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July 13, 2009

Open thread 127
Posted by Teresa at 07:21 PM *

According to Wikipedia, the number 127 is:

…a Mersenne prime, 27 - 1, and as such, in binary it is a repunit prime, a permutable prime and a palindromic prime. This also means it is the largest integer that can be represented by a signed byte.

As a Mersenne prime, 127 is related to the perfect number 8128. 127 is also an exponent for the Mersenne prime 2127 - 1, making 127 a double Mersenne prime.

2127 - 1 was discovered by Edouard Lucas in 1876, and held the record for the largest known prime for 75 years. It’s still the largest prime ever discovered by hand calculations.

127 is also a cuban prime of the form p = (x3y3) / (xy), x = y + 1. The next prime is 131, with which it comprises a cousin prime. Because the next odd number, 129, is a semiprime, 127 is a Chen prime. 127 is greater than the arithmetic mean of its two neighboring primes, thus it’s a strong prime.

It is the sum of the sums of divisors of the first twelve integers.

127 is a centered hexagonal number.

It is the 7th Motzkin number.

It is a nice Friedman number in base 10, since 127 = -1 + 27, as well as binary since 1111111 = (1 + 1)111 - 1 * 1.

127 is also the name of an underground Iranian rock group. If you read Farsi, you could probably follow them here.

Rock on.

Comments on Open thread 127:
#1 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 07:48 PM:

The subject of this open thread will make Doc Paisley extremely glad. He likes prime numbers, for reasons that I have not even fathomed.

#2 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 07:53 PM:

What's not to like about prime numbers? They're useful for so many different things...

#3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 08:50 PM:

We're back in our prime. Too bad it's not a twin prime, though.

#4 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 09:33 PM:

And I am a prime example of how accidents happen, and seatbelts are good.

My dad's car. Stopped at a light. Stalled. Just getting the engine started (so clutch in, brake off)... I see it coming.

Crunch.

I amm paying attention to the slight ache in my neck (headrest was, perhaps, a little low... but no real back and forthing). Seatbelt locked up just fine... heck, I didn't even feel it.

Rolled through the intersection, pulled in at the first safe place and a good time was had by all.

The guy who hit me was in a good mood... stuff happens. My dad wasn't bothered.... stuff happens.

The cop who showed up knew everyone but me (the guy who hit me is a bail bondsman, my dad used to be a deputy sherriff, it was war stories and the like in the parking lot).

It's been a swell capstone to an amazing month.

I've been driving for 21 years. Got my license in Oak Ridge, in August 1988. This was my first accident while behind the wheel.

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 09:45 PM:

Is a cuban prime one that's havanather?

#6 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 09:46 PM:

Terry, I'm glad no one was hurt! And even more that it turned so pleasant. What an odd event, in the best possible way.

#7 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 09:52 PM:

Terry Karney @ 4 ...
I'm glad to hear that everybody's fine! Talk about small world syndrome, though!

#8 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 10:01 PM:

Terry:

Glad everyone is fine, and hope it's your only accident for the next 21 years!

A few years ago, I got rear-ended 3 times in less than 6 months, all of them stopped in perfectly legitimate and normal places: first at a stop sign waiting to turn right, then at a red light, and finally while waiting to pull out of a parking garage. Only the first (thumped by a big SUV) required serious body work; I never got the slight bumper crunch and mussed paint from the last two fixed, because I figured I'd only get rear-ended again in another few months and need to fix it again. (I felt worse for the last guy - my bumper was fine but he was driving his dad's new Prius and crunched in his fender something nasty.)

I don't know what was going on with my car-karma there.

#9 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 10:04 PM:

Serge: Thank you, don't mind if I do!

#10 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 10:28 PM:

I got rear-ended in my stepmother's elderly hatchback (a Datsun something-or-other) a year or so after learning to drive. No damage to either car, but I'd let the car roll right into the middle of the intersection after being bonked, and of course it had stalled when my foot slipped off the clutch...

No problem, except the car wouldn't restart. Wouldn't even turn over. Nothing of the usual things that light up on the dash lit up when you turned the key...

So I popped the hood, and the guy who'd rear-ended me and I poked around - turned out one of the battery leads had been jarred loose. It must have been on the verge of falling off all by itself, given how minor the collision was.

Not the most entertaining ten minutes I've ever spent, though, stuck in the middle of an intersection with the hood up!

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 10:35 PM:

Terry @ 4... Ouch.

#12 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 10:36 PM:

Terry, cervical spine injuries (you probably know this) can take a while to manifest. Pay close attention and have an ice pack handy...

Glad to hear you're okay and no one else was injured.

Stuff happens, oh yes.

#13 ::: Paul Lalonde ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:08 PM:

I'm certain that 127 being the largest integer representable in a signed (two's complement) byte has nothing to do with it being a Mersenne prime. Nit.

#14 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:23 PM:

Terry Karney @ 4:

I'm glad that you and the other people are all right. Here's hoping for another twenty-one safe years behind the wheel and then some.

#15 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:57 PM:

Hrm, an Open Thread just when I wanted to impose upon the Latinists of Making Light. Very convenient!

I'm involved with MITSFS, an organization I know some of you know. In a fit of something-or-other I decided that the existing MITSFS parody of MIT's seal, which converts the blacksmith and scholar into SFnal figures, needed to be turned into a proper seal in the fashion of MIT's with rings and our name and the whole nine yards. (This will decorate the electronic check-out computer -- creating it is a displacement activity, but it's got me making something that feels like progress on our conversion to an electronic check-out system. It's not quite actual progress, but it is movement, however slight, in the right direction, and more movement than the past year or so has seen!)

I got this far before running aground on the motto. What passes for MITSFS's motto[1], "We're not fans, we just read the stuff,"[2] is rather long to fit readably in the space under the two beings. A friend and fellow Society member suggested "Fanatici non sunt, lectitant" as a Latin translation -- better both because it's shorter and because the MIT motto on the seal is in Latin as well -- but suggested I run it past another Latinist for sanity before engraving it in relatively permanent form. So, Latinists of Making Light, I put to you the question -- fair translation or no? If the latter, what would you suggest?


[1] Barely beating out "OH SWEET MERCIFUL CTHULHU, MORE BOOKS? WHERE WILL WE PUT THEM?!"

[2] Somewhat anachronistic, since some number of us are fans, but it's Traditional.

#16 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2009, 11:59 PM:

Lizzy L: yes, and I am not happy with the manifestations at the scene. It ought to be a trivial thing, but...

So the next few days are one of paying attention to stain damage, etc.

I am taking NSAIDs for my Rieter's, so that may help some. On the flip side, I worry it may mask symptoms.

Not what I need to be worrying about as I move.

#17 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:03 AM:

STRAIN damage.

Sheesh.


Keving: I think it might be lecticanti.

#18 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:35 AM:

Terry Karney #4:
Glad it was nothing serious.

Clifton Royston #8:
I don't know what was going on with my car-karma there.

It's being chased by your dog-dogma?

#19 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 01:29 AM:

>Fanatici non sunt, lectitant
You are using third-person verbs in Latin, where you have first person in English. Also, the typical modes of expression in Latin are rather different from those in English. A Latin motto might be more along the lines of Non fanatici, sed lectores, with the verb left unexpressed.

#20 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 01:34 AM:

Kevin Riggle @15, it should be "lectamus" (first person plural verb), or perhaps "lectamus rebus" (we read the things). The current version is more, "the reading one" (which probably should actually be "lectans", plural "lectantes"). That's assuming my 40-year-old Latin isn't too rusty. And it shouldn't be "sunt", which is third-person plural ("they are") rather than first-person plural ("we are") -- the person is in fact important in the motto.

Icing may help even now, Terry (@#4). And if you're not terribly averse to chiropractors (and have a good one available), you might want to check in with one. I see I don't need to second what Lizzy says.

#21 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 02:21 AM:

I like 'y's wording, both because it seems more idomatic to me, and particularly because it plays off the ancient bon mot by Bishop Gregory, "Non angli, sed angeli."

#22 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 02:30 AM:

127 is also the IPv4 reserved class A network for node-local scope communication, i.e. the loopback network.

#23 ::: Micah ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 03:36 AM:

As someone who knows no Latin, I want to second the thought that "Non fanatici, sed lectores" just sits better in the ear and before the eye than the other versions so far brought forth.

#24 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 04:01 AM:

Tom@20: Your Latin is rusty indeed if you think the accusative plural of res is rebus. Also "read" would probably be better as "lego" than "lecto" or "lectito" (both of the latter, if I'm reading Lewis and Short correctly, exist but are relatively rare and post-classical).

"Sumus" is of course better than "sunt", but I agree with y@19 that the verb "to be" can and should be left out. I do think that simply "lectores" for "we just read the stuff" is too concise. I suggest:

"Non fanatici, res legimus modo."

#25 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 04:06 AM:

Terry, glad to hear the accident and its aftermath were so innocuous. I hope there are no further consequences from the strain on your spine.

#26 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 04:51 AM:

I haven't put the time in to check the endings, but y @19 looks right.

#27 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 06:10 AM:

Serge @5: A Cuban prime is a sandwich excellente. Yum!

#28 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 06:51 AM:

I looked at that list of properties and was bothered that it didn't mention that 127 was the largest number representable in 7 bits (e.g. 8 - 1 for parity or whatever, the good old ASCII space). I'd gone all the way (or pretty close) to the Wikipedia edit screen before noticing the last sentence in the Mersenne prime paragraph, which isn't quite the same thing, but close enough and also relevant.

So I took a moment to hyperlink and pedantify it.

#29 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 07:58 AM:

Tonigth on TNT, the return of Leverage...

#30 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 08:50 AM:

Update: The neck is stiff, but it's strained stiff, not bruised stiff. So far, so good.

Breakfast, and the usual drugs, ought to put me into tolerable shape.

#31 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 09:44 AM:

@21 Clifton Royston -- Which blessed Sellar and Yeatman in *1066 and All That* further torqued by translating it as "Not Angels but Anglicans."

#32 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 10:10 AM:

Wouldn't a Cuban prime be a tabaco puro?

#33 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 11:26 AM:

Terry - What rotten luck, that accident! Glad it wasn't worse and that all the persons involved were in such good moods. I hope your recovery continues uneventful. And may it be only barely worthy of the term 'recovery' due to your injury being only barely worthy of the term 'injury'. Crossed fingers, knock on wood.

I have nothing to contribute to the Latin discussion, sadly - I'll save that for Avedaggio et alia - but I do have my impending attendance at WorldCon09 to announce. Didn't someone set up an LJ for a Fluorospherical get-together? Could they be coaxed into repeating it for those of us who failed to bookmark it?

#34 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 11:30 AM:

Ginger @ 27... Fragano @ 32... Or is a Cuban Prime some first-rate meat that we imMersenne rum?

#35 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 11:51 AM:

Serge @34, you are giving me sandwich ideas!

#37 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:08 PM:

Nicole @33:

It's here at Making Lumiere.

#38 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:10 PM:

In ASCII, 127 is DEL. Pretty ultimate.

#39 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:12 PM:

Doesn't 'pernil' mean "for nothing"? So would 'non per nil, sed' mean "not for nothing, but"?*

*This is a New York expression that even I, with 27 years in Metro NYC, barely understand. Pay it no mind.

#40 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:16 PM:

Theophylact @38:
In ASCII, 127 is DEL

...saving a good 60 off of CPC. More evidence of the efficiency of computers...

#41 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:23 PM:

Agreeing that y's approach is better, since we slipped. YYUR.

#42 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:27 PM:

Prime numbers are good. Prime rib is better.

Yum.

#43 ::: Noelle ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:45 PM:

Since this is an open thread, I thought I might pose a question which I'm sure will get some interesting answers. I'm thinking of publishing science fiction in a couple of years. Not getting my book published, but publishing someones else's work. What's the worst thing I could do as a publisher (barring just publishing a book and sitting on it - these books will find their way into bookstores)and what's the best?

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:51 PM:

Rikibeth @ 35... Glad I could provide culinary inspiration. I'd like better than to have one such sandwich right now, but it's going to be hard-boiled eggs today.

Otis B. Driftwood: And eight pieces of French pasty.
Fiorello: With two hard-boiled eggs.
Otis B. Driftwood: And two hard-boiled eggs.
Harpo: Honk!
Otis B. Driftwood: Make that three hard-boiled eggs.

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 12:54 PM:

abi @ 37... Thanks for reminding people of the link. Kathryn was very busy with work until recently, then she got a bad cold, but the Lumière will happen. I'll be helping her, but won't be able to provide Christmas lights this year.

#46 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 01:54 PM:

Thanks for posting the party link; I'd really like to make it if possible. I'm doing five (count 'em) panels on Friday, though. (I'll be on a bunch of anime, manga, and workshopping panels, if anybody's curious.)

@#43 Noelle, here's the best you can do, in terms of making yourself attractive to me as a writer and reader:

*Allow electronic submissions
*Commons everything/release works online in DRM-free formats
*Create NIN/Radiohead/Amanda Palmer-style deluxe packages for books, including Commons-licensed soundtracks, cover art, illustrations, t-shirts, author podcasts (Q&A sessions or readings), all of which could be purchased from your online store in prices scaling upward
*For every reading in a bar or adults-only location/timeslot, make sure the author does an all-ages event somewhere cheap, and tweets it with an easily-recognizable hashtag
*Release review copies of books to prominent bloggers.

I'm sure there's more, and obviously someone with more experience would be able to help you more and provide more detail, but as a consumer this is what I want, and as a writer I'd be excited if someone on my team were taking these steps.

#47 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 02:55 PM:

I am EFF member #127 . . . or was back when they had membership numbers.

#29: I'm glad Leverage is back, but I'm a bit bummed . . . while it was filmed in Portland and vicinity, it is now set in Boston. Bah!

#48 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 03:00 PM:

#43 Noelle: I would add a point specific to hardcopy: Don't neglect the paperback editions!

For one, they should come out reasonably soon after the hardcovers -- perhaps 6 months. (Think of the Hugo voters! ;-)) Also, they should be reasonably durable! Without looking hard, I can find paperbacks on my shelves from the early 70's, and computers or no, I have small doubt that some of the books being published now, will still be treasured possessions in 2050.

#49 ::: Noelle ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 03:23 PM:

Thanks David and Madeline,

Good points on both accounts. I'm pretty keen on the production values of books. Nothing irritates me more than having a book fall apart on me, or having type on nearly see-through thin paper.

I'm only now starting to look at ebooks and such, but it makes sense that these issues would be high priority for the readers (and authors) I'm hoping for. I hadn't even thought about readings in bars versus all age environments. I'll keep it in mind.

#50 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 03:40 PM:

Noelle, perhaps not the best or worst, but inner margins should be sufficiently far away from the spine that the reader doesn't have to bend the book in half to read entire sentences (this may apply more to paperback editions than hardcover).

#51 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 03:44 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 47... Maybe they have Portland pretend that it is Boston because nobody would take seriously the idea that Portland could have so much exciting stuff going on. On the other hand, there is a cop show on about a woman in charge of witness protection, supposedly here in Albuquoique, but it sure doesn't look like the one where I live. (Ah, the wonders of locations pretending to be something else... I was quite amused - in fact it was the only amusing thing in it - by The Astronaut Farmer supposedly being set in Texas when the background's mountains are the ones in my backyard.)

#52 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 03:45 PM:

I agree with 'Non fanatici, sed lectores'. My first instinctive reading of 'Fanatici non sunt, lectitant', before I had grasped the context, was 'Fans don't exist, they read'. (Which one can almost get to make sense - being a fan isn't just a state of being, it involves doing something, namely reading - but not the sense required.)

#53 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 04:03 PM:

Stefan Jones (#47): Ah, the good old days. (EFF #14, here; of course, as a staff member at the time I had a bit of an advantage in the low number acquisition department.)

#54 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 04:47 PM:

Maybe "solum lectores," to get the sense of "just" in there?

#55 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 05:49 PM:

Linkmeister @ 50:

Would that inner margins were only a problem for paperbacks. Some hardbacks these days have the pages glued straight to the spine as if they were paperbacks. This is, of course, evil.

#56 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 06:52 PM:

KeithS @55: some? I'd go with "most" at least where fiction is concerned.

#57 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 07:21 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 47

Much rather live in Portland and pretend it was Boston than the other way around.

Serge @ 51

Oh, they want exciting? Let me check the current activity report for Mt. St. Helens ...
As for AlBQQ, it may not be accurate, but that show has had some really nice second unit shots outside the city; especially the sunsets.

#58 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 07:30 PM:

Theophylact #38:

In ASCII, 127 is DEL. Pretty ultimate.

Formerly know as RUBOUT. On a TeleType, back up the paper tape, and overpunch all of the holes. ISTR when the tape was being copied, it would neither advance nor punch the tape.

#59 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 07:44 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 57... On the other hand, there are only so many plots they could have that involve Mt St-Helen going kablooee - unless they're on the Skiffy Channel. By the way, Leverage premieres tomorrow evening, not tonight. Bah!

#60 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 07:58 PM:

Since some of us are talking about problems with books...
Several things I can't stand--1, when the covers and spine are so blasted stiff it hurts to hold them open for a while with these not-what-they-used-to-be hands. Ergonomics.
2, when the manufacturers deliberately make the outer edge of each page all raggedy and a different height from the rest, so it's hard to get back to the page you wanted even if you have a bookmark, and just looks unprofesssional anyway. More ergonomics.
3, when books I've treasured for eons fall apart and there doesn't look like any chance of them coming back into print, at least affordably. Some of them were obscure, but still. Is someone going to digitize "Artery of Fire", or Jack Sharkey's stories about the Addams Family? And Wagner's Kane novels, how come those were only back in print briefly and expensively? (I waited for the paperback and it never appeared.) And rustling up another copy of the originals would be no guarantee that they wouldn't be in the same sad shape.
4, whe outfits that used to make them real high-quality have started skimping. My Dover edition of Stapledon is in fine shape after 38 years because the pages were sewn in in bunches and not that bad of a grade of paper either. But I saw the same book in the store recently and it was not made that way now, and there was no more bragging on the back about it being a permanent book. Which in my opinion it ought to be. It's the double of Last & First Men and Star Maker that I am referring to. When something is just so mind-blowing that you can't put it down even when your house is being slammed by 200-mph winds-- well, I just wish Dover could hold to their old production standards.
Enough bellyaching for now, off to see if hexagonal numbers are all prime or not.

#61 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 08:01 PM:

...They aren't. They aren't even what I thought they were. Aaaaaagh.

#62 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 08:09 PM:

Kevin Reid #28:

What goes, "Pieces of seven! Pieces of seven!"?

A parity error.

#63 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 08:21 PM:

Angiportus @ 60:

I was in the bookstore the other day (Jhegaala! Dragonbreath!) and nearly picked up The Yiddish Policemen's Union. Unfortunately, the cover was lightweight, easy-to-tear card, and the edges of the pages were all rough and unfinished. People tell me it's a great book, but I'm not going to buy it like that unless it's really, really great.

I have a couple Dover books that I bought recently. They're still made pretty well, although I haven't compared them to the old ones.

Soon Lee @ 62:

I hope you realize that people are going to be coming after you for keyboard damage. To think otherwise would be Polly-annaish of you.

#64 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 08:32 PM:

The van was hit three times early on (it's 22.5 years old now) and all three damaged only the other car and were their fault. Two ran into me because they were distracted by (different) officers pulling someone over, and the other thought I was pulling into the shopping center she wanted to get out of when I was actually in the second-right lane over and was pulling into the most-right lane to turn onto a road in about two blocks.

Leverage returns and Dark Blue starts tomorrow night: Wednesday.

#65 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 08:32 PM:

Angiportus: I like uncut signatures. It doesn't hinder my finding of my place, and I find it pleasant in my hands.

#66 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 08:48 PM:

Soon Lee, I shared your joke with Jim. He almost dropped the plates he was carrying downstairs to the dishwasher. And said something uncomplimentary that I'll not share... because he hadn't thought of it.

#67 ::: Kat ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 09:51 PM:

Does it bother anyone else that integers have Wikipedia pages? This can't possibly end well.

#68 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 10:01 PM:

Kat @ 67:

Partial script idea:

for(bignum i = 0; ; ++i)
    if(<page does not exist for i>)
        <submit skeleton Wikipedia entry>

Then we can build the integers from the naturals, the rationals from the integers, and on and on. They want to be the sum of all human knowledge, right?

#69 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 10:24 PM:

#60 Angiportus

Ragged edges paper in novels, has one big plus to it--it's less conducive to producing papercuts. That can be a very LARGE plus....

I used to regard trade paperback as the bastard offspring of book formats... however, the "format I hate most of all!" award belongs to the taller versions of mass market paperbacks now.

I do not have large hands. I do not have long fingers. That format book, I detest the balance of [rather, the imbalance of...] trying to hold one of them, and trying to read--the size of the book is marginally wider, just enough to making holding the book open considerably more uncomfortable than stock MMPB--normally my thumbs are on the page edges and the surface of the pages the book is open to, while my fingers next to index fingers, are one the spine of the book. If the distance is any greater than the width of MMPB, I can't hold the book that way, it's too wide for me to have thumbs reaching the pages and have fingers tips on the spine, to hold the book open.

Add to that that there is more -torque- on that tall paperback format, and I've gotten into the state of "I would have bought the book in mass market, I wanted the book, it's a tall paperback, which costs $3.00 more list and I am not buying a book I can't hold comfortably to read!" Trade paperbacks are sufficiently wider that I can read them with thumbs holding open pages open and fingertips on the outside front and back covers. Inch taller than standard MMPB paperbacks, my fingertips are at the the corner edges of the cover and provide no -traction- etc. to hold a book open.

I HATE that format....

#70 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 11:31 PM:

Kat @67: Since there is an infinite supply of integers, there's no reason for it to end at all...
which is what I think that Keith @68 is getting at, but I don't know the programming language he is using.

#71 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 11:41 PM:

Kat @ 67

Does it bother anyone else that integers have Wikipedia pages?

No, it's only fair. All Wikipedia pages have (Gödel) integers.

This can't possibly end well.

It can't possibly end. Check the Wikipedia floor at the Library of Babel.

#72 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2009, 11:48 PM:

Thanks for the mention that Jhegaala is out in paperback. Added to my wish list, but I don't think it'll be long before I pick that up. Both husband and I are completely addicted.

#73 ::: p mac ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 01:23 AM:

Very cool, but this "This also means it is the largest integer that can be represented by a signed byte" is nonsense. 127 is the biggest signed number that can be represented by a single byte because it equals 2^7-1. (Primality has nothing to do with it.)

#74 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 01:29 AM:

KeithS #63 & Paula Helm Murray #66:

It's an old joke told to me by a friend, I have enough from undergrad compsci to get it, & felt it only proper to inflictshare...

#75 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 01:39 AM:

Magenta Griffith @ 70:

It's just a kernel of an idea in C-ish pseudocode.

For maximal fun, we could then have a Wikipedia page for each of the Church numerals.

p mac @ 73:

The "this" in that sentence refers to the fact that the number is 2^7 - 1, not that it's prime. Now, if you want to quibble you can point out that a byte is not necessarily eight bits, but that would be pedantic.

#76 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 01:46 AM:

While we're talking about new stuff out, there's a fine new Dresden Codak posted at last (He had me from "Ponzi scheme musical".)

#77 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 05:49 AM:

A link and a question.

Here is an awesome short story, Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs, by Leonard Richardson (a former viable paradise student).

I am now going to search out and read all of his previous work. My question- can you guys recommend any other authors who have a similar style (I'm most interested in other authors with a similar sense of humour)?

#78 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 07:14 AM:

Ragged edge pages are technically called deckled edges, though they're rarely due to a true deckle.

In older books, the deckled edges were a sign that the pages had originally been uncut, and were only opened by the reader (with a paper knife). In modern commercial publications, they're an attempt to create an older, more expensive look.

Done on a hardback with a glued binding, they are a crime against nature.

#79 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 09:50 AM:

That's the abi I know and love, so reticent with her opinons.

(I happen to agree with her).

#80 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 10:21 AM:

Paula @ 69 -

This is my big peeve about books too. Who thought this would be a good format, and for what reasons? I also have a hard time keeping the book open and balk at paying an extra $3.00 for a mass-market book with a longer page. Luckily, none of the weird-sized mass-market books have appealed to me enough for me to balk too long. I wonder if that's just because I wasn't interested in the book in the first place, or because the sight of those deformities immediately makes me ignore the contents?

#81 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 10:22 AM:

Well, I don't get a lot of paper cuts anyway, but I sympathize with other folks who have different hand problems than I do. Solutions will be a while coming.
I once had my library order something from a university library across the country. It dated back to the 40's but was in amazingly good condition. When I started in on it, what did I find but 2 pages I had to cut apart! And a little later it happened again, and there must have been a dozen times I had to do some surgery. That book was 60 years old and I was the first to read it.
And my cousins wonder why I like to carry a knife... I think I read somewhere that in the old days avid readers would have a special knife handy just for that use.
My problem with deckled edges is that they predispose you to getting this or that page when you are just looking thru it in the bookstore, or trying to remember where you were when you didn't have a bookmark handy. Also I am not overly fond of phoniness/pretension, and that's what this seems to be.

#82 ::: Noelle ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 10:26 AM:

I'm sensing that people like well-made books, a rather obvious statement, but it's telling me that form is a close second to content, rather than price. (Though I don't know if I'll be able to afford sewn books.)Do most people prefer their paperbacks close to a mass-market size instead of the larger ones? I agree that it would be odd to put ragged edges on a paperback. If I wanted to make a book more intersting, or up production values, I'd use endpapers or french flaps instead. Any thoughts on those? I'll remember to keep my margins nice and wide.

#83 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 10:26 AM:

Paula Helm Murray@66

It's your own fault for parroting the joke like that...

#84 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 11:59 AM:

We catch the crabs at night on the black road,
just shovel them into the waiting bag
until the sweat pools and your spirits flag;

above the stars signal in arcane code
while you wipe down with an old smelly rag.
We catch the crabs at night on the black road

that leads us back to where the waters flowed
past all the places where we let hope sag,
back into swamp where memories might nag.
We catch the crabs at night on the black road.

#85 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 12:41 PM:

Genre Film Trivia Question: Which film starts with a voiceover on a book being opened & its pages cut?

Deckling not too bad on single sheet, but machine-made books? Yes, reeks of faux.

#86 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 12:57 PM:

Noelle @ 82:

For any satisfying product, form and function have to go together. If a book feels cheap, insubstantial, hard to read, off balance, or otherwise strange, then reading it is not the pleasure it should be.

For me, the dislike for faux-deckling is twofold. One reason is that it can make the book harder to use (see also: short card, long card, and Svengali deck). The other is that it's aiming at a sort of pretentiousness while not actually being any higher in quality. The Yiddish Policemen's Union has faux-deckled pages and a cover so soft I thought it would tear right off within a week. It also felt too light for its size. I know, books are heavy and so a lighter-weight book should be good, but it just looked and felt cheap.

I wouldn't discount price, though; I'm much more likely to buy lots of $6 books than $15 books, even though I'll wind up spending more that way. I'm willing to put up with a slight drop in quality for that, although not to the extent of making it an unpleasant book.

I very nearly did not buy Dragonbreath because it did the hardcover with pages glued straight to the spine thing, but it's by Ursula Vernon, so I had to.

#87 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 12:59 PM:

Back when I worked in bookstores, books with deckled pages got lots of complaints. Many people demanded a discount because the books were clearly defective. When shown an entire display's worth of deckled inventory, I'd often get a shudder or look of disgust.

I'm personally not moved one way or another about them, but I do agree with abi that on glued books, it's a ridiculous affectation.

#88 ::: Noelle ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 01:07 PM:

KeithS @ 86 - it's interesting that you should mention the weight of the book. When I have a thin book (like a collection of poetry) I put heavy weight paper in it - a 70lb laid is my normal stock. Otherwise the book weighs nothing in your hand. I can't do that for thicker books. The paper costs too much.

#89 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 01:41 PM:

Noelle @ 88:

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about printing novels on 100 gsm paper or anything like that. It's just that that book felt too light for its size compared to similar books.

Really, the whole construction of that book suggested that designers were trying to make it look like a more expensive book than its cover price would suggest, but it backfired for me because it seemed cheap and insubstantial.

#90 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 01:52 PM:

Heard on the radio this morning:

Reed College alumni David Eddings left a bequest of over fourteen million dollars to his alma mater.

#91 ::: Noelle ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 01:54 PM:

KeithS @ 89

No worries, I never thought that. I just found it interesting that you noticed the weight. I notice it all the time, and so do people I work with, but we're book geeks. I'm also the kind of person who picks up a book and looks at who the publisher is before reading any of the back cover bits.

#92 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 02:46 PM:

I'm not sure how attached I am to the MMP size -- it's certainly more compact to store, and easier to carry -- but I have so many that I triple-shelve them, so I still need fairly high shelf spacing so I can get at the back rows.(*)

Also, some of my paperbacks are simply too much book for that binding. The worst offender is obviously Robert Jordan, but a few of, e.g., Peter Hamilton's and Tad Williams' volumes also seem to be straining their bindings. Of course, illustrated books and multi-novel omnibuses need to be bigger, for pragmatic reasons!

* I have a set of adjustable steel shelves, industrial strength. I got these after my pet rabbit (now long deceased) undermined my previous wooden shelves to the point of collapse....

#93 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 02:58 PM:

Hey what goes around comes around...

Both Sinclair Broadcasting and Clear Channel are facing bankruptcy.

Here's hoping they have to sell off every station, and that Limbaugh loses his paying gig.

#94 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 03:05 PM:

Lori, that's the best news I've heard all week! I hope, vainly I'm sure, that we're talking Chapter 7, rather than 11.

#95 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 03:33 PM:

#93 Lori
URLs, and data about how/why they've gone bust?
(Now if only CBS would join them in collapse... extermination to hypocrisy-laden-malevolent-moralist-foaming-at-the-microphone-bigot propaganda-monger-media-monopoly entities....)

They can't turn into extipated Iglis* fast enough for me.

(Igli as in repulsive disgusting thing from Glory Road. Oscar shoved its big hairy stinky feet in its mouth....)

#96 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 03:34 PM:

You may want to look out your windows later - noctilucent clouds lit up the European and North American skies yesterday evening, and a repeat is expected tonight.

#97 ::: Brother Guy ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 03:41 PM:

Kevin Riggle @ 15:

Speaking as both someone who's a former MITSFS Skinner, now a Jesuit working at the Vatican, and the resident Latin expert for the IAU Working Group on Planetary Surface Nomenclature... actually, I don't know a whole lot of Latin myself, having not studied it since 1969, but I do have contacts who do know Latin. I passed this on to the expert I use for the IAU's trickier Latin questions, and he replied:

"The important thing here, IMO, is that we're looking for an inscription. It should be sententious, a little telegraphic. Latin is flexible with word order but needs clear syntax.

"One possibility, cleaning up your suggestion, is: Non fanatici legimus. Roughly, "Not being/as fans, we read ..." With a finite verb, this puts the emphasis on the act of reading, dramatically begging the questions, why do they read if paradoxically they are not enthusiasts? and, what do they read ("stuff")? The problem is that even for me knowing the context, I look at that and think, what are they, censors? recipients of bad news? masochistic readers?

"Another possibility: Non fanatici tantum lectores (sumus); "Not fans, so much as readers." (I'd omit the verb, "we are.") I think this puts the emphasis on the character of the subject. It doesn't make me wonder about the reading matter or any paradox of reading. I prefer this formulation, if I understand correctly your motivation of reading for the delight of it. "

#98 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 03:51 PM:

I'd like to express, once again, my appreciation for the general level of discourse here. It was dramatically driven home to me how unusual it is, on another site just last night.

See, someone was saying that a certain scene in Bruno was "brilliant satire." In the scene as he described it, Bruno makes out with another man in a cage surrounded by a bunch of cage-fighting fans who were expecting a fight. (Real people, not actors playing them.) The crowd's reaction was a paroxysm (not that this lowbrow knew that word) of homophobic fury, including throwing things at the cage and calling for the death of both guys inside it.

I and another guy explained that even if Bruno himself is a satiric character, that scene is not satire, because it's the real reaction of real people, however ridiculous they may have looked. Certainly SBC likes to make fools of people, but as they're real people, their reactions are not satire. I and the other guy (we kept posting nearly simultaneously with similar content differently phrased, it was really remarkable) explained that satire involves exaggeration; I explained that if actors depicted a similar reaction to two men accidentally touching on the street, or if the response to two men kissing was to nuke the entire city, that would be satire.

His response to being told that that scene was not satire? "It is too." Later, when we explained further, "You're just being whiny and self-pitying because you don't like the movie." (This was a gay website, and both of us had earlier (but not in this part of the conversation) expressed the idea that we thought the character of Bruno was a viciously anti-gay stereotype, aimed at people who won't recognize it as a satire.)

Later he accused us of acting like third-graders, and degenerated into further insults I won't describe here. At no time did he ever address any of our actual points, offer a counterdefinition of satire that the scene would fit, or even recognize (despite being explicitly told) that we weren't saying it wasn't funny or that he was wrong to enjoy it, just that it wasn't satire. He left the conversation exactly as he entered it, inch-thick skull intact and impervious to any information he hadn't known previously. He really believed that he had proved himself right by simply saying "I'm right" over and over.

It was really appalling.

So thank you, Fluorospherans, for your ability to follow (or even just recognize) an argument, respond to its points, and disagree civilly at least most of the time. The average poster on that site would be considered an egregious troll here, and would become a piñata in short order.

#99 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 03:56 PM:

#97 Guy
I didn't realize your detection and tracking system was monitoring here!

(He was another contemporary at MITSFS, so for that matter was Robert Sachs overlapping, when Seth and Stallman and CHip and I were undergraduates and members. Have I managed to weird anyone out there out enough yet?)

#100 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 04:01 PM:

Paula, you have uttered the name of R*b*rt S*chs in this holy place. Spit, turn, throw salt.

#101 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 04:01 PM:

The Sinclair story shows up on Google News, but there's nothing about Clear.

#102 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 04:14 PM:

Here's the details on the bankruptcies -- looks like Chapter 7 may be more likely than Chapter 11, as it's possible breaking things up and selling the pieces will bring more money to the creditors.

URLs:

Sinclair Broadcasting

Clear Channel

#104 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 04:53 PM:

Xopher, except when Sacha Bruno Cohen was in Sweeney Todd, I dislike him as much as I dislike Will Farrell. Of course, in ST he ended up in a pie...

#105 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 04:57 PM:

That corpse-eating robot Terry mentions at #103? It's called the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR).

Reading that, I think it's bad naming. If the point is that it's self-sustaining, shouldn't it be Energy-Autonomous? Energetically Autonomous sounds like it's vigorously independent. I'm not sure that's what Robotic Technologies meant when they named it.

#106 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 05:07 PM:

KeithS @ 86: I very nearly did not buy Dragonbreath because it did the hardcover with pages glued straight to the spine thing, but it's by Ursula Vernon, so I had to.

It makes me ridiculously happy to read that--not about the book quality, but about Ursula. I've been an Internet-friend of hers for a long time now. It's been amazing to watch her progress over the years, both in her creative works and her popularity. I don't think I'll ever stop getting a huge grin whenever I see or hear her mentioned outside of my usual circle of acquaintances!

#107 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 05:10 PM:

Another comment on the level of discourse here is that the Vatican Astronomer turns up to advise on Latin tags...

#108 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 05:34 PM:

Jakob @107: Ahh, but Brother Guy doesn't just read the stuff, he's a FAN. :->

(BTW, loved you on the 'surviving in a fantasy world' panel at the Denver Worldcon, Brother Guy!)

#109 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 05:39 PM:

Jakob @107
But it's still a great big universe.

#110 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 05:39 PM:

Terry Karney @ 103... I wonder if someone ever wrote a story about a war machine inside of which was put the brain of a zombie?

Coming soon on the Skiffy Channel... Dead Treads!

#111 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 05:51 PM:

Serge:

Tread Heads

To your scattered bodies go

The Quick and the Undead

#112 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 05:54 PM:

Hmmm
http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2009/07/13/daily38.html

Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 10:59am CDT
Sinclair works to sidestep bankruptcySt. Louis Business Journal - by Robert J. Terry

....
[Sinclair] also said in its July 10 8-K that a “relative lack of political advertising in 2009” will impact its business.

What, their fascist political "business associates" shut off the money spigot?!

#113 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 06:10 PM:

Echoing Xopher's appreciation at the level of discourse here, and adding my admiration for the moderators.

Another site I enjoy going to for the comments nearly as much as the posts themselves has just overhauled their commenting system. There are now "tiers". They seem to have given a certain number of commentor's watered down mod priveleges; when you view the comments, the Tier 1 commentors' comments appear. To see Tier 2 comments, you have to expand the whole threads and read greyed out text. Tier 2 comments can be "elevated" by a Tier 1 commentor, but I haven't seen much of that going around.

Supposedly, this was done to improve the level of discourse - to keep out the trolls and inside joke postings - but on the few times I've been able to read all comments I have seen very little difference in either the wit or informed-ness of the Tier 2 vs. Tier 1 comments, and the only inside-joke threads are initiated and participated in by Tier 1.

To make things more complicated, the new commenting system doesn't work on many people's OS/browsers (including those of us who post at work) and much of the time, we can't even expand the comments to read all. I have given up on commenting there because what's the point of doing so when you're almost guaranteed no one will read your rant/informed opinion/bon mot? I have nearly given up reading that site as well.

I love that Making Light provides a nice combination of intelligent commentors and a moderating team who wait until you say something idiotic before smacking you, rather than assuming you're an idiot until the cool kids say otherwise.

#114 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 06:18 PM:

Terry Karney @ 111... I like your titles better. By the way, sometimes I worry that if someone from the Skiffy Channel were lurking around, posts like these might give them ideas for even worse movies than they've aired so far.

#115 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 06:33 PM:

Renatus @ 106:

I've been following Ursula Vernon's art and writing for a while now, and have been enjoying it. Actually, I still really need to buy the dead tree versions of Digger.

nerdycellist @ 113:

That sounds like a perfectly horrible commenting system, and one that could very easily rip a community apart.

#116 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 06:57 PM:

Mary Dell @OT 126 #734*: Jacque @696: The Open Prosthetics project is something along those lines.

Yes, them!** Exactly. Like I said, some bright soul ought to be looking toward the hobbyist market. Maybe supply a little extra funding for this effort? (I know I'd pay good money for a third hand.)

* I was caught up with the Open Threads as of last Thursday. I was... <whimper>
** Ghu bless the Infinite Knowledge of the Fluorosphere

#117 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 07:34 PM:

How does an artist get started doing book cover illustration work, bringing their work to the attention of publishers' art directors and so forth? I've an artist friend who is looking to try to start making some income, eventually maybe making his living, from illustration work, but isn't sure where to start it as a business.

#118 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 08:25 PM:

Re the "modern business talk" sidebar item:

http://professionalsuperhero.com/
"The Adventures of Action Item"

#119 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2009, 08:38 PM:

Open Threadiness:

I don't think I've ever seen an author do this before. Warren Adler, author of 30-odd books, made a mistake in his main character's background between books two and three:

Author's Note:

The background of Fiona FitzGerald has changed radically between American Quartet, American Sextet, and subsequent novels. In Quartet and Sextet, she is the daughter of a New York cop. Subsequently in the other novels, she miraculously becomes the daughter of a deceased Senator. The author apologizes for his intervention and promises to cease making such changes in Fiona's antecedents.

That's admirable!

#120 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 12:03 AM:

(#119) I suppose it's too unlikely that either the New York cop was married to the [Unknown State] Senator, or the cop became a Senator? [One notes the Capitalization of Capitol workers.]

Latin Aid Plea: In my work in an inner city community I used a motto/tag for our paperwork based on the Psalm and Wilde's poem, De profundis, always translated as 'From the depths'. It was trying to say 'From the depths of the City', but my grammatical underpinnings are quite insecure, so I wavered around De Urb[i/u]s Profundis. It'd be nice to keep using it, but I'd like to check what'd be the most correct phrase.

#121 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 01:38 AM:

Mez @ #120, I can't help with the Latin. On your theory, I suspect Adler would have tried that if he hadn't sandbagged himself somehow (I haven't read either of the first two books). Maybe Fiona's NY cop-father was killed in the line of duty and thus couldn't make a career change. Dunno.

#122 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 02:24 AM:

Stefan Jones @90 - I hadn't realized David Eddings had died.

While I now realize his stuff was largely Extruded Fantasy Product[1], I devoured it in high school. I was actually re-reading one of his series in first year college when an English prof started us on Joseph Campbell's Hero With The Thousand Faces - and I went through Edding's characters in my mind and matched them up, pretty nearly one-for-one, with the archetypes/stereotypes in Campbell's work...

[1] Where is "Extruded Fantasy Product" from, anyway? I recall an essay decrying so much of modern fantasy as being 'extruded until it's the right length, then hacked off and served cold' or similar, but have no recollection if it was an online essay or in a book at some point...

#123 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 02:54 AM:

On the topic of poorly made books: When Matt Ruff's book "Bad Monkeys" came out, I went to a reading, and really liked the sound of the book, but couldn't bring myself to buy a copy. The initial version had pages glued to the binding, and shorter than the binding. That is to say, the cover would sit on the shelf, with the weight of the pages sagging and breaking the binding. I waited for the mass market paperback.

#124 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 04:11 AM:

Mez@120: "urbis".

Wirelizard@122: From what I've read about Eddings, his use of Campbellian tropes and character types was quite deliberate, a way of manipulating his readers.

I read The Belgariad when I was in high school and loved it. I soured on Eddings during the sequel series. The climax of The Belgariad talked about a destiny for that universe; I hoped that the sequel would expand on that. Instead, we got told, "That big climax from before? Not really a climax after all, sorry. We have to do it all again" -- with the characters themselves noticing and pointing out where the author was repeating himself.

While that sequel series was coming out, Eddings started on a new series. I read the first book or two of that, and noticed that all the characters seemed similar (right down to the mute god-child) and the dialogue read identically. I concluded that Eddings had very little range as an author, and was a cynical hack to boot.

#125 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 04:31 AM:

Terry Karney @ 103, Linkmeister @ 105:

ObSF: Cordwainer Smith, "Mark Elf" -- see "Menschenjäger".

#126 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 04:57 AM:

(moving the Aspie talk over from OT126)

Nix @949:
I've also noticed visual abnormalities under social stress which nobody else has ever mentioned to me: my edge detector goes into overdrive, so everything seems to have more prominent edges than before.

I never described it quite like that, but that's the reason I stopped wearing glasses. The detail of the world overwhelmed me. It was like being in a supermarket at the end of a long day*, all the time. If my vision ever begins to deteriorate enough that I need them again, I'm going to have to talk to my optician about fudging my prescription.

What I find is that I go mildly deaf under stress. This is particularly a problem because my son's diction is not good; when I'm overwhelmed with detail or complexity, I am sometimes entirely unable to understand him at all.

(I tend to classify† myself as a sub-syndromal Aspie. It's great for the software testing career, less good for a lot of other aspects of my life.)

------
* I don't know what fiend from hell designed the modern supermarket, but the stacks and stacks of small busy-labeled items all! shouting! for! attention!, the bright lights, and the combination of narrow aisles and awkward carts can all be horrific when I'm tired. One of the best things about living in a small (Dutch) village is that our supermarkets are of a manageable size, though the omnipresent shelf-stockers required to keep up with turnover do get underfoot.
† knowing that the impulse to classify is itself evidence

#127 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 05:18 AM:

janetl @123:
The initial version had pages glued to the binding, and shorter than the binding. That is to say, the cover would sit on the shelf, with the weight of the pages sagging and breaking the binding.

What, on the LFP? Or on the hardcover?

Hardcover books have had squares (that's what the gap between the book block and the edges of the covers are called; see this visual dictionary of book terms for an illustration) since at least the middle of the twelfth century. When the book block was more important and expensive than the binding, it was a way to keep the page edges from getting dirty. There's a fair argument that many of the structural techniques of traditional bookbinding are about giving the spine enough strength to resist the pull of gravity on the pages of the book.

After Gutenberg and his successors made book blocks cheaper to produce, no one minded so much if the pages got grubby. As a result, it didn't matter that much that the Victorian and post-Victorian innovations that made books so much more affordable also produced a progressive weakening of the spine. Unfortunately, however, the glued or perfect binding, which is the most recent* step in that progression, really is too weak for hardcover binding. Spines distort at best, and crack early at worst.

This is why I recommend LFP over hardbacks for people who want larger editions than MMP. The cover material may be weaker, but the structure is not conspiring with a force of nature to commit suicide.

If it's an LFP with squares, bring the publisher's production department to me so I can smack them alongside the head.

(Note to self: really really must move that brief history of bookbinding out of the comments to this entry and put them somewhere more coherent.)
-----
* I originally wrote "last", but I think that betrays an overly trusting faith in humanity's ability to stop innovating when the ideas turn bad.

#128 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 07:52 AM:

Linkmeister, #119: Arthur Conan Doyle seems to have had trouble keeping the continuity straight in the Sherlock Holmes stories, to the point that he was sometimes unable to remember whether Watson's first name was John or (as in "The Man With the Twisted Lip") James.

#129 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 08:40 AM:

Wesley @ 128... Didn't Doyke also forget to whom Watson was married? I think the opening credits of The Seven-Percent Solution had a joke about that regarding which wife Samantha Eggar played.

#130 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:23 AM:

Serge: I thought Watson remarried after the between-seasons death of his first wife. Remarrying explains a change in wives. Nothing explains the migrating war wound.

#131 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:42 AM:

werelizard @ 122 "Extruded Fantasy Product"

Coined by William December Starr on rasfw, back in 1999, as far as this moose can tell.

(QUOTE)
From: wdst...@crl.com (William December Starr)
Subject: Re: Series you gave up on....
Date: 1999/10/17
Message-ID: #1/1
Organization: CRL Network Services
Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.written

In article ,
jtma...@iglou.com (Joseph Major) said:

> How about Processed Fantasy Product? Like "processed cheese
> product" -- it has all the standard bits, but they have been
> merged into something totally lacking in individuality.

Extruded Fantasy Product. "Extruded" is one of those words
that always improves a phrase.

-- William December Starr

(/QUOTE)

3:O)>

Cadbury.

#132 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:57 AM:

Watson's marriages: I think in canon it's reasonably clear; he married Mary Morstan; she died; some time later he married someone else, about whom we get no details.

However, while who he married is clear enough, the dates of his marriages cause a lot of problems, which has led fans to invent other marriages for him in order to make the stories consistent. So the 'which wife' thing may be not so much a direct joke on canon but a joke on fannish speculation.

#133 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:58 AM:

Paul Duncanson @ 130... True, and Watson's marital status can easily be explained that way, but I remember that the movie's explanation was rather silly - on purpose. (Regarding oft-married characters... Not so long ago, I caught an episode of Bonanza that made me realize for the first time that the three brothers were from separate marriages. Nowadays, if the main character had had his three wives die on him, Jerry Briscoe would be knocking on his door - or maybe Brisco County Jr, considering that this was a western.)

#134 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:59 AM:

I got an email from the local SF club last night. Some time ago, I had offered to do my steampunk-movie presentation at one of the monthly meetings, and they were interested. It'll happen on November 13th. Yes, it's a Friday, but things will probably go more smoothly than when I did the presentation at FiestaCon. The past-life therapy group had taken so long vacating the premises that, once I was all set up, my laptop booted up and the projector working, I was almost 15 minutes late. By the time I was done, way too close to the start of the next panel, its participants were well roasted by the Arizona sun.

#135 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:00 AM:

Abi #126 and Nix @OT126#949:

Yup, both those symptoms sound like "sensory overload" -- some of your processing layers are just curling up and whimpering. I tend to lose object separation -- supermarket shelves become progressively-less-intelligible masses of color and text. I also lose both hearing (decompensation) and depth perception (not so good anyway, too much time staring at screens).

Come to think of it -- Abi, have you had a hearing test recently? These days it's pretty common for someone your age to have picked up a fair bit (10 decibels or more) of hearing damage without really noticing. Besides the obvious culprits like street noise and concerts, headphones are a major offender.

Also, I'm pretty sure that modern supermarkets are adapted (rather than designed) to overload even normal people. Stunned victims have less defense against impulse buys, tricky pricing, and suggestion in general. (And that shows up on the bottom line!)

#136 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:03 AM:

Mez @120:

Hmm -- I've always seen "de profundis" translated as "Out of the depths" -- it's from Psalm 130, one of the "penitential" psalms.

Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities

There is a beautiful setting of this (in Latin) in the musical Man of la Mancha.

#137 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:25 AM:

From Open Thread #126

#951 Nix

Paula@896: I see it more as failure to acknowledge female as human and a basic lack of respect

See, here you're making a basic category error. You're assuming (by implication) that people see other people as 'humans *like them*'.

My experience is that that's the way that most people view the world. Furthermore, in e.g. the USA the default assumption of person is "white [in the US Constitution as originally written, also property-owning...] male"-- even for women! That graphically hit me when I was in college, in a corridor of the then-National Magnet Laboratory, and saw someone and though, "Look, there's a woman in here!" following immediately by, "Uh, I'm a woman, too..."

While that anecdote does not support the "default is that everyone else is like me," meme, it does support the default "the standard person is a white male" meme. Or, more generally, is supports memes of the type "experiential inculcation creates automatic unexamined internalized defaults, especially unexamined default assumptions which the possessor of has little to no conscious awareness of."

Examples--at Noreascon II there was a very tall fellow who was working on the convention, the scuttlebut was that he ignored women. The reality was that he simply didn't conscious notice anyone under a certain height, and since women on the average are shorter than men, the shorter people he didn't notice, were overwhelmingly female... I had no problem getting his attention, I stuck up an arm so that he saw me, or rather, seeing my arm, then looked down to see the person to whom it belonged. It was not conscious on his part to "ignore women," it was a matter of some sort of environmental inculcation that caused him to not ordinarily look -down- when scanning for people.

There are all sorts of things like that--I call some of them "the curse of the six foot male" in which designers design for the convenience of a six foot male--this means that counters at banks, at car rental agencies, in kitchens, in bathrooms, and most other commercial and business and domestic facilities, are too high for me to deal with conveniently. I keep meaning to leave an irritated note to the local supermarket chain that I will continue demanding paper copies for signing using a credit card until and unless the electronic devices for signing with a stylus, are at the counter level and NOT at my chin level.... Stop & Shop actually has them at counter level. Most stores put them at a level convenient for a six foot male.... that sort of thing makes me extremely irritated--voting booths with the counters far too high for me, cars where the door sticking-out-tip is at my eye level, car trunks that are out of reach for me to close, car seats and dashboards etc. set so the sightlines prevent me from seeing what's outside that's less than four feet off the ground... IF designers and corporations actually really generally CONSIDERED and took into account that women (and particularly short women...)are PEOPLE, and matter, life would be a lot less annoying as regards things being out of reach for the simple reason that tall bigots (usually male ones) have no sympathy for shorter people and don't regard "convenience of shorter adults to access" as a metric worth any implementation. (Products made for children, sometimes have accommodation for shorter than six foot male height...)

This is a delicate balancing act --- you have to recognise that other people have feelings just like yours *yet* are not just like you

"You have to"??
My experience is that there is no such must condition involved. My sister likes the Muppets, I have never been a big fan of them. She regarded a Muppet University sweatshirt as an appropriate gift for me, because it was something she liked. The fact that I am not a Muppets fan and never have been one, apparently was something that either never registered on her or that was in the not-considered-outside-the-giftgiving-process data processing procedure. It was something she wanted, so she bought it to give as a gift to me.... I have seen a LOT of that, people giving gifts to people on the basis of the gift being something the giver considers highly desirable, and not ever contemplating the concept of giving a gift to a recipient based on what the recipient values, rather than what the giver values....

Yes, I agree that consideration and sympathy ought to be important etc., but the reality, as highlighted thinking about e.g. busybody evangelicals, is that the vast majority of people seem to regard what's good for them and what they find comfort and validation and reward and exultation in, as universally applicable and appropriate. Busybody evangelicals see themselves as working to bring the joy and self-actualization they feel they receive through their religion and religious practices and the presence of their religion in their daily life, to everyone else--and that because it is so encompassing in their lives, that is or shoulf be it if it isn't, true for everyone else in the universe.... and that failing to proselytize and convert, is a disservice to others....

Note, I emphatically do not agree with their attitudes and policies on such things, emphatically! I want the evangelizers to cease and desist and stop and live their lives without the incessant proselytizing activity.

(for one thing, they're not necessarily interested in the same things you are, they don't necessarily have the same knowledge base, and so on).

Few people though seem to actually act that way... one of the joys of talking with Teresa and lots of the other people here, is that she and they have the conscious realization that "different" is not -wrong- and that differences in experience, in perception, in perceptual mode, can make for wide-ranging conversation and joy in seeing different landscapes and the same landscape, from different perspectives....

For a normal person this is trivial, you probably don't even have to think about it.

Huh?!

It took me perhaps a quarter of a century to stop oscillating between the poles of 'nobody but me is really human so I can ignore them completely unless they impinge on my goals' and 'everyone is a person with the same interests as me'.

I think there are very idiosyncratic perspectives, perceptions, and analyses--when there are analyses! -- going on inside people regarding such things. I lean towards most people not doing any actual analysis/examination at a conscious level regarding such things.

Even now, figuring out *which* components of my mindstate can be mapped onto someone else, and how, requires considerable thought and can't be done in realtime.

People get trained, in various amounts by intentional training, by environmental immersion, and by conscious self-consideration and analysis, for stimulus-response....

A friend of mine is brown-skinned, and the only member of a group of friends who went up to Iceland touristing. She did not like the feeling of being stared at by children who had never seen someone with brown skin before.... She was Other to them, and someone/something to stare at, because her skin color was outside of their experience and their knowledge/training of appropriate/proper social behavior....

So it's not a failure to acknowledge female as human: it's a failure to realise that other people are like yourself yet not.

I think that there are semantics differences between what you wrote and what I wrote--that we have a certain congruence of feelings but aren't using the same words the same ways in trying to express ideas....

Another trap we fall into is to pick up techniques that we've seen normals use to

The editorial "we" is form that I tend to find immensely annoying and offputting, which gets in the way of me seeing the content for distaste of the form and the conceit present in it....

ingratiate themselves with each other, and try them ourselves. So far, so normal:

Normal? I am not and never have been normal, I've always been out somewhere on distribution curve tails, be it for height, or minority religion, or intellectual processing, or hand-eye coordination (bad...), etc. "Normal" to me is "not-who-what-I-am." Normal for me is Other, others who don't think the way I think, who don't react the way I react... therefore, the default assumption that mosst people have of dealing with the universe as if they are typical, is not an approach I really have EVER had...

but we do it in a totally tone-deaf way, applying them largely at random at first and trying to derive rules of application from the result.

I do not concur. That may be your mode, I don't see it as the slightest bit universal. Most people seem to want to decide on an approach to doing something FAST and then step through it until either the goal gets achieved or they hit a roadblock, at which time they will reconsider road, goal, and the issue that is blocking them... as opposed to the [I or E] NTP [Myers-Briggs] taking the approach of "I want to poke around and see what the options are and what the likely results are, before I commit to an approach" -- which can infuriate people in the other categories. The NTPs are about 2 percent of the population... [I fall in that area...]

Many of these techniques are apparently severely context-sensitive (which is tricky to figure out on its own: for the first few years it just seemed random what worked and what didn't),

and we

AAARRGGGGHHHHH! on the editorial "we" ... Non, non, non!

often can't determine the correct context to use them, or even what parts of human behaviour constitute the context.

e.g. RMS's odious comments

RMS has NO social graces, none, none, none.

would not have been out of place in some all-male gatherings,

What do you mean by "not [be] out of male in some all-male gatherings" -- do you mean that the comments would have been socially acceptable in absolute terms, or in relative terms?

[I didn;t follow through on the links far enough to see what he had actually said. But my assumption from having known him for going on 38 years is that his general social dysfunction rather than true misogyny applies... but then I'm fairly certain I've told him on more than one occasion words to the effect of "you have your head up your ass" in terms at least that impolite]

although not the sort I'd expect RMS to go to. God knows where he picked them up, but apparently the 'use around females will lead to offense' rule wasn't succesfully derived. I suspect I can only do it because I have a sister, so I have a mental role model based on decades of observations to run things like this past.

Not have the specific antecedent of exactly what idiocy Richard spouted, I'm not tracking the ideas intended to have been conveyed by the paragraph above.

So you see words like 'respect'

No, I don't see.

are somewhat inappropriate here. In any case, respect-as-a-fellow-human-being is a rather abstruse emotion: I can feel it but I don't always know how it's supposed to influence my behaviour.

The vocabulary is lacking, therefore....

By "respect" I mean such things as inclusion of the concept that other people -matter-, that their opinions and feelings and interests and sucy should be taken into account and not dismissed without acknowledgment that they even exist--that there should be thought and contemplation and consideration given and then whatever gets done should be done taking into account effects/outcomes/interests of other people.

There is not "woman's point of view" -- there are points of view of people, and some of the people are women....

I get very ticked off about that for reasons which include the following:
1) I am not anyone's wife, mistress, paramour, sex partner, etc. I have never had an exclusive involvement with ANYONE that was continuing and lasted more than six months. The assumption therefore that "the woman's view" involves being long-term partnered, is one that is COMPLETELY alien to MY experience and life....

2) I am not a mother, I do not and never have had children. The assumption that "the woman's view" is one concerned with children, is completely alien to my experience and life....

3) I am slightly more domestic than a cuckoo bird... the assumption that "the woman's view" is
one focused on life within a household and nuclear family or extended family, is one which is nearly completely outside my experience and life....

4) I am a technical professional. I am a military veteran. I exercised realtime command of three different on-orbit spacecraft, I wrote specifications and requirements, I write test plans and procedures, I perform testing of military equipment... one month of my life I was a salesclerk, six weeks of my life I packed plastic pots in the pink flamingo factory... other than that, I've been in the high tech world as student and professional when employed/in training, since I was 16 (worked summers as a lab technician in high school). This is NOT what the stock image of "woman's life" looks like in the western world.... nonetheless, I AM female, and either I am a monster-mutant, OR, the stock defaulit perception/identification/definition of what "woman's perspective" is, is WRONG!!!

My perception and perspective is very simple--that women are -people-, and different -people- have different environments, different training, different intrinsic physiological/psychological tendencies and attributes... someone with organically poor eyesight actually perceives the world organically differently than someone with 20/10 vision, someone with deficient color vision perceives the world differently, etc. Most of the people who have color deficient vision are male, because for a female to be color deficient requires inheriting color deficient genetics from -both- parents.... so while color blindness generally appears in males more than females, it is NOT limited to males.... the tendency is that males are more likely to be colorblind than females, yes, there is a bias there, but it is not a situation of being limited to only males...

(I tend to use the word 'respect' almost entirely to indicate that someone has done things that make me consider her better than I am in some area, and thus worth learning from.)

The word does not have the same meaning for you as for me...

#138 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:31 AM:

Serge, 133: Lennie Briscoe. Jerry Orbach. I'm too early and undercaffeinated for the requisite sarcastic comment, so make up your own!

#139 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:37 AM:

#133 Serge
Colonial era graveyards not infrequently have family plots that include multiple wives of one husband--out beyond Fitchburg on route 2 there's an old cemetery with one such family plot where the husband buried three wives, and the fourth buried him.... For that matter, my mother's father's mother was thrice-married--widowed, then divorced, then married for a third time.

#140 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:39 AM:

Chris Quinones @ 138... Right after I hit the 'post' button, and before the caffeine had kicked in, I went "It's Lenny Briscoe!", but it was too late. Curses!

#141 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:40 AM:

Nix #951/126: "For a normal person this is trivial, you probably don't even have to think about it."

My word, no, it's not. Why do you think that ethical philosophers and spiritual teachers are hammer at it so much? It's because a lot of people don't think about it, and because even people who do think about it sometimes need reminders. You seem to have gotten a clue: good for you. I wish you wouldn't go running yourself down by assuming that it's a clue that almost everyone had all along. Empathy is hard for most people. ...and then you go & spoil it by arguing over Paula's language.

#142 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:51 AM:

#137 myself

[and a fitting number, the fine structure constant, for that post...]

See, here you're making a basic category error. You're assuming (by implication) that people see other people as 'humans *like them*'.

is a quote from Nix, it wasn't something I authored. I failed to italicize it, however....

#143 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 11:06 AM:

Serge @133,

It's easy to forget just how dangerous pregnancy and childbirth were before modern[1] medicine. The situation in Bonanza gave plot opportunities, and might have made casting easier, but it wasn't a crazy plot device.

In my more cynical moments I wonder if encouraging that forgetfulness is part of the nasty side of anti-abortion politics.

[1] A lot of things started to change in the second half of the Nineteenth Century. Things are still changing.

#144 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 11:11 AM:

Dave Bell @ 143... Oh, I agree that people forget that pregnancy wasn't an easy thing. It's just that it was used as a plot device by a 'modern' show that didn't usually go for realism, but did in this case for plot reasons.

By the way, did you ever see Our Town?

#145 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 11:24 AM:

In my more cynical moments I wonder if encouraging that forgetfulness is part of the nasty side of anti-abortion politics.

Of course it is. And it's no more than dirty sluts deserve if they can't keep their damn legs closed! Virtuous married women sometimes sadly succumb as well, but it says right there in the Bible that painful, dangerous childbirth is all Eve's fault, so that's OK.

Gods, sometimes I hate evangelical types. It's horrible that I can spout this crap, and I've never even spent much time around the sources.

#146 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 11:43 AM:

David #135 / Abi #126:

Yeah, I find a couple things that help with the irritating sensory overload phenomenon are:

a. Wearing noise-cancelling headphones. (My old pair has fallen apart, and my new sport headphones are nicely cheap and sweatproof for the gym, but not nearly as nice for turning off the outside world.)

b. Wearing sunglasses indoors.

c. Having some thread of concentration going on in my head, which kind of overrides the advertisers' attempt at a mental buffer overrun attack.

The place this bugs me the most is at the gym, where we have eighteen gazillion endlessly-flickering screens. Why in God's name can't we have one row of treadmills and elliptical trainers *not* facing the idiot boxes? (I guess I could ask; normally, I use the gym rather late in the day, so I just turn off the TV in front of me if nobody seems to be watching it.) I am usually listening to something interesting on the iPod during gym time, either something technical in English or news in Spanish, and I'd like to avoid spending 20% of my brain power on resisting the advertisers and their visual flicker-spam[1].

The combination of sunglasses and iPod with noise cancelling headphones is a huge win for me in an airplane. I can't stand those blindfold things, which leave me expecting to be kneecapped by a drink cart everytime I hear a rattle in front of me. (Also, somehow, these always seem vaguely like I'm in some kind of airline bondage scene, which might fit with the attitude of some of the flight attendants, but isn't exactly what I'm looking for.) But sunglasses let me close out enough of the world that I can rest, while still being able to open my eyes from time to time.

[1] At some point in the last few years, all intrusive advertising has fallen into the category, in my mind, of spam. Whether it's junk mail spam, e-mail spam, telephone spam, flickering intrusive loud screens spam, flyers on my car spam, it's all basically the same beast, and destroying it is a service to mankind. If all the effort used on these things were instead expended digging ditches and then filling them back up, mankind would be richer.

#147 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 11:55 AM:

Randolph #141: You're griping about Nix "arguing over" Paula's language?

Paula #137: Yeah yeah, you've been plagued all your life by narcissists and fools. That's not a reason to dump your collected frustrations onto someone who's actually trying to be a better person!

Nix's "we" (which I think he picked up from my comments) refers to our respective experience and learning of spectrum folks, with himself as his natural "type specimen". It's not some sneaky attempt to rope you into his group. If you feel it is, it's sufficient to say something like "who's 'we', kemo sabe?"

By "respect" I mean such things as inclusion of the concept that other people -matter-, that their opinions and feelings and interests and such should be taken into account ...

Which is what Nix and I are trying to do -- our difficulty is figuring out what other people want (in time to do anything about it). And this isn't some abstruse idea, unknown to all but an oppressed elite, it's a basic foundation of both liberalism and humanism. I picked up this goal with mother's milk, as did a lot of other people here.

Yes, Net society has a lot of trouble defending respectful community from the abusive sorts -- but that's as much a structural problem as anything else. In real life, there's a surprising number of such groups scattered around, maintaining themselves by the tried-and-true methods of socializing newcomers -- and ostracizing those who refuse socialization. That doesn't mean all such groups are "the same tribe" -- they haven't been socialized to each other. That applies even to people or groups who think "their tribe is humanity" -- to swipe from ML's sidebar, "just because you're on their side doesn't mean they're on your side".

So, an SF con is not one big loving community, any more than a Neo-Pagan festival, or a Rainbow Gathering. That's because these occasions are not single communities, they're barely-regulated assemblies of allied tribes. The same applies to most large online communities, and admittance to those is even less constrained, with ostracism correspondingly less effective. If you expect any such supra-tribal groupings to be "safe space", you're doomed to (more) frustration.

The word does not have the same meaning for you as for me...

Which was his point in the first place!

RMS has NO social graces, none, none, none.

Paula, I've never met you in person... but in context of your repeated rants here, I have to wonder about pots and kettles. You often come across as someone who's been hurt so often that now you just lash out randomly, without attempting specific responses -- much less trying to seek rapport with someone who hasn't shared your own experiences.

#148 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 11:57 AM:

Randolph #141: After #137, you're griping about Nix "arguing over" Paula's language?

Paula #137: Yeah yeah, you've been plagued all your life by narcissists and fools. That's not a reason to dump your collected frustrations onto someone who's actually trying to be a better person!

Nix's "we" (which I think he picked up from my comments) refers to our respective experience and learning of spectrum folks, with himself as his natural "type specimen". It's not some sneaky attempt to rope you into his group. If you feel it is, it's sufficient to say something like "who's 'we', kemo sabe?"

By "respect" I mean such things as inclusion of the concept that other people -matter-, that their opinions and feelings and interests and such should be taken into account ...

Which is what Nix and I are trying to do -- our difficulty is figuring out what other people want (in time to do anything about it). And this isn't some abstruse idea, unknown to all but an oppressed elite, it's a basic foundation of both liberalism and humanism. I picked up this goal with mother's milk, as did a lot of other people here.

Yes, Net society has a lot of trouble defending respectful community from the abusive sorts -- but that's as much a structural problem as anything else. In real life, there's a surprising number of such groups scattered around, maintaining themselves by the tried-and-true methods of socializing newcomers -- and ostracizing those who refuse socialization. That doesn't mean all such groups are "the same tribe" -- they haven't been socialized to each other. That applies even to people or groups who think "their tribe is humanity" -- to swipe from ML's sidebar, "just because you're on their side doesn't mean they're on your side".

So, an SF con is not one big loving community, any more than a Neo-Pagan festival, or a Rainbow Gathering. That's because these occasions are not single communities, they're barely-regulated assemblies of allied tribes. The same applies to most large online communities, and admittance to those is even less constrained, with ostracism correspondingly less effective. If you expect any such supra-tribal groupings to be "safe space", you're doomed to (more) frustration.

The word does not have the same meaning for you as for me...

Which was his point in the first place!

RMS has NO social graces, none, none, none.

Paula, I've never met you in person... but in context of your repeated rants here, I have to wonder about pots and kettles. You often come across as someone who's been hurt so often that now you just lash out randomly, without attempting specific responses -- much less trying to seek rapport with someone who hasn't shared all of your own experiences.

#149 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 12:04 PM:

And... I just caught the double-posting bug in action!

I hit "Post", my browser went to the hourglass... and then back to normal cursor, while remaining at the preview page. My comment did not appear at the bottom, but when I tried to refresh, Firefox warned me "To display this page, Firefox must send information that will repeat any action (such as a search or order confirmation) that was performed earlier." Opening the thread in a new tab revealed the double post.

#150 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 12:06 PM:

Carrie #145:

Why would the pre-modern-medicine rate of death in childbirth be something anti-brtn people would want to hide? How could that possibly be relevant to anything? The current rate of death in childbirth, that's relevant. But the rate before modern medicine? Huh? Can you imagine a single person who'd have their decision changed by such information? You might as well accuse the Army of suppressing knowledge of how many soldiers crapped themselves to death or died of relatively minor wounds becoming infected, before modern medicine. This is relevant how?

#151 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 12:11 PM:

Addendum: I think I missed the hourglass the first time, which is why I hit Post a second time. In contrast, #149 went right back to the thread page, as it's supposed to.

#152 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 12:19 PM:

Paula:
David, Nix and I (among others) are talking about a subset of people who have Asperger's Syndrome or other autistic spectrum disorders. As was explicitly stated, repeatedly. That's what their "we" refers to; it's a clearly defined group rather than a default assumption.

Although the majority of Aspies (etc) are male, this is not a group that is built around a "default=male" character. Most of the guys in it have trouble seeing other guys as people like them, too. Just this once, it's not about gender. It's not about having respect, it's about knowing how to convey that.

Really, your assumption that everyone has the same neural toolkit to work with is as insulting as the assumption that everyone is six feet tall, male, and white. You're doing exactly the same thing you're arguing against.

Could you please leave the prepackaged six-foot male rant at the door and listen to what is being discussed?

#153 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 12:25 PM:

Why would the pre-modern-medicine rate of death in childbirth be something anti-brtn people would want to hide?

Because it gives lie to the idea that pregnancy and childbirth aren't That Big A Deal, and you can just carry the baby to term and give it up for adoption. It's not as if there used to be a saying about "one baby, one tooth"* or anything. Pregnancy is Natural! It's Good! It can't be dangerous...

Can you imagine a single person who'd have their decision changed by such information?

No, but I can say that about the vast majority of the anti-choice arguments. :)

* I.e., each pregnancy causes the loss of at least one tooth due to nutrients being diverted to the kid.

#154 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 12:29 PM:

Abi @152: CS Friedman's novel This Alien Shore is incredibly relevant to this whole discussion. Without introducing spoilers, there's an entire planet in the book's multiplanet human population that is entirely non-neurotypical (by our current standards) ... in at least 50 separate ways. And yet the settlers managed to figure out a way to jigger their culture to make it work, which is awesome to watch in action.

#155 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 12:29 PM:

With reference to the Sotomayer [spelling] hearings and that Repuke disrespecter of self-determination....

I am not chattel
My body is not yours.
I am not chattel
I'm not one of your whores,
I am not chattel
I'm not your womb for sperm
I am not chattel
Though you treat me like a worm.

I am not chattel,
Though you deny my rights,
I am not chattel,
Though you want me out of sight
I am not chattel
I will not bear your child,
You rape me and you beat me,
Then you claim that I'm defiled.

I am not chattel
Though you lock me in a house,
I am not chattel
I'm no submissive spouse
I am not chattel
I need a life my own
I am not chattel
I refuse your stripped-down bone!

I am not chattel
I am not your "little girl."
I am not chattel
Not a toy for you to twirl,
I am not chattel
To clean up what you mess,
I am not a household slave,
Or appliance in a dress.

I am not chattel
I do not exist to buy,
I am not chattel,
Despite each media lie,
I am not chattel
I've a mind and thoughts my own,
I am not chattel
Why won't you leave me alone.

I am not chattel,
It's my body and my life,
I am not chattel,
I won't willingly be your wife
I am not chattel
For you to buy and sell,
I am not chattel
And I hope you burn in Hell.


#156 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 12:43 PM:

Dave #143: It's easy to forget just how dangerous pregnancy and childbirth were before modern[1] medicine.

It's also easy to forget just how dangerous drinking a glass of water or getting a cut on your hand was before modern medicine.

#157 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 12:48 PM:

IIRC, pregnancy/childbirth is still high on the cause-of-death lists for the appropriate age range.

#158 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 01:13 PM:

abi: Try searching for information on "Sensory Processing Disorder". That is not an official diagnosis or syndrome, it's a descriptive term, but I think what you wrote is a fairly precise description of it. My wife sees it a lot in the children she treats, and may have some degree of it herself; your description of supermarkets as maddeningly shouting for attention was very familiar.

#159 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 01:16 PM:

abi 152: prepackaged six-foot male rant

I'm sure the scope ambiguity here is unintentional, but given how long Paula's favorite rant was this time, it's* beyond price.
___
*The scope ambiguity, NOT the rant. Oy veh.

#160 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 01:21 PM:

Actually there are a couple of scope ambiguities there (anyone know where I can get prepackaged six-foot males?) but only one that I prize above rubies.

#161 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 01:25 PM:

This six-foot tall (plus some change (which is remarkably close to plus ça change, which I never realized before...must think of a pun to use that...) non-neuro-normal white male just wants to second Elliott's reccy for This Alien Shore. One of my all-time favorites.

#162 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 01:25 PM:

#148 David & #152 abi ;

My point about Richard M. Stallman is that in my experience he's not a misogynist, that what comes out looking like misogyny, is a consequence of a deeper and different social dysfunction issue.

I don't see all people as perceiving and sensing and analyzing etc. the same. My points there include that apparently though the majority of the population has the mindset that assumes that everyone else thinks the same way and reacts the same way and wants the same things and is made joyful, the same ways as they are. That is far from saying that everyone has that outlook... but it has in my experience seemed to be the majority outlook.

As regards the uniform density spherical purple stereotypical individual (JOKE!!! about uniform density spherical purple... see the first issue of New York Review of Science Fiction)... my point there is that for US culture the default for "person" is a six foot white male, and to go even further, one who watches sports, drinks beer, voted twice (if a voter) for that person who was in the White House 2001 - 2008, etc.

Image/model and reality are not the same thing. It's one of the marks of a good scientist to remember that--there is much to be learned about reality working with models, and much to be learned about model-making from reality... but there are also the considerations where the model "breaks down"/doesn't apply/is inadequate/etc.

Regarding male/female--I keep attempting to communicate that I regard gender as one of a myriad of characteristics in individuals. Someone's gender is not highly correlated to intrinsic ability for cognition, for making puns, for doing math, for writing, etc. It does correlate to reproductive roles of male impregnator, female impregnated gestating and later lactating--but regarding ability to do math, write poetry, write music, perform music, etc., while there may be biases as regards measuring achievement, the abilities are spread across gender boundaries, or rather, independent of them. As for measurements, there are genetic components, environmental components, training, encouragement/discouragement, access granted/not granted, interest level....

Regarding autism/Asperger's and such... each post ought to stand on its own if using "we" and define who are meant by "we" --remembering from post to post in a mult-conversation multiple day etc. forum, isn't something that I at least can do. I don't remember across days and forum changes that sort of thing--I have a hard enough time remembering where I put keys or reading glasses 30 seconds ago, even when I KNOW that there in my hand (and sometimes turn out to still be there....)

Regarding Stallman, I think at least some of it is that social interactions are an Area X of brain collection of operations and cognition and processing, and his attention/training/interest/abilities are more Area Y activities....

One of the program items at Readercon had a psychologist talking about the studies she'd done involving attitudes towards and perceptions of different fiction genres, and psychological profiles of who prefers what types of reading--with the caveat that the sample was BU sophomores taking psychology classes.

I did take notes, but when/if I find them, is another issue...

#163 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 01:42 PM:

re 156: Not to mention how dangerous an abortion was.

#164 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 01:43 PM:

David Harmon, #137: "You're griping about Nix 'arguing over' Paula's language?"

Most women's thinking gets so much unwarranted criticism that I assume that women who object to such criticism are probably right. If Nix is going to make his or her case, Nix is going to have to get the facts straight.

#165 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 01:46 PM:

David Harmon, #137: "You're griping about Nix 'arguing over' Paula's language?"

Most women's thinking gets so much unwarranted criticism that I assume that women who object to such criticism are probably right in their objects, and right to object.

#166 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 01:47 PM:

Note to self... No "Bonanza" jokes. Look into "Gunsmoke" as source for material. Stay away from "High Chaparral".

#167 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 01:49 PM:

Ooops! Sorry.

#168 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 02:05 PM:

When we lived in Nebraska, we'd often go picnic at Spring Ranch, a stop on the Pony Express line. About all that remained of the town was the cemetery. We made rubbings of many of the old stones, three of which were Elizabeth Taylor, James Taylor, and Tom Jones. The first two were sibs, the second a cohort, and the three of them met a sudden, sharp end being tossed off a little bridge with ropes around their necks after some missing horses showed up on their back forty.

The other notable thing was the heartbreaking clusters of children's graves. One family lost four children in the space of eleven days to what must have been scarlet fever or diphtheria, etc. That changed when vaccines came along.

One man, several wives, up to a dozen or more children was common.

#169 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 02:20 PM:

Slightly different version

Also, several of us had a ghostly experience just after dusk on that cemetery road. An insubstantial whitish shape went diagonally across the road and disappeared at the top of the trees.

Charlie calmed us down and showed us what we'd seen by backing up and re-driving that stretch. The rainwater in the ruts in the road was reflecting the headlights as we went around a curve.

It wasn't hard to extrapolate a carriage lamp and a horse bolting.

There was a James Taylor with the same death date buried by the other two.

#170 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 02:45 PM:

Last night coming home from the NESFA Clubhouse I got headed home the long way due to road closure for night I-93 rework, and heard abut an hour of Supreme Court nominee confirmation hearings. I started yelling at the words of certain senators.... The fact that someone being Latina might actually mean there is a different perspective and sensitivities and life experience, and perhaps that it could be relevant to being a judge and bringing that experience to the bench, seems to be something that there is a flat out denial of.

The level of hypocrisy is enormous, of those who propelled Roberts and Alito and before them Scalia and Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, on the basis of them being for commercial interests and individual self-determination, and for imposition of religions they favor and against freedom of religion for those whose religions or atheism might have views regarding e.g. same gender marriage, reproductive medicine, etc. which are not congruent to the values of Roberts and Alito and Scalia and Thomas.

All those notions of "judicial activism" when it's Roberts and Scalia and Thomas and Alito who are seeking any and every opening to get abortion banned in the USA and anyone involved in providing abortions for any reason whatsoever charged with first degree murder... the hypocrisy and bias is appalling and pernicious.

The denial that experiential differences can -matter-, or -should- matter, appalls me. The nominee has lived and seen segments of American life that are opaque, or even not acknowledged to exist, much less have any legitimacy, by the Roberts & cohort. The male members of the Supreme Court have never been personally in the situation of the prospect of being pregnant, of toxemic pregnancy, of impregnation during rape, of amniocentesis showing that instead of a healthy growing fetus there is a non-viable mal-formed mass that is technically "alive" but for which even the most sophisticated medical technology at the most expense available in the world, can transform into a healthy fetus to become a healthy baby. Roberts and Scalia and Alito and Thomas, however, don[t seem to feel the slightest hesitation on imposing their religious tenets on other people, regardless of what the religions of those affected say--they;re not applying The Secular Law, they're not applying the wellbeing of the families, they're applying third party sectarian credo they subscribe to, and again, imposing it regardless of whether those imposed on subscribe to those sectarian specific rules or not.

And then the generally white male Christian Republican senators mouth off about "judicial activism" and how one should look to Law not life experience and knowledge and cognize, to judge... I have few polite words come easily to mind, to describe my feelings about the situation.

It seems to be a case of "MY values and experience are the only acceptable values and experience which apply and have worth."

#171 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 03:33 PM:

abi@126, yes, large supermarkets are a vision of Hell. I think it's the combination of high crowding, fluorescent lighting, and long monocoloured aisles with massive visual detail on the 'walls' (shelves).

Unfortunately I can't use your nifty "avoid wearing glasses" trick because if I take my glasses off I can barely tell that other people have heads, let alone that they're, say, looking at me. (-9.0, -9.5, astigmatic). albatross@146's suggestion of noise-cancelling headphones is one I agree with strongly: stick the _Art of Fugue_ on there and the world goes away. :)

David@135, object separation loss sounds far more peculiar than anything I've been hit with. Of course amblyopia doesn't help here, and pretty much means I never get depth perception anyway (think 'permanent uncorrectable double vision').

Paula@137, you're misreading essentially everything I said in an apparent attempt to turn it into a personal attack on you. It isn't. David@#147 has it right, as ever: I was using 'we' as a reference to 'people on the autistic spectrum'. So therefore it's quite unsurprising that you consider that most of my comments don't apply to you. That was the point of them: I was trying to explicate differences, not point out similarities.

(Your claim that RMS has 'no social graces' particularly shows up the immense amount of structured knowledge that this requires. Of course he has some social graces. He doesn't eat people without cooking them first and he knows enough to get dressed before going out of the house. What he doesn't have is the advanced social modelling skills typical of normal humans. You might consider this pedantry but it's actually significant: without hardwired social-animal neural assistance *you would be like that too*. You could consider high-functioning autistics to be a real-world experiment to determine what humans would be like if they had to figure out all social matters via rational thought. It's humbling how bad we are at it. Hardwired neurological machinery is *much much* more efficient than conscious thought...)

Randolph@#141, arguing over Paula's language? Not intentionally. I didn't think I was arguing at all, more agreeing and saying 'hey, this is how it is for me, look, weird alien in your midst'.

My understanding is that *reasoning about empathy* is hard for most people. Actually having it seems to be largely automatic (at least within your ingroup: extending that ingroup until it encompasses everyone seems to be what some people don't bother with).

abi@#152, precisely. If anything my problem is the opposite of the typical six-foot-male problem: with an assertive sister and mother who are dramatically smarter and more competent than myself, I have a tendency to assume that all women are similarly smarter and more competent than all men (even though I know this is as fallacious as the other assumption). Combine this with shyness and I must have been thirty before I could exchange two words with a member of the opposite sex without stammering into incomprehensibility. So, no, if anything I'm a 'reformed female chauvinist pig' despite being male.

#172 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 03:37 PM:

Paula #162: my point there is that for US culture the default for "person" is a six foot white male [yada yada]...

And I'm calling bullshit. Yeah, there are big stretches of insular, xenophobic whitebread around, but that's not all there is to America, not by a long shot. Let alone to the crowd you're inflicting these rants on. But to see that, you'll need to get over your own convictions about how bad things are.

Image/model and reality are not the same thing.

Indeed -- and you too need to remember that, when you want to dismiss "US culture" as monolithically intolerant, misogynist, and height-ist, much less Republican.

My point about Richard M. Stallman is that in my experience he's not a misogynist, that what comes out looking like misogyny, is a consequence of a deeper and different social dysfunction issue.

And what I and others have said repeatedly, is that RMS is not some unique flower that can only be taken as he is. Many others share similar disabilities, including myself, and I'm not giving him that pass! I've suffered enough from foot-in-mouth disease, but I learned how to apologize, and figure out later what I did wrong! If RMS can't manage that, he needs to let others do the talking for him.

I regard gender as one of a myriad of characteristics...

Too bad nobody but you is arguing about that.

each post ought to stand on its own if using "we" and define who are meant by "we"

And now you're just thrashing. We have conversations here, not publications.

And re: #170: The Rethuglicans are not about "principled" racism... the hypocrisy is all there is. They are using whatever tactics they think will "win", and if those tactics distract you from their strategies, then they've successfully taken you out of the long-term fight. And the flipside is this: The very reason why they're getting ever shriller, every crazier, ever more vicious... is because they're losing. We just need to keep up the pressure, and not let them divide us among ourselves.

#173 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 03:53 PM:

Nix #171: I sometimes suspect that HFAs might represent a throwback to the social capabilities of, say, Homo erectus, but still burdened with the intellectual machinery of sapiens. (Or some of it -- there are a lot of low-IQ autistics!) As you note, there are good reasons why most humans have that social machinery operating well below conscious level.

#174 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 03:56 PM:

Paula @162:
Regarding autism/Asperger's and such... each post ought to stand on its own if using "we" and define who are meant by "we" --remembering from post to post in a mult-conversation multiple day etc. forum, isn't something that I at least can do. I don't remember across days and forum changes that sort of thing

If you're going to put the time in to write that long a comment, and expect your partners in the conversation to put the time in to read it, you owe us the respect to spend enough time to reread the antecedents—which the writers cared about as much as you care about what you're writing—before answering.

As you said of others at 170:
It seems to be a case of "MY values and experience are the only acceptable values and experience which apply and have worth."

Listen, please, as well as speak.

#175 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 04:17 PM:

#171 Nix

Er, few people have ever accused me of social eptitude etc., with the belief that they were being other than sarcastic and/or deprecatory at the time.... I almost made a comment about "RMS has worse social skills than I have, but that's not saying much..." but refrained from doing so. Apparently I should have gone with my instincts there and included the comment....

RMS was by Harvard-MIT standards immensely socially inept. Given the near-legendary status that MIT at least at the time occupied regarding lack of social graces

[ "MIT's mascot is the beaver. The beaver is the engineer of the animal world. The MIT person is the animal of the engineering world. The beaver is an engineers which does its best work at night. The beaver is the only animal which will chew its balls off to get out of a trap." "Godiva was a lady who through Coventry did ride/To show the noble villagers her fair and pure white hide, The most observant man of all/ An engineer of course/ Was the only one who noticed that Godiva rode a horse! //Venus was a statue made entirely of stone/Without a stitch of clothing she was naked as a bone/On seeing that she wore no clothes/ An Engineer discoursed/What the goddamned thing is just concrete/And should be reinforced!"...]

that's saying something.... And I think that you're being too generous, actually.

======
Regarding my own wiring.... as a small child I failed to comprehend was merit there was to
a) The Itsy Bitsy Spider song... Why were people teaching this stupid song about this stupid spider cimbing up a waterspout, getting washed down the spout, and then trying to go back up thes spout again?! What was the point, it didn't work and wasn't going to work, why not do something ELSE that might accomplish something instead? I just didn't see anything worthwhile there, and failed then, and now, to comprehend what utility or value is involved!
b) "There was an woman who swallowed a fly, I don't know why she swallowed the fly, perhaps she'll die..." really made no sense to me. I interpreted the song backwards in time and events apparently that everyone -else- did "she swallowed the X to catch the Y" to me denoted that she swallowed X BEFORE Y, rather than Y being in her mouth or throat and then she swallowed X to deal with the Y in her throat... plus, the whole thing was so stupid (I've never had any taste/appreciation for slapstick comedy)--why would someone go and swallow something to deal with something that was inside them being an annoyance? If there's something stuck in one's throat, why do anything to compound the problem? (Who, me, literal? Guilty....)

=====

Regarding the comment to abi from #152--this reminds me of a dog raised with cats, which regards cats at sociable creatures which it gets along with, the dog sees a stranger cat, and winds up quite unpleasantly surprised to be treated inimicably.

====
Regarding stimuation sources--I dislike having images or patterns for the backgroun on computer screen, I find them enormously distracting and annoying--despite the fact that I typically have anywhere up to 60 windows open at the same time, which is mimcry of a physical messy desk where the size and shape and locaton of paper piles has functional meaning to me....

Different people have different triggers, and I suspect that some amount of that is hardwired from conception, as opposed to trained/learned/inculcated.

#176 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 04:20 PM:

Carrie:

Er, okay, but what relevance would that have to the modern brtn debate? The right to a brtn using modern medical technology is necessary/unnecessary because before modern medical technology, pregnancy was quite dangerous? I don't see why this makes any sense. As well talk about how the modern right to arm bears relates to the fraction of soldiers in wartime who used to crap themselves to death before modern medicine became available.

#177 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 04:23 PM:

#174 abi

I DID read them. I didn't remember the details!
And there are reasons why I tend to quote--so that the stimulus is there in proximity to the response elicited, for reference, including for -me- to refer to. Memory idiosyncracies are one of the reasons I keep more windows open on computer screens that most people consider completely unreasoanble (I don't know if I've ever reach 100 windows open.. I regularly get to more than 60 open, though)

#178 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 04:40 PM:

Are there subscribers to Realms of Fantasy around? The magazine had gone on hiatus while its new owners were preparing their first issue, which was supposed to come out on June 30. It hasn't shown up in my mailbox yet. As far as I know, they were going to honor existing subs. Well, I'll just go to a local bookstore and see if they carry it.

#179 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 04:46 PM:

#178 Serge

My suggestion is to wait a bit longer for it in the mail. Warren Lapine was at Readercon and had copies of the magazine, which he was handing out.

#180 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 04:55 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 179... I should indeed have waited a bit longer. Giess what just showed up in my mailbox. Yay!

#181 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 05:00 PM:

Unfortunately it seems that my theme for this week is:

"Provide meaningful [error | success] messages"[0]

Amusingly enough (to me, at least) this also seems to be somewhat apropos to the entire conversation around Aspergers and social graces.

[0] So I can figure out why, exactly, you're doing something outrageously odd...

#182 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 05:16 PM:

In re Paula @162 (who said Regarding male/female--I keep attempting to communicate that I regard gender as one of a myriad of characteristics in individuals. Someone's gender is not highly correlated to intrinsic ability for cognition, for making puns, for doing math, for writing, etc. It does correlate to reproductive roles of male impregnator, female impregnated gestating and later lactating--but regarding ability to do math, write poetry, write music, perform music, etc., while there may be biases as regards measuring achievement, the abilities are spread across gender boundaries, or rather, independent of them.) ...

I don't want to hijack the thread*, and I should state up front I agree with the entire gist and thrust of her point, but it's important -- well, *I* think it is, though I'm admittedly biased -- to make a distinction not only between physiological markers (henceforth 'sex') and mental identities (henceforth 'gender'), but also between either of those and any of the behaviors/inclinations/hobbies that are stereotypically mapped solely onto one of the sexes/genders by any given culture.

Of course, the reason this is personally important to me is that I find myself with a body from column A, but an outlook and identity from column B ... and a lot of my default communication styles, preferred body language, clothing preferences, etc, also 'tend male' by the current standards of our modern American culture. This does relate back to the social-interaction-by-the-non-neurotypical topic, slightly, in that people who 'read' me as female are sometimes taken aback or offended (sometimes not even knowing why) by my outlook and conversational style, because I don't 'act right' by their subconscious assumptions.

That said, I've successfully gestated a child, and am currently breastfeeding her with the unwanted fleshbags I've not yet taken surgical steps to remove.

Not everyone has in their pants what you assume they have in their pants just from looking at them ... and not even all physically-female people can breed (nor physically-male inseminate, depending).

---
* Is it possible to hijack an open thread? Merely a rhetorical ponderment. :->

#183 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 05:17 PM:

albatross, today a first-trimester brtn is MUCH safer than a nine-month pregnancy ending in childbirth. If you're only arguing that the history of their relative safety is irrelevant to the modern debate, I agree.

#184 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 05:43 PM:

I saw John Leguizamo today. He was walking just behind and to the side of me as we crossed the street, and I did a double-take that was fast enough for him to notice and make eye contact with me.

Ironically, moments before I had just seen the actor from the "I'm calling in tired" beer commercial on the subway.

Conclusion: Just For Laughs Toronto is good for celebrity sightings, both major and minor.

#185 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 05:49 PM:

Paula @177:
I DID read them. I didn't remember the details!

Asperger's wasn't a detail. It was the subject of the conversation among David, Nix and me.

If you can't remember what the conversation is about, take notes. (I can't remember numbers. I use a text editor to do it for me.) Do whatever you do in the rest of your life to hold a coherent correspondence. You're an intelligent and successful woman; I am confident you can follow the thread of a conversation if it matters to you.

That last bit is the kicker for me. Maybe you didn't mean to be disrespectful, but that's what came across. Your comment @137, and your subsequent reactions, read like you didn't care who we were, or what we were talking about. You just wanted to have your usual say.

#186 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 06:37 PM:

This is not going to turn into an *b*rt**n thread.

#187 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 06:45 PM:

Curse you, Pierre Berton! You cause discord everywhere you go!

#188 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 06:49 PM:

I had a little reality check yesterday morning:

I was in the ICU waiting room (the friend I mentioned several open threads ago is STILL in the hospital, still getting sent back and forth from ICU to a regular room as complications develop/improve) along with a bunch of other people waiting to get in to see someone. The tv had on a morning talk show, and the host happened to mention Twitter in passing. The following dialogue ensued among two of the people watching the program:

FIRST PERSON: "What's Twitter?"

SECOND PERSON: "I don't know."

My reaction was about equally shared between gobsmackitude that the two had managed to miss all the hype, and a sense of relief that there were still people in the world untainted by The Evil That Is Twitter.

#189 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 06:50 PM:

xeger #181: "Provide meaningful [error | success] messages"

Would that be for your programs, your co-workers, or yourself?

#190 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 06:55 PM:

David Harmon @ 189 ..
Would that be for your programs, your co-workers, or yourself?

If you'll add in "other peoples programs", I'll pick (e) All of the above.

Some of the above are much easier to resolve than others.

#191 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 07:11 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 182: people who 'read' me as female are sometimes taken aback or offended (sometimes not even knowing why) by my outlook and conversational style, because I don't 'act right' by their subconscious assumptions.

I dunno. We've known each other for... how long? Eight years? More? I've never noticed anything 'not right' about how you 'act'. When I first heard that you were planning to transition, I was quite startled, because most of the other people I've known who've transitioned have been pretty off-kilter, and you weren't.

Maybe I just don't tend to notice behaviour that's as subtly 'not right' as yours. That we've seen each other only at conventions may also make a difference in my failure to notice.

#192 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 07:18 PM:

Joel @191: Fen in general (a) don't notice offness in the same way as mundanes do, and (b) habitually allow leeway to people who act weird even by fannish standards.

Also, by the time you met me, I'd learned to fake it pretty well -- plus, boy-geeking body language and presentation isn't very different than girl-geeking, really.

It was mostly in mundane contexts that I had problems (and mostly among women; most guys are fine with me as long as they're not actively viewing me as a Sexual Prospect), and over time I did gradually learn to 'hide'.

It's only in the past year or so that I've been learning how to UN-hide on purpose, instead of reflexively diving into 'safer' options, and where all my genuine responses have gotten squashed to by decades of overcompensation.

Also, transgender issues are a spectrum (like everything else is! Humans vary, it's *awesome*), and I'm definitely towards a less-severe or more-central position than many other transfolks I know. My gender dysphoria isn't utterly crippling, and even 'after' I probably won't come off as a Big Butch Manly Guy: more like a slightly swishy, friendly, emotionally-accessible fannish dude of the sort one runs into at cons all the time.

Of course, since I primarily choose to sleep with men, it will probably be unsurprising to mundanes if I come off as a bit swishy now and then. :->

#193 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 07:20 PM:

#188 Bruce: FIRST PERSON: "What's Twitter?"

I confess that I'm not exactly sure myself.

I know that it involves text. I know that there's a character limit. I presume that it involves cell phones?

Beyond that, I have not a clue what it is, what it looks like, or if you have to buy any special equipment or pay some kind of fee.

#194 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 07:37 PM:

Gaah, another Friday hike canceled, this time due to two hospitalizations. One's got a scheduled cataract operation. The other stuck a trowel into what he thought was a sinkhole... and discovered it was a ground nest of yellowjackets. (Down here, they have ground nests.) He'll be fine in a few more days, but he assures me it was No Fun At All. (The third guy can't drive that far, and I can't drive at all.)

I really should get in touch with the local hiking club (which hikes on Saturdays). I've got the flyer around someplace.... On the other hand, next Friday I'll hopefully get to meet the Aspie grandson (of the guy who got stung). He's already indirectly provided an endorsement for a local martial-arts place.

And in the meantime, I'm also looking into speech therapy....

#195 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 07:47 PM:

Jim @193, Twitter is to blogging as SMS is to email. Or, putting it another way, Twitter is blogging for cellphones.

There's no fee, and no ads. (No, I don't know what their business model is.) Or rather, no banner ads; there are companies that use the Twitter service itself for advertising and marketing.

You can use a web browser to read and post to Twitter, or you can use dedicated apps for your computer, or a smartphone, or even a not-so-smartphone that has SMS capability.

#196 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 07:54 PM:

Ok, two stories of amusement. Both from "Lowering the Bar"

British manufacturers offer pointless anti-stab knives

They are even uglier than I expected.

This one has to be read to be, well it's pretty amazing.

Lawyer charged with billing during sex

As I think I have mentioned before, surprisingly few jurisdictions actually have rules making it unethical for an attorney to have sex with his or her client. It is never a good idea (okay, almost never), but often is not technically a violation of ethical rules.

Billing a client for work not actually done, however, is unethical, and combining these activities by billing for time spent actually having sex with the client is definitely frowned upon. There is no question about that.

The Times Online reported last month that a woman in London had sued her barrister for allegedly billing her for time during which she had reason to know he was not giving her legal advice. Ms. Anal Sheikh, about whose name I have nothing at all to say, except that this report did not come out on April 1, and also that it seems more likely to be the name of a movie about the incident than the name of a plaintiff, sued her barrister on the grounds that he had billed her inappropriately. She had hired Marc Beaumont under an arrangement that was based on a fixed fee of 120,000 pounds, but also provided for additional hourly billing in the event of "unforeseen and urgent work." I think she concedes that he did engage in unforeseen and urgent work, but presumably argues that it has to be law-related to qualify for additional payment...

But if this is going to set a precedent for applying ethical rules to this kind of conduct, there is more that British men may need to be worried about. Rule 701 requires a barrister to act "diligently and with reasonable competence," and to refuse "any task which (i) he knows or ought to know he is not competent to handle; (ii) he does not have adequate time and opportunity to prepare for or perform; or (iii) he cannot discharge within the time requested or otherwise within a reasonable time . . . ." That just seems like too much pressure.


#197 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 07:58 PM:

Also, you can follow Twitter users through their RSS feeds. I don't think you need to have a Twitter account to do this. I subscribe to the feed for AmazonMP3, which advertises special deal in the Amazon music download store. About once a month there's some album I'm interested in selling for a dollar or two, and it only takes a second to glance at the post while checking my RSS feeds (which I generally do every day).

#198 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 08:07 PM:

Terry@ 196: I cannot tell you how much I wish I had saved the link to the story (with which I simultaneously horrified and convulsed a dear friend) about the legal case which established in Canadian law that it is not a defense against a charge of sexual assault that you were at the time of the offense under the impression that the victim was deceased.

I mean, I suppose I am glad to have this potential loophole dealt with, but who the Hell finds a woman in a snowbank outside a bar and a) thinks "damn, that's convenient!", and b) seriously tries that as a defence??

#199 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 08:09 PM:

I remember that. It was disgusting. Not so much the act (people are sick, and twisted, and yes there are kinks that are not ok) but that a lawyer actually tried to make that work.

It happened, IIRC while I was visiting.

#200 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 08:25 PM:

Actually Jim. Can I call you Jim? I thought you knew, since its biggest application is in those areas where cellphone coverage is spotty. Twitter is an implementation of TCP/IP as described by the Internet standard described in RFC1149. The messages have to be short due to the limited packet size of the transmission media. One of the challenges of Twitter is the high latency due to transmission turnaround of the router software.

#201 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 08:27 PM:

Well, it's useful for defeating the "women who get raped must have been asking for it somehow" BS. Or it would be, except for the part where anymore I just can't have that argument so if I'm around it basically gets as far as "Well, you know, I don't mean to be politically correct but if you ask me, some women just kind of -" and then all of a sudden the whole debate turns into "Yargh! Ack! Crazy woman attacking me with a cricket bat, help help help ..." *horrible crunchy yet somehow wet thwacking noises* "Aaaaaaaargh!"

#202 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 08:33 PM:

I'm not a big Twitter user, but I finally signed on a few weeks ago so I could tweet during a conference. (And I've just started stalking^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hfollowing a few folks from here.)

You can read Twitter all you want without an account. Having a Twitter account lets you post ("tweet"). You can tweet with your computer if you aren't using a cell phone (that's what I do). You can also use your Twitter account to set up a list of people whose tweets to follow on your home page.

Though I've noticed that it's not always reliable end to end. (That is, I often won't see particular individual tweets on my home page from particular people, and then suddenly see them if I ask for tweets specifically from that person.) But, per John Houghton @200, maybe it's just the pigeons getting tired.

#203 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 08:46 PM:

Obviously, I meant "politically INcorrect". Yeah, I can't even type that phrase anymore, apparently.

#204 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:07 PM:

The best thing I've seen on Twitter is this series of SFnal microfiction.

#205 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:17 PM:

O-o-o-k. Just got this (off topic message on a Yahoo discussion list, purporting to be from an M.D. I know slightly):

'FW: Page 16 of the "Health Care for all Americans Bill"

'Call your senators and congressmen. another freedom going by the wayside.

'Well, on page 16 of the new House Health Care bill, it does the anticipated - outlaws private insurance coverage. Time to put our representatives in Washington on speed dial.'

It gives a link, to something called ibdeditorials, which I'm not inclined to follow, since the format of the message suggests it's been copied and pasted out of something he's received, and if he believes this nonsense he might click on anything.

But this notion appears to be in circulation.

#206 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:33 PM:

#205
That's Investors Business Daily editorials. They're more conservative than the Wall Street Journal, if that's possible without being completely insane. (I don't think I'd use them even for lining birdcages.)

#207 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:34 PM:

cmk @205, "IBDEditorials" is an organ of Investor's Business Daily, a right-wing looney publication.

#208 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:42 PM:

#205-207, Think Progress refutes that nonsense.

#209 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:49 PM:

Serge #187: It wasn't Pierre Berton. It was that fiery Welshman, Richard Burton.

#210 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 09:53 PM:

Carol@168: and then there were the flu epidemics. After WFC 2001 some friends persuaded me to visit the biggest cemetery in Montreal. (I think she was gathering material?) Somewhere in the unsectored part (i.e., not the part where associations had huge tracts reserved for past and upcoming members) there were two adjacent blocks, each with one monument and dozens of perfect miniature stones (no visible markings). One monument said "Aveugle" and the other "Sourde", with relevant dates; my guess was that it was a childrens' shelter (for abandonees?) that had been hard hit.

JDM@126: why not? I haven't had a good Trent-style ale since Commonwealth Brewpub was driven under by a cheaper competitor.

#211 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:03 PM:

Wesley #204: Ooh, those are funny!

#212 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:10 PM:

Marna Nightingale @ 201:

and then all of a sudden the whole debate turns into "Yargh! Ack! Crazy woman attacking me with a cricket bat, help help help ..." *horrible crunchy yet somehow wet thwacking noises* "Aaaaaaaargh!"

That seems entirely appropriate to me...

#213 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:21 PM:

Fragano@ 209... That'd be the actor, not the explorer, right?

#214 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:36 PM:

Paula @137: I know you've mentioned being too short for assorted counters, checkout stands, teller booths, and so on, multiple times before.

Have you considered platform-soled boots?

Note, I'm not talking about high heels. Brands like New Rock produce boots with thick (up to six inches!) FLAT soles that don't shift your center of balance or shorten your Achilles tendon. Some of them look very impressively steampunk, too.

And they're not hard to walk in. My 13-year-old daughter has trouble with standard feminine high heels, but she has no trouble at ALL with the platform boots she spent her holiday gift money on.

If the world won't adapt to your needs, it's time to adopt assistive technology!

#215 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 10:56 PM:

Nix, abi, I get some of the same supermarket overload you describe (it's one of the reasons I prefer to shop without a companion, fewer inputs) and, at least in American supermarkets, there's a tactic that promotes both serenity and healthful eating: minimize the time spent on the inside aisles. All of the fresh foods are kept on the perimeter of the store, and they're both easier on the eyes and nutritionally better. Then, if you learn where exactly your routinely-needed packaged foods are kept, you can make quick trips into the center aisles, and hyperfocus a little to get right to the ketchup or the pasta or your favorite kind of breakfast cereal, and then get the hell out of that aisle. I'm often able to skip three or four inside aisles on each trip.

#216 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 11:02 PM:

#214 Rikabeth

Those things (platform shoes) were a fad among some groups when I was in college. I think there were incidents of bone breakage at heightened rates. (And working as a test engineer in the defense industry, I rather doubt that it would go over well at work).

#217 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 11:14 PM:

Paula @216, the New Rock and other goth/industrial/steampunk flat platforms look more stable to me than the '70s glam-rock platforms, and I've seen lots of people wear them without trouble.

Not going over well at work, now, that's a different problem, and one I don't have suggestions for. Still, if you changed into them AFTER work, they might make the grocery store swipe-station easier.

BTW, I'm 5'4", which IIRC from meeting you at Arisia is about four to six inches taller than you? The Shaw's card-swiper is no trouble for me, nor is the one at the Broadway Foodmaster, but I concur, the counter at Enterprise Rent-A-Car is awfully high, as are most bank teller windows.

#218 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2009, 11:47 PM:

Rikibeth #215: Hmm. it occurs to me that I've been starting to do a little of that already. At least, I tend to leave my cart outside the aisle, go fetch the things I need, and bring them out to the cart. My problem with stocking up on fresh foods is that I'm erratic enough about cooking for a fair bit of produce to go to waste. And as I noted way-back-when, I won't be able to cook for hours after a supermarket trip.

Oh, another issue: by the time I reach the checkout counter, I'm generally dazed enough to be downright flaky -- I can get distracted by the outer-wall displays, and try to walk off without my groceries, without paying, or both. (Thankfully the checkout people are pretty understanding about prompting me. I suspect they see a lot of that....)

Nix, about the "object boundary" thing, I'm probably describing it poorly -- it's not that things are actually blurring(*) or distorting, but from any distance, the shelves and piles of stuff start looking like one big (still annoying) mass, instead of piles of individual objects. I can still go up to them and reach for individual items.

* Blurring comes later -- at that point, I know I'm really fried.

#219 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 12:26 AM:

Brother Guy @97: Oh, bravo! That's wonderful. Non fanatici tantum lectores -- your contact does have the right of it, it's reading for the delight of it. I'll work the finished version up over the weekend and post it here when I'm satisfied with it. Thanks to everyone for the Latin advice -- I always appreciate the breadth and depth of knowledge on display here.

Avram @195: Twitter doesn't have a business model, which is part of what makes it so maddening. It's the first dot-com bubble all over again. Then again, Twitter can survive for a lot longer without a business model than Facebook can...

#220 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 12:31 AM:

Soon Lee at #74 write of parity errors:

> It's an old joke told to me by a friend, I have enough from undergrad compsci to get it, & felt it only proper to inflictshare...

It gets better/worse:

First somebody pipes up to say that an off by one error is not typical of parity errors.

Then somebody else says "No, no - it was a Gray parrot".

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_code)

#221 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 12:53 AM:

Marna Nightingale @198, Terry Karney @199:

Nowhere in the same league, but the first time I visited Toronto, I read in the newspaper that the City Council had just outlawed 'begging with a weapon'.

I could imagine a court case that this law would have been a response to.

#222 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 12:59 AM:

Steve Taylor @ 220... After that, you get cockatoos and threes and...

#223 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 01:09 AM:

KeithS @75:
Hey now, some of us remember DECsystem 10 / DECsystem 20....

Lori Coulson @136:
It should be noted that that is itself a translation of ממעמקים (mi-ma`amaqim, "from the deeps" — sometimes the Latin translations are a bit odd, although this time it works (and it even has the derived meaning of "profound", although possibly only in modern Hebrew).

#224 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 01:25 AM:

Serge at #222 writes:

>... After that, you get cockatoos and threes and...

Are we going to cover all of the cardinal numbers then?

Hey Serge - do you still have that photo gallery of Making Light people>

#225 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 01:36 AM:

Steve Taylor @ 224... Photo gallery? What photo gallery? Oh, THAT photo gallery...

#226 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 02:04 AM:

Glinda @ 212: Well, yes, but it does sort of make assembling yet more calm and reasoned arguments on the subject a bit of a waste of time, except as a means of maintaining mental suppleness.

Rob @ 221: Ah, Toronto the Good ... fortunately, to the best of my knowledge this does not apply to the gentleman at Yonge and Bloor who solicits for coin and small bills whilst playing a bagpipe. I think he used at one time to charge $2.00 to play Scotland the Brave and $5.00 to stop playing it once started.

Toronto was also, IIRC, the location of the court case which established that giving away oral sex for free with the purchase of a $50.00 condom was still soliciting within the meaning of the act.

#227 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 02:52 AM:

You've heard of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, right? Well, here's the a trailer for the sequel, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

#228 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 03:07 AM:

abi # 127: I struggled to describe the first publication of "Bad Monkeys", and you replied "What, on the LFP? Or on the hardcover?"

My memory is fuzzy on this. I do remember thinking that it wasn't a "hardcover" because in my mind that doesn't just mean that the covers are hard, but also that the binding is sewn. I just recall looking at the book, and seeing something that was going to fall apart.

I think it was the species that you described back on http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/008719.html as "This combination of a paperback's spine and a hardback's case is disastrous. Books with hard covers generally have squares, meaning that the covers are larger than the book block. Squares look nice, and they allow space for headbands. But they also mean that the edges of the pages of a shelved book hang suspended in the air. Gravity being what it is, the bottom fore corner of the book will slowly drop down, pulling the spine forward at the head of the book. A sewn binding has the integrity to withstand this, but a glued binding does not. Perfect bound hardbacks, given time, last less well than paperbacks, where the entire bottom edge rests on the shelf."

I waited for the paperback, and bought it.

#229 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 05:44 AM:

Serge #213: Correct!

#230 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 08:47 AM:

Fragano @ 229... Mind you, while only one of them was Welsh, both could have been considered fiery.

#231 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 08:49 AM:

Linkmeister @ 227... coughgagsplutter! What's next? Emma and Emanations? Mansfield Park and Monsters?

#232 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 09:32 AM:

What's next? Emma and Emanations? Mansfield Park and Monsters?

Well, Austen only wrote a few books, but if you branch out into other genres, you can do a lot more.

For instance, there seems to me to be a whole untapped line of affinity between classic political philosophy and horror. Just think of the titles you could do: The Prince of the Underworld, Leviathan Awakes, Two Arcane Unspeakable Treatises of Government, On the Indelible Social Convenant in Blood...

#233 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 09:50 AM:

geekosaur @223:

Cool -- That translation I cited is from the King James Version, and they get rather elaborate (poetic?) in the way they extracted it from the Latin. Later English translations tend to be more blunt and lacking in flow.

Hmm, now I wonder if Latin was the language from which the KJV bunch derived their version of the Bible...off to Google...

#234 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 09:53 AM:

Serge @ 231: Persuasion and Poltergeists, of course

#235 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 10:03 AM:

232: I like it. Hume's "An Enquiry concerning the Merciful Inability Of the Human Mind to Fully Correlate Its Contents", perhaps. Kant's "A Critique of Pure Unreasoning Madness". Russell & Whitehead's "Principia Necronomia".

#236 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 10:17 AM:

Linkmeister @208, thanks for the link--that appears, touch wood, to have ended the exchange. But people remain stranger than anybody.

#237 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 11:00 AM:

ajay @235, then there's Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Zombies in Ireland from being a burden to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick".

Yum!

#238 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 11:11 AM:

#220 Steve

Regarding the Gray parrot, parity errors, parody errors....

Hamming it up, are they?

#239 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 11:14 AM:

Adam Smith's "A Theory of Horrible Centipedes"?

#240 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 11:21 AM:

Serge #222: This made me think of the late Victorian newspaper which printed a question and answer column (it made up the questions as well as the answers). One week, it is said to have included the following gem: "Does Mrs Edward Langtry have any pets?" "Not now, but it is believed that she has had a cockatoo."

#241 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 11:34 AM:

Let's not forget John Maynard Keynes' classic: "The General Theory of Entombment, Ingress, and Mummies".

Keynes' ideas have until recently been dismissed by many as no more than pyramid schemes. But neo-Keynesian Paul Krugman warns us that due to our incaution, "the zombie ideas have won".

#242 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 12:37 PM:

Apropos of absolutely nothing: You know what I hate? Being lied to. I especially hate being lied to about the symptoms of the problem I'm trying to fix by some idiot user in a timezone 12 hours from mine, so I can't be on the phone with her. Not that that would be a good idea at this point.

I asked her several times if it was problem X that I've seen before and know the cause of, and she insisted that it was problem Y that no one has ever heard of before at all (and no, it wasn't something she could have been mistaken about; it was the difference between "it works for a while, then breaks" and "it doesn't work even at first"). Finally I got her local (for values of "local" that include entire timezones, or three) support guy involved and he asked her for her ID and password so he could try to replicate it on another machine.

Funny, at that point it not only magically became problem X, but went away entirely! This is also the same woman who filed three nearly-identical tickets in rapid succession because her problem wasn't fixed RIGHT NOW. (Oddly enough, her problem wouldn't cause any babies to die, no matter how long it went unfixed.)

Let me say that I also deeply hate The Most Important Person In The World, and I keep meeting him, her, him, her, over and over.

#243 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 12:44 PM:

abi: I've got the semi-hardcover of Bad Monkeys on the shelf, I'll take a pic of it real soon now. It looks hardbound process, but the cover is probably the weight of a paperback.

(Matt Ruff is one of those authors that I have a buy on sight order in with Those Who Know Me, due to my love of his first two books and the near impossibility of ever finding copies of them, though, I have to think that S.T. George could be a really fine example of a Merry Stu)

#244 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 01:25 PM:

Xopher #242: This is also the same woman who filed three nearly-identical tickets in rapid succession because her problem wasn't fixed RIGHT NOW.

Back in the day when I mentored Windows 95 tech support at Unisys, we had a "cool down" policy for stress reduction: anyone who had to take a phone support call from the NYC or New Jersey area codes earned an automatic five minute break after the call was complete. There were other exceptions, of course, but that covered most of them. Twenty-first century demographics have probably warped the locations of today's worst offenders, though.

#245 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 01:48 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @ 232: For instance, there seems to me to be a whole untapped line of affinity between classic political philosophy and horror.

You mean Kant's stuff isn't already horror? Oh, wait, political philosophy. Never mind.

Xopher @ 242:

It's a pity this person lives halfway around the world, otherwise I'd be very tempted to introduce them to My Very Special Friend, the claw hammer.

Related: nine types of computer users, particularly the last entry.

#246 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 02:02 PM:

Earl, I'm in Hoboken, NJ. Our corporate headquarters is in NYC (I can see it from my desk, which makes me an expert on...never mind). The New Yorkers and New Jerseyans aren't the nicest, but they aren't the worst, either (though maybe now that I've lived in Metro NYC for more than a quarter-century I'm just used to it).

Maybe I should propose that breaks be required for anyone who has to deal with a user in Singapore.

#247 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 02:11 PM:

KeithS, I think I've seen all nine of those. Like the guy who asked us for a list of all the users in India...twice. See, he didn't keep the list we gave him the first time, and besides, people might have been hired or laid off.

That one got a real no, but only the second time. My boss made us do it the first time. She finally realized that he was going to ask for a new list every quarter, and we told him he should go through corporate governance and get a new report developed (or some other way of telling him, in polite corporate language, to fuck off and die).

#248 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 02:57 PM:

A first in the wish-it-wouldn't-happen department: I just got off the phone with a charity solicitor [*] who insisted on asking me *why* I didn't give any business to charities or companies who solicited me over the phone. I replied that that was a personal decision and none of his business. After that, things went way downhill. This has got to be the first time any of them has ever given me any talkback on that point.

[*] expecting a delivery person to call to arrange a delivery time, so of course I pick up.

#249 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 03:03 PM:

KeithS #245:

I'm not at all clear on where in this pantheon would fall the c. 1980 terminal user who called up the campus broken-computer shop to complain "My terminal is ignoring me." Turned out he was seeing the infamous "parity error ignored" message.

#250 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 03:17 PM:

joann #248: Are you on the Do-not-call list? (Or are you outside of it's US range?)

Personally, I'd have hung up immediately at that point.

If I was really bored, I might have started onto various hostile lines, such as "Why do you think I have any obligation to give money to a stranger who calls me out of the blue?", or "what makes you think that calling a stranger and asking them for money is anything but rude and intrusive?" Not to mention the classic "and what's the full name and mail address of the company you're calling from?" or even "well, I have a few worthy causes of my own. What's your home phone number?"

But I'm rarely that bored.

#251 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 03:31 PM:

David #250:

Oops. I *was* on both the national and state lists, but I moved in April, and forgot to do that bit. Unfortunately, it doesn't apply to charities.

And as noted, this was the first time my relatively polite demur has failed.

Maybe I need something like "Strange persons called at random grudgingly distributing a few coins is no basis for a system of charity" or near offer.

#252 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 03:38 PM:

The subject of a Firefox Greasemonkey script which helps you keep track of what Making Light comments you've read by graying out comments which have already been opened (or at least which were visible on a comment page that you opened) came up in the Service Advisory thread. Patrick has now kindly put a link to that script in the right sidebar under the "More What" header. Do note that if Firefox crashes, or is closed and reopened, the script (not surprisingly) loses its memory, but that just means that the worst case scenario, of reentering after a Firefox crash, is no worse than the current one. All comments simply return to the unmarked case.

#253 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 04:04 PM:

KeithS #245:

That list is definitely missing an item or few. In my brief stints doing tech support, the most memorable users I've run into were the technophobes, who might:

  • Be unable (that is, unwilling) to read the screen, or (later) to notice modal popups.
  • Push keys at random, often in response to critical error messages or confirmation dialogs.
  • Reboot or power-cycle while the computer is processing their last request. ("It was hung!" -- after 10 seconds, even with an hourglass showing.)

These often showed a fair bit ofcovert (or outright) hostility toward the computer or programs, with predictable results.

More recently, I've been helping my Mom, who is pretty bright (and persistent), but oddly unable to deal with modal behavior -- for example, she keeps forgetting how to use extended selections. (Admittedly, Windows XP's interface is pretty bad, and some of her applications manage to confuse me.)

#254 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 04:31 PM:

I did tech support when 286 machines were hot shit and buying a Compaq 386 was a wild extravagance.

Windows? What's that? We sold and supported stuff like dBASE III, Lotus 1-2-3, and Wordstar 4.0 running on DOS. We sold thousands and thousands of people their first hard disk drives, which I helped them low level format and partition:

"Boot to DOS.

At the A> prompt, type DEBUG and wait for a dash to appear.

Enter G=c800:5

. . ."

Um, that's all I recall. Some stuff about cylinders and interleaving followed. I could probably do it if you put a IBM PC with a Seagate 20 mb drive and a Western Digital controller in front of me.

* * *

The worst customer was a loony lady from New Orleans whose husband bought her a Compaq 386 "because she wanted to get into CAD."

She didn't know anything about computers. It was a whim sort of thing. She was getting a computer, and it had to be the absolute top of the line. The commissioned sales people saw it her way.

My fellow tech support people and I dreaded her calls. She wasn't stupid by a long shot, but she made absolutely insane demands and was verbally abusive.

Once a former support guy turned manager heard me having difficulties with her latest demand. ("How do I kick the PGA* card into EGA** emulation mode***?") He rolled his eyes and offered to take the call to show me how a pro did the job. He looked stunned after a few minutes. She'd threatened to come to Long Island and, um, neuter him.

Eventually her husband returned the system.

There were many, many other sad, stupid, sometime heartbreaking stories. Cables not connected, multiple floppies stuck in drives, monitors not turned on. Most people were really nice. I got thanked when I helped them figure things out. But the loony from New Orleans is the only customer I remember by name. Her and Bob Pickles. How can you forget a name like that? He was a nice guy as I recall.


* Thousand dollar plus high-resolution graphics card supported by a few really high end software packages.

** Several hundred dollar consumer level graphics card supported by common game / graphics software.

*** She was guessing and hoping that the PGA card had a EGA emulation mode, because the PGA card was doing her no good whatsoever. And if didn't have an emulation mode, it was our fault.

#255 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 04:46 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 254, I did in-house support when we installed the first IBM PCs with hard drives. I absolutely dreaded the thought of users trying to format new floppy diskettes (the 5 1/4" size; remember those?).

"No, No! Be sure you type A when you type the word FORMAT! It should read c>: FORMAT A:"

"Now, don't hit Enter untill you're sure you've got Drive A specified. Have you got Drive A specifed after the word FORMAT?"

"Oh, hell. When did you back up your files?"

#256 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 04:58 PM:

#255: I just recalled a case involving a particularly difficult to explain problem. A lady who'd purchased a PC from us couldn't get a floppy to format.

I tried everything I could think of . . . spelling, "0" instead of "O" in FORMAT, orientation (think of all the ways you can insert a 5.25" floppy wrong), etc.

I was struck with an inspiration. I had her hold the floppy and look at the little round sector alignment window while turning the disk. Instead of one little hole per rotation, she saw many. Bingo! She'd purchased a box of fixed sector floppies from the local computer store.

She was livid at me, as the available representative of the computer industry, for this cruel trick, but when I explained that I'd almost made the same mistake when I bought my first PC she felt a lot better.

#257 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 05:00 PM:

joann @ 248 ...
A first in the wish-it-wouldn't-happen department: I just got off the phone with a charity solicitor [*] who insisted on asking me *why* I didn't give any business to charities or companies who solicited me over the phone.

I'm prone to replies along the lines of "I don't know who you're really calling from, and I don't want to have my identity stolen and my good name ruined ... Why are you asking me all these questions anyways!!!!"

... and following it up, if necessary, with "Why don't you give me your number, and I'll call back if I'm interested ..."

... and if necessary beyond that, "Why do you have a problem with that??? My bank doesn't have a problem with that! I knew it! You won't give me the number to call back because you're not really calling for [organization name] are you!!!"

#258 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 05:38 PM:

Stefan, fortunately when users become verbally abusive, we're allowed to hang up. And report them (it's an internal support organization for a large company). So then THEY (potentially) get fired.

That woman sounds like the sort of person whose name everyone should know. Write it on bathroom walls. (Of course, since this is what, 25 years ago? you have to use a time machine, but hey.)

#259 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 05:42 PM:

xeger #257:

But why waste the energy on a phone spammer? His job is to steal a little of your time and attention in an attempt to either force-feed you a (probably fraudulent) sales pitch or force-feed you a (probably fraudulent) beg-for-money pitch. His weapon is your desire to get useful phone calls, and any politeness you have that makes it difficult to hang up when someone is talking. IMO, he's lost any right to courtesy from you by trying to use it as a weapon, and the first second of your time he steals is already more time than he has coming. Let him talk to a hung-up phone, or make his pitch to the next mark.

#260 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 06:01 PM:

My response to charities who call for money is along the lines of "I don't give money to charities without looking at their tax-exempt status and their financial statements." If I'm bored, I take a long time to get to this point. I do ask questions about whether they are a volunteer or an employee, who they actually work for, and percentage of money collected that actually goes to the charity. I try to verify this with the records on file in New York.
The New York State Attorney General's office tracks the mandatory registration of telephone fund raising, and does a yearly report. On average, the charity only gets about 40% of the donated money. In the worst case last year, the charity LOST MONEY because the amount raised didn't cover the costs of the professional fund-raising company. I much prefer the case where the charity got more money than was raised because the fund-raising organization didn't meet their minimum goal (someone wrote a smart contract).

#261 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 06:14 PM:

Xopher #246: Maybe I should propose that breaks be required for anyone who has to deal with a user in Singapore.

Stress management is extremely important in support organizations (whether technical, product or customer); sometimes it's hard to recognize impending burnout. A generous break policy is good. An in-house chair massage station would be good too, if you can manage to convince the Great Powers that the expense will improve quality of service.

Of course, all bets are off, if you're in the kind of company where the executives wash their Maybachs with the tears of unfathomable sadness of laid-off former employees.

#262 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 06:20 PM:

albatross @ #259 ...
But why waste the energy on a phone spammer? [ ... ] IMO, he's lost any right to courtesy from you by trying to use it as a weapon, and the first second of your time he steals is already more time than he has coming. Let him talk to a hung-up phone, or make his pitch to the next mark.

It's not much energy -- and when it comes down to it, I've had the dubious pleasure of taking any job that I could get... it doesn't cost me much to be polite.

That said, I rarely have to go beyond "No Thank you, I'm not interested."

#263 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 06:44 PM:

joann @ 248, David @ 250: Maybe you would find it worth downloading some of the various published telemarketing call counter-script flow charts, so if it happens again and you get bored or annoyed enough, you can just start running your own call script on them. (I used to know somebody who somewhat enjoys getting telemarketing calls - he immediately starts sympathetically asking about the comfort of the phone headset they're using and segues into trying to sell them a new phone headset. They find that very confusing.)

The alarming thing about that call is that usually organizations (charity or commercial) don't allow their telemarketers to deviate from the scripts they're given. One hopes that this was a case of the particular caller being a jerk on their own initiative, rather than their organization deciding on a new policy to harass the callees who decline their kind offer to accept all the money you can give them.

#264 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 07:03 PM:

As far as I'm concerned, if a telephone solicitor continues making a pitch after I say "No, thanks," they're being rude, not me, and I have no compunction about just hanging up the phone.

#265 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 07:07 PM:

Clifton #263: ... segues into trying to sell them a new phone headset. They find that very confusing.

LOL!

The inimitable Neddie Jingo had an interesting saga in this vein...

First, he got a call offering him a job -- not in user-interface design (which is what he was looking for), but supposedly selling insurance. Except... once he started asking questions, the place sounded more like a pyramid scheme! He seriously considered actually going for the interview and playing with their heads, but when he actually got there... he found them too pitiable to go through with it.

#266 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 07:57 PM:

I only have a cellphone, so when someone calls for a charity or politics, I tell them they're violating the law.

I had an interesting phone conversation with a support person today. She was fine, but the policy is definitely stupid. I use Peapod to bring me heavy and bulky items and the list is now about 352 items when I buy about 20 every eight weeks. Each line has the info on the item plus a space for a trash can icon so you can take the item off the list. I have trash can icons on things I buy every time, like multi-packs of toilet paper, and no trash can icons on things I haven't bought in years, like Gatorade (too much sugar).

So I asked if they could put trash can icons on all the lines and I could take the items off that I won't buy again. She told me that there's no way to do that and items will fall off the list after three years. So what about the items I use all the time that have trash can icons? It's been less than eight weeks, not three years. Oh, those are things I also sometimes buy at the store (Giant) so they keep the trash can icons forever.

Definitely stupid.

#267 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 08:08 PM:

Marilee @ 266

Clearly you need to, just once, go to the store and buy each item you want to be able to delete. Drop them off at a food pantry, and (with luck) come home to a trash can icon.

Well, it MIGHT work.

#268 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 08:18 PM:

Anyone know if gmail is experiencing technical difficulties? I have no new email since 9 a m.

It is possible that nobody sent me anything but I feel this is not likely since I am on a bunch of mailing lists right now.

Neither signing out-and-in nor refreshing the inbox helps.

#269 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 08:33 PM:

I just checked my gmail account and it had new stuff in it. Maybe it's just you?

#270 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 08:55 PM:

Oh, jeez.

Walter Cronkite is dead.

Usually when someone who had a long life and a momentousness career dies I say "sad but not sorry."

But damn. If he wasn't suffering and was of sound mind, I wish he'd have lasted five more days.

He would be the only choice to host commemorative stuff about the first Apollo landing.

#271 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 08:58 PM:

My first Cronkite-as Cronkite memory: Nov. 22, 1963. Up till then he'd just been the guy who read the news in the evening.

Stefan, you're right, though. Nobody else will be able to do the landing commemorations with the sense of history he'd have had.

#272 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 09:01 PM:

Xopher and others: You might be interested in Tech Support Comedy.

#273 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 09:40 PM:

I just popped out to the store for some grape juice, and was treated to an amazing sunset. We had a layer of very high clouds (mammatus clouds, in fact) thinning to the west. Where I was, the sun was already below the horizon, but the cloud layer caught the light, bathing everything in a shadowless glow that started out yellow and gradually dimmed to pale orange. It was magical.

#274 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 10:04 PM:

Stefan, yes to what you said at Mr. Cronkite.

For a long time after I started watching the news, Cronkite was the news.

If there something after death, I hope he gets to see the Moon and Mars, and any of our future efforts to attain humans' presence on those two planets.

Blessings.

#275 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 10:08 PM:

FWIW, CNN.com has a photo of Cronkite holding an Apollo model, demonstrating the separation before landing - the command module is in one hand, and the entire landing module, still packed up, in the other.

#276 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 10:29 PM:

#275: Cronkite fooling with those models was how I learned about the intricate Apollo choreography.

I have a Man in Space model kit here. Redstone, Atlas, Titan, Saturn Ib, Saturn V, the latter two with curled=up LEMs. I sprayed on the primer the other day, but lost all enthusiasm and energy when I started sanding yesterday evening. Now I think I'll keep at it.

#277 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 10:34 PM:

I'm not driven desperately mad by charity calls. Or doorstopping, or street solicitation.

Possibly I am just terminally placid. Possibly they're much politer in Canada. Partly, I *hate* solicitation by mail. I'd rather take the call than toss out the flyer.

This is probably partly due to having worked (not as a fundraiser, before anyone offers to dip me in boiling oil) for enough charities and political parties to know how it all works, which is, some people will *only* give money by phone, some people will only do it by mail, some people will only do it in person, and some only online ... and to stay solvent a charity has to try it all, despite the fact that nearly everyone has one strongly preferred method of giving and one or two that they cannot stand being solicited by.

I don't even mind if they ask why I won't give by phone, as in my experience "because I do all of my giving online" gets me off their call list.

Sadly, two of the charities we support most regularly - monthly withdrawal - are two of the worst for taking one off the mailing list. I won't say which, as they both do a fantastic job of necessary work and I'm afraid I'm not willing to risk putting anybody off them.

The RNLI, on the other hand, is fantastic about taking one off - at least, about taking overseas donors off; it is possible that they are less good about UK donors. I sent them a polite email explaining that I generally gave to the Canadian Coast Guard Auxilliary and had donated to them as a one-off in gratitude for having had a friend I value pulled out of the North Sea. I got a lovely and short email back and haven't heard a word since. (I was a bit sad to do it, as if you give the RNLI money they will send you a magazine that is actually full of interesting articles about ocean rescue, not just a begging letter with staples down the spine, but at nearly 3 GBP postage a time and me never apt to donate again I didn't think it was right of me to let my entire donation be gradually eaten up by administration costs...)

#278 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 10:37 PM:

Rikibeth @ 214:

Do you know whether any of those flat-but-lifting shoes come in wide widths?

I currently have sneakers, sandals that I am not looking forward to having to replace because the specific design has apparently been discontinued after 30-odd years, and some winter boots that almost fit. I do not enjoy shoe shopping.

Oh, and since this an open thread and it's just come to mind: does anyone know of a shoe store in New York City, or in Cambridge or Somerville, Mass., that carries boots in a boy's size 6.5 or so and will welcome me and let me try them on, instead of chasing me away because "that doesn't come in a women's size 8 wide." I don't need gendered shoes--these aren't for sex, they're for walking around the city in.

#279 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 10:52 PM:

#278 Vicki

Try K-Mart.... they didn't bother me when I was trying boys' boots on.

#280 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 11:05 PM:

Vicki: have you tried Keen's?

I have very narrow feet, and therefore wear Merrell's a lot - like, "if they ever start doing high heels I'll never need another shoemaker" levels of "a lot" , but every wide-footed shoe-loving woman I know seems to worship the Keen's. They make everything from good-enough-for-Ottawa winter boots to light hikers to kicky little dress-casual shoes, prices in the 80-110 USD range, quality very good.

http://www.keenfootwear.com/

The boots are under BLVD on the website, for some reason unclear to me.

The storefinder suggests that they are widely available in all three cities.

For winter boots Sorels are kind of the gold standard in Canada, and not unreasonably - they tend to last and last - and while the women's run average-to-wide to account for winter socks, there are many, many unisex styles, recognised as such by the company, so no Sorel dealer should give you that hassle. They apparently sold out last winter due to the impressive badness of the weather - so I was told when I triumphantly scored what seemed to be the last pair of women's 9s in Ottawa for my adopted kid - but should be reappearing fairly soon.

REI appears to carry them.

#281 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 11:11 PM:

Vicki @278, try http://www.pennangalan.com, or google New Rock boots.

Those sources aren't cheap, but there are definitely wide widths available, as men wear these boots too. I know one gentleman, already moderately tall, who'll accessorize his best coat with a pair of six inch platform New Rocks on one end, and a top hat on the other -- can't possibly miss him in a crowd when he does that!

Have you tried places like REI or Eastern Mountain Sports for the boys' boots? Or are hiking boots not what you want?

#282 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 11:26 PM:

Specifically, Keen's Bern Boot:

http://www.keenfootwear.com/product/fw09/shoes/women/market%20street/bern%20high%20boot

appears to have a goodish heel. Plus, phwoar. Almost makes me wish I had wide feet ... they can't be that much harder to cover than AAAA's are.

#283 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 11:29 PM:

Back on the Asperger's thing, I have an online friend who teaches special needs kids diagnosed with autism. She came to visit over a weekend about a year ago, we'd not met in person before. After a bit she got to looking at me with that Professional Eye and said had I ever been tested? I said certainly not, why would I? She said I was in her opinion more higher on that ol' spectrum than not.

So when Nix posted a link to that test Nix posted a link to back some months, I lept on it like a kitten on yarn, all gung-ho, storm the torpedoes and nevermind the light cav. I'd show her, I thought, I'll whip through this thing and get my Official Certificate of Total Normality. I put my idear of there being an OCoTN in the first place in the box where I keep annoying ideas and cranked on the test.

Whereupon I scored rather higher than I thought I should. I did it wrong, I figured, or the test is one of those typically totally annoying innernets testy things where they don't account for my specialness. So I got my partner to take it. G'wan, I said, I need validation here. She did, and was somewhat nonplussed to score in the Totally Normal range.

That left Doing It Wrong. 'S okay, I do stuff wrong lots. I can deal. Maybe I overthought the whole thing. I'll give it another go, putting my idea about giving it another go being a marker of good sense in the annoying ideas box, and this time tried it without giving the questions pondering and due deliberation and so on.

That got me an even higher score. Well, I thought, this *is* disturbing. I am going to have to contact online friend and apologise for treating her questions as the ravings of someone who can't leave work at work when she goes on holiday. Which I did and she was quite nice about it.

My little brother's always been a bit off (I've never been off, except when I have), I mean smart enough and all, but he's iffy on when to stop talking and when to offer hugs, and his kids are autistic. And my family's public attitude has always been 'isolated phenomenon' and if there weren't such classifications we'd been well, singing to communicate, that's different but hey, nothing to get excited about.

My online friend asked how I felt about the test thing, and I said it was a bit upsetting but it's not like there's something *wrong* really. I'm still who I am. It's positive in that I have a category to assign to those times when I do or say stuff that weirds out everyone else in the room. I don't cope well with parties, or with new people, or with bling, but none of that is debilitating. I work from home and don't have to deal with people face-to-face much, and I live in a small community where newness is rare. I like that. I've always liked that. The world I see every day contains quite as much newness as I can appreciate, just in birdsong.

Possibly the best thing about doing so much online is that I can turn the computer off and walk away when it's all too much. Used to be when I'd messed up somehow, I knew because there was someone in front of me, going on about what feckless thing I'd done or said, at length, and preventing me from following along the text of my book. My usual coping strategy was to wait for a pause, and apologise. I'm really very sorry, I've no idea what possessed me, I'll try to do better. Now I just walk off from the computer, before I do or say/write something irredeemably witless. Mostly. This may be one of those irredeemably witless writings. I'm not sure though, so I'll post it anyway.

If it is, I'm really very sorry, I've no idea what possessed me, and I'll try to do better. Really.

#284 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2009, 11:55 PM:

pericat @ 283 ...
The phrase that comes to mind for me is "high functioning" ;) It sounds like you're sorted out well in life for handling things that you know are problematic to you -- and for arranging your life to work well with those arrangements.

#285 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 12:46 AM:

xeger, that's what my online friend said. That I'd absolutely arranged my life to minimize stressful stuff and accentuate the stuff I deal with well. So I feel okay with inviting people come round, and be 99% sure I won't do or say anything out of overload that would disgrace me. Still, having someone come round for a visit and say, I know a box you'd fit in, well, that feels more than a little like waking up with a radio collar. :)

#286 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 12:51 AM:

Just came back from the local SF club's monthly meeting... Dr Larry Crumpler gave a presentation about the Mars Rovers, and I was so amazed by how well lit the photos were that I had to ask if there had been some image manipulation. He said no, and that daylight on Mars is like 3pm in October. Things were a bit disorganized at first because the owner of the premises where meetings are normally held had locked himself out so we all hopped into our respective vehicles and drove across town to an Indian restaurant. Victor Milán's car died on the way. Everything eventually got cleared up. At the end, I introduced myself to a writer who seldom attends and I don't think I gave my name, but, the moment I opened my mouth, he knew who I was because he lurks around here. Must be that Christophe Lambert accent that gave me away again. And no, I had not made a single pun tonight.

#287 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 01:09 AM:

Vicki @ 278: I don't need gendered shoes--these aren't for sex, they're for walking around the city in.

I've had similar conversations with shoe-store salescritters in recent months. "I've been looking at these Keds, but they've all got these weird slippery areas on the soles, and deep ridges where the soles will crack after very little use. Do you have any in a style like this but with better soles? Like they used to be two years ago?"

"But these are women's sneakers!"

"Yeah, well, they're plain white, and canvas, and they fit my feet. I don't see anything about them that makes them male or female. No dangly bits, right?"

And I just get this blank confused look from them.

pericat @ 285: that feels more than a little like waking up with a radio collar. :)

But it isn't a Cone of Shame.

#288 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 01:09 AM:

Dave Bell @ 143

A lot of things started to change in the second half of the Nineteenth Century

Steampunk Torchwood: "The 19th century is when everything changes!"

#289 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 01:14 AM:

Regarding the "charity phone solicition" discussion--I got 14 charity phone calls today. Five in a single hour. I would say I got just as many yesterday, only I didn't bother to count ( which is why I counted today, because I couldn't believe it).

I don't like to be rude either--mostly because it's a waste of energy--but I've gotten to the point that whey the caller says "May I speak to [insert mispronounced version of my name here]", I respond with "No, you may not," and hang up.

Does anyone have any idea why my phone number should suddenly have become so attractive to charity calls? Caller ID does help, by the way, but not enough, and I can't help but wonder what's going on.

#290 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 01:55 AM:

A man without a moral code is just an appetite
King Strut was on a diet, growing luminous by eating light

#291 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 03:34 AM:

amazonfail, Act II?

#292 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 06:36 AM:

#291: Well, that's the end of the Kindle.

#293 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 07:58 AM:

Summary: Amazon have removed ebooks from Kindles and refunded the payment for them, without any warning, and little or no explanation.

It looks as though some third-party ebook supplier loaded two books into Amazon's system for which they didn't have rights (though under Berne Convention rules they would be out of copyright). When the authorised publisher noticed, and challenged Amazon, this happened.


I can see the potential here for mistakes, but Amazon made the big mistake of not telling customers what was happening.

#294 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 08:10 AM:

#293: And (you can't make this up) the books removed were "1984" and "Animal Farm".

For more, see Boing Boing.

#295 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 08:10 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 291...

"Although a rarity, publishers can decide to pull their content from the Kindle store."

Publishers are a rarity?

#296 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 08:11 AM:

Henry Allingham, WW1 veteran, has died. Battle of Jutland, founder member of the RAF, and, almost incidentally, for a few months the World's oldest man.

#297 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 08:13 AM:

A couple of stray items:

RIP Walter Cronkite.. Now journalism is dead. Favorite user comment (highlighted by the authors:) “i don’t believe walter cronkite has departed. not until I hear it from him!”

Last year's big Computerworld article on Asperger's just got re-juiced by NPR.

#298 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 08:34 AM:

Favorite comments from the BB KindleFail article:

Phikus: So are we going to see Fahrenheit 451 become Kindling next?

JL Bryan: "Doublekindle": To both own an ebook, and to not own it, simultaneously.

PS: Yay, "blockquote" now spans multiple paragraphs!

#299 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 08:58 AM:

The choice of books here is so perfect, I almost expect it to have been a set-up.

#300 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 09:31 AM:

re 291: That's reason #2 why I'm not interested.

Charity calls: Most of ours come at dinner: 800 numbers at that hour don't get answered. Anyone who doesn't take "no" the first time gets "I'm sorry, we're not interested, goodbye," click.

re 264: For quite a while we had one of Wells Fargo's boiler room operations next door to our office. I believe it was mortgage re-fi or something like that. Anyway it was two large rooms, one completely filled with cubes, the other with a row of small offices on either side. Most of the time it would sit there, unused; there every so often there would be some signs of activity, and then one day there would be a big moving in party, and the cubes would all be filled by nice reasonably clean-cut young people who would man the place for a few months. And then another day would come and everyone would pack up and go away. This happened several times, and then a few months ago all the furniture disappeared and the space has been empty ever since.

#301 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 10:03 AM:

David Harmon @ 265: The day after I updated my resume on monster.ca, I received an E-mail message from the local "Investors Group" group, inviting me to consider a change of career and become a financial planning consultant.

My instant reaction was that there was no way that I'd switch to a career involving giving people advice that I, myself, would not consider taking.

Then, out of curiosity, I did a bit of googling, followed by a close examination of what little information they made available about their organization. It appears that their system involves getting people to pay thousands of dollars for training to become independent consultants for them. These consultants are paid by commission only, and I don't see any mention that they receive any certification or qualification that's not specific to that company. The organization offers great "benefits", in that one can become part of their group insurance plan.

The website for the local group doesn't mention anything about the costs of training, nor much about the organization.

Maybe it's not really a pyramid scheme, but it sure looks like one.

#302 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 10:32 AM:

The thing about all those nice online stores is that I know, experientially, that I am not good at returning things that don't fit. So I'd really rather shop in a store, where I can try things on, at least the first time.

And it's not about "do they carry them," it's about "if I tell a salesman I want the boy's 6.5, will he go get them for me?" since most shoestores don't have every size just there to try on (and I have found no satisfaction at PayLess, which does use that model). I have, in fact, been told (almost in so many words) to go away, that doesn't come in a women's size, by shoe salesmen who saw me browsing. While I don't believe most of the paeans to capitalism or the market, I'm willing to give this a try: offer the merchants the chance to make money by selling what I want to buy, despite evidence that many would rather reinforce their gender bias and/or ideas of my and their gender identity.

#303 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 10:37 AM:

#290, Tim Walters: Just call me Dwight.

#304 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 11:11 AM:

Vicki @302: You could always invent a fictitious preteen son with feet the same size as yours ... it works for some transfolks buying 'wrong-gender' clothes. Along with "I'm in a play," which also tends to get good responses from salesfolks.

#305 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 11:29 AM:

Abi @ 126 (yes, I'm way behind!)

One thing I really appreciated about Dutch supermarkets was the extreme lack of such hyperactive craziness. In a big enough American supermarket (locally, a newer Fred Meyer), I can end up with the equivalent of con glaze wandering around trying to find something.

That said, my one exposure to Dutch supermarkets was the underground one near the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. We may go back to Amsterdam and parts surrounding during the Christmas holidays (now that the direct PDX flight to Frankfurt has been cancelled, the direct flight to Amsterdam is it from here).

#306 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 11:39 AM:

Mary Frances @289 A cautionary tale. Once I got totally fed up with phone marketers mispronouncing my name (was pre-do-not-call, so there were more of them). The third person who called in about an hour saying "Is this Mrs. [mispronounced name]" got treated to a mini-rant.

It turned out to be the coach of my first grader's new soccer team.

It's never since been someone I actually wanted to talk to, but I've never since been snarky about it.

Sigh.

#307 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 12:03 PM:

I've sensed I was different since day one. But it doesn't match the Aspergers description very closely. (Stuff nobody ever heard of and I can hardly describe.) But my mom thinks it fits me, just on the strength of a few Temple Grandin books. She won't leave it alone.
She says I am high-functioning, but I don't think being articulate counts when I have never managed to do well in school or get a really decent job. I go by results--whether it's enough money to secure one's future or just the peace of mind that comes from having loyal friends (do such people even exist?)
I said I didn't care how many Temple Grandin books she read, I have read just as many by H.P. Lovecraft (she isn't familiar with him so it was kind of wasted on her) and finally I had to just say we will never discuss this again.
It doesn't help when a whole string of people tell you that you are real smart and then turn around and treat you like a moron--by not listening, by saying you are in denial, by stubbornly lumping together things that ought to be kept apart, and if you do manage to get in a good point they still wiggle away, as if unwilling to admit that they are ignorant, projecting it onto you instead.
I think that the "autistic spectrum" (just 1 dimension? why not a whole color-solid??) is being used as a catch-all for a whole lot of people that aren't served that well by it. It seems like anyone who is introverted, or more interested in things/ideas than people, or with some sensory anomaly, or having any sort of social problem, is in danger of being lumped in with the autistics. This doesn't advance knowledge any, and it isn't fair to the real autistics and people with Aspergers either.
All my life I have had to defend my right to be things-and-ideas oriented, because I couldn't get good enough grades to make it pay off and so silence the people who disrespected me. Now they are telling me that maybe I do have a right to exist but only as *their* label. It really ticks me off, and some of them have learned to shut up in my presence. Final irony, though, I might have to go along with something like that officially just to get benefits for all the other problems (mostly physical) assailng me.
If I had it to do all over again, I would have squeezed the umbilical cord as soon as I had hands to squeeze with, and skipped this whole travesty of a life. I have the sort of temperament/personality that most needs to be independent, but am missing some of the mental fixings needed to secure it, plus now I have health issues. At least I am not being abused like when I was a kid, but I don't want to get old in this culture and don't know where else I can go.
I live in hope that in the future this mess will be straightened out by people who can convince the shrinkos and so on that neuro-anomalies are a lot more diverse than what the degree'd ones have come up with. But it won't happen by itself, we have to work on it--alone and together both.
(Yes, I've taken some of those online tests, and their results have varied enough to make me think all such tests are just plain crude.)
I can only add that this site is one of my lifelines.

#308 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 12:27 PM:

Elliot: Thanks for the suggestions. I will use those if I need to, though I would rather find a store that wants my custom, as a woman with wide feet who is (pick one) not strongly attached to gender, or confident enough of my gender not to worry that it will be damaged by the "wrong" shoes.

#309 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 12:30 PM:

Ouch, Angiportus. I can think of nothing to say, other than that I read what you wrote and send sympathy. I've been luckier being strange -- not so much financially but in finding solid friends some of whom value me just for who I am.

#310 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 12:35 PM:

Angiportus #307: I think that the "autistic spectrum" (just 1 dimension? why not a whole color-solid??) is being used as a catch-all for a whole lot of people that aren't served that well by it.

Quite likely -- both the educational system and the media are prone to "everything looks like a nail" fads. That said, there are indeed edge cases, and "kinda-sorta-autistics" around. The autistic spectrum is a perfectly reasonable section on the map of human diversity, but "the map is not the terrain".

And in fact, some people have tried to sub-categorize autistics into qualitative types, but (1) we really don't have enough understanding of the details to make that work, and (2) the commonalities are generally more significant than any of the subtype distinctions that have been proposed.

Perhaps the most useful split would be between "verbal" and "non-verbal" autistics, but even that seems a bit iffy to me. There's a clear agenda for the distinction, because verbal capabilities are so important in our society, but it doesn't follow that the underlying neurological differences are equally significant.

#311 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 12:40 PM:

And something culled from a comment in Cute Overload:

˙uʍop ǝpısdn ǝdʎʇ oʇ ʍoH

#312 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 12:49 PM:

David Goldfarb (#124) Thank you, that eases my mind.

Lori (#136, 233) Either "from the depths of The City" or "out of the depths of The City" function fairly much the same for motto purposes. I saw the first professional Sydney staging of 'Man of La Mancha' when young and enjoyed it a lot — Dulcinea seems to have stuck best. Must burrow back into the music.

Sources for the Authorized (King James') Version: according to the W*k*p*d** page:

In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from the Textus Receptus (Received Text) series of the Greek texts. The Old Testament was translated from the Masoretic Hebrew text, while the Apocrypha were translated from the Greek Septuagint (LXX), except for 2 Esdras, which was translated from the Latin Vulgate.
So not so much direct Latin translation, though well-known Latin versions may have been in their minds.

While we're remembering Henry (#296) and Walter (#297), isn't it Hunter's birthday? *wanders elseweb* Ah yes: some Latin from Anita.

Angiportus (#307) I agree there's probably a lot more complex interaction and different possibilities than often allowed for. Few of us fit into any single simple box. There was at least one online test with results shown as a multidimensional plot, but I can't find its URL presently.

Meanwhile, The Ashes series continues, currently at Lords, filling otherwise-useful broadcast time. At least I don't have to worry I'm missing anything interesting if I turn off while it's on during these long cold nights.

#313 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Noelle @ way upthread - We used to play the game of identify a publisher by the cover art. This worked well all through high school: Baen was easy. Daw and Del Ray were also distinctive. Ace and Tor took a bit more work. Certain artists also worked primarily for one publisher and I could spot those spines from 5 feet back (the other spine-marked were Baen, because if the MMP had a gold spine or heraldicly correct gold letters in a serif, pretty good chances I knew who the publisher was). So, consider if you want your covers to stand out as being from your imprint or to blend in with everything else on the shelves.

Joel @ 287 - The running gag of CVG this year. After 4 days, I was tired of it...On the other hand, after 4 days, I was tired of the Con. Last year it was special. This year? not so much.

#314 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 01:25 PM:

Via the Anticipation masquerade rules:
If you are fond of puns, remember that many jeux-de mots do not survive the switch from one language to another. We can suggest alternatives, but again only if we have plenty of time.

The only appropriately bilingual pun that comes to mind just now involves pre-party cleaning and preparation being done by a group of three people ... [0]

[0] ... waits for somebody to provide the 'correct' translation ... ;)

#315 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 02:13 PM:

PNH @ 303: Only if you're looking for employment.

#316 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 02:50 PM:

xeger @ 314... Un ménage à trois?

#317 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 03:12 PM:

Serge @ 316 ... mais oui!

#318 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 03:39 PM:

Angiportus @307:

I'm sorry you've found things so difficult.

As for labels, even when they're correct, sometimes they help and sometimes they hurt. I find it useful to name the thing that trips me up, and find out what other areas, as yet untested, that I might want to be careful about. But a word like "Aspie" can become a fence, discouraging one from trying things that are, in the end, worth the effort*.

But most of these things are bucket diagnoses, defined and recognized symptomatically. And because they're buckets, it's far too easy to think that they hold everything and everyone. They don't, of course, and it's worth being mindful of the people who are damaged by that.

-----
* Community moderation springs to mind in this context; can't think why...

#319 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 04:44 PM:

Angiportus #307: If I had it to do all over again, I would have squeezed the umbilical cord as soon as I had hands to squeeze with, and skipped this whole travesty of a life.

I can sympathize with the feeling, as I've shared it myself at various times. (And yeah, clueless people trying to "fix you" doesn't help a whit.) There have been long periods where I cursed the quirks of my psychology that kept me from committing suicide. I still don't completely understand those, but I've come to accept them -- and the darkness has passed.

You don't say how old you are, but I found high school pretty useless, except for the few friends I made there (in the "Learning Center" for what were then called "learning-disabled" kids). College was even more frustrating, as I was starting to grasp people's expectations of me, and didn't understand why I couldn't seem to meet them. Now I'm in my early 40's, and I feel like in some ways, my life is just beginning (or at least starting over), as I've begun to understand how I relate to the society around me. I'm living on my own, but with support from nearby family members. I'm still living on disability (originally for the depression), but I'm also starting to rebuild my life and rediscover my own interests. My frequent despair has been balanced by friends(*) and family, and by my assortment of interests, (Also, moving to a more rural area has done effing wonders for my mental state!)

The thing is, you may not be on the spectrum as defined, but where your problems overlap the spectrum, so will the strategies that can help those problems. Issues that don't fit on the spectrum are likely to show up under other diagnoses -- and the people with those diganoses will have developed their own strategies for dealing with them. This sort of mix-and-match may befuddle the insurance drones and less flexible professionals, but as I said above, "the map is not the terrain". You are whatever you are, and that's what you need to deal with.

It's probably worthwhile for you to sit down with a copy of the DSM, and go down the list of symptoms, not only for the spectrum disorders (including PDD-NOS, which is the spectrum's "miscellaneous bin"), but for anything else that seems to apply. Use that to make your own list of your issues, and bring it to any shrink or other therapist you go to. (If they're not interested in the list, dump them on the spot -- any psych or neuro professional who tries to ignore a detailed written self-report is a hack or worse!)

(*) And yes, there are people who can be loyal friends to "different" people. They don't come along that often, but they are out there, sometimes even in groups (like this one, but I've seen others). Look especially in groups devoted to your own interests, and in clusters or groups of people who are likewise neurodiverse. (And even if you're not on the spectrum, you may well find you can get along with those who are.) Look also for "geek clubs" -- in my city, there's the Neon Guild, and I suspect there are similar groups in many other areas.

#320 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 05:29 PM:

Vicki @ 302: Sorry, I might have been unclear: I wasn't suggesting BUYING them online, only that you might want to look at the shoes and see if they move you at all before trekking out to a store. Buying shoes online is for getting the ones you already know fit like a dream only in a different colour.

I don't know about REI myself in terms of customer service, though I have heard excellent things.

If you're by chance coming to WorldCon, I'd be delighted to meet up and go over to the Montreal Mountain Equipment Co-Op with you, because I am prepared to quite seriously bet you the price of a pair of good shoes that they will treat you not only decently but very well indeed, no matter WHAT you ask to try on. Plus the CDN dollar is kind of in the bucket again, so you'll save some money. :-/

I walked in there once with a fresh stress fracture and instructions to buy at least two pairs of (extremely specific and tedious details on what the podiatrist wanted me to buy omitted, but available on request if anyone has a fresh March Fracture), and they spent about two hours bringing me everything they had that seemed even remotely possible.

#321 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 06:30 PM:

OK, this is trivial and totally random, but...

You may have seen those "freezer ziplock" bags, with white spaces printed on so you can write info on the bag. I just accidentally discovered that a dry-erase marker will take the white stuff right off the bag! That is, I reached for the wrong marker, rapidly realized my error, and wiped it off -- leaving a silhouette in the "label" space. Hmm...

(For the curious, I was freezing some extras from my latest rice-cooker experiment. Mushrooms, carrots, white onions (from Mom's farm-share, yum), tossed into the pot with the rice. This time, I also tossed in some black pepper and salt, and a packet of Sazón for color. (Yeah, I know it's got MSG too.) Came out pretty good....

#322 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 06:50 PM:

Thanks for the kind words, all. I am 53, and have indeed made written self-reports, and I don't put up with a lot of nonsense from those who don't respect me. I learned that the hard way, dealing with first one therapist who kept hounding me about ancestors I didn't even remember, even after I told her how obscure the family history is to start with, and another who did nothing but parrot back to me--in all seriousness-about how much my life sucked. If it was a ploy to get me to say maybe it doesn't suck that much, it didn't work. But it didn't provide any ways out either. And then there was that Fraudian idiot--well, I made couch-stuffing out of him! But it's one thing to bring an overpresumptuous doctor up short, and another to prevail against a senseless bureaucracy such as...I'll spare you the details.
I have some more supportive people working with me now than in the past. So there might be some hope this time.
I live in Pugetropolis, and will at least investigate the suggestions in #319.

#323 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 07:00 PM:

Vicki @ 308: Good luck with boys' shoes. If your journeys ever take you to Portland, Oregon, look for Jay's Wide Shoes. They don't stock anything more narrow than a C, bless them.

#324 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 08:33 PM:

I am truly, truly sick of the bad faith obstructionism of the various Senators and congresscritters (Ben Nelson, I'm talking to you!) who can't see how important it is to (at least) begin to repair the damage the current pay-or-die health care system has done to the country. (Deep breath...)

Someone who shall be nameless has suggested what could be a solution. The internets, in its wonder and glory, has hackers. Haz we got hackers! These hackers could, if they were so inclined, hack into the computer systems of the insurance companies in which the medical and financial information for the above Senators and congresscritter is stored -- or, even better, the systems which store the information for their children, their grandchildren, their aging parents -- and f*** with it. Of course, all these systems have back-up systems, so the information isn't gone for good, oh, heavens no. The solution requires nothing cruel, nothing irrevocable. The solution merely attempts to give the Senators and congresscritters a taste of what it feels like to deal with an insurance company that can't find your data. Never mind that you sent it to them twice. Never mind that your kid is having what could be a life-threatening asthma attack now now now and the only thing the hospital wants to know is who is going to pay the bill and sorry, there's no record of you in our system. Imagine, if you will, the frantic phone calls from daughters and sons and aging parents to the various senators and congresscritters when their insurance goes away. Once. Twice. Next week. Next month. (But you told me you fixed that problem! What's wrong with you people!)

Of course, no one would ever actually implement this. THAT WOULD BE WRONG.

#325 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 08:40 PM:

Angiportus #322: Ooh, sounds like you've had some real stinkers. Freudian theory vs. neurological issues? Ouch! Let alone Rogerian technique, which is what the "repeater" was probably trying. (I have no idea what the ancestor guy was on about.) And being 10 years older than me, you probably had even less support than I did though high school and grade school. (I envy the younger folks -- when I was in high school, even the special-ed teachers were basically guessing....)

Have you tried Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy/Training? There are a fair number of hacks in the field (the idea looks so simple ;-) ), but the good ones can be pretty helpful.

#326 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 08:59 PM:

Lizzy L @ 324 ...
[much emotionalism removed, to be replaced by some of my own]

(1) Crackers, not hackers. If you want somebody to maliciously break into system, Crackers.
(2) Why yes, clearly it's a great idea to violate privacy, rights, and endanger health of -uninvolved parties- to prove a point... not to mention very likely screwing over a bunch of other people, starting with anybody that got talked into trying something that dumb, moving on to the folk responsible for the systems, through the folk that have to deal with the mess that would get created, including checking/finding backups, notifying anybody that might have been affected, going over all of the records for anybody that might have been affected, to check that the information is correct ... the money going out on notifications, the various reactions of completely uninvolved folk to discovering that somebody's idea of "getting a taste of their own medicine" has raised their insurance rates, or gotten their information leaked all over hells half acre...

Of course, no one would ever actually implement this. THAT WOULD BE WRONG.

Yes -- and I think even suggesting it is at best highly offensive and nausea inducing. It's right up there with "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?"

#327 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 09:18 PM:

Lizzy L #324, expanding on xeger: Not to mention that a goodly number of the Congressfolk are independently wealthy, and the ones who aren't probably trend to our side anyway!

Incidentally, both houses of Congress are covered under the same plan as other Federal employees, unless they decline it.

#328 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 09:25 PM:

Cally, #267, if I could afford that, I might try it!

Earl Cooley III, #291, that Amazon would do that was in the fine print for the very first Kindle. I kept trying to get people to read that, but they didn't believe it would happen.

#329 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 10:37 PM:

xeger, David, everyone else: it truly was a rant. I certainly don't want to do it, and I don't want anyone else to do it. It was a way of letting off steam: like watching a bloody, bang-bang movie. I apologize to all who found it offensive.

The core of the complaint remains: the people in the House and Senate are insulated from the painful inefficiencies of our health care system because they have a gold-plated version of insurance paid for by the taxpayers, plus many of them are, as was pointed out, independently wealthy. I don't know what to do about that, and it troubles me.

#330 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 10:38 PM:

On Thursday, my new boss came back from vacation, effectively and truly becoming the manager. In those two days, I've received real appreciation, and more of it, than I did in the last 2 years from the bleeping blankhole he has replaced.

#331 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 11:37 PM:

I wanted to give a thumbs up to MOON, an indie-theater middling-budget SF movie.

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is a working stiff spaceman, the only human on a He3 mining operation on the moon. His three year contract is fortunately almost up, because he's in really sore shape. The video link to home is in "recorded message mode only" due to a bad satellite, and the only real conversations he has is with a utility robot ("GERTY," Kevin Spacey). He starts to see things . . . including when he's on the job fetching helium3 cylinders from the always-on surface scraping mining crawlers.

One such hallucination results in a near-fatal accident. One moment Sam is stuck in a depressurizing rover, the next he's on the infirmary cot being tended by GERTY.

And things get weird from there.

Savvy SF fans will probably figure it all out really quickly, but it is still really well done and worth seeing. The special effects -- "outdoor" shots of the lunar surface -- are modest but well done.

#332 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2009, 11:56 PM:

Marna and Vicki: REI has *great* customer service, IMHO. I've bought several pairs of shoes online, and several in stores from them (and lots of other stuff). Unfortunately, there is no REI in the NYC area, as far as I can tell from their website. (I have no idea where the NJ store is in relation to Brooklyn.)

What I do is have them send the shoes to the store (free shipping to their stores) try them on, and return them immediately if they don't fit. If you have to send stuff back and forth, the shipping charges would add up.

#333 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 12:17 AM:

Angiportus, what you've had to deal with sounds really horrid. Just adds to the problem that there's a 'diagnosis' that's superficially close to your situation, but not actually right. I would find that incredibly frustrating.

#334 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 12:27 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 331... I've been wanting to see Moon, but it never made it here. It's quite a different role for Rockwell than his playing Guy Fleegman in Galaxy Quest, I'd say, just from the coming attraction.

#335 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 12:51 AM:

David Harmon #311:

*umop 3p!sdn 3dh2 o2 j3pjo u! 3po>!un p33u 2,uop noh

#336 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 01:00 AM:

316, 317:
Yes, we may.

#337 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 01:23 AM:

Angiportus: first, I'm with you on untrimmed pages. I've never liked them.

Second: by me, labels only matter when they affect insurance payouts, access to appropriate treatment, or how other people treat you. A diagnostic label I'm personally convinced was incorrect got me partial insurance coverage of my shrink bills for years.

Let the rest of it roll off you. People with default neurology are never going to get the descriptions right anyway.

One of the things I love best about the SF community is its take on disability: there is no normal. Everyone's a bundle of different characteristics. Steve's great at running single-track programming, can't spell to save his life, is a good guitarist and drummer, and writes swell novels. Chuch is uproariously funny, a loyal friend, profoundly deaf, and has a trick memory for Ford auto part numbers. Teresa falls down when she laughs. Patrick can read a book while improvising on the guitar. Et cetera. It's who you are.

#338 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 01:49 AM:

Teresa, that was the most loving description and approval of the whole SF community that I've seen in a long time.

Thanks.

#339 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 02:52 AM:

Marilee @328, I figure that Amazon has finally trundled into the same kind of vast clue-free zone that Google(DoNoEvil)(ExceptInChina) has inhabited for quite some time.

#340 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 06:20 AM:

The bit about letting that particular bit of distortion roll off of me is a good one, esp. since its perpetrators seem not so preoccupied with making me "normal". I think the parrot-ers were just stumped and had no imagination or something. Right now I am mainly preoccupied with finding practical/material support.

#341 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 07:15 AM:

Paula Lieberman at #238 writes:

> Regarding the Gray parrot, parity errors, parody errors....
>
> Hamming it up, are they?

I looked at that for a bit and wondered why on earth you were shifting from bird puns to pigs - and then the realisation hit me. I'll consider myself outgeeked for now.

#342 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 07:17 AM:

Angiportus:
It took reading Temple Grandin to make me realize that neurotypical people are much less empathic/insightful than they feel they are. I don't *think* they're totally delusional (but then, I'm semi-neurotypical myself), but stories like yours and Grandin's support the theory that they're totally delusional.

****

The larger type/smaller type links seems to have gotten themselves reversed.

#343 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 07:30 AM:

I think I'm going to have to go thru YouTube and build up a collection of those K-Y His+Hers commercials. Just when I think they can't come up with a way to show a sex ad without outright saying this ad is about sex, they... ah... top themselves. The latest is about this French-Canadian couple and, this time, the metaphor is a cruise ship's big thick chimney and its horn going BWAAAAAAPPPPPPP!

#344 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 07:50 AM:

Links, Serge, links*!

-----
* I'm now deeply enough embedded in Dutch that this comment sounds vaguely sinister.

#345 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 08:39 AM:

Steve Taylor #341, re: parroty parody errors...

OW! I completely missed that aspect...

Nancy Lebovitz #342: Hmm. "delusional" doesn't seem to be quite the right word, but I don't know what is. There's certainly a serious comprehension gap....

PS: For those who haven't seen it: Institute For the Study of the Neurologically Typical.

#346 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 08:46 AM:

abi @ 344... Here is one. And another one. And yet another one.

#347 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 09:32 AM:

Amazon censors 1984.

Not that I'm in the market for a Kindle anyway, but this is not a selling point.

#348 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 12:44 PM:

abi #344: Very, ahem, dextrous of you.*


* Of: Is dat niet recht?

#349 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 01:05 PM:

Serge @ 346:

And now for something completely different related, actually (particularly starting about the 40 second mark).

#350 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 01:14 PM:

KeithS @ 349... Heheheh... Actually, when I originally posted that comment to Abi, I quickly found myself thinking of that skit although I don't know what Richard Nixon is doing in there. Oh. Wait. I get it.

#351 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 01:23 PM:

Lizzy L @ 329 ...
xeger, David, everyone else: it truly was a rant. I certainly don't want to do it, and I don't want anyone else to do it. It was a way of letting off steam: like watching a bloody, bang-bang movie. I apologize to all who found it offensive.

Thank you! It's (obviously) rather a sore spot!

The core of the complaint remains: the people in the House and Senate are insulated from the painful inefficiencies of our health care system because they have a gold-plated version of insurance paid for by the taxpayers, plus many of them are, as was pointed out, independently wealthy. I don't know what to do about that, and it troubles me.

That's certainly fair -- and I'm not sure what to do about it either. The only thing I can think of as an idea is something like the "Can I live on $x/week" experiments that have been done -- but for medical care...

#352 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 02:36 PM:

A bit late in remembering this... Three months ago was the 20th anniversary of the release of Field of Dreans.

#353 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 02:37 PM:

A bit late in remembering this... Three months ago was the 20th anniversary of the release of Field of Dreans.

#354 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 02:38 PM:

Dreams, NOT Dreans, whatever those are.

#355 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 02:55 PM:

Some people do get totally delusional about some things, and won't let go of said delusions even if you can manage to confront them with a proof. But I don't think that is so much a consequence of being neurotypical or not, as just not having the disposition that would lead one to open one's mind and pick up the clue phone. And even smart people can have blind spots like this. And cover them up with a nauseating mass of jargon that I can still see thru right away. It's bad enough when someone not all that smart or that involved does it; it's worse when it comes from someone close to you, someone you thought was smart.
I have checked out the site mentioned by #345 and it rings true for me as well as for folks that are sure they are on that spectrum.
I've got my own @#$%^&! spectrum. Autistics and me are about as similar as a black mamba and a black jaguar. Just the latest catchall, is what it is, and it once used to mean something, it once was useful for a segment of the population.
Anyway, I just watched the K-Y ads and had a good laugh. Now whenever I hear a ship blow its horn I'm gonna snicker...



#356 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 03:00 PM:

Fragano @348

No, you have it right.

#357 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 03:07 PM:

Totally cool interactive website. Fun with colors. Take a break, it's Sunday.

#358 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 03:10 PM:

Vicki @278: Neither is quite Cambridge or Somerville, alas -- I've not yet been brave enough to venture into Harvard Square for clothes-shopping -- but if you're willing to cross the river, I've personally had good experiences with the service at the REI in Boston, and my friends, including my trans friends, have good things to say about Fluevog's on Newbury Street. A lot of Fluevog's stuff that's not heels, ie the boots and stuff, is actually ungendered, so I'd be surprised if the staff gave you trouble. For the other, I've definitely bought things out of my age category at REIs before, though not my gender category -- I imagine it depends some on the individual salespeople you get, too.

(I've always thought that women buying mens' clothing was a fairly common thing, so I'm surprised the staff gives you trouble, but it's not something I have personal experience with, my friends are weird so my view of the world is warped, and stupidity abounds about those sorts of things. Le sigh.)

Online, I've had good luck with Vixens and Angels for New Rock boots (also ungendered) -- they were very patient with me as I ordered a size too large, returned them for a size too small, and then finally hit on the right size. (I paid for return shipping each time, but after the first order they paid to send my replacement merchandise to me. I figured that if I was going to spend $300+ on a pair of good boots, I should spend enough to get the Right Thing, dammit.)

I was also very pleased with my experience with Zappo's, where I also ordered a size too large -- their return process is even better, just print out a return label online, tape it on, and mail it back, with free shipping all ways (and free second-day for the replacement item, IIRC). These both work somewhat less well if you don't live or commute close to a UPS store or drop-off point, and even with that it usually took a week of the box sitting taped and ready to go in my front hall before I actually got it sent, but sometimes it beats the hell out of being condescended to by a bad salesperson.

An anti-recommendation for Hubba-Hubba in Central Square in Cambridge, which nominally carries New Rock and other boots -- their size and style selection is worse than spotty, and every time I visit, I get the impression that the staff don't care one way or another whether they get my business or not, certainly not to the point of (gasp!) ordering something for me.

#359 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 03:22 PM:

Angiportus #355: "blind spot"! That's the term I was grasping for!

There's things people so completely can't see, that they can't imagine anything might actually be there.... Naturally, we have our own blind spots, but there's plenty of NT's around to point them out to us, sometimes quite obnoxiously. But when NT's have a common blind spot, they tend not to listen when when someone from a "minority viewpoint" points it out...

#360 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 03:27 PM:

Random comment about shoe/clothing shopping: Stuff bought online from Land's End, can be returned to any Sears store, no problems.

#361 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 04:16 PM:

David #359:

I think shared blindspots are related to shared models of the world. If most everyone who's thought much about the differences between people has a model with five bins, you will be crammed into one of those five bins all the time. The fact that none of the bins fits you simply doesn't matter.

Compare with the situation of bisexuals and transgendered folks w.r.t. the gay vs straight bins, or the reaction libertarians and other outliers from the traditional left/right spectrum get in a lot of discussions.

It's *hard* to make yourself remember that your map, which you've spent years learning and applying to the world and living on, is not actually the territory.

Added to this, my sense is that most people have a set of more-or-less built in models/maps from some combination of biology and culture. And many of those are very useful, but they're never the territory. Autistics[1] have poor models of other people, whereas I seem to have the standard package of guessing and caring about other peoples' mental states. And yet, that model, leading to a deep intuition about what someone else is thinking or feeling or is capable of, can and will be exploited by a skilled con man or a demogogue. There are economics/psychology experiments in which autistics do better (behave more rationally) than non-autistics, because those are places where the default installed-by-the-factory model leads people astray.

[1] Note that now I'm binning.

#362 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 07:04 PM:

With regard to shoes:

No, I'm not going to Worldcon (I decided I'd rather spend my time in Montreal when my friends weren't going to be up to their ears in a Worldcon; I may regret not being there, but energy and vacation time are both finite), but I should probably try to work my schedule out in such a way as to go up to MEC on some future visit.

I am willing to cross the Charles, though the odds of actually doing so in practice aren't all that high. (I also have a pointer to a shoe store in Harvard Square, which however crowded it may be, is convenient from the viewpoint of getting from South Station to Arlington.)

Ah, yes, looking at the shoes online before trying them on does make sense.

Thanks, everyone.

#363 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 08:50 PM:

Rob@221: I could imagine a court case that this law would have been a response to.

If you've got that good an imagination, try this: -"An internal British Airways memo has been distributed to all staff confirming that a pole-vaulter's pole is not acceptable carry-on baggage."- (found in the squibs section of a Sydney newspaper in 1985; I make no promises about its reliability, but the visual it invokes is priceless.)

Kevin, Guy, et al: I'm not sure about "tantum" lectores -- it doesn't seem to carry quite the contempt for fans that I heard in the original -- but in 35 years the reading of the motto may have changed. OTOH, the late great George Flynn got NESFA's packrats spot-on some years ago; someone fed up with cruft in the clubhouse declared the motto was "[Don't throw it away,] we might need that!", which he rendered as Forsan illo egebimus ("lest we have need of that", or perhaps "It is possible we will need that"). IIRC, Paula (Murray) arrived at the next Boskone with that on enough badges for all active NESFen.

Xopher: I'll trade you one of those for the induhvidual in Pune who (a) believed two processes at about the same time "happened by luck" to have the same PID -- multiple times a day, and (b) still insists (4 months later) on sending me summarized data when I have told him several times to send me raw. (I don't do TS; this was a "fellow employee" (of the offshoring variety, but that's no excuse for him), but the worst I've done to him is put "Computers don't do luck" in 16-point bold red type in an email.)

joann@248 I had someone from some marginal political party (possibly Fulani's?) call me back to complain of my rudeness after I had said "We don't accept telephone solicitations" and hung up. (An approach I developed to avoid the sort of tangle you describe.)

#364 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 09:17 PM:

Blind spots...I've had some of mine pointed out not by "normals" but by some discovery I make, or something I read--online or offline.
Some of the people with the biggest, or the blindest, blind spots are the ones with too much power. Even a counselor can be harmful instead of helpful, if they don't wise up.
The woman who had the preoccupation with my ancestors was an example. She kept hounding me to do a family tree although there wasn't enough known family for a seedling, and the problems I was having were occupational ones anyway. I do have a form of ADD that doesn't respond to medicine, and she never even listened to that possibility when I brought it up (official diagnosis was later.) She had been helpful with some things early on, but then reached the end of her helpfulness and neither of us quite caught on in time to help me.
I had better luck with the Fraudian jerk many years back. That was when I was in school, and he assumed and announced some scabrous things about some creative works I did, said remarks being not only gross but implausible. I raised the roof, and the whole situation wound up in the hands of the dept. heads, because I was concerned that he would harm people more vulnerable than I was by telling them things that just weren't right. It was a bit of a teapot-tempest, I guess; he did qualify his statements as guesses but he wouldn't stop making them, and I was just lucky to be able to defend myself. Anyway, he wound up apologizing, looking like a collapsed jellyfish, and the dept. head thanked me, because she said there'd been other complaints about counselors.
I decided a while back that there's stuff out there I just don't know or even suspect anything about, and should be on the lookout for, though I'm not always successful.
Fragano and Abi, thanks for not being gauche.

#365 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 09:36 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz, #342: Are the larger type / smaller type links still reversed for you? They're working for me.

(We'll be replacing that system with a more sensible one soon, anyway.)

#366 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 09:46 PM:

Patrick, thanks-- the type sizes have straightened themselves out.

#367 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2009, 10:02 PM:

Angiportus #364: You are a person of rectitude.

#368 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 12:16 AM:

Vicki @ 362: If you're ever going to be making it to Ottawa, do let me know ...

MEC will require you to buy a membership, just so you know, but it is $5 CDN and gives you a lifetime membership. Also, it's one share and entitles you to vote at their yearly meetings and stuff - they will mail you a ballot.

Occasionally they accidentally make too much money and send out dividend cheques. I think over the last twenty years I have turned a 400% profit on my $5.00, though what you get may be based also on lifetime spending at MEC, which topic I do not wish to think about too closely; they sort of own my Visa, especially now that they ALSO make attractive comfortable casual urban clothes.

#370 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 08:05 AM:

Re: the sidebar on Frank McCourt: Also remembered at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles.

#371 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 09:06 AM:

Far too early this morning, I was dreaming about encountering a not-very-pleasant apple pie at a farmer's market. I was yanked out of the doze that followed by the realization that pie crust has a lot of similarities to Damascus steel: two phases with a common element, formed as many thin layers by the manufacturing process.

I'm not sure what, if anything, to make of the idea. I've tried a couple of times to make pie crust using vegetable oil instead of solid fat, and the results have been unsatisfactory -- tough, hard, flexible, maybe a bit more like Damascus steel than I want. The insight might give me a clue about how to change my process.

#372 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 09:49 AM:

And the proof of the quality of both Damascus steel and pie crust is when each winds up embedded in someone's belly.
I once dreamed I had to mend the fabric stretched tightly over the front of a speaker cabinet. For this, I had to use one of those needles that is curved into a semicircle. On waking, I realized I had never before guessed what that kind of needle was for.
I also dreamed of a special pencil sharpener just for sharpening those flat pencils you find on construction projects. It had 2 cutter wheels. I have never yet seen one in waking life, though I suppose they are out there.

#373 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 11:07 AM:

Angiportus @372: My mother (the general contractor) always sharpened her flat pencils with a drywall knife -- the kind of razor-holder that a bunch of *ssh*l*s managed to get the media to repeatedly call 'boxcutters,' spreading the name around.

#374 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 11:17 AM:

Elliott (@373) yup <ptui> – *taannng* whut we useta have penknives fur back in the day …

#375 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 11:37 AM:

I used to work for a market research organization (if they are doing true research, and not building a list of possibles, they're under the same exemption as charities and politicals). As someone who had to be on the phones, and someone who did the coordination and analysis, and someone who heard the training more often than anyone would want (something about a 100% turnover per *month* - it's not a wonderful job, folks, and it's hard to find people that are accurate enough to do it right and willing to be paid operator wages), I have this to offer:

If you're on the phone, you are willing to be converted. It's the operator's job to figure out how. Trust me, it actually works sometimes, and when you only have to get 4 calls an hour, it's worth wrestling for a couple of minutes. For those people who know they aren't willing to be converted, remember:

The person on the other end of the phone is doing a horrible job. They are being told to push, to get that last one, and if they miss quota too often, they'll be fired. And they make as much in a day as you do in an hour or two. Don't push back, don't be obnoxious - although they should give you the client information on request (they don't, because they know that with the best will in the world, only 5% of willing contributors will bother to look up the info, and fewer yet will bother to donate).

Just say "I'm sorry, I'm not interested" - AND HANG UP. It seems impolite - in fact I see a couple of comments above that say "be rude, hang up" - but it's not. It's the best thing you can do, for you and for the operator. For them it's a volume game, and if a hard refusal is off the phone, that's two more calls he can make, and maybe one of those is the complete. For you, it is a HARD refusal, rather than a soft one ("well, I'm not interested; I would need all this information; can I call you back?") and if they need more people at the end, they go through the soft refusals first (because it's more likely to get the one or two they need).

If you are interested, be interested and polite. If you feel uncomfortable about anything, tell them "no". If you aren't interested, say "thank you, but no." and hang up before they can say anything more. If they're really obnoxious, sure, play games to screw them up, but it should never get that far; either you're interested and therefore want the push, or you're not interested and have hung up already, no?

It's that simple, and you feel better and they feel better. And that's charity in the true sense of the word.

#376 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 12:42 PM:

Mycroft #375:

I suppose it must be some form of whack-a-mole, but I seem to believe that I have a divine mission to make sure that whoever it is, along with all their minions, overlords, and indirect associates, has sufficient motivation to never pollute my phone lines again.

#377 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 01:45 PM:

re: NeuroTyp (NT means two other things to me). The more I read and the more I deal with my friend's autistic boyfriend, the more I believe I'm in high-functioning Aspie territory. I don't have the "drop into my own world" thing in general, but I do have the hyperfocus, and all the other triggers.

It was good to know - not because of the label, but because I can look at answers in that category, and see if they make sense or could work for me. Answers - especially clear, stepped out, testable and measurable answers - are good for people like me.

But if you're not, you're not, even if you type out that way to others. And pushing doesn't help, I know. And yeah, there's some blind spots out there with the normals (and now that someone has taught me (by putting it out there for me to read) where those blind spots are, I can see how it works and assist those who care about me to not react wrongly).

My big one is "if you don't explicitly explain, I won't get it" (oh, and "there is no such thing as a small decision. If you ask my opinion on something, it will take time. If you freak out about that, you'll make it worse, and it's Not My Fault.") I can be trained, and I can induct from knowledge. I don't pick things up from environment - especially non-verbal things.

David Harmon in the old thread 800-802 hit it perfectly for me. I don't get social interaction, especially courting interaction, and double especially the non-verbal part. What I do get came from one or two people telling me what she was feeling at time X, and me correlating that to what she looked like at time X so that the next time that happened, I'd know (of course, those are "just friends", so guess what I'm still missing). And maybe other people work the same way, so I now look for that in others. Of course, I'm trying to understand and interpret the equivalent of Dutch, so I act like most people with one, introductory, course in whatever language do when dropped into a room full; stammer along (frequently saying the wrong thing in response, of course), concentrate *hard*, and miss most of it. I'm told that there's another type that does the "stare and ignore the obvious signals" bit...

Unlike a real language, one just *can't* stop the conversation and ask "sorry, I didn't get that. Can you try it again, simpler and more slowly?" And one of the reasons one can't is that the person talking body has never had to worry about people not getting it, or about reading others', and the question will be self-defeating or not actually have an answer ("I don't know what it means, I just do it").

#378 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 02:07 PM:

#375: Uh, excuse me?

If I answer the phone, it's not because I'm "willing to be converted". It's because I might be expecting a call that's of personal interest and relevance to me. Not some unwanted salesperson.

I didn't pick up the phone call telling me that my father was dead because I thought it was going to be just another telemarketing call. So don't tell me to be polite.

#379 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 02:13 PM:

#366 Joann: anything you can do on the phone don't work. There is literally nothing you can say that will make the operator's day appreciably worse than the accumulated "we hate you, go away", or busy signals, or no pickups, of the other 600 calls he made today. And yesterday's 600. And apart from that, it doesn't work...

You only get the operator (and possibly the supervisor). If the operator's good (and the supervisor got the job because she's a good operator), boorish behaviour on the other end gets ignored(*), or gossiped about (some day I'll tell the "I'm watching porn" story here). If he's not good, it's one more thing that will eventually get him to leave the company/industry. But this job pays fast-food wages, and despite all the shit fast-food workers put up with, there's always more people available. Call centre work doesn't involve being burned, roasted, froze, or having no skin on one's hands from washing them so often. Also, since the client never sees the operator, people who are - odd-looking? - can get and keep this job where McDonald's won't even look at them.

The way to stop it is to talk to the charities hiring the marketers. Tell them that you would have been interested, but their method of soliciting is too invasive for you and you have chosen not to deal with anyone who does it. If enough do, they'll stop, because it will work better for them.

So, yeah, it's whack-a-mole. If you're doing it for your own sake, fine - I don't like it, and it is counterproductive if your goal is to stop them calling you, but fine. If you're trying to stop the calling (either to you or in general), my advice as a former insider, it won't happen. Just say "No thank you" and hang up.

* There are those who take it as a challenge, of course. Just put a note in the file: "call this guy, and listen to the rant. He's GOOD!" and a callback for an hour. There are also some who won't start it, but will play along. Yeah, it's probably abusive, possibly illegal, but it happens.

#380 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 02:31 PM:

#378: That's not what I meant, but I can see how it can be taken that way, so let me be more clear.

If you *stay* on the phone, you're willing to be converted. That's what the training says, and it's actually right more often than you would think.

You may not believe that, but it's true. So, say "no thank you." AND HANG UP. Please note that the politeness isn't the important part here - I just believe to at least a certain extent in karma, so I default to unnecessary politeness. The hang up is the important part. It seems rude - ruder, perhaps, than being verbally obnoxious, because we've been trained to agree to an end to the conversation (note, abuse of this is a hallmark of all salespeople, on the phone or in person. They will not perform their side of ending ritual, unless there's a sale. Watch for it - they're trained to explicitly take advantage of stuff like this. It works because we "know" it, but not explicitly). But it isn't, and it works.

I'm not saying what I'm saying because it's the nicest thing you can do for the operator (it is, given that you're not going to listen to them, but that's beside the point). I'm saying it because it's the most effective way of stopping at least that campaign from affecting *you*.

In the specific case of "waiting for a bad but important phone call" (or having just got that call, and now waiting for calls from friends and relations), telling them that is also usually effective - I know I put in notes of "really, DO NOT CALL this one back, family emergency." with my hard refusal designation. But that doesn't stop the most effective method from being, as soon as you know it's a spiel, interrupt, say your piece, and "click".

#381 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Mycroft @ 377: Some of your points on body language have made me think about my fluency in that aspect of language, and how I've used it to enhance my communication as a hard-of-hearing person in a hearing world. This, in turn, leads me to think that each side has something to teach the other. I use body language quite deliberately to indicate things to people and animals, and I always pay attention to it, because I get a lot of meta-information from it. I suspect many HOH and late-deafened (LD) people would also be more aware of body language than the average hearing person.

Professional actors are another group of people who are very aware of body language, and how to modify it deliberately. That might be another avenue for non-NeuroTyp people to use for gaining experience or training in body language.

#382 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 05:54 PM:

Unlike a real language, one just *can't* stop the conversation and ask "sorry, I didn't get that. Can you try it again, simpler and more slowly?" And one of the reasons one can't is that the person talking body has never had to worry about people not getting it, or about reading others', and the question will be self-defeating or not actually have an answer ("I don't know what it means, I just do it").

This is one of those things that make me think "Wow, I really have lived in the touchy-feely SF Bay Area surrounded by your-way-is-okay-it's-just-not-my-way artistic types all my life." If a friend — or even a reasonably close amiable acquaintance — said something to me like "Because of neurological issues, I have trouble reading body language. I may need to stop you during a conversation and ask what you mean by your body language. Is that okay?" my response would be yes, of course it's okay! It's as okay as when a deaf friend who lip-reads says "I didn't get the last thing you said, please repeat it" or if a friend with ADD says "Sorry, I got off track there — what was the middle part?"

That's not to say I'll always know immediately what I was trying to convey by my body language, but I'm certainly willing to try to figure it out if asked to.

The idea that people wouldn't be willing to even try that leaves me as gobsmacked as when I read a piece by somebody with prosopagnosia whose "friends" (scare-quotes deliberate) were apparently unwilling to say "Hi, it's Pat" or "Hi, it's Leslie, from chess club" when encountering the face-blind person. Wait, these people are your friends, and they'd rather make you go through this guessing game than simply identify themselves by name?

Sometimes it really feels like a matter of "some people have neurological issues, and other people are just jerks."

#383 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 06:28 PM:

Re: unwanted phone calls -- I almost wish I had a handy two-year old to hand the phone to. They love to talk on the phone.

#384 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 07:14 PM:

re 379: Joann: anything you can do on the phone don't work. There is literally nothing you can say that will make the operator's day appreciably worse than the accumulated "we hate you, go away", or busy signals, or no pickups, of the other 600 calls he made today.

Except for having a Lord of Hell trapped in your Ansaphone.

#385 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 07:18 PM:

Angiportus, #372, curved needles are also used in upholstery, quilts, and a lot of handwork.

#386 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 07:22 PM:

Those of you who were on newsgroups nine years ago probably remember when Remarq started storing our posts and doing inline linking to ads. Well, yesterday's WashPost ombudsman's column talked about when they'd put inline ads in WashPost articles. When, not if. So I sent him a scan of a column their chief tech columnist wrote about it and asked why they would be so unethical.

#387 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 07:36 PM:

Marilee @ 386:

I absolutely loathe those things. They're obnoxious, they get in the way, they slow page loading down, and you have to find a safe spot out of the way to rest your cursor. They disrupt ease of reading even when you haven't triggered one of the pop-up balloons because they're often obnoxiously different from the surrounding text (e.g. double-underlined and green amid ordinary black text). They make a site's usability and overall pleasantness go way down.

I guess they're tired of people reading stuff for free online and want to steer them back to physical newspapers?

#388 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 08:09 PM:

On oil pastry: I don't have a cookbook handy with the recipe, but I'm under the impression that it's best used with stuff like meat pies (or 'raised' pies), where flakiness is not essential. It's an okay pastry, but not what you'd want with fruit, for example, unless it was all you could make right then.

On telemarketers: I do as Mycroft W says: say 'No thanks', and hang the phone up - usually gently. Politeness won't hurt, anyway.

#389 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 08:12 PM:

Oh yeah, just to make life really interesting, I've got shingles. On the head. (Yes, I'm using an antiviral.)

I don't recommend the experience.

#390 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 08:26 PM:

The finished MITSFS seal.

I played around with scrollwork a lot but ultimately decided that cleanliness and readability were the better part of valor. Thanks to all who helped with the Latin.

CHip @363: I think both our reading of the motto has changed and fandom has changed. Very few of the people currently involved in the Society were involved in the fandom of 35 years ago (to say nothing of being alive to be involved in fandom). The modern fandom that our members partake of is its own kind of beast -- still not part of the Society's core mission, viz. the Library, and well-enough served by existing institutions that there's less pressure on us to expand to encompass them.

#391 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 08:53 PM:

CHip @ #363 - Maybe Paula Lieberman? I've only been to two Boskones and they have not been that long ago (once just before the Boston Worldcon, once after). Or another Paula Murray? There is one here in KC, I actually worked with her at the ad agency.

And the comment about the vaulting pole not being suitable carry-on made me giggle.

#392 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 09:58 PM:

Joel@371: contra Matt@388, last Wednesday's Globe ran a taste test in which the oil-crusted fruit pie came first. Too many links to post (5 separate recipes, plus discussion); go to boston.com, change "local search" to "site search" and look for "pie crust". (wrt tough crust: that's usually cited as involving too much water. I have minimal experience, but I do remember that after the shortening is properly mixed in, only a small amount (also well-mixed) of water is needed.)

Kevin: I don't remember any \pressure/ to be fans; it was more like "they're even geekier than we are!" (which was saying a lot, back in the days of <10% female students).

#394 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 10:42 PM:

I need to slow down while reading these. Curved needles are NOT a way to get rid of telephone solicitors!

#395 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 11:36 PM:

I'm with Mycroft on the phone thing. I did telephone fundraising for the UW (for pay) back when I was in college for about 9 months, and have done volunteer phonebanking for Planned Parenthood (GOTV type stuff) for the past few years.

Just say no thanks and hang up. Possibly even "Please do not call me" and hang up. It's what I do for unwanted phone calls. It's fast, it's easy, and it gets the job done. It isn't rude, but it saves everyone time.

#396 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2009, 11:38 PM:

I guess they're tired of people reading stuff for free online and want to steer them back to physical newspapers?

Well you know, they do have to pay for the reporters, the bandwidth, the IT guys, and all that somehow.

(that being said, I hate those inline ads, too)

#397 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 12:03 AM:

If someone phones me and starts the conversation by lying (e.g., "I'm not trying to sell you anything"), I'm going to be rude. If that drives people away from that job, that's a good thing. If the lying is on the initiative of the caller, s/he deserves to lose the job. If it's the official policy of the organization, then it's a job that nobody should be filling.

#398 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 02:28 AM:

Xopher @394: Curved needles are NOT a way to get rid of telephone solicitors!

Granted, not easily applied, but I'm sure it would discourage most of them.

#399 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 03:00 AM:

"Pardonnez-moi, monsieur, mais où est la catastrophe?"
- Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, shaken out of his coma by the lies that Paris is burning and that Zola's head is - again - stuck in a bucket.

(I need this kind of silliness after spending most of the weekend on my knees, and my nose nearly to the floor, while scrubbing then re-sealing the grouting of the tiles in the kitchen and in the two bathrooms.)

#400 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 04:11 AM:

I still can't quite see being rude to the poor so-and-sos who are forced to do such despicable things to earn their bread; telling them to please not call me at home, take my number out of their computer and mentioning that I am on the do-not-call list should be enough. (Politeness is indicated too for all those people stuck behind a counter who have to deal with folks like me all day, customers whose manners might be worse than mine.)
One's wrath is better aimed at the bosses of such invaders, and a system that makes such intrusions thinkable in the first place.

#401 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 04:57 AM:

Paula Lieberman #238:

Only a little, a hamlet you might say, though if they keep it up and go the full Monty, it could deteriorate into spamming.

#402 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 08:17 AM:

Before I explain why they should not be calling me, I try to remember to say "I know this isn't your fault." When I'm finished, I sincerely wish them a much better job, and soon.

That last one startles them. Almost all of them say "thank you" in a real human voice.

#403 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 11:38 AM:

Serge #399

"Ouch your head's in a bucket
Oh Zola, oh Zola
Ouch your head's in a bucket
Will you ever learn?"

"Please fix it,
Dear Sparky, dear Sparky, dear Sparky
Please fix it,
Dear Sparky,
Please Gil rescue me!"

"Just hold still
Oh Zola, oh Zola, oh Zola
Just hold still oh Zola
And I'll extract you."

"But there's danger
Dear Sparky, dear Sparky, dear Sparky
But there's danger dear Sparky
I'm in great distress."

"I've blocked off the monsters,
Oh Zola, oh Zola,
I've blocked off the monsters
You're safe from them now!"

"But the clanks have got sharp knives
Have sharp knives, have sharp knives
But the clanks have got sharp knifes
About to cut me!"

"I've tools which will stop them
Oh Zola, oh Zola,
I've tools which will stop them
And which I've applied."

"But I'm stuck in this bucket,
Dear Sparky, dear Sparky
But I'm stuck in this bucked
And I can't get out!

"I've a big wrench!"
Said someone, said someone, said someone
"I've a big wrench!" said someone
Not Zola or Gil.

"Oh No! No!"
Said Zola, said Zola, said Zola,
"Oh No! No!" said Zola
As the someone stomped in.

'Twas a young spark, a young spark
A young spark, a young spark
'Twas a young spark, a young spark
And a very Mad Girl.

"I'll stay in the bucket,"
Said Zola, said Zola
"I'll stay in the bucket,"
"Big bad Spark Mad Girl."

"Oh goody," said the Mad Girl,
Said the Mad Girl, said the Mad Girl,
"Oh goody," said the Mad Girl,
As she glared at Gil...

#404 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 12:15 PM:

Curved surgical needles (suture needles) are available in various sizes as well as cutting surfaces. Back in the old days, we had to know which kind of needle was appropriate for the task and then also select the suture material. Now, modern sutures come attached to the needle, so ordering is a matter of selecting the suture and then from a limited choice of needles.

Half-curved needles are used mainly for closing cadavers after the necropsy is finished.

#405 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 12:16 PM:

Paula Lieberman @ 403... Heheheh. Well done. That Zola, always getting herself into some kind of trouble.

#406 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 12:16 PM:

Cooks Illustrated says that Vodka is the key to good pastry. The alcohol doesn't develop the gluten, but does make it workable. And it all bakes off, except for the parts that are consumed by the chef.

It seems to work here.

#407 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 12:44 PM:

PJ Evans 389:
"Oh yeah, just to make life really interesting, I've got shingles. On the head."

Back a few years ago, I was diagnosed with shingles of the eyesocket.

Man, I've never been so glad to have a diagnosis turn out wrong. (Never did find out why my eye was hurting so badly, but it went away after a week or so and has never come back.)

#408 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 12:57 PM:

Apologies if this has come through already, but I thought it was sweet and made me lol.

#409 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 01:03 PM:

eric...without going into tedious details, I owe you big time.

#410 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 01:27 PM:

Paula - hilarious! Except that tune is going to be stuck between my ears for a while.

#411 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 02:25 PM:

C. Wingate@393: Good lord. I am now officially completely weirded out.

Random observation #1: The lyrics appear to be one of the orally-transmitted versions from the Kingdom of Calontir, where they repeat the first verse at the end.

Random observation #2: I wrote those lyrics back in 1978 or so. If anything else I ever commit to paper/pixels/print has that much staying power, I will count myself a happy writer.

#412 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 02:26 PM:

More of what editors do. Representatives of Vanity Fair's editorial, research and copy departments apply their red (and green and blue) pencils to Sarah Palin's resignation speech.

#413 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 02:35 PM:

CHip @ 392: Thanks for the link to the oil-based pie crust; I'll give it a try sometime soon. Most of the fresh fruit around here is still imported, but the local stuff should be appearing soon.

#414 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 03:06 PM:

Jacque @ #408, I particularly like the minesweeper, although the pooch with the scope is impressive too.

#415 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 04:59 PM:

Teresa, #402, thanks for the helpful hints, I'll try to remember them next time I have to dissuade a caller.

#416 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 07:46 PM:

Speaking of delightful videos, someone passed this on to my wife yesterday, and she showed it to me, and I have been sharing it with everyone since. It's the delightful and educational Tinfoil Hat Song:
http://eclectech.co.uk/mindcontrol.php

(The paranoid, such as myself, will need to enable JavaScript and Flash, which is somewhat ironic now that I think about it.)

#417 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 07:50 PM:

Xopher: I'm glad (if not a wee bit puzzled) that I helped.

#418 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 07:52 PM:

#416: Eclectech has all sorts of fun and rude animations.

#419 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 08:06 PM:

eric - let's just say that I've never made so much as a flaky piecrust in my life (soggy yes, leathery yes, flaky no), let alone any more exotic pastry. And there have been times when I've wanted to add gluten to something but couldn't because it would immediately clump. Tests to see whether gluten flour will clump in alcohol will ensue. So will tests to see if the same applies to powdered pectin.

#420 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 08:32 PM:

#419
Xopher, it looks like what you want for a flaky piecrust using vodka is about 50/50 vodka (doesn't have to be high-end) and water, not more than about a half cup all together

#421 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 08:32 PM:

Xopher @ 419... Dare I ask how a leathery piecrust is made? Were I into bilingual puns, I'd say the chef doesn't know the difference entre cuire a piecrust and a piece of cuir.

#422 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 08:40 PM:

Thanks, P J Evans! I won't have a chance to try this right away, but I'll let you know when I do.

Serge, you knead it like a bread dough for ten minutes. Mmm, leathery. :-P

#423 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 10:06 PM:

Yowza! Hundred Years War soldiers' database online and searchable!

#424 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 10:37 PM:

With a bit of help from Adrian, I have established that REI doesn't carry any shoes to fit me. We haven't ruled out EMS yet, and Marna's suggestion of MEC is still promising.

#425 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 10:44 PM:

Xopher, that is the plan. Tough pie crust is good if you are making hand-held pies (empanadas, whatever), as in for an SCA event.

That's where I learned about making tough pie pastry. (haven't done this for a long while, had to grit my teeth and force myself to do it because I'm a good hand with good, flaky pie crusts.)

#426 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 10:56 PM:

Paula Lieberman #403: Cute... Might be a good theme song for those fugitive broadcasters of The Weasel Queen shows!

#427 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 10:59 PM:

Paula Helm Murray #425: Hmm... That's most of why I didn't like the few empanadas I've tried (from a place back in NYC). What about pie floaters?

#428 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 11:09 PM:

David, for that I'd use a flaky crust, you want it to float and you need to be able to cut it up with a spoon to eat it.

(I looked it up, the illustration was a meat pie on top of a pretty yummy-looking pea soup. snif. I'd like it but I'd be the only one in my household to eat it. and sigh.)

And I learned something new, never heard pie floater use

#429 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 11:48 PM:

Xopher— Alton Brown's Good Eats has shown how to make pie crust several times, once or twice with alcohol. He uses a food processor on the pulse mode.

The key seems to be adding the water via squirt bottle, so as not to add too much.

Mind you, I have never made a pie crust in my life, and given the state of this kitchen (too small and not much counter space), it will be a while before I attempt it.

#430 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 12:45 AM:

The key thing that I didn't get when I was failing Pie Crust 101, lo these many years ago, was that not everything should be mixed thoroughly. It's the discontinuous nature of pie crust, pre-baking, that makes it flaky. Duh, you might say, oh yes, you might well say duh with great duhness. But I was a bread baker, and pastry was a concept I didn't grok too easily.

#431 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 01:06 AM:

Now you're all making me feel bad that I didn't at least attempt to make cherry pie this weekend. The cherries were delicious, though.

#432 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 02:06 AM:

Serge@405: Wait'll you see next Monday's strip. (The next two after tonight's are up early at the sneaky gate, no doubt to make sure that they go up on schedule despite convention stuff.)

#433 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 02:28 AM:

Serge @421:
What a queer question.

#434 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 02:52 AM:

Xopher @ 430: I took a baking class, and was flabbergasted when the chef has us wrap up what was obviously not properly mixed dough in plastic, and put it in the fridge for an hour. Accepting that it could be so ... so ... obviously Not Finished Mixing is tough*.

I still shy away from making recipes for flaky dough. Tart dough doesn't cause me as much consternation, and a crumb topping is delicious. I managed a good cherry pie last winter. I used the Cooks Illustrated recipe with Trader Joe's bottled cherries for the filling. For a crust, I used a recipe from Wayne Gisslen's "Professional Baking" for Almond Short Dough (5oz powdered almonds, 8 oz butter, 10 oz flour - oh, my!), topped with a Betty Crocker almond-crumb top. It came out yummy and elegant, and it was amusing to run the gamut from Betty Crocker through CI to a professional book. That almond short dough was wild to work with. It just fell apart, but that was OK.

The Gisslen book has the most thorough explanations I've ever read, and the recipes don't make huge quantities.

-------
*No pun intended, naturally.

#435 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 02:59 AM:

David Harmon #427 & Paula Helm Murray #428:
First time I ever ate something like that was at Sydney's Harry's Cafe de Wheels. It was an experience. One I would not care to repeat.

#436 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 03:47 AM:

Mycroft, #375: If you're on the phone, you are willing to be converted. It's the operator's job to figure out how.

NOT. I have a telephone number for MY convenience, not that of every loon with an agenda to push. This is why I'm on the DNC list -- and why I don't agree with all the "exemptions" from the DNC laws. I'm on that list because I don't want to hear from you either.

I will give Special Snowflake Exemptions exactly ONE chance to take "no" for an answer politely. If they don't -- or worse, if they start whining about how they are Special Snowflake Exemptions -- the next response goes straight to tactical nukes. There's a calculated reason for this; I know that a lot of telemarketers keep their own private lists of people not to call again, and I want to be on as many of those as possible. I don't give a rat's ass what they think of me afterwards, as long as they NEVER CALL ME AGAIN.

On the good side, I've recently had several Special Snowflake Exemptions respond to my, "Are you aware that this number is on the Federal Do Not Call List?" with some variation of, "I'm sorry, we'll put you on our no-call list." So (1) I'm clearly not the only one using this tactic, and (2) it does seem to be working, albeit slowly.

Also, @380: If you *stay* on the phone, you're willing to be converted.

AKA "as long as you can keep the mark talking, you haven't lost the sale." Which indicates to me that continuing to play along, for as long as it amuses me to do so, would actually be a good response, from the POV of causing maximum inconvenience to the telemarketer. Fortunately (I suppose), my patience with playing that game is very limited.

(Once, many years ago, I got suckered into a round of trying to convince a telemarketer that even though I agreed he was offering a good deal, it would not be a good deal FOR ME because I wasn't interested in his product. I simply could not understand why we kept going around and around over the same ground, and after about 5 minutes I finally got tired of trying to make him see reason and hung up. It wasn't until much later that I learned about the above "training" tactic. When honesty becomes a waste of time, that's when people resort to other things.)

#437 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 05:59 AM:

"I'm sorry, Mr. Bell is in a meeting at the moment. Can he call you back?"

No, I don't think I can quite pull off the right tone and accent for that, but has anyone used such tricks, or the more devious ones?

#438 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 06:15 AM:

Dave @437:
has anyone used such tricks, or the more devious ones?

"Sorry, maar mijn Nederlands is heel slecht. Kunt u later terugbellen als mijn man hier is?"

It is, admittedly, a fairly context-specific solution.

#439 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 07:50 AM:

Paula Helm Murray: #428: I first learned about pie floaters from Pratchett's The Last Continent. In fact, I've never actually had one. (Indeed, I've never been to Australia.) I do make pea soup occasionally, though -- perhaps I could find some way to "fake it", say with an appropriate hor d'oeuvre (from frozen, not being a fraction of the baker of some folks here.).

Soon Lee #435: Was "Harry" one of CMOT-Dibbler's many analogues? ;-)

#440 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 07:59 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 432... Where? Where is that sneaky gate, thru which I can peek at the future events in Agatha's life?

From today's installment...
"Are you going to Professor Goodwin's freestyle reanimation demonstration?

By the way, here is a photo of one of the Foglio spawns. For some reason, the setting looks very foglioesque.

#441 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 08:07 AM:

Hurrah for open threadiness just when I need it.

I'm looking for a lavishly illustrated fairy tale collection for reading out loud to my 4 year old. She loves the sophisticated language and grisly details of the original tales, so there's no need to worry about whether the collection has been santized for little kids. (Though we'll be leaving The Juniper Tree and Bluebeard until she's a little older.) The key thing is the pictures.

Most of the big fairy tale collections seem to have one picture per tale. I'm hoping for about one per page--and I'd really rather have a collection than buy individual volumes. She loves big books, like the ones I read, because they're much more grown up.

Any suggestions? This (and LibraryThing) seem like the places to ask...

#442 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 08:08 AM:

Teresa and Mycrofts' posts raise this really important point: The person on the other end of the phone is human, and is probably doing this lousy and intrusive job because he (or she) has very few options.

Now, the problem is that intrusive advertising is a net loss for mankind. It is a win for the advertisers (sometimes) because most of the cost of their advertising is borne by people who don't want to get the ad, but have it force-fed to them--people who have an interesting conversation interrupted to talk to some conman trying to sell them an extended warranty, people who put down the book they're reading so they can be begged for money for some fraudulent charity, people whose few daily minutes of peace and quiet are broken up, not so they can converse with someone they care about, but so a stranger can try to hit them with a sales pitch. (Note that the costs here are mostly not in dollars, but in attention.)

People who do that for a living may feel that they have little choice, like many drug dealers and prostitutes and other small-time criminals. They're human, and we need to remember that. But there's no value in forgetting that what they're doing to earn their living is fundamentally bad, destructive, wrong, evil. It's not evil like being a concentration camp guard or a slave trader or an assassin or something, but it's a lousy thing to do. When you take part in something lousy, you ought to expect to get feedback from your intended victims that doesn't let you pretend it's not a lousy thing you're doing. You've interrupted my meal with my family so you could try to sell me siding.

Now, I don't curse these folks out--as soon as I work out what kind of call it is[1], I tell them please not to call me again and I hang up on them. They've already used as much of my time as I want to give them. But I hope my tone makes it clear that I'd be about as happy to see a roach crawl across my floor as I am to talk to them. They're doing something rotten, and it ought to feel rotten.

I'll have to think about how to add Teresa's line about hoping they get a better job soon to this. But I'm not sure I'm empathetic enough to carry it off, under these circumstances. This is surely a flaw in my compassion for others, because I can usually find some kind of compassion even for people who have done much worse stuff than being phone spammers.

[1] Of course, it's never a sales call. It's an opportunity I'm being offered to get some small worthless service for free, after which I'll be expected to pay something. But nobody ever says it's a sales call, even when it's obviously a sales call. Because grifters only tell you the truth when it's to their advantage, if then.

#443 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 08:28 AM:

Dave Bell @ 437 ...
"I'm sorry, Mr. Bell is in a meeting at the moment. Can he call you back?"
No, I don't think I can quite pull off the right tone and accent for that, but has anyone used such tricks, or the more devious ones?

"Oh. I'm sorry. That person doesn't exist!"

"Ah. If you're asking for that name, you clearly aren't calling for anybody here -- kindly take my number off your list, and never call again."

I've been on the receiving end of:
"Look. He's still dead. He was dead the last time you called, and the time before that."

More memorably entertaining was the time a friend's phone [male, known to be single and living alone] got answered with a particularly sultry:
"Hello... [name]'s escort service -- how can we help you today?"

#444 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 08:33 AM:

Laurie Mann has announced that the Anticipation (2009 Worldcon) program guide is available as a PDF.

It's a draft, of course; the program (sorry, programme) will probably continue to squirm and change right through to the end of the con.

#445 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 08:34 AM:

I took a baking class, and was flabbergasted when the chef has us wrap up what was obviously not properly mixed dough in plastic, and put it in the fridge for an hour. Accepting that it could be so ... so ... obviously Not Finished Mixing is tough*.

A tactic for good pie crust that I learned when I didn't have a pasty cutter: freeze the butter/shortening, and grate it on a cheese grater. You end up with lovely long flakes because the chunks of fat are so thin.

It had never occurred to me to try alcohol in place of some of the water, but that sounds like a plan; I wonder if Everclear or the like would work, or would the taste be overwhelming?

#446 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 09:22 AM:

xeger @ 443... "Oh. I'm sorry. That person doesn't exist!"

When my wife picks up and 'they' ask for Serge Krinard, or for Surge Maalox, she says that too then she hangs up.

#447 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 09:49 AM:

On piecrust, it probably helps to have watched your grandmother doing it: she'd made so many pies, she didn't need a recipe any more.

Also, as far as the crumbly-dough bit, some quick breads have you cut the shortening into the flour/spice mixture, which gives you a feel for what it's like. (Grating frozen butter: gotta try that. But not, I think, with a Microplane.)

#448 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 09:53 AM:

The national "no call" list is a good solution for US folks who are tired of telemarketers.

https://www.donotcall.gov/

It doesn't keep Amvets, Purple Heart, and the Police Benevolent League from calling during dinner, but it does cut out the aluminum siding, window replacement, and magazine subscription crowd.

#449 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 10:13 AM:

Sarah S. @441:

May I recommend Nathaniel Hawthorne's take on the Greek myths? It's called "Tanglewood Tales." I've seen lovely illustrated versions* of these.

Also you can sometimes find illustrated versions of Kipling's "Jungle Book" and "Puck of Pook's Hill."

I'll have to rummage around and see what else I can find. (My mother collects children's books, I'll ask her what else may be available.)

*You may have to check used book stores for them.

#450 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 10:41 AM:

#448
It doesn't stop the robocalls from people trying to sell me carpet cleaning, or the recorded calls from a company looking for someone who had the phone number several years ago.

#451 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 11:57 AM:

Xopher - Glad it's the vodka. I always like it when I help someone with vodka.

And, now to figure out how to make a light cake with raspberries that doesn't collapse into a heavy layer -- for the second birthday of the week is coming up.

I wonder if vodka would help.

#452 ::: Micah ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 12:38 PM:

I wonder if vodka would help.
Either it helps the cooking, or it helps the cook, but it never fails to help.

#453 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 12:40 PM:

Didn't the MythBusters test various uses for vodka? One of them involved the washing of feet.

#454 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 02:38 PM:

Sarah, #448: Only as long as they're calling from a U.S.-based number. I've been getting spam calls on my cellphone from numbers out of Romania (pimping cruises, mostly), and there is not a damn thing that can be done about them.

One thing I heartily recommend for anyone with a landline is to get a Telezapper. It's particularly good for getting rid of robocalls, many of which are made by the kind of machinery it targets. We still have one on our phone, and it nails at least a dozen calls a week, every one of which is a small victory over the Forces of Darkness.

#455 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 03:41 PM:

David Harmon #439:

That thought did occur to me. If you examine the nutrition information provided, they state that their beef pies contain beef as opposed to containing cow...

Harry's is one of the stops frequented by the Sydney Explorer bus (a great way to explore that fair city BTW), so it appears to be an institution of some sort. For me, despite visiting during the day, it had definite overtones of the kebab or curry place that's the last stop after a night's out drinking.

#456 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 04:22 PM:

A cat is attempting to adopt us.

It (still unsure of sex; I'm guessing male but neutered) started hanging around the back garden, then coming to the back door.

Martin and Fiona gave him milk, and he drank it all quickly. Then they went to the movies. When they came back, he was still there, keen and still hungry. They fed him tuna, barely able to keep ahead of his appetite. Once he was full, he got friendly. Lots of rubbing and nuzzling, looking for affection and rewarding it with purrs.

He has a neckerchief but not a collar. He's thin, and has fleas. Between that and Martin's allergies, he's certainly not coming indoors. We've put an old pillow in the shed and wedged the door to stay ajar. If he hangs around, we'll feed him.

My suspicion is that someone's vacation pet feeding arrangements fell through. Hopefully, when they're back, his regular humans will be offering a better deal and he'll go back to them.

My initial suggestion that we call him Cheezburger was rejected, so he is being called Lol.

#457 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 04:39 PM:

abi @ 456... I wonder if the little guy has a chip in his neck. Or is that a North-American thing?

#458 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 04:47 PM:

Serge @457:
I wonder if the little guy has a chip in his neck. Or is that a North-American thing?

I have no idea, nor any idea how to check. If we're still his sole food source at the end of the summer, we'll investigate further.

We are not adopting him. This is not a "protest too much" thing; we simply cannot do so.

#459 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 04:56 PM:

abi #456: You should probably provide him with a flea collar, if only for the sake of your kids. Alternatively, ISTR that nowadays there's an oral treatment for fleas available.

#460 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 04:58 PM:

David @459:
I'm reluctant to treat someone else's cat. If the fleas become a problem, I may get a collar, but even that feels a little over the line.

#461 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 05:03 PM:

abi@458 -- there's always the "put him in the microwave" method of checking for a chip, but that has drawbacks....

Seriously, I don't know if individuals can check for chips, but vets have the technology (and it's always in the same place to make that easy). Is the cat neutered? We're in the process of being adopted by an unfixed male who is still very wary of being touched.

#462 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 05:04 PM:

abi @ 458:

The way to check for a chip in a cat (or dog) is to take the animal to the local vet or shelter. This tends to involve capturing said animal and putting it in a carrier. It might be easier to ask around the neighborhood first.

#463 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 05:13 PM:

Cat in car ain't gonna happen...allergies, remember? A catified car is as unwelcome as a catified house.

We'll keep him from starving, but if he's looking for a comfy indoor place, he's going to have to adopt another family. Whoever that is can check for chips.

As I said, I suspect that he already has pet humans, but that their vacation feeding arrangements fell through in some fashion. If that's the case, then I suspect he'll go back to the warmer welcome there when they come home.

(Or keep trying to scam us out of food too, knowing the way cats go. But I am hard hearted and can feed him dry food till he gets the idea.)

#464 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 05:21 PM:

OK, now I understand het Abiveld at last. It's actually a piece of a strange parallel universe where being "hard hearted" means feeding a stranger cat *gasp* dry food. Such cruelty! Such inhumanity! Such ailurophobia!

In a universe whose laws are so odd, it's really no wonder software written in our universe doesn't work.

#465 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 05:24 PM:

Maybe you can find a cardboard carrier to put it in for a trip - that would minimize the catification of the car, and be recyclable as well. (A regular cardboard box would do also.) Put a dead towel in either one.
But yes, ask around the neighborhood first. Here, my assumption would be that it was abandoned; I don't know if that's common in your area.

#466 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 05:24 PM:

abi, your heart is as hard as a big blorf of whipped cream (the airy kind from a can, not the denser kind you get by just, you know, whipping cream).

You're as hard hearted as those candies with the liquid centers, and as cruel as...some very kind thing.

#467 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 05:35 PM:

On pie dough, alcohol, gluten: Cooks' Illustrated did a pie crust recipe about 2 years ago (Nov/Dec 2007), using vodka for half the liquid. Gluten formation requires water, as several of you have surmised -- but you need some gluten or your crust simply falls to dust after baking. As usual when Cooks' has a good article, the discussion is worth much more than the recipe itself.

As for that recipe: the dough rolls out as easily as play-dough, but isn't tough at all. I've had flakier crusts, but this one is really hard to mess up. Just don't panic when you're working with it and it's _not right_ -- that's the effect you're using vodka to achieve.

#468 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 06:13 PM:

#402 Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Before I explain why they should not be calling me, I try to remember to say "I know this isn't your fault." When I'm finished, I sincerely wish them a much better job, and soon.

That last one startles them. Almost all of them say "thank you" in a real human voice.

I once worked as a telemarketer, a few years ago (they didn't call it telemarketing, they called it "Outbound Sales"). I worked for a cable company, and I called people who were already subscribers to the company to offer them the next tier of channels free for two months. It was actually pretty popular.

Anyway, if the customer said to never call again and summarily hung up, I was unable to remove them from the calling list. This was because only the account owner was authorised to make changes on the account. That meant that I had to verify their identity with a password (which they would have previously set on their account); once verified, I could then update their status to 'Do Not Solicit'. I had to have that conversation to do it, though, so Teresa's approach would have worked. I'm sure many customers were wildly frustrated that their "Stop calling me!!!!"s did not get the result they wanted...

I hated that job; it was take it or get evicted though, after two years of joblessness, so I took it. I was able to transfer to Inbound Customer Service after 6 months, and weirdly, was abused much more frequently and vilely by those customers than I ever was on Outbound.

We all noticed a correlation: the more in-the-wrong the customer was, the more they were rude and mean. I never understood why they thought the Service Agents would be more likely to help them if they mistreated us, when the opposite is so obviously true.

#469 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 06:15 PM:

Yah.. Abi "Diamond Heart" Sutherland...

#470 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 06:29 PM:

This is very much how Tabitha came into our life, though no collar.

And no allergies.

As best we can figure, she was abandoned. And some furless bipeds are not of my species.

#471 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 06:56 PM:

Regarding unsolicited "sales" calls, it's worth noting that a significant number of such calls are scammers.

(I looked them up at Who Called Us?)

#472 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 07:03 PM:

#467
They have a lemon meringue pie in the current special issue 'American Classics' that uses the one-crust version.
If you don't want to make your own, they say (and I'll second them) that the Pillsbury ready-to-use rolled-up pie crusts are okay. What they won't say is that they can be a pain to unroll: Pillsbury doesn't slipsheet the rolls, so the dough sticks together.

#473 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 07:06 PM:

Re: illustrated fairy tales

Andrew Lang's _The {Red, Blue, Yellow, Green...) Fairy Book_ series has several illustrations per story, in charming Art Nouveau style. The collections correlate roughly with cultures - Grimm, Arabian Nights, French.

#474 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 07:12 PM:

abi, #475, I agree with P J Evans -- here, that cat would be abandoned. I'm not saying you should take it in or to the vet (or to a shelter, if you have those), but a cat that is really skinny probably isn't just a pet that's a little short on food.

#475 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 07:37 PM:

It should be noted, for those who are concerned about such things, that the Pillsbury ready-rolled pie crusts contain lard.

They are fairly acceptable, as ready-crusts go, if you haven't banned lard from your diet for whatever reason.

#476 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 07:55 PM:

Hmm. Somebody who's normally pretty smart sent me this quite alarmist piece claiming the swine flu vaccine (and "perhaps" the swine flu itself!) as a means to "depopulation". The article sets all sorts of my mental alarms ringing to the point where my first question is whether she's spreading mere conspiracy, or actual disinformation. This leads me to wonder if anyone else has heard of the person or site producing this. Here's some info from another page on the site:

Catherine Austin Fitts is an investment advisor, entrepreneur, former Assistant HUD Commissioner under GHW Bush, and former Managing Director and board member of the Wall Street firm, Dillon Read & Co., Inc.
She's now the editor of Solari.com and runs Solari, Inc - an "online company focused on ethical investment and preservation of family wealth."
She also hosts the 3-times a month Solari Report - a one-hour conference call by subscription that exposes how we're being "tricked" and what to do to protect ourselves. Fitts explains the game, how it affects our money, health and safety, and what actions to take.

Googling "Solari", even exluding the site itself, seems to mostly get references to Ms. Fitts and the Report or related entities, before trailing off into people who happen to have that surname. Does anyone else have any context for this person and her "Report"?

#477 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 08:17 PM:

David Harmon @ #476, her CV (as you posted it) doesn't indicate any background in public health, so that ought to be our first clue that she's talking through her hat.

#478 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 08:23 PM:

Actually, MY first clue is that she's talking conspiracy about the swine flu vaccine—the yet to be developed swine flu vaccine.

Republicans: so utterly discredited that they can't really do anything except just outright make shit up.

#479 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 08:25 PM:

Sarah S. @441

As a kid I was really fond of the Random House book of Fairy Tales. I credit it with my lifelong love of the Snow Queen, which is often neglected in other compilations; that story has the most awesome female protagonist of any fairy tale, in my opinion. Half the illustrations are in black and white, and it has an illustration every two or three pages rather than every page, but that's still more than normal.

I had a few others I really liked as a kid, but I can't remember the titles and my old library is mostly still at my parents' house.

#480 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 08:37 PM:

David Harmon @ 476...

Personally, I've always thought that Tarkovsky's film was too long. On the other hand, Soderberg's version was too short, and...
("Pssst, Serge... It's Solari, not Solaris.")
Oh.
Nevermind.
Stll, I was bummed that Soderberg didn't keep the scene where it's raining inside the house.

#481 ::: Ralph Giles ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 08:40 PM:

Leah @ 479: I really like the Snow Queen too, although it wasn't in any of my childhood books. At least not that I remember. The first version I saw was a BBC-ish television setting.

You know, of course, about the most excellent versions by Joan D. Vinge and Kelly Link.

#482 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 09:24 PM:

Albatross, 442: I've done (unpaid, volunteer) telemarketing. I knew damn well what a rotten business it is without anyone on the other end giving me the earful, because it sucks. I bet the guys who do it for a living know even better than I did how much it sucks because they can't step away from it as easily. You probably wouldn't be breaking any news to them, and a drop of empathy sent their way (if you can spare it) or quick termination (if you can't) would bring the total suck down a touch.

Since robocalls have come up, this would be a good place to ask how come a robocall would give a non-existent number to return the call to?

We at the office got one of those convincingly natural-sounding phone calls, purporting to be from an organization we've received a newsletter from, with a number to call at the end with area code 755. Area code 755 theoretically exists on the North American Numbering Plan, but it is apparently not currently assigned.

What does a scammer have to gain by directing call recipients to a fake US phone number? I was thinking maybe it's a country code masquerading as a US area code -- the country codes that start with 7 belong to Russia, and a few to Kazakhstan -- but we'd have to dial 011 to access that, as far as I know. 755 is also a regional area code for Shenzhen, Guangdong, China (their first Special Economic Zone). So there are plausible loci for a scammer to be situated, but I don't see the mechanism by which they can get someone in the US to dial internationally without realizing it. And I don't see how dialing a dead-end domestic number benefits anyone.

Anyone have any ideas?

#483 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 09:44 PM:

Linkmeister #477, Xopher #478: I thought I was pretty clear that I didn't find her thesis at all believable -- I don't lightly use a phrase like "mere conspiracy, or actual disinformation"!

My question is, who's she connected to? I did see some mention of trying to "decentralize economic activity", with a whiff of planning for a post-apocalyptic world. Not surprising given her clear expectation of "massive depopulation". (Which might well happen... but it certainly won't be as simple as a "vaccine plot", or even a single disease!)

But given a starting-point like the article I was sent... well, there's only so much effort I'm willing to put into tracing her influence. Mostly, I was hoping that someone else had already heard of her and knew more about who's backing her, and her overall position in the crazysphere.

#484 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 10:02 PM:

PaulaHM@391: "around N4" would work -- IIRC the badges were distributed by the KC bid committee, which was voted on at N4 -- but if it wasn't you then it wasn't. It certainly wasn't Paula L; if you'd ever met her you'd know she couldn't be mistaken for anyone else (and by that time I'd known her for 31 years...).

#485 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 10:38 PM:

Chris Quinones: I've gotten scam calls (for re-fis on mortgages I don't own, and maintenance on cars I don't own). They purport to be, in some way, responding to some inquiry of mine.

Since they are calling my cell phone, and leaving a trace, they might be worried about my reporting them. But since it's to a bum number, they are scot-free.

In other news... In about eight hours, all going as planned, I am headed back to Beautiful California.

Dropped the Change of Address off today, on the plane tomorrow.

#486 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 11:02 PM:

CHip, maybe my hubbie gave them to me to give out. It's all a blur, there are some things I remember and some things I don't. Especially because we did it twice in a row for some crazy reason.

And KC in 2006 (which we lost to LA) was voted on in Toronto. KC in 2009 was voted on in Nippon and we lost to Montreal. Those are the facts I know for sure.

We were at N4 hosting parties and a bid table.

#487 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 11:41 PM:

Don't know about anyone else, but my wife and I have been very impressed by Torchwood: Children of Earth. It's some of the best TV SF I've seen in a long time.

#489 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2009, 11:57 PM:

David, I didn't think you were BUYING it!!! No, no, not at all! I was just talking about how easy it is to recognize that kind of bullshit. No diss on you was intended in any way.

Do you know that nothing has ever reduced the human population on a long-term basis? I saw a graph of world population over time once, and even the Plague only made a notch in the otherwise smoothly increasing curve...I believe the population curve was completely back on track by one or two centuries later.

#490 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 12:08 AM:

A bit of own-horn-blowing, if no one minds. I've just posted a review of Charlie Stross' "Palimpsest", a short novel published for the first time in his recently-released collection Wireless. It's on my blog. Comments welcome.

#491 ::: Dr Paisley ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 12:57 AM:

CHiP, I did indeed commit the NESFA buttons, and that would have been at Boskone in 2003 (it was one of those "seemed like a good idea at the time" things, possibly inspired by something here). And here I am on post #491, which is a prime number. I like primes as an auctioneer, because the help move the bidding along more quickly, though I am thinking of trying to get everyone to switch to Fibonacci numbers to really pick up the pace.

#492 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 01:17 AM:

RE Solari, a general observation:

Every health-or-infrastructure threatening thing -- Y2K, AIDS, Avian Flu, Swine Flu, credit default swaps -- flushes a wide variety of birds out of the brush.

One of these is the Reticulated Lecturer, of which Fitts may be one. They wrap their crankery in respectable guise, to better sell books and get speaking gigs.

I once saw, on an low-budget local (Nevada) early-weekend-morning public affairs program, an absolute nutter pontificating about AIDS. He was dressed in a nice suit, and spoke with a mixture of confidence and self-righteous scolding that had the hosts (two older men dressed in southwestern-formal gear, complete with bolo ties) entranced. He delivered a then-familiar call for quarantine of patients, and ended with a five-alarm nut-job listen-with-jaw pronouncement that Since all life is based on crystals, the cure for AIDS will involve focused sound beams.

This guy was, and Fitts is, selling fear and uncertainly. Part of pay-off is monetary; part of it is social. They're getting respect and attention.

#493 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 01:22 AM:

Department Of Things That Will Drive Fluorospherians Nuts About The Worldcon Schedule:

In Conversation: Paul Krugman and Charles Stross
Charles Stross, Paul Krugman

Noted author Charles Stross and economist Paul Krugman talk on a variety of topics.

Thursday, 6 August at 17:00 in room P-511CF, for 90 minutes.

The Life and Work of John M Ford
Neil Gaiman, David Hartwell, Jo Walton, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Patrick Nielsen Hayden

John M Ford, who died in 2006, is acknowledged as one of the semi-secret masters of the field, an incredibly versatile novelist, story writer and poet whose work has influenced Neil Gaiman among others. Here, some of those who knew him and his work gather to celebrate his achievements.

Also Thursday, 6 August, also at 17:00 in room P-511D, for 90 minutes.

#494 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 01:35 AM:

David Harmon, I'm like Xopher; didn't think you (or anyone who read that CV) would buy that she had any special knowledge.

Bill @ 493, that scheduling would infuriate me.

#495 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 02:38 AM:

Bill@493: I'm not infuriated, just mildly regretful that I have to miss Stross + Krugman. Reminds me of my first Minicon back in '01, when I had the choice between sitting in the music party room or out in the hall with Teresa, Mike Ford, Jo, Tom W., and (I think) Kip W. The music was nice, but that was just a no-brainer.

Serge@440: Okay, if you go to the page for the latest strip and view the source, you'll see that it's loading the strip as an image. It is possible to load that image directly into your browser, using the URL you find in the source. What's more, the image source has a fairly obvious naming scheme, so that you can go to the image source for different days by tweaking that URL...and this includes the source for future days as well as past ones. Now, if you try to go to an image that hasn't yet been uploaded, of course it won't work; but during convention season they sometimes upload future days in advance.

People on the yahoogroups mailing list call this "the sneaky gate" and frown on discussions of future events. But I've talked to the Foglios about this, and they know people peek and are OK with it. (Heck, the very fact that it's possible shows that they're OK with it -- there are some trivially obvious ways of preventing it if they cared to.)

#496 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 02:42 AM:

Steve C.@487: While I enjoyed it overall, I thought it had some serious problems. Most notably:

Jul ba rnegu qvq gur tbireazrag xvyy gur crbcyr vaibyirq jvgu gur rneyvre rkpunatr, naq gel gb xvyy Wnpx? Nyy bs gurz jrer pbzcyvpvg, abar bs gurz unq n zbgvir gb gel gb rkcbfr vg. Vg ernyyl sryg yvxr n pnfr bs "Ehffryy G Qnivrf yvxrf gb oybj guvatf hc naq vf jvyyvat gb pbzzvg vqvbg cybg va beqre gb qb fb."

#497 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 03:26 AM:

abi: NOT a flea collar. Most of them are useless and many of them are extremely dangerous. They can kill cats, horribly.

http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/what_you_should_know_about_flea_and_tick_products/

You can call any vet and ask what they recommend for flea control: I believe my vet friend favours Frontline, but there are lots of safe ones. The problem is, there are lots and lots of dangerous ones, and anything available in a supermarket or chain pet store I wouldn't trust unless a vet advised it.

#498 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 03:37 AM:

Got a reply from Vet Friend:

I don't know if I ever made a "Hartz Blowz" post--basically all of the "otc" spot drops are potentially toxic to cats, and flea collars are poisonous AND ineffective. (There is a very low margin of safety on pyrethroids--an overdose almost always causes a toxic reaction, and many cats will react at the recommended dose. Also, pyrethrins degenerate in 24 hours, so I'm not sure how they can be effective for a month...)

If Advantage and Frontline are not options--and those are available without a prescription, don't let a vet tell you they're not, if they won't dispense them you can probably find them at Petco or Target; they're not that expensive when you consider that they're a six-month supply and you probably only need to treat from last frost to first - uh, what was I saying?

I told you about the coffee, right?

If Advantage & Frontline aren't options, hmmmm. Honestly, I don't see a lot of success with natural remedies, especially for outdoor cats. Garlic doesn't work, and can cause Heinz body anemia in cats. Brewer's yeast also doesn't work.

I know in one of my knitting books, I have a recipe for an herbal flea-repellent collar. I have no idea what's in it (lavender? tea tree? spearmint?), but if you poke me when I'm home I'll look it up for you. ObDisclaimer: I've never tried it, so can't vouch for it.

Honestly the best bet might be to remove the cat to a different location for a day or two and bomb the shed, although really, if she's got free reign of the great outdoors, this is a losing battle. Be grateful for winter, that's all :) Also, remember that fleas on a cat = tapeworms in a cat. Tapeworms aren't life-threatening in otherwise healthy animals, but they sure are gross (and zoonotic).

#499 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 07:20 AM:

Xopher #489, Linkmeister #494 : Oh, OK. Sorry for the touchiness. My own bells started going off right up front with the "vaccine == evil" thing, as I've seen too much of that from the Mercury Mafia, usually in context of autism. The mysterious and unsourced "calculations" brought in the horn section!

Do you know that nothing has ever reduced the human population on a long-term basis?

Now that's kinda scary....

Stefan Jones #492: Agreed. (As an aside, I'm really getting to love Hyperwords -- "reticulated" did not mean what I thought it did!) I'd still like to see a map of that hidden network....

Re: Worldcon scheduling: I won't be there (neither my finances nor my nerves are up to the trip), but that's a general issue any time you have a sufficient number of Really Bright Stars speaking at a convention or conference. Inevitably, some of them need to be scheduled simultaneously. Like some wit said, "Time is Nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once. It's not working!"

#500 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 08:52 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 493... Argh. On the other hand, while Krugman and Charlie will be at it, I'll be at a book-release-cum-birthday-party where one of the guests of honor will be a friend I've known for 30 years.

#501 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 08:55 AM:

A happy 16th wedding anniversary, abi.
Here are some photos from the wedding.
The things she made Martin go thru before she'd say "I do"...

#502 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 09:08 AM:

Bill Higgins, 493: I know! The 6th is my birthday and they're telling me I can't have the pony AND the submarine, I have to choose. Very frustrating.

Fortunately, Krugman has another panel on Friday.

#503 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 09:12 AM:

Hmm, I seem to have a fanartist namesake, who's just popped up at Evil, Inc.

#504 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 09:16 AM:

Terry, 485: But what I don't understand is the business model behind their leaving a bogus callback number. Are they getting paid just for leaving voicemail? It seems like they derive no benefit from anyone trying to return the call, and that seems like wasted effort and bad business.

#505 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 09:17 AM:

A random thought: Every third ad I see on the web starts with "Obama urges [group of people] to [do whatever's being advertised]!" I've seen Obama urging single moms to go back to school, Obama urging homeowners to refinance, Obama urging drivers to buy a new car, video of Obama being used on an infomercial for "debt reduction"…

This says a lot about Obama's popularity.

Also, Serge @ 501, that made me giggle :) Happy anniversary, abi and Martin!

#506 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 09:39 AM:

I hope the kitty finds a good forever-home, whether it's yours or another's, and a healthy, flea-less life.
The fleas that feed on human beings can be dissuaded by loading up on B1 (thiamine) I think it is, for a week or so and then bombing your place, but I don't know if that's true for furbags.

#507 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 10:03 AM:

Caroline #505: A random thought: Every third ad I see on the web starts with "Obama urges [group of people] to [do whatever's being advertised]!"

Obama urges Detroit Automakers to harness the wonders of Steam! (at a commencement address at Ninja High School, of course).

#508 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 10:10 AM:

Is there anyone else out there who was upset with the gruesomeness of some fairy tales when young? I recall coming on something in a Lang collection, nearly losing my lunch, and thinking "This guy must hate kids!"

#509 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 10:40 AM:

507:Obama urges Detroit Automakers to harness the wonders of Steam!

I think we all wish he would, really.

"...But, despite the problems we face, we as a nation have not lost the most precious legacy of our forefathers: hope. We can hope for a better America. A steamier America. An America with more rivets, more pushrods and more cogwheels. An America with a Difference Engine in every office and a zeppelin in every garage! An America where, in the words of Martin Luther King, we judge each other not by the colour of our skins, but by the pounds per square inch pressure in the mighty steel boilers of our triple-expansion engines! An America where every child, no matter their background, can hope to grow up to be the helmsman of a mighty Land Dreadnaught! Thank you."

#510 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 11:40 AM:

ajay @ 509:

As any fule kno, zeppelins need mooring masts, not garages. Otherwise, spot on.

Now I need to start building a steam-powered difference engine at home. As if I didn't have enough projects already.

#511 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 11:43 AM:

As any fule kno, zeppelins need mooring masts, not garages

Hangars?

#512 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 11:46 AM:

ajay @ 511:

That flows better in the speech, too. Why couldn't I think of that? *smacks forehead* Time for more tea.

#513 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 12:20 PM:

Soon Lee (#455)
"the kebab or curry place that's the last stop after a night's out drinking"
Harry's Cafe De Wheels was indeed such a place. Starting seventy or so years ago and even these days one of only a few places open very late/early. It's down away from the others, which tend to cluster in Kings Cross (Breakfast at Sweethearts), Darlinghurst/Oxford St, and The Rocks/Circular Quay

Leah (#479) Angiportus (#508) many of my childhood books were hand-me-downs from previous generations. They included some Hans Christian Andersen: Xtreme UnCut version and other quite gruesome Fairy Tales. Definitely disturbing, and memorable (splinters of glass from the Devil's mirror, blowing throughout the world; Ugly Duckling paddling desperately in circles to stop his pond freezing; a brother left with one arm and one wing). "A fairytale ending" more often seemed to involve joyfully rolling the villain downhill in a barrel of nails and broken glass than gentler pleasures.

Terry (#485) cue California Stars, and a few others (right now, here, "all the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey").

Bill (#493) Ouch. The sort of circumstances Rowling's Time Turner would be perfect for.
Is there any Hiroshima Day acknowledgment in the schedule that day?

#514 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 12:50 PM:

Just saw the latest Harry Potter film, and boy, am I conflicted --

The score is gorgeous, the scenery autumnal, the effects are fantastic, and the acting is inspired...what the hell happened to the plot?!

Lord and Lady bless, I'm hoping some of the stuff they didn't get around to covering will be in the next one (flashbacks, perhaps?) because they're the keys to the solution of the problem that is Voldemort.

{Cue rant}
And I despise adding things to a book-based film THAT WERE NOT IN SAID BOOK!

If I could confront the screenwriter I'd hit him over the head with a copy of Half-blood Prince...

#515 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 12:54 PM:

Mez @ 513, and the splinters of glass lodging in your heart, right? Or was that the Snow Queen? Or is the Devil's mirror part of that story? It's been a while since I read it. (And this was in a Reader's Digest book of fairy tales.)

#516 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 01:14 PM:

TNH, re your Sidelight: "THIS STORY CONTAINS HEAVY SEX, ABULT LANGUAGE AND TALKS ABOUT MY PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH LINK."


I, for one, would avoid any story that contains abult language.

#517 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 02:36 PM:

I got this from Skwid over on Facebook; he doesn't seem to have posted it here yet, but the credit goes to him.

Apparently I Write Like a Girl -- male author with gender-ambiguous name is savaged by "a well-known editor"* for being a woman writing an unconvincing male protagonist. Said editor demands major rewrites on a story already contracted by a different editor for an anthology; author refuses, for what seem to me like sound reasons.

* But no one will tell him who it was.

#518 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 03:19 PM:

Lee @ 517 -

I ran across Skwid's gender adventure from another forum, and it was sourly amusing. One hopes that the editor in question came across it too, and that the editor is now suitably chagrined.

I remember when Ursula LeGuin's first story in Playboy was published under the name of U.K. LeGuin. But that was back in 1969.

#519 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 03:39 PM:

Lee @ 517 (and Skwid): This is one of the reasons why when my daughter was born, I wanted her to have a gender-ambiguous name. (A lesbian friend of mine in college said she first realized how differently women and men were treated when she noticed how the substitute teachers in her class would call roll - one tone for the boys' names, a different tone for the girls' names, and when they got to her name, "Shelley", they'd kind of hesitate.)

I hoped our society would be past that kind of thing by the time my daughter was grown up, but I wasn't going to count on it; I figured that if she ended up wanting to work in a "male" career, having an ambiguously male name might get her resumé or CV past a few doors she'd otherwise have been screened out of. I'm sad to see it's still not ancient history.

﹡ and now she's doing music composition and performance, and computer programming, all male-dominated areas.

#520 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 03:40 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 514 -- I don't necessarily object to things being added to a book-based movie, if they work and are consistent with the rest of the stuff. I do object strongly to adding irrelevant or inconsistent things to the movie, if crucial plot elements are lost.

It is better not to get me started about Jackson's LotR.

#521 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 03:40 PM:

Fragano @ 516... Might a heavy sex refer to one of those 4-hour erections that ED medications warn us against?

#522 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 03:50 PM:

pericat @283: Thou makest me giggle. In an entirely non-witless way.

(Runs away to hide from the grammar police.)

#523 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 03:56 PM:

From TNH's link -

"IT’S A DAMN SHAME TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE ADULTS OUT THERE WHO CANNOT CONDUCTIVE THEMSELVES IN THE SIMPLEST MANORS THEIR PARENTS HAVE"

And that's not even talking about the really ostentatious manors. God knows what would happen there.

If you behave yourself, do you get the Good Conductive medal?

#524 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 04:02 PM:

Thanks for the re-post, Lee, but to acknowledge the chain of attributions, I got it from Kate Nepveu's recent Readercon panel report here.

I did get a laugh out of reading "Skwid's gender adventure," though; thanks Steve C.!

#525 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 04:09 PM:

Joel Polowin @520: Half-Blood Prince's storyline was eviscerated by the screenplay.

Characters and plot elements were left out that will be needed in the next film, and scenes put in that make absolutely no sense and do little to move the story onward.

I'm left scratching my head, trying to figure out how they're going to get everything they now need to have there in the last two films.

I'm happier with what Jackson did with LoTR* than with the dog's breakfast that's the latest HP film.

*Extended Version

#526 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 04:11 PM:

That author intro was really painfully awful. I picture the writer's hair being all mussed up from the wakes of high-velocity clues whooshing overhead.

#527 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 04:26 PM:

Open threadiness. My husband is currently job-hunting, and I'm sifting the online job listings for nuggets to pass on to him. There was a posting for a biofuel/petrochemical chemist that reads, in part, "The candidate will be digesting and reassembling cellulose to produce biofuel from a variety of substrates."

One hopes not personally

#528 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 04:31 PM:

OtterB, that part that hurts is collecting the biofuel.

#529 ::: pkmartin ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 04:33 PM:

I'm hoping that James MacDonald or Terry Karney or some of the other medical or military folks hereabouts can help me out--

I was staffing the reference desk this morning when a patron asked me about a product called "Trau-Medic." Apparently it is a type of military field dressing much recommended on hunting and survivalist websites.

My questions are: is this still made? If so, where can it be bought? (I searched a number of military surplus online stores without success.) If, as I suspect, it's been superseded by new products, what would be the recommended replacement for it?

#530 ::: martyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 04:42 PM:

Cheryl @ 468 Have you and your erstwhile colleagues ever noticed that the nasties are nastier to women than men? Over the years on inbound and outbound calls I have seen my - very able - female colleagues reduced to frustration and tears, as well as being abominably insulted whereas my white, middle aged, BBC newsreader, voice of authority telephone voice hardly ever attracts such behaviour.

They are wankers. They are sexist wankers. They are beneath contempt.

#531 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 04:55 PM:

From that Link ... I mean,link (not to be confused with Link):

"I ONLY EXPECT THE VIOLENT LASHING OUT AND VICIOUS ATTACKS TO COME FROM TEENANGERS, NOT ADULTS!"

I've met a few teenangers. Heck, I think a lot of us were teenangers once or twice -- I sure was. A great word, however unintentional.

Not that I actually read any of the story, but I did scroll to the bottom to find FOOTNOTES! Aieee!

#532 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 05:00 PM:

Trau-Medic was a field dressing manufactured by FRAASS Survival Systems. This is Vietnam era, and they haven't been around since then. Used to be available by the pallet-load as surplus.

These were small pads with two long tails to tie 'em in place, colored green.

I'll see if I can find something equivalent.

#533 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 05:05 PM:

Tracie @ 531 -

I read a bit of it. I laughed when I came to the part where the heroine drew a bath, and it was ready after "five minuets".

#534 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 05:08 PM:

Current cat status:

Lol has been flea treated (drops, we checked on the web). Martin is a big softie and bought food in pouches. The current plan is to feed him up, then switch to dried foods as we try to bore him. After our next trips to Scotland we'll check with the village vet and see if anyone is missing a cat.

He's thin, but not starved. He looks like an adolescent who's been on slim pickings for a week or two, maybe during a growth spurt. He also looks to have had recent medical treatment on one leg—shaven hair regrown on a back leg, a bit of a limp.

We are still not adopting this cat.

#535 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 05:35 PM:

abi @ 534... We are still not adopting this cat

mew?

#536 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 06:13 PM:

Abi: Your entire family needs to check their saving throw against feline mind control.

#537 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 06:13 PM:

pkmartin #529 and me #532:

Here's the employment of an Army field trauma dressing from Field Manual 21-11.

Here's another reference, photo-illustrated.

Trau-Medic was the trade name. What your folks are looking for is Dressing, First Aid, Field, White, NSN: 6510-00-201-4883 or
Dressing, First Aid, Field, Individual Troop, Camoflaged, NSN: 6510-201-7435 or NSN: 6510-00-159-4883.

You can get 'em here (among many other places, I'm sure).

#538 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 06:21 PM:

eric @536:
Your entire family needs to check their saving throw against feline mind control.

(Click of dice, rustle of rulebooks)

OK, the kids don't have mens rea in this context, so their rolls don't really count. This is good, because Fiona rolls a critical fail. Alex makes his saving throw with room to spare.

Of the adults, I make my throw easily. The table says "You have generous but firm boundaries". The Hub has a +2 Allergy adjustment and a +1 Dread of Pet Death charm, which may just push him into safe territory.

Wait, the GM has just reminded me that the rule book is more of a guideline book. Suddenly I am regretting all those years of diceless play...

But the key point is that this is actually someone else's cat, and I'm not inclined to go breaking their hearts by adopting him.

#539 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Abi @ 534: yay for flea control!

And I hope I wasn't excessively strident. After several years of hearing Dove talk about having these cats come in dying, and having realised just how very unknown the problem still is among good, conscientious pet owners - even less among good conscientious people who do not own pets and have never had occasion to know this stuff - I'm afraid my response to the words "flea collar" tends to be, um, a bit hair-trigger.

The village vet is probably also an excellent resource for rehoming the cat if his orgiginal owners can't be found; most vets I have dealt with are happy to put up a "good cat needs good home" sign on their noticeboard, or otherwise spread the word.

#540 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 06:35 PM:

Lori Coulson, #514, I'm seeing HP tonight, but it's a fundraiser for the cross-country team of the son of friends, so I don't care too much about the accuracy. Plus, I'm pretty sure I don't remember the book.

#541 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 07:19 PM:

abi @ 534: We are still not adopting this cat.

Of course not. But is it adopting you?

#542 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 08:06 PM:

Caroline @515

The devil's mirror was part of the Snow Queen story, and the pieces could lodge in your eyes or your heart. The former making you see everything as bad and ugly, the latter turning your heart to ice.

#543 ::: pkmartin ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 09:33 PM:

James MacDonald--Thank you, thank you, thank you. I just sent my patron an email with your wonderful, comprehensive answer.

#544 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 09:46 PM:

#508/Angiportus: Oh yes. For no obvious connection, I was frightened of mirrors for quite some time after the kindergarten teacher read us the piece from Struwwelpeter, about Gus, who wouldn't eat his soup and starved to death. Granted, that's an extreme example, and synthetic where Lang is IIRC old tales collected.

But I don't think there was any question of hating children; a lot of the old tales were very dark, lightening as generations of bowdlerizers had their way. It's easy but not totally wrong to say that harsher stories went with a harsher life; Lang is roughly contemporary with the grandfather I'm named after, who my father said was in a typical family: ten siblings, of whom four died as children and another in the Civil War. There's a saying about the past being a foreign country....

#545 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 12:07 AM:

From the author intro link...
my favorite line was:
it is not my fault if it upsets you when you knew from the gecko what it contained

If she's a small lizard that would explain why her writing is so bad

#546 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 12:30 AM:

Open-threadiness: I just read my first Mike Ford book this week (The Last Hot Time) - the library happened to have it. (Did I mention how fxxxing wonderful it is to have moved back to a place with a library?)

Wow.

Also, this week marked my return to Housiness after some boring time earning money. Installed an electrical outlet. OK, that's not too Earthshattering, and yet - a washer and dryer are going to be pretty convenient.

#547 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 12:38 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 546:

Even though I've been quiet about it, I've been following your house adventures with interest. Looks like you're making good progress.

Regarding the author intro particle:

I looked at it this morning, and I think my eyes bounced off the all-caps section and didn't go any farther, so I wondered what Teresa thought was so bad about it. I mean, I've seen some pretty strange things on the internet, and the first bit there didn't even rate. But now that I look at it again... wow. Just... wow.

#548 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 12:42 AM:

Stefan @331 You might be interested in this YouTube release of Mark Kermode's BBC News Film [24] video reviews including Moon, starting around 6 min in, with excerpts (plus Harry Potter + Half-Blood Prince, assorted others). BTW, anyone know who the woman is?
Or Kermode & Mayo Friday radio film reviews, including Moon (starting ~5m30s) BBC 5live MP3 for 17th July (time-limited) (more on Harry Potter + Half-Blood Prince, &c). Includes audio clips.

James @532 Hmm. Did they know what frass is?

#549 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 01:28 AM:

Presented without comment: crocheted lemmings.

#550 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 02:47 AM:

Regarding telemarketeers, somewhere Far Upthread: My grandfather's legal first name was John; he never, ever used it, prefering his less-generic second name.

Anyone calling to ask to speak to John or Mr. John [Lastname] got both barrels. "Never be *accidentally* rude" runs in the family, and is, I'm afraid, practiced upon telemarketeers.

We got adopted by a cat on a weekend camping trip when I was a kid. He was curled up in the driver's seat of the RV (sheepskin seatcovers - not a dumb cat!) when we got back from a hike, and apparently the site owners had seen him around for a few weeks, and were more than happy to see him go home with us. Neutered, vetted, underfed but not drastically, so he'd probably been dumped, as the campsite was just off the highway about 45 minutes out of the city. Some mostly-hairless bipeds are not in fact of my species, to borrow an excellent phrase from someone upthread.

Oscar (because he was orange) the Campsite Cat lived with us for about two years, then vanished while we were packing the house to move. Hopefully he found another household, but you never know when they just evaporate like that...

#551 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 08:19 AM:

Angiportus, #508: Is there anyone else out there who was upset with the gruesomeness of some fairy tales when young?

Gruesomeness? Gruesomeness is bearable. The guy who managed to freak me out was Hans Christian Anderson. He wasn't just gruesome--he was sadistic.

Anderson is one of those writers who give the impression they're writing to work out some disturbing psychological issues.

#552 ::: pedantic Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 08:37 AM:

Hans Christian Andersn... That being said, I prefer Danny Kaye's interpretation. Looking at that YouTube clip, I find myself wondering if someone ever wrote a crossover between Andersen and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Heck, John Kessel already did one of the latter with Jane Austen's Mary Bennet.

#553 ::: pedantic Serge chastises pedantic Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 08:40 AM:

Drat. Dropped the 'E'... It's 'Andersen', you knotty-fingered fool!

#554 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 08:41 AM:

ginmar has some interesting observations on Dr. Gates and the importance of feeling safe in your own home.

#555 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 10:01 AM:

Marilee @540:

It is a lovely film, and will suck you in from the get go -- it was only when I got to the end of the film that my memory went: "Wait a minute --some of the clues Harry needs weren't presented in the film -- what gives?!"

The director has made this film a feast for the eyes and ears, and keeps things moving quickly enough that suspension of disbelief holds. I did see one set up for the next films that worked.

It's getting rave reviews from most critics, and I DID enjoy it, I'm just puzzled and a little upset with the changes that don't make sense to me.

If anyone else here has seen it -- what was your reaction?

#556 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 10:29 AM:

In re fairytales and their goriness, some Famous White Writer Dude whose name I can't recall said, to paraphrase, "Fairy tales aren't to teach our children dragons exist. They teach our children dragons can be killed.

Lori @455: I lost all faith in the Potter movies' ability to be faithful when they failed to explain 'Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs' in the relevant movie, therefore making the fact that Harry's Patronus is a stag ... rather random.

In re telemarketers, I used to do outbound calls for a nonprofit and inbound tech support, so, um, not talking about that part, but my stepdad's last name was 'Mierzwa.' Almost nobody who was calling that we WANTED to talk to pronounced it wrong; all telemarketers jumbled around with "Mr. ... Muh-zeerwa?" etc. We even got "Mummy-zummy" once. And if they asked for "MRS. Mierzwa" they really knew jack and squat about our family (my mom was MS. HERLASTNAME, if you please), and were autodetected as such.

Then there was the time Pizza Hut moved into our neighborhood. They got a phone number one digit off ours ... and PUBLISHED OURS on busses, billboards, etc. After the first three calls, my mother called them and politely asked that they republicize. Their manager's attitude was, "Look, lady, that ad cost us money. You don't like getting pizza calls, change YOUR number." My mother does not get mad. She gets silently incandescent ... and then even. :-> Someone upthread mentioned that little kids love to talk on the phone: that was me. Mom gave me a loose script and turned me loose to improvise. I took all kinds of pizza orders cheerfully and at length, and then promised them, "Remember, if it's not there in half an hour, it's free!" Apparently people pissed that their pizza is late bother to look up the number in the phone book, because we never got any of THOSE calls, but in about a week Pizza Hut not only bought all new ads, they'd changed their number to something VERY MUCH not ours.

#557 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 11:37 AM:

I just hang up on telemarketers; charity calls get "we don't take phone solicitations" and then I hang up. I'm pleased to see the robocalls about renewing my non-existent car warranty have ceased.

Wrong numbers: All phone numbers in town start with 75X- where there's only about four values of X, and one of them is limited to university numbers. There's a local nursing home whose fax number differed from our land line by one digit.

We were driven insane by auto-dialed faxes from medical offices, until we got a machine and picked them up. At first I would forward them. Then I called two or three times and pointed out the problem, which got no response.

Eventually I wrote a letter, explaining that I was going to write to the paper about how I was receiving confidential medical faxes concerning their residents. That seems to have gotten the number changed, since I don't get their faxes any more.

#558 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 11:45 AM:

Lori @ 555 - My wife and I enjoyed the film. I had re-read the book a couple of days before seeing it, and I knew things were dropped, but it didn't bother me.

With each movie, I've become more and more impressed with the skills of the young actors.

Elliot @ 556 -

Loved your family's inventive solution to the Pizza Hut phone number problem! Perhaps revenge is a pizza best served cold.

#559 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 12:57 PM:

Elliott Mason @556: Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed – said G. K. Chesterton.

#560 ::: Mark Reed ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 01:41 PM:

Paul@13: actually, it does. Mersenne primes are all of the form 2^N-1, by definition. So every Mersenne prime is the largest possible number representable in N-1 bits (unsigned) or N bits (signed).

There are of course numbers of the form 2^N-1 which are not prime, Mersenne or otherwise. So it's only a one-way implication. But it is nevertheless wrong to say that the two facts are unrelated.

#561 ::: Mark Reed ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 01:42 PM:

Paul@13: actually, it does. Mersenne primes are all of the form 2^N-1, by definition. So every Mersenne prime is the largest possible number representable in N-1 bits (unsigned) or N bits (signed).

There are of course numbers of the form 2^N-1 which are not prime, Mersenne or otherwise. So it's only a one-way implication. But it is nevertheless wrong to say that the two facts are unrelated.

#562 ::: Mark Reed ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 01:48 PM:

Apologies for the duplicate comment. Browser timed out waiting for the site to reply, so I thought it hadn't gone through.

#563 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 03:28 PM:

Well, even at this late date I got a room reservation for Montréal pretty easily...I'll be staying at the Intercontinental. Now just have to book plane flights (I hate that part) and hope hope hope my passport comes in time!

That said, I can't wait. I shiver with...oh, you know.

#564 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 04:18 PM:

Xopher #563: hope hope hope my passport comes in time!

That was one disappointment from going to ConAdian in 1994: back then, a passport wasn't required to cross the US/Canada border, and they wouldn't stamp my passport, which I had gone through much effort to obtain. It would have been a nice memento of the trip.

I still have a Loonie packed away in storage somewhere, though....

#565 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 04:19 PM:

Periodically I get computer generated calls that promise, if I only stay on the line or call a certain toll-free number, that I will learn about grant and/or loan opportunities to help my business. I work for a large state university. Sometimes I stay on the line while shuffling paper. Upon reaching a live person or a recording, I'll intone mechanically, "You have reached the University of Georgia, an agency of the state of Georgia. If you have money for us, please call the governor at ..." I've gotten a chuckle once or twice from a live person who was probably having an otherwise typically crummy telemarketer day.

With other telephone solicitations involving a living caller, particularly at inconvenient times (like there's a convenient time for intrusive telephone solicitations) I just take a deep breath and interrupt the caller to say "I'msorrybutywedonotrespondtotelephonesolicitationspleasetakethisnumberoffyourlistputitonyourdonotcalllistandnevercallusagainthankyouandgoodbye." When I remember to smile and tilt my head, I sound impossibly cheery.

#566 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 05:46 PM:

Well, the State Department says they've sent my passport and I should get it "on or about" today. If so, whoo-hoo! That was quick.

#567 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 06:24 PM:

Elliot Mason @ #556, I wish we could have been that inventive when we got all the girls' slumber party calls for Justin Timberlake about eight years ago when N'Sync was hot.

Sharing a last name with a celebrity who appeals to the squealing tween crowd is not something I recommend.

#568 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 07:22 PM:

Lori Coulson, #555, well, I clearly hadn't seen the movie before and the movie was nicely shot, but I'm not a huge Potter fan. In fact, the audience was more interesting to me. There were a lot of times when the teens/tweens said Aaaaah or Oooooh or ICK! and the adults laughed. Plus a woman was holding a young boy up who was babbling at top volume. The staff didn't kick her out until about 3/4 of the way through. He was clearly too young for the show.

#569 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 07:25 PM:

Xopher: I look forward to seeing you in Montréal. (And to eating your chocolates! OM NOM NOM.) (That is, unless you don't bring any chocolates...no pressure.)

#570 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 07:40 PM:

Hey! I got back late last night from an 11-day trip* with minimal Internet access, and I'm all caught up on Making Light already! Cool!**

*Alaska cruise-tour. I had a marvelous time, but it's good to be home.
**I appear to have brought a large supply of exclamation points back with me. Sorry about that.

#571 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 07:42 PM:

David, I look forward to seeing you too. And feeding you chocolates...if I get any made. So far I haven't, but I can go into a pretty high production mode when I need to. We'll see what happens.

#572 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 07:45 PM:

#530 martyn

Have you and your erstwhile colleagues ever noticed that the nasties are nastier to women than men? Over the years on inbound and outbound calls I have seen my - very able - female colleagues reduced to frustration and tears, as well as being abominably insulted whereas my white, middle aged, BBC newsreader, voice of authority telephone voice hardly ever attracts such behaviour.

They are wankers. They are sexist wankers. They are beneath contempt.

I don't know that we ever kept tabs on the gender-nastiness-ratio. I was never reduced to tears, as much as I was just boggled by it. I mean, I'm calling you to ask you to do something for me - give me a credit, or add an extra service, or something, so I think I'll be as horrible as possible. No one ever taught them the flies with honey thing?

We were allowed to hang up on them, though, provided we gave them 3 warnings - you know, "If you continue to speak to me abusively, I will terminate this call". I did that a few times. I used to be a nanny. I used nanny-voice. Perhaps that helped.

In re Worldcon-things: I am utterly vexed that the Worldcon is happening in the city where I live, and I still won't be able to go. Le sigh.

#573 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 08:10 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 570... Welcome back.

#574 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 08:19 PM:

Lori Coulson @555 -- I thought the movie was dreadful. I appear to be in the minority. I'll concede the acting was excellent, and the effects were well-done: but the pacing was off (I nodded off during the grotto sequence), the plot was muddled and unclear, and they appeared more interested in hitting little bits of plot point in ways that would be completely incomprehensible to average viewer. Like, how are folks supposed to know that that's a phoenix flying by at the end?

Just good enough not to be bad enough to be fun.

#575 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 08:29 PM:

re the sidebar item of ACLU on Google monitoring what you are reading:

As I have said before, the Tim Powers card-magic principle applies to web pages: he says that in a card game, when you see the cards, the cards can see you. Similar principles apply to web browsing.

#576 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 08:33 PM:

Xopher--

I'm looking forward to your chocolates!

That is, ahem, if there are any.

(fondly remembering them from Denvention)

#577 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 09:38 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 570: I think they issue a supply of exclamation points with your travel papers; it's difficult to cope without them, even if you've seen some bits before. We had seen the reason for the color name "ice blue", close up, in Norway; but there was something about waking up in the morning with the hull going "Clunk!" every now and then, or looking out your porthole to see furry sausages with eyes floating by on bits of ice, or ... well, you have the idea now.

#578 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 09:56 PM:

Cheryl @ 572... Not even to come to the Making Lumière party? The soupir.

#579 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2009, 11:35 PM:

Re HP: Has it occurred to anyone that they are perhaps making an excuse for an additional movie, to maximize their income?

#580 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 12:15 AM:

Harry Potter and the Leftover Bits of Plot?

#581 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 02:20 AM:

geekosaur @ #579, they've already announced that "Hallows" will be split into two movies. After reading it, I think only one's necessary. There's a lot of dead expositional time in that book.

#582 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 02:50 AM:

Mmm, Anticipation Chocolate Encore.

Here's to less drunks on the street trying to convince me to sell them burritos! (It helps that, this one *not* being in the town of my residence, I won't be lugging an ice-chest around.)

#583 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 12:19 PM:

Harry Patch died today.

He was the last British veteran of the WW1 trenches.

#584 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 12:52 PM:

Serge (573): Thanks! (oops, there goes another one)

CHip (577): Or driving down the road and having a bear decide to lope across in front of you. Or hearing the local traffic report warn of a moose on an onramp.

#585 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 01:07 PM:

Tracie #565: I'm certain that Sonny will thank you for urging telemarketers to give money to the state.

#586 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 02:18 PM:

Mary Aileen: or reading the weather forecasts:
- (at Denali): "Sunrise 3am. Sunset 1am"
- (Anchorage): "today: partly cloudy. tonight: sunny"

#587 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 02:43 PM:

I used to wait in the dark for the school bus in Anchorage.

#588 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 06:19 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers)@ #490

Wow, for a moment I was ready to correct you for having confused Catherynne M. Valente with Charlie Stross. Of course, it is also by Gore Vidal. Who'd have thought that "Palimpsest"would be such a popular title.

Needless to say, I'm glad I looked it up before correcting you. :)

#589 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 06:22 PM:

Carol Kimball @ #473

I also was (and still am) in love with the Andrew Lang colored Fairy Books. The Blue Fairy Book has a special place in my heart, being the first that I ever encountered, but I loved them all. I checked them out from the library again and again. I'm not sure which I loved more, the stories or the gorgeous illustrations.

#590 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 08:12 PM:

I am safely arrived in Calif. Very content at the moment.

Chris @ 505: I suspect the profit they might accrue from the callbacks they manage to actually hook is less than the risk they take from fines/prosecutions for robocalling cell phones. If they were in an honest business (not that the phone bankers always know they work for crooks), it would be different, but they aren't.

pkmartin: I see Jim answered your question. I suspected it was some type of keflex impregnated bandage. Peronally, I carry several of the new field dressing (the Israeli bandage) and a couple of one-handed tourniquets. If those can't fix the problem until help arrives, it's probably past saving me/them (apart from a tension splint, for fractured legs).

Jim: That's the standard Army Field Dressing (now, mostly, superceded). One can get them at any surplus store. I have a couple of dozen lying about.

In the realm of foolish... back when the 818 area code was new there was an insurance company which paper parking lots on the area code border. They didn't bother to list the area code, just the number, which they shared with us. For about three years we got call, about every three months

#591 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 08:12 PM:

...trudging home from the swing shift at the cannery in the Aleutians, wondering if that rainbowish glow close to the horizon is the last of a sunset or the beginning of a sunrise, because it is north, and realizing I was looking at daylight on the other side of the world...
As for fairy tales and so on, and the slaying of dragons--a quick clean kill is one thing, and torture is another. And in some stories it was the "good" king who did awful things to the unsuccessful contestants. I still think some of it was just plain sick. I read somewhere that fairy tales were not orignally aimed at children but were the equivalent of tv shows, entertaining adults after the day's work, and they got dumped on children as soon as the adults could afford books. I have no quick cure for how some folks seem to find gruesomeness so entertaining.

#592 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 08:42 PM:

re TinEye: I thought I'd mentioned it here when I started using it (about two years ago?).

It's amazing. So far I've not found anyone misusing/claiming my photos for theirs, but I know a number of photographers who have. It's also right handy for finding really interetsing derivative works.

#593 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2009, 11:49 PM:

Derivative works weirdness today. I went to Walmart today to see this t-shirt. Click on the image to zoom in and carefully examine the right shoulder of the shirt in the back. Yes, part of the collage includes a snippet from an SCA awards scroll from the Barony of Windmasters Hill (central North Carolina). There's more of the scroll on the bottom of the shirt. Weird.

#594 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 12:01 AM:

I'm all ready to go for the trip to the worldcon. I've already put together the books I'll be reading, the music I'll be listening to, the movies I'll be playing on my laptop. That should do it. ("Pssttt!") What? Oh, right. I have to bring clothes too.

Besides that, I just bought my ticket for a flight to the Bay Area the week of September 21. I thought I should pay homage... I mean... I thought I should meet my new boss and become a real person to him. I wanted to go much earlier, but my wife needs me around to help her plot a novel's proposal.

#595 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 12:22 AM:

Serge @ 594 ...
I think I'm ready to go... I'm panicking about what to wear, haven't figured out anything beyond travel/lodgings, and am still trying to remember if I should be thinking about this week or next...

#596 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 12:51 AM:

xeger @ 595... In my case, it was better to start getting ready now because I'm leaving one week early. As for yourself, you have more time before you need to go ohmygod. Or are you planning to bring everything but the kitchen sink? ("What do you mean? I'm not supposed to bring the kitchen sink?")

#597 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 01:17 AM:

Small advice (I don't usually have costumes in my baggage). Make sure you pack everything small that makes you happy: shampoo, conditioner, soap, brushes, combs, etc. No matter how small it is annoying to occupy a hotel room without the things that make your grooming routine happy.

On the other hand, I've never done costuming, so bringing along all the bits that make your costume work is another matter.

I wanna be in Montreal, but we are so broke it's just me whining.

#598 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 01:28 AM:

Serge @ 596 ...
I wasn't planning to bring the kitchen sink -- I don't think it'd fit in my suitcase (and I don't have a video toaster anyways... *grin*). I'm also going to leave the "potentially weapon-like objects" at home.

Paula Helm Murray @ 597 ...
Heh. Yes. I've also started carrying a bathrobe when I travel. If you're doing anything more than just crashing out, it's really nice to have comfy lounging stuff.

#599 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 09:16 AM:

xeger @ 598... One day I'll find a key ring with a miniature kitchen sink attached to it and I'll give it to my wife. That way, next time we go on a trip, I will be able to say that she brought everything AND the kitchen sink. (Darn, what's the title of the Bugs Bunny cartoon where Yosemite Sam tries to woo Granny and Bugs takes her place and pretends to elope with Sam. 'Granny' tosses a lot of luggage out the 2nd story's window, including a huge trunk, to Sam who exclaims that 'she' is bringing everything but the kitchen sink. Can you guess what next lands in his lap?)

#600 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 09:49 AM:

I can't believe, that when I'm trying to apply for jobs, TNH would link to TVTropes on the sidebar. I opened that link, then clicked "Friendly Neighbourhood Vampire". From there, I have now opened, simultaneously in tabs, the pages "Always Chaotic Evil", "Sealed Evil In A Can", "Immortality Immorality", "Horror Hunger", "Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere", "Cursed With Awesome" and "Our Vampires Are Different". I AM SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING.

(I can't be bothered to find the xkcd strip relating to my current situation, but it's recent)

#601 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 12:17 PM:

May I ask for a recommendation?

There are a few books out there about Ada Lovelace. Which one(s) would you suggest? Some are out of print but still acquirable, thanks to the internet.

#602 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 01:54 PM:

Serge @ 599:

It's called Hare Trimmed.

#603 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 02:14 PM:

KeithS @ 602... "What eez up, monsieur?"

#604 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 02:45 PM:

Serge @ 480: Stll, I was bummed that Soderberg didn't keep the scene where it's raining inside the house.

That was from Stalker. Seeing Stalker on film a few months ago bumped it up for me from "excellent" to "possibly the greatest film ever."

Re the original Solaris being too long: it exists in multiple versions. What I saw 25 years ago was the extended dance remix: every bit of footage that could be found was included, some dubbed, some subtitled. That was, in fact, too long, but I'm willing to believe there's a cut out there that's just right.

#605 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 03:07 PM:

Tim Walters @ 604... No, no. The scene IS from Solaris.

#606 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 03:13 PM:

Bathing suits with fabric-care instructions specifying "do not bleach".

Am I missing something? I mean, this is even for bathing suits that are advertised as being for "serious swimming". Is that "serious swimming" not supposed to be in chlorinated swimming pools?

#607 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 03:25 PM:

Joel Polowin
Bathing suits with fabric-care instructions specifying "do not bleach".

You're not missing anything. Spandex (the elastic element of Lycra) is particularly susceptible to decay when exposed to chlorine.

Perhaps it's planned obsolescence.

In a similar vein, the care instructions for the cover of my desktop ironing board tell me not to iron it.

#608 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 03:38 PM:

Over at my lj, there's a little discussion which includes somewhat about whether it's safe for a police officer to try to calm an angry person, or if the officer should assume that the angry person will escalate to deadly violence if not forcibly stopped.

I believe the former is generally the better course, but I don't have specific knowledge to back it up. Does anyone have some details on this?

#609 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 03:38 PM:

Over at my lj, there's a little discussion which includes somewhat about whether it's safe for a police officer to try to calm an angry person, or if the officer should assume that the angry person will escalate to deadly violence if not forcibly stopped.

I believe the former is generally the better course, but I don't have specific knowledge to back it up. Does anyone have some details on this?

#610 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 03:44 PM:

Don't know if anyone's posted it yet, but Simon Tofield has another of his delightful cat cartoons up.


http://www.simonscat.com/flyguy.html


Flyguy

#611 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 04:07 PM:

Nancy @608: The New York Times quoted one police officer indicating that he would leave whenever the angry person was mad at him (thus defusing the situation), but stayed if the person was angry at someone else, in order to prevent bad things happening. That sounds like a tactic that all police officers need to use.

#612 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 04:14 PM:

Is the Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit Up sidelight this one? The original video, paraphraseth I, is not available in my country due to copyright restrictions.

The discussion on curved needles @372 onwards reminded me of our suture practice sessions in med school. We had to bring in fresh pork legs, make incisions in various spots, then stitch them up again using pre-threaded suture needles and forceps. I had never realized before then just how tough pigskin was.

#613 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Pendrift @612:
Same song, but with a video as well.

Odd that you have copyright restrictions and I don't.

#614 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 04:28 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 606... Serious swimming? Is that the kind that leaves you with a sinking feeling?

#615 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 04:35 PM:

abi @613: My IP address is geolocated to Belgium. But it seems there are a lot of Youtube videos available in France and the Netherlands that can't be viewed over here. I smell a plot to push the country to the splitting point so that evil overlord neighbors can gobble us up!

Oh, wait, we did that all by ourselves. Darn.

#616 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 04:37 PM:

Serge @614:
Serious swimming? Is that the kind that leaves you with a sinking feeling?

No, Serge, that's failed swimming, which, though often serious, is not actually swimming at all. A shorter and more common term for the phenomenon is drowning.

#617 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 04:43 PM:

Pendrift @615:

OM NOM NOM Vlaamse Gemeenschap.

#619 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 05:32 PM:

Pendrift @ 618... Once upon a time, my mastery of English was probably this bad although it never led to anyway drowning. (Speaking of the perils of the sea, yesterday, the Skiffy Channel aired a movie called Spring Break Shark Attack.)

#620 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 05:34 PM:

Oops. Should have been "...it never led to ANYBODY drowning..."

#621 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 05:40 PM:

Serge @ 605: No, no. The scene IS from Solaris.

Must be in both, then!

#622 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 06:35 PM:

In case no-one has brought it up already . . . the mini series that started off the new TORCHWOOD season is cracking good fun.

Lots of the cast is gone . . . to be honest, I don't remember what happened that trimmed the staff. But what is happening now (I'm up to the third episode) redeems an "eh" series.

#623 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 08:18 PM:

Open thread plea (before you all depart) -

My current situation has me in more-or-less stepmother* position to an eleven-year-old who associates me showing up with the aftermath of her father dying of brain cancer. I wasn't around when parent-child bonding might have happened. Her mother has made it clear that she finds my being here supportive, and the kid is going to have to deal with it. Also we're both understanding that the kid has a right to be angry, though not destructively so.

Any good books that might help me? To cross-thread, "elf help" types would be fine.

* Nothing useful in Lang. I don't want to be a wicked stepmother.

#624 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 09:37 PM:

Stefan Jones@622:

I watched the fourth and fifth episodes last night. I don't know if I can honestly call them "fun". But they were excellent television.

#625 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 10:03 PM:

Carol Kimball #623:

I think you're stuck with patience and forbearance.... Eventually, the kid will pick up that her mother treats you as a supportive, helpful person, but in this context, that's going to take a while.

#626 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 10:59 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 623... My best wishes regarding your relationship with the young lady.

#627 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2009, 11:28 PM:

I have returned!

I meant to find a Fluorospherian at Confluence, but did not. I am sorry I missed you! I instead hung around with Alphans past and present as much as possible.

Now I have an awful lot of internet to read.

#628 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 12:03 AM:

#607 abi
The comment about disintegrating Spandex caused to think of "superhero in pool, costume suddenly dissociates...

# 591 Angioportus

One of the world's truly miserable experiences was opening the meatlocker-style-handle on the interior of the door of The Top of the World Club or The Blue Nose Club at 1 AM in the summer after having been drinking since around 4 PM, from a near-crawl, and having the door open into the sun in one's face. Ugh, ugh, ugh, UGH!!!!

Filking until sun up and going to breakfast and then going to bed, doesn't anywhere near begin to approximate the misery....

#629 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 12:04 AM:

I finished the washer hookup today! And would have had the dryer hookup done, too, had I bought the right circuit breaker. But by the time I went to Menards to replace it, and finished the plumbing, and went hiking with the family and dog, it was too late to mess with turning the electricity off.

That corner's now a mess, anyway, so I can't put the washer and dryer there before cleaning. But tomorrow I'll have the delight of doing laundry in a washer I plumbed my own self.

#630 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 01:50 AM:

"I'll have the delight of doing laundry"

If I ever said that my family members would go toes up.

I suspect once the immediate joy of having your hookup work properly fades, Michael, you'll feel the same way.

#631 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 05:36 AM:

630: as Oscar Wilde would have said, the only thing worse than doing laundry is not doing laundry.

#633 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 10:57 AM:

Open thready help /funny cat story:

So Mona the part Norwegian forest cat (finally named after the only Norwegian Miss Universe) has gone exploring, poking her nose into the lilies brought by last week's dinner guests. She got pollen all over one side of her face, and then tried to lick it off. The results are rather startlingly bright yellow. My previous experiences with this pollen stuff are that it's a highly concentrated dye, and that attempts to wash it off are non-helpful. (The only thing that ever got it, or cooking saffron, off white Formica was bleach. There are reasons why I don't buy lilies anymore when I raid the flower department.)

Any thoughts, or do we just wait for it to grow out?

#634 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 02:33 PM:

Book recommendation? Of a taxonomic sort, I think. I'm about to start searching but someone here may have a favorite title.

I would like a reference book that shows how all edible plants are related to each other. I'm trying to manage food allergies--my own and my son's--and it would be nice to have more than just the incomplete lists of plant families I've found on the internet.

Any ideas?

#635 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 06:14 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @ 624:

As good as I thought the first 3 episodes were, I was somewhat disappointed with the last 2. IMHO, gur jevgref xrcg chfuvat gur pevfvf gbb ybat orsber ortvaavat gur gheanebhaq nf bhe urebrf fgneg gb svaq fbyhgvbaf. Fb fbzr bs gur anfgl cybg ryrzragf, yvxr gur gebbcf ebhaqvat hc puvyqera, jrag gbb sne gb or pyrnerq hc va gur gvzr gurl unq yrsg, yrnivat gurz rvgure haerfbyirq be erfbyirq haoryvrinoyl: tvira jung unccrarq va gur ynfg rcvfbqr V jbhyq rkcrpg zbfg bs gur tbireazragf bs gur jbeyq gb or chyyrq qbja ol fpernzvat zbof bs cneragf. Naq V gubhtug Wnpx'f npgvbaf ng gur raq, lb-lbvat orgjrra qrcerffvba naq tevz qrgrezvangvba sbyybjrq ol jvyyvatarff gb fnpevsvpr uvf bja tenaqfba, qvqa'g pbzr bhg bs gur punenpgre, ohg jrer sbeprq ba uvz gb perngr cngubf, juvpu whfg qvqa'g fvg jryy jvgu zr. Vg frrzrq zber fcrpgnpyr guna qenzn gb zr.

#636 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 07:18 PM:

Bruce Cohen@635: I agree with your points, although there's precedent for Russell T Davies leaving things in weird situations: in the Doctor Who third series finale, gur Cevzr Zvavfgre bs gur HX unf gur Cerfvqrag bs gur HF xvyyrq ol nyvraf naq vf gura fubg ol uvf jvsr; nsgre juvpu gurer ner frrzvayl ab punbf be ercrephffvbaf ng nyy. Gur Qbpgbe trgf gb chg gur CZ'f obql ba n erzbgr shareny cler (juvpu znxrf ab frafr ng nyy vs lbh guvax nobhg vg) naq gura jr unir n pnyz qrabhrzrag.

I had problems with the early parts of the miniseries as well: in particular, jul qvq gur HX tbireazrag crefrphgr naq qrfgebl Gbepujbbq gur jnl gurl qvq? Tvira gur onpxfgbel yngre erirnyrq, gung znqr ab frafr ng nyy gb zr, gb gur cbvag bs orvat vqvbg cybg.

Also, I would have liked fbzrbar gb or gur ibvpr bs vqrnyvfz naq fnl "Orggre sbe gur ragver uhzna enpr gb qvr svtugvat guna gb zrrxyl fheeraqre vgf puvyqera vagb fynirel. Zvyyvbaf sbe qrsrafr, abg bar prag sbe gevohgr." Gung crefba jbhyq unir orra fubhgrq qbja, ohg fheryl fbzrobql jbhyq unir fnvq vg.

#637 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 08:47 PM:

Mary Dell @ 634
The Sunset Western Garden Book gives family names for all the plants, edible or not, at least in my not-the-latest edition. (I'd guess their late not-much-lamented National Garden Book did the same thing, but my copy is somewhere in a box.)

Off the top of my head, the most likely families for edibles are
the rose family (stone fruits and berries)
the squash and melon family (cucurbits)
the lily family (onions and garlic)
the carrot and parsley family (also anise, fennel, cilantro, celery)
the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers)
the mustard family (radish, cabbage, bok choy, turnip)
There are others, of course, but those are the big ones.

#638 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 09:30 PM:

Mary Dell - If you find something like that, I'd like to know. My wife thinks her allergy to berries might have spread to cherries recently, and is concerned what other fruits she might need to be cautious with. (She will not be happy if she needs to give up apples; however, she seems to be still eating apples and pluots without ill effects.)

One possibility which just occurred to me is checking family and genus relationships for different plant foods via Wikipedia - they have taxonomic information clearly specified for most food species, and entries under the families.

#639 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 09:55 PM:

Mary Dell #634, P J Evans #637: Um, how about some staples? ;-)

Grass family (all grains)
Legume family (beans, peas, lentils, peanuts)

Speaking of which, I now have 6 quarts of a lovely split-pea-lentil-veggie stew. A pound apiece of yellow split peas and red lentils, perhaps a cup of barley, and a load of assorted vegetables. Plus homemade chicken-veggie stock from the freezer. Yum!

But damn, I'm exhausted! I actually did shop and cook the same day, and by dinnertime my hands were twitching. My fridge probably isn't too happy either -- even after several hours of cooling, it was still pretty hot when I split it between freezer and refrigerator.

#640 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 10:33 PM:

I sent the "Action Park" link to an old friend back in NY, who quipped:

It's almost what would happen if M$ ran a theme-park. I don't want to ride the "Blue Screen of Death".

#641 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 01:26 AM:

Open threadedness: I registered my cell phone (which is my only phone) on the National Do Not Call Registry. I used an email addr which I use for things which I don't want to pay too much attention to, got a confirming message mailed to that address with my number, and a 'click on this link' for the registration.

I just got a similar message to another email addr that I use, with a number which is definitely not mine.

What is going on?

#642 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 01:32 AM:

Oh, and the message the National Do Not Call Registry puts out says:

Please do not reply to this message as it is from an unattended mailbox. Any
replies to this email will not be responded to or forwarded. This service is
used for outgoing emails only and cannot respond to inquiries.
So apparently no use asking them for clarification.

#643 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 01:57 AM:

If the link actually goes to the National Do Not Call Registry, I would think there would be no harm in clicking it for a person who *may* have typoed their e-mail address for the confirmation.

If it goes somewhere else, you could have problems.

#644 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 02:41 AM:

The Yarn Harlot has been having a particularly bad month with an odious troll of the worst sort -- and has posted in a remarkably reasonable way about the goings on.

It's also one of the few times I can say "the lurkers clearly support her (and not just in email!)".

#645 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 07:59 AM:

Re: The health insurance battle, Democracy Now has a scary interview with " Insurance Exec Turned Whistleblower Wendell Potter".

#646 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 08:02 AM:

The 3rd Season new-WHO finale is, as I recall, overlaid with time loops and stuff, which magically make everyone else forget what happened.

But RTD seems to have a habit of ending a series in overblown finales which manage to throw away whole swathes of possible futures.

The season 4 finale, for instance, had several different schemes that would have defeated the big-bad, all getting close to fruition when they were essentially waved away by unexplained God-like knowledge and a teleport system. And them the ending is rushed to allow a bit of character-drama which really deserved an episode to itself.

Torchwood on the other hand starts out in the aftermath of the new-WHO 2 finale. There's clear evidence that the centre of the organisation had been wrecked, but there's still somewhere besides Cardiff.

The mini-series seems to forget all those possibilities. Cardiff takes heavy casualties at the end of TW S2, and yet there isn't even one replacement.

RTD, I think, is still struggling with the nature of a series. He writes big dramatic endings which cut off so many possibilities. He writes as if there isn't going to be a next year.

He says he has something big for the three remaining specials, this year. I'm almost scared to watch.

Dallas had the dream season. Are we going to have to put a chunk of new-WHO into a time-loop?

#647 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 09:48 AM:

640: the Action Park article is almost too strange to believe. Can someone confirm this place actually existed? It's like something from "The Simpsons". I can almost hear the voice of Smithers...
"Sir, the testers report that the Loop-The-Loop Water Slide has a tendency to cause nosebleeds, headaches and dismemberment."
"Don't bother me with trifles, Smithers! Now, drive to the Rafting River of Doom!"

#648 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 10:48 AM:

Dave Bell @ 646... Dallas had the dream season

Didn't Bob Newhart's last series end with him waking up in his bed with Suzanne Pleshette, who had been in his previous series?

#649 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 11:51 AM:

Conan O'Brien had William Shatner read Palin's farewell speech. The YouTube clip can be found here.

...must... NOT watch... must... resist!!!...

#650 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 11:58 AM:

An interesting discussion of an iPhone app (for accessing a registry of registered sex offenders).

Sex offender locator is huge hit at iPhone App

#651 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 01:17 PM:

joann @633

Take cat to vet. Lilies and lily pollen are bad for cats, if googling "cats lily pollen" is any guide.

#652 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 02:02 PM:

I'm sorry Patrick didn't post that story about the Associated Press as an entry rather than a sidelight. I want someone with serious technical chops to tell me whether it's possible to implant an invisible beacon in a document in such a way that it will not only survive a text-only save, but remain invisible while doing it. ASCII is ASCII, right? And besides, if that were possible, wouldn't spammers already be doing it?

#653 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 02:21 PM:

The "Shatner Does Palin" video "has been removed due to a copyright claim from NBC/Universal."

#654 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 02:30 PM:

The Shatner/Palin video is available from NBC.com.

It can be viewed via this link.

#655 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 02:32 PM:

#647:

Yes, Action Park actually existed.

I remember the advertisements, and one of the fatal accidents; something about a drowning in one of the fake impeller-driven rivers.

#656 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 02:33 PM:

#647:

Yes, Action Park actually existed.

I remember the advertisements, and news reportage of one of the fatal accidents; something about a drowning in one of the fake impeller-driven rivers.

#657 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 02:40 PM:

This morning I was reading ML on a 17-inch CRT monitor. Which means that the viewable area is about 15 inches on the diagonal. It's how they sold them, and they would have had to have called it a 15-inch if it had been a TV.

I'm working now on a 23-inch LCD widescreen display. Right from the start it feels much sharper, and while I think I need to do a bit of tweaking of the settings, it's clear that my old monitor had shifted a long way from the nominal colour balance.

The experience of widescreen on my netbook is borne out: I can enlarge text and still see a full line width.

OK, this is a tech which is going to keep on getting cheaper, but programs I sometimes struggled with have jumped in clarity. I don't think I am going to regret not waiting a bit longer.

#658 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 02:41 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 652:

From that rather crazy-sounding quote, my guess is that they mean web bugs (those 1x1 transparent .gifs or equivalent) that tell them what IP and browser is loading it, and meta tags packed with half the dictionary. It won't survive saving just the data and throwing out the rest of the junk. The way they're wording it, though, does sound incredibly like magic.

Some spammers are doing it. If your mail reader is set to automatically display images in HTML email and you open a spam message, it'll load the spammer's image, which tells them that your email address is live.

#659 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 03:12 PM:

xeger @644 - Good God, that's excruciating. "Americans are getting tired of the left" - except for the direction, I suppose that's accurate. These losers can't shut up fast enough for me.

#660 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 04:45 PM:

Plain text is plain text, and html view source is plain text. And I'd have to do some testing, but I think that if you copied and pasted something with a web big, it would become obvious really quickly when you pasted it. Unless, of course, you built something into every device on the internet that can edit text.

So, Someone sold the AP a load of crap.

#661 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 06:25 PM:

pericat #651:

Thanks. She hasn't shown any of the listed symptoms 35-45 hours after the time of contact; we took her to the vet anyway, and she seems as nominal as possible (all the indicators say "great health") without actually doing a blood test for kidney function. His advice, after consulting any number of sources, is to observe and bring her in if there's any change.

I hadn't realized how close we'd become until I read those links. Talk about feeling the bottom drop out of one's stomach ...

OK. Public service announcement. For everyone wondering WTF, do not, repeat DO NOT let your cat come in contact with lilies (and not just Easter lilies--also day lilies, stargazers, etc.) Not to eat, not to get the pollen on, not nothing. They're highly toxic, can kill, can cause serious kidney failure. Some cats are more susceptible than others; and a lot depends on amount ingested. If, despite precautions, ingestion occurs, trot the beast off to the vet immediately.

Lily/cat interaction seems to be one of those all-too-well-kept secrets. Didn't have to be. If I'd known, I would have removed them from the bouquet as soon as the guests left, before they bloomed.

#662 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Teresa, your intuition is correct - you can't put any active content into a text file (duh). I wouldn't trust a text file I'd gotten from the High Beyond or the Transcend, of course, but down here in the Slowness text is just text, and you can't put a web bug into it. The AP just wishes they could.

I did my first laundry today using a W/D hookup I built with my own hands! And a washer and dryer I got on Craigslist for $50 total. They work, amazingly, although the dryer needs a bearing or something and is really loud. OTOH, at least I know when the dryer load is done.

Also, the first use of the big house: book storage. I thought I was buying a 3500 square foot house with a 20x40 storage shed; turns out I was buying a 20x40 house with a 3500 square foot storage shed...

#663 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 07:02 PM:

Somebody should ask the AP if their beacon will work with printouts of AP articles. And film the reaction and put it on YouTube, because I'll bet you dollars to donuts they'd have to think about it.

#664 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 08:18 PM:

A citizen of Amsterdam responds to Bill O'Reilly and his clownish guests, who spent some time declaring that city to be a cesspool of druggies:

YouTube

abi should particularly enjoy it.

#665 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 08:20 PM:

Michael Roberts #663:

Well, they could try putting EURion Constellations into their pages, but that wouldn't survive to text-mode either -- and some ways wouldn't even survive to most people's printouts. (My print system is set to skip background images, as I suspect most folks' are.)

#666 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 10:38 PM:

Paula @ 597: On the other hand, this Worldcon is in downtown Montreal. If the things you like are fairly common brands, you can probably find them at any number of pharmacies. If you need a particular flavor of Tom's of Maine toothpaste, yes, pack it; if you want Kleenex rather than the hotel's preferred brand of tissue, you might as well just go to Pharmaprix or a supermarket. (I'm assuming packing space is limited; if you are driving alone or with one other person, throw a box in the trunk and save the drugstore for things you forget to pack.)

This comment was prompted by the memory of realizing I needed something at a drugstore early this past Wiscon, and as long as I was there buying two bars of the kind of soap I like, and then ignoring the hotel soap bars for the weekend.

#667 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 10:42 PM:

joann @ 661

I am relieved to hear cat is doing well. I only googled it because I had something about cats & lilies nagging at me as being interesting in the same way dogs & chocolate is interesting. You're right, this should be better known. It's hard to think of lilies as scary plants.

#668 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2009, 10:46 PM:

"Do not bleach" on a swimsuit doesn't seem that weird to me: most of my swimming, growing up, was in the ocean.

The closest I've come to swimming lately was in a freshwater pond. The water was chilly, there are no lifeguards, and there were more swans in the water than humans, so I didn't swim, just waded. I think what I was wearing would have tolerated bleach, though: speedo shorts and an undyed pullover exercise bra, with a t-shirt I would have taken off if I was going in deep enough.

#669 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 12:48 AM:

My latest swimsuit has begun rapidly fading, and it's from the sun, not from the chlorine in the pool. (I deduce this because the cloth is going rapidly gray on the outside, while the other side of the same fabric is remaining perfectly black on the inside. If there's another explanation for why the outside would go and the inside wouldn't, it's possible I'm wrong.)

I'm still trying to figure out why the manufacturers decided that a swimming suit shouldn't need to stand up to semi-regular exposure to sunlight. Not dealing with bleach almost makes sense, compared to that.

#670 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 02:17 AM:

Linkmeister @664:
I'll pass that round to the people who showed us the O'Reilly thing. (We thought it was hysterical.)

That video shows the Amsterdam I know and love - pleasant, a little goofy, intensely child-friendly, and a damn sight safer and cleaner than any large American city I've been in.

The one thing the video didn't highlight is that the US has the highest teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in the developed world, while the Netherlands the lowest. ("Naive ideas about teaching their children about safe sex...")

But then, reality, well-known liberal bias, yadda yadda.

#673 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 02:52 AM:

Dave Bell@646: No, the time loops don't help. Right after all the reset-button-hitting is done, one of the first things that happens is a voice on the radiotelephone saying something like, "What's going on up there? We just saw the President get killed!"

#674 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 09:30 AM:

abi @670, The one thing the video didn't highlight is that the US has the highest teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in the developed world, while the Netherlands the lowest. ("Naive ideas about teaching their children about safe sex...")

The rest of the video was just funny (involuntarily in the O'Reilly parts), but that line really put me off. Someone who supports the conservative positions on sex calling other people's position on sex "naive". That's not even funny anymore.

#675 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 10:20 AM:

Fade Manley @ 669: I'm still trying to figure out why the manufacturers decided that a swimming suit shouldn't need to stand up to semi-regular exposure to sunlight.

You were going to buy a new one to match this year's fashions anyway, right?

#676 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 10:45 AM:

675: intended for the Scottish market, probably.

#677 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 10:53 AM:

Drowning in Data....

I'm an information junkie. However, there are data sources I barely go to anymore. I don;t have a setup setup for receiving television at the moment--I do have the piece parts to use a computer as a TV set, but haven't done any hookup, and the pieces and buried in the Accumulation anyway. I haven;t bought a converter box. Etc.

I have a full attending membership to the Worldcon. I haven't been to the website or even opened publications sent in mail, in weeks--I went onto the website to nominate (ISTR) and vote for (or against, in a number of cases) Hugo nominees on the final ballot.

I will be going to the convention, but delayed all sorts of things.

I think it's information fatigue.

I'm a data and information junkie, but I'm also a novelty seeker--and I've been going to Worldcons since 1971. "I've read this sort of stuff before, why do I have to keep reading it again every year?" isn't quite the internal attitude, but in some ways it's a close relative....

#678 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 11:10 AM:

Fade Manley @ 669: I'm still trying to figure out why the manufacturers decided that a swimming suit shouldn't need to stand up to semi-regular exposure to sunlight.

People want the body control that comes with lycra or its kin. It can be dyed in bright colors, but loses its oomph with exposure to sunlight (heat & UV) and chlorine.

Many dyes that take well on natural fabrics are not light- and wear-fast.

A notorious example is indigo. We go through cycles where crisp, unfaded jeans are the rage (as they must be new) and bounce to the other extreme where they are deliberately distressed and faded.

Plastics colored in manufacturing fit the criteria, but do you want a swim suit of Cordura?! Even outdoor fabrics made for tents and awnings give way after a season in the sun.

#679 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 11:12 AM:

Fade Manley @ 669: I'm still trying to figure out why the manufacturers decided that a swimming suit shouldn't need to stand up to semi-regular exposure to sunlight.

People want the body control that comes with lycra or its kin. It can be dyed in bright colors, but loses its oomph with exposure to sunlight (heat & UV) and chlorine.

Many dyes that take well on natural fabrics are not light- and wear-fast.

A notorious example is indigo. We go through cycles where crisp, unfaded jeans are the rage (as they must be new) and bounce to the other extreme where they are deliberately distressed and faded.

Plastics colored in manufacturing fit the criteria, but do you want a swim suit of Cordura?! Even outdoor fabrics made for tents and awnings give way after a season in the sun.

#680 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 11:16 AM:

Glitch. "Post" failed to load, and when I refreshed the page, it double-posted.

What's the best way around this? Copy the text, delete it from the comments box, and refresh?

Or open a new window?

Aargh.

#681 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 11:55 AM:

Using bleach when washing a garment involves a much higher concentration of chlorine than wearing that garment in a swimming pool. Hence the warning not to wash the suit with bleach. Washing/rinsing the (swimming pool) bleach out is recommended.

Also, what Carol said @679. Manufacturers of swimsuits do not deliberately manufacture them them to disintegrate, but eventually they do. Sometimes sooner than later. (Photos possibly NSFW)

#682 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 01:04 PM:

Found today on Comcast's site...

Texting While Driving Ban Proposed

That won't affect me because I use Speed Stick.

#683 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 01:41 PM:

Tracie #681: My favorite bit of the whole article was the caption to the last photo:

Ricky in Beijing (neither AP nor Getty took a photo of his face in Rome on Sunday)

#684 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 02:24 PM:

Re: undead flow chart, methinks "Robocop" and "Wesley" are separate entities. (Wesley may be Westley from Princess Bride?) ISTM "Robocop Wesley," like Grandpa Joe, implies multiple Robocops.

#685 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 02:55 PM:

P J Evans #637, David Harmon @#639:

Thanks, I'll look for the Western Garden Book. Most family-groupings info is findable on the internet) but not the degree of relatedness, if you follow me. For instance, my son is allergic to wheat and oats, but not to rice or corn. Based on this information, I want to know if he's likely to be allergic to barley. Likewise he's also allergic to several members of the rose family, but not all of them, so having a family-tree type map of all the items in that family would be helpful for deciding what to test next.

Clifton Royston @#638: Apple/cherry allergy is a serious pain--my son has it, and it's very hard to find fruits that are not somehow related. Hopefully your wife's allergy won't hop over to apples. If I find a useful guide, I'll let you know. This site is the most helpful of the ones I go to.

#686 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 02:55 PM:

Kate Elliott, among others, has linked to this letter from an Iranian protester named Fayah. Tomorrow will be the 40th day since Neda Soltan was murdered. There will be a memorial march. Undoubtedly there will be a confrontation. It may be that in less than 24 hours the letter writer and many of her friends will be arrested and/or killed, just as has happened to far too many of her comrades in the weeks since the stolen election. Please keep Iran in your thoughts tomorrow.

#687 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 03:38 PM:

Looks like Patrick's latest particle about the AP's magic wrapper confirms my suspicions about what it really is. It's a shame I have morals, because otherwise I'd try to sell them some digital ribbons and a bow to go with their digital wrapping.

I also like their not-hard-to-understand-at-all diagram, complete with waste-disposal barrel for post-news-consumer product. (That's what it looks like, anyway.)

#688 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 04:20 PM:

#685 Mary

Apple and cherry are very distant from one another. Cherries belong to the "stone fruit" category which includes plums, apricots, nectarines, peachs, chokecherries, black cherries, and such.
Apple relatives include pears.
Mangoes and coconuts I think are far far away, also lychees, durians, breadfruit, cherimoya, bananas, and plantains.

Almonds are related to apricots, and those things are I think members of the rose family.

Corn is a gluten-free grass grain. The typical cause of wheat intolerance is gluten intolerance, which corn doesn't have, and wheat doesn't have. Some of the ancient wheat types--spelt and kamut--have less of it. Barley I would be suspicious of.

Quinoa and buckwheat are unrelated, and at least buckwheat isn't a grass. Millet is another grain which I think is gluten free, and teff probably too (not easily found. Trader Joe's has quinoa, buckwheat is around. Amaranth is another grain, usually grown as an ornamental plant (e.g., "Love Lies Bleeding.")

Soy is from I think a legume--there are a lot of legumes around, locust bean gum is from a tree which is a legume, for example. Green beans = bush beans or pole beans, aren't legume, and most shell beans aren;t either--pinto, pink beans, navy beans, pea beans (as opposed to peas, which are legumes), white beans, "black-eyed peans," ... there are lots of diferent types of beans, and most are not legumes.

Sunflowers, lettuce, and artichokes are all in the lettuce family. Carrots, parsley, parsnips, fennel I think, are all in the carrot family (avoid water hemlock and Giant Hogweed, they can be deadly...).

Swiss chard and beets are very close relatives.

Cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, chinese cabbage, rapini, etc., are all cole/brassica/cabbage family plants.

Tomatoes, potatos, bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatillos, eggplant... are all nightshades.

Sweet potatos and potatoes are not related.

Onions, chives, garlic, leeks, etc., are related.

Oregano is in the mint family.

Walnuts are relatives, not particular close ones but for allergy purposes not that far away, to hickories and pecans. Macadamia nuts aren't related. Chestnuts are also unrelated, and hazelnuts are unrelated.

Some people have generic "tree nut" allergies, others have allergies only to specific families (walnuts and butternuts and hickory and pecans, or almonds, or macadamia nuts, but not all nut...)

#689 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 04:24 PM:

ERRATUM

Corn is a gluten-free grass grain. The typical cause of wheat intolerance is gluten intolerance, which corn doesn't have, and wheat doesn't have. Some of the ancient wheat types--spelt and kamut--have less of it. Barley I would be suspicious of.

AAARRGGGHHHH!

I meant to write "rice doesn't have [gluten]."

GRUMP

#690 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 04:25 PM:

ERRATUM

Corn is a gluten-free grass grain. The typical cause of wheat intolerance is gluten intolerance, which corn doesn't have, and wheat doesn't have. Some of the ancient wheat types--spelt and kamut--have less of it. Barley I would be suspicious of.

AAARRGGGHHHH!

I meant to write "rice doesn't have [gluten]."

GRUMP

#691 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 05:01 PM:

Found in the most recent e-newsletter of the Annals of Improbable Research...

"Impact of Lawn-Care Firm Characteristics on Pesticide Expenditures," W.J. Florkowski, E.E. Hubbard, G.W. Landry and T.R. Murphy, Horticultural Science, 1994, vol. 29, no. 9, pp. 1084-6.

"The Effect of Antibiotic Drugs on the Volume and Composition of Intestinal Gas From Beans,"
E.L. Murphy and D.H. Calloway,
American Journal of Digestive Diseases, vol. 17, no. 7, July
1972, pp. 639-42.

"Healthy men were confined to a metabolic unit and fed bean meals to stimulate intestinal gas formation while under antibiotic medication."

To boldly gas where no lawn has grown before.

#692 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 05:02 PM:

Paula Lieberman #688: Green beans = bush beans or pole beans, aren't legume, and most shell beans aren;t either--pinto, pink beans, navy beans, pea beans...there are lots of diferent types of beans, and most are not legumes.

Sorry, I'm reasonably certain that's just wrong (and Wikipedia backs me up -- 3 links).

I hadn't known that buckwheat wasn't a true grain, and Wikipedia backs you on that one. ("...two genera of the dicot family Polygonaceae...) WP also confirms the same is true for quinoa ("closely related to beets, spinach...").

"Nuts" are indeed tricky... my father had a fairly general allergy -- as an adult, he discovered it didn't cover all nuts (perhaps "anymore"), but he quit experimenting when a Brazil nut sent him to the hospital.

#693 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 05:17 PM:

re 688: A few corrections:

All beans and peas are legumes, including anything made from soy. However, the maturity and form do make a difference; the "musical fruit" issue comes from shell beans, not from green beans or heavily processed soy.

Apples, roses, and plums are all in the same family, but they are in different subfamilies.

As far as nuts are concerned, walnuts, hickory nuts, and pecans are in the same subfamily. Hazelnuts and almonds aren't related to each other or to the other nuts. Peanuts are of course legumes. Cashews are way out in left field, being more closely related to poison ivy than anything else. Brazil nuts are also isolated, though they are somewhat distantly related to the kiwi fruit.

Almost all the culinary herbs are in the mint family, with the exception of dill and fennel.

#694 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 05:46 PM:

Paula Lieberman @#688: My son has a true allergy to wheat & oats, not a gluten intolerance (true allergy=histhamine reaction to the protein), from what we can tell so far. We're keeping celiac disease on the radar, though...he has an odd set of conditions that may ultimately all fall under one genetic umbrella, but haven't grouped themselves in any identifiable way yet (he's just over a year old).

We have a tedious testing routine for all new foods, and I'd like to have a book to keep in the kitchen when I'm brainstorming about what to cook for him. Something that would guide me through a food family to find the nearest relatives of the foods he CAN eat.

#695 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 05:56 PM:

PS: In the US, buckwheat is commonly sold as "kasha". There's a trick for the "traditional" texture, which is to frying the grains beforehand for 2-3 minutes, stirring in a beaten egg to "seal" the grains before boiling. For the real Jewish/Russian experience, cook with chicken stock, add (separately-) fried onions, and serve over bow-tie pasta (varnishkes).

#696 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 09:02 PM:

Serge @682: Discussing this with a friend who commented "No one had to tell us not to drive with a typewriter on our laps and write letters while driving!"

#697 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 09:28 PM:

#694
Like I said upthread, the Sunset garden book lists plant families with the plant. I forgot to say that most of the edibles are under their common names. (Rhubarb is in the same family as sorrel and dock. Citrus is in with rue. Avocados are in the myrtle family. True bay really is laurel.)

#698 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 09:40 PM:

KeithS, #687: The combination of "magic wrapper" and "ribbons and a bow" sent my brain straight to The Sleeping Scotsman.

#699 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 11:23 PM:

Lee @ 698: You're welcome.

#700 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 11:34 PM:

So, Seattle has just had its hottest day on record. That's 103F at the airport, 105F at my house, in a city largely without airconditioning. The dew point is currently 62F, so we don't really even get by on "but it's a dry heat".


To mark the event: a hot weather recipe.

1 red cabbage
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno
2tbs olive oil
a little salt.

The cabbage should be refrigerated, the other ingredients at room temperature. Chop the jalapeno very finely and mix with the oil, lime juice, and salt. Chop the cabbage into bite-site chunks (we're not doing finely-sliced for coleslaw here). Toss the cabbage in the dressing.

Some people will want more or hotter peppers. This version provides a little residual warmth to contrast with the cold cabbage, but no burn.

#701 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 11:35 PM:

Think bike-riding is a fun, healthy family activity? Think again -- especially if you live in or near Asheville, NC, where a veteran firefighter shot a man who was out riding, with his 3-year-old son in a bike seat and his wife on another bike behind them. This was no warning shot; he was shooting to kill, and it was mere luck that the rider's helmet was the only thing damaged.

Why did he do this? Because he thought that the traffic on that road was too heavy for bicyclists, and the child was being endangered. Note that he shot the rider from the rear, with the child in the line of fire.

My question is, how did this guy serve for 17 years in the fire department without anyone noticing that he was a COMPLETE NUTCASE?

#702 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2009, 11:48 PM:

Portland, OR had a very hot day too. I'm not sure if it was a record, but it was thoroughly miserable.

Acting on an idea from a friend, I tried to fry an egg on the pavement:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stefan_e_jones/sets/72157621764019989/

#703 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 12:08 AM:

Think bike-riding is a fun, healthy family activity? Think again -- especially if you live in or near Asheville, NC, where a veteran firefighter shot a man who was out riding, with his 3-year-old son in a bike seat and his wife on another bike behind them. This was no warning shot; he was shooting to kill, and it was mere luck that the rider's helmet was the only thing damaged.

Why did he do this? Because he thought that the traffic on that road was too heavy for bicyclists, and the child was being endangered. Note that he shot the rider from the rear, with the child in the line of fire.

My question is, how did this guy serve for 17 years in the fire department without anyone noticing that he was a COMPLETE NUTCASE?

#704 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 12:16 AM:

Stefan,

I think you need more intense sun than Portland. The
egg white should go white and solid at somewhere between 61C and 65C, or 140-150F. I seem to to remember that in Melbourne in summer the road surface temperatures were only in the high 50s, and that's with similar air temperatures and quite a bit closer to the equator.

#705 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 12:18 AM:

Ack, sorry about the double post. ML seems to have been burping a bit the last couple of days.

#706 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 12:47 AM:

Dave Bell @ 671: That woman who has read 25,000 (library) books is pretty amazing. Every year, I'm astonished at the top entries in the Steve Duin Reading Contest.

Duin is a columnist in the Portland Oregonian newspaper, and this contest started as a family thing to encourage his kids to read. He has contestants report the number of pages, rather than books, to normalize a bit. Winners usually read about 125,000+ pages, which comes to 350-400 books a year.

#707 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 02:39 AM:

Stefan, somebody tried that at Dodger Stadium last weekend. Didn't work for him either.

#708 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 02:42 AM:

Quick, Gromet, to the Cheddarometer!

(From the same people responsible for Cheese in Space

(It is alleged that the official British Space Programme has a longer ladder on order.)

#709 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 02:52 AM:

Paula:
Apple and cherry are very distant from one another. Cherries belong to the "stone fruit" category which includes plums, apricots, nectarines, peachs, chokecherries, black cherries, and such.
Apple relatives include pears.
...
Almonds are related to apricots, and those things are I think members of the rose family.

I'm afraid you're incorrect on the distance between apples and cherries - besides the relation you cited between almonds and apricots, every one of those fruits above (apples, pears, plums, etc.) and in addition all brambles (raspberries, blackberries, etc.) and strawberries, turn out to be members of the Rose family (Rosaceae) I didn't realize this until I started looking into it in the last few days.

The genus Malus (apples and pears) are in a separate subfamily from that containing berries, but it appears they're now considered part of the same subfamily of Roses which contains the Amygdaloideae (stone fruit.)

#710 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 02:56 AM:

I'd expect the dewpoint to be about that. LA has a dewpoint in that range when the temps are that high. Dewpoint has nothing to do with how humid it it is, just when the air can't sustain the suspended water (which IIRC, is never more than 4 percent absolute, irrespective of the relative humidity).

re buckwheat: It's also mildly toxic. The seeds are the least toxic, but the entire plant is toxic. So feeding it to animals is a bad idea. Some (horses) react more powerfully than others (guinea pigs).

Re the shooting: From the article the victim was on foot when he was shot at, so the child wasn't in particular danger. Still a massive case of WTF?

#711 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 03:03 AM:

Lee @107:
Think bike-riding is a fun, healthy family activity? Think again

Look, I know it's an alarming story, but please don't blame the bike-riding. Cycling is a fun, healthy family activity. Being in the world with nutcases isn't, but getting off your bike won't solve that.

I have a real twitch on this subject, because bike riding is important to me. It's healthy for me and for the environment, it doesn't use any irreplaceable fossil fuels*, it reduces congestion on the roads, it will make my kids better drivers because they will already be in practice reading the road...I could go on and on. I probably will in a blog post in the near future.

But it's intimidating to start cycling. Riders get intimidated right off the roads (I was in Edinburgh), and then it never becomes safer. Anything that needlessly furthers that process is going to bug me.

So, I reiterate. Biking is a good thing. Living in the world with nut cases, not so much.

-----
* on a marginal basis; I am aware that the manufacture and shipping of the equipment does

#712 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 03:30 AM:

abi: I did a post about it... the nutjob, not the biking. I like biking. It made me a much better driver (esp. as I started driving late). I don't know how many accidents I've avoided because I keep decent following distances, and see how the traffic is moving.

To day nothing of what sharing the road with assholes did for my abilty to focus when the road is going pear-shaped.

#713 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 06:19 AM:

A quick note on
Making Light II: the Mirth of Con
Friday, August 7, from 8:45pm until the vowels run out.

There'll be a post on the ML front page soon, but in preparation, the RSVP post exists: those without LJ accounts can use it.

Check back here and in the community for more information on the
Tripping the Bites Fans Taste: Miracle Fruit Supraparty that'll occur within the overall party*.

If you might like to volunteer to help, there's a planning list post where the to-do list can be reviewed. It's in a draft form now, and will be updated.

--------------
* This is really, really fun, but we'll need a separate rsvp list for shopping.

Miracle Fruit causes bitter and sour flavors to taste sweet for 10-30 minutes. You can eat lemon and lime slices straight, tasting their essential flavors without needing to add sweeteners. Balsamic vinegar can be tasted like wines. "goat cheese tasted like cheesecake", and coffee tastes as good as it smells. This sweetness effect isn't quite like adding sugar, it instead creates a new unsour flavor to experience.

#714 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 06:27 AM:

684: I am interested in Robocop Wesley and his battle against the positronic robots devised by John Calvin.

#715 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 06:47 AM:

Help, please. Some unknown quantity of time back, someone here recommended a piece of software. I remember it as being shareware or freeware that allowed you to selectively block specific internet sites for specific time ranges. I'm not finding that comment searching back. Anybody know what I'm talking about? I really need that as a weapon in the anti-procrastination war.

#716 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 07:28 AM:

OtterB @715: First thing that comes to mind is the Invisibility Cloak Greasemonkey script. The linked article has other tips too.

#717 ::: martyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 07:34 AM:

Tim Walters @ #604 No 'possibly' about it. The last scene changed the course of my life. How many films can claim that?

#718 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 08:27 AM:

Stefan Jones #702: Also, I note that you were trying this on what looked like gray(silver?)-painted concrete -- the NYC stunt is traditionally performed on blacktop asphalt. The Dodgers guy was furthermore using a reflective aluminum pan.

#719 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 08:55 AM:

OtterB: was it LeechBlock?

#720 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 10:38 AM:

abi, #711: It appears that my sarcasm generator was malfunctioning, too. I would never recommend that bikers be forced off the road in response to other people being assholes; my outrage is with the lunatic who thinks murder is an appropriate exercise of his nonexistent "authority", and with his defenders. Do not read the comments on that article unless you want to be sick to your stomach for hours.

#721 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 11:58 AM:

Blueberries are not that I'm aware of related to the rose family, not are grapes I think.

Figs are also off somewhere else, I think, and for that matter, dates, which come from a type of palm tree,as do coconuts (different type of palm tree).

Bananas and plantains are related, big tropical things, and bananas for that matter are all -clones-, having thousands of years ago lost the ability to reproduce sexually!

What else--pine nuts, come from pine trees, juniper berriers are from cedars...

#722 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 01:25 PM:

#718: That was naked blacktop. It was just really, really sunny out. Just not sunny enough for long enough, I guess.

#723 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 01:30 PM:

This makes me very happy: President Obama is about to award the Medal of Freedom to (among others) Billie Jean King, Sandra Day O'Connor, and (posthumously, of course) Harvey Milk. Harvey Milk!!!

Now, if only he could abandon DADT.

#724 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 02:06 PM:

for your consideration, a new measurement of garden productivity:

Feet of zucchini harvested per day.

#725 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 02:29 PM:

re 724: ... measured by the diameter.

#726 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 02:59 PM:

#695 David

You left out the chicken schmaltz....

#727 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 07:33 PM:

Pendrift @716 and Texanne @719, thanks. Leechblock was what I was looking for (and it was mentioned in the comments to the article Pendrift pointed at). I had it block me from a number of sites - including, alas, Making Light - during my work day and had the closest approximation to a productive day I've had in a while.

#728 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 10:57 PM:

Dave Bell, #646: But RTD seems to have a habit of ending a series in overblown finales which manage to throw away whole swathes of possible futures.

I'm not sure this is specifically a flaw of Davies's so much as a hazard of a more widespread addiction to big, explosive, apocalyptic endings.

In fact, a couple of years before the new TV series started production BBC Books published a Doctor Who novel called Sometime Never which was so indistinguishable in every detail from a chaotic RTD season-ending blowout that in retrospect it looks like a premonition.

#729 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 11:21 PM:

Re: Teresa's "Wedding Entrance" particle - That's my church, Christ Lutheran on Capital Hill. We really do have that much fun pretty regularly.

The phone has been ringing off the hook since this hit youtube. Since you're familiar with comment threads, you won't be surprised that there are a surprising number of people who feel it was sacreligious, and that they have to tell us so.

The vast majority have been positive, and quite a few want to get married here. Our pastor said he is telling people we don't provide choreographers or dance lessons.

Come visit if you're in town.

#730 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2009, 11:54 PM:

I live in a neighborhood that was founded in the late Victorian era. For whatever reason, Banana trees are often found flourishing in summer front/side yards (visible from the front). They have to be pulled in in the winter, obviously. And in the neighbor across the street's case, their tree failed to survive the winter. But I also vaguely remember that it produced a small hand of bananas last year, and that is usually the life-expectancy of any banana tree.

They usually look pretty nasty when they are set out in May, but they also usually green up and start shooting up leaves, etc. This time Maggie's banana didn't do that. And it is an end of an era. (Maggie passed away several years ago, her son maintains the house as a rental and the yard as how his mom did it.)

#731 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 12:26 AM:

#130 Paula

Usually bananas which bloom send up one or more new shoots from the base before blooming, though.

There is at least one species of "hardy banana" which can survive New England winters as outdoor plants, but the bananas borne are "fiber bananas" and not edible bananas.

Not all things with seedpods are really legumes--vanilla orchids have seedpods!

#732 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 01:15 AM:

Lizzy L #723: Now, if only he could abandon DADT.

...and telecom immunity and FISA abuse and...

#733 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 01:37 AM:

Executives need to go to jail or be retrained to dig ditches for looting their own companies during the financial crisis.

now, plz.

#734 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 01:46 AM:

My mother-in-law-to-be sent me a link to that wedding processional video. I replied that I didn't think any of us were up to that standard.

#735 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 11:20 AM:

#733 Earl

It's not only in financially deteriorated times that that happens.. I'm trying to rememer the company name or names from a couple of spectacular examples of that sort of abuse (executives looting the corporations they worked for) which got lots and lots of publicity.... Tyco was one of them.

#736 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Shatner reads Palin again: the Palin Twitter feed.

#737 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 01:28 PM:

Pendrift, #736: I love the little "Namaste" bow he gives to O'Brien at the end. This really is a match made in heaven.

#738 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 02:07 PM:

Paula Lieberman @735: I recall reading of executives raiding the pension funds of companies they had bought as far back as the Reagan era. I don't get why that wasn't highly illegal then, or why the practice was allowed to persist.

Ok, I sort of get why the legislators didn't want to get involved. I don't get why there were not folk with pitchforks to convince them they should.

#739 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 02:52 PM:

joann @ 661; pericat @ 667

joann, I'm glad your cat was okay. I think I've mentioned cat + lily = bad combination on Making Light sometime, but yes, repeat it.

Other bad combinations include:
cat + paracetamol (acetaminophen)
dog + ibuprofen
dog + chocolate
dog + grapes (nobody knows why yet) - this includes raisins or sultanas. Kidney failure has occurred in a number of cases.
dog + onions (and related plants) - bad for red blood cells
dog + macadamia nuts

Note: the reason there are more things in the "bad for dogs" versus "bad for cats" list is mainly because cats tend not to scavenge as much as dogs do. Many household plants are poisonous to cats - lots of lists online, but they don't always agree.

#740 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 04:19 PM:

The band Green Day apparently has a tradition of inviting a fan up on stage to play with them. They did this the other night at Madison Square Garden expecting, I'm sure, the usual terrified performance by a star-struck teenager.

Instead they got this:

Joy.
Music.
Empowerment.

But mostly, joy.

#741 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 04:24 PM:

Paula Lieberman #726: Heh, schmaltz didn't survive into my family's cooking, though my stepmother has been known to make it as a "guilty pleasure".

dcb #739: cats also have the same respective problems with chocolate and onions/garlic/etc..

#742 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 04:28 PM:

Juli Thompson #729: The thing I loved about that is it's not costumed, or choreographed to death, or experts showing off -- just everyone having fun.

#743 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 06:35 PM:

#738 Rob

Reagan was senile and had been a mouth for General Electric. Then it turned out, discovered amongst the divorce papers of "Neutron Jack" Jack Welch, that General Electric's big profits during Welch's tenure as head of the company, were financial smoke and mirror games.... (Divorce records in Massachusetts are public documents, and publically accessible. I once took a look at the boxful of paper from one of the two messy divorces someone I knew had. For that matter, though it was in another state, the divorce records from the Schmuck's Savings & Loan meltdown slimeball brother, included all sorts of slime such as sex tours to Thailand and high retainer fee payments from federal contractors without any apparently work done by the slimeball. The Boston Herald, normally a promoter of rightwing Republicrap screed, featured the scandal as a front page article.

But, to get back to "why was this stuff not illegal?" I think the answer to that involved, "Republicrap Greed and Payoff -- Executive Branch fasicism, and Congressional fascism."

Waxman and Kucinich and a few other members of Congress who are honorable spent years disenfranchised in their endeavors to have working oversight and responsibility to the taxpayers etc in the US Government. The majority of the members of Congress however, ranged from the blatant pocket-liners such as the Republicrap from Southern California with the all-expenses-paid-for-by-contractors lifestyle, to the shills like Sonny Bono and his final wife who don't believe in freedom of speech and such, to the religious fanatics using the US military as a conversion to their intolerant misogynist pseudo-Christianity.... in that environment, which rubber stamped all the Schmuck's evil initiatives, why should they be any question of "why" and "how" ?!

Collusion of the corrupt, the greedy, the control freak fascists, the fanatical, and the merely stupid, explains it all..

#744 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 08:01 PM:

me at #742, cont'd: And now Teresa's added the "Divorce" one... :-(

OK, I get the joke, and it is from a site called "College Humor" -- but it also underlines my point, by being the opposite of everything I liked about the original... including one point I didn't mention -- genuine. There is a difference between satire and mere mockery!

#745 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 08:42 PM:

David Harmon @ 692: I hadn't known that buckwheat wasn't a true grain

A few years ago, Rogue made a beer with buckwheat and described it as a fruit beer.

Terry @ 710: Dewpoint has nothing to do with how humid it it is, just when the air can't sustain the suspended water (which IIRC, is never more than 4 percent absolute, irrespective of the relative humidity).

Huh? When I was learning to fly, dewpoint was the temperature at which the air/water-vapor mixture would be at 100% relative humidity; nothing about suspension, just an absolute measure of the amount of water vapor. This is the definition Wikipedia uses, FWIW.

#746 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 09:19 PM:

Clifton, 709: Just ducking in to slip in the requisite Frost quote. So he was right about the plum...

#747 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 09:30 PM:

#745
It can be a subzero temperature, if the humidity is low enough. (Too dry for frost, even if it's otherwise cold enough!)

#748 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 09:37 PM:

ajay, 714: The writers of Futurama could write it to get the Space Pope involved.

#749 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2009, 10:13 PM:

TNH, I can't see how that would be phishing, because the in-page find function is internal to your browser. I suppose you *might* be able to finesse something with Javascript, but (1) I wouldn't swear to that being possible and (2) the page has no Javascript.

It's just a (pretty funny) joke, making use of the fact that there are only 10,000 four-digit numbers, and written in a table, that's a surprisingly short table.

#750 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 12:06 AM:

Best news of the day: Patrick Farley is rebooting E-Sheep. So far there's nothing there but a funny cover page, but check it out!

#751 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 12:21 AM:

#750:

About time.

Farley's stuff is insanely great. Not just graphically splendid, but smart and deep.

#752 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 12:32 AM:

Earl @733, Paula L @735, 743, Rob @738
Notorious 1990s UK example: Try searching on "Robert Maxwell" with "embezzle".

[tangent]Born Ján Ludvík Hoch 1923 in Slatinske Doly (now Solotvino) town, Carpathian Ruthenia province. Then Czechoslovakia; 1938 Hungary; 1945 USSR; 1991 Ukraine (see also) [/tangent]

#753 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 12:39 AM:

I have just lost 9 years of e-mail.

Suffice it to say that Apple's Mail program sucks diseased camel wang, that the "Genius Bar" is well and truly misnamed, and if I don't get better luck finding the December backup then I've had since Mail dumped the Inbox (and only the Inbox) without warning I may try to see how far you can skip a MacBook Pro across Puget Sound.

I'm going to bed. Back up your stuff and test the backups.

#754 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 12:41 AM:

Aargh! Posted wrong draft — how did it revert after preview? This time fer shure:

Earl #733, Paula L #735, 743, Rob #738
Notorious 1990s UK example: (Good Independent article.) Try searching on "Robert Maxwell" with 'embezzle' and 'death'.

[tangent]Born Ján Ludvík Hoch 1923 in Slatinske Doly (now Solotvino) town, Carpathian Ruthenia province: then Czechoslovakia; 1938 Hungary; 1945 USSR; 1991 Ukraine (see here, for more complicated details. 'Interesting', for values of "The Balkans produce more history than they can use, it's an export industry there.") [/tangent]

#755 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 12:48 AM:

TNH, re phishing -- It's not a phisher site, it's static html with no javascript or flash. There' the html page and a favicon, and that's it.

It's possible to do it though, since you can use window.getSelection with javascript, and you'd get whatever they selected. You've still got a the not insignificant problem of getting either the card that goes with it or a read of the person's atm card magstripe.

e.g., in firefox+firebug with a random pin selected:


>>> window.getSelection()
0115 anchorNode=Text anchorOffset=25 focusNode=Text

I've confirmed that this works with the internal find function of firefox, I wouldn't be surprised if it did on other browsers.

This reminds me of the classic IRC gag, telling someone that IRC masks their password if they type it by typing some number of asterisks, and then saying "See, it works".

#756 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 12:51 AM:

Oh, Lord, Bruce (#753), that's awful! I have so much work and friendship and life history in my years of mail, it'd be a nightmare to lose.
Best of luck.

*heads off to check some readable backups are safely stored*

#757 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 01:16 AM:

A message I've not seen before, though I'm not a heavy user. Is it unusual?

Twitter is over capacity.

Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again.
I wonder if there's some special event?

#758 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 02:32 AM:

Mez, not unusual at all at all.

#759 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 03:14 AM:

Did Farley ever finish Apocamon? That was some awesome stuff.

#760 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 05:44 AM:

Clifton, #759: Not that I know of. All the pieces I've seen are here

#761 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 07:23 AM:

Bruce, I'm so sorry. You're not the only person I've known who's lost massive amounts of email to Apple's Mail program. I've suffered that myself, though it was only a few months' worth -- nothing like your loss.

Michael, Eric, thank you for the reassurance. Good to know it's just my excessively suspicious mind working overtime.

#762 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 08:18 AM:

Sarah S @ 740, that was great! The fan who played guitar on "Jesus of Suburbia" in Hartford knew how to play, too, but didn't have the same rock star confidence -- she mostly stayed sitting on the amp.

It's a bit of a change in Green Day's tradition -- on previous tours, they've always had a particular Operation Ivy song for fans to play on, and they would bring up THREE audience members, for guitar and bass and drums.

#763 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 08:29 AM:

Not directly related to anything here, and I can understand it if some of you might find this a bit grating- but I just accidentally looked at a pile of old newspapers, and there was Bush on the front page of the paper on top of the pile. I looked closely and saw that the paper was from last September (it was about something Bush wanted to to in response to the finance crisis). And I thought about how it was perfectly normal to see Bush on the front pages of papers last September, and now I was surprised to see him. There are still some reasons to be cheerful.

#764 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 08:36 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II #753: Ow: My condolences! It's not just screwy E-mail programs -- I've lost massively to disk failures (twice) -- and these days, big disks aren't so easy to back up.

At risk of digression, this is also why I don't trust Gmail and other Webmail services, or "cloud" services in general.

#765 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 09:02 AM:

eric #755: I suspect what Teresa's thinking of is someone using Google to search for their PIN, with or without the site: modifier. That would leave a trace in the site's server logs.

#766 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 09:11 AM:

#754 Mez

The Wikipedia article doesn't e.g. mention Macmillan.... Maxwell's death had major fallout in the publishing industry.

I suspect that the experiences that Maxwell had as a victim and survivor of European genocidal anti-Semitism permanently traumatized and warped him--what drove him was considerably more complicated than simple greed and wanting to avoid getting caught embezzling. He probably didn't much trust anyone, or probably much have the sort of respect which promotes trust and honest business dealings.

(One of my coworkers long ago was from a Jewish family that managed to get out of Vienna in 1933 just before escape became all but impossible. He didn't regard civil law with the respect that most born US citizens think they have for it. Having the world turn a blind eye towards the mass murder of one's relatives and co-religionists isn't the sort of experience which leads to trust, respect, and respect for civil authorities and societies which stood by refusing to acknowledge or act against mass atrocity, and in some cases, were direct accestories to the perpetration of the atrocities....)

(There are many reasons why I want full unimpeded honest open full bore investigation and prosecution of those who were in power in the US Executive Branch Jan 2001 - mid Januard 2009, not the least is the echo/resonance of the Nuremburg Trials regarding culpability for war and atrocity. The rule that the USA applied in 1945, the US Government is a world-class hypocrite for ducking this century. And regarding Iraqis, they're more civilized than I am. If someone did to a society I'm a citizen or what the USA effected doing to theirs, I would have an almost unmitigated feral hatred and disrespect.)

#767 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 11:22 AM:

I am sorry to report that Fragano has suffered a bereavement:

Dear Friends:

This is just to let you know that my mother-in-law, Phebe Ofterdinger, died yesterday, two months after being diagnosed with cancer of the bile-ducts. That’s all I can bear to write at the moment.

Fragano

Our sympathy and best wishes are with him.

#768 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 01:32 PM:

David Harmon @ 741

"dcb #739: cats also have the same respective problems with chocolate and onions/garlic/etc.."

Yes, and I should have mentioned that (in general, if it's bad for dogs, it's probably even more bad for cats) but cats usually are not stupid enough to eat these things.

I certainly should have said that ibuprofen is toxic for cats at even lower doses than it's toxic for dogs.

In short, don't try to medicate your dog, or particularly your cat with human medications as even if they can be used in dogs/cats if you try to extrapolate the dose you'll probably give a toxic dose.

And be careful what you feed your cat/dog or let them scavenge.

#769 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 05:48 PM:

Fragano, I'm so sorry to hear that.

dcb, #768, ibuprofen is toxic for me at even lower doses than it's toxic for dogs or cats.

#770 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 05:55 PM:

Arg. Superficial cut to a finger while peeling nearly TWO POUNDS of ginger root. Had to keep going. Sting-y. (Stingy is the wrong word.)

#771 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 06:04 PM:

Fragano, my thoughts are with you.

#772 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 06:23 PM:

dcb #768: Um, cats are not nearly as smart as you think! In particular, most cats will eat eat least some plants, both around the house and outside. Since they're not anywhere near their evolutionary context, they're liable to pick more-or-less randomly. My own cat chews wild garlic in my front lawn -- fortunately, between regular mowing and limited access (also bad teeth :-( ), she can only get at small shoots.

Also, many cats will happily eat anything their owner gives them, and they're usually at least curious about whatever their owner is eating.

#773 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 06:28 PM:

Fragano (whenever you stop in), my condolences.

#774 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 06:32 PM:

Wow. I just heard the narration on an action show say "The truth is, torture is for sadists and thugs. To get real information..." then a whole lot of bullshit about interrogation, but wow. "Torture doesn't work," right on network television.

It was Burn Notice, for what it's worth.

#775 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 07:11 PM:

Fragano, I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm thinking of you.

#776 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 07:30 PM:

Fragano - sympathies and empathies.

#777 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 07:38 PM:

David Harmon@772: You do know that dcb is a veterinarian, right? I agree with her statement that cats tend not to scavenge food, not to the extent that dogs do. Behaviorally, while cats may well be curious, they are obligate carnivores, in contrast to the nearly omnivorous dogs. Personally, I've had both species in my home for the past 30 years, and it's the dogs who rip apart bags for food.
Professionally, I've seen only dogs with toxicities related to scavenging. Cats like inedible problems such as tinsel.

#778 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 08:42 PM:

Ginger @ 777 ...
Indeed -- phrases one doesn't like to hear certainly include "[My|The cats] poop is sparkly!!!!" [0]

[0] Toddlers are -also- prone to eating all sorts of inedible things ... albeit also more prone to letting you know what they've eaten.

#779 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 08:50 PM:

xeger@ 778: Indeed, although when the poop is sparkly, the danger has passed -- literally as well as figuratively. Tinsel, string, nylons, and other inedibles can cause GI problems that require intensive surgeries to fix.

#780 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 08:55 PM:

Ginger #777: You do know that dcb is a veterinarian, right?

I had forgotten, and I'm sorry if it sounds like I was trying to, well, "teach grandma to suck eggs". But it did sound like she was dismissing that issue regarding cats, and my inexpert experience makes me wary of that. Cats may not have the "exploratory appetite" that dogs do, but that doesn't mean they never eat plants, even dangerous ones!

Regarding "inedible" tinsel, I've also seen tinsel in my cat's poop, before her teeth got so bad. (Yes, I promptly moved that decoration out of her reach.) Of course, it may well be that my cat is particularly "stupid" -- she was hand-weaned, is quite affectionate for a cat, and doesn't groom herself well. (She does have an awful lot of fur!)

#781 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 09:05 PM:

Whoops, #778 and #779 got posted while I was editing mine. Anyway, it's probably time for me to knock off for the night, editing down my response was harder than it should have been.

#782 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 09:12 PM:

My cat never bothered anything in my herb garden or houseplants except the mildly toxic stuff. Doesn't touch anything but aloe and chives. I kept the chives around a lot longer than I would have otherwise because she liked them, then I found out that they're not so good and replaced them with various other grasses... which she ignored completely.

Then again, my cat comes running for a scrap of wheat bread and will go to extreme lengths for an Oreo.

#783 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 09:55 PM:

Cats may be obligate carnivores, but mine at least seems to define that as "must have significant amounts of meat" rather than any kind of disdain for plants. For example, he'd much rather have chicken than corn: but he is a fiend for citrus and will turn down indifferent Italian sausage in favor of green pepper, when we have both on a pizza. Today he came and asked for (and got) a bit of my peach. (He is not a grain-eater, except to the extent that he will eat rice in oyster sauce or cream sauce, but broccoli and apples and melon and cucumber…)

#784 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 10:05 PM:

Thanks to all for their kind thoughts.

Ginger, too, has suffered a similar bereavement and my thoughts go to her. This past July has been a most cruel month.

#785 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 10:48 PM:

I used to have a cat that liked bread, brewer's yeast and beets.

#786 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 11:01 PM:

Open Threadiness: did y'all know that Bookworm Adventures 2 is out from PopCap? (I remember some discussion of the first one, when it came out.) My verdict: fun!

#787 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 11:08 PM:

Yes, my partner's mother died suddenly in her sleep early Tuesday morning, and it's been a hectic week since then.

David Harmon: no worries, eh?

Vicki, erik: some cats like to ignore the textbook, and eat non-meat items. I had one who loved melon, dried peaches, bok choy, and other strange things. Many of my cats have enjoyed snacking on bread or crackers, or chips, but the single best food for cats is still a whole mouse. Unfortunately, none of the cat food producers will market any.

#788 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 11:11 PM:

On cats' dietary habits, well, they do live with us rather than whatever it was they did for food in the wild. I can't see a hungry feral cat spending any time raiding the veg garden, but a cat that gets her regular tins of muck, or kibble, that's a cat with room in her life to branch out a bit.

Current cat Skookum enjoys munching on anything crackly. Dried leaves are a favourite, so is cellophane, should any human fail to dispose of it in a cat-proof fashion. The cellophane tends to pass right through, being indestructible, but the dried leaves lead to us having to watch our step on the stairs the morning after.

Bast be thanked, she only very rarely pukes on the bed.

#789 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 11:18 PM:

Ginger, I've met lots of cats who liked to collect their own snacks. (Cleaning up after them was part of having the cats around. Half-mice by the door ....)

#790 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 11:18 PM:

Hmm... things my various cats have been pester-you-to-bits crazy for:

(1) Beer, out of the bottle (as in "she drank it from the bottle herself")
(2) Vanilla pudding
(3) Maple sugar flavoured anything (and it's really funny watching a cat go ga-ga for a maple-flavoured 'oreo' cookie)
(4) French Fries

... everything else tends to be on a "as observed in the hands of humans" basis.

#791 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 11:41 PM:

Sharon M, I did not need to know about Bookworm Adventures 2. I've played through the first one twice now, I think, maybe three times, and giggled madly the whole way. It's on the previous computer, though. And I'm supposed to be finding a job....

#792 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 11:44 PM:

Fragano, I'm so sorry. Two months is cruelly short time to wrap one's brain around the prospect of such a loss. Holding you and your wife in the light.

#793 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 11:49 PM:

Fragano and Ginger--sympathies to you and your families.

#794 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2009, 11:52 PM:

Cats, eating habits of: My shelter-sourced tortie is insane for fresh corncob. When I'm trying to eat corn on the cob she's a pest until I shut her out of the room. When I'm finished I take the cob and put it out on the porch, where she licks it for hours.

Also, sugar snap peas are her lawful prey: She stalks, kills, and carries them around in her mouth as a trophy. She's a wonderfully odd cat.

#795 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 12:46 AM:

TNH @761, oddly enough, I've regained email thanks to Apple's Mail.app. A Spotlight search last week turned up some old mail (my half of an exchange with Jorn Barger about Israel and Judaism) that I'd not been able to find by grepping through my old mailbox archives, and had wrongly assumed were deleted.

#796 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 01:13 AM:

Fragano, Ginger: my condolences.

#797 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 01:14 AM:

re: cats and oreos...

My otherwise submissive, scaredy cow-cat Spot once knocked an Oreo right out of my hand and then absconded down the hallway to consume it. It was the damndest thing - he had never shown an interest in them. One of his favorite non-tuna fish snacks was green beans though. He'd sit under the dinner table and wait for one of us kids to surreptitiously drop one.

#798 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 01:16 AM:

re: cats and oreos...

My otherwise submissive, scaredy cow-cat Spot once knocked an Oreo right out of my hand and then absconded down the hallway to consume it. It was the damndest thing - he had never shown an interest in them. One of his favorite non-tuna fish snacks was green beans though. He'd sit under the dinner table and wait for one of us kids to surreptitiously drop one.

#799 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 01:36 AM:

Ginger, I'm sorry.

Regarding cats: Unattended lettuce salads in my house are not safe. Attended ones aren't much safer. The cats will steal leaves and run away to eat them. Their love for leaves means we can't really have houseplants -- they will attempt to eat anything green and leafy.

Otherwise, they don't tend to get into stuff unless it's already in small bits on the floor. One of mine will eat anything she finds on the floor, whether it's a dead spider or a small shred of cardboard. It means I keep an eye out for rubber bands and hairpins, and say "What are you eating? Don't eat that" about five times a day.

Oh, the same cat does go nuts for tape, which I do keep away from her. She'll attempt to gnaw it directly off packages, and I have seen her leap five feet straight up in the air to try and grab a piece of tape holding up a note on a door. Wrapping gifts is hard; she'll make off with the tape dispenser.

I really do feed them, honest.

#800 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 01:53 AM:

Having just watched "the best wedding procession ever" Particle for the fourth time today (from BoingBoing and here) and enjoyed it more every time, I just have to say: if those two have a married life even 1/10th as awesome as the start of their wedding ceremony, they're going to do very well indeed.

Best moments: the groom's adjusting of his tie knot after his roll down the aisle. And him meeting her halfway down the aisle so they can arrive at the altar together, dancing.

Not usually sentimental about Random Internet Stuff, but I'll make an exception for this one!

#801 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 02:52 AM:

Have y'all seen the (inevitable) spoof of that wedding video? The Divorce.

#802 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 04:11 AM:

I recall reading somewhere that cats can't taste sweet. Tabitha seemed to chew on some grass sometimes, almost self medication by the look of it. And she wasn't averse to scraps of cooked veg that accidentally landed on the kitchen floor. But she wasn't adventurous.

#803 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 04:42 AM:

Fragano and Ginger, my sympathies to both of you. I don't have much else to say.

#804 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 05:26 AM:

Fragano & Ginger

Sympathies to you both.

#805 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 07:00 AM:

My condolences to both Fragano and Ginger.

#806 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 07:56 AM:

Fragano and Ginger,

I'm very sorry.

#807 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 09:03 AM:

Ginger: #787: My condolences to you as well...

My understanding is that feral cats get a certain amount of plant-stuff "secondhand" with their prey.

Even when my Gremlin was younger, I doubt she'd have known what do do with a mouse, much less been able to catch one. (Hand-weaned == no training from momma-cat.) She did once lead me to where a roach motel had caught a mouse (ouch), but thankfully, she hadn't made any attempt at getting it out.

Dave Bell #802: I recall reading somewhere that cats can't taste sweet. Yup, no sugar receptors -- the problem with chocolate is that it also has other tastes...

Xeger: So does beer, for that matter, and any mammal (at least) can learn to like alcohol.

Another hazard of cat diet I've heard of, is that a few cats get obsessed with particular foods, to the point of refusing to eat anything else. This is a problem when the obsession is something like mushrooms....

#808 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 09:07 AM:

re: feline nutritional insanity

We have one here who likes coffee, although we try to keep it away from him, not least because he's prone to bouncing off walls even without the aid of caffeine.

This is still better than one of our other cats, who is still remembered at our veterinarian's for having eaten a dishcloth. (And the worst part is that he went after another one not long after he'd healed from the surgery that was required to extract the first. Fortunately, he was caught in the act that time before he could get more than a few fragments down.)

#809 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 09:09 AM:

Linkmeister: #801: Yep, and so has Teresa (see sidebar). My raspberry to that one was at #744. Catching up, much? ;-)

#810 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 09:20 AM:

E. Liddell #808: I still remember an office cat from an early job. Once she left horizontal pawprints on the wall, four feet above the floor... for most of two yards!

#811 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 09:24 AM:

Pretzel-eating cats. (Miniature pretzel sticks, carefully limited in quantity. And the package kept where the cats couldn't access it.)

#812 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 09:30 AM:

And apropos of nothing, a BBC correspondent is thoughtful about Checking out of 'Hotel America'.

#813 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 09:51 AM:

My childhood cat Motley would eat anything dropped on the floor in the kitchen. Including frozen peas.

#814 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 10:02 AM:

So I've got a question of interpretation that I'm curious about peoples' opinion about:

When you hear "You shouldn't do that", do you take that to mean "Don't do that", "You aren't allowed to do that", or something else?

#815 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 10:14 AM:

Fragano, Ginger, I'm sorry.

"You shouldn't do that," in that exact phrasing means, "You aren't allowed to do that," with some disapproval built in, and depending on the situation will make me do it harder once the speaker is gone. It's the 'do that' in the phrase that makes me contrary-- clearly, I am already doing it, and I haven't died. It's such a low-key prohibition.

Ginger, I remember a post at Kij Johnson's blog a while back about little yellow spheres containing one mouse each, or something like that. They looked like homogenized, compressed faintly greasy powder in the pictures.

#816 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 10:28 AM:

Fragano and Ginger, my condolences.

#817 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 10:46 AM:

John A. Arkansawyer @ 814 -- Depends entirely on the specifics. If I "shouldn't do that" because it's, y'know, frowned on by proper society, I'm unlikely to care much. If it's because I might harm myself, perhaps I need to re-evaluate the risks based on new information, perhaps it's entirely my own business. If I might harm others... again, I might need to re-evaluate, or not.

Fragano and Ginger, my sympathies.

#818 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 11:06 AM:

Thank you all for your kind words -- and please don't feel bad about not saying more. Sometimes that's all we need to hear.

Now that all the official ceremonies are done, everyone is drained and starting to catch up on their sleep (it was the classic 2 am phone call). We have sent our son off to Boy Scout camp this morning, so we will have a quiet week with just ourselves.

Of course, during the packing phase, our dogs engaged in some scavenging, and ate a package of brownies (the desiccated kind for carrying in your backpack).

#819 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 11:16 AM:

Fragano and Ginger, my sincere albeit late condolences.

Debra, I'm so pleased to know who wrote "Song of the Shield-Wall"! I learned it in the early '80s in the Barony of Bryn Madoc (Meridies).

Re cats with no dietary discretion: our cat Simon ate (and excreted) an entire shoelace, without chewing it into pieces.

#820 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 11:27 AM:

Arkansawyer @814:

I mostly hear it as "it would be a bad idea for you to do that, because it would have bad results." Those bad results could mean anything from "doing that will be physically harmful" to "people you care about will be hurt" to "if you do that, you might be arrested."

#821 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 11:30 AM:

Arkansawyer @814:

I mostly hear it as "it would be a bad idea for you to do that, because it would have bad results." Those bad results could mean anything from "doing that will be physically harmful" to "people you care about will be hurt" to "if you do that, you might be arrested."

[I just got an internal server error trying to post this. I'm going to retry, once.]

#822 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 12:01 PM:

David Harmon @ 810: I'll be damned--they really can levitate!

#823 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 12:13 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 814 ...
When you hear "You shouldn't do that", do you take that to mean "Don't do that", "You aren't allowed to do that", or something else?

It's very contextual for me, both in terms of location and speaker. It could be "You shouldn't take that extra chocolate because [you're diabetic|somebody else might want it|too much sugar]", or it could be "You shouldn't hop over that wall at Niagara Falls because it's a sheer drop to the bottom of the gorge". One might be expected to react rather differently to the two scenarios.

#825 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 01:01 PM:

The last cat (Sophie) consumed (and then excreted) an entire thick rubber band a few weeks before she died. (It is not believed to have had any direct effect.)

She was quite fond of making midnight dried-flower raids as well, and would happily munch on, and then barf up, cat grass that we grew for her in a low windowsill.

Mona, the new one, has already eaten one felt ear off her toy mouse.

Neither of them were/are fond of tuna, and Mona also appears to hate the sight and smell of salmon. Which brings up a question--if cats are so unfond of water, how on earth did they get their not-quite universal liking for fish?

#827 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 02:36 PM:

David Harmon - really, I wasn't dismissing the fact that cats scavenge (and apologies if it sounded that way) - one of mine has been known to leap into the refrigerator trying to get to the cauliflower leaves, and will happily munch on bits of cereal and similar. We're also severely limited in what plants we can have in cat-accessible rooms: has to either not be eaten - rare - or not be poisonous AND be able to cope with being nibbled - also rare.

However, in general, as indicated by Ginger, the quantities are different - it was my mother-in-law's dog I had to feed with salt water and mustard until he up-chucked the 1/4 pound of dark Belgian chocolate he'd just scoffed, and my sister-in-law's terrier who (on separate occasions) opened up bags to eat a Mars bar, half a bar of dark chocolate, and a packet of Ibuprofen - fortunately he survived all three episodes. Cats on the other hand are very vulnerable to e.g. a single paracetamol/acetaminophen or ibuprofen tablet given by a well-meaning but ignorant owner.

Vicki, Eric, E. Liddell, Caroline, pericat et al. - it's really good to hear what other peoples' cats will eat and know thereby that the habits mine show are not too strange.

If anyone is trying to encourage their cat to exercise more, I've found that allowing my two a few minutes rolling around with a packet of catnip before getting the chase-toys out makes for a more active and extended play session. I'd love to know if the same is true for other cats.

#828 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 02:39 PM:

Two of the cats I currently spend a great deal of time with become more active after they get their kittygrass. Makes the mousie-chasing game much more energetic, indeed.

#829 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 03:04 PM:

Fragano and Ginger, my condolances. I hope that you're both doing as well as you can.

Regarding cats and the things they eat:

One of our cats liked to lick the coating off photographs. The other would lift her head and chew the air next to plastic bags. No, I never figured that out either.

I also heard a story about a cat that ate the leaves off a small marijuana plant. The cat was quite mellow for a while.

Cats are weird.

John A Arkansawyer @ 814: When you hear "You shouldn't do that", do you take that to mean "Don't do that", "You aren't allowed to do that", or something else?

It's contextual; it depends on the speaker, the situation, and the tone of voice. Sometimes it means that touching the CRT that was powered up only a minute ago is a bad idea, other times it means that you're not supposed to eat your salad with the dinner fork.

#830 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 03:32 PM:

Ginger, I'm sorry for your loss and your partner's. My thoughts are with you as well as Fragano.

I think 'should' is always a judgement. To say "you shouldn't do that" is to say "you are infringing the rules," and too often they're rules in the mind of the speaker that are not shared by others.

#831 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 04:06 PM:

Um. Not sure how to put this. Open Thread, right? Are there any Fluorospherians around Springfield, Missouri from whom I [or my son] might get advice if my son's imminent planned visit there goes pear-shaped? [The email address is real.]

#832 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 04:16 PM:

xeger @778 said: Toddlers are -also- prone to eating all sorts of inedible things ... albeit also more prone to letting you know what they've eaten.

On my birthday (I think tenth or eleventh; when I was old enough to be appropriately horrified), my mother presented me with an institutional mayonnaise jar full of small change. She then announced to the entire assembled family that every one of these coins had come out of my diaper -- and been scrubbed and bleached. The volume was impressive. I slunk to the bank and deposited all of them into the coin-counter; as I recall, it was well over $20, and mostly in small coins. The jar was about 10" high, and nearly full ...

So apparently I had a thing for money as a preverbal sprog. Also dirt out of all the houseplants (she had to engineer covers that were removable for watering on all the plants too big to put on high tables).

#833 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 04:18 PM:

re: 831 ::: hedgehog

[The email address is real.]

Real, but not there ... OK, it's letter-e letter-h at electrichedgehog dot net.

#834 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 04:38 PM:

Cats and their bad habits: my late and beloved Stripey used to chew the bristles off brooms, and swallow them. When he got painfully sick on fireplace broomstraws, I learned to turn all brooms upside down. He was the tinsel and rubber band consumer, too.

I have a cat who bites everything, but he doesn't eat strange things. I'm grateful for that, because otherwise he would be constantly endangering himself, like the dogs.

#835 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 05:19 PM:

Catching up with the Open Thread.

Fragano and Ginger, late but sincere condolences.

One of our cats is a terrific mouse-and-everything-else-that-moves-er, which has led to considerable dismay when I spot her with something in her maw. She caught a bat once and regularly catches birds as well. Keeping her inside the house isn't really an option, while collar bells don't seem to work and just infuriate the other cats. Do cat bibs work?

The same cat also adores fishing out hair elastics from the big bowl I keep them in - she lifts the lid, spends a minute picking out the one she wants, flips it out and chases it around the house before depositing it in her food bowl.

#836 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 05:38 PM:

Over the years, I've known a number of cats who like (to the point of trying to steal from the table) fresh sweet corn and cantaloupe. Many of my cats have liked various other odd choices of vegetables, but there seems to be something about corn and cantaloupe which appeals to a number of cats.

#838 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 06:02 PM:

Carrying "cats" and "should" discussions to OT128....

#839 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 06:07 PM:

Fragano & Ginger -- my condolences.

Re "you shouldn't do that" -- I hear it, mentally, as a variation on my mother's, "People don't DO that!" (Sometimes also phrased as, "You just can't DO like you DO," which I was supposed to magically understand what it meant even without references.) Very definitely a scolding or shaming usage.

Re cats with odd eating habits -- my late beloved Mina liked tomatoes better than anything else in the whole world, to the point where we didn't dare leave a ripe one out on the counter while leaving the kitchen for any length of time, or we'd find its half-eaten remains on the floor. She would also eat around pizza toppings, including meat, to lick the tomato sauce off! I used to occasionally give her a split-open cherry tomato, or a slice from a full-sized one, as a special treat.

The weirdest cat eating habit we have at present is Mouser's fondness for packing tape. He's been known to try to chew it off boxes, but more commonly he finds one of the tape-guns left where he can reach it and chews and mangles the end that sticks out.

#840 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 832: So apparently I had a thing for money as a preverbal sprog.

That, or a really impressive goose-laying-golden-eggs-type talent.

#841 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Ginger, #777, yes, 12 yards of thread and a needle.... I've been told by a neighbor at the other end of the building that he has rats in his condo, but we haven't seen any here, inside or out. Then again, he doesn't clean up after his dog.

Elliott Mason, #832, apparently the most consistent unusual things removed from my diaper were ladybugs (ladybirds in the UK?). I crawled around outside and ate them.

#842 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 06:37 PM:

Fragano and Ginger, I'm sorry.

#843 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 06:59 PM:

Pendrift (835): The aforementioned Motley liked to catch and bring in birds or other small animals. Alive and relatively unharmed, mostly, although the baby rabbit didn't make it. Chasing birds back out of the house was...entertaining.

Ginger and Fragano, my belated condolences.

#844 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2009, 08:38 PM:

Again, thanks for all the kind words. As Ginger (#818) said, sometimes that's all we need to know.

#845 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2009, 10:48 AM:

Oh, yes, there's also the classic "Don't do that.".

#846 ::: John Houghton spots SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2009, 06:14 AM:

Take a hike...

#847 ::: Syd sees more SPAM @ 848 ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 02:38 AM:

I like the Monty Python variety better...

#848 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 05:00 AM:

"Gluten has been linked to autism"? WTF?

#849 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2009, 05:45 AM:

"Linked to autism" is the new "causes cancer" I guess too many people are recovering from cancer these days.

#850 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2009, 10:21 PM:

As I understand it, there's some correlation between being on the autism spectrum and being gluten-intolerant. This may be as simple as both conditions being better recognized and thus more often diagnosed now than in the past. I have yet to hear of any reputable support for causation.

If people with autism-spectrum conditions who are also gluten-intolerant experience some lessening of difficulties after addressing the gluten intolerance, I would hypothesize that it's a lot easier to concentrate on decoding social clues, or tolerating previously-annoying levels of sensory stimulation, if you're not ALSO experiencing chronic GI distress.

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