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August 28, 2009

Open thread 129
Posted by Teresa at 12:06 PM *

129 is the atomic number of Unbiennium, an element which has yet to be discovered.

It is also the number of one of the more distinctive teachings in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Comments on Open thread 129:
#1 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 12:26 PM:

Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and, till action, lust
Is perjured, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight;
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had,
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows, yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

#2 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 12:34 PM:

The 129 strain of mice is a venerable figure in research.

(Also here.)

#3 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 12:42 PM:

What's the number for Upsidaisium?

#4 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 12:42 PM:

Unbennium's symbol would be Ube.

This reminds me of another ube, or purple yam. Ube ice cream was my favorite flavor as a kid. No, it does not stain your tongue purple. Yes, it is delicious.

Oh, and 129 is a happy number, and it seems to work because I'm happy I learned something new today.

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 12:46 PM:

Unbiennium should be right next to Deuxbiennium.

#6 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 12:49 PM:

It may be a happy number, but maybe not for the 129 mice, who have a "high incidence of spontaneous testicular teratomas."

I'm sure that Dave Barry would point out that Spontaneous Testicular Teratomas would be a helluva good name for a rock band.

#7 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 12:51 PM:

I've had a hectic week.

Tuesday afternoon, my wife Hilde and I sat by the hospital bedside of our friend and neighbor Anne Braude while Anne passed away.

(I'll have more to say about Anne later. She was a pretty extraordinary person.)

Wednesday morning, about 4:00 AM, I had to call an ambulance for Hilde, who was having stroke-like symptoms. This appears to have been a repeat of the incident in May, when a UTI infection went septic and produced similar symptoms.

So, not a stroke. After a few hours on IV antibiotics at the hospital, Hilde went from barely-aware, one-word vocabulary, with jerking arms and legs, to almost normal. Just like last time.

More-than-normal scary things about this time: She hadn't had any symptoms of a UTI, and it was only after the hospital ran tests that a high bacterial count was found. Also scary: She went from normal at 1:30, when we went to bed, to "Call 911!" at 4:00.

She's still in hospital, probably for a few more days, while they run loads of tests and MRI's on her. But she feels back to normal. ("More books! Bring me more books!")

I'm coming to really hate the phrase "Golden Years". Yeah, right. Your friends get old, they get sick, and they die. Your family gets old, they get sick, and they die. And finally, you get old, you get sick, and you die. "Golden Years", my rosy pink ass.

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 12:52 PM:

Steve C @ 6... a helluva good name for a rock band.

Its repertoire would include chansons de teste rather than chansons de geste, I presume.

#9 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 12:57 PM:

Un-bien-nium? Clearly it will discovered by nogoodniks.

Cadbury.

#10 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:03 PM:

Bruce Arthurs (7): My condolences on the loss of your friend.

I'm glad that Hilde seems to be all right, and I hope that they figure out what's causing the problem and can prevent future recurrences.

#11 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:09 PM:

Unbiennium, not to be confused with Bennihillium (whose electrons are so excited that they chase one another about to the tune of "Yakety Sax") actually sits next to Jacbennium on the table (which is notoriously tight-shelled and hardly ever yields any electrons whatsoever).

#12 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:09 PM:

What we're not naming the new element (possibly slightly NSFW).

Bruce Arthurs @ 7:

I'm sorry to hear all that, but I'm glad that Hilde has recovered so quickly. I hope that the doctors can figure out something to stop this from happening again. There are some kinds of excitement that I think we could all do without.

#13 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:14 PM:

Bruce Arthurs: sending good thoughts your way. Going from totally asymptomatic to crashing is scary indeed.

And thoughts go out to police dog Bosco as well (carrying over from Open Thread 128), and to anyone else going through one of life's dips.

#14 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:15 PM:

L. van Beethoven, Rondo à capriccio in G major, Op. 129.

#15 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:20 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 7... ("More books! Bring me more books!")

Glad to hear she's back to clamoring for them.

#16 ::: skzb ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 02:18 PM:

Patrick, just read the interview you linked to on the sidebar. Good stuff.

#17 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 02:20 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #7: Sorry to hear about the scare, glad it turned out OK.

#18 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 02:39 PM:

Bruce, #7: Condolences on your loss, yikes!, glad to hear it, and hear! hear!, in that order.

#19 ::: Michael Mock ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 02:48 PM:

Having just followed the link to that section of the Doctrine and Covenants, I'm left shaking my head at the idea of a Devil who gives the game away by being too stupid to just stand there and deliver the message (as the spirit of a just man apparently would). The Adversary doesn't know about social engineering?

#20 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 03:04 PM:

Unbennium's symbol would be Ube.

Indeed! The scientific l33t have high hopes that this will be the most uber element yet.

#21 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 03:09 PM:

Bruce Arthurs, my condolences on the loss of your friend, and I'm glad Hilde will be okay.

Something I thought of while reading the Kennedy post, but decided to ask here, instead:

Is there some sort of ML equivalent to Godwin's Law that states that the longer a ML comment thread goes on the likelihood that someone will start punning approaches certainty? Not that I think discussion should be over at that point, as I love good puns, and even bad puns, but I was just wondering.

#22 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 03:23 PM:

Lotus

It endured for a thousand years.
Toes broken, arch bent,
tied with strips soaked in blood,
the young girls forced to walk on crippled limbs
to force the bindings ever tighter.
The death toll was unmarked, but high;
infection being most common in the young,
falls in the old.
The goal was a foot of three inches long.
Most women have ankles longer than that.

China had an Ash Girl,
one who saved a golden carp
and kept it, like a pet, in a secret pool.
Her jealous sisters killed and ate it;
she planted the bones,
which grew into a tree,
which granted wishes— does this sound familiar?
and gained her the love of a prince.

The dramatic necessity of the tiny shoe
is obvious; the unmistakeable signal
that the prince has found the correct partner.
The mother chopping off a heel or a toe
("a mother cannot love a daughter and her daughter's feet")
is a symbol of how ruthless one can be
when in pursuit of power.

And yet, one wonders how much travelled along the Silk Road,
if a Frenchman, perhaps, heard the tales of the tiny feet,
the grace of the Lotus Walk,
the delicately embroidered shoes,
and it sparked a tale of fortune's turn about,
the dispossessed coming back into her own.
He wouldn't have heard the details;
three-year-olds handed over to foot-binders
to break them for beauty.

We have a knack for finding those things beautiful
which are harmful in the end.
Arsenic complexions
belladonna eyes
compressed and corseted waists—
perhaps the only surprising thing is that it ended.
It endured for a thousand years.

#23 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 03:51 PM:

The Laurell, meed of mightie Conquerours
And Poets sage, the Firre that weepeth still,
The Willow worne of forlorne Paramours,
The Eugh obedient to the benders will,
The Birch for shaftes, the Sallow for the mill,
The Mirrhe sweete bleeding in the bitter wound,
The warlike Beech, the Ash for nothing ill,
The fruitfull Oliue, and the Platane round,
The caruer Holme, the Maple seeldom inward sound.

first book, second canto, ninth stanza of the Faerie Qveene

#24 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 03:56 PM:

Bruce, my condolences on your friend. I hope you can get a handle on Hilde's glitch. Please give her my regards and regrets on not seeing either of you in so long. Such a long, strange, trip, and now here we all are.

#25 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 03:56 PM:

Have they discovered unobtanium yet? Once we have a supply of that, I have a number of projects to start....

#26 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 04:09 PM:

Albatross @ 25 -

The only known supply is in the mountainous nation of Nonfindonia.

#27 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 04:30 PM:

We should be OK unless the LHC starts outputting Administratium.

Cadbury.

#28 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 04:34 PM:

Speaking of elements, Theo Gray is coming out with a book called The Elements based on his legendary element collection. There's a trailer, featuring an animated (and authorized!) version of Tom Lehrer's song.

#29 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 04:46 PM:

Noting all the "electorns", are they something like hanging chads?

#30 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 04:47 PM:

B. Durbin -- thank you. That's lovely.

Bruce, I'm sorry about your friend and I sympathize with your rant; it is indeed so, damn it. I'm glad Hilde is improving and I hope they figure out some kind of reasonable treatment for her recurrent UTIs. I assume the urologists are on the case.

As for the LDS doctrine, let me make sure I understand this. If someone claims to be from God, you should ask to shake his hand. If he shakes your hand and you feel his hand in yours, he's an angel, so believe what he says. If he refuses to shake, he's "a just man made perfect" (whatever the frack that is), so believe what he says. If he shakes your hand but you can't feel his fingers in yours -- woo -- he's a devil! Hit him over the head with your shoe, or something, and don't believe anything he tells you.

Uh, sure. Okay.

#31 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 05:04 PM:

Madeline Ashby #11: Unbiennium is also not to be confused with Unobtanium.

#32 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 05:46 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #7: My condolences on your loss.

#33 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 05:52 PM:

B. Durbin, #22: Wow. Just... wow.

#34 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 06:01 PM:

Great Lines department: Alex M., over on BB, who says, among other smart things,

The opposite of extremism is not the opposite extreme.
I think I may be quoting that rather a lot.

#35 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 06:18 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @7: My condolences on your loss, and my best wishes for Hilde's continued recovery.

#36 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 06:32 PM:

I'm getting sick of hospitals. After 2 of them since monday when our new baby got a fever, we're finally in that limbo state of having a well baby but waiting for One More Test which should come back today.

This one slow test non-result is responsible for at least night of inpatient care, and maybe two if the lab is slow while the little guy is just on an IV every 8 hours and getting checked to see that all is normal every 4.

This can't actually be a cost effective way to do this. While I have no idea yet as to the cost, I have my suspicions, and pre-insurance, it's probably in the 'nice new car' range.

I'm soooo done with this.

#37 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 06:39 PM:

B. Durbin: frighteningly beautiful.

#38 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 06:45 PM:

This does seem to be one of those methods that assumes that the devil hasn't read a book--and won't realize something is up after he's caught out by that trick once.

When I was an undergraduate the most advanced of Yale's three first-year English courses was English 129, the first semester of whicyh was affectionately (at least, usually affectionately) known as the book-of-the-week club, for the amount of reading it involved. That was the course that made me realize that yes, all the reading I had done in high school (when we also went through quite a few books in English class) had in fact taken time. As a freshman, I lived on campus, about three minutes' walk from the room where I had English class. In high school, I had an hour's commute each way by subway, which allowed for a lot of reading that I didn't consciously allocate time for, because the time was counting as travel time.

That was also the course where "Word" was a major theme in something we read, and the instructor asked the class about it, and after a minute I looked around at all my classmates, most of whom had been raised at least nominally Christian, and raised my hand, and recited the beginning of the gospel according to John so the instructor could go on. (Apparently, one of the Rules is that once you ask the class "Does anyone know what this means?" you're not allowed to tell them without waiting a really annoyingly long time.)

The founders of the university would not have been pleased.

#39 ::: -dsr- ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 06:50 PM:

RSA-129 was a factoring challenge that appeared in Martin Gardner's column in Scientific American. It was solved in 1994 by a volunteer team of over 600 people from around the world. The decrypted message read: "The Magic Words are Squeamish Ossifrage".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magic_Words_are_Squeamish_Ossifrage

#40 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 06:52 PM:

Bruce Arthurs:
I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, and I hope that Hilde's problems are soon and permanently cured.

#41 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 06:56 PM:

pat greene@21

Maybe we can call it Serge's law... :-)

#42 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 07:14 PM:

The Hindenburg bore the number LZ-129.

#43 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 07:23 PM:

Oh Fluorosphere, in which all knowledge is contained, I seek wisdom and possibly advice.

I'm looking for some online education courses in English and programming. Here's a little background.

I'm on the job hunt again, and find I'm missing a few key pieces in my education. Most notably, I'm a professional writer without an English or Communications degree, and a game designer who is severely lacking in direct programming skills. I do have a BS in Psychology, and I have about five years of experience in writing, development and customer service.

The obvious solution is to take some classes. Some of this stuff I can learn from books or online tutorials, but some things stick better for me with formal instruction. I figure more coursework will help my resume and my confidence, too. There are a few community and state colleges near where I live, but in the next few months I'm going to be out of town a lot - at conferences, workshops and at interviews. This doesn't mesh well with a standard or night school schedule. There's also the chance I'll get a new job even without extra training and move across the country before a standard semester would be over - given all that, I'm really hesitant to try to start normal schooling locally.

Overall, I'm wondering how I can tell if an online program is legitimate and likely to be helpful. There seems to be very little available online for English or creative writing, and I'd really prefer programs that offer some form of useful certification or college credit. I'd like to eventually get some sort of degree in a writing-related discipline, and if I don't get a good job in my field in the next six months I'll likely go back to school and work part time. I'm trying to figure out if I can make any noticeable progress online in the meantime. For programming I'm less focused on getting a degree. Very few jobs I'm looking at require anything beyond basic competency in one or two languages, so I'm mostly looking to just familiarize myself with python, lua, C++ or flash.

I'd be interested in hearing any other thoughts on my situation. Are online degrees generally looked down on? Are non-degree certificates considered worthwhile?

I've asked all my real life friends and googled my heart out, but I haven't been able to find any real answers. Can anyone here shed some light?

#44 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 07:39 PM:

"bear escape" particle not readable.

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 08:01 PM:

Michael I @ 41... Humph. On the other hand, I can think of worse ways to achieve immortality.

#46 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 08:38 PM:

If you mistake plain truth for silly word
your punishment shall not be very light,
shall not last merely one short day and night:
you'll be cut out forever from the herd,
rejected, scorned, listed with the absurd,
treated as source of all disease and blight.
You may think this is harsh, not just nor right,
but you're the loser now -- the hunted bird.
Honour was what we asked, and what we gave
to reach the place where only angels sleep
to find it empty and the treasure gone;
this world is conquered and become a grave
where even maggots nightly fear to creep
and we may wonder what it is we won.

#47 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 08:46 PM:

Having problems trying to post my answer to Leah... checking if a short message will post.

#48 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 08:49 PM:

Leah:
I can't be sure to what extent my own attitude or approach to hiring is typical, but in general I would give virtually no credence to certificates or coursework from an online course in some programming languages. That's the downside.

The positive side is that in my experience, for most programming languages, once you learn it you stick it on your resume and nobody asks much about how you learned it. You might get asked to demonstrate some basic competence or quizzed about what kinds of projects or software you've written in the language, but it's what you know and how well you know it that counts, not how or where you learned it. Of the languages you mention, C++ is pretty much the only one that you might formally learn or do significant coursework in as part of a degree program. Python and Lua are more in the "just pick it up" category, IMHO. At most you might get them for a week in a programming languages survey course, so if you buy a book, do some online tutorials, and teach yourself the language you're not far behind someone with academic credentials. ("Why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby" is reputedly how a lot of programmers get started in the Ruby language, for example.)

If you want credibility in a programming language, the best way is to really get to know it well and then do something real in that language. Obviously getting hired to write something commercial is a chicken-and-egg problem, but if you find an open source project that's interesting to you to work on and get to the point that you can contribute bug fixes or features, you can certainly list that on a resume, and I think it would weigh more with most managers than online coursework would. That doesn't have to be Linux; there are lots of open source Windows and Mac projects these days, and Python, for example, has reportedly gotten quite popular with Windows sysadmin types. That same approach could also give you the opportunity to pick up some writing credits, given that the typical documentation for most open source software is at around the "stab yourself in the eyes with a pencil" quality level.

A side point: the languages you list are at wildly different places on the spectrum. C++ is a very "big" language, with exceedingly intricate syntax and a lot to know about how to use it. Python and Lua have a much smaller and simpler core syntax. Learning C++ well enough to do complex programming in it is a very different undertaking, particularly if you're not already versed in C. If you want to learn a more commercially-oriented language also used in academia, Java might be a easier starting point. (OTOH if you really master C++, that will certainly open doors for you.)

Disclaimer - again this is all based on my personal biases as to what I would weigh when hiring someone. Others' biases may vary.

#49 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 08:59 PM:

Leah, about all I can do is promise to look at any English programs you find and give you my opinion of their legitimacy. :-/ I suspect that most online courses will be a) not legit, or b) part of a brick-and-mortar school that requires registration as a real student, with all the rates and fees thereunto appertaining.

#50 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 09:13 PM:

#44: "bear escape" particle not readable.

Works for me using Win Vista and Firefox. Be aware that it's photos.

#51 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 09:16 PM:

Yesterday, the bear escape thing didn't work for me in Firefox; it loaded, then reloaded and stalled. Today, it seems to be working.

#52 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 09:19 PM:

Bruce Arthurs: Sorry for your loss, and best wishes and good thoughts for finding out what's wrong with Hilde.

#53 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 09:25 PM:

Leah, I really don't know enough about online programs in general to comment from that end, but I can think of one possible way to evaluate any program(s) that you are looking into: talk to someone at a local university or college and ask if the credits (any credits) from the online program will transfer. You seem to be thinking more in terms of picking up a course here and there rather than completing a degree, but in either case, finding out what more traditional institutions of higher education think of the various programs you are considering might give you some information about said programs.

There are also (as TexAnne points out) online courses available that are offered by traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. That would mean (again as TexAnne says) registering at those institutions in some fashion, but at least you wouldn't have to abandon the course if you wound up moving away from the area.

#54 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 09:28 PM:

Eureka is a lot of fun, but it has the worst science of any science fiction show. "A stream of coherent phonons," indeed. Phonon: an abstract entity in Stratificational Linguistics, not a particle of sound.

Gods, I love/hate this show.

#55 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 09:28 PM:

Edgar Allan Poe, flame warrior?

Once upon a midnight dreary
as I pondered, weak and weary
over many a weblog comment cov'ring topics quite obscure

presently I read a whinging
which somehow began impinging
upon the conversation, tinging
it with rudnenss, snark and bore

what strange troll, i asked, is straying
into all our threads and saying
all these sentiments betraying
attiudes of some mere boor

I will tell the moderator
who will then say "see you later"
block them by address locator
then they'll bug us nevermore

#56 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 09:48 PM:

Xopher @ 54: Are you thinking of "phoneme"? A "phonon" is actually a quantized vibration in a crystal lattice. I don't know if they used the word appropriately in the TV show, but the phrase you quote doesn't seem completely wrong on the face of it.

#57 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 10:02 PM:

Xopher @ 54: Actually, phonons are quanta of vibration in a crystal lattice. As well as linguistic objects.

#58 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 10:25 PM:

Ah. So it's my ignorance of another use of the term showing.

But would a stream of coherent phonons destabilize organic matter on a subatomic level? That's what they said, and frankly I don't see how destabilization on a subatomic level can be dependent on the matter being organic.

Joel, in Stratificational Linguistics a phoneme is spelled out in phonons. For example, in English the phoneme /n/ is composed of the simultaneous phonons (Ap), (Ns). It doesn't need to be specified more than that because there's only one apical (articulated with the tip of the tongue) nasal (letting air come out the nose) in English. And (Vc) is never specified with (Ns) because in English all nasals are voiced. In a language with voiceless nasals you'd have to include (Vc) to specify /n/ fully.

#59 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 10:38 PM:

Joel, Xopher, given that last week's macguffin was synthetic water which could be compressed for space travel... I expect that the Eureka writers thought they were inventing the word "phonon," but that might just be my horrible cynicism.

But, yeah, I love/hate that show, myself.

#60 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 11:05 PM:

I give them a little more credit. The term "phonon" was invented as the sound analog of "photon" -- a quantum of physical vibration rather than of light. (Not a perfect analogy, but that's where it comes from.) The show picks that up in straightforward gonzo-science mode: if a powerful laser can set you on fire[*], then a powerful phonon emitter is a Really Loud Noise that can vibrate you to death.

It's goofytech but it's hung off of a real idea, which Eureka does pretty consistently.

[* And I have a friend who worked in a laser-physics lab who's been there. And can show you the hole burned in his lab coat.]

#61 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 11:16 PM:

I gave up on Eureka due to the cute/bad science stuff.

Oddly enough, even worse science hasn't turned me off of Warehouse 13 . . . yet. Perhaps because it is a fantasy.

#62 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 11:17 PM:

And speaking of utterly unbelievable science, did everyone catch this picture?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ibm_research_zurich/3852446773/in/set-72157622092395070/

http://www.zurich.ibm.com/news/09/pentacene.html

It's a molecule of pentacene (C22H14), imaged with an atomic force microscope. You can see the carbon rings. YOU CAN SEE THE CARBON RINGS.

#64 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 11:27 PM:

Xopher #58: But would a stream of coherent phonons destabilize organic matter on a subatomic level?

Definitely not. They're essentially sound waves, so if you somehow packed enough energy into them, they could possibly damage tissue, but they're in the wrong regime to mess with the nucleus -- even ionization would be dubious. Also, AFAIK, phonons appear in restricted and slightly odd conditions -- in the "general world", they'd just decay into ordinary sound waves.

On the other hand, I could believe phonons building up inside some exotic gadget*, and perhaps damaging it (or at least forcing a shutdown).

*: drive matrix, blaster crystal, even a nanotech factory....

#65 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 11:33 PM:

Xopher @ 58: But would a stream of coherent phonons destabilize organic matter on a subatomic level?

Not a chance. It would disrupt matter on an interatomic (i.e. chemical) level -- ending the possibility of energy transmission by vibrations, i.e., phonons -- long, long before anything could happen on a subatomic level. Organic is irrelevant.

I didn't know about the use of the term in linguistics. I suppose the two usages don't conflict often.

#66 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 11:59 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @ 62:

Holy... You can see the carbon rings! Cool!

Stefan Jones @ 63:

I feel vaguely disoriented watching that, as I know I don't have a snout, but that's really fun.

#67 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 01:13 AM:

Andrew Plotkin @ 60 --
I recall reading about someone vibrated to death by a very large experimental infrasonic levavasseur whistle. There's been a lot of sonic weapons research, but it tends to be for specialized uses.

#68 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 01:34 AM:

A little while ago on one of the health care threads, I posted about a 6 year old losing his third bout with cancer. He finally passed on, quietly, at home, with some large amount of morphine that was never really enough. His memorial is tomorrow.

If Any of You are near a beach, maybe you'd participate, remotely, and in spirit at least.

Vasu hated long goodbyes, so in respect of this we have decided not to have a memorial with all the weeping and sad faces. Instead we are going to do what he would have liked to do. We are going to the beach. Vasu’s memorial will be held this Saturday at Double Bluff beach in Freeland. We will build the biggest sand castle that beach has ever seen. We begin building at 10 a.m. and don’t stop until it’s finished. Then we jump on it.
#69 ::: Avedaggio ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 01:35 AM:

Does anyone here know how to dye fiber (of the wool and cotton varieties) with indigo in its powdered form? The only tutorials I see online are done from the freshly harvested leaves of indigo plants, and I haven't the resources to grow it myself. However, the apothecary next to my place of work has a jarful of powdered indigo with other powdered natural dyes for sale by the ounce--and unfortunately with no directions, ratios, or anything else I need to use it.

So, I turn to you. I know there are other handspinners here, and fiberarts mesh nicely with dye-arts. Can anyone help?

#70 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 02:11 AM:

Carbon rings! I am... actually, I oscillate between crazy-wowed and sort of, "Yes, that is because science is awesome." Mostly crazy-wowed.

Eric at 68, I like the 'then we jump on it'. It avoids the tide metaphor nicely.

#71 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 02:58 AM:

Avadaggio@69 This looks like what you want. http://www.earthguild.com/products/riff/rindigo.htm

I do know that if you're using real powdered indigo, these 'feel' right.

#72 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 02:58 AM:

Just came back from my first evening at Bubonicon. Had a nice long chat with writer Ian Tregillis. Say, Patrick, why don't you post that sketch he had drawn as a proposal for the cover of his novel Bitter Seeds? Sure, he's getting a Palencar cover, but I rather like Ian's original idea of Cthulhu going nom-nom at the Earth.

#73 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 02:59 AM:

eric @68:

I'm sorry to hear that. I'll stop by the beach (next to the lake, but sand + water) today.

Comfort to the family. Must be tough for you, coming hard on the heels of your baby's (thankfully finished, you say) illness.

#74 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 03:56 AM:

Two TABC officers involved in June's raid on the Rainbow Lounge, Texas (discussed here) are fired.

#75 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 04:19 AM:

Condolences, Bruce Arthurs, and good wishes- I hope something will help.

Best wishes, eric.

#76 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 04:29 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @7:

I'm glad that your neighbor had you there for her.

Best wishes with finding a way to prevent any more frightening incidents with Hilde.

("Golden years?" That sounds awfully like "the best years of your life." I remember high school far too well to fall for that kind of description again.)

#77 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 06:09 AM:

To all and some:

If you put a link in your post, and when you preview the post the link is greyed-out like this, your post will be held for moderation because of the broken link. And if I can't figure out what you meant to link to, I'm not going to release it.

The most common reason a link breaks is because you forgot to include the quote marks around the URL inside the tag. What MT does then is remove the entire URL so that I don't have a clue what was meant to be there, and the spam filters catch it because that kind of broken link is Really Really common in spam.

There's a reason for the mandatory preview.

#78 ::: Ingvar ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 07:39 AM:

In amusing number-tricks, 129 is the seventh binary number that is both palondromic and has exactly two 1-bits. They're all on the form 2^n+1. Not really exciting, but it's cool nonetheless.

#79 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 08:04 AM:

pat greene @21: Length may not be a good criterion, though, since we are known to generate puns within the first 10 comments*.

I was thinking of something similar, but for riffs on the plums poem.


*Now I want to find a thread where the first comment contained a pun.

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 08:43 AM:

Pendrift @ 79... a thread where the first comment contained a pun

A thread guaranteed to clothe before it starts.

#81 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 10:25 AM:

Pendrift @ 79: *hides*

#82 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 10:35 AM:

I'm following AETV's "Hoarders" series with great interest -- they're done in much the same format/paradigm as "Intervention" and the subjects are given psychological counseling as well as professional organizers and physical labor to clear out dwellings, et cetera.

Conversely, the program is making me feel better about my clutter, in that I'm not in danger of losing sight of my floors.

#83 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 10:37 AM:

Rings in your fingers
Rings in your toes
Rings in your eyeballs
And rings in your nose.

See carbon dancing
And sharing its pairs
Electrons in motion
Organic's all fares.

Rings to make lifeforms
And rings 'round the world
Rings hid in nanotubes
Balls, spirals furled.

Rings at the bottom
And rings at the top,
Rings in the middle
The rings do not stop.

Rings that are basic
To this world we know
Rings all of carbon
Go on with the show!

#84 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 10:45 AM:

Paula, that needs to be set to music!

#85 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 12:32 PM:

abi, #74: Interesting. The officers in question, and their superior, all seem to be willing to say, "I fucked up, and I take responsibility," now. What's bugging me about it is that I'm getting a feel of an unspoken, "But at least I got to have some fun," in there too. I think it's the lack of any language indicating actual regret for anything that happened, including the injury to Mr. Gibson.

#86 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 12:52 PM:

Lee @85 (to abi @74's link) -- there's also the comment one of them made, "I hope I'm not being made the scapegoat for this," which both indicates no remorse and implies the existence of a pattern of this sort of thing being okay.

#87 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 01:44 PM:

wrt indigo, @69/71: there're alternate sets of instructios here (doesn't specify fiber) and here (slightly different instrux for wool vs. everything else (cotton, linen, rayon, and silk)[*]).

[*: This grouping seems somewhat odd, since silk and wool are both animal protein fibers instead of plant cellulose bast, but what the hey. Also, all of the above recipes seem to call for the hydrosulfite process rather than the zinc-lime one; suppsedly the latter solution can be maintained for an arbitrary amount of time and creates darker blues while the former has to be used within a few days and results in paler colors, but I've never personally tried either so have no direct anecdotes.]

#88 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 02:24 PM:

Silk is from an insect,and starts out I think as liquid shot out of the silkworm larval state of the moth species, rather than being fiber sprouted out of mammalian hide (sheep wool, alpaca fiber, mohair, etc.)

#89 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 02:35 PM:

#69 and #87 - the traditional urine vat indigo method also works. My wife's done it ... my contributions were mostly to the volume. It takes remarkable little time - a weekend - to accumulate a gallon or so. We aged it three or four weeks at room temperature. After a while, it throws a precipitate, so that's the signal that it's stale enough. A glass jar is handy.

One source on that page says "preferably of those who drink strong drinks", but another says "boy-child gathered in the morning" is best. We avoided Vitamin B supplements for the time we were collecting.

Indigo dyebaths are fascinating - the soluble forms aren't blue, so the fibre comes out yellow-green, then turns blue as the indigo oxidizes. Wear good rubber gloves - indigo will dye your skin and fingernails quite effectively. One friend was careless, and said she had to wear dark brown nail polish for weeks. Blue nails weren't in fashion then :-)

Sodium hydrosulfite/dithoinite carries interesting warning labels - observe them.

#90 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 02:55 PM:

Paula Lieberman @88 said: Silk is from an insect,and starts out I think as liquid shot out of the silkworm larval state of the moth species, rather than being fiber sprouted out of mammalian hide (sheep wool, alpaca fiber, mohair, etc.)

Yes, but silk is actually also a protein fiber of animal origin, as Julie L. @87 stated, and in the case of most dyes (for example, food coloring) acts pretty much like wool/alpaca/angora rabbit/etc, and very very different than the linen/cotton/other plant cellulosic fibers grouping.

#91 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 02:55 PM:

Julie: That classification is correct - silk is essentially very pure cellulose, processed through the silkworm gut. (I found out the hard way once that it's like candy for termites.)

#92 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 02:59 PM:

Wool is animal hair, which is a non-uniform structure consisting mostly of keratin.

Cotton and linen are cellulose fibre chains.

Silk is a two-protein (amino acid) fibre chain.

Rayon is a cellulose strand produced artificially using wood pulp as the feedstock. It's more absorbent than cotton.

I suspect that wool is much tougher to dye, given its different chemical makeup, and presumably silk is close to
viscose in characteristics (both produced using spinnerets) and have effectively the same response to dye as cotton/linen.

What do I know anyway, I'm a moose not a textile chemist!

#93 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 03:11 PM:

Soren update: Last Saturday, we went to a reunion of staff and regulars from Rose's Turn, the piano bar we loved. When Soren got up to sing, he got a standing ovation from the room. He did a creditable version of "Political Science," slurring some of the syllables, but right on pitch, and got another standing ovation when he finished. And last night we took the subway together to another piano bar (where I sang a song from Passing Strange, and did quite well).

This weekend and next, we plan to turn the front room of the apartment into a music room, with a Mac with Garage Band, an electric keyboard, and too many wires, so that Soren can get his musical concepts out of his head. Wish us luck.

#94 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 03:12 PM:

Leah Miller @ 43

In the UK, I'd go with the The Open University - widely recognised over here. Surely there must be some equivalent(s) in the USA, or reputable universities that offer online courses? I see that Stanford, for example, has writing courses and technical courses - including in C++ (see via their TechPort). Don't know what their online course costs are, or how their online courses are regarded - I did note there's a waiting list for the writing courses.

#95 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 03:13 PM:

Skipping ahead to post this as a client is due any minute:

Avadaggio@69
#71 ::: sisuile

Yup, those processes work.

Gonzo science version of why indigo dyes cotton. The chunks of dye get stuck between the fibers rather than bonding to them. Prep involves softening and splitting the cotton strands so the dye will enbed better. This is why over many washings you can get the fabric back to almost its natural color. We had quite a discussion on this on a professional sewing list.

(first commenter)
Once the fabric is dry the indigo dye will "crock off" on anything it rubs
against. The way to prevent this is to paint the fabric with soy milk, then
let it dry for 3 to 6 months (one month at the least). Then wash it. Then
you won't have the blue crock off on you ever again. When I'm dying indigo
fabric, I usually dye it, dry it, paint it with soy milk, dry it, and then
just put it away for 3 or more months. I write on the calendar 3 months in
the future to remind me when to go get the fabric and wash it and do
something with it.

You don't have to buy expensive soy milk in cartons. Just buy dry soybeans,
soak then in water, grind them in a blender, and then strain the "milk"
through a strainer (pantyhose works great for this). You can even resoak
the ground soybeans for a second run through the strainer.

(me)
Animal milk contains casein, a natural polymer which forms a hard skin
when it dries. Soy milk has a comparable protein. In my theater days, we
used cheap water-based tempera for painting sets, but it would rub off
on the costumes. We'd dump sour milk in it. Fresh would have worked, but
there was usually some spoiled in the tech workshop refrigerator. Think
of how difficult it is to scrape up a puddle of dried milk. You've got
to chisel it off.

(another)
Shaker milk paint. We make it with skim milk, lime, etc., and use it to
stain/protect our deck. It keeps for a week in the fridge if you have large
project.

#96 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 03:17 PM:

Oh, and discovery of the day? Spiced coffee, with black pepper, cardamom and cinnamon -- very nice. Spiced coffee sweetened with two teaspoons of salt instead of sugar -- not so nice.

Remember: I do the research, so you won't have to.

#97 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 03:19 PM:

Velma @ #93

Hurrah! this is excellent news.

May things continue to improve, and good fortune to all.

Cadbury.

#98 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 03:33 PM:

An observation: The young women coming to me for what we call "advisement" (a word I do not like) have nails painted in different colours. That is to say, the nails on each hand are in different colours. I ask them why this is, and they cannot explain it except to say that this is what the nail salon does. Have I fallen into a parallel universe or something?

#99 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 03:35 PM:

Another observation: If the element unbiennium is discovered, presumably it would not occur every two years.

#100 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 03:48 PM:

Fragano, #98: Fashion changes, and sometimes it changes weirdly.

That said, I am fond of painting my nails in non-uniform colors*, but I don't put all one color on one hand and all another color on the other. I generally use 3 colors**, and I have a specific pattern for their application. I think of this as making my nails into the equivalent of jewelry; I don't insist on all the beads in my necklace being the same color, so why should all my fingernails have to be the same color?

* When I bother to paint them at all, which is an entirely separate issue.

** Except when I'm doing a diversity rainbow. It would be nice to be Darkovan aristocracy and have 6 fingers on each hand, but I don't, so the color I usually leave off is orange.

#101 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 03:52 PM:

Velma @ 93: Good luck and blessings to you both!

#102 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 03:54 PM:

Velma@96, my local breakfast joint near the train station has coffee out by the counter so you can pour it yourself, pay, and run. It's especially nice if you want half-decaf to be able to just pour it yourself. Unless, of course, you accidentally get the pitcher of the house spiced tea instead of the decaf; mixing that with coffee was amazingly bad.

#103 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 04:37 PM:

I have occasionally ripped open a teabag of Celestial Seasonings' Bengal Spice herbal tea and tossed it into the filter basket with the ground coffee when I'm starting a pot. Quite good, say my tastebuds.

#104 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 04:45 PM:

Bill@102: Done that, too. Have also added orange, grapefruit, and orange-strawberry-banana juice to my coffee at different times. None of them work as well as milk products.

#105 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 04:49 PM:

Velma, did you spice the coffee yourself? That sounds interesting indeed.

#106 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 05:31 PM:

Bruce Arthurs, #7, I'm sorry to hear that Anne has died. And just as sorry to hear about Hilde being in the hospital. I hope she's out soon. Does she get fevers, at least?

eric, #36, I hope your baby gets checked out soon and that the cost is not too much.

Lee, #85, and those two officers are state officers. The city officers are still under investigation.

As to the M&M story in the sidebar, the arenas don't need to worry about taking out brown M&Ms anymore because you can buy M&Ms online in specific colors and just not buy brown.

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 05:43 PM:

eric, I'm sorry for your loss. I like the jump-on-it too.

abi, that there were firings is progress. Now I'm waiting for prosecutions. I'm also waiting for chocolate air.

Velma, that's terrific news! Good luck on the music room.

I just heard a Katrina survivor on the radio talk about the time he spent living in a "Kwanzaa hut."

#108 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 05:46 PM:

Mary Frances @84, if you want to sing it, try using the tune from the Grateful Dead's "Scarlet Begonias." It scans!

#109 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 05:51 PM:

Shouldn't a Kwanzaa hut be something like a Sukkot booth?

#110 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 05:53 PM:

From what I remember of experiments in dyeing, some years ago, silk will take chemical dyes MUCH MORE VIBRANTLY than cotton, linen, or wool. Knock-your-eyes-out more vibrantly.

My experience with natural dyestuffs is less extensive. I can say that turmeric dyes polyester chiffon more strongly than you'd guess from the color of the dyebath.

#111 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 05:57 PM:

...together with assorted notes on the use of ratzenfratzen cellophane in costuming...

#112 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 06:56 PM:

Rikibeth @ 110: You wouldn't say that if you'd ever heard me sing. Honest. I'm a wonderful listener, not a singer. But I'll check out the Dead melody and try to hear Paula's words!

#113 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 07:41 PM:

Where is that old thread of grammatical horrors? I can't find it.

#114 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 07:52 PM:

Xopher (113): Did you mean this one?

#115 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 08:04 PM:

Marilee @106: However, the contract calling for M&Ms, no brown, still works as a test of whether they read the contract--though at this point they might be well advised to change it, just because that specific clause is well known to go with that band, so people might get it right without reading the contract, and the candy isn't the point here.

Rikibeth @110: Sometimes the differences between silk and cotton are just odd: I put a silk shirt and a cotton sports bra/exercise top into the same dye bath a couple of months ago, working for a two-color effect. They both came out two-color. However, the silk shirt is a sort of olive green and bright purple, and the cotton bra is a leaf green and bright blue. (I was hoping for leaf green and purple.) If anyone is curious, I put photos up on Flickr; I'm rosvicl there, and they aren't very far back in my not-exactly-huge photostream.

#116 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 08:09 PM:

Yes, Mary Aileen, and thank you!

#117 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 08:23 PM:

Vicki, I like the orange fungus picture. It looks almost like a flower.

#118 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 08:28 PM:

Xopher (116): You're welcome! It helped that I remembered the title of the post.

#119 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 08:29 PM:

Serge, 80: *groan*

Michael, 41 -- I think Serge's Law works for me. It was a tossup as far as I was concerned between him and Xopher.

#120 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 08:41 PM:

Vicki - if you use fiber-reactive dyes, you fix wool (or other animal hair) and silk with acid, and plant fibers with bases. Silk will dye in the same batch with plant fibers, but a similar but different spectrum, as your photos show. If you mix the same dye but use different Ph fixers, the colors will be much closer. I like to toss a length of silk in when I dye hemp, and then use it for bias binding or other trim. I've never had quite as much variation as you got, though. What kind of dye are you using?

#121 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2009, 09:40 PM:

Bruce Arthurs and eric, care and condolences for those losses. And a hug, if she'll have it, for Hilde. Scary indeed.

Velma (#93) Wonderful! (Update in another thread on my friend's aneurysm. Soren gives me hope; a path.)

Silk's vibrant colours with old natural dyes was a part of its lasting popularity and value.

#122 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 12:20 AM:

Bruce Arthurs #103 &seq.... I've been known to spice my coffee too. Cinnamon is better added after brewing (the powder clogs the filter), but is supposed to be good for diabetics (adult-onset type, anyway). I've also added nutmeg, vanilla or almond extract, cardamom and occasionally turmeric. Anise and fenugreek were not to my taste.

#123 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 12:25 AM:

Fibers in order of dye-vibrancy by home dyer (me)

Silk
Wool
Cotton
Rayon
Linen
Dinosaur

This is an unofficial list and comes from an experiment I did at one point. Protein fibers tend to take dye better than cellulose fibers, even when you use appropriate fixatives and types of dye for your type. Silk tends to do better than wool because of it's regularity, iirc, but I might not. I just know it works better.(experiment dyed in the cloth using Cushings dyes)


Tumeric is one of my favorite yellow dyes - It's cheap, easy, does animal fiber, plant fiber, and leather well, and I can buy it in bulk from the local international grocery/ middle eastern grocery. If only I could wear yellows!

#124 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 01:09 AM:

pat greene @ 119... Thanks. Of course, if Xopher wishes for the Law to be named after him, I won't begrudge him that honor.

#125 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 06:01 AM:

Velma @93:

That sounds like a fantastic evening under any circumstances, and doubly so now! Good idea about the music room, too.

#126 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 06:23 AM:

Unexpected treat from my local public library: THE HOSPITAL FOR BAD POETS, short stories by J.C. Hallman (Milkweed Editions, 2009).

An excerpt from the title story:

(Setup: A young poet has collapsed onto the floor. An emergency crew, Bob and Mike, have responded.)

The boy ripped the page free to examine it. "Is this the last thing you were working on?" [...] His eyes rode the toppled column of my lines.

"This is awful," Mike said.

I groaned and my head hit the floor, perhaps for the second time.

"Watch that C-spine, Mike!" Bob said. "You can't be held liable for disliking the work of a bad poet, but you are responsible for insufficient care. Granted, we're not dealing with the penetrating trauma of a slam poet or gangsta rapper here, but even a standard verse emergency runs cicles around your typical diabetic episode. This is a poet! And poets can go south fast. Look the wrong way and even Wordsworth will take the big six-foot dirt nap. Poets have feelings up the ass."

[...]

"Ho there, cowboy!" Bob said, lunging forward to steady my shoulders. "Think about what you're doing. You could have writer's block. You might even have a clot. Stand up and you're talking ischemic stroke. You could have an aneurysm in your language center. It goes pop, you'll never even think verse again." He lodged his hands against his hips, decisively. "We've got to take you to the hospital for bad poets."

"No," I said. "God, no."


For some reason, in my mind I find myself casting Jim MacDonald and Fragano Ledgister as Bob and Mike.

#127 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 08:09 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 126... "We've got to take you to the hospital for bad poets."

To the Rhymergency Room?

#128 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 08:27 AM:

Pat @ 119 et seq.: We should call it Serge's law. Twill tie in nicely with the other major topic of the thread so far. (What's the worsted could happen?)

#129 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 09:13 AM:

Leah @43: I see you've already had a little advice, but thought I'd add my own. I'll add the caveat that I've never worked professionally in game development, so I'm making assumptions about how that industry works that are possibly untrue.

The first thing to note is your suggested list of languages goes from one extreme of the spectrum to the other, Lua being a simple language with a very specific purpose, while C++ is an extremely complex language that is suited for almost all purposes. I'd aim for some middle ground, and given your background I'd suggest Python is probably the most useful of these languages; AIUI, most modern game engines are using Python as their story scripting language these days (LUA being used more for user interface scripting, C++ for back-end engine implementation). I'd suggest staying away from Flash as a beginner; you need an entirely different mindset to work with it that won't help with the others.

As to what kind of qualifications are accepted, my experience has been that most software development recruiters expect their candidates to be graduates, but don't care what the subject of the degree was. And those who know what they're doing consider certification irrelevant. The problem is that the certificates tend to concentrate on a subject (knowledge of the language and/or programming environment) that is almost completely orthoganal to what the recruiter is looking for (problem solving skill, essentially). Past experience is the only thing most are willing to consider.

The question of how to get this experience is problematic, but not overly so. There are, as I see it, two routes open:

* Computer science degree courses, with the caveat of avoiding online programs. A good CS course will include several group projects, and these can provide the kind of experience the recruiters are looking for. I believe there are even courses available that focus on game development skills, if you look in the right places.
* Getting involved in your own projects. Develop an indie-style game yourself, or get involved with an open-source game project.

The point is to get something that you can show to recruiters, tell them "I've done this, which is similar to the kind of thing you'll want me to do for you." This is much more important than any certificate you can show them.

#130 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 11:02 AM:

Velma #96:

Once upon a time, I was helping my mother make my birthday cake, and I put in the specified quantity — of salt rather than sugar.

They were both kept in unmarked glass jars, though, if I recall correctly, in different places. (We added a label after that.)

I don't recall whether I ate my portion.

#131 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 11:18 AM:

I have an objection to the concept explicated of the proposed Serge's Law, because sometimes the punning starts almost immediately in the thread.

(On a related issue, what about the poesy....]

#132 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 11:22 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 131... sometimes the punning starts almost immediately in the thread

Amd I'm not always to blame for it.

#133 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 11:35 AM:

#132 Serge
Are you, however, the most likely person to start the punning?

On separate topics:
1) The Fairness Doctrine needs to come back NOW. The latest outrage--WBZ radio, part of the Infinitity/CBS, reporting, without any commentary from the calumnified, or questions, or any tone except APPROVAL, the Fux TV broadcast of person who was in the office of the Vice President of the USA from 2001-2008, condemning and excoriating the investigation and those authoring the investigation into the Department of Justice authorizing of "enhanced" interrogation methods in 2001-2008. The lying scum has the temerity to claim that the investigation is political skullduggery and indication that it would not be happening were there moral upstanding sensible people controlling the US Government, and stated that the enhanced interrogations gained information critical to protecting the USA....

2) Sen Kerry said that the public option for healthcare could be negotiated away. I think that Sen. Kerry for saying that should be replaced.... but NOT with a Repuke!!!

#134 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 11:45 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 133... I am indeed the usual suspect.

#135 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 12:08 PM:

Email sent to Sen Kerry

1) I am completely disgusted with your willingness to dump the public health option. The USA needs single payer, and not greedy grasping unethical immoral so-called health insurance companies. They're parasites on the US public and taxpayers. Didn't you listen to all those intercessions by the Kennedy family descendants on Saturday about healthcare must be a right and not a privilege? The opposition are rabid weasel and mad dogs, negotiations with those with rabies, only makes one painfully infected and DEAD, and continues the rabies epidemic... which is a matter of public health....
2) I am completely disgusted with WBZ radio, reporting on Fux TV broadcasting an interview with the lying scheming out of office former Vice President (FVP). The FVP was condemning all who want the Department of Justice and CIA investigated for the "enhanced interrogation techniques" --mealy-mouthed terminology for torture up to and including rape and homicide- as politically motivated, and indicating that a sensible responsible government would not pursue any such investigations. He stated that the interrogations were important to national security....
In reality he's a Constitution-raping malevolent liar, intent on keeping his ass covered--despite the outing of Valerie Plame, despite massacres of prisoners in Afghanistan, despite rape at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, despite the callous murder of at least one Afghan who went into CIA custody in an attempt to make them see he was not a terrorist and not Taliban... THOSE type of abuse make implacable enemies out of reasonable people, Cheney -created- terrorists and Taliban sympathizers and anti-American Iraqis, out of people whose families and lives were gratuitous ly destroyed by the Unites States. And I am infuriated that Pres Obama has refused to completely repudiate the Cheney era policies, he and Nancy Pelosi refuse to allow a full investigaton of the former Executive Branch of 2001 - 2008 from the top down. As far as I'm concerned, the top people in that (mis)adminstration are guilty of starting a war under false pretext and mass murder by accessory (the Agfhan massacres, and the deaths of a million Iraqi from violence and disease during the mishandled occupation of Iraq--along with other war crimes (failure to protect libraries, schools, government offices, museums, archaoeological sites... from looters, arsonists, and robbers)
Getting back to WBZ-TV, for failing to provide ANY questions of Cheney's comments and failing to provide a speaker commenting on Cheney's comments exposing them for the lies that Cheney speaks and calumny he heaps, I want the license re-examined and either enforcment of a re-imposed Fairness Doctrine, or the license yanked and 50,000 watts of power which is NOT rightwing sympathizer and propaganda used for HONEST, fair reporting...

#136 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 01:06 PM:

Re: one of Teresa's latest Particles... Ah, yes, good old Subservient Chicken. How I laughed when you snapped your garter belt! Hours of good clean fun.

#137 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 02:39 PM:

The pictures are in Scott Edelman's blog.

Two pictures. A stack of books on a bedside table. An overflowing bookshelf. Science Fiction and Fantasy and Koontzian suspense predominate. If you didn't know the context you would think it looks like an ordinary fan's bookshelf. The books were on the shelves of Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was a captive of a convicted sex offender for eighteen years. These books were her escape during her captivity.

#138 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 02:44 PM:

Re: the Kenelm Digby particle, around here he's known as the originator of the recipe for cheesecakes that are regularly served at SCA events.

#139 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 03:31 PM:

#138
I like his recipe for 'egg tea'. 17th century 'instant breakfast'! (It works, too. Using chai black tea is very effective.)

#140 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 04:44 PM:

So, I was mowing grass and listening to Richard Thompson's 1952 Vincent Black Lightning and I realized that it's essentially a cyberpunk story. (OK, Thompson says it's an outlaw ballad, but what does he know, he only wrote it.) After all, it has at least these tropes of cyberpunk:


  • a machine as a McGuffin

  • a dangerous man

  • a red-headed girl

  • black leather

  • crime

  • death

    #141 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 04:49 PM:

    Patrick had provided me the DVD of it some time ago, but I couldn't pass the chance to see Nina Paley's "Sita Sings the Blues" at the local rep theater today. That is what should have won the Hugo for the best movie of 2008.

    #142 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 10:18 PM:

    That B&N particle doesn't surprise me. They've started putting webmail-style ads on the book pages.

    #143 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 10:19 PM:

    That B&N particle doesn't surprise me. They've started putting webmail-style ads on the book pages.

    Um, not the pages of the dead trees. I mean the website pages for books they offer for sale.

    #144 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2009, 10:43 PM:

    Xopher @OT128 #701:
    Hm, I think I assumed too much there; that most OT names are back-formations is generally accepted. (And situations like the story of Binyamin's naming are often seen as harmonizing competing back-stories.)

    Meanwhile, I've been amusing myself imagining the Scriptures according to Rocky.

    Serge @OT128 #729:
    Just as long as a wardrobe malfunction doesn't result in their turning transparent....

    Michael Mock @#19:
    It seems to me like social engineering is one of ha-Satan's usual weapons in Jewish writing. On the other hand...

    Vicki @#38:
    ...there is often a belief that contact with, or even hearing read, holy writings would cause physical damage to demonic forces, which would explain why they would think the Devil couldn't read their holy book and act upon it. (This doesn't play well in the Jewish model, as demons weren't so much evil as they were different (think D&D "lawful/chaotic" axis, except that neither "good" nor "evil" could apply to them; this differs from Faerie in that they had their own laws and notions of good/evil) and ha-Satan is explicitly and openly doing G-d's will.)

    #145 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 02:34 AM:

    I see more detail has been gone into, but in the interest of more analogies/explanations:

    re indigo: Indigo is a funny coloring agent because it's not really a dye (the things one learns reading about blue jeans) but more of a laquer. So it adheres to the surface. This is why jeans fade in the ways they do.

    Where the material is more flexed, the indigo flakes off more readily.

    #146 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 04:41 AM:

    Re the "antigravity garden" particle: there are of course downsides.

    #147 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 06:38 AM:

    O.K. Ikea has changed their catalog font. The reaction has been pretty evenly split between "who cares" and "burn down the corporate offices." This is no suprise, but I never thought we'd see Godwin's Law come into play in a font comment thread.. (It's a "soft Godwin," namely Oh Noes--Nazi links--buy local, but it's a Godwin nonetheless. Strange...)

    #148 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 08:21 AM:

    Henry @ #140

    I guess that makes me a cyberpunk writer too.

    Does a race between airliner flying-boats, riding the leading edge of a thunderstorm to the finishing line, count? It ought to be a song...

    Yep, the machine's there.

    And the man is very dangerous.

    A red-headed girl? Well, I suppose a furry-style vixen counts.

    Black leather flying jacket.

    Crime and death? Definitely.

    There's also Black Magic intended. And vengeance.

    The weather balloon is just a weather balloon.

    Two months to NaNoWriMo.


    #149 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 08:42 AM:

    I suspect that wool is much tougher to dye, given its different chemical makeup, and presumably silk is close to
    viscose in characteristics (both produced using spinnerets) and have effectively the same response to dye as cotton/linen.

    Silk, wool and cotton are easy to dye, in about that order. Linen is really tough to dye, which is why the pattern in Europe for so long was "white linen underwear with colorful wool outer garments".

    Silk and wool, being animal fibers, like acid dyes; in most commercial versions the acid is vinegar or the like.

    #150 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 08:56 AM:

    Lee #100: True, fashions change. I'm curious, though, about the complete passivity of these young women regarding what is done to part of their bodies.

    #151 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 09:13 AM:

    Fragano, I don't think they're necessarily passive about their ornamentations--it may be that they are just feeling terribly incapable of saying to a man who's old enough to be their father "I don't care if you think it look's weird; I like it that way" let alone "Who cares what you think? I think it's cool." The discomfort of youth when asked to justify something silly to an authority figure* is often overwhelming, and an answer equivalent to "I dunno" is often the result.

    *Especially one likely to expect logical and coherent answers that don't sound stupid, which are almost impossible to provide when talking about something as trivial as fashion.

    #152 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 09:23 AM:

    Fragano @150

    Looking at your original account, I do get that disturbing sense of passivity. They're making it sound as if it's nothing to do with them. Now, saying it's a fashion might not be much better but it implies a choice.

    I can't say that I follow fashion, but it's never seemed to be something which doesn't have room for personal choice.

    #153 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 09:53 AM:

    re: The Sir Kenelm Digby particle.

    I hope he used some wound salve on that cut to his leg.

    #154 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 09:55 AM:

    Henry Troup @ 140... Those are tropes of cyberpunk? They can all found in Hitchcock's North by Northwest.

    a machine as a McGuffin: the microfilms inside the antique
    a dangerous man: lots of them, but especially James Mason
    a red-headed girl: Eva Marie Saint is blond, but Cary Grant does ask her how a girl like her becomes a girl like her.
    black leather: I think there's one leather-clad truck driver
    crime: espionnage, murder, attempted murder, theft, assaulting a police officer
    death: the list is quite long, but we can begin with the literal backstabbing at the United Nations.

    #155 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 09:58 AM:

    By "his leg" I mean, of course, "his hand."

    Oy.

    #156 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 10:02 AM:

    fidelio #151: That might be the case. The resulting silliness is particularly weird.

    Dave Bell #151: I'm just curious as to the reasons for that choice. Some fashions of the recent past have seemed particularly strange to me (thong underwear, for example, which seems very uncomfortable).

    #157 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 10:04 AM:

    Fragano Ledgister @150: [..] fashions change.

    Tattoos, not so much.

    #158 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 10:52 AM:

    Jules at #146: Living walls having a downside.

    The living wall gravity-defying gardens remind me of something I saw in M.C.Escher.

    So sometimes it's hard to tell which is the up side and which is the down side.

    #159 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 10:53 AM:

    Would stories in which the mcguffin is made of cloth be fiberpunk?

    #160 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 10:55 AM:

    Open-Threadiness:

    If anyone has read Dave Freer's books, or his blog,you might be aware that he's moving from South Africa to Australia. They are also trying to move their pets, but the monies budgeted have been overcome by currency problems, so they need more.

    However, Dave doesn't want to beg for charity, so he's writing a story especially for his donation page, Save the Dragons. Donations are payable through Paypal (managed by Walt Boyes, a longtime friend and editor of an online magazine for engineers).

    They are really desperate -- a writer doesn't make a lot of money, as we all know -- and they can't abandon their pets just to move to a better life themselves. They have to leave SA, against their better wishes. It's a very tough spot to be in: they can't stay and they can't go until they know they can pay for their dogs and cats to be safely quarantined.

    If you can, please donate. If you can't, please spread the news as wide as you can -- Dave's a good man and I think he deserves to have some assistance in bringing his beloved pets with him.

    I know it isn't a scam, because I've met him here in the US; I've known him since I was on Baen's Bar, for more than 12 years (and he's not a Mil-SF writer).

    #161 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 11:14 AM:

    I'm posting a link to n article in today's Chicago Tribune, for those of you who are currently struggling to help someone you love who has suffered a stroke: Their Friendship Is Pure Poetry.

    I know the situations aren't analagous, really, but I thought maybe you could use a reminder that what you are doing does make a difference.

    Bless you all.

    #162 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 11:16 AM:

    Rub Rusick #157: Weight gain/loss might have an effect.

    #163 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 11:26 AM:

    Open threadiness:

    Naked Capitalism has two really fascinating posts up right now, stuff ISTM you don't see discussed clearly much in the MSM.

    This article describes some dishonest reporting w.r.t. the true cost of the bailout to the US, and the true value to its recipients.

    And this article discusses one of the statistics being bounced around as evidence that the financial crisis is over and all is well--an improved savings rate. The funny thing is, it matters a great deal how you account for income inequality when discussing this....

    #164 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 12:31 PM:

    Today I discovered that, when a city lists a phone nbr as an emergency one, they have a rather elastic definition of 'emergency'. A couple of hours ago, a neighbor called me at the office to say that the water meter's well in front of our house was filled with water, and that the sidewalk around had sunken a couple of inches. About 30 minutes ago, the city's people had not shown up yet so I called again. It turns out that they have 24 hours to respond to such emergencies. Maybe I should have lied and said that the situation was so severe that our home was about to fall into Hell's muddy pit.

    Twits.

    #165 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 12:59 PM:

    On the nails/passivity thing: the last-but-one time I went to the dentist, she said they wanted to look at one tooth more closely and either seal it or fill it. I got an appointment the next day, whoo. The dentist-- different one this time-- drilled, filled, told me to bite down, the whole thing. When I was done, I asked, "When was it decided that I was getting a filling?" I should have asked, "When was it decided that instead of the filling my insurance covers, I was getting a pretty one?" He said that a lot of people don't like to know what's going on.

    I don't know what's involved with 'getting my nails done.' I'm pretty sure that if I just went in, I wouldn't demand that the nail person justify her every move to me-- it would be rude. Once I knew something of it, I might ask, but I might have internalized the she-knows-what-she's-doing thing.

    #166 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 01:05 PM:

    On the subject of the proposed law, I'm comfortable with calling it Serge's Law. I have something else in mind for Xopher's Law, but I haven't quite completed my observations yet.

    #167 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 01:17 PM:

    Last week, I did a presentation on testing for our implementation and support team. I ornamented it with clip art of assorted insects. (The team, mostly native speakers of Dutch, took a while to catch on to the "bugs" theme.)

    This morning, one of that team came into the office with a gift for me: a scarf with silhouettes of beetles on it! It now marks my chair.

    I came home and told this story. Alex grinned appreciatively about the insect pictures, and then said, "You know, one day you might find a rabbit in the software. Then you can name it Bugs Bunny."

    I'm so proud.

    #168 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 01:29 PM:

    Xopher @ 166... Wouldn't you prefer Jude Law?

    #169 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 01:32 PM:

    abi @ 167...

    The abiveld extends to bad jokes, eh?
    Say, do you know know why computer bugs are called 'bugs'?

    #170 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 01:36 PM:

    Okay, here's a question uniquely suited to the Fluorosphere's talents:

    Sticking plaster: I dimly recall seeing old movies and tv shows where a man cuts himself shaving, then applies a little dab of white stuff to staunch the blood. In some later occasions, I gather the substance is a little wad of toilet paper, but through some vague means, I've gathered that there is, in fact, a kind of plaster used for such purposes.

    My Google-Fu fails me, and all I come up with is that "sticking plaster" is British for what Americans call "adhesive bandages" (frex Bandaids).

    The context of the request is that I have a guinea pig with a chronic ulceration on the pad of his foot. It's difficult to treat because, as soon as I clean it off, it immediately fills up again with, um, stuff from the bottom of the cage. Bandaging his foot is approximately as practical as putting a Bandaid on a cat's nose (and, no, E-collars aren't an option). I'm thinking that sticking plaster (as in, actual plaster) might actually be an effective treatment.

    I'm hoping that somewhere here a) has heard of this stuff and b) maybe can tell me where to buy it or how to make it.

    #171 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 01:44 PM:

    Serge:  because one of the first errors in a computer - sometime in the 1940’s when computers used thermionic valves and open relays and were nice and warm for passing insects - was due to a moth that got itself caught in a relay.

    #172 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 01:51 PM:

    Jacque:  the man who cut himself shaving may have been applying a styptic pencil to stop the bleeding, rather than a sticking plaster.  That may not help your guinea pig!  But there are people here who are experienced with hamsters, and the skills may transfer.

    #173 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 01:57 PM:

    Me #171:  on second thoughts, probably not “one of the first errors in a computer “ – I dare say even Ada and Charles made mistakes – but the moth story is supposed to be why they’re called bugs.

    #174 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 02:01 PM:

    John Stanning @ 171... That's what I thought I had read somewhere, but I wasn't sure. Thanks for the confirmation.

    #175 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 02:09 PM:

    @171/173 -- the notation, however, implies that "bug" was already a term, and finding a real one was funny.

    http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h96000/h96566k.jpg

    #176 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 02:19 PM:

    Abi @ #167 Is that a rabbit in software development, or just pointy hare?

    #177 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 02:20 PM:

    Jacque, for humans there's a substance called Nuskin Liquid Bandage. It brushes on, and dries to a form-fitting flexible barrier to keep a wound clean. It will wear off eventually, your guinea pig may gnaw it, and you have to keep it off the ground until it dries (less than a minute), but it might be a way to go.

    I'd ask your vet about it, since I'm not one.

    #178 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 02:21 PM:

    Serge 168: I thought Jude's Law was "no cause is hopeless." I'll have to ask Teresa.

    #179 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 02:47 PM:

    Xopher @ 178... "no cause is hopeless"

    The consequences, on the other hand...

    #180 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 02:54 PM:

    Jacque @ 170: for a chronic ulcer, you want to do more than just prevent stuff from getting in; you also want to encourage the body to heal over. For this purpose, I recommend talking to your friendly doctor, nurse, EMT, or veterinarian and request some hydrocolloid dressing, which may be known by various trade names such as "BioDres". Once you have acquired your hydrocolloid dressing, you will begin by cutting a small square or oval to be used in the bandage. Next is cleaning off the area of the ulcer with a dilute betadine solution or other recommended cleaning solution (I prefer betadine as it is nice against all sorts of bacteria and not toxic to the body). Soak or flush the area, blot dry with a clean paper towel or gauze pad, apply antibiotic ointment or betadine ointment if you need it, and then take your pre-cut dressing and place it in situ. Use tape, self-adhesive bandaging material, or some combination to keep the dressing in place. I suggest leaving it alone for 48-72 hours; the longer you leave the dressing alone, the healthier the granulation tissue is, and that's what you're trying to grow under the dressing.

    Your GP may not need any more than one or two dressing changes. If you don't see healthy pink tissue under the dressing, bring your GP back to your vet for treatment. Normally, the hydrocolloidal dressing generates nice pink granulation quickly, and it will grow to encompass the entire ulcer, which will shrink and then cover over with skin.

    Works on humans too -- I used this technique on my son a few years ago. Well, on his leg, which was developing an ulcer after he kept getting kicked in the same spot during soccer camp.

    #181 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 03:26 PM:

    Ginger @ 160:

    Australia is very strict about quarantines and letting things into the country, and rightly so. You have to even declare wood-framed furniture. Good luck to him on the move.

    abi @ 167:

    Congratulations on raising such a good kid.

    Andrew Plotkin @ 175:

    The New Hacker's Dictionary has an entry for bug which states that the term is most certainly older than 1947 when the first 'real' bug was found. It also gives a pointer to a paper on the subject.

    I do very much like the Admiral Hopper story, though.

    Ginger @ 180:

    For a moment I read GP as general practitioner and wondered why they couldn't take care of the bandaging themselves. Then context kicked in.

    #182 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 03:55 PM:

    Keith @ #181, "For a moment I read GP as general practitioner and wondered why they couldn't take care of the bandaging themselves"

    Because GPs don't get paid enough, so junior GPs go into specialty medicine.

    (Image of small rodent in white coat w/ stethoscope optional)

    #183 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 04:01 PM:

    Fragano, #156: You may or may not want to know that one of the slang terms for thong underwear is "butt floss".

    Diatryma, #165: That seems very odd to me. My current dentist is in a 2-person office, and mostly I see one of them but sometimes the other. However, if I'm getting anything beyond a basic cleaning, they are always both very certain that we have agreed on what is being done before any work starts. I would be quite annoyed at a dentist who didn't at least double-check, especially if he hadn't seen me before.

    KeithS, #181: When I was studying programming (back in the days of the dinosaurs), the Hopper story was told to me as the origin of the term "debugging", not of "bug" itself.

    #184 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 04:24 PM:

    General open thread complaint:

    I got my teeth cleaned today. I like my dentist's office (a big practice, with lots of individual dentists and hygenists) normally. Today, I got the hygenist with the persistent cough and occasional sniffles through the entire cleaning. She wore gloves and mask, and I washed my hands as soon as she was done, but I have zero doubt that I will be coming down with her cold in a few days, if I haven't already had it. Grmbl.

    I should have just asked to be rescheduled to see someone who wasn't so obviously contagious, but I just didn't think it through until there seemed little point.

    #185 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 04:45 PM:

    Ginger @180: hydrocolloid dressing

    This sounds like a very interesting proposition, except for the "adhesive tape" part. Mr. Junior is a remarkably copasetic little soul. (How many guinea pigs have you encountered who can fall asleep at the vet's office?) But the notion of taping up his little hand leaves me dubious. Particularly since he has somewhat limited use of the back leg on that same side. (He's 7.5 years old, and still loves to chase his girls, though he has to kind of gun the engine to do so.)

    #186 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 04:48 PM:

    Keith @ 181: Oh, Dave doesn't have any issue with the quarantine, just with the amount he'd budgeted that ended up being too little because of the currency declining. He waffled for months about asking for help, and whether he could find someone in SA to take them, and he's decided he has to bring them along. They're family, just as much as his wife and sons are.

    Also: GP often makes me think of Guinea Pigs, until I grasp the context.

    #187 ::: Charlie Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 04:57 PM:

    FWIW, there's an extant letter from Thomas Edison which seems to say that "bug" was a common term for minor flaws in new designs for electrical equipment back in 1878 --- so the term had been in circulation sixty years before Grace Hopper pulled that unfortunate moth from the relays of the Mark I and pasted it in the log book...

    #188 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 05:05 PM:

    Ginger @ 186... What then do you think when you hear that a car has a GPS?

    #189 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 05:19 PM:

    Clearly, the GP refers to its power source.

    #190 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 05:21 PM:

    albatross @ 189... Gerbil Power?

    #191 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 06:18 PM:

    [in passing]

    Have decided that I would like "clusterfuck" to be a collective noun. As in "A clusterfuck of politicians."

    #192 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 06:38 PM:

    I never was able to make the "insulation fetish" Particle work, and now it's scrolled off. But I wish to pass along a link I got from Amy Ranger: a wedding dress made from the wool of the bride's own sheep.

    #193 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 07:39 PM:

    'As in "A clusterfuck of politicians." '

    That's not the term already?

    #194 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 08:05 PM:

    Speaking of little critters, when I took my Shiva's body to the vets today so they could send it to be cremated (he died very suddenly last night), there was a tiny terrier kind of dog. He was curled up on an 8.5x11" paper and they called him their "counter-hamster." He was the pet of one of the staff.

    #195 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 08:55 PM:

    Marilee @ 194... My condolences.

    #196 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 09:05 PM:

    Marilee, my condolences on your loss.

    #197 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 09:20 PM:

    148, 154

    I suspect that my internal model of cyberpunk follows from film noir - so the Maltese Falcon also has an overlap. I suppose though, that the lack of actual computation excludes Richard Thompson from a truly strict definition of "cyberpunk". Not that "console cowboys" seem to have much in common with the computer security people I used to work with.

    Antonia, your story sounds like it would make a heck of a Hitchcock-style movie.

    #198 ::: Alan Yee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 09:37 PM:

    September 1st is Outer Alliance Pride Day. Outer Alliance.

    From the About Us page:

    "The Outer Alliance is a group of SF/F writers who have come together as allies for the advocacy of LGBT issues in literature. Made up of individuals of all walks of life, our goal is to educate, support, and celebrate LGBT contributions in the science-fiction and fantasy genres."

    I am a member, and will be posting my Pride Day post tomorrow.

    #199 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 10:14 PM:

    Marilee, I'm so sorry about Shiva. It's never good when they die.

    #200 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 10:27 PM:

    Marilee@194: Oh, dear! This was very unexpected, wasn't it? I remember when he was just the noisy boy outside your apartment...I'm so sorry to hear it.

    #201 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 11:13 PM:

    Xopher@34: in "Illuminati" (the game, not the books), extremism was the opposite of all other extremisms.

    Joel@138: different places, different specialties; in Carolingia "Digby cakes" (his "excellent small cakes") are much sought after. Cookie size/shape, tending toward shortbread, and loaded with currants when properly done; the local from-across-the-pond vendor has a modern knockoff whose name I'm blanking on.

    (reposting from way-behind at the previous OT):
    Harvard professor gets grazing rights. Much likelier than the one about the student, the ale, and the sword.

    #202 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2009, 11:56 PM:

    Marilee@194:

    I'm so sorry.

    #203 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 12:25 AM:

    #194: Condolences. He looked like a very handsome cat.

    #204 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 12:28 AM:

    Marilee, so sorry about Shiva. I've enjoyed your stories over the years....

    #205 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 12:39 AM:

    I'm on a hastily planned trip to the Olympic Penninsula.

    One of the excuses I made to myself for going (I'm in a workaholic rut) was that I'd bring this stereoscopic camera I made and make a travelogue of 3D pictures.

    I discovered a few days ago that the little pen cameras I ganged together would not work with the Vista OS on my "work" laptop . . . so I got a netbook, which I'm typing on now. A hasty purchase, but one I would have made within a month or so.

    I had mixed results with a trial run, but I wrote it up to battery problems in the Left camera.

    Today, after taking 17 pictures of the trip down the gorge and on a ferry across the Columbia, the Left camera just totally busted. The trigger button fell down inside the case, and now it won't store anything.

    So I'm stuck with a 2D holiday.

    In a weird twist of fate, the motel I picked out of the AAA guide as a base for hiking turns out to be in a town known for . . . well, a picture is worth several dozen words:

    http://home.comcast.net/~stefan_jones/forks_motel_lo.JPG

    #206 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 12:42 AM:

    I throw myself upon the tender mercies of the Fluorosphere. It seems that my new principal is very much a fan of Who Moved My Cheese and we spent a good chunk of a staff meeting on the World of Cheese and Change.

    Shudder. I've looked at summaries of the current parodies out there--but something more is needed.

    Like, say, rewriting it from a Maoist perspective. Or a Trotskyist perspective. Or...at that point, I realized that you could rewrite the durn thing from almost any particular political philosophy and it would actually work better than the original.

    Right now I am soothing my mind with what a Maoist Mouse would do. Or, say, what James T. Kirk would do if someone moved his cheese. Anything, anyone, other than those obnoxiously boring characters. Stephen Pastis's Pearls Before Swine version, say.

    Does anyone know of the existence of such a thing?

    #207 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 01:19 AM:

    Joice Reynolds-Ward @ 206:

    You might like this review at the venerable Not My Desk, which was a part of the whole cheese week. He was not impressed with it either.

    I'm not aware of any complete re-writes, sadly.

    I'm surprised that thing is still around, though. Don't faddish management books like that tend to die off after a year or two?

    #208 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 05:28 AM:

    I'm not sure that Who Moved My Cheese will, in itself, have any great endurance. Reading the Wikipedia description, there seem to be some missed chances, as a story. But the same source describes the morals that can be drawn from the tale, and it doesn't sound crazy.

    On the other hand, it can be seen as part of an increasingly abusive business ethos, which is throwing away the virtues of stability. Blessed are the cheesemovers, for they will have cheese.

    Yeah, right, and the rest of us suffer the stress of knowing that, when we do get the cheese, it's going to be taken away. Temporary jobs, for instance, with no time to socialise with the other employees: we're not evolved to be always among strangers.

    #209 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 05:58 AM:

    Marilee #194: My condolences.

    #210 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:00 AM:

    Sorry for your loss, Marilee.

    #211 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:08 AM:

    CHip #201: A century ago the headmaster of the school which attended for sixth form had, among his perquisites, the right to graze cattle on the school grounds.

    #212 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:11 AM:

    Lee #183: *snort*

    #213 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:15 AM:

    Joyce Reynolds-Ward @206, I think I'd rather have Maoism and Trotskyism rewritten so that instead of all that Theory stuff and grating terminology, they end up being simply about the need to permanently Move the Cheese of the folks who think it's a good idea to make people read that book.

    (And there's a nice indirect connection to Patrick's latest post recommending that Greenwald post- remember, people, we live in a meritocracy, with "merit" being partly defined as "being the kind of person who would like or be willing to pretend to like Who Moved My Cheese?".)

    #214 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:17 AM:

    Marilee, my condolences too.  Our current cats are young, but we’ve buried our share of pets over the years, most recently our 19-year-old half-Siamese black cat whom English friends – whose pure Siamese had had an illicit liaison – brought to us in NL as a kitten;  after a few years we took her with us to Canada, and then back to her homeland.  [For cats and smaller, we prefer to bury them in the garden, and plant something above them in remembrance.  Is that illegal?  We don’t care.  But I did balk at digging a grave for a flat-coated retriever, so he was cremated.]

    One of the things that I like about the ML community is that most of you seem to think of your pets as family members.  The idea that “they can’t abandon their pets just to move to a better life themselves” (#160) wouldn’t occur to some people, who do so without a thought.

    #215 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 09:02 AM:

    Joyce Reynolds-Ward @ 206 et seq.: I had a week long training seminar for work in May whereat they pulled out the "Who Moved My Cheese?" tropes. I consider it an accomplishment that I got out of that session without acts of violence.

    #216 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 09:27 AM:

    Jacque @185: You don't need adhesive tape if you have self-adhesive wrapping. It's marketed as "Co-Flex" or "Vet-Wrap". Now it comes in lovely colors like purple and pink. All it needs to do is hold the dressing against the ulcer long enough for good things to happen.

    #217 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 09:39 AM:

    Serge @188: I think "recalculating", which is the most fun you can have with your GPS.

    #218 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 10:03 AM:

    Keith S @207--thanks!

    As for a complete rewrite--other than Who Cut My Cheese versions, there doesn't appear to be anything appropriate.

    Heh. I may be building something.

    Mark @215--actually, my first reaction was AnarchoSyndicalist Mouse, not Maoist Mouse. It's telling that the reactive metaphors on my part all seem to be political, instead of the reactions others had.

    Rewriting the thing does appeal in a perverse manner. I may do it if I keep getting Cheese stuffed down my throat.

    #220 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 10:25 AM:

    Interesting Open Threadiness:

    This Pew Center poll is very informative. The discussion of party affiliation is fascinating, and the data doesn't actually fit the narrative into which the MSM is currently inclined to hammer reality. In particular:

    a. A lot of folks who were identifying themselves as Republicans in 2006 are now identifying themselves as independents.

    b. There's broad dissatisfaction with the party within the GOP, and that is consistent across conservative and moderate Republicans.

    c. The GOP's ideological balance (in moderate vs conservative terms) hasn't shifted much at all--they've lost huge numbers of people from all parts of the ideological spectrum.

    As I've said before, I think you can often learn a great deal more about the world reading polling results than newspaper stories. This is especially true in a world in which the powerful have become spookily good at controlling the press in various ways.

    #221 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 11:00 AM:

    Eric Nelson @ 159... Would stories in which the mcguffin is made of cloth be fiberpunk?

    Don't you know that, as fiberpunk's tenets have become a normal part of Society's fabric, it needed a new label?

    Seampunk.

    #222 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 11:27 AM:

    You've got me in stitches, Serger.

    #223 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 11:40 AM:

    #221 Serge

    Fiberpunk's the wrong genre for the seamy side of things.... Setting fire with lit punks to the bad side of town, now that....

    #224 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 11:50 AM:

    Is seampunk anything like the New Weave of the 60s?

    #225 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 12:20 PM:

    Steve C @ 224... the New Weave of the 60s?

    Championned by Michael Velourcap's New Wool'd.

    #226 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 01:05 PM:

    I don't cotton to your concepts, Serge, but I'm linen toward your point of view.

    #227 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 01:18 PM:

    Twill be a long time before the mainseam is willing to take any chintzes on this new genre.

    #228 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 01:21 PM:

    *considers pun about seersucker and precognition, thinks better of it and refrains*

    #229 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 01:43 PM:

    Paula at 223: the bad side of town

    In fiberpunk we call it the wrong side of town.

    #230 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 01:58 PM:

    Can we selvage anything useful from this conversation, or is it so warped that it's beweft of any serious content?

    #231 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 02:00 PM:

    'Twill be useful to see if there's anything left but the lunatic fringe, certainly.

    #232 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 02:00 PM:

    I guess I'll skip talking about the Sliptrim literary movement.

    #233 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 02:01 PM:

    On the other hand, must we apply lapels to every story?

    #234 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 02:03 PM:

    Without them, we'll find ourselves hemming and hawing over definitions all the time.

    #235 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 02:14 PM:

    This thread is following a familiar pattern.

    #236 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 02:21 PM:

    It's familiar indeed. I find myself on pins and needles waiting for the next pun, as it's been a lawn while since I satin on a session like this.

    #237 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 02:21 PM:

    Oh, is that where all the novels about going down the other trouser-leg of time belong?

    (Those stories always keep me pinned to my seat!)

    #238 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 02:30 PM:

    I think that the punning has been baking for too long, it's turning into breading the needless.

    #239 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 02:35 PM:

    As usual, puns are being made of whole cloth.

    #240 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 04:20 PM:

    "It was the best of times, it was the worst(ed) of times."

    #241 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 04:26 PM:

    Linkmeister @ 240... "A Shirt-tail of Two Cities"?

    #242 ::: Sylvia Sotomayor ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 04:47 PM:

    Joyce at 206:

    It isn't a direct response, but I found DeMarco's Slack to be a partial antidote to Who Moved My Cheese. Among other things, DeMarco points out that change comes in different flavors, some good, some bad; he also points out that increasing efficiency leads to increasingly stressed out employees which leads to decreasing effectiveness.

    Three, almost four now, years ago the new management in my company gave every employee a copy of Who Moved My Cheese. Within six months a lot of the more productive, effective, and fun to work with people were gone.

    Hope that helps.

    #243 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 04:47 PM:

    Serge @ #241

    You're getting perilously close to invoking the underpants gnomes.

    Cadbury.

    #244 ::: Edgar lo Siento ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 04:55 PM:

    Blogger told by Hearst Co. Lawyers to stop disemvowelling comments! Here, courtesy of the Consumerist. He gives a starchy reply!*
    (Credit for the invention goes to guess who!)

    *Ob on topic pun.

    #245 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 04:58 PM:

    Marilee: I'm sorry for your loss! My Gremlin is some 13 years old and definitely showing her age. I'm not looking forward to her death.

    Fragano Ledgister #98 et seq. When I was visiting my sister the other week, one day she painted her daughters' (7yo twins) nails. Not only multiple colors, but also polka-dots! No particular comment made,not even "looky my nails!" Regarding the girl's "passivity", she may simply trust her stylist to know what's fashionable at the moment.

    #246 ::: Edgar lo Siento ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 05:03 PM:

    Stefan Jones, 205,
    Ooh! I like stereoscopic cameras! How did you make it? Most of the methods I'm familiar with involve using Stereo Data Maker on Canon powershots. (There's a yahoo group for that.)

    #247 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 05:03 PM:

    Oh, and the "submissive chicken" can also "dance the macarena" (but not, oddly, "do the macarena").

    #248 ::: Edgar lo Siento ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 05:16 PM:

    Fragano Ledgister, 156,
    Some fashions of the recent past have seemed particularly strange to me (thong underwear, for example, which seems very uncomfortable).

    A reliable informant has let me know that the purpose if thong underwear is to prevent the dreaded VPL* without actually making one's...er...cleft more noticeable. And that it has a much higher than usual possibility of producing a tvey cnegf jrqtvr,** which is about as uncomfortable as you'd imagine.

    *Visible Panty Line, not to be confused with the Dread Visible Pirate Line.
    **I just can't bring myself to write that plainly.

    #249 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 05:23 PM:

    If the thong is well engineered and fits your body type well, they are perfectly comfortable. But there are few of those, and they are very expensive. Not to mention the only way you can find out which lines ... are well made and work for you personally is by trial and error. That adds up to large monies, since thongs cost as much as any other style of lingerie for that part of the body.

    I am speaking here from sad experience, a drawer full of money I'll never see again, and shall never wear.

    Love, C.

    #250 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 05:25 PM:

    Edgar @ #248

    This moose still translates VPL as Vericolor Professional Long[1], which I suspect Kodak may have stopped manufacturing years ago.

    Cadbury
    [1] The long exposure colour film with Tungsten lighting balance, as opposed to VPS which was the short exposure daylight balanced version.

    #251 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 05:58 PM:

    I've been wearing thongs for seven or eight years. I find them more comfortable than my previous underwear; I must have just struck it lucky on fit the first time. They're also more forgiving of weight gain and loss. I wear Marks and Spencer's basic ones, which are reasonably priced and well made.

    I have never experienced the effect Edgar reports @248.

    OK? Can we now move the conversation away from women's underwear? It's getting...prurient.

    Let's talk about boxer shorts. How do guys cope with the feeling of them wrinkling against their thighs under their trousers?

    #252 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:02 PM:

    I hadn't heard of Who Moved My Cheese? before this discussion. My immediate reaction to the title was that someone was riffing on Pratchett's Where's My Cow?. I'm still not convinced that's not the case.

    #253 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:02 PM:

    abi, many don't, and therefore wear briefs.

    Trivial, completely unrelated open threadiness: Since I had never watched it before and was curious about it, I looked for a clip of FDR's First Inaugural Address and found this one. So I watched it and was quite impressed, until a bit after 5:30 I suddenly thought "OMG why is there a giant alien head looking on in the background?".

    #254 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:16 PM:

    albatross @ 220:

    Thank you for linking to that poll. Definitely interesting reading.

    abi @ 251:

    I really, really miss M&S.

    Also, no idea. Briefs.

    #255 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:17 PM:

    abi @ 251 -

    Let's talk about boxer shorts. How do guys cope with the feeling of them wrinkling against their thighs under their trousers?

    I used to wear briefs until about 5 years ago, and then switched to boxers. Partly it's because boxers have a little more "give" in them for the expanding middle-age girth, and partly because briefs started to seem, oh, juvenile.

    The wrinkling of the material around the thighs isn't noticeable because it's relatively light and loose. However, I have been annoyed at the tendency to ride up in back instead of firmly hugging the waist. For that reason, I've been thinking of checking out the boxer briefs.

    This episode of True Underwear Confessions has been brought to you by Jockey(tm) and Fruit of the Loom(tm).

    #256 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:22 PM:

    Thanks so much, folks. Yes, David (#200), he yelled at us from outdoors on Thanksgiving 2001. He became the fourth cat at that point and now there's one. I may get a pair of one- or two-year-old cats to cover the lower age range.

    John Stanning, #214, I have a condo, so no burying allowed. I have little wooden boxes with the ashes of each cat that's died on shelves here in the dining room.

    #257 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:28 PM:

    abi@#251:
    How do guys cope with the feeling of them wrinkling against their thighs under their trousers?

    Speaking for myself, I straighten the boxers and the trousers out when they get wrinkled enough to be constricting. It's generally only a problem when I'm seated. The easiest way is to just get up and walk somewhere. "Shake a leg" as it were. The "while seated" adjustment process is less pleasant - especially when belted into a motor vehicle - and looks odd to anyone paying too close attention. No complaints have been directed my way that I know of, though my wife has had a few laughs.

    Better seating would probably help a lot, as would better local climate control - heat and odd seating positions hasten the constriction process. Also better fitting trousers - much trouser/boxer mismatch seems to be due to loose trousers. Off-the-rack doesn't give me as much choice as I'd like in that department, though, as too-tight is far more uncomfortable. Briefs are intolerable unless they are the "boxer-brief" variety, and then only for exercise where the protection provided by the additional support overrides the "too tight" objection.

    #258 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 06:49 PM:

    In thongs, my main objection is that, unless you've gotten yourself a Brazilian bikini wax (itself a painful and undignified procedure), and CONTINUE getting them, your onpx chovp unve, should you have any, gets gnatyrq va gur fgevat va onpx naq lbh raq hc vanqiregragyl rcvynqlvat lbhefrys onpx gurer. Which is not comfortable.

    Rot13'd for the fastidious or squeamish.

    #259 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 08:10 PM:

    David Harmon #245: A perfectly valid point.

    #260 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 08:13 PM:

    Constance #249: Wearing money, round these parts, is generally reserved for a young lady's 21st birthday. On that day her female friends pin dollar bills to her blouse.

    #261 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 08:19 PM:

    Abi #251: I've oscillated over the years, but tended to prefer briefs over boxers.

    #262 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 08:21 PM:

    I wonder if the proprietor of rot13.com keeps a log of the things people translate.

    #263 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 09:03 PM:

    Allan @ 262

    If you browse using Firefox, you may be interested in the Leetkey addon; one you've installed it, if you highlight text and hit the right mouse button, your context menu gives you a list of possible actions you can do to that text, including "Text Transformers", under which is Rot13. Click the Rot13, and it'll decrypt (or encrypt) the highlighted portion of the text for you, as if it had been typed in plaintext. I learned about it from a post here, and I gladly pass it along.

    #264 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 09:56 PM:

    Raphael #253: a bit after 5:30 I suddenly thought "OMG why is there a giant alien head looking on in the background?".

    No, that's an Orthodox adoration icon of the Great Pumpkin.

    #265 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 10:12 PM:

    253, 264 giant alien head in the background at the inaugural?

    It's Oz, the Great and Terrible. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

    #266 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 10:46 PM:

    John Stanning @1: I once apparently gave a college classmate some mental scarring when he was trying to learn that sonnet; while he was rehearsing it, I said "You know that one's about jerking off, right?" He told me he was never able after to read it without hearing my voice in his head.

    (And I know it isn't necessarily about that, but "jerking off, or possibly Teh Gay" didn't have quite the immediacy of impact I was going for.)

    #267 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 11:36 PM:

    Erik Nelson @ 265... Not Zardoz?

    #268 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 11:48 PM:

    Hey, Serge, isn't it your birthday? Happy Birthday!

    #269 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 11:50 PM:

    Xopher @ 268... A bit early, but thanks. As for the exact date, it's the same as for this gent.

    #270 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2009, 11:53 PM:

    abi @ 251... Speedos.

    #271 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 12:02 AM:

    Meh. Sorry.

    As for the gent...I thought you were YEARS younger than him!

    #272 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 12:10 AM:

    Xopher @ 271... Heck, don't be. As for your thinking I was years younger than him, well, I have this portrait...

    #273 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 01:40 AM:

    I am suffering from an advanced case of extreme envy this evening.

    My husband, a federal employee, had a business trip to NYC. He managed to snag one of the very few government rate rooms at the Waldorf-Astoria -- usually you can't get them but it's the week before Labor Day and not that many people are traveling on business.

    He got there this evening and they upgraded him to a suite. At the Waldorf-Astoria. He sent me an email with pictures.

    I'm at home with two teenagers, one of whom seems to be getting pretty sick, thus forcing me to forego the free tickets to August: Osage County for tomorrow night that I had been offered.

    It's soooo not fair.

    *pout*

    Okay, end of whine.

    #274 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 02:22 AM:

    Rereading what I wrote at @273, wow. I sound like a spoiled twit. *Looks sheepish*

    Boxers v. briefs: my sons were all briefs until they hit middle school. At which point, peer pressure kicked in and they switched to boxers.

    Serge: Serge's Law it is, then. And that portrait? Would it be in shades of gray?

    #275 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 06:12 AM:

    pat greene @ 274... And that portrait? Would it be in shades of gray?

    Painted by an a-dorian' artist.
    (Not my best - or worst - pun, but I'm still waking up.)

    #276 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 07:02 AM:

    Serge #269: Should we on the lookout for men named Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnan?

    #277 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 08:24 AM:

    Marilee, very sorry to hear about your loss.

    Re: TexAnne's comment on the Lev Grossman thread, I clicked on the second link, saw it was performed by the Ensemble Gilles Binchois (also known as Gilles de Binche), and had a totally different image in my brain.

    #278 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 08:40 AM:

    Fragano @ 276... And especially that Rochefort guy.

    #279 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 08:53 AM:

    Clifton Royston #48: Incidentally, within the last couple of weeks, "_why the lucky stuff", of the "poignant guide to ruby", seems to have done a Salinger, including deleting most of his online presence. There's more discussion at some of the links there -- apparently, there was a bit of a scramble to rehome the various projects whose original sites have disappeared.

    The "poignant guide" itself can still be gotten here, in PDF form. I'm reading it now... Pretty funky stuff.

    #280 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 08:58 AM:

    I received my DVD of Dr. Horrible in the mail yesterday. Bwahahahahahah!

    #281 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 09:42 AM:

    Serge @278; isn't that a bit cheesy?

    Oh, you said Rochefort. Never mind.

    On a related tangent, I've been trying home yoghurt making recently, and the results have been pretty good except for a large number of very small lumps that won't dissolve when I stir it. Does anyone have any idea what to do to prevent this?

    #282 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 09:47 AM:

    Jules #281: small lumps that won't dissolve when I stir it. Does anyone have any idea what to do to prevent this?

    Um... pass it through cheesecloth or a strainer?

    #283 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 10:32 AM:

    Serge @275 -- They can't all be brilliant, especially early in the morning.

    Fragano @276 -- Well, I always say Dumas de merrier.

    #284 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 10:37 AM:

    Jules @ 281:

    One of the things that I like about this place is that it gives me an excuse to do research into things I know absolutely nothing about.

    I assume that this is occurring when you add your starter to your yoghurt to be, as that's the only step I can see where you're really mixing anything together. Unfortunately, I don't have any suggestions apart from adding the starter only a very little at a time, blending it thoroughly after each addition.

    #285 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 10:55 AM:

    Pat #283 – a relation of Daphne du merrier?

    #286 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 10:59 AM:

    KeithS #284 – Making Light links to Making Yogurt!

    #287 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 11:04 AM:

    John Stanning @286:
    So if we follow the link to the site, any yogurt we make using its instructions will instantly be the low-fat low-cal version.

    #288 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 11:42 AM:

    KeithS @284: Thanks; your link does suggest that I might not be mixing the starter thoroughly enough. I'll give it a try and post results tomorrow.

    #289 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 11:48 AM:

    Open threadiness.

    Yog Sysop, White Courtesy Phone:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4G3bY8KtbSI&feature=player_embedded

    #290 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 12:14 PM:

    John, I think that pun is for the birds.

    #291 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 12:54 PM:

    #274 pat
    Not, not shades of gray or grey, it's got to be shades of purple-gray....(see The Flying Sorcerers by Niven and Gerrold....)

    #292 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 01:03 PM:

    Pat Green #290: And that one, was trilbial. Bah. Homburg.

    #293 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 04:26 PM:

    Open-threadiness. Knitting. Things for giggling about. And, thanks to Fragano Ledgister for the topical segue...a hat.

    #294 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 06:28 PM:

    Marilee @ 256: if you were anywhere near Los Angeles County, I could help you in that goal, being possessed of five 11-month-old cats for whom I would love to find good homes. Unfortunately, if I've gathered correctly from your comments on other threads, we aren't near enough each other to make it work.

    I'm sorry about Shiva, and I hope you find the right new cats.

    #295 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 07:08 PM:

    Syd, #294, no, I'm in Northern Virginia, which is definitely too far away. Thanks so much for your condolences. I've found out that he's the one who kicked all that litter out of the box. I haven't had to sweep since Sunday.

    #296 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 08:23 PM:

    Today is the 343rd anniversary of the Great Fire of London. Go read Samuel Pepys on the subject. (Pepys doesn't mention the Fifth Doctor, however.)

    #297 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 09:24 PM:

    Edgar@248: how does a thong avoid VPL? The most noticeable part of both is the waistband....

    abi@251: that's probably why the polls I've seen favor briefs ~9:1. Boxer wearers may find that the wrinkling is a reasonably tradeoff against the chafing-in-tight-spots that one can get from briefs.

    Allan@262: do you think the text is actually transmitted? I would have guessed it was a locally-run bit of Java, but I don't know for certain.

    #298 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 09:37 PM:

    Sarah S. @ 293:

    That's certainly a rather stunning hat. More nice hats.

    Allan @ 262 and CHip @ 297:

    Rot13.org uses locally-run JavaScript. Other people's that use CGI (if there are any of those left for something as simple as rot-13) might leave traces in server logs.

    Speaking of web pages, Mount Fuji in HTML source.

    #299 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 10:59 PM:

    Chip @297, thongs avoid the line of the underwear's leg opening being visible through the seat of the pants.

    There. Was that delicate enough? I did it without saying "buttcheek."

    #300 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 11:25 PM:

    Oh my. Ice cream potstickers at Evil Mad Scientist.

    #301 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 11:36 PM:

    Who Moved My Cheese? (WMMC) was published back in 1998. The author was one of those responsible for The One-Minute Manager (OMM), which inspired a book called The 59-Second Employee, subtitled "staying ahead of your one-minute manager". I've read both of the latter, (and WMMC).

    The other half of the OMM team was Ken Blanchard, who still cranks out a lot of business management stuff. The list of titles on his Wikipedia article is substantial (and occasionally gorge-raising - Lead Like Jesus). He's a master, imo, of taking a very simple concept and making a 120 page book out of it. There's nothing wrong with the OMM guidelines - I use them. But they're not earthshattering or groundbreaking.

    The "59-Second Employee" is on "managing up", a kind of judo for applying the flavour-of-the-month in reverse to get the formula manager to do the right thing.

    I did a four-day management training course recently, and it was heavily Hersey-Blanchard "Situational Leadership", with Blanchard-trademarked materials. It has some stuff to offer.

    #302 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2009, 11:54 PM:

    Finished two night stay in Forks, WA. I used it as a home base for some hiking (http://home.comcast.net/~stefan_jones/kira_woods_lo.JPG), but as I clued yesterday the place has a new industry besides wilderness outfitting:

    Twilight Tourism.

    There are several storefronts that are nothing but Twilight. One is a tour operator; they have a branch in Port Angeles as well. When returning from the shore last night I passed the tour bus parked by the "Welcome to Forks" sign. A staffer was photographing a family.

    Almost every other business -- hotels, restaurants, the supermarket, drug store -- has references to the book, e.g. "Bella Shops Here."

    I send my nieces a specially postmarked postcard reading: "No Sign of Sparkly Vampires."

    I hope they someday understand the irony.

    #303 ::: Kathryn in BRC ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 12:30 AM:

    Anyone else on ML out on the playa (Black Rock City / Burningman) this year?

    All my art projects (including an art car) are lit with fluorescent bulbs, so I'm doing my part for the Fluorosphere.

    #304 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 02:18 AM:

    Stefan -- Is it safe to hike with all the vampires running around?

    #305 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 02:19 AM:

    Raphael (253)
    Even more startling is at the 3:16 mark, where the newsreel cameraman is changing lenses, and the "face" is full-frame for that instant.

    #307 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 09:57 AM:

    Found today on Salon.com...

    Blogger and columnist Michelle Malkin claimed Obama's trying to create "junior lobbyists," and wrote that "parents have every right to worry about their children being used as Political Guinea Pigs for Change."

    'Guinea Pigs for Change' sounds like a catchy name for a campaigning group. What about 'Hamsters for Humanity'?

    #308 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 10:45 AM:

    #304: I hiked in the daylight, of course.

    A convenience store on the boundary of a nearby Indian reservation had a sign:

    TREATY BOUNDARY

    NO VAMPIRES BEYOND THIS POINT

    I wonder if they're playing along or sick of the whole deal.

    #309 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 11:01 AM:

    Abi @ #251:

    On a day-to-day basis, I have no distinct preference for either boxers or briefs (I do want one or the other, though). However, for long-distance hiking I have found, the painful way, that boxers are vastly superior.

    #310 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 11:15 AM:

    Kathryn in BRC @ 303... I figured that's where you were going to be. Have the creators of 2007's Martian Brain Spider come up with something as awesome this year? (By the way, I sent you an email a few days ago about my being in the Bay Area the week of September 21.)

    #311 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 11:17 AM:

    I hiked in the daylight, of course.

    That doesn't help with Twilight vampires. The only reason they can't go out in the sun is because they're sparkly and it's obvious they're vampires.

    I am not making this up.

    #312 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 11:21 AM:

    Y'all will appreciate this (if it's not old news already): Where the Typos Og. Or at least, I'm assuming y'all will appreciate it; I haven't even read into it yet, but the first page is fun.

    #313 ::: DaveKuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 03:41 PM:

    As an experiment, I posted a book over at Scribd titled Karmic Warrior. I'd hoped to see how well the payment system worked there but missed the button for setting a price. Consequently, it's set at free and I've decided to leave it there just to see how much traffic it gets.

    This is not a request for anyone to go read it or rate it. Just thought I'd let you know that I'm tracking it to see how well it does as a free book on a site where it's sure to be completely buried. Eventually, I'll start reporting the statistics over at P&E. This you might want to pass along to others who might be interested in how some books fare.

    By the way, it's been seen (presumably downloaded and read) by over 50 individuals and rated at 4.5 out of 5 stars. Not bad for absolutely no publicity or marketing up to now.

    #314 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 03:59 PM:

    Stefan Jones, having been in Forks when it was at the bottom of its economic arc, I find the Twilight stuff amusing; unfortunately I fear it will peter out as thoroughly as the lumber industry did, and leave the place back in the slough of despond.

    I'm et up with envy at your travels to the Peninsula; we used to stay in Amanda Park and travel out to Kalaloch every year at this time, but trying to organize a trip involving three adults with conflicting work schedules is a trick. The last time we made it, there was what was left of a juvenile finback whale being scavenged on the beach; the extra imput to thefood chain meant that there was more of everything from sandfleas to bears fora mile along the beach south of Kalaloch lodge.

    Back when I was young and unencumbered I dated a guy whose idea of a good time was to drive up to the crumbling ends of old logging roads and car camp. I've seen huge herds of elk running across a clear cut section (square mile), silent except for the clicking of foot tendons over bone, and awakened after sleeping in a doorless pick-up canopy to find cougar prints in the dust on the roof.

    #315 ::: malware driveby in a particles link ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 04:02 PM:

    note that the last link (et. seq.) on the Indian wannabee particle prompts you to download and install software, according to firefox - but not every time it loads. Possibly they have a compromised ad server?

    Edgar lo Siento

    #316 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 04:07 PM:

    JESR @314: kalaloch was one of our traditional family vacations, too, with occasional side trips to ruby beach.

    #317 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 04:46 PM:

    Sue Mason, Hugo Award winning fan artist, spent an hour on the Trafalgar Square plinth today, telling stories.

    Here's the video of Sue. Looks like you need a decent broadband connection to watch.

    #318 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 05:13 PM:

    Oh, man. Ice Cream gyoza! I love the original variety, but what an improvement!

    #319 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 06:12 PM:

    P J Evans, #300 and deep-fried butter at the Texas State Fair.

    JESR, #314 & shadowsong, #316, I've always thought of Kalaloch as having at least another "c." Probably because I don't remember seeing it before, just hearing it. For many years, I thought the town was O'Karbor.

    #320 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 06:53 PM:

    Serge @307: 'Guinea Pigs for Change' sounds like a catchy name for a campaigning group. What about 'Hamsters for Humanity'?

    Rats for Reform?
    Squirrels for the Future?

    #321 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 07:28 PM:

    Rodents for Recompense?

    Gerbils for Justice?

    Muad'Dib for Messianicism?

    #322 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 07:35 PM:

    About Kalaloch:

    I always thought it was "Claylock" when I was little; it was a mythical place for most of my beach-going life, because it was so many hours beyond Oyehut and Moclips, our usual goals. The same boyfriend who thought heading out into the Olympic Mountains on old logging roads (in a 1962 Chevy step bed with a broken gas gauge) was the epitome of fun thought going to Kalaloch on a February weekend a very good idea (he was right).

    It's a good thing that the water there is so cold, and it's so far from everywhere, because otherwise that gorgeous seven mile stretch of roadside beaches from South Beach to Ruby Beach would be less wonderfully empty. The Olympic National Park beaches only accessible by hikers are even more spectacular, of course (I'm most fond of Cape Alava) but they are, well, only accessibly by hiking, and I don't think my utterly screwed-up knees are going to make the two miles and change, most of it on bouncy board walks, out to Cape Alava from Lake Ozette again.

    #323 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 08:23 PM:

    stefan,

    I wonder if they're playing along or sick of the whole deal.

    playing along (i heard a cbc program on the whole phenomenon). cause in the book, all the werewolves, the immortal enemies of vampires, are from the nearby native american tribe.

    yes, in twilight, the nonwhites are half-animals. how very coincidental.

    #324 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 08:32 PM:

    Chip & Keith: I viewed source and rot13.com has no scripts on the page. The translation is done serverside.

    #325 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 08:59 PM:

    Allan Beatty @ 324:

    Ah, my mistake. I went to rot13.org instead.

    #326 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 09:35 PM:

    Soon Lee at #306:
    Teddy bear fetal development and skull anatomy post.
    I'll see you and I'll raise you.
    Cartoon character skeletons.

    boingboing.net/2004/12/06/cartoon-character-sk.html

    www.boingboing.net/2006/08/31/artificial-cartoonch.html

    #327 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 12:06 AM:

    AKICIML - I should know this, but IANAAstronomer, so: what was that extremely bright Thing visible in the NYC skies on Wednesday night, near the almost-full Moon? It was at about maybe 4 or 5 o'clock with the moon at the center of the dial? Didn't seem to be moving relative to the moon...

    #328 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 12:15 AM:

    Harriet, this site says Jupiter: 'below and to the right of the Moon'.

    #329 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 12:24 AM:

    While we're asking questions, would someone who owns (or has access to) a (standard) Fluxx deck inform me of the dimensions of said deck?

    #330 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 12:54 AM:

    #246 RE Stereoscopic Cameras: I bought two cheap (as it turns out, too cheap) digital cameras and bolted their webcam mounting sleeves to a piece of wood.

    Initially, the two cheap cameras had their shutter buttons wired together. But one of those pair had a damaged LCD (perhaps toasted by the soldering iron) and produced crappy photos.

    So I used another pair of cheap cameras and simply pressed the shutter buttons simultaneously.

    That is what I'll do when I have enough scratch to buy two RELIABLE cameras. (The cheap ones were $10 pencams from Aiptec.)

    Once you have two cameras full of pictures, download them to RIGHT and LEFT folders, and use Photoshop or Gimp to set them side by side. Then either print out or view on screen and cross your eyes to view. Or use a stereoscope.

    Here:

    3ddigitalphoto.com

    There are tools for editing 3d photos.

    #331 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 12:58 AM:

    RE Olympic Peninsula Beaches:

    I walked on Rialto beach on both of my visits up there. Last time Kira found something to snack on:

    http://home.comcast.net/~stefan_jones/dead_ray.jpg

    This time she gnawed at this mass of what looked like Ramen noodles embedded in a pile of those tentacle & blob seaweed things. I haven't uploaded the picture yet.

    #332 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 01:01 AM:

    #328 ::: P J Evans

    Thanks! Jupiter was high on the list of possibilities for the small group that was observing and wondering, but I wasn't sure.

    #333 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 02:07 AM:

    Cally Soukup @ 329:
    Fluxx deck: 5.6 x 8.7 x 2.5 cm
    Fluxx box for deck: 5.9 x 8.9 x 2.8 cm

    But why do you ask?

    #334 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 04:49 AM:

    320/321

    Moles for Medical Reform
    Shrews for Social Justice

    Plus the inevitable:

    Voles for Vendetta

    Cadbury

    #335 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 08:55 AM:

    Random silliness at work after the Disney/Marvel announcement:

    a High School Musical X-Men crossover with Warren Worthington III as the Angel Gabriel in the Christmas pageant.

    We also speculated that the lawsuits over rights already sold by Marvel could get pretty baroque, given the vast number of alternate histories and versions on some characters.

    #336 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 09:02 AM:

    "Beavers for Basswood", a group of lazy Canadian rodents looking for something softer than maple to chew on.

    #337 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 09:17 AM:

    Trouts for Truth

    #338 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 09:27 AM:

    Salmon for Salvation
    Pike for Purity

    #339 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 09:41 AM:

    Disney/Marvel: a friend of mine pointed out that now we can have the X-Men done as Muppets. I'd go see that.

    #340 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 09:42 AM:

    Snails for Speed
    Shrews for Silence

    #341 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 10:11 AM:

    Cally Soukup #329:
    While we're asking questions, would someone who owns (or has access to) a (standard) Fluxx deck inform me of the dimensions of said deck?

    3 standard physical dimensions
    1 standard temporal dimension
    2 non-standard physical dimensions
    1 cross-temporal non-linear dimension

    But I thought everyone knew that...

    #342 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 10:37 AM:

    Remoras for Republicans.

    #343 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 10:46 AM:

    Dugongs for Democrats
    Lizards for Libertarians
    Newts for the NDP (Canadian New Democratic Party)
    Silverfish for Socialism
    Ants for Anarchy (a very small movement!)

    #344 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 12:03 PM:

    Got an openthready question:

    Having been reminded of Solitaire, I went and looked at it again, and noticed a mention of the possibility of using a computer for one end of the encryption. The page includes programs for doing so...or at least the code for them; has anyone made an actual widget that those of us who lack compilers can use?

    #345 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 12:20 PM:

    I'm playing around at the Discworld convention in Tempe AZ (ah, sweet memories of the organization of other AZ conventions...) -- and I've run into one fluorospherian. Any others? Come say hi. I'm on too many panels, and I'll be spending some time at the Other Change of Hobbit table in the dealer's room.

    #346 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 12:33 PM:

    Nematodes for the National Front
    Crows for Conservatives
    Nuthatches for the Natural Law Party
    Sparrows for Socialism
    Loons for the Labour Party

    (I need another L for the Liberal Democrats, here.)

    Moose for the Monarchy

    Cadbury.

    #347 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 12:44 PM:

    Mole Rats for the Monster Raving Loony Party

    #348 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 12:53 PM:

    I'd say "Ravens for Republicans", but ravens are too smart for that.

    (Insert rimshot here)

    #349 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 12:54 PM:

    Seacows for Sanity!

    Meanwhile, in the counter-sane world, we have:

    Schoolchildren across the nation "will be forced to watch the president justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other president."

    Republican Party of Florida on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 in a press release

    That garnered a "Pants On Fire" rating from PolitiFact.com.

    Wasn't it under a year ago that any criticism whatever of the President was prima facie evidence of treason?

    #350 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 01:16 PM:

    Carrie S. @ 348: How so? The Republicans have worked diligently to increase the availability of raven chow, at home and abroad.

    #351 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 01:22 PM:

    #349 James D.

    And what about the reading of "My Pet Goat" eight years ago.... No criticism would the Repukes accept regarding that....

    Mad dogs, rabid weasels, rabid foxes, and foaming at the mouth insane skunks, out spreading their vicious infections insane diseases.

    #352 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 01:57 PM:

    Cadbury @ 346:

    Lynx for the Liberal Democrats.

    #353 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 02:00 PM:

    Joel @#350: Good point. I was thinking more that ravens are too smart to hold Republican views in general. But I guess it's all in how you look at it--Repubs do tend to fit a number of fine old Norse kennings, and "raven-feeder" is certainly an example.

    #354 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 02:24 PM:

    #349: You're expecting consistency from Republicans?

    They'll say whatever need to be said to keep the proles in a constant state of fear and indignation. And the proles are stupid enough to uncritically swallow it all, day after day.

    The Oregonian devoted a fair chunk of page two of today's edition to reprinting the FactCheck article. Good for them.

    #355 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 02:49 PM:

    Interesting article here that illustrates the need for an emergency go bag and planning:

    http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/2009/sep/02/evacuees_grab_pets_bibles_and_flee/

    (And also, I am amazed they didn't lose any homes. A lot of those houses have -- or had -- dense vegetation around them.)

    #356 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 03:00 PM:

    Narwhals for the NDP?

    #357 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 04:23 PM:

    What about the mythical animals?

    Hippogriffs for Humphrey
    Unicorns for Udall
    Mermaids for Mondale
    Catweazles for Carter

    (I don't know, these all seem like presidential lobby groups this time.)

    #358 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 04:27 PM:

    Mary Aileen @ 339:

    "Tell him what you do, Wolverine."

    "EAT DRUMS! EAT DRUMS!"

    "No! No, Wolverine! Beat drums!"

    #359 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 04:39 PM:

    Tom,

    Hilde and I will be there at the Discworld convention briefly this afternoon, and hopefully a bit longer Saturday and Sunday. The leave time I applied for from work several months ago fell down the rabbit hole, so I end up having to work graveyard shifts this weekend after all.

    (The "rabbit hole" involved, about a month ago, the sudden -- "Here's a box for any personal items you want to take with you. By the way, you're not director anymore." -- replacement of the site's security director, creating considerable disarray and unhappiness. Of the ten employees then at the site, I and one other guy are the only ones left, everyone else having quit, been fired, or transferred to another property and been replaced by new hires.) (Dare I say that I am being reminded in some ways of a Convention That Shall Go Unnamed Here?)

    #360 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 04:49 PM:

    Ibis for the Illuminati.

    Loons for LaRoche (take it either way).

    BEMs inside the Beltway.

    Satyrs for Solipsism.

    #361 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 05:09 PM:

    @349 "Seacows for Sanity!" – affiliated with

    Manatees for Moderation – but not

    Dugongs for Democracy! – activist breakaway, in huge snitfight with Dugongs for Democrats! (Splitters!), vide supra, @346.

    #362 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 05:21 PM:

    Walruses for Wilkie?
    Heffalumps for Huckabee?
    Platypi for Pawlenty?

    #363 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 05:36 PM:

    Badgers for Balanced Budgets

    #364 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 05:44 PM:

    Parrots for the PATRIOT Act

    #365 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 06:28 PM:

    Horses for Healthcare
    Mules for Moderation

    #366 ::: Chris Suslowicz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 06:54 PM:

    A sudden evil thought prompts me to suggest:

    Labradors for the Liberal Party

    (/tasteless)

    Chris

    #367 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 07:45 PM:

    Actually labradors would be for the Labor party.

    #368 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 09:17 PM:

    Rikibeth@299: Ah, I wasn't thinking about \2/ VPLs -- although, as today's weather has reminded me, the one I was thinking of is on a concavity instead of a convexity, so it's likely to be less visible.

    #369 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 10:28 PM:

    janetl @ 333

    Thanks for the Fluxx deck dimensions. I asked because I saw a plastic (soap?) box at my local American Science and Surplus that looked like it might be fat enough to hold a deck of Fluxx cards, and I know some people whose deck's box is falling apart, that I'd like to surprise with a box-holder if it's the right size (or a bit bigger). Now I've got the dimensions, the next time I'm there I'll know whether I should buy one or not.

    I love my American Science and Surplus. It's a very strange place.

    #370 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 10:32 PM:

    I forgot to mention that I'm grateful that you gave me the dimensions of the box as well as the cards! I hadn't thought to ask for that.

    #371 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2009, 10:44 PM:

    John Houghton @ 341

    Mustn't forget the cross-temporal non-linear dimension, yes.

    #372 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 12:05 AM:

    "Huh. I expected a bit more kaboom."

    Thanks for all the advice on getting the house PC back in order. Once we got the chip in and found the CD, it booted right off, and it only took two tries to get XP reactivated.

    #373 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 12:08 AM:

    Every cat for himself, naturally.

    #374 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 12:41 AM:

    CarrieS@344:

    Are you on Windows or Mac? I just grabbed the C# and Erlang ports of Solitaire, and would be happy to compile a Windows version for you.

    Although I think what you actually want might be a deck-of-cards simulator so you can watch the magic work as it happens. That would be a fun project, but I can promise no firm delivery dates. Maybe there's something already out there.

    #375 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 12:49 AM:

    Echidnas for Environmental protection
    Macaws for Manned Space Flight
    Hyrax for Health Care Reform
    Ibex for Immigration
    Beavers for Balanced Budgets


    #376 ::: Chris Suslowicz ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 05:32 AM:

    Erik @ #367

    No, definitely the Liberal Party.

    (But it was a Great Dane called Rinka, not a Labrador - my forgettery is playing up again.)

    Make that "Great Danes for the Liberal Party" instead.

    Chris

    #377 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 08:51 AM:

    Andy called me yesterday to tell me about magnetic monopoles. Someone in the Scientific American write-up says these aren't the real thing and of fundamental physics importance, though interesting for people concerned with condensed-matter physics, but it looks cool, even if it's not a ticket to Stockholm. (The paucity of hits at Google news leads me to think that people agree with him, but the article is in Science, and I'll see how much I can get out of it when the next issue arrives.)

    #378 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 09:29 AM:

    Pythons for Palin.
    Mackerels for McCain.
    Rodents for Rove.
    Chum for Cheney.
    Budgies for Bush.

    #379 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 09:57 AM:

    Vicki @ 377: This article (nabbed from a commenter at James Nicoll's LJ) explains the real situation. Apparently the researchers found a way of creating very long thin magnets at cryonic temperatures, under conditions such that each end of the "string" behaves like a virtual magnetic monopole.

    The abstract of the Science article refers to "emergent quasiparticles resembling monopoles. [...] Where these tubes end, the resulting defect looks like a magnetic monopole."

    #380 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 11:07 AM:

    Patrick @#374: Windows, but not Vista (if that matters).

    It'd be lovely to be able to see the cards move, but really I want to play with the output more.

    Can the user set the deck's order, I hope?

    #381 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 11:35 AM:

    Piranha for Palin
    Carajou for Cheney
    Cucaracha for Cheney

    #382 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 11:41 AM:

    The good news--those arrested under warrantless arrests by the US Government and detained 16 or more days can sue Ashcroft, the US Appeals Court decided, and apparently used some highly unappreciative language regarding the legality and appropriateness of the warrantless detainments.

    The bad news--statute of limitations ran out....

    #383 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 11:43 AM:

    #381
    I'd expect las cucarachas to have better taste.

    #384 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 11:45 AM:

    More open threadiness:

    I hope most people here with an interest in politics are following Glen Greenwald's blog. It's more depressing than I can say that:

    a. Obama in power turns out to be much more comfortable with scary police-state powers available to the executive branch than he ever did as a candidate.

    b. Some revoltingly high fraction of Democrats seem very comfortable with all this, basically reassuring the cynical among us that their opposition to Bush's power grabs (such opposition as they provided, which mostly wasn't anything to brag about) was entirely a matter of who was going to have those powers.

    c. The American people as a whole are mostly pretty comfortable with our continued movement toward a police state. Eavesdrop on every phone in the country, no problem. Disappear people off the streets of US and foreign cities, fine. Extract confessions with torture--maybe we'll make you tone it down a bit, or ship them off to Yemen or Saudi Arabia to do the dirty work, but still basically okay. But f--k around with Medicare? What're you, some kinda Socialist?

    The whole idea that the Obama administration is proposing formal preventative detention powers is breathtaking. Yeah, far-left liberal Democrat. Right. We're now in line to have a massive surveillance regime and a policy of disappearing citizens and foreigners who are inconvenient scary to the administration, and it will have been the party of civil liberties who gave it to us. Just like the party of smaller government gave us eight years of the Bush administration.

    #385 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 11:53 AM:

    miriam beetle, #323: yes, in twilight, the nonwhites are half-animals. how very coincidental.

    Nice. As if I needed another reason not to read the books.

    I was in Forks earlier this year, during a roadtrip on the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island - photos (with commentary) here, here and here.

    #386 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 02:28 PM:

    Mail came in early today, and it contained my Sita pin, and the one of Laxmi's Peacock Phonograph. Yay.

    #387 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 02:52 PM:

    Teresa (and Jim) your latest metadata particle nearly made me spray my coffee when I went over and read it.

    It certainly points out the defects of meta-data. Jul, nal sbby xabj gung gur orfg jnl gb gerng n Wrj vf gb bssre gurz n tbbq ontry, znlor jvgu n avpr fpuzrne, fbzr ybk, n yvggyr gbzngb naq bavba...

    #388 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 04:20 PM:

    When somebody mentioned that this new system linked AIDS to the Spanish Civil War, I found large numbers of Google results on the two terms. A lot of places are rushing to digitise material from the period, as research aids.

    This suggests a pretty fundamental design flaw.

    #389 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 05:16 PM:

    Open threadiness: Does anyone know why ONLY cinnamon gum is ever made without aspartame?

    That is: Aspartame gives me a headache, and I want to chew sugarless gum. Why is it that, while some brands put aspartame in all flavors including cinnamon, if there's one aspartame-free flavor, it's always the cinnamon?

    I like cinnamon gum, but I'd love some variation. All the other flavors of sugarless gum have aspartame in them, across all brands (anyway, all the brands they sell around here).

    #390 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 05:31 PM:

    Xopher (389): No help here, but a similar quest: I've never seen (and would like) cinnamon-flavored sugarless gum that has xylitol. Why cinnamon should be the only non-aspartame flavor but not come in xylitol-sweetened versions is beyond me.

    #391 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 05:57 PM:

    It occurs to me that it's been a long time since JESR told us about her roses. Also, considering how much she loves growing them, does this make her a stempunk?

    #392 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 06:25 PM:

    Xopher, #389, you'd have to try these from online, but they have several flavors in Xylitol.

    #393 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 06:50 PM:

    #387, 388: Oh, God.

    Those guys are trying to sell a medical records search engine, so they do a dumb string search. On Wikipedia.

    And they didn't even bother to test it for meaningless results.

    I'm going to guess that the management (who seem to be all MBAs) bought the technology from someone else, because there's a definite "magic computer is always right" feeling I get.

    Go to TechCrunch, whose commenters broke the story, and read the marketing guy's response. It's beyond me to paraphrase it.

    #394 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 07:07 PM:

    Serge, it's been a tough year for roses; winter went far into spring, with some measurable snowfall every month until April and hard freezes well into May. Then there was no rainfall at all for two and a half months, and a record string of +90F days, including 104F two days in a row. Flowers opened and faded while I huddled inside with the fans roaring, and when I did go outside with camera in hand it was to figure out more about which buttons did what.

    As for "stempunk:" my yard decor includes a two-foot box end wrench, several large gears, a 1920s vintage road grader blade, and chunks of a cast-iron cook-stove which disintegrated after a chimney fire (not so much acquired as uncovered, with the stove bits eroding out of my driveway). Oh, and the metal parts of half a buggy, hanging up on one of my outbuildings; the other half was sticking out of the blackberries and went in a WW2 scrap drive. A next-door relative is growing one of my climbing roses up over an abandoned Pinto, the title for which we've been unable to clear so it could be legally hauled away.

    #395 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 07:33 PM:

    Marilee (392): And they have cinnamon, too! Thanks.

    #396 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 08:04 PM:

    Albatross @ 384: Obama in power.... Some revoltingly high fraction of Democrats.... The American people as a whole....

    Are you surprised?

    #397 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 09:38 PM:

    I liked 2003's movie Riverworld, in spite of the liberties it took with Farmer's stories, but THIS looks very unpromising.

    The new TV series will star Pinikett (of Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse) as war journalist Matt Ellman, who dies while on his honeymoon with his wife Jessie (Smallville and the new V’s Laura Vandervoort) and wakes up in the titular Riverworld, a mysterious planet where every person who has ever lived on Earth is brought after their death. The premise of the show will have Matt trying to find Jessie, while at the same time uncovering the truth behind Riverworld. Check out the first promo images from the show below, plus a behind-the-scenes video with co-star Alan Cumming as he transforms into one of the blue-skinned guardians that watches over Riverworld.
    #398 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 09:42 PM:

    JESR @ 394... I was going to ask if we should sing about never being promised a rose garden, then I came across the part of your post about a "...next-door relative is growing one of my climbing roses up over an abandoned Pinto..." Now THAT is stempunk poetry.

    #399 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 09:43 PM:

    JESR @ 394... I was going to ask if we should sing about never being promised a rose garden, then I came across the part of your post about a "...next-door relative is growing one of my climbing roses up over an abandoned Pinto..." Now THAT is stempunk poetry.

    #400 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2009, 10:02 PM:

    I just saw a paint commercial, and the narration said "...whether it's a picket fence..." and the people onscreen are painting a rail fence.

    Sigh. Why would anyone paint a rail fence, anyway?

    #401 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 12:56 AM:

    I's like to say that this sort of problem became inevitable when the BNP managed to get elected to the European Parliament.

    And, in a real democracy, I don't see how the media can do other than the BBC is doing.

    My personal hope is that he gets his chance, and comprehensively shoots himself in the foot. It maybe needs to be one of those political rough and tumbles where nobody else quite gets out of control, and nobody is given a free ride.

    #402 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 01:52 AM:

    Dave Bell @ 401: If the BNP leader shows as much charm in his TV appearance as he does in that photo, then your wish will be fulfilled.

    #403 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 03:14 AM:

    Serge @397... yeah. The only Riverworld book I read was the second in the series (I hadn't realised it was a series at the time...) and even just from that limited perspective I can see what's wrong with that announcement.

    Didn't know there was a film, though. Might have to look that up.

    #404 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 07:37 AM:

    Jules @ 403... The 2003 movie should be available on NetFlix. It made many changes, but, compared to the announcement for the new movie, 2003's now looks slavishly faithful.

    #405 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 09:18 AM:

    On the subject of the metadata particle: did *anyone* test that system before putting it live, or did they think it was acceptable that it comes up with totally spurious results?

    I mean, even putting the most obvious things in the search box turns up totally bizarre results. It wants a disease, symptom or treatment... OK, by far the most common symptom of any disease is fever. They *must* have tried that while testing it.

    The drug & medication section at least looks reasonable, although I'm not quite sure what "vaccine" is doing on the list as it is neither a specific drug or medication nor useful for treating fever as far as I'm aware. Nor, AFAICT, does "CNS depressant" belong on that list. The other three hits sound sensible, though.

    The treatments section is where it starts getting truly bizarre. Antibiotics sounds reasonable, but then we get to "bark". Which, drilling down into the results, seems to be primarily due to the fact that aspirin was first isolated from willow bark. Then we have "hyperthermia therepy", which AFAICT is totally unrelated, "song" (!), and "antibiotic therapy" which is just the first result repeated.

    Food and plants? I'm not even sure what the section is doing here, but the only result even approximately relevant is "water". But its suggested subcategory of interest, "holy water", is frankly bizarre.

    But, at least the page does have some purpose... it contains a link to "pros and cons of song", which has really got me thinking. Song will, apparently, help me choose a mate, achieve [a] higher position, achieve painting [?!], and activate [my] GABAergic neuron. But, unfortunately, it is costly, unimaginitive, and "sin, sin, sin". I'm not actually convinced that "already charming subversion" is actually a con, though, despite being listed as one.

    #406 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 09:31 AM:

    Even their example searches contain totally spurious results. I clicked on the "treatments for asthma" link. Apparently "SAG 4218 LENORE LANE" is such a treatment. And pharmacists, too. And "rhizome" is a good plant for treating it.

    Their diabetes link contains both "transplantation" and "transplant" as possible treatments. Along with "mouse". Causes of diabetes include "injection" and "insulin resistance" (the latter, as I understand it, being like saying that ceasing to live is a cause of death).

    #407 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 10:14 AM:

    #405: One of the commenters on TechCrunch says:

    "In a way, this search engine is equivalent to me putting bursitis in google and looking through the top 50 results."

    And that makes me wonder if they even have a search engine at all.


    #408 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 10:36 AM:

    Stupid question: What are these tweets that consist of a lot of Twitter handles and the letters "ff" that sometimes appear on Twitter about?

    #409 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 11:18 AM:

    Raphael @408:

    Follow Friday: people recommend interesting Twitter streams.

    #410 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 11:50 AM:

    Dave #401:

    Yeah, it seems inevitable. If your journalists get to decide whose views are too creepy or weird to allow the public to hear them, why would you expect them to be right most of the time? In the US MSM, we get plenty of that--they'll be careful not to let crazy folks be taken seriously, so the public won't be misled. You know, crazy blame-America-first types who thought we shouldn't invade Iraq, crazy civil liberties extremists who think someone above the rank of corporal should see the inside of a prison for torturing prisoners to death, wackos who imagine we might one day want to stop being the country most prone to invading other countries on the planet. We're well protected from such confusing ideas here. But I'm not sure that has necessarily worked out all that well.

    #411 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 12:01 PM:

    From the profanity-sought thread, Kevin Marks @106 said: [T]he interesting thing linguistically about MILF is the intentionality embedded in it. I suspect there's a madonna/whore split in MILF vs Cougar.

    Speaking of cougars, there's an upcoming new ABC show, Cougar Town, starring Courteney Cox. (link to promotional picture of how she will look in the show) I'd been mildly insulted by the concept of 'a cougar,' because it seemed to mean a dissipated older woman, often of low socioeconomic class, who is mocked for repeatedly and ridiculously going after much-younger men.

    Since WHEN is COURTENEY COX a cougar?!? The woman's only 45, and a very-well-preserved (and gorgeously made-up) 45, at that. Does she pursue paperboys? Because if she's just dating college boys, man is that a watered-down version of 'Cougar'.

    Mind you, there's no way any major network would star someone who looks like the usual insult implies they look, period, but STILL.

    #412 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 12:55 PM:

    Elliott, it's not my world, but I understood 'cougar' as referring to an older woman who goes after 20-somethings. And 40s is plenty old to count. I also have the impression that cougars are going after one-nighters with boytoys, not looking for serious relationships. The boytoys are generally fine with this.

    In the places I've heard the term there didn't seem to be any class implication at all, unless a slight one indicating wealth (because the boytoys don't want to pay).

    #413 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 01:08 PM:

    Jules at 406, "insulin resistance" is generally assumed to be a symptom of Type 2 diabetes; my life experience suggests it's a primary and lifelong cause of that disorder. The current medical mindset is heavily invested in describing Type 2 as a punishment for being fat and lazy, rather than the end-state of a disorder which causes the body to store fat at lower caloric intake and experience extreme fatigue at lower activity levels than is typical of the population as a whole.

    (Cranky. It's been a bad summer in many ways).

    #414 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 02:35 PM:

    Xopher @412 said: Elliott, it's not my world, but I understood 'cougar' as referring to an older woman who goes after 20-somethings. And 40s is plenty old to count. I also have the impression that cougars are going after one-nighters with boytoys, not looking for serious relationships. The boytoys are generally fine with this.

    In the places I've heard the term there didn't seem to be any class implication at all, unless a slight one indicating wealth (because the boytoys don't want to pay).

    Huh. My first exposure was via a (now no longer apparently extant) YouTube video called Cougar Barbie, where her hair was all messed up and she was dressed like a skank, and lived in a trailer park, so I guess I presumed they were all like that.

    #415 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 02:43 PM:

    Jon Meltzer @ 407:
    It's much worse than you imply from that. If you put in the name of an illness in Google and look through the top 25 result pages, you'll usually get a preponderance of useful and reasonable results. (I'm hunting for a rheumatologist now, as my arthritis has flared up, so I'm doing some similar things.) I rarely need to go as far down as 50 pages.

    The results of this software seem more like putting in the name of an illness, selecting one phrase where the word appears off of each of the top 50 pages, and putting them together as the answer.

    It's not just a "dumb search engine", it's a dumb dumb search engine.

    #416 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 03:39 PM:

    Elliott: What Xopher said at 412 is also my impression of the usual meaning. I haven't seen any sign of class distinctions in its usage except perhaps implicitly in the reverse direction. (Not that I'd really know; I'm a homebody.)

    I speculate that the porn industry may have further popularized it for marketing reasons. In their strange viewscreen on the world, the "typical" age for women is early 20s, so they need to be able to label product suitable for men who are attracted to women in their 40s, which of course lots of men are. As the original quote said, here's an interesting intentionality implicit in MILF, and more so when you consider the MILF/cougar distinction.

    #417 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 04:07 PM:

    #415: That would mean someone actually did write the engine.

    Yes, that's worse. Having it revealed as a shell around Google would indeed be less embarrassing.

    #418 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 07:59 PM:

    Jon Meltzer @ 417:
    That would mean someone actually did write the engine.

    As a friend of mine used to say, "I could sh*t a better search engine!"

    #419 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 09:09 PM:

    For Robert Jordan fans:

    Paul Biba at Teleread reports that the entire WoT series will be made available in e-book format. He quotes from the Macmillan press release:

    The Wheel of Time series is one of the most highly requested series on Kindle, and they are finally becoming available to fans as ebooks. Beginning on October 27th, Macmillan will release one ebook per month, beginning with The Eye of the World. The full text of the books has been retypeset to better accommodate the ebook format and all original illustrations and maps will be retained in these new releases. We’ve also commissioned new cover art for each book, and I can announce the first four artists now: David Grove, Kekai Kotaki, Donato Giancola, and Sam Weber.

    #420 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 10:14 PM:

    I was digusted and surprised to find* the only two Darkover novels on Kindle are The Sword of Aldones and The Fall of Neskaya -- and that neither has the word 'Darkover' anywhere in its Kindle-edition text, or any sign it's a series ...

    So books can be requested?

    * I was recommending books to a friend who's just bought a Kindle.

    #421 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 10:19 PM:

    Elliott Mason (#401), quoting Kevin Marks: the interesting thing linguistically about MILF is the intentionality embedded in it. I suspect there's a madonna/whore split in MILF vs Cougar.

    I think there is an important question of whose intentionality. My understanding of the 'cougar' vs 'MILF' distinction is this:

    If an older woman wants to have sex with a younger man, it's 'cougar', and an insult.

    If a younger man wants to have sex with an older woman, it's 'MILF,' and, at least nominally a compliment.

    Note that both of these are from the male perspective. In other words: same old, same old.

    #422 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 11:44 PM:

    Today is the first time I've seen a snake eating a bird while in a bush. The reptile and the avian were in the bush, not I.

    #423 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 01:27 AM:

    Serge @ 422 ...
    Today is the first time I've seen a snake eating a bird while in a bush.

    I'm relieved to see that was literal rather than figurative -- my brain is already reeling from the unfortunate junction between an images search for the ostensibly innocuous and rule 34.

    #424 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 03:58 AM:

    Linkmeister @240:
    Not "The bast(ed) of times, the worst(ed) of times"?

    #425 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 08:01 AM:

    xeger @ 423... Got your mind in the gutter again? That being said, I'm shocked that there's no porn set atop storm-chasing vans.

    #426 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 10:06 AM:

    An addendum to my @420: the reason for 'disgusted' was that it occurs to me that a Killer App for Kindles is reading long involved series of 15+ novels, especially (and WoT comes in here) if they are comprised of bricks, or (Darkover) if the individual volumes can be hard to find and collect together in one place in the order one wishes to read them.

    Doing it on a Kindle means (a) not storing those heaps of paper, and also (b) being able to go right on to the next in the series when you finish the one you're on, without a midnight bookstore run being necessary.

    #427 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 01:27 PM:

    Thanks, abi.

    #428 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 02:00 PM:

    Well, no one else has done it yet. (You probably all have better things to do.) So I will.

    Re: PNH's sidelight on "Lost worlds of the North Sea," and the sad history of the exemplar city:

    Talk about a Dunwich horror...

    #429 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 02:20 PM:

    Jules @ 405 et seq.: The takeaway for me from that fiasco is remarkably simple. Wikipedia is not to be touted as an "authoritative source."

    #430 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 02:56 PM:

    According to healthbase, one of the complications of my boss is nuclear attack†. Meanwhile, one of my colleagues infects nude mice‡. I merely attack Lauren, whoever she is.

    It may not be much of a reference source, but as a boundless source of drams and dances*, it's not bad.

    -----
    † He's not that bad, honest!
    ‡ He's not that bad either, really.
    * whisky, tango, foxtrot

    #431 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 03:06 PM:

    debcha #421: I'm not sure I'd consider "cougar" an insult as such. Cougars are gorgeous, powerful, and charismatic.

    #432 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 03:10 PM:

    Whoops, muffed the link on "gorgeous". Here, kittycams, including a cougar.

    #433 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 03:25 PM:

    Mark #429: Word, and that's not their only mistake here. My suspicion is that some PHB read read an article in a magazine, and told his IT crew "do it or else. You've got till Friday, this stuff's supposed to be easy."

    #434 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 04:14 PM:

    Headline of the Day: Cougar will send text messages.

    #435 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 05:08 PM:

    abi @ 430... What do you have (and have not) against Lauren?

    #436 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 05:10 PM:

    Cat o'nine tales: The youngest cat just trotted home with a rat in its jaws. I don't know if the appropriate reaction is awe, horror or pride.

    We managed to get her to drop the rat in the lawn, then brought her back inside. I went out a few minutes later to check out the beast. A cursory inspection didn't reveal any bite marks, but fresh bleeding from the nose, mouth and ears, leads me to suspect it just died from ingesting rat poison, and not from feline rodenticide. I hope the cat didn't eat any of it.

    #437 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 05:20 PM:

    Pendrift @ 436... Will I tell you of the morning last week when I found a dead mouse in our living-room? As far as I could tell, its skull was crushed in. Agatha the Cat Genius definitely is a killer.

    #438 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 05:39 PM:

    abi @ 430,

    After checking out the "nuclear attack" result, I have to say it's reassuring to know your medical treatment may be decided by Mobile Suit Gundam.

    #439 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 05:45 PM:

    Serge @437: Elder cat has already brought home several mice, moles, birds (ack!) and a bat*. She's taken on the youngest cat as an apprentice, but at this rate, the pupil will be outhunting the master very soon.


    *It was none the worse for wear; I brought it to a shelter and they fed it and released it the next day.

    #440 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 07:05 PM:

    In the Particle about the Smithsonian, there's one myth about the Archives. You can take tours there; I did when I was well. A lot of the big stuff is just out on the floor (with lines so you can't touch it) and the guide will pull out some drawers so you can see what's in them, but I thought the best part was seeing how they stored and cataloged things.

    debcha, #421, yesterday's WashPost Magazine had an article ranking the new TV shows and they have a picture of her as a cougar.

    I have two new cats in quarantine. They haven't seen a doctor since their birth in 2005, but have had rabies shots. They're both overweight, and one has massively matted fur. I left a message for my vet, who comes to my house, and she and her assistant will be here Thursday to check them out and cut the mats. They've been very nice cats even stuck in the guest bathroom, and I hope they will get along well with Spirit.

    #441 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 07:25 PM:

    David Harmon, #431: I'm not sure I'd consider "cougar" an insult as such. Cougars are gorgeous, powerful, and charismatic.

    I appreciate the sentiment, but I think that you're being disingenuous. Millions of Americans love their female dogs, but 'bitch' is still an insult.

    But I do agree that it's primarily, but not unambiguously, pejorative - see the range of Urban Dictionary definitions.

    #442 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 08:34 PM:

    debcha, I don't disagree, but I'd like to point out that 'boytoy' is also an insult, and older men who go after younger women (or younger men, for that matter) are not highly regarded either.

    #443 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 08:44 PM:

    Xopher, your point is well-taken.

    I'm always interested in what the lacunae in our language says about our culture. Older women who go after younger men are cougars - what are younger men who go for older women called? What do you call someone who has a sugar daddy? Why is there no feminine form of 'cuckold'? There are many more examples, I'm sure.

    #444 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 09:25 PM:

    JESR@394: my yard decor includes a two-foot box end wrench

    So you're the one who ended up with the MITSFS gavel!

    debcha@443: What do you call someone who has a sugar daddy?

    There may be hundreds of possible terms; "homewrecker" is traditional, "arm candy" is modern (although neither is really specific); the one I'd call closest is "jennifer". (I have no idea where that specific name came from -- possible its frequency in a certain age group?). Another classic question for your list: what is the male equivalent of nymphomania? (Yes, I know everybody here will know it, but in the general population it's said to be much less known.)

    #445 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 10:18 PM:

    Vauban's fortifications: How many different sides was he on?

    #446 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 10:43 PM:

    I'd call someone who had a sugar daddy a 'kept woman'. Assuming she was female, of course.

    #447 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2009, 11:02 PM:

    #445
    At least the inside and the outside!

    #449 ::: JHomes ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 12:57 AM:

    Xopher @442 and prev,

    Interesting point of language variation here. In these here parts (New Zealand), the word is "toyboy", not "boytoy". A "boytoy" sounds to me like a young woman whose social (and perhaps other) life is defined largely in terms of the young men she has sex with.

    JHomes

    #450 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 04:07 AM:

    Erik @445

    Vauban was only fighting for the French, though his earliest experience was in the civil war of the fronde.

    Modern borders have shifted.

    Vauban's style of fortification was a series of developments of what had gone before, and the idea of the star-shaped trace, made by triangular bastions, which was already well-established.

    It's possible that his innovations as a fortification builder arose from his own successes at taking a fortress. He developed the system of attack to a peak, making a siege almost a predictable formality. In at least one case, he introduced into his fortification building a feature which had given him problems as an attacker.

    As far as building fortresses is concerned, he has the advantage of being French at the time of Louis XIV. This, perhaps, is why he is more famous than Coehoorn.

    But have a look at Naarden, some twelve miles from Amsterdam. Most of the works are obscured by trees, but you still have a lot of visible detail from Google Earth.

    In this instance, the ditches are full of water, which changes some of the details of how the defences work, but the key is how much unpleasantness can be hurled in your general direction by the cannon in those well-shielded batteries in the sides of the bastions.

    #451 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 06:25 AM:

    JHomes @449: Interesting. My only recollection of toy boy is from a late '80s hit by American pop singer Sinitta.

    #452 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 07:18 AM:

    I have just learned that one week this month will have two Thursdays. That is all.

    #453 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 09:24 AM:

    Not two Mondays?

    #454 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 09:26 AM:

    JESR @ 448...

    "...dig down anywhere here and there's iron in the soil. Fairies would have a bad time of it on this hillside..."

    Your place sounds like the setting for a Realms of Fantasy story, especially the part about Aunt Emily's crib, which she bent to bits while "just playin'".

    #455 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 09:28 AM:

    Fragano @ 452... I'll start worrying when we get a week with four Thursdays.

    #456 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 09:38 AM:

    I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

    #457 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 09:42 AM:

    Debcha #441: The thing is, any term for a female can be used pejoratively(*), and most seem to drift in that direction over time. In this case, there is the clear association of female sexuality with danger (as in your UD link), but not the unambiguous denigration of "bitch"(**).

    * This actually applies to any target of stigma, but it's particularly obvious with women.

    ** Calling someone any variation of a dog, has been an insult since well before English, and not limited to Western cultures. Modern Westerners see dogs almost exclusively as pets -- but for most of our shared history, they've walked a precarious balance among "slave", "vermin", and "emergency meat".

    *** What happened to super- & subscripts? :-(

    #458 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 09:54 AM:

    OtterB, #453: I have a week with two Mondays this month (and another one next month).

    #459 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 10:13 AM:

    More open threadiness, in lieu of actually doing useful work today: This Pew Center Report (discussed when it came out by Digby) is one thing that helps me to understand that our more recent penchant for eavesdropping and preventative detention and kidnapping and torture wasn't entirely without warning signs. From the report, based on (I think) 2007 numbers:

    A close examination of the most recent U.S. Department of Justice data (2006) found that while one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, the figure is one in nine for black males in that age group

    The total is about 1% of our adult population behind bars at any given time. One percent. (For men between 20-34, it's about 3%. For black men 20-34, it's about 11%.) It wasn't always this way in the US. This table from the BJS[1] shows the amazing increase in people in prison or jail (the chart includes everyone under parole or probation, too, but the numbers let you extract more information). In 1980, there were about 500,000 people behind bars. In 2007, there were about 2.3 million people behind bars[0].

    Combine this with the increasing militarization of the police forces across the country, with the ongoing acceptance of prison rape and other abuse (and remember where the Abu Girab guards had learned their trade), and the increasing use of surveillance against US citizens (with a huge push for this during the first Bush administration and during the Clinton administration). Add in the nationwide fear-based security theater we're treated to everywhere--metal detectors to get on a plane, go into a courtroom, the Smithsonian museums, many government buildings, even some schools. A lot of that started in the Clinton administration, as a response to some school shootings and the loss of TWA 800[2].

    The Bush administration's abuses and scary steps toward a police state weren't some inexplicable one-off. They were continuations of a long trend. They are reflections of the kind of people we are, now. We can change that, but not without recognizing it.

    [0] I suspect much of this growth comes out of the lobbying of private prison companies and prison guards' unions, both consistent advocates for harsher mandatory sentencing laws. It's also worth noting that this is a long-running thing, and oddly, didn't take place solely under Republicans.

    [1] This is an irresponsible, untrustworthy internet site that gives people unfiltered access to ugly, inconvenient facts. Right-thinking folk should certainly shun it, and trust journalists and political activists to decide which facts are fit for them to see.

    [2] When it was believed this was a terrorist attack, that was justification for requiring government-issued ID to fly. When later investigation determined that it was probably an accident, of course, the ID requirement (which coincidentally solved an annoying business problem for the airlines) remained.

    #460 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 10:29 AM:

    Monday Monday, so good to me,
    Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be
    Oh Monday morning, Monday morning couldn't guarantee
    That Monday evening you would still be here with me.

    #461 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 11:01 AM:

    debcha @ 443: At least in the time period when the term 'cuckold' was in vogue, the commonly accepted feminine equivalent term was 'wife.'

    #462 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 12:35 PM:

    Tom Whitmore @ waaaay back at 345: I'm playing around at the Discworld convention in Tempe AZ

    Eep! I met you in the dealers' room at the Discworld con yesterday and chatted with you briefly. After that I kept thinking, "Tom Whitmore, Tom Whitmore... that name sounds really familiar." So, um, hi! Sorry about that.

    Fragano Ledgister @ 452: I have just learned that one week this month will have two Thursdays.

    Going on a long trip? If so, have fun.

    #463 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 12:41 PM:

    KeithS #462: No, I received a memo detailing a series of meetings, in which a Friday got turned into a Thursday.

    This was not as interesting as the memo once sent out by our IT department which announced a number of changes which would take place at set dates in the past. I emailed the vice president of IT asking for the loan of his time machine.

    #464 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 01:26 PM:

    Hilde and I also made it to the Discworld convention, but just barely, a few hours on Saturday and a few more on Sunday. Did meet Lee and Keith there, and Tom Whitmore in passing.

    (Thank you for sharing those fries, Lee. I was running on very little sleep at that moment, and the carbs helped.)

    Wish we'd been able to attend more. Conventions tend to have a "vibe", and this one seemed to have a very positive one.

    #465 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 02:10 PM:

    Some of my Thursdays are Fridays..

    #466 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 03:16 PM:

    Ginger #465:

    and far too many of my Wednesdays and Thursdays feel like Mondays. %$@#!

    #467 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 03:42 PM:

    Fragano Ledgister @ 463:

    Ah, yes, I've had that (days being turned into other days, not time-travelling upgrades). Did you ever get to borrow the time machine, or is that one of those executive perks?

    Ginger @ 465 and albatross @ 466:

    I'd like to be able to batch up a bunch of my Mondays so that I can get them out of the way.

    Bruce Arthurs @ 464:

    Lee says you're welcome.

    (She also wanted me to say that she'll be away for a few more days, for driving home and prep for another event.)

    #468 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 03:51 PM:

    Yesterday ended up feeling like a Monday*, even though it was technically a second Sunday for me. Today also feels like a Monday even though it's not. At least this Thursday will definitely be a Friday for me.


    *I once had a job where Monday was my Sunday, and Tuesday was Monday.

    #469 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 04:49 PM:

    Ginger #468:

    As compared to the job I once had where Sunday was Monday, and sometimes it was Tuesday that was my Friday, and sometimes it was Wednesday?

    #470 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 05:28 PM:

    A liberal acquaintance of mine has a number of conservative friends who he seems to enjoy arguing with, and recently he received the following e-mail forward, which he has asked me to run up the fluorospheric flagpole in the hope of eliciting some succinct refutations of its allegations. I don't know if any of the viral e-mail watchers have seen this one, but it's pretty illuminating:

    A Quick History Lesson

    The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775. So they've had 234 years to make it work. It is broke.

    Social Security was established in 1935. They've had 74 years to make it work. It is broke.

    Fannie Mae was established in 1938. They've had 71 years to make it work. It is broke.

    Freddie Mac was established in 1970. They've had 39 years to make it work. It is broke.

    The War on Poverty started in 1964. They've had 45 years to make it work. About $1 trillion of taxpayer money is confiscated each year and transferred to “the poor.” It hasn't worked.

    Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. They've had 44 years to make it work. They are both broke.

    AMTRAK was established in 1970. They've had 39 years to make it work. Last year it had to be bailed out and today continues running at a loss.

    $700 billion bailout of 2008. It has yet to create a single new private-sector job.

    Cash for Clunkers in 2009 went broke after 80% of the cars purchased turned out to be produced by foreign companies.

    The U.S. government has a 100% failure rate.

    My acquaintance says, "I would love to have a pithy set of answers to show that almost all of this happened under Republican control.... [I'm not sure about this, actually. - CQ] I would really love to frame an answer that was factual, and not full of emotion. I would also like to have examples of all the great corporations that are “broke” like AIG, GM, Merrill, etc."

    Social Security and the Post Office are fairly easy to debunk, but the others I admit I don't have info handy on. So please, have at it! I'd love to know what you can come up with!

    Thanks.

    #471 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 05:57 PM:

    David H @457: Testing¹ Testing², Testing³

    Using ¹, ² & ³ for superscripts – numbers beyond 3 and &sub1;, etc, for subscripts don't seem to work. Trying₁ number₂ versions₃. Seems to work. Other⁺ numberⁿ entities₍ mightⁱ also₊ work⁾. [My browser shows nine in this par. YBMV.]

    One of many HTML entity lists online.

    #472 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 06:04 PM:

    Right, it's the 9th of September where I am, so:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SERGE!

    The rest of y'all can catch up in your own time.

    #473 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 06:15 PM:

    Re. my yoghurt making experiments.

    I'm pleased to say the latest was a success; no more lumps, so I guess an inadequately mixed starter culture was the problem. I also had one batch that completely failed to anything at all, so I'm thinking of switching from my current starter to something that'll hopefully be more reliable.

    #474 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 06:15 PM:

    Writers' Alert: Today here, possibly tomorrow wherever you are now, is 09/09/09.

    Writing project related to that: A Day On The Planet (English version explanation, 7 more languages: اللغه العربيه - 中文 - Français - Deutsch - 日本語 - Español - Русский). About 400 words/1 page on your 9th September. Many stories to be put online, 500(?) published. Charity support to be decided.

    #475 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 06:21 PM:

    Chris Quinones @ 470:

    This may be useful to you on the subject of welfare. It hasn't been updated in the last few years, but it's still a good summary.

    Also:

    Cash for Clunkers in 2009 went broke after 80% of the cars purchased turned out to be produced by foreign companies.

    Er... Unless there's something I don't understand about how this thing was supposed to work, isn't that a complete non-sequiter? The program was an attempt to get old cars off the road and to try to get money flowing in the economy, right? That's something that you don't necessarily do on a continuing basis, so you can hardly say that it went broke. Besides, I'm sure that the government wouldn't have let all those nasty foreign car companies into the program if it were being funded somehow by kickbacks from the glorious American ones.

    Still, I'd also attack this by denying the entire conclusion. Even if all of its supposed premises were true, which they aren't, those are hardly 100% of all government programs. Besides, are they trying to argue that the military is broken? Or the interstate highways? The FDA? NIST?

    Epacris @ 471:

    For a little while, the <sup> and <sub> tags were working. They still seem to.

    Jules @ 473:

    Glad you got your yoghurt sorted.

    #476 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 06:29 PM:

    abi @ 472... Thanks, Abi. Due to the further marvels of time travel, I already know what I'll be getting for my birthday. (OK, I confess that chronic displacement has less to do with this advance knowledge than with my leaving very hints about what I'd like to get.)

    #477 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 06:44 PM:

    Epacris #471: Hmm, looking at the source of your comment, only the &sup{1,2,3} were retained as HTML constructs, the others were embedded as Unicode characters.

    KeithS #475: Aarggh! I was trying to use <super> -- I could have sworn that actually worked just the other week, but apparently it was just me brainfaulting. Thanks!

    #478 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 07:30 PM:

    Chris Quinones, #470: Conservatives work very hard to make government programs broke, by underfunding them whenever possible and funneling the resulting cash into something that redistributes wealth upward--tax cuts for the very wealthy, say.

    Then they turn around and point to the programs' lack of funding as proof that government programs do not work.

    #479 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 07:57 PM:

    Eep! Je suis désolé!

    Serge: Félicitations! Joyeux anniversaire!!

    Je te souhaite un très agréable jour. Bonne fête!
    (May've exceeded my exclamation mark quota this month already. Certainly just expended most of my French vocab.)

    Hmm. Those <sup>/<sub> tags didn't work at first.

    #480 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 08:06 PM:

    Epacris @ 479... Merci beaucoup!

    #481 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 08:17 PM:

    happy birthday serge!

    #482 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 08:21 PM:

    I'm very glad I put my internet router and wireless base station on the battery backup along with the upstairs phone. About 2 hours ago 3/4's of the electrical circuits in the house stopped working mysteriously. Circuit breakers all good, kitchen circuits still good (so refrigerator, but not stove), upstairs bathroom working, everything else except the light in the family room downstairs went dark¹. But I could still connect to Angie's List, pick an electrician, and call to schedule a visit tomorrow. Of course everything came back 5 minutes after I finished the call to the electrician². We still need to have this looked at; I have the horrible feeling we're facing several thousand dollars of work rewiring the house to make the electricity reliable again.

    1. Go figure³
    2. That this should happen is known as the Perversity of Inanimate Matter; it is a fundamental law of nature.
    3. Sub and superscripts are working nicely now.

    #483 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 08:51 PM:

    Bruce Cohen @ #482, okay, now I've been reminded of Firesign Theatre.

    #484 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 09:09 PM:

    #470
    It hasn't helped that the Rs hate unions and anything government-run. InN no particular order:

    The post office ran fine (civil service) until the government decided to make it a semi-private corporation, and then started expecting it to make a profit (generally at the expense of the carriers, who work ten to twelve hour days at times).

    Amtrak was started to keep passenger rail running, when corporate rail was trying to kill it off (freight is more profitable and doesn't complain about being hours late). It's a semi-government corporation and expected to make a profit on minimal funding. Which is why fares are several times higher than airlines on the same route, and travel a lot slower than by car.

    Social Security isn't broke, but it will be in about forty years, if the income ceilings aren't indexed to inflation. It doesn't help that the trust fund that FICA deductions go into is used as a piggy bank for budget-balancing by both parties.

    Medicare is closer to going broke, but again there's no indexing to inflation, and the government is also forbidden to bargain for better prices on drugs. That's the Republican contribution to making sure old people die earlier than they need to, along with that @#$%^&* Part D. Medicare's kept a lot of people from dying of poverty, and apparently that's a bad idea.

    Medicaid works, but barely: you have to be impoverished to use it, and that's hard on people: to see that your spouse is taken care of, you have to give up your home.

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are semi-private corporations. They were allowed to play in mortgage-backed securities. The guys doing that were, I think, appointed or hired by Rs, and Congress certainly did no oversight on those deals (although I suspect they'd have allowed it anyway: greed is bipartisan).

    The 'War on Poverty' may or may not have been hopeless, but it doesn't work very well when Congress cuts funding for projects that actually work (Head Start, Vista, AFDC, WIC) and expects people who are making minimum wage to immediately be able to survive on their own. It also doesn't help when elected officials start talking about 'welfare queens' as if everyone getting help is out there living it up on the minimal money they're getting.

    The bailout has, in fact, created jobs. Not as many as it should have, but the Republicans and the Blue Dogs were doing their best to make it a program that didn't help anyone but corporations (including, most particularly, the banks that caused it).

    Cash for Clunkers - that program was so successful, it had to be re-funded a week after it started, and it sold more than 700,000 vehicles in two months, at a time when nobody was buying otherwise. That's car dealership jobs that would have gone away, too.

    If government doesn't work well, it's because some people don't want it to work at all.

    #485 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 10:13 PM:

    Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) @482: YMMV, but I once had startlingly non-intuitive electric effects (shutting off one circuit and having lights on another circuit flickering out) which appear to have been the result of the building electrics not being properly grounded. There had been a ground spike which had become corroded. When the building was grounded to the plumbing, this particular bit of electrical weirdness was cleared up.

    #486 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 10:31 PM:

    Hey Serge! Happy Birthday!!!

    #487 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 11:12 PM:

    I'm such a meanie. A friend posted a bunch of pics of Jake Gyllenhaal strolling...he meant to say "shirtless"...down the beach. He left out the 'r'.

    I couldn't help myself. I said

    It does appear that there is no shit on him. Perhaps I speak only for myself, but I think that fact enhances his attractiveness!
    I'm so mean.

    #488 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 11:24 PM:

    abi @ 472 ...
    Right, it's the 9th of September where I am, so:

    My clocks all tell different times (and days!) ... so...

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SERGE!!!!!

    #489 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2009, 11:32 PM:

    Sisuile @ 481... Xopher @ 486... xeger @ 488... Thanks, all! Did you know that September 9 also marks the birthday of this gent, although he's one year older than me?

    #490 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 12:07 AM:

    Re: "Roadrunner vs. mirror" particle: Broken link?

    Serge: Hippo birdie two ewe!

    #491 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 01:58 AM:

    So, having found I have the sped-up Jung-Hwa Ban Jum in my iTunes (No, I don't know where it came from, and I am not giving a link--you can find it if you want. It's the speeded up soundtrack the Korean kids used for Karaoke, which is infinitely better than the original. Fortunately they're not in it. Unfortunately the cute Asian girl who was in the original video isn't either.) when I was trying to find out how I ended up with duplicates of some of my purchases (I *think* that when I told iTunes to update to non-DRM versions something went wrong) I figured I'd do my bit with my $3.14 at the iTunes store and buy a copy of the original Fat Les version of Vindaloo. Much to my surprise, it's not there--and it's not at Amazon either. Re-recordings, sure, but not the original...

    Oh, does anyone else think that March of the Sinister Ducks (hooray for Neil Gaiman for posting the link, and hooray for Alan Moore for doing the quacks) is a natural pairing with the video Sex with Ducks by Garfunkel and Oates?

    #492 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 08:51 AM:

    Of course, the email isn't intended to be taken as a serious, literal statement. Conservatives demand all sorts of stuff from government. So doing a point by point argument of it is a losing battle. If you wanted to respond with a bit of bite, along the same lines, I think you could agree, listing several prominent Bush administration failures. The search for WMD, the search for Osama Bin Laden, preventing North Korea from developing nukes, disaster relief after Katrina, NCLB, federal regulation of investment companies. Say, you're right. Under some management, government has a pretty uniform record of failure.

    #493 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 09:00 AM:

    David Harmon @ 490... Thanks!

    #494 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 10:35 AM:

    Happy birthday, Serge!

    The roadrunner versus mirror particle is wonderful. It reminds me of one of our cats looking in the mirror. On looking in the mirror: hey, another cat! On looking behind the mirror: huh, no cat. Repeat until cat gets bored or is shooed away.

    albatross @ 492:

    Now that you put it that way, that email looks suspiciously like a Gish Gallop—throw out so many wrong ideas at once that your opponent will get bogged down just refuting one or two of them, which makes your opponent look slow, bad and defensive while you look knowledgeable and confident.

    #495 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 10:42 AM:

    Serge: Go maire tú do lá breithe! For good measure, גליקליכן געבורטסטאָג

    #496 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 11:21 AM:

    KeithS @ 494... Ginger @ 495... Thanks. By th way, my wife feels that Moloch von Zinzer looks like me when she first met me. Now I look like Tarvek's dad. It's rather eerie that two Girl Genius characters bear a strong resemblance to me at various stages of my life. At least nobody has compared me to a jaeger. (For one thing, I don't wear hat. Unless I'm gardening. Jaegers don't garden.)

    #497 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 11:26 AM:

    Regarding Obama's speech to kids about doing their homework, here is what happens to those whose parents didn't protect them from hearing him. (My thanks to my wife for passing this on to me.)

    #498 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 12:13 PM:

    Bon Anniversaire, Serge!

    #499 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 01:13 PM:

    Serge,

    Happy birthday! And if people forget, keep this in mind (paraphrasing Michèle Bernier):

    Si on oublie de me souhaiter mon anniversaire, c'est qu'on ne me voit pas vieillir.
    #500 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 01:22 PM:

    Scott Taylor @ 498... Pendrift @ 499... Well, my wife does say that I'm very young at heart, which is better than calling me jejeune, I guess.

    #501 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 01:25 PM:

    Cash for clunkers-=-rewarding the people who bought the ecologically irresponsible urban assault vehicles, and paying them to replace them will slightly LESS ecologically irresponsible assault weapons... NOTHING for people who bought economical car, and then got rearended by the fuckling urban assault vehicles [driver of one such rearended my car as I was about to turn into my driveway. Pickup truck drivers who can't be bothered to look where they're going.... I was doing all of ten miles an hour at the time in daylight with clear sightlines, except to urban assault vehicle drivers apparently....

    Whatever happened to -direct- gas guzzlers, high emissions of global warming gasses vehicles, based on the -damage- done by the vehicles... the cost of gasoline directly, is low compared to the vehicle cost.... again, they are being rewarded while I get financially raped by it...

    #502 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 01:38 PM:

    2001-2008, the mine safety agency head was an anti-labor anti-safety anti-regulation corporate mines wonk... and the results included the most mining disasters and more deaths than in decades. That shows the the government works better when the people in government actually believe in such things as domestic harmony and commonwealth and human rights and such....

    Katrina response versus hurricane response when neocon political shills weren't "running" emergency services--again, evidence that government works when staffed by people who have competent working background and experience in what they are supposed to be managing rather than grandstanding.

    2001-2008 see scientists in the federal government be -gag-ordered- by apparatchiks political officers who seem to have gleefully flunked or avoided third grade science and any science classes beyond that in favor of anti-intellectual religious dogma of science-hating ideologues on everything from C02 emissions and salmon stock collapse in the Pacific Northwest, to redacting of studies on healthcare and medicine and outright lying about anything that involves human sexuality and reproduction and stem cells and such, to placement of books claiming that a Biblical Noah's Flood created in the Grand Canyon in the science section of at least one federal bookstore...

    How can ANYTHING respectable be created when liars have control?

    #503 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 02:04 PM:

    Happy Birthday, Serge!

    Chris Quinones, do I get this right that that message was spread through a technology called "e-mail"? Where did that technology come from?

    (And, of course, the whole point of having things run by the government is so that it's possible to maintain projects that are useful or convenient or necessary even though, if you analyse them as businesses, you'll conclude that they're permanently broke.)

    #504 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 02:17 PM:

    Raphael @ 503... Thanks. It's been a happy birthday so far. Not only have I done some work today at the office that I'm proud of, but tonight, when my wife and I go celebrate, she'll be giving me this present.

    #505 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 03:05 PM:

    Mon cher Serge
    C'est à ton tour
    de te laisser parler d'amour!

    Bonne fête!

    #506 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 03:15 PM:

    Cheryl @ 505... te laisser parler d'amour

    I'm all ears, oui, oui!
    (The above is supposed to sound like Pépé le Pew channeling Charles Boyer)

    #507 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 03:33 PM:

    The San Francisco Chronicle's movie reviewer seems to like "9" quite a bit. He then ends with the following.

    Advisory: This film contains violence, end-of-world themes and the voice of Crispin Glover, which is just as creepy when not attached to the actual actor.
    #508 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 04:35 PM:

    Serge, has President-for-Life Obama authorized a birthday for you?

    I'll be subversive and wish you one whether or no.

    #509 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 05:02 PM:

    Linkmeister @ 508... No, he hasn't authorized one, but we're having one anyway, as you can see here.

    #510 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 05:51 PM:

    Happy Birthday, Serge!M/b>

    Linkmeister @ 483, Rob Rusick @ 485:

    I didn't have to wait for the elctrician for very long; he was stuck on the Banfield Freeway in heavy traffic for about 20 minutes, but he had no trouble finding the house (some people drive right past because the numbers aren't easily visible from the street in one direction).

    So now I find out I've been making my saving throws versus house fire regularly for at least 2 years, and I didn't even know I was rolling the dice. The electrician took less than half an hour to find the problem. It would have taken less, but his first move was to check that the service panel was properly connected; only when he'd opened it up and checked did he check the 220 volt service line coming into the power company meter. And guess what? One of the conductors hadn't even been connected: the bare wire was too short, so whoever worked on it last just pushed it against the lug nut rather than screwing it down. So the connection was made through just one side of the wire; it must have heated and arced every so often for years, and the power stopped whenever the hot wire bent away from the connection far enough. We're very lucky it didn't start a fire.

    So we called the power company, and they had a tech with some time on his hands; he came out and helped the electrician pull the line in towards the house 8 or 10 inches, cut off the burnt ends of the wires, and connect the line up again. The tech was in a good mood, and he waived the requirement that we get a permit and have the job inspected by the city, saving us hundreds of dollars and the likelihood that the inspector would gig us for something else that we'd then have to pay for. Sighs of relief all around on this job.

    #511 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 06:02 PM:

    I think I've finally come to the point of reading a real book in Dutch. I've danced around it for a couple of years now, buying translations of English-language YA books into Dutch and then not opening them.

    But one of my colleagues lent me De brief voor de koning, by Tonke Dragt. It's been a firm favorite in the Netherlands since its publication in 1962, and was even made into a film here a year or two ago.

    It's got the swift pace of YA fantasy, and has a lot of the tropes I'm used to in English: map in front of the book, omniscient-perspective overview in the prolog, and a young protagonist on the verge of proving himself. I think it'll be an interesting read.

    Of course, it took me 90 minutes to read 20 pages, and it's 440-odd pages long. This could take a while. But it's definitely the most interesting homework I could be doing at this point.

    #512 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 06:09 PM:

    Bruce Cohen @ 510... Thanks. The work day is almost over. Soon, freedom! And a burrito magnifico at my favorite restaurant!

    #513 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 06:11 PM:

    abi @ 511... Congratulations!

    #514 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 06:27 PM:

    Happy Birthday, Serge!

    #515 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 07:17 PM:

    Along with everyone else, Happy Birthday, Serge!

    #516 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 07:18 PM:

    Open-threadly:

    I subscribe to the print edition of the Saudi Aramco World, a glossy magazine published by oil-drillers by appointment to the Saudi royal family. I suspect it's intended as a public relations gambit, and it's certainly a good ambassador of Arabic culture to anglophone intelligentsia, but I read it because it has many beautifully illustrated articles.

    The latest issue came yesterday, and it contains a lovely article on Islamic tile design. Now, if you have ever studied the art or the mathematics of tiling patterns, you no doubt know that designers in the Moorish Empire and in other parts of the Islamic world discovered all 17 possible regular, periodic tilings of the plane centuries ago. What you may not know (I didn't) was that they also discovered the simplest non-periodic tiling, using what are known to Western mathematicians as Penrose, or quasi-crystal tesselations. Roger Penrose (re-)discovered these in the 1970's, so he clearly does not have precedence. When I got the issue, I saw the article listed in the contents and turned to it first, because I've been fascinated by the mathematics of tesselation for years; I have quite a few books on the subject. I recognized the Penrose pattern with some shock on seeing the first photo; I had assumed that no one before the mid-20th century had studied non-periodic tilings.

    Interestingly, the American physicist who brought this to the attention of Western mathemeticians was not aware of Penrose' work when he first saw the tiling in a mosque in Usbekistan; he was fascinated by the fact that the tiling was non-periodic, and only found out about Penrose when he returned home and did some research.

    The magazine has a very good-looking website (it was an article on arabic computer caligraphy mentioned on ML a year or two ago that got me to subscribe), but unfortunately the contents of the current issue don't yet appear to be online.

    #517 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 07:23 PM:

    Håppy Bîrþdåy, Sêrgë

    #518 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 07:28 PM:

    I am told I shall be on the radio tomorrow.

    http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Program_WV.aspx

    Noon, Chicago Public Radio. Jerome McDonnell

    Talking about the usual (i.e. interrogation, torture, etc.).

    #519 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 07:48 PM:

    I wish I could stand listening to Jerome, Terry .. something about (a) the timbre of his voice and (b) the smarmy obviousness of his comments means, alas, I actively avoid Worldview.

    #520 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 08:26 PM:

    abJaS hepy+J!9 hddeH

    #521 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 08:38 PM:

    Happy Birthday, and I see you are enjoying a Serge of good wishes.

    #522 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 08:47 PM:

    Serge @504: Happy birthday! Re: your present, years ago I was picking up old bound copies of 'The Century' magazine (one volume containing 6 issues). One of these had an article by Tesla, with a photo of his buddy Samuel Clemens playing with the spark coil.

    In the Tesla/Lovecraft vein, are you reading the current 'Atomic Robo' story?

    #523 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 09:29 PM:

    Joyeux anniversaire, Serge!

    #524 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 09:39 PM:

    Happy Birthday, Serge!

    #525 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 09:40 PM:

    Happy birthday, Serge!

    #526 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 10:36 PM:

    Happy birthday to Serge,
    Happy birthday to Serge,
    Happy birthday to Ser-erge…
    Happy birthday to Serge!

    Now, let them eat cake.

    #527 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 11:12 PM:

    Thanks, all of you! After we came back from the restaurant, my wife and I watched a wonderful movie.

    "The whole world is a circus if you know how to look at it. The way the sun goes down when you're tired, comes up when you want to be on the move. That's real magic. The way a leaf grows. The song of the birds. The way the desert looks at night, with the moon embracing it. Oh, my boy, that's... that's circus enough for anyone. Every time you watch a rainbow and feel wonder in your heart. Every time you pick up a handful of dust, and see not the dust, but a mystery, a marvel, there in your hand. Every time you stop and think, "I'm alive, and being alive is fantastic!" Every time such a thing happens, you're part of the Circus of Dr. Lao."
    #528 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 11:24 PM:

    I hope it's not too late to wish Serge a hippo-birdy, nor too early to extend the same to Xopher. (Not sure when I'll be back.)

    A fast Question-and-Run for the Latinate among us for someone doing family history. There is supposed to be a Family Motto "Nec Prece Nec Pretto", which purportedly translates as "Neither by Prayer [n]or Bribery". Do both of those seem reasonably correct? Or what would you suggest?

    Health Update: My chemotherapy continues; unpleasant, so far surviving.
    Friend with stroke is conscious! He has some movement on one side, very little on the other. Still tracheostomy & nasogastric feeding, because his swallowing isn't good, but breathing by himself. He seems frustrated at being unable to speak & tiring easily. Both understandable.
    I feel helpless & inadequate; hoping to be a) healthier later; b) able to help with further rehabilitation. (I'll put this near the earlier comment too.)

    #529 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 12:46 AM:

    Re Particles: That's the same Georg Christoph Lichtenberg who gave us shockfossils.

    #530 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 02:22 AM:

    Mez@528: My guess is that "Pretto" should be "Pretio". Your translation seems reasonable.

    #531 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 04:45 AM:

    Cue loud scrubbing noises and a small tsunami of foam....

    It was Hippo Bathday, Serge.

    Sorry it was late, and hope you had a good (Nay, _excellent_) one.

    #532 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 09:11 AM:

    abi, keep on going! I read that book as a child (in translation). Nice little classic adventure.

    #533 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 10:49 AM:

    Cadbury Moose @ 531 and others... Thanks.

    #534 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 10:53 AM:

    Rob Rusick @ 522... I didn't know about Atomic Robo until I got involved in a masquerade presentation at this year's worldcon. One of the other costumers went on stage as that character, and it was really cool. I'll definitely have to look him up.

    #535 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 10:56 AM:

    Bruce Cohen, I'll have to track that down -- tiling designs are an interest of mine. A library I used to work at got gift subscriptions to Aramco World. I still have their issues on illuminated Korans and Arabic cooking. Nicely produced and very informative!

    #536 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 11:21 AM:

    In re Bill's link @529: this is another video. Bigger block, less informative soundtrack.

    #537 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 11:28 AM:

    Bruce Cohen @ 510:

    I'm very glad your house didn't burn down. Being sloppy is perfectly acceptable in some situations, but that's definitely not one of them. (Actually, it makes me want to smack the guy, if he hasn't managed to electrocute himself already.)

    abi @ 511:

    Good luck on your reading. From what I can find out about the book, it seems like it ought to be good.

    #538 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 12:59 PM:

    abi, it occurs to me that a great next quilt project would be something involving Penrose tiles. If I did that sort of thing, that might just be the sort of thing I'd do.

    #539 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 01:42 PM:

    Now listening to Terry Karney on the radio, giving a very clear explanation of U.S. Army interrgator training.

    We've never met, but we're getting together tomorrow.

    #540 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 02:43 PM:

    joann @538: The main thing that puts me off any such enterprise is the idea of fussy-piecing all those weird acute angles to each other ... give me simple rectangular construction out of modules anyday. Yes, I am a coward.

    ObQuiltingPhotos: two of my current wips, having been In Progress for quite some time ...

    -- The Quilt of Fearful Purpleness (block detail), which is now a top and a full ready back, waiting for me to buy more innards and actually quilt it together and bind it. It's for my sister, who deeply appreciates both its loud purpletude and the Hello Kitty motifs. The back, by the way, is zebra-striped. Violet and lavender zebra. Just in case she wants a 'plainer' side to leave face-up on her bed. :->

    -- The Stripey Triangles of Mystery, which were a bunch of fat quarters I seamed together as strips and then cut into triangles to experiment with 60-deg patterns ... and then never committed together into a quilt. Part of the problem is that there don't seem to be quite enough of them for, well, anything I had ideas for. I may make more with a different set of fat quarters and use them all together for, um, something. Someday.

    #541 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 02:51 PM:

    joann @ 538:

    Google for "penrose tile quilt" if you want to get inspiration from some lovely quilts. And for those interested in just playing around with tiles, get a copy of Google Sketchup (free download from Google for Windows or Mac) and get a copy of "Patterns Based on Five: Kepler and Penrose Tiles in Google SketchUp 7".

    #542 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 04:39 PM:

    So, I've got my new computer up and running! This machine has the graphics power to handle KDE properly, but there's still a few bugs in 9.04.


    I also set up a new firewall/router, with Xubuntu. The old firewall is going to my stepfather, who needs an old-hardware machine for his tinkering. (I stuck Xubuntu on that one too; dunno if he'll keep that or not.)

    #543 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 04:51 PM:

    I need to take a pic of the penguin quilt that's hanging in the Dr's office. I used to know the name of it, but it's one fabric, with hexagonal blocks, and each hex is cut from a slightly different portion of the pattern. It's striking. And it's got penguins.

    #544 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 04:57 PM:

    Open thread question: does anyone know any really good modern collections of book plate designs and images?

    I have this friend, see, who wants to get book plates made, and is looking for inspiration.

    (Yes, really)

    #545 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 05:09 PM:

    Mez, #528, I take a chemotherapy med to help taper my prednisone and it's awful. Yours has got to be a lot worse. Good news on your friend! I hope he progresses rapidly.

    Elliott Mason, #540, I like purple so much that I had the woman who's making me winter pants that fit make three pair -- two in one purple, one in another -- because I wear them so often.

    #546 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 05:13 PM:

    abi @511: Congratulations, and keep going! Reading your first real book in a foreign language is deeply satisfying - not just for the tale, but the zomigod I understand this stuff buzz. (That was the best part for me, actually.)


    Mez @528: Sending good thoughts your way. I'm glad to hear your friend's getting better.

    Twitter was mentioned upthread; here's an excerpt of The World According to Twitter* for those who are wondering what the fuss is all about. Long intro, actual tweets start on page 13.

    I am enjoying it much more than I thought I would. That also sums up my experience with Twitter.


    *Full disclosure: one of my tweets is in the book.

    #547 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 05:43 PM:

    Pendrift @ 546... I got that "zomigod I understand this stuff" buzz when I was 5 years old. I suddenly realized I could actually read. It all clicked together with the "Buck Rogers" comic-strip. Obviously I never recovered.

    #548 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 05:58 PM:

    abi @544: A friend just introduced me to this site with lots of images from old books. It may serve as a source of inspiration, although it doesn't really fit your request for a modern collection.


    Serge @547: I don't actually remember learning to read. My sister told me that my family only discovered I'd learned to do it on my own when they started reading me a book and I told them how it turned out.


    #549 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 06:08 PM:

    Pendrift @ 548... I wasn't that precocious, because I had to start going to school first. But (or so I've been told) my not knowing how to read hadn't stopped me from poring at the various comic-strips available. Another buzz was when I started learning English and got to practice on Bugs Bunny cartoons, which I had up to then been religiously been watching.
    ("You still watch them religiously.")
    I heard that.

    #550 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 06:35 PM:

    "You still watch them religiously."

    Sheepishly raising hand. I just watched three of them in the last 30 minutes: What's Opera, Doc, Rabbit of Seville, and Tex Avery's Magical Maestro.

    #551 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 06:47 PM:

    A belated hippo birdie to Serge!

    #552 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 07:06 PM:

    Randolph @ 551... Thanks!

    #553 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 07:09 PM:

    Pendrift @ 550... When the worldcon's masquerade was over but while we were all waiting for the judges to be done with their deliberations, guess what was shown on the big screen to entertain people? Bugs Bunny cartoons.

    #554 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 07:14 PM:

    Serge @ 547:

    Yeah, the comics in the paper are what got me reading too; I think it was Flash Gordon in my case, but I'm just not sure. I bet there are a lot of people in our generation who started that way.

    #555 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 07:37 PM:

    Marilee @545 said: I like purple so much that I had the woman who's making me winter pants that fit make three pair -- two in one purple, one in another -- because I wear them so often.

    I have, ah. Quite larger hips than my waist, which leads to amusing* issues finding pants that fit me. I ran across some corduroy jeans at Land's End that worked. In my size, they had three colors in stock: very-purple, goose-turd olivey green, and dark brown. I bought the purple and the brown.

    For conventions, I tend to bring one main pair of pants and rewear with different tops, to cut down on packing. Since the joy of SF conventions is never having to say, "But where would I wear THIS??" about anything, I brought the purple pants.

    I discovered on Sunday that people who didn't know me were having me described to them as "Long brown hair, purple pants," and FINDING me in the consuite by that with no trouble at all. So there's something to be said for it. :->


    ** Amusing to some people, or after the fact; rather horrific during the shopping trip itself.

    #556 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 08:43 PM:

    Pendrift, I was also reading before I went to school, but my parents know it.

    The funniest story is a friend's daughter was caught reading a NEW book to her friend at about five years old, they thought that their pre-kindergartner did not know how to read because she always wanted them to read to her.

    When asked, she fessed up but was distressed and made them promise to still read to her.

    #557 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 08:43 PM:

    Bruce Cohen @ 554... I wonder if cartoons, what with there being a whole TV network showing cartoons, are what gets kids started into SF nowadays. That certainly was the case for one of my nephews, who was big on superheroes, then to the Transformers. For a time, he was into Star Wars, but I've seen some of his art, and he's now into Star Trek. The funny thing is that, when he moves on to a new thing, he leaves the old stuff behind. Maybe it's because kids today have such an embarassment of riches to pick from.

    #558 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 08:44 PM:

    Serge @534: The current storyline is titled 'Shadow from Beyond Time'; it is close enough to its completion that you might want to wait for the trade paperback (coming soon, I expect).

    The backstory of the character is that he is an automaton built by Tesla. In exchange for service in WWII, he was granted citizenship rights by the US government. Later he runs his own consulting company for unusual projects.

    The current story starts with Charles Fort and H.P.Lovecraft showing up on Tesla's doorstep. The transdimensional menace they fought in 1908 (and demolished over Tunguska with a blast from Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower installation) has manifested again...

    #559 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 08:56 PM:

    Rob Rusick @ 558... I think I know what I'll be asking for, next time I go to the comic-store. In case you're interested, HERE a photo of the AtomicRobo who later appeared at this year's worldcon. He needed a den mother backstage because he could barely see anything. Well, considering that he was assigned a Victorian Green Lantern (with green corset to match), he probably didn't mind too much.

    #560 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 08:57 PM:

    Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) @554: Yeah, the comics in the paper are what got me reading too; I think it was Flash Gordon in my case, but I'm just not sure. I bet there are a lot of people in our generation who started that way.

    I have a friend who attributed his love of reading to his father reading him the newspaper comics. He was enthralled, and motivated to decode the puzzle of printing as quickly as he could manage.

    #561 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 09:06 PM:

    Quite a few fans don't remember learning to read. I don't myself. (In fact, from some things my parents have told me, I was reading before I was fully talking.)

    #562 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 09:07 PM:

    Serge @559: If he could barely see, he may not have appreciated...

    Lame jest out of the way, that is an impressive costume, and a fair representation of the character.

    I gave the last trade paperback I had to a nephew who attended a family gathering months ago. He was a real fan of Iron Giant, and I think he appreciated new stories of a friendly robot (at least it seemed more entertaining than hanging out with all the old folk).

    #563 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 09:45 PM:

    Elliot Mason: I'm listening to his voice now, and on the radio it's very different to his voice in person. In person it's pretty pleasant, on the radio it grates a bit.

    #564 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2009, 10:24 PM:

    Paula @ 556:

    I'm 45, and still enjoy being read to sometimes (the most recent being three days ago).

    #565 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 03:53 AM:

    Happy Birthday to the (I think) various people directly or indirectly connected to Making Light whose birthday is today!

    #566 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 05:14 AM:

    Raphael @565:
    It is, indeed, Xopher's birthday today.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, XOPHER!

    May all you turn your hand to go as well as the making of chocolates.

    #567 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 06:08 AM:

    Huzzah for Xopher!

    #568 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 06:14 AM:

    Happy birthday to Xopher!

    #569 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 06:36 AM:

    Adding to the chorus of well-wishers, Xopher! Have you tried making chocolates with saffron? Yum.

    #570 ::: Sam C ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 07:42 AM:

    Not sure where else to put this: the particle about Lichtenberg's Avertissment (which is great, by the way) suggests that Schopenhauer cites it in 'his Critique of Pure Reason' - the Critique of Pure Reason is by Kant, not Schopenhauer. Apologies for my professional pedantry.

    #571 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 07:56 AM:

    Happy birthday, Xopher!

    #572 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 08:06 AM:

    Happy birthday, Xopher!

    #573 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 08:31 AM:

    Natalis laetus tibi, Xopher!

    #574 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 09:06 AM:

    Birthday wishes to Xopher, and belated ones to Serge.
    ======

    On more somber notes....
    Talk about hypocrisy... Eight years ago, where was the media condemnation of the person occupying the office of the President of the United States for so totally ignoring Al Quaeda and Osama bin Laden and refusing to pay any attention to any attempt to get him and his misadminstration to do any thing that could have prevented the September 11, 2001 mass murders from happening? Where was the media attention to calls for investigation? Where was the media when the informtion came out that two FBI agents, in completely different offices, were squelched and told to cease and desist in their attempts to investigate the activities of two foreign nationals who were taking classes in flying jumbo jets who weren't interested in learning how to land them--and for whom there was no reasonable innocuous explanation for who was paying for their flight lessons, why they were taking them, who was paying for them being in the United States, and why they were in the United States in the first place--why did they even have authorization to be in the USA for an extended period to time, to take the flight lessons?

    All of that got brushed aside, not mentioned, not questioned.

    Why did the governmental agencies involved in aviation, permit the airlines to be so obdurately against the head of security at Logan International Airport in Boston, run a planned security exercise at that airport in August 2001? He knew there were security problems at the airport and was working as hard as he could to try to remediate the situation--but the airlines completely refused to cooperate. They so completely refused to cooperate, that they got the security exercise cancelled....

    The reasons I wrote the word "hypocrisy" include the attention and support and promotion the media is giving to the minority of the US population acting like domestic terrorists regarding even providing a "public option" for healthcare and working to torpedo any changes which might actually change the profile of healthcare funding, the distribution of it the general public, and reduce its share of the gross national product....

    The for-profit media didn't have a critical/investigative word to say about 9/11 for the person who acted to precipitated a national disaster (by ignoring every concern and call for attention and action regarding "Osama bin Laden and his organization Al Quaida are preparing an attack against the United States of America. Osama bin Laden and Al Quaida have previously launched attacks against the United States including a suicide bomber attack on a US Navy ship and suicide bombers at US embassies. Osama bin Laden is wealthy and a fanatic, who puts his money where his hatreds are, training other fanatics to commit homicidal attacks worldwide...." The Clinton administration's priorities including monitoring Osama bin Laden's activities, watching for indications and warnings of imminent Al Qaeda operations, and staying on guard against Al Quaeda operations. The next US Executive Branch however, refused to even allow federal officials concerned about the threat posed by Osama bin Laden before September 11, 2001, to give a the Executive Branch a presentation about what the US Government should be doing to prevent and thus protect the USA against Al Qaeda attack.... attack which the federal agents who were still allowed to be looking at such threats, felt was an imminent danger, that Al Qaeda was very advanced in planning a major attack on the USA that it was going to happen in the near future. Instead, someone spent the entire summer home on his ranch in Texas....

    At a minimum, that's gross criminal negligence and neglect and mismanagement--that's at a minimum. At a maximum, there are those with the conspiracy theories that it was intentional on the part of at least some people in or influential at the top of the US Government, in 2001.

    Contrast that with the corporate media attention to Pres. Obama--thinly veiled attacks for him having spent a week or two on vacation on Martha's Vineyard, as opposed to taking the entire summer off on a cowboy fantasy estate playing wealthy ranch owner of leisure roles. Contrast the media promotion of those attacking Pres. Obama on such completely astonishing conspiracy nut theories as his birth certificate being a fake, and him going to socialize the USA, etc., with the bye given the person who was occupying the White House from 2001-2008 on the issue of "just what did happen to the adverse information in his National Guard file, anyway?" In comparison to Obama's illegal immigrant aunt, there was the bye most given to Neil Bush about the savings and loan bailout, the $2 million plus in "contracts" awarded to Neil Bush by federal contractors with nothing required of him in the form of any actual work, Neil Bush's sex tourist trips to Thailand (front page news on the Boston Herald, which apparently has become somewhat disenchanted with Neil Bush's brother by the time Neil Bush was divorcing and the divorce papers, including the juicy financial details and basis for the divorce, became public records which the Herald considered would help sell copies of the Herald...)...

    It's September 11, 2001. The President of the United States (POTUS) had had the power to put the USA on guard against Middle Eastern suspected terrorists, and direct the INS to block entry in the USA of persons on the "watch list." The INS however allowed at least one person entry who was on the watch list on September 10 or 11, who became one of the hijackers. The POTUS had had the authority to appoint officials to head federal aviation agencies who would have cared about airport security, and forced airlines to participate in security exercises, instead of appointing people to federal agencies who wanted to remove all federal regulation for security and safety (look at the records regarding the federal mine safety agency 2001-2008 and the fatal accident rate in mines, compared to 1993-2000, and compare the resumes and attitudes of the people who headed the agency....). Responsibility for an organization, responsibility for a country, comes from the top down legally--and someone "whose watch" an avertable disaster like 9/11 happened for, bears the responsibility.... I still want to know where the policy of squelching the FBI agents' requests for warrants to investigate the suspicious foreign national taking airline-type jumbo jet flight lessons who didn't care about learning how to land the planes came from, why did the head of the two different offices tell the agents to cease and desist their investigations, earlier in 2001?

    There was the refusal to allow the presentation about "the threat" posed by Al Qaeda and what the US Government could/should be doing to guard against an attack and prevent attacks.

    It all stank. It still stinks. And the corporate for-profit media big deal about the anniversary of the atrocity, ignoring the elephant that was in the White House and the responsibility he bore for the disaster, infuriates me. And their promotion of the attacks against the current President, and the lies they're supporting the spread of regarding the state of healthcare in the USA, infuriate me further.

    #575 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 09:13 AM:

    Rob Rusick @ 562... If he could barely see, he may not have appreciated

    Well, it's not as if Robo had his head screwed on the whole time he was backstage.

    #576 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 09:27 AM:

    Happy birthday, Xopher!

    #577 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 09:40 AM:

    Happy birthday, Xopher!

    On a more somber note, I'm remembering coming to Making Light eight years ago, desperate for news of what was going on in New York, and finding a place where I could get facts, informed opinion, and rational emotional response (if that makes any sense!) instead of panic and rumor. Thank you all.

    #578 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 09:58 AM:

    Today is the Diada, and should be honoured by a rousing rendering of .

    #579 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:00 AM:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Els_Segadors

    #580 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:08 AM:

    Xopher, happiest of birthdays! *puts on party hat, blows party horn with silver streamers*

    (I really do have a party horn with silver streamers.)

    #581 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:20 AM:

    Hippo Bashday Xopher! (and many happy reruns!!!! *grin*)

    #582 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:34 AM:

    Thank you, everyone! It's appreciated. And yes, I'm 50 today, and thus officially (according to my mother, who amazingly is Even Older than I am) an Old Fart.

    Department Of Things That Feel Significant But Probably Aren't: Today (that is, on September 11) I wrote check number 1776. *X-Files theme, or possibly warbly theremin, plays*

    #583 ::: fidelio (who is 51) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:36 AM:

    Xopher @582:

    Ha! You kid!

    #584 ::: Serge (who's 54) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:41 AM:

    Xopher @ 582... A mere 50. You kid get off my lawn!

    #585 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:54 AM:

    Happy Birthday Xopher!

    #586 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 11:05 AM:

    Ha! Looks like I'm joining a group of Excellent Old Farts (EOF). What a surprising encounter.

    Hey, isn't 'EOF encountered unexpectedly' an error message?

    #587 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 11:43 AM:

    Xopher @ 586... isn't 'EOF encountered unexpectedly' an error message?

    Not in these parts, which are populated with wonderful humans.

    #588 ::: Laina (who's 55) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 12:13 PM:

    Happy Birthday Xopher!

    #589 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 12:34 PM:

    JaydoX hep+J!q hddeH

    #590 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 12:37 PM:

    Happy birthday, Xopher!

    #591 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 12:38 PM:

    I opened this page planning on asking, "Hey, isn't it Xopher's birthday today?" And lo, my question was answered.

    Happy Birthday Xopher!

    #592 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 12:42 PM:

    (And belated birthday to Serge! I need to keep up on these open threads.)

    #593 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 12:58 PM:

    More thanks to more people! Wow, everyone's being so nice. Cheering me up today! Thanks.

    Erik, I'm going to use JaydoX as a sock puppet the anti-Xopher some time.

    #594 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 02:01 PM:

    Xopher, happy birthday, and voting for the warbly theremin. (Can theremins be warbly?)

    #595 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 02:13 PM:

    Bruce Cohen #516: On the question of Penrose tiles, non-periodic tilings are not difficult or new—you can make a non-periodic tiling from copies of a single triangle tile.* What has been developed since 1961 are aperiodic tilings, tilings of the plane with tile shapes that admit no periodic tiling. The first aperiodic tilings were due to Hao Wang using large numbers of tile shapes based on squares. Penrose was the first to demonstrate aperiodic tilings with only two shapes of tile.

    Penrose used shapes based on rhombuses, kites, and darts with pentagonal symmetry, and these shapes appear in classical Moorish tilings. However, these shapes do not by themselves generate aperiodic tilings, because the tile shapes can be used to tile periodically. It is only the particular matching constraints introduced by Penrose that make the tiling aperiodic.

    So the Moorish tilings are not the same as "Penrose, or quasi-crystal tesselations"† any more than a tiling by squares is a Wang tiling. Aperiodic tilings from a finite set of tile shapes were not demonstrated before Wang in 1961. The interest in aperiodic tilings is implied, though, as early as Hilbert's eighteenth problem from the last year of the nineteenth century.

    *For instance, an isosceles right triangle can be used to tile the plane periodically as squares bisected along a diagonal. A subset of the squares may be modified to use the other diagonal, producing a non-periodic tiling.

    †Though a large amount of confusion between the two is available on the net. The nature of Penrose's discovery is subtle and prone to misinterpretation, particularly if one concentrates on diagrams that do not emphasize the aperiodicity constraints.

    #596 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 02:41 PM:

    Hippo Birdie, Xopher! Congratulations on reaching your half-century!

    #597 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 03:07 PM:

    Happy Birthday Xopher, and a belated Happy Birthday to Serge.

    #598 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 03:18 PM:

    Happy birthday, Xopher!

    #599 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 03:30 PM:

    Happy birthday, Xopher!

    I'm only removing you from my lawn because it's actually a bog. [really evil smile]

    #600 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 04:26 PM:

    50? 50's nuthin', man!

    But happy birthday anyway, Xopher. May the nabobs renew the show for years to come.

    #601 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 04:35 PM:

    Linkmeister @ 600... I presume you're referring to the nabobs of nougativity.

    #602 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 04:41 PM:

    Or maybe Nestlé.

    #603 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 04:50 PM:

    So two questions came up at work today (from where I do not normally post, but this is a special case) as we were discussing ideas that come into your mind, clear as day, and then disappear:

    1) What is the word for that?

    2) It seems like the opposite of an epiphany, so what is the antonym of epiphany, anyway?

    #604 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 05:03 PM:

    Don Hoey @ 595:

    You're right, I used the wrong word when describing the Moorish tilings. They are in fact aperiodic, and they are based on the kite and the dart.

    #605 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 05:09 PM:

    I'm not sure the is a word for that; as an antonym for "epiphany", maybe "hypophany"?

    #606 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 05:15 PM:

    Diaphany?

    (Moose basing this on the word "epidiascope".)

    Cadbury.

    #607 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 05:35 PM:

    Comments on Sidelights:

    "We're Number 37" is a great little song.

    I also just listened to Terry Karney's interview/talk on interrogation. I think this is the most in-depth one I've heard, and it's well worth listening to if you haven't already.

    John A Arkansawyer @ 603:

    I don't think there really is a clear antonym for epiphany, but you could construct it from Greek. Although, really, it's not quite the antonym of epiphany, more of a mental eructation in that it presents itself loudly and then dissipates.

    #608 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 05:38 PM:

    Bruce Cohen @ 694:

    I think you need to reread #595. The Moorish tilings based on kites and darts are not aperiodic. Kites and darts can be assembled to form periodic tilings. It is necessary to add constraints, as Penrose did, to get aperiodicity.

    #609 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 05:41 PM:

    Don't know if anyone's seen this yet:

    http://ronaldchevalier.com/

    World's Coolest SF writer

    #610 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 06:13 PM:

    #609: WTF?

    Promotion for something?

    #611 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 06:17 PM:

    Stefan, 610: The "contact" link is for Sbk Frnepuyvtug. So yeah.

    #612 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 06:19 PM:

    Stefan @ 610 -

    Yep. That's Jemaine Clement, of Flight of the Conchords. He's going to be in Gentlemen Broncos, about a SF writer who rips off a fan.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentlemen_Broncos

    #613 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 07:35 PM:

    PJ@594: since theremins are played by waving ones hands in the neighborhood of two antennae, they have some difficulty \not/ warbling (although the usual quaver is slower than most deliberate variations).

    #614 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 08:04 PM:

    Thanks once again to everyone who wished me a happy birthday.

    CHip, if you watch Clara Rockmore (who was the greatest Thereminist ever), she vibrates her pitch hand as if there's a violin bridge in midair. She was trained as a violinist, so that may be why, except that of course her RIGHT hand is her pitch hand.

    LOLCLARA - INVISIBLE VIOLIN

    #615 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 08:13 PM:

    ¡ɹǝɥdoX ʎɐpɥʇɹıq ʎddɐH

    #616 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 08:25 PM:

    Elliott Mason, #555, LOL, people usually know me by my tie-dye shirts! I couldn't find any retail pants that fit me over several years and my pants were falling apart so I started asking around and finally ended up being referred to someone who used to work at Joann's and can use existing pants to make a new pattern that fits.

    Happy Birthday Xopher!

    #617 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 08:49 PM:

    We just had a Shuttle go by at extremely high speed. (First I knew it was landing at Edwards this time.)

    #618 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 09:26 PM:

    P J @ #617, yeah. The commenters at the Dodgers blog I read were a little startled. I liked one guy's comment: "I liked it better when I was in the Navy and created the sonic booms."

    #620 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:19 PM:

    This discussion led me to review the Wikipedia article on Penrose tiles, and I see that Penrose acknowledged Kepler's work on pentagonal tilings in Harmonices Mundi as the inspiration for his development of pentagonally-based tiles. Of course, Kepler's tilings were not aperiodic any more than the Moorish ones.

    Perhaps one reason for Penrose's interest is the well-known result that a tiling with fivefold rotational symmetry about a point cannot be periodic. Thus if a set of tile shapes could enforce fivefold symmetry, the tiling would be aperiodic. While Penrose did find a way to ensure aperiodicity in pentagonally-based tiles, it is notable that his tiles do not enforce fivefold symmetry. In fact, only two out of the 20 Penrose tilings possess fivefold symmetry.

    #621 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:21 PM:

    P J Evans @ 594: Don't bother asking about how a theremin works, all you'll get is handwaving.

    ¡ɹǝɥdox 'ʎɐpɥʇɹıq ʎddɐɥ

    #622 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:29 PM:

    Happy Birthday, Xopher!!

    #623 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:32 PM:

    Today has become a day whch exceeds the improvement capacity of Cheerful Things for the Stressed and Depressed. It would be much appreciated if there were additional suggestions to ameliorate the suckage.

    Stale crackers and tepid water are being applied, to cope with one of the attempted remedies, within physically possible limits.

    #624 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 10:52 PM:

    Happy birthday Xopher (also older than you, you punk ... grumble).

    #625 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 11:04 PM:

    hehehe
    ɥoddʎ qıɹpʎ, ʎpɹıq ʎddoɥ; ʎpɹıq ʎddoɥ 2u

    <gulp>

    Back in 2007 I wrote:

    It was rather confronting during the year-long (unofficial) election campaign we just had to find that the two expected future Prime Ministers (Kevin Rudd, now PM, and Peter Costello, former Treasurer) both had their 50th birthday. Which meant they were younger than me!! (<kids these days> <mutter, grumble>)
    Last year I found PNH was younger than me [I am?]. Now it turns out that Wise Old Elder Xopher (suddenly somewhat rehdoX — or possibly XopyaJ) is too! <hobbles, wheezing, off into sunset with actual contemporary, Serge. Allons, mes ami! As you once wrote "growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional".>

    #626 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 11:11 PM:

    May I add my good wishes to the celebration of Xopher's demicentenary (have I got that right? I'm not a math person and will not be playing with fibs or penroses). Likewise, yet more belated birthday greetings to Serge.

    #627 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2009, 11:58 PM:

    Hoppy Borthdea Zofer.

    #628 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 02:19 AM:

    Thanks again, everyone! It was pretty good, all things considered.

    Wise Old Elder Xopher?!?!?! Certainly never thought of myself that way—well, not here anyway.

    #629 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 07:21 AM:

    Xopher @ 628... Wise Old Elder Xopher?!?!?!

    That reminds me of the day I mentionned to some co-workers that my grey hair made me look distinguished, and how quickly one of the young ladies present immediately shot back that it made me look extinguished.

    #630 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 07:53 AM:

    Serge @ #629

    I'm sure you were most put out by that retort.

    Cadbury

    #631 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 08:30 AM:

    That word is forever linked, for me, with Michael Flanders’ remark

    “It’s no good going up to a scientist and saying to him like you would to anybody else, ‘Good morning, how are you, lend me a quid, and so on.’  He’ll just glare at you, or make a rude retort.”
    (At the Drop of Another Hat)

    #632 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 09:39 AM:

    Open-threadedness, directed to the attention of Fragano Ledgister (and anyone else who 'enjoys' grading papers), this essay from The Wilson Quarterly (via threequarksdaily).

    #633 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 09:40 AM:

    Cadbury Moose @ 630... Not at all. I reminded myself that she was but a child, and that one must sulfur the children, especially when they're no match.

    #634 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 11:47 AM:

    Rob Rusick #632: The link leads right back to this page.

    #635 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 12:33 PM:

    Had a grand time with Bill Higgins last night at Fermilab (it's cooler than I thought, and I was expecting pretty cool), and then a bite to eat.

    Went to the Field on Thursday, the Art Institute yesterday (the Seurat is cooler than I thought, and smaller), saw The Bean (WAY cooler than I expected; it has to be seen to be appreciated), and now am off to see a U-Boat.

    I have been blessed with wonderful hosts and am having, by fortunate grace, a wonderful (and somewhat needed) vacation.

    Tomorrow we work on saving the world.

    #636 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 12:53 PM:

    Fragano Ledgister @634: Sorry for the flub. Try this link.

    And that should have been 3quarksdaily.

    #637 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 02:57 PM:

    Rob Rusick #636: Ah, "Life Reeked with Joy." That's a well-known piece. Much shorter than his Ignorance is Blitz.

    #638 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 06:28 PM:

    Happy delayed birthday to Serge and Xopher.

    Re anti(?)-epiphany: "My muse burped."

    #639 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 06:40 PM:

    Terry Karney @ 635... You too had the pleasure of spending time with Bill? By the way, I wanted to confirm that the mini Fluorospherian Gathering in Oakland will indeed be held on the evening of Friday, September 25. I'll post the final details this coming Monday or Tuesday.

    #640 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 07:10 PM:

    "May I add my good wishes to the celebration of Xopher's demicentenary (have I got that right?)"

    Well, I haven't heard that word before, but I like how it sounds. And now I'm looking forward to my kids turning 12 and a half so I can congratulate them on their hemidemisemicentenary.

    Happy birthdays, Serge and Xopher!

    #641 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 07:20 PM:

    And it's UC Press book sale season again. This year's theme: 'Batteries Not Required'

    (Well, unless you get one of the PDF e-books that they make available.)

    #642 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 07:58 PM:

    John Stanning: I've just been introducing my 7 year old son to the joys of Flanders & Swann this past month. (All spurred on because suddenly I had to hear 'Design for Living' and ended up ordering the box set.) As I said elsewhere, it's disconcerting how topical many of their songs remain, 40+ years on.

    #643 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 09:00 PM:

    Fragano Ledgister @637: I didn't realize I was referencing a classic :)

    Can I haz an A?

    #644 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 09:28 PM:

    Rob Rusick #643: Wen yu haz dun A werk.

    #645 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 10:58 PM:

    Belated natal felicitations, Xopher!

    You were in your twenties when we met, so you're still a kid in my mind.

    #646 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2009, 07:48 AM:

    Disney, as reported by the BBC, are going to remake Yellow Submarine, using "the same motion-capture effects employed in Polar Express".

    Oh dear...

    Further down the page, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides".

    #647 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2009, 08:59 AM:

    Dave Bell @ 646... Disney remaking "Yellow Submarine" sounds likes a Sixties SF story's depiction of a satirical Future.

    #648 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2009, 09:35 AM:

    Fragano Ledgister @644: LOL!

    #649 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2009, 09:55 AM:

    Clifton Royston @ 642

    it's disconcerting how topical many of their songs remain, 40+ years on

    I agree. I love their songs and I'm constantly surprised by how they continue to fit the times. Okay, occasionally there are references which date them ("which Nasser is flooding next spring") but on the whole, still very relevant.

    Features of those songs which I really like are (in no particular order): they are funny without being cruel to anyone; they don't talk down to the audience - just matter-of-factly assume that you will know, or will look it up (as a teenager when first exposed to these, an adult explained the "chaqun a son gout" to me, for example, since I'd not met the phrase "chacun à son goût"); they play with words so delightfully.

    Time to go dig the tape out and enjoy...

    #650 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2009, 09:03 PM:

    Now, if Pixar remade Yellow Submarine . . .

    I listened to the Beatles' "1" album yesterday. Dang, they were good.

    #651 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2009, 09:14 PM:

    Imagine trying to review the new remastered Beatles box set for its musical value, rather than its worth as artifact.

    #652 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2009, 10:03 PM:

    Goddam it to hell. Jim Carroll is dead. I've always thought of him as Hawk from "Time Considered As A Helix Of Semi-Precious Stones".

    #653 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2009, 10:59 PM:

    Pixar will be too busy making John Carter of Mars. ... !!!!!

    Also, rumor has it that the new Pirates trilogy (!!!) will be starting with an adaptation of Tim Powers's book of said name. We here at The House are huge-mongous Pirates of the Caribbean fans (I kid you not, it was one factor in our move to the Caribbean in the first place, back in 2004), so news that a fourth will be coming is welcome. Yes, I know nobody but us liked the third one. I love it with a passion.

    #654 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2009, 11:59 PM:

    Michael Roberts @ 653... That darn "John Carter of Mars" project has been around forever so I won't hold my breath. Jon Favreau had been working on a live-action version, then the studio pulled the plug on that so he went on to make a movie you may have heard of that involved putting Robert Downy Jr inside a tin suit.

    #655 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2009, 10:13 AM:

    Interested in making light by the Bay Area?

    There’ll be a small gathering of Fluorospherians and others in Oakland on Friday, September 25, starting at 5:30pm. It'll be held at the Pacific Coast Brewing Company.

    If you're interested, go HERE.

    #656 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2009, 10:14 AM:

    Interested in making light by the Bay Area?

    There’ll be a small gathering of Fluorospherians and others in Oakland on Friday, September 25, starting at 5:30pm. It'll be held at the Pacific Coast Brewing Company.

    If you're interested, go HERE.

    #657 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2009, 10:29 AM:

    Also, rumor has it that the new Pirates trilogy (!!!) will be starting with an adaptation of Tim Powers's book of said name.

    "On Stranger Tides"? Nice.

    #658 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2009, 12:48 PM:

    'On Stranger Tides' with Johnny Depp? Whoaa.

    In other comments, Teresa, how the heck do you find these T-shirts? Between the "Acknoweldge" and the "Congress give us..." T-shirt I am thoroughly boggled. How do you have the time to hunt up these gems?

    #659 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2009, 01:03 PM:

    Bruce Cohen @ 604:

    Please disregard my response at #608. I certainly should have considered that the news was supposed to be surprising, and so counter to prevailing belief (at least, prevailing up to four years ago). In or out of context, though, I believe my response was arrogant and rude to you, and I deeply regret it. I once again resolve not to act that way in the future.

    I've looked at the article (which is now up on the Saudi Aramco World site) and the Science article on which it is based, and I am quite astonished to see that some 12-15th century artisans apparently developed the concept of hierarchical tiling (as described in Wikipedia under "Aperiodic tiling").

    As far as I can tell, these tiling methods actually do fall short of being aperiodic, in that there is no development of local adjacency constraints to enforce the hierarchical structure of the tiling. However, the use of hierarchical tiling is itself quite amazing. Thank you for bringing this to the fluorosphere.

    #660 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2009, 01:32 PM:

    Warning: the Titanic-and-iceberg Particle contains an auto-playing sound file of sufficient obnoxiousness to have made me immediately go for the Back button.

    #661 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2009, 02:24 PM:

    Thank you, Lee. I turned off my speakers before going to check.

    #662 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2009, 02:45 PM:

    Dan Hoey @ 660:
    Once again I'm impressed by the overall standard of discourse here. Brusque responses like your earlier one are sadly common throughout the net (and usually much ruder.) Sincere and gracious apologies are rare.

    Here's a link to another recent article (though more obscure) which cites Lu and Steinhardt, and also offers a mathematical proof that constructions based on certain combinations of girih tiles are in fact guaranteed to be nonperiodic:
    'Medieval Islamic Architecture, Quasicrystals, and Penrose and Girih Tiles: Questions from the Classroom', Raymond Tennant, Professor of Mathematics at Zayed University, in Proceedings – Bridges Conference Leeuwarden, CHN University Netherlands, 24-28 July 2008,
    found here.

    I was considering posting this last week but wanted to make sure my own tone was appropriate.

    #663 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2009, 09:30 PM:

    Terry@635: just how big were you expecting "Sunday" to be? Sondheim et al did have to take certain liberties in order to fit in all the live models -- and considering how painfully slow Seurat's technique was, it's a wonder the piece was ever finished.

    Dave Bell et al: I would love to see Powers get a fat check from Disney, but I have real trouble seeing how Depp's universe would be attached. Depp could play the lead in the Powers, but he wouldn't be Jack Sparrow in that case, and Powers's full-time pirates don't have as much style. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    #664 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 10:12 AM:

    Cliff Royston @ 662: Note that the eigenvalue-based proof only shows that hierarchical tilings (using a particular dissection rule) must be non-periodic. The tiles themselves admit periodic tilings. So there is no aperiodicity to be found there.

    #665 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 11:47 AM:

    Recording of Terry Karney on Chicago public radio (#518 above, and PNH sidelight) is gone from the WBEZ web site.  I missed it, rrrrr.  Did anybody keep the mp3 and can upload it to something like archive.org?

    #666 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 11:58 AM:

    No it isn’t!  On further digging, there’s a mp3 with a slightly different name, http://audio.wbez.org/wv/2009/09/wv_20090910b.mp3.  Terry is at the start of this one.  Very interesting.

    #667 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 12:44 PM:

    Powers's full-time pirates don't have as much style

    Dude, it has rogue immortal voodoo shaman pirate Blackbeard Teach in it. How much more style do you want?

    #668 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 03:55 PM:

    Tim Powers getting a check from Disney?

    When you watch cartoons, the cartoons see you.

    #669 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 04:42 PM:

    Open Threadiness (with the color washed out of the picture and disturbing music in the background):

    Obama is backing a renewal of the Patriot Act.

    We're still going to disappear our detainees into a deep dark hole somewhere, with no meainingful review of their guilt or treatment possible, but we promise not to torture them anymore

    Remember how everything Guantanamo stood for was against American values?

    "No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

    #670 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 05:56 PM:

    albatross @ 669... When we had a Gathering of Light last Christmas, Lenny Bailes expressed some skepticism about Obama. I thought we should wait until the latter had been sworn in before being disappointed. Obama IS betetr than anything the Republicans had, but... Lenny was right. I was wrong.

    Damn.

    #671 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2009, 06:43 PM:

    rogue immortal voodoo shaman pirate Blackbeard

    I think that kind of says it all, right there. The blurb I saw maintains it's "loosely based" - meaning, I figure, they'll be taking that magic concept and Blackbeard. That would fit into the Deppiverse quite nicely if you ask me.

    My question is whether Geoffrey Rush will be involved. He kinda has to be, since Barbosa last had possession of the Black Pearl. And also because he, like Depp, was clearly born to play a pirate.

    Second question: who's going to play Blackbeard? I am sitting here cackling and rubbing my hands together. I dearly love Pirates of the Caribbean.

    albatross @669 - oy.

    #672 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 01:50 AM:

    Michael Roberts #671:
    Second question: who's going to play Blackbeard? I am sitting here cackling and rubbing my hands together. I dearly love Pirates of the Caribbean.

    I think that I would prefer Brian Blessed in that role.

    #673 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 02:03 AM:

    CHip: I don't know how large I was expecting "Sunday" to be; maybe 10-15 percent.

    I think the size it is is about right, the viewing distances one can play with are wonderful, from the close-ups (I will be posting a photo, yclept "ceci n'est pas" of a very small piece of the canvase), to the grand design.

    A masterpiece. As gobsmacking as the Van Goghs.

    #674 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 02:41 AM:

    I am vastly amused by the Chaucer sparklie vampyre Particle.

    I am astonished at the length of time it took to transmit a 10Mb .tif file via e-mail today; upwards of 40 minutes (with DSL!).

    #675 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 03:25 AM:

    Michael Roberts @671: My question is whether Geoffrey Rush will be involved. He kinda has to be, since Barbosa last had possession of the Black Pearl.

    ISTR seeing somewhere that he said was interested in doing it. I somehow doubt, given this, that they wouldn't write him into the story _somehow_.

    #676 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 03:38 AM:

    i don't have time to read back right now, so apologies if this's been covered: is anyone else not getting the livejournal feed? the last three or four posts haven't appeared on my friends page.

    #677 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 08:57 AM:

    Earl Cooley III @ 672... I would prefer Brian Blessed in that role

    In case you're interested, Blessed will be in a movie that Kenneth Branagh is directing, based on the comic-book Thor. No, he's not playing Volstagg the Voluminous.

    #678 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 10:49 AM:

    Regarding the Gathering of Light in Oakland mentionned earlier in this thread, so far the following people will be attending: Kathryn from Sunnyvale, Dawno, Terry Karney with a guest of his, and me. I think TomB had expressed some interest, but I don't know how to reach him. Anybody else coming?

    #679 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 02:29 PM:

    Dan Hoey @ 659:

    Your apology was most gracious, and I accept it gladly. Thank you for reminding me why I enjoy the Making Light community so much: a civilized and civil bunch of people, who care about how their remarks are received by others.

    I'd like to continue the conversation about aperiodic tilings, but it will have to wait for 2 reasons: 1) I have a lunch date with some old friends, and 2) my copy of Grünbaum and Shephard's "Tilings and Patterns" is in a box here somewhere, and it will take a while to dig it out so I can refresh my memory (I last read it more than 10 years ago, so a lot of it has run out the drain at the bottom of my brain).

    #680 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 02:34 PM:

    Serge @ 678: I'll be there (although maybe not right at 5:30).

    #681 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 02:56 PM:

    Re: Village Voice Beatles remasters sidelight: (Man, Ringo didn't carry off the longhair look at all.) Chuck Klosterman has his own take on the Onion A.V. Club.

    BTW, a confession: I'm pretty sure that last week I listened to Rubber Soul and Revolver straight through as albums for the first time in my life (I had the Red and Blue Albums growing up). "Taxman" followed by "Eleanor Rigby" is really an odd juxtaposition if you're coming to it fresh in middle age.

    #682 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 04:20 PM:

    re the "ghost fleet" particle: The same thing happens with rail cars. Then they aren't in use they come home to roost. The industrial spur behind my office has been full of stored boxcars for months now, and the rail line between Helena and Great Falls in Montana is a very long string of piggyback and stack cars. Not a very happy sign.

    #683 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 06:30 PM:

    Just pure typographic coolness for all to enjoy.

    http://vimeo.com/6382511

    #684 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 06:36 PM:

    Tim Walters @ 680... Glad to hear you'll be at the Gathering of Light. I don't really expect anybody else to show up before 5:30, but that helps me stake out a better location. (Meaning, hopefully wayyyyyy in the back.) I'll make sure to bring some reading material. Heck, I'm an SF fan so of course I always have something to read, in case of lulls.

    #685 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 09:02 PM:

    apropos of absolutely nothing except somebody sent this to me. there are no words.

    http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2009/09/01/a-hidden-gem-in-html/

    I want a job with a company that has the money to pay for the time it took to build something like that.

    #686 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 09:15 PM:

    Lin Daniel @ #685, that's astonishing. It puts the "Random Lunch Generator" program I found in a software package one of my former employers purchased to shame.

    (In case anyone wonders, that Lunch program was built in RPG II and had a table filled with restaurant names. It was useless in Culver City, the location of the machine I installed it on, since all the restaurants were local to the offices of the software developer in Dallas.)

    #687 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 08:30 AM:

    Question to the Making Light Encyclopedia: Why are there so many cases of former US congresspeople who aren't in Congress anymore because, while they were in the House, they lost a race for the Senate? Why didn't they run for the Senate and at the same time for reelection to their House seat, planning to resign their House seat if they should win both elections? Is there a law against that? Or some kind of unwritten rule?

    #688 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 09:07 AM:

    I showed the link Lin @685 cites to one of my colleagues. He shook his head. "I don't believe it. Too far-fetched, too much effort for something no one would see."

    "Dude," I replied, "You are talking to the person who hid a sonnet in a test completion report."

    "Point."

    #689 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 09:33 AM:

    Raphael, whether someone can run for two offices at once (they can only hold one, however many they may win) is something decided by the individual states. In general, they frown on that sort of bet-hedging. If you want to move up, you've got to take the chance you'll lose.

    There are some exceptions, usually as the result of ballot deadlines--I think there's been at least one, and maybe two cases of someone who was already running for re-election to the Senate when they were tapped as a vice-presidential candidate; since there wasn't time to re-do the primary in their home state before the election, they were left on the ballot; if they won as VP, they'd have been expected to surrender the Senate seat and their home state would have proceded to fill that spot through the usual procedures (appointment by governor or special election, as these are the most common methods.)

    #690 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 10:04 AM:

    Tim Walters @ 680... If you know how to reach Lenny Bailes, could you let him know about that Gathering of Light? When some of us met last December, he almost didn't find out about it even though I had been rather embarassed at repeatedly posting about it what I thought was too frequently. I don't want to make that mistake again. (I usually don't make the same mistake more than once, I just keep coming up with new ones.)

    #691 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 10:09 AM:

    I haven't hidden anything in code itself, but I've entertained myself by posting comments in code, such as:

    WARNING: IF YOU NEED TO CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE PROCEDURE BELOW, BE DAMNED SURE OR THOU WILL BE SURELY DAMNED.

    #692 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 11:15 AM:

    Serge @ 690: Unfortunately, I don't have any contact info for Lenny.

    #693 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 11:18 AM:

    I spent this past weekend worrying about whether any of my kids would catch one of the various "stomach bugs"/illnesses going around our area--- what started as an apparent case of stomach flu in my oldest resulted in a field trip to the nearby children's hospital to deal with what turned out to be Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

    I've got an entirely new appreciation for Big Medicine, caffeinated drinks, and the Child's Play Charity-- it's amazing how easy kids will ignore IVs, chest leads, and a pulse-ox meter if they have a game controller in their hand.


    #694 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 11:24 AM:

    I spent this past weekend worrying about whether any of my kids would catch one of the various "stomach bugs"/illnesses going around our area--- what started as an apparent case of stomach flu in my oldest resulted in a field trip to the nearby children's hospital to deal with what turned out to be Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

    I've got an entirely new appreciation for Big Medicine, caffeinated drinks, and the Child's Play Charity-- it's amazing how easy kids will ignore IVs, chest leads, and a pulse-ox meter if they have a game controller in their hand.

    We're sitting in the room, waiting for lunch and the labs to see if his electrolytes are back within the realms of normalcy. Two nights in hospital are enough, in the kid's opinion.

    #695 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 11:25 AM:

    Tim Walters @ 692... Curses! Let's hope Lenny notices. Say, do you know how to contact TomB?

    #696 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 11:26 AM:

    Whoops. double post.

    #697 ::: Bill B ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 11:37 AM:

    .... and verily, my son's prelunch blood sugar: 129.

    #698 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 12:23 PM:

    Serge,

    I had an email address for Lenny. Dates from 2001, so I can't guarantee it's still up to date, but I dropped him a note to check here.

    #699 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 12:31 PM:

    Bill B -- is that a new diagnosis for your son? In any case, good luck with it!

    #700 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 01:05 PM:

    Serge @ 695: Again, sadly, no. Kathryn might have his address.

    #701 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 01:07 PM:

    Bruce Arthurs @ 698... Thanks!

    #702 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 01:09 PM:

    Tim Walters @ 700... Foiled again!

    #703 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 01:52 PM:

    Raphael at 687:
    In some cases, maybe it's a case of people who know they can't win the house again figuring they have nothing to lose by aiming high and trying to get into the senate.

    #704 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 02:13 PM:

    #702 ::: Serge ... Foiled again!

    So the attendees list isn't a wrap? Going to run it once Saran the block?

    #705 ::: Bill B ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 02:29 PM:

    Rikibeth @ #699-

    Nope, he was 1st diagnosed in Feb of 2008. He's been relatively well controlled for a preteen, according to his endocrinologist.

    #706 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 02:43 PM:

    Wow, I just read the Jim Crow particle, and there's this little bit by Martin Luther King:


    The Southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than a black man.

    That man sure could talk! And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide.... Poetry.

    Somebody progressive has to figure out how to harness the anger of the poor white man in America. I know my own poor-white-man anger makes me pretty damned liberal, and I can't be that unusual, or so you'd think. And yet I'm surrounded, here in Indiana, by just such individuals who have somehow gotten the notion that Fox News is the voice of their people, and not the opiate of their masses.

    It's beyond comprehension.

    #707 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 03:15 PM:

    #707:

    Oh, it's not beyond comprehension.

    Along with poor-white-man anger goes poor-white-man ignorance and suspicion.

    It is so, so easy to use the latter two to manipulate the first.

    #708 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 03:16 PM:

    Miriam @676 and anyone else who uses LJ: Live Journal seems to have stopped providing RSS feeds. This is a nuisance, since I haven't set up feeds anywhere else, and I depend on it for, among other things, xkcd.

    If I have to set up my own, any ideas for an easy way to do it?

    #709 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 03:46 PM:

    Well, after a summer with us, Lol is gone.

    He really wanted to be an indoor cat, always coming in and trying to find a way further into the house. And he wasn't going to be happy living out in the shed over the winter.

    We tried him out as an indoor cat, but Martin is simply too allergic.

    So when posters didn't work, and when calls round proved that no one had reported a cat missing to the dierenambulancie (which keeps track of these things), we called the shelter that covers our area. They're a no-kill shelter; places are permanent unless the cat is adopted.

    They had a place, so Martin and the kids took him there this afternoon.

    He was much better off at the end of his time with us than at the beginning. His leg injury healed up, he filled out well, and he was much less skittish than he'd started out. We did our best by him, then said goodbye.

    I hope he goes to a good home, or is happy in the shelter.

    #710 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 04:02 PM:

    Michael:

    That's a hell of a turn of phrase, and the impact of the meaning is even sharper than the words. Damn.

    As far as what poor whites are upset/exercised about, I strongly recommend not counting on media images to work out how people are feeling as a whole--the media distorts at least as much as it informs.

    Here is a link to a little hard data. On page 10 of the PDF, you can find detailed breakdowns of assessments of Obama's performance. Among whites, the highest approval numbers (and lowest disapproval numbers) for the president come from the people with less than $30K/year income. (46% approval, 37% disapproval) Both numbers worsen for the president as you go up the income scale.

    However, whites with a college degree have more favorable numbers w.r.t. Obama than people with less education. That's kind of interesting, since more education is also correlated with more income. I'm sure there is really good data out there somewhere that gives a real picture of this stuff.

    But the most important thing, IMO, is to recognize that what's easily visible (especially from media reports, which tend to focus on interesting things and amplify confirmation bias (by reporting mostly stuff that confirms the bias you and they share)) isn't the whole picture or a good representation of it.

    #711 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 04:11 PM:

    Magenta@708: According to the status page, the RSS outage is a known problem that's being worked on. So it's apparently not The End of RSS Service; at least, if it is they're so far afraid to admit it.

    However, I do find it awfully convenient to just run my own RSS reader at home. I use Sharpreader (for Windows). A lot of people use the Google web-based reader as well.

    #712 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 04:30 PM:

    abi @ 709... I hope things work out for Lol. As for yourself, you did the best you could.

    #713 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 05:05 PM:

    Carol Kimball @ 704...

    Coughgagsplutter!
    My (tinfoil) hat to you.

    #714 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 06:55 PM:

    Brilliant, sobering, sad:

    Working Class Zero

    ... Mark Williams, a Sacramento talk radio host, was speaking to CNN on behalf of the demonstrators — many of whom carried signs comparing Obama to a witch doctor, an undocumented worker or a Nazi — when he played the blue collar card.

    Who is Williams? A garden variety demagogue who calls Obama “an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug” and the Democratic party “a domestic enemy” of America. He also refers to the president as “racist in chief.” That says all you need to know about leaders of the Tea Party movement.

    Williams repeatedly invoked the “working stiffs” who feel left out. Working people are always the last to get aboard the gravy train, and the first to be used in campaigns that will not advance their cause. And with these demonstrators, and the hucksters trying to distract them from real issues, history repeats itself.

    Where was the Tea Party movement when the tax burden was shifted from the high end to the middle? Where were the patriots when Wall Street, backed in Congress by Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, rewrote securities laws so that the wonder boys of Lehman and A.I.G. could reduce home mortgages to poker chips at a trillion-dollar table?

    Where were the angry “stiffs” when the banking industry rolled the 2005 Congress into rewriting bankruptcy law, making it easier to keep people in permanent credit card hock?

    Where were they when President Bush started the bailouts, with $700 billion that had to be paid on a few days’ notice — with no debate — to save global capitalism?

    They were nowhere, because they were clueless, just as most journalists were.

    But now, at a time when a new president wants to reform health care to fix the largest single cause of middle-class economic collapse, he’s called a Nazi by these self-described friends of the working stiff.

    #715 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 08:01 PM:

    Bill Blum, #693, I'm glad you got him to the hospital in time!

    abi, #709, good for you and your family for helping Lol.

    #717 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 08:48 PM:

    Tonight, the premiere of Fringe's 2nd season...

    #718 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 08:49 PM:

    abi @ 688:

    Dare I ask how one hides a sonnet in a test completion report? I thought things like that wound up being in plain sight, but I guess I'm just not devious enough.

    Lee @ 716:

    I think that's the best list of things like that that I've seen yet.

    In other news:

    In what is either too much or too little self-awareness, a Texas Republican rep complains that the government-funded DC Metro wasn't up to the task of carrying tax protesters to their rally.

    #719 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 09:09 PM:

    I have an email addy for TomB, and will let him know.

    #720 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 09:17 PM:

    Terry Karney @ 719... Good, good.

    #721 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 10:21 PM:

    Stefan @707 - OK, it's hardly beyond comprehension, granted. And I don't know where you are or where you grew up, but I grew up in rural Indiana, the son of a man in the automotive industry, and I'm living in small-town Indiana. I get the poor-white-man psyche, because that is what we're made of here, even though I'm pretty much in this world, though not of it.

    [Note to albatross @710 - I'm not relying at all on media imagery; after my wife dropped the TV a year ago, we just ... stopped cable. Now we bought a TV again, but it's in the basement and used only for watching VCR tapes and the occasional DVD that we don't want to watch on a computer. Since being back in Indiana, I'm grokking the Amish a lot better. You don't want the TV in your living space.]

    But I'm talking about the people I talk to, right now. Granted, I don't talk in depth to many people. I'm the hermit type, and I just don't get into deep conversation in person very much. Basically, my human interaction consists of my kids, my Eurocommunist/physicist wife, my Quaker/Brethren-influenced mother and stepfather, my retired automotive engineering back-to-the-lander father, the massively overweight recovered alcoholic cabdriver across the street who cadges my WiFi (with permission) to watch Fox News, the biker-gang-slash-future rock star contractor working on my roof, the Vietnam vet across the other street, the Quaker missionary/landlord-to-the-poor catercornered from me whose foreclosed house I now live in, the 80-IQ unemployed construction worker across the street, the math teacher-slash-landlady down the street buying up disadvantaged property so out-of-towners don't slumlord it back into oblivion, and assorted metal pickers and dog walkers. So maybe, what, fifteen people?

    Of those, yeah, possibly about four or five are the poor-white-man demographic I'm talking about. What provoked me this week is the taxi driver bringing Fox packets through my router and thinking the "Clinton News Network" is too liberal for his taste! Yikes! The original chicken voting for Colonel Sanders! This guy has twin babies, his wife is at home, they live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment for $400 a month, he's Microsoft certified and can't afford Internet connectivity, and ... where do you think he'll get health care? He won't. He's fat and diabetic, his wife has no teeth but a history of drug use, and let's just hope his sons aren't going to have health problems ever, because if they do, American society will watch them die. Why on God's green Earth shouldn't he be cheering Obama in the streets? (Well, assuming Obama was really going to give us health care, but let's just not go that route right now.) He won't come out and admit to racism, that's become uncouth, thank God, but he did tell me the neighborhood never had problems with mice or roaches before those people across the alley moved in. He meant the Mexicans, who are arguably the highest-quality people on this entire block, given that they're quiet churchgoers who actually work for a living.

    That there is a man eating Jim Crow.

    What's frustrating to me, having grown up here, is that people can't see through the manipulation. I've got the advantage of having read voraciously as a child/teen and then having left the country for a while, but still. They're so very easily manipulated. They so very desperately want to believe they've got some reason to be superior to somebody else, no matter what kind of screwups they might be in real life.

    It has to be possible to harness that for good. It just has to be.

    #722 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 10:39 PM:

    Oh, also my dad and my wife got into a political discussion last week when I was incautious enough to leave them alone in a room together. Ha!! My dad is one of those guys who likes to provoke you by being as not-what-you-are as possible, but he leans Republican to start with (except for Obama, although he now thinks he made a distinct mistake).

    My wife said she had been wavering, but the discussion convinced her that she is a dyed-in-the-wool Communist and she's not going to resist that any more, given the alternative.

    #724 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 11:27 PM:

    http://glasswings.com/timetitties/

    A silly video.

    #725 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 11:28 PM:

    http://glasswings.com/timetitties/

    A silly video from Australia.

    #726 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 11:29 PM:

    xeger @ 723... I'd like to see the MythBusters do something with that.

    #727 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2009, 11:35 PM:

    Sorry Sorry about about the the double double post post ..

    #729 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2009, 03:15 AM:

    Can anyone recommend software for cataloging books that can be used on both a Mac and an iPhone?

    When I'm browsing through a bookstore, or trying to remember the name of a book while talking to a friend, I like to be able to check a catalog of my books. I've been using a database on an old Palm PDA, backed up to a Mac, but the database software I'm using is not really being maintained anymore, so it's time to move on. I recently bought an iPhone, and assumed that I'd be able to find a tool that I could access both from my Mac and from the iPhone. Hah! Amazon's terms and conditions for their API forbids using their data for an application that runs on a mobile device. They shut down Delicious Library's iPhone app back in July.

    I'd really prefer not to have a "cover flow" sort of graphics-intensive view on either the iPhone or the PC. I could tolerate one, but I prefer lists of authors and titles.

    #730 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2009, 03:48 AM:

    Keith S @718:
    Dare I ask how one hides a sonnet in a test completion report? I thought things like that wound up being in plain sight, but I guess I'm just not devious enough.

    Write a slightly labored but plausible "Lessons Learned" section of the document:

    A lesson to be learned from OAT is that the planning which assumes a test will only run just once requires the best environmental outcome, that there'll be no faults to find, and that the personnel will be available to run as planned. This doesn't happen—often tests are canned, the system breaks, or scripts aren't running well. Each test should be assumed to run at least two times, with some days left aside to do investigations, and to test the new code fixes some before they are released. It's no good planning that we'll hit a date if known retesting means that we'll be late.

    Then in the document properties section, put a note explaining where the line breaks go to make:

    A lesson to be learned from OAT
    Is that the planning which assumes a test
    Will only run just once requires the best
    Environmental outcome, that there'll be
    No faults to find, and that the personnel
    Will be available to run as planned.
    This doesn't happen—often tests are canned,
    The system breaks, or scripts aren't running well.
    Each test should be assumed to run at least
    Two times, with some days left aside to do
    Investigations, and to test the new
    Code fixes some before they are released.
    It's no good planning that we'll hit a date
    If known retesting means that we'll be late.

    It's not a good structural sonnet; though the octave sets the problem and the sestet solves it, the lines don't fall naturally into units. But as an exercise, it was fun.

    #731 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2009, 07:24 AM:

    janetl @ 729:

    Can anyone recommend software for cataloging books that can be used on both a Mac and an iPhone?

    Readerware has an OS X version and will export to the iPod's Notes format and to a generic HTML to take with you.

    #732 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2009, 10:33 AM:

    janetl @ 729:

    It's a web app rather than a desktop app, but I'm very fond of LibraryThing. The advantage of it is that anywhere you have web access you have access to your library, and you don't have to worry about synchronizing it among different devices.

    abi @ 730:

    Ah, I'm not devious enough after all, but I'm learning. I like that.

    #733 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2009, 10:40 AM:

    abi #730:

    *snork* Very nice!

    #734 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2009, 02:43 PM:

    Too cool not to share: Using flickr to map cities in 3D (youtube, via gizmodo)

    #735 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2009, 05:10 PM:

    Jordin Kare zaps mosquitoes with lasers!

    #736 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2009, 09:26 PM:

    Raphael -- there's an obvious reason to bar double-running: decently-run elections aren't cheap even if you don't have to bootstrap them. If the candidate actually wins both posts, you'd need a rerun for whichever post is vacated. I suspect some state somewhere has neglected to formally bar running for two major offices, but it's probably very uncommon.

    #737 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2009, 01:05 AM:

    abi @ 730:

    [swoons gracefully onto divan, overcome by geek poesy]
    Oh for a tester like you.

    #738 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2009, 05:12 AM:

    Looking at the PNH particle about the Ghost Fleet--a huge number of cargo ships being laid up because of a lack of business--I think I've been seeing the effects. I've never seen the UK's retail websites saying so much stuff is "temporarily out of stock".

    And I've also heard a few stories about "just in time" systems, both for production and for spare parts.

    I wouldn't advise anyone to rely on late Christmas shopping this uear.

    #739 ::: MIchael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2009, 06:22 AM:

    CHip@736

    There are actually a couple of states that allow people to run in at least some combinations of two major offices at the same time. Two of the last three Democratic VP candidates, for example, were also running for their Senate seats.

    (Of course, most states fill vacated Senate seats by appointment, usually until the next general election.)

    #740 ::: B.Loppe ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2009, 11:48 AM:

    This is a test of the Making Light Information system.

    A while back, I searched the series of tubes for the lyrics to a children's song my mother used to sing for us, and lo and behold, I found them. It is an English song, and there was a website that had the lyrics and bit of history about the song, and even mentioned the details of a recording of it.

    Now, when search for the same site, I can't find it, as my google-fu is apparently too weak.

    I wonder if anyone else is familiar with this song, or, might be able to find that site again.

    The song's lyrics:

    A, B, C,
    Tumbledown D
    E, F, G, H, I know.
    I, J, K, L,
    M, and N, Brings me right back to O.
    P, Q, How do you do?
    R, S, T, U, Very Well.
    V, W, Don't let it trouble you,
    X, Y, Z, That's all I know.

    It's a lovely, lilting tune.

    It's also *not* the rhyme that goes, "A, B, C, Tumble-down D, Cat's in the cupboard but can't see me."

    Many thanks for your time and interest.

    This has been a test of the Making Light Information System.

    #741 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2009, 09:44 PM:

    Today:
    Arrgh, mateys!

    #742 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2009, 10:50 PM:

    Today: plumbing problems. Bah.

    #743 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2009, 11:10 PM:

    xeger @ 742... Very bad ones? Extremely annoying?

    #744 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2009, 11:31 PM:

    And did the plumber talk like a pirate all day?

    #745 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2009, 11:46 PM:

    Plumbing problems are something for which I have great sympathy. At the beginning of 2009, our house was effectively unhabitable for nearly five months. The proximate cause was sewer gases; the root cause was bad original construction circa 1971. In dealing with it all, I learned about pressure ("bowl") and smoke testing plumbing systems.

    #746 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 04:32 AM:

    OG @ 731 and KeithS @ 732: Thanks for the advice. After looking at Readerware, Goodreads, and Delicious Library, I finally settled on Library Thing. What I liked best about Library Thing was that I can turn off the cover art! I want to see 20 books on a page, not 8. You can turn off the pictures in Delicious, too, but it appears to be general purpose, while Library Thing is completely reader-centric.

    It took some fussing about to get the 150 records from Goodreads imported, but not too bad. Its database is also keyed off of ISBN numbers. The hard part will be coming up with a way to get the 3000 records out of my old home-brew system. I didn't bother with ISBN numbers, since it was created before linking to a database of books over the internet was imagined.

    It's annoying that Amazon forbids creating a phone app that accesses Amazon's database. All these inexpensive book cataloging products for consumers use Amazon's database, and Amazon is presumably happy as a clam about that as it drives book buying — that's why Amazon provides the capability. I'm not sure what the logic is in specifically preventing that access on portable devices. Amazon is certainly happy to provide Kindle software for the iPhone. You can access a web page from a browser on your phone, but the user experience would be a lot better with a native app written for the phone. Library Thing has a web page formatted for phones that is just (barely) usable.

    #747 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 04:42 AM:

    Follow-up to 746: It's worth noting that Delicious Library used to have an iPhone app, and had to withdraw it due to Amazon's objection. I have no idea how nice an app it was. If it was well done, I probably would have picked Delicious over Library Thing, since that would have given me more control over my data, and faster access on my portable device.

    #748 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 09:52 AM:

    Serge @ 743 ... xeger @ 742... Very bad ones? Extremely annoying?

    It could have been a shittier day... but the plumber's due back today, to take one of the walls apart...

    albatross @ 744 ... And did the plumber talk like a pirate all day?

    Fortunately the plumber didn't talk like a pirate -- I fear I'd have reacted rather less cheerfully than one might desire.

    Henry Troup @ 745 ...
    Plumbing problems are something for which I have great sympathy. At the beginning of 2009, our house was effectively unhabitable for nearly five months. The proximate cause was sewer gases; the root cause was bad original construction circa 1971. In dealing with it all, I learned about pressure ("bowl") and smoke testing plumbing systems.

    Yargh! I'm (thus far) only learning about the intricacies of shared sewer systems, the unique nature of some of the 'renovations' next doors, the latest in pipe mapping technologies from the Rigid tool company, and the slope(s) of my basement floor...

    ... oh yes -- and that the odds of cast iron pipe deciding to fail catastrophically increase in dramatic proportion to the amount of time you don't have available to spend babysitting said pipe failure...

    #749 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 10:03 AM:

    xeger @ 748... Yeah. Having to take one wall apart takes your plumbing problems into the it-couldn't-be-much-worse realm.

    Igor: Could be worse.
    Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: How?
    Igor: Could be raining.
    [it starts to pour]

    #750 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 10:30 AM:

    What a difference eight years, and different management, can make...

    September 11, 2001 -- national disaster and consequent economic malaise (one of companies which had been in discussions with my then-employer as a likely customer had had offices in the World Trade Center. The discussions terminated without sales. Other customers shut their wallets and suddenly the orders and revenue stream evaporated. The investors shut their wallets, and the company went out of existence in a Chapter 7 dissolution bankruptcy before the end of 2002--it had gone into into skeleton staffing by June 2002, more than half the employees got laid off the day before Thanksgiving Day in 2001, then wave after wave of continuing layoffs going forward (the company was down to under a quarter the size it had been at the start of 2001, when I was laid off in April 2002) until in caretakers status. And when no one came forward with funds for a rescue, the bankruptcy court scheduled the auction for the disposal of the corporate assets in late 2002, and then the company went out of existence)).

    Sept 11, 2009. The USA and the rest of the world are in recession, arguably dragged there from the values and policies and actions of Dick Cheney and his nominal boss and their legions of appartchiks and supporters and robber baron associates and oversight dismantlers and anti-regulation zealots and religious zealots. Cheney etc. are out of office, but the damage has been massive, and the court system of the USA is completely infested with appointees put into position in 2001-2008, along with those put in during the times of Daddy Bush and Ronald the Alzheimer's sufferer. The US civil service is full of "burrowed in" zealots from 2001-2008 and purged of many of the people who actually were competent at carrying out any federal work other than sabotage, repurposing and/or eradication of any programs that the religious zealots and robber barons considered objectionable to their interests.

    HOWEVER--unlike in 2001, there was no national emergency on 2001. No disaster occurred. There had been conspiracy and plot for terrorist attack in the USA on September 11, 2009--but what a different eight years and a change of management makes. This year, the President of the USA is not a Gentleman's C recovering apparently brain-damaged recovering junkie and alcoholic religious extremist, and the Vice President is not robber baron. This year, the President didn't spend the entire summer on vacation, and didn't go out of his way to refuse to acknowledge to that there were a clear and imminent terrorist threat of attack.

    And this year, instead of a national trauma from suicide bomber mass murder orchestrated multiple attacks, there is still that recession and people out of work and homeless from the effects of eight years of ruthless zealots running the country into the ground, BUT, the planned attacks for September 11, 2009 didn't happen--the FBI actually performed positively regarding identifying and responding to threats to the national security job and preventing attacks, instead of acting in ways to facilitate them (the FBI in 2001 responding to requests from agents in Phoenix and Minneapolis for search warrants against what turned out to be conpirers of the 9/11/2001 atrocities, with cease and desist squelching orders...).

    The news media, or at least some of it, seems to be begrudgingly admitting that the FBI intervened to prevent disaster that would have happened 9/11/2009--but the news media hasn't done nothing regarding compare and contrast.... And the news media hasn't pointed out that there was no "enhanced inquiry" methods uses, that there were no measures involved that involved change from procedures in use BEFORE the Schmuck's appointment to the office of the Presidency of the United States, or that what the big differences were, was that in 2009 the FBI was not going out of its way to avoid investigating foreign nationals from Islamic majority countries acting in odd/suspicious fashions....

    #751 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 10:36 AM:

    Paula @750:

    Um, what planned attacks on September 11, 2009? Link, please? I'm a little confused here.

    #752 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 12:27 PM:

    abi @ #751 - probably this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8265201.stm

    Cadbury.

    #753 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 01:31 PM:

    #748, the "Seesnake". I have a couple of hours of the world's most boring video from inside my pipes. There's a new consumer version out, but it doesn't have the length to be useful for plumbing, I think it's 24" long. We ran the big one out to the city sewer, about 30 feet.

    Not playing one-up here, but we had to jackhammer part of the basement floor.

    #754 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 01:50 PM:

    Henry Troup @ 753 ...
    Not playing one-up here, but we had to jackhammer part of the basement floor.

    For cases like this, it's not one-up, it's one-down ;)

    Speaking of down, over here it appears that we've just won a deep pit instead of a front yard, starting tomorrow...

    #755 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 02:00 PM:

    xeger @ 754... we've just won a deep pit

    I hope the person in charge of the pit isn't called Quatermass.

    #756 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 02:41 PM:

    janetl @ 746:

    If you can figure out how to export your home-brew system to a CSV file, LibraryThing should be able to import it. They have more information in the sidebar on their import page (you probably have to be logged in to see it).

    My completely unfounded guess about Amazon restricting mobile phone access to their database is that if you're checking from a phone you might very well be *gasp* in a bookstore.

    Crossing the threads of Talk Like a Pirate Day and LibraryThing, I was amused by LibraryThing's pirate-speak interface.

    #757 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 04:14 PM:

    Serge @ 755 ...
    xeger @ 754... we've just won a deep pit
    I hope the person in charge of the pit isn't called Quatermass.

    That'd give me a different sort of story, for sure... :P

    #759 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 04:26 PM:

    #753
    I first heard about that sort of device being used for internal inspection of much larger pipe, like water mains, with the video camera going with the flow. (Gas pipes don't get video, but there are some very smart pigs out there, for them as can afford it. I've heard 6-or-7 figures a mile, for transmission lines.)

    #760 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 08:18 PM:

    MIchaelI@739: I do remember, thanks to prompting, that there was some argument over Lieberman-the-traitor's running for both his Senate seat and the Veepacy, especially since the Republican governor of CT would probably have misappointed a replacement if Gore had won. (As MA in 2004 also worried wrt Kerry, leading to interesting cases of law, counter-law, and counter-counter-law agitation as we look for an immediate/interim replacement for Kennedy.) Does that apply to anyone, or simply to people stepping up to national office from the Senate? I know it does not apply at a more local level in MA, where we lost at least one good state rep who tried for the House seat Joe Kennedy ended up taking (roughly, west-of-Boston).

    #761 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 08:55 PM:

    Cadbury @752, I thought it might be that, but those three guys were just taken into custody this weekend. If they'd been aiming to do something on 11 Sep 2009, they'd have done it already more than a week ago.

    #762 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 09:59 PM:

    Chip #760:

    Yes, and imagine the damage that would have been done by a Bush follower in Lieberman's place....oh, wait. Nevermind.

    #763 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 10:09 PM:

    Tomorrow, I'm off to the Bay Area, where I'll spend the whole week. I haven't seen the team I work with since late February and I thought it was time to fix that. For one thing, my new boss and I haven't yet met. Hopefully I'll become a real person to him, and hopefully (in spite of the so-so way our long-distance working relationship has been) he'll become someone I can trust. If he doesn't, well, it'll have been the chance for me to meet my in-laws and friends.

    Still, wish me luck.

    #764 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 10:27 PM:

    Serge @ 763 ...
    Given the way things have been going for me lately, I'm not sure if it's a good idea for me to wish you luck ... but I'll wish you the best possible outcome, given the circumstances ;)

    #765 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 11:10 PM:

    #761 Avram
    There are people in custody in New York, who've been in there a few days... allegedly they were attempting to rent the largest truck available at a rental agency, tried four different non-working credit cards, and the rental agency clerk, smelling a large stinky rat, called the authorities. The authorities started investigating, and started arrested people... it's been on NPR and other media outlets.

    Ah, here
    http://www.wbur.org/news/npr/113004932
    Arrests Made In Terrorism Probe
    By Dina Temple-Raston

    ...law enforcement sources ...have told NPR that seven men linked to the alleged plot were arrested in New York last week.

    ..allege[dly] the men tried to rent a large U-Haul truck earlier this month. The truck rental service turned the men away when they wanted to pay cash and refused to leave identification...

    one law enforcement source ...said they found ...backpacks and ... mobile phones, [and] a bomb-making manual and ... receipts.

    ...plan ... to do a series of train bombings similar to the March 2004 attacks in Madrid. ... similarities — backpacks, mobile phones, the chemicals authorities think were going to be used ....

    #766 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2009, 11:29 PM:

    Paula @765, yeah, those are the same guys from the story Cadbury linked to @752. It's far from clear that they were planning anything for Sep 11. According to the AP, Najibullah Zazi rented a car in Denver, drove to NYC, entered Manhattan on Sep 10, talked to some people about a coffee cart, and then flew back to Denver.

    Ahmad Wais Afzali spoke to Zazi on the phone sometime "around" Sep 11, say the FBI, and mentioned that he'd been questioned by the authorities. I suppose it's possible that the group might have originally planned something for the 11th, then been frightened off by FBI attention, but that's not been stated by any of the sources I've seen quoted.

    Terrorists have shown themselves to be quite satisfied to launch attacks on whatever days are convenient for them, rather than scheduling them on dramatic anniversaries.

    #767 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 12:13 AM:

    xeger @ 764... Thanks, and my best wishes that your plumbing woes will soon be stopped.

    #768 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 02:12 AM:

    RE: Xeger's plumbing misery, and Henry Troup @ 753: Not playing one-up here, but we had to jackhammer part of the basement floor.

    I'm totally one-upping Henry, and I sincerely hope that I'm one-upping Xeger:

    - Jackhammer up every bit of pipe under the basement floor, and replace it.
    - Replace pipe from kitchen sink down to basement.
    - Replace 97-year-old terracotta sewerline from edge of house to street.

    Two weeks. I have forgotten how many dollars, and I am not going to look it up. I can't really complain that the system only lasted 97 years.

    #769 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 02:29 AM:

    KeithS @756:

    I liked LibraryThing's pirate-speak interface, too. The more I use its tagging and collection features, the more I like it.

    I used LT's import page to get my books from GoodReads. My home-brew database won't import because it lacks ISBNs. I was just tracking what I owned, and had read, so I didn't bother with ISBN or publisher. LibraryThing naturally tries to identify a book by ISBN.

    #770 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 03:20 AM:

    Paula: With what's been announced to date, I've got to say that so far it sounds to me a whole lot like one of the Bush administration's show trials^Warrests. Different spokespeople seem to be contradicting each other on what the arrested parties have admitted to or even been accused of, and the accused have said that they have never said anything like what's been claimed in the press. Also, any time the government is filing charges against its confidential informant who's the source of most of the other charges, something fishy is going on with the case.

    It's possible that there's something there, and we'll have to see how it shakes out, but some of the claims seem a bit implausible.

    #771 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 03:34 AM:

    Recently I induced my wife, at long last, to start reading the Vorkosigan series. She has been working her way through in chronological order. Right now she is rolling back and forth on the couch giggling helplessly, as she just got to the dinner party in A Civil Campaign. Yay!

    #772 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 07:36 AM:

    janetl @ 768 ...
    I'm totally one-upping Henry, and I sincerely hope that I'm one-upping Xeger:

    From a jackhammering point of view, absolutely :D

    - Jackhammer up every bit of pipe under the basement floor, and replace it.
    - Replace pipe from kitchen sink down to basement.
    - Replace 97-year-old terracotta sewerline from edge of house to street.

    I'm 'only' ending up with both the clean water supply (currently lead pipe... [0]) and the sewer line being replaced from inside the house through to the property line ;) Predictably, they also don't run in quite the same place... (hmm... I wonder what my sewer line is made of ... terracotta would explain a few things...

    Two weeks. I have forgotten how many dollars, and I am not going to look it up. I can't really complain that the system only lasted 97 years.

    I'm really hoping this isn't two weeks ... and would -love- to forget how many dollars were beside the line I signed on :( Like you, I can't really complain about the system having only lasted 114 years-or-so ;)

    [0] ... xeger, with the lead pipe, in the trenches?

    #773 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 07:55 AM:

    Saturday was International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

    Sunday, 20th September, was the 25th Anniversary of Elite.

    The story is a prime example of applied boffinry.

    #774 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 08:07 AM:

    Clifton @ 771: giggling helplessly, as she just got to the dinner party in A Civil Campaign.

    ...and a whole bunch of bullying thread participants squirm in their seats.

    #775 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 08:25 AM:

    CHip@760

    I have no idea whether the CT law applies generally, or just to the Senate and President/VP.

    #776 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 10:17 AM:

    The 2001-2008 regime would have classified the entire observation operation, gotten a Jeff Guckert press front person and other propaganda tools to muzzle any real press activity (references--the way that the information about Valerie Plame/Wilson got handled/spun and l'affaire Guckert, and how the Abu Ghraib and other atrocities got sat on...). The people in custody there wouldn't be any press reporting of names and of any details about who, why, where... merely "there are terrorists in FBI custody!"

    The NPR material broadcast says that the FBI was phone tapping, and that there still are contacts on the loose. As for reliability of people, there are reports that Zazi was tattling to save his own hide-that is, consider James Bulger, who played the FBI for decades--reporting on his fellow mobsters and getting immunity up to murder one and including being tipped off prior to every state and local operation that tried to catch him--he was even saying things for the wiretaps making it quite clear he knew he was being wiretapped... anyway, the FBI protected Bulger as an FBI informant, keeping him and at least one of his buddies out of jail and with effectively federal ex-officio licenses to murder, rob, extort, and commit statutory rape and murder (the buddy liked underage females, and killed and buried at least one when she got too older and suspicious....) And when finally the FBI agents who'd been cosseting Bulger, and J. Edgar Hoover, were out of the picture, and Bulger had fled the country with law enforcement no longer roadblocked by an FBI played by Bulger, and there were Congressional hearings going in, the misadministration of 2001-2008 had a Presidential Order imposed blocking Congressional access to the FBI records on Bulger....it occurred to me what Bulger might have on Daddy Bush that Junkie-braind-damaged-offspring was squelching, but I then proceeded to forget what occurred to me. Anyway, I suspect that Bulger has "adverse information" on at least one of the Bushes, and the Presidential decree got applied as part of the Bush Family Protection of the Bush Family Protection Racket....

    Anyway, getting back to Zazi--the presumption discussed on NPR was that he was left unarrested initially as a lure for collecting information on the other plotters, but then brought in because the cost/benefit equation values had changed. (And remember that the fed arrested Al Capone for tax evasion, not for extortion, mayhem, and murder....)

    Meanwhile, if Zazi's guilty, is his lawyer going to be saying so, especially, if he is a terrorist plotter whose plots have been partially uncovered by the FBI rather than someone who's succeeded in effecting atrocities? Claiming responsibility for atrocities when in an area where the populace applauds it, is very different from being taken into custody in a society which condemns it, as a failed conspirator--instead of being a lauded martyr, or accessory and enabler of a lauded martyr, if he is a terrorist, then he's a bad joke failed ignominous wannabee.... how utterly deplorable, someone who got -caught-, a failure....

    2001-2008 the "sources..." wouldn't have been talking, or at least, not talking the way they are talking. Also, wasn't there a message from Osama bin Laden recently saying that there was going to be atrocity committed against the USA and plans were in progress for it? Some of the damning evidence against the regime of 2001-2008 was its blithe dismissal of the "chatter" and levels of it....

    #777 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 10:54 AM:

    The men arrested in New York had tried to rent the largest truck that a rental site had had--with cash. When the clerk asked to keep their ID, they ran. They were acting in ways that caused the clerk to, again, call the authorities....

    There's a resonance there with a carful of 9/11 hijackers at Logan, the driver of it was acting in a way that caused the driver of another car to call authorities after the plane he was on landed in New York, to report the aggressive, weird, unpleasant behavior, he gave the license plate and description of the car....

    #778 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 11:08 AM:

    When I read Miss Manners, I want to have a dinner party. Then I read Bujold, and I really, really don't.

    #779 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 11:17 AM:

    janetl @ 769:

    Good news: you don't need ISBNs to import books to LibraryThing, it just helps. I just experimented with LT's import feature using the sample CSV file they offer, filled in only the title and author fields and left the rest blank, and it imported them. It gets the bare minimum of information in, but it's a start. LT actually tries to keep track of books by (Title, Author, ISBN) triples, which is harder but seems to work better.

    Dave Bell @ 773:

    Ah, the BBC micro. Great little computer. I never did get to play Elite, though.

    And your reference to that book reminded me that I really need to buy it.

    #780 ::: Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 11:43 AM:

    Here's a Food Question for the Fluorosphere: for those of you who are into fancy feasts (for humans), how do you juggle your supplies of specialty oils such as walnut oil, macademia nut oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, etc.? As a single diner who does not cook with various oils all the time, it's all I can do to keep up with a bottle of EVOO before it gets old, let alone two or three more oils -- since the shops here do not seem to stock them in teensy trial sizes. How long do they keep, in your experience? And which ones are most indispensable?

    (I was reading the LJ of someone who frequently posts delectable and intriguing menus and/or recipes of the day, and it jogged my memory.)

    I've often wondered about the longevity of some of the pricier oils, herbs and spices, and asked myself if there is some secret source of such ingredients that sells them by the minim, or clubs that divide the bottles amongst themselves. I suspect that amongst all the Fluorospherians there are some who hold this esoteric knowledge and might be willing to divulge :-)

    #781 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 11:48 AM:

    (Getting back here after two weeks of watching US Open tennis on TV, then one writing book reviews for Locus)

    Here in Prescott AZ, the sunny morning of September 11th brought an interesting sight. Far over the semi-wild gulch across from my mom's place, I saw two dozen hawklike birds soaring -- far more than I'd ever seen at one time before. A week later, a guy who writes a column about birds in our local paper did one on migrating flocks, including Swainson's hawks and turkey vultures. If the spiralling birds *were* vultures, they looked more majestic than ominous, despite the date! I suspect they were hawks, though. After a few minutes, nearly all of them flew off, still together.

    Meanwhile, the NY tennis got rained out (appropriate weather), disappointing but it allowed me to read a big new book that had just arrived, one I ended up reviewing for November. So things went OK in *this* household, despite the somber anniversary.

    #782 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 12:00 PM:

    #781 Faren
    Turkey vultures are majestic-looking birds in flight, and look like large raptors. Sitting on a tree branch, they look like large masses of long brown feathers, with a red raptor-shaped head--sort of like a turkey with a spray-painted eagle's head. (I have such a picture taken earlier this year a few hundred meters from my house. I observed the large bulky feathered mass in a large tree branch above the road, stopped, got out the camera, and took pictures.)

    #783 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 12:43 PM:

    The Orly Taitz smackdown is a precious jewel. IANAL but I believe OT has been legally ruled to incompetent counsel. "...competent counsel would have..." the court ruled, in describing something Taitz did not do.

    Not the same as ruling her legally incompetent, though she's clearly incompetent in legal matters.

    OK, getting dizzy now.

    #784 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 12:49 PM:

    "...to be incompetent counsel." I keep leaving  out today.

    #785 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 01:24 PM:

    On a totally unrelated note (which makes it very Open Thready): The Improved Spoofers Guide To the Lisbon Treaty. European law explored/explained in a conversational manner.

    #786 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 01:50 PM:

    Harriet Culver: Since oils go bad from oxidation, I'd reccomend treating them like wine, and get a nitrogen flush cannister, or a Vacu-vin. Of the two, I'd go with the latter.

    re Turkey Buzzards: They are, actually, raptorial. The American family of vultures are related to bustards. The Eurasion are related to swans.

    #787 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 04:18 PM:

    Does anyone fancy themselves at searching the BBC site? Their World Service (just relayed by NPR's "The World") had a short lead item about (essentially) a scientific study of torture, showing (among other things) that people's memories blow up under stress -- i.e., it's even more useless than we've discussed here. I've dug a little but not found a text item to link to; still listening via the web to see if I can get anything more.

    #788 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 09:06 PM:

    CHip:

    The AP has an article. via FireDogLake.

    #789 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 09:26 PM:

    Harriet, Terry is wise with his nitrogen flush. I also suggest keeping them in the refrigerator, as heat can also promote spoilage. Yes, they will cloud, and may solidify, but they'll return to their liquid state at room temperature, and it'll prolong their life.

    #790 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 09:33 PM:

    If you have a moment, send some good vibes to Joe and Gay Haldeman -- Joe's in the hospital in Cinncinati, and had surgery for some abdominal problems.

    http://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=read&group=sff.people.joe-haldeman&artnum=13905

    #791 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 10:06 PM:

    #786
    I heard New World storks (that is, wood storks) are their closest kin, and that turkey vultures actually have some webbing on their feet. (Not that I've ever been close enough to one to notice that kind of detail.)

    The birders' clue to whether it's a turkey vulture or a hawk, without seeing markings or colors, is that turkey vultures hold their wings at a noticeable angle from horizontal (it's called a dihedral), and that they tend to rock from side to side when they're soaring.

    #792 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2009, 11:09 PM:

    Speaking of things terroristic, I just saw a movie called The Baader-Meinhoff Complex, and it was, as it should be, troubling to watch.

    Dramatization of actual historical events involving a group of bombers/robbers/assassins in Germany. It was weird watching them looking like nice ordinary people at first and gradually becoming corrupted and criminalized.

    I guess the message is both sides are human even as they dehumanize each other.

    #793 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 01:45 AM:

    I''m in the Bay Area. For bizarre technical reasons, the building where my team has moved doesn't allow online access outside of our intranet, so yours truly won't be around the blogosphere much this wek. On the plus side, a co-worker that I had not seen in nearly two years has also moved to that building, and she said that I obviously am still doing regular sit-ups at the gym.

    #794 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 01:49 AM:

    P J You are right, and (as I recall) wrong. Storks is Old World.

    Turkey Vultures, in my experience (which is tolerably close, two-three feet, do not have any webbing on there feet.

    On the ground they are about the size of large chickens.

    Rikibeth: I forgot to mention keeping them in the dark, as sunlight can do strange things to oils in clear bottles.

    #796 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 02:58 AM:

    P J: I forgot to add yes, the wings are very sharply angled, and the small size of the body (relative to wingspan) makes them move in a vary distinctive patttern, "tilting" is the term I've heard, and taught people.

    CHip: I wouldn't say it's worse than everyone here knew. I've been saying that for years. I told people at a conference that I could make them believe they had cut the tip of their finger off, and they would say the creases at the joint were scar tissue.

    #797 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 05:13 AM:

    Hi, Serge - Just saw this thread (didn't realize it was still going) and I'll probably be joining you Friday.

    #798 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 09:39 AM:

    Bill Stewart @ 797... Good, good! Just look for this guy and/or for a short-sleeved orange shirt.

    #799 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 09:52 AM:

    re 768: We had to jackhammer the same piece of floor twice in a month.

    #800 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 01:45 PM:

    Indianapolis Phelps-a-thon!

    Fr*d Ph*lps is coming to Indianapolis to picket North Central High School (for their production of The Laramie Project) and the Jewish Community Center. The Phelps-a-thon project turns his spittle-flecked ranting into a fund-raiser for the very causes he hates -- in this case, the school's Gay-Straight Alliance group. You can pledge a fixed amount or a per-minute amount.

    This technique has proven to be amazingly effective for shortening or even forestalling the amount of time he spends at a given protest -- in a few cases, he never even showed up! If you are so minded, go and contribute to a worthy cause.

    #801 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 05:16 PM:

    #800 Lee

    Chicken hawk, chicken hawk*
    Bane from the plains
    Household of lawyers
    And church spreading pains.

    Chicken hawk, chicken hawk,
    Lawsuit slime troll,
    Trav'ling the country
    Disruption his goal.

    Chicken hawk, chicken hawk
    Headlines he seeks
    The larger the better,
    Call ev'ryone freaks

    Chicken hawk, chicken hawk
    "Hit me!" he dares
    Assault and battery
    Light up his prayers.

    For then he'll sue you
    And take all your cash,
    And spend it on travel
    And make others rash.

    And them he'll picket
    And sow more discord,
    Collecting more money
    Hit victim's reward.

    Chicken hawk, chicken hawk
    Mongering hate,
    Spreading the poison
    A vicious ingrate.


    *There are rumors that Mr Ph*lps who I think was disbarred from legal practice for other reasons, has been observed trying to pick up males below the age of consent for alleged sexual activity

    #802 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 05:33 PM:
    I forgot to mention keeping them in the dark, as sunlight can do strange things to oils in clear bottles.

    Seconded. I buy large metal tins of EVOO, leave them unrefrigerated, and they last for months.

    #803 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 06:27 PM:

    Ugh. I'm looking out of my window and everything is a dirty orange colour. We're having a dust storm. In Sydney. I haven't seen anything like this in the 12 years I've been here.

    All my windows and doors are shut but the stuff is getting in through the ventilation holes in my walls. I can smell and taste it. It's asthma time!


    #804 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 09:33 PM:

    I have running water! I have sewage disposal!

    For some reason (probably the mental flag of 'home'), this lack of plumbing was far more frustrating and annoying than the usual run-of-the-mill camping trip.

    #805 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 10:43 PM:

    I am so one-upped! :-)

    And I've pledged the Phelps-a-thon. He didn't show in Ottawa, having been repelled back in 1999 by an Anglican Bishop (and about 1,000 others) singing O Canada - some details here and here. (I'm looking for the famous picture of Bishop Coffin and Svend Robinson, but I haven't found it yet.)

    #806 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 12:19 AM:

    I appear to have acquired a house frog. It's perhaps two inches long, a drab green or brown (poor lighting) and clinging to the wall behind a cabinet in my kitchen. It presumably entered through the large gap beneath my front/kitchen door (it's only a few feet from that gap).

    As it happens, I had a bunch of flies around yesterday, which seem to have vanished today.... (Confounding factors: the exterminator also came by, and I swatted a couple myself.)

    #807 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 01:22 AM:

    John Rogers hates us all and wants us to suffer.

    I know this because he pointed out this wretched piece of cheesy rotten rottenness: Shine On Me.

    #808 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 01:28 AM:

    xeger @ 804... I have sewage disposal!

    Thus is the sage assuaged at the sewage being a sure thing.

    #809 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 02:00 AM:

    KeithS @ 779: Thanks so much for the experiment and results on a Library Thing import. I'll give it another try.

    Diatryma @ 778: I'm re-reading "Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior" and enjoying it immensely. Judith Martin is an amazing writer.

    #810 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 02:20 AM:

    Bacon!!!

    I just got out of the hospital again (after a stay needlessly extended by soulless beancounters' cynically evil efforts to avoid covering the costs of outpatient care). About the only bright spot of the ordeal was that they fed me bacon for breakfast, a simple luxury in which I have not indulged for quite some time.

    I hope that health care reform will give them a taste of jail time should those venal slack-wits threaten my well-being again with such delays.

    #811 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 03:23 AM:

    Mark@774: I'm not much for embarassment humor (can't stand the Three Stooges or Fawlty Towers) but the dinner party in A Civil Campaign makes me laugh a lot. I was a little reluctant to intrude into the "Bully Pulpit" thread just to say that.

    #812 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 04:29 AM:

    Well, that was the ordinary seasonal flu vaccine yesterday...

    I'm feeling rough this morning.

    My brother thinks he had swine flu about a month back. Something bad enough that, if it wasn't swine flu, you'd expect it to be getting mentioned. Here in the UK, with the kids back at school, there seems to be a jump in the number of cases. And then along comes the seasonal effect.

    #813 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 07:39 AM:

    David Harmon #806 :  cherish your house frog!  It may well have eaten the flies.  But don’t let it get into an air-conditioned room (I don’t know where you are), because it will die.

    In SE Asia most non-air-conditioned houses (traditional local houses aren’t) have a few Common House Geckos, Hemidactylus frenatus, called in Malay chichak (the spelling varies and the k is anyway not pronounced, a sort of glo'al stop).  They’re harmless to people, and useful because they eat small insects.  They’re thought to be lucky:  one mustn’t kill them or chase them away, and a house without them isn’t a happy house.

    #814 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 07:54 AM:

    mcz @ 803: it's been a very strange day here in Newcastle too. The sky was awful, in any sense of the word. Even without asthma, it was not a good day to be outside.

    Did I really see joggers running in all of that on the evening news? I admire their dedication, but am unlikely to ever imitate them.

    #815 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 08:22 AM:

    Serge @ 808 ...
    Thus is the sage assuaged at the sewage being a sure thing.

    Indeed... for as the sages wisely said, "Shit happens"

    #816 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 11:05 AM:

    xeger @ 804:

    Good news on the plumbing. Here's to hoping that you never have to deal with it again.

    janetl @ 809:

    You're welcome. If you have any more questions, or you want some help translating your home-brew database, just let me know.

    Re the Kirby copyright Particle:

    Is it wrong to have a sense of schadenfreude about the whole thing? Maybe the big companies will finally start to see the copyright mess they've landed themselves in. (And maybe some scientist will successfully cross breed pigs and birds.)

    #817 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 11:26 AM:

    John Stanning #813: In fact, my house is air-conditioned (central Virginia), but I think the frog left early this morning. As of 5AM (dratted Dysfunction Thread :-) ) it was crouched in front of the same gap it probably got in by.

    Randomness: A commenter on the webcomic Skin Horse just offered the following take on A Fire Upon The Deep:

    Yay Tines!
    A tyrannical dictator MADE OF PUPPIES. Best. Science fiction. Ever.

    (And blockquote doesn't span paragraphs anymore. The techies had that fixed for a while, what happened?)

    #818 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 01:01 PM:

    Dave Bell #812:

    Ditto, on Monday morning. I spent the middle of last night having every possible non-intestinal flu symptom in very rapid succession. (Although I doubt I would have noticed had I not been awakened by an extremely snuggly but highly flatulent cat.)

    #819 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 02:37 PM:

    mcz (#803), Jo (#814) It was a strange day, indeed. A very silly time to be outside doing exercise, but, yes, there are a lot of silly people round. I was just recovering from a 3-hour tour on Sunday, but the feeling that "either there's so much in the air it can't get into my lungs, or there's something missing from what is getting in" on my ventures out kept them brief.

    Many, many images were taken — even I made a Flickr set, and this seems to have earned a portion of my 15 minutes of fame <boasts modestly> — and TV stories filmed. There'll be a blip in the blogosphere too, as well as a surge in Twitterspace (follow it in and out on the Flickr pool for Sydney, Australia). Poor Adelaide is *seething*, 'cos they've been getting days like this for years and haven't had nearly so much attention <sound of sulking>, and Melburnians are pulling out their memories of the spectacular cloud that hit them back in February 1983, a week before the Ash Wednesday Fires (see www.abs.gov.au on Natural Disasters).

    #820 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 03:25 PM:

    I got into all the classes I wanted. Online one seems to be not too bad (if a trifle confusing). regrettfully dropped the Poli-sci; for scheduling reasons.

    Anthro classes, onn campus (all the classes are anthro, one just pretends to be photography) are interesting, and tolerably easy. First paper assigned on Monday, done on Monday.

    Now to fight the various hassles of being on GI bill, and applying for financial aid, so I can get an on campus job.

    #821 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 04:47 PM:

    John Stanning @ #813, not just Malaysia. Suburban Honolulu as well.

    I haven't seen him for a while, but his brethren and colleagues are frequent guests.

    #822 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 05:12 PM:

    The Bay Area's weather has been gorgeous, and was a reminder that people who live here truly are lucky people, living in Heaven on Earth as they do.

    Meanwhile, things are ok at the office. I haven't had a one-on-one meeting with the boss, and had been planning to first have one with my team lead, to make sure I wouldn't say anything to the boss that would be better left unsaid. Unfortunately, my plans hit a snag. My team lead is out for the next few days.

    He dislocated a shoulder.
    While playing pingpong.

    #823 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 05:48 PM:

    Serge @ #822, "He dislocated a shoulder. While playing pingpong."

    With Kim Jong-Il! Diplomatic breakthrough to follow!

    #824 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 06:06 PM:

    Earl Cooley III, #810, Welcome home! And mmmm, bacon!

    Dave Bell, #812, I had my seasonal flu shot last Wednesday without any problem, but all my joints are hurting like crazy. Rheumatologist says it's because I'm getting low on the prednisone dose (which is good, as is the fact that the angiogram showed no more vasculitis).

    John Stanning, #813, when we were stationed in Guam, my younger brother and I climbed palm trees to get gecko eggs and put them under the light bulbs in our closets (clothes molded without the heat) so we always had geckos. Some of our neighbors were unhappy, but we never had bugs.

    #825 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 06:08 PM:

    A question to challenge the creativity of the Fluorosphereans...

    Many years ago, a friend gave me a pysanka (Ukrainian Easter egg) as a gift. It survived several moves and other travel, carefully wrapped and packed, but over time it developed a couple of hairline cracks. A few years ago, a visitor in my home picked it up carelessly, and it shattered into many fragments.

    It no longer has the emotional significance it used to -- it was a long time ago; the girl is long-married. But it was a pretty thing. Any suggestions on how I might put it back together?

    #826 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 06:17 PM:

    Marilee: so they were a kind of anti-bug Gecko Insurance?

    #827 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 07:10 PM:

    Joel Polowin #825: Even with a suitable egg or mold to place the pieces on, that would be a lengthy effort with toothpicks and glue. If you simply liked the look, I suggest you go buy some more. I've bought them from vendors in the subways of Boston/Cambridge, and somebody's surely selling them online.

    #828 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 09:03 PM:

    David Harmon @ 827: I'm not looking to have just any pysanka -- I have an excess of knickknacks. But this was a work of art, a gift from a friend, which has been badly damaged. I'd like to restore it if I can.

    #829 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 09:18 PM:

    Joel Polowin #828: Well, the only way I know to do that is "the hard way", and even then, the cracks will show. As I noted, a proper form to support the puzzle-work in progress will help a lot.

    #830 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 10:13 PM:

    Joel Polowin @ 828 ...
    In that case, I'd suggest a form to work on (and leave in place after the fact), a temporary glue, and only handling one-or-two pieces at a time. Although it might not look quite the same, it may be worth considering leaving a small amount of space between the pieces.

    Beyond that, it's almost certainly worth contacting your local museum/science/nature center, and seeing if there's somebody there who could give you some advice on preserving and restoring fragile objects.

    #831 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2009, 11:27 PM:

    For those of you who like superheroes and/or My Little Pony: The 21 Awesomest Superhero Mods for My Little Pony.

    #832 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 12:52 AM:

    Joel@828,

    the local craft stores here often carry egg-shaped foam rounds. Those would be my first thought for a workbase. No second thoughts, though, but I'd want to do the same fix if any of my pysanka-of-sentimental-value broke.

    #833 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 10:33 AM:

    Word of a new Anglo-Saxon hoard has been announced; I notice they made sure to have a website specially for the hoard up and running.

    OMG TEH SHININESS!

    It's bigger than Sutton Hoo, and looks to be on the mysterious side.

    It is astonishingly shiny.

    It appears to be in old Mercian territory, although it's unclear if the items are Mercian, or were simply acquired by Mercians who needed to stash them for a while, or were acquired from Mercians who were then in hot pursuit, so that the acquiring agents needed to stash them so as to make it up to Northumbria (or wherever) a bit faster.

    Did I mention that it is one of the shiniest things EVAH!

    #834 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 10:57 AM:

    I found this headline on Comcast's site this morning:

    AP: Kirk to Replace Ted Kennedy

    Then I realized it was about one Paul G. Kirk, not James Tiberius Kirk.

    Bah humbug.

    #835 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 11:07 AM:

    In light of the health care debate, surely Bones would be a better choice. "Damnit, Barack, I'm a doctor, not an accountant!"

    #836 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 11:18 AM:

    Fidelio, that is coooool.

    #837 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 11:21 AM:

    Open Threadiness:

    Driving my kids to school, I listened to NPR's Morning Edition, which had a long piece on how the evil coal industry's lobbyists massively outgun the scrappy natural gas industry's lobbyists. (Honestly, it came off that one-sided to me. There is much to be said about the relative merits of natural gas vs coal for power generation, but none of it is going to be said by innumerate journalists reading from a press release.) Later in the show, when they thanked their contributors, a natural gas industry lobby was one of the major sponsors of the show.

    I guess I don't mind subtle corruption of media so much--after all, that's nothing remotely new. But don't they at least feel a little embarrassed by being this flagrant about it?

    #838 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 11:40 AM:

    albatross @ 833...

    "I was convinced in the same manner you were, Captain... Bby the good doctor's hypo."
    - Spock

    #839 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 11:48 AM:

    Diatryma @836--Don't mind me, I'm just going to sit here for a bit and be mesmerized.

    It's so--shiny.

    #840 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 11:58 AM:

    Joel Polowin @825 & 828 -- I know you said you want to restore the egg, but would it have to be \as/ an egg? Could you use the pieces as the basis of a mosaic? Just a thought.

    #841 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 11:59 AM:

    fidelio at 833...yes exceedingly shiny and wonderful news to come across first thing in the morning.

    I felt a slight twinge of regret that I don't live in a country with a "Portable Antiquities Scheme" where I could possibly find a treasure trove buried in my backyard.

    #842 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 01:57 PM:

    albatross @ 837:

    In my more optimistic moments, I sometimes think of something like that as a journalistic nudge and a wink to the audience that they needed the money but they're also happy to let you know about their biases. Besides, it's not really an ethics violation if they admit that they're probably skewing their reporting in favor of the people paying them lots of money, right? Right?

    #843 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 03:23 PM:

    Nota bene:

    I've just released Mez's comment 819 from Purgatory and fiddled all subsequent numbers as required.

    #844 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 04:10 PM:

    Strewth!
    *enters unsteadily, leans on table in search of hot stimulant tisane or cool refreshing juice, spots free chair and folds into it gratefully*

    This is a bit like being in a Vinge novel, I think. On the great InterNet Chain of Being I hope I'm a multicellular eukaryote, somewhere around rotifer or so; one of the infusoria. Think I've been swept along in the wake of a higher magnitude entity; perhaps a complex mollusc or even a simple crustacean — tho' from my perspective even the coelenterates can seem intolerably advanced.

    Anyhoo, one of my Flickr photos of the Sydney Orange Haze (dust cloud, whatever it gets called) was put into a moderately popular gallery and started getting larger than usual numbers of views and comments and being made favourite and blogged. I've changed URL for this post to photo set. It's the one inside laundry.

    Oof. Just realised a large beast brushed past in the dark: ended up on Flickr's front page. Now Dust Day Laundry has nearly 10,000 views, nearly 300 'favourite' and about 60 comments. Yikes. Scary stuff.

    Apologies abi, this was to be a quick note after #819; sorta got delayed.

    *pushes up off chair, carefully walks outwards toward bed, smiling unsteadily at occasional well-wishers*

    #845 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 04:25 PM:

    Mez. I really liked that photo. The color balance is frightening, more so because it's all 'natural'.

    I saw it yesterday, so I was one of the first 10k...

    #846 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 04:54 PM:

    albatross #837 :  despite the bias, AFAIK it’s true that if you must burn fossil fuel for energy, natural gas (methane) is a whole lot less polluting than coal, both in terms of CO2 emissions (=> greenhouse effect => global warming => climate change) and in terms of other pollutants such as sulphur dioxide (=> acid rain) and particulates in smoke.

    Trouble is, the world doesn’t have enough natural gas, and most of it is in Russia and the Persian Gulf (Iran and Qatar share a colossal gas field with something like a fifth of the whole world’s reserves).  US gas reserves will last less than ten years at current rates, and you buy some from Canada and a little from overseas (as LNG), but the US still burns more coal than any other nation except China, and it’s heavily subsidised through pork-barrel politics, hence the lobbying.

    #847 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 05:49 PM:

    ANOTHER white male.
    Ptui.
    Males are fewer than half the population
    White males are in that under half the population
    Gov Patrick, go jump in a vat on Deer Island....

    And is Kirk the former insurance industry shill?
    STAY in the vatful of shit....

    #848 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 07:03 PM:

    Xopher, #826, Ha!

    #849 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 08:49 PM:

    Debbie @ 840: Hmm. I don't know if it'll work -- transforming the ovoid surface to a rectangle, artistically, will be interesting. It would depend, partly, on how the original patterns were broken up. But it's a lovely idea and I'll be looking into it; thank you!

    #850 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 10:15 PM:

    abi #843: Maybe it's time for someone to make a try at that "reply button" idea I tossed into the "Fixing Light" thread? The idea is that when someone hits the reply button next to a comment, they get an appropriately labeled and formatted link to that comment inserted into the comment box, suitable for back-end auto-munging on appropriate occasions. (Dunno if that could be made to work on the preview screen -- that seems to skip the other comment-magic links.)

    With a bit of Javascript, it could even paste a quoted version of currently-selected text....

    #851 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 10:43 PM:

    Fidelio at #833: I share your awe. OMG. Wow. [Repeat many many many a heap of times.] It is teh coolest.

    #852 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2009, 11:27 PM:

    John #846: This is the sort of information that you might imagine a news story (on NPR, which usually at least pretends to be news for grownups with three-digit IQs) would discuss. But other than (I believe) one sentence of he said (no she said from the coal lobby, I guess because they didn't sponsor the show), there wasn't anything.

    No, this was a story about the lobbies of the two industries, and how the heroic scrappy natural gas lobby was bravely taking on the rich and evil coal lobby. (Of course, nobody was asking why in God's name the lobbies have any power or importance at all in terms of what energy sources are to be used. What're you, some kinda communist?)

    #853 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 03:53 AM:

    re the dust storm: Been there, several times. In one of my letters home from Iraq I describe it as, "This morning I woke up on Mars."

    My sympathies to everyone living through it.

    #854 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 05:21 AM:

    853: how to tell you are reading too much SF:

    woke up in an aircraft on the way to $MIDDLE EASTERN NATION, looked out the window to see an expanse of bare red-brown desert rolling past below, with occasional rocky outcrops and mountains, and thought, while half-asleep, "Hmm. That looks like a river delta. I suppose there must have been water on Mars at some point. Wait a minute. That looks like a road. That can't be right, there aren't any roads on Mars. Hang on (waking up fully) I'm not on Mars. In fact, no one's ever been to Mars. ...how disappointing."

    #855 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 10:18 AM:

    This is to remind yoy that tonight a few people will be making light in Oakland's Pacific Coast Brewing Company. (Details here.) I'll be there starting at about 5:30, but don't worry about being late. There is no such thing. Show up when you show up. Ask for Serge Mayhew(*)'s table. See you then as I won't have much if any internet access for the rest of the day.

    ----------

    (*) No, that's not my name, for those who think I might be related to Chewbacca. The pronounciation of it is close enough that the pub's people will figure out who you're referring to.

    #856 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 01:17 PM:

    Open threadiness: Greenwald's column is very entertaining, today. This is something that almost nobody in the MSM does, and which is both powerful and often very funny. (Jon Stewart does this very well, but I'm not counting him as MSM.) It's like having a memory (or access to Google) is just unfair, somehow.

    The most influential foreign policy pundits and commentators and journalists and news sources of today are, overwhelmingly, the ones who were all wrong on Iraq. There was and is no consequence for getting all the facts wrong and being visibly spun and manipulated by the previous administration. Huge parts of the same decisionmaking mechanisms that screwed us over on Iraq remain, ready to encourage further missteps.

    Something uncomfortably similar has happened with respect to the financial system and its regulators. While many CEOs lost their jobs and a lot of people lost money, the same basic system remains in place, and the companies and regulators who created the disaster are still mostly intact, ready to create the next one.

    Welcome to America. Where consequences are only for the little people.

    #857 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 01:44 PM:

    Life imitates xkcd. (Except that, IMO, in that particular case, that comeback wasn't bad as debating skills go.)

    #858 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 01:54 PM:

    Wow. Just glanced at Teresa's Particle "Helpful advice from an old twat."

    It's a rare case when one is moved to bookmark a blog based on the first two sentences of a post and the dateline.

    #859 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 03:18 PM:

    How in the name of Creation do you people find the time to follow Making Light and find all this other cool stuff on the 'net? Don't you people have lives?

    #860 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 03:52 PM:

    Jacque @859:
    We knit* extra time out of the fluff of dandelion clocks, hand-spun with drop spindles carven out of elder wood.

    Don't you read the site subheader?

    -----
    * Some heathens actually crochet time instead, but that's more prone to paradox. There's a theory that the infinite branching universes hypothesis is actually a doily pattern that got sent to a physics department in error.

    #861 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 04:50 PM:

    Arrrrrrgghhhh! I HATE THEM!!!!

    One of the off-the-shelf software packages my company uses globally requires US date formats. Requires them. And I don't mean just that you have to type dates US style; the program WON'T WORK unless you set the Short Date in Regional Options to M/dd/yyyy.

    Because of course US format is the only correct one. Doesn't matter if we're the only ones who use it; everyone else is Just Plain Wrong. We're a global company; that means we get to make everyone everywhere do everything the US way. And no need to buy software that works sensibly in CANADA, much less Europe. </sarcasm>

    And I just had to explain to a user in Bulgaria that yeah, he had to set his computer to use US dates, or this program wouldn't let him enter his data at all. It was embarrassing to say the least.

    ASTGTCIV.

    #862 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 04:51 PM:

    Update on the injured police dog:

    Bosco is much better -- the paralysis in his front legs is decreasing as his neck is healing.

    He gets physical therapy 3 times a day (outdoors), and even wanted to chase a squirrel, to the delight of his therapists.

    He is well enough to go home on weekends, and will work in public relations when cleared to return to the Zanesville Police Department.

    "Bosco Briefs" can be found on the Ohio State University's Vet Clinic website: Bosco

    #863 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 05:07 PM:

    Xopher @861:

    Oh, dear, the stupid, it burns us, Precious.

    #864 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 05:17 PM:

    It does indeed, Miss abi. You and I are both testers, you currently and me by experience. Can you imagine the shame if you let something like that get out of your shop without catching it? I would never show my face at the office again.

    #865 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 05:27 PM:

    Xopher @864:
    Can you imagine the shame if you let something like that get out of your shop without catching it?

    It's entirely possible it was caught, and raised, and closed as Not Something We Have Time To Fix.

    And I did miss something like that, when we were passing Boolean values in XML files, then testing them for being "true" and "false". Do not do this in contexts where your users may have a different OS language than English; the precise text into which Boolean values are rendered can be language-dependent.

    (To be fair, we do specify the server language settings, but we still shoulda passed text values.)

    #866 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 05:31 PM:

    Jaque @ 859:

    Unlike abi who knits time, I just find things somehow. And I remember them and pull them out for friends at opportune moments. ("How do you know about all this weird stuff on the web?" "I just do.")

    Xopher @ 861:

    Wait... I can see some fsckwit hard-coding their own date routine that only does US dates, and I can see some sane person using the OS's internationalization framework to take dates in the local format, but how in the name of all that's holy do you manage to screw up your date routines so bad that you need to set the OS to US dates? That person should never be allowed to touch a computer again.

    #867 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 06:21 PM:

    KeithS @866: Unlike abi who knits time

    *falls off chair laughing, frightens the guinea pigs*

    So, like, has anybody ever actually seen abi in the flesh? I'm beginning to suspect she's a fictional superhero, made up by some particularly inspired author.

    #868 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 06:31 PM:

    Jacque @ 867:

    Along with apologies for misspelling your name the first time around, I'm just repeating her claims, nothing more.

    #869 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 06:46 PM:

    Jacque @867, there's Amsterdam, worryingly from 1st April, 2008. More reassuring, Making Light Amsterdam Meetup ’09 was posted at Northern Vernal Equinox, 22nd March, 2009. It includes several corroborating witnesses.

    #870 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 06:57 PM:

    Epacris (869): That's not proof. Those "corroborating witnesses" could be part of the cover story.

    #871 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 07:01 PM:

    Xopher @ 861: When Windows 95 came in, the software package that I did tech support for started failing erratically for some of our customers -- a couple of dozen of the script/API commands failed to work. The problem turned out to be related to the "Regional Settings" setting in the Win'95 configuration: when it was set to "English (United States)" everything was fine; other settings, including "English (Canadian)" and "English (Ireland)", made the system fail.

    We couldn't fix the problem. It had something to do with a failure in the Windows API. I looked at the code myself: we were opening a file and reading a line of text from it, and comparing strings in that text with our known commands to find matches. These are all basic operations, none of them language-dependent. Somehow some of the strings from the file were getting munged by the operating system before they got to our software, when the language setting wasn't U.S. English.

    And embarrassing and frustrating as it was, there really was nothing we could do about it, other than to tell our customers that if they needed to use that feature, they had to use that setting in the OS.

    #872 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 08:52 PM:

    But you don't have to set the language to English (United States), Joel. You can Customize and set the Short Date by itself. And AFAIK it only affects date entry.

    But I'm as happy to blame Microsoft as the software company that wrote the thing.

    #873 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2009, 09:33 PM:

    Mary Aileen @870, indeed, one could get into an infinite regression loop – also involving substitution or manipulation of any photos involved – of a type specialized in by the non-falsifiable conspiracy hypothesis … hang on, is that the Nike of Samothrace?

    #874 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 12:56 AM:

    Jacque@867: I've met abi in person, when she was visiting the SF Bay Area.

    #875 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 01:15 AM:

    joann @469 et al: A coworker points out, "Sometimes it's Tuesday. But usually it's not."

    (BTW, for the temporily disconnected among us, it would be lovely to have the day of the week along with the date and time comments were posted. /wish)

    #876 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 01:31 AM:

    Abi replaced all the photographs which were taken after the real Abi's class yearbook.

    #877 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 04:58 AM:

    fidelio @833 @ 839: shiny

    Where is the Raven when we need hir?

    ObRef Lebovitz: "My favorite colors are Bright and Shiny!"

    #878 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 04:59 AM:

    fidelio @833 @ 839: shiny

    Where is the Raven when we need hir?

    ObRef Lebovitz: "My favorite colors are Bright and Shiny!"

    #879 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 05:40 AM:

    Xopher @861: Crimeny. My programs were all written in shell scripts and email filters, and even I was able to do multiple date formats. And IANAP.

    In re knitting time: that must be my problem. I've been using cottonwood fluff and it always comes out felted.

    #880 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 06:40 AM:

    I hereby assert that I exist. But that's no proof of anything.

    #881 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 08:11 AM:

    I've met someone who said she was abi, and she gave me a sonic screwdriver. As for those, This week I realized how much one of our users is a fan when I made the comment that I wouldn't be late to a meeting when I said I have a TARDIS, and she responded by saying she always carries a sonic screwdriver in her purse. She became quite envious when I mentionned my remote-controlled Dalek.

    #882 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 08:14 AM:

    Terrible sentence structure, that. Well. I was up late last night, gathering light and all that (details to follow later today) and, after a very few hours, I'm about to walk to the BART station and then fly back home.

    #883 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 01:28 PM:

    From my POV the gathering light went very well (the only downside, I seem to have lost a library book. Only guess is I somehow managed to leave it at/on BART. Maybe it will come back to me/the library).

    Serge was quieter than I expected. A couple of faces already known to me, a few sort of known, and some new.

    A small group will be gathering at St. Stephen's Green in Mountain View on Tues. for a bit of a celtic music jam session/beer swilling.

    I may swill enough beer to be willing to actually play some penny-whistle in public.

    #884 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 01:32 PM:

    Serge, your English is excellent. Stop apologizing for it. Your sentence structure let me read it for content without noticing anything unusual (except for the events described, of course). That means it's officially Good Enough.

    #885 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 01:34 PM:

    #875 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 01:15 AM:
    (BTW, for the temporily disconnected among us, it would be lovely to have the day of the week along with the date and time comments were posted. /wish)

    I'm curious if you mean that you're not seeing the date and time at all, or that you'd like to see the day of the week along with the date and time.

    Perhaps I'm having a punctuation problem... (or perhaps it's just a caffination [lack thereof] problem)

    #886 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 01:50 PM:

    I've never learned to knit time. (I would have to knit enough time to learn to knit enough time to... well, you see the problem.)

    But I do remember, as a kid, making potholders out of time loops.

    #887 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 02:20 PM:

    I was under the impression that Time did the knitting (of Care, at that). But who am I to contradict Abi?

    #888 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 02:27 PM:

    Fragano @887:

    Sleep has a bulk contract to knit the raveled sleeves of Care*§.

    Knitting Time is not a franchise; it's done on a cottage-industry basis at hobby rates. I know they say Time is Money, but handspun, hand-knit time has a pretty poor exchange rate.

    -----
    * Second use of same quote in less than a week. It's like hearing the same rare word twice in a short span of time. Is there a name for this?
    § Though I gather the work was subcontracted offshore. The economic crisis has hit that business relationship badly, and I expect there will be stock price effects. In other words, short sleep.

    #889 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 02:40 PM:

    Drat. My memory is not what it was.

    #890 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 03:12 PM:

    Occam's Razor or some such--if abi didn't exist, the amount of effort gone into faking the existence of abi would be extreme.... on that basis, the hypothesis, "there is a real abi who is posting as abi and living the life which the posts claimed to be from abi, and claiming to be from others which discuss abi as a meatspace person with an auditable trail," has orders of magnitude more credibility and substantiation and consistent evidence than, "there is a ersatz abi fabricated as construct present on the Making Light forum."

    Yes, it is possible to fabricate personas and sustain the fabrication, but that tends to require lots of effort, a good memory, actions to perpetrate and continue perpetration, with accuracy and consistency, of the fabrication....

    #891 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 03:52 PM:

    #861 et al

    One thing that's hopeless frustrating about Windows is the vast number of interrelated variables. However, standard C doesn't help that much, and MS SQL adds more pain. It's much harder than it should be to do time and date right and way too easy to do it wrong.

    Right, in this context, nearly always means converted to and from UTC. It's not limited to Windows, btw. Some 25+ years ago I dealt with an early email server that could not be made consistent over the "fall back" end of DST. The operational fix - keep the system down for that magic hour. (Those timestamps in local time occur twice. Bad ju-ju! Local time bad. UTC less bad.)

    REcently, we had an amusing time/architecture bug from testing - MS SQL dates go from 0001-01-01 to whenever. C# dates go from 1753-01-01. If you get a date in the datebase before that, you get an exception on reading it out. And you spend some time head-scratching until you find it.

    There's also the well-known (in some circles) Wednesday phenomenon. Date code is more likely to fail on Wednesday - because it's the longest day name. And in September, too, of course.
    It's also possible to write flawed date arithmetic that works only in January and February, or vice versa.

    Then there's leap year handling. I recall a book published in 1999 with incorrect leap-year code that would fail in 2000. Silly, as from 1901 to 2099, mod 4 is quite adequate.

    #892 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 04:04 PM:

    abi: Isn't it "sleave"? Because that's one of those rare words too.

    #893 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 04:19 PM:

    Henry @ 891: MS SQL dates go from 0001-01-01 to whenever. C# dates go from 1753-01-01

    Is that maybe backwards? I am quite sure C# System.DateTime starts at T(0)=0001-01-01 (and proceeds thence in 100ns "ticks") because I have been working with timestamp-related code a lot lately, from GPS time into C# UTC time and thence to ISO 8601 and various other formats.

    Our main product is hideously dependent on all numeric formats being en-US, so we have explicit instructions that the Windows default formats need to be set to US/English. (For example, Ghu help you if you load a calibration file when your default numeric format uses comma as the decimal point and period for grouping.) However, those problems predate my involvement with it and we have been gradually digging out most of the dependencies and making the parsing locale-independent.

    #894 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 04:46 PM:

    Terry @892:
    Isn't it "sleave"? Because that's one of those rare words too.

    Well, spin my rovings, so it is. Neat. I did not know that.

    #895 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 04:49 PM:

    The posts are not really from abi, but from a different Holland-dwelling American of the same name.

    #896 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 05:24 PM:

    Henry Troup @ 891 ...
    Then there's leap year handling. I recall a book published in 1999 with incorrect leap-year code that would fail in 2000. Silly, as from 1901 to 2099, mod 4 is quite adequate.

    Not to mention the fun involved in the cutover from the Julian to Gregorian calendars, which aside from involving a 10-14 day jump, also involves checking the physical location to determine when (in a several hundred year stretch) that jump was made...

    #897 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 05:30 PM:

    I'm not exactly sure what this is. It appears that someone took some clips from Cosmos and Autotune™d them, then set them in a musical background. Lead vocal: Carl Sagan. Special Guest Artist: Stephen Hawking.

    It's lovely.

    #898 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 05:56 PM:

    I enjoyed gathering light last night very much!

    Last night's other exciting event was less enjoyable: Josie and I were awakened at 2 a.m. by nearby gunshots, about half a block upwind (I could smell them). Apparently someone tried to steal a car, and its owner objected in the strongest possible terms. Now the thief is in the hospital, and the owner is in jail...

    #899 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 07:39 PM:

    Terry Karney @ 883... Serge was quieter than I expected

    ...and this in spite of your saying that I look very French.

    #900 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 07:43 PM:

    Xopher @ 884... Thanks. It's just that I had written "...when I made the comment that I wouldn't be late to a meeting when I said I have a TARDIS..." Horrible.

    #901 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 08:10 PM:

    xeger @ 764... Despite your dismissive comment about your own ability to bend Reality's odds, I think it worked.

    #902 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 09:39 PM:

    abi@#888 writes: It's like hearing the same rare word twice in a short span of time. Is there a name for this?

    "Plate of shrimp"

    #903 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 09:50 PM:

    Serge @ 901 ...
    Wooo!

    ... and along those lines, to my pleased surprise, the rain that was threatening, and caused me to accelerate replanting the disturbed portion of my garden ... actually -did- start to fall :)

    #904 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 10:23 PM:

    Clifton Royston @ 893, and Henry Troup @ 861:

    On the subject of wrangling software to manage dates and times correctly -- I'd like to know how many dollars companies have spent changing their systems to handle the recent change in daylight savings time in the US. The really fun stuff is when you add logic to correct for a bug in the operating system or a third party component, which they they fix (partway) so you're changing your integration again...

    If the US government ever suggests changing DST again, we have only ourselves to blame if we don't descend on Washington en mass.

    #905 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 10:38 PM:

    Serge: It's mostly a body language thing. The facial structure adds to it, but by itself wouldn't do it.

    I can't explain it. I'm pretty good at spotting "russians" the same way. Then they speak, and I am fairly certain.

    Then again, I happen to find French people (and Francophone Canadiens) quite charming, so...

    #906 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 10:51 PM:

    Wheeeee!! Not only am I getting an acknowledged* publication of that photograph (small, down the back) in a Quick & Dirty, but pretty, MagCloud occasional issue of pix from the Great Sydney Dust Day called Strange Light: Photos from the Great Australian Dust Storm; very entrepreneurial of Mr Powazek, but made my very first public photo sale! (Through my CafePress store — haven't seen pic on paper yet, I do hope it prints up OK. There's $US0.50 somewhere in that system that's mine, mine!, mine!!, allllll mine!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!
    OK. <quick sigh> Actually, it's ~80% mine after tax, but the full 50c has, like, total personal gloating rights, heh.)

    [My figleaf for mentioning this here is that it might be one example of The Future of Publishing — The post next to that one on his blog is entitled: How to Publish a Magazine in a Day and a Half. OTOH, it's pretty much a modern version of those early broadsheets about notable events, e.g. a celebrity hanging. OTGH, there are discussable differences as well as similarities.]

    * Me, bitter about unacknowledged use of my stuff over the years? Certainly.

    #907 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 11:00 PM:

    Terry Karney @ 905... Thanks. I thought that maybe it was because of the size of my conk. Heheheh...

    #908 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 11:05 PM:

    My report of Friday night's gathering of light in Oakland...

    I was there first, to make sure that our table reservation wouldn’t evaporate. Some time later Dee Potter showed up, then Dawno, who had driven in from Mountain View. Eventually TomB, Tim Walters, Lenny Bailes, Bill Stewart and Madeline F showed up. Most of them I had met before, except for Bill, and Terry Karney. The first thing Terry did was to hand me his cell phone because Marna Nightingale wanted to say hello to me in spite of her being in Minneapolis. Aw shucks. Kathryn from Sunnyvale later called me to say she might not make it. She was finally done with some project, and was going to come anyway, but she had had little sleep the night before so I said she should rest instead. I didn’t want her to get herself hurt or worse driving all the way from her place. The Pacific Coast Brewing Company has terrible acoustics, but we managed to talk about all kinds of things, even, yes, F/SF literature. I think it was Lenny and Tim who pointed out that Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun is SF, but that readers not familiar with the field would perceive it as fantasy because the story uses the latter's language. Some photos were taken. Flutes were played. No puns were uttered. I think a good time was had by all. And let’s thank Dawno who sneakily picked up the tab.

    Thanks, Dawno!

    #909 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 11:25 PM:

    I shall follow Mez, with a link to four calendars I have for sale.

    One from Galapagos, (with 14 images) and three (landscape/buildings, flowers, animals) which have 13 images.

    Zazzle's accounting is strange, so I get a $2.50 if people just stumble on them, and about 4.75 if they get there from a spcific style of referring link.

    They give discounts for multiple orders, even of different calendars, so buy lots. :)

    #910 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 12:35 AM:

    I'm sorry I missed the gathering. One nitpick, Serge: that's D. Potter, not Dee. (What the initial stands for is apparently some sort of state secret.)

    #911 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 01:30 AM:

    (What the initial stands for is apparently some sort of state secret.)

    It's Damanayasha.

    No, it's Darius.

    DOROTHY!

    No, I'll never tell. At least not before I find out.

    #912 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 01:41 AM:

    Xopher @ 911 ... Damned?!?

    #913 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 02:10 AM:

    OK, cut it out. It stands for "Dangerous." (Some wiseacre at Worldcon member registration inserted a "David" as my first name when I bought a membership once; picking up member stuff (and getting a corrected badge) might have been messy but the denizens of fandom are a lot smarter than many employees of insurance companies.)

    Gee, gafiate for a couple of years and look what happens.

    #914 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 02:20 AM:

    I am sure some puns were uttered, I know some language was played with. To be pedantic (which this crowd is, I am sure, unfamiliar with), no flutes were played, but I, and Tim, noodled a bit on members of the flageolet family.

    Discussions I heard/took part in, ranged from reminiscences, discussions of family, F/SF, conventions, elopments, passing reference to politics, food, beer, getting together (why did we have to go all that way, when half of us live within five miles of each other), and movies.

    The food was good; pub grub, and the beer selection interesting. I'll probably go back, even without the stimulus of an ML get together.

    #915 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 02:52 AM:

    Terry @ 915: no flutes were played, but I, and Tim, noodled a bit on members of the flageolet family

    But in French, that's flûte à bec, and even in English you can say "fipple flute."

    I just call mine the EMI (Emergency Musical Instrument).

    #916 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 08:31 AM:

    Mez @ 906
    Just to say I really liked your photo. Very surreal. Glad you're getting proper credit for it.

    #917 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 08:33 AM:

    I hate Daylight Savings Time.

    One software product I worked compared power use on days, weeks, etc.,and allowed analyses of projections of such things, and rate profile creation. Putting 23 and 25 hour days in the mix, originally crashed the program, and at the least screwed up the display and the calculations. And moved the blasted things around, only increased the ugliness--among other things, that 25 hour day with the repeated hour, turned what was a math function, into a multivalued ambiguous relation, since two hours had the same time tag....

    And then there is what it does to people's schedules. I hatehatehatehatehate!!!! DST....

    #918 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:11 AM:

    D.Potter @ 913... 'David'?

    #919 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:12 AM:

    Hi, D.!

    I hope that wiseacre spent a few hours dealing with a similar error (maybe even a real error) in his name on some important form, delayed because it involved less sympathetic people, or people who didn't know him at all and legitimately could doubt that, oh, the entry for Pat was supposed to say Matt, or that it was in fact "Smith" and not "Smythe."

    #920 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 09:16 AM:

    Terry Karney @ 914... reminiscences, discussions of family, F/SF, conventions, elopments, passing reference to politics, food, beer

    And bugs. Not computer bugs. Scorpions. Brown recluses. Tarentulas.

    And if puns were uttered, they weren't by me. I was on my best behavior.

    By the way, I was quite impressed by the knife that Terry had brought to cut that sausage. ("I have lots of knives!", he said gleefully.)

    #921 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 12:14 PM:

    Re names: My given name is an uncommon variant of a more familiar name.

    My second grade teacher sent me home in tears on the first day of class because she asked us to write out our full name.

    I did, and she didn't believe me. Told me I was spelling it incorrectly.

    She had other problems too.

    #922 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 12:52 PM:

    Terry
    She had other problems too.

    Like picking on someone who would later gleefully proclaim that he had "Lots of Knives"?

    #923 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 01:14 PM:

    Paula #917:
    Why on earth was the program not using UTC for it's underlying data? Yes, that would require dealing with Daylight Savings Time separately to understand when things like workdays start, but it needs to be doing that kind of thing already to deal with holidays, seasons, and daylight hours, and degree-days already.

    On the human circadian clock side, I'm with you to a degree, I usually complain about "Guvment interferin' with the Laws o' Nature" twice a year, but I really do like my morning sunshine. And non-Alaskan USAsians shouldn't complain to loudly, most of Europe is north of us and have a larger seasonal difference in daylight hours. I also have my own tricks to cope with the impact like not resetting my alarms by an entire hour all at once. Before the autumn change I start getting up a few minutes earlier for a couple of weeks beforehand to ease the impact.
    On the computer side my problem is been the frequently changing rules, with the government not understanding that it costs lots of money to fix and verify everything concerned (like cash registers). The US broadcasted time code can fix this for things that can get the time from an outside source (network, radio beacon).

    #924 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 02:19 PM:

    John Houghton: Which is cause, and which effect? I was seven. That woman.... Oi.

    I think I've told the story before (well, I know I have, I also happen to think I've told it here).

    There was a United Way drive. I asked my mother for money to contribute (classes with 100 percent participation got some sort of prize).

    She said I could give them some of my money, but they couldn't have any from her. So I asked her why, she told me. They had, it's since been changed, a policy that all adopted children had to "race match" the parents.

    Which meant friends of mine would not have been allowed to be adopted by their parents. I was aghast, and declared they weren't getting any of my money.

    Which I told said teacher. She called my mother, and said, just before my mother hung up, "Do you know what your'e doing? You're instilling your values into your children."

    I didn't give them so much as a penny.

    I suspect no small amount of my semi-passive ways of dealing with confrontation from authority stem from the confused mix of anger/affection I had for her. She didn't have a very good way of dealing with second graders, and I suspect (she was young) she became a somewhat cranky teacher, if she stuck with it.

    And I'm not sure "glee" is the right word; fond though I am of cutlery, and more than suffiently supplied; as I am, with pieces which are suitable for everyday wear.

    #925 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 03:50 PM:

    An old walking-around buddy of mine used to say that by the time his body got adjusted to Daylight Saving Time, the time changed again.

    Serge @ 918: It's a first name; it begins with the letter 'D' and is fairly common. 'tisn't mine, though.

    Hi, Vicki! I need to drop you an email!

    Terry @ 921: But that's a known variant spelling! (Don't get me started.) (Also, nice to meet you.)

    #926 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 04:03 PM:

    An old walking-around buddy of mine used to say that by the time his body got adjusted to Daylight Saving Time, the time changed again.

    Serge @ 918: It's a first name; it begins with the letter 'D' and is fairly common. 'tisn't mine, though.

    Hi, Vicki! I need to drop you an email!

    Terry @ 921: But that's a known variant spelling! (Don't get me started.)

    #927 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 04:09 PM:

    Sorry; can the second comment (926) be scratched? I thought the silly machine had hung, rather than loading very slowly.

    #928 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 04:19 PM:

    D. I don't use my given name much. It is known, but, to be as fair as I might, the only commonly known version of it is a minor writer of the turn of the 20th century.

    I have never encountered it in the wild.

    #929 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 04:50 PM:

    Daylight Saving: idea is 19th Century, has been used since early 20th C – first in Australia (& UK) in World War One; think worldwide resurgence was in '70s Oil Crisis.

    Surely every OS would've had standard routines for DST Start, DST End, and 'depth', 'length' or 'offset' – Lord Howe Island, in my electorate, is 30 min, we've used 2 hr before – well before now!?

    Mez @906, W00t! *line of dancing rodents* – with attribution, yay! (Many 'war stories' were swapped about the Great Sydney Dusting.)

    Terry @909, very shiny.
    Idea for PoD calendars/diaries: pick-your-own holidays on order, up to 2, plus moon phase. Would Thai ordering from Peruvian photographer through USA website want US, Peruvian or Thai holidays? If relatives or business connections in USA, might want Thai + USA.

    #930 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 05:40 PM:

    D.Potter @ 926... Yeah, I didn't expect that 'David' would be your real name. I was wondering how that idiot had thought you might have a man's name.

    #931 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2009, 05:41 PM:

    Epacris: I'd like to have some options for things like that being customer driven, but the places I've looked have either no options, or the options they have allow for some really radical changes in the piece.

    I'm a picky bastard, and don't want to let people write on my pictures; unless they do it by hand.

    #932 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 09:05 AM:

    Joel Polowin, on pysanka repair: If you do decide to try to glue the thing back together, use a glue that is not water-based. The dyes are water-soluble and even if it's been varnished you could have problems with the colors running.

    #933 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 12:45 PM:

    Joel Polowin, on pysanka repair:

    Our kid has recently been making "stress balls" - two nested balloons filled partly with flour. They're about the size and shape of a hen's egg (and could be adjusted).

    If there's enough integrity in what you've got of the shell, you could funnel in something similar for support, and either leave it in place, dump it out, or replace it with, say, a 2-part resin.

    #934 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 01:23 PM:

    xeger @885: What I am seeing is this:

    #885 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 01:34 PM:

    What I'd love to be able to see would be this:

    #885 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: Saturday, September 26, 2009, 01:34 PM:

    #935 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 01:59 PM:

    Terry Karney @921: spelling...

    I narrowly escaped getting named Shaharazade, which was a name my dad dearly loved. Not only would I have been unable to spell it to this day (Scheherazade? Shahrazad??), but Sherry was the most common name in my age group.

    Gerry Pearce instantly latched onto it when I told him this story. However he used some exotic transliteration from the original Arabic, which I can never remember.

    And, imho, second grade teachers should undergo psych evals on a par with submariners and those officers that babysit Trident missiles. One of those got me, too.

    #936 ::: Edgar lo Siento ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 02:16 PM:

    #6 Neil Gaiman is who the Ghostbusters call.

    I suppose it was inevitable: Neil Gaiman facts. I expect there will be t-shirts, but does this mean he will appear on Letterman?

    #937 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 04:53 PM:

    Carrie S. @ 932: That's a good point. And an unfortunate one; non-water-based adhesives are easier to work with and to clean up, and tend not to set as quickly. I'd been hoping to work on the inside surface as much as possible to preserve the appearance. One idea I had was to spray the inside surface of the fragments with some kind of transparent plastic fixative to try to prevent any further breakage.

    Carol Kimball @ 933: Unfortunately, the remains aren't that intact. The largest remaining piece is a bit less than a quarter of the egg, the next largest is about a sixth, and the rest is in smaller bits. Even determining the proper locations for all the fragments will be a bit tricky.

    #938 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 07:31 PM:

    Jacque, #935, the nurse who handled me during my recent outpatient surgery had "Sally" on one side of her badge and "Salome" on the other side. I asked why she didn't just use Salome and she said people always pronounced it to rhyme with "baloney."

    #939 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 09:34 PM:

    Wasn't that the tag from an old Warner Brothers cartoon? Daffy or Bugs bowing, arms outstretched, saying, "Salami, salami, baloney"?

    #940 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 09:52 PM:

    #934 ::: Jacque @ 934 ...
    xeger @885: What I am seeing is this:
    #885 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2009, 01:34 PM:

    What I'd love to be able to see would be this:
    #885 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: Saturday, September 26, 2009, 01:34 PM:

    I have to admit to being utterly curious as to why -- I can understand the relative date and time (for the specific purpose of determining the relative timeliness of a post, eg: responding on a five year old posting), but what difference does the day of the week make?

    Tangentially, I absolutely detest the way that many mail clients think that "today" or "yesterday" (or for that matter "Wednesday") are reasonable things to put in the 'Date' column. I couldn't care less if it's "today" or "yesterday" -- I'd like to know what the date actually is...

    Then again, not receiving multiple pieces of email in any given 24hr period is so unusual that I start looking for system failures.

    #941 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 12:25 AM:

    Terry @931, it wasn't meant as a criticism of yours in particular, but noting how old restrictions might still be around online.

    Printing a batch of 5,000 calendars or diaries by UK or USA company, with 1,000 for export, you'd put UK or US holidays, if any. Like all the pretty imported ones here. Printing a couple at a time for a worldwide market, even if most will sell in UK or USA, it'd be a selling point to have your local conditions recognised.

    Envisioning a set of simple text files for different countries someone checks & updates a couple of times a year, which(that?) you can 'plug in' & that overlay the basic grid.

    xeger @940, I agree with Jacque @934, hard to say why. Just get a better feel for the flow & situation.

    #942 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 12:47 AM:

    Carol @ 939: I remember it as "Salami, salami, baloney—you big ham."

    Serge @ 930: But no visual contact was ever made. A form and a check landed on somebody's desk, that was all.

    Terry @ 928: I worked in student activities for several years ('80s and early '90s). The wild is crummy with variant name spellings. Your teacher would have been prostrate.

    #943 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 04:12 AM:

    D. Potter @ 913: But, but, I thought "Dangerous" was a middle name?

    #944 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 10:44 AM:

    Me @ 937 re: Carrie S. @ 932: "non-water-based adhesives" should be "water-based adhesives", of course.

    #945 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 10:48 AM:

    Try gluing your fragments to tissue paper, perhaps? You could even glue adjoining pieces to overlapping bits of tissue, for stronger bonds than you'd get on just the edges of the pieces. And if you kept the glue away from the broken edges, what kind of glue you used would matter less.

    #946 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 10:54 AM:

    D.Potter @ 942... And he assumed that 'D' had to be a guy because girls never go to cons? What century was he from? Hmm... I suddenly this vision of an SF con held in the year 1900, with Jules Verne and HG Wells as its GoHs, and Marie Curie as the science GoH.

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