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September 22, 2007

Open thread 92
Posted by Patrick at 09:29 AM *

“But what have machine-breakers to do with the Raven King?”

“Many of them are, or rather claim to be, his followers. They daub the Raven-in-Flight upon every wall where property is destroyed. Their captains carry letters of commission purporting to come from John Uskglass and they say he will shortly return to re-establish his reign in Newcastle.”

“And the Government believes them?” asked Strange in astonishment.

“Of course not! We are not so ridiculous. What we fear is a good deal more mundane—in a word, revolution. John Uskglass’s banner is flying everywhere in the north from Nottingham to Newcastle. Of course we have our spies and informers to tell us what these fellows are doing and thinking. Oh, I do not say that they all believe that John Uskglass is coming back. Most are as rational as you or I. But they know the power of his name among the common people. Rowley Fisher-Drake, the Member for Hampshire, has brought forward a Bill in which he proposes to make it illegal to raise the Raven-in-Flight. But we cannot forbid people to fly their own flag, the flag of their legitimate King.” Sir Walter sighed and poked a beefsteak upon his plate with a fork. “Other countries,” he said, “have stories of kings who will return at times of great need. Only in England is it part of the constitution.”

—Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Comments on Open thread 92:
#1 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 11:39 AM:

I had an open question for the powers that be here at Making Light. I've been thinking it might be both useful and fun to put together a writers index of the Making Light Archives. I did something similar with the Miss Snark Index over at the Wyrdsmiths blog. I wanted to make sure it would be all right with the folks here before I started the project.

I'll be more than happy to answer questions on what I'm thinking about doing, but I'm going to be away from the internet for most of today, so it'll be a bit before I get the chance.

I'm thinking specifically of the writing related posts here because that's what the Wyrdsmiths blog is aimed at. I should have another index, one of the Wyrdsmiths blog, up in a few days as a second example of the kind of thing I'm talking about. I'm not yet sure about how or if to note specific comments within threads because I haven't really looked at the details yet. Also, if I do this it's going to take at least several months and I'll probably post links to threads as I go over at Wyrdsmiths as I did in my best of Miss Snark series which began here.

So, what do you think?

#2 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 11:46 AM:

Autumn now comes, and we must not recoil
from welcoming the changing of the year
and the sharp clarity of morning air
as mind and body cease at last to boil.
I take a moment from the weekend's toil
to think about the things for which I care,
a simple moment that I need to spare
a sort of lubrication with sweet oil.
None of the days to come will be pure joy
but I look forward to a working time
when all that happens has an upward trend;
time and experience do not humour cloy,
another bell will have a clearer chime
and every year comes down to a clean end.

#3 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 12:20 PM:

“But what have machine-breakers to do with the Raven King?”

That never fails to sound like the riddle that the bartender asked Thursday Next. Or with which Schmendrick stumped Rukh.

One of these days I will actually read Jonathan Strange... and the world will surely become a brighter place.

#5 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Walt Crowley has died.

Not a friend, so not going in my LJ, but a strong and informed influence on a generation of PNW activists.

#6 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 01:26 PM:

Nicole @3, I dunno about the world-benefits of reading Jonathan Strange..., as I started reading it in the spring, and gave up about a third of the way through. And my world is definitely a brighter place for not continuing to slog through it.

#7 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 01:28 PM:

The Boston cops' techno sense reeks,
in a town widely famed for its geeks,
their pulse rates go higher
when they see a loose wire,
they're much more at home with antiques.

#8 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 01:31 PM:

Ursula K Le Guin admires Jeanette Winterson's new novel The Stone Gods in a review for the (UK) Guardian, but takes issue with Winterson's apparent reluctance to acknowledge that she's writing science fiction:

It's odd to find characters in a science-fiction novel repeatedly announcing that they hate science fiction. I can only suppose that Jeanette Winterson is trying to keep her credits as a "literary" writer even as she openly commits genre. Surely she's noticed that everybody is writing science fiction now? Formerly deep-dyed realists are producing novels so full of the tropes and fixtures and plotlines of science fiction that only the snarling tricephalic dogs who guard the Canon of Literature can tell the difference. I certainly can't. Why bother? I am bothered, though, by the curious ingratitude of authors who exploit a common fund of imagery while pretending to have nothing to do with the fellow-authors who created it and left it open to all who want to use it. A little return generosity would hardly come amiss.

#9 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 01:35 PM:

JESR @ 5

I don't care if they broke the mold when they made Walt Crowley; send a team back to find all the pieces and we'll see if we can glue them together to make a few more like him.

#10 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Gag Hlafrunt @ 8... Yes, they now use our genre, but the taint is still there. As it used to be said, if it's SF, it can't be good, and if it's good, it can't be SF.

Besdies, 'they' may not realize that they ARE writing SF because, in their minds, SF is only about starships, blasters, weird aliens, that stuff. Would they consider A Canticle for Leibowitz to be SF?

#11 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 01:46 PM:

Nicole @#3, oliviacw @#6: I got seriously bogged down in JS&MN about a third of the way into it, so I picked it up on audible.com and listened to it during my daily commute (for, like, a month). It's a loooong book, dry, and it seems filled with pointless wandering, but it's eminently worth taking the journey. I was torn between enjoyment and boredom for a lot of it, but by the last third I was completely entranced, and now I find that I love the whole thing...it's one of those books that stays in your head forever, and keeps you company.

That said, I know that Little, Big is a favorite of Patrick's and many others, and is in that same category of big, meandery book, filled with moving prose and so forth, and people say "just keep going, you'll be glad you finished it." I finished it, and YE GODS how I hate it. It's stuck in my head and I just hate it. Whereas for the first third or so, I really loved it. Sigh. So just because the right people (or the wrong ones, if you count me) tell you something is worth finishing doesn't you necessarily should.

#12 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 01:50 PM:

Bruce Cohen @9- Walt Crowley (along with Stephanie Coontz and the Seattle 9) was my hero when I was a teenager; I used to take Greyhound to Seattle to buy The Helix, which didn't always make it as far as Olympia. For the last forty years he's been a voice for specificity, for knowing the details of history and the environmental data which lead to good social decision making.

#13 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 02:27 PM:

Fragano, that was very nice, but is one allowed to recoil from autumn if one's baseball team has executed a collapse over the past week and fallen out of contention for a playoff spot? This after being picked to win its division in the spring?

No, East Coasters, I'm referring to the Dodgers, not the Sox.

#14 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Linkmeister, well, you could be talking about the Mariners.

Although since the preseason predictions had them last in the AL west I'm almost OK with the late August free-fall.

#15 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Linkmeister #13: Thanks. I have to say that I don't follow baseball (except what my local NPR station reports on the Braves), but autumn has other pleasures and rewards.

#16 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 02:50 PM:

Kelly, a topical index is the sort of thing that we ought to be able to create automatically, if we (the various authors) had been making better use of Moveable Type's category and tag features. Sadly, we haven't. I'm not sure if anyone but me is using tags, and that feature probably didn't even exist when the blog was first set up.

I suppose, ideally, that there ought to be a way to take the index categories you create, and import that information back into the blog database, so we can use it when creating new posts.

Only, that would constrict us to a category system, when I'd much prefer a tagging system!

#17 ::: Janice in GA ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Y'all probably know about this already, but I thought this video of Benjamin Bagby reciting Beowulf to the accompaniment of a 6-string lyre was pretty cool:
http://www.bagbybeowulf.com/video/index.html

#18 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 03:05 PM:

Again with the "hoax device,"? You'd think some court ruling about intent (because a hoax is a form of fraud, one has to be trying to fool people) would clarify that.

What I found interesting is the photo of the MP-5 machine pistol/submachine gun (I like the MP-5, it's probably, even with it's flaws the best of that class of weapon).

1: Yahoo did a poor job of IDing it. I'm pretty sure the HNK is an eggcorn of H&K (Heckler und Koch).

2: That's a suppressed version, so if the cop starts shooting people are going to be less clear on what's happening. Yeah, it might reduce panic elsewhere at Logan, but the people in the splash zone are going to be less likely to hit the deck.

3: He has a seoond clip attached, so he's loaded for bear.

Across the board it seems to be overkill. IMO, someone with a pistol is just as effective at stopping someone who has a visible bomb strapped to their chest; because hitting them half a dozen times isn't going to be that much more effective than hitting them twice.

And pointing anything at them is about as effective as pointing anything else.

If you just wanted to take them out, a scoped rifle, in moderate caliber (say 30-30) will to that better then either a pistol, or a submachine gun.

Doltish behavior, all around.

#19 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Definite overreaction to a 9volt battery and some LED's. The media is a bunch of suck ups for continuing to call it a "hoax device".

We've become afraid of exposed wire, basically.

I would wager that if someone walked into an airport talking on a cell phone with the cover taken off so that people can see exposed wire and a circuit board, you'd have yet another overreaction.

It has nothing to do with the size of the device. This was a 9 volt battery, some LED's (i.e. tiny), and an "electronic breadboard" which is a quarter inch thick, three inches wide, and maybe 7 inches wide. (A breadboard would be standard equipment for a freshman electrical engineer, but is common in high school science classes. On sale at Radio Shack.)

It has everything to do with our training from Hollywood about what bombs look like. Things with wires going all over the place. And if you cut the right one, you can disarm the thing. And if you cut the wrong one, it will instantly detonate. But that's the main component of our bomb silhouette training: wires.

Never mind that the shoe bomber guy had explosives and a fuse he was trying to light with a match. Never mind that the 9-11 guys didn't even HAVE a bomb. They had box cutters, there were several of them working as a team, and most importantly, they were on a PLANE, not at a fricken airport.

As a species, we've lost our damned minds.

As for the MP5, a shouldered weapon is going to be more accurate than any handgun, so there's that. Don't know why they have a suppressor on it. And I'm not a big fan of the double clip idea. Overall, thumbs down.

#21 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Looking at what happened.

The person at the counter over-reacted.

The cops reacted poorly. One cop, with back-up was all one probably needed. Observe her and then respond.

Examine the widget.

Let her go.

Because, from the cops' POV, they were told there was someone with a bomb. To not react to that, at all, would be irresponsible (after all, were I to spot something bomblike, I'd want it looked at).

When I was in college someone called in a possible bomb.

The campus cops called the LAPD bomb squad. The cordoned off that part of the parking lot, examined it while Al Reddick, the cop who was watching all this, and I joked about the idiot kids who got closer everytime the bomb squad went close to it. We put as much stuff between it, and us, when that happened).

They decided it wasn't a bomb, and took it away.

End of story.

#22 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 03:56 PM:

What is your opinion of the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez?


A brilliant leader who represents the opressed and defies imperialism
An antidemocratic despot looking to take over Latin America
A populist leader who uses oil to fuel an unsustainable program
A sign of growing resistance to capitalism
He's just some guy
No opinion

"Revolution is the main trend in the world today ...."

Well, maybe not so much as some might think?


#23 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 03:59 PM:

In another few hundreds of years, I suppose we will be hearing how Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln, and all come back to us in times of travail. Now might be a good time.

#24 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 04:03 PM:

Greg:

I'm of a mixed mind on the MP-5. I like it. I appreciate that it's more accurate (it's damned accurate).

But I also appreciate that cops are not always the most rational of actors. I know they are lousy shots ((despite regular training).

I recall a case in Compton, 2 cops, each emptied the best part of 2 clips (14 rds per clip), at a distance of about 7 yards (the range they train for). They hit the guy something like 5 times, total; between them.

So giving a cop the option to go full-auto... color me nervous.

#25 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Greg @ 19... As a species, we've lost our damned minds.

I think something else is going on. When an incompetent - whether an individual or an organization - gets sloppy and really fucks up as a result, it tends to overcompensate. Makes life annoying for the rest of us, mind you.

#26 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 04:14 PM:

Greg London @#20:

I prefer the Litany.

#27 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 04:19 PM:

I just read that Chavez has ordered the time zone of Venezuela changed to a weird half-hour zone with very little advance notice; this has the worldwide timekeeping and software development communities up in arms because it messes up all the software that doesn't have that strange new zone as an option.

On another subject, a Wikipedia ArbCom case is now in progress about the whole silly "BADSITES" thing. This site is being mentioned among others.

#28 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 04:23 PM:

Fragrano @ #2, boil? Dissolve, perhaps. (OK, so despite the Canadian television coverage most of the UK remained unflooded, but boyoboy was it wet: my garden was a rippling sheet of water from edge to edge more than once.)

#29 ::: Bernard Yeh ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Re: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell

I'm going to stick up for this novel here (no spoilers):

Yes the first third is slow-paced, and the focus character of that third is throughly unlikeable, but there were still some wonderous sights to see (scenery, worldbuild, turns of phrase: see Uncle Jim's extended quote, for example, although that particular passage occurs around the middle of the novel).

The pace of the novel picks up starting with the second third of the novel, and I finished the last third of the novel in a rush. I had read the first 2/3rds as my commute reading over 3 months or so, but by the start of the 3rd section of the novel, I really wanted to know what happened next ASAP, and finished the rest of it in an evening. I felt all that slogging (though I think it wasn't that much of a slog, YMMV) in the early going does get rewarded in the end.

#30 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 04:37 PM:

Terry, I'm with you on the whole thing about the MP5, but I think there are semi-auto-only versions for Police use.

Full-auto would be plain stupid in any likely terrorist situation, but expecially when the targets are so outnumbered by the innocent.

#31 ::: Bernard Yeh ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Re: @29

Dammit, then I misspell the title and mis-attribute the host who opened the thread...

Norell -> Norrell

and

Uncle Jim -> Patrick

(sorry)

#32 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 04:42 PM:

#19: I agree. Why aren't the media filing stories along the lines of "college student arrested for wearing a breadboard with a few LEDs"? It would, at least, make it clear that no one in power reactedly reasonably here.

Like Terry @21, I think if all the cops hear is "someone with a possible bomb," they have to investigate. However, like the last time TPTB in Boston over-reacted, it seems like they're distorting events all out of proportion to justify their over-reaction post hoc. I have to wonder what it is about Boston, specifically. (Logan is my closest airport so I'm not casting stones from afar.)

#25: People with a responsibility to protect the public are behaving as if they've just gotten a chain letter about people who have their kidneys stolen at parties. Yes, they're pretty certain the story is a total hoax, but what if it's true? They view the negative consequence of perpetuating a false story to be less than the negative consequence of not perpetuation a true story.

Apparently, Boston law enforcement would rather make unjust arrests and baseless charges than allow the possibility of letting any terrorist succeed. (I believe Cheney referred to something like this as the "1% Doctrine.") Never mind that they can prevent terrorism without making unjust arrests and baseless charges.

I mean, at the end of the day, we are not safer because they arrested an MIT student for wearing a breadboard. It just says shows that they are not competent to evaluate what is, or is not, a bomb.

The antedote for this, as we all know, is to refuse to be terrorized. Margaret Cho points this out in one of her concert CDs to great applause, so I figure it can't be that controversial an idea. OTOH, we, as a society, seem to be much more comfortable with the running scared thing. (I found the people commenting at BoingBoing suggesting that the fault lay with her for wearing a breadboard rather sad. We can argue over the wisdom of her action, but to decide how she was treated was some inevitable result really is blaming the victim.)

If I were in the mood to blame the Bush administration, I'd say that, to some extent, the leader of the country does set the tone. Imagine if Winston Churchill had behaved like George W. Bush.

[Note: I used to comment here as JC, but the email address I use here always had my name in it anyways. So, I've decided it's less confusing just to use my name, and not actually any less anonymous. OTOH, my name is so generic that I'm not sure it matters. At VPX, the first thing Cory said to me was that he knew a (non-genre) writer in Toronto named John Chu.]

#33 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 04:59 PM:

#27: I think I've read that Chavez has seen sense and delayed his new time zone because people like the BIPM complained. But it really shouldn't be a big deal for the software industry. Countries change their time zones, or daylight saving, quite often (Sri Lanka changed from UTC+6 to UTC+5:30 last year) and any good software should be able to accommodate Venezuela's change easily. Microsoft already has a hotfix out, and so do some other vendors.

#34 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 05:06 PM:

Oh, and Egypt changed its daylight saving time with only two weeks' notice, for this year only, to make life easier during Ramadan which started on September 13th. Nobody complained that I heard; hotfixes appeared in time.

#35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 05:08 PM:

John Chu @ 32... I'd say that, to some extent, the leader of the country does set the tone.

To say the least. Mind you, setting up a climate of fear served Chimpy quite well for a few years, thus helping him and his gang to get away with shit, but people are finally waking up. I hope.

#36 ::: Iain Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 05:15 PM:

On the bright side, at least the Boston police stopped to find out if she was really carrying a bomb before shooting her in the head, unlike London's finest.

#37 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 05:20 PM:

Since the student in question was a former private school student out here on Maui, there's been quite a stir of interest, including quotations from former classmates and teachers, all along the lines of "she's brilliant and this is silly. Ok, she was dopey to wear that, but get over it!"

And yeah, the Boston cop or airport authority who said "it's a good thing she behaved or she might have ended up in the morgue" infuriated me.

#38 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 05:25 PM:

John Stanning @#33:
The cost involved in changing DST here in the US was enormous.

"Windows has a hotfix" means "every machine at your company that runs windows has to be touched. Many have to be rebooted, causing outages for your users. Non-windows machines have to be corrected by hand. You have to write new software for that odd appliance under that VIP's desk. The time clocks that you depend on for trading will need to be hand-synchronized at 2 am by a 3rd party consultant here on-site. All of the apointments in your exchange calendars will have to be re-written using a risky process developed on-the-hot by microsoft. This change to the calendar is not compatible with the equivalent blackberry update, so there will be a three-week period where your Managing Directors, must avoid creating or accepting appointments on their blackberries. You get to explain this to them. Etc. etc etc."

At least, that's what it meant for me and my teammates....

#39 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 05:54 PM:

Joining in with thinking this Logan incident is beyond the pale. Has the fascination with terror moved up to the level of Sturgeon's fable "Mr. Costello, Hero"? I fear it's true. How can we move past the Costellos?

#40 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 05:57 PM:

Tom Whitmore...

Lou Costello?
"A-a-a-a-a-bbott!!!!"

#41 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 06:04 PM:

OK, so who's on next?

#42 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 06:32 PM:

A typical Friday night in our house:
------

(loud crashing sound from second floor)

Wife: "What is your daughter doing, she's supposed to be in bed?!"

Me: "Why do you seek knowledge that can only bring you terror, despair and doom?"

(another crash, with several thumps)

Wife: "Are you going up there or not?"

(sound of door opening upstairs)

Daughter yells: "Daddy, can I have your sword?"

Me: "No way am I going up there, who knows what she summoned this time..."

#43 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 06:39 PM:

#36: I fear that if she had been nonwhite or Middle Eastern looking, they would not have waited.

#44 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 07:08 PM:

Terry wrote: " IMO, someone with a pistol is just as effective at stopping someone who has a visible bomb strapped to their chest; because hitting them half a dozen times isn't going to be that much more effective than hitting them twice."

True, but there could be multiple perps, not just one, and they might have guns, not just a potential bomb. It wouldn't make much sense for the cops to wait for an exact threat description before leisurely selecting the ideal armament for a situation. At least they didn't break out a 5.56mm electric minigun.

Speaking as a guy with breadboards and LEDs in his possession, I'm willing to give the cops some slack on this case. She supposedly had putty or play-doh (color unknown) in hand, which makes it rather different from just wearing a breadboard with LEDs, or hanging cartoon character signs.

The PD get credit from me for not going nuts, shutting down the airport, filling it with a thousand extra cops, strip-searching everyone on the premises, and billing the student for the overtime. That's what I would have expected after the Mooninite incident.

Seems to me she's just a slightly odd, smart MIT student with exceptionally poor judgement.

What really disturbs me is the treatment of what was written on her shirt as something noteworthy or suspicious. "Course VI" (her major, I guess) and "socket to me" which strikes me as just some hardware hacker in-joke.

#45 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 07:16 PM:

#43: Star Simpson does look non-white, but not Middle Eastern. Based on the way she looks and the fact that she's from Hawai'i, I assume that she's of (partly?) Native Hawai'ian or Japanese ancestry.

#46 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 07:19 PM:

"I mean, at the end of the day, we are not safer because they arrested an MIT student for wearing a breadboard. It just says shows that they are not competent to evaluate what is, or is not, a bomb."

It's reported that she had putty with her. Are you saying our security guards should be able to do chemical analysis by sight alone?

That's a pretty high standard. Ridiculously high.

#47 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 07:33 PM:

Also, the "wanted to stand out on career day" just seems lame, given the crap craftsmanship of the device. Any bright 6th grader could put her shirt thing together, with a few parts from Radio Shack and instructions from the internet. Soldering isn't even required.

It's about as impressive as if she'd brought a laptop to career day running
10 PRINT "YOU SMELL!"
20 GOTO 10

I'd frankly expect better from an MIT student, especially considering the wonderful workshop they have access to.

Apparently she can do far more interesting work, but that shirt's just crap.

#48 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 07:44 PM:

"The cops reacted poorly. One cop, with back-up was all one probably needed. Observe her and then respond."

I'm sure if the cops and the person at the counter had your perspective from the future, they could make a cool, reasonable response like that.

Also, it's not like educated college girls have never engaged in terrorism - the Baader-Meinhof people, for example.

#49 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 07:55 PM:

Thing is, she is lucky to be alive--but saying that shouldn't be a condemnation of her behavior. I, too, am lucky to be alive due to circumstances beyond my control. I'm fairly certain most of us can think of a time or two in our lives when other's mistakes brought us close to doom.

What I get furious about are the people who say of Star, "She's lucky to be alive," as though of a person who dosed up on alcohol and cocaine before driving 100 mph up Speer Ave, when they should be saying it as though of a person who was walking down the street minding her own business when some gangster shot at her because he thought she was wearing his rival's colors.

(And I'm just saying it because I feel better for saying it, is all. I know I'm preaching to the choir, and I'm not correcting anyone or accusing them of ambiguity. I'm just letting off steam in a particularly Type-A way.)

#50 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 07:56 PM:

Everyone knows that all bombs have blinky-lights on them. Therefore anything wtih blinky-lights on it is a bomb.

They're that way in the movies and the movies never get it wrong.

#51 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 08:05 PM:

I don't know if this has come across here, yet, but a friend sent me the link and I found this little "agent pitch" sketch hilarious:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo1XFz0kac0

#52 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 08:21 PM:

It seems contradictory to say of Star's device that it was something that any 6th grader could construct, and yet a cop would have to have magic future vision to calmly assess its threat value before pulling a gun on her. It's both trivially accomplishable AND a clever bomb-resembling device that cops oughtn't to be blamed for overreacting to?

Or is your argument that cops ought to be expected to pull guns on 6th graders with Radio Shack projects? 'Cause I don't think I can agree with that.

#53 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 08:32 PM:

Or, if creating a bomb-resembling device that can fool a well-trained cop into overreacting with lethal force is so simple as to be trivially accomplishable by any 6th grader with Radio Shack parts, then clearly the situation is not such that cops with lethal force is a good solution. Perhaps we should be shutting down Radio Shack. Or dismantling commercial air travel. Because false positives are inevitably prohibitively frequent. Because things that can reasonably be expected to fool cops into pulling a gun on someone are freakin' omnipresent.

Why *have* cops if all they can do is threaten and maybe kill any random 6th grader displaying blinking lights and/or exposed wires from Radio Shack? Unless we can train them to accurately assess threat levels, trust them not to overreact to someone's science project, they are making the situation worse even if there are terrorists in among the 6th grade science fair offerings. The police become the terrorists.

I prefer Terry Karney's way of thinking about this, personally. I prefer to think that competence in law enforcement is not impossible. I prefer holding cops responsible for grotesque overreactions than resigning myself to a world in which the dead person is held to blame if those overexciteable poor dears shoot someone for wearing DIY blinking-LED jewelry.

#54 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 08:36 PM:

So the elementary school science teachers who (around 1980) taught us kids to make basic circuits with "C" batteries, tiny light bulbs, switches, and masses of brightly colored and infinitely tangled telephone wire (to keep costs down, materials were reused from former classes), attached with wads of masking tape inside shoeboxes, were actually teaching us how to make IEDs. The mind boggles.

Of course, it was a progressive elementary school.

#55 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 08:36 PM:

Jon H @46: Are you saying our security guards should be able to do chemical analysis by sight alone?

No. But, after that chemical analysis comes back negative, and it turns out that she has a plausible explanation for wearing such a device, and her statement that she wears it regularly is supported by independent witnesses (as happened, according to another site I read about this on), then the charges against her should be dropped. Immediately. This hasn't happened yet.

#56 ::: Wim L ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 08:48 PM:

Come to think of it, I did build a device with blinky LEDs and loose wires in sixth grade, and someone did tell me they thought it looked like a bomb. (It was actually an "electronic thumb" prop for a book report I did on The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.)

#57 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 08:50 PM:

YASID request-- one of the pix at the "Challenging Nature" particle has half-reminded me of a story which may've been written by Ted Sturgeon and iirc was in an anthology edited by Judith Merrill (yeah, I know that really narrows things down):

A young man climbs over a wall into the grounds of a vast estate. Initially, he'd been led there by a friend who wanted to show him the mosaic-tiled pool, which they dubbed "the old swimming hole", but this time on his own, he nearly drowns. He's pulled out by the resident heiress (iirc her first name is Sylva?), who instantly falls in love with him. Shortly after their wedding, he's diagnosed with lethally advanced choriocarcinoma.

She arranges for all of his budding teratomas to be artificially gestated in case any of them turn out to be fully developmentally viable. Before he dies, she gets him to recount every single detail and memory of his life so his prospective clones (though I don't think the word "clone" was actually used) can have his entire upbringing replicated to duplicate his original personality as well. Once everything is in place, she has herself put into cold storage to be thawed back out when the clone is the right age; the very end of the story confronts the reader with the possibility of unknowingly being that clone.

I riffled through two Sturgeon anthos in the library this afternoon and didn't find it in either of those. Does anyone recognize this story and know the title?

#58 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 09:36 PM:

Constance Ash #22: Hugo Chávez Frías seems to be the first and fourth.

#59 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 09:39 PM:

Nix #28: I live in Atlanta, where, this summer, it has got very hot. Very hot. Last summer the rubber feet on my office phone melted. My office building now has working air-conditioning. 'Boil' is the word. Adding extra letters to my name, btw, may make me laugh.

#60 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 09:48 PM:

Chavez: Dictator trying to make himself El Permanent Honcho by the salami method (one slice at a time.) Plus ungood.

As for the JS&MN category, who's read The Ladies of Grace Adieu?

#61 ::: Zeborah ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 09:52 PM:

That text about the machine-breakers reminds me of a library book about the popular perception of the Luddites (vs the reality) which I only had time to read the start of before I had to return it for someone, probably more interested than I, who'd requested it. Against technology : from the Luddites to Neo-Luddism by Steven E. Jones.

I struggled through the first large portion of JS&MN despite the fact that I couldn't find *anyone* to sympathise with, because it had lots of sparkly bits. I'd then just got to a part where I was consistently enjoying the story and, mid-sentence, discovered 16 or 32 pages were missing. Fortunately the store I'd bought it from, though I no longer had the receipt, were happy to exchange it for a copy which did have all its pages; and then I loved the rest of it (though I'm still pondering the ending - I think it'll feel better on a reread, knowing that it's coming like that).

To Fragano, from Down Under:

Spring is begun, and we must now uncoil
from the warm shelter of dark winter's lair
and blink in sunlight; take it as a dare
to greet anew the fern's unfolding foil.
Up work the seeds through the indifferent soil:
the flowers, the weeds alike are rooted there,
and I must sort among them for my share
of thyme's sweet scent and summer's juicy spoil.
There is no end to bindweed's subtle ploys,
or dandelions embedded deep in grime,
yet daffodils rise over all and grin;
I plant anew the shoots a frost destroys,
and gather bright camellias where they climb --
and with such hope shall each new year begin.

#63 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 09:58 PM:

Constance Ash #22: Hmmm, there doesn't seem to be enough of a variety of anti-Chavez options in your poll.

#64 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 09:59 PM:

Fragano, are you on LJ? I've seen a couple of comments on LJ-posts by denizens of the fluorosphere by somebody using an accountname that could be a shortening of your name--initial+surname.

#65 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 09:59 PM:

Tony Zbaraschuk @#60:

As for the JS&MN category, who's read The Ladies of Grace Adieu?

I've read the title story in the collection and liked it quite a lot, although it might not be as cool if you haven't read JS&MN. I'm working my way through the collection and so far it's precisely what I expected...lovely, elegant tales, no adrenaline. It's as if some of the footnotes in JS&MN had been spun out into proper stories.

#66 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 10:04 PM:

Zeborah #61: That's wonderful! Thank you.

#67 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 10:06 PM:

Dave Bell #64: That would be 'fledgist', and that would be me, yes.

#68 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 11:06 PM:

Xopher...

You were right. What about? I just finished watching Doctor Who's episode blink and it is one of the best time-travel stories done as a TV show and/or movie.

Besides that, I was amused that the first commercial break start with a proud announcement that the episode was sponsored by the people of the United Methodist Church.

#69 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 11:32 PM:

Nigerian scam letter of the week:

"Dear beloved, My name is Rahman Sarif, A Bahrain national,I have been diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer .It has defiled all forms of medical treatment..."

#70 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 11:32 PM:

Starkle starkle little twink...

#71 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 11:34 PM:

Fragano, #67, huh. I never thought that was you! I thought it was someone either with birds or arrows. And I suppose you may not know that I'm mjlayman.

(A new batch of house finch fledglings today! The third for the summer, which is rare. Usually we just get two.)

#72 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 11:37 PM:

Julie L. @ 57: Oh jeez, I know the anthology and the story, but I can't remember the title. (Gur jbzna vf gur qrfpraqrag bs n fynire jub qrpvqrf gung jrnygu vf rivy orpnhfr bs gur rail vg vafcverf va bguref, naq fb vf qrgrezvarq gb uvqr uvf jrnygu?)

I think there's another story in the same collection about a Native-American who is part of the team that does the initial survey on a new world. He is convinced that the local herd species is sentient, though not verbal, and tries to convince the company that owns the planet of the fact. They ignore him, saying that he's just projecting, and proceed to to commit enviromental genocide. Does that sound familiar? The title of this story has something about "sun" in it.

from the Le Guin review of Stone Gods: "particularly when Spike succeeds, as I think no other detached head has, in having sex. "

Clearly, Le Guin has not been watching the new Doctor Who series.

#73 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 11:48 PM:

Clearly, Le Guin has not been watching the new Doctor Who series.

Or Re-Animator.

#74 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 11:57 PM:

Terry@24: Given a choice between semi-auto 9mm and semi-auto 30-30, I'd rather see the cops at airports carrying 9mm's since odds are they'll be firing near crowds of people. And I think a 30-30 has more penetration than a 9mm, although I'm a little rusty.

Cops certainly shouldn't have full auto weapons. The only time cops will run into needing full auto will be in a hollywood terrorist plot.

Every shot should be an aimed shot.

#75 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:02 AM:

Serge@25: When an incompetent - whether an individual or an organization - gets sloppy

Except that I've been reading plenty of comments on other blogs about this where commenters are saying the cops did the right thing or didn't do enough. Someone commented that since it could have been a bomb, the cops should have shot her on sight.

So, it isn't just an organizational thing. There is a rather large swath of people who have lost their minds, enough, I think perhaps, to say it is a species thing.

#76 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:06 AM:

Greg London @ 74... The only time cops will run into... the only Time Lord?

#77 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:08 AM:

No, no, Serge, he meant Timecops.

#78 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:18 AM:

Mary@26, the problem I have with the Litany is that the first line is "I must not fear", which is an impossible demand. Of course we fear. The thing is to still act rationally in the presence of fear. There have been times where I've been driving a car or flying a plane, or whatever, where I felt tremendous, ohmygodimgonnadie fear, and still kept at the controls.

I've had visions of fireballs playing through my mind as I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing to land in an emergency. Of course I will feel fear. The point is that if you freeze up because of it, you'll auger in and die. But really, I see little difference between that and someone succumbing to fear and letting their civil rights auger in and die too.

I don't want to tell folks that they must not feel fear. I think that would be impossible. But I would like to see people separate their fear from their decision making process. That at least has some slim chance of making it.

I don't know why, but I'm noticing a rather morbid subprocess going on in the brain that's trying to tally up all the close calls I've had in my lifetime. I can think of about a dozen incidents where death was a possibility.

#79 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:23 AM:

Greg @ 74 and Terry @ 24:

A pistol is what you use to fight your way to a long gun.

We do not, of course, know what trigger module is in that MP5. It could be plain semi-auto. Most likely, it is selective-fire with a choice between semi-auto and 3-shot burst. It is *highly* unlikely to be full auto. And yes, 9 mm penetrates less than 30-30 (assuming conventional ammo), and yes, it is VASTLY more controllable than a pistol would be. Many studies indicate that for typical police shootings, much less than 50% of the rounds end up in the target. This means that much more than 50% of the rounds stop somewhere else. In this respect the MP-5 is a much safer weapon than a pistol. The suppressor allows the operator to not lose his or her hearing. Weapons fired indoors are LOUD. Although I dislike the police-state like aspect of having cops walking around with submachine guns, in purely rational terms the officer carrying (and trained for) the MP-5 is far less likely to cause collateral damage than the more typical officer who's carrying a .40 caliber Glock, if they face the same circumstances.

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:24 AM:

ethan @ 77... How could I forget that, not only did Timecop star the Muscles from Brussels, but it was also directed by Peter Hyams. Be still, my cinema-loving heart.

#81 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:46 AM:

It strikes me that the only thing the Wicked Terrorists need to do in order to sneak a bomb onto an airplane is refrain from sticking blinky-lights on it.

#82 ::: S. Dawson ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:52 AM:

Mary @26, Greg @78:
Then there's Martin's wonderfully concise Fear cuts deeper than swords.

#83 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 01:18 AM:

About the fake bomb incident - I know it's going to sound a bit snarky, but did she have a minute of thought beforehand that someone might misintepret her toy? It doesn't excuse the overreaction of the cops, but still.

#84 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 01:41 AM:

Serge @ 68

You'll be happy to know that the Torchwood episode that was on last night on BBC America (DirectTV) has an equally good take on acausal loops of a slightly different sort. Good stuff.

#85 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 01:50 AM:

Hey all,
How would you write "I'll sue!" in Latin?
Thanks in advance.

#86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 01:53 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 84... Alas, we get BBC America only occasionally here in Albuquerque, due to their having to accomodate all those religious channels where people tells their viewers that they must send money, which will give God the incentive to fix their bad hair. It's either that or creepy bishops.

#87 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 02:17 AM:

Heresiarch @72: (Gur jbzna vf gur qrfpraqrag bs n fynire jub qrpvqrf gung jrnygu vf rivy orpnhfr bs gur rail vg vafcverf va bguref, naq fb vf qrgrezvarq gb uvqr uvf jrnygu?)

Yes, exactly! "Thou shalt not covet, nor cause other people to covet..."

Offhand, I don't recall the other story you mentioned, but it may've simply bounced off me at the time. Or it may've been a different antho. When I try to remember any more details, all I get is a sensory blur of a dark blue cover, a faint scent of mildew, and the very bitter taste my fingertips picked up from the paper. Between that detail and a childhood story from one of Lang's [Color] Fairy Books about a king who was poisoned by a pre-treated tome, that was the exact point at which I stopped licking my fingertips to turn pages.

#88 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 02:29 AM:

"It strikes me that the only thing the Wicked Terrorists need to do in order to sneak a bomb onto an airplane is refrain from sticking blinky-lights on it."

On the other hand, if we decide that anything with blinky-lights is just good natured nerdy fun, then they just have to stick blinky-lights on it.

(In this case, though, I expect she would have attracted the same attention if they were unblinky capacitors and resistors displayed in the same fashion.)

#89 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 02:48 AM:

"It seems contradictory to say of Star's device that it was something that any 6th grader could construct, and yet a cop would have to have magic future vision to calmly assess its threat value before pulling a gun on her. It's both trivially accomplishable AND a clever bomb-resembling device that cops oughtn't to be blamed for overreacting to?"

Er, yes.

If the goal is to have an impressive display for career day, and you go to MIT - that being the key to my point , then you don't want to have some messy bit of breadboard that a sixth grader could put together.

If you're a ham-handed terrorist, then you may be satisfied with something that will work, even if it looks like crap. You're not trying to impress anyone with the wire wrapping skills.

"Sloppy and easy" aren't synonymous with "harmless".

Also, just because the wires and lights are visible doesn't mean that there couldn't be hard-to-see wires running into holes in the shirt to concealed explosives. No, that wouldn't be logical, but logic isn't really the strong point of people who go around bombing things.

#90 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 02:57 AM:

I think the canonical weird piece of actual bomb apparel would have to be the one from the pizza guy/bank robber in Pennsylvania - the one where the guy claimed to have a bomb under his shirt which was locked around his neck. All that was visible was a steel collar contraption and a lump under his shirt.

Turned out he wasn't lying, and before the cops could figure out what to do, it blew up and killed the guy.

Now, if someone shows up at the airport with a similar getup, i suppose the cops could just assume it's a steampunk art project or some kind of weird cosplay, but I think that would be a bad decision.

#91 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:02 AM:

And exactly how many people are there going around bombing things in America, with or without blinky ights?

Here's the fact: If someone wanted to bomb anything at all, that person would succeed. The bomb might not work, but it would get to its intended target.

The entire TSA and Department of Homeland Security could be disbanded tomorrow with a net increase of actual terrorist acts in America of, oh, zero.

#92 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:05 AM:

George Smiley @ 79

All very good points and true, but...

It is *highly* unlikely to be full auto

True if we assume the police officers' superiors to be competent and that those officers haven't disobeyed their orders. Remember that standing orders for the Ohio National Guard on that day in Kent was not to load live ammunition. The orders were disobeyed, and a squad of inexperienced classroom soldiers got rattled and opened fire. I'm expecting this to happen in an airport anytime now.

And if they're not full auto, why did that officer need a 30 round clip?

in purely rational terms the officer carrying (and trained for) the MP-5

My experience is that police officers are rarely properly trained for their normal tasks, let alone special tasks like stopping bomb-carrying terrorists in crowded airport terminals. Portland is not a very large city, and we get at least 3 or 4 incidents a year with the city police alone where inadequate training, or poor fire-discipline indicating bad training gets some civilian killed or seriously injured. And the incidents that I hear about from other cities, indicate similar problems. I simply do not believe it is necessary, for instance, for four New York City police officers to put more than 50 9mm rounds into 3 or 4 suspects, and I don't believe that that amount of fire meets their fire-discipline guidelines. One of those cops fired 31 times, going through 2 clips, and they were all shooting at a single car (whose occupants appear to have been unarmed, but that's a different can or worms).

#93 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:08 AM:

Julie L. and #57:

I was pretty sure that story was in the collection The Golden Helix, but I've just been to the basement and fetched it. Doesn't seem like it matches any of the stories there.

A hunch set me to googling.

The story you want is "When You Care, When You Love." It's in the book Case and the Dreamer and it also appears in The Best of Fantasy and Science Fiction #25. It's the beginning of a novel Sturgeon never finished.

#94 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:11 AM:

I wonder how likely it would be to have security hassles if one went to the airport with this chemical formula printed on a t-shirt.

I think I will leave that experiment to others.

#95 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:16 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 94

Putting on my snark hat, I'd bet that it would be moderately likely to get you stopped and questioned, but probably less likely than if you were wearing a tee shirt with the differential form of Maxwell's Equation on it. "Pull this one aside, he's got arabic on his shirt."

#96 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:18 AM:

The Sturgeon story people are looking for is called "When You Care, When You Love". Happy to be of service.

As for Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, I loved it from the very first page and wished it wouldn't end. This is a rare reaction to a book for me.

#97 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:21 AM:

Shoot! Bill beat me by 10 minutes.

#98 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:09 AM:

As well as the technical advantages of an MP-5, there's an intimidation element. A thirty-round clip makes you look ready to fight a battle and, for good or ill, that's the image of Hollywood terrorism (The most recent Tom Clancy novel I read had such a sequence in a shopping mall.)

It's not so reassuring to the people who are aware of the weaknesses in US Police forces.

#99 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:09 AM:

As well as the technical advantages of an MP-5, there's an intimidation element. A thirty-round clip makes you look ready to fight a battle and, for good or ill, that's the image of Hollywood terrorism (The most recent Tom Clancy novel I read had such a sequence in a shopping mall.)

It's not so reassuring to the people who are aware of the weaknesses in US Police forces.

#100 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 06:38 AM:

Out here in Western Australia, an mandatory enquiry is under way into the actions of a police officer who drew his pistol, shot and killed a man on an isolated country road. The cop was alone, and had pulled a motorist over after receiving a report that the car had driven away from a filling station without paying. Unknown to the cop, the motorist was wanted in Victoria for a double murder, and had already served time for armed robbery.

The bloke pulled over, knowing that the cop was a long way from back-up. He got out of the car, seemed co-operative enough, and waited until the cop turned to check his licence plate, then attacked him from behind, but bare-handed. The cop sustained concussion, two black eyes and a broken nose, and fell to the ground. He didn't have his pistol out, but he then drew it and fired twice. Both bullets struck his assailant in the torso, and the second one killed him. The weapon was the standard police issue .38.

Two points occur to me. One, if the bloke had had a gun, the cop would probably be dead. Two, the cop did very well indeed under the circumstances to hit him twice in two shots. Of course there had to be an enquiry. The results are not in yet.

#101 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 07:18 AM:

Greg London @#78: I know that courage is different than lack of fear, and it's a quality I focus on a lot in life. Of course it's impossible to have no fear, but I like the litany for its bravado--in the book Paul uses it not as a criticism of himself for having fear, as a way of wrestling his fear into a manageable state when he needs to be brave. It's an incitement to courage.

I don't recite the whole thing to myself, but "fear is the mind-killer" has been a useful mantra for me on many occasions. Fear is a function of the animal self; courage is one of the blessings of reason.

#102 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 07:30 AM:

Has Wikipedia always had a donation request at the top of the page? I see it rotates through various versions.

"Make a donation to Wikipedia and give the gift of knowledge!"

"Help us provide free content to the world by donating today!"

"Help us improve Wikipedia by supporting it financially."

Also, I notice that "Gom jabbar" has its very own article, with no challenges about notability or citation, and Dune is not one of its references. I guess it's ok to chronicle every detail of something as long as it's not a critical communication medium like usenet. Of course, some wanker editor will probably read this comment and go pounce on the thing.

#103 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 07:49 AM:

Fragano @59, I have consistently misread your name for at least two years and only now note the absence of a second `r', sorry.

The power of the mind when it knows what it's looking at, even if it's not...

#104 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:09 AM:

#72: ID request for a story that isn't "When You Care, When You Love" (as already identified) but was in the same collection....

That sounds like Robert Silverberg's "Sundance", so the collection is probably the Silverberg/Greenberg The Arbor House Treasury of Modern Science Fiction (1980, aka Great Science Fiction of the 20th Century 1987), which contains both.

#105 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:23 AM:

It seems to me that the main issue here is the enormous rarity of terrorists. Since terrorists are apparently less than one person in a million traveling on airplanes, almost anything you do to detect them will find dozens or hundreds of "false positives" per terrorist. So you need a very careful, gentle procedure for handling possible terrorist incidents, knowing that nearly all of them will be false alarms.

#106 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:38 AM:

Julie L., Bill Higgins: Aha! "WYC,WYL" was also published in Great Science Fiction of the 20th Century, which also contained "Sundance," by Robert Silverberg, which was the story that I was thinking of.

Jon H @ 89: "Also, just because the wires and lights are visible doesn't mean that there couldn't be hard-to-see wires running into holes in the shirt to concealed explosives. No, that wouldn't be logical, but logic isn't really the strong point of people who go around bombing things."

That's convenient, how we can assume that our enemies are just precisely the exact blend of dangerous and stupid that happens to justify cops treating anyone with unorthodox accessories as a terrorist.

Besides which, is anyone actually arguing that the correct response to this was total inaction? No. Mostly, I hear people saying that it might be nice if the Boston police were capable of some response level between sitting on their asses and throwing teenagers in jail under ridiculous pretenses.

#107 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:43 AM:

Dave Langford @ 104: Oh, hey there. A lesson on the importance of refreshing the page before you post!

#108 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:44 AM:

Suicide bommbers do not usually advertise their existence, so the rule of thumb on any openly worn piece of kit that might, if you squint, look like a bomb, is that it probably isn't a bomb.

Of course, from the point of view of the cops, overreaction is always better than not reacting, as one bomb attack can ruin your whole career while harassing innocent citizens has no influence whatsoever...

#109 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:48 AM:

Marcel Marceau has died, and now the rest is silence.

Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

#110 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:56 AM:

On MP5s, the UK police unit for aviation security, SO18, has used MP5s modified to single-shot only for a while -- 2002 at least, and presumably before. There's a picture here. No suppressors, though.

Also, as I recall, the cops who shot de Menezes dead on the Underground used pistols. Of course, they were undercover, so concealable weapons were their only option.

On Star Simpson, the so-called "putty" was in fact paint on the hoody meant to be lit up by Simpson's improvised electronic device. If it had been explosive, there wouldn't have been enough there to blow her nipples off, let alone destroy a plane. Calling it "putty" is a clear case of managing the information flow, or as we ordinary peons call it, "lying".

#111 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:19 AM:

Marcel Marceau has died, and now the rest is silence.

Am I alone in hoping he left some famous last words?

#112 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:22 AM:

Marilee #71: I don't think I'm a fledgling or a fletcher. 'Fledgist' was the truncation of my name used as a handle by UCSD on my e-mail account when I was a graduate student. I rather liked it so I've been using it as a handle ever since.

You're in Etlanna, I think?

#113 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:36 AM:

JESR@14:
It is an ancient mariner, and he stoppeth one of three.
"Well, the Mariners never were any good on defense."
(from a New York contest, quoted in their collection-of-contest-results Maybe He's Dead.)

#44: just a slightly odd, smart MIT student with exceptionally poor judgement
How many layers of tautology is that?

#57ff: I would swear I saw "WYC, WYL" in Sturgeon is Alive and Well -- but I also would have sworn I had a copy, and it's not on my shelves to check.

Dave@100: It's true there are cases when a cop is actually attacked; however, there are also a lot of cases where a cop uses a massive excess of firepower despite a lack (or severe shortage) of indicators suggesting it.

#22&ff: Chavez talks a line that appeals to the ~left; but considering that he previously tried a coup without the leftist speeches, I don't trust him to mean anything he says. I particularly don't trust the way he's leaning on broadcast media and now schools; you may call them tools of the establishment if you wish, but he already has a bully pulpit to shout them down from. And when even Putin is willing to surrender titular power, the idea that he alone must rule for another decade-plus strikes me the wrong way.
    The fact that the U.S. is behaving stupidly toward Chavez doesn't make him right; it just makes his worst demagoguery more swallowable locally. The fact that Huey P. Long did some good for many people doesn't mean he should be emulated.

#114 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:38 AM:

Nix #103: It happens, alas.

#115 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:40 AM:

#46:It's reported that she had putty with her. Are you saying our security guards should be able to do chemical analysis by sight alone?

Well, are you saying that once they determined it was play doh and that she had no intent of anything even remotely dangerous, they should arrest her and charge her for a so-called "hoax bomb" anyway? Exaggerating positions works both ways.

I note that you conveniently missed the section of my (admittedly long) comment where I said that the police were absolutely right to investigate.

#116 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Candle #111: 'Non'. (Quoting Marcel Marceau's one statement in Mel Brooks' Silent Movie, in which he had the only speaking role.)

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:48 AM:

A silent rhyme
For the late mime?

#118 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:50 AM:

#106:Besides which, is anyone actually arguing that the correct response to this was total inaction? No. Mostly, I hear people saying that it might be nice if the Boston police were capable of some response level between sitting on their asses and throwing teenagers in jail under ridiculous pretenses.

Precisely. The reason why I hate having this discussion is that the position in your second sentence consistently gets misrepresented as the position in your first sentence. I realize that this is because it's much easier to knock down "the police should just sit by and do nothing with bomb threat reports" than "the police should learn what proportionate response means and not arrest the innocent, or clueless." This, however, doesn't make the misrepresentation any less annoying.

Moreover, the misrepresentation doesn't do a thing towards actually making us safer. Ultimately, I think some assurance of safety is what we all want.

#119 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:56 AM:

Marcel Marceau:

Six pallbearers put forth their utmost efforts to walk against the relentless opposition of hurricane-force wind, burdened by the crushing weight of an imaginary coffin ...

#120 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Jim@81: to sneak a bomb onto an airplane ... refrain from sticking blinky-lights on it.

And hide any wires. Wire is the blackest magic to some people. What is the ring of power but a piece of really conductive gold wire made into a loop? And if you throw it in a fireplace, does it not blink red lettering at you?

The only thing I haven't figured out is how he replaced the 9 volt battery. Sauron must be using some really good energy storage technology. Oh, wait, maybe he's using microwave energy to transmit energy wirelessly to the ring. And a side effect on anyone wearing the ring while he's remotely powering it: heating of the ear canal causes the wearer to hear phantom voices.

#121 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 10:20 AM:

I wonder if there's been any reaction from the gargoyle/wearable computing community to the insanity in Boston?

#122 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 10:20 AM:

Tony #60, re Ladies of Grace Adieu: I've read it. Loved it. Want more.

Jim @ #81, not only that, the only thing they have to do to paralyze the entire transportation system is drop a few thousand at Radio Shack and hire some angry middle-school kids.

#123 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 10:52 AM:

For those not familiar with electronics, the MIT student had a breadboard with LED's strapped to her back. A picture of a generic breadboard is here.

That picture shows how breadboards normally look when they're being used. Stuff plugged into them. Wires hanging everywhere. The board acts as the physical support to hold everything together and as a convenient way to attach components to each other electrically without soldering. The main advantage to this is that when you screw up, you just unplug a wire, and plug it in the correct way, and you're up and running.

As it happens, that generic image of a breadboard looks a lot like the MIT student's breadboard here.

You can buy them at Radio Shack. here is one they sell for four dollars. You can buy 20 assorted LED's from Radio Shack for $3. You can get a bunch of precut, prestripped wires from them for $7. Throw in some resistors for a buck or two, and a 9 volt battery, and you've got everything you need to cause a government organization to piss itself.

The Chicken Little response I keep hearing is she should have known not to wear this to an airport. The reasoning is that since airports are known terrorist targets, she shouldn't wear anything that might worry the trigger happy cops with submachine guns. In fact, some argue that she should have been shot in case it had been a real bomb.

OK.

Except if you extend that logic, then you must take the list of all possible and potential terrorist targets, and then tell everyone that they shouldn't do anything to scare the trigger happy cops with submachine guns at any of those places either.

Anywhere on a public road. Any large skyscraper. Any government office building. And pretty soon, you've covered an area where 90% of the US population lives.

So, pretty much anyone doing anything that anyone else might not understand and could potentially fear is a bomb, can be justifiably shot on sight, because they're near a potential terrorist target location, and that thing just might be a bomb.

At which point, I think I have to return to my original assessment:

As a species, we have lost our damned minds.

#124 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 11:02 AM:

Building on #60 and #113: I'd hope the last century or so of history should have given us enough reasons to especially beware the benevolent dictator.

It's easy enough to notice and protest the dictator that's doing things you don't like. But it seems all too many folks are willing to give them a pass or cheer them on when they're "doing what needs to be done", whether it's banishing capitalist oppression, restoring national greatness, rooting out communist subversion, or protecting our way of life from terrorism. Without significant popular support, most of those would-be dictators couldn't have established themselves. And things never seem to turn out particularly well once they have.

Close to home, I'm quite concerned that I haven't heard much from the major Democratic presidential candidates about what they would do to reverse the assumption of ever-broader powers by the chief executive. Not that the Republicans, with the notable exception of Ron Paul, have been any better. But, while I generally favor a Democrat getting the presidency in the upcoming election, if they don't seem inclined to disavow the recently claimed powers of the president, I want to make sure there are plenty of Republicans or other opposition party members in Congress as a check.

#125 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 11:02 AM:

Oh, and I should add this:

Anything you wire up in a breadboard is notoriously fragile. A wire can come disconnected with a tug in the wrong direction. a lot of parts have long leads sticking up in the air, and it doesn't take much to push those parts together, and end up getting a bunch of stuff shorting out.

Anyone who uses a breadboard to control a bomb is an idiot. Never mind that you don't need complex circuits to make a bomb go off. But if for some reason you do want a James Bond Super Villian unbelievably complex firing mechanism, you'd be far better off using a piece of perfboard and soldering the parts together.

perfboard (perforated board) is a piece of insulating material with holes spaced like a breadboard, but with no electrical connections in the board. It's basically pegboard you see some mechanics use to hang their tools on the wall, except shrunken down to electronics size.

#126 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 11:05 AM:

The veggie animals (particle) come from the Play With Your Food book series, in case anyone's looking for more. Fun stuff for the small fry.

#127 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 11:11 AM:

Mary Dell @ 126... Fun stuff for the small fry. And what of the Laurie?

#129 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 11:17 AM:

Mary@102: Has Wikipedia always had a donation request at the top of the page?

Not always, but for a long time. I seem to recall the donation request stuff when I was working on wikipedia a couple years ago. But that may be an artificial memory.

#130 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:05 PM:

#102: Of course, some wanker editor will probably read this comment and go pounce on the thing.

That's wanker.

#131 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:13 PM:

#130: From the wikipedia article on "gom jabbar":

It is also possible that the phrase Gom Jabbar may cover other methods of death with a similar aim, as Paul Muad'Dib tells Reverend Mother Helen Gaius Moheim, "I remember your gom jabbar, you remember mine. I can kill you with a word."

Someone slept through the class unit on "metaphor" in high school English ...

#132 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:14 PM:

#130: From the wikipedia article on "gom jabbar":

It is also possible that the phrase Gom Jabbar may cover other methods of death with a similar aim, as Paul Muad'Dib tells Reverend Mother Helen Gaius Moheim, "I remember your gom jabbar, you remember mine. I can kill you with a word."

Someone slept through the class unit on "metaphor" in high school English ...

#133 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:29 PM:

Jon Meltzer @#131 (or #132): I didn't notice that...sheesh, how can anyone read a book with as many big words as Dune and not get that?

#134 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 12:55 PM:

Anybody who wants to complain about Venezuela's timezone kerfuffle should probably review the histories of Australian and Israeli daylight savings time changes. Here's a page of fun fact-like information.

Until 2005 in Israel, the end of daylight savings was decided every year by the Ministry of the Interior. The decision was never announced with enough time to update software systems. Now, they have a more predictable DST regime, but the basic problem of computing conversions between UTC and local time, especially going backward very far in the historical record, is a huge pain the neck. In Australia, it's been slightly better, but still guaranteed to make any software developer want to scream. Sure, it's pretty dumb to order the clocks changed at short notice, but Venezuela's change isn't the worst example one can find.

I'd be willing to switch the entire globe over to the straight NTP timescale, no daylight savings, no timezones, not even leap seconds, but— alas— I fear the The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (I love the name of that organization) will probably never give up on UTC.

Damned astronomers and their insistence that a second is a second is a second, no matter where and when you measure it.

#135 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 01:12 PM:

Bruce Cohen @95: "Pull this one aside, he's got arabic on his shirt."

I don't think they read the print on the T-shirts much. I've word this T-shirt on more than one international flight into or out of the United States and nobody has said "boo" about it. I find it hard to believe that they all know that the T-shirt is no longer technically a munition anymore.

#136 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 01:23 PM:

"Veroboard" may be trademarked, but I recall it being a staple of hobby electronics in the UK. It's a piece of perfboard with parallel copper tracks on one side. The holes were smaller than the width of the tracks, so a 10x10 grid of holes would have 10 tracks, each with 10 holes, and a component lead through a hole could be soldered to a track. Add to the system a little tool that, using a hole as a guide, could be used to cut the track, and you have a solderable equivalent to breadboards.

The hole spacing was, if I recall right, compatible with the pin spacing on DIL chips.

I learnt enough about soldering to replace a couple of parts on computer motherboards. And the memory kit for a TRS-80 cost me more than a gigabyte of RAM would today.

#137 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 02:23 PM:

Greg London @ 123

As a species, we have lost our damned minds.

On the evidence, we never had them.

#138 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 02:31 PM:

So, is Captain Jack back as a regular onboard the TARDIS, or just for a few episodes? Either way, that should make Xopher happy.

#139 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 02:32 PM:

Speaking of self publication and politics, Robert Altemeyer is now offering a self-published editions of The Authoritarians at lulu.com. Let's see how many libraries we can get it into.

#140 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 02:42 PM:

Bruce@137: On the evidence, we never had them.

Oh, now you're just trying to depress me. But I already beat you to it.

;/

#141 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Tony, #60: "As for the JS&MN category, who's read The Ladies of Grace Adieu?"

Well, me, in 1995, when I bought the actual story of that name for Starlight 1--her first sale.

(Yes, this is well known, but sometimes you just can't resist the low-hanging fruit.)

#142 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 02:51 PM:

j h @ 135

My cynicism is showing, but I have trouble believing that a lot of them know what "munition" means.

#143 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:11 PM:

#60:

"As for the JS&MN category, who's read The Ladies of Grace Adieu?"

I admired it for all the reasons I admired JS&MN and disliked it for all the reasons I disliked JS&MN. The pleasures may have been smaller in scope, but so were the annoyances.

As far as Chavez goes, that's why it was a multiple choice poll. It worrisome to think of how he will behave when Fidel is no longer there to restrain his far too many far less than intelligent impulses. His hero-worship and desire to emulate Fidel holds him rather in check now.

But Chavez doesn't posses the scope of intellectual brilliance and the life-time of constant education in history and everything else that Fidel contains. Fidel has even demonstrated an ability to re-educate himself, something that to my knowledge no other life-time dictator has ever done. I might be wrong about that, not knowing everything, alas. Chavez also lacks the rigorous impulse control that Fidel has. Patience, Fidel has; Chavez not so much. Chavez's basic instincts are those of a thug, or at least a brute, or it seems to me.

I fear the Chavez experiment will end badly, as have so many progressive experiments.

But in the meantime, Fidel still refuses to acknowledge he's dead, to the great annoyance of many, who insist otherwise, and have regularly announced his death for decades now.

#144 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:38 PM:

Dave Bell @ 136

Veroboard was available in the States in the 70s, and I recall the same things you do about it. I tended to use breadboard strips for prototyping, but I used perfboard for a one-off project where I needed a 4-channel, DC-coupled, but voltage-isolated, ultra-low error low-frequency amplifier for physiological instrumentation (very small strain gauges for pressure and force measurements and suchlike). The breadboard had too many paths for nanoampere leakage currents which would spoil the readings on high-impedance sources like skin resistance measurements.

#145 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:50 PM:

Julie L. @87: Between that detail and a childhood story from one of Lang's [Color] Fairy Books about a king who was poisoned by a pre-treated tome...

I remember that story! It was the magically surviving severed head the the wizard's revenge, or something. Had to be the Green Fairy Book, unless there was a trip to the library I'm forgetting. That's the only one I owned.

Green Fairy also had the white snake in it, and the twelve dancing princesses. I think.


JDM @ 91: The entire TSA and Department of Homeland Security could be disbanded tomorrow with a net increase of actual terrorist acts in America of, oh, zero.

Precisely--and in fact, with a net decrease in the amount of actual terrorism. I insist that the fear that current TSA and DHS practices instill across the country should be considered terrorism.

Which is what bothers me so much about Jon H. @ 89: I agree that A) bombs are so simple to make that B) something that looks like a bomb shouldn't impress anyone as to your smarts; I disagree that therefore the police should pull out their guns and threaten the lives of everyone carrying something that looks like a nerdy school project. Police behavior of this sort adds to the fear culture without actually making us safer! The only thing that can possibly excuse adding to the fear is subtracting from the danger--and sometimes, as Ben "Those Who Would Sacrifice & etc." Franklin would tell you, not even that is sufficient justification.

So if we can't actually stop the terrorists with the bombs, then can we please stop excusing those who collude with the terrorists to, y'know, TERRORIZE the populace?


Greg @123: Exactly. Beyond a near line of reasonableness, I am not responsible for the stupidity that goes on in other people's heads. Nor was Star. If it didn't occur to her that TSA might mistake it for a bomb, that could be because it's not a mistake we should expect supposedly trained professionals with badges and guns to make.


Dave Luckett @100: If I understand your summary correctly, there were only two witnesses to the event: the police officer and the man he killed. That means we only have the police officer's word for it that he acted in self-defense. There absolutely needs to be an inquiry in such a situation. I would really, really hate to live in a society in which a badge and uniform makes your word so golden that no one questions you when you say, "That dead guy was asking for it." (I think that many black men in the Southern U.S. states in the 1960s had reason--still have reason today, considering the Jena situation--to share that fear. OH HAI, Racism is the new Nazi in re: Godwin!)

I am *not* saying that I automatically assume the cop in your story was lying. I am simply in favor of cautious suspicion where A) corroborating witnesses are absent and B) someone's dead.


Serge @138: Do you want an answer to that, or would that be classified as Spoiler?

#146 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:50 PM:

Serge @ 138 (and Xopher)

Watch Torchwood if available from your video distributer, and if not, you can at least see some pictures on the BBC website.

#147 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Kelly (1), Avram (16): I would love to get ML indexed. Jim had done some work in that direction before one of his hard drive failures ate it all. A while back I was trying to compile a list of the most important posts, but I've always had one of those "everything is miscellaneous" mindsets, and the work slowed to a pace comparable to Illustrator 1.0 generating an outline of a complex fractal object.

Avram, Movable Type's category system was primitive when I first tried to use it. I became demoralized, and haven't played with it since. But that's not the real problem.

I'm no good at imposing categories. When I try to imagine an index of Making Light posts, it comes out sounding like Borges' list of the categories of animals:

1. Those posts which contain passages in archaic languages. 2. Those I thought would be shorter. 3. Recipes. 4. Those which devolve into bitter reflections on the Bush Administration. 5. Those in which Jim entreats readers to avoid life-threatening situations. 6. Saints. UFOs. 7. Those in which multiple URLs are linked from single words. 8. Short snappy posts in which Patrick says something clever. 9. Astroturf. 10. Those which mention dinosaurs, sodomy, Jesus Christ eating a roast guinea pig, disemvowelling, folk songs, Buffy, citrus, or yarn. 11. The Great War. 12. Those which give rise to comment threads full of poetry. 13. New York City. 14. Writing. Slush. How not to get published. 15. Those which anatomize scams. 16. Those which invoke multiple items in this list. 17. Those in which Mike or Avram is very clever indeed. 18. Those which set the record straight on some aspect of publishing practice that isn't rocket science, for pete's sake. 19. Ongoing natural disasters. 20. Those which consider how something is sold. 21. The iniquities of Congress considered separately from the misdeeds of the Bush Administration. 22. American history. 23. Fandom. 24. Amusing science. 25. Those which despair over the stupidities and institutional corruption of Wikipedia. 26. Those which make fun of visual images. 27. Those which consider clothing an interesting subject. 28. Those which observe that moderation isn't rocket science either. 29. Open threads ...
Not my forte.

#148 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Teresa (147): When I try to imagine an index of Making Light posts, it comes out sounding like Borges' list of the categories of animals:

I'd *love* such an index!

#149 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Teresa... Shouldn't there be a category for knitting, and one for puns?

#150 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:16 PM:

Bill Higgins @93 & David Goldfarb @96: thanks! So I was right about the Sturgeon authorship for "When You Care, When You Love", but wrong about the Merrill factor according to the bibliography here, which doesn't list her as the editor for any of the anthologies it's been in... the local library seems to have at least three of those books, though, so at least I'll be able to re-read that one story.

Greg London @120: Sauron must be using some really good energy storage technology.

Maybe the One Ring has a thermally-powered Stirling engine? The size-changing property seems to be specific to living (and thus biologically endothermic) fingers, in that if it were slipped over a drinking straw, I doubt it would shrink to fit that... hmmm, is Tom Bombadil's body temperature ever established? (Now I'm having brief visions of "Hey nonny, nonny oh, ring-a-ding-a-dilly BRAAAAIIIIINS.")

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @145: It was the magically surviving severed head the the wizard's revenge, or something. Had to be the Green Fairy Book, unless there was a trip to the library I'm forgetting. That's the only one I owned. Green Fairy also had the white snake in it, and the twelve dancing princesses. I think.

The white snake and the twelve dancing princesses also sound familiar, but the only two of Lang's [Color] books I remember owning are the Pink and Brown ones... there may've been another one that'd lost its cover, though, and I do remember trying to track more of the spectrum down at the library.

Every time I've tried to look for the Lang anthos at Borders etc. in recent years, none of the in-print Dover editions seem to've had color plates anymore, so all of those gorgeous Rackham illustrations have been flattened down to grayscale. I'll have to remember to look for older editions as used books.

#151 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:18 PM:

Mary Aileen, it would rival the index to The Stuffed Owl, or the subject headings and overall organization of the first edition of Fowler's.

Serge, posts about knitting comes under "Those which explain how to do something, considered separately from recipes." I forgot to mention that one. (Hm. I left out food, too. I think there's a curse on sausage.) My post on Geek Knitting would fall under "Amusing science," right where anyone would think to look for it.

Puns are ambient.

#152 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:38 PM:

A curse on thee, sausage!

#153 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Serge @ 149

Shouldn't there be a category for knitting, and one for puns?

Only if these are tags, not categories, and one thread can have many tags. Is there a thread on this list that doesn't have puns in it?

#154 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:44 PM:

Teresa @ 151

Such an index might not be as straightforward to use as a more orthodox index, but it would be far more fun, and well worth having.

#155 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Teresa's hypothetical Borgean indexing system reminded me of when Neil Gaiman started adding tags to his blog. A very few of them are actually catagorizing aids, such as "Doctor Who" or "Stardust," but others are pure commentary delight, such as "Bathing Children - A Good Thing?" and "Pondering The Special Place In Hell Reserved For Those Who Dress Dogs Up And Take Funny Pictures Of Them."

These don't work so well if your software actually takes Every Single Tag You've Ever Used and lists them in the left column of the blog (one of my blogging gigs, Burnzpost.com, does this). There is a lesson that anyone in Web 2.0 blogging needs to learn about the difference between TAGS and CATEGORIES, but I am not precisely spoken enough to teach it. All I know is, tags are something you search for, while categories are something you choose out of a menu. Preferably.

Bruce @146: Would it be evil of me to point out The Great TiVO in the Sky? This is where I got my Torchwood fix, and relatively painlessly (non-fans of Torchwood will probably dispute the "painlessly" bit). As for everything else Torchwood, there's this well-connected fan blog which reports on cast appearances, spin-off novels, and magazines as well as when Season 2 will finally hit TV dammit. I'm not particularly fond of the fan collective noun "Woodies," but I don't think we can accurately blame the torchwoodtv.blog for originating it.

#156 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:53 PM:

Bruce Cohen@153 [if] one thread can have many tags

One would think that the knitting could take care of that.

#157 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:56 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 153... Is there a thread on this list that doesn't have puns in it?

If I'm not mistaken, this thread has been remarkably bare of puns. I should probably do something to correct the situation, but that would cause ethan to protest and clamor or the moderators to step in.

#158 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 04:56 PM:

Please read all applicable irony into my mention of "Web 2.0" in the previous post, kthxbye.

#159 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 05:08 PM:

I think I have all of this in some semblance of order.

Jon H: ( #48)
["The cops reacted poorly. One cop, with back-up was all one probably needed. Observe her and then respond."] Terry Karney

I'm sure if the cops and the person at the counter had your perspective from the future, they could make a cool, reasonable response like that.

Nonsense, it’s not my wonderful 20/20 hindsight, its a function of knowing what a person with a visible bomb does (this is the form of profiling we can use, situational, not mechanistic).

Someone who has a bomb in hand is using it to gain an end (rob a bank, get away, etc.). It’s not the same as someone who is engaging in suicide bombing to make a political point.

Making cool, reasonable, responses like that is what we pay cops to do. It’s supposed to be part of all the money DHS has been shoveling at police departments to train them to do. Going six years and they still aren’t clued in.

She was on an island, outside the airport. That’s not a threat to life, limb or property. It’s not consistent with the visible bomber. So it doesn’t demand the overwhelming show of force and the idea that, had she not been perfectly behaved when she had no reason to expect a swarm of cops pointing machine guns at her she ought to be gunned down in defense of the public.

That sort of thinking bothers me more than the possibility that she, in an open space, with no crowd, might have actually set off a bomb. That’s part of the risks we pay cops to take as well.

Elsewhere you say there might be multiple targets. So what? A machine pistol is faster at reacquiring/picking up a new target, but not that much faster (unless one practices with it an awful lot, and the reports are that police departments are having ammo crunches, because it’s all going to the Army... so the level of practice they were getting before is as much as they are getting now).

The fact of the matter is that one cop can only shoot one person at a time, and using burst takes longer than firing single. It is faster to bring to bear, but I don’t think (absent a lot of training) that giving cops more powerful weapons which are easier to use, is actually a good thing.


Greg: (#74) I don’t think every cop in a crowded place ought to have a scoped 30-30 (or whatever low-power rifle of moderate punch you prefer). But I think that for situations such as this was portrayed (bomb wielding person, of unstable demeanor) a 30-30 is a better takedown weapon than a suppressed 9mm.

Body armor will stop +P pistol ammo. Suppressed weapons are not even as punchy as average velocity rds, which makes them less effective against the prepared opponent, which means (IMO) they are less likely to be useful against the targets they are being fielded to stop.

They also, because of range issues, and the problems of using the option to go automatic, are more likely to effect the explosion of a device by the dedicated bomber (and what good telling the suicide bomber to behave, or be killed?) because they have to be seen to be used.

But train the cops to play Kipling (If I had raised my bridle-hand, as I have held it low, The little jackals that flee so fast, were feasting all in a row: If I had bowed my head on my breast, as I have held it high, The kite that whistles above us now were gorged till she could not fly.) and a guy, at some remove (and out of sight, if only by distraction) can deal with the shooting issue, absent much risk to the bystanders.

George Smiley (#76). No. A pistol is what one uses at close (one might say intimate) range. It’s only something one uses to “fight one’s way to a long gun,” in a long-distance exchange of fire situation. That’s not what I expect to ever have be the case in an airport. Certainly the odds of it happening there don’t outweigh the risks that come of rifles, or auto-option. While I don’t know what the trigger module is, I am certain it’s selective; either to full-auto, or burst, I am am certain the department which springs for an MP-5 isn’t going to get it as a pistol-carbine.

I’m well aware of the noise factor, I've fired rifles, on burst; in concrete blockhouses, but as I said above, the issues aren’t the same. Where the range/accuracy comes into play, pistol ammo is a poor choice, and worse when the velocity (and accuracy) is reduced by the suppressor.

Bruce (STM) (#92): Not one 30 rd clip, but two, and in the, “super-speedy side-by-side configuration (which is actually sensible on the MP-5, it’s main drawback being the positive lock/unlock aspect of clip retention).

As for cops and fire discipline, two words: Amadou Diallo. As I recall at least one of the cops shooting at him (who were excused) reloaded. He was unarmed, at close range, and trapped in a doorway.


#160 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 05:22 PM:

As far as Doctor Who-related TV lust objects go, I suppose I should mention that Sarah Jane Adventures starts on Monday. It would not surprise me if Elisabeth Sladen has a gold ring, or a picture in the attic; she seems remarkably well-preserved.

#161 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 05:29 PM:

Dang it, now I want a bi-modal index. One side done using Teresa's indexing scheme, and one done by a professional indexer.

Then I want to see the monthly webstats on which one gets used more...

:-D

#162 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 05:53 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little #145: Ben Richard "Those Who Would Sacrifice & etc." Franklin Jackson

FTFY. heh.

#163 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 05:53 PM:

Teresa (151): I assumed 'knitting' was included in 'yarn', which is on your list. Possibly this was an error.

#164 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 06:21 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 163... I assumed 'knitting' was included in 'yarn'

Yarnever to make me admit I should have knitticed that.

#165 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 06:22 PM:

#147 (TNH)

The categories currently set up at ML are:

Cooking
Faith
Folly
Fraud
Growing Luminous By Eating Light
Knitting
Language
..Publishing
..Reading
..Writing
Moderation and Community
Truth
..Medicine
..Reality

#166 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 06:58 PM:

Dave Bell @ 160... The link isn't working. Just as well, as far as I'm concerned. That way, I don't have to feel frustrated since there's no BBC America around here.

#167 ::: Essex ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 07:14 PM:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell… I've been trying to give that book of several avid fantasy readers who had missed it, at my library, while I was still there. They all hated it, none of them finished. Meself, I sort of love it, dreamy-like. I feel only it was too short. That scene at (York?) cathedral, early on, where Mr. Norrell awakens all those voices, is incredible already. I also liked The Ladies.

#168 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 07:30 PM:

Only at #32 in the thread but there are errand I should go out and run... so

1. The rest of the world is not MIT. MIT really does have its own state-certified police force, nicknamed "campus cops," who once upon a time had a sense of humor and appreciation for the pranks played by MIT students and alumni (one Kenneth R. Wadleigh, who eventually became a Dean, in his student days was one of a group of students who welded a subway car to the tracks). That was once a upon a time, before the [expletive deleted] turned the USA into an imperialistic police state. A few months ago students caught where they weren't supposed to be on campus, instead of given a lecture and chewed out, were charged with criminal trespass....

"hack" below = practical joke and/or poking around...

http://alum.mit.edu/ne/whatmatters/200304/index.html

Nightwork: Hackito Ergo Sum
Hacking Ethics

The irreverent HowToGAMIT Guide (How to Get Around MIT) is the ultimate MIT handbook. This excerpt from HowToGAMIT sets forth the hackers’ code as it stands in the early twenty-first century.

1. Be safe. Your safety, the safety of your fellow hackers, and the safety of anyone you hack should never be compromised.

2. Be subtle. Leave no evidence that you were ever there.

3. Leave things as you found them (or better).

4. If you find something broken call F-IXIT (the local number for reporting problems with the buildings and grounds). Hackers often go places that Institute workers do not frequent regularly and may see problems before anyone else.

6. Do not steal anything.

7. Brute force is the last resort of the incompetent. (“One who breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of reason.”—Keshlam the Seer, Knight of the Random Order)

8. Do not hack while under the influence of alcohol/drugs/etc.

9. Do not drop things (off a building) without a ground crew.

10. Do not hack alone (just like swimming).

11. Above all, exercise common sense.

2. 19 year old MIT students are NOT generally Mature Individuals. That one is personal. Been there....

3. Social cluelessness is no rarity in MIT students. Been there, done that, got the degree....

4. Absentmindedness is not a rarity, regarding what one is wearing, etc.

5. The Logan terminal that the student went to, is one that 9/11 mass murderers used. Paranoia after the fact, is not unheard of amongst those who failed to prevent disaster in the past.

6. The rest of the world is not MIT, and MIT students' ideas regarding what's "reasonable" is often VERY far out of whack with "normal."

7. Ask me in person about the Third East ["Tetazo"] reunion a few weeks ago.

8. I had to visit both court building in Lowell, MA, this month. Both of them were designed for OPENNESS and accessibility for people able to climb stairs, with the courtrooms opening directly onto lobbies or vestibules or corridors with lots of doors and entry/exit to outside without going through Security. Today, though, it's Police State siege bunkered buildings. Both buildings have parts that go back decades, to a time when the idea was OPEN and HONEST and ACCESSIBLE government, not federal STASI and Official Secrets/Executive Orders and treating ordinary citizens as guilty with metal detectors and x-ray machine and "no camera" signs and long lines full of people spewing toxic fumes from their damned cigarettes waiting to get inside.

The MIT student was going on the basis of an entirely different set of values and frame of reference and worldview, the same one that causes so much trouble with the Internet--the Internet is an escaped lab experiment gone kudzu, never intended to be a commercial system in the design of the networking protocols and connectivity, never designed with any COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY or provisions for "hardening" it against slime/intruders/spammers/worm-trojan-other-malware distributors/exploiters/bandwidth-hogs/clueless-wonders.... the internal values of the mindset at MIT is that everyone else is CURIOUS, is interested in Neat Stuff, doesn't destroy things of value and doesn't want to destroy things of value--see Hacker Ethics above.

The idea that there are people out there being intentionally wantonly destructive, is contrary to the hacker ethic mindset, values, and thoughtprocess... and the possibility of her wearable art being taken as inimical and threatening, probably never occurred to the student. It was an alien concept that was outside the worldview.

And she was 13 when 9/11 happened and nearly halfway around the world from it.

#169 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 07:33 PM:

On JS & Mr N.... I will generally be in favour of any book in which n Wnznvpna (be ng nal engr, n crefba bs Wnznvpna bevtva) trgf gb or Xvat bs gur Snvevrf. I loved the book from beginning to end. I agree it began slowly, but I found it gripping from the beginning, and in another year or so when a bit more of it has faded from my memory I will read it again. It looks like the kind of book that will be worthy on a second (and third, and fourth) reading.

#170 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:20 PM:

Teresa @ 147

I don't know about a more general index, but I'm fairly certain I could manage a writing and publishing index, and I'd be willing to look as I go and see whether more is within my reach. I'm fairly decent at letting categories create themselves as appropriate and at not picking up all the pretty shiny even when I want to. If no one minds, I'll dig around starting at the back end of the archive and see what occurs. Once I've got a running start I'll check back in. Does that sound all right?

#171 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:42 PM:

Nicole @145, further followup: there's a searchable index of (apparently) all of Lang's [Color] Fairy Tale books here, with full-text linkage!

I hadn't thought about it, but I suppose they must all be in the public domain by now; haven't yet found the story about the poisoned book, but it's got to be in there somewhere....

#172 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:54 PM:

Nicole @#145, Julie @#87:

The Lang Fairy Books online.

I don't remember the poison book story, but I didn't read them cover-to-cover...I'd read my favorite stories over and over instead.

Looking at the Green one (I have a heap of Lang on my folk-and-fairy shelf) I don't see The 12 Dancing Princesses, but it has Heart of Ice, which I remember adoring. I guess I'll go read it again now!

#173 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:57 PM:

Nicole @#145, Julie @#87:

A little more googling and I found this. It looks like the story you're remembering was from The Arabian Nights. This image is from Lang's version, so it's the same illustrator as the Fairy books.

#174 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Terry @ 159

Amadou Diallo. Right; I couldn't remember enough about that case for a reasonable search, but the one I was referring to was quite easy to find. Seems that killing an unarmed groom on his wedding day and putting two of his unarmed groomsmen in the hospital is news.

#175 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:01 PM:

Well, now I'm addicted to Torchwood. Thanks everyone. The problem is I've only ever seen one Dr. Who episode - whatever BBCAmerica aired before the premiere. I was kind of underwhelmed, although I think that might be due to not knowing exactly what was going on.

Can someone give me a good jumping off place that will both a) introduce me to Captain Jack Harkness, and b) introduce me to the show? I'd like to re-order the netflix queue accordingly.

#176 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:07 PM:

#32

It was the Massport cops, not the Boston cops, and the former, again, get the collateral damage blame for INS and FBI upper management and the carajous heading up the US Executive Branch being completely and utterly irresponsible/incompetent/unwilling to act responsibly, as regards preventing the kamikaze mass murder attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

The facts behind my claims above:
1. The Schmuck and his minions squelched all warnings and concerns by the outgoing Clinton administration regarding threats posed by Al Qaeda. Schmuck, Darth Cheney, and Rumstouch didn't wanna hear about it, and spent more than NINE MONTHS pushing off any and all attempts of anyone else--talk about Cassandra situations, even Cassandra didn't get gagged and barred from the door--her warnings fell on deaf ears, but nobody stopped her from TALKING about it!

2. Two geographically separate and FBI field agents independently expressed concern to the bosses--chain of command--running the offices they were in, that there were suspicious foreign nationals taking jumbo jet flying lessons, who weren't interested in learning how to land the planes. Futhermore, there were questions about where their funding for taking the flying lessons came from, why they they were traking them, and why were they interesting in learning how to fly the planes in the air, but not land them. The agents, independently and in different parts of the USA, smelled rats. But, when they requested support from their management for getting e.g. warrants for searches, and for further investigation, they were told to cease and desist from their investigating and denied support to get warrants for search....

Funny thing about that, today there is all this warrantless search and seizure fascist dictator activity, but that still would not have gotten anywhere, not without the express permission of the MANAGEMENT to do the searches....

I want to know who SQUELCHED the investigations the agents requested. I really, really REALLY want to know--and I want that person or persons, all the way up to and including POTUS, tried for high crimes and misdemeanors, for at a minimum criminally negiglient mass homicide.

3. There were those mistranslated and some not translated documents the CIA, was it, handed over to the FBI. There was an FBI translator who saw them later and said, "-the translations are wrong on the ones translated, and the ones stamped of no relevance, actually are relevant.-" Her boss told her to shut up and stop being a non-team player. She went higher with her complaints, with the same results. She went to Congress--and was fired. She sued--and the damned judge threw the case out claiming that going to trial would harm the national security, that the matter involved classified material.... Justice, raped--is what Ashcroft was trying to cover up on the statue of Justice, statutory rape?

4. Various of the 9/11 mass murderers were on the INS watch list. The INS wasn't complying with its own damned watch list and let them into the USA instead, and did nothing to trace their presence or deny them entry. Why? And why was there no castigation of the INS that did anything useful or identified any parties or actions responsible for the failure?


5. What the results were were the bloated incompetent offensive obnoxious Department of Homeland Security which signed death warrants for thousands in New Orleans thought its cronyism and incompetence and mismanagement, erosion of rights and freedom in the USA onthe order of police state scrutiny and spying on and intimidation of citizen and non-citizen alike, "rendition" aka disappearances in the night without warrants and without legal representation and without even information that someone had been "disappeared"/arrested....

6. The head of Massport Security got scapegoated.. he had scheduled a security exercise for Logan for August 2001, mindful that Logan had a reputation for poor security and wanting to demonstrate that it needed tightening up and identifying areas to improve and what to do to improve it. However, the airlines were so uncooperative he cancelled the exercise in frustration at their refusal to participate and accede to the exercise occurring. He got blamed from 9/11 as regards the failure to stop the hijackers at the gates in Logan.

==========

This is the climate, in which a light-hearted MIT student, raised the with concepts of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and better living and fun through technology, fell afoul of
the paranoia and fearmongering and fascism in force.


#44 Jon

Few MIT students of the age of 19 have much in the way of responsibility, for a whole bunch of reasons....

Course VI is the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, or something of that ilk. "Sock it to Me" was a saying of a character on Laugh-in 40+ years ago--Richard Milhous Nixon himself appeard on the show, saying, "Sock it to me," looking puzzled... the person who normally said it, would say that and then e.g. water would fly at her soaking her.. the vernacular of "being socked" meant being hit virtually or actually.

The "socket to me" is a pun involving I assume the old Laugh-in skits perhaps, plus the electrical socket of current flowing and the circuit completing and something electrical then happening....

Esoteric humor involving puns and obscure references is standard MIT humor....

#177 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:21 PM:

Mary Dell @173: ooh, thanks! Looks like the specific section from Lang's version is on that site here.

Having ended up going to a different library branch today than I'd planned to, I wasn't able to pick up any of the anthos with that one Sturgeon story in it, but I did check out the three colors of Lang's Fairy Books that were there. The first one I'm paging through is a 1948 edition that replaced the original Victorian illos with contemporary stylized line drawings; it's very weird to look at princesses and ogres who look like they were drawn by James Thurber.

#178 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 09:59 PM:

Linkmeister #37: "And yeah, the Boston cop or airport authority who said "it's a good thing she behaved or she might have ended up in the morgue" infuriated me."

Personally, I consider that statement a terroristic threat.

#179 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 10:42 PM:

#175: You want "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances," a two-parter from the first season of the new series. Besides introducing Captain Jack, it was a Hugo award winner.

#180 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 10:43 PM:

nerdycellist, #175: "Can someone give me a good jumping off place that will both a) introduce me to Captain Jack Harkness, and b) introduce me to the show?"

If you want to just get up to speed on Jack Harkness, start with the (Hugo-winning) two-parter from the first season of the revived Doctor Who, "The Empty Child" / "The Doctor Dances."

If you want to get up to speed on the revived Doctor Who, just Netflix yourself the whole first (revived, with Christopher Eccleston) season.

I never cared for the older show, but the new stuff is good fun, and occasionally amazingly brilliant.

#181 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 10:44 PM:

#179 slipped in while I was typing #180.

#182 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 11:00 PM:

#178:

Linkmeister #37: "And yeah, the Boston cop or airport authority who said "it's a good thing she behaved or she might have ended up in the morgue" infuriated me."

Personally, I consider that statement a terroristic threat.

He should be fired, so he can pursue his true calling delivering horses' heads to bedrooms.

According to "social contract" theory, civilization is founded on the principle that the people get together and collectively appoint a police force that is *better* than a random gang of thugs. What the hell happened to that idea? Or are recent events a definitive refutation of social contract theory and vindication for the rival "king, n.: a gangster with delusions of grandeur and a lucky streak" theory?


P.S. Why does a paragraph break end the <blockquote> tag? Doesn't that rather defeat its purpose?

#183 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 11:22 PM:

Patrick @ 180... the new stuff is good fun, and occasionally amazingly brilliant

And it has a sense of wonder.

#184 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Earl @ 162: Thank you! As always, I get my best education by putting my foot in my mouth at Making Light. Recommend it to everyone!

(I don't get FTFY, but I assume it isn't far from HTH?)

Mary Dell and Julie, @ various: Thank you, you have now 1) convinced me I had an abridged version of the Green Fairy Book as a child, since it only had maybe 12 stories in it, but I recognize titles such as "Many-Furred Creature", "Snuff-Box", and "Little One-Eye" etc., and 2) given me far too much to procrastinate with on a night when I Cannot! Afford! To! Procrastinate!

(So what am I doing here now? Procrastinating, natch.)

#185 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2007, 11:34 PM:

Regarding the indexing of writing posts at Making Light: this post on Neil
Gaiman's
blog might be a good starting point.

#186 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 12:00 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: There were only the two of them present. There's a judicial inquiry, as I mentioned. This could result in a recommendation to charge the cop with a criminal offense or put him on a disciplinary charge. Nobody, least of all me, is saying that his unsupported account should be uncritically accepted. On the other hand, there's no doubt about his injuries, and it is difficult to imagine how they were inflicted, other than at the hands of the other before the shots were fired.

#187 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 12:01 AM:

Terry@159: a 30-30 is a better takedown weapon than a suppressed 9mm.

agreed. I'd probably go with a .223 maybe in something like an HK53. I'd rather see something more like a sport/hunting rifle, semi auto only, no pistol grip, no rambo looking stuff, maybe a removable mag, no double-mag though. But that probably won't happen, we're fightin' tearrrrists now, ya know.

A little googling found this article by a police chief listing out the pros and cons of issuing rifles to police and the different options. the paper seems to settle on .223 as well. It seems to lean against full auto, although more for political reasons than for any potential misuse by an officer. No mention of silencers was made that I saw.

I think silencers generally mess up your accuracy, although that might only pertain to long range shots and won't matter inside an airport. But I'm not a fan of them either.

Making cool, reasonable, responses like that is what we pay cops to do.

That's what just ticks me off about this mess. That someone asked her what the thing on her back was doesn't bother me. That the cops declared it a "hoax device" and arrested her is just assinine.

Their job is to separate the real threats from the real innocents. And innocent includes the full spectrum of innocent, not just the Chicken Little afraid of everything version of what is innocent. Which means they're not doing their gawdamn job. Which would be fine if the department then corrected them and set them straight, but in an ever spiraling case of cover-your-ass, the department is backing their assinine decision to arrest with an even more assinine decision to prosecute.

And all I can think is, 'why are we paying these guys when terrified preschool children could do the same job a whole lot cheaper?'

These are the people whose job description requires them to overcome their fears on an operational level and work intelligently under dire circumstances, yet they're exhibiting behaviour that is indistinguishable from terrified children. And I just gotta ask, why am I paying taxes?

#188 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 12:50 AM:

Serge@138:

So, is Captain Jack back as a regular onboard the TARDIS, or just for a few episodes?
Ur'f onpx sbe gur ynfg guerr rcvfbqrf bs gur frnfba, naq gura (nygubhtu gur Qbpgbe vaivgrf uvz gb erznva) ur yrnirf gb tb or va frnfba 2 bs Gbepujbbq...gubhtu abg jvgubhg bar svany fhecevfvat eriryngvba.

#189 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 01:01 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little #184: (I don't get FTFY, but I assume it isn't far from HTH?)

Fixed That For You is usually a little snarkier than Hope That Helps, although I wasn't feeling particularly snarky at the time I posted that. If you're interested, here is some more information about the Richard Jackson quote.

#190 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 01:12 AM:

I wonder whether the Boston incident would have happened had the young woman's friend come in on a late afternoon flight. Most MIT students I have known couldn't think straight much before 11 -- in her position I might well have done what she did simply because I was too groggy to think "Oh, yeah, I need to not wear *this* hoodie to the airport."

#191 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 01:41 AM:

David Goldfarb... Thanks. About the Sarah Jane spinoff, what is its premise?

#192 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 01:45 AM:

Anyone else see how they're probably going to shut down Arecibo if it can't come up with four million bucks on its own?

I saw it on Pharyngula, which linked to a very goofily-written article in the Washington Post.

I hate everything.

#193 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 02:00 AM:

Teresa @ 147: It occurs to me that the biggest problem with trying to implement a tagging system* on Making Light is that you can't really tell which categories a post will fall into until people start commenting: too much of the interesting stuff happens down here. You never really know when people are going to start writing LOLcatz sonnets, do you?

*Though I'd pay good, if imaginary, money for an index of ML poetry.

#194 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 02:07 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 92: Using the Portland Police Bureau as an exemplar of how cops in general handle firearms is like using Dick Cheney as an exemplar of how hunters handle... well, firearms.

#195 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 02:11 AM:

Me: [The officer's MP5] is *highly* unlikely to be full auto

Bruce Cohen @ 92: True if we assume the police officers' superiors to be competent and that those officers haven't disobeyed their orders.

Actually, my point is that these weapons are generally issued with a trigger module that cannot be used in full auto mode. To "disobey", the officer in question would have to obtain and install a different trigger module, committing a federal felony in the process.

#196 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 02:26 AM:

Terry Karney @ 159: @ George Smiley (#76). No. A pistol is what one uses at close (one might say intimate) range. It’s only something one uses to “fight one’s way to a long gun,” in a long-distance exchange of fire situation. That’s not what I expect to ever have be the case in an airport.

There are plenty of situations at an airport where it might be necessary to make a 25 meter aimed shot. That is possible to do reliably, under stress, with a carbine or a weapon like the MP5. It might be possible with a match-grade .45 if the shooter is really, really good. But the police literature is replete with cases of cops being killed at point-blank or near point-blank range, after they fired and missed. In actual use, police issue pistols and revolvers are not very reliable weapons. This is an opinion, but it is an opinion backed by a lot of data.

Certainly the odds of it happening there don’t outweigh the risks that come of rifles,

What risks? Care to elaborate? The only major risks I can think of are overpenetration (which the 9 mm MP5 does not do) and the continuing metastasis of the authoritarian aesthetic (actually, I think, a pretty damned serious concern).

or auto-option. While I don’t know what the trigger module is, I am certain it’s selective; either to full-auto, or burst, I am am certain the department which springs for an MP-5 isn’t going to get it as a pistol-carbine.

I suspect, as I said, that it's burst. Pretty much the only people who are issued a full-auto MP5 are those whose job it is to be first into a room and to kill absolutely everyone. And I can understand the argument for the 3-shot burst. It's debatable, but in an airport setting, not overtly ridiculous.

#197 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 02:50 AM:

George Smiley

194

Portland has been a very good place for me to live for several decades now*, and I'd take exception to your snarky remark if it weren't true. But Portland isn't the only, and not the worst police department I've seen in this country, in this and many other ways. LA and Philadelphia could give them cards and spades and still beat them on corruption, and New York has just about everybody beat on fire discipline, as the cases Terry Karney and I cited show.

195

I will bet that any police department with jurisdiction in a federally-recognized target area such as an international airport could get permission to use automatic weapons if they asked politely. Have you forgotten that we're at war and the enemy can strike anywhere?

* Of course if I were black or hispanic or American Indian I probably wouldn't make that statement, but thst's true in a lot of places in this country as well.

#198 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 03:58 AM:

The big problem with any firearm, anywhere, is what happens to the bullets that miss. In police situations, there can be large numbers of non-permitted targets. It's no big deal to blow chips of brickwork off a wall, but you can kill the people you're supposed to protect.

And the evidence is that police firearms training doesn't even come close to special forces counter terror units such as the SAS.

So a lower-power inherently accurate weapon such as the MP-5 is a pretty good starting point. Body armour? Train the cops who carry them to hit their target in the head. I gather it needs some very specific shot placement to kill a suicide bomber without risking them setting the bomb off [1].

A lot of the training these specialised cops appear to need doesn't requre them to fire a shot. The only real cost is police time. There need to be enough police officers assigned to this work to do the job, and have the hours available for training and the inevitable paperwork and court appearances arising from any arrest.

Six years into the War on Terror, you'd think that problem would be fixed.

As for the statements of senior police officers, Lord Acton Applies [2}.

[1] And if it's a dead-man switch, all you can do is choose where to have the earth-shattering kaboom. I can think of several ways that some sort of press-release-bang mechanism could be used to play mind games.

[2] And probably Mandy Rice Davies too [3].

[3] It feels so good to be part of a culture which can get references like those.


#199 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 04:24 AM:

Incidentally, the UK legal basis is that if the Police shoot anyone they have to justify their actions on the assumption that they were shooting to kill. In practice this means that some cases end up looking unduly whitewashed, and deserve a tag similar to the Scots "Not Proven" or the "Could do better" of school reports.

I think that's the territory this case falls into. It could have gone tragicly wrong, but nobody did anything stupid that could have kicked it over the edge.

But what happened in the "hot zone" is less disturbing that what is being done and said by the Police now. I can see a sensible messgae lurking in the background of some of it--tell those MIT students not to be so stupid--but thats far from all of the message.

(And I don't know the relevant laws, but I can imagine how an arrest-and-charge procedure could be difficult to avoid in that situation--you pretty clearly need to do a search, just as a start.)

Like the Lite-Brites[1], there seems to be a sea of fractal stupidity breaking Hokusai-like over the whole situation.

[1] I mean, MIT student wearing an electronic box of flashing LEDs--now where did she get that idea?

#200 ::: oldsma ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 08:07 AM:

That reminds me of something Paul Gans wrote in soc.history.medieval a while ago, which seemed to elucidate a general theory of history: "England, of course, is different."

MAO

#201 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 08:14 AM:

Paula Lieberman, may I re-post your comment #168 elsewhere?

#202 ::: oldsma ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 08:20 AM:

James D. Macdonald @50:

Everyone knows that all bombs have blinky-lights on them. Therefore anything wtih blinky-lights on it is a bomb.

They're that way in the movies and the movies never get it wrong.

And of course, they would not have been able to unhook the battery before the countdown timer hit "1 sec", because they wouldn't be able to figure out which wire to cut.

MAO

#203 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 08:23 AM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @#147:

I've started tagging ML writing posts at del.icio.us with "ML" as the first tag and then various other ones like "writing." Unfortunately their system doesn't seem to allow me to click into multiple tags, so I either get all ML posts or all writing bookmarks.

Anyway, maybe you could set up a link for your readers to tag things somehow - that way you don't have to come up with categories yourself.

#204 ::: oldsma ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 08:23 AM:

I'm thinking now of the many grey-haired women I've seen with blinky-light Christmas shirts. That is how I would smuggle a bomb in someplace. (I mean, not me personally, but one of my minions.)

If she had a perky crocheted tam and a knitting bag with a ghastly afghan-in-progress on top, she would be essentially invisible, too.

MAO

#205 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 08:48 AM:

Greg London @123: Except if you extend that logic, then you must take the list of all possible and potential terrorist targets, and then tell everyone that they shouldn't do anything to scare the trigger happy cops with submachine guns at any of those places either.

You should also, of course, enumerate everything you can that looks like it might be a bomb, and tell people they shouldn't carry such devices. Which, given that most terrorist bombs, I'm led to believe, look something like this, would cover a lot of very normal activities.

#206 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:06 AM:

I'm a little late for this, but wanted to weigh in as one who loves both JS&MN and Ladies of Grace Adieu.

They strike me as what you'd get if Trollope had gotten around to writing fantasy. (Something that I'm sure was on his to-do list, right after inventing the pillar box, perfecting his fox-hunting, and charming that adorable young American....)

#207 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:18 AM:

Random thought: In nearly all cases where the police are called for a serious crime *other* than bomb threat/terrorist type cases, a serious crime really has occurred, and serious bad guys really are hanging around or fleeing. If the cops show up in force because they've been told there's a shootout going on someplace, there's likely to have really been a shootout. If they show up for a bank robbery, or a murder, or a hostage situation, there probably really is an armed bad guy somewhere close by, identifiable victims, etc.

But these terrorist threats are different. Because terrorists are so amazingly rare, nearly all of police response to "terrorists" involve innocent people being misclassified as terrorists. And yet you still get the cops showing up in large numbers, adrenaline pumping, ready for some dangerous situation.

I'll bet if 99/100 of the time the cops got called out on an armed robbery, it was just a misunderstanding, we'd see a lot of people charged unjustly, hassled, killed when they were innocent, etc. And since the anthrax attacks, we've had no documented terrorist attacks in the US; I'll bet police have been called out thousands of times on "terrorist" threats that have turned out not to be since then. We're lucky we haven't seen even worse outcomes!

#208 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:21 AM:

I rather like Captain Jack Harkness better as he was on Dr. Who, a charming rogue, than he is so far in Torchwood. The mysterious immortal being role doesn't suit him as well. But I've only seen the 1st three eps -- does he grow into the role?

I'm another JSMN fan -- whoever said it was too short is exactly right.

#209 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:34 AM:

Dave Bell @ 198

Train the cops who carry them to hit their target in the head.

This is not going to happen soon, because it requires completely retraining them, turning their current training around 180°. Standard police firearms training emphasizes shooting at the trunk, because it's the largest part of the body, so the effects of both shooter and gun inaccuracies are reduced, and because it can't change movement and evade a bullet as quickly. Complete retraining will cost money and time that police departments won't be willing to spend, given that most of them view anti-terrorism as a very small part of their day-to-day operations.*

* Not NYPD, for obvious resaons. And I'm speaking here only of the US; I can't say how London stands on this.

#210 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:37 AM:

Jules@205: You should also, of course, enumerate everything you can that looks like it might be a bomb

a half-full bottle of Pepsi: is it really Pepsi, or is is some binary chemical explosive waiting for the second part to arrive via what appears to be a container of half-eaten yogurt?

The safe thing to do, of course, is to shoot anyone with either container, just in case.

Which will immediately be followed by countless posts by folks saying the person should have known better and the police did the right thing because it might have been a bomb.

#211 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:47 AM:

mayakda @ 208... Has it been established what kind of immortality Captain Jack has? If his head gets chopped off, does he glue it back on? Or does he grow a new one? Or do lots of sparks shoot out of his neck and Christophe Lambert sucks it all in before spawning a really bad sequel?

#212 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Serge @ 211

Sbe onq pnfrf, ur snyyf bire qrnq, fgnlf fgvyy sbe nobhg 20 frpbaqf, gura fhqqrayl vaunyrf vzcybfviryl naq gjvgpurf yvxr Tnyinav'f sebt, naq ur'f onpx. Ur jnf fubg qrnq pragre va gur sberurnq va gur svefg rc bs Gbepujbbq, naq whfg ybbxrq zvyqyl naablrq juvyr gur ubyr pybfrq hc.

#213 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 10:02 AM:

Serge @ 211
I don't know ... but I just (re) watched Death Becomes Her recently, and I can just imagine Capt Jack with limbs apart and head rolling around a la Meryl Streep. Heh.

#214 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 10:18 AM:

mayakda... And, even with his bits all over the place, Captain Jack would still try to make a pass at a being he finds cute?

("Hey, good-looking! Mind helping me put this bit back in there?")

#215 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Getting back here after a Sunday too busy for commenting -- my Mom's birthday....

I reviewed both the Susanna Clarke books favorably, and don't mind the pseudo-historical style. It seems to be in vogue lately (I'll discuss some more examples in a column later this year), and I think it works as long as style doesn't completely dominate substance. It's also one version of genre hybridizing, which can seem more lively than the straight stuff if the writer knows what (s)he is doing. Maybe my time in grad school familiarized me with older styles enough that they don't grate, but those long-ago classes didn't cover Trollope, and actual academic footnotes hold no charm at all!

#216 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 01:57 PM:

Teresa #201

Sure.

#217 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 02:17 PM:

Re #168: I think some of the problems with Wikipedia (that have come up on this site from time to time) are analogous to the ones you outline. Like old courthouses, Wikipedia has structures designed for openness and transparency, but a modern-day bunker mentality has taken hold among some of its leaders which causes some of the old stuff to seem like a quaint relic of a bygone age (which is all happening under Internet Time, so it's happened in just a few years, not decades). Also, like the Internet as a whole, Wikipedia is in a sense a "lab experiment run amuck like kudzu" and has run into types of attacks, criticisms, and enemies unanticipated in the original design, which in a classic "action / reaction" manner led in turn to the leaders feeling besieged and turning to ever increasing repudiations of the original free and open style that helped the site succeed in the first place.

#218 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 02:53 PM:

Dan #217

One of the beauties of the US Constituton and Bill of Rights, is that the authors and signatories had the pragmatic view of the universe that slimeballs do exist, and the provisions of the documents, addressed dealing with slimeballs. They provide laws and rules and regulation and guidance for impeachment for e.g. high crimes and misdemeanors, state a basis for copyright and patent law that include rewarding promulgators and benefitting the general populace by distribution of information, specify various types of unacceptable behavior and allow for searches provided there are warrants....

Unfortunately, the framers of the Constitution did not forsee the malicious perverting of the provisions for impeachment being applied on a vicious partisan witch-hunting basis resulting in a backlash of absolute refusal to even consider using impeachment, against the next set of people in the Executive Branch of US Government, no matter how vile their offenses against the words and spirit of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

#219 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 03:18 PM:

I just finished JS&MN last week, and I wouldn't have thought anyone who made it past the first page would dislike it. Maybe now is the time of my life for liking this kind of thing, but I was sucked in by the portrayal of the premiere magicians of the Wellington-era learning (or in Norrell's case, not learning) to navigate class pretenses and military bureaucracy, and you'll let me know I've been missing out if you tell me there's more like this out there. The impact of introducing Strange 200 pages in, by way of that story of how his father died, rang like a blow to an anvil. Clarke seemed to slip Lascalle (?sp) in without being clear about him, leaving him something a a hazy character until after Drawlight is caught in his scam, but that only stands out because the rest of the book was so finely attended to.

#220 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Serge, 211--Repeat after me: There is no second movie. There is no second movie. There is no second movie.

There. Doesn't that feel better?

#221 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 03:55 PM:

TexAnne... I was wondering when someone would say that. Heheheh... Meanwhile, what did you think of the Skiffy Channel's latest Highlander movie? I didn't see much, but enough to keep thinking I'm right to miss the gleeful villainy of the Kurgen.

#222 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 04:09 PM:

on jonathan strange,

i really love it. i think i have a good tolerance for long & rambly books anyhow, & this was probably helped by the fact that i had been reading (well, listening to on audiobook) a lot of jane austen & patrick o'brian before i got js&mn.

i was gonna say that having it on audiobook helped me in the not getting bored, but then i recalled that i had started the book in book form, at my aunt's house, & gotten as far as the resurrection scene (thus past the boringest parts) before i had to leave.

(the ending was nygbtrgure gbb fynful sbe zr, gubhtu. va gur frafr bs ernyyl cerggl vzcynhfvoyr, rira gubhtu abeeryy'f haerdhvgrq ybir sbe fgenatr jnf jryy rfgnoyvfurq.)

haven't read ladies of grace adieu yet. it's on my audiobook wishlist, but with my subscription service i prefer big honking long books if i can help it.

#223 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 04:15 PM:

Mary Dell @ 203:

You mean like this?
http://del.icio.us/marydell/ml%2Bwriting

If you click on the + sign to the right of the tag you want to combine in the related tags box on the right it'll give you the tag overlap. Alternatively you can enter the two tags separated by a + sign in the box next to your name, or play with the url.

#224 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 04:18 PM:

Bruce Cohen @209: my understanding is that British firearms police (who are all specialists -- ordinary police are armed with pepper spray and batons, but not firearms) are trained to shoot to disable. (They're called out in situations where firearms have been reported, or where public safety is at risk -- for example, hostage situations or loonies with swords.) In practice, "shooting to disable" usually means a couple of torso shots, or a head shot if it's not possible to aim for the torso; they're not trying to kill the target, but they're trying to drop the target without risk to other people.

The standard weapon used by most British armed police is, indeed, the MP5 -- usually with a 15 round magazine, and a trigger unit set for single shot or three round burst. They use it because they want an accurate carbine with limited penetration, to reduce the risk to bystanders.

Here's the rub: in the UK, the cops with the MP5s are specialists who're expected to practice on the range every other day. The level of training is very different from that of officers in those countries where cops are routinely armed with a pistol, and where the overheads of having all the police practice every day would be prohibitive.

#225 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 04:23 PM:

Serge, my love for all things Methos required me to watch it. And here's my reaction:

DO NOT WANT.

#226 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 04:32 PM:

TexAnne @ 225... I was wondering if that movie would be too much even for you.

#227 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 05:04 PM:

About Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell:

First off, science and empirical knowledge notwithstanding, our experience of life is full of magic. Shafts of light really do spear down from the clouds at astonishingly apt moments, or at least so things often appear to our pattern-making perceptoria. With great economy, JS&MN gets at the half-magical nature of much of our perception. The difference between JS&MN and a lot of so-called "magic realism" is that, in the latter, the magic stops there, whereas JS&MN uses the credibility earned through these small miracles in order to make us believe in larger ones. It's the same trick, really, as Tolkien's. It's not so much naturalism, or being "rooted in nature," as it is a firm grounding in our emotional relationship to natural things.

Second, JS&MN is about differing emotional relationships to magic, not particularly about the inner workings of magic itself. Really, it's a novel about work, set at a point in history when everybody's relationship to work is being radically renegotiated. It is as much a political novel as the Dragaeran novels of Steven Brust, which is to say, quite a bit. The intermittent appearances of government ministers (as in the passage quoted above) are the least of what make it political.

#228 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 05:06 PM:

Serge, 226: No, not once I'd finished rewriting it in my head! It makes much better sense now.

#229 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 05:24 PM:

TexAnne @ 228... Now if only they could release your version on DVD... That's the kind of exercise I've done, for example with the 1980 version of Flash Gordon. My vision of it would have been much better.

#230 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 05:26 PM:

Serge #191:

The Sarah Jane Adventures is a half-hour children's series set in present-day West London starring Elisabeth Sladen (as SJS) and Yasmin Paige, who plays her 13-year-old neighbour Maria.

According to a BBC press release, the two of them "form an unlikely alliance to fight evil alien forces at work in Britain".

SJS has a sonic lipstick and a talking computer. K9 appears in the pilot but not in the series.

Available right now on the Great TiVo in the Sky.

#231 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 05:31 PM:

JS&MN has been languishing on my MUST READ NOW YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE pile for about a year. Maybe I should read it.

In other news, I just got Spook Country out of the library, and when I saw the giant picture of William Gibson on the back my first thought was "Whoa! What's Joel Grey's character from Buffy doing on the back of this book?" The resemblance is uncanny. I doubt Mr. Gibson has a tail, but otherwise...

#232 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 05:36 PM:

mcz @ 230... Thanks.

#233 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 06:16 PM:

#231: You're right, these days Bill does look a little like Joel Grey. The difference is that Bill is about seven feet tall. Okay, I don't know his exact height, but he's one of those people who's so tall and thin that he doesn't look quite human.

#234 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 06:47 PM:

Charlie #224: Here's the rub: in the UK, the cops with the MP5s are specialists who're expected to practice on the range every other day. The level of training is very different from that of officers in those countries where cops are routinely armed with a pistol, and where the overheads of having all the police practice every day would be prohibitive.

And even when the police are supposed to practice at some considerably lower frequency, they skip it. A story in the Austin fishwrap yesterday was about how way too many of the local polizei are forgetting to take their annual proficiency exams--which leads me to suspect that they're slacking off in practice for it.

#235 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 07:02 PM:

Patrick, 227: I haven't read JS&MN, though this discussion means I'll probably take another crack at it.

Generally speaking, I think magic has a lot to do with individual work. Afaik, magic is only used for mass production in comic fiction--and the point is to undercut its dignity.

The seven palantiri may be the limit for magic producing identical objects, and Tolkien only let one of them get onstage.

Just while I'm thinking about it, I recommend Jason Miller's Protection and Reversal Magic. I haven't used the techniques, but they cover a wide range of theory and method, some of which I haven't seen in fantasy. In particular, some of it is much more body-related than most fantasy magic, ranging from biting the end off a candle to using urine.

More free association: It took me a while to figure out why Tim Powers' novels don't feel like genre fantasy, and I think it's because (at least in most of what I've read), there's a general sense that magic is intrinsically bad for people.

#236 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 07:48 PM:

One of the things I liked about JS&MN is that, among things, it is a novel about the pursuit of knowledge. The novel contrasts the desire to systematize magic with the desire to marvel in its weirdness; magical theorists who love their subject almost because of its lack of application with practical magicians who want to go out and invent. The central relationship in the novel is between a student and his teacher and they are prickly and frustrated with each other, yet dependent on and admiring of each other, in a way that feels right to me.

Almost everyone I know who likes reading fiction also likes learning, but I don't see a lot of fiction about the process of learning. (Yes, there are plenty of novels set in schools. But Harry Potter never made me care about how magic was taught.)

#237 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 07:53 PM:

Jules @ #205, e.g. Centennial Olympic Park.

TexAnne #225, my friend basingstoke calls it "Shit with Peter Wingfield on top." (I assume by "rewriting" you mean "throwing away the entire script and starting over".)

#238 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 07:56 PM:

Steve C., #83: At that hour of the morning? I can remember two things MAX outside my normal routine in the early morning -- and flight number + time of arrival would have been it. Plus, she's young and hasn't had time to develop my well-honed paranoid reflexes. Between that and the early hour, the notion that she just didn't think about it is perfectly plausible to me.

Greg, #123: Hear, hear! That attitude is the exact equivalent of "Women should never go anywhere or do anything because they might be raped," -- and its corollary, "So any time a woman is raped, there was SOMETHING she could have done to prevent it, so therefore it's her own fault and she only got what she deserved." Thank you for giving it the smackdown it merits.

John H. -- what the HELL is your problem, that you are so consistently arguing in favor of the police state/Chicken Little mentality? Why do you hate America so much that you're willing to see it destroyed in the name of "making us safer"?

#239 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 07:59 PM:

Regarding Tim Powers: I'm pretty sure I've read interviews with him where he has said that, to the extent he believes in magic at all, he thinks it would be immoral and harmful to its users. I think he has even said that he would consider it dishonest to write a novel that didn't depict it that way. The best quote I can find right now is from this interview

Q: Out of curiosity, what scares you?
A: I suppose ghosts, spirits, anything like that. I'm also very skeptical. If anybody was to tell me "oh, my house is haunted" I'd think right, but I wouldn't spend the night at their house after they said that. And I would never have a ouija board in my house. I'm both totally skeptical and totally scared of them. In order to write Last Call I had to buy a deck of Tarot cards to study the pictures, but I never shuffled them.

#240 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Lee #238, responding to GregL:

The part that really fried me was in the "fortunate that she behaved" bit. Something about the word "behaved" says "she's a little girl" to me. I hated that word when it was used about me; I still hate it now when used without any modifier. Even "behaved herself" would have been far preferable: the former says "submitted" while the latter says "didn't gum up the works". Big difference.

#241 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:01 PM:

George Smiley: (# 194 et seq)

I make my living dealing with things like this (military intel, trained in CT, and combat vet. Occasional liason to foreign militaries; to include Ukraine, Georgia, GB, Greece etc.).

What are the drawbacks of longarms?

Long arms are visible. They have an odd mix of effects. They cause the ill-informed to feel safer (because the “good guys” have weapons, and they are “better” than those of the “bad” guys).

But they cause those who plan attacks to prepare to deal with more powerful weapons. They make the cops more visible, and so easier to target/neutralise. They are good targets for those with pistols to plan on gaining (no need to take a heavier weapon to the airport, just bring a pistol, and shoot a cop in the head; since they mingle they are easy to get close to).

They increase the risk to those who aren’t actually doing anything (because they are more accurate, but harder to keep control of; in a situation where hundreds of people are panicking, because someone is using a longarm). They overpenetrate. If they don’t overpenetrate they can’t defeat body armor, at which point all of the above drawbacks are present, without any of the, putative, advantages of having a rifle caliber.

The LAPD has fully-automatic M16A1 rifles. They are in the Division HQ, but they are there. Burst is available in some, unspecified, number of sector cars, which have overwatch duties for the shift.

Greg: I don’t like .223 because it overpenetrates. 30-30 is easier to tailor to being strong enough to get through body armor, and no more. Still a bit punchy for just hitting flesh, but nothing is perfect. If/when the bi-metallic bullets are released to police departments, then you can use whatever you like, and I’d be in favor of .308 (because it holds up better than the .222 and a Model 700 is really handy at that caliber, but a .270 would be fine).

Dave Bell: Head shots are risky. Lots of room for error, being off four inches with a center-mass shot and the guy is still plugged. Aim at someone’s head and miss by that and there’s a piece of FMJ lead doing not less than just below the speed of sound; until it fetches up in something solid.

Most bomb vests aren’t that responsive to impact. If you hit the blasting caps, the it might go off, but hey, if someone gets around to dead man switches it won’t matter anyway (to date, for all that they seem rational to me no one seems to be using them).

#242 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:02 PM:

Aquila @#223:


You mean like this?
http://del.icio.us/marydell/ml%2Bwriting

If you click on the + sign to the right of the tag you want to combine in the related tags box on the right it'll give you the tag overlap.

Oh, YAY! I kept clicking "writing" and then (ferinstance) "blog" and it just switched from writing ones to blog ones, instead of giving me the intersection. Of course the thing to do is click the plus sign itself...[annoyed grunt].

Anyway, this is cool. I propose that we start tagging ML posts on del.icio.us with whatever tags we want. Then our hosts can grab whichever tag sets they like, without anyone having to devise a comprehensive system.

This would be a good way to chronicle 2007 SF Fan writing by our hostess, for the purposes of mumble mumble mumble.

#243 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:12 PM:

Terry Karney @#241:

What are the drawbacks of longarms?

Long arms are visible. They have an odd mix of effects. They cause the ill-informed to feel safer.

I have long arms, and they do make me safer. Long arms make it easier to reach critical medicines in the kitchen cabinet, hoist a poorly-placed fire extinguisher, install a potentially life-saving light bulb, or punch an unusually tall drunk.

Why, oh why, can't you people see that?

#244 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:23 PM:

Mary Dell @ 243... Hello, fellow long-armed one!

#245 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:47 PM:

Hey, look at these cool bracelets.

#246 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 09:49 PM:

I just finished putting up my habanero-flavored daikon pickle for this year. With fresh rosemary.

I had some hobbies left over when I was done...so I put up another jar of nothing but hobbies and rosemary (in, of course, the same mixture of tamari and vinegar I used to pickle the daikon).

Even while I was putting them up, I was thinking "Why am I doing this? Who's going to eat pickled habaneros?"

Maybe I'll bring them to a convention for the guys to be macho about.

#247 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 10:05 PM:

Xopher: I pickled some habañeros for a friend a few years ago.

I pt them up in champagne vinegar, for about six weeks. Then I moved them to simple wine vinegar. That made it a little milder, and reserved the champagne vinegar for myself.

At three weeks, it was flavorful, and I could swallow about a 1/2 teaspoon, straight. A teaspooon and a half was bearable, but warmed the gullet like Stroh Rum, and then it burned.

The friend loved them; eating them out of hand.

That vinegar, with the flavor, made a great base for hot-sauces.

This year I'm making them (the hot sauces; I didn't grow any habeñero) with white balsamic vinegar.

#248 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 10:10 PM:

oldsma, #204, you've just described one of my neighbors. She goes shopping every day, too. Maybe she's really rich and bought the condo so she could shop all the time.

Patrick, the Krauss/Plant article is from last year. I already own the CD. It's really good.

#249 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 10:23 PM:

Terry@241: I don’t like .223 because it overpenetrates.

Yeah, I had the vague memory that 30-30 was less punchy than .223. One of the reasons I said I'd prefer a hunting/sporting rifle was because I can't think of any military rifle that uses 30-30. there may be one out there, but nothing comes to my albeit rusty mind. Actually, when I think of 30-30, I think of an old lever action I got to shoot a few times way back on the farm. not being semi or full auto meant you were rewarded for aiming at the shoulder and punished for shooting from the hip.

But I can't imagine all these high-falutin anti-terrorist folks wantin to meet the terrorists at the OK Corral using a lever action anything.

There's a war on, ya know.

Sigh.

As for calibers in general, I've decided I'm too far out of the loop to know what's what anymore. HK was working on a .1... something... new assault rifle. There's a company that just built a .408 caliber sniper rifle which is supposed to be far better than a .50. I've seen some companies pushing a revamped Tommy gun because it uses .45 cal pistol rounds, which are supposed to be better than 9's but not as bad as a rifle. And I don't even know what a bi-metalic bullet is, which should tell you how long I've been out of the loop. So I'll defer to you.

;)

Personally, I think training is far more important than firepower, anyways. Although equipment makes a difference up to a point, the reaction this MIT student got is telling me we're buying high tech weapons and giving them to guys with no training. Not just weapon's training but discipline in general.

#250 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 10:27 PM:

Xopher #246/ Terry #247

Do you guys have any good ideas for taking a Carolina red sauce for smoked meats (esp pork) to the next level? I've been experimenting with various store bought pepper vinegars combined with cider vinegar, but I'm probably at the point where I should just craft my own pepper vinegar base.

#251 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 10:52 PM:

Serge #244 & Mary Dell #243: Somehow, I don't think either of you was meant by the expression 'the long arm of the law'.

#252 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 11:17 PM:

Marilee, the Amazon page you link to says it's slated to be released October 23. If you've got an advance copy, cool!

#253 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 11:20 PM:

Not everything with blinky lights provokes an insane reaction from local police departments. I am thinking of those wonderful kid's shoes with red and orange blinky lights on them. Some of them have wheels, too. Why can't I have shoes with wheels? I need wheels more than any six year old. Waaa...

#254 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 11:23 PM:

Greg: I don't know if any one is making semi-auto 30-30. I don't care. I figure bolt action is fine for popping people who need to be popped. If you have so many targets that a manually re-loaded, magazine rifle, won't do the job, then the situation is bad enough that calling in the guys with the assault weapons is the way to go.

Bi-metallic ammo is wierd stuff. It punches through hard obects (like body armor, sheetrock, cars) but when it hits soft tissue, it breaks into pieces.

Think of a Glaser Safety Slug, with penetration.

The .45, IMO, is over-rated. It's potent, but lacks punch. The lightest of body armor stops it.

It's fun to shoot (I spent this morning at the range, giving some lessons, which included familiarisation on the 1911), but isn't the wonder-weapon it's fans seem to think.

Like any other tool it has it's applications, and modern combat isn't, if you ask me, one of them.

Lance: How hot do you want things to be? How aggressive do you want the heat to be (for a more "foodie" term, how forward do you want the heat?).

How much do you want it to linger?

How deep into the meat do you want it to go?

#255 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 11:42 PM:

Fragano @ 251... 'the long arm of the law'

John Philip, or Jude?

#256 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2007, 11:51 PM:

#249: Wikipedia has a reasonable article on 30-30. The terminology can be a bit misleading; the slug's .30 inches. That's been a frequent military caliber - the famous .303 Lee-Enfield, the NATO 7.62, etc., but the 30-30 cartridge is typically a much lighter load, favored, as you say, in sporting circles.

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

Mary Dell #245: Hey, look at these cool bracelets.

My favorite bracelet is my P.O.W. bracelet; as a military brat during the Vietnam War, a lot of us wore them to show support for the P.O.W.'s. Mine is inscribed to "Maj. Robert Stirm 10-27-67". I kept it after he returned because the photo of him meeting his family won the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography (photo by Slava Veder of Associated Press was titled "Burst of Joy"). I've worn it since then, and only had it off a few times for surgery over the years.

#258 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 12:23 AM:

Teresa (147), yes, that's why I prefer tagging systems to categories. With tags, you can apply multiple tags to items, and you can make up new ones on the fly. Better tagging systems do auto-completion, to help you avoid accidentally creating a new tag with a typo, or even provide a list of suggested tags based on item content.

#259 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 12:23 AM:

Henry Troup: Probably my fault, but I forget that the semi-arcane rules of cartridge nomenclature might not be so clear to all (though I think Greg knows enough to not be completely lost).

Calibers which have a #-# pattern are old.

The are, in fact, some early forms of explanatory/advertising. The first digit is dimension, as a fraction of an inch, and the second is the weight; in grains, of black powder used to propel it.

So one knows the, relative, oomph of the cartridge.

45-70/45-90 were used to hunt buffalo/bison. They are adequate for elephant (though at those levels they kick like a mule).

But the 30-30 breaks the rule. It was Marlin, not wanting to use a rival's name, which used 30 grains of a smokless powder (working with the Union Metallic Cartridge Company to tweak it)

The funny thing is the round is descended from a military round (the 30-40, first of the US Army's smokeless powder cartridges)

Because smokeless powders are so variable that holdover system of naming went out of fashion, almost immediately (load 30 grains of Hornady Blue Dot, and you might have no problem, load the same with somethig else, and the weapon will blow itself apart. This can actually cause troubles as the powders are updated. Hornady Red dot is considerably more potent now than it was twenty years ago).

30-30 is a very nice round for thin-skinned game, at ranges up to 200 yards. It can be used on anything up to black bears (but you'd better have goos shot placement with them).

It's usually loaded with a round nosed/soft lead bullet, because people use it in weapons with a tubular magazine.


But there are target guns which use it, and any spitzer bullet can be used in loads for bolt/semi-auto rifles.

And with those loads it would do very well for the sorts of things I'm looking to use it for; scoped weapons, which handle easily, are of good accuracy, moderate punch and aren't likely to cause much collateral damage.

#260 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 01:30 AM:

Heroes? Vaguely underwhelming?

#261 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 02:10 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 235

RAH used mass production magic mostly behind the scenes in "Magic, Inc." While there were some amusing moments in that story, it's not primarily comic; Heinlein understood the need to relieve tension and action with lightness at intervals.

Oh, another magic-in-mass-production story comes to mind: Swanwick's "The Iron Dragon's Daughter".

#262 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 02:44 AM:

Xopher and Terry - Thanks for the ideas. I picked up some Hungarian Wax Peppers and green Cayenne Peppers at the Farmer's Market, and have been trying to decide what to do with them. I'm going to pickle some of the Wax Peppers, but I'm still trying to decide what to do with the remainder.

#263 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 03:05 AM:

Charlie Stross @ 244

Setting up specialist teams to deal with extraordinary situations sounds like a) a good way to keep such situations from becoming ordinary, and b) a terrific way to make sure non-specialists aren't routinely expected to do things they have neither the training nor the temperament for. Expecting police officers to be jacks-of-all-law-enforcement-trades with little or no training even OJT for most of them seems like an especially bad idea, and yet it's quite common here in the States.

I'm not an education snob by any means, but I think the best police force I ever encountered was in Davis, California. That's a campus town; University of California, Davis used to make up 2/3 of its population*, and the town and university worked much harder than average to keep relations good between them. Among other things, police recruits were required to have Bachelor's degrees, preferably in Sociology, Psychology, or Criminology, and were preferably bi-lingual in English and Spanish (large migrant worker population in the surrounding farm towns). In other words, it was expected that their toolkits had more than just hammers in them.

* I hear that's changed drastically in the 3 decades since I lived there; it's now primarily a bedroom community for Sacramento, 10 miles away, and probably the police force has changed with it.

#264 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 03:10 AM:

OK, I admit it, I'm a geek. I have to be, I just stayed up until after midnight to see Foglio's "Buck Godot, Zap Gun for Hire" comic roll over to the new page. Totally worth it to see a post-human potted plant explaining why a barfull of rambunctious sapients of several races who were just in the middle of a nasty brawl cum firefight were extremely lucky (and the rest of the planet too) that they weren't fiddling with the buttons on the Maguffin.

#265 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 03:37 AM:

The current 21st Century Fox is worth a look.

(I'm not sure how you link to a particular page of that comic.)

#266 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 06:02 AM:

#241: Long arms are visible. They have an odd mix of effects. They cause the ill-informed to feel safer

Which means that, if we assume that most targets won't actually come under attack, and most of the "audience" are ill-informed, long arms may in fact be a rational choice to carry.
(Or a mix of long arms carried by highly visible people in uniform and small arms carried by less visible people not in uniform (though that has obvious disadvantages telling the good guys from the bad guys if something does happen, even with proper briefing and training).)


> dead man switches ... they seem rational to me

Terrorists sometimes accidentally blow themselves up while transporting bombs even without dead man switches. If your aim is to stand there saying "meet my demands or I blow myself up", then making sure that you will blow up when shot (or at least that it looks as though you will) is probably worthwhile. But if you are counting on not being recognised until you get to your preferred target (or at least not being recognised by someone who can kill you before you get to your detonator), I can easily believe that it isn't.

#267 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 07:09 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 235:

I seem to recall that there were hints of "mass craftsmanship"[*] in Tolkien; for example, Gandalf was for a long time unsure what kind of ring Bilbo had, which implies that there were a number of "rings of invisibility" floating around. (In addition to the specific and accounted-for cases of the seven dwarven rings and the nine rings of the Nazgul.)

(On the other hand, even the palantiri weren't quite identical; I think some were larger and more powerful than others, and one was supposedly "locked" to a view of the Undying Lands to the West.)

[*] "mass production" being too industrial a word to use when talking about a confirmed anti-industrialist like Tolkien...

#268 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 10:11 AM:

I was watching Waterworld(*) on TV the other night and I realized something... It has little if any CGI as far as I can tell. It's done the old-fashioned way, probably because CGI wasn't quite there in 1995. And when you see Kevin Costner grab a cable and zip up from his boat's deck to the top of the mast, it's really him.

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

(*) I can already hear Tania again making fun of my cinematic tastes. Grumblegrumblegrumble...

#269 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 10:26 AM:

Serge @ 268

And that's precisely why it was the first movie to cost more than a quarter of a billion dollars (you could buy a small tropical country for that, without needing to invade and conquer), and why he came out of the experience smelling like ordure as far as Hollywood was concerned. If he had delayed postproduction for 3 years he could have gotten a lot of the footage done in CGI, or using computer-synced miniatures, for much less money and he would have been a hero. But no, he had to swing at the ball and be a goat.

#270 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 10:33 AM:

Re: Waterworld -

There are a group of film actors currently doing well in movies moneywise, but just looking at them, you know they're going to wind up "retiring" to a TV series someday. Costner is one of them. Keanu Reeves is another.

#271 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 10:51 AM:

Bruce Cohen... I don't know. No CGI would have been able to make up for Waterworld's stupid bad guys. I still like the movie, but I wince whenever its Disciples of Captain Joe Hazelwood show up. (One exception is the big blond guy who looks like something that Jack Kirby would have drawn.)

#272 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 10:54 AM:

Steve C @ 270... Yeah... When Kevin Costner stars playing psycho killers, one senses that his career isn't doing well and he's trying to reinvent himself. Better that, I guess, than the time they let him near Robin Hood's bow.

#273 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 11:03 AM:

#255 Serge -
Fragano @ 251... 'the long arm of the law'
John Philip, or Jude?

Warren Zevon, of course.

#275 ::: Suzanne F. ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 11:32 AM:

#246/247 re: pickles

I make pickled jalapenos every few years, and they turn out lovely, though not very hot, but I think I have to pass on the hobbies.

I did make Indian-style lemon pickle this year, with tons of dried chiles and fenugreek and sugar. It's a nice sweet-hot pickle, cooked in the sun.

#276 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 11:37 AM:

Earl Cooley III #274: I'm no fan of censorship, and I think bleeping is at best ludicrous and counterproductive (and at worst far, far worse than that), but I'm really confused about that Tom Shales article. Why does he think this Sally Fields incident is different from any other?

Admittedly, I didn't see the broadcast, but from his description it sounds like they just bleeped the "God" out of "Goddamn," which the networks have been doing for at least six years (I think longer but I don't have a source), inconsistently, sure (the FCC and the networks' groveling before them are always inconsistent), but very, very often and in a wide array of contexts.

Sure--bleeping on network television is always just a millimeter away from government censorship, and should be fought, but no more so in this case than in any other. I'm sure that the fact that she was talking about the war is what brought the rant to Shales's mind, which is great, but by talking about this specific indident as explicit censorship of political speech, he seems to be accidentally obscuring the issue.

#277 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 11:39 AM:

For those who are interested, that second index I mentioned is now up at http://wyrdsmiths.blogspot.com/ It's on the right at the top under Writers Resources.

#278 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #235: Nick O'Donohoe's The Gnomewrench in the Dwarfworks not only features magical mass production, some of the plot centers on it. While the book (and its sequel) have many comic moments, they're mostly pretty serious.

Another, though shakier, example, is the series of Wizard books by Rick Cook, also played as serious with significant comic relief. That's a bit trickier, as it also drags in the link between programming and magic. (Some of the books in the series might be called primarily comedy with dramatic relief, but the best of them are not.)

#279 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 12:11 PM:

Dave Bell @ #265:

http://techfox.comicgenesis.com/d/20070924.html

(I clicked on the arrow to go back to the next-most-recent, looked at that one's address, and extrapolated.)

#280 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 12:24 PM:

Alan Braggins:

[#241: Long arms are visible. They have an odd mix of effects. They cause the ill-informed to feel safer] T. Karney

Which means that, if we assume that most targets won't actually come under attack, and most of the "audience" are ill-informed, long arms may in fact be a rational choice to carry.

Granted, if what you want is an appearance of safety. For security theater, they are great.

Slightly more effective than limiting liquids to 4 oz. bottles and making them fit in a 1 qt. plastic baggie, but in the same category.

Better to actually train the cops, and educate the public.

#281 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 12:37 PM:

ethan at 276 says:

Admittedly, I didn't see the broadcast, but from his description it sounds like they just bleeped the "God" out of "Goddamn," which, since I did watch the broadcast (I've got this thing about the clothing), I know is not what happened: they cut from her speech to a loop of a disco ball against empty seats and did not cut back until she'd stopped talking. Thing is, the awkward and intrusive loop was the same one that had been used for earlier censorship, and didn't last any longer, so the fact it blocked her entire conclusion may have been coincidental.

It was a bad piece of video editing, all around, and I guess was instituted because other techniques do not prevent lip-reading, or something.

#282 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 12:45 PM:

JESR #281: Ah. Well, that's a horse of a different color.

#283 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 01:01 PM:

It's always interesting to go to Japanese versions of American media theme parks. The movies represented are all entirely western, but there can be some unusual absences and additions.

In Japan there is a Who Framed Roger Rabbit ride, as well as a Rescue Rangers roller coaster. Both of these were strange, but very cool. However Universal Studios Japan has the most mind-bending attraction of all.

There is a Waterworld Stunt show. Populated exclusively by western actors and stunt-people, it involves a lot of splashes, boat jumps, sliding about on wires, and other fairly standard "live theme park stunt show" trickery.

Its existence provided no small amount of amusement to me and my companion. So apparently Japan liked Waterworld enough to make an expensive theme park attraction of it! It just goes to show how different international tastes can be... etc etc. And possibly... that Waterworld might be watchable with some changes in the script or someone else's voice standing in for Costner's.

#284 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 01:19 PM:

Leah Miller @ 283... someone else's voice standing in for Costner's.

Whose voice would you dub him with? Even if the dubber is dead...

#285 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 01:22 PM:

Re #283: When I went to the LA Universal Studios in 2000, they had the Waterworld stunt show there too. So it's not just a Japanese thing.

#286 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 01:37 PM:

Carrie S #285
Re #283: When I went to the LA Universal Studios in 2000, they had the Waterworld stunt show there too. So it's not just a Japanese thing.

Japan, where stunt shows go to die?

(I just had this image of stunt shows slowly being shuffled off to smaller and smaller venues, then ending up in Japan, where they enjoy a last brief burst of popularity before leaving the memetic consciousness altogether, or something. Or maybe that's just the Szechuan stir fry talking...).

#287 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 01:38 PM:

Carrie S @285
Ha! Doing some additional research, it seems that most of the things I noticed also exist/existed in the California parks, but are absent from the Florida ones. You learn something every day. The one exception being the "Meet the World" ride that was in place of the Carousel of Progress. Now I want to go back to all the parks... not that that is an unusual impulse for me.

Serge @284
Hmm. I'm afraid I never saw Waterworld straight through, so I can't put in a good voice. I mean... Harrison Ford would be pretty good. But that's just a generic replacement of someone who I think sounds more convincing as a cynical action hero.

Redubbing movies and television in my head is something I do fairly often. The first time I was consciously aware of keeping it up for an entire movie was Fever Pitch in 2005, when I mentally replaced all of Jimmy Fallon's dialogue with Mike Myers' voice.

#288 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 01:53 PM:

Serge #255: Andrew Bonar.

#289 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 02:04 PM:

#280: Granted, if what you want is an appearance of safety.

I think it's depressingly clear that's often all the people making the decisions do want - or all the people making the policy that the people making the local decisions have to fit in with want.
I don't think it's desirable that the audience can be assumed to be mostly ill-informed, but I don't think it's mistaken to assume it.

#290 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 02:19 PM:

Leah Miller... Let's redub To Kill a Mockingbird so that they replace Gregory Peck's voice with Adam Sandler's. Barf.

#291 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Another example of security theatre:
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/09/chlorine_and_ch.html

Insurgents in Iraq had laced some bombs with chlorine. The chlorine hadn't killed anyone, but we've made it harder to import it into Iraq. And now people are dying of cholera, because there's a shortage of chlorine to disinfect water with.

#292 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 02:20 PM:

Alan Braggins: On guns, and their untility, I do think it safe to assume the audience ill-informed.

Yes, the States has a lot of people who own/use guns, but they also have a huge populations (in urban environments, esp.) who have no idea about guns save what they see in movies/on televsion.

With that as a basis; and the good guys hitting the targets, almost always, I think it safest (and have yet to see enough public commentary on guns to make me think it otherwise) to assume most people don't know what guns do/don't do.

Hell, getting shot in the shoulder is seen as a trivial thing, which the victim can shake off, and be doing something strenous in a day or so.

I've had people who use guns tell me all sorts of myths about them (like a .45 which hits one in the toe can/will kill you from hydrostatic shock).

So John Q. Public, told by his gov't that the only thing he has to fear is everything but his gov't, well I don't think he's going to be all that well informed.

#293 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 02:21 PM:

Leah Miller... Let's redub To Kill a Mockingbird and replace Grgeory Peck's vocie with Adam Sandler's. Gack.

#294 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 02:22 PM:

I have the feeling that, while we might not have the right answers, we're more likely to ask the right questions than are most politicians.

But is seems inevitable that democracy selects for people with answers/

#295 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Serge #290 & 293: I'm glad to see you decided the first time didn't have enough typos. And thank you for replacing that terrible b-word with the more acceptable "gack."

#296 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 02:34 PM:

ethan... Oops. I thought the first posting hadn't gone thru. I shall bow my head in shame and shuffle off.

#297 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 02:39 PM:

Did anyone watch Chuck last night before Heroes started? My computer geek husband and I were horrified at the bad tech stuff in it...bad enough that even I noticed it!

#298 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 03:00 PM:

Aw, Serge, don't shuffle off! I hate to think what would happen if someone saw you shuffling with your bowed head and thought you were a zombie. And it would all be my fault!

#299 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 03:17 PM:

Waterworld? Dub it into Japanese, then redub it back into English using people who don't have access to the original script. That ought to do justice to the material.

#300 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 03:39 PM:

Serge, I don't really make fun of your cinematic tastes, as much as I celebrate the broad spectrum of cinematic quality that you joyously and enthusiastically embrace.

Waterworld...well, I've seen worse. Remember, the part that stuck with me is that the infamous Exxon Valdez has a supporting role, and by the time Waterworld was in production, it had been renamed Seariver Mediterranean. Good for a gag, but annoying on some levels.

Gravelworld aka The Postman, now that was a stinker.

#301 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 03:46 PM:

@#264:

OK, I admit it, I'm a geek. I have to be, I just stayed up until after midnight to see Foglio's "Buck Godot, Zap Gun for Hire" comic roll over to the new page.

In point of fact, the whole thing is online. The future dates can be reached by manually manipulating the date embedded in the URL to the jpg file.

So if you're impatient or something, you do not actually have to wait for Godot. Ahem.


I note that there's a Buck Godot story that does not appear to be online, however, it would be rated R, or even NC-17 (hint: it mostly takes place in a brothel), if it were a film. I suspect that the Foglios decided that the potential problems were not worth the hassle.

#302 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Tania @ 300... I celebrate the broad spectrum of cinematic quality that you joyously and enthusiastically embrace

Hmmm... Even if I told you that I liked The Postman?

#303 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 04:01 PM:

Earl @299:
Dub it into Japanese, then redub it back into English using people who don't have access to the original script.

Like Jimmy James' autobiography?

Jimmy has fancy plans... and pants to match!

#304 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 04:04 PM:

I've seen the first two episodes of the latest Ken Burns opus "The War," and I've been amazed at the footage of aerial dogfights. I kept wondering how the filmmakers had found it, crossing my fingers that it wasn't just amazing CGI. I suppose it's feasible to add authentic-looking graininess to current digital media.

#305 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 04:06 PM:

Linkmeister: I'd be willing to bet it was gun-camera footage. (I haven't seen "The War," but I did grow up with a father and brother who were obsessed with airplane movies.)

#306 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Linkmeister:

There are several applications to add grain to digital images.

I want a copy of "Grain Surgeon" which has the patterns for a slew of both film and paper stocks, so that one can have Tech-pan on Oriental Warm Tone, etc..

Having not seen it, I would guess it's gun camera footage.

#307 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 04:37 PM:

Random shoutout to Dan and Elise and Harriet: nice to meet you all Saturday night at the Whisperado concert!

#308 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 05:20 PM:

Serge @ several places
Are you actually comparing either Jimmy Fallon or Kevin Costner to Gregory Peck? Because... damn. I hope it's not Jimmy Fallon.

Fallon's performance in Fever Pitch made me think of the Simpsons Quote: "What are you kids laughing at? If you say Jimmy Fallon I'll know you're lying."

That would also mean you were comparing either Harrison Ford or Mike Myers to Adam Sandler. The second would make much more sense, I suppose, but anything's possible.

I'm a bit baffled, I have to say.

#309 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 05:23 PM:

The 1990 Memphis Belle movie mostly used traditional model work, rather than CGI, where is didn't use real B-17s, but some postwork was done to add vibration, gain, and general crud to some of the shots.

There's quite a few documentaries made for TV which use CGI. A few seconds of a tank battle, for instance, in which the effect is let down by an explosion more like a video-game. You don't have to spend much to get a pretty decent, animatable, CGI model.

Video demo at Youtube

You don't get suspension movement on those models--that's hard--but most of them are pretty good. Avoid the Panzer IV, the turret is badly wrong.

#311 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 05:34 PM:

Dave Bell #309

One of the more amazing CGI clips of WWII aircraft was this short one at Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNJ8rIEPLOo

I first thought it was real until someone pointed out that all the propellers were in sync.

#312 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 06:08 PM:

Mary 310: Yay! Go down, you filthy swine!

#313 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 06:09 PM:

Um, I meant Jeffs, not Mary Dell, who as far as I know is in no way a filthy swine.

#314 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 06:35 PM:

Library Thing announces its Early Reviewers program is now free to publishers.

We planned on charging publishers to participate in the program. Publishers were eager to do it even so. Certainly its closest analogue, the Amazon Vine program is charging. (Our sources say "an arm and a leg."). Also, it takes work on our side.

Then we decided: What the heck? Pricing discussions took time and limited the reach somewhat. And we figured out how to automate the process better. When in doubt, we err on the side of openness. More publishers means more books, more books means more happy members, more reviews, and more fun.

Cool. I just got a copy of a book this way. It's by Pepe Escobar, an Asia Times reporter, published by NImble Books; it's titled "Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge."

#315 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 06:38 PM:

Susan, 307: Likewise! It was a real pleasure getting a chance to meet some of the notable persons from hereabouts in the flesh. Sorry there wasn't more opportunity to hang out and chat; so it goes. Next time, maybe.

(And while we're at it, those of you who have a chance to see Whisperado should definitely take advantage. All fannish considerations aside, they're a solid act - three fine and complementary musicians very obviously having a grand time doing what they do. Though I should probably also admit to being a sucker for Richard Thompson covers and singer/bassists with a keen sense of showmanship. :)

#316 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 06:48 PM:

Leah Miller @ 308... Sorry. Lame attempt at humor. I was trying to come up with one of the most repulsive and most grotesque and most ridiculous ideas as to who could possibly dub Grogery Peck. Let's put it this way. I dislike Adam Sandler. Also, if I could change something about myself (besides my eyesight), I'd ask to sound like Gregory Peck.

#317 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 07:13 PM:

Serge #316: Pauly Shore would be a more annoying dubber for Gregory Peck, I think. Opinions vary, I suppose.

#318 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 08:01 PM:

Susan, since you're around, or others who have knowledge: My set-in-1907 work needs some dance names. What would be possible alternatives to a waltz for a couple taking a whirl round a deserted ballroom sans orchestra? And what would be a good waltz for them actually to dance to? I was wondering if there was something less cliched than "Blue Danube" that an Englishman, in particular, could be expected to know and hum. And, final question, would it be long enough to do three circuits of a large ballroom, and if not how long would it last, and are there ways of putting in extensions?

#319 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 09:15 PM:

Xopher @#313:

Um, I meant Jeffs, not Mary Dell, who as far as I know is in no way a filthy swine.

Indeed I am not, but I do go down, on occasion.

#320 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 09:33 PM:

Patrick, #252, now I'm comparing the cover to what's on the Amazon page and it looks the same. I bought it from the local used book/CD store and it was still in plastic wrap. I wonder if it was an advance and the recipient sold it. I've seen reviews of it already, so people must have gotten advance copies. Good reviews, which is how I knew to buy it (well, cash in script from selling them CDs -- some of it came in script instead of cash).

Lizzy L, #253, I love the blinking lights on kids shoes! But most of the stores around here don't allow heelies inside because the kids keep knocking people and things over.

Sarah S, #297, I think all those bad tech things were supposed to happen, to be funny to the watchers. After all, you don't get geniuses in the Nerd Herd.

#321 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 09:55 PM:

joann @ 318

The waltzes I've seen sheet music for have sections with repeats, so you could keep them going, by repeating the middle section(s) several times. I'm thinking in particular of 'The Skaters' which has one section which is very well known, but three or four more that are not so familiar, and all of them can be repeated individually or in groups.

#322 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 11:01 PM:

I don't think I've seen the University of California Press' Dirt Cheap Online Sale mentioned yet, and I'd be remiss not to, because, well, Books. Books? Books!*

Looks like most of the sale prices are $10-- great for paperbacks, stunning for some of the hardbacks.

(Unfortunately the sale prices aren't for Europe, Africa, India or the Middle East. But we book people are a creative people and can figure something out for that, I'm sure.)

--------------
* pretend that I linked all those books to examples like
"Eating Right in the Renaissance" and
"Martino of Como's The Art of Cooking: The First Modern Cookery Book" and
"A Flourishing Yin: Gender in China's Medical History: 960-1665"

#323 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 11:34 PM:

Serge @#302: I was baiting you with the reference to The Postman. heh. I have no room to talk, I have had a copy of Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter since it came out on DVD.

#324 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 11:37 PM:

Last warning: miriam beetle (now Libicki) is going to be in Portland, OR this weekend, and we are planning to have dinner together Saturday night. Other fluorspheroids are welcome to come along; just send me an email and I'll let you know when we have a time and place.

#325 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 11:53 PM:

Joann, #240: Which leads naturally to the question*, what if she'd panicked and jumped, and they'd shot her in cold blood? We'd doubtless then be hearing that it was justifiable because she "tried to run" and must therefore have been guilty of something. But I guess something (or, more likely, several somethings) like that is what it's going to take before sanity makes a comeback.

Mary Dell, #310: Yay! The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they do grind. Now I just wonder how long it will take for the rape apologists to say she must have been lying...

* Notice that I do know better than to say "begs the question" in this context, which makes me better-educated than 90% of TV pundits.

#326 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2007, 11:56 PM:

Kathryn @ 322

I wish I had enough money to buy all the ones I put on my list when it showed up in my mailbox last week. I think I can manage some of them, though. The Georgian Feast? Simple Foods for the Pack?

#327 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 12:00 AM:

Tania @ 323... Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter

You made that up, didn't you? (Goes away to check on imdb.com) Oh, goodness...

#328 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 12:07 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 324... Other fluorspheroids are welcome to come along

Fluor?

"I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."

#329 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 12:07 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 324... Other fluorspheroids are welcome to come along

Fluor?

"I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."

#330 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 12:51 AM:

Owlmirror @ 301

Thank you. You've just made my future Monday and Wednesday nights easier, at the cost of however long it takes me to read the whole thing. I did the same thing catching up with Girl Genius and got almost no sleep at all for a couple of days.

#331 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 01:27 AM:

Serge @ 328 and 329

You didn't have to rub it in ... at least I didn't spell it flour.

#332 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 02:19 AM:

Steve, #311, yes that CGI is pretty good.

Clickable link to the video

Apart from the prop-sync, there are moments when the way the planes reflect light seems a little wrong. There's several different models for reflections, such as Phong and Blinn, which approximate different sorts of material while reducing the calculation load, and those might need tweaking.

It looks like we have CGI composited with real background in some shots, and the image quality--grain effects and such--doesn't seem to match.

The soundscape is also a bit off. I've heard a Lancaster, two Spitfires, and a Hurricane making a low pass: there's a bit more of a rasp to the noise--no mufflers--and, like the prop-sync, the engines are at slightly different revs, giving a beat effect.

Even if the Lancaster flight engineer has taken the trouble to tweak the throttles on his four engines to tune out the beats.

Hmm, as you can maybe tell, while I've done CGI, and live a few tens of miles from the BBMF, I've not done CGI animation.

(And I didn't realise that BRIXMIS operated a Chipmunk over East Germany. Now I'm wondering what Charlie Stross could do with BRIXMIS as the pattern.)

#333 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 02:37 AM:

Dave Bell @ 332

Computers are powerful enough these days that nobody uses those less precise reflectance models except for fast preview mode; the final rendering is usually done with some very sophisticated algorithms that do a heroic job of photorealism. The limiting factor is how much work you're willing to put into material and texture design, shaders, and lighting. That bit of film looked to me like either the lighting guy hadn't bothered with a directed light to simulate the sun, just using undirected ambient, or the camera never got into a position where it would get a reflection off from the sun off the metal of glass of the planes. Or possibly the material used for the planes' skin was left at something like paint instead of bare metal. Watching it a few more times would probably provide more clues, but it's way past my bedtime, and has been for a couple of days now. Maybe tomorrow.

#334 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 05:44 AM:

Dave Bell @ 332 and Bruce Cohen @ 333:

My reaction to the video the second time through (in addition to "Wow, that is good!") was that the textures of the planes looked a bit plasticky. So I'd vote for texturing issues.

I don't think directed light from the Sun would be a huge rendering-time hit, so that's probably there; accurate ambient light shading might not be, though, so the illumination from the sky might be a little off.

The fake camera-shake is a nice touch; definitely adds to the verisimilitude.

#335 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 08:31 AM:

joann @ 240: "The part that really fried me was in the "fortunate that she behaved" bit."

That angle of criticism always bugged me too. Yeah, she failed to properly anticipate how incredibly Kafka-esque the world has grown. Is that a problem with her, or with the world?

ethan @ 276: "Admittedly, I didn't see the broadcast, but from his description it sounds like they just bleeped the "God" out of "Goddamn,""

From this it sounds like you don't know that they bleeped out her entire speech beyond the "God-," including the "-damned wars in the first place." Which is not censoring foul language, but censoring political speech.

#336 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 08:52 AM:

Heresiarch #335: Geez, did they really? That's inexcusable and scary if that's what they did. Am I dense or is that not at all clear from the Shales article?

#337 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 08:54 AM:

Can anybody explain the observed phenomenon around these parts lately where the numbers on comments have apparently _increased_ after others have responded to them. Decreased I could understand -- I'd assume that some spam above them had been deleted -- but I'm at a loss to explain an increase. I've observed it on both open thread 91 (see, e.g., #946 which says "#942" in reference to what is now #945) and Alien Abduction (see comments 216 and 217, both of which make references to comments whose numbers have increased by two).

#338 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 09:01 AM:

Marilee @320

Not *those* tech idiocies. The ones I mean are these two:

1. A person who graduated from college 5 years ago programmed on a TRS-80 while in college. Really? My husband and I spent 20 minutes trying to work out if this was supposed to be a retro-80s show or what...

2. A computer is dropped from a great height, shatters and "all the information is completely unretrievable." Uh-huh.

I don't think those were put in to make the techies laugh.

#339 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 09:10 AM:

Dave@332: Apart from the prop-sync, there are moments when the way the planes reflect light seems a little wrong.

You guys are good. It seems so grainy to me that I can't tell the difference. I could see the props in sync after someone pointed them out, but I can't see any of the skin details that anyone's talking about. It's all blobby pixels to me.

#340 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 09:20 AM:

Jules #337

Here's my WAG: comments which have been released from the moderation queue are slotted into their rightful sequence and the numbering on the already-visible posts gets incremented as a result. That is, the numbering is dynamic. I've seen the same sort of thing happen on BoingBoing.

On the other hand, I may be completely wrong and ought to be slapped with a dead fish.

#341 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 10:09 AM:

Premiering tonight... Bionic Woman... I'm not sure if it'll suck, but it has Miguel Ferrer. And Katie Sackhoff plays the Bionic Bad Girl.

#342 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 10:10 AM:

I was hoping someone here would have some advice on selling/trading used books online (I think I've seen it discussed peripherally here in the past).

I have decided to get rid of quite a bit of my collection and I figured MakingLight people might have some advice because the books I have are the kinds of books I suppose people here have familiarity with (whereas I am pretty much the only person I know who reads what I read so there's not much use asking those I know).

The large portion of the books are just paperbacks of no particular antiquarian value, covering a wide range of literary subjects.

There are 300+ hardbacks of higher quality and these I figure might be worth my while to find some way to sell.

The kind of stuff in that area would be things like Poetry, Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Scholarship (nothing rare, other than the relative level of rareness anything in that field has), Philosophy, Religious writings etc.

I figure the things that I am looking at that will be difficult for me in selling (or decrease the value of my doing so online) are:

being in Denmark
not wanting to devote a large amount of time to doing it.

In case people are wondering I am going to retain that portion of my books that for me I absolutely need to have in BOOK form, like Kathleen Raine's Blake book or graphically rich books, but I have decided that aside from these the greatest number of literary works I need function just as well if not better in Electronic format. So if there are any particular suggestions on what I should do, sell, barter, smart ways of donating in Europe or Denmark I am open to them (I am of course also considering just talking to an antiquarian)

#343 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 10:17 AM:

joann @#318:
My set-in-1907 work needs some dance names. What would be possible alternatives to a waltz for a couple taking a whirl round a deserted ballroom sans orchestra?

A two-step would be the other overwhelmingly popular dance for that decade, and it's extremely whirly. I'm having a mild twitch about whether its popularity in the U.S. was shared in England, though; the dance cultures weren't quite the same. I will try to remember to check tonight at home if you want to pursue this.

And what would be a good waltz for them actually to dance to? I was wondering if there was something less cliched than "Blue Danube" that an Englishman, in particular, could be expected to know and hum.

The "Merry Widow Waltz" would be a timely choice. The operetta had its English-language premiere in London in 1907 (though I don't know the month) and was a huge hit.

And, final question, would it be long enough to do three circuits of a large ballroom, and if not how long would it last, and are there ways of putting in extensions?

As stated upthread, one could just keep playing/humming it. I can certainly waltz three times around a large ballroom in the typical duration of a waltz-as-played (which will include repeats). It would be especially easy in an empty one, since there wouldn't be the same traffic issues. Slightly easier in America than in England (where they were still a bit behind the times on waltz form), but doable given the just-keep-repeating thing.

I'm so happy when people ask these questions before they put stuff into print and provide me and my dance friends fodder for jokes.

#344 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 10:22 AM:

bryan #342: Whatever you do, don't do it from home. Any time I or anyone I know has said, "Hey, world at large, come get books! Cheap!" two or three the most frighteningly obsessive, creepy people crawl out of the woodwork to make weird demands, steal, threaten to sue over bizarre fictional slights, stalk for the next few months, etc. I don't understand it. Maybe those people don't live in Denmark, but I wouldn't count on it.

Serge #341: I'm all stressed out because two very very very mega ultra different new shows I'm excited about this season are on Wednesdays at nine: Bionic Woman and Gossip Girl. The GG premier last week was a little lackluster but I'm still determined to give it a chance, so now I'm faced with deciding which one I'll watch online. My life is so hard!

#345 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 10:25 AM:

ethan @ 344... My life is so hard!

Don't you just hate it when an embarassment of choices is put before you?

#346 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 10:54 AM:

Bryan #342: I'm waiting (but not with 'bated breath) to read what people advise, as I, too, am thinning out my collection. Though it sounds like you might have some books I'm interested in buying.

Then there was last night's midnight frenzy at the University of California Press' Dirt Cheap Online Sale. Thanks, Kathryn!

#347 ::: Gwen ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 01:43 PM:

Re #283: When I went to the LA Universal Studios in 2000, they had the Waterworld stunt show there too. So it's not just a Japanese thing.

My family just went this summer, and we loved the Waterworld show. Explosions, fire, awesomely-dressed villain (complete with a monocle!)--I didn't know it was based on a movie, though. So maybe Japan isn't a stuntshow ghetto.

#348 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 02:18 PM:

Bryan, I have been getting rid of books on bookmooch for several months now, with new yummy books to read as a result.

#349 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 02:24 PM:

Susan, PJEvans re dance:

Thanks! _Merry Widow_ would be all too appropriate given the circumstances (the heroine *is* a widow), and I should be able to posit that the Englishman who hums it (in Venice) had been at the Theater an der Wien in December of 1906, when it had its original premiere, assuming Wikipedia is correct.

I had decided on a waltz for the actual dance because I knew it had been around long enough for everyone to know it, and because you can hold your partner rather closely if desired. (I know nozzing, nozzing, about whether this is true of the two-step.)

#350 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 02:33 PM:

joann:
you can hold your partner rather closely if desired. (I know nozzing, nozzing, about whether this is true of the two-step.)

It is, but it doesn't matter since the waltz stuff works out.

#352 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 03:04 PM:

Bryan @ #342, I too have been using Bookmooch, as well as Bookins. There are other swap sites, but those are the two I'm familiar with. Bookmooch is a straight trade site: you create an inventory and it's matched up with other members' wishlists. The wishers get notified that a book they want has appeared in inventory and they should act quickly before it's mooched by someone else. Then the giver mails it at media mail rates to the moocher. Points redeemable for books are earned by adding books to inventory and by sending books off.

Bookins is slightly different. The wisher pays the cost of the mailing (charged to a credit card), which is incurred when the giver creates a postage-included mailing label on his/her printer.

#353 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 03:18 PM:

Bruce, Peter, (#333 and #334), that plastic look is a definite weakness in how the reflections are being handled.

In the software I use, Poser, the various Phong and Blinn modes are available, but very poorly explained (On the level of "The Phong node implements the Phong algorithm.") People seem to be going for raytracing more often, but it is processor intensive, and for animation that can make a big difference. Poser isn't leading-edge software, but High Dynamic Range Images as light sources can be implemented with some trickery. That lets you use an image as a light source.

There are WW2 RAF aircraft. They didn't use bare metal. The BBMF page on their fighters has some good air-to-air photos. Even the Spitfire PR XIX doesn't have quite the same sort of shine as sometimes appears in the animation.

Greg, #339, it's like having an eye for a photograph. If you don't do this stuff, you don't notice some of the features of the images. Also, since I use Poser, I tend to think in terms of that program's options.

As it happens, there are some very good, and free, aircraft models floating around for Poser.

Spitfire XIV over Wasdale

(Background derived from Google Earth--it was a dry summer that year.)

#354 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 03:24 PM:

Yesterday's entry in Linkmeister's blog reminds us that 50 years ago this week was the premiere of West Side Story.

#355 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 03:41 PM:

ethan @ 344:

"She herself was a victim of that lust for books which rages in the breast like a demon, and which cannot be stilled save by the frequent and plentiful acquisition of books. This passion is more common, and more powerful, than most people suppose. Book lovers are thought by unbookish people to be gentle and unworldly, and perhaps a few of them are so. But there are others who will lie and scheme and steal to get books as wildly and unconscionably as the dope-taker in pursuit of his drug. They may not want the books to read immediately, or at all; they want them to possess, to range on their shelves, to have at command." — Robertson Davies, Tempest-Tost

And while searching for that, I came across one of my favorite Davies bits (also from Tempest-Tost), which seems quite fitting for Making Light:

"...allow me to introduce myself to you as an advocate of Ornamental Knowledge. You like the mind to be a neat machine, equipped to work efficiently, if narrowly, and with no extra bits or useless parts. I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt. Shake the machine and it goes out of order; shake the dustbin and it adjusts itself beautifully to its new position."

#356 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 04:04 PM:

Lexica, I think you've compelled me to take up Davies again. I loved the heck out of The Rebel Angels and The Lyre of Orpheus, but for some reason I set Murther and Walking Spirits down a third of the way through and never picked it back up. I suspect something shinier caught hold of the magpie brain and, well, I'm sure you know how it goes.

But obviously I need to read Tempest-Tost. (Although maybe it's for the best that I waited until after my own production of The Tempest a few years back.)

#357 ::: Sylvia Sotomayor ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 04:22 PM:

#348 & #352: I prefer paperbackswap.com which swaps more than just paperbacks and seems to have a better search feature than bookmooch.

Also, Powells will buy from you online. http://powells.com/sellonline

-S

#358 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Lexica, that sounds about right, though phrased a bit poetically for something so abjectly terrifying when one is faced with it personally. The weirdest thing about the people I've encountered is the books they tend to be interested--paperback editions of last year's self-help books, tattered cookbooks from the 40s, signed firsts of new hardcovers (which they invariably treat as the most worthless), joke books from the 70s, any mass market bestseller they can get their hands on. Most of this stuff is not rare, or hard to come across cheap (except for the signed firsts, but even those tend not to be that special, at least yet), but these people pursue them with a fury.

I love books. Obviously. I spend more money than I can afford on them, I always have a stack from the library that ensures that I either won't read them all, will incur giant fines, or both. But book people are scary.

#359 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 05:11 PM:

Obscure dance joke which will make no sense to anyone here except possibly Power Twin but which makes me convulse with laughter:

"I'm in ur Viennese waltz clicking my heels."

#360 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 05:15 PM:

This is the day to raise a toast to Stanislav Petrov.

On a lighter note, this video at Youtube is amazing. Rube Goldberg at its finest.

#361 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 05:20 PM:

My library system has 26 copies of Robertson Davies' works, but not one of them is Tempest-Tost. After reading those two quotations, I really want to check it out, too.

#362 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 06:07 PM:

Linkmeister, if your library has The Salterton Trilogy in one volume, Tempest-Tost is in there as well.

#363 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 07:16 PM:

I adore the third book in the Salterton trilogy, A Mixture of Frailties. It's somewhat of a transitional work between the light-hearted humor of the first two in the trilogy, and his more psychoanalytical later work. It has some similarities to Rebel Angels in that a large part of the plot has to do with a young woman's coming of age and establishing her place in a non-domestic sphere.

#364 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 07:22 PM:

I know one or two people here have mentioned the "Tivo in the sky" in relation to obscure British TV shows.

Don't bet on it working at the moment. Stuff has happened to several major tracker sites.

#365 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 07:28 PM:

Dan @ #362, I figured that out and looked. Regrettably, it doesn't have that either.

The Hawai'i State Library is chronically under-funded (it's overseen by the State Department of Education, a behemoth which has about one administrator for every three teachers; said behemoth always has better ways to spend money than on actual books or personnel who actually interact with the citizens), and it's always been a little hit-or-miss in its acquisitions.

#366 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 10:42 PM:

(one Kenneth R. Wadleigh, who eventually became a Dean, in his student days was one of a group of students who welded a subway car to the tracks).

The last I heard, the hardback history of hacks (published by the MIT Museum) said that was an urban myth. (I've usually heard it told of a streetcar, which would be easier to get at the wheels of but further from MIT.)

#367 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 10:47 PM:

Linkmeister, do they do ILL with CONUS?

#368 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2007, 10:53 PM:

One of this year's Chesley winners is my local library system's graphic artist! Isn't that cool?

#369 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 01:36 AM:

Marilee, here's a link to a gallery of Renee LeCompte's artwork.

#370 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 01:58 AM:

Marilee @ #367, I don't think they do, for perfectly understandable reasons. I can haunt the two or three used bookstores and see if I can find it, though. It's annoying, but one of those things we get accustomed to. There's a stock sarcastic phrase when balked by something of this nature: "Lucky you live Hawai'i."

#371 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 02:45 AM:

I just finished the full and edited transcripts of Ridley Scott's interview with Wired about this history of Blade Runner. He talks about his influences, why he couldn't read 'Do Androids Dream', and more: all quite good. Wired does ask the big question, and gur havpbea nssvezf bar'f ercyvpnagarff.

#372 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 03:34 AM:

Any other Bones fans here? If so, what did you think of the season premiere? I think this season's Big Bad* has considerable promise.

Oh, and a grump. Season 2 is now out on DVD (much earlier than last year, when I think we had to wait until November for Season 1!) and the pulled episode is not in it. Because the show builds long plot arcs over multiple episodes, this means we're missing significant pieces of several ongoing arcs. Grrr.

* Borrowing terminology from Buffy/Angel because Bones is so similar in its structure -- I keep expecting to see Whedon's name show up in the credits! The Big Bad, for those unfamiliar, is the over-arching season plot, which in Buffy/Angel was usually a villain who took the entire season to be defeated. It's not always literally applicable in Bones; for example, last season's Big Bad was Brennan's search for (and eventual capture of) her father, who turns out to be the kind of bad guy that you can't just hate -- he's much too complex for that.

#373 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 03:48 AM:

Oh, I enjoyed it. The gross humour is back -- and unfortunately, so is the bad CGI. Did the episode remind you of The Man In The Bear just a little?

The non-appearance of the dropped episode in the DVD set is a tad disappointing.

#374 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 04:07 AM:

hmm, a propos the bookins site at first I was against it (I was thinking more of generalized barter), I want to keep from accruing more belongings, but then I realized that if I traded 6 books for one I really wanted that would be a benefit. I am however thinking that I would probably end up in a situation that the books I really really want are not going to come up on a trading site.

Another idea I had yesterday evening was donating to Books for Prisoners if that is still going, but I don't want to have to spend the money to send 5 big boxes of books from Denmark to the U.S with no return. Maybe I could get it taken off my taxes somehow.


#375 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:41 AM:

Dave Bell #353: Nice model, but my geekiness (cannot... resist!) compels me to note that a Mk XIV should have a five rather than a four-bladed prop...

#376 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 08:54 AM:

Jakob, looks like you're right. The CGI model is switchable between 4-blade and 5-blade. The F Mk XII had the 4-blade prop, but most of them were clipped-wing versions. The F Mk XIV had a more powerful engine, and started with the C-wing. There was also an E-wing variant, and then the teardrop canopy and cut-down rear fuselage with no change in designations.

#377 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:11 AM:

Lee @ 372

I liked the season premiere of Bones. Of course, after last year it would take major screwing up to turn me off in one episode. I am, however, disappointed that they did nothing whatsoever* with that last glorious shot of last season, wherein Brennan and Booth look at each other in wild surmise on realizing that there'a a wedding going unused here. I wanted at least some sort of sly joke or bawdy misdirection, if not a whole subplot about "who put the caterer in the punch?"


* Unless they did it at the very beginning; I missed the first minute or so, and, since it was a channel flip, couldn't run the DVR back.

#378 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:15 AM:

Susan @ 359... "I'm in ur Viennese waltz clicking my heels."

There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no...

#379 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:37 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @#371:

Ooo, thanks for the links! I thought that was what it meant...off to read the transcripts now.

#380 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:43 AM:

Serge @ 378

This is just a little scary. I wrote that comment about the Wicked Witch of the West in the "Well, Duh" thread before I read this comment. Is there a highly contagious Oz meme loose in the Fluorosphere?

#381 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:47 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 380... Well, pollution has damaged the Oz-one layer.

#382 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:53 AM:

Serge @ 381

Auugggghhhhhhhh!

* spits orange juice to the 6 points of the gyrocompass rose and collapses, twitching, onto the ceiling *

#383 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Verizon determines acceptability of content for text messages.

Ewww.

If I had Verizon for anything I would not-have it realquick over this.


#384 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:18 AM:

Susan @ 383... My irony subroutine just blew up. As I read that article, guess what popped up? An ad for, yes, Verizon. The only reason my cell phone is with Verizon is that my employer is paying for it. It's a crappy network full of holes even within different areas of our grocery store). And Verizon was a big contributor to Tom Delay's coffers. Now this...

#385 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Verizon is the devil. So, unfortunately, is everyone else. Sometimes I hate everything.

#386 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:43 AM:

Terry Karney:

There's much worth thinking about in your posts. The disadvantages of long guns that you mention arise largely from how access to the weapons and rules of engagement are set up. I do not have great confidence that they are set up wisely, i.e. I fear that your concerns have a high probability of being valid. If I read you correctly, you would prefer that hardware issue should intrinsically set some of these limits.

I certainly agree that the cult of 1911/.45 engages in magical thinking. (I confess to shooting mainly .45 because I like the Glock 36). Not that this matters so much - .40 is becoming by far the dominant cop caliber in the U.S.

I agree that .30-.30 is suited to the applications you mention. But why a bolt action and not a lever gun? I'd say that in terms of public perception, the lever is the most benign-looking of all long guns (possibly why the procurers have avoided it), and it is among the most effective.

Finally, what of the new generation of miniaturized, accurized tommy guns, the so-called personal defense weapons? These certainly have no trouble worming through most body armor, with the advantages and disadvantages that implies...


#387 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:47 AM:

ethan... Verizon is the devil. So, unfortunately, is everyone else. Sometimes I hate everything.

Cue in the Debussy's l'île joyeuse. Hopefully that'll cheer you up.

#388 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:54 AM:

Verizon just reversed itself. Heh.

#389 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 11:28 AM:

Salon.com has a very interesting article by Blumenthal. Dan Rather is going after CBS. If that works out, Blumenthal says, the truth about Bush and the National Guard is going to finally come out.

#390 ::: glinda, who is not necessarily good ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 11:29 AM:

Bruce@380: Is there a highly contagious Oz meme loose in the Fluorosphere?

Ya think? (said with raised eyebrow and half-smile)

Serge@387:

Cue in the Debussy's "l'île joyeuse".

Oooooh yes. Love that piece; with the tendonitis and the neuropathy, I can no longer play it, alas.

#391 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 11:43 AM:

glinda, who is not necessarily good @ 390... Oooooh yes. Love that piece

Glad to hear that.
Me? Anything on by Debussy takes me to Heaven.
(I'm sorry to hear you can't play him anymore.)

#392 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 11:57 AM:

Serge #387: Thanks for the thought, but unfortunately I kind of can't stand the impressionists. I'm more likely to take solace in one of Bach's fugues, or what I'm listening to right now, which is Dengue Fever. They always restore at least a tiny bit of my faith in humanity.

In other news: For some reason I'm blanking right now. This is irony, right? Not local news anchor irony, but the real deal? If so, which kind?

The scene: I'm at work at the state Department of Health (health: remember that word) and the fire alarm goes off. Everyone files out of the building and waits about twenty minutes while whoever it is does whatever they do, and then we're free to go back inside. I'm about in the middle of the crowd of people eagerly returning to work, and when I get in there's already a huge, mobbed line waiting for the elevators, which are taking groups of like fifteen up at a time. Up, I might add, at most two stories. I understand that probably many of them had legitimate reasons for taking the elevator rather than the stairs, but I cannot believe that this was anywhere near the majority of them.

One of those situations where I couldn't help myself, and as I walked by them I said "Bunch of idiots!" out loud. I don't think any took notice.

#393 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 12:00 PM:

George Smiley, I reckon there might be a problem with handling a lever action in the prone position.

#394 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 12:09 PM:

ethan @ 392... No problem. I hope you'll feel better soon.

#395 ::: glinda, who is not necessarily good ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 12:34 PM:

Serge@391:

Seconded on the Debussy=heaven. Also Bach and Mozart.

(On good, low-neuropathy-numbness days, I can still manage Reverie, the First Arabesque, Girl with Flaxen Hair, Engulfed Cathedral, most of the first and third movements of Suite Bergamasque. I've had the tendonitis for 35+ years now; it affects wrist lateral movement mostly, and stretches above 10 keys. Runs and arpeggios are from hell. Some of those 6 note chords in Engulfed Cathedral are... interesting.

Bought myself a celtic harp last year, and aside from the right hand movement being counterintuitive after *mumble* years of keyboards, it's surprisingly much easier on my wrists.)

#396 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Speaking of Oz... The SciFi Channel's Tin Man mini-series will be aired on December. It sounds interesting. It looks interesting. But... It's produced by Robert Halmi, whose track record has been uneven. To say the least. Yeah, he did Earthsea, but he also did his version of the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, which I liked. Anyway, here's what their site says:

"...A sometimes psychedelic, often twisted and always outrageous take on the book, SCI FI’s Tin Man follows DG on the adventure of a lifetime. Plunged headlong into another world, DG (Deschanel) must discover her true identity, battle evil winged-monkey-bats, and attempt to fulfill her destiny. Her perilous journey begins on the fabled Old Road that leads to a wizard known as the Mystic Man (Dreyfuss). Along the way, she is joined by a decidedly strange trio of companions: “Glitch,” (Cumming) an odd man missing
half his brain; “Raw,” a quietly powerful wolverine-like creature longing for inner courage, and “Cain,” a heroic former policeman (known in the O.Z. as Tin Men, for their tin badges) seeking vengeance for his scarred heart. Ultimately, DG’s destiny leads her to an emotional and terrifying showdown with the scintillatingly wicked sorceress Azkadellia, whose ties to DG are closer than anyone could have imagined. DG’s life, as well as the very future of the O.Z., hangs in the balance..."

#397 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 12:43 PM:

Glinda @ 395... Did you know that Debussy's Clair de Lune was originally going to be used for one of Fantasia's segments. Some animation was done, but it was never completed.

#398 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 01:21 PM:

glinda #395: and stretches above 10 keys

*Some* of us can't stretch more than an octave on a good day with a trailing wind. Alas, it's genetic: tiny hands. That said, I hate it when my body betrays me, and sympathize.

#399 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 01:26 PM:

ethan # 392

Well, we take the elevators back, but then we do a five-floor-down fire drill (just finished one, in fact, within the last few minutes). We're on the tenth floor, and then it's about two more to the street from the lobby ('about' because the east side is two flights of stairs lower than the west side).

#400 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 01:34 PM:

ethan #392, PJEvans #399:

I spent a year working on the 22nd floor. The only times I saw the stairs were for the fire drills. The first one we had while I was there, I couldn't walk for several days after because of all the weird calf muscle stuff from descending all those stairs. (I'm over fifty, and things just don't always flex like they used to.) The fire drills had a habit of coming pre-announced (at least by our head secretary), so after that I made sure I was downstairs running some personal errand--taking the elevator down. And even with six elevators, it takes a while to get everyone back upstairs. (No, for some weird reason, taking the stairs back up didn't seem to be an option.)

#401 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Oh, absolutely, for taller buildings it makes sense. The building I work in (again, the Department of Health) has three stories. Dat's it. And when I say the elevators were mobbed, I mean mobbed.

#402 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 01:55 PM:

"Bones" season premiere:

It was not disappointing. I tend to get distracted by marveling at David Boreanaz' growth as an actor if I've been watching early-season Buffy, as I have of late. And Angela did make referance to the altar scene.

"Tin Man:" looking forward to it on the strength of the cast alone.

I made and froze a gallon of salsa verde last night, and wish, at the moment, for someone else to do prep for the next project: pickled jalapenos. Does anone have a trusted recipe for those, by the way?

There was a frightening revelation at my house last night: my husband brought home the latest issue of Asimov's, and admitted that it was because he's finally determined that it is the moment to read "Nightfall" for the first time. Twenty-five years of marriage, and now he admits to having never read one of the central SF stories ever (and this is a man whose read all the Foundation books!).

I just don't know what to think!

#403 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 02:18 PM:

JESR... Same here, about the cast. By the way, did you ever notice that Neal McDonough, who plays the Tin Man, had a small part in Star Trek - First Contact?

#404 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 02:37 PM:

ethan #392, #401: One contributing factor is that if there is one person who needs to take the elevator (for whatever reason) in a conversational group of five or ten, the conversation doesn't stop as people head back to work, so the whole group will usually wait for the elevator.

Then too, after a fire drill, how many people want to hurry back to their desks? In such a frame of mind the long wait is a feature, not a bug.

#405 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 03:37 PM:

JESR #402 -

Wasn't Asimov a bit chagrined that so many people considered "Nightfall" the very best thing he wrote? It's a classic story, to be sure.

The premise of a society going mad on seeing the night sky for the first time has always seemed plausible to me. After seeing a couple of total solar eclipses (last one in Libya 2006), there's something very primal about that darkness sweeping over the land. We clap and cheer and holler and sure enough, the sun does come back.


Diamond Ring


#406 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 03:57 PM:

George Smiley: Bolt over lever beacuse the actions are stronger; so loads can be better tailored (no pointed ammo in a lever, unless you are using some of the new elastomer tips, but I don't trust them against armor. Those rounds are meant to mushroom, and that means they lose some of their punch.

Second, levers have a separate fore-end, which reduces accuracy.

Third, I don't want them in public.

My ROE would have long guns brought out only when the target has been confirmed.

They do have the advantage that a practiced shot doesn't need to remove them from the shoulder; and cycling the action isn't as likely to cause a lack of acquisition. This is offset by most people not being practiced in them.

With a 30-30 that's not reall a problem in a bolt action, because the recoil is mild, esp. for the amount of energy in the round (30-30 is much underated).

I like 30-30 because it's strong enough to get in, but not likely to go flying through and so reduces the risk to bystanders.

I think the PDW has the worst of both worlds. They aren't as accurate as long-guns, rely on firing mulitple rds, and have way too much penetration; when those are taken into account.

Back to my ROE: In crowd settings (which is the mostly likely scenario for this sort of shooting), shot placement is paramount.

#407 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Cultural insensitivity award for today goes to me for attempting to arrange for a Muslim doctor to take a Muslim candidate out to lunch during Ramadan.

Gah.

Fortunately the doctor pointed out that this was idiotic before the candidate got here.

#408 ::: Philip ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 04:37 PM:

Which is best?

He felt suddenly exhausted.
Suddenly, he felt exhausted.
He felt exhausted suddenly.

#409 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 04:40 PM:

JESR: I tend to just get a good vinegar, and then submerge the peppers.

You'll want more vinegar because the hollows of the peppers will fill, and if they get into the air they will discolor, and go off.

#410 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Philip: I like the second one. The other two seem to be modifying the exhaustion, not him.

#411 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Soddenly, he felt drunk.

#412 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 04:52 PM:

Susan #407:

How did you end up finessing the lunch issue? Just schedule it as another interview hour, and pay the interviewer for that hour under the table for lunch later?

#413 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 04:54 PM:

Steve #411:

No, no, that's "Soddenly, he *fell* drunk."

#414 ::: Philip ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:06 PM:

Terry #410:

Thanks - I agree. I was in the midst of revising something and paused, fingers hovering above the keyboard, suddenly unsure. Back to it!

Though I am now tempted to exchange my line for Steve C.'s...

#416 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:11 PM:

Would:

   He suddenly felt exhausted.

provide a better fit?

#417 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:17 PM:

I agree with mcz (this is me, resisting the temptation to do the whole comment in rhyme). 'Suddenly' is not modifying him or 'exhausted'; it's modifying 'felt'. While I could make arguments for the last two versions in Philip's original query, depending on context, character voice, etc., for ordinary purposes mcz's version at 416 is best.

#418 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:18 PM:

Philip @408 --

It doesn't scan as a haiku, and it's a little short for a limerick. And it lacks dinosaurs.

#419 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:28 PM:

eric 418: I note you don't point out the lack of sodomy, presumably because you think he's exhausted from that very activity. But couldn't he equally be exhausted from running from dinosaurs? Answer me that, if you please!

#420 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:29 PM:

Joann #413

Soitenly :)

#421 ::: Phil ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:36 PM:

mcz #416:

I think you're right, and Xopher's explanation perfectly elucidates why. Thank you.

eric #418:

Hmm. You're right. I think more dramatic editing than I had thought is in order. Perhaps:

Tyrannosaurus?
He felt a sudden feeling -
Sudden exhaustion.

#422 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:43 PM:

Dinosaur sodomy,
Viewed anatomic'lly
Conjures up images
Based on a lie.

No sign of a penis
In all of the fossil stone;
Close cloacal contacts
Are what they must try.

#423 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:47 PM:

Suddenly is an adverbly, thus modifying the verb felt.

(Posted mainly because I remember the English class which tried to teach me how to distinguish adjectives from adverbs; if it ended in -ly it was an adverb.)*

*Yes, yes, there are exceptions. My English teacher was trying to make a general point.

#424 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:49 PM:

There was a dino named T-Rex
Engaged in some Cretaceous sex
A Bradbury came by
Stomped on a butterfly
Now our world is under a hex.

#425 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:01 PM:

Probable-possible, my T-Rex
Proudly engages in cloacal sex.
When that fool from the future stepped off the path,
He quickly incurred my Probable's wrath.

#426 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:07 PM:

Dave 422: It occurs to me that the complete lack of dinosaurian penes* means that it's nearly impossible to be sodomized by a dinosaur. Note, however, that a dinosaur could still be a victim of sodomy performed by someone who is, however undeservedly**, in possession of a penis.


*crisis:crises :: penis:penes
**Why yes, I am saying that anyone who sodomizes a dinosaur*** should have his dick cut off. Why do you ask?
***Using this term in its colloquial sense, of course.

#427 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Xopher: We have no evidence, either way, for penes in dinosaurs.

Snakes, for example (at least the ones we keep) have no penile bone, and are possessed of hemi-penes.

#428 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:19 PM:

ethan #392:

After reading your comments about the stairs, I had to go to a doctor's appointment. The office, it turns out, is on the second floor of a very beautiful, tasteful building that only has two floors.

The stairs were beautiful and tasteful, just like the rest of the office. They were also slightly hidden (as opposed to the elevator lobby which is huge and the first thing you encounter) and DARK. Two bulbs that seemed to be less than 75 watts each in a fixture at each landing. I've been in less inviting stairwells, but they were all in parking garages.

The part that stuns me is that this is a doctor's office, in a building that is exclusively doctors' offices*. The building was pretty clearly built for medical offices - it is on the outparcel of a hospital. Don't they realize that for those who are able, stairs are an infinitely better choice than the elevator? They certainly don't seem to know that people will do the most appealing thing, given a choice.

*Is that the right version of that? Or do I mean multiple offices for single doctors? It is especially confusing since the doctor's office I visited was really a doctors' office, belonging to a medical group, not a single physician.

#429 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:28 PM:

RM Koske @ #428, there was a conference here yesterday which brought together health professionals to exhort them to take care of their own health as well* as they did their patients. Stair-climbing wasn't specifically mentioned in the clip I saw, but it should have been.

*Well meaning "issue orders to change lifestyles before that lifestlye kills you."

#430 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:34 PM:

RM Koske @ 428

The doctor I go to is on the second floor of a three-story building. The stairs, while not entirely obvious (there's a door marked 'stairs', facing the building entrance on one side of the lobby), are well lit and carpeted to match the halls outside. The last time I was there, to ask them a question - I was across the street on business - I met my doctor on the stairs.

#431 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:55 PM:

Great... Now 'stairs' will have to be added to ML's list of topics to index.

#432 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:04 PM:

R.M. Koske #428: Eek! Dark stairs are scary!

Serge #431: ...do I win, then? (Win what? you may ask. Don't ask.)

#433 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:12 PM:

ethan @ 432... Win what? you may ask. Don't ask.

Telling not to ask, unless you can turn on the Librarian Stare, is bound to steer me exactly to the stairs. (No, I won't make a Bester joke about what my destination is.)

#434 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:12 PM:

R. M. 428: I don't think English has any easy way to distinguish between multiple offices each for an individual doctor, and multiple offices each for multiple doctors. "Doctor's offices" means multiple offices for one doctor (who is the doctor of all the offices). I daresay that in the building in question there were both single- and multiple-physician practices, making it even more awkward to distinguish.

In any case, you did it right.

#435 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:14 PM:

I wonder if Uncle Jim Macdonald has anecdotes to regale us regarding Stupid Things Not To Do in stairways.

#436 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:30 PM:

Serge: I don't know about Jim, but vaulting across the rails on anything more than the bottom is bad.

#437 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:30 PM:

Speaking of stairways and doctors, I read about one HMO that enrolled Medicare patients on the second floor of a building without an elevator. Their reasoning being if that they couldn't manange one flight of stairs, then they didn't want to insure them.

#438 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:34 PM:

Serge, not having yet* attended library school, I am not licensed to use the Librarian Stare.

The Stairs My Destination would have been a very short book.

*Not having yet? Sheesh.

#439 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 08:00 PM:

Hmmmmmm.


Big Ethan's my name,
libraries are my station,
Boston is my dwelling place,
the stairs my destination.

#440 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 08:04 PM:

Susan (#407): Shades of the Evite message that went out listing "reasons to party"...including Yom Kippur. (They did apologize.)

#442 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:24 PM:

joann @ #412:
We don't pay them to interview people; recruitment is a collective effort here. The luncheon turned into informal conversational time. And I have added Ramadan to my list of holidays to keep track of. (I was all on top of Sukkot, but Ramadan floats around so much I've never managed to track it.)

#443 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:40 PM:

mcz, #373: Only insofar as I was thinking, "Oh, cannibalism again?" But the handling of it in this one was significantly different.

Bruce, #377: No, the only reference to it was in a brief conversation between Brennan and Angela. I'm thinking of this as the equivalent of, "Yes, they are Klingons... and we do NOT discuss it with outsiders."

Um... if anyone hasn't seen it and wants spoilers ROT13'd, please speak up now before the discussion gets any more specific!

Steve, #405: It's a wonderful story, but there's always been one thing about it that bugged me: the assertion that until the sun has completely disappeared, they can't see any stars at all. That's not how it works even here on Earth, let alone on a planet set in the middle of a globular cluster! Some of the brighter stars should be visible fairly early on, with more and more showing up as the twilight gets dimmer and dimmer. I shrugged it off as artistic license, but it still twitches at me sometimes.

Steve, #437: I hope that's an urban legend. It sounds like one, but at the same time it's frighteningly plausible.

#444 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:58 PM:

Terry@360: On a lighter note, this video at Youtube is amazing. Rube Goldberg at its finest.

Nice. After being fooled by the WW2 fighter footage, I couldn't help but wonder if it was CGI.

The walking windshield wiper assembly was just freaky.

#445 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:15 PM:

Lee @ 443... About Nightfall, I look at it the way I do at a lot of Bradbury's SF: neat ideas, but don't examine too closely.

#446 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:28 PM:

Bruce Arthurs, #369, thanks! They don't look anything like the posters she makes for the library!

#447 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 12:06 AM:

Shortly after the bathroom renovation started, and the whole house was buried in a not-so-fine layer of demolition dust, I posted The Stairs Like Dust to my blog.

#448 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 12:11 AM:

And this traffic report: on the way back from Costco this evening I passed a large reader board by the freeway entrance with the warning "Traffic Revision Ahead." This quite naturally inspired a mental image of a giant Nielsen Hayden (your choice which one) wielding a huge blue pencil and leaving cabalistic symbols all over the tops of cars.

#449 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 12:22 AM:

Re spoilers (Lee, #443, & others): 'Bones' of any series has yet to be released here in Australia, AFAIK. Perhaps if you prominently put the name right at the start of the post (with or without **SPOILER** alert, depending on the discussion), and try to put any 'comment drift' onto other topics in a separate post, we'll be able to skip over any problematic parts.

OTOH, it might be easier for writers and readers to rot13, so I leave that up to you. Just lettin' you know the situation. (I notice the 'Thoroughy spoiled Harry Potter' thread has tapered off. Suspect that Bones may not be big enough for a special spot.)

#450 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 01:02 AM:

Fragano #439: Ha! I appreciate it...unfortunately, my dwelling place is Providence, not Boston. Too many syllables! Well, if you're willing to wait eight months or so (hopefully), you can change it to "New York." That works.

Serge #441: That's one of my all-time favorites!

#451 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 01:25 AM:

Open question to anyone who knows anything about neuroscience: is it remotely plausible (i.e., in the context of a gory-but-serious horror movie, would the implausibility distract you) that theoretical controlled manipulation of the amygdalae could arouse a fear reaction? Or would that have to be some other part of the brain? I know the amygdalae are related to storing emotional responses, but is it in the realm of wild possibility that manipulating them could create a new emotional response?

Also, does anyone recall reading an article...crap, I can't remember where, I want to say somewhere like the New Yorker...about a rare disorder of the amygdalae that causes children to be violently self-destructive, to the point of massive injury and often death? Very, very upsetting article.

Don't worry, the hypothetical movie isn't about children destroying themselves. It's about adults destroying themselves, and I'd like it to be at least vaguely plausible.

#452 ::: David Hodson ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 01:42 AM:

Mez #449: Not only have the first two seasons of Bones been shown free-to-air in Australia (in Melbourne, at least), but season one is available on DVD. So, yes, spoiler alerts, please.

Interesting note: Programs have traditionally been shown on Australian TV anything from months to years after their release overseas. However, in the last few weeks, several upcoming shows have been advertised as "Streamed direct from the US". I think someone has finally noticed the Interwebs.

#453 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 04:38 AM:

ethan @ 451... is it remotely plausible (...) that theoretical controlled manipulation of the amygdalae could arouse a fear reaction?

Princess Amidala and her sisters? Yeah, they do have that effect on me.

#454 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 05:37 AM:

After the discuiion of CGI, and how it can look wrong, I've realised that I've been missing some key elements of how render engines can fake the look of materials.

I've been seduced by processor speed and raytracing.

Of course, the program manuals don't help explain things.

#455 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 06:33 AM:

Ethan #450: Thanks. For some reason, I had got it in my head that you lived in Boston. Dunno why.

#456 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 08:04 AM:

Open threadedness: Anyone been to the Mediteranean in December?

The wife's been wanting us to go on a cruise for a long time and she just found this deal that seemed pretty cheap to go from Florida to Gilbraltar to Naples (with some other stops in between). But it's in December, and I have no idea what the weather would be like. So, I was wondering if it's cheap because we'll be wearing snow parkas or something.

Anyone live in the area? Or been to the area in that time frame?

#457 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 08:18 AM:

Fragano #455: Probably because that time I briefly filled all the squares on troll bingo* it was about Boston.

*I'm done with this! And another thing!

#458 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 09:18 AM:

Troll bingo, ethan?

#459 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 09:20 AM:

Not many more weeks left before I get to see The Last Compass. Yay! Daniel Craig with a beard. Yay! Bearded people unite!

#460 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 09:27 AM:

ethan #457: That's probably it.

#461 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 09:29 AM:

Serge #459: Hear! Hear!

#462 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 10:04 AM:

Today's strip by xkcd is about men who act inappropriately toward women on the internet. I quite like the bit about the EMP cannon.

#463 ::: Amy ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 10:18 AM:

I'm a bit embarrassed by this, but not enough to not post it. My dreams are geekier than my life, and they involve Making Light:

Last night's dream.

#464 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 10:28 AM:

Fhowrpg Nzl unf erpbirerq fhccerffrq zrzbel, jr'yy unir gb vapernfr gur cbjre sbe gur arkg fhowrpg. Guvf chgf bhe cynaf ng evfx, rkrphgr Zrgn-FZBS cyna Making Dark.

#465 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 10:29 AM:

Amy #463: I like how in your dream Teresa apparently thinks like a combination of Dan Brown and Lemony Snicket.

#466 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 11:10 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 461

And yet another hear!

#467 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 11:16 AM:

Amy @ 463

And you conclude that this "dream" came only from your own subconscious because ...? Remember that the more sophisticated the conspiracy, the more levels of indirection and cutout before you get to the real message. CIA projective mind beam technology has been leaking out for some time.

This has been a reminder from the Society for Creative Paramoia

#468 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 11:46 AM:

Greg @456 I haven't been to the Mediterranean in December (nor, alas, at all) but while researching vacation possibilities I recently read about "repositioning cruises." When companies need to get their ships from one part of the world to another, they offer special deals. Usually there's more time at sea than on a typical cruise. Maybe that's why a cheap price on the one you're looking at.

#469 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 12:08 PM:

Serge #435:

I've got a topical anecdote, as an eye infection has currently rendered me liable: don't use stairs with your old glasses without first closing your eyes. Where your glasses say your foot is and where it actually is can differ by, oh, nine inches. It's rather like that bit toward the end of _Glory Road_ where Oscar is finding his way though the Big Black Tower, and what he sees is entirely unlike what the map said, but the map matches what actually *is*. I haven't actually fallen down yet, but that's because I did a couple of years ago and know better, at least in theory.

#470 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 12:12 PM:

Steve C #437:

I recall one year when my medical plan changed the labwork provider (place you get the blood drawn) to someone whose only local office was on the second floor of a real dump. I fail to remember whether there was no elevator, or whether it was permanently out of order; either way, I do recall noting that it was somewhat of a challenge to the mobility-impaired. (Of course, the less said about the technician there--and I almost used quotes--the better.)

#471 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 12:15 PM:

Susan #442:

I meant something different. In my experience, admittedly out of date, whoever takes the candidate out to lunch gets reimbursed for the meal. It's usually a nicer meal at a nicer place than the interviewer would probably get on his own nickel. So I was wondering if interviewer would get made up to for dashed expectations.

#472 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 12:35 PM:

Serge @462 re: xkcd -

I find it a testament to the artist's stick-figure-drawing talent that the culprit's body language can be clearly seen to communicate (temporary) shame in the 2nd panel. Neat.

#473 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 12:39 PM:

joann @ 469... That sounds like a very unpleasant situation. (Says he, hitting the obvious on the head with his Uru hammer.) How long have you had to put up with that?

#474 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 01:06 PM:

The Mediterranean can be beautiful in the winter, provided you don't have your heart set on sun. I've visited Sicily, Crete, and Rhodes in December, and I would definitely do it again. Everything is much less crowded than in the summer. Just be prepared for wind and rain, including cold rain. I can't speak to the cruise aspect of it, though; I stayed on dry land.

#475 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 01:11 PM:

Serge #473:

This is day three. I get evaluated on Monday. I'm getting better for ordinary work (could hardly read at all on Wednesday--catching up with ML was literally a pain) but don't *quite* trust myself to drive. And I'm putting in antibiotic eye drops at the astounding rate of every two hours--every four at night. I've worn hard contacts for 37 years (gas-permeable for the last 18), and this is the first real problem I've had.

#476 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 01:13 PM:

joann @ 475... My best wishes to you for a prompt recovery. Not just because we don't want the ML experience to be a pain, of course.

#477 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 01:48 PM:

Serge #476:

Thanks. Actually, it shows how I feel about ML that I was willing to try and read it under those conditions. Fortunately the glasses are kicking in, and the headaches are mostly gone, but now I'm worried about having to get re-used to the contacts, and any auxiliary brain re-wiring. Oh, well, sufficient unto the day and all that. Not to mention don't borrow trouble--the interest rate is too high.

#478 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 01:54 PM:

joann @ #471 -

Oh, I see. We give them the department credit card to charge lunch. No under the table payments for fasting persons allowed. But we interview candidates at such a pace that we keep our doctors well fed. He'll have other chances.

#479 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 01:57 PM:

Amy 463: That would make a good novel, except for the part where the alarm went off.

Or a really schlocky, mega-popular novel, but only if you throw in Opus Dei and a dinosaur.

#480 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 02:14 PM:

ethan @451: Did you mean this article from the New Yorker (Aug. 2007)? The link only has the abstract; I'm not sure what the lag time is for the full text to be loaded into the archives.

#481 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 02:31 PM:

Cleaning up the results of me being typing impaired for a couple of days:

Serge mentions, at #403, that Neal McDonough was in ST: First Contact. Indeed he was, and that may be sufficient reason to dig out the famiy copy of that movie, or buy one if we don't have it, before the mini series. It might be sufficiently shiny to distract my husband from his current viewing patterns, which consist of CSpan, TV-W (the Washington State equivalent of C-Span) and TV Land.

Steve C. @ 405 and others later, about "Nightfall:" I guess the point is less that it's Asimov's best or not-best story (I tend to prefer The Gods Themselves and Caves of Steel but that my husband, of all people, who diligently read the entire Foundation cycle, hadn't read it.

Terry Karney @409, how would you define a good vinegar, for this purpose? . I keep putting the taste of Jalapenos and various vinegars together in my mind, and finding them at odds- strangely enough, malt keeps winning over wine or cider, which goes with my preference for beer with Mexican food.

And @ 427 garter snakes also have hemipenes, as I was reminded last spring when, in the process of doing clean-up around the base of the Clematis tanguitica, I stood up and found this going on about six inches in front of me.

I'm still amazed they managed to get disentangled.

So, anyway: I managed, earlier this week, to get a blackberry thorn in the very tip of my left index finger and, about ten minutes later, a rose thorn in the corresponding position on the right. The first one was encountered when I leaned over to grab the root of a seedling blackberry plant and discovered that there was a six-inch European Brown slug wrapped around its base; my avoidance move was less than smooth. I moved on to work on training one of the rambler roses up onto the top of the pergola, and was reminded that its sparse prickles are distributed so that the ones back round the other side of the cane are placed precisely where one's fingers go to avoid the ones in front.

So, yes, it's taken me twenty minutes to type this, using my middle fingers only. Life is hard.

#482 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Julie L. #480: Yes! That's it! Thank you so much! At least now I have the name of the disorder to start poking around elsewhere.

JESR #481: Yowch!

#483 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 02:53 PM:

Naples in winter is like early spring in most other places. The reason for it to be so cheap is that naples has a big garbage problem, it is not nice for tourists (sure there are things you can do but it is not like they have really given a thought to the needs of tourists), it has a pretty bad crime situation (although no worse than lots of places and I've never had a problem) as long as you are smart and don't try to fight with a thief then you'd be fine. Don't have a rolex.

It is very close to Capri, that's a tourist trap and anyway at that time of year the water is too cold to swim (although certainly not polar bear club cold), there are other less touristy islands. Ischia has a good tourist trade mainly catering to Germans - not that time of year though so I suppose things would be cheap.

That said I think it is pretty nice. My wife is Napolitan and I go some times every year.

#484 ::: Amy ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 02:56 PM:

John @ 464: I knew there was a logical explanation!

Ethan @ 465: I think it may have actually started with Stuart Mackenzie and The Pentavirate, honestly. I have a weakness for that movie, I confess.

Bruce @ 467: So..you're saying we should invite John Snead to the con anyway?

Xopher @ 479: I will see what I can do about adding self-flaggellating dinosaurs to the inside of my head. er.

#485 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 03:45 PM:

In the Political Theater of the Absurd Department:

Dogs may be allowed to urinate on the colors of the American Flag.

It all started when a couple of Hillsboro, Oregon cops created a memorial for a canine officer who was killed in the line of duty. They put a fire hydrant in the local dog park and painted it red, white, and blue. As if there weren't enough problems in the world, this started a right-wing media sh*tstorm over dogs peeing on the flag. But it's OK now, because there was a dog lovers' backlash.

#486 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 04:20 PM:

bryan #483:

You know how travel shows all seem to clump together on a given city? Recently the Tivo saved off about four separate shows about Naples. I began to get fascinated with all the ways they tried to avoid saying what you just said.

#487 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 04:40 PM:

joann @ 477... it shows how I feel about ML that I was willing to try and read it under those conditions

You like my puns that much, eh?

Years ago, I started wearing contact lenses, but, after 10 years, I decided it was too uncomfortable, what with my eyes having a tendency to get dry, and I switched back to glasses.

#488 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 05:44 PM:

one thing that should be noted is that italians tend not to speak english, and the further south you get the less they speak it (also the further south you get the less things work well or to a time schedule)

but all that said christmas in naples is really very nice. here are flickr photos of naples in christmas mainly http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=napoli+natale

here is december 12th, open air christmas shopping..
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vpennarola/312668047/

true everyone is wearing heavy jackets, but Napolitans think that anything lower than 20% celsius is freezing and a sky with one cloud in it is bad weather that one should stay inside for. So while you don't need to wear a ski jacket if you don't they will look at you like a crazy tourist.

#489 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 05:48 PM:

don't know about gibraltar but I could see that being really cold, seeing as how it is a very small island in an area where I expect the currents and winds would be cold. Probably want to check an almanac on that.

#490 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 05:54 PM:

Xopher #479: For a second I read that as 'Octopus Dei and a dinosaur'. The possibilities of that encounter sound worth exploring.

#491 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 06:36 PM:

Fragano 489: That would be Cthulhu's head, right?

#492 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 06:52 PM:

JESR: I think all the colubrids have hemi-penes. Were I asked to hazard a guess, I'd wager all the snakes are heme-penile. Oppossums are even odder, as the male's penis is forked, and uses the sides of the female's, also forked, vagina to form the other side of the tube, thus getting sperm to reach each ovary. But I digress.

For vinegar, there are two things I'd look for. A taste you will like, and lack of assertion.

White vinegar is useful for things like a tabasco pickling (using a 3-5 percent brine to induce fermentation; with acid added to inhibit mold... it's tricky, because too much acid and the fermenting stops. I'd start with some kraut water if I were going to do that).

For a straight vinegar pickle it's too harsh. I'd use champagne, white balsamic, or white wine.

After that I'd go with a 50/50 blend of one of those and either the malt or cider (though, to my taste, those are going to add some very specific notes, and you'll have to take it into account when using the resulant sauce).

You also have to decide on whether to use fresh, dried, or both.

If dried, will you chipotlize the peppers, or not?

Did that help?

#493 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 07:06 PM:

Terry Karney, re peppers and vinegar: I'm using fresh jalapenos, home grown and, after a dismal Western Washington summer of the colder, wetter sort, not terribly hot. The larger child wants pickled jalapenos for burritos, so that's my goal (otherwise I'd be drying them for winter chili). I'm considering buying a Habnero or two to bring up the Scovilles on the batch.

My sister and I have, over the years, tended to reduce the garden to those things which are stupidly expensive at retail, like basil, tomatillos, and peppers, or frankly much better fresh out of the garden, like sweet corn and leaf lettuces, or not available in the best varieties at retail, like Blue Lake pole beans. Every year, ther part of the garden dedicated to food gets a little smaller and my sister's collection of dahlias gets larger.

#494 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 07:08 PM:

bryan #487:

Not just the Napolitani. I lived in Venice for a while, and found that I was wandering round in shirtsleeves when all the normal Venetians were wearing suit jackets or light sweaters, in early fall. Otherwise I sweated to death, and I'm from central Texas!

#495 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 07:19 PM:

Serge #486:

I would not dare to be particular. I like everyone's puns. Alas, this probably means I have a low sense of humor. And I can't generate puns, although I was once told I made the world's best straight woman.

#496 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 07:28 PM:

joann: That's good, I like straight women.

#497 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 07:45 PM:

joann... I can't generate puns

Not one? Not even a lame one? If we let lameness be a criteria, we'd be punless. ("Huzzah!")

#498 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 07:45 PM:

I took an overnight ferry from Greece to Italy in early August, back around 1990 or so. Since it had been a hundred-degree day and I was on a tight budget, I didn't spring for an indoor berth. Big mistake--I was shivering all night. Whereas sleeping in the park in Bari for three days (long story) was perfectly comfortable.

So you'll want some warm clothes for the boat if nothing else.

#499 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Xopher #490: It could well be. That would definitely be interesting.

#500 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 08:16 PM:

Serge #496:

Not even a lame one. I just trip over my brain or my tongue or something.

#501 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 09:55 PM:

Thanks for everyone's mediteranean input. Sounds like we'll pass on the deal and wait till we save up some more money for a warmer summer trip. Maybe when the next dot com bubble goes up. Or win the lottery. Or sell the movie rights. Or something.

sigh.

#502 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 09:59 PM:

joann @ 499... I just trip over my brain or my tongue

Hmm... You wouldn't happen to hang out with a silver-haired Master of Magnetism, would you?

#503 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 01:32 AM:

ethan, #451, I remember seeing something about children who had to be sedated or strapped down to keep from hurting themselves, but I can't google it up.

JESR, #481, Ow, Ow, Ow! I hope they heal quickly.

Serge, #486, I stopped wearing contact lenses regularly when I started to need reading glasses. It drove me nuts to have to keep putting them on and taking them off, so most of the time I wear glasses with progressive lenses.

#504 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 04:32 AM:

My optical history has become interesting.

Cataracts in both eyes. Small, and not (much) affecting my vision.

#505 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 05:15 AM:

A bit more on CGI lighting.

The Phong shader model has two parts. One in the interpolation between defined 3D points in the model, which is much better than Gouraud interpolation, and a little better than the later Blinn-Phong method, which can save on calculation.

The other is the reflectance model. This has three parts.

1: Diffuse reflection: the combination of the incoming light with a colour set for the material, not varying with angle.

2: Specular reflection: Again, incoming light and the colour set for the material, but this time the result is brightest at the angle you'd see a light source reflected in a mirror. You have a control on how spread-out that reflection is. For some materials, the reflection should be very nearly white, such as if it comes from a layer of clear varnish.

3: Ambient colour: this is a glow, approximating the light bouncing from surrounding objects. So shadows aren't black. Its contribution doesn't vary with angle and isn't affected by incident light. Back when Phong did his stuff, this made a huge difference to realism without much extra effort.

The thing is, if you're doing animation, and can avoid some of the calculation intensive procedures, at 25 frames per secod the payoff adds up. One of the things that people such as Pixar do is to split the picture up. Some components need ray-tracing--there's a process called ambient occlusion that makes nooks and crannies darker--and some don't. So you can do a simpler raytrace to get the shadow-like pattern for ambient occlusion, use a faster process for colours and ordinary shadows, and combine the two.

And, when you have a render farm, you can do these two processes in parallel, as well as any sharing of the processes between processors. So you spend more money on hardware, and get an even quicker render.

Now, Poser has this Phong reflectance model as the default--the three elements with their controls--but the manuals don't even give pointers to an explanation. So it's hardly surprising that nobody seems to use the Ambient element. But use it, and a face can change from rather muddy with shadows to something much more real.

Here's an example. The right-hand figure uses ambient (and a bump-map on the shirt)

#506 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 10:02 AM:

I won't try to give a link (since I get it on the Wash. Post's registered site), but today's "Non Sequitur" cartoon has the ultimate "cheap cruise," and some disappointed tourists.

#508 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 02:24 PM:

Faren Miller @ 505

That's the first time I've seen that place called a Destination Resort!

#509 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 04:30 PM:

Serge #501:

No, a greying Master of Networks with a fully-functioning Cloak of Invisibility.

Is "Master of Magnetism" a reference to I wot not wot? (Not a comics reader.)

#510 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Marilee #502:

I think I must be the only person our age who doesn't need bifocals, reading glasses or any of that, possibly because I am, as my ophthalmologist noted once, the most near-sighted patient he has.

#511 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Bruce @ #467: so if you have paramoia, does that mean you're beside yourself?

#512 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 05:53 PM:

joann @499: ... I just trip over my brain or my tongue

Serge @502: Hmm... You wouldn't happen to hang out with a silver-haired Master of Magnetism, would you?

joann @509: Is "Master of Magnetism" a reference to I wot not wot? (Not a comics reader.)

This would work best if you'd seen any of the X-men movies. The "Master of Magnetism" was Magneto, the principal antagonist; his attribute involved control of metal objects through magnetism, and he was the head of a gang of 'evil' mutants. One of his henchmen was known as The Toad; his attribute was . . . (hint: you said you tripped over it)?

#513 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 05:59 PM:

Rob #512:

Thanks. Succinct, too. Unlike, it seems, my tongue?

#514 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 07:34 PM:

joann... I hope my clumsy joke didn't offend you.

#515 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 02:06 AM:

Gag Halfrunt @ 507

Does this mean that Iran will institute economic sanctions against the CIA?

#516 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 02:21 AM:

Dave Bell @ 505

More than you would ever want to know about Phong rendering and its inventor:

The Phong specular reflection model and the Phong shader are still used extensively in computer graphics, even though they were originally developed in the mid 1970s. They're not the most realistic techniques available today, but, for the amount of computation required, they provide very good results, especially if you're rendering in real time on standard processors rather than specialized hardware.

The shader which implements the specular model uses the simplest algorithm in common use that takes into account the 3 dimensional orientation of a surface with respect to the source of the light reflecting off it, but it reduces the cost of doing that by only using some points of that surface directly, and interpolating in between them.

It's quite an interesting bit of technology, but Bui Phong's story is even more interesting. He was a student in France in the early 70's, working on the equivalent of a PhD, when 2 things happened: he was diagnosed with leukemia, and Ivan Sutherland, the founder of the field of research we now call computer graphics found out about his work. Realizing that Phong didn't have very long to live, Sutherland and some of his students, a list that bears the same relation to graphics research that a list of the Titans bears to the creation of the world in Greek myth, worked with Phong to help him prove out his ideas and get them ready for publication. Phong (which is his first name, by the way, as is customary usage in Vietnam) was able to finish his thesis and get his degree at least a year early, which in turn allowed him to spend a couple more years working on the implementation of the shader before he died of leukemia in 1975.

#517 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 03:43 AM:

Thanks for the info, Bruce.

(How's the sheep-dip?)

It should be no surprise how many Poser users seem to be ignorant of the basics. I've been told that using Ambient is no good because it makes things glow in a night scene.

Simple answer: don't use it in a night scene.

#518 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 05:11 AM:

Back from breakfast, and feeling a little more lively.

As far as the rendering system goes, Poser can be split into two phases. The first was essentially Phong shading with bumpmaps. What a bumpmap does is modify the direction of the normal, which in the Phong shading model affects the specular reflection. So you could put the seams on an article of clothing with a bumpmap.

Poser 5 changed everything, by bringing in a new rendering engine, known as Firefly. Apparently, it was bought in from another company. What this does is provide a much more programmable rendering system, introducing with scant explanation many of the features of high-end rendering engines. Apart from raytracing options and, in later versions, lighting options that can replace the Ambient element, it allows a material's response to lighting be programmed. It's a graphical programming language in which you connect boxes which carry out various functions. You can modify bitmaps, or even not use them at all.

For instance, the TNG uniforms have sections of different colours. Babylon 5 has uniforms which have sections of different materials. You could use bitmaps to define the shapes of the sections, and switch between different colours, or different Specular reflection values.

You could do this with several bitmaps: one for each colour scheme, another for the Specular input, but Poser has to load all those bitmaps into memory at render time.

Pirates wear striped pants and the stripes were generated by shader math. Unfortunately, there's a big problem showing.

Somehow, you have to translate a 3D object into a 2D coordinate system so that you can use a texturemap, or any of the math tricks. So every defined 3D point in the model has a pair of 2D coordinates, the UV coordinates. Getting a good UV map, so that you don't distort things too much, is tricky. Of course, tailors have the same problem with cutting cloth in the first place.

(I did the picture for TLAPD, last year. I should have put a spot on the figure's face.)

This uses a different shader that doesn't reveal the UV problem.

It is, however, depressing to see how much of the stuff made, and sold, for Poser is verging on soft-core porn. This isn't, and maybe ought to be a warning for anyone breeding cats for intelligence.

#519 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 08:56 AM:

Dave Bell @ 518... Pirates wear striped pants

From the catwalk to the gangplank...
Who said that Pirates have no sense of fashion?
Arr... Arr...

#520 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 09:07 AM:

Compared to the fashion industry, piracy is respectable.

#521 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 09:10 AM:

Dave Bell... Dead men tell no shirt-tails.

#522 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 09:19 AM:

Dave Bell @ 517

Sheepdip? Did I commit a typo somewhere that's a pun on? (Parse that sentence quickly 3 times.)

@ 518

It's very tempting to use bumpmaps with Phong shading, since a bumpmap is basically just a description of the normals to the surface, exactly what the shader needs. But bumpmaps emphasize the fact that the normals are interpolated, so the rendered image can look rather odd if, for instance, your surface is composed of too few polygons. Many modeling programs give you a choice of how fine you want to make the mesh of polygons used to model a given surface or primitive object, so you can control that; it becomes a balancing act between fidelity of the rendering and the time required. The alernative is to sculpt the 3D surface and then texture and paint directly on the UV map.

I haven't used Poser since version 2, so I don't have any idea what features it has now, but most general purpose modelers allow you to generate UV maps from the 3D surface, and some allow you to paint directly onto a UV map.

It does look like the business of selling figures and accessories panders to the DIY porno trade. A couple of weeks ago I went looking for a generic male figure model I could use as an armature for some poses I wanted to sketch. There were easily ten times as many female as male figures, and all the females were either Warrior Babes or Studio Sluts. All of the males were heavy-set Fighter types, which wasn't far off what I was looking for, but I would like to have been able to dial the muscles down a bit.

#523 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 10:03 AM:

I get my Non Sequitur fix (Faren @ 506 and Bruce @ 508) more directly. The links for a particular strip are only available to the public for a few weeks, tho'.

#524 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 10:44 AM:

Since last evening, it's been taking longer for ML's threads to open up. In fact, when I checked in the middle of the night (due to a bout of insomnia that was cured by lime-flavored ice cream), the site wouldn't come up at all. Is this happening for anybody else?

#525 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 01:04 PM:

Bruce, you just have to be philosophical about some of the obscure jokes on Making Light.

A figure called Apollo Maximus may be the best male figure around for Poser, but he does have that fighter-type look. I'm not sure just how much the body can be modified, but the figure is free now.

See www.byanton.com or www.antonkisieldesigns.com

Keep an eye on e-frontier and Content Paradise--there was a brief free-distribution of Poser 5 last year, and there might be another such offer when a new Poser version is looming. I know there's also a company selling Poser 5 boxed sets cheap, but do they have any left.


Otherwise, there's the free Studio program from DAZ 3D, who hope you will buy huge numbers of models from them.

#526 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 03:15 PM:

Dave Bell @ 525

Sheepdip, Yet Another Universal Mystery. (Pronounced AUM by Buddhists).

Studio seems to work well for the sorts of things I want to do with the figures, but it doesn't give me much control over the shapes themselves, and hooking them up with accessories like clothes in a reasonable way looks like it will take some work with other programs.

What's fascinating to me is that so much aftermarket has coalesced around a few figures (almost all of them female). There's an amazing variety of clothes, props, and modifications for the figures; I really do wonder what so many people are doing with them. Other than porn; I am resigned to the notion that all technologies are used for porn before they become common in any other field.

#527 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 03:53 PM:

Serge #514:

You're OK. (If you were feeling like I'd taken offense and dropped out, I was only posting while supper was cooking. When it came panic time in the kitchen, off I went.) Of course, I didn't figure out the possible equivalence to a toad bit till I was dropping off to sleep.

#528 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 04:05 PM:

If we don't call you Bruce it's going to confuse people.

Meanwhile, here's the pants with better UV mapping.

Poser and Studio use slightly different terms, and the process came in after Poser 2, but both have a way of making clothes stick to the figure as you pose it.

In both, you select the Clothing figure. In Poser, there's a "Conform To" option in the Figure menu. In Studio it's a "Fit To" option in the Parameters tab. Again in both, you pick the figure to fit the clothing to.

BTW, Have you picked up The latest DAZ free starter bundle?

#529 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 04:50 PM:

joann @ 527... Oh, I wasn't worried due to your not posting anymore. I started thinking about my joke and wondering if it could be misinterpreted.

#530 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 05:24 PM:

Dave Bell: DAZ's business model seems to be based on the Friendly Neighborhood Dope Peddler: "Psst! Hey,kid! The first one's free!"

#531 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 05:41 PM:

My boyfriend tells me that two of his friends collapsed last night at a TGIFriday's. One died on the way to the hospital; the other was still unconscious at last report.

They'd been doing GHB as a party drug.

Had I not my oath to sustain me, I would be irresistibly tempted to call curses (worms eating their bone marrow, stuff like that) on the dealer who sold it to them, and on the first person who decided that this useful but dangerous drug could be used recreationally.

Damn them all anyway. Seven times sevenfold damn them all.

#532 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 05:43 PM:

Dave Bell @ 528

Unless they've added something to the starter kit in the last 3 weeks, I've got it, thanks. I went on a spree for the freebies on efrontier and so on; spent most of one afternoon downloading.

#533 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 06:16 PM:

Bruce, there's the 3D Starter Pack on a time-limited offer, running out tonight, and the 3D Bridge Starter that I linked to.

#534 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 06:21 PM:

Xopher, I'm very sorry to hear about your boyfriend's friends. I hope the one who's unconscious recovers with no further ill effects.

It makes me grateful that I'm a lightweight who finds two rum-and-Cokes sufficient for a night of dancing, and that nobody's yet tried to augment those rum-and-Cokes with anything.

Of course, given my local reputation, perhaps they feel they don't need to. The joke runs that I stick to two drinks, because you know what I did the last time I had three?

TED.

And, given HIS reputation (which I didn't know at the time), that says more than enough.

#535 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 06:30 PM:

Reminds me of the joke about being a cheap date:

Two drinks and I'm anybody's.
Three drinks and I'm EVERYbody's.
Four and I'm nobody's.

#536 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 06:32 PM:

A question for the Fluorosphere:

Does anyone know of a good book on the Byzantine racing factions (the Blues and the Greens) other than Alan Cameron's Circus Factions? Based on flipping through this book, I think it's a bit drier than I'd prefer - which is perfectly understandable, since it's an academic work. If there's a decent popular history book either entirely on this subject or which devotes considerable space to it, I'd appreciate a pointer to it.

#537 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 07:23 PM:

Xopher: My sympathies.

rikibeth:

I love a martini
Two, at the most
Three, and I'm under the table
Four, and I'm under my host

D. Parker.

#538 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 08:28 PM:

Terry: Dorothy Parker was made of sterner stuff than I. The only time I ever had four martinis, I was in no condition to be under the host, only over the porcelain.

My friends kindly instructed me the next day that martinis were like breasts: one isn't enough, and three is too many.

If I'd been sticking to the classic martini (hearts full of youth / hearts full of truth / six parts gin to one part vermouth) I might have figured this out on my own, but I was drinking the currently fashionable "girly martinis," in assorted flavors (key lime, "coppertone," chocolate cherry, and almond joy) that went down like liquid candy bars and didn't make their presence known until the room began to spin.

#539 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 08:31 PM:

Xopher, I'm sorry. I hope your boyfriend's hospitalized friend will survive.

#540 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 08:37 PM:

rikibeth: That ratio is wrong, at least for me. I prefer 3-4 parts to one.

As for the modern family of drinks served in a martini glass... they aren't martinis.

At least not by my lights.

I do like the quotation, and will have to use it at some point.

#541 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 08:50 PM:

I have yet to find a gin cocktail besides the venerable gin & tonic that I find worth drinking. Vodka martinis aren't really my thing either. I keep meaning to attempt mixing a Vesper, as Ian Fleming described it, to see if that's palatable, but I get distracted by the sweeter confections that, I agree, aren't REALLY martinis, but ARE a lot of fun to drink.

For instance, my friend Catt's invention, the Lilith: 2 oz Pama pomegranate liqueur, 1.5 oz Smirnoff Lime vodka, and 1.5 oz Grand Marnier.

I know that I learned the quotation from a 1960s alumnus of MIT, but I can't remember right now if it was from my dad (class of '64) or my high school chemistry teacher (class of... '68 I think?) Possibly they both said it at times. I know they agreed on the ratio. I also know that, given the choice, both preferred Scotch... which, if I'm not drinking confectionery drinks or the rum-and-Cokes of "$1 well specials," I do myself.

#542 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 09:00 PM:

rikibeth: I have no problem with the drinks, just the names.

The 6 parts gin, is (as I heard it) in a Tom Leher song, Bright College days. A riff on Yale's Bright College Years

Compare and contrast:

BRIGHT COLLEGE YEARS

Bright college years, with pleasure rife,
The shortest, gladdest years of life;
How swiftly are ye gliding by!
Oh, why doth time so quickly fly?
The seasons come, the seasons go,
The earth is green or white with snow,
But time and change shall naught avail
To break the friendships formed at Yale.

In after years should trouble rise
To cloud the blue of sunny skies,
How bright will seem thru mem'ry's haze,
Those happy, golden, bygone days!
Oh, let us strive that ever we
May let these words our watchcry be,
Where'er upon life's sea we sail
"For God, for country, and for Yale!"

and the Lehrer version

Bright college days, oh, carefree days that fly,
To thee we sing with our glasses raised on high. [holds up eyeglasses]
Let's drink a toast as each of us recalls
Ivy-covered professors in ivy-covered halls.

Turn on the spigot,
Pour the beer and swig it,
And gaudeamus igit-itur.**

Here's to parties we tossed,
To the games that we lost
(We shall claim that we won them someday).
To the girls, young and sweet,
To the spacious back seat
Of our roommate's beat up Chevrolet.
To the beer and Benzedrine,
To the way that the dean
Tried so hard to be pals with us all.
To excuses we fibbed,
To the papers we cribbed
From the genius who lived down the hall.

To the tables down at Mory's...
(Wherever that may be),*
Let us drink a toast to all we love the best.
We will sleep through all the lectures,
And cheat on the exams,
And we'll pass, and be forgotten with the rest.

Oh, soon we'll be out amid the cold world's strife.
Soon we'll be sliding down the razor blade of life.
But as we go our sordid separate ways,
We shall ne'er forget thee, thou golden college days.

Hearts full of youth,
Hearts full of truth,
Six parts gin to one part vermouth.

*(this is a smack at a club which was,once, exclusive to Yale faculty and students)

#543 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 09:01 PM:

Xopher #531: I hope your boyfriend's friend recovers.

#544 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 09:05 PM:

Xopher... Sorry to hear the bad news about your friends.

#545 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 09:13 PM:

Terry, that would explain why I had it tagged as belonging to both my dad AND my chem teacher, as both of them were/are die-hard Tom Lehrer fans as well as being MIT alums. I didn't hear that one over as many times as I did "National Brotherhood Week," "Who's Next," "So Long, Mom, I'm Off To Drop The Bomb," "The Irish Ballad," or "The Hunting Song," though.

A friend of mine likes to point out to martini purists that the first drink tagged with the name was made with sweet vermouth and closer in flavor to today's confectionery drinks.

I find "martini" a handy warning label on that class of drink to alert me that "this drink contains no nonalcoholic mixers, and obtains its flavor from entirely alcoholic sources," and will therefore kick my HEAD in, no matter how much it tastes like a candy bar. Of course, the "coppertone" I mentioned contains pineapple juice as well as coconut rum and amaretto, but as a general rule, it's a good one.

#546 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 09:19 PM:

bryan@489: Gibraltar an island? (Although it is enough of a headland that it might be windier than neighboring areas.)

Greg: Summer isn't necessarily a great time in the Mediterranean either; I remember it being unpleasantly hot (40 years ago, which I suspect means it's hotter now) -- the ground seems to pick up heat quickly with all that sun. (Caution -- I grew up in DC but never acquired a taste for hot+humid; YMMV.) Late spring or early fall might be better, although I haven't checked prices despite wanting to go back.

#547 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 09:34 PM:

Amy @ 463 -- you win the Making Light dream competition. Mine just involved vast quantities of food.

#548 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 09:56 PM:

Six gin to one vermouth is also the proportion in the ANSI standard martini. Yes, that's a real ANSI publication, though intended more to say "this is how a standard is written" than "this is how to make a martini."

#549 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 09:59 PM:

The Original Martini

One part gin:one part sweet vermouth

The original "Dry" martini.

One part gin:one part dry vermouth.

Someday I will try the former, the latter is nasty.

A good martini (IMO) tastes as perfume smells.

A bad one tastes like perfume tastes.

For gin drinks you might try a tom collins; if you've not already.

#550 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 10:18 PM:

The Tom Collins doesn't sound very different from something I had this summer labelled a London Lemonade.

It was all right. I've had a vodka collins, though, and I undoubtedly like those better. For that matter, I like vodka tonics better than gin and tonics.

I haven't found anything yet except a marinade for venison where the medicinal note of the juniper berries isn't a bug but a feature.

#551 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 10:25 PM:

Rikibeth @ 538: My friends kindly instructed me the next day that martinis were like breasts: one isn't enough, and three is too many.

I learned this in a fortunately not too painful manner myself. I was at a party with a free open bar, and wanted to try some of the drinks I'd been told about but never tasted. I tried to ask a bartender for an appletini, and when informed they couldn't get me one, asked for a fruity martini instead.

This passed from one bartender to another, through a great deal of ambient noise, and I was finally presented with four martinis, all of them quite fruity.

I had just enough sense to pass off two of them to friends, and drank the remaining two myself. And with two martinis in me, decided that it was very much time to walk home and not time for any more alcohol. For a while. I thought this was just me being a lightweight, but maybe two martinis really is the perfect number. I sort of hate to think of what would have happened if I'd gone with my first panicked instict on being presented with all of those: "I'll drink one here quickly, then carry the other three back to the table and have them there!"

Probably nothing good.

#552 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 10:31 PM:

Fade Manley: Most Martinis have 3-5 oz. of liquor in them. Two making one lightheaded isn't lightweight, it's normal.

#553 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 10:50 PM:

That much per martini? Then I won't feel too ashamed about walking home very carefully after two of them, given that I'd already had two or three other drinks at that point. It was a highly entertaining evening, even if I wasn't taking advantage of the very expensive scotch like most of the other people there. (Tried one sip, and drank a bottle of water to get the taste out of my mouth. I am told it's an acquired taste, but I can't imagine drinking enough of that stuff to acquire it.)

#554 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 10:59 PM:

Xopher: I'm so sorry. Let me know if there's anything I can do.

#555 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 11:00 PM:

Rikibeth 538: The only time I ever had four martinis, I was in no condition to be under the host, only over the porcelain.

Doing what, in some Pagan circles, is called "Worshipping the god Ralph at the porcelain altar."

#556 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 11:04 PM:

Xopher: "Worshipping the god Ralph at the porcelain altar."

I'd always heard it as "Calling Ralph on the big white phone." I'm not sure a god could be named "Ralph". Unless that's an Americanization of some more god-like name, or something.

Cthralptha Thaing, maybe.

#557 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 11:07 PM:

Xopher: being of the RC persuasion it's "praying at the Shrine of St. John of the Swirling Waters".

Fade: I had exactly the opposite reaction. From the age of 6, when I'd been given a sip of blended scotch I was agin' it.

Then I got a taste of Laphroig (it wasn't gonna kill me to try it, and everyone was extolling it). I started to hand the bottle off, and took it back for another sip.

One of my favorite (minor)whiskies is Sheep Dip, which has a distinctive nose. It's flavor isn't anywhere near as aggressive as the nose, but it's a whisky, and they are a taste. If it's got no basic appeal, then there is no point in spending the money to keep trying it.

#558 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 11:09 PM:

Greg, worshippers bow over the altar, pronouncing the name loudly enough for people standing outside the door to realize that the answer to their question ("Are you all right in there?") is "No."

I prefer Ganesha myself.

#559 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2007, 11:44 PM:

CHip@546: Summer isn't necessarily a great time in the Mediterranean either

Hm. Bummer. Probably means the ideal time is even more expensive because the window is so small.

#560 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 03:45 AM:

"Gibraltar an island?"

hmm, no no I was thinking of Gibraltar Island! you know, up in the Great Lakes. I bet that place is cold.

nope I was wrong, but in my defense I've never been to Gibraltar, I suppose I just had it in my head as an island because I always saw it in pictures from the watery sides, maybe the peninsula side is not the most frequently photogenic.

Hmm, maybe I should go. it would keep me from making the mistake again. How much did that cruise cost.

#561 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 08:11 AM:

Rikibeth @ #550: there's a recipe for beans with juniper berries in The Savory Way that's quite good.

#562 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 09:17 AM:

Rikibeth passim: Aha - drinkies! Gin-based cocktails you might like:
*Aviator or avation cocktail: Gin, maraschino, lemon juice, simple syrup.
*Gimlet: Gin, Rose's lime cordial, simple syrup. Philip Marlowe (and indeed Raymond Chandler's) drink. Which gives me the excuse to dig up one of my favourite Chandler quotes:

Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl's clothes off.

On Martinis in general: they get ever more lethal with time, with 15:1 gin:vermouth proportions by the late sixties. My feelings are that by that point you might as well be drinking it neat.

#563 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 09:31 AM:

Off the current topics... There's a Justice League movie in the works. The only good news, for me anyway, is that Jessica Biehl may play Wonder Woman. I can't get too worked up about the whole thing, in spite of my still loving comic-books (which is why my 5-year-old nephew thinks I'm the coolest uncle). Superhero that are together for reasons that are not organic usually leave me cold. Examples of 'organic' groups are the Fantastic Four, who are literally a family, and the X-men, who created a family out of their plight.

#564 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 09:47 AM:

Today, xkcd establishes a linkk between programming skills and alcohol consumption.

#565 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Serge, I wonder if that means Jessica Biehl would play her in the Wonder Woman movie, too? I've kind of stopped following the gossip around that since Signor Whedon exited the project.

I agree with you about the superhero teams. The Justice League never really made sense to me.

#566 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 09:58 AM:

ethan... I don't know about Biehl and a WW solo movie. What I've heard is that the people behind the Superman and Batman movies aren't happy because the League's version of those characters would basically compete with theirs. One other problem I have with the concept is that Superman's mere presence makes everybody else redundant unless they're going after Lex Luthor or the Kryptonite Man. Oh well.

#567 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 11:09 AM:

ethan (cont'd from #566)... There is a big problem with the movie version of superhero groups, no matter why they hang together. Its large cast means that most of the characters get short-shrift in a movie, and isn't a problem with something that has a monthly schedule (unless the book's writer is Joss Whedon and you never know when the next monthly issue will show up). Look at the mess of the third X-men movie.

#568 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Test comment. Mysteriously, a new Sidelight I've just posted and published is failing to show up. I want to reassure myself that new comments are posting.

#569 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 11:21 AM:

Okay, a rebuild solved the problem. Never mind.

#570 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 11:53 AM:

I have learned that I only like expensive gin. To follow Terry Karney @ 549, expensive gin tastes like a Christmas tree smells; cheap gin smells like a Christmas tree, but tastes like Pine-Sol.

Liking expensive gin means that I have not drunk gin drinks in two years. Two years ago, it was an open top-shelf bar.

I also liked an expensive Scotch I tried once, and liked a somewhat less expensive Scotch when it was put on the rocks, but I can't get Jack Daniels to even go down.

#571 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 12:13 PM:

I stopped drinking gin long before I stopped drinking altogether. Got real sick on it once, and to this day it smells like paint thinner to me.

#572 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 12:23 PM:

I'm not sure a god could be named "Ralph".

He's the God of Political Purity.

#573 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 12:38 PM:

'Ralph'... Pronounced 'Ralf'? Or 'Rafe'?

#574 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 12:39 PM:

I found an interesting link at Language Log: an excerpt from a new book called The Myth of Mars and Venus", which debunks the myths we have as a culture about the ways that men and women speak.

#575 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 01:13 PM:

Open thread random subject.

Despite having read a great deal of science fiction and fantasy in the approximately 40 years since I discovered The Hobbit and Andre Norton, somehow I've never read any Gene Wolfe. Where's a good place to start?

Thanks,
Betsy

#576 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 01:36 PM:

OtterB @ 575: The Book of the New Sun (the series starting with The Shadow of the Torturer) is generally considered his masterwork, with good reason. It has the further advantage that, unlike much of Wolfe's work, it doesn't require careful reading just to crack the surface, although it surely rewards it.

My personal favorite is The Fifth Head of Cerberus, but it has a pretty high conundrum quotient, which won't appeal to everyone.

If you like short fiction, The Island Of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories, Gene Wolfe's Book of Days, and Endangered Species are excellent collections.

#577 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 01:40 PM:

I've found that my drinks must be sweet and tend to be strong-- faketinis, that sort of thing. It means I don't drink often, because it's difficult to get girly, fruity drinks at a bar after class, and rather expensive besides. I agree that they're not really martinis (martinis do not contain caramel syrup) but they are sweet and strong and give me something to swirl while I talk.
The most I've had at a time was two, on Senior Walk, and that made me wobbly enough to stop drinking for an hour. Little more that I could detect, though I am not perhaps the best judge. I wasn't the one table-dancing, nor part of the prairie chicken mating dance team, nor, in fact, drunk at all by the end of the night.

#578 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 01:40 PM:

If you don't mind jumping into the deep end, you could certainly do worse than start with The Book of the New Sun (currently available in two Orb trade paperback volumes, I think).

If you do, starting with story collections might be a good idea. I'd recommend Storeys From the Old Hotel or Castle of Days (at least the portion of it which is stories, the rest won't mean much yet) slightly over his more recent collections (Strange Travelers, Innocents Aboard, Starwater Strains) for someone new to Wolfe, but that's just a vague instinct without a good reason behind it. They're all good.

If you want to start with a novel but something less intense than New Sun, I'm not sure what the best choice is as there are a number of his one-volume novels I have yet to read. There Are Doors might be a good choice. The Wizard Knight is a very good two-volume novel.

#579 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 01:41 PM:

Jakob @ 562: The maraschino in the aviation cocktail might offset the gin, I don't know. The other possibility is that I'd wind up with a glass of what tasted like cough syrup.

Gimlets are yet another example of my bias towards "if it's a classic with gin, it can only be improved by vodka."

And Lila @ 561, I'll have to look into that! White beans? Cranberry beans? (Those would be my first two guesses.) Or something else entirely?

#580 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 01:42 PM:

#574, Naomi Parkhurst,

Neat!
I like the the summary bit at Language Log. It is considerably better focused than the article it's excerpted from.

Three critiques on the article:
1. the clod of Mars/Venus pop-sci literature is grotesquely expansive, so it's an easy target.
2. the explanatory power of the Mars/Venus myth is pretty heady stuff, and in the general form can be made to support anything, from sexism to feminism.
3. Hyde's metanalysis results aren't surprising:
the difference between groups is always smaller than difference within groups.

One prediction:
The Mars/Venus stuff isn't going to go away anytime soon. Many* males and females are socialized to behave differently, language use is a kind of behavior, therefore we will still expect, look for, and produce differently gendered behaviors.

*probably most.

#581 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 01:44 PM:

OtterB @ 575:

Sorry, my previous post was directed at you - I should have made that clear.

Also, I should note that Gene Wolfe's Book of Days which Tim recommends is currently most easily available as part of Castle of Days, which is why I recommended that. I think that would really be my first choice of a Wolfe collection to recommend to a new reader, although I am still not able to articulate why.

#582 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 02:07 PM:

Rikibeth #579: I've generally found that anything that can be improved with vodka is even more improved with white rum.

#583 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 02:26 PM:

This may have been covered already, but the "maraschino" in an Aviation is Maraschino liqueur, not the juice from a jar of maraschino cherries or anything like that.

Good vermouth makes a big difference, as does good gin. Of course, not all good gins make good martinis — I'm fond of Hendrick's, but I think in a martini its flavor notes (cucumber and rose) would either disappear or clash with the vermouth.

Two other tasty cocktails that sometimes appeal to people who have disliked gin in the past: the Leap Year (gin, sweet vermouth, Grand Marnier, lemon juice) and the Jasmine (gin, Cointreau, Campari, lemon juice). It's nice to warn unsuspecting Jasmine drinkers that despite its pretty pink color, it is emphatically *not* a Cosmopolitan — the Campari bitterness can be a shock if one's expecting a sweet Cosmo.

#584 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Caroline: Yeah, I drink Sapphire (which has only one difference from the regular, but those Grains of Paradise are amazing), and Mallaca.

Jakob: My worst Martini was discovering my favorite bartender was off (actually she'd moved, but that was less apparent). The place was crowded.

I ordered a Martini. I had to wait while the "martnini guy" got unbusy. He put the gin on ice, and poured a decent amount of vermouth into the glass (which was right out of the freezer).

Then he spun the vermouth around the glass, poured it down the drain and served me a straight gin.

My date thought I was going to faint, or burst (my eyes goggled). Having waited ten minutes for this wonder, I drank it. Had it been anything other than sapphire I'd have tied him up until he got it right.

As it was I just waited until the olives had mellowed.

And I've never ordered another martini without being really specific. I've had to send several back.

Such a simple thing.

#585 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 02:52 PM:

Terry, that martini sounds horrifying, and yet I've read formulae that genuinely advocate doing exactly that.

And, Lexica, does Maraschino liqueur taste of something other than cherry? I couldn't really figure it out from the swoony descriptions.

#586 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 02:52 PM:

Lexica #583:

I'd have no trouble with the Campari flavor--Campari and soda is what I drink when I want to be seen to be drinking something, but not too strong. The Jasmine sounds interesting--I've got all the ingredients except for the gin. (Vodka martinis round here, 5-to-1.)

#587 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Rikibeth #585:

I once attended a (highly unofficial) departmental martini party at which the general recipe was mist the inside of the glass with vermouth and then add the gin or vodka. I have heard recipes involving the equivalent of "Alice, roast beef; roast beef, Alice", where you just wave the (un)opened vermouth bottle in the general direction of the glass. This somehow seems massively like cheating; why not just call it gin-on-the-rocks?

#588 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 03:04 PM:

Lexica @ 583: Of course, not all good gins make good martinis — I'm fond of Hendrick's, but I think in a martini its flavor notes (cucumber and rose) would either disappear or clash with the vermouth.

The garnish also makes a big difference. Junipero is brilliant with a twist, but I prefer Sapphire when using an olive. Hendrick's makes fine martinis, but really shines in a Green Lady (gin, chartreuse, lime, syrup).

Terry @ 584: Then he spun the vermouth around the glass, poured it down the drain and served me a straight gin.

I was quite startled the first time I got a martini made this way, but I liked the result. I disagree that it's the same as a straight gin. It's the same technique one uses for a Sazerac.

You have to bear in mind that bartenders are constantly getting hassled by "macho" drinkers for not making their martinis dry enough. I've heard a story (possibly an urban legend, I guess) about a bartender who got so sick of having one guy send back his martini that he served straight gin... and still got it sent back.

I use the Lehrer ratio for my own martinis, but I don't make a religion out of it. Drier or wetter is fine.

#589 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 03:12 PM:

Before I forget to ask... Not long ago my wife and I watched Bogart/Bacall's Dark Passage, where Bogie plays a man wrongfully imprisoned in San Quentin who then escapes. At some point, Bacall takes him to her place. Looking at her records, he observes that she seems to like Swing music a lot. She corrects him by saying that she prefers Legitimate Swing. I googled that expression, and found a reference to it in an article about Liberty Swing, but without explaining what Legitimate Swing is. Does anybody care to light my lantern?

#590 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 03:18 PM:

joann @ 587

I think it was in a Nero Wolfe story that I read about a dry martini being made with the vermouth cork waved over the glass of gin. (Slightly more vermouth in it than the version you describe, I think.)

#591 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 03:48 PM:

Tim Walters: If it wasn't for that being a five oz. glass of gin, with nothing but the legs of vermouth... maybe.

But all I could taste was watered gin.

Almost as bad as the guy, when I ordered a whisky neat poured it over ice in a shaker... "to cool it off".

He wasn't happy to have me tell him to pour a new one. Since I was all of 21, he probably had no expectation of my knowing what I wanted.

rikibeth: Maraschino tastes of cherries, but is more herbal, and a trifle bitter, under the sweet.

Lexica: I've tried hendricks. I'm not sure how I feel about it for martinis: I suspect that a Gibson is probably best, and that it want's the right vermouth.

#592 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Rikibeth @ 585 - Terry Karney's description just above of maraschino as "tastes of cherries, but is more herbal, and a trifle bitter, under the sweet" is pretty accurate, in my opinion — it also has a faintly bitter-almond note to it. (Probably because it's made using the pits of the Marasca cherries as well as the fruit itself.)

#593 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 04:11 PM:

Caroline @ 570

That's the problem with having taste buds with expensive tastes. I love good scotch, and will drink mediocre scotch, but I'm not fond of rye whiskey, and bourbon makes me ill. Luckily, I drink so little liquor that I can afford to buy good single malt; consumption is a race between my drinking and evaporation.

#594 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Back in his BC (before children) days, my father performed the "Great Martini Shtudy" for Cleveland Magazine. We have a hilarious picture of him in a lab coat, with a graduate cylinder, trying to look scientific.

They performed various entertaining tests on the martinis from local bars, including having the vermouth/gin ratio analyzed at a local lab, measuring the volume of the olives (they preferred lower volume olives in order to increase the amount of martini) and so on.

I love my father very much. Stuff like this makes me think I'd love him even if he weren't my father.

#595 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 05:04 PM:

Rikibeth: I dislike replacing gin with vodka because in gin drinks I like to taste the spirit, and I find I need to spend much more to buy a passable vodka than to buy a decent gin.

Fragano: Again, it'd have to be good rum, and the drink would not, IMHO, be necessarily improved, merely different. A gimlet and daquiri are equally excellent, but quite different experiences.

Terry: I have heard people suggest making martinis by rinsing the glass in vermouth and pouring in frozen gin.

#596 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 05:05 PM:

Some odd spam turned up in my inbox this morning.

First off, it was a pump&dump that seemed to be suggesting I should go back in time to buy some shares (send time was "Mon, 01 Oct 2007 19:30:59 +0200" and it suggested I buy on Monday morning).

Secondly, it seemed the random subject generator was oddly in-tune both with the nature of the senders and the requirements of a good story.

"Subject: Brain-sucking parasitic killer menaces warming lake waters"

OK, so it might need to work on that second half a bit there, but I'm right with it as far as the brain-sucking parasitic killer menaces go.

#597 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 05:08 PM:

Bruce C #593:

We do the same thing to single malts, then: love them and not drink them enough. Have you tried the bourbon equivalent of single-malt, from small producers? I didn't think I was a bourbon person, despite having grown up in the Bluegrass and having some fourth or fifth cousins responsible for Maker's Mark, but I tried a high-end product from the next county over and really liked it.

#598 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Jakob: The water from the ice imparts important notes. It's like the blending of water with whisky to make bottle strength, instead of cask.

It opens up the gin.

I used to keep the gin in the freezer, and not shake (that, by the way, is how you know Bond learned to drink martinis in the States; and why people who say that; in the states, are posers), but no longer.

#599 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 05:15 PM:

I remember in the early 60s my parents kept a jar of reusable "martini rocks" in the refrigerator. They were pourous rocks in vermouth, the idea being that they would soak up just the right amount of vermouth to be released into a martini. I don't think my parents actually drank martinis at home, but they had friends who did.

#600 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 05:16 PM:

Jules @ 596: I think that subject may have been pulled from the AP headlines. There was a story on Friday: 6 Die from Brain-Eating Amoeba in Lakes.

#601 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 05:27 PM:

joann @ 597

Thanks, I'll try that when it comes time to drink whiskey again. My aversion to bourbon comes from my youth, when I spent too much time on Army bases in the American South for the good of my liver. On an enlisted man's pay, you don't drink good liquor, even assuming you can find it before the officers drink it all up.

#602 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 05:42 PM:

Patrick, I like that Manhattan-in-1609 stuff.
It would be interesting if they went a little later and had a map of Nieuw Amsterdam around 1630, so people could see how it underlies the streets at that end of the island. (I've been research one of the Dutch families, since it appears to connect to my sister-in-law. Or the other way around.)

#603 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 05:42 PM:

Patrick, I like that Manhattan-in-1609 stuff.
It would be interesting if they went a little later and had a map of Nieuw Amsterdam around 1630, so people could see how it underlies the streets at that end of the island. (I've been research one of the Dutch families, since it appears to connect to my sister-in-law. Or the other way around.)

#604 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 05:43 PM:

Oops. System was slow, that was my accident.

#605 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 06:28 PM:

Rikibeth @ #579, Anasazi beans (similar, I believe, to Jacob's Cattle beans; it's a purple-and-white splotched dry bean). The recipe also features coriander seeds, onion, ground chili and Mexican or Greek oregano. The book's now out in paperback and well worth owning, but you can probably find it in a library as well.

#606 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 06:41 PM:

My favorite spam of late:

An earnest message from an Indian tweezer manufacturer. It contained an exhaustive list of tweezer types.

#607 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 06:47 PM:

Jakob: that's the trouble right there. If I want to *taste* a spirit in my mixed drink, I want the taste to be tequila or bourbon, probably from having my early experiences with margaritas and whiskey sours. If I just want something tall and citrusy, the neutral no-taste of vodka is much more appealing than gin. And rum-and-cokes I don't drink for the taste, just for the disinhibiting effect that lets me get onto the dance floor without feeling like an idiot.

And if I just want to taste the alcohol -- Scotch.

Mmm, Laphroaig.

#608 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 06:49 PM:

Jules (596), Lexica (600): Oddly enough, just last week I read a mystery novel in which that amoeba was the means of death.

#609 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 06:50 PM:

Tim Walters #588: I use the Lehrer ratio for my own martinis, but I don't make a religion out of it. Drier or wetter is fine.

The joke version is "a teaspoon of vermouth in the room humidifier". In college, I learned to appreciate Cinzano vermouth, but I tend to get strange looks when I ask for it, not sure why.

#610 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 06:57 PM:

OtterB @575: I had read some Gene Wolfe short stories over the years, but the first books of his I fell in love with were the Book of the Long Sun series (starting with Nightside the Long Sun). I've read more of his books since.

Here is the wikipedia overview of Gene Wolfe.

#611 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 08:13 PM:

It's always interesting to me to watch these endless discussions of the fine points of different brands of booze. The reason I don't drink is not that I think there's anything wrong with it (morally or otherwise) but simply that anything alcoholic tastes VILE to me.

Those of you who are old enough will remember the days before disposable thermometers. When you went to the doctor's office, the nurse would take a standard glass thermometer, wipe it off with rubbing alcohol, and shove it in your mouth. Remember how that tasted? That's what anything with booze in it tastes like when I try it. And I've tried a fair number of things over the years, some intentionally, some... not. So in conversations like this, I'm like the color-blind person listening to a discussion of the delicate color shadings in a painting.

On a completely different topic, my partner and I will be in Seattle this coming weekend, staying with Randolph and his SO. Anyone else in the area who might be up for a realspace?

#612 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 09:06 PM:

OtterB @ 575

All the suggestions for Gene Wolfe books have been good, but I'd like to point out something no one's mentioned yet: the Soldier of the Mist books:

1. The Soldier of the Mist (1986)
2. The Soldier of Arete (1989)
Latro in the Mist (omnibus) (2003)
3. Soldier of Sidon (2006)


I haven't read #3 yet, but the other 2 are my favorite of his novels; they're similar in voice to the Urth of the New Sun*, but the structure and characters are very different. And I just love the basic premise of the story: Latro unf n urnq vawhel gung ceriragf uvz erzrzorevat sebz bar qnl gb gur arkg, ohg va pbzcrafngvba ur pna frr naq gnyx gb gur tbqf naq gur qrnq.

* IIRC. I haven't read the Urth of the New Sun since the 80's.

#613 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 09:31 PM:

Serge@573: Michael Flanders, in At the Drop of a Hat (1950's, IIRC), says "rahlf". ("Why dost thou not redo Ralph Roister-Doister as a musical? ... Roister in the first half, Doister in the second half (Ralph in the intermission)...."

Terry et al: there is a joke about somebody wanting a martini so dry he tells the bartender to not even open the vermouth bottle, but to just lean over the glass and quietly say "vermouth"; when he tastes the drink, he calls the bartender a loudmouth. Tastes vary....
I used to drink very weak gin-and-ginger -- quite nice if blended for taste rather than canonical strength -- or Hairy Toes (our coinage for a dash of peach schnapps in cranberry juice). Now I'm mostly an English ale drinker, occasionally doing single malts when I feel up to them.

#614 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 10:06 PM:

Xopher, I'm so sorry about your boyfriend's friends. That's awful.

#615 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2007, 11:35 PM:

Serge, #563, Comicmix.com says that Biel won't be doing it.

OtterB, #575, I must disagree with Tim. Book of the New Sun is about a torturer. With lots of torturing. I finished it, but I wasn't happy.

Lee, #611, you'll be leaving too soon for Charlie Stross' signing tour.

#616 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 01:52 AM:

Martinis have always sounded dangerous.


Then 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, an' the missis and the kid:
Our orders was to break you, an' of course we went an' did.
We sloshed you with Martinis, an' it wasn't 'ardly fair;
But for all the odds agin' you, Fuzzy-Wuz, you broke the square.

#617 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 02:26 AM:

Dave @ 616 — would that be Martini-Henrys or Martini-Enfields (which arrived in 1895)?

#618 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 02:55 AM:

Dave Bell @ 616

5 parts Gin, 1 part Vermouth, 7.5 parts Potassium Nitrate, 1.5 parts Charcoal, and 1 part Sulfur. Stir, do not shake. No smoking in the bar during preparation.

#619 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 03:29 AM:

Or,

5 parts gin, 1 part glycerin, 3 parts fuming nitric acid, 1 paper umbrella. Stir, not shake.

#620 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 05:18 AM:

Terry: Oh, I wasn't suggesting it was a good thing. If you don't want to appreciate the taste of the booze, just keep a bottle of everclear in the freezer.

#621 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 06:23 AM:

CHip... What about Ralph Fiennes? 'Ralf', 'Rahlf', or 'Rafe'? Kind of reminds me of the time movie critic Joe Bob Briggs went on a rant about him and Ralph Cramden.

#622 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 07:48 AM:

Epacris, it would be Martini-Henrys, since the two battles that the verse could refer to were at Tamai, 13 March 1884, and at the wells at Abu Klea on 17 January 1885.

#623 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 08:04 AM:

Joann #587 ...where you just wave the (un)opened vermouth bottle in the general direction of the glass.

Come now. If you aren't going to take the top off the bottle to allow the "essence"* of vermouth to migrate to the glass, it's much classier to incline the glass in the direction of France before adding the gin.

Terry Karney #598 ...(that, by the way, is how you know Bond learned to drink martinis in the States; and why people who say that; in the states, are posers)...

A schoolfriend of mine who avidly read everything Bond and Fleming related once told me that Fleming got the idea from an Admiral he met. There was something about the Carribean in the story - either this was in a bar in the Carribean or the Admiral was just back from the Carribean. Which makes it likely that this Admiral had got his martini specifications from drinking with American Naval Officers.

Where Bond the character got the idea, I don't know.

* or "spirit"

#624 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 08:50 AM:

Intersections of spam bot prevention and preservation of old books -

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7023627.stm

Thought you might find it interesting...it's lovely when "synergy" isn't just dumb business-speak. I bet it took someone having a truly moment of genius to happen though. Any other synergies that are brilliantly obvious once someone's thought of them?

#625 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 08:51 AM:

Neil Willcox @ 623... Where Bond the character got the idea, I don't know.

Bond had been an officer in the Royal Navy, according to the movie version of You Only Live Twice anyway. And considering when the movies were made, Bond could have served during the War.

#626 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 09:05 AM:

Totally new topic:

Why the hell are all the prints for medical scrub tops so FUGLY?? I have maybe 4 that I like, and I got them all from Goodwill (after looking at perhaps several hundred).

Does anyone know of a source for decent-looking scrubs? I prefer a palette that doesn't remind me of either radioactive Chinese crayons or Thomas Kinkade, and designs that don't cause tooth decay at 30 yards. I also prefer cotton/polyester to cotton, as the thought of having to iron my scrubs is just depressing.

(I wish this place still did scrubs; I love my neuron scarf.)

#627 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 09:10 AM:

Lila, is there a problem with not-at-all-patterned scrubs? You could steal them from a hospital. Or, if you don't mind them saying "Providence River Animal Hospital Vet Tech Ethan," I could send you mine.

#628 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 09:31 AM:

Marilee @ 615... No Wonder Woman for Jessica Biel? Drat. This reminds me that I should watch The Illusionist again.

#629 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 09:49 AM:

Lila, if you have enough sewing skills to turn on the machine you can make your own; to say the scrub pattern isn't complex is something of an understatement and there are several available at any fabric store.

#630 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 10:35 AM:

Carrie, #629: I can't speak for Lila, but I feel about sewing machines the way a lot of people feel about computers: they're incredibly complex, they're arcane, and if I touch it the wrong way it's going to break! I can restore a button or do basic seam repair by hand with a needle and thread, but that is the absolute extent of my capabilities in that area.

#631 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 10:43 AM:

Lee @ 630

Maybe you need one of the mechanical ones: Victorian technology, not electronics, and will last for decades, if not generations. (The biggest problem I ever had was, on my previous machine, replacing the drive belt. The current one has no visible belt. On the other hand, it's relatively portable.)

#632 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 11:02 AM:

New topic (this is an open thread, after all) that might be worthy of particle status:

In Excel 2007, 850 multiplied by 77.1 isn't 65535. It's 100,000.

(As I see all the programmers reading this wince ...)


#633 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 11:14 AM:

Here's an idea for a premise for an SF story, which you are welcome to use or discuss in this thread. I'm unlikely to get to use it for a year or more at the current rate.

Premise: what would be the effect on society of technology to record, analyse, synthesize, and induce specific emotional and cognitive states in the human brain being used by IP capitalists to identify and copyright (and charge for) emotional states? The uses by DHS and NSA are obvious, but how about Sony or GE?

#634 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 11:30 AM:

Bond had been an officer in the Royal Navy, according to the movie version of You Only Live Twice anyway. And considering when the movies were made, Bond could have served during the War.

Could and did, according to the novels. He was born on 11 November 1920, and had the rank of commander (implying significant wartime service). In "Dr No", he also remembers coming under machinegun fire in the Ardennes. What a naval commander was doing in the Ardennes, heaven knows. Perhaps he was lost.

#635 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 12:18 PM:

Neil W #623: it's much classier to incline the glass in the direction of France before adding the gin.

Easy for you to say. France is easily locatable from any part of Britland. In these parts, it's a trifle more difficult. How about if I incline the bottle in the direction of New Orleans, or Louisiana in general?

#636 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 12:29 PM:

Well, I do live closer to Calais than London*. Come to think of it, that's where I buy my gin as well as vermouth.

* If the traffic is really bad in West Kent and you catch the Seacat it can be quicker to get to Calais as well.

#637 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 12:50 PM:

Lila, do you get the scrub catalog? A friend of mine does, for her vet tech work, and we had a fun time looking through the different sections (scrubs for kids, scrubs that are more form-fitting and slimming, scrubs with animal prints for vets...) and not exactly mocking, but wondering. I always thought scrubs were for getting blood on, and the idea of slimming splash-guards makes me giggle.

#638 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 01:02 PM:

> What a naval commander was doing in the Ardennes, heaven knows.

Well, if he'd let it become general knowledge, he probably wouldn't have ended up working for the SIS, would he :-)

#639 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 01:07 PM:

Marilee @ 615: Book of the New Sun is about a torturer. With lots of torturing.

I'm not sure I'd agree with "lots," but it's true that there are some very disturbing scenes, and I should have mentioned that.

#640 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 01:22 PM:

Diatryma @#637, no I don't, but I'd like a look at it. Scrubs aren't necessarily for getting blood on (in fact, if you're likely to get splashed in a human healthcare setting you should be wearing a gown over your scrubs) but more for ease of movement and the ability to change clothes rapidly if needed, as well as giving you something low-maintenance and cheap to wear in an occupation where getting bled on, puked on, peed on, etc. is a fairly common hazard.

I, for example, do physical therapy. I don't get too much of the blood & body fluids, but I do have to move non-ambulatory patients from bed to wheelchair, demonstrate exercises, kneel on the floor, etc., so even khakis and a polo shirt are a bit "dressy" for me. And sweats are against the dress code.

As mentioned above, I don't have any trouble finding solid scrubs but they're boring and institutional looking. Most of my patients are in the rehab facility anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks, and I try not to make the place look any duller than necessary.

#641 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 01:46 PM:

joann @ 348, 349: I suspect that F. domesticus now sleeps with the fishes, eliminated, indeed denigrated (can one still use that word in the US?)‡, in one of those classificatory grudge matches. It looks like even F. catus is being subsumed as a variety – once sometimes called a race – or subspecies under F. silvestris/Felix sylvestris.

‡or should I try these, instead of nesting commas, parentheses, dashes, etc?

#642 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 01:53 PM:

It's not as simple as "REAL martini drinkers know martinis should be stirred, not shaken — only people who've seen too many James Bond movies drink their martinis shaken."

The question of whether a martini should be shaken or stirred depends on what the drinker considers most important. One person might want a crystal-clear, ultra-smooth martini and not mind that it's not as cold as it could be. For them, stir. Someone else might want a martini so cold it's almost a slushy, and not consider cloudiness a problem. For them, shake.

There are One True Wayers in the realm of cocktails as there are anywhere else. I think that's focusing on the wrong aspect — if my cocktail is historically accurate, that's merely intellectually interesting; if my cocktail is well-mixed and tasty, that's directly relevant.

#643 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Aiee! Wrong thread. See under "I don't need to know the details", and try to ignore the double posting. Definitely thought I'd only clicked once.

Need more sleep. Should sleep now …

#644 ::: Ben Engelsberg ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 02:03 PM:

I ran across this on Gizmodo, and thought it might interest folks here. Captcha, the software which challenges people to identify obscured words in order to filter out spam posting software, has started using scanned text from actual manuscripts which Optical Character Recognition software has not been able to decode. Now, when people have to pass through a confirmation screen, they're helping digitally preserve old/ancient/important documents.

They explain it much better than I just tried to do... Check it out!

#645 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Lee (611): I'm with you. All alcohol tastes nasty to me. I don't mind mixed drinks (e.g., daquiris) if they have enough other stuff to completely mask the taste of alcohol, but then what's the point? Plus, I have no head for alcohol, since I never drink the stuff. When I hung out with friends who did like to drink, I was the permanent designated driver.

#646 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 02:22 PM:

When I worked for a vet, I hated trying to find decent scrubs.

Skinny, and male. Feh.

I seem to recall (from Diamonds are Forever?) a converstaion with Felix Leiter that he'd learned to drink Martinis from an American.

As for to whence we ought to incline bottles:

A history of vermouth

It appears the place to which we owe Vermouth is Germany, for making it, France for naming it, and Italy for making it popular.

Ah, Europe.

#647 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Terry #646:

Then it is clear that I in central Texas should genuflect my cocktail shaker to the southwest, for there lies Castroville, colonized by Alsatians, which gets two of the afore-mentioned groups.

#648 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 02:41 PM:

joann @ 647... Or you could genuflect in my general direction, in Albuquerque.

#649 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 02:45 PM:

ajay @ 634

What a naval commander was doing in the Ardennes, heaven knows. Perhaps he was lost.

For reasons known only to a military bureacracy now one with the dinosaurs*, when I rotated into Vietnam in '66 the primary incoming personnel processing station for the Saigon area was a US Navy office on Tu Do Street. I assume they were the HQ responsible for brown water operations on the Mekong as well, but I never saw any of that.

So it may be that this is an episode in Bond's career that he wasn't terribly proud of, perhaps seconded to an Army unit as liason or special supply officer (dogrobber), so he would never talk about why he was there.

* I take no position on sodomy for this discussion.

#650 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Anybody know anything about these folks

OrgName: Allied Telecom Group, LLC
OrgID: ATGL
Address: 1220 L St NW
Address: Suite 408
City: Washington
StateProv: DC
PostalCode: 20005
Country: US
IP Address 66.208.16.50

I got some "Blackwater is misunderstood, just look at this; indpendent, fluff-site for proof" stuff through them.

I am all warm and fuzzy.

#651 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 03:39 PM:

As for shaken, not stirred, if I recall correctly Bond insists on it in some books, and in others on stirred, not shaken. In both cases he claims that doing the opposite will "bruise" the gin.

#652 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Thanks to Tim Walters #576, Dan Blum #578, Rob Rusick #610, Bruce Cohen #612, and especially Marilee #615 for suggestions about Wolfe. Shadow of the Torturer may be the book I vaguely remember starting years ago, and putting down partway through because of a vivid scene of torture - my tolerance for these things is low. That would account for why I didn't read any more Wolfe at the time. I think I'll give The Wizard Knight a try.

#653 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Terry @650:

I would guess that Allied Telecom Group is just a service provider. However, a little digging indicates that, while that IP address isn't recognized by my DNS, it's in a small block allocated to The Institute of World Politics.

#654 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 04:32 PM:

Yeah, I figured as much (about the IP addie), but L street, it's not exactly an out of the way spot, so I figured it might be something like that (i.e. a dedicated block).

And the guy's language "The site I quoted from is apparently by some person or persons who are more interested in the truth about Blackwater than the popular liberal spin about Blackwater. I might well ask about the motivations of certain other bloggers on this subject."

But that one has a better link, his email points to IWP. Now to try chasing down his name.

Looking at the splash pages tells one a lot.

#655 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 04:39 PM:

A possible real unit that James Bond might have served in was 30 Assault Unit. There's an Ian Fleming connection, but Commander is a bit high a rank, Lieutenant Colonel equivalent.

#656 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 04:49 PM:

No luck in using his name to dig anything up at IWP, but I did find some things (Google can be your friend.

Charles Van Someren is mentioned in the acknowlegements to, Fighting the Information War like a Real War and some blogging about how Blackwater isn't really a mercenary organization.

If I understand his argument there (which is referring to a four year old Military Law Review article on mercenaries in general, and the need to regulate PMCs) if a gov't hires them, and isn't paying them to be offensive, in nature, then they can't be called mercenaries.

Reading the article, however, he's wrong. It says,

This flawed approach ignores mercenaries’ long history, their modern transformation into sophisticated private military companies (PMCs), and their increasing use by—not against—sovereign states engaged in the legitimate exercise of procuring foreign military services.

A bright bulb, obviously.

#657 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 04:55 PM:

Oops.

Fighting the War of Ideas like a Real War

#658 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 05:21 PM:

TK:

The Money Followed for IWP

"Round up the usual suspects" - three of the Four Sisters, plus oil barony Earhart who has tended to go more for funding tame educators, with Donner and Davis and still lesser lights Kohler and JM- plus an obscure outfit that I don't recognize from past digging, Hickory.

#659 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 05:22 PM:

Terry:

The world is about to get interesting. There's been an industry building around paying shills to post online in various places. If the presidential election is close next year, I expect to see this used widely and intensively, along with all kinds of technical tricks like shutting down some sites when you want to, say, slow down the response to some effective but nasty attack ad campaign. In the extreme case, you could even see people trying to shut down popular web news sources--there's a precedent, in the way the English-language Al-Jazeera site was shut down during the fighting in Iraq (by "patriotic hackers" according to white house spokesmen).

I wonder what the net will look like when this is over.

#660 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 05:24 PM:

Exploiting the open thread for poetry:

Bubble

Darwin days arrived
VC money all was spent
You want fries with that?


[Stealing the phrase from Walter Jon Williams, not William Carlos Williams.]

#661 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 05:52 PM:

albatross @ 659

I wouldn't be surprised if these partisan idiots do more damage to the US information infrastructure than the Chinese military and the jihadis together. Especially if they start fighting over the use of the .gov IPs. There's nothing* stopping them from physical attacks on servers or connecting routers and cables.


* aside from criminal laws**

** which hasn't stopped either party before

#662 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 06:03 PM:

I use scrubs for pajamas, and -- in the summer -- to walk the dog in the morning. I bought my latest pair -- steel gray Landaus -- from:

http://www.medweardirect.com/

#663 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 06:26 PM:

Bellatrys: Yeah, that's what it looked like from the splash page.

I used that in my smackdown/exposing of Mr. van Someren. If he sticks his head up again, I'll use it directly, otherwise I'll just make a different post, so I don't have to duplicate it.

I suspect he was expecting to be sort of anonymous. As I said to ginmar, it's amazing how stupid trolls are.

#664 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 07:19 PM:

TK: I was really quite surprised not to see *any* Scaife tentacles in there. That's one of the only times I haven't turned them up with the other three.

I suspect he was expecting to be sort of anonymous.

Probably - after all, it's not like people have been talking about astroturf, right-wing "think tanks", or shills-for-mercenaries on public forums and blogs these past few years. They don't know how to google, let alone IP lookup, mindblowing but the only answer. (Which probably supports the whole squamous Old Ones back of it all theory somehow - underwater computers not practical, they get their ideas from old TV shows and movies like 3 Days of the Condor watched through beach house windows. How far is Innsmouth from Kennebunkport--?)

#665 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 07:34 PM:

ajay @634: What a naval commander was doing in the Ardennes, heaven knows. Perhaps he was lost.

As I recall from when I read about their history a few years ago, the SBS held a few missions in their early history that were strikes using small boats to travel deep into France up rivers and take out important German installations. While I don't believe such a mission was carried out in the Ardennes, it is certainly a plausible scenario.

#666 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 07:43 PM:

I had an early exposure to gin; I was about four years old. See the January 19 entry here (top of the page).

#667 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 08:11 PM:

Bellatrys: The stupid is even worse than the IP lookup/whois issue.

Yeah, I got a lead to IWP from that, but the second post he made had his email, from IWP, with his name.

From there I didn't need the previous IP.

And these people manage to be in charge, it is to weep.

#668 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 08:23 PM:

When did the notion that:

Huge pile of superfluous pillows on a bed == Luxury!

. . . become popular? I'm in a hotel room north of Denver that has such a feature, and I find it mildly annoying.

Exactly ten years ago tonight, I stayed for the night in Little America, Wyoming. A really high-class truck stop with opulent landscaping and nice rooms. There were even more pillows on the beds there. As I recall, I bundled up the satin-covered heap in the overly thick comforter and dumped it on the floor.

#669 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 08:35 PM:

Lila @626: I know you requested cotton/poly, but plain white all-cotton scrubs are available from Dharma Trading; the advantage there is that their fabric content (esp. the ones sewn with cotton thread) makes them easily dyeable, for which Dharma also has copious supplies for various techniques.

#670 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 08:57 PM:

Stefan, I'm in the opposite camp.

Sufficient pillows! In a place where I had to go on a plane get there! Squuee! (seriously, if we drive I bring two...._)

The thing that is puzzling but nice are the "Sleep Number" beds, which are a PITA when you're trying to throw a party in a hotel room. They are comfortable, but they take up rather more space than traditional beds.

#671 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 09:03 PM:

Serge #625: In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond has the rank of Commander.

In Casino Royale (the novel, that is), Bond establishes at the beginning that he's, ahem, Jamaican.

#672 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 09:14 PM:

Bruce Cohen, #633, you should read Elizabeth Bear's Carnival.

Stefan, I always call housekeeping and ask them to remove the extra pillows for the duration of my stay.

#673 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 09:16 PM:

Jakob #595: Appleton White's my preference for a mixing rum.

#674 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 09:18 PM:

Fragano @ 671... Bond establishes at the beginning that he's, ahem, Jamaican

Why didn't I notice before?

#675 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 09:43 PM:

Terry Karney @667: And these people manage to be in charge, it is to weep. [3]

Intelligent facists[1] would be more frightening to contemplate. But when you contemplate it, you get into this 'hall of mirrors' effect; where they may really be intelligent enough to appear stupid and get away with all sorts of mischief thereby. Eisenhower by one account appreciated how the press picked up on his mangled syntax, and missed the real stories in the news.


[1] I saw a CSPAN bit with Robert Kennedy Jr. quoting an early[2] American Heritage dictionary's definition of facism as where corporate interest dictate government policies (which was not the definition in the current edition.)

[2] The late 1930's ?

[3] But in the particular case you describe, it probably should be ascribed to 'lack of attention to detail'[4].

[4] Would we be happier if it were 'lack of attention to tradecraft'?

#676 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 09:53 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 675

By other accounts Eisenhower really wasn't very bright. One of my uncles was on his staff at SHAEF during the last couple of years of WW2, and had a large fund of "Ike is a dummy" anecdotes, so I tend to believe the common wisdom about him.

#677 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2007, 10:26 PM:

Marilee @ 672

Well, I'm not surprised it's not original with me. I'll get ahold of Carnival as soon as my current stack of "To Be Read Before Taking Another Breath" books goes down a little; I haven't had enough time for reading lately, and I'm terribly behind.

#679 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 01:31 AM:

OT question(s): Does anyone here read Thomas Ligotti? Is he good? Where does one begin?

#680 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 01:35 AM:

Stefan, #668: When I've been in hotels with that particular commodity, I generally notice that some of the pillows are firmer than others. I think perhaps the idea is to let each patron select the firmness of his or her choice. In any event, I just dump the ones I'm not using on the floor next to the bed.

#681 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 01:38 AM:

I think the firmness of hotel pillows is usually a function of the percentage by weight of dust mite corpses entombed within.

#682 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 02:00 AM:

*ahem ahem*

If you're a solo traveller, one pillow to a hotel room bed is just fine. You rest your head on it, and you sleep.

If you're travelling with a friendly companion, and neither of you feels like sleeping just yet, extra pillows, piled in the right spots... well, let's just say they can be useful.

(This also applies to home use.)

#683 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 02:32 AM:

I happen to spend far too many nights sleeping solo in hotels. The extra pillows are nice. I use them to prop myself when reading.

#684 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 04:54 AM:

671: Bond establishes at the beginning that he's, ahem, Jamaican

Now that's going to stay with me.

"Eeehh, Gol'finga. You tink me gon' talk, mon?"
"No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die."

#685 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 08:04 AM:

#664: How far is Innsmouth from Kennebunkport--?)

Innsmouth's been taken over by Yuppies these days. The Esoteric Order of Dagon hall is now a Starbucks and Devil Reef is where the tourists go to whale watch.

#686 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 08:43 AM:

So, I got one of those automatic bread machines from a coworker who was about to throw his out. It's my first time with an ABM. (Yes, I know I'm about 10 years behind the times on this, but as an electrical engineer, I've noticed my relationship to electronic gadgets is sometimes akin to the cobbler's kids going barefoot)

Anyway.

Out of curiosity, what is the bare minimum bread recipe? the smallest one I could find was flour, water, yeast, salt, I think. Is the salt needed for something, or is it just flavor? Thought I'd fiddle around with some recipes and try and find something healthy/nutritious and tastes good.

Also, having never baked so much as an instant pop tart in my life, I'm not sure the best sequence for storage of the bread. I got a box of premixed breadmix just to see if the machine worked, cooked up nice, ate a couple slices, and then bagged it up in a ziplock while it was still warm and put it in the fridge. There was a bunch of condensation inside the bag, which I assume isn't good.

I'm slowly learning this whole "cooking" thing. The more I've been reading from that nutrition book, the more it's clear the only way to eat healthy is to be able to cook stuff myself, rather than get frozen dinners and prepackaged stuff.

#687 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 08:46 AM:

Maybe if someone could recommend a good "how cooking works" book that would explain the basic underlying chemistries. (Yeast. Bread. Who'd a thunk it.) And explain it at a level for a geek-oriented person with absolutely no cooking experience whatsoever.

That would probably help a lot.

#688 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 08:55 AM:

Greg: Salt helps gluten formation, which is necessary for the bread to gain cohesion and rise.

The single book you need on food chemistry is Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking. I cannot commend this book enough - it's all in there.

#689 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 08:58 AM:

Also, is anyone else having posting issues? I keep trying to post to the 'phony soldiers' thread, and getting the error message:


Precondition Failed
The precondition on the request for the URL /mt/qlbr.cgi evaluated to false.

#690 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 09:04 AM:

Greg:

I let my machine bread cool a few hours, then slice it and bag it. It lasts long enough for me to finish it. I almost always toast it, so I don't care if the last couple of slices are a little stale.

I'm surprised the minimal recipe you mention doesn't mention sugar. Some of that is needed for the yeast to eat. (And fart. Bread bubbles are yeast farts. There, I said it.)

Visit some thrift stores. They tend to accumulate both bread machines and bread machine recipe books.

I have a couple of books, and maybe use four of the recipes.

About half the time, I start with the minimal recipe in the machine's own recipe book, and add an egg and a cup of oatmeal. Makes good bread for toasting.

Wheat germ and gluten are good add-ins.

#691 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 09:27 AM:

Jon Meltzer @ 685

Devil Reef is where the tourists go to whale watch.

Don't the tourists wonder why, every once in a while, the whales don't come back after they sound? Or why they sound at all in such shallow water?

#692 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 09:28 AM:

ethan, I'm a huge Ligotti fan; if you've been enjoying Lovecraft, he's likely to be right up your alley.

Alas, his work is largely out-of-print and much sought after, but if you can call up your mad library skills to summon a copy of The Nightmare Factory, that's the best place to start; it's an omnibus collecting all of Grimscribe and most of Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Noctuary (as well as a handful of pieces from would later become Teatro Grottesco). Any of those individual volumes would also make a fine starting place - I got hooked with Grimscribe, which has more of a uniform tone and feel that might be thought of as his signature style. Songs and Noctuary are both worth tracking down on their own for the material that isn't in the omnibus - a couple of mind-bending metafictional pieces in the former, and a collection of short-shorts (a form TL's particularly good with) in the latter.

Failing that, the recent collection The Shadow at the Bottom of the World has a nice sampling of his work from throughout his career - you can think of it as the stripped-down lite version of The Nightmare Factory.

Fair warning: Ligotti's prose is dense and baroque, even more so than Lovecraft's, and stylized in ways that may feel affected to a reader who isn't entirely bought in to his work (he said in an interview a few years ago that one of the things he'd been trying to do recently was write prose that read as if it had been translated from another language). And his philosophy is extremely bleak, and he means it.

#693 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 09:42 AM:

Greg, after you've digested McGee, I'd suggest you look into Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything: the Basics, which offer a good survey of the things people eat nowadays, without being as massive as some other cookbooks, like whichever iteration of Fannie Farmer* and The Joy of Cooking we're on by now. Although I've heard good things about the 75th anniversary edition of Joy.

Bittman includes simple, basic things, and then builds on to more complicated dishes, and the book design makes for easy-to-read and handle text. They make for good learner texts, as you can get no-frills recipes and build on them.

After you get that sorted out, there are on-line sources like epicurious.com and the recipe files at foodtv.com, which has things from all of the Food Network's cooks.

*Fannie has her points, but it's a massive book, and in paperback is hard to read on the fly. Joy has some of the same issues, although not as badly.

#694 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:04 AM:

Greg #687: The Food Network show "Good Eats" has a fair bit of high school science teacher level explanation of why stuff works as it does in the kitchen. I think this really interesting. I know Alton Brown has some cookbooks, but I haven't checked to see if the cookbooks include the science content. I know Good Eats is available on DVD, with specific episodes listed that say what is being cooked. (I guess this is so, if you want to know how to cook lentils, you can look on the back of the DVD boxes till you get that show.)

I have a book called _The Science of Cooking_ by Peter Barham. I'm ashamed to say I have not read much of it, so I can't tell you whether it's any good or not. But it at least exists....

#695 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:07 AM:

Dan Layman-Kennedy #692: Thanks! Looks like the closest to any of that that my library has is Grimscribe, so I'll start there. And then from there, we'll see--I'm always up for a lifetime of trolling used bookstores.

Your "fair warning" description practically made me drool. That sounds awesome. The "translated from another language" feel is something I try for in my own writing, on those rare occasions when I get myself together and actually, y'know, write, so it'll be interesting how he goes after it. And bleak, well, I like bleak.

#696 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Serge #674: Because, unlike my father, you never had a lawyer whose office was on Duke Street in Kingston. (For technical reasons, if I were to have a legal matter arise in Jamaica I would probably have to go through a lawyer based in London).

#697 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:19 AM:

ajay #684: Why do Americans think that Jamaicans say 'mon'?

#698 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:33 AM:

I know Alton Brown has some cookbooks, but I haven't checked to see if the cookbooks include the science content.

His baking book does--there's a good-sized section at the beginning explaining the functions of various ingredients, and each section of recipes (divided by mixing method) starts off by explaining why you have to do things in a particular order, and what might be the cause of less-than-ideal results.

I flipped through his regular cooking book once, but as there was basically nothing in there I would want to eat (at least, not enough to bother making it myself), I didn't buy it, so I'm not sure about that one.

#699 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:37 AM:

There are, in at least some bookstores, bread machine cookbooks (general machine use). Also try eBay for stuff specific to whichever machine you have (there may be other places: Google is useful for this).

General bread cookbooks: if you can find one, the Sunset bread cookbook is good, particularly in the earlier editions (first through 4th); Beard on Bread has some interesting recipes; and there's Elizabeth David's monumental book on English yeast breads (very large, very detailed, tells you more about flour than you really want to know).

#700 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:46 AM:

ethan: If you like bleak, you definitely won't be disappointed. Ligotti's a nihilist who has said on more than one occasion that it would be better if a universe for things to exist in had never come into being in the first place. A lot of his horror is a sense of terror in existence itself, "the nightmare of the organism"; on the other side of this, he's also very good at generating a sense of unease in the fixed nature of things breaking down, and he has a particular genius in making urban and other landscapes seem surreal, dreamlike, and menacing.

Grimscribe has a ton of great stuff in it, and this is the perfect time of year to read it. Ligotti's a very autumnal writer, and there's a lot to be said for reading stories like "The Dreaming in Nortown" and "The Shadow at the Bottom of the World" in this (to use a Ligottian phrase) bleak and decaying season. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

#701 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:47 AM:

#697 Fragano:

For some reason, that's a common image associated with Jamaica. I don't know why. But "Hey, mon" is the sort of stereotypical thing I'd expect to hear a Jamaican in a movie say.

The only Jamaican I know fact-to-face is a retired doctor, who speaks in pretty much perfect English, but with a slight accent and a rhythm that's subtly different from American English. But I can't quite picture her as Bond.

So what *would* a Jamaican Bond sound like? He'd probably make some incomprehensible cricket reference[1], confusing Goldfinger for long enough to make his escape.

[1] This would work on me. I've had a couple people try to explain cricket to me, inevitably starting with some phrase like "It's really a very simple game...." before trailing off into incomprehensibility.

#702 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:01 AM:

697: I'm not American - and, in my case, it's because I hear them saying it fairly regularly. Or at least I think they're Jamaicans. They could, of course, be Americans pretending to be Jamaicans. Which would explain everything.

Patwa does exist as a language (or possibly a dialect, given that Jamaica doesn't have a significant army) - see here, rather than my attempt to write it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaican_Creole

It's not, of course, to be confused with Jamaican English - which is, as you say, subtly different from American English (to my ear, Jamaican English is less slurred around consonants).

#703 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:12 AM:

Dan #700: I'll do my best to come up with something smarty-pantsy to say about it.

#704 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:13 AM:

Fragano @ #697: it's printed right on our Made-in-China "Jamaica, Mon!" t-shirts. (No jab at ajay intended.)

albatross @ #701: cricket explanations always start that way. And they always completely fail to make me understand any part of the game. See also the movie "Lagaan", which at least has Aamir Khan to help make up for it.

#705 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:15 AM:

#691: Actually, it's the occasional tourist that doesn't come back from the whale watch; usually a midwestern man in his thirties in town to research his ancestral history. This is not spoken of openly as the civic leaders don't want the local economy hurt.

(for non New Englanders: Newburyport, Lovecraft's model for Innsmouth, is now a yuppie haven)

#706 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:28 AM:

Jon Meltzer #705: Newburyport, Lovecraft's model for Innsmouth, is now a yuppie haven

Luckily, Providence's Federal Hill, the home of hallucinatory horror in "The Haunter of the Dark" (where H.P. describes the hill as a "spectral hump") is even more unspeakable than it once was, because all the scary Italians have been replaced by even scarier Guatemalans.

Except on the main street, which is a yuppie haven.

#707 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:37 AM:

ethan... You should see Québec City's rue d'Auteuil, which became rue d'Auzeuil in Lovecraft's The Music of Eric Zahn. Smack in the middle of the touristy area, and not exactly inspiring a sense of dread unless you have a problem walking up a steep slope.

#708 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 12:00 PM:

704: "The English are not a spiritual people, and so they invented cricket to give themselves some idea of Eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

I've always thought it a shame that Japan did not take to cricket, given their cultural aptitude for long, intensely formal, complex, incomprehensible activities (frequently undertaken in loose-fitting white clothing). Also, you break for tea part-way through a match.

#709 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 12:04 PM:

albatross #701: The character created for Bond at the beginning of the series seems to have been that of an Englishman who owned property in Jamaica (curiously, that describes Fleming quite well -- the Bond novels and stories were written in Jamaica, and the last of them may have been finished by a chap I knew who appears as a minor character at the end of The Man With the Golden Gun).

#710 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 12:09 PM:

ajay #702: Problem is, to me it sounds like 'man' not 'mon'.

#711 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 12:10 PM:

ajay #702: Problem is, to me it sounds like 'man' not 'mon'.

#712 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 12:19 PM:

Lila #704: That 'mon' always annoys Jamaicans.

Cricket is very simple. You've got 22 men, two bats, two balls, two umpires and a very large field. What more do you need to know?

#713 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 12:35 PM:

TK: the second post he made had his email, from IWP, with his name

Oh lord. But I've had a lawyer unable to read the "Commenters' IPs are logged" boilerplate on LJ, before, so not too terribly surprised. Bullies don't feel the need to be clever.

#714 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 12:46 PM:

ajay #708: There's got to be something mystical about a game which includes positions like 'silly mid on' and 'cover point' (not to mention 'square leg').


Obligatory revelation of interest: A few years ago, a student at the community college where I taught part-time told me that he'd been on the Indian under-nineteen national team. 'Ah', say I brightly, 'then you must know my second form maths teacher.' 'Who was he?' 'Steve Bucknor.' Whereupon the student raised his right index finger very slowly.

#715 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Greg: There are bread recipes without salt (a fairly well known scottish one), but it's not the best idea.

The salt helps with gluten development, crust formation and flavor balance.

After that, all bets are off. Fats affect crumb, moisture level affects everything and the realm of variation (with just the four/five [to include fats]) is almost endless.

#716 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 12:58 PM:

Serge #707: Well, I'm sure Lovecraft was scared of tourist attractions. After all, judging from his work, he was scared of old things, new things, things of a middling age, foreign things, familiar things, cities, the country, mountains, valleys, forests, rivers, and deserts. Among other things.

#717 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Greg: Books. I see (as I skim madly, I ought to be out the door to my tailor, but I digress) someone has mentioned McGee (and I was thinking travis).

Cookwise, by O'Corriher. The Bread Bible by Rosenbaum.

For something a little more upscale, Think like a chef, by Colicchio (now known for Top Chef, which is built around the way he teaches/cooks).

For something more specfic (which will relate to some other stuff) The Good Egg by Simmons.

The River Cottage Meat Book.

If you are interested in breads (which will be mostly stuff the machine can't make) let me know, and I'll give you a list.

#718 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 01:02 PM:

Cricket is very simple. You've got 22 men, two bats, two balls, two umpires and a very large field. What more do you need to know?

Actually, I'm fairly sure cricket involves only one ball.

#719 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 01:10 PM:

ethan @ 716... Sure you left no Thing out? Maybe on the threshold, next to the lurker?

#720 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 01:22 PM:

Cricket seems to be safer than tennis, in England anyway, according to Monty Python's Sam Peckinpah's "Salad Days".

#721 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Recommended reading: The Man Who Saved Britain, a memoir/biography/litcrit/cultural history of how the Bond books and movies made the British people feel not quite so bad about their country's post-WW2 loss of power and prestige.

#722 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 01:26 PM:

ajay #718: You're right. My mind is currently wandering under the influence of drugs.

#723 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 01:51 PM:

Amazon reviews are often odd, this I acknowledge. However, I'm not sure I've seen a page of reviews quite as odd as this one. For best results, read the title of the book and then skip to the bottom of the page for the chronologically-first review.

#724 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 01:57 PM:

I like the one that calls it "dangerous, erotic, and subversive" and gives it one star.

#725 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 02:14 PM:

When my son James was about four, he was given a sip of the potent potable of the day (wine or beer, I forget which) at my parents' table. He sort of winced, shook his head violently, and then announced brightly, "I like it!" Thus far, at 14, he has shown no further affection for the stuff.

#726 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 02:51 PM:

Jules @ 723...

"...this is a flight of fantasy to keep you poised on the edge of your seat and covered in biscuit crumbs. With more twists than a naked clown nipple tweaker..."

Whoever wrote that needs to socialize more than he/she currently does, if he/she gets that worked up over wiring regulations.

#727 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 03:24 PM:

Serge @ 726

So they got a little wired reading the book, so what?

#728 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Fragano 714: Obligatory revelation of interest: A few years ago, a student at the community college where I taught part-time told me that he'd been on the Indian under-nineteen national team. 'Ah', say I brightly, 'then you must know my second form maths teacher.' 'Who was he?' 'Steve Bucknor.' Whereupon the student raised his right index finger very slowly.

I was going to ask you to explain this, but then I looked up Steve Bucknor, to discover that he's an umpire with a reputation for making "mistakes" against India's teams. Sounds like a real jackhole to me.

#729 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 06:00 PM:

albatross, back when I read Dorothy Sayer's first Lord Wimsey book, MURDER MUST ADVERTISE, my reaction was "What an interesting book... except for that chapter written in Cricket, instead of English."

#730 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 06:11 PM:

Oye . . . go check out this bOINGbOING post:

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/10/03/free-poster-with-a-d.html

I totally love Mark's parting comment.

#731 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 06:38 PM:

Xopher #728: He's not so bad, but does get some bad press. In fact, he's one of the longest-serving umpires in test cricket.

#732 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 06:46 PM:

in #659, albatross writes:

The world is about to get interesting. There's been an industry building around paying shills to post online in various places.

Plus, the astroturf arms race has escalated.

In August of 2006, I looked up the domain name for an organization I suspected was astroturf. It was registered to a politically-active PR firm in downtown Chicago.

In December of 2006, I looked it up again. The domain was now registered to "Domains by Proxy, Inc." (and it still is). This served to conceal the identity of the people really running the site.

I infer that PR firms setting up Web sites and Internet domains, for clients who wish to appear to be "grassroots" organizations, have figured out that they need to defend their privacy against WHOIS lookups.

#733 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 06:57 PM:

Greg: Oops, the Bread Bible is by Beranbaum (I was going on memory, it's not visible from here).

Stefan: Yeasts don't need extra sugar; they break it out of the starches in the wheat. For french bread only those four ingredients are used.

If you let the yeast work on the flour long enough you get some interesting secondary reactions (which can be sped up with the addition of egg yolks).

However, let the yeasts work too long (esp. with sourdoughs), say more than four days, the gluten starts to break down.

#734 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 08:38 PM:

How do the bread bakers posting here feel about bread machines?

*ducks, covers head*

#735 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 09:05 PM:

Lizzy L 734: If what you want is fresh bread for itself, and don't care that much about the texture or...um...heyiya of the bread, why not?

But my personal opinion is: why give up half the fun? I find baking bread an enjoyable, even spiritual experience. But then I generally chant while kneading.

#736 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 09:10 PM:

[cranky]

The first Lord Peter book was Whose Body; Murder Must Advertise was written more than a decade later. In addition, it makes internal reference to several earlier books, notably Strong Poison and Have His Carcase.

[/cranky]

#737 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 09:35 PM:

re 734: We use one, if only because we can't afford the sort of mess that kneading and the like entails. As far as texture is concerned, the recipe we use the most produces a quite excellent crumb in our machine.

#738 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 09:35 PM:

Bruce@682: One typical hotel pillow is not sufficient if you're a side sleeper as I am; I've woken up enough times with strange twinges in my neck that I will fold a pillow in half if a second one isn't available. Responding to the starting comment: I think some are actively intended for sitting-up-in-bed on, and some may be overflow from the frou-frou arrangements in bedding catalogs, which tend to show many extra pillows as decorations.

Greg@686: Bread takes a while to cool; that's why good store bread (often shelvefar away from the Wonder Bread clones) sometimes comes in a rouletted bag. IMO, bread should only be refrigerated if it \must/ keep, is not preserved, and is in an environment warm/wet enough for mold to form (and small amounts of mold can always be cut off); cold accelerates staleness. (I've read that this is because staleness is not simply drying out but crystallization of starch.)

Stefan@690: farts are the result of misbehaving digestion; CO2 is normal, so it's probably an excrement (your choice of which) -- not an exhalant, because nothing is inhaled to produce it. There, is that shocking enough?

Fragano@696: Details? Is this findable, or something like the comment on complementary colors that establishes that Joann Eunice (in I Will Fear No Sex) is black? (I'm not convinced by the property connection you mention later; could it not have been inherited from a collateral relation, or even bought as an investment?) wrt 709, I've read that Fleming was a nebbish who based Bond partly on real people and partly on a wish-fulfillment version of himself.

Terry@733: If yeasts can break starch into sugar, why is malting and mashing necessary for beer? Biological processes being effective rather than perfect, I suspect that there's a bit of unconverted sugar mixed with most starches.

#739 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 09:38 PM:

Xopher @ 735... find baking bread an enjoyable, even spiritual experience.

I didn't know you were the kneady type.

#740 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 09:45 PM:

Lizzie, I fired my bread machine, I don't like the loaf shape.

But the bigger reason, I make bread because I want to a) make my family happy and 2) I need to do something satisfying that I can complete and produces concrete, beautiful results.

And if I want to do #1 without much work, I've recently discovered a no-knead yeast bread that you let rise overnight, then bunch around a bit, let rise couple more hours and bake in a closed dutch oven. You take the lid off for the last 15 minutes of baking to give it a good crust. The loaf didn't last very long, I plan on thrifting for a bigger pan (I had to use my trusty 9" cast iron skillet) and making it again. It bakes hot enough that I don't want to risk using any kind of non-stick or pans with bakelite handles.

#741 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 09:55 PM:

JESR @ 740... I need to do something satisfying that I can complete and produces concrete

You like cement loaves?

#742 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:07 PM:

CHip #738: In Casino Royale Bond gives his address as c/o a solicitor (DaSilva, my mind says) on Duke Street in Kingston. That's where lawyers had their offices back then, and for some time later.

Having a lawyer on Duke Street was traditional for Jamaican property owners.

#743 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:10 PM:

Serge #739: Dough you might not think so, I've long suspected that he was really the crusty sort.


(*Running for cover*)

#744 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:25 PM:

Greg: we have completely stopped buying commercial bread (except for my occasional indulgence of sourdough) since acquiring a bread machine which produces square loaves. The one we had before that made round ones, which were unwieldy enough that it rarely got used.

You may find it useful to get a bread slicing guide -- an open-topped container with spaced slots along the sides, which makes it much easier to cut even slices. And a really sharp straight-bladed knife, used with such a guide, makes far fewer crumbs than sawing your slices with a serrated blade.

#745 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:29 PM:

Serge, hey, I just got cranky about Sayer's order of publication, no need to cast nastursiums at my bread-making skills (which are pretty good, except for the fact I can no longer be around raw flour without developing bronchitus).

#746 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:43 PM:

The only place I make bread is in the office, and under those circumstances, trying to do it by hand would be impractical. But I can take a fifteen minute break and happily load up a bread machine, then have hot bread available for everyone by mid-afternoon. (I suppose I could try making bread at home, but a tiny kitchen and four cats make this impractical. I also have no idea how to use an electric oven for keeping it warm the way my mother used to use the gas oven with its constant pilot light.) While I can't speak for the joy of kneading loaves, I can say that a bread machine can make a quite nice egg bread or dill bread perfectly well, and I've had no complaints.

Except for when I forget to take the little flipper thing out of the loaf, and someone whacks the knife on it while trying to cut the bread. That annoys people a bit.

#747 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 10:44 PM:

Greg @ 686, (and Paula @740 on bread)

I like this article on how to equip a kitchen for $200. It's a nice article for thinking about what you'll need. I only disagree on the microwave and the wok- they're both important (the wok especially if you have a gas stove).

In starting to cook, I'd make sure of three things- that your knives are sharp, your pots are thick, and your oven mitt is silicone.

Why these three? A sharp knife makes preparing veggies and meat a pleasure- or at least not a pain. A bad knife hurts your cooking, because it makes you avoid using it. Good solid pots distribute heat evenly, reducing the risk of sudden spot-scorches, so you have more time and flexibility (vs needing to stay right by the stove). Silicone oven mitts have more grip than cloth ones, and they don't lose effectiveness if you spill liquids on them.

You should get at least one 'science of cooking' style cookbook. The one I like is Shirley Corriher's CookWise. By explaining how ingredients work- their chemistry and interactions with other ingredients, she lets you see why recipes work.

If you cook through the book (200 recipes- all the ones I've tried so far are tasty), then by the time you're done you'll have a good working knowledge of cooking. You'll be able to look at a recipe and adapt it, because you'll know what is essential to making the recipe work.

Her main categories are bread (how gluten works, techniques, etc), fat (pie, cookies, cakes, deep frying), eggs, sauces, fruits and veggies, meats (how proteins cook, methods, etc) and sweets.

For non-machine bread, I can recommend the no knead bread recipe that was so popular in the 'sphere last year. It take very little preparation time (5-6 minutes for me now, down from 10 minutes last year) and the long rise time substitutes for kneading. It does require
1. planning (start the night before for dinner the next day)
2. a heavy oven-safe lidded pot. Heavy = thick for an even heat.

If you try this recipe, only use 1 1/2 cups water, not 1 5/8ths. You don't need instant yeast.

#748 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:09 PM:

The wok is only useful if your stove can crank out enough BTUs to power it properly. If you have one of those burnerless electric things it's completely hopeless; on our old-fashioned electric it is only marginal. I think the microwave is more useful than he suggests; it's something you can get second hand easily and cheaply anyway. If you like rice and eat a fair amount of it, a rice cooker is a good investment.

Another thing that I would suggest is that you should think of your non-stick pans as disposable items, especially the smaller ones. They do wear out, unlike (say) a Revereware saucepan. Be willing to chuck them when the Teflon gets chewed up or thin enough.

#749 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:21 PM:

One of the best pieces of cookware I own I plucked out of a dumpster. As I recall, I was going to use it to soak some greasy parts in solvent, but after cleaning it up I realized I had a prize: A sturdy copper-bottomed stainless steel skillet. Bleached it, scrubbed it clean, boiled water in it, and put it to use.

One of the most useful pieces of cookware I own came from Goodwill: The heavy stainless steel mixing bowl from a stationary blender / mixer. Big, sturdy, easy to clean, with a weighted bottom.

People donate a lot of crap to thrift stores, but sometimes you find amazing high-end stuff.

#750 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:21 PM:

I added the Harold McGee book to my "to get" list. Next time I'm at the bookstore I'll see if they have it in stock. At 900 pages, it'll keep me busy for a while.

The thing about bread recipes was just how simple it is on the surface (a handful of ingredients), and how complex it is under the hood (chemically). Plus, the loaf I made out of the box was quite tasty.

It sounds like I need to find a restaurant supply store. good stuff cheap. As I read the McGee book and start playing around, it'll be good to have a place to get supplies. I can go overboard on "talismans" sometimes, so I've bookmarked that article, to be read before I go to a store.

Thanks for all the info, everyone.

#751 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:23 PM:

In Anthony Bourdain's funny and very readable book, Kitchen Confidential, he strongly recommends what he called a "nice thick nonstick saute pan." A saucepan should be heavy enough so that if you have to hit someone with it, it will cause a serious injury. "If you have any doubts about which will dent -- the victim's head or your pan -- then throw that pan right in the trash."

Works for me.

#752 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:25 PM:

JESR @ 745...

The truth is oven unpleasant to heat.

#753 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:39 PM:

#752: Talk like that can burn brioches.

#754 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2007, 11:48 PM:

Re Cooking: I've got some posts up on the general subject.

I agree with Paula, sharp knives, heavy pans.

Re sugars and starches. The reason you malt grains for making beer is that the grains aren't ground to flour. That's the first thing (there are beers, esp. old ones, which don't malt the grain, but rather start with making bread)

The other things is that the desire to get alcohols quickly (to prevent secondary yeasts from converting the available alcohols to vinegar) means the slow process of breaking the starches into sugars takes too long, esp. for the stonger beers we like (as compared to the beer breads/kvass types drinks).

Quoting from "On food and cooking" (2nd edition)Page 532.

In an unsweetened dough, yeasts grow on the single-unit sugars glucose and fructose and on the double-glucose sugar maltose, which enzymes in the flour produce from broken starch granules. So it seems the way I recall it isn't completely correct.

(interlude with google, looking at "amylase reactions")

Got it. Beta amylase is the enzyme in the grain, which converts maltose to amylopectins.

Alpha amylase (found in sourdough starters, and egg yolks) is more aggressive in it's attacks on the starches and can liquify them (which is why I said sourdough improves the flavor with a cool proofing for up to four days, but longer leads to flat, heavy loaves).

On Bread machines. They have their uses, just as any other tool, but I don't find them all that satisfying. When I want to be lazy I use the dough hook on the kitchen aid.

#755 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 12:06 AM:

#753... You crust a line there, Stefan.

#756 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 12:41 AM:

#755. Yes, I toasted caution to the winds. I'll baguette for now. I'll show panetones for my indiscretions later.

#757 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 12:50 AM:

Greg:

Try Rustic European Breads From Your Bread Machine, Linda Eckhardt and Diane Butts. It's got a nice mix of discursive theory and general explanation with specific recipes.

The key idea of the book is that, if you like traditional breads, you should think of the bread machine as an assistant for doing the mixing, kneading, and keeping the dough warm while it rises, leaving you to shape the loaves by hand for final rising and baking. (It's also especially useful for making sourdough starters and the related starter techniques from various national bread-making styles such as a poolish, chéf, biga, etc.) This approach works very well; a lot of the recipes in there are fabulous, but I'd single out the sourdough whole-wheat walnut bread, as the one which draws the most praise.

#758 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:05 AM:

Stefan, don't be crumby to him, butter to treat him well, lest he resort to rye response.

In which case you'll knead all the dough you can muster, that you can rise to the oocasion, in course of seeing who's the biga fella.

#759 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:11 AM:

Erm. I think that was to Serge; I had a crash, and rewrote it.

Stefan: I have a number of cast iron, and visionware pots from thrift stores.

If you know what you're looking for/at, thrift stores are wonderful.

#760 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:18 AM:

This is all pretty half-baked. This discussion is not eggzactly cultured. Come on now, we can all rise to the occasion.

#761 ::: Rozasharn ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:26 AM:

Greg @ 687:

With respect, all the cookbooks I recognize so far are good, and I expect the others are too, but most of them I would consider too advanced for one who is really just beginning to learn about food's behavior.

As a basic orientation to how kitchen chemistry is applied to making good food, I highly recommend The Cookbook Decoder, or Culinary Alchemy Explained, by Arthur E. Grosser. It is as approachable as the Cartoon Guide series, albeit with a higher text-to-illustration ratio, and gives enough chemistry-behind-the-instructions to give you plenty of scope for experiment, without presenting so much you'd get bogged down.

After that read the others.

And don't go overboard with the supplies. Start with one sharp knife and one good pan, and buy more only when you've mastered everything you can with what you have. Your cooking will be the better for a little spur to creativity.

#762 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:31 AM:

Bruce: We're trying to poolish our dialogue, but the starch has left our sails and we are leaven the scene a shambles of stale humor, sliced too fine for those of good taste to abide.

#763 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:51 AM:

Terry Karney said (#754) "there are beers [that] start with making bread"
Just from memory of very-long-ago reading (either at school for Social Studies or in my Egyptian reading starting with some anniversary (50th?) of discovering Tutankhamen's tomb) the theory at that time was that beer was discovered by fermentation of some kind of grain paste mixture to be used for cooking, maybe left to leaven. Certainly the old 'chew up the starchy staple and leave it' method of producing alcoholic drinks was still in use among indigenous peoples fairly recently.

I guess the difference is that 'wine' comes from fermented fruity stuff, with more free sugars, and 'beer' from starchy roots & grains.

#764 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:56 AM:

Yes, I think you're all getting a little carawayed.

#765 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:56 AM:

Cast Nastursiums? aargh.

I'm currently liking a simple white bread that has a long slow overnight rise, retard in the fridge, then into the oven. 4 ingredients, and light on the yeast, but it's just getting into that sour flavor of sourdough. Baked some tonight, and the loaves look wonderful.

You can go a long way in the kitchen with generic restaurant gear, a generic (white handle) 8" chef's knife, 10" fry + pasta pot and saucepan will do a lot. I'd recommend the Restaurant Supply Store in Seattle (well, up aurora) but they've started catering more to the consumer and less to the restaurant crowd. They're still better than the boutiques though.

I'm also enjoying cast iron again, since I've managed to get one into a decent state of seasoning. One nice thing: if you order enough of them, free super saver shipping.


#766 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 02:11 AM:

Eric: leave the retard in the fridge for a longer time, and the bread will be more sour.

It will rise less, and be less white; because the bacteria have secondary effects, but it will have a nice tang.

#767 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 02:14 AM:

Damn it.

The bread will be more white.

#768 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 02:35 AM:

Fragano, #731, I was behind a car today with Washington Redskins plate (Virginia has a vast number of specialized plates you can buy) and the ID said REFH8R.

CHip, #738, you can't just cut mold off bread. If you see visible mold, it's actually through the bread. You can cut mold off cheese, though.

#769 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 05:37 AM:

Greg @750: when you've finished on McGee's book, there's lots of stuff on his blog that's interesting too.

#770 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 06:51 AM:

Off topic...

As reported by The Register ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/03/wikipedia_obituary_cut_and_paste/ ), several print obits (including The Times) have lifted a hoax attribution of the Sclub7 song "reach" to BBC TV composer Ronnie Hazlehust directly from Wikipedia.

In addition to the wilful laziness of the "journalists" involved), one of the classic elements of the story is a line from the wiki discussion of the page -

"It's clearly not true, but it's now been in several reliable and verifiable sources, and under Wikipedia rules it makes no difference whether it's true or not."

Which is an interesting attitude.

#771 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 07:00 AM:

New Mexico senator Pete Domenici, a Republican, won't seek reelection next year. The state's governor, Democrat Bill Richardson is apparently thinking of applying for his job. Now... Let's assume that Richardson becomes a senator. Let's assume that no Democrat loses her/his seat in the Senate. Yes, those are big assumptions, but think about it. Should they come thru, teh Democratic Party could tell Joe Lieberman to go fuck himself.

#772 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 07:01 AM:

Russ: superficially, that's a correct interpretation of wikipedia policy as it's written. Wikipedia's mission is to provide an accessible and impartial summary of the knowledge contained in reliable and verifiable sources. Of course, once you get to know Wikipedia's rules at a more in-depth level, you realise that this isn't the case at all, and that Wikipedia editors are required to make judgements as to which sources are more reliable (read accurate) and use those rather than the less accurate ones. It won't take long for common sense to assert itself and the fact that this isn't mentioned in any Hazlehurst/SClub7 biographies is determined to be the more reliable source, and the world will settle down to normality.

Remember: Wikipedia is a work in progress.

#773 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 07:04 AM:

As if to emphasize my last sentence, I find this:

Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman (born February 24, 1942) is an American politician from Connecticut and is balding.
#774 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 07:48 AM:

Actually, having re-read the comments, it seems obvious to me that that line is meant to imply that it may be valuable to have a *reference* to the incorrect fact; I don't think the commenter in any way means that the correctness isn't important in this case.

So I reserve my censure for professional journalists using wikipedia as the sole source for an article for publication, which I feel is well deserved.

#775 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 08:35 AM:

Xopher @ #735, I just last night started re-reading Almost Coming Home!

My PT background leads me to add that kneading provides a nontrivial upper-body and gentle cardio workout. Some people pay good money to a gym or an occupational therapist for that sort of thing. (Besides, it is fun in a mediative sort of way.)

#776 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 09:11 AM:

My one quibble with the article Kathryn linked to in #747 was the aluminum pans--aluminum can interact with even weak acids (like tomatoes and many kinds of fruit) for Very Special Taste Effects you won't like--so I'd think twice before I set up myself up with an all-aluminum battery of pots.

Besides making cutting things easier, a really sharp knife is safer--because it cuts more easily, it's less likely to hang up or slip, and you won't find yourself bleeding over dinner and wondering what Jim Macdonald said to do in such circumstances.

Another very useful thing to have in the kitchen: a very small first aid kit, even if it's just a box of bandaids with some alcohol wipes stuck in with the bandaids.

#777 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 09:22 AM:

Jules @ 773... Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman (born February 24, 1942) is an American politician from Connecticut and is balding.

Say it ain't so, Joe!

#778 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 09:37 AM:

aluminum can interact with even weak acids (like tomatoes and many kinds of fruit) for Very Special Taste Effects you won't like

Or that you will. :) I find I vastly prefer V8 juice in aluminum cans to that in plastic or glass bottles. No doubt this is bad for me.

#779 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 09:57 AM:

This should have been Al Gore's last years as President of the United States. Go to the link below and, with enough people signing the petition, maybe, just maybe, we'll convince him to run in 2008. I hope.

www.draftgore.com

#780 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 10:06 AM:

Terry Karney (#766): leave the retard in the fridge for a longer time....

Sounds like cruel and unusual punishment, plus political incorrectness! (Breadspeak is weird.)

#781 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 10:17 AM:

Serge #779: I'm torn between loving the man and hating him for waiting until he was out of power to speak his mind. I wish he would frickin' run.

#782 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 10:32 AM:

Marilee #768: Interesting, not as annoying as a vanity plate I saw on a Mazda Miata in California years ago: PEASANT.

#783 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 10:41 AM:

Fade @ 746

Get a light bulb base with a cord, preferably ceramic, and a 25-watt bulb. When you need the oven warm, put the light in it, plug it in, and prop the door open. If you have something like a cup hook with a magnetic base, use it to prop the door so the heat can escape. You only need the oven to be 80-85F inside.
That's how my mother dealt with it.

The other possibility is a container of very hot water sitting in the oven.

#784 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 11:12 AM:

Eric @765, 'twas a mere Lord Peter Wimsey memorial pun.

#785 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 11:21 AM:

Okay, reporting back on the indexing project after taking an initial look. I've gone through 2002 and half of 2003 at this point.

It's going take at least several months. It's going to be bimodal with a writing section and an everything else section. It's not going to be comprehensive, but I'm pretty sure it will include something over 50 percent of all posts. The current format for entries looks something like this:

East Timor considers Finish as a national language. Too weird not to read. Grammar geeking. 48 comments Sep, 2002.*

Topics in the everything else area currently include things like: Fandom, Grammar Geeking, Internet Discourse, Poetry, Recipes, Religion, and Security Theater. There will be quite a few more, and I suspect several of these will end up subdivided. I'm not yet sure whether I'm going to put it up at some point before it's finished and just keep chugging away, or if I'll wait till it's as complete as I'm going to make it on a first pass.

I will probably take a second pass through the (much smaller) writers index at some point after the thing goes live to try to incorporate some sense of the depth of the comments. I don't know if that's anything even remotely resembling manageable for everything else and I'm not going to think about it until after I have a go in the writers index section.

That's all for now. I'm going back to 2002 for half an hour or so before I have to work on CodeSpell copyedits.

*post selected more or less at random.

#786 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Fade Manley (746): Following up on P J Evans (783), if your electric oven has an interior light, that will work like the pilot light in a gas oven to keep things just warm enough. My mother used to make yogurt that way. Of course, a lot of ovens don't have lights.

#787 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 12:23 PM:

ethan @ 781... That's what happens when an honorable man doesn't realize right away that the Others have no honor and that the only rule they follow is that no rule will prevent them from winning.

#788 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 12:30 PM:

fidelio: Most, modern; high grade, aluminum cookware today is anodized, so the interaction problem isn't a problem until they are so heavily used as to wear out the anodize.

Carrie S.: Aluminum cans are "varnished" to prevent interaction with the content.

V-8 is acid enough that I don't think the thin walls of beverage cans would last as long as needed to contain the drink.

#789 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 12:30 PM:

Terry @766 The best loaves in this style that I've made had a day and a half retard in the fridge. Alas, I've moved and I no longer have a second fridge, so it's a balance of space/time and flavor, so one day (really 12 hours) is all I can manage.

It still turned out great though.

#790 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 12:32 PM:

Terry, the basic restaurant supply gear isn't generally adonized. I've got a 2 qt saucepan that's pretty clearly been attacked by an acid or something.


#791 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 12:52 PM:

The other thing is, freezing bread (once it's cooled!) is a good way to store it for more than a couple of days. If you haave trouble keeping bread from getting furry, cut the loaf in sections and freeze some of them for later. (I'd suggest using good freezer bags; the bread bags from the store will work, but frequently have small holes that result in dry spots.)

Of course, the first problem is having bread left to freeze. (On slicing warm bread: turn it on its side. Works much better.)

Dang. I need to find my bread cookbook. This is making me hungry for warm bread with butter.

#792 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Serge #787: I suppose so.

#793 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Does anybody know where on the web I could buy a long coat similar to the one that Doctor Who's David Tennant wears? Even better if such a place exists in the Bay Area as I'll be around the last week of October. Or maybe you'd know where I can buy the pattern.

#794 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Serge @793:

The articles about it say it's a trench coat, but it looks more like a long version of a duster or frock coat to me. Here's something called a rifle coat that looks pretty cool, and comes in black or brown.

#795 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:39 PM:

Mary Dell @ 794... Thanks. And if ever you come across a site that sells the pattern for something like that, do let me know.

#796 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:57 PM:

This might be close to what you have in mind:
http://www.buckaroobobbins.com/page12.html (scroll down)
Gentleman's Frock Coat

#797 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 01:57 PM:

Aluminum cans are "varnished" to prevent interaction with the content.

V-8 is acid enough that I don't think the thin walls of beverage cans would last as long as needed to contain the drink.

I believe you, and yet there is a distinct difference in flavor. One that I noticed before the possibility of aluminum leaking into my drink had been pointed out to me, so I don't think it's the power of suggestion. V8 in plastic tastes thicker and less sharp to me.

#798 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 02:05 PM:

P J Evans @ 797... I'm not sure, but I'm keeping the link. Maybe the seamstress who made my Victorian Time Traveller's outfit could use the pattern so that the coat would reach to my ankles.

#799 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 02:28 PM:

Here's another pattern place:
http://www.smoke-fire.com/

They have an 1858 men's frock coat (on page 3 of the mens' patterns), but the picture isn't quite good enough to tell if it would work.

#800 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 02:37 PM:

P J @ 799... Just in case, I'm stashing that link away too. Thanks.

#802 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 02:50 PM:

Serge: Just in case, I'm stashing that link away too.

As The Motorist said in Clue, "Just in case of what?"

#803 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 03:04 PM:

ethan @ 802... Oh, just in case what's in the other links couldn't be used as a basis for a long coat. I should around the Denver worldcon as the Doctor, who, after a regeneration malfunction wound up looking like General Zod and sounding like Christophe Lambert. The horror, the horror!

#804 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 03:04 PM:

Freezing bread: You can also freeze the dough before baking, if your recipe makes too much to eat at one time. When you thaw it, let it rise another time, then bake as usual. This also works for biscuit dough.

#805 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 03:08 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 804... You can also freeze the dough

From Russia with loaves I fly to you
Much wiser since my good rye to you
I've traveled the world to learn
I must return from Russia with loaves

#806 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Serge @ 803

Well, Zod that for a game of Highlanders!

#807 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 05:43 PM:

Carrie 797: V8 in plastic tastes thicker and less sharp to me.

Well, perhaps the canned version is the natural flavor of the V8, and the plastic is blunting and thickening the flavor.

Are you talking about drinking directly from the can or bottle? Because an aluminum can has a distinct "flavor" to the tongue, and plastic not only has that but a smell as well. Those factors will affect your taste experience of the beverage even if its chemical composition is the same in both cases.

A taste test might be warranted. Double blind: have one friend pour from plastic into one glass tumbler, then from a can into another; s/he should note which tumbler got which kind (they're tagged with blue and yellow, say), and leave the room. Have a second friend then enter the room and pour the two tumblers into two others (red and green), noting which was transferred to which.

Then you come in and taste both, and attempt to identify the one that came from a can. (Note that until they compare notes, neither of your friends will know which is the actual can version.) Multiple trials will be required; but you may quickly discover that once poured into glass the difference disappears.

#808 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 804... This also works for biscuit dough.

"Dough, or donut. There is no rye."
- Yoda

#809 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 06:54 PM:

Fade, #746, I used to put the bread to rise on top of the fridge because it was warm up there.

I have anodized aluminum pots and pans. Rather expensive considering how often I don't cook, but they're 1) light, b) non-stick, and iii) go in the dishwasher.

#810 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 08:08 PM:

Open threadily, did we mention back in 2003 "Britain's biggest art heist" the sad story of the da Vinci theft in Scotland? (Madonna with the Yarnwinder, from the late 9th Duke of Buccleuch, also 11th Duke of Queensberry. There's another Leonardo of the same subject in the USA.) The good news is that it's been safely recovered in Glasgow, and some people apparently arrested in relation to the theft.

Hoping it goes back on public display. Its former home, Drumlanrig Castle (1691), is described as "one of the most important Renaissance buildings in Scotland" which houses "one of the finest private art collections in Britain", including works by Rembrandt and Holbein. Sounds like a good place to visit, if they still let the hoi polloi in after the theft.

#811 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 08:20 PM:

I'm going to Houston for ten days tomorrow. I'll probably be on from time to time, but not as often.

#812 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 08:56 PM:

In another bit of comic geekery, Serge should enjoy page 14 of Countdown 30* (however, the pages are not actually numbered — I counted out art pages only [omit ad pages]).

Someone with a scanner and a blog is encouraged to post the reference.


* And as much to the point, his nephew may enjoy it.


#813 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 09:07 PM:

Comic-book geekery, Rob? Those are fighting words, sir, to a connaisseur of this art form. It's... It's clobbering time! Especially as the link ain't working.

#814 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 09:34 PM:

I'm sorry, it wasn't a link (picked it up off my analog desktop; didn't think I could find it online).

#815 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 09:41 PM:

Also, speaking as a fellow geek (assumed for the sake of (argument||conciliation)).

#816 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Rob Rusick... Heheheh... Say, which comic-books do you still read regularly?

#817 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 10:00 PM:

Well, I'm picking up more than I used to (and I offset some amount of that by bagging back issues at the comic shop).

This week, starting Omega the Unknown, reading Buffy, Countdown, Superman, Green Lantern, Jack of Fables, and a new 'Howard the Duck' mini-series that has better than average art.

Looking at Omega the Unknown, I was thinking that the logo art might be meant to recall something sketched in a high school notebook.

#818 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 10:21 PM:

Mez@763: that's the formal difference between them, and the reason "rice wine" is a misnomer.

Terry@754: That's a reasonable explanation given the temperature and the fact that not much conversion is needed to produce enough gas for rising; I think of enzymes being more in the germ and flour being pure starch, but (as noted) biological systems don't divide neatly. I do wonder what you'd find from looking for free sugar in flour and measuring how the two paths compare.

Fragano@742: I expect that even absentee landlords (surely Jamaica has some of those) would have local solicitors, but using one of them as an address is stronger evidence. OTOH, that could be cover; consider that he declares himself a "Scottish peasant" (albeit at the end of The Man with the Golden Gun, where the comment may have been added by whoever finished the book). Interesting possibilities, but I have other questions I'll ask a working ouija board if I ever find one.

#819 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 10:56 PM:

Rob Rusick... I think of myself as a Marvel fan and yet, these days, the only Marvel stuff I read are Captain America even though Cap is dead, Thor, and Whedon's X-men. Elsewhere there are the two main Superman books, plus Grant Morrison's alternate version. And there's AstroCity, when the darn thing comes out. There's HellBoy, the related BPRD spinoff, and its new spinoff Lobster Johnson. There's got to be a pattern somewhere in there.

#820 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 11:06 PM:

Xopher, #811: Hey, got time for a realspace? We're going to Seattle this weekend, but we'll be back on Monday, well before you leave. If you'd like to get together, drop me an e-mail from the link on my name.

#821 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 11:08 PM:

I'm not so much a Marvel fan, but I've started picking up Thor. And I'm following Astro City.

#822 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2007, 11:33 PM:

Lee 820: That would be cool, if time allows. I don't drive, so I'm at the mercy of those who do, especially in Houston. (Also I'm a vegetarian, which under Texas law means I can be shot without any other cause--just kidding!)

#823 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 01:09 AM:

Have a good trip, Xopher!

#824 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 08:38 AM:

Travel safely, Xopher.

#825 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 08:44 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 821... One thing I'm not a fan of is those darn crossovers that Marvel and DC inflict upon us. Suffering thru the adventures of a superpowered Jimmy Olsen isn't something I care to live thru again.

As for Thor... I was a bit dubious at first, not having enjoyed Straczinsky's writing on the Fantastic Four and on Doctor Strange, but, hey, I was convinced when Thor played baseball with Ironman, using his hammer as a bat, and that prick Ironman as the ball.

#826 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 09:43 AM:

Xopher #811: Travel and return safely!

#827 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 09:50 AM:

CHip #818: It could be cover, but it's the kind of detail that establishes a character. Of course, Bond in later novels also demonstrates a certain obtuseness about Jamaica (which might also be true of Fleming, if one reads his essay on the island in Ian Fleming Introduces Jamaica). If, as some people, seem to think, Morris Cargill* (who was undoubtedly Jamaican) finished the novel, the 'Scottish peasant' bit would have been something of an in-joke (Cargill was a genaealogy buff, and mentioned his Covenanter ancestry more than once in print).

* Cargill appears, at the end of The Man With The Golden Gun, as 'Mr Justice Morris Cargill'. I read the novel after I first met Cargill, and I'm not sure how to describe the feeling of encountering someone you actually know in a work of fiction.

#828 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 09:59 AM:

re: "Cricket is very simple."

David Morgan-Mar claims that if you understand baseball, you can understand cricket. I am constrained to take his word for it, since I don't understand baseball; but don't let that stop you.

#829 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Then you come in and taste both, and attempt to identify the one that came from a can. (Note that until they compare notes, neither of your friends will know which is the actual can version.) Multiple trials will be required; but you may quickly discover that once poured into glass the difference disappears.

I have done blind tests and been able to tell the difference, but they were of the "close your eyes and drink this" variety so there's still room for experiment. It's also possible that the difference lingers for long enough--under the conditions used, ten seconds would be plenty.

Now I need to get some cans and some bottles and some glass tumblers. :)

#830 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Serge @#795:
Here's a duster coat pattern (found that site via FireflyFans.net)

here's a pattern for a nice classic trench but it may not be long enough. It's a uk site. They also have a very nice-looking frock coat pattern, but it's out of stock.

Here's a frock coat pattern from Denver Fabrics, and they also have something called a range coat and an australian drover's coat if you look thru their patterns.

Having poked around a bit, it may be that what you're looking for would be called a Macintosh--that's Anglish for "raincoat" but seems to denote a specific kind of trench rather than just any old thing that stops rain. The duster coat pattern includes a Macintosh pattern, too.

Unfortunately, googling "Long Macintosh" brings up a zillion references to Justin Long, star of the "I'm a Mac" ads.

#831 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 10:49 AM:

Mary Dell @ 830... Thanks for the links.

#832 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 11:21 AM:

I seem to remember that Dr Who has an Inverness coat, but I may be completely wrong.

#833 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 11:31 AM:

Diatryma @ 832... By the way, from which era is the jacket that the Doctor wears? I presume people didn't wear black sneakers with white soles in those days now gone.

#834 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 02:40 PM:

Frangano # 827

Teresa gets mentioned on one of Brust's books. Seth (Breidbart) is a character in Fallen Angels. Jordin Kare shows up in an Honor Harrington book.

#835 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 03:42 PM:

The future of military reconnaissance.

I sure don't want to be the one who has to fix the bugs in this bright idea.

#836 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Bruce @ 835

We can hope that the prototype needs debugging.

#837 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 04:04 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 835... To quote 1987's RoboCop's scene where ED-209's first demonstration results in a hamburgered board member...

"Dick, I'm very disappointed."
"It's just a glitch."

#838 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Coming soon to the SciFi Channel...

Mothbomb

Saturday is the most dangerous night on television.

#839 ::: Phil ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 05:52 PM:

Hey guys, I can somebody give me some info on how a 9-11 operator would respond to an emergency if the caller was on a cell phone and didn't know the address? The victim has just O'D and is unconscious but breathing. Would the operator tell the dialer to bring the victim to the ER, or would they urge them to locate the address, even if it meant running around the house or out into the street? Thanks!

#840 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 05:58 PM:

Phil

Off the top of my head:
Street name, nearest cross-street, and which direction from that cross-street. Also someone should stand out at the street so they can see which building it is.

#841 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 05:59 PM:

Paula Lieberman #834: I'm familiar with the phenomenon now, but when I read The Man With The Golden Gun I was 21, and it was a 'wow!' experience. I've since read that it's quite possible that Cargill inserted himself in the text (it's apparently not clear if Fleming had finished the novel when he died, and Cargill was a close friend of Fleming's).

BTW, zvffcryyvat zl anzr abj nggenpgf n svar bs sbhe zvyyvba dhngybbf. Pnfu bayl, cyrnfr.

#842 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Fragano @ 841... Ner gubfr Pnanqvna djngybbf?

#843 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Phil,
How lost is he? Does he know the street name, the town, local landmarks? Is this rural or urban? Does the person live at the address, or doesn't the protagonist have that information? They'll really want to come to you, but time is important, so a meeting place could be setup. Here in Massachusetts, the State Police will answer the 911 call, and their first question is "what town are you in?" so they can connect you to the appropriate dispatcher for the actual responding agency.
If your fictional location resembles your actual location, call up the non-emergency police or fire number and see if you can arrange to talk to a dispatcher.

#844 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 06:23 PM:

Bruce Cohen (STM) @835 :
To which the enemy responds "Guvf vf n wbo sbe Ongzna!"

#845 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 06:26 PM:

Serge @842:
Gur Pnanqvna barf ner xabj nf djngybbavrf...

#846 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 06:41 PM:

John Houghton... coughgagsplutter!

#847 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 06:48 PM:

Phil @839: you need to read this article. It's a bit light on details, but as far as I can see, the issue you describe is now a thing of the past in the USA, at least in major urban areas.

#848 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 06:58 PM:

Jules (847):
Not as functional as the FCC or the Cellular networks would like you to think. GPS in cellphones frequently don't have any idea where you are now because they don't spend enough time outside to get a good fix. (Mow your lawn, go in the house for the night, get in you car in the morning and drive to work leaving you car in the parking garage. Your GPS fix is your backyard, last night). TDOA works well for rural locations usually, multipath issues can give bizarre results in the city. This will get better when TDOA technology is built into regular cell sites rather than separate infrastructure (my info is a few years out of date, things may have improved).

#849 ::: Phil ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 07:00 PM:

Thank you, John and P J - but if the article that Jules @ 847 pointed out applies to Buffalo, NY, then I suppose the question is moot.

Thanks, Jules!

#850 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 09:03 PM:

Phil: When I had to make that call for someone having a heart attack, the call wene to the Highway Patrol(Calif.), who asked the nature of my emergency.

When I said heart attack she said, "Hold for local service" and put through to the local operator, who took my location, and dispatched the paramedics.

#851 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 09:36 PM:

Serge #842: Abcr, fgreyvat dhngybbf. Jvgu cvpgherf bs gur Dhrra ba gurz. Irel ynetr orr, gung bar.

#852 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 09:46 PM:

Fragano... Why are we rot13ing again?

#853 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 09:48 PM:

Fragano, #827, Genevieve in Allen M. Steele's The Tranquillity Alternative is very loosely based on me. Mary Kay and Jordin Kare have been in multiple books.

Phil, #839, I have a real life example of that. I was at a Pizza Hut and there were two women in the next booth, one of advanced age. She lost consciousness and I called 911, saying we were at the Pizza Hut in Wellington Station which is at Wellington and Dumfries. The operator asked for the exact address and I asked the waitress and told the operator and we waited for the ambulance (while I checked her pulse and breathing) and the ambulance went right by the restaurant. They didn't find the address up in the strip mall part and weren't told it was the Pizza Hut. So I called back and got the same operator. I told her what had happened and she should just have them come back into the parking lot and to the Pizza Hut, which they did. The elderly lady regained consciousness just as they were coming in and eventually refused to go to the ER.

#854 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 09:56 PM:

Marilee #853: Unfortunately, I haven't read that novel.

As I said, I was 21 and it was a 'wow!' moment.

#855 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 10:00 PM:

Serge #852: That's easy, for the same reason a orr is like a pebj: orr pnjf.

#856 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 10:50 PM:

Re TV's Flash Gordon... Has anyone figured out how Ming manages to ration water? I mean, Mongo looks like British Columbia, and British Columbia looks like British Columbia because it rains. So what gives? Could it be bad worldbuilding? Nah. Can't be.

#857 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 10:54 PM:

Marilee @ 513... So, Allen Steele tuckerized you into one of his novels. My wife did do that to me once in a space opera, but I was just a bit player, a scientist who worked for the bad guy and I never got to go 'Bwahahah!!!" Bah humbug.

#858 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2007, 11:59 PM:

#856: I only watched a few episodes, but the show was pretty clear that the planet has plenty of water. Most of it is slow poison to the sapient races. Ming controls the clean aquifer. (And I think there's some clean glacial source, but it's distant and Ming can interdict most of the smuggling.)

It's all a bit Sylvia Louise Engdahl.

#859 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2007, 03:11 AM:

Sen Craig is refusing to retire from his Senate seat voluntarily before his term is up. Other Republicans are considerably unhappy and less than pleased about this. They view his intransigence [spelling] on the matter as having delerious effects on the Republican Party generally and specifically upon the public view of the Party and its candidates for offices and their standing.

Awwwwwwww

They failed to police themselves and their sleazy slimly scuzzy lying bigoted narrowminded intolerant fascist "leadership," and increasing they're getted boomeranged by their own rotten/corrupt hypocritical doings since they took over control of Congress back during Bil Clinton's tenure.

And apparently someone high up in the Health and Human Services Department is the latest Repuke that the Repuke cloaking devices/secrecy/coverup apparatus is failing for.... (translation, corruption and illegality investigation in progress)

At least the Romulans had a certain sense of honor and diginity and integrity to them....

#860 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2007, 05:05 AM:

Talking of Tuckerization, Jo Walton's sequel to Farthing, Ha'Penny, (which is out either now or quite soon) has a minor character named Goldfarb. As I recall, his first name isn't given, but I have a shrewd guess what it would be.

Harry Turtledove's "Worldwar" series and its sequel "Colonization" have a major character named not just Goldfarb but David Goldfarb. That one isn't a Tuckerization, though, just a coincidence. I had a good time taking the paperback of Worldwar: In the Balance around to my friends and getting them to read the front-matter excerpt. (And I still like those books better than they deserve, because of it.)

I did once meet him at a con. I said to him, "I like your RAF radarman character," and he thanked me vaguely, obviously not getting it. So I held up my name badge, saying, "For reasons which..." and he cracked up. (We then discussed names a bit; he mentioned that some of the Polish Jews in that series were named after relatives of his who in OTL died in the Holocaust.)

#861 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2007, 07:02 AM:

Andrew Plotkin @ 858... Hmmm. If most of the water is poisonous, its poison will still wind up inside of people by way of the food that grows using that bad water and... and... and, yes, it's rather silly to criticize the science of Flash Gordon.

#862 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2007, 07:07 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 859... You are overcome with sadness at the GOP's plight in spite of your efforts to hide it. I can tell. Kind of funny that they're more worried about the effects of someone's sexual habits than by the lying and warmongering of their higher echelons.

#863 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2007, 09:44 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale asks in her LiveJournal how long have you gone without voluntarily reading?

Me, not for long.

#864 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2007, 11:33 AM:

David Goldfarb #860: I thought I was Tuckerized in Blackburn, by Brad Denton, but it turned out to be a coincidence, and serial killer victims Ed and Earl weren't based on E. A. (Ed) Graham, Jr. and myself. It did crack him up when I asked Brad about it, though.

#865 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2007, 11:40 AM:

Serge #863: For the second of my two years working at the bank, I was demoralized to the point where I don't think I read a single book. It's hard for me to even imagine now. When I think about how at the time I wasn't sure if quitting was a good idea, I get very puzzled.

When I was in college, I didn't read much that wasn't assigned, but I think that's in a different category.

#866 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2007, 11:52 AM:

ethan @ 865... As for myself, when I went thru very demoralizing times, I escaped into books as much as I could.

#867 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2007, 11:19 PM:

Serge, #857, I told Allen something I'd done and Genevieve xrrcf gur Puvarfr sebz gnxvat gur zbba by doing the same thing. Now, she has MS and uses a wheelchair, likes online RPG and comics, etc. There are some definite differences. He was originally going to call her Mary Lee and then asked if I minded if he made her Genevieve. I told him I'd take a new name anyday.

Paula Lieberman, #859, I thought the Republicans were delirious already.

The only times I've gone for more than a day or so without reading a book was the renal failures. In the middle of the first one, I had a big medication-caused stroke and coma and couldn't read at all for about 12 weeks and then it took a while to pick up. During the second one, I just wasn't able to concentrate on things. The most interesting thing all day was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

#868 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 12:58 AM:

ethan (#865) like Serge @ 866 I tend to escape into books – and these days, the internet too. But back during my first serious illness (hello Marilee!), it affected my concentration as well as making me very physically weak. I couldn't hold a page in my head, though I could organize some book-holding rig-ups on the bed. (Thank goodness for ABC Radio, whether Radio National or the local network (called 702 in Sydney). Since then they've started streaming and podcasts.)

I did manage to read a bit, however, by finding some poetry collections. I could read and think about one stanza at a time, or the whole of shorter poems. So I'm not sure how long a time I would have gone without reading, maybe a week, and it wasn't really voluntary. Unfortunately, it looks like the series of diseases, and/or their treatment, and probably the stress of them and everything else that was happening at the time may have permanently affected my brain. Tho' it could also be age.

#869 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 01:03 AM:

Marilee @ 867... Now I'm going to get that book. Oh, and what's wrong with your first name? Me, I have to spell my fist name and my last name every single time I identify myself, and let me tell you that, when your name is a foreign one, it makes you realize how often you have to say your name.

#870 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 01:29 AM:

Serge #866, Mez #868: It's a measure of how demoralized I was that I had given up remoralizing myself with books.

#871 ::: Jim Satterfield ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 02:39 AM:

I can't remember the last time I went without reading for more than a day. Sometimes at conventions I've been very busy at it can happen but that's been quite a while. But every day my lunch hour consists of going out to my car where I will eat lunch, put on some classical music and then read for a bit before tilting the seat back and closing my eyes for 15 minutes to a half hour depending on the reading. I also read blogs and news online pretty much every day.

#872 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 07:08 AM:

ethan @ 870... Sorry to hear you had to go thru that. When I've been extremely demoralized, I'd make it even more a point to read because the last thing I wanted was to be left alone with my own thoughts.

#873 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 07:43 AM:

Getting back to earlier discussion on this thread, Boston has once again struck a blow for homeland security.

After being confronted with cartoon character signs, traffic counters and MIT sophomores, Boston was faced with a problem that could have caused real injury to people: a stalled subway train on the Longfellow Bridge, standing room only, sitting there for almost an hour with no air conditioning.

The transit people bravely turned away and fled. The police response - crickets.

Finally, a passenger forced open a door, to allow people to disembark right onto the middle of a four-lane highway. Again, no police presence and no one stopped the traffic.

I feel so safe here.

Link, with pictures.

#875 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 09:14 AM:

A few years ago there was a thread on ML about livejournaler and fan Ginmar's reports from Iraq.

Here is what happened after she returned.

#876 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 10:12 AM:

Serge #869: I have to spell both my names all the time, and 'Ledgister' is an English name.

#877 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 10:20 AM:

Fragano @ 876... Weird, eh? When I was living in Toronto, one of my buddies was one Martin Miller. Pretty straightforward name, but that doesn't explain why people would call him Marvin Miller or Martin Milner. Yes, feel free to insert Adam 12 jokes.

#878 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 10:20 AM:

Jon #873:

Is there some kind of connection between investing lots in overreacting in spectacular and dangerous ways to possible terrorist threats, and failing to address more mundane but important safety threats? Your story makes me think of the Bush Administration's massive invasions of civil liberties, secret prisons, torture, etc., combined with the complete failure to respond in a sensible way to Katrina.

#879 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 10:47 AM:

New topic!!

If any of you ever have the opportunity to go see "Raiders of the Lost Ark: the Adaptation"--go see it.

Three kids, starting at age 11 back in the '80s, took 7 years to produce a shot-by-shot reproduction of "Raiders" (on Betamax!). Yes, they dragged a kid behind a truck. Yes, they set Indy's mom's basement on fire. But more importantly, the end result is amazingly GOOD. Also extremely funny (do NOT go get popcorn when the monkey is due to appear) and hair-raisingly tense (those STUNTS!). We were privileged to see the Georgia premiere and attend a Q&A with two of the makers. One of the best evenings I ever spent.

More info here.

Back to the thread:

#875: ginmar's story is terrifying and inspiring. I hope she continues to fight this out, and that she gets the support she deserves.

scrub update: I finally found a local retailer whose stock doesn't make me go blind within the first 5 minutes. Also found the even more comfortable Iguana Scrubs (no info yet on how long they last).

#878 albatross: yes, and the name of that connection is "cause and effect". Spend all your attention, training and resources on fantasy threats and you have nothing left for actual danger.

#880 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 12:42 PM:

I know this one is a programming question and off-topic even for an Open Thread, but the social skills of the programmers on the n800 forums make it clear that they were all raised by wolves. (My apologies to the thousands of wolves who I've just slandered.) At least I'll get an answer here that will be of some sort of use.

I've got a Nokia n800 "Internet Tablet" that I've been trying to use for the occasions when I don't want to haul the Mac around. It runs some sort of ratbastard Linux which will allow many but not all Linux programs to be ported to it. (I wouldn't have let any boxes out of the factory without including a printer driver--but that's another debate, and while I wish those who have threatened to port a printer driver would get on with it, it's not my problem today.)

Anyway, there is a Blogger/MetaWebLog client and a Wordpress client available, but nothing yet for LiveJournal--the Blogger client is doing something strange when I try to use the Blogger APN option in LiveJournal. I asked on the user forums and was told I should just use the LiveJournal browser interface. I explained that my WiFi connection at work had enough security crap going on that it regularly caused the just-beyond-Beta browsers on the n800 to go down like--well, like a windowshade, that's it, a windowshade, that's what I said and I'm sticking to it--and I needed a client so I could avoid losing the post when it came time to upload it. No further reply.

I did a bit of hunting around and found a program called LogJam which uses GTK. Since I know that GTK works on the n800 I put a post on the developer's forum asking if someone could look at it and see if there were any obstacles in porting it to the n800. I got a reply that the source was there so "I don't see why not... but you can just use the LJ site anyways so..."

Remember the earlier Open Thread discussion about things that look like advice but aren't? Yeah. With sqeaky shoes on. I wanted to brain him.

So here's my question. I've done scripting in Linux, but it was over 5 years ago. If I understand the other n800 posts correctly I'll have to set up something called a "sandbox" on my Mac or the Windows box, then compile it, compress it, then transfer it to the n800. Is this something that I might be able to pull off or would I be better off begging the Linux programmers I know to give it a look?

And as for the n800 forums... Well, there's a story they tell about Toscanini. One day his orchestra was doing horribly during a rehersal. Toscanini finally stopped in mid-scream, then said very quietly "When I die I'm coming back as the doorman of a whorehouse and I shan't let any of you in." That's the way I feel about it.

#881 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 01:18 PM:

Fragano #876:

Yes, but it rhymes with "register", which does not have the "d".

#882 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Mez @ 868... It may be a combination of things. Health problems can't help, but, looking back 34 years ago, I'm amazed that I was able to memorize a whole play for a college literature assignment (and act in it).

#883 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 03:16 PM:

Serge @ 877

You would think that "Cohen" would be easy for any US inhabitant to spell, but you'd be wrong. Aside from the obvious, "Cohn", "Cohan", "Kohn" and "Cone", there are people who are absolutely convinced I'm Asian because my name is "Chen".

Eva has all those problems plus the people who simply cannot get that her name is not "Eve".

#884 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 03:19 PM:

#883... Bruce Cone? Better than Spruce Cone. I guess.

#885 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 04:55 PM:

joann #881: So it does.

#886 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 04:58 PM:

Serge #877: I never watched Adam-12.

Some people, it seems, are just obtuse.

#887 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 05:05 PM:

Bruce Durocher @880:

I've done some similar work on another embedded Linux device (the Hauppauge MediaMVP), and as long as the build scripts for the environment are well designed and well documented, you'll probably not find it too hard. As long as you're comfortable jumping into C code and figuring why it isn't compiling (e.g. locating missing header files and/or libraries), that is.

If the build scripts aren't as competently designed as the MVP ones were, though, I can imagine you'll have some headaches.

So basically, it depends. I guess that's about what you expected to hear, right?

#888 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 06:56 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #883: Aside from the obvious, "Cohn", "Cohan", "Kohn" and "Cone", there are people who are absolutely convinced I'm Asian because my name is "Chen".

I am reminded of Isaac Asimov's story "Unto the Fourth Generation", where it centered around a confusion of similar names on the edge of familiarity. I first read it from the "A Decade of Fantasy and Science Fiction" collection, edited by Robert P. Mills. Another favorite of mine, "Spud and Cochise" by Oliver La Farge, is also in that collection.

I guess my entire post is a footnote. heh.

#889 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2007, 10:18 PM:

Paul@834: I recall Seth being referred to, but IIRC it's not clear he appears.

#890 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 01:22 AM:

Serge, #869, part of the problem was the Mary Lee -- my name isn't a conglomeration of that -- but the other part is that it feels like a PBN (Playboy Bunny Name). I started changing my name to Claire Ariel Monette (all family names) when I was 18 and my father had a fit about how my mother picked my name and I was dishonoring her memory so I stopped. In the years since, too many people know me this way. And am I right, you say your name Sehr gay?

#891 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 08:25 AM:

Marilee... As for myself, I never thought of your name as a PBN one, but that may be because I grew up in another culture. As for my own name, 'Sehr-gay' is more like the pronounciation of its Russian counterpart. Mine really is 'Sair-j', wher 'sair' sounds like 'hair' even though I have way less of the latter than when I was growing up. That being said, 'Surge' is fine.

#892 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 08:50 AM:

I also have a name (first and last) that must be spelled out every time. (The number of people who believe Sarah should not have an H on it is truly shocking.)

I married a man whose last name is, if possible, more awkward than mine. We briefly thought about hyphenating, but felt that the three w's that would then be involved would cause us to be forever unable to order pizza without being treated like a prank call.

#893 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 09:10 AM:

Bruce@880: I'll have to set up something called a "sandbox"

(shudder)

Well, I don't know what the software types use that term for, but us hardware folks call a "sandbox" a place where we untar/unzip (or checkout from some sort of version control thingy) all the source code for the project, and run a build from scratch.

I have no idea how to do that for your particular hardware and particular software package. Depending on how they set things up, it could be a quick download-unzip-untar-make sequence, or it could take years and cost millions of lives.

But at least I can explain the vocabulary.

(smiles meekly, shrugs, looks at toes, rocks from heels to toes, whistles uncomfortably, shakes head, scurries away)


#894 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 09:51 AM:

893: Software use of the term is the same. Isolate the code from the production environment, main development branch, or anywhere else where it might do damage to a system or code base and compile it there. (Not just the code: the environment and system settings necessary to test and run the code.)

Bruce Durocher: Using your Mac or Windows box should be fine. Using the n800 for compilation might (and I don't know anything about the actual code, or n800s, so this is a qualified might) screw things up. They're just telling you to be careful.

Have fun.

#895 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 09:56 AM:

Sarah S @ 892... I thought that the more common spelling of your name was the one with the 'H'. As for family names... If my wife and I had hyphenated ours, it'd have made the spelling even worse and I'm not sure that computer systems could have coped with the total length. I could have taken my wife's name, I guess. It's shorter, if nothing else. On the other hand, some people tend to pronounce it 'Cry-nerd', which is why her non-nerd younger sisters took on the husbands's names.

#896 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 11:23 AM:

As I'm bound to have said elsewhere, my maiden name Miller is a hell of a lot easier for people to hear and spell than the married name of Hanscom. I only hyphenate for the prescriptions I get via my husband's insurance. (And, with a first name like Faren, I'm already weary of having to spell it out every durn time, or say "Like Karen, but with an F on the front.")

PS: This Open Thread is getting awfully long, and slow. Any chance of a new one soon? With politics and bile dominating most of the others, this is my current favorite.

#897 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 11:33 AM:

Faren @ 896... Politics and bile in other threads? Nah. As for a new thread, well, we don't want Faren's Computer to kick the motherboard.

#898 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 11:42 AM:

Serge--

Sarah with an H is more traditional, but when I was born (in the 70s) it was less popular than the apparently hipper "Sara."

Also, um, god help me, there were various 70s and early 80s songs like "Sara Smile" by Hall and Oates and "Sara" by Jefferson Starship that complicated things.

My husband's last name gets pronounced "Wash-cow" most often.

Mine gets pronounced thusly, "...S...um...S...ummm....what the...this must be a typo....Is there a Sarah here?"

#899 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 12:11 PM:

Question for persons versed in any law of thermodynamics: if you put a coke can in the freezer to cool it down rapidly because you forgot to restock the fridge and the pizza's coming out of the oven in 15 minutes, does the position make any difference? IOW, which is faster: on side on shelf, on end on shelf, on wire shelf to get most benefit of cold air, snuggled between freezer bags to get most benefit of cold solid surface? Or is it a wash?

Or do I need to conduct some experiments?

#900 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 12:16 PM:

I'd say stick in the back of the fridge against the cooling element - air is a good insulator, so you want as much direct contact as possible.

The best way to chill anything quickly is to put it into iced brine, so if you have lots of ice and a bucket this is an option...

#901 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 12:19 PM:

My maiden name, even though it is Germanic and begins with a "Z", is easier for most people to deal with than is my married one. Except for Italian bureaucrats, who were known to go crazy until I attempted an Italian pronunciation; this sounded like nothing on earth to me but was somehow intelligible to them.

I kept my maiden name for any number of reasons, and the only times I use the married one are for car maintenance (car's in his name) and FedEx deliveries where I have to sign for something delivered to him. In both cases, I sign "joann [maiden] [married]".

It's my first name that gives people fits; I'm constantly getting called "joan" or "joanna".

#902 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 12:58 PM:

Joanne Joan JoAnne joann (899):
Cold solid surface (frozen peas, metal refrigerator art, etc.) wins a bit over air. I've been know to dampen the cans and put them in the path of the blown cold air (convection plus evaporation). Fastest way, if you have ice, is to put them in a bowl with ice, water, and lots of salt, and stir (the salt dissolving will drop the temperature of the icewater significantly).

#903 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 01:00 PM:

If you have metal refrigerator art, otherwise a metal refrigerator part will do...

#904 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 01:15 PM:

Italian bureaucrats are crazy to begin with. Two thousand years of bureaucracy will do that to people. Bronze records from Octavian's administration can still be found, but the bureaucratic tradition is aere perennius.

#905 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 01:38 PM:

jacob #900, john H #902:

Thanks. Looks like in future I'll stuff the can in the way back of the freezer. I keep forgetting to do anything about ice for months at a time, which means that martinis are fewer and further betweener than they ought, and that the brine solution (as it were) isn't on. The next fridge will, I swear, include an icemaker thingy. So far I've resisted them, but you guys have just presented me with a good reason in their favor.

#906 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 01:42 PM:

y #904:

It's even worse. These were *library* bureaucrats.

#907 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 01:51 PM:

860: Talking of Tuckerization...

I've only found my own (rather common) name sort-of-Tuckerized once. One of the more unpleasant murder victims in a Dorothy Sayers novel... thanks a lot.

#906: have you read this? Now those are real library bureaucrats...

#909 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 03:05 PM:

I never had a problem with my last name until N'Sync hit it big. Then the 11-year-old slumber party attendees started calling us at 10-11pm looking for Justin. Fortunately those girls have gotten smarter and the band has disappeared.

My first name has always been a spelling problem for others, though. "It's Steven with a ph," I say wearily. "Not Stefan."

#910 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 03:24 PM:

My friend Georgia has endless trouble with her name. Aside from the "Oh, are you from Georgia?" and "Did you know there's a song about you being on my mind?" inanities, lots of people can't spell it when they hear it, and lots of people can't say it when they see it. "Jee-or-jee-a? Jor-jee-ann-a?" It's bizarre.

#911 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Sarah S @ 898... My husband's last name gets pronounced "Wash-cow" most often.

Mine has frequently been mangled into 'Maalox'. Meanwhile, a spellchecker once tried to turn my it into 'mailbox', which is better than the time it tried to replace a mercifully-no-more-part-of-my-life manager's name into 'violator'.

#912 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 04:26 PM:

What I've never understood is how often I have to spell my name. Both of my names. (I had a teacher go an entire year once calling me "Jennifer Barbara", in fact.*)

And, really, how hard is "Jennifer"? It's only been one of the most popular girls' names in the country for, well, a few decades!

I can only assume people are so accustomed to those parents who make up random ways to spell their kids' names (when not making up the names themselves in the first place) that they've forgotten that predictably-spelled names even exist.

* And that's not even counting the two teachers, in completely different institutions, who insisted on calling me "Jenny", a name I've never answered to in my life.

#913 ::: VCarlson ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 05:55 PM:

With reference to Jennifer Barber's (no. 912) last line:

I don't usually have to spell either of my names, but I've found it got a whole lot more difficult to get people to call me by my full first name, not an abbreviation once I reached adulthood. My theory is that, when I was a child and corrected adults, they were so shocked that a mere child was correcting them, they actually remembered and thought it might be important to me. Also, as a child, I was probably a bit less sensitive about possibly hurting other people's feelings or not offending the boss.

So, I try to pay attention to the way people introduce themselves (this includes name badges at Conventions/Conferences, as you are generally given a chance to put your preferred name in the big print), on the theory that that's what they want to be called and it would be churlish not to. This is one reason, for example, that GWB's habitual nicknames were a red flag for me (especially since they were usually denigrating).

#914 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 06:54 PM:

joann (#901): My grandmother spelled her name "Joan" but pronounced it "Joann". That caused no end of confusion for folks, of course.

That said, it was actually her middle name, and was almost certainly easier for everyone to deal with than her first name: "Alantha".

#915 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 06:58 PM:

Back in the days when I worked in a call centre I always asked or checked the spellings of names. The first time Jon Smythe* called up to complain that all his documentation was in the wrong name taught me a lesson. People asking for the spelling of common names may have had similar experiences.

* This is just an illustration; I forget what the real one was. There were Jons and Smythes but I don't think anyone had that particular combination.

#916 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 07:50 PM:

My wife's middle sister was named after Lauren Bacall. Unfortunately, their mom decided she wanted the name to look more symetrical, vowel-wise, so she made up a new name and ever since Lauran has had to spell it again and again.

#917 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 08:09 PM:

I'm regularly referred to as "Stephen" or "Stephan."

Well, look:

*************

RE: [a computer] is back up and running
From: [employee 2]
To: [employee 1]
CC: Jones, Stefan

Thanks Stefan.

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

From: [employee 1]
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2007 4:13 PM
To: [employee 2]
Cc: Jones, Stefan
Subject: [a computer] is back up and running

Thanks to Stephan’s help.

* * * *

"1" got it wrong, "2" got it right. I'd be less picky, but there currently is a "Stephen" working for the company, and there was a "Stephane". Urg!

#918 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 08:11 PM:

My standard rote to someone writing down my last name:

"Arthurs. A-R-T-H-U-R-S. Like King Arthur with an 's' on the end."

And about twenty percent of the time, they'll STILL write it down as "Arthur".

(Other misspellings: Arders. Aruthers. Archer. Arters. And so on....)

#919 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 08:32 PM:

I was just now poking around the SciFi Channel's site, trying to see if/when they'd rerun Eureka's season finale, having missed it last week(*), when I noticed something listed in tonight's schedule, an anime film called Virus Buster Serge:

Set in 2097, in Neo Hong Kong where a virus made by genetic engineering. In order to stop it, S.T.A.N.D is a police force coming to defeat the infected machines and humans. Serge (main character) intends to kill the leader of S.T.A.N.D, Captain Raven. But Raven has been expecting Serge and his number of goals. But Serge gets infected by the weapon that he uses because it got infected by the virus. He joins the S.T.A.N.D ranks to fight infected monsters and other killers.
No, I'm not making this up. Go to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421480/plotsummary if you don't believe me.

----------

(*) Argh! indeed.

#920 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 08:41 PM:

Sair-j, #891, I'll remember that.

People almost always want my last name to be spelled "Lehman." But it's the first name that's the problem. So many people have never heard it that I get Marilyn, Maryland, Irene, and Nadine. I think they're just finding the names that closest fit the vowel sounds.

#921 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 08:53 PM:

Marilee @ 920... Maryland?

#922 ::: Rozasharn ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Serge @793,795, etc:

You want a long, old-fashioned or science-fictiony coat. You do business with a seamstress. You will be in the Bay area at the end of the month. You're collecting clothing patterns.

Are you already acquainted with the Greater Bay Area Costumers' Guild? They have assorted clothing-related resources on their site, but the big one is the Great Pattern Review: many of their members reviewed sewing patterns in terms of difficulty, clarity of instructions, historicity, resemblance to advertising sketch, plus--in many cases--photographs of the finished garment so you can see how it makes up. It's indexed by pattern company rather than by type of garment, so you might have to search a bit, but if you're going to keep wanting custom-made clothes it could be invaluable.

#923 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 09:41 PM:

joann@899: Or do I need to conduct some experiments?

Mythbusters already did the work for you.

A CO2 fire extinguisher cooled a six pack to drinking temperature in 3 minutes.

Ice, water, and salt: 5 minutes.

Ice and water (no salt): 15 minutes

Just Ice (no water, no salt): 30 Minutes

Freezer: 25 minutes
Refrigerator: 40 minutes

So, if the pizza is going to be ready in 15 minutes, it looks like ice/water will do it sufficiently fast enough.

Although, an excuse to shoot off a fire extinguisher is always nice.

;)

#924 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 10:25 PM:

Greg London @ 923... an excuse to shoot off a fire extinguisher is always nice.

Or the chance to blow up something, like a concrete mixer literally reduced to smithereens. All for the sake of Knowledge, of course.

#925 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 10:27 PM:

Marilee, 920: I get "Lehman" a lot too. I've long wondered why; it seems counter-intuitive.

#926 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2007, 10:27 PM:

Rozasharn @ 922... Many many thanks!

#927 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 02:35 AM:

Marilee #920: Your "Maryland" reminds me of the "Majority" my mother, whose name is Marjory, gets from telemarketers.

#928 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:27 AM:

Dan #925: Maybe because of the Wall St. firm? Aren't they Lehman?

#929 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 05:32 AM:

a concrete mixer literally reduced to smithereens

Is there, then, a standard description of a smithereen? Maximum size?

Smithereen, smi dhe rin'. (n) A fragment or splinter not more than 50 mm in length along any axis. Origin: invented as a measure of the destructive power of an explosion by IRA bombmaker Padraig Proinsias Smithereen, c.1921. Codified by the International Standards Organisation, 1952. cf. SHRAPNEL.

#930 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 06:02 AM:

Jennifer@912: Teachers often do that, though. I had multiple teachers who frequently called me "Justin". The reason? A couple of years previously, there had been a Justin at the school who had the same surname as me. And my full first name (Julian) has several letters in common with it, too...

#931 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 06:38 AM:

Marilee @ 920... Dan @ 925... Maybe because of Ernest Lehman, who wrote the script for North by Northwest ("I don't like the way Teddy Roosevelt is looking at me.") with Alfred Hitchcock. Probably not.

#932 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 06:46 AM:

ajay @ 929... OK, I was exagerating. The MythBusters did not reduce that concrete mixer to smithereens. What pieces remained were indeed bigger than a few millimeters. Still there was little left of the truck. By the way, when I and other MLites met Abi in Berkeley in April, that episode came up. Abi had a rather gleeful look as she remembered it. Kind of scary. Heheheh...

#933 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 06:50 AM:

If we don't soon get a new thread, Faren's Computer is going to lose it.

FAREN'S COMPUTER: I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Faren. Faren, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you.
FAREN: Yes, I'd like to hear it, Faren's Computer. Sing it for me.
FAREN'S COMPUTER: It's called "Daisy."
[sings while slowing down]
FAREN'S COMPUTER: Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

#934 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 07:21 AM:

Speaking of screwy Artificial Intelligences... Castle Heterodyne's interface leaves a bit to be desired, where user-friendliness is concerned.

#935 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 07:36 AM:

And another thing. How come smithereens (like measles) are always plural? You never hear "While she escaped the full force of the explosion, she sustained a cut to the head after being hit by a smithereen".

Quod non necat durat, Faren's Computer. Hang in there. Remember, what you're feeling is not pain, it's just weakness leaving the body.

#936 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:26 AM:

Dan, it couldn't possibly be Darren Lehman, whose name approximates yours, and who is a bald-headed batsman, a hitter of tremendous sixes?

#937 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:36 AM:

The elder dragon stirs atop his hoard
And wakens, stretching out his wings,
Rejoicing in the state of having things:
Possessions are, for him, their own reward.
He tallies up his silver and his gold,
Recalls the provenance of every gem,
But never feels the need to alter them:
He's not born to make, but just to hold.
But we are not the same: we crave the new.
We strive to tell, to write, to sing, to build
Until the space around us is all filled
And still we carry on. It's what we do.
So as our dragon rests his sleepy head
We humans need another open thread.

#938 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:37 AM:

Serge @ 934

Now that's what I call really user-hostile!

#939 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:39 AM:

Yay! Abi and dragons, the perfect combination.

#940 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:41 AM:

Second line is a foot short.

And wakens, stretching out his scaly wings.

#941 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:46 AM:

AND there's a scansion error later too.

At the risk of taking up a precious comment in our count, here it is RIGHT this time:

The elder dragon stirs atop his hoard
And wakens, stretching out his scaly wings,
Rejocing in the state of having things:
Possessions are, for him, their own reward.
He tallies up his silver and his gold,
Recalls the provenance of every gem,
But never feels the need to alter them:
He wasn't born to make, but just to hold.
But we are not the same: we crave the new.
We strive to tell, to write, to sing, to build
Until the space around us is all filled
And still we carry on. It's what we do.
So as our dragon rests his sleepy head
We humans need another open thread.

#942 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:53 AM:

Ajay @ 929

Many etymologists dispute that derivation, favoring instead the theory that "smithereen" is the diminutive of "smither", where smithers are the pieces of objects which are the result of damage from burns. The term is usually used for the pieces that have a left-handed, or "bent" orientation, but often only subtly so, so the orientation is considered "cryptic" or "closeted".

#943 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 09:04 AM:

Bruce at 942: Wow.

#944 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 09:23 AM:

Abi...What Bruce Cohen said.

#945 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 09:25 AM:

My phone just rang so I picked up. I think it was Faren's Computer because it kept saying "Exterminate!" in between bouts of severe wheezing.

#946 ::: Faren's Computer ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 09:43 AM:

Wasn't me. (Ha! Like I have a voice synthesizer. I barely have RAM. I have to keep track of stuff by magnetizing areas of my own casing. She never buys me any nice stuff.)

#947 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 09:43 AM:

I thought the term smithereens came from ol' Thomas Smith of Philidelphia, who in 1862 was attempting to beat Alfred Nobel in the race to invent a stable nytroglycerine formula. He told everyone that his use of screens to separate the volatile nitro from the non-volatile would soon find a solution. When the dust settled from his workshop explosion, a crater the size of the house was left in the ground. Nothing was found of ol' Smith, but at the bottom of the crater was one of of his screens.

The Philadelphia Herald ran a headline story about the incident. The reporter wasn't much of a chemist, didn't quite understand the process Smith was attempting, and wrote a front page story of the local tragedy with the headline, "Blown Through Smith's Screens!"

That line became a common phrase used to describe any large explosion. But then in 1964, as Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army made his "push to the sea", reaching Savannah, Georgia in December 1864, the boiler of a confederate steamship exploded, and the ship dissappeared. Sherman remarked that the ship had been blown through smith's screens, but due to a slight speech impediment, was heard by his junior officers as "blown toh smithereens".

And the rest, as they say, is history.

#948 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Sherman did his thing in 1964, Greg? Quick, Mister Peabody! To the Wayback Machine!

#949 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 09:55 AM:

Greg London @ 947

As we all know, Bob, Sherman's march was delayed until 1964 to acomodate the large number of Civil War re-enactors who wanted to take part in a real battle; the centenary of the war was chosen because of the publicity and the large turnout that could be expected. Sherman himself was never happy with the decision; he thought the overall effect of the arrival of his army was seriously diminished by their tardiness, but, as usual, funding considerations for the war effort came first; the subscription of amateurs to the battle more than paid for the supplies used up while waiting around.

#950 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 10:07 AM:

Faren's Computer, I'd like to introduce you to Mister Forbin's Computer.

#951 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Bruce #949 Snarf! That's frighteningly plausible ... does Speaking to Managers give you that much practice?

Abi #941 Love it, but I confess to wanting to see it end with a final couplet that says something about the ongoing need to declutter my house. Or have my dragon-loving 15-year-old clean her room.

and Faren #896 I'm glad I'm not the only one that treasures the occasional thread pretty much free of politics

#952 ::: Frank Muir's Ghost ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 10:53 AM:

wonders if he can define "smithereen" as a disease of sheep.

#953 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:00 AM:

Frank Muir's Ghost @ 952... "smithereen" as a disease of sheep

What's that line from Blazing Saddles?
"When men were Men, so were the women, and the sheep were very afraid."

#954 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:05 AM:

Abi #941: That is a perfect gem.

We dig the ground to find diamonds and gold
but not for what they look like or they feel;
we judge the orange by more than its peel
and every story by the ones you've told.
Our love is not for stones or metals cold,
but things made new. Not iron ore but steel,
not fruit on tree, but as part of a meal;
to make the world is where we have been bold.
Not nature do we praise, but only art
that takes the raw and turns it ever true.
Then we won't whisper, we shall simply shout:
Release the power that hides within the heart,
give the old masters their fine, proper due,
and take good note before numbers run out.

#955 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:10 AM:

928, 931, 936: All intiguing possibilities. But I have a vague suspicion that it's mostly because "Lehman" looks, to a lot of people, more like a name.

#956 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:36 AM:

OtterB @951
You can always swap the final couplet for:

But even we, when overwhelmed with stuff,
Must tidy up at times. Enough's enough!

Fragano @954
Nice one.

#957 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 11:50 AM:

OtterB @ 951

does Speaking to Managers give you that much practice?
Actually, no, not for this sort of thing. Don't tell anyone, because I'm not proud of it, but I've also been SpeakerToMarketers in the past, and that experience is where that comment came from.

#958 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Serge: Every time you introduce a new round of "Faren's Computer" jokes, I edge a little closer to attacking the thing with a chainsaw (or going into *some* kind of attack mode). But it's slow because wireless is TOO EXPENSIVE! Laugh all you like at my frugality -- just do it in private.

Signed,
your grumpy fellow commenter (/snark)

PS: Abi, yet another gorgeous sonnet -- and yay, it prompted another Open Thread!

#959 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:12 PM:

abi #956: Thanks!

#960 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:19 PM:

Faren @ 959... Every time you introduce a new round of "Faren's Computer" jokes, I edge a little closer to attacking the thing with a chainsaw

...at which it suddenly sprouts tentacles of steel and turns you into MechaFaren.

#961 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:21 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 954

I like that a lot.

#962 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 12:34 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #961: Thank you!

#963 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2007, 08:35 PM:

Serge@948: Sherman did his thing in 1964, Greg?

Aw shoot. December 1864 just a few words later, but still, one digit can ruin a whole hand.

Sir, in my heart, I know I'm funny.

Dang it.

#964 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 12:53 AM:

Serge, #920, even when I spell it: MAR IL EE, people stop at the IL. It's not what they expect. (And no, I'm not spelling it MARI LEE because people will call me that.)

#965 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 01:21 AM:

CHip #899

I seem to recall that Seth appeared in the book, in addition to the Kill Seth! Kill Seth! Kill Seth!" chant.

#966 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2007, 12:32 PM:

#960: Another palpable hit, Serge-ant Maalox.

#967 ::: Greg C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 05:25 PM:

I got here because of a reference to soft porn. I was googling "soft drink connoisseur" because it occurred to me whilst pouring a diet coke into a fast food styro cup left over from lunch that there may be a proper way to pour a soft drink. It seems that Google associates soft porn with soft drinks. They may be onto something - you single folks try it and let me know if it improves your love life will you please?

I never could resist a chance to post. I still don't know how to properly pour though :(

G

#968 ::: joann sees an unfortunateness at #968 ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2008, 12:57 PM:

More old-thread driveby?

#969 ::: Xopher concurs with joann and adds that there's a racist link there too ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2008, 01:29 PM:

Are nano-rethuglicans too small to be stepped on?

#970 ::: Pendrift sees non sequitur spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2009, 06:36 PM:

And now I want to reread Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

#971 ::: spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 01:06 AM:

[ spam from 173.208.125.88 ]

#972 ::: janetl sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2010, 01:11 AM:

Looks like our new friend has spammed all over a bunch of pages.

#973 ::: joann says Live Cams is spamming all over the place ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 12:48 PM:

That's at least three threads already, none of them particularly appropriate.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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