

#879 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 02:22 PM:

abi,

Arggh!! The cover of that song by Gordon Lightfoot helped get me through a bad year a long time back. Now you've stuck this earworm in my head, and it won't stop. There's only possible revenge:

60's Folk-Rock Zombie Smackdown:

Baby let me eat up your brain,
Baby let me eat up your brain,
Well I'd die all the way, and come back to this world,
if you just let me eat up your brain,

Baby can I zombi-ize you
Baby can I zombi-ize you
Well I'd die all the way, and come back to this world,
if you just let me zombi-ize you

I'll buy you a trip on a plane
I'll buy you a trip on a plane
Well I'll buy you a trip and I'll fly with you,
if you just let me munch on your lobes

#880 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 02:23 PM:

Methinks Serge heard "Morning Edition" today. Specifically the interview with the Simpsons' composer, where he discussed the parody lyrics for "My Fair Laddie."

And how was your vacation, sir?

#881 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 02:40 PM:

Linkmeister... It went pretty well, except for MapQuest sending us in the opposite direction from where Charlton Heston's starship crashed. But I met wild turkeys. And cats who like to sleep with chicken. And smart cows.

#882 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 02:48 PM:

Brained corpses keep fallin' on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those brained corpses are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

(With proper apologies to BJ Thomas and to Marty Gear.)

#883 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 03:14 PM:

It's been a while
How have you been
It's really good you know
To snack on you again
You'd think by now
Those old cravings (and me) had died
But it only takes
Just one taste of your eyes

And it's all I can chew
Your flesh really is leather
I'm rotting, and must keep myself together
When I'm fallin' apart
And it's all I can chew
To smile and say I'm fine
When I've found gristle in your mind
It's all I can chew (all I can chew)
To keep your brains from
Just turning to goo

#884 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 03:29 PM:

One of our planes is missing, two hours overdue.
One of our planes is missing, and all her undead crew.
The radios all were humming, just straining for the word,
Horrid groans came though the humming, and this is what we heard:

"Coming in on an arm and a leg,
We're coming in on an arm and a leg.
Though the brains are all gone,
We will still carry on --
Coming in on an arm and a leg!

What a show!
What a fight!
Yes we really got a bellyful tonight!
Though the brains are all gone,
We will still carry on --
Coming in on an arm and a leg!"

#885 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 04:28 PM:

#856:

I enjoy the "trembling on the edge of historical drama" aspect of Mad Men. I've spotted a few anachronisms. Did 1960s kids have "play dates?" Was it common to see sandwiches in plastic wrap?

And then there's the mystery aspect. It looks like I forgot to record last Thursday's episode, where, yeah, we learn that, indeed, Qba Qencre jnf abg obea Qba Qencre. Thank you AMC episode guide!

#855: what are using to digitize your vinyl?

Hardware-wise, I'm using the "ARTcessories USB PhonoPlus:"

http://artproaudio.com/

It's a sturdy, shielded, metal gadget with various audio connectors that links to your PC by a USB cable.

You CAN use an ordinary sound card. I have, in the past. But the sound and clean-ness of the PhonoPlus's capture is better. It comes with a pretty good freeware capture app called "Audacity." (It lacks an automatic "here, I'll split apart the record's tracks for you" feature. Unless it's well hidden.)

Today I'm doing my first dice-up-and-convert of the raw captured audio. My parents want CD copies of a broadway show album (theirs'; for some reason I ended up with it) and the aformentioned Newhart album.

#886 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 04:54 PM:

I...I don't know what to say.

Y'all are geniuses.

#887 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 05:59 PM:

I've got one more:

Fly me to my doom
And let me strain against these bars
Let me see what flesh tastes like
In planes and trains and cars

In other words, bite my hand
In other words, darling, eat me

Fill my mouth with blood
And let me walk forever more
You are all I long for
All I hunger and thirst for

In other words, don't eat grains
In other words: Eat. My. Brains.

#888 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 06:53 PM:

Good grief, I take off for the weekend and come back to zombie limericks. Sometimes, you people are so strange.

Ethan@857: Now that they've gone and made Flight of the Living Dead,

I just have to point out that of all the zombies I've seen, I don't think any exhibited sufficient eye-hand coordination, let alone speed, needed to fly a large passenger airliner, let alone pass the neccessary tests with an FAA flight examiner to get the required transport pilot certicate.

And I hate to ask what the inflight meal would look like...

On the other hand, I could imagine how it would be a way to cut costs what without having to worry about getting medical insurance for your dead employees.

#889 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Abi @862 or so:

I will so sing that at the next filk.

And maybe nominate it for a Pegasus Award next year.

As soon as I get all of the orange juice cleaned off the keyboard.

#890 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 07:16 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 886

Was it common to see sandwiches in plastic wrap?

I recall buying them from vendors on trains about this time, though I could be confabulating with trips I took a few years later, around 1964 or so.

There may have been a few anachronisms other than that, but they must have been little things, because I can't recall them, and I'm usually unforgiving of mistakes like that. The thing they get right on Mad Men, is not so much the little things as the feeling of living in a society that insisted on conformity in just about everything, even when it didn't matter to anyone. And the sense of desperation that instilled in anyone who had trouble conforming (just about everybody). Also, the casual, but vicious, sexism, racism, classism, and intolerance of anyone with intelligence or an interest in snything outside the very narrow list of "acceptable" interests.

Oh, and the rampant cigarette smoking and alcoholism.

#891 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 08:28 PM:

#891: Oh, I'm loving it, for just that sense of conformist claustrophobia. The "beat" and artist characters that turn up now and then may as well be from Mars.

Bradbury captured the bland tyranny of conformity well in Fahrenheit 451; the related short story about a guy arrested for simply taking a walk is amazingly close in spirit to the neighborhood hens clucking over their new divorced-mom neighbor for enjoying walks.

I have two or three more episodes "Tivo'd" up. I should really watch one tonight, instead of Simpson's repeats...

#892 ::: Terence Chua ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 09:28 PM:

And oldie of mine, more about Lovecraft than Romero, but still...

The Ghoul Song

Lyrics © 1999 by Terence Chua
(to the tune of "The Jet Song" by Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim - from "West Side Story")

When you're a ghoul you're a ghoul all the way
From the dawn of the dead till the end of the day
When you're a ghoul you will dance you will sing
You'll have excellent taste (Thigh's too fat - try a wing)

Your dinner is served - the body's ripe for pickin'
It's human hors d'oeurve - they say it tastes like chicken
It's finger-lickin'!

When you're a ghoul you'll be fleet on your feet
And each guy passing by's just a big hunk of meat
Every body - on that - ever - bloody - street!

When you're a ghoul there's a whole lot to gain
You're the creme de la creme - you're the top of the chain
When you're a ghoul all the world is your plate
And you always will have a confirmed dinner date

The funeral's done - it's time to end the stake out
We'll carry the box - the norms won't see the fake out
It's like Chinese take out!

Once you're a ghoul then your future is sealed
Every grown up's for food - and the children are veal
Every kiddy's - gonna - be a - Happy - Meal!

#893 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 09:50 PM:


Off we go into the wild blue yonder
Flying high, eating your brains,
Here we come, revenants full of hunger,
Eat you up, all your blood drains!

Down we rot spouting damnation's boredom
Though we're dead, we shamble on!
We seek no blame though fried if flamed,
Nothing'll stop the zombie Air Corps!

Minds of men sought magic necromantic
Called up out of our graves,
Hands of men blasted the world asunder,
Now they are very unsaved!

Souls of men tainted from demon magic
Brought us back incarnate here,
With chants before and blood galore,
Nothing can stop the zombie Air Corp!

Here's a toast to the host of those
Who loved the vastness of the sky,
To old friends we send a message
If you're living do not fly!

Off we go into the wild sky yonder,
Keep the wings level and true!
If you'd live to be a grey-haired wonder,
With us zombies do not screw.
Flying dead spurning the nation's border,
We are here, more on the way,
In echelon we're spreading on
Nothing'll stop the zombie Air Corps!

#894 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 10:05 PM:

I had mentioned earlier here that my mom had had an apparent mini-stroke or something similar in early spring. We just called my mom to find out how she's doing, and whether she's still planning to visit us this fall.

My wife placed the call to her and said "Hi, this is A— calling." "Who?" "A—" "Who is this?" "A— Royston." "I'm sorry, who are you calling for?" Since May my mom has now forgotten her daughter-in-law's name, and was unable to recognize it when she heard it. (She adored her previously, and loved talking to her.)

My wife put our 5-year-old son on, and she recognized him, and she recognized me, and by the time she finished talking to me she'd gotten a bit more oriented to who we were and picked up who my wife was from the context, so that she could talk to her about visiting. Still, after the phone call was over I suddenly burst into tears. I'd hoped she might improve and recover some of her lost memory function over time. This is heart-breaking.

#895 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 10:09 PM:

Over hill, over dale, we have hit the undead trail
as the zombies go shambling along.
Scent a brain, chew it out, hear the living give a shout
as the zombies go shambling along.
For it's urg gruh ugh!
if from a grave you've dug--
wear down their numbers all day long!
And where'er we go, you will always know
that we zombies keep shambling along.

We did a patriotic medley in show choir my senior year. It included the five armed forces songs, the national anthem with a really horrible second verse, and "God Bless the USA". That last was my official 'I hate this song so much and I have a high B or so for the finale I am saving my voice and not singing it so there' moment for the show.
New patriotic music just doesn't hit the same parts of my brain. Caissons, one hell of a roar, anchors and Tripoli and random Latin, those were good songs to sing. And now zombies!

#896 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:39 AM:

Diatryma, NO!!!!

From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli,
We will shamble up out from our graves,
In the rock and land and sea
First to fight for brains and spurting blood
And to make live humans flee,
We are proud to walk as revenants,
Resurrected as zombie!

Our rags billow in ev'ry breeze
All day and through all night
We don't have to sleep or rest at all,
We will give the live a fright.,
In the snow of far-off northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job
Because we are zombies.

Here's toast to you and to lords
Whose throats we will rip out.
Whom we do not want serve;
In many a strife we've ended life
Though it's done not using verve .
And the Army and the Navy
They are wusses sipping tea,
When you need tough stuff to fight that rough,
Come and make some more zombies1

#897 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:44 AM:

How live I am
How dead I'll be
If I get killed
By that zombie

#898 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:38 AM:

Clifton @ #895, undoubtedly everyone who posts here lives in fear of that experience. My mom just turned 81 and thankfully shows no signs of losing her memory, but she does occasionally struggle for words, and it worries her.

Best wishes to your entire family.

#899 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:11 AM:

Clifton,

I am very sorry to hear about your mother. Yes, we all have to face this sort of thing at some point, but that doesn't make it any easier when we each face it. May your mother go gracefully and gently.

#900 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:38 AM:

stefan,

Did 1960s kids have "play dates?"

1980s kids didn't have play dates. or maybe i just wasn't popular enough to be invited on play dates & was only ever asked "over to play."

clifton,

i'm so sorry. all my grandparents are getting up there now, & while they're fairly healthy for their ages, it's painful watching parts of their very sharp minds (all of them are among the smartest people i know) go softer. i just hope i can appreciate them while they're here.

#901 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:02 AM:

So there you are, on a post-9/11 airliner with reinfoced cockpit door. And some idiot was shipping zombies as cargo,

You're way out in mid-Atlantic, and it's as easy to go forward as go back. And then you're diverted to Thule. OK, it's a military base, and maybe they want to try to freeze the things.

Anyway, the autopilot is set for Paris. You'd better check the course for Thule and dig out the approach plates and Oh My God! The Floor! The Floor!

#902 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 06:28 AM:

Clifton... I'm sorry.

#903 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 06:47 AM:

Clifton Royston #895: That's terrible. You have my sympathy, as does your mother.

#904 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 07:18 AM:

Oh, Clifton, I'm so sorry.

#905 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 07:54 AM:

Memory is such an important thing-- so many of us assume we'll always have it, and then something like that happens. My family is sort of watching my grandfather sink into Alzheimer's. You have my sympathies, Clifton.

On an unrelated note, this is the first Making Light thread to give me nightmares. Either that or zombies are much more at the front of my subconscious than I ever knew.

#906 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 09:15 AM:

Clifton, you have my utmost sympathies. My family's been going through something similar with my 83-year-old grandmother (she doesn't have Alzheimer's, but similar memory problems that are making her come unstuck in time, forget that her kids don't live at home, not always know where she is, and have very serious challenges getting dressed and eating on a regular schedule). It's hardest on my brother, who lives with her (and who she's gotten confused with her late husband on more than one occasion now); there are nursemaids who come in to look after her while he's at work, but it's not enough any more and it's getting to be time to put her somewhere she can be looked after all the time.

Watching someone who was once a pillar of the family spiral down into second infancy is not an easy thing to come to terms with, ever. I'm afraid we deal with it with a lot of black humor. As another deceased relative of mine was fond of saying, "If things aren't funny, they're just exactly what they are."

#907 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 09:24 AM:

On another note entirely:

Zombies are feeding tonight on a plane
I can see their red-lit eyes, hungry for brains
And I can see zombies continue to rise
Well, it looks like zombies have invaded this airline

Oh-oh-oh, get behind cover, they are stonger than you
And they don't feel pain - only head shots will do
They might have died, but they have appetites
Shambling down the aisle, the undead of the skies...


...Which is probably quite more than enough of that.

#908 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 09:42 AM:

Paula Lieberman (#679 ): Few businesses give time off to Jews for Jewish holy days, or non-Judaeo-Christians their holy days off.... and most organizations don't bother to even consider them when scheduling events, and that gets EXTREMELY irritating.

What I find fun (in a sad way) is that then that fact is used by xenophobic people of all boards against those discriminated against: "They're abusing the system. Not only do they benefit from the same holy days off as everyone, they try to get theirs too".

@Ethan (#749): Nice!

Dan Hoey (#807): That's because Information wants to be Useful, too. Maybe even moreso than Free.

Information needs
To feel useful. People are
Information too.

Essex (#835): HI... newbie alarm. [...]Haven't stopped grinning quite yet, and also, suddenly it's always three in the morning in front of the screen before I notice.

Welcome to the club. You do realise your brain will be eaten ?
Then turned to light.

@Clifton Royston (#895):

Took me more than a year to remember some of my parents, but I did eventually, and am still getting better (wish I'd remember how to speak soninke though...).

I hope things will eventually get better for your mother too. Courage. Don't lose hope.

@Dan Layman-Kennedy (#907): "If things aren't funny, they're just exactly what they are."

I'll be quoting this one in the future.

A lot.

#909 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Clifton, how awful. I'm so sorry your family is having to go through this.

#910 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 10:04 AM:

Yet another in the unending saga of Weird Knitting: Knitted Hellboy

(It's titled "Crocheted Hellboy", but sure looks like knitting to me.)

#911 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 10:19 AM:

#911: Yeah, that's knitting. The little Vs are a dead giveaway.

#912 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 10:51 AM:

#819--It didn't make the cut among all those wonderful old libraries, but we're tolerably proud of the new (2003) downtown library here in Nashville--at the top of the masthead on the right is a picture of the lobby on the main floor.
I'm especially fond of the giant stack of books outside, on the corner of Church Street and Seventh Avenue. The Downtown Library has, among its local history features, a Civil Rights Room, with a symbolic lunch counter.

Anyone else have pictures of a favorite library? Preferably not staffed by zombies...

#913 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 10:53 AM:

The world was on fire and brains were all that was on the menu.
It's strange what hunger will make undead people do.
I never dreamed that I'd eat somebody like you.
And I never dreamed that I knew a dinner like you.

No, I don't want to die for good. (This world is only gonna eat your brains)
No, I don't want to die for good. (This world is only gonna eat your brains)
With you. With you. (This world is only gonna eat your brains)

What a wicked game to play, to make me feel this way.
What a wicked thing to do, to let me dream of you.
What a wicked thing to say, you never felt this way.
What a wicked thing to do, to make me dream of you and,

I want to die for good. (This world is only gonna eat my brains)
No, I want to die for good. (This world is only gonna eat my brains)

Everybody eats everyone.

#914 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 11:46 AM:

I've been enjoying all the zombie parodies here, and though I'm not good at that kind of thing I do have an idea for yet another one: "Feeding on a jet plane..." (At least I don't think it's been done yet. After 2 solid weeks of watching tennis, it will take me a while to regain my normal attention span for anything else.)

#915 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 11:49 AM:

*Applause*

I think that's the first Chris Isaak parody I have _ever_ seen.

#916 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 11:58 AM:

fidelio @ 913... Anyone else have pictures of a favorite library? Preferably not staffed by zombies...

Afraid they'll shuffle the books around?

#917 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:06 PM:

Clifton and Dan--those are horrible situations to be in.

My mother had a stroke sometime after congestive heart failure from kidney failure (she was put on emergency dialysis and that cleared the congestive heart failure). The stroke scrambled her ability to talk, and on one phone call months later, she asked me if I had seen or or talked to two of her sisters, who were several years deceased. That squicked me, majorly. I don't know if she'd lost that information temporarily, or it was a translate-from-thought-to-speech failure and that she had meant to give the name of her surving sister and a a live sister-in-law instead.

My father didn't have Alzheimers, but what he would do was rant about people, particularly his father, who died in 1957, and/or be more directly verbally abusive, when he was even willing to talk at all. He didn't do that to non-family members, them he was affable to.

===

Then there are the locked ward cases--a friend had to incarcerate a close relative in a locked psychiatric ward, the friend's relative has a form of senile dementia which effects violent attacks on other people.

The horror of watching someone in an irreversible mental decline with no effective treatments available, and nothing humanly possible to improve the situation, society provide little coping support and succor for. There's pain, and more pain, and the knowledge than there is no happily ever after ending.

#918 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:17 PM:

#917 No, Serge--it's bad to have staff that try and eat the patrons' brains.

#919 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:18 PM:

fidelio (#913): I took this photo of the Lillian H. Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library, which houses both the children's collection and the Merril Collection (fantasy/SF). The Merril Collection has the most astonishing librarians, and I'm glad that they have a lovely space now.

#920 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Clifton & Dan--I add my condolences to the others here.

I remember only too well the moment when I realized my father was not going to make any sort of recovery from the brain tumor he was being treated for, and that he had, in fact, made up his own mind that it was time to die. It's a horribly hollow feeling.

#921 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:39 PM:

Dan & Clifton--my sympathies.

Oh, and folks? I just discovered "Creation Wiki" (no, I won't give it another link--it's already pretty high in Google's ranking.)

#922 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Randolph, I thought the "nofollow" tags (or whatever you call them) kept Google from counting those links?

#923 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:39 PM:

For them as is interested: I recently read A Three Dog Life, Abigail Thomas's memoir of her life following her husband's severe brain injury (he was struck by a car). I found it encouraging and sustaining, in a "no, this can't be fixed, but your life and his still go on" kind of way. YMMV, of course.

#924 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:10 PM:

Faren @915
No "Eaten on a jet plane", but it was my "Zombies on a jet plane" at 862 that started this entire regrettable* sequence. Dan Hoey then took another cut at it at 876.

----
* Je ne regrette rien.

#925 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:16 PM:

"Feeding on a jet plane" makes me think that the plane itself is a metallic zombie plane, perhaps the relic of a WW1 dogfight-- no, no, a zombie zeppelin. The Hindenburg's skeleton haunts the skies, seeking younger technologies. It eats not organic brains, but the microchips and other innovations that make modern planes so much smarter.

#926 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:26 PM:

Diatrema (#926): A zombie zeppelin squid, which would be an important part of Atlantis Nights as it's being discussed over on "The book with everything".

#927 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:39 PM:

abi @ 925... Je ne regrette rien.

Huh oh... Now abi thinks she's Edith Piaf.

#928 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:52 PM:

I considered the crossover, but this is clearly meant to be a smash Broadway hit. Which is not to say that Atlantis Nights could not be so, only that this is meant for the adaptation. I expect the kickline scene to be spectacular in every sense of the word.

Making Light: we don't just have threads, we have knitting, weaving, and eventually tapestries.

#929 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:55 PM:

Diatryma @926
Wow...what an image. Too serious, and too dark for Atlantis Nights.

Above the thunder-clouds it hovers high,
Its skeletal ribs lit by lightning storms,
While rags of fabric trail in ghostly forms:
A revenant adrift in endless sky.
Below, the well-lit modern planes pass by,
And unaware, they brush its tentacles,
Old mooring-cables, trailing manacles
With which it trawls for aircraft as they fly.
And when it catches something in its snare,
It feasts on wires and microchips inside
While humans, just detritus flung aside,
Plunge screaming downward through the icy air.
Beware the king of airships; fear his chains.
The Hindenberg is feeding on jet planes.

#930 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:55 PM:

928: O Serge, what hast thou wrought?

Tu me fais manger la tête
Mon zombi à moi, c'est toi,
Je suis toujours à la fête
Quand tu m’arraches les deux bras

#931 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:03 PM:

Or again:

Non! Rien de rien,
Non! Je ne regrette rien,
Ni le doigt que je mange,
Ni le bras, tout ça m’est bien trop gras!

Non! Rien de rien,
Non! Je ne regrette rien,
C’est mangé, grignoté, tout broyé,
Je suis tout délabré!

#932 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:13 PM:

TexAnne... Ouh-la-la... Edith would be quite impressed. I know that I am.

#933 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Thanks, Serge! And now, before I get back to work:

Allons, enfants de la zombie,
La nuit de sang est arrivée.
Contre nous la cérémonie
De la tronçonneuse est levée. (bis)
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces vivants?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras
Egorger les zombis innocents!

Aux cerveaux, chers zombis!
Mangez ces êtres humains!
Traînons, traînons!
Qu’un sang trop pur
Abreuve nos haillons!

#934 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Abi, you so very nailed what I had envisioned but not actually said. And I realize that 'I want your brain' is not exactly appropriate for this thread, because it is far too appropriate for this thread, but... yeah. Brain. Wanting. Promise not to eat it.

#935 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:32 PM:

It occurs to me that one would scarcely need to rewrite "Gentile Alouette" at all...

#936 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:37 PM:

TexAnne... Aux cerveaux, chers zombis!

Chapeau!

#937 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Sarah S @ 936... My mother-in-law was rather horrified when I explained to her that this sweet song was about a bird's feathers being plucked from every part of its body.

#938 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:41 PM:

Re the Sidelight about Wikipedia covering itself...what a bloody frelling LOSER that SwatJester is! I'm not at all surprised to learn he's a fan of WFS.

#939 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:41 PM:

My god, SwatJester is a horse's ass. I'm not going to argue with him at the Wikipedia talk page to which Patrick linked, because I've given up on Wikipedia's self-policing mechanisms as hopelessly broken and because I'm not going to argue with a power-abuser in his own territory. His rudeness and presumption are mere par for the course for WikiLawyers, but his inability to grasp the most basic logic is remarkable even by the standards of online arguing. He repeatedly calls people's refutations "strawman" arguments, complete with a link that demonstrates he doesn't know what a straw man argument is, but I think my favorite is the perfectly parallel example that Pleasantville makes to novels and novelists, pointing out that if editors winning "best semi-prozine" aren't Hugo winners then neither are novelists winning "Best Novel", which SwatJester again calls a "strawman" and adds, "This is a Hugo award, not a novel." What does he think he means? You tell me.

#940 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:46 PM:

I'm tempted to edit his page to say "well known to take great pride in his own ignorance, and for his ceaseless vendetta against Kathryn Cramer."

#941 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:47 PM:

TexAnne @ 934

[impressed]Sacre bleu[/impressed]

I love this place.

#942 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:53 PM:

Palsembleu,
Sacrebleu,
J'ai mon cerveau
Dans un chapeau.
C'est ma chair,
Oui, ma chère.
C'est ma tête!
Quelle fête!

#943 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:59 PM:

Also, is that moron going to edit Matt Damon's page to say that he and Ben Affleck didn't win an Oscar™? Their screenplay won an Oscar™!

What an idiot. I sure hope he doesn't breed.

#944 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:12 PM:

Just for reference, Matt Damon's Wikipedia page, which says he won the Oscar™ with Affleck for his screenwriting. No, no! The screenplay won the Oscar™ under his typewriter or some dumbass thing.

No, the idiot won't make that change, because he's not pursuing a vendetta against Matt Damon.

Bill Shatner's idiot fan
Called SwatJester, Denny, or Dan,
Thinks harassing Cramer
Will make us all blame her!
Sorry, dumbass, it just doesn't scan.

#945 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:13 PM:

Unrelated to anything: I started my job today, which is in the RI Department of Vital Records, and while there are confidentiality issues, I don't think I'm breaching anything by telling you that I came across someone today whose middle name is John-Nyarlathotep.

#946 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:17 PM:

Diatryma (#926): I really didn't need images from my memories of Tetsuo and Roujin Z colliding in the form of a giant Zombie zeppelin absorbing the Eiffel Tower and the Tokyo Tower (arms) the Centre Pompidou (intestines), some Christo land art project over the Great Wall of China (japanese ghost story like dress -> NO FEET), one freshly retired F117 (the zepellin is clearly female), and evetualy self-destroying itself trying to reach a secret phallic russo-american orbital war station it cannot but lust after.

Damn...

In other news, I bow to TexAnne (and curse, for I was too slow) for the Zombi Marseillaise and Mon Zombi à moi (eah, no, sorry, no zombu for me).

Hum...

Quand il m'arrache les bras,
Y léchouille le gras,
je vois sa cervelle rose.
Il dévore mes poignées d'amour,
Mord leurs chairs sans détour,
et ça me fait quelque chose.

#947 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:20 PM:

MD^2, 947: Eeeeeeeeew, with a side of Bravo!

#948 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:24 PM:

ethan @ 946

Things like that make you wonder mightily about the parents who might be involved. And anyone who might be involved in baptizing the person with that name.

#949 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:24 PM:

TexAnne #934: A certain zombie named Rouget de l'Isle has arisen from his grave and is looking to eat your brains.

#950 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:29 PM:

By the way, day++ && $--, but:

The first September week was barely past
When he was born. The way the seasons change
Is catching, so perhaps it is not strange
That his first tongue and nation weren't his last.
But though a tree may shed its autumn leaves
And be reclad in spring, the trunk remains.
And so it is with Serge, who still retains
The core of whom he loves, what he believes.
Beneath the puns, behind the clever prose,
Between the lines of sly pastiche, I see
The way he cares for this community
And value all the warmth his manner shows.
So happy birthday, Serge, although I'm late
(I knew the month, but just mislaid the date!)

#951 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:31 PM:

MD²... Il dévore mes poignées d'amour

That's a drastic way of getting rid of love handles.

#952 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:35 PM:

Thanks, abi. I'm blushing red enough that I probably look like the Red Skull right now.

#953 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:36 PM:

abi: The sugar here is in the baking section of the same aisle that has tea and coffee (this is true in supermarkets, as a rule).

There are some stores (Tj's, Whole Foods) which separate the tea from the coffee. They keep the sugars with the baking goods.

#954 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Eek. I clean forgot. Happy belated birthday, Serge.

#955 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:47 PM:

Dan & Clifton - I just want to toss in a positive thought. My grandmother came to live with us when I was about 9 years old, because she had developed Alzheimer's. We had someone come in to look after her while everyone was at school/work, and then my siblings and parents and I took care of her the rest of the time. She lived to be 91 years old --I was about 14 when she died--and while she declined extremely, she still could enjoy things, right up until the end. Often it was something very simple, like toy blocks that we would keep handy for her to fiddle with, or gardening magazines with bright pictures she could look at. Sometimes it was something more complex, like holding her first great-grandchild. She wasn't quite aware of how the baby was related to her, but she understood that the baby was part of her family, and she laughed with joy when she held her. Occasionally my Mom would help her to smoke a cigarette, which she absolutely loved.

It doesn't make it okay that she forgot having been friends with Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway, or having written for The Transatlantic Review, or her years of living as a stylish expat in Morocco. But it wasn't all pain, for her or for us, and the time I spent looking after her was precious to me. If she had any idea what it meant to me, I'm sure it would have been precious to her too.

I'm not trying to minimize how hard this is...but there are moments of respite, and often a seriously reduced life is still one that a person can enjoy living, although the adjustment is always a painful one, for them and (with alzheimers, even moreso) for their family.

#956 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 06:16 PM:

Serge (#952): That's a drastic way of getting rid of love handles.

As Rouget de l'Isle Adam's zombie once told me over some not so fresh refreshments "All is fair in love at war".
Not sure what he meant.

#957 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 07:57 PM:

Stefan Jones (86): Actually, we learned that about Don Draper a couple of episodes ago, when he has an encounter with a war buddy on the commuter train.

Clifton Royston (#895): That is indeed heartbreaking. I'm so sorry.

One day, after my mother had brain surgery, and I was visiting her in my parents' apartment, she asked me, "I'm sorry, how do I know you?"

I answered matter-of-factly, as though she was perfectly lucid and had asked me some mundane question (like, "I'm sorry, were we supposed to go out to dinner tonight?"). But I began a new life at that moment.

Lila (90): For them as is interested: I recently read A Three Dog Life, Abigail Thomas's memoir of her life following her husband's severe brain injury (he was struck by a car). I found it encouraging and sustaining, in a "no, this can't be fixed, but your life and his still go on" kind of way.

Indeed, one of my happiest memories of my Mom is one particular occasion when I went to visit her in the nursing home. When she saw me step out of the elevator, her face lit up. She couldn't speak anymore, but at that moment, she knew who I was.

#958 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 08:35 PM:

Clifton, #895, I'm so sorry.

Dan, #907, my brother and I are enjoying my father being in a locked ward for violent Alzheimer's patients. If he'd only been in a locked ward when we were kids.

ethan, #946, dear Ghu!

#959 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 09:03 PM:

Thanks, Mary Dell (and everyone else who offered their condolences - I swear I didn't mean to divert any much-needed sympathy from Clifton by talking about my own situation, but all your thoughts are most appreciated). I suspect the truth is that once she goes into a home - something she hates the idea of, and understandably so, but mostly because it's change and she doesn't do change - her situation may well improve; she'll be fed and looked after and will have someone to talk to all the time.

She's had a rough time of it these last six or seven years - she lost two of her three children and then her husband, battled breast cancer and a couple of other surgery-requiring conditions, and had to face the end of big family get-togethers at her house because it just got to be too overwhelming for her, and on top of it all had to cope with strangers coming into her house every day because she couldn't take care of herself any more. Under those circumstances, I'd be tempted to hold reality at arm's length more than a little myself.

My grandfather was the potter Ray Gallucci, which isn't really a name I expect anyone to recognize, though he was a big enough deal in his own circles that apparently James Michener owns some of his work, and I got a couple of very nice emails from people Googling him after I posted his eulogy online. My grandmother had a lot of herself invested in being married to him, and by the time she became a widow she didn't have a lot else to fill that void; her deterioration has been frighteningly rapid over the last couple of years. If moving her to a place where she'll get the care she needs can do anything to halt or slow that, I'd rather see that happen than the inevitable alternatives - especially since, if the lifespans of the other women in her family are anything to judge by, she could well be around for another fifteen years.

#960 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Mitch @ #958, I was in the car with my father at the wheel when he abruptly forgot how to drive (luckily we were stopped at a red light).

I asked him to slide over to the passenger side while I went around to the driver's side. Then I drove him home, feeling thankful that he'd insisted on my learning to drive a stick shift.

(That was 12 or 13 years ago, when the doctors were still telling us TIA's "don't mean anything". If it happened today, I'd drive straight to the emergency room.)

Public service announcement: a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack), sometimes called a "pre-stroke" or "mini-stroke", should be treated as a stroke.

And if you don't know the signs of a stroke, learn them! (Sudden one-sided weakness, trouble speaking, visual disturbance, trouble walking, or sudden severe headache; often referred to as "the worst headache I've ever had in my life.") The quick layperson's test is to have the victim speak, smile, and raise both arms.

#961 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 11:26 PM:

I would like to say two things:

1. I'm really glad I didn't catch up on this thread until after flying home from the Farthing Party.

2. Where were all of you when we were having the zombie panel on Saturday?

#962 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 12:01 PM:

Stephen Hawking's ex-wife is hawking a book, she's going to be at the Burlington, MA Barnes and Noble this month (this week?)and some of the content apparently is about the stresses and strains of dealing or trying to deal with someone who's severely disabled.

#963 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 12:17 PM:

Lila @ 961

I remember back in the seventies, when my father had what the doctors decided was a TIA (dizziness, while in a hardware store with my sister), he spent three or four days in the hospital while they ran tests. The angiogram didn't show anything. After that, my father was so tired of fat-free hospital food (boiled hamburgers - yuk!) that he told them either they let him out or he was walking out.

The first really identifiable stroke wasn't for another fifteen years, at which point the hospital had MRI and CAT scanners available, and they learned that the first incident was a micro-stroke - it had done damage. (Not treatable, unfortunately: brainstem.)

#964 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Fifteen years ago when I had my one-and-only grand mal seizure, it temporarily punched a large, irregular hole in my memory. The curious thing was that the memories themselves were generally intact; the problem was I couldn't get at them directly. In some cases, I knew that I knew, so I had to go through enough mental contortions to get at the thing without thinking about it directly. On the other hand: I remarked to my wife that I would need to buy a winter coat. She replied: "you have a winter coat," and all of a sudden I did.

Genuine memory loss had to wait until I had small children.

#966 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 09:24 PM:

abi (#925) wrote 'No "Eaten on a jet plane", but it was my "Zombies on a jet plane" at 862 that started this entire regrettable* sequence. Dan Hoey then took another cut at it at 876.'

Which is kind of embarrassing, because I completely missed 862, then debcha's comment at 871 looked like an inspiration that lacked a realization, for which I provided the sort of rough-hewn hack that can provide only faint praise to the brilliant 862.

But this is a day of good news, because Anne had a coronary bypass today. Nothing can so improve a day as having my beloved survive open-heart surgery.

I see there's a new open thread, but now I have sleep to go to. No more Making Light tonight.

#967 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 10:03 PM:

ethan @946: I'm having visions of a version of Buckaroo Banzai, but the 5th dimension is the realm of Elder Gods. How many other names fit this pattern? Were their SSNs registered on the same day?

#968 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 01:35 AM:

Rob Rusick #968: None other on that pattern, but there was a woman I found named Darthula.

#969 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 02:35 AM:

Dan @967:
I thought your version was fun, particularly the rhyme of "food" and "fluid". It works, which is as brain-eating as anything in the song...

I'm glad the surgery went well. I hope the recovery does as well. Keep us posted.

#970 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 03:35 AM:

Just a quick thanks to everyone who posted their words of sympathy. (It's been a swamped couple of days for other reasons, or I would have replied sooner.)

Dan, of course I don't see you as seizing or redirecting potential sympathy. You were sharing your own experience, and I appreciate and honor that.

Partly what I'm reacting to is the shattering of my own wishful thinking that maybe it would "just get better." Sometimes it does. Clearly not in this case.

It's not Alzheimer's, by the way - Alzheimer's always comes on slowly, by its nature. In January we'd all visited her and she was her usual self. This change was literally overnight, back in February, or thereabouts. But this is worse than she was a couple months ago; I think somewhere in there she's had another one or more and I hadn't realized. It's hard to tell, on the phone. At least my brother is there with her, but it's hard for him to manage.

#971 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2007, 11:37 AM:

Did 1960s kids have play dates?

Well, not like this.

Actually, not like today, either. We just went to each others' houses and played. But we did see the rare clingy plastic wrapped sandwich, although most mothers used "tin" foil or waxed paper. And if your mom lived through the Depression, she probably made you save the foil for re-use.

#972 ::: Essex ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2007, 04:00 PM:

Since there is some life still in this thread...

When I was hardly twenty, my grandma was dying, and she had lost her memory most of the time. I had to tend her all by myself at weekends, and while I try to remember her, I'd much rather forget those months. She was 82 and in a wheelchair by then. She had become mean and obstructive to the point of cruelty and was like that most of the time, trying for instance to stab my hand with her fork, and handing me bits of her mind on autopilot, about, say, things I had done wrong when a child, that made me cry and again over dinner - she was nothing like her usual rather timid, kind self anymore. All the bitterness of a lifetime seemed to come up and find me as a target. I'm illegitimate which must have meant something to her, after all.
Then again, there were those few times when she did remember, and she'd cry for hours, apologizing over and over again, for everything, her whole life, I think - those were worse.

Many years later, I had tea with a ghost one afternoon, on a hot August day, in the room she usually lay, its shutters drawn, and in that half-light only, I could tell her how I loved her, that missed her, and did finally mourn for her.

There was a great-aunt, too, who, at the age of 102 and in a nursing home, would ramble on and on, recounting to herself the names of relatives, trying to make sure she remembered… would talk about nothing else.

We never thought then of "toy blocks that we would keep handy for her to fiddle with, or gardening magazines with bright pictures she could look at", of such kind distractions, somehow - my family neither plays nor does sports nor, for that matter, talks a lot about what really matters to themselves - which is why I live away from them. But I refuse to regret ommissions and ignorance past, for times are changing.

Now, my mother is 75, in fair health, and my 'second mother' my aunt, is 82 and still going strong, but I'll have to face it, eventually. Age sucks, no mistake. They missed a generation somewhere and I am not all that old myself, *middle-aged, but I feel the loss of strength and fading memories already. Things ommitted, mistakes made, old guilt, I think, make people lose it as much as age does, but Life goes first, to carry on the adventure. Age DOES suck, but is a given, and the love I feel sometimes, whenever I can, is the only solace. To see it through to the end, to face that game, to love. I am sure that I, myself, will not lose that one last capability.
"If things aren't funny, they're just exactly what they are." - I like that, Dan @ 907.

Not quite by the way, this thread being logical puzzles originally: is what seems to be termed so bautifully the phosphoresphere aware of the fact that most people have more legs than the average person?

#973 ::: MC Pye ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Thanks to Clifton, Essex, and all the others who've written here about their experiences. "Heart-breaking" is the least of the words I'd use to describe my years of caring – thankfully, again, with some help from our social services – for my mother as she lived with the consequences of a Transient Ischaemic Attack.

The first few years were bad enough, but her last year or so, as she deteriorated physically and mentally, were even more wrenching, especially as she started to get upset and sometimes bad-tempered. Those who only met her then wouldn't have seen the 'beautiful, sweet lady' so many knew her as, even after the loss of so much with the first TIA.

Friends who've been helping me with my still-continuing health issues have described the effect as being like PTSD. They also suspect the stress contributed to my cancer and other physical problems — OTOH, my husband's death and the financial mess he left made big contributions in the stress department too.

It's certainly left me terrified of how I'll be if I survive to 80- or 90-odd, particularly as I don't have close family who might remember my better days and want to take care of me, and recent Australian governments have been keen to cut back on social services as much as possible.

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