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August 31, 2010

Open thread 146
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:48 PM *

Carthago deleta est.

(I couldn’t find words for this. Carthage was easier.)


link back to Open thread 145

Comments on Open thread 146:
#1 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:09 PM:

I thought it was "delenda est". However, I hasten to say that (1) I have never studied Latin and (2) I got that formulation from the title of a Poul Anderson story.

Also, first?

#2 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:09 PM:

I have to say, looking back at the past couple of months, it's been an adventure, some of it the hobbittish sense, some of it an indefinable sense (the amount of time one spends in one's own head on a trip of this sort is incredible), some of it on a, "Wow...: sense.

And lot of it in the little moments with people sense. I've had the chance to meet a number of people I'd not have been able to plan to meet; some might perhaps never have been in the same city at the same time; or when such occasions arose, not conveniently.

So, "sumer is afaden out" and I'm homeward bound.

#3 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:10 PM:

And, from abi's third link, the lovely URL http://www.happytellus.com/.

Doc Smith would be proud. I'm not sure I've seen our planet called "Tellus" in modern English by anybody other than him before.

#4 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:11 PM:

Ever read Poul Anderson's short story "Delenda Est"?

#5 ::: Mikael Vejdemo Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:13 PM:

@Lee #1:
delenda est is the passive periphrastic form, indicating a translation like »is to be destroyed«.

deleta est however, is the standard perfect form, indicating a translation like »has been destroyed«.

Hence, I suspect, Abi's choice of form.

#6 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:27 PM:

So if a troll yclept Carthago shows up and then flounces, do we get to say "Carthago bahleeta est."?

#7 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:31 PM:

Carthage—Phonecian Carthage, that is—was destroyed in 146 BC. It was reestablished as a Roman city by the Julius Caesar. (There was an earlier Roman refoundation in 122 BC, but it didn't last.)

So before 146, yes, the saying was Carthago delenda est: Carthage must be destroyed. Cato's catchphrase was as twisted a piece of genocidal warmongering and affirmation by repetition as anything we've seen in more recent times.

From 146 onward, Carthago deleta est, Carthage has been destroyed, though they held off the mightiest army in the world for three years after having surrendered all of their weapons. There's no archaeological evidence for the popular tradition that the ground was sown with salt, but the sack of the city and the sale of all of its inhabitants into slavery was sufficiently emphatic.

(I love many things about Rome and her people, but this episode is not one of them. Can you tell?)

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:51 PM:

abi @ 7... I love many things about Rome and her people, but this episode is not one of them

"All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"
"Brought peace?"
"Oh, peace - shut up!"

#9 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:54 PM:

Cabiria, a piece of retro-justification, and the first use of the tracking shot.

#10 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 04:59 PM:

Serge @8--another dissenting view, via Tactitus: ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant--"Where they have made a desolation, they call it peace"

#11 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 05:02 PM:

One of the frames in the slideshow on the Love146 site (the open bird cage with the blue bird flying away) reminds me of the Karla Bonoff song "Never Stop Her Heart". I think the song captures the feeling I get from that image.

In that photo on happytellus.com, is that an ancient Carthaginian computer up there, or was the site airconditioned at one time?

#12 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 05:03 PM:

Controlus altum deleta est.

#13 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 05:04 PM:

Serge @ 8:

As Jules Pfeiffer said, "Peace in our time, or we wipe them out."

#14 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 05:04 PM:

Here's an open-thready kind of query: I'm planning to visit New Orleans in mid-October. Anyone recommend a good hotel to stay at? (I'm planning to pick up some AAA guidebooks, but I figure it couldn't hurt to ask here, also.)

#15 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 05:08 PM:

Reposted from the previous:

Attn Lee, Eclair, others: This is just to say

that i have firmed up
my plans for attending
The Grand Masquerade

(and thus the miniature
Gathering of Light in New Orleans)

which
you probably thought
I'd forgotten about
completely

Forgive me
I'm a terrible procrastinator
I have no excuse
But I will be there.

(Have registered for convention, though not yet for any of the scheduled events. Have a room at the Crowne Plaza. After con, will be staying with parents in Metairie for two or three days. Scheduling train for arrival on 22nd, undecided about leaving Tuesday or Wednesday morning the following week.)

Also I owe y'all an email. Yours is sitting in Thunderbird's list of open tabs, waiting for me to take a moment to answer.

#16 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 05:15 PM:

Wow, talk about your coincidences, crossposting* with David Goldfarb on the subject of New Orleans hotels.

I wish I could help, but my knowledge of the place is from growing up there, and I don't know the hotel scene at all. Usually I stay with my folks.

Once I stayed at The Quarter House as part of a time share exchange; it was comfy, had wi-fi, and was situated on block 100 of Chartres (corner of the French Quarter). No idea how doable it is as a place to reserve a few nights at in the normal way of hotels.

Where I'm staying in September is purely determined by the convention I'm attending. Haven't been there before. Rate for the con is $99 a night; it's probably significantly more expensive under usual circumstances.


*or, indeed, posting without bothering to read anything until after I posted. Which is sort of like crossposting, except for the small difference that I could have helped it if i'd paid attention. I'm a twit.

#17 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 05:39 PM:

#10 — I am trying not to remember the Tom Holt novel in which, when the dinner courses have come out of order or some such, a character is justified in saying "They have made a dessert, and they call it peas."

#18 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 05:48 PM:

"When I hear the word 'custard,' I reach for my spoon."

#19 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 06:11 PM:

However, the destruction of Carthage got Rome Iberia. Which made the career, not to mention the fortune, of many a mighty Roman whose name comes rattling its chains down the road of history.

Or something.

I'm still studying old school styles of slavery. That book we're doing and all.

But open threadness hyperlocality: I was gifted with an entire basket of homegrown basil, rosemary and other herbs, tomatoes and corn. And pear apples, though those came from yet another source.

Love, C.

#20 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 06:43 PM:

My sister told me that my going-on-13 niece wanted a Barnes & Noble gift card for her birthday.

I feel hope for humanity.

#21 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 06:49 PM:

So, I just got back from being instructed in how to inject Gremlin with insulin. First dose with her dinner in about 10 minutes. I'm probably more stressed than the cat....

#22 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 07:03 PM:

Hyperlocal news: individual attempting to download photos from Gmail to iPhoto; cursing Gmail's default folder setting for said downloads (it's cleverly titled "downloads") and seeming lack of capability of creating new folder name for each batch of photos one's desirous of downloading.

#23 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 07:04 PM:

And... shot given, without incident.

#24 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 07:17 PM:

Question of ethics and practicality. I haven't given this matter much thought and I would like opinions from those who have.

Ticket reselling is (I believe) legal in New Jersey, but not in New York. There's an event my wife and I wish to attend, but the good seats are only available in singletons at this point because we're late ordering.

What are the thoughts of Fluorotariats on the ethics of buying resold tickets? And, if ethical, how does one find a reliable seller thereof?

#25 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 07:18 PM:

There's little room for laughter nor for wit
in a beige room with a good downtown view
learning that not all good comes with the new,
and breathing in the scents of bile and shit.
You learn then all the signals of hard grit,
but night and day someone must turn the screw.
The pain will come as much as you are due
and you must sleep now for a little bit.
Love is sustained upon a sea of tears
though brotherhood itself may seem to fail
in curtest questions. Still you can draw breath,
surprise yourself that you withstood your fears
and are arrived to laugh about this tale
since by a hair you walked away from death.

#26 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 07:28 PM:

Welcome back, Fragano. We missed you.

#27 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 07:36 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #25: Welcome back! I hope you're recovering well!

#28 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 07:46 PM:

TexAnne #26: Thanks.

David Harmon #27: Recovery is a truly shitty process, that's all I can say.

#29 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 07:46 PM:

Fragano! Welcome back!

#30 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 07:48 PM:

@24 In general, I view laws against ticket reselling to be a particularly bad form of interference with markets. Unlike things like drinking water and emergency care, just about anything that has tickets is an entertainment item, a definite luxury. As such, people are entitled to value it how they will, and not necessarily at what price the first seller does. If the ticket was originally sold for $20 to someone who values it at $25, if I want to buy if for $40 because I really want to see THIS show, what business does the state have interfering with us?

I certainly understand there are problems when a reseller could buy all the tickets available, for example, and then raise the price on me. But if I don't buy the ticket, the reseller is stuck with something they can't unload at their inflated price. Of course, if the venue auctioned the tickets instead they'd get the missed value in that exchange instead. But I don't think regulating the ticket prices of entertainment is a valuable occupation of the state.


(In short, go for it. The reselling place I have heard the most chatter about is Stubhub, but I think that's sports focused. Personally, when I need to buy tickets its to a local sporting event with sellers ready to take cash standing around outside the entrances.)

#31 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 07:58 PM:

abi @7, I'll probably always find it kind of odd that the best known libertarian think-tank of our time is named after a man who is best known for successfully advocating the use of government force for the genocidal destruction of a wealthy, thriving and prosperous mercantile city.

#32 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:00 PM:

Welcome back, Fragano!

#33 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:03 PM:

Hyperlocal news: woman reads comment in Anthony Bourdain blog, spends time she should be working Googling for name of 1960s travel show to find out if it was in black and white.

"The theme song was 'The Happy Wanderer,'" she reports, "and I know it was hosted by a husband and wife who did the traveling (later joined by their son). The name? Arghhh."

Insanity expected soon...

#34 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:04 PM:

DDB at # 3: C.S. Lewis used "Tellus" or maybe it was "Tellurian" somewhere in his DeepSpace trilogy.

#35 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:08 PM:

Serge @√-1:
Carthage is cornmeal mush? I don't get it.

It's dolenda not polenta.

#36 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:12 PM:

From 145: ddb, #910, the WashPost does that, too. When articles are finished, they get posted online with the date that the article will be in the paper-paper version.

#37 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:23 PM:

I have just returned from my first convention in twenty years (7th UK Discworld Convention) and the feelings of ecstatic happiness of having gone, are battling with the crashing sadness of the return to the real world.

Making Light, as usual, makes things that little bit better.

#38 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:50 PM:

David Harmon, #23, good for you and Gremlin!

Fragano Ledgister, #25, lovely poem and I'm glad you're home!

A friend is on a difficult vacation with her in-laws (and husband). The in-laws are constantly saying bad and inaccurate things about Muslims and she'd like to know of a good book, perhaps by a non-violent Muslim, about Muslims in general. Any ideas?

#39 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:53 PM:

Fragano, welcome back. You've been worried about, prayed for, and much missed.

#40 ::: Rick York ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:54 PM:

One thing I think is safe to say: Ex-Carthaginians did not take too well to the expression "salt of the earth".

#41 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 08:59 PM:

Delurking to say welcome back, Fragano!

#42 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:03 PM:

Fragano, we missed you!

(Well, it's much better than having hit you. Which I'd hate doing.)

#43 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:18 PM:

Fragano, welcome home!

#44 ::: Darth Paradox ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:22 PM:

One of Heinlein's alternate Earths in Future History was "Tellus Tertius". I certainly like the name better than the Marvel-style "Earth-3" construction.

#45 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:28 PM:

Welcome back Fragano! Here's to a smooth & speedy recovery.

BTW, are there plans for Fluorospherians to meet at Aussiecon 4? We're leaving for Melbourne this afternoon for our first Worldcon, followed by a family vacation & a much needed break from work.

#46 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:29 PM:

jnh @ 35... That'd be one his tales of the Tin Pot Roll.

#47 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:30 PM:

Bon retour, Fragano!

#48 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:32 PM:

Fragano, good to have you back.

#49 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:33 PM:

Look at the thank-you page of MK Hobson's novel "The Tin Star", which was released today, and you'll see a name you're familiar with.

Squee!

#50 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:36 PM:

Adding to the chorus appreciating your return, Fragano (and quite a good poem that is).

#51 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:40 PM:

Fragano, it's good to see you back and hear your voice.

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:41 PM:

Serge @ 49... It's "The NATIVE Star", you nitwit!

#53 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:44 PM:

Serge #49:

"The Native Star"?

Never mind. I see you got there first.

#54 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 09:54 PM:

Fragano, welcome back and my best wishes for a swift recovery!

#55 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 10:30 PM:

@25 - Fragano!

A more welcome verse I cannot think to find. Welcome back.

#56 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 10:31 PM:

Welcome back, Fragano!

#57 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 10:44 PM:

Office of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream:

I have been reading multiple, contradictory, and what appear to me to be frankly insane comments on the Internet from bloggers, columnists, candidates for office, evangelic ministers, Glenn Beck, about Barack Obama's faith. (He's a Muslim. He's a secret Muslim. He's a Christian, but not the right kind of Christian. He's not really a Christian. He wants to institute Sharia Law in the United States. He's a believer in liberation theology.) Dear -- if you will excuse the expression -- God. It says, clearly, in Article VI of the United States Constitution, a copy of which has been sitting next to my computer since the day George W. Bush was sworn in as President ...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Why are they -- are we -- is anybody even talking about this?

/rant

#58 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 10:45 PM:

And on the topic of things unexpectedly going right:

I bought a Tracfone back in '08 to use for Worldcon (at the recommendation of someone here, as I recall), and it was handy. But since cell phones aren't really a tech that I've really bought into yet, I let the activation lapse.

So come time to visit my friend Matt for his wedding, would be good to have a cell again. But wait! Phone won't activate.

So I put in a customer support query and...

I have to say, they went the distance. Turns out the SIM had expired, so I needed a new one. But their projected delivery time would have been during or after my trip, so no joy. (I'd put off activating the phone because I anticipate using it for another trip in October, and I didn't want to have to buy more airtime.)

I'm not used to actual customer, like, service, so when the emails started coming, I responded politely and just sort of brushed them off.

But the service staff persisted, and even went so far as to call me on my home phone last night. How the hell often does that happen? I began to think maybe they were serious about this.

I get home from work this evening to find a FedEx package sitting by my door. Inside: a SIM.

So, zippo-bango, I'm ready to text. I figured the least I can do is give them a little Google-juice, so I'm posting here, as well as over at my LJ.

#59 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 10:54 PM:

57
He's a Christian, but not the right kind of Christian.

That, unfortunately, is the closest to sane any of them seem to come. There are people out there who will buy that one, because that's the kind of thing they're told at church.
I've met people who believe that, that everyone who isn't a member of whatever particular sect they belong to will be going to hell because they don't believe in the correct way. (Some of them take it so far as to not go onto the property of one of those other sects, even if it's for a completely secular purpose.)

#60 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:05 PM:
But there is one good point which both these churches have in common—they are both party churches. I think I warned you before that if your patient can't be kept out of the Church, he ought at least to be violently attached to some party within it. I don't mean on really doctrinal issues; about those, the more lukewarm he is the better. And it isn't the doctrines on which we chiefly depend for producing malice. The real fun is working up hatred between those who say "mass" and those who say "holy communion" when neither party could possibly state the difference between, say, Hooker's doctrine and Thomas Aquinas', in any form which would hold water for five minutes. And all the purely indifferent things—candles and clothes and what not—are an admirable ground for our activities.
-- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
#61 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:20 PM:

YAY!!! FRAGANO'S BACK!!!

#62 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 11:25 PM:

Oh, yeah. Lewis Magister. But what's making me crazy is 1) the contradictions in the politics, and 2) the cowardice of the Democrats. As I understand it, most of these folks who are attacking President Obama's faith, or lack of it, at the same time claim to be defending the Constitution (which by the way the President has corrupted by getting Congress to vote for things like the ACA and extended unemployment, presumably by clouding their collective minds with something he learned in a madrassah.) This is nuts.

Every Democrat in Congress, plus Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman, should be wearing a T-shirt with Article VI emblazoned on it. What's wrong with these people? Why are they not fighting back?

#63 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 12:14 AM:

Lizzy I want to know what's in the environment in DC that most, if not all, of the politicians seem to have lost whatever minds they seem to have had.
(That, or there's a huge transparent dome over the place that's blocking all communications with the Real World.)

It's too bad the people most likely to believe this stuff (it's everywhere; the supermarket tabloid 'Globe' is particularly virulent) are the ones least likely to listen if you point out that Obama is more conservative in many ways than Nixon, and would probably have been a good Republican thirty or forty years ago.

#64 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 12:15 AM:

Welcome back, Fragano! And best wishes for your recovery.

#65 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 12:34 AM:

PJ@59, when they're saying "Obama's Christian, but not the right kind", they don't mean "He's the wrong denomination" (because after all, there are Mormons and occasionally Catholics in their target audience), they mean "He's from a Black church with a Black preacher who Hates Whitey and is in favor of Socialism!".

It's the Angry Propaganda Of The Month Club, and as long as you've bought one issue, it doesn't really matter if you buy every month's issue or send some of them back like you tried to do with That Annoying Record Club, they're just keeping you buying enough issues to be mad at Obama and the Democrats all the time, so they can send you a bill next November, and maybe getting some of your friends to sign up before then. And some months the issue isn't actually Obama himself, they'll slip in National Health Care or Cap and Trade, and if they've been overdoing it a bit too much, they'll throw in a heart-warming romantic comedy (Glenn Beck crying on the Lincoln Memorial steps with Sarah Palin in the background or something.)

Oh, wait, doesn't this belong over in the Wicked Vanity Publishing thread by now? A lot of the subscribers have been writing their own material for their Club, but still get asked to pay....

#66 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 12:36 AM:

David Harmon @ 21 & 23 Yes! That's the first hurdle. The next one will be when Gremlin doesn't want to eat on time and you start getting nervous because you won't be able to give her the correct dose. My results indicated that a slosh of low-sodium chicken broth and 20 seconds in the microwave make everything more delicious. On another random note, start keeping Karo syrup in the house for potential hypoglycemia. I've been told it's a lifesaver.

#67 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 12:53 AM:

Gremlin doesn't want to eat on time and you start getting nervous because you won't be able to give her the correct dose.

Or because it's after midnight and you KNOW what will happen.

#68 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:07 AM:

David @ #14 - I'll be staying in the Place d'Armes tomorrow night (10 year anniversary? Where did the time go?) so I can give you a review of at least one hotel then. Otherwise, I would just have to recommend hotels.com. I've not yet been really disappointed by any of my bookings on there, and I like being able to check out the decor, and pick whether I'm feeling lavish or modern for that particular trip.

#69 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:09 AM:

Re: TrishB @ 66 to David Harmon on Gremlin: I second the Karo syrup idea (honey also works). I had a cat (Matt Yower) who was diagnosed as diabetic at about the same time as I'd planned to be out of town for a few days; I boarded him at the vet's so they could figure out the proper insulin dosage.

One morning, a few days after I got home again--and was giving Matt his prescribed dose twice a day--I heard him howling, but couldn't find him. I finally traced him to my home office, where he lay on the floor, completely unable to do anything but howl.

A quick call to the emergency vet clinic resulted in my rubbing Matt's gums with honey (no Karo in the house) and hightailing it to the clinic...where the vet discovered Matt's blood sugar was so low it wouldn't even register. Diagnosis: the stress of being boarded had resulted in even higher blood sugar levels than "normal", such that the insulin dose the cat had been getting while boarded was about 4 times higher than what he needed at home.

Matt was fine, and it never happened again, but man, was it scary at the time. Dave, not to be alarmist, but you will want to keep a close watch on Gremlin while getting his dosage finalized. Had I known then what I know now, I would have been more watchful--might have saved both the cat and myself that early-morning scare.

#70 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:18 AM:

Fragano: Welcome back to you and your poetry!


Bill Stewart @ 65:

When we had that discussion about the Tea Baggers here at ML last year I kept saying they were simply racists. I am not pleased to have been right.

#71 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:27 AM:

Allan Beatty @34: Yes, Tellus is one of the names for Earth in Perelandra. Also, the human invaders of Narnia in Prince Caspian et seq. were called Telmarines.

#72 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:32 AM:

W00t! Fragano's back!

Lizzy, do you ever read Slacktivist? This sort of thing has given me worthwhile perspective.

#73 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:39 AM:

Lizzy L @57, the "religious test" language in the Constitution refers to explicit, legal qualifications, like a law requiring a prospective office-holder to swear that he doesn't believe in transubstantion.

If J Random Voter decides that, by gum, no Zoroastrian is going to get his vote, than that is entirely within the voter's legal and constitutional rights, regardless of what it says about him as a human being.

The reasons anyone is talking about this is because a great many Americans are bigots and xenophobes, and it's in the perceived best interest of the out-of-power political faction to stoke that bigotry and xenophobia.

#74 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:46 AM:

What Bill @#65 said.

As usual, The Onion is dead on target:

Man Already Knows Everything He Needs To Know About Muslims

And this.

The reality isn't much less silly:
New Left Media interviews at the Restoring Honor rally

I didn't get very far into the video above. When the interviewer tries to get the attendees to provide actual details on what just what Obama had done, they can only flail around and spout vague generalities. (Communism, division.) Gullible dumbfucks.

I'm really, really tired of angry, ignorant people. And utterly disgusted with the political philosophy that both depends on anger and ignorance and whose policies seem designed to create more of the same.

#75 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 02:03 AM:

Syd @ 69 Been there, done that. The emergency vet clinic knows me. Ten minutes after I hung up the phone with my regular vet at 6 PM one night, Pepper vomited what looked liked her entire 10 AM meal, and then fell over on the ground shaking and shivering. I carried her upstairs to the house, shoved Karo syrup in her mouth and took her to the E-vet, fully expecting hypoglycemia. Nah, her blood sugar was 440, and she was severely dehydrated from a UTI. Once you can get a diabetic pet regulated, they do wonderfully. We can't get there, and are still chasing an atypical Cushing's diagnosis.

#76 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 02:17 AM:

Welcome back, Fragano!

****

I now have the photo I'd mentioned last week in the midst of all the dental discussion:

http://missmatchproject.blogspot.com/2010/08/week-22-half-empty-garten-and-katherine.html

I'm rather happy with how my half of the diptych turned out.

#77 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 02:28 AM:

Yay for Gremlin, and for Fragano!

New Orleans hotels:

1) When I went to Nolacon in 1988, I stayed at the Monteleone and was impressed. It's a lovely old hotel, very fancy, very pricey -- but if you can afford it, well worth the money. And the rooms are large enough that we had 4 people in one and didn't feel cramped, which is not always the case with older hotels.

2) A few years ago, a friend and I took a trip to New Orleans and stayed at the Hotel St. Anne / Marie Antoinette, which is lower-scale than the Monteleone, but charming and quite comfortable. And my friend scored an amazingly cheap room rate on Expedia, so that would be something to check for.

3) A friend who goes to New Orleans semi-regularly recommended the Lamothe House Hotel when I was grumbling about not being able to find an affordable room for ICC. It didn't solve our problem, but it does look nice. She says this is her absolute favorite New Orleans hotel, and I trust her taste.

#78 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 02:53 AM:

Fragano's back on the airwaves! Huzzah!

#79 ::: Carol Maltby ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 03:00 AM:

That's a Latin tie with the Lorem Ipsum text, not a Greek one, as listed in TNH's Particles.

#80 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 05:51 AM:

"When I hear the word 'custard,' I reach for my spoon."

Whenever I hear the word "Culture" I reach for my knife missile.

Original: "whenever I hear the word "culture" I take the safety off my Browning." Hanns Johst. (Wenn ich Kultur höre ... entsichere ich meinen Browning!) Can anyone who speaks better German than me tell me if this works as a pun in German, as it almost does in English? (Browning = automatic pistol and also 19th century poets.)

#81 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 06:58 AM:

Lizzy L @ 62... the Constitution (which by the way the President has corrupted by getting Congress to vote for things like the ACA and extended unemployment, presumably by clouding their collective minds

Obama really is Lamont Cranston?

#82 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 07:14 AM:

Soon Lee @ 53... That was embarassing. First time am author mentions me in her book and I flub its title.

#83 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 07:41 AM:

TrishB #66, Syd #69: I don't normally use Karo syrup, but I have honey and agave syrup (the latter in a squirt bottle). And yeah, I did cover that with the vet-tech (who did yesterday's training).

Today I'm actually going out on a hike, but Gremlin's only on the initial 1 unit -- tomorrow she goes in for curve-testing. That will involve a bus ride, which I'm not sure she's done before.

PS: The tech shaved off most of Gremlin's ruff (back of her neck), which looks pretty silly. I'll need to keep her out of the sun for a while, fortunately she's still wary of the 80-90°F heat outside.

#84 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 08:18 AM:

Bill Stewart @65 Angry Propaganda Of The Month Club Love the description of how this works

Avram @73 following up on Lizzy @57 the "religious test" language in the Constitution refers to explicit, legal qualifications, like a law requiring a prospective office-holder to swear that he doesn't believe in transubstantion.

If J Random Voter decides that, by gum, no Zoroastrian is going to get his vote, than that is entirely within the voter's legal and constitutional rights, regardless of what it says about him as a human being.

It doesn't seem at all unreasonable to me to consider what a candidate's professed religious beliefs suggest about his/her values and priorities. It seems better as part of an overall view of the candidate and not a litmus test. But after all, I would consider it important if a candidate belonged to a sect that, say, believed that other religions should not be allowed to practice or that gays should be "deprogrammed" or that we don't need to help the poor because God has arranged that they get what they deserve.

It's annoying that the discussion goes on with so much heat and so little light. Although I must admit I try to stay away from most of it, which means I'm estimating by the shadows and echoes and makes me a poor judge of what's actually being discussed. But I hope someone is out there repeating what Colin Powell said back in the campaign: He's not a Muslim, but so what if he was?

Oh, and welcome back, Fragano, and best wishes for your recovery.

#85 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 08:33 AM:

Clarifying my own @84 It's annoying that the discussion goes on with so much heat and so little light. In the public forum, that is, not here.

#86 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 09:16 AM:

Sorry if I missed this before, but it was shown on TV here last night.
Did he say that? Did he really say that.
OMG. OMFG.

#87 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 09:18 AM:

In Cato the Elder's actual words, the formula was "Ceterum autem censeo, Carthaginem esse delendam" -- "And furthermore, Carthage must be destroyed" -- which he appended to every speech. Not unlike, say, Glenn Beck.

#88 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 09:22 AM:

fidelio #10: My baby brother lives not far from where those words were spoken.

#89 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 09:24 AM:

Thanks for all the words of welcome. I am overwhelmed.

#90 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 09:44 AM:

I must have read the Lewis use, but didn't remember it. It's conceivable I read it before I'd read Doc Smith, for that matter. The Heinlein is I'm sure a reference to Smith. Thanks to Allan Beatty@34 and Darth Paradox@44.

And while I'm late to the party, welcome back Fragano!

#91 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 09:48 AM:

Carol Maltby @ 79 — It's greek (or greeked) in the sense of "placeholder text".

#92 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 09:52 AM:

"Tellurian" was used a few times in old-school Doctor Who, as well. The instances that come to mind are "Carnival of Monsters" and "The Two Doctors", both by Robert Holmes.

#93 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 10:05 AM:

Fragano: Welcome back!

#94 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 10:11 AM:

Lizzy L:

I've found it interesting to watch the scattershot approach to propaganda these folks use: Obama isn't just a secret Muslim, or an atheist, or a member of an extreme, anti-white Evangelical church, or a follower of liberation theology--he's all those things at once.

I assume there's some logic to this--maybe in the right frame of mind, you're willing to just latch onto one of the mutually-exclusive choices and ignore the others?

#95 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 10:17 AM:

David Goldfarb @ #14

If the budget stretches to it, or if you can get a good deal, Le Pavillion is absolutely beautiful, with great service, and free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the lobby of an evening.

It's easy walking to the French Quarter for sight-seeing, but far enough away that you don't get the French Quarter brouhaha at night.

#96 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 10:22 AM:

And Fragano, we don't know each other at all, but I've missed you.

#97 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 10:35 AM:

(Belatedly) Yay, welcome back, Fragano!

Open thready question: I'm visiting Chicago for a week starting Monday. On my current list, if I can afford them all: an architecture tour, the Art Institute, the Field Museum of natural history, the Adler Planetarium, and either the Sears or the Hancock Center for the view.

Does the Fluorosphere have any other recommendations for the fluorospherian must-see list?

#98 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 10:50 AM:

Pendrift @97, the Museum of Science & Industry is also fun.

There are also walking tours from the Frank Lloyd Wright house in suburban Oak Park, and I recommend the Morton Arboretum in suburban Lisle, but those are harder to get to from downtown.

#99 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 10:52 AM:

Pendrift @97

Wandering around the University of Chicago will make for an excellent day. Be sure to go to the Seminary Co-op bookstore (58th and University), a subterranean warren of academic books that goes on for miles. When you've spent all your money there, you can wander through the cloisters and see if you can find my favorite campus water fountain, which features a gruesome Pieta, and cool bubbly refreshment.

Across the street from the Co-op is the Oriental Institute where there are all sorts of fun things to look at, and a small but tempting gift shop.

There were (when I was a student there) any number of small hidden away places to get lunch on campus. The Classics cafe and the cafe in the basement of the Divinity School were particularly good.

And if you have a car and a mind to explore, you can drive out to Fermi Lab, set up a tour (private or group) to see the particle accelerator, AND see the buffalo.

Yes, buffalo. Doesn't everyone graze buffalo on top of their particle accelerators?

#100 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 11:02 AM:

Carol Maltby @79: That's a Latin tie with the Lorem Ipsum text, not a Greek one, as listed in TNH's Particles.

Indicating blocks of copy with Lorem Ipsum is commonly called 'greeking' type.

When I worked mocking up ads for ad agencies, 'greeking' was drawing parallel lines to take up the space where the copy would eventually go in the finished product. Sometimes instead of parallel lines we'd draw out squiggles (think of an unbroken chain of upside-down u's) the height of each line.

#101 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 11:18 AM:

@97 and 99

I'd second the Oriental Institute, it's really a hidden gem. (Full disclosure, my better half worked there while a student.)

And if digging through great book stores for a whole day sounds like your idea of a great vacation, there are three other great ones as you walk East from campus along 57th street: 57th Street books (run by the same co-op that does the Sem Co-op) O'Gara and Wilson and a Powell's.

And while you're in Hyde Park there's the Smart Museum (modern art).

Outside of Hyde Park see what's playing at the Music Box and if you go don't miss the outstanding Julius Meinl coffee shop just down the block.

#102 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 11:18 AM:

Pendrift@97, about 15 years ago we had a large-group work meeting in Chicago, and went on the architecture boat tour. It was definitely worthwhile, though it helped that it was a beautiful evening and one of my coworkers was also an architecture geek.

#103 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 12:07 PM:

Dan Hoey 79, Rob Rusick 100:

You've now got me wondering whether that's the origin of the phrase 'It's all Greek to me' (meaning, as is probably easy to guess) 'it's Double Dutch'.)

#105 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 12:40 PM:

praisegod barebones @103 — I'd guess that the phrase "Greek to me" would be more likely the origin of the term "greeked text". According to wikipedia, Graecum est; non legitur was used by medieval scribes, and "it was Greek to me" appears in Shakespeare.

#106 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 12:57 PM:

Glad you are doing better, if not "OK", Fragano.

#107 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:22 PM:

praisegod barebones @103

In Dutch, when something is incomprehensible, we often say 'that's Chinese to me' - which is a 'clever' joke far too many people make when I mention my chosen line of study. In their defence, I usually do end up having to explain what 'sinology' means.

Dan Hoey @105

Aren't 'greeked' texts like lorem ipsum derived from some actual Latin components? Funny fuzzy terminology.

#108 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:27 PM:

Perhaps this snuck in under the radar, but the New Yorker is reporting what a lot of us have been wondering for some time now: who exactly it is that's backing the tea party "movement": it's Murdoch and our buddies the Koch brothers. Read the executive summary courtesy of Frank Rich in the NYT here.

#109 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:28 PM:

Bombie @107:

In Dutch, when something is incomprehensible, we often say 'that's Chinese to me' - which is a 'clever' joke far too many people make when I mention my chosen line of study.

You have the sympathy of a former Classics (ie, Latin and Greek) major. ("Greek to you? Really? Never heard that one before!")

#110 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:34 PM:

Serge, Joan Walsh refers to that quote in the article. Me I think he thinks he's the statue of feckin liberty.

#111 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:38 PM:

Pendrift @97:

The Lincoln Park Zoo is run by the Chicago Park District, so admission is free. It's also accessible from public transportation (website says "CTA bus routes 151 or 156 both serve the zoo;" I had to look up the route numbers, but can attest that the bus really does drop you off right at the front entrance). Weather permitting, it's a wonderful way to spend a day.

#112 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:51 PM:

I feel the need to do some minor kvelling.

I placed two poems in a rather good UK magazine today.

*glee*

#113 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 01:55 PM:

Sarah S. (112): Congratulations!

#114 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 02:03 PM:

Bombie @ 107:

Aren't 'greeked' texts like lorem ipsum derived from some actual Latin components? Funny fuzzy terminology.
Yes, and this incongruous state of affairs was put to humorous use in a recent Particle. A necktie using Latin words was described as Greek. Hilarity ensued.

#115 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 02:08 PM:

tykewriter @ 110... I think he really is one of the skinless humans living under New York City who worship the Bomb.

#116 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 02:11 PM:

Thank you for the Chicago tips!

Bombie@107, abi @109: And I'm a translator. Guess how many times I've heard "you must be a cunning linguist." Ha. Ha. Ha.

#117 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 03:17 PM:

I think this article would be of interest to this crowd. He seems to imply that liberals can't be good storytellers, though. I just think the liberals in charge these days stink at it; FDR had some great stories to tell.

Pendrift, 116: I'm waiting for results for an admissions test to NYU's translation studies program (Spanish to English). What languages do you work in?

#118 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 03:38 PM:

In #99 Sarah S. writes:

And if you have a car and a mind to explore, you can drive out to Fermi Lab, set up a tour (private or group) to see the particle accelerator, AND see the buffalo.

Pendrift, I'm going to be real busy next week, but if this tempts you, get in touch. Maybe something can be worked out. (higgins at fnal dot gov)

Fermilab is a wonderful place to see, but it's about an hour west of the Loop by car.

#119 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 03:42 PM:

It's distinctly more middle-brow than other Chicago suggestions, but the one time I was there I had a good time walking State Street and visiting all umpty-ump floors of the Marshall Fields store (now Macy's, but still an historic place in American business history).

#120 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 03:50 PM:

Chris Quinones @ 117 -

Part of the problem is that the sheer number of storytellers has increased, and they each want to tell their own version of the tale. Power and influence has been diluted quite a bit, and is no longer solely the province of the few.

George Schultz, the Secretary of State during the Reagan years, once remarked in exasperation, "The trouble with Washington is that nobody defers anymore!"

It's even more so now.

#121 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 03:55 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 118... Fermilab is a wonderful place to see

Is it the lab where a guide pointed in one direction and said "Twenty miles" then moved is arm at a 90-degree angle and again said "Twenty miles"?

#122 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 04:00 PM:

Sarah, #99: Last I heard, the Fermi tours had been shut down for security reasons. Have they relaxed that?

#123 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 04:22 PM:

#121: A college friend of mine used that line once, in the guts of the giant linear accelerator at Brookhaven Labs.

Present were a gaggle of SF authors, guests of I-Con. You just know they got it.

#124 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 04:31 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 123... I think I had incorrectly remembred your saying that. I'd have loved to be there.

#125 ::: RP ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 04:50 PM:

@98, it's pretty simple to see the Frank Lloyd Wright houses and Unity Temple in Oak Park. You can take the Green Line El to Oak Park Avenue or the Union Pacific West Metra train to Oak Park. Both stations are within a half a mile of most of the FLW attractions plus the Hemingway museum (and several interesting restaurants and shops).

#126 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 04:52 PM:

Bombie@107: Dutch isn't the only one. The fantastic Strange Maps had a post a little while back charting who uses what as their incomprehensibility standard. Sadly, there's no loops in there, although I like the Czech-Spanish-Greek-Arabic-Hindi chain of disapproval.

#127 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 05:12 PM:

James E 126

From the notes below the map, I love the fact that the Esperantists say 'it's all Volapuk to me.'

#128 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 05:34 PM:

121, 123, 124: I don't get it. [*]?

#129 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 05:35 PM:

abi @109

Seeing the expressions on their face after an earnest "Yeah, I'm feeling ya! It's Chinese to me too -- thank god!" is often worth the price of admission.

James E @126

I've yet to encounter a mention of a 'heavenly language'. Now I'm kind of hoping this moment comes soon.

Loving the Esperantists 'Volapük' as well.

#130 ::: Mattathias ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 05:38 PM:

It ought to be interesting to see if Neal Stephenson's latest venture goes anywhere.

#131 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 05:47 PM:

James 126: Why are there two arrows pointing from Russian to Chinese?

#132 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 05:53 PM:

Mattathias #130:

So how is this radically different from Shadow Unit?

#133 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 06:00 PM:

I must admit that I have sometimes made the over obvious pun to folks who have heard it too many times before. The pun detector routine isn't always called in the context of the obviousness filter (Aspieish traits are kind of hard to override).
I have on occasion managed to apologize before they managed to get their standard retort out.

#134 ::: Mattathias ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 06:06 PM:

joann@132: Offhand, not at all. Minor differences include publicity level and pricing structure. My gut instinct is that Stephenson is going to lose a bundle of money on Subutai, but time will tell.

#135 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 06:18 PM:

Xopher@131: Disappointingly, it's a mistake (at least according to one of the comments in the Strange Maps post), not an indication that Russian has separate phrases for "it's all Mandarin" and "it's all Xiang".

#136 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 06:28 PM:

After using an expletive, people in America (your truly included) will say "Excuse my French". Presumably, any association with my native language automatically makes anything classier. Oui?

#137 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 06:36 PM:

Xopher @ 128... "Forbidden Planet"... The scene inside the monstrous well of the Krell machine and it turns out to be just a ventilation shaft for a machine that's 20 miles by 20 miles by 20 miles.

#138 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 06:49 PM:

Bombie @129 re: heavenly language: Enochian?

Yes, I know there would be no reason for Chinese to have evolved a phrase about something most likely invented by Queen Elizabeth I's court astrologer. It does have the virtue of incomprehensibility!

#139 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 07:08 PM:

I've upon occasion made what seemed an obvious pun to me (on someone's name) and had it be completely unexpected. The most obvious example was when I said to costumer Mary Jane Brogan -- "Oh! Your name's a pair of shoes!" -- which she insisted nobody had pointed out before. She may have been being kind, but if so she continued well after it would have been easy to let go.

#140 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 07:37 PM:

Re Subutai: the next edition of the SF Encyclopedia ought to have a specific heading for Novels That Have An Awful Lot Of Interesting Extra Pseudo-Factual Stuff As An Appendix (or, in this hypertext age, As A Clickable Link). I loved The Lord Of The Rings when I first read it but was very much slowed down in the reading of it by my discovery (before I'd got very far into the actual novel) of all the cool stuff about calendars, writing systems, translation problems etc. in the Appendices, and it was difficult to tear my attention away from these to the story itself.

#141 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 07:54 PM:

Serge #82:

I'm off to Aussiecon from this morning to meet Writers! Editors! Luminaries! The chances of not embarrassing myself are slim.

#142 ::: Mary Aileen points to very old spam on Electrolite ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 08:04 PM:

This post on Electrolite has comment spam lingering at the bottom. (Comments are closed there, of course.)

#143 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 08:50 PM:

All knowledge is contained in Making Light:
My uncle used to recite an obscure quotation, and it went something like the following. Does anyone know where it came from originally?

It was a dark and stormy night outside the gates of Paris. I drew my rusty, trusty horse-pistol (which I had raised from a Colt) and fired. My opponent sank into his second's arms.

"Stop! You have killed a man!"
"A man?" says I.
"A man," says he.
"What was his name?"
"Zanzibar. You have killed my brother. We must fight."
[repeat]

#144 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 08:54 PM:

Mary Aileen at 142: The Urls on said spam still work after all these years! (though they are in Japanese, so I can not tell whether or not they say something like "this domain name is parked"

#145 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 09:06 PM:

Sarah S. #99:
"Yes, buffalo. Doesn't everyone graze buffalo on top of their particle accelerators?"

The Higgs Bison?

#146 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 09:07 PM:

re: Subutai, and how it's just like Shadow Unit. Of course it is; a fictional form that spreads out into links and asides and fake livejournals is an obvious thing to try, now that people communicate that way in real life. Groups of people are going to keep playing with variations on this until we stop using http.

Eventually, somebody will even figure out how to get large numbers of people to read them; we'll know that happens because suddenly there'll be a Name for the form (the "smear?" I dunno...). Sometime after that, somebody will figure out how to make a profit, and we'll know THAT when sixty of the things, all about sexy vampires, come out on the same day.

#147 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 09:24 PM:

Asshole Ugandan "wants to kill every gay person." I hope his fucking plane crashes.

#148 ::: Sara E ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 09:24 PM:

So has anyone been following the latest major fail on the part of Livejournal? Just wondering.

#149 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 10:13 PM:

Lizzy L. @ 57
I am strongly reminded of the young woman who, at an inter-denominational but predominantly protestant event, looked at me in honest shock and said "You're Catholic?! But I thought you were Christian!"

#150 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 10:27 PM:

Xopher @ 147: You know, half of me dreads the thought that a splinter group of gay activists will go all Pink Pistols, decide it's us or them, and start answering violence with violence.

The other half relishes the thought.

#151 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 11:02 PM:

Marilee @#38: No God But God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam by Reza Aslan is a good primer on the religion and the conflicts within it.

#152 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 11:10 PM:

KayTei at 149, that particular encounter has never happened to me, but it's happened to people I know.

Avram at 73, I know that clause is usually interpreted in the way you describe, though I'm not at all familiar with any federal cases in which its application has been adjudicated. I haven't done the reading; I'm not a historian, and if there's material in the Federalist Papers or elsewhere which bears specifically on this issue, I'm not sufficiently schooled in the period to be able to refer to it. But the Founders (I believe) had more than a simple, legalistic intention when they put that clause in, and people who care about the Constitution, as Democrats should not be afraid to say they do, should also not be afraid to refer to it.

#153 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 11:15 PM:

Pendrift: If he has the time, and you the means, Bill Higgins, Beam Jockey, might be induced to give you a tour of Fermi Lab.

#154 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 11:17 PM:

152
They certainly had experience with membership in the local government-sponsored church being required for voting, let alone holding office. I believe Virginia and Massachusetts were both big on that.

#155 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 11:34 PM:

Erik, #145: You just made me waste a perfectly good mouthful of iced tea.

Sara, #148: Oh, yes. I'm about 3/4 convinced that Zuckerman paid the LJ PTB to get this; it's got his style all over it. Someone somewhere on my friendslist described it as "stuff on MY blog isn't as much under my control as it used to be," and that's Facebook right down the line.

#156 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2010, 11:45 PM:

Didn't someone say something about some people having trouble ending a conversation?

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/09/four-levels-of-social-entrapment.html

#157 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 12:06 AM:

Lizzy L, #57, Tom Toles made a really good cartoon about that.

P J Evans, #63, almost all politicians want to be re-elected. There've been few who have been willing to vote the right way and get defeated the next election. I can't find the WashPost article on this (can only partly remember the names of two fairly recent congressfolk), but clearly, a lot of politicians want to stay in their seat of pride.

albatross, #94, and the interesting truth is that he and family have gone to a number of the larger churches in DC -- some mostly black, some mostly white, and one that's strongly mixed -- and haven't allowed cameras inside, because it would destroy the service for everybody. (There are the SS agents, but you can't keep them out.)

Sarah S., #112, Congratulations!

Erik Nelson, #143, I found one similar, but he doesn't know where it came from either.

Mary Dell, #151, Thanks!

#158 ::: Sara E ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 12:30 AM:

Lee #148, I'm beginning to think the same thing myself. And it's alarming to me because I don't like thinking that way.

But...people are hopping mad and it's growing exponentially and yet there is virtual radio silence from LJ. There have been one or two buried responses from staff but nothing official to placate people. It's horrid customer service: the paid customers are killing their auto renewals and/or taking their money to Dreamwidth and posting to show it and LJ is seemingly doing nothing? That's nuts.

That alone should make them roll out some sort of big "Okay we hear you and are working on this and we'll have something tomorrow" post, but there has been nothing.

When paying folks are pissed and threatening to take there money elsewhere companies are supposed to listen, unless someone else is them BIG bucks. That's when companies show contempt for the folks shelled out the bread and butter prices.

It's either that or utter arrogance and stupidity.

#159 ::: Gelfling ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 12:43 AM:

LJFail: They have added an update to the original post, but it's their usual mealy-mouthed, 'Oh, darn. Was that a bad idea?' "We'll do our best to respond" doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.

And yes, I'm upset, too. Facebook is for just about everyone I know, and some family that I don't. LJ is for the things I will only share with trusted friends or anonymously. Why the heck would I ever want to mix the two?

#160 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 12:49 AM:

Erik Nelson @145: **groan**

I shall have to inflict this on my SO, who works at Fermi. Too bad I didn't have it in my arsenal a couple of weeks ago when we were showing friends around...

#161 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 12:52 AM:

Sarah S. @112: congratulations!

Chris Quinones @117: my diploma is in editorial and technical translation. It says English, French, and Spanish, but I work nearly exclusively from French to English. Is the NYU program a literary translation one?

Bill Higgins @118: email sent!

Linkmeister @119: a stop at Macy's is on the list. I have been strongly urged to purchase a box of Frango Mints there.

Ah, methinks I'm going to like Chicago.

#162 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 02:22 AM:

EWrik Nelson @ 145...

OSCAR WILDE: "I wish I had said that, Whistler."
JAMES McNEILL WHISTLER: "Ah, you will, Oscar, you will."

#163 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 02:43 AM:

On "It's all Greek and/or Chinese to me"... I very much enjoyed the incomprehensibility chart.

At dinner tonight, two of the people (a gringo and an Indian) were talking broken Chinese (which they've both been learning for restaurant menus and travel) about some restaurant, and one of the other people and I were saying "It's all Greek to me", except that her family's Greek and I studied the stuff in college, so Greek would have been relatively ok and it actually was all Chinese to us.

The chart indicates that Esperantists say "It's all Volapuk to me." One of the plot elements of William Gibson's Spook Country is the use of Volapuk Encoding, writing Russian in 7-bit ASCII using a set of characters that visually resemble the shapes of Cyrillic, which Russian computer people often did before consistent computer character set representations of Cyrillic were widely available.

I'd been a bit puzzled by seeing lorem ipsum in the context of greeking, however - I'd first encountered the other meaning of the term, which is the stuff you display when you can't or don't want to render the real end-product fonts you'll be using, typically because they're too small to be represented at the scale you're displaying (e.g. you're showing a 2 inch tall illustration of your page layout, so you might put the titles in 6-point font but everything else is greeked because you don't have fonts that small.) You don't use text filler, which wouldn't display any better, you use squiggly lines or fat gray lines or equivalent. One of the beauties of Postscript-based windowing systems is that greeking can happen automagically - a 1-point font uses one pixel per character on a typical computer screen, so everything comes out in just the right place.

#164 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 03:08 AM:

Soon Lee @ 141... I wish you much embarassment at Aussiecon. :-)

#165 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 05:15 AM:

Aussiecon (day one) was fun. The opening ceremony movie montage was played a tad loud for my liking, but the panels I attended were well worth the time. I even got to say hello to people like Patrick, Charlie Stross & John Scalzi.

Fannish squee quotient: high

#166 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 08:32 AM:

Pendrift @97: As a lifetime Chicagoan and geek with a bent for history, I'd be very willing to volunteer for tourguiding duties for some of next week, if you're interested.

My limitations: I have to pick the kid up from daycare (downtown) ca. 5PM Tue-Thu. I have class 10-12 Wed and 11-1:15 Tue-Thu.

Email me offlist ( rybvfroq ng lnubb.pbz , only un-munged by 13) to set up more thorough details, if you like. I'm open to anything from hanging out through museum visits to full-on idiosyncratic architecture tours to showing you my favorite stores in town to buy _X_.

#167 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 09:41 AM:

Ok... I've been completely away from real use of Lj for the past month and a half... what's happened?

#168 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 10:18 AM:

Terry -- They've just added a new misfeature which makes it extremely easy to crosspost comments and replies to Facebook and Twitter, including replies to locked posts.

#169 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 10:21 AM:

Terry Karney #167: Ok... I've been completely away from real use of Lj for the past month and a half... what's happened?

A new #privacyfail for LJ: FaceBook and Twitter integration that can bypass friendlocking. There's a significant customer riot going on as a result.

#170 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 10:42 AM:

LJ/FB... I'm quite happy - especially now - that I don't use my real name on either of them.

#171 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 12:01 PM:

Bill Stewart @ 163: It's all Greek to me.

In an economics class that was really a math class, the professor was giving us a bit of a dressing down for not keeping up on the problem sets. He said that if we didn't get the material down as he lectured about it, in a week or so, we'd look at the board and it would be all Greek to us.

We looked at the board, which was covered with betas, deltas, epsilons, and so on, and all began to giggle. He had the grace to give us a pass on that.

#172 ::: Pensnest ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 12:09 PM:

Sara E #148, Oh yeah. Actually I can't quite tear myself away from the epic post of doom with (at time of commenting here) 110 pages of comments in an approximate ratio of 90% furious or agreeing with same, 0.01% expressions of happiness, 0.99% expressions of bewilderment followed by explanations of why they should be furious, 4% eager and enthusiastic pimping of DreamWidth, and 5% requests for ginger kittens.

In other news, the headline in today's The Times read thus: Hawking: God did not create Universe

#173 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 12:42 PM:

LJFail: Well, it doesn't exactly bypass friends locking. However, it encourages your friends who have access to the locked post to post their comments to their Facebook (and Twitter) accounts. Things they say, or things they quote, could violate privacy.

(There's nothing the original poster of the locked entry can do to prevent it; it all depends on the settings and actions of people who can read your post.)

(If you have not linked your LJ and FB or Twitter accounts, then you can't accidentally violate somebody else's privacy this way; the checkboxes for cross-posting will be grayed out for you. So if you haven't linked your LJ to your FB or Twitter, you don't have to worry about accidentally violating your friends' privacy this way.)

#174 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 12:59 PM:

For awhile I had my LJ linked to my FB so that any unlocked post would show up on FB. It did not bring over any comments at all. Until I can control whether comments are ported (I prefer they not be, for my LJ friends sake as well as my own) I will just use copy & paste to add to my FB notes if I think whatever I've posted on LJ is relevant.

Sadly, it's a sign of how far privacy has been cavalierly chipped away that I'm pretty impressed with LJ rolling out these changes as an Opt-In, rather than FB's insidious "Hey Look, We Changed Your Privacy Settings!" which always leaves me scrambling to find out which idiotic hoops I have to jump through to not inform every person and their dog where I am/what I'm doing/my fasting blood glucose levels.

#175 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 01:45 PM:

Serge @#170: Your real name isn't Serge? Hmmm. I'm going to guess that it's...Endeavor.

#176 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 01:59 PM:

Mary Dell @ 175... My real full name, funny girl.

#177 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 02:18 PM:

ddb, #173: I thought TexAnne had a good description: "It makes accidents likely and malice effortless."

nerdycellist, #174: The heart of the problem is that it's not opt-in. In fact, it's not really opt-out either; if your friends link their LJ and FB accounts, there is nothing you can do to prevent this from happening. Furthermore, people on FB who don't have LJ accounts can now comment on your public posts even if you have anonymous commenting disabled.

They just said, "Hey look, here's this new thing that can happen on your journal over which you have no control at all!" Which is why I think FB may have been the instigator -- that is their style, after all.

#178 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 02:21 PM:

Mary Dell #175: Serge @170, Your real name isn't Serge? Hmmm. I'm going to guess that it's...Endeavor.

I would have guessed Polydeuces.

#179 ::: Sara E ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 02:25 PM:

Pensnest #174 I too cannot tear myself away from the LJ epic post of doom. It just gets getting longer and longer. With people getting angrier and angrier that no one has said anything other the minor "we hear you and go vote in this poll that someone else set up."

That Dreamwidth has had almost 10,000 people join in the last twenty-four hours is both amazing and unsurprising given the amount of anger. I am pretty sure that someone will soon be putting up stats as to how many of those are paid accounts.

I've already deactivated my auto-renewal out of sheer disgust, but I already had a Dreamwidth account. I think they are going to get my money this time around.

#180 ::: Mattathias ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 02:59 PM:

I can't help but think in the LJ kerfuffle of some advice I was given years ago: Send nothing over the Internet that you wouldn't put on the back of a postcard.

Paranoid? Yes. But where intimate personal details are concerned, paranoia may be in order. At least Facebook's founder has the honesty to be open and frank about his contempt for users' privacy.

LJ's policy may yet prove to be an act of stupidity, not of malice, but what of it? Does anyone really think that in case of bankruptcy, any of the commercial blogging hosts wouldn't be compelled to seek value in satisfaction of creditors in any way they could?

#181 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 03:04 PM:

Mattathias@180: Well, I do send stuff I'd never put on a postcard; but only encrypted. (Credit card numbers and such.) Yeah, I know that's not "perfectly secure", but nothing is. Handing my card to a waiter in a restaurant isn't perfectly secure either. I still do it.

#182 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 03:17 PM:

Mattathias @180:
I cannot help but fear that, given the most recent example of how well your advice-giving seems to work, you might find that this comment is not well-received. You may not have intended a subtext of "you have only yourselves to blame for being careless," but it certainly came through. The people at LiveJournal who relied on its (historically good) protections* and are now feeling betrayed and vulnerable are unlikely to take that kindly.

Might I suggest—nay, insist—that you clean up the situation in the other thread, mend fences and come to understand how that one went wrong, before you start another fire in this one? You have some thinking to do about your relationship to the community and your manner of engaging people. I mean this most sincerely.

Omnes:
If your temptation is to argue or be irate, please rather flow around this as a river does a rock.

-----
* Riffing off of ddb @181 without necessarily asserting that this is what he meant, it's rather like having the encryption that protects your credit card details for online purposes being broken. Why were you sending that information anyway?

#183 ::: Mattathias ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 03:30 PM:

abi@182: please see #271 in the other thread.

ddb@181: as do I. Additionally, I'm aware that my footprint here is already in violation of that advice. Not making any attempt to preach from a high horse, only noting that the incident jogged a memory.

#184 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 03:34 PM:

I am now even happier that I never signed up for FB.

#185 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 03:43 PM:

Mattathias @183:

I did see it. I'm saying to make time for that before you light another fire in this thread.

I think that your most recent comment here does reduce the chances that you have lit such a fire. But you need to catch up with where the other people you've been in conflict with are at before you go further down this line.

If you don't have time yet, please either don't post here or watch your tone more closely. Because you've made a mess and not cleaned it up, and the people you've made it with (at, on) are reading this thread.

#186 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Bombie @ 129: The wikipedia article on Volapuk says that Volapuk is also the Danes' paradigm of an incomprehensibel language.

(It also says that it only has 20-30 living speakers. Time for a revival, perhaps?)

#187 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 04:00 PM:

P J Evans @ 184: Ditto. And how! (I don't have an LJ account either).

#188 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 04:05 PM:

#146: "LJ kerfuffle"

Hmmmm.

L.J. Kerfuffle's sounds like the name of a chain restaurant. The kind of place located on the edge of a shopping center parking lot, where office workers meet after close of business.

#189 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 04:17 PM:

There's a significant difference between something being possible and that same something being easy. Yes, it's always been possible that someone could hack your LiveJournal account and access your non-public information -- or that someone who was mad at you might copy-and-paste sensitive information into a public forum. That's the price of having an online life.

What this change has done is to make it EASY for anyone -- because they were careless, or because they routinely crosslink everything they post and just didn't think about not doing it, or because they don't understand why you're upset and want to "prove" that you're mistaken*, or whatever -- to do the same thing. Instead of requiring even the minimal effort of copying, creating a new post, and pasting, it's all done with one mouse-click.

It's not the fact of privacy risk, but the LEVEL of it, which has been changed without warning and without any way to protect oneself against it. It's like having a new neighbor who routinely has outdoor barbecues during fire season; the risk of a fire has always been there, but this increases it exponentially.

* cf. people who serve you food containing an ingredient you don't want without telling you, because "if you didn't know it was there, you wouldn't know you weren't supposed to like it".

#190 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 04:17 PM:

praisegod barebones @186

Then we better get started right away, because binos prinsip sagatik, kel sagon, das stud nemödik a del binos gudikum, ka stud mödik süpo.

That would actually make a nice entry on a 'things to do before I die' list: use a Volapük retort on a Dane calling nonsense.

#191 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 04:18 PM:

praisegod 186: (It also says that it only has 20-30 living speakers. Time for a revival, perhaps?)

Oh, for gods' sakes, no! If you want to save a dying language, there are lots of natural ones with actual cultural content that will be lost forever; work on one of those.

Volapük is just another stupid artificial "international" language. Moreover, it's a failure even at that. Silly as I think Esperanto is, its creators at least understood that simplicity is a virtue when constructing a language you want people to actually use.

But even Volapük is better than Loglan, which as far as I know has never had any speakers. (Its inventor admitted that the ability to construct sentences in it was by no means equivalent to actually speaking it.)

#192 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 05:00 PM:

Someone moving out of the apartment complex left a collection of canned food neatly lined up along the edge of a recycling bin. Obviously meant to be a "take me" pile. The cans are all new and clean.

I suspect the donor was an SE Asian. Water chestnuts, bean sprouts, coconut milk, "baby corn," "stir fry vegetables," straw mushrooms, and other goodies.

I'm thinking Thai food.

Any ideas?

#193 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 05:00 PM:

Bombie 190

Yes, but: Ven lärnoy püki votik, vödastok plösenon fikulis.

#194 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 05:31 PM:

Pensnest writes in #172:

In other news, the headline in today's The Times read thus:
Hawking: God did not create Universe

Brother Guy is staying here at the Nuclear Arms for a few days. He was asked by a Scottish paper for his reaction to this. So Kelley and I found ourselves reviewing the pithiness of various possible comments before he sent them off...

#195 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 06:40 PM:

Stefan, sounds like you've got a situation that's crying out for a vegetarian green curry.

#196 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 06:46 PM:

Mattathias @ 180: Regardless of my care about posting information I wish to remain confidential, I gather that the new cross-posting system allows people to bypass the former restrictions of anonymous commenting. I don't want random jerks to be able to comment on my posts without my being able to (in some sense) identify them and lock them out; that's why I don't permit anonymous commenting on my LJ.

#197 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 07:52 PM:

Joel, there are apparently a couple of lines of code you can manually add to the CSS of your LJ to take away the option:

1. Choose the "Journal" menu, and select "Journal Style"
2. On the right side of the page, there is your theme and below that a link with "Customize Your Theme". Go there
3. Among the options on the left side, there is "Custom CSS", click there.
4. You will see a box with on the left written "Custom Stylesheet", and add:

.b-repost-item {display:none}
.b-repost-item, #fblo {display:none;}

5. Save the changes (button below).

#198 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 07:57 PM:

P J Evans: #184: Likewise, I never signed up for either FB or LJ, and this sort of thing reminds me why not. One of my cousins is trying to friend me on LinkedIn, but I haven't signed up for that either. Dreamwidth sounds interesting, but at this point I'm generically wary....

#199 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 07:59 PM:

Also, I'm just back from the vet with Gremlin again. She spent the day there to get a glucose curve, and it seems she's responding well enough to the insulin that I'm only to inject her once a day now.

#200 ::: Mattathias ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 08:10 PM:

Mr. Polowin@196: Boo on LJ then, for violating a longstanding expectation of control, and so much for any hope that the walled garden would stay walled.

#201 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 08:14 PM:

Mark @ 197 -- Thanks; I've added those items.

I mean no insult to you, and every insult to the LJ team, when I say that that is not exactly an obvious or user-friendly way of disabling the new "feature".

#202 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 08:50 PM:

Pendrift, 161: It's translation in general, but literary translation is an elective, along with legal, commercial, medical, etc.

Mark, 197: LJ wants me to upgrade my style to "S2," which I knew nothing about before this mess happened. Anyone have a reason why I shouldn't go ahead and do this?

#203 ::: Mattathias ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 08:58 PM:

David Harmon: I've had several diabetic cats over the years. They all seemed to stabilize pretty rapidly, and also seemed to learn really quickly that the shot makes things feel better.

If you're feeding dry kibble, a scoop of canned pumpkin on top often helps ensure the cat eats, and the added fiber is supposed to help generally with diabetes.

#204 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 09:18 PM:

Chris, #202: No reason you shouldn't, and several reasons why it's a good idea; for one thing, tags don't work with S1 IIRC, and tags are amazingly helpful when you want to find that specific thing you posted 3 years ago without having to sift back thru your entire archive. I found the process of selecting and setting up an S2 style to be relatively smooth and intuitive; the hardest thing about it was picking a theme I liked from among the gazillion-and-one offerings!

More generally: I've seen several "fix it in CSS" offerings go by on my friendslist. The one I'm using is

.b-repost-item, FORM#qrform > TABLE[style="border: 1px solid black;"]:last-child TD[style="vertical-align: top; text-align: right;"]:first-child { display: none !important; }

Perhaps someone who understands CSS could look at that and see whether it does basically the same thing as the one Joel posted above -- and if not, what do I need to add/change to prevent people without LJ accounts from commenting via Facebook?

#205 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 09:18 PM:

Joel: No offense taken. I am only an egg. I'm passing on a tip that was passed on to me; while I do have a bit of familiarity with how style sheets work, this bit [Thread Bleed Alert!] is Chinese to me.

Chris: Near as I can figure, S1 styles on Livejournal were rolled out long enough ago that certain features of CSS customization are not downward compatible to them. There are S2 styles that closely approximate the older style sets, however, so you're probably safe.

#206 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 09:20 PM:

(and/or what Lee said. Someday I'll learn to refresh the thread on preview...)

#207 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 09:37 PM:

Mark @197 - I suspect from my experiment with the lines of code you provide that the CSS solution will only work if people are viewing LJ comment in your style and if you've set your journal style so that custom comment pages aren't disabled.

Mine is set up so that custom comment pages *are* disabled (I haven't found one that I like) and I have set things up so I only see my friends' comment pages in my style, which is to say the basic LJ style (to avoid certain styles I find obnoxious). My CSS doesn't alter the basic LJ style (and if someone had things set up so they viewed my comment page in their own style, which is an option, my CSS changes wouldn't touch that either.)

The CSS fix is better than nothing, but it's not a complete fix, either.

#208 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 09:47 PM:

Xopher@191: Silly as I think Esperanto is, its creators at least understood that simplicity is a virtue when constructing a language you want people to actually use.

I had a chat with an Esperantist at an educational materials fair I happened to go to in Paris ten years or so ago, and he said that a couple of the cool things about it were having a readymade international network of people you could stay with, and the fact that children who were taught it as a second language tended to progress to a considerably higher level in their third and subsequent languages than those who weren't did in their second and subsequent ones, perhaps because its extreme regularity gave them confidence. Though they may not have been a hugely typical sample set, it must be said. And apparently there's lots of poetry...

#209 ::: Mattathias ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 09:51 PM:

Naomi@207: That'd be my understanding. The various CSS changes are all instructing the client computer not to display various bits of text that have been sent to it, but the CSS doesn't cause those bits of text not to be sent in the first place. Whatever FB comments have been made are still sent to all viewers of the LJ page. Whether the client computer chooses to obey the CSS is entirely outside your control.

There are multiple ways for a person viewing an LJ page to bypass the CSS instructions, from using a browser that allows CSS substitution, to using a browser that doesn't obey CSS instructions at all, to viewing the raw source HTML for the page. Any of these methods would allow a viewer of the LJ page to view comments masked in the CSS.

#210 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 09:53 PM:

Hey, kids, I'm now in Boston. It begins to look like Eric Nelson and I might be getting together either Friday (tomorrow) night and/or Monday night, somewhere in Central Square, with a possible stop at Pandemonium Books. Please chime in if you are (a) in the area and (b) desirous of joining us.

#211 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 10:10 PM:

re names: There is a problem with a lot of the non-gendered names which end in a long "e" (terry, bobby, billy, etc.): They are homophonic, regardless of the sex of the named, but they are not homographic.

regarding esperanto and the acquisition of subsequent languages by children who learn it as a native language. The second is the hardest, after that, the sooner one started (as a rule) to gain the second, the easier (and more fluent) the person will be in tertiary, &c, languages.

#212 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 10:14 PM:

oh... re Evelyn, the one which comes to mind for me is Evelyn Waugh.

#213 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 10:17 PM:

Every time I read about Evelyn Waugh, I find myself thinking of Lucy Van Pelt - who is no relation to SF writer James van Pelt.

#214 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 10:50 PM:

Terry @ 211: In my experience, "Bobbie" and "Billie" are feminine vs. "Bobby" and "Billy" masculine, but there are lots of females named "Terry" (e.g. Terry Farrell, who played Jadzia Dax on Deep Space 9).

#215 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 10:50 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Blackberry limeade "delicious", claims Area Man.

#216 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 11:25 PM:

Waugh is me.

#217 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2010, 11:51 PM:

David Harmon @ 199 - That's wonderful news about Gremlin. I hope she continues on her happy, healthy path. On the other hand, I found out today why we're having a hard time after all these months with Pepper's regulation. The endocrinologist called, and her panel results came back positive for atypical Cushing's and off-the charts aldosterone. She must go to the vet tomorrow to check potassium levels and blood pressure. It seems our almost weekly vet appointments may continue.

#218 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 12:10 AM:

So the Zanzibar thing (which I've never heard of before) is a repeating loop?

That would require an infinite number of brothers named Zanzibar.

[puts on thinking cap]

Aha! Clone-brothers, on a planet originally colonized by a single individual, a cranky old genius named Zanzibar who despised all people except for his own company. Add in a home-cloning kit, with lots of extra refills, and you eventually end up with an entire planet populated solely by guys named Zanzibar, all genetically twin brothers of each other. And all prone to get into arguments with visitors from other planets.

That's the nice thing about science fiction: You can explain anything!

#219 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 12:10 AM:

Terry Karney @ 212: oh... re Evelyn, the one which comes to mind for me is Evelyn Waugh.

And his or her wife or husband, Evelyn Waugh. Seriously.

#220 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 12:21 AM:

Xopher: you don't say why you think Esperanto is silly, but most of the time when I hear that it's followed by complaints about how impoverished it is compared to a natural language. But as I understand it, that's part of the point; it's meant to be a universal second language, one that reduces the penalty for having a minority language as one's native tongue by being easy to learn, and not belonging to one culture.

That may be a bit optimistic, but I don't see it as silly.

#221 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 12:28 AM:

Question. Les (my housemate, Best Roommate Evah! (Calif. Edition) points out I have made a tactical error in timing. I arrive in Reno on Saturday evening.

The Man is Burnt Saturday.

Leaving Reno for SF is going to be something of a mess.

So... should I lay up a day in Salt Lake (I have no desire, whatever, to be in Reno)?

Should I leave first thing Saturday (and so beat the rush [which seems dubious, but I don't know if the Citizens of the Playa are the sort of laggards at packing up I can imagine myself to be)?

Is taking a more southbound route out of town (skipping down 580, and skirting Lake Tahoe to pick up 50, and so to home) a reasonable thing?

Or have I screwed the pooch and am looking at hours of stop and go traffic, no matter when, nor how, I leave Reno after Saturday night?

#222 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 12:37 AM:

Terry: I've only driven back from BM on Monday, but it's really grim. I think I've given up on 80 every time, and hit the back roads, which takes just as long but is much more pleasant.

I don't know if Sunday is as bad. You might want to consider taking 50 and stopping at Carson City instead--it's very fast through Nevada, and would avoid the Burning Man pain traffic until Sacramento at least.

#223 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 12:40 AM:

TrishB, #217, I'm so sorry -- I hope Pepper gets better soon!

#224 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 01:24 AM:

Hyperlocal news: Lake of Pineapple-flavored GoLYTELY® Discovered in Eighth Circle of Hell, Claims Area Man.

#225 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 01:24 AM:

Word seems to be that leaving Sat. Morning is safe. I think I shall still take the southern route, as being more scenic.

As to names... I've not met many females who use a "y", whereas "ie" and "i" are quite common (it's probably the "e" sounding name I am most likely to note the spelling of).

#226 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 01:26 AM:

erp... I meant Sunday. The problem with this sort of travel is one loses track of the days.

#227 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 01:33 AM:

Hyperlocal News:

Graduate School is Lots of Work, Says Area Man

(Area man also notes that he is busy, but happy - even if he is responsible for 90 students in the single most popular undergraduate class at Cal. In addition to his own coursework and research.)

Area man has also found the time to bake for his new lab twice this week, and will be teaching Espresso 1 to his labmates tomorrow.

#228 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 01:43 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 224: Hang in there. This too, shall pass.

#229 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 02:19 AM:

Here's an interesting interview with an editor at e-book publisher UnTreed Reads.

#230 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 02:55 AM:

Adrian Smith 208

Esperanto is silly in that its rather self-delusional in that it believes itself to be 'ethnically neutral' and 'universal'. Its vocabulary and grammar are based only on major European languages - even its phonology uses sounds which are only perceived as distinctive by native European language speakers.

#231 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 03:14 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @227: Area man also notes that he is busy, but happy - even if he is responsible for 90 students in the single most popular undergraduate class at Cal. In addition to his own coursework and research.

Inquiring minds want to know ... what IS the single most popular undergraduate class there?

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess it's not calculus, with which I am currently struggling. My professor is reasonably supportive, but also has quite a few sardonic byways into comments like, "If you're really struggling to understand what I just did on the board, you probably need to drop this and go do Precal again, because I'm not spending three weeks on review." Only snarkier.

Today's snarkiest comment (delivered after attempting to explain a problem involving completing the square and then graphing the result, for a quadratic equation) was, "And I know most of you have failed calculus more than once, so you're staring at me like you have no idea how I did that, but you know RIGHT off the top of your heads that the derivative of it is [whatever it was]."

I helpfully pointed out to him, while handing in my homework, that he was my very first calc teacher and therefore I had no bad habits. I also volunteered for his statistics that *I* had failed *precal* 4 times, and then passed it ... two years ago. :->

Should be fun. I'm not totally underwater; I think with sufficient addressing of myself to the material (if the kidlet leaves me good homework time this weekend, especially) I can get comfortably ahead and keep a cushion, even with the abysmal textbook we're using -- it's written like a man page, not a help file, if that helps any of you visualize. Luckily, I still have two previous Precal texts and my husband's college Calc test sitting around, and THEY are actually possible to learn from with just the book, a pad, a pen, and a calculator. I have to use the assigned text to get the homework questions from, but for studying I have other resources.

#232 ::: TW ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 03:25 AM:

Lee 204, change your comment settings to registered Lj users only to block Facebook/Open ID and anon.

#233 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 03:37 AM:

Bombie@230: Well, I'm sorry you feel that invalidates the two advantages the person I spoke to mentioned. I mean, some Esperantists may still make such claims, for all I know and cannot be arsed to Google. But there seem to have been substantial numbers in Asia at one point, potential phonological issues with "holding elections" or whatever notwithstanding. I would say the community (as opposed to the language itself) probably *aspires to be* "ethnically neutral". Doesn't really sound to me like many of them seriously imagine the whole world coming to speak it and ascending into some universal nirvana of peace and effortless communication.

#234 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 03:38 AM:

TW, #232: I've already got that in place. Somewhere in the multiple analyses I read today ISTR seeing that OpenID would be treated like a registered user. But I could be mistaken, or have misinterpreted what I read.

#235 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 04:02 AM:

I collected my mail this morning and found a package from the Netherlands. When I opened it, I found this. My very own steampunk journal, lovingly crafted by abi, with impressions of clockparts and wooden type on calfskin, hand-marbled endpapers, eelskin headcaps, and pages aged with coffee and tea.[1]

Squeee. Thank you ever so much. The Boomderedux video for our hosts' anniversary was a labor of love from everyone involved, so I truly wasn't expecting this.

My presence in the Fluorosphere has been scarce these past few months because meatspace got in the way: my ex-partner and I called it quits after eight years, and it took a while to see well enough in the fog of uncertainty to make out the shape of my new life. But Making Light was and continues to be a haven, even—and especially—when I read in silence.

So now I'm in Brussels, and life hasn't looked this bright in years, and I walk with a spring in my step again, and I'm going to write all about it in my shiny new journal once I stop sniffing the pages, and I just wanted to say thank y'all for keeping me sane and being you. Fluorosphere, you rock.

[1] Description lifted from abi's note

#236 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 04:39 AM:

Adrian Smith @233

I was commenting on the original idea/set-up of the language. Esperanto is (fairly) universal in usage, but very European in nature.
By no means I meant to invalidate the wonderful community that Esperantists have build up - at one point my mother was fairly proficient, and got quite some pleasure from communicating within this community*.

Really delusional was the plea of Chinese anarchists in 1907 that the Chinese language be abandoned entirely, as a language unsuitable for modern times, and that Esperanto be established in its stead.

As to the second point, I wonder if it's something inherent to Esperanto that makes subsequent language acquisition easier, or if big part of the reason can be found in the conditions under which Esperanto is usually acquired at a young age (i.e. growing up in a family with an interest in languages, and in that language in particular). Would acquiring a second language other than Esperanto under similar circumstances give similar results? Just scientific curiosity here, no Esperanto-bashing.

-

As an aside (re: holding elections), when people in America (or any other country, for that matter) act 'funny' and speak 'Eastern' (either Chinese or Japanese), do they substitute every l for an r, or vice-versa?
Just curious. In Belgium we omit the r, not the l.

--
* which is not to say that, had this not been the case, I would have invalidated their community. Just an anecdote.

#237 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 05:27 AM:

As an aside (re: holding elections), when people in America (or any other country, for that matter) act 'funny' and speak 'Eastern' (either Chinese or Japanese), do they substitute every l for an r, or vice-versa?
Just curious. In Belgium we omit the r, not the l.

In the Philippines, r is substituted for an l when imitating the Japanese, and l is substituted for r when imitating the Chinese.

#238 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 05:36 AM:

Bombie@236: Eh, sorry about my tone there then.

Really delusional was the plea of Chinese anarchists in 1907 that the Chinese language be abandoned entirely, as a language unsuitable for modern times, and that Esperanto be established in its stead.

Well yeah, but Chinese anarchists, they must have had some interesting baggage. There's a school of possibly ill-formed thought that the replacement of pictographic/hieroglyphic writing systems by syllabaries and then alphabets was a sound democratic development helping to make literacy accessible to the masses, and I can see how they could have wanted to ditch the characters. I'm struggling with learning Japanese at the moment, and *I* want to ditch them, though I appreciate that once you get a couple of thousand under your belt they make reading much more efficient, something pretty distant to look forward to there. Takes a huge investment of time and energy to get a whole society literate in a pictographic language as far as I can see. A mighty chunk of primary school here is taken up with these. Lovely.

As to the second point, I wonder if it's something inherent to Esperanto that makes subsequent language acquisition easier, or if big part of the reason can be found in the conditions under which Esperanto is usually acquired at a young age (i.e. growing up in a family with an interest in languages, and in that language in particular).

That's what I meant about it not being a typical sample set, but it's hard to imagine Esperanto's gentle learning curve not helping to some extent, for me anyway, and on the Esperanto Wikipedia page under the heading "language acquisition" there's something about a study showing that one year of Esperanto followed by three years of French was more effective than four years of French alone.

As an aside (re: holding elections), when people in America (or any other country, for that matter) act 'funny' and speak 'Eastern' (either Chinese or Japanese), do they substitute every l for an r, or vice-versa?
Just curious. In Belgium we omit the r, not the l.

Not sure, really, being married to a Japanese I tend to avoid people engaging in such pastimes. The Japanese sound is sort of intermediate, though maybe closer to "r", they don't believe in that labiodental action much, can't do "th" either.

#239 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 05:46 AM:

Feh, not labiodental. Tongue. Whatever.

#240 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 06:21 AM:

Adrian Smith @238:

I'm a student of Chinese myself, and I've wanted to ditch them at times as well (even though I've reached the point where I can read most kanji your link provided). Best of luck with your studies. I feel your struggle. The debate on romanization in China has a pretty interesting history (with most arguments being far less delusional than the anarchist one).

Chinese actually has both an L sound and an (approximately voiced retroflex fricative, I think) R-like sound (the main dialect does, at least). So while the Philippines are closer to the truth (because of proximity, probably), it's still not quite right. So Filipino does have an l/r distinction, then? Any clue if this has always been the case, or if this was influenced by Spanish/English? I wonder how many other East-Asian languages do and don't have this distinction.

I don't encounter too many people engaging in such pastimes, either. Luckily its usually limited to a 'clever' Chinese to me, and I get spared of childish 'l for r'-speech.

#241 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 06:27 AM:

Also, Adrian Smith @238:

Eh, sorry about my tone there then.

No worries, not a problem. (But thanks for making the effort, much appreciated.)

#242 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 06:53 AM:

So Filipino does have an l/r distinction, then? Any clue if this has always been the case, or if this was influenced by Spanish/English?

I know three Philippine languages (Filipino/Tagalog, Hiligaynon, and Kinaray-a and speak the first two fluently. There's definitely an l/r distinction in all three; to my ear, ls and rs are fairly evenly distributed in Filipino and Hiligaynon, while rs are more prominent in Kinaray-a. So I tend to believe it's always been the case, but I don't know much about the history of Philippine languages.

#243 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 06:58 AM:

TrishB #217: Ouch, my sympathies! At least your vet believes in it -- the first story Google turned up for me was someone dealing with a vet school where they said "can't be Cushing's, the cortisol's normal".

Earl Cooley III #224: Nasty... (janetl #228: groan...)

Pendrift #235: Yay! Sorry about the breakup, but good to know you're doing OK now.
---
(Off to feed & inject kitty...)

#244 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 07:34 AM:

Aaaand Lee is very smart: Same Russians own LJ, FB, Twitter.

In other news, Twitter's going to start requiring the use of one single link-shortener, and will log clicks.

#245 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 08:04 AM:

Pendrift @ 235... We're here for you. Regarding the Book... When she gave me mine, Abi proceeded to point out all the flaws in her beautiful work. I made fun of the silly girl of course.

#246 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 08:10 AM:

Serge @245: All I could think was "ooooooh, purty!

#247 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 08:29 AM:

I took one semester of Chinese, and it was not the class I wanted it to be. I really think that, at that level-- or at least, at the level half the class was at*-- it's best to have non-native speakers, or at least teachers who can comprehend some weird, weird questions.

What really got to me was that pinyin, which I understood to be made up for convenience, has irregularities. -uei becomes -ui. -i is usually a nice familiar i-like-in-Spanish, but after sibilants, it's a placeholder for a sound that my teachers couldn't understand I wanted to hear on its own.

Well, that and basic class structure. I wanted vocabulary lists available somewhere, with all the numbers in order, all the colors in a group, all the clothes we needed to know in one nice batch, and while I could have made them on my own, it would have been more work than I was getting any reward for.

At this point, I can impress people by picking out my beef with broccoli when we order Chinese and they use characters on the containers, but not much else. And that bothers me; I like languages and don't like that this one escaped me, especially since most of the reasons can be framed and probably are that I approached it completely wrong.

*which is itself a problem: half the class was white and learning Chinese for the first time. The other half was Chinese and spoke a dialect with relatives and wanted either a refresher or a new language based on one they knew, like me learning Italian after Spanish. I was constantly complimented on my amazing Chinese skills when I knew I wasn't progressing at all because I was the best of the English-only Americans. Tip for working with me: I know when I suck, and effusive praise is not going to help.

#248 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 09:18 AM:

#127, 163:

A few years ago I and a friend, both Esperanto speakers, were starting to learn Volapük. (I don't think either of us persisted long enough to become fluent in Volapük -- I didn't, anyway, though I learned enough of its grammar that I can puzzle out texts with a dictionary.) He expressed regret that he would no longer be able to say "Estas al mi volapukaĵo." I suggested reference to an older and less well-documented conlang, e.g. Solresol.

I'll be at DragonCon Sunday only, I think -- it would be nice to see other Fluorospherians if any are present.

#249 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 09:28 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 218: "No, that was not Zanzibar, that was Zanzibar. There are 10 of us, all of family Zanzibar, each one named Zanzibar. Slight differences in how you pronounce. 'Zanzibar', 'Zanzibar', 'Zanzibar'... You are seeing now?"

#250 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 09:37 AM:

Diatryma @247 said: What really got to me was that pinyin, which I understood to be made up for convenience, has irregularities. -uei becomes -ui. -i is usually a nice familiar i-like-in-Spanish, but after sibilants, it's a placeholder for a sound that my teachers couldn't understand I wanted to hear on its own.

It is my understanding☂ that Pinyin enshrines as The One Official Phonology a single accent of many, and that whether the pronunciation of any handy random Chinese person of your acquaintance looks logical in Pinyin depends on whether they speak in that dialect (iirc, Beijing?).

In particular, there's a whole phoneme in Cantonese that's spelled really weird in Pinyin, because it's not innately logical to it. I think of it as the 'shw' consonant, but I don't know what it's really called. I only know it from hearing it in the wild while tagging around after my grandfather.

Diatryma @247 said further down: I really think that, at [...] the level half the class was at -- which is itself a problem: half the class was white and learning Chinese for the first time. The other half was Chinese and spoke a dialect with relatives and wanted either a refresher or a new language based on one they knew, like me learning Italian after Spanish.

I cannot praise my Spanish teacher last semester highly enough for the yeomanlike way she coped with just such a situation. Our class contained, in unequal portions:
. (a) Young adults who had spoken some Spanish with their abuelas (and maybe watched telenovelas with them), but were illiterate in it and knew not from this 'conjugating verbs' thing of which you speak: they knew how to use the words correctly, but not why, or how it works.
. (b) People like me, who had taken some amount of Spanish in the past (for me, six months in grade school; for some, a couple of years in high school a LONG TIME ago or just rusty ago), who can buy things in it and ask for the bathroom, and maybe know some catchphrases by rote. Call us 'familiar with it,' or as the teacher said, "high beginners". We tended to have a decent accent and get the rhythm of how to put the emPHAsis on the right syLABble.
. (c) People with no previous experience whatsoever, had not even heard it spoken (like the girl from China, whose English was very good -- and it was HER THIRD LANGUAGE, with Spanish to be her fourth, because she wants to work in translating Chinese to Spanish). Many are standard Chicago gringos, and tended to pronounce Spanish both awkwardly and as if it were English.

After quickly separating out the members of (a) who belonged in the specific "I'm fluent but illiterate in Spanish" class our school offers, she did a really amazing tapdance between not intimidating (c) while still challenging and intriguing (a) and (b) with enough that ties into what we already know that we could start using it and attaching it to the existing body of language-knowledge.

She frequently said (after a brief digression through some more-advanced concept) something like, "And if that confused you, don't worry, it is only nice-to-know, not need-to-know. You'll do that in 103."

The most amazing part was when we hit grammar that suddenly made a phrase I knew by rote into SOMETHING I COULD TRANSLATE! "Vamonos" is the imperative form of the to-go verb, for example, or the underlying structure behind the sticker on the bus translating the English "Press here to open door" and so on.

I can read cellphone billboards! It's so magic and awesome.

I took four years of Latin in high school, but at the end I wouldn't say I was fluent. I could translate quickly, with my references at elbow, but actually composing sentences on the fly to say stuff? Not so much, even though one of my teachers did make us practice it. This experience is really my first with actually ACQUIRING another language, and I'm amazed at how hard I'm not finding it.

Of course, it helps that Spanish verbs so far are basically 1st conjugation Latin ones with a few letters swapped. Already memorized them years ago, bing! :-> Also, I was relieved and pleased to discover that Spanish nouns don't decline, they just have gender and number. Which is three times more complex than some of my (c) classmates knew nouns could be, but a WHOLE LOT less complex than Latin or Homeric Greek☮ get.

--
☂ I Am Not A Chinese-Speaking Person. But my grandfather was deeply involved in Stuff with our local consulate, and in fact had previously helped set up the Nixon-going-there thing♦, so I spent a lot of time as a small child around groups of native Chinese speakers. They mostly spoke English around us, but could be prevailed upon (usually the diplomats' wives, who were sometimes desperately bored) to sing nursery rhymes at the cute, precocious kid, or to (and this is a memory I treasure) teach me table manners the way they would if I were visiting at their home, and the same age of Chinese kid.

♦ I am related to a bunch of marginally famous people, and peripherally related to a few people of rather more fame (my uncle-in-law is the discoverer of the first Pre-Cambrian fossil to be found and identified as such; my father's first cousin has several Olympic gold medals ... etc). It was disconcerting to discover that my grandfather's funeral was going to be filmed by an official film crew of the Chinese government, with extracts to be shown that night in Beijing on the newscast. I'm presuming they aired the consul's remarks, and didn't bother with my own more personal eulogy, but I don't know.

☮ I took 1 year of Homeric Greek; the teacher gave me a pity B for working so hard, but despite being fascinated I was in way over my head. I did learn the alphabet pretty thoroughly. In fact, that was the year I started typing my Latin homework, because I accidentally handed in a whole page of exercises written in Latin, phonetically in Greek characters. Luckily, my Latin teacher that year also taught Greek, so he puzzled it out, graded it, and handed it back with a comment to the effect of, "Don't do this again, it took forever."

#251 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 10:14 AM:

praisegod barebones @268 said: a few years back, we came heart-breakingly close to eradicating polio world-wide.

In addition to the Darfur thing, there are certain groups in sub-Saharan Africa who have been convinced that the oral polio vaccine is in fact a plot to sterilize minority ethnic groups by giving the sterilization agent to all their children.

Gotta love fearmongering racist idiots building a power base by terrifying people. The same the world over: here they claim Obama is a muslim facsist socialist terrorist who wants to give your money and women to poor blacks.

#252 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 10:21 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 231 : The course in question - where the twice-weekly lectures fill Wheeler Auditorium to capacity - is Drugs and the Brain, taught by David Presti. There are on the order of 700 students, and if we had the GSI (TA) support and the space, it would not surprise me if demand to get in to the course would push enrollement to ~1000. As it happens, there is neither the space nor the support, which is how you wind up with 8 GSIs, each with ~90 students across three discussion sections.

#253 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 10:46 AM:

Me, 117: (Why does it seem so unnatural to write "I, 117"? "Me" must be the vocative case in English.) I passed the admissions test, and enrolled in the intro course at NYU this morning. Classes begin in October. Yay, me!

#254 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 11:17 AM:

Chris Quinones: it's not vocative. It's subject/object. If you append the implicit preposition, (i.e. to) it become plain.

I seem to have lost a comment: I opined that I'd expect children who learn Esperanto as a native language to be better at others. The general sens of things is the second language is the hardest to acquire, and the sooner one does that, the easier all the subsequent ones get.

Elliot Mason: I had a fellow student, in Russian, who spoke fluent French. In our first vocabulary test she swapped in french words, using Cyrillic. It, as one may imagine, confused the teachers.

Amusingly (she was a decent student, not brilliant, but better than I was) she'd gotten all the correct words, in French.

Diatryama: you may have been a very good student. I don't know that the level of acquisition you wanted was realistic.

I think my Russian quite weak. There were brilliant students in my class, folks who soaked it up and were truly fluent (one of my fellow students was a college instructor, in his civilian job, of German; he did fine). I was passably competent. I was not praised for my skill (quite the reverse, actually).

When I got to a Russian speaking place... I was shocked to discover I tolerably, not barely, competent.

#255 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 11:37 AM:

I slacked my way through a couple of years of HS German but found once in Germany and Austria, I had no problem understanding people, signs, etc, and little problem communicating, even if it was obvious I was not a native speaker.

I've been slogging through the Rosetta Stone Polish stuff in addition to going through travel phrasebooks and I have to say that it's a ridiculous language. I'm going to keep going after I come back from Poland because I'm going to have to go back in order to see everything I want to see, and also, I refuse to be defeated by a language!

#256 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 11:47 AM:

nerdycellist: How so ridiculous?

#257 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 12:19 PM:

Mostly the huge consonant clusters. The nice thing about the RS series is that you hear the language constantly, but it's taken me months to realize that just because all the letters are there doesn't mean you have to pronounce them all.

(I did try to use "Ridiculous" in the place of "Insane" in an experiment to be mindful of the perjoratives I use. "Lame" is proving the most difficult to eradicate. "Insane" is coming in a close second. I don't actually think the Polish language should be held up to ridicule, especially as someone who speaks English.)

#258 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 12:44 PM:

Elliott Mason, Diatryma

pinyin enshrines as The One Official Phonology a single accent of many

Yes, but that doesn't explain the inconsistencies. The language represented is that of Beijing. The accent is not quite -- Beijing accent adds an 'r' sound to the end of many words, which is not part of Standard Mandarin or the pinyin spelling.

I think the inconsistencies like pronouncing -ui as /uei/ or using the same letter for the completely different sounds in li and shi are more a matter of compression. Pinyin is more compact than the Wade-Giles or Yale romanizations, and there is still a fairly simple and completely regular set of pronounciation rules.

#259 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 12:52 PM:

Chris Quinones @ #253: Me, 117: (Why does it seem so unnatural to write "I, 117"?

My immediate assumption is that it's because it's short for "This comment is addressed to/follows on from the comment made by ..."

#260 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 12:55 PM:

Terry Karney @ #254: I seem to have lost a comment: I opined that I'd expect children who learn Esperanto as a native language to be better at others.

This comment? (#211)

(I searched for "esperanto" on your view-all-by page. Fewer false positives to deal with than searching the main thread.)

#261 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 02:04 PM:

Diatryma @ 247: "What really got to me was that pinyin, which I understood to be made up for convenience, has irregularities. -uei becomes -ui. -i is usually a nice familiar i-like-in-Spanish, but after sibilants, it's a placeholder for a sound that my teachers couldn't understand I wanted to hear on its own."

Do you mean the -i in "xiang" or in "ri?" After x-, j-, q-, the -i isn't an individual sound as much as it is an artifact of the mouth shape necessary to make the preceding consonant. If you're doing the x- right, the -i is incidental and unavoidable. As for "zi, ci, si, zhi, chi, shi, ri," they have always seemed to me to be orphaned consonants, with just enough voicedness to carry the tone. As far as I can see, putting a "-i" there is just a typographical convenience more than an indication of pronunciation.

Pinyin's regularity is often compromised for typographical convenience, which is I think a questionable decision. Phonetically it suffers from the same unavoidable problem that English does--there are more distinct vowel sounds than there are vowels. Clodging is therefore a necessity, but then it goes and clodges even when it doesn't have to. Your example is a good one; what's wrong with writing "dwei" rather than "dui," to parallel "shei" and "wei?" I'm not sure "it looks nicer" is a reason that cuts it for me.

Elliot Mason @ 250: "After quickly separating out the members of (a) who belonged in the specific "I'm fluent but illiterate in Spanish" class our school offers, she did a really amazing tapdance between not intimidating (c) while still challenging and intriguing (a) and (b) with enough that ties into what we already know that we could start using it and attaching it to the existing body of language-knowledge."

Having been a language teacher with wildly divergent skill levels among my students, I am in awe of people who can pull that off. It's so hard not to end up boring one half of the class of the other.

#262 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 02:39 PM:

Chris Quinones @ 202, Lee @ 204: as an early adopter of LJ, I am amongst those grandfathered into freedom to maintain a free account without ads. I have an S1 journal style (which, as has been noted, is no longer supported, though it still works just fine if you ask me). Do either of you (or anyone else reading this) know if, should I switch to an S2 style, I would maintain that ad-less free account?

(LJ offers "tags and choice of ad placement" as one of the inducements to upgrade to S2. Tags are nice. Ads, not so much.)

#263 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 02:50 PM:

Chris #253:

Not "unnatural", just "ambiguous", because "I, 117" looks like a citation to the first volume of some multivolume work, page 117. (At least to me.)

Congrats on your admission!

#264 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 03:05 PM:

Elliot Mason @250 -- a whole page of exercises written in Latin, phonetically in Greek characters.

Reminds me of those rinky-dink dictionaries they had for ring-binders. I had one in grade school which had the Greek alphabet displayed at the back. Cool! I thought, and promptly started a Harriet-the-Spy style diary that I wrote phonetically in Greek characters. Kept it up for several years, and got pretty quick at it.

#265 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 03:42 PM:

Terry Karney @#221: Les (my housemate, Best Roommate Evah! (Calif. Edition)...

Ahem. Many sympathies for your plight. Woe to be in Reno when all the burners are passing through.

However, I must respectfully beg to differ, for, you see, it is I who has the Best Housemate Evar (Calif. Edition). Oh, wait, perhaps there are different divisions for Roommate and Housemate? It may be that we're both right after all.

#266 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 03:51 PM:

nerdycellist @257, on not pronouncing all the letters. I found a similar kind of thing when I visited India. I don't speak any Indian languages, so I was fortunate to be in Bangalore, where many people do speak some English.

But I found that when I tried to pronounce an Indian name carefully [usually a location/street name], with all the syllables sounded out (and of course an English emphasis pattern) nobody could figure out what I meant. When we finally managed to come to an understanding, I usually found that they said it with a different syllable stress and what seemed like fewer syllables completely than my version.

So, for instance, something like Devarabisanahalli - I would say Day-VAR-ah-bee-SAN-ah-HALL-ee. When I finally figured out the pronunciation that made sense to a local, it would be more like Dev-rah-BIS-nall-ee.

So, I learned to generally pronounce as few vowels [especially A's] and elidable consonants [like H] as possible, and that seemed to make me more comprehensible to the locals.

#267 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 03:55 PM:

siriosa @265--clearly, when dealing the "The Best_______", you need to break it down, by areas of the state, counties, municipalities, and neighborhoods, as necessary--this is why my housemate has Simon, The Best Dog in the World* (East Nashville addition) and a friend of ours has Newton, Best Dog in the World (Priest Lake Division).


*Nearly all dog owners (at least, nearly all those who deserve the dogs they have) have The Best Dog in the World. It's one of the givens of Life with Dogs.

#268 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 04:03 PM:

Terry Karney, I had the same man teaching 4th and 5th years French AND 1st and 2nd years Russian in high school. It always amazed me that he never got the classes and languages confused (unless he wanted to), since when he announced at the end of the French III year that he'd be teaching Russian I the following year 2/3 of his French class signed up for it. That meant he saw an awful lot of familiar faces in both French IV and Russian I and again the next year for French V and Russian II.

#269 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 04:16 PM:

oliviacw @266

I had similar experiences in Denmark. They often appear to be swallowing half of the sounds one sees written (Ask a Dane to pronounce 'gade', for example.) Written Danish is fairly transparent to me, which probably made the disconnect between what was in my head and the proper pronunciation even bigger. This made asking for directions really hard, somewhat ironically, as the average Dane's English is very good. Alas, street names and locations are in Danish, so I often ended up spelling out the name of the place I was looking for, and letting them point it out on my map..

#270 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 04:20 PM:

fidelio @267 said: Nearly all dog owners (at least, nearly all those who deserve the dogs they have) have The Best Dog in the World. It's one of the givens of Life with Dogs.

I don't. Neither of my dogs are Best Dogs. However, my smaller beagle could probably be up there in the World Worry Championships, and the larger is probably at least locally ranked for Most Tolerant. Toddlers yanking on his lips gets, at most, a rolled eye towards the nearest adult and a silent "If you weren't too busy, you could make them quit?" kind of look.


Also, Open-Thready Link Relevant To Interests:

Remember that marbling-on-paper guy? Turns out you can marble on fingernails, too, because standard nail enamel is oil-based. It's so very cool it almost tempts me to wear nail polish, and that is cool indeed.

I bet you could do it on other surfaces that nail polish sticks to -- my mom always used garishly horrid polish colors to color-code keys, and this would be AN AWESOME way to do that. With several serious heavy-duty clearcoats on top to protect it, of course ... Or small round-bottomed plastic bowls? Nail polish sticks to plastic like a champ, once you alcohol-clean it (and perhaps sand lightly).

#271 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 04:29 PM:

Relevant to a discussion here a few months ago, here's a comic strip that tells us where vuvuzelas come from.

#272 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 04:40 PM:

I'm pretty sure my idea of my Chinese abilities was near accurate. I was the best not-already-speaking-it in the class, but at no point during the semester could I count to ten or spontaneously list three colors.

Heresiarch, it's the si i thing, the one that's pronounced s'z. When I asked-- and really, it's been two years, I am no longer benefiting from this grouchiness-- the teacher repeated that you can't have just a consonant, you get b-, b-, b-, you have to have a vowel so you get ba or ma or whatever. Which is why I still think that, at that level, people who do are not fluent in English are not the best choice for teachers.

Like I said, a lot of it's also that I know I could have done better. I could have worked harder, done more-- or really anything-- on my own, et cetera. I know people who would do that. I know people who *have* done that. So I attack the class with everything I have because the alternative is me being a faily faily failure with that at the same time as with grad school in general.

Today's revelation: there is no way to frame me leaving grad school as a positive when I don't attack it. I can't find a sentence that doesn't translate, in my head, to 'I dropped out'. So from here on, I'm going to try to be a little more negative about the reasons I left. Because really, there's nothing a PhD would have gotten me that I didn't already hate.

#273 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 04:54 PM:

Elliott #270, Dan #271:

The juxtaposition leads me to contemplate, oh ghu, just totally theoretically, marbled vuvuzelas. Eek.

#274 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 04:59 PM:

ajay @80 (belatedly): Structurally the pun works in German as well as it does in English; I couldn't say how familiar the poet would be to a German audience.

#276 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 05:47 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 275... That what Agatha the Cat Genius often does, when she's not enjoying popping a dove's head off. Meanwhile here is the best dog in the world.

#277 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 05:49 PM:

I recently caught the coming attraction for the BBC's new version of First Men in the Moon. It doesn't look bad, just... lackluster.

#278 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 06:43 PM:

What I want to hear is a composition for vuvuzela, kazuzela, and digiriduzela.

Play it at the zoozela.

#279 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 07:53 PM:

Linkmeister@268, the Russian teacher at my high school also taught French 4/5, and was apparently quite good. (She also taught philosophy, and wasn't as good at that...) My junior high German teacher also taught French - her Brooklyn accent probably did much less damage to German, where an extra or missing R at the end of a woid just changes the case or gendah a bit, as opposed to throwing off whole syllables. Unfortunately, the school system adopted an early-retirement policy for teachers before I got to high school, so the old German native teacher retired and was replaced by a young American woman with no useful accent.

#280 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 07:57 PM:

Clarentine, #262: I don't know, but I would tend to suspect not. However, the best way to find out about that is to ask someone at LJ. I opted for a permanent account quite a while back (as in, I don't think I've quite gotten the 6 years out of it that would balance what I paid, but I'm only maybe a year short), so issues of paid vs. free have been something I haven't noticed much.

There's a sneaky way to get rid of most ads. Figure out where they're coming from, and load those domains into your Hosts file with a destination of 127.0.0.0. This puts the ad itself into the bit-bucket, and leaves you with only a placeholder message that won't have Stupid Blinking Shit all over it.

Debbie, #264: Heh. I did that in college using the Quenya runes from the back of LOTR. I used it to write letters to my friends during summer break -- sent them an index key and they wrote back the same way. My parents snooped and got absolutely hysterical about "letters written in code", never realizing that they were providing evidence of why it was a good idea in the first place.

#281 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 08:28 PM:

Bill Stewart @ #279, I don't know whether he got involuntarily retired or what, but later in life he maintained AARP's website for several years, or so he tells me via Facebook.

(Now THAT was a kick. Reconnecting with the best teacher I ever had via social media was not on my list of things I ever expected to happen.)

#282 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 10:49 PM:

Serge @49/52 -

Thanks for your oblique mention of "Native Star". I saw a review on Tor that I only half-read because it looked interesting and I didn't want anything that might possibly be a spoiler. Your note reminded me, and I promptly used my one-paid-download-per-week budget and loaded it onto my nook. I can't put it down! (even if I haven't looked at the Thank-You page yet.) New Author to follow! Yay!!

#284 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2010, 11:22 PM:

nerdycellist @ 282... When I first read MK Hobson's story "The Hotel Astarte" years ago, I knew I had made a Discovery. I'm glad that her first novel is allowing you and others that same chance.

#285 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 02:07 AM:

nerdychellist: I'm of a mixed mind on RS (I've used it for maintenance on my russian).

As to the clusters of consonants... they are, and aren't pronounced. The are meant to be a single sound; but are making do with Latin letters, and the sounds aren't mapped well.

Russian has the same sounds, but (thanks be to St. Cyril) it has specific letters to represent them. I got nuts trying to read transliterated Russian; it's gibberish to me.

#286 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 02:55 AM:

ghaahhh: cellist (says the boy who used to be half-decent on the bloody thing).

Today was a much better ride than yesterday, but it's still a tiring thing to be doing day in, day out.

Hard to explain; it's worth it, but I'll be glad to be home, and off the bike for a few days (and not on it for 5-7 hours a day anytime soon).

#287 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 07:27 AM:

By the way, I've redacted John Stanning's quote of the malicious code on the previous open thread. We're still blacklisted by some anti-virus sites*, and we wonder if this might be part of the problem. We don't really trust the sites to be smart enough to figure out where code is executable and where not.

-----
* the lurkers report this in the emails†
† </earworm>

#288 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 08:10 AM:

abi, did you guys just change something? The "see past x000 comments" pages now have white background and large print; I can still see which posts I've previously clicked. It was fine (blue background, small print) this morning. Don't know if this has anything to do with anything, but FWIW I'm running Chrome on Ubuntu 9.10.

#289 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 08:42 AM:

Debbie @288:

Drat, this was supposed to all happen while everyone was asleep! It's taking a little longer than we anticipated, is all.

(What we're doing is removing some php scripts we used for including external files in html pages, then stripping the ability for html pages to call php at all. This should reduce our attack surface to the kind of exploit we've just suffered.)

#290 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 08:47 AM:

It looks fine on FireFox. But really, abi, you know you can't do anything while EVERYONE is asleep. There are probably a couple of timezones with no Fluorospherians in them, but not many.

#291 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 08:54 AM:

Terry Karney @285:

I wonder what language the good people of Gibber point to as their stereotype of incomprehensibility? Perhaps they say it's all Barbarian to me.

#292 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:00 AM:

Xopher @290:
But really, abi, you know you can't do anything while EVERYONE is asleep.

Depends on my powers of hypnosis.

#293 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:02 AM:

Copied verbatim from a weekend work-email flamewar I am trying to quench:

If he spreads negativity like this across a number of people, he gets an angry response from me.

I think we have a verb conjugation, but I'm struggling with the second-person form.

I respond angrily
you ???
he spreads negativity

#294 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:07 AM:

Xopher, you underestimate the power of the Abiveld!

Open thready reflection on the nature of parenthood: it occurred to me earlier to recall what movies I've seen in the theater rather than renting them or summat. Apart from going alone to see Inception last month, I think the last film for grown-ups I went out to see was Eat Drink Man Woman.

Yeah, kids change your life.

#295 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:10 AM:

I interrupt this open thread to make a plea for the kind thoughts, prayers, and local equivalents of the Fluorosphere.

A semi-estranged relative of mine (for which reason, no identifying information is included here) is waiting for a liver transplant. There are financial problems, there are need-to-move and pet-rehoming problems, and perhaps most difficult of all there is encephalopathy from the liver failure which makes the patient unable to understand why things like taking meds, answering the phone or the door, or sticking to a prescribed diet are important.

All kind thoughts, prayers, etc. much appreciated. Also, anyone in the Atlanta area who might be able to give a home to either an outdoor cat (indoors for 5 minutes max at mealtimes) or a very large, elderly dog, please email me (lila at markandlila dot com).

Thanks. Back to less depressing topics.

#296 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:10 AM:

Dave Bonta offers a music review of Appalachian September. ;-)

#297 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:11 AM:

abi, 293: "Responding angrily" feels like the second-person form to me, but I can't get the first-person right. How about, "I respond forcefully, you lose your temper, he spreads negativity"?

#298 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:19 AM:

TexAnne @297:

Collected in the wild, it was first-person. Your humble ethnographer sticks with the original source in this context.

I could go for "give an angry response" rather than "respond angrily", but I still think there's got to be a second person in there.

#299 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:21 AM:

Lila @295:

I'm inconveniently located for the livestock, but I'll say a word where words are said.

Much sympathy.

#300 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:45 AM:

Lila #295: My sympathies. Unfortunately, I'm in the market for an indoor cat right now, not an outdoor one.

#301 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:46 AM:

abi 298:

It may not be close enough for your present needs, but I suspect the past tense may go something like this:

I responded angrily; you have been known to be a bit short-tempered; he has a history of spreading negativity.

#302 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:51 AM:

Or maybe: I responded angrily; you were a bit over the top; he spread negativity.

#303 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 10:04 AM:

abi: much appreciated

Fragano: good luck with the kitty search; I hope you continue to recover swiftly.

#304 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 11:11 AM:

abi @ 298: "You overreact," perhaps.

#305 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 11:41 AM:

abi @289 -- I'm back from working in the garden, et voilà! everything's fine now. Now that's what I call service.

(I'm in your time zone. And a morning person to boot :-))

#306 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 12:02 PM:

re: response, temper, negativity, it should be possible to reconfigure that thought into a haiku.

#307 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 12:09 PM:

Today is either ironbutt, and all the way home (not less than eight hours saddle time, perhaps as much as ten), or laying up someplace between Reno and home.

There are advantages to both (money, time, less traffic for the former: Scenery, pace, no sense of rush for the latter).

So I pack with all good haste, head toward Reno, and see what comes of the day.

#308 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 02:16 PM:

Joel Polowin @249 - Ah. That's gonna cause a little confusion. Mind if we call you Zanzibar, just to keep it clear?

Lee @280 - Come to think of it, I did something like that with some friends in junior high, with a vaguely runish-looking made-up alphabet (with a couple that stood for short, common words). As everybody else notes, we got fairly good at it.

A cousin of mine wrote to JRRT querying a typo she thought she'd found in the runes on the title page of he LOTR. She got a nice reply from a secretary. It was indeed an error.

Earl Cooley III @306:

I spoke in anger.
You went a bit ballistic.
He's always flaming.

#309 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 02:25 PM:

Reaching deep into the backthread to reply to Xopher @191 (too many distractions this week)

To be honest, if I had any spare brain-cells available for language-learning they'd be best devoted to brushing up my Turkish. It would be nice to be able to produce sentences with (the local surrogate for)subordinate clauses which sounded vaguely grammatical.

If you want to save a dying language, there are lots of natural ones with actual cultural content that will be lost forever; work on one of those

I sympathise with this; but I wonder whether second-language speakers of a dying language could save it from dying. (I mean, second language speakers of the sort I would be, as opposed to mother tongue bilinguals)

There might be obvious exceptions for cases where a language has as it's specific role to be a widely-shared second language, like mediaeval Latin (I think I've been told Swahili is a bit like this too - does anyone here know?).

Usual disclaimer: IANAL.

#310 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 02:42 PM:

Kip W @ 308: Very nice. May I borrow it?

#311 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 02:43 PM:

Oh, sheesh, invented alphabets.

My best friend in high school and I made up a writing system*, which we used to pass notes that no one else could read. We both did a lot of private writing in it, too. I remember finding a musing of hers in it, on a desk she sat in two periods before me.

Later, I invented a cursive version, which not even she knew.

She's forgotten the whole thing now, but I use them both for references to passwords and other notes I don't want the people around me to understand.

I do sometimes feel like Calvin and Hobbes with their secret decoder ring, though. I mean, it's not like I'm hiding state secrets or anything.
-----
* we called it runic. Be nice. We were 15.

#312 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 02:45 PM:

Earl Cooley III @306 said: re: response, temper, negativity, it should be possible to reconfigure that thought into a haiku.

Goodwill drops, presumed

malice rises as

squared inverse distance from self.

Not a very good one; I couldn't work in a seasonal reference.

That said, there are some awesome ones written by students installed in the south end of the Harrison red line stop in Chicago -- on skinny posters, vertically (words sideways) in the cavities of the pillars that line the platform. They all involve transit somehow. I presume the CTA held a competition. I remember a couple very strongly:

I dreamed the el stopped at Kyoto: cherry blossoms floating everywhere.

[first poster too damaged to read] take the secret stone from your pocket: throw it in the lake.

Unrelatedly, this thread's double-bitzer just passed. I keep trying to hit one, but am never home and online at the precise right moment, apparently.

#313 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 03:12 PM:

Invented alphabets: I got warned off those in middle grades, by a book named iirc Alvin and the Secret Code, which pointed out that most such systems could be trivially broken cryptoquote-style. Much more recently, the game Aquaria uses such an alphabet for background graffiti; one I started "breaking" it and made a table of the letters, I was surprised how quickly I was able to read the messages directly, or close.

#314 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 03:25 PM:

Linkmeister@281 - Wow, Mind Boggles! This was Herr Willi Einholf, jah? I never actually met him, though his wife was a bit younger and taught business* at the high school. Do we know each other, or perhaps I'd know a younger sibling of yours?

* "Business" was a set of courses for girls who were going to be secretaries or work in offices, on the non-academic track like advanced shop courses for boys in high school. I wish I'd realized what they were teaching, because in addition to typing, they did stuff like keypunching and getting to program the wire plugboards in the antique business machines that I'd used a bit in Boy Scouts (where we *weren't* allowed to mess with the wiring, just with the keypunches and paper-tape.)

#315 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 03:27 PM:

David Harmon @313: Invented alphabets: I got warned off those in middle grades, by a book named iirc Alvin and the Secret Code, which pointed out that most such systems could be trivially broken cryptoquote-style.

Not if you do as I did when writing in English in Greek letters to practice my fluency in the character set. I transliterated phonetically rather than having a one-to-one letter mapping. Especially since Homeric Greek has rather different vowel- and dipthong-to-sound choices than English does. If you were building a confabet, you could deliberately build in such security features, as well as (as Kip W mentioned @308) adding in one-character shortcuts for commonly used words.

#316 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 03:30 PM:

I used the term "writing system" rather than "alphabet" for a reason. Not that it's anything like uncrackable, even with the fairly short bits of it that I tend to leave lying around.

My main point of the Calvin and Hobbes reference is that I am morally certain that no one cares enough to put the time into cracking it.

(I used the phrase "references to passwords" intentionally as well. I don't write my passwords down, even in script.)

#317 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 03:35 PM:

Terry@307, if your butt's had too much iron for the day, and you haven't left yet, there's a hot springs place in Carson City, a bit south of Reno. I haven't been there, looks like a swimming pool rather than a swimming hole out in the boonies.

#318 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 03:38 PM:

Bill Stewart @ #314, no, the teacher I'm fondly remembering is Adair R. McConnell. When I was taking classes from him it was at Thomas Jefferson HS in Alexandria, Va. in the mid-1960s.

#319 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 03:42 PM:

David Harmon #313: Invented alphabets: I got warned off those in middle grades, by a book named iirc Alvin and the Secret Code, which pointed out that most such systems could be trivially broken cryptoquote-style.

Alvin's Secret Code, by Clifford B. Hicks (ISBN-10: 1932350004).

#320 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 03:42 PM:

Terry - presumably you can ignore my previous comment unless you stop in Reno for lunch and Wifi; I'd forgotten ML is on Eastern Time, and was wondering why you were online at noon instead of having left in the morning :-)

#321 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 03:51 PM:

You've all heard of CNN, I expect.

They have a thing called iReports, where people can post news stories, including some pretty ordinary diatribes against the usual suspects of the day.

They're covering Dragon*Con as a special topic, in Atlanta as they are.

The reporting doesn't feel very fannish.

I've submitted a few reports, some of them passing the CNN vetting process, in my Second Life persona, and incidentally pointed one of their staff at GAFilk.

I don't think it's very likely you would get noticed, and the T&C on copyright to your text and pictures could be considered abusive, but it's a way of getting publicity.

#322 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 03:53 PM:

abi @ 316

So "fish" and "ghoti" could have the same spelling in your system?

#323 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 04:02 PM:

David, #313: Yeah, I understood about substitution ciphers and frequency analysis too -- but I knew my parents didn't. Security via enemy ignorance. :-)

#324 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 04:03 PM:

abi @ 316... Last weekend, at Bubonicon, I met writer a woman who speaks Navajo and I asked her about WW2 cryptography that used that language. She revealed that the men had been from Magdalena, a very small town near the Very Large Array, and proceeded to explain how the cryptography worked. No wonder the Nazis had... ah... problems with that - besides the fact there weren't many Navajo speakers in the Fatherland.

#325 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 04:09 PM:

Serge @ 324: That cryptography is central to the plot of Windtalkers, though I haven't watched the film and don't know if it's any good.

#326 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 04:44 PM:

I just heard a guy on the radio refer to some art thieves not being the type to wear "baklavas."

Sigh.

Of course not. The traces of honey would give them away.

#327 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 04:47 PM:

Linkmeister - I went to TJ in the late 80s, as it turned into the science and tech school. Small world.

#328 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 04:56 PM:

Xopher #326: Not to mention getting into their ears.

#329 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 04:59 PM:

eric @ #327, I've often wondered what the local reaction was to that transition. Merging the kids into Annandale HS, hated enemy that it was, must have been awfully difficult. And turning TJHS into a magnet school for "top-drawer" kids must really have ticked off the parents whose kids were judged wanting.

#330 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 06:31 PM:

Greetings from Down Under! I'd just like to say that while PNH has many fine qualities, being any good at 'Just a Minute' is not one of them! I found the 'panel' at Worldcon very entertaining.

#331 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 06:35 PM:

Pendrift @ 325... I've never seen the film, but I heard that's what it's about. By the way, do you know where I first heard about Navajo cryptography? In the early seasons of X-Files.

#332 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 07:08 PM:

So. I'm moving to New Zealand next month* and have started packing. After the first ten boxes of books I have come to the realization that paperback sizes are a whole lot less standardized than I had thought. This is annoying when you are trying to stack them neatly.

* Not the bit that just fell down#

# Or the bit where Au Contraire was held.

#333 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 07:43 PM:

Dave Bell @322 said: So "fish" and "ghoti" could have the same spelling in [abi's writing] system?

Depends whether you're saying that second word like "fish" or like "ghola", doesn't it. :->

I'm continually amazed by the soundalike borrowed words in our Spanish textbook that make perfect "have you been paying attention and practicing your phonics" shibboleths☂ for my classmates. Exempli gratia: los bluejeans, el suéter, la chaqueta★. Not to mention things like psicologia, matemáticas, and la guitarra that look kind of like the American spelling but are not pronounced anything like identically. The bugbear for me is words that are spelt very much like the English word they look like, AND have the same meaning, BUT have one less letter -- usually an undoubling of something doubled in English. Drives my internal typo-sensor nuts while I'm retraining it.

Lee @323 said: David, #313: Yeah, I understood about substitution ciphers and frequency analysis too -- but I knew my parents didn't. Security via enemy ignorance. :-)

As Bruce Schneier keeps explaining, security by obscurity is no security at all. And the same applies to childproofing: if it's only childproof because they don't know you keep something cool back there (or that, for example, the knobs on the front attach to drawers that OPEN), you've already lost. :-> I need to write a blogpost taking his laws of good security over into the childproofing realm, the parallels are hilarious.

Serge @324 said: Last weekend, at Bubonicon, I met writer a woman who speaks Navajo and I asked her about WW2 cryptography that used that language. She revealed that the men had been from Magdalena, a very small town near the Very Large Array, and proceeded to explain how the cryptography worked. No wonder the Nazis had... ah... problems with that - besides the fact there weren't many Navajo speakers in the Fatherland.

And then, Pendrift @325 said: Serge @ 324: That cryptography is central to the plot of Windtalkers, though I haven't watched the film and don't know if it's any good.

I rather liked it. I was shocked to discover that, starting with that film, Nicholas Cage actually gains access to more than two facial expressions (usually, previous to that, angry or woobie)! He must have levelled up or spent some XP or something. I was watching it for the historical subject and for the primary Native American actor (who's awesome, and who I had most recently seen playing Jim Chee in the PBS Hillerman dramatizations).

I cannot speak to the film's accuracy with any academic rigor, but my understanding is that they got the outlines at least right. According to it and to a PBS documentary I saw on similar topic, the trick to the cryptography is that not only was it a language the Nazis were exceedingly likely to have a native speaker of handy (and of which there were hardly any dictionaries made, at the time), they were using word parallels like 'turtle' for tank, substituting words that start with the right letter for the numbers, and generally being extremely figurative, metaphorical, and downright sidelong. The windtalkers also (with the acquiescence or ignorance of their higher-ups, I don't know) held parallel conversations, inserting nonmilitary gossip and jokes in the middle of their codetalking: passing news about other Navajos to each other and generally maintaining a sideband grapevine.


----
☂ A word that, incidentally, we have no idea how it was originally pronounced ... because of the nature of the writing system in which it is preserved.

★ We're on the 'clothing and colors' unit of Spanish 102. I know how to say pantyhose! Also, it's interesting where the lines between camisa/camiseta/polo/blusa lie. I now know that I generally prefer camisas in my daily wear (men's-style shirts with a collar and buttons all the way down the front, of a woven material). Camisetas are t-shirts, except in local dialects, where they're sometimes something else (a lot of Mexican-origin Spanish speakers call them las playeras, etc). Un polo is a polo shirt: a knitted-fabric shirt with a collar and a couple-three buttons at the neck. Blusa is most female shirts that aren't camisetas or something else specific. In Spain, just for those of you that have found this geeking fun enough to keep reading, 'los bluejeans' are actually 'los tejanos' -- "Texan pants". :-> Or sometimes 'los vaqueros' -- "cowboy pants". Mi profesora es de Barcelona, so she's very aware that (after her native Catalan -- meaning only her second language, Castilian) she speaks a minority variety of the language, and urges us not to imprint upon her accent.

#334 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 08:00 PM:

Elliott Mason#333:
The bugbear for me is words that are spelt very much like the English word they look like, AND have the same meaning, BUT have one less letter -- usually an undoubling of something doubled in English.

That's exactly my problem with American.

#335 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 08:14 PM:

thomas @ 332 : Best of luck - having just moved most of the way across the US, I have fresh memories of how lame the process is. The end result is enjoyable (or, it has been for me), but the process is backbreaking and not enjoyable in the least. Owning lots of books does not make it any easier.

On a less related point - but linked back to a topic of occasional discussion here on ML, I am making my first raspberry liqueur - I picked up three boxes of raspberries (~18oz by weight) today at Berkeley Bowl and the berries are now immersed in vodka in one of my cabinets. Given that I had half a bottle of vodka kicking around from refilling my homemade vanilla extract bottle right after I moved, the real cost of this project was just the $3 for the berries. Hope it turns out tasty...

#336 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 08:31 PM:

Elliot Mason #333: In the part of Spain I'm more familiar with, jeans are generally "vaqueros" rather than "tejanos".

I'd translate "blusa" as "blouse" (but then my English is not the Standard Gringo variety), and "camisa" simply as "shirt" (though someone a generation or so older than me might be inclined to use it to mean "tunic" as well).

#337 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 08:37 PM:

Elliot Mason #333: Let me add: What you have to watch for in Spanish are the faux amis the words that look so much like English ones but mean something very different. The classic ones are constipación, which is a head cold, and the verb embarazar and all its derivatives, which means "to become pregnant".

I remember, as a boy, reading in my mother's gossip magazine that the Queen "estaba constipada" and expressing consternation that something as intimate as this was being reported in the Spanish press. My mother patiently explained exactly what was meant.

#338 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:07 PM:

Elliott @231: Friendly neighborhood math teacher reporting in.

I have great faith in your ability to sort the thing for yourself, but should you ever decide that one more person's explanation might help the process along, I'm always game. Send me a shout through LJ, eh?

Teachers who snark their students should retire two years ago. I occasionally snark my students' *parents*, to be sure, but never the students. They can make me sad, angry, and frustrated, frustrated, *frustrated*, but snark is just... not a response I have.

#339 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:09 PM:

Elliott 333: the primary Native American actor (who's awesome, and who I had most recently seen playing Jim Chee in the PBS Hillerman dramatizations).

Adam Beach. He also played Detective Chester Lake on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

#340 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:13 PM:

Fragano @337 -- there's also danger if one is trying to take an icy caldo shower....

#341 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:30 PM:

Belated thoughts on David Goldfarb's request for New Orleans hotel info @14 -

On the weekend that Katrina hit, my sister-in-law and her then-sweetie were celebrating an anniversary in the French Quarter. They stayed at a bed and breakfast called The Banana Courtyard. They, and several other boarders, had no good way to evacuate in the face of this unexpected disaster. The owners simply took these boarders with them to their own home on the northshore and took good care of them until things settled down enough for them to be on their way.

I try to tell anyone looking for lodgings in the Quarter this story, because such kindness should be rewarded. No clue why it didn't come to mind when I first read the request.

#342 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 09:32 PM:

praisegod barebones @310 - Certainly. Be my guest! Hm. It was practically dictated to me by others in the thread.

Elliott Mason @312 - It's a tough one to get all that in. Maybe:

To the furthest off
I impute the worst motives.
Good will falls like leaves.

Or perhaps a more direct approach:

To the most remote
The worst motives I assign —
In springtime, mofo!

What? I reach, man!

#343 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 10:11 PM:

Elliot Mason @ 333... they were using word parallels like 'turtle' for tank, substituting words that start with the right letter for the numbers, and generally being extremely figurative, metaphorical, and downright sidelong

That's pretty much what that lady told me.

the primary Native American actor (who's awesome, and who I had most recently seen playing Jim Chee in the PBS Hillerman dramatizations)

That'd be Adam Beach. I think the first thing I ever saw him in was Smoke Signal.

Nicholas Cage actually gains access to more than two facial expressions (usually, previous to that, angry or woobie)

In Grindhouse, his role as Fu Manchu showed that he can also do diabolical laughter.

#344 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 10:31 PM:

In case you missed this, Kanye West is saying he "bled hard" about his misbehavior toward Taylor Swift, and he's tweeting all about it:

NEW YORK – Hip-hop star Kanye West is still feeling the pain over his trophy grab from Taylor Swift last year — and he's expressing his pain all over Twitter.
West unleashed a torrent of emotions on his official Twitter account Saturday, acknowledging once again that he was wrong for jumping on stage, taking the trophy that Swift won at the MTV Video Music Awards and saying that it should have gone to Beyonce.
But the rapper-producer said that he has experienced enormous pain, been the subject of death wishes and suffered tremendous setback to his career.

Oh, fuck off and die, Kanye. Stop whining about YOUR pain. Even your efforts to "make amends" are selfish and attention-hogging (he wrote a song for Taylor Swift to perform, can you believe that?).

The only thing I want to hear from you is that you've stopped drinking. You're an asshole when you're drunk; you know this; you keep drinking and acting like an asshole; and you think apologizing all the time is enough. It isn't. Either get thee to AA or SHUT THE FUCK UP.

</rant> Sorry. That came up on my Yahoo newsfeed. I just wish this asshole would go the fuck away.

#345 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 11:03 PM:

Xopher @ 326 -- Hey, if a couple of guys are dumb enough to disguise their faces with permanent magic marker... ("Or pinches her figger / Is painted with vigour / And permanent walnut juice")

#346 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 11:11 PM:

As usual, I am in Xopher's camp. It would be lovely if a certain demented fool with a talent for public stupidity would just crawl back into his pit and STFU.

Or develop a functional prefrontal cortex. Not picky on this one.

#347 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 11:30 PM:

I liked Kanye's team-up with Daft Punk. It's a shame people think they have to live the lyfe instead of just doing the art.

#348 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 11:39 PM:

And it would be nice if Obama could be as honest in general as he was about Kanye.

#349 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2010, 11:46 PM:

Zelda @338 said: Teachers who snark their students should retire two years ago. I occasionally snark my students' *parents*, to be sure, but never the students. They can make me sad, angry, and frustrated, frustrated, *frustrated*, but snark is just... not a response I have.

I've had worse. Actually, my husband has had MUCH worse -- in our household, the extreme form of the impulse is called "Bernsteining".☀

In the main, the teachers I've had at City Colleges of Chicago have been uniformly supportive, and very interested in teaching☂ ... I don't really hold this against Dr. D. Apparently he gets a lot of people who took precal a very long time ago (and only got Cs then), but who are in a hurry to finish their coursework and figure they can just jump right into his class while they're still rusty on things like the quadratic equation (or how to divide by negative numbers or deal with them in fractions, in the case of some of my classmates).

If his snark continues past the point where everyone who should really be taking the prereq has left to go do so, then I might hold it against him. When he's not frustrated by being asked to explain the same thing for the fourth time this class, he's personable and interesting, and his examples are wonderfully geeky. He does a lot of starting his explanations (as with the definition of ellipses, or the concept of rational/real/etc numbers) with the Ancient Greeks and going forward to each new leap in understanding of the concept, which humanizes the history of math in a way that might intrigue people less already-hooked than I am. :->


----
☀ The eponymous professor taught a course at UIC in whose first class period he walked into the room silently, filled every board with dense equations, turned to the class, and said, "If you don't understand everything I just did, you don't belong in this class. Drop it now." My husband dropped, and took it with a different prof.

☂ While on my first semester of working at the school newspaper, I did the standard 'interview the new teachers' story. One of the crop had just been working at MIT in materials science (specifically, about how chemistry changes radically at the surface of an object ... if I'm remembering correctly how he explained it). I was a little shocked, and asked how he came to be working at CCC instead. He said, "It's simple. I got sick of spending all my time writing grant reports. I want to TEACH." I can certainly confirm at at UIC, none of the profs I had in any 100- or 200-level course were terribly interested in teaching, so if that's your gig I guess it can be frustrating to be at a big research institution? I know he took a massive pay cut coming to our little community college system, so he's got to be doing it from love.

#350 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 12:10 AM:

I remember a math teacher in Georgia who was the opposite of the sarcastic, impatient guy. He was just so darn even-tempered and unflappable. I said at the time that if somebody had stood up and said they'd forgotten how to multiply two numbers, he'd have smiled and said, well, okay, let's just try some examples at the board and see if we can't just make some sense out of that.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough for me. His class, somebody else's class, I don't remember who was teaching it, but after a decade or more of straight A grades in classes mathematical, I hit a wall with calculus. I think I was okay for the first quarter, but after that my test grades went A, B, C, D, and F. One more test and they'd have had to bring out a new letter. Through some oddity of averaging, I emerged from the class with a B-, but when I tried the next class, I couldn't even make out what was being said any more. And the youngsters (I was 23 when I started college) were just moving right along, even the ones who just seemed like silly airheads. Mortified I was, and never took another math class (though I ended up being secretary in a math department for a couple of years, down the line).

#351 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 12:39 AM:

Joel Polowin @ 345
Thanks for sharing that link. It's amazing what seems like a good idea at the time.

#352 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 12:42 AM:

Just saw that the 2012 WorldCon is going to be Labor Day Weekend (what a silly turn of phrase) in Chicago. Here's what I posted in response to a musing that going up against Dragon Con isn't wise:

"2004 WorldCon— Boston. 2004 DNC— Boston.
2008 WordCon— Denver. 2008 DNC— Denver.
2012 WorldCon— Chicago. Incumbent Democratic President from Chicago... what are the odds the date will be moved?"

I swear, somebody who is doing the scheduling for the DNC is a science fiction fan, since all of the DNC conventions were scheduled after the WorldCons were...

#353 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 01:03 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 349: On the subject of math teachers who are nasty the first day:

I showed up to my 4th term of calculus, and the professor regarded us with a rather cold eye. He handed out a syllabus that spoke of more than usual homework, no opportunities to make up missed tests, and so on.

I showed up on the second day, to find that about a quarter of the class had dropped. The professor greeted the survivors cheerfully, and proceeded to do a great job. He even held special study sessions before tests, in addition to his regular office hours. It turned out that he didn't want to deal with people who would only show up to class sporadically, and come in after every test arguing that he'd graded them unfairly. Rather a dirty trick on the other professors, of course.

#354 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 01:09 AM:

Elliott @349: I had a band conductor in HS who was clearly very burnt out, and he took his dissatisfactions out on us in the form of some real nastiness from the podium. Some of it might have been witty, had there not been actual human beings on the receiving end. Then in college I had a choir director who also made fun during rehearsal-- but he made fun of the mistakes, not the people, and it was all of that clearly affectionate sort of teasing. ISTM that the solution to the problem your prof is facing is an opening-day test over the prerequisites, not for part of the course grade but just to identify those who aren't prepared, both to the prof and to themselves.

The prize "bad math teacher" story in my family was a professor my father had at Northwestern who spoke effectively no English, but was the only instructor for a required course. He did not lecture and he did not keep office hours. He would walk into the classroom, turn his back on the class, write equations on the blackboard with his right hand, erase them with his left hand as he went, and walk out at the end of the hour. Dad bailed and took his master's at American U instead.

Kip W @350: I'm a private tutor, so it's explicitly my job to be that guy. When my kids ask me whether calculus is hard, I always say I don't know. There are a couple of concepts in there that are just *different* from most of the linear progression of math taught in HS. Whether the course is hard depends on how readily you achieve brain-wrap on those concepts, and there's not much way to predict who will take to them. My job is to keep turning them on their sides until we find the angle from which my students can grasp them. I'm still working on finding more ways beyond just the way I personally think about them; every student I work with makes me better.

#355 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 01:26 AM:

I found calculus a better fit for my brain wiring than any math I'd done before. I had a VERY hard time with math in grade school, and I had struggled with algebra, but somehow calculus came (relatively) easily.

#356 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 01:33 AM:

To anyone studying trig or calculus, I recommend reading A Tour of the Calculus, by David Berlinski. Back when I was taking math in college, I did fine, but I was always more in the mode of recognizing what type of problem something was, and pulling out the recipe for solving that problem. I didn't feel that I understood the underlying theory.

A Tour of the Calculus tells the story of the various mathematicians who built up the theories and techniques that come together in the calculus. Each concept is explained clearly. It's very readable. I wished I'd had something like it when I was learning math.

#357 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 01:39 AM:

re Windtalkers: As I understand it they were purely in the Pacific theater, and the movie... well let's just say there were Navajo who used code, and wordplay and all sorts of things internal to the language in question; but that's about it for historicity.

#358 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 01:41 AM:

janetl: The ways in which things do/don't work. The tone of that book left me flat. I'm interested in the subject, but that bit of stuff didn't work for me, for all that it seemed tailor made to meet my needs, and wants.

#359 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 02:31 AM:

Linkmeister @329, wrt TJHS[+ST]: eric @ #327, I've often wondered what the local reaction was to that transition. Merging the kids into Annandale HS, hated enemy that it was, must have been awfully difficult. And turning TJHS into a magnet school for "top-drawer" kids must really have ticked off the parents whose kids were judged wanting.

Wow. Talk about your small worlds-- I went to TJ for one year, as part of the small 12th-grade group that was the last one before the "real" first graduates of TJHSST who'd entered as freshmen. IIRC about half of my cohorts were students who'd started at TJ before it was magnetized, and stubbornly refused to transfer to Annandale; the rest of us had transferred in for the year from other high schools in the area.

As a result, I have no high school diploma. As I mentioned, TJHSST didn't regard us as "real" graduates; the three of us from McLean High received notices that we weren't eligible to attend the graduation ceremony there, either.

I did get a head start on learning to interpret proton NMR spectra that year, though purely from handouts-- there may've been a real NMR in storage that hadn't been set up yet.

#360 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 03:20 AM:

Julie L @ #359, now that was nasty of McLean.

I went to TJHS as a member of its first 4-year class, starting in 1964 and graduating in 1968. My family and I left town three days after graduation and I haven't been back since. I have had a ton of correspondence in the past three months with my Class of '68 schoolmates; they held a 60th birthday party at St. Albans Church in Annandale in June. I couldn't attend, but I set up a photo album at my Picasa account and received about 150 pictures.

There's apparently still residual ill will about that whole deal. The early TJHS students keep separate Facebook and Classmates pages from the TJHSST and don't like being lumped in with the later ones in any way, shape or form.

I'd love to have been a fly on the wall of those Fairfax County School Board meetings when that all went down.

#361 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 03:48 AM:

Xopher @355: May I study your brain? (Not that I would know what to look for...)

janetl @356: Noted with thanks.

Linkmeister, eric, Julie L.: I went to a science-tech HS in Maryland in the late 80s. It was run as a magnet *program* within an existing school. That led to some town-and-gown sorts of tensions, but no monkeying about with trying to convert the whole school. (The irony is that the location was chosen because it was a nearly all-black school and the ST kids were supposed to "integrate" it. But when you do a merit-based magnet program in a county that's overall about 40% black, guess what? The kids who get into the program aren't all white.)

#362 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 03:58 AM:

Joel Polowin 345

You mean, no-one told them about the juice ?

#363 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 07:12 AM:

There was a lovely review of a calculus textbook many years ago by the mathematician Underwood Dudley, in which he asked why calculus textbooks are getting so damned big. 250 years ago they were the size of The Pilgrim's Progress and now they're the size of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. I think it was this one but I don't have access to JSTOR. And in the past few years things have clearly got worse, with textbook writers issuing pointless new editions every year or two to scupper the second-hand market. What, exactly, is the point of calculus, that so much effort should be expended in teaching and learning it?

A more recent, and non-paywalled, article by the same author looks at the question of why it's so important for everyone to learn algebra.

There's a lot of food for thought here... 'Everyone' seems to have the opinion that mathematics is very important while being very vague on what maths 'everyone' should know, and in the US, calculus seems to have emerged as a weird shibboleth or proxy for What Everyone Should Know About Maths. I did a hell of a lot of mathematics once upon a time, and I got a lot of benefit from it, but have to admit that a lot of the 'real-world' justifications for doing maths are actually specious. It teaches you logical thinking, yes, but there are other ways of doing that that would be less cruel to those who loathe maths and just can't do it. I did A-level maths in the days when it seemed to consist entirely of knowing how to spot the right substitution to use in order to do an integral. I was marvellous at this for two years, then went on to do maths entirely distinct from calculus and never wrote an integral sign again. What did I get out of this? Memory training? An ability to concentrate?

Good and bad maths teachers? I dare say that most maths teachers are Worst Maths Teacher Ever to some of their students and simultaneously Best Maths Teacher Ever to others, with the split having little relation to ability in the subject.

#364 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 08:42 AM:

Xopher, my youngest daughter had the same experience. She did OK in math up to 12th grade, but calculus MADE SENSE. She got an A in AP Calc and scored a 5 on the AP test.

She's a freshman at Georgia Tech now, and wants to go to Mars. I wouldn't bet against her.

#365 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 09:10 AM:

Somnus deleta est.

#366 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 09:16 AM:

xeger @ 365... Not getting much somnus because of your job?

#367 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 09:39 AM:

Serge @ 366 ...

Indeed -- but as an added bonus, the changing weather seems to induce frenzied activity on the part of the Insomnia Fairy...

#368 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 09:48 AM:

Steve with a book, 363: Since I have access to JSTOR...

On pp. 890-91 of the review, Dudley writes: "Why do we need 1000 pages to do what L'Hospital did in 234, Loomis in 309, Thompson in 301, and the text I learned calculus from, used exclusively for four whole semesters, 14 semester-hours in all, in 416? There are several reasons. One, of course, is the large number of reviewers of prospective texts. No more can an editor make up his mind about the merits of a text, it has to go out to fifteen different people for opinions. And if one of them writes that the author has left out the tan(x/2) substitution in the section on techniques of integration, how can he or she do that, we won't be able to integrate 3/(4 + 5 sin 6x), how can anyone claim to know calculus who can't do that; isn't the easiest response to include the tan(x/2) substitution? Of course it is, in it goes, and in goes everything else that is in every other 1000-page text."

I'm appreciating this discussion, as I did very well in math through high school but floundered through calculus, barely passing. (The fact that the class was held at 7 am may not have helped.) Someday in my copious spare time I'd love to try again with a different teacher.

#369 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 09:49 AM:

Elliot Mason @349: Ah, yes, Bernstein.

Looking at the Wikipedia article on him, their first section is about the results of his Unix Security Holes class in 2004. The results sound very impressive -- lots of new security holes discovered, a bit of controversy about how the details were published but in the end everythings better because of it -- but a bit of insider information brings the entire affair into a slightly different light.

At the time this happened, I was one of the maintainers for a piece of software called NASM. NASM's a development tool, an assembler. You'll find a copy on the CDs of most Linux distributions, and it's also installed on a lot of Windows machines too, primarily by games and operating system developers.

The first thing to remember about NASM is what it does and how it is used. You take a text file that contains instructions that form a program, it reads these, and outputs code in a form that the processor can run directly. Then, in every situation you can think of that isn't artificially contrived for the purposes of breaking this assumption, you *run the resulting code*.

One of DJB's students found a bug in NASM, a classic buffer overflow. He produced a source file that, when assembled, caused NASM to execute his embedded exploit code. This flaw was then released in a public security advisory by DJB before any of the NASM development team had even seen it.

That's the controversy you see a reflection of in the wikipedia article, but it isn't clearly described: DJB released the details of these flaws, some of which were much more serious than the NASM one, directly to the public, rather than to the maintainers who could fix them.

But this wasn't what got to me about the entire setup. What did was this: the NASM bug was classified as a remotely-exploitable code execution vulnerability (which DJB calls a "remote control" vulnerability). Why is it classified as remote? Because you might assemble something somebody sent to you by email.

IMO, this basically trivialises the whole idea of classifying a bug by what situations you can exploit it in. I mean, is having a shell installed on your computer a vulnerability? Somebody might email you a shell script, and you might decide to run it.

After this, I decided to simply not believe anything he said about computer security without researching it myself to see if he was right.

#370 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 11:17 AM:

To Jules @369, in re Bernstein: Aside from his teaching abilities and social skills interfacing with developers, let me also add that it's apparently no peach trying to be a servermonkey (or network admin) on his network. How do I know? That's what my husband does for a living now, for UIC ...

Apparently when there was a relatively recent rejiggering of how the firewalls/networks/etc scheme was going to work, campuswide, Bernstein threw the next thing to a hissy fit, because HIS special SNOWFLAKE machines need to have blah blah bloo bloo specific unfettered access to the internet at large, and how DARE you filter him or limit his CREATIVITY? Only in geekspeak and not fluttering-drag-queen. :-> It amuses me to transpose the idioms while maintaining the emotion.

For a dude who's supposedly so into security, his everyday behaviors on UIC's networks end up compromising a WHOLE lot of other people's machines on a daily basis. He finally had a trunk line run from AT&T to his office to plug his personal network into -- and is forbidden to cross-connect that network to UIC's wires in any way. If he wants to maintain his own sandbox, fine, but it quits being their problem anymore, y'know?

When the netmonkeys are volunteering for duty in the dorms with the frosh (who do stupid things they've been TOLD not to do and then get upset when their internet suddenly doesn't work anymore) to get out of dealing with Bernstein, that's telling, I think.

#371 ::: doctorpsycho1960 ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 11:56 AM:

Earl Cooley @ 347, whenever this subject comes up, I think of Alice Cooper, who once said something to the effect that he tried to be Alice Cooper 24/7 for about a year, and realized it was going to kill him, so now he's only Alice onstage.

At home, he is in fact a redneck family man.

#372 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 12:29 PM:

Zelda @354 - There was a computer science teacher in Georgia whose English was decidedly flavored by his nationality. He was famed for how difficult it was to understand him. A number of students got together and tried to puzzle out a word he had used repeatedly in class that day: "ba-rank-ee." It turned out to mean "blank."

Calculus was different for me in that I couldn't derive any of it via any logic I knew. If I forgot sines or tangents, I could draw a little unit circle and reason out which was which. Calculus seemed to be pure memorization of reverse recipes. Could not cope.

#373 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 12:36 PM:

I'm inhaling the anime Gankutsuou as fast as the DVD library can send me the discs.

If you don't know it, it's more or less The Count of Monte Cristo -- but, as TVTropes.org would put it, In Space!. Which means that one can't be entirely confident that any given part of the plot will turn out the way it did in the book. It also means that they get to do some clever stuff in the way of concrete metaphors. (There's a scene in the book where the Count wishes he could have torn out his heart the day he set his course for vengeance, so that it would not trip him up at inopportune moments. His counterpart in the anime... does not have this problem.)

Also:

In the book, the duel is pistols at dawn. In the anime, it's swords. Swords wielded by humungous mecha. Of course.

#374 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 01:55 PM:

Another thing:

When Dumas was plotting The Count of Monte Cristo, he originally had the Count appear fully-formed, mysterious, with his backstory to come out gradually as events progressed. Then he decided that he wanted the reader to understand and sympathise with the Count, so he added a bunch of chapters at the beginning explaining exactly who the Count was, where he came from, and what he was up to.

The anime goes back to Dumas's original plan. They don't want you to understand the Count, to know how far he should be trusted or whether sympathy is appropriate. It's a given that they've monkeyed with his origin, but it's not immediately apparent just how much...

#375 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 02:06 PM:

paul a 373

Are giant fighting robots mainly a Japanese thing? Or did someone else do it first?

I would say that the robomecha of Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow are Japanese-influenced. Kind of like Gigantor on steroids, with better production values.

#376 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 04:08 PM:

By way of Linkmeister (with thanks):
Lois Bujold interviews Miles Vorkosigan, touching on the subject of her latest plans for him...

Arrgh, now I can't wait!

#377 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 04:12 PM:

Erik@375:

There's precedents in a lot of SF imagery elsewhere (War of the Worlds, for starters), but the development as a full-blown genre of its own seems to have been independent. And apparently aficionados might regard Gigantor/Tetsujin 28-go as not quite counting as part of the genre, owing to being remote-controlled instead of having an onboard pilot. These distinctions are Important.

#378 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 04:13 PM:

Susie@368: thank you, yes, that's definitely the article I was thinking of. I remember Dudley's book on Mathematical Cranks being very good—all about the eccentrics who would bombard mathematics departments with their typewritten rewrites of number theory and geometry in the pre-internet days.

(Presumably, before calculus became regarded as the default mathematics qualification-to-have, it was geometry... it's sobering to look at geometry textbooks of a hundred years ago and not have a clue how to do even the easier exercises.)

Before I came across the ideas of higher mathematics properly, I'd been prepared for many of them by watching Open University programmes on BBC2 on Sunday mornings. A lot was above my head, but enough sank in. I particularly remember the shows for MST204 Mathematical Models and Methods... conical pendulums and simple harmonic motion and all that. Can't find it on YouTube, but at least there's this Hugh Laurie parody of the genre.

#379 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 04:42 PM:

Re the Bujold - Vorkosigan interview:

I can't claim credit for hunting it up. Brad DeLong found it somehow and linked to it.

#380 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 06:08 PM:

Clifton (376): If you *really* can't wait, the eARC is available from Baen. I succumbed, even though I don't care for ebooks.

#381 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 06:28 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Wirth's law has apparently caught up with area man's hardware a few weeks ago; area man fairly pissed off.

#382 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 07:21 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 376: Thank you for that link to the "interview" of Miles Vorkosigan. Wonderful!

Mary Aileen @ 380: Oh, man. Knowing that there's an electronic book ARC of Cryoburn for sale is going to be a struggle for me. I don't have any hardware that's good for reading. Can I hold out until November? Gah!

I discovered, and consumed, the Vorkosigan saga earlier this summer. I recently gave David Weber's Honor Harrington series a try, for a fix of space opera, and it fell far short. YMMV, of course.

#383 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 07:52 PM:

janetl (382): I ended up reading it on my computer. Now I'm waiting for my paper copy so I can re-read it in comfort.

#384 ::: Teka Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 08:14 PM:

All this, and no one's mentioned Mary Gentle's ASH yet?

#385 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 08:22 PM:

Fragano Ledgister, #337, when I got a regular x-ray a couple of years ago, the sign in the dressing room was both American and Spanish, so I figured out what embarazar (or some type of it) meant.

Zelda, #354, my band director (former Marine Band director) in three years of junior high and senior high was very difficult to me in the beginning. We had just been transferred to the Pentagon and I brought my clarinet to school the first day and he wanted to know why I did that. Then he wanted to know why I came in from the back of the auditorium instead of backstage. Then I started challenging my way up the line and when he saw I would beat the current first chair (a boy), he handed me an oboe and told me it fingered like the top of the clarinet. He didn't mind when I challenged to first chair oboe (formerly also a girl). He was, however, particularly happy that I could play snare when we marched.

#386 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 08:29 PM:

I was given a copy... when I finished Diplomatic Immunity. One of the better aspects of my breakfast with Lois, (only 4 days, and a short lifetime ago) was that we didn't talk about the books much at all (in fact, the closest we really came was to discuss some quirky fortuity in aspects of the Russian she didn't actually intend to use).

I started reading it today (I am not a big fan of e-books), in Word.

#387 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 08:47 PM:

janetl, only until October.

#388 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 09:12 PM:

the trouble with calculus is that dy/dx means something before dy means something and dx means something.

#389 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 09:24 PM:

My third-semester calculus teacher (the class where we met multiple variables) described calculus as where you learn arithmetic. (You do so much of it, you see....)

#390 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 09:30 PM:

This is the community most likely to know how to figure this out:

This is a Mongolian drinking song that, for some reason, has become a favorite of my extended family. We know when to sing HEY! We do not know much else. I've been charged with hunting lyrics, and have found an English translation... but that's not going to work for singing along with the CD, or for my mother potentially teaching it to her kindergartners.

So. Does anyone know the Mongolian lyrics? Failing that, does anyone know Mongolian well enough to copy down a rough phonetic version we can annoy Washington, DC with over Thanksgiving? I can't do more than a really, really babbly almost-German transliteration.

#391 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 10:51 PM:

Teka Lynn @ #384: All this, and no one's mentioned Mary Gentle's ASH yet?

I considered mentioning it, especially after Bruce's comment @ #11, but I decided not to for some reason I don't now recall.

#392 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 11:00 PM:

Erik, #388: You mean like this?

#393 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2010, 11:11 PM:

janetl @ #382: Can I hold out until November? Gah! I discovered, and consumed, the Vorkosigan saga earlier this summer. I recently gave David Weber's Honor Harrington series a try, for a fix of space opera, and it fell far short. YMMV, of course.

Sharon Lee & Steve Miller are the cure for what ails ya. (IMNSHO)

I suggest you start with Local Custom (currently in print in the omnibus The Dragon Variation); it has enough sequels to keep you going until CryoBurn comes out, and they're all in print. The Agent of Change sequence is probably more Vorkosigan-ish, but it's temporarily out of print and the new edition isn't due out until after CryoBurn.

#394 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 12:22 AM:

Paul A. @ 393: Thanks! I'll check them out. Maybe literally.

P J Evans @ 389:
Ah, yes, arithmetic. It was in economics classes in grad school, that professors began waving a hand and saying "and then, by simple algebra" and jumping to a conclusion that involved calculus, trig, differential equations, and matrices.

I think calculus made sense to me because I learned it at the same time as economics, and economics is all about rates of change, maximum output or revenue, and minimum cost. I don't do well with abstraction-for-abstraction's sake, but I do like grabbing a tool and using it for something. I struggled when I got to differential equations and found that a problem involving eigenvalues could have more than one correct answer. The horror!

#395 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 12:26 AM:

304
What got me when I hit differentials (twice, and the second time was worse) was the lack of pictures. (One of the reasons I'm in the job I'm in is because I can put pictures together so they make some kind of sense.)

#396 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 12:55 AM:

Openthready historical knowledge: We've been going through old slides shot by my grandfather. A roll that was developed in 1964, labeled "Canada Expo," is full of photos of what looks for all the world like Epcot Center: big prickly geodesicy dome, boat rides, overhead trinaci, etc. By cars in the shots and fashion, I definitely believe the 1964 date. There are also photos in the same roll of doing touristy things around Toronto (Queen's Park, etc).

Anyone have any idea what event might've happened in Toronto in 1964 that would look like that?? The Expo was in Montreal, and besides, it was 67.

#397 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 12:55 AM:

P J Evans @ 395:

The thing that got me back into math after leaving school was that I discovered that there were mathematicians who believed in the use of diagrams, especially that there were topologists and geometers who used drawings to show how things were shaped and how they fit together. This was considered heresy by most mathematicians through most of the 20th century (I'm giving you dirty looks, Bourbaki!), but there were a few who tried to keep visual mathematics alive, most especially H. S. M. Coxeter.

#398 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 02:27 AM:

I disliked calculus because as it turns out I am a rather concrete thinker, at least mathematically. When I work to solve a problem, I want something that I can visualize in the real world. Solving an equation simply to get another equation was....less than satisfying. I'd rather get an answer like "2". I always liked the applied chapters better than the theoretical ones.

#399 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 02:43 AM:

Diatryma @390

I think I've found the lyrics (as images: part 1 and part 2). Alas, they're in Mongolian, so a) I'm not 100% if I actually found the lyrics, and not just some random text b) I've no clue how to pronounce what's there. I'll keep looking if I can't find someone who can transliterate it to something useful.

#400 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 08:00 AM:

Zelda #354:

I had a teacher like that for Discrete Math long ago. We were lucky to have relatively straightforward material which was well-covered in the book, because this guy's English was so bad, I don't think he could have successfully ordered dinner. (I remember in one lecture filling in enough of the sound:concept codebook to work out what sounds he was using for "matrix" and "graph.")

#401 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 08:11 AM:

albatross:

Re: DBJ

I know Dan, and he does some *really* good work in cryptography. He's also rather famous for his abrasive public persona, though he's pretty nice in person.

#402 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 09:44 AM:

Bombie at 399: Thanks! How did you find it? I had been googling obvious things and came up with not a lot, just English lyrics. And while I can't tell a thing about the Mongolian lyrics as written except that the two images are not the same, I may as well join in the hunt for phonetics.

#403 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 09:53 AM:

Diatryma @402

I googled for the lyrics in Chinese, and had some luck. A friend of mine who's in China has asked a Chinese friend whose parents know Mongolian, but no guarantees they'll be able to transcribe it to something we can work with. Will keep you up to date.

#404 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 10:15 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 396 -- I'd say that a big geodesic dome and "Canada Expo" make it pretty definitively Expo '67. Those domes aren't exactly common. There's one in the Toronto area now, the Cinesphere, but that was built in 1971.

#405 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 10:29 AM:

Joel @404: That's what I thought, too, but the cars are definitely earlier than 1967, so are the fashions (there's another roll that we KNOW is Montreal in 67, so I can compare directly) ... and my mother is clearly not those three years older (there's quite a visual difference between 8 and 11, at least there was for her). The slide casing itself is stamped 1964 by the developer. It is a puzzlement.

Unless it really IS Epcot and somehow just got mixed into the box with the Toronto slides? ... No, Epcot wasn't built till the 80s, and looking at photos of it, its big silver ball building wasn't nearly as poky as the one I have photos of.

They have a great shot, btw, of standing in the Queen's Park doorway and shooting down a street that nowadays has VERY different buildings on it (plus, this is before they built the statue my Torontonian husband insists should be titled "Gumby Goes to Heaven").

#406 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 10:50 AM:

I disliked having to futz about with set theory before getting to the good parts of calculus.

#407 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 10:51 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ #397:

His disdain for pure mathematics
And his unique geometrical insights
Left him well equipped to face those demons down;
He saw that infinite complexity
Could be described by simple rules,
Used his giant brain to turn the game around....

(Jonathan Coulton, "Mandelbrot Set")

#408 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 11:23 AM:

Eliott @ 405 -- Any chance of some of the shots being from the 1964 World's Fair in New York City, with the rest of the roll being from Toronto?

#409 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 12:54 PM:

Joel @408, Eliot @405 - I would put in my strong vote for some images being from the 1964 World's Fair in New York, too. Walt Disney designed several attractions for that World's Fair, including the "Small World" ride, "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln", a GE audio-animatronic show about the history of electricity, and a skyway peoplemover. All of these were later moved to Disneyland (in some form or other).

#410 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 01:10 PM:

Earl Cooley III:
I disliked having to futz about with set theory before getting to the good parts of calculus.

Yes, it's like another iteration of the New Math. Mathematics educators keep trying to force set theory in where it isn't wanted or needed. I think the term "foundations" is to blame -- they don't realize that in mathematics you build the foundations last.

Thinking of a function as a curve should work until you get to proper proofs with epsilontics, and most people never do.

#411 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 01:27 PM:

Earthquake in New Zealand, no dead reported, Christchurch hard hit.

#412 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 01:29 PM:

Eliot @405 - How about trying a Google Image Search on "canada expo dome" and compare what you saw with what comes up? The labels should give you a specific thesis to test.

#413 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 01:43 PM:

'epsilontics' - I like that!
(It isn't really needed for most stuff, anyway.)

#414 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 03:11 PM:

PJ@395, differentials without *pictures*? Some math book authors are simply criminals, and in those cases the teacher should be fixing that by drawing them on a blackboard.

#415 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 04:56 PM:

Bill Stewart #414.

The textbook author may well have intended the pictures to be drawn on the blackboard. I am reliably informed that Walter Rudin, when teaching introductory real analysis from the famous 'baby Rudin' textbook*, put in all the pictures and heuristics that are notable by their absence from the book.

* This is a compact introduction, ie, ot is bounded, and it is usually closed.

#416 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 06:16 PM:

Joel Polowin @408, oliviacw@409: Good suggestions that it's the 1964-in-New-York, more-photos-of-Toronto (probably same summer vacation timeframe). The family that took the pictures was based in Manhattan. I cannot rule it in or out; I do know that a quick google image search is turning up nothing like what's in the shots I have (and that the shots i have do not contain any of the still-extant bits popularized in Men in Black, etc -- the big globe and the UFOs-on-sticks, etc).

KipW @412: Great thought (google for 'Canada Expo dome'). Still no conclusive in-or-out indicators.

I'm very tempted to project them on the wall again tonight and photograph the projections to stick of Flickr so I have something concrete to point at when I talk about it. Right now that would be about eighty times faster than scanning the slides properly, and accurate enough for the needed purpose, however kludgy the solution is. It's not nearly as kludgy as some things my family members have done to get around obstacular paths, but it still makes me feel like an illustration labeled "UR DOIN IT RONG".

#417 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 06:28 PM:

Elliott Mason @ #416, it may be wrong, but it may also be expedient. If the goal is simply to get identifiers on a page, photo-to-Flickr would seem to be the quickest.

I attended the NY World's Fair in 1964-1965 (one summer of the two; not sure which) so I might recognize something.

#418 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 07:39 PM:

Maybe it's just me, but 'VVD' makes me think of social diseases.

#419 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 07:40 PM:

Argh. Wrong thread. Feel free to delete.

#420 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 08:02 PM:

Ah, calculus. Where my mind was opened to what math really is (and why I wanted to go into Engineering). I'd been doing brilliantly in math studies before then, but that's because it was just "learn the trick, pattern out the problem, turn the crank and get the answer". Algebra, Euclidean Geometry, Trigonometry, the works. Even differential calculus was another turn the handle game.

But there was no handle for integral calculus - or, rather, there were 30 or 40, and you had to be able to figure out which club to pull out of the bag. And I hated that. I wasn't good at it, I never had to do it before! But I learned, and it became fun again (but much more work).

Then I hit differential equations, and my mind exploded again. But I went into Electrical Engineering, and was told "you can either solve simultaneous differential equations, or transform them and solve simultaneous algebraic equations in the complex domain" (oh, and that despite what you were taught, it's ejπ + 1 that equals zero) and "never" saw calculus again.

Until I took a communications theory course and learned that 100% of the volume of an infinite-dimensional hypersphere is on its surface, or that while there are some functions that are not universally discretely integrable (like the normal curve), if you can get the limits to either 0->∞ or -∞->∞, it's easy.

And then I looked at my (then) GF's real analysis book (from third year math), and got three chapters through it before I remembered why I got into Engineering.

#421 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 08:13 PM:

It's my understanding that a renal calculus is no fun either.

#422 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 09:35 PM:

420
That's so you don't confuse current with reality. Or something like that. (I had basic circuit analysis. Laplace transforms are interesting.)

#423 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 09:38 PM:

During high school, I took at least one calculus course at a local college; iirc, I did enjoyed it and did fairly well. But for some reason, the credit didn't transfer properly when I actually started college, and so I had to retake the same intro calc class(es). To my horror, I discovered that something had happened to my brain and I couldn't do calculus anymore; I recognized having seen the concepts before and remembered being able to understand them, but that was all. It felt a bit like living the second half of "Flowers for Algernon" :|

#424 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 10:19 PM:

Julie, I feel your pain. I took calculus something like six times to get a C-grade (kept taking incompletes...) And I took my final grade after graduation and while I was an employee of U. Kans.

The weird thing is that I can do equations if they have a point. I took a biological statistics course and had to beg to get into it because I had not passed Calc. I was able and capable of doing the math required correctly. Apparently Math theory is not a strong point in my brain...

#425 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 10:37 PM:

Thomas @ 410
"I think the term 'foundations' is to blame -- they don't realize that in mathematics you build the foundations last."

This really doesn't work for me. My mom taught college-level remedial math -- she used to note that she had a huge number of students who thought they were very bad at math, when they had just been taught by people who can think in the way you describe -- so her students had never been given the big picture, and couldn't figure out how anything fit, so couldn't progress smoothly. But people who are "good" at math are the ones who influence how it's taught, so everyone else just gets dismissed for not being able to learn in the expected style.

Myself, I found the whole "memorize these equations and just apply them the way we tell you to, whether you understand it or not" approach to be extremely frustrating, and only got through my highschool math courses because I could come home and have my mom re-teach stuff in a way I could understand.

As an adult, I'm quite good at math, to the extent that it is relevant to my life and work. But I made sure I'd never have to do any jobs that involved anything past Algebra and Arithmetic, because that's the point at which my inner models completely broke down, and I stopped being able to see it as anything but a formalized sort of codebreaking. I still have trouble getting from that codebreaking to ... anything real. Because it's just a series of memorized abstract equations that fit together in ritually prescribed ways, for no particularly comprehensible reason at all.

#426 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 11:02 PM:

I breezed thru the algebras, geometry, trig, etc. I hit calculus, calculus hit back. I made it thru three semesters, but it was a struggle.

Then went on to differential equations. What the teacher said made sense, and I wrote copious notes. Somewhere between class and homework, the notes stopped making sense at all. I have no idea why notes I took in my own hand stopped being understandable by the end of the day. I never took the final, as I felt there was no point in sitting thru two hours of total confusion.

In the same semester, I took linear algebra and felt right at home. I attended class thru the mid-term, missed most of the classes after that, took the final and still got a B in the class. I love matrix algebra.

#427 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 11:07 PM:

425
FWIW, most people never have to use calculus on the job. It's a nice tool, though, for when none of the others will work, and for some things nothing else will work.

#428 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2010, 11:26 PM:

So this is going on in the Boulder area.

Jacque and I live in Boulder proper, on the east side of town, well out of the danger zone. But someone on another blog mentioned that those of us in the area should check in and let everyone know we're OK. So here ya go.

I hurt for everyone who's had to evacuate and doesn't know if they'll have a house to come back to--or already knows they don't. This is dreadful. It's not the closest a fire has been to where I live since I've lived here, but it seems to be the most dramatic (from an "not in danger but close enough to appreciate it" point of view). I can't remember even the Wonderland Lake fire having this sort of effect, filling the sky with smoke and spilling ash as far away as Erie before--and that one I could actually see the flames from my bedroom window.

#429 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 12:11 AM:

I remember I gave up on higher mathematics when I picked up a textbook my cousin the math professor wrote, looked at the first page, and said to myself, "I can tell he's applying group theory to something, but I can't tell what he's applying it to."

#430 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 12:27 AM:

Lin D @ 426:

Oddly enough I had a great deal of trouble with matrix algebra because it was taught to me as a bunch of operations to apply to matrices to get other matrices or numbers that I had not much use for. Then I came across the theory of algebras on continuous vector spaces and that made sense, and was beautiful to boot, and it explained what I had been doing with the matrices. I still have trouble with calculus because a lot of it is just tricks that you use to manipulate one expression to turn it into another.

#431 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 12:51 AM:

KayTei,

That's not what I meant about foundations. The topic called 'foundations of mathematics' is a set of formalizations that were reverse-engineered in the 19th century to provide rigorous proofs for calculus (and then other areas).

Initially the problem was deciding exactly which functions have Fourier expansions. The previous answer was "all functions" and there was a straightforward explanation of why this was true, which worked fine as long as you didn't ask precisely what "all functions" meant. It turns out that the previous proofs worked as long as "all functions" meant "all piecewise C2 functions", which is general enough for practical purposes. The question of exactly which functions have Fourier expansions is still open, although Lennart Carleson won the Abel prize in 2006 for a large step in tidying it up.

Proofs at this level of axiomatic rigor are a long way from having explanations of why things fit together as they do. The C19th formalization was necessary to handle edge cases ("monsters", as they called them then), but makes it harder to understand what is going on in the more straightforward cases. For the more straightforward cases the explanations used in earlier times by people like Fourier are much more helpful.

Now, I do occasionally work in problems where the more esoteric bits of calculus crop up [convergence of probability distributions on non-separable spaces, for example], so I do need to know the formalizations. People who only need, say, tensor calculus for physics or engineering, can work with more natural and straightforward explanations and they generally do.

The worst problem with trying to put set-theoretic constructions in pre-calculus is the same as the problem with putting toy set theory in the primary-school New Math -- that you don't do it right, because at that level you can't. The only point of the Dirichlet set-based definition of a function is to allow specific types of formal reasoning. If you aren't going to do those types of proofs (and you aren't, in high school) you don't gain anything except complications. It's a waste of everybody's time and mental effort that could have been spent on learning something interesting, or providing explanations that actually explain something.


This seems to have turned into a rant, but if no-one asks about any of my other trigger topics, like the Wilcoxon test, I may be able to go back to placidly lurking.

#432 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 01:47 AM:

thomas #431: It's a waste of everybody's time and mental effort that could have been spent on learning something interesting, or providing explanations that actually explain something.

Thank you.

#433 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 02:05 AM:

Ok... can anyone tell me (apart from being obnoxious) is the reason for Google.com having that version of the logo?

#434 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 02:19 AM:

Terry @ 433: I think it's part of an effort to forestall antitrust issues, by making the page come up so slowly that more users default to using Bing. At least it's worked that way for me this evening.

#435 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 07:53 AM:

Elliott Mason @416: There was a geodesic dome at the 1964 World's Fair, although it doesn't feature as heavily in the online images as the Unisphere; Wikipedia says it's currently in use as the aviary for the Queens Zoo.

#436 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 09:38 AM:

Terry Karney @433: Ok... can anyone tell me (apart from being obnoxious) is the reason for Google.com having that version of the logo?

Some guesses from PCWorld. Possibilities include Google's birthday and the anniversary of the invention of JavaScript.

thomas @431: The worst problem with trying to put set-theoretic constructions in pre-calculus is the same as the problem with putting toy set theory in the primary-school New Math -- that you don't do it right, because at that level you can't. The only point of the Dirichlet set-based definition of a function is to allow specific types of formal reasoning. If you aren't going to do those types of proofs (and you aren't, in high school) you don't gain anything except complications.

However, if you don't, you get things like my calculus teacher snarking at all of us that we were taught 'stupid lies' in high school and not to put any such thing on our papers now that we're doing REAL math. He claims the 'stupid' explanations and notations (not all of which fit thomas' description above -- things like drawing intervals on number lines using [ and ( as endpoints instead of solid/round dots) are counterproductive, because they neither make the math easier to learn nor prepare you for college math.

He may not be the most reliable source, but he's at least an anecdata point ... this week, we're doing problems from PDF copies of chapters of a textbook that he wrote intended to teach future elementary school teachers math, so at least he's tried to tackle the problem. Or something.

... it's not the best book I've ever seen. The text reads like he lectures, which is both a good thing and a bad thing.

#437 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 10:33 AM:

googled "google logo"
It's their 12th birthday

#438 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 10:36 AM:

Then again, I should have read the whole news article. They don't know for sure, either.

(caffeine... need caffeine)

#439 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 10:45 AM:

Ordinary math was a sequence of pairs of operations; in each pair, the first first one was simply algorithmic (mechanical), whereas the second one required creativity (guess, test, retry as needed). The first pair was addition and subtraction, the second was multiplication and division, the third was differentiation and integration.

But geometry, in 9th grade, was where I first met what I think of as "real" math -- because that's where we first proved things.

My father was involved with the School Mathematics Study Group, and we spent the summer of...1963, I think...out at Stanford where he was working on writing that set of New Math textbooks. Also they asked for kids of the people involved to volunteer to test some of the examination materials, so I can claim a very small piece of messing up the New Math program for myself (I do not regard myself, even then, as at all typical of elementary school math students).

I was taught differential calculus with epsilon-delta proofs, and that worked well for me. I then (due to scheduling issues) switched to the "computer-assisted" track for integral calculus, and barely got through the course (that is, I got a B). I finished off the calculus sequence with multivariate differential and integral, and never went beyond that in calculus. I liked abstract algebra better, and really loved the (undergrad) foundations of math course.

At Carleton, "applied" math courses actually meant "theoretical basis of applications in <field>". I discovered, in linear algebra, that there is in fact nothing uglier than the theoretical basis of mathematical applications. Never did take to linear algebra.

Never had one of those "memorize the equation" courses; would have hated it I'm sure. I've always hated memorization (though I made an exception for foreign language vocabulary; I didn't really like it, but it was so clearly relevant to learning a foreign language that I couldn't argue with it). While I guess we were expected to memorize the quadratic equation, we derived the quadratic equation; made more sense after that.

I knew I was destined for computers anyway, from before I went to college. I thought I might do computer grad school, but I was tired of school by the time I got out of college; and wanted to stay in Minneapolis, and wanted to earn money, I guess.

The closest thing I had to "hitting a wall" in a math course was in an advanced group theory seminar I took senior year. I liked the class a lot, did well, got an A in it. Frequently, before class, I chatted with another math major who I didn't know well. One day, after I'd spent an hour and a bit the night before dealing with the problem set we'd been assigned, he glanced at the clock and said "I'd really better take a look at the problem set before class", and proceeded to glance at each problem, think a few seconds, and write a couple of words in the margin next to it. Went through the whole problem set in two minutes. Don't even remember his name, so I can't check if he's famous.

#440 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 11:23 AM:

I did really well in math for many years; I considered majoring in math until I decided that chemistry was more interesting, part way through first-year university. My "wall" came in a third-year math course in mathematical transforms and boundary-value problems. The course was divided into roughly-equal parts on Fourier transforms (which I'd learned about the previous year), Laplace transforms, boundary-value problems, and Bessel functions. I found the first three parts moderately challenging but within my abilities... and completely bounced off the Bessel functions. It was quite a shock. I still don't know what the problem was/is.

The final exam was of the form "here are 8 problems, do any 6", with two problems from each of the four sections. I omitted the two on Bessel functions, ploughed through the other six, and ended up with an A+ in a course where I was completely failing to grasp a full quarter of the material.

#441 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 11:27 AM:

Open thready readiness to throw my laptop through a fecking window:

For the past several days it has been irregularly uninstalling and reinstalling something - sometimes every few seconds, sometimes not for several minutes. No window pops up, no nothing. The only indication this is happening is the nerve-grating two tone sound signal and, if the device manager is open, the list refreshes. I've been up and down the device manager trying to find something that's changing and I can't find a damn thing. The noise is driving me nucking futz. I'm tempted to just disable the sound signal and carry on, as it doesn't seem to be doing anything, but I have no idea what changes may be occurring under the hood. Is there a way to access an activity log that will tell me WTF?

#442 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 11:53 AM:

The first thing we'd need to know is the name and version of the operating system you're using, Mark.

#443 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 12:26 PM:

Yes of course...chalk it up to being seriously burnt out after playing a three-day gig. I'm running Vista with SP2.

#444 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 12:32 PM:

PJ Evans @427 -- you may not have to use calculus on the job, but I use it all the time when navigating around a city that I only vaguely know. Or don't you consider the Intermediate Value Theorem part of calculus? In many cities there are non-continuous roads, but it's still remarkably useful.

#445 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 12:38 PM:

Tom: But do you actually work out the problem, or just do the "stuff"?

From what I've gleaned of calculus, I use it all the time when driving/riding, esp. as it relates to changing lanes/predicting future positions.

But I couldn't, to save my life, write it up as an equation, integral, fluxion etc. I just "solve for Xeno" and drive on.

:>

#446 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 12:58 PM:

There was an article a while back about how Frisbee dogs do the math too.

#447 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 01:07 PM:

I don't prove the problem, but I use the theorem, Terry; and often consciously, like checking that the conditions (continuity, especially) are met. And "solving for Xeno" is, in effect, doing calculus; so is looking at rates of change, which is pretty common in many workplaces (when one is tracking sales, for example).

The pragmatic uses of everyday calculus are often ignored.

#448 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 01:19 PM:

Tom: You, at least, have/understand the theorom. I just know that looking at a car doing "x" velocity, at "y" angle means; all things remaining as they are, a space will (or won't) exist in points "a,b" at time "z"

Earl: Adair (The Physics of Baseball, a truly great read; now in it's third edition) discusses how fielder's analyse the flight of the ball from the bat. It's really interesting, I think most where the problem of observable [which I started to typo as obversable] angle has a huge effect on whether they can get to the ball.

The stuff on the shortness of time in committing to a swing (about 1/10th of a second) and the things which have to be computed in that moment (type of pitch, velocity, point of release, angle of break/drop) is pretty amazing too.

#449 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 01:21 PM:

447
It isn't consciously using calculus: it's just 'what we do'.
(Do you ever find yourself muttering 'check your closing rate' at someone who's coming up a little faster than is wise?)

#450 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 01:28 PM:

ddb (439): geometry, in 9th grade, was where I first met what I think of as "real" math

My older brother, who is now a professor of mathematics, once told me that geometry is the only "real" math taught in high school. Everything else, up to and including calculus, is glorified arithmetic.

I had real trouble with geometry (got through it by memorizing proofs) but did pretty well with the rest of high school math. I never took anything past calculus, though.

#451 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 01:37 PM:

Terry Karney@448: "But you have a distorted notion of physics! You grew up in a one-gee field." (Castor or Pollux Stone, to their father, on the topic of baseball; they had just proved the calculations required were impossible, their father pointed out that he had played it.)

(Their growing up in a 1/6g field gives them just as distorted a notion of physics, anyway.)

#452 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 01:40 PM:

I graduated high school with fabulous test scores in everything but math, and only remedial sophomore level geometry under my belt, which was the bare minimum to graduate. That teacher (whose name is unfortunately forgotten) was the first one to treat my "I don't understand" questions without snark or anger, and would actually go back and show me stuff using 3-dimensional objects. Maybe if he had taught me sophomore year I might have graduated with some trigonometry or calculus.

In real life, I use basic algebra and arithmetic and am much better able to balance a budget, do rough currency conversions and multiply or divide a recipe than other friends who had a little more math. Still, conversations about numbers make me glaze over.

#453 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 01:41 PM:

P J: I don't know that it's not doing calculus. For all that Stephenson gets beat up on for the "as you know Bobs" in his work, I got my first real feel for what calculus does from The Baroque Cycle and the way I look at things like closing rates (which is how I think of that issue), and "collapse zones" (which is how I think of my following distance) has changed for that.

Now I have to eat something, and do some calculus to get myself to the shop; and talk about some maintenance on the BMW, and then to my lunch date.

#454 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 01:41 PM:

Mary Aileen@450: There's a great bit in Heinlein's The Rolling Stones (which I just cited a different bit of to Terry) where Roger Stone shows his "unheavenly twins" around a chart of the fields of mathematics, and they find all the engineering math they knew so well off in one little corner.

We did some basic abstract algebra in highschool, though, which I consider to be real math.

#455 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 01:48 PM:

nerdycellist: I got through basic algebra. When I was machining, I had to use some trig-functions, (tolerance call-outs, esp. for holes, required it. If I had the formula handy I could probably still determine the true center of a hole. [I'd really like to get a copy of the Machinery's Handbook again; and yes I know it can be found online, that's not useful to the way my mind works])

And now I really go (exit, stage left; in a swirl of flouncing shirt)

#456 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 02:25 PM:

I'd argue with your 449, P J Evans, because I know people who don't have that particular bit of information and don't use it. The Intermediate Value Theorem says that if a function is continuous between two points (x1, y1) and (x2, y2) in the X-Y plane, it will cross every value between x1 and x2 and between y1 and y2. What this means practically, for navigation around a city, is that if I know an address I'm looking for is within a general square area of the city, I can drive until I cross the road it's on and then figure out which direction to go along that road to get to the address, assuming the roads are all continuous. This really helps me find things. Others who don't think in this way often have trouble finding things, or assume they're lost when I know about where I am.

#457 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 02:35 PM:

Tom #456:

I wasn't aware that this even needed explained. Which explains something (or the other) about me.

#458 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 02:37 PM:

I've meant to mention this here before: This is a diary written by a stroke-sufferer with aphasia, who is an academic linguist, and writes unedited, so he can track his progress. It's fascinating --well, for me -- because he suffers from aphasia much the same way I do; but I think anyone who thinks about language would find it fascinating (psst: Teresa? Xopher?).

http://aphasiadiary.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/he-doesnt-put-it-past-her-and-she-doesnt-put-him-past-it/

#459 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 02:53 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 456 -- And assuming that the units are numbered in monotonically-increasing or -decreasing order. Though that may come under "figure out which direction to go".

#460 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 03:04 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 456: You have clearly never navigated in Washington County, Oregon, or Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

#461 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 03:16 PM:

Scraps 458

Mighty interesting, thanks for sharing. Aphasia is, while regrettable, also really fascinating. I've read of some arresting cases of multi-linguists suffering aphasia before. Fascinating stuff.

#462 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 05:03 PM:

Mission accomplished: Pendrift and her friend Dave have now seen Fermilab.

#463 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 05:19 PM:

I read somewhere (long ago, in a galaxy far, far away) that dogs can run near perfect intercepts*. Even when starting on land and ending in the water. Get The Stick is an imperative.

*Well, some dogs at least. I've seen counter examples (but it may have been a vision thing). But, without actually measuring, I've certainly seen at least close approximations.

#464 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 05:47 PM:

Stuff like catching a ball is not in any sense performing a calculation -- it's a table lookup, drawing from experience of "a ball going at this angle will end up about there in this amount of time".

Imagine putting a skilled outfielder in a significantly different gravity field. If what he does is fast calculation, he ought to be able to adapt immediately. Does anyone here really think that's what would happen?

If we perform calculations when we walk, we ought to be able to adapt immediately and smoothly to an unexpected change in the friction of the surface we walk on. That's not what is observed.

#465 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 05:57 PM:

David Goldfarb@464: Certainly Heinlein was essentially making fun of the idea that athletes performed calculations when catching a baseball. (The twins' objections to playing baseball on the moon also included more practical ones, like the risk of the ball breaking your helmet).

Dick Seaton's life is saved in Skylark Duquesne by gunmen familiar only with Earth being instantly transported onto Seaton's ship -- which was at a lower gravity for some guests. Their first shots went high, and they didn't get second shots. So Doc Smith agrees with you.

#466 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 06:01 PM:

O/T publishing goodness: Headline Fail

#467 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 06:34 PM:

David Goldfarb: I am not sure, from the report that solving calculus problems involves getting better at guessing, that the categoric statement that it's, "a table lookup" is accurate. Esp. sense the amount of information changes. It's not a static, x leads to y. Watch an outfielder changing his motion of travel so as to complete the intercept, or the stunning bits of jumping/diving catches made and I think there is (though no more consciously than most people driving a car) solutions being worked out; not merely guessed at. Yes, experience will make it easier to negotiate the guesswork stage, but that's what my friend the mathematics textbook editor says happens with people "doing" calculus.

jnh: Dogs love to intercept motorcycles. You have to fool them. One slows down and then, when the dog is getting close, opens the throttle, a lot. Do it too before the dog gets close enough, and she will still make the intercept. It has to be late, and it has to be sudden. They are aiming for where you will be, not where you are, and gradual increases in speed get accounted for.

#468 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 06:48 PM:

Earl Cooley III #446, jnh #463, inter alia:

Actually, individual nerve cells (and small clusters of same) do integrations and differentials as primitive operations. This gets used in, e.g., the visual system for edge detection and the like, and I'm sure it also gets used elsewhere. Of course, that's analog computation....

#469 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 06:49 PM:

Back when she went to dog parks, my Belgian shepherd did an amazing intercept of another dog.

A whole trail of smaller dogs was chasing each other around the park, one after the other.

Kira, all lit up and happy, "went round" and slammed into the lead dog, Bruiser. Sent the little guy flying. He was dazed but OK.

#470 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 07:07 PM:

Linkmeister, 466: Journalism fail, too. Buried ledes are pure distilled evil.

#471 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 07:18 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 464:
Stuff like catching a ball is not in any sense performing a calculation

I think this is true, and the notion of the brain calculating touches one of my hot buttons.

it's a table lookup

I don't think this is true, based on my reading about nerve and brain function and the classes on neural networks I took a few years back1. Humans compute the flight of baseballs (and rocks thrown at game animals) and dogs compute the flight of Frisbees by changing the position and gaze direction of the eyes (measured by proprioceptive senses that monitor eye muscle movement and head movement) to match a canonical position / direction while moving the hands and arms to other canonical positions. The actual computation that's done involves climbing a vector-valued landscape to a minimum (or maximum?). There may be more than one canonical eye position and hand position; the climbing algorithm allows finding the canonical position that's closest to the current position. That's how catching works; throwing is more complicated because the computation is done in parallel by a lot of neuronal circuits and the signal to let go of the missile is the sum of all the computations normalized to a threshhold. This allows neuron firings, which might be accurate in time to tens of milliseconds, to be used to control the required sub-millisecond accuracy of a high-speed throw (the accuracy of the sum increases as the square root of the number of circuits).

1 I had a long argument with a couple of mathematicians I used to work at Tektronix Labs while walking back to the hotel from dinner in downtown Albuquerque some years ago. They were impressed by a paper that described programming a robot arm to play pingpong by solving the equations of motion of the ball and the elastic collisions with the paddle. I was adamant that this was not the way human beings played pingpong; I was taking one of the neural net classes at the time, and reading several books on real and artificial neurons. This has been a hot button for me ever since; one of the reasons I have a great deal of trouble with the glib description of the brain as a digital computer.

#472 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 07:22 PM:

David Harmon @ 468 -- There's just something a little bit weird about the idea of individual nerve cells with little teeny math coprocessors.

#473 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 07:27 PM:

David Harmon @ 468:

It's been awhile since I looked at vision processing, but I think the edge detection and so on uses sums, differences, enables, and inhibitors, rather than integrals and derivatives. IIRC the primitive operations are light detectors, dark detectors, and edge detectors at various angles1.

1 The complement of first stage processing cells in the optic nerve and the first level of visual cortex is formed in early infancy, based on the kind of visual features the eye is exposed to. Experiments with new-born kittens showed that environments rich in horizontals and verticals resulted in visual systems poor in detectors for other angles.

#474 ::: broundy ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 07:30 PM:

Mark @441:

I can't tell you why it's happening, but I can report that the same thing happened to my Vista-running laptop two weeks ago.

I solved it by shutting down the computer, then removing the battery for 10 seconds. Apparently, this "resets" the device manager (or appeases the laptop spirits, possibly). I hope it works for you!

#475 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 07:40 PM:

Bruce @471: This was a problem I had with Douglas Adams in, I think, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, where he describes the human brain calculating the ballistic path of a thrown object. I was impressed at first, but after a while I realised that it seemed contrary to my experience of throwing things (badly), which was all about moving this complicated, multiple lever, my arm, and releasing the object at such a time that it would arrive at the target. Working out parabolas seemed to have nothing to do with it, and indeed seemed like a needless complication. It is an awesome achievement for our species to have figured out how to throw things, but it's got nothing to do with the brain doing ballistic math, as far as I can tell.

#476 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 07:47 PM:

David Goldfarb: As to your hypothetical: Given the phsycial ability to move in the different gravity... I don't think it will be immediate, but the skills needed to do any new task, even a related one, aren't things we pick up immediately either.

But a fielder can get to where a football is going to be, even though the information (and the quirks of flight) are different; never mind he has not the muscle memory to complete the catch.

Personal example. Hit a ball toward me, I can make the catch. Tell me to get it to second (or have the runner rounding first) and I'll put it into the glove of the guy covering the bad.

Don't even try to hand me a basketball. I can't do it. Free-throw line, static shots, I hit about 30 percent. From the field, maybe 2. Lay-ups (supposed to be the easiest of things), don't happen. I can't figure it out.

Then again, I never said the fielder was "calculating", I said the process by which the act is done (and the surprising number of variables which come into play; no small number of which Bruce (StM) brought up [and which Adair goes into, at length]0 was amazing, and the amount of information being processed was prodigious.

One of the things I am amused by (which is why I used Xeno), is how much of what calculus does is really either after the fact explaining, or not relevant to the world at large, because waiting for the brain to work the problems; as math would put the doing of the deed out of reach (a sort of centipede's dilemma, safely change lanes now, or do the match to see if it will be safe to move the car to there... by which time all the variable aren't in the same place, and one has to start over again).

#477 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 07:50 PM:

Actually, an awful lot of what's going on with catching slower-speed balls and the like is just what led to calculus -- it's looking at successive approximations and correcting when that approximation goes outside certain parameters. It's not numerical solution of equations, but it is a form of solving for two sets of vectors reaching a coincident point in space-time. It's more showing a solution by demonstration than by calculation. Doing it with faster-moving objects is a matter of practice, and failure; changing one of the parameters (like gravity) makes very little difference in a slow-moving scenario. There's plenty of time to observe that there's something weird happening and objects are not moving as predicted.

Formal computational calculus is an attempt to write out just how we do this. It's about rates of change and areas under curves -- successive approximations -- and the question of whether it actually describes what's going on is still somewhat debated (there are people who don't believe in infinitesimals or limits, and they may be right in a strict physical sense -- space/time may be quantized). But for all everyday purposes, it works at least as well as Newtonian mechanics, which does a pretty good job.

#478 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 07:58 PM:

Joel, #472: Like they need little teeny hooks for microfiche?

#479 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 08:09 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 456, Joel Polowin @ 459: I grew up in an area (King County, WA) where theoretically streets and building numbers were named according to a very logical grid. It worked - most of the time. However, I grew up in a suburban development built in the 1960's - when you entered the area, you found yourself in a maze of twisty little roads, mostly alike. I routinely had friends get lost while trying to find our house. I recall once my parents ending up telling someone how to drive to the nearest store (a 7-11), and they drove over to meet them and lead them back to the house.

You see, the county naming/numbering scheme required a change in the street name whenever it approached a different alignment point on the grid. So, the street I grew up on - which end to end was a bit over a mile long - went through five different names in that length. 327th St, 30th Ave, 325th St, 39th Place, and 40th Ave. Most of the "Places" in the neighborhood were cul-de-sacs, so don't ask me why this street became 39th Place when it was a through street at that point. 39th Ave branched off (via a hard left) from 39th Place and ran for just under a quarter mile before dead ending into 328th St, where 40th St also dead ended.

#480 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 08:18 PM:

I bow to those with greater knowledge of neuroscience than me. (Which latter really isn't all that hard.)

In re New Orleans: I've gone with Lee's suggestion of Lamothe House for a room. Now I need to work out two places for dinner -- I have one restaurant already planned (the one Neil Gaiman has mentioned on his blog) but we'll be there three nights. I gather there are lots of good choices, but I figure it couldn't hurt to let people here give me ideas.

#481 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 08:19 PM:

The continuous function (the street) has several different names over its run, oliviacw -- which (if the streets are actually named after the grid, rather than arbitrarily) makes applying the intermediate value theorem work better than following street names, if someone's got a good basic inertial guidance system (which I do, and others I know do not).

And Terry's last comment slipped in before my last one, but they're entirely independent (and seem to be saying approximately the same thing, to me).

#482 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 08:24 PM:

@479 oliviacw

You do realize I had to go look at google maps and find this place, don't you?

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Maine&ll=47.309689,-122.376044&spn=0.007027,0.027466&t=h&z=16

#483 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 08:32 PM:

Tom: I think so too (the saying the same basic thing).

I like to think of them as differently elegant (then again, I'd like to think I can manage elegance, so...)

#484 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 08:40 PM:

Bruce at # 473: It's been awhile since I looked at vision processing, but I think the edge detection and so on uses sums, differences, enables, and inhibitors, rather than integrals and derivatives.

Think of those as highly pixelated integrals and derivatives.

#485 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 08:44 PM:

Tom: The inertial guidance in that part of Tacoma would have to be pretty good.

In a related vein, one of the things my GPS (Garmin, Oregon 450) does, which drives me batshit, is to make a point of telling me to change streets, when two roads become congruent. So if, e.g., Wyo 41 and I-80 are convergent, it tells me to "stay right onto Wyo 41", when, in fact, I don't need to do a damned thing.

This has caused me (in SLC) to miss a turn, because I-80 is discontinuous through SLC (one has to get onto the 215 Loop, past the Airport). I'd forgotten this, and traffic was dense, so I headed about ten miles toward Ogden (on the Friday of Labor Day weekend) before a sign came up showing me, for certain, what my inertial guidance had been telling me, for about eight miles, was correct, and I could then manage to get off the road and turn around.

Which was why I saw the Bonneville Salt Flats about ten minutes after their best light.

#486 ::: Idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 08:47 PM:

oliviacw@479

I didn't have to use google maps to place your neighborhood -- I grew up a few miles north of you. 39th Place was probably so named for one of two reasons: either 39th Ave was platted first or it lined up better with the grid if both were platted at the same time. Where I grew up the neighborhood had been platted as two smallish subdivisions, the older got all the 'Avenue' names, the newer got 'Place' as they did *not* line up in most cases.

#487 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 11:04 PM:

Microsoft Word question: I have Vista and Word 2007 or whatever it is that changed everything. I tend to have things open in my task bar for days or weeks at a time.

Lately, many of them have been converting to read-only. Unprompted, usually unnoticed until my ctrl-S habit picks up. Is there any way to make this stop?

#488 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2010, 11:17 PM:

Bruce #473: As Alan Beatty notes at #484, successive sums and differences are the basis of integrals and differentials respectively. An analog system doesn't need equations to accumulate, or report change to, a stimulus, and that's what neurons and their simpler structures do.

#489 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 12:00 AM:

Idgecat @486 - my sympathies, it was a dreadully boring suburb to grow up in. At least my parent's house was within fairly easy walking distance of a bus line - no small feat around there.

Thena @482 - I do know I gave enough cues for it to be easily discoverable. I was wondering how long it would take someone to find it!

In defense of the planners, though not of the numbering scheme, it's a very hilly area and a lot of the curvy streets make sense topographically. It just would have been a lot easier to deal with addresses if we'd lived on, say, Oak Street, with continuous addresses along the whole length.

#490 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 12:44 AM:

David Harmon @ 488:

Yes, you're right that derivatives and integrals are implemented by difference equations in digital computer programs. Those are very familiar to me because they're the basis (pun intended) for many of the techniques used to compute curves and surfaces in computer graphics, an area I worked in for some years. However, I'm not comfortable saying that the brain is either a digital computer or an analog computer; at some levels it's digital (the output of a synapse is a very non-linear function of its input voltages in the voltage domain, and a complex function (I intended that one too) of its input frequencies in the frequency domain). At other levels it's analog (many subsystems of the brain compute analog values mapped to basins of attraction of input values). At the very highest level the brain's architecture looks like an analog computer: it runs in a constant cycle of transforming (sensory) inputs into (motor) outputs.

A lot of the non-local connections in the brain seem to be parts of 2 dimensional maps between layers of neurons in different areas; these maps seem to form spontaneously during the initial wiring of the brain in the first few months of life. There's a fair bit of research into the creation and operation of these maps, but AFAIK little is known about how they work together to implement high-level cognitive functions.

Incidentally, if you've been following the arguments between Ray Kurzweil and P. Z. Meyer about Kurzweil's predictions of the timing and nature of the Singularity, you should be able to see in the paragraphs above why I agree with Meyer that Kurzweil really doesn't know jack about the human brain, and that he has no credibility with me in discussions of simulating same.

#491 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 01:07 AM:

David Harmon and Alan Beatty:

Rereading my last comment, it could be interpreted to be a criticism of what you two posted; that's not what I intended. I've been thinking about the brain a lot in the last few days because of P. Z.'s takedown of Kurzweil, and it bubbled over when I read your comments. Sometimes the thoughts have to come out, will we or nil we.

One of these days I really should write a blog entry about the effect of existential angst on Singularitinism and Tiplerian eschatology. Short version: Kurzweil is afraid of death and Tipler can't deal with the Problem of Evil, but neither one of them can accept an orthodox (pun intended) religious solution to their unease, so they have to create a pseudo-scientific one.

#492 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 01:30 AM:

Remember how well the Cambridge (Mass) police reacted to (supposedly) terrorist high-tech? Well, the Orlando (Florida) police went them one better (via Whatever, which linked to a local news video that didn't load in my browser).

#493 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 07:01 AM:

Request for suggestions for this Sunday (12th Sept) in Amsterdam. Abi, anyone else. I'm arriving at Schiphol Airport this Sunday, 09.20, so probably 10.30 by the time I've got my luggage? I need to be back at the airport to catch a 4pm coach to Harlingen for the ferry to Vlieland (I'm going to a conference there). How long to get to/from central Amsterdam? Anything sensible I can do in the time available - less than 6 hours including travel time? I could go the zoo, but I know I'll be there for a conference in a couple of years anyway. Anywhere I can go buy some decent beers (to bring home, and maybe to drink there) on a Sunday? Suggestions for where to just wander around, sit down, have a tea and a bite to eat? I'll have luggage in tow, but not heavy (probably a wheeled backpack, so I can shoulder it for a while if necessary). Or is there sensible luggage storage at the airport (actually, I might be able to leave my luggage with the conference organisers at the airport).

#494 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 07:11 AM:

Bruce Cohen #490: Non-linear functions can still be analog... the brain is analog ultimately because it's based on the continuity of physical processes, rather than constraining (all) its operations into the abstract schema of discrete transitions. How it manages to construct comprehensible large-scale operations and transformations from all that small-scale tangling is one of the great Mysteries of our age.

Agreed that Kurzweil is full of it, for basically the reasons you mention, plus a few more. (e.g, just because we build a smart machine doesn't mean we're going to put it in charge; also, he doesn't understand modern manufacturing either.)

#495 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 10:12 AM:

Bill Higgins @462: That, to date, was the coolest place I've visited. Thank you ever so much for finding time to show us around; you are an awesome tour guide. (Hear that, Fluorosphere?)

#496 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 10:23 AM:

Pendrift #495:

You're quite welcome. I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to talk more, but I'm glad I was able to meet you.

#497 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 10:28 AM:

Pendrift @ 495... Bill Higgins is also an awesome person. Period.

#498 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 10:45 AM:

Pendrift: He is an awesome tour guide. Next time I make it to Chicago I need to get there early enough to see the bison.

dcb: I commend Amstel (not Light). When Heineken (under the management of van Munching and Co. Importers) decided to enter the light beer market, they contracted Amstel to make the beer.

The requirement was they had stop selling regular Amstel in the states. Amstel is a much better beer than Heineken.

#499 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 10:47 AM:

dcb:

If you can't leave your luggage at the airport there are lockers at the Amsterdam central railway station (at the far east end).

I'll leave suggestions for Amsterdam on Sunday to those with more recent experience. I will just point out Leiden as another option for wandering around and looking at canals and architecture. It's slightly closer to Schipol than Amsterdam Centraal is, and has a nice botanic garden and the National Museum of Antiquities.

#500 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 12:43 PM:

The idea that learning calculus might enable me to catch Frisbees in my mouth is the most tempting thing I've heard about calculus in my life.

#501 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 12:50 PM:

Hyperlocal news: ray of sunshine after 6.5 inches of rain in the last 36 hours strikes woman with delight*

* even if it did disappear almost immediately

#502 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 01:45 PM:

One further comment on changing reference frames: if you've ever played shuffleboard at a bar, you understand what learning to play on a surface with very diminished friction is like. It takes practice, but it is learnable. Playing baseball in a different gravitational field would probably be similar.

#503 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 01:55 PM:

OK, I understand this is old, but it's the best use of "O Fortuna" in an ad that I've seen yet.

#504 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 02:01 PM:

Geological epochs behind on reading posts as usual, of course, but I thought y'all might enjoy this one. Had a little interaction with security at Logan yesterday.

#505 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 02:11 PM:

Jacque@504: Glad they handled that professionally! It's certainly worth some consideration to pack things so as not to raise TSA's adrenaline levels; makes the day go better for everybody.

Of course, they've never found an actual bomb at that screening point, right? Every single event has been a false positive? Hmmmm.

#506 ::: Magnus ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 02:37 PM:

Topic out of left field: new voter requirement to be able to properly use "I", "me", and for extra credit, "myself".

#507 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 02:55 PM:

Ah, roads and driving. I've seen roads that have changed names at least twice in the span of a mile. I've also been on some that have done the fun trick of turning through ninety degrees at a T-junction. If you're not paying attention to the road markings, you'll carry on straight and be on the wrong road. Were there signs on the road telling you what road you were on? Nope, only for the cross streets. If you're on the road, you should know which one you're on, apparently.

London taxi drivers are required to pass The Knowledge, which covers a vast number of streets and routes. It's pretty impressive.

(Also, I'm back. Finally.)

#508 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 03:10 PM:

Jacque, glad that turned out OK. Once, when I was going on vacation during a period when I was supposed to be rinsing my nose with salt water and baking soda, I briefly considered bringing the premixed salt and baking soda in a small plastic bag.

Fortunately I thought better of this in time.

And as soon as I showed a friend the beer ad, he linked me to something ELSE that apparently everyone in the world but me has seen, which is the misheard lyrics to O Fortuna. I'm sure that, not being me, you all have already seen this, but it was new to me. Some of the mishears are a bit of a stretch, especially when the original rhymes and the mishear doesn't, but it's funny anyway.

#509 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 03:15 PM:

Magnus @506 -- Me, I've never learned that myself.

#510 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 03:18 PM:

Jacque @ 504:

Glad you got to deal with trained professionals, and that it went ok.

#511 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 04:25 PM:

Jacque #504: Logan is etched in my memory as the airport where they confiscated the little jar of marmalade we had in our carry-on luggage. I'm still trying to figure out what threat that marmalade posed to anything.

#512 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 05:05 PM:

Fragano @ 511 -- They thought you might jam their radar systems?

#513 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 05:11 PM:

They had to confiscate it to preserve freedom.

#514 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 05:16 PM:

Who knows what sticky situation that bag could have been pectin.

#515 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 05:26 PM:

They probably just wanted it, the dirty thieves. But did you have a proper bill of (marma)lading for it? And did you get it from Laos*, or was it fancy?

___
*Gung vf, jnf vg fryrpgrq sebz gur Cynva bs Wnef?

#516 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 05:35 PM:

Please compote yourselves.

#517 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 05:53 PM:

They just stole for themselves.

Love, C.

#518 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 06:04 PM:

They just m(armal)ade off with it. Some guy just walked away with it under his (m)arm(alade). Something our (mar)Mal(alade) would never do.

Yes, I AM feeling a bit freaky tonight. Why do you ask?

#519 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 06:25 PM:

Orange you all such marvellous punsters.

#520 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 06:25 PM:

It seems you were in a pickly, happily someone did you out of a jam.

He must have been a real peach.

#521 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 08:03 PM:

Open-thready help!

I know I have previously used something I thought was called Google Pedometer to lay down lines on an underlying Google map (thereby documenting where I walked/what I did on a given day).

However, googling for 'google pedometer' now gives as the only two useful results something from trails.com which seems to only have trails other people have marked, and something else that wants me to *enable third-party cookies* to make it work. I'm sorry, I'm not willing to change my security settings just for one website.

Anyone have any suggestions as to where I should be going for this functionality? I kind of wanted to map out where Pendrift and I went today so I can get some idea of how many miles I walked. :->

#522 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 08:25 PM:

I use Map My Run to sketch out where I've been. That's how I found out that the round trip from my old apartment into town is almost seven miles. The current apartment to downtown is four and a third.

#523 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 08:31 PM:

(de-lurking for a moment)

Does anyone know the name or author of this book? I read it in college and would like to re-read:

Ireland is completely ruled by the Catholic Church, women must marry and have children. The protagonist ends up leading a protest or revolution attempt and being exiled to another planet. The thing I remember best is that when she was in prison being tortured (like all good Irish revolutionaries) she would relax herself to sleep by assigning different parts of her body different colors and then relaxing the different color zones.

Thanks

#524 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 08:44 PM:

Kyndra, that'd be The Rising of the Moon, by Flynn Connolly.

I got my copy off the freebie table at Arisia one year.

#525 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 08:46 PM:

By the way:

שנה טובה ומתוקה

A good year to one and all.

#526 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 08:57 PM:

Elliott Mason @521: I've used this one for Europe, but it's supposed to work anywhere that's on Google Maps. First click is your starting point, and you can add as many clicks as you want in any direction and it'll calculate the total distance.

I didn't really feel the miles with all the fascinating architecture (and other) stories and the "ooh shiny" moments, though! :-> Thank you again.


#527 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 08:58 PM:

I don't know if this is what you used, Elliott, as "pedometer" isn't mentioned. But using the My Maps feature of Google Maps, you can add lines to your maps and it will compute the total length. I think this will show you an example.

#528 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 09:34 PM:

Elliott Mason #521.

It's now called Gmaps Pedometer. The Google objected to their name being used.

#529 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 09:48 PM:

Kyndra #523: she would relax herself to sleep by assigning different parts of her body different colors and then relaxing the different color zones

That's an interesting take on Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR).

#530 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 09:48 PM:

"I slice the brain very carefully."
- Doctor G tonight on the Discovery Health Channel

#531 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 10:04 PM:

Open threadiness. I appeal to the assembled luminaries.

I have just received this email:

"Dear Mr. Luckett,

I would like to introduce you to my public relations company as publicity is
the key to the success of any book. What separates me from all other book
publicists is having previously represented clients in the entertainment
industry where I orchestrated 67 Oscar/EMMY nominations with 11 Academy and
9 Emmy Awards. My author clients have been featured in publications
numbering Parade, People, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Forbes, Wall Street
Journal, Newsweek, and USA Today; as well as television shows such as Oprah,
The O'Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, C-SPAN, CNN, CNBC, Hannity's
America, etc.

There is a dramatic change occurring in the publishing industry. The online
self-publishing market is growing and with companies such as Amazon, there
are now alternatives to authors (best-selling or aspiring) that give them
more control over their own product. Authors "can now hire their own
publicist, their own online marketing specialist, a freelance editor, and a
distribution service" (Pg. 2-WSJ-Vanity Press Goes Digital-6/3/10) rather
than going through a major small press publishing house.

My publicity campaigns number; Stanley Alpert's blockbuster The Birthday
Party: A Memoir of Survival, published by Penguin which will be produced by
Paula Wagner with two time Oscar winning director Milos Forman (One Flew
Over the Cuckoo's Nest & Amadeus), World Almanac Book of Records, David
Latko's best selling Financial Strategies for Today's Widow, J.A. Jance's
N.Y. Times best selling novel Day of the Dead, Thomas Sawyer's highly
acclaimed The Sixteenth Man, Robert Shoop Down to the Wire: The Lives of the
Triple Crown Champions published by Russell Dean & Company, and James
Halperin's Science fiction novel The Truth Machine, etc.

My public relations company has represented a variety of clients numbering
corporations, publishers, authors, artists, entertainment and sports
figures, etc. I believe in building a one-on-one relationship with my
clients in working closely with them to orchestrate national campaigns
targeting key media people in television, radio, magazines, and newspapers.

Through my association with producers, I have opened the door to film and
television deals for my author clients. I have also had clients' books
optioned by major studios such as Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Brothers,
MGM, etc.

For more information please visit my website at www.miltonkahnpr.com
. I welcome a call from you to discuss any
thoughts or needs you might have in regard to marketing and publicity.

Sincerely,

Milton Kahn

MK/db

Milton Kahn Associates, Inc.

Web: www.miltonkahnpr.com

Email: milton@miltonkahnpr.com

Phone: (805) 969-8555"


I ask: does anybody know anything about this guy? I checked Preditors and Editors; nothing. Any information gratefully received.

#532 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 10:20 PM:

I've always just used Google Earth, with its ability to lay out paths and measure them, to set up my walks for exercise. I laid out several one-mile paths in my neighborhood in Massachusetts, and have established one-mile and 1.5-mile trails here in New York. I also use it when I'm going on vacation, to set up exercise paths centering on the homes of relatives. Very useful.

#533 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 10:46 PM:

Dave Luckett: He seems to be legit. He's won an award from a PR group, seems to have clients, isn't panned by Absolute Write (where he was mentioned as an example of what one would expect a publicists touting of clients to look like).

Now, why he's sending you mail, I don't know.

#534 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 10:48 PM:

Mroe comment on Khan: He's apparently good at what he does, if a bit brusque. Personality may mean he doesn't fit, but it looks as if, should he take you, he's good.

#535 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 10:50 PM:

Dave, there's this thread at Absolute Write. It doesn't seem to have a lot of useful information, but apparently he's sending his letter to everyone he can get an address for.

#536 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 03:34 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 521: there's also Mapometer which I find more useful than Map my Run for some things.

Anyone wanting to find what their pace is, the Cool Running Pace Calculator is great.

Terry Karney @498. Thanks for the beer suggestion. I'm more into the real ales/microbrewery beers, particularly the dark beers (stout, mild, porter, Belgian brune, Belgian dubble) and the hoppy golden ales - oh, and krieks (mmm, cherry). If I'm taking hold luggage, I might as well take some bubble-wrap with me and see if I can bring some decent bottled beers home.

#537 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 03:57 AM:

Terry Karney @525: thank you. May this be a good year.

#538 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 05:50 AM:

dcb:

One of the really nice things to do while visiting Amsterdam is to do one of the canal boat tours that leave from the Dam, which is the street that leads straight south from Centraal Station.

Another pleasant thing to do is to meet up with a Making Light moderator, who could very easily be at Centraal noonishly.

It would not be inconceivable to combine these two activities, but said moderator could also meet you at a museum (there is a nice cluster of them at the unsurprisingly named Museumplein) or any other Amsterdam location you might care to name. For added flexibility, said moderator will have a phone, and will email you the number this evening; you could, if you wanted to, call her with a location in real-time.

If these sorts of plans would be of interest.

#539 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 09:23 AM:

Tery Karney @ 534... Khan: He's apparently good at what he does, if a bit brusque

Like putting mind-controlling slugs inside people's heads?

#540 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 10:05 AM:

My wife and I are thinking about going to Denver's MileHiCon.
Can people who post here and who go there tell me more about it?

#541 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 10:17 AM:

Fifty-three years ago today, Nashville, Tennessee began the process of desegrating the public schools, beginning with the first grade classes. The current system in place still strikes plenty of people as less than perfect, the the schools themselves suffer fom the same problems that any urban school district in the US confronts, but it happened, despite the presence of the egregious John Kasper* and without the help of the National Guard. People mostly got over it. The children who started first grade that year are now old enough to have grandchildren in school.


*Here in the south, "outside agitators" is a code term that means just what you all think it means. It's a bit of a shock to run across an outside agitator who was definitely not on the side of the angels.

#543 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 10:45 AM:

fidelio @ 541 -- and meanwhile, the school system where I attended school is busy trying to change to "neighborhood schools," which will result in de facto segregation, both racial and economic.

The policy under which I attended, where kids were bused to make sure no school had over a certain percentage of kids on free and reduced lunch, wasn't perfect. There was still de facto segregation in regular and advanced classes within a school, with black kids steered towards lower-level classes; poor and minority students still performed worse. That needed fixing.

But I haven't heard the "neighborhood schools" proponents explain how it will fix these problems, except for handwaving "people will feel ownership of their school in their community!" phrases. Which is all well and good, but when your community is busy surviving poverty, they don't have a lot of resources to offer the local school.

Sorry. End rant.

#544 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 11:02 AM:

Serge @ 542--There's a documentary about the desegregation of the Nashville schools, called And a Child Shall Lead Them. They have footage of the first day, with gawkers, protesters, uniformed officers, and parents walking their children to school. One woman who was in that class said "I didn't know any better; I thought there was always a parade on the first day of school." Another woman, who was taking her child to school, said "It didn't occur to me to be scared. I felt like there were people supporting me, and I knew I was doing the right thing for my child." Troops and US marshalls weren't required, unlike Clinton High School the year before--another occasion where John Kasper saw fit to insert himself into the picture. A friend's family was living in Oak Ridge in 1956, and she remembers her mother talking about the Army Reserve unit being sent up the road to Clinton--with tanks clanking down a two-lane road along the Clinch River. The mess at Clinton may actually have helped the cause in Nashville--the great waffling mass of people in the middle probably took a look at all of that and decided they didn't want any part of it, which kept most resistance at the signs and shouting stage, with a few people keeping their children home at first, until it became obvious things weren't going to go back the way they were, and they worried they'd be arrested for permitting truancy. There was a school bombing (late one night, in an empty building), as there was in Clinton--but it had the exact opposite effect from what the bombers surely hoped for--people were appalled*, and most felt that given a choice between integrated first grade classes and people who bombed schools, they'd take integration.

*It was new school, too, and that annoyed people even more. Schools cost money, and trying to destroy a nice new one over a single six year old girl went over the wrong way--something Kasper and his cohorts never seem to have considered.

#545 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 11:17 AM:

Permission to vent requested:

I'm an Ohio State fan, and some damn-fool wet-behind-the-ears reporter at the Miami Sun Sentinel says that the Ohio State stadium is not a loud venue...

Please note that said reporter has NEVER attended a game in the 'Shoe! He's basing his opinion on what he's seen/heard on TV (which we know filters out crowd noise so its announcers can be heard) and on the word of a friend who has been there (but the reporter doesn't tell us which game his friend attended).

This is what passes for reporting these days?! Sigh. I hope the guy is at this weekend's game. His statement is being circulated all over Ohio...

Rant ended -- you may now return to your regularly scheduled Open Thread. Thanks!

#546 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 11:36 AM:

Lori, should I be hoping the 'reporter' (if hse shows up) has earplugs, or not?

#547 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 11:38 AM:

Caroline @ 543--Nashville currently operates on a system where the first few grade are in neighborhood schools--there's a strong feeling throughout the community (not universal, but strong) that children just starting school are better off close to home. (Neighborhoods are often a lot more mixed than they were thirty or fifty years ago, as well.) After that, starting with the middle grades, things get a lot more mixed, with the system trying to maintain a mix close to the demographic proportions of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County. Magnet schools are a popular tool for this, as in a lot of places. There's a lot less resistence to bussing older children, as well.

Every method has shortcomings, no matter its good points. I can sympathize with someone who wants their kindergartener or first-grader close to home, though. Five and six is awfully young to be taking a long ride across town, away from any familiar landmarks.

#548 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 11:46 AM:

After decades of being under court order to desegregate, the Chicago Public Schools were finally told they no longer had to try ... because there weren't enough white kids enrolled in the entire system to desegregate the schools in black neighborhoods, even if you bussed them all around and spread them evenly.

They're not spread evenly, of course; they attend the few academically-good ones on the north side in white neighborhoods, or the magnet schools. Non-magnet schools in the south and west sides of the city (predominantly browner areas) dominate Illinois' bottom two quintiles, in school quality.

John and I were recently looking to buy a house in a better school district than the one we're in now, and discovered that -- much as I adore living in the city itself -- that if we wanted to spend less than half a million on the house, we physically could not buy into any catchment district that was better than the worst 20% in the state. It was really, really depressing.

So we're now trying (knock wood, poke lender) to purchase a particular house in a neighborhood that, while technically in a suburb, still has an urban 'vibe' -- narrower lots, real sidewalks and streetlights, actual black people, walkability, etc.

The idea of living out in the deep suburbs (wide emerald lawns, no mature trees, drive a mile at least on curvy roads to reach any retail at all, etc) makes me want to kill myself, although I know people who live 'there' and love it. I grew up on an El line and two cross-streets with good bus service, and I want my children to grow up in my home culture, but we certainly can't afford to pay for private school, and since none of the public schools we could afford to live near are even vaguely adequate ...

#549 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 11:46 AM:

P J Evans: One of the commentors on his column advises him to wear earplugs, and to bring Tylenol because even with the earplugs he's going to have a headache.

And some other sports reporters are calling the guy an idiot (in print!)...

#550 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 12:50 PM:

Lori @549--he this poor soul just visiting this planet? Every large college football program I can think of takes pride in the amount of noise their fans make at home games. Some get loud enough that the coaches and players resort to sign language. I will stay away from the Ohio-State-is-louder-than-Michigan-no-Notre-Dame-is-louder-than-anyone-have-you-ever-been-to-an-Alabama-home-game debates, and just say that I'd love to know what sort of sauce this guy will be using on his crow dinner. Will he have buckeye candies for dessert?

#551 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 12:52 PM:

Oh yeah, lest I forget: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little is teh BEST GUINEA PIG SITTER EVAR!!

In case anybody was wondering.

#552 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 12:57 PM:

Elliott Mason @548--there's been plenty of white flight here as well, along with a private school boom--now made even more popular by Fear of Evolution. Interestingly, several of the more pretigious provate schools are integrated, although since their point of discrimination is economic as much as anything, this is to be expected. Nashville's smaller than Chicago, so I think the swings have been less extreme, although they are still there.

When you want to contemplate the trainwreck that can result from well-intentioned efforts to make things better, there's always the Kansas City public schools.

#553 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 01:10 PM:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SERGE!

Ahem. Normal service may now resume.

#554 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 01:16 PM:

fidelio, #541: Sort of like the outside agitators in California shilling for Prop 8?

#555 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 01:35 PM:

Lee @ 554--yes--in both cases there were people living there who agreed with them--but the outsiders played a big role in enabling and abetting the local opponents.

#556 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 01:43 PM:

Tom Whitmore @895: team building

Have read Getting to Yes. Probably long past time for reread. Getting past No I had not heard of. On order now. Thank you!

#557 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 02:00 PM:

Oops! Sorry, forgot to link properly:

Tom Whitmore @145/895: team building

Have read Getting to Yes. Probably long past time for reread. Getting past No I had not heard of. On order now. Thank you!

While I'm at it:

OtterB @145/902: Getting It Done: How to Lead When You're Not in Charge

Yes, this is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for. Thank you!!

#558 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 02:02 PM:

The folks who handle the Nobel Prizes have a website, of course, because everyone except my mother has a website. They have news, information about the various laureates through the years, details about the nomination process, and so forth. The so forth includes a lot of things you might not expect. Not only do they explain the dress codes for the ceremony and banquet, they have a list of all the banquet menus over the years. (In case you don't do haute-cuisine French, here's a .pdf of a good glossary, although it doesn't always resolve all the questions one might have.)

Go ahead. You know you need a new way to waste time on-line.

#559 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 02:05 PM:

Also, Yay Serge!

#560 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 02:23 PM:

abi @ 538: All of those things sound really nice! Meeting at Centraal Station sounds like a sensible plan. Do e-mail me and we can swap numbers etc. and plan exactly where and when to meet. I have to be back at the airport to catch the coach at 4pm or I won't get to Harlingen in time to get the ferry to Vlieland, so anything must be planned around that.

Hope to hear from you soon.

#561 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 02:38 PM:

abi and fidelio... Thanks!

#562 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 02:52 PM:

dcb@560:

Check your inbox. I used the email address obtainable from the back end.

#563 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 03:10 PM:

562 ::: abi @ 562: Done and replied.

Serge: Hippo Birdie!

Jacque: Thanks for sharing your Logan experience. I will try not to emulate it on my way to Amsterdam - I do tend to travel with laptop or netbook, plus Psion (handheld), plus camera, spare batteries, possibly my wind-up MP3 player and associated wires etc. etc. so it would be easy to do.

#564 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 03:33 PM:

dcb... Better to have an airborne hippo than a harpy bird day, eh? Thanks.

#565 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 03:43 PM:

Joyeux anniversaire, Serge

#566 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 04:10 PM:

Serge: паздравлаю тебе, ешё многа раз

#567 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 04:29 PM:

Happy birthday, Serge!

#568 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 04:38 PM:

Bombie... Terry Karney... Xopher... Thanks!

#569 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 04:38 PM:

Happy Natal Anniversary, Serge! And may there be many more revolutions around the sun.

#570 ::: Lin d ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 04:47 PM:

Happy Birthday, Serge
(birthday added to new "birthday" calendar in a feeble attempt at not forgetting all birthdays but my own.)

#571 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 04:50 PM:

Hau'oli lā hānau, Serge!

#572 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 05:00 PM:

Felicitations on your natal festival, Serge.

#573 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 05:02 PM:

Kyndra, #523, my grandmother, who was not Catholic or Irish, used the color relaxation modes.

#574 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 05:03 PM:

Serge - Zyczymy sto lat!

#575 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 05:04 PM:

Very open-thready and ranty, but related to all the "T-word" stories about now:

Newsflash: in 2009, for the first time in 60 years, Americans were more in danger of dying due to terrorism in any 10 year period than they were of dying driving for a *month*. So, now, we're only 110 times more likely to die on the road on any particular day than during the worst terrorist decade the United States has ever seen.

And I am *not* downplaying the grief of and for the people that died two days from now, nine years ago - just the hysteria from those who are so scared of the latest boogeyman (and kept so, for others' purposes) but don't see anything dangerous about hopping into the car and driving for an hour for whatever - and if it is pointed out, they don't go all T-word at *that* problem.

Vis. site yesterday that discussed "Top 5 things parents are scared of" vs "Top 5 things that harm children", and all the rest.

Who benefits from your fear? If it isn't *you* or *yours*, and for Canadians/Americans/Europeans, it usually isn't...

#576 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 05:11 PM:

Happy Birthday, Serge!

More generally: someone on my LJ friendslist has suggested that we declare Sept. 11, 2010 to be Stand Up for Religious Tolerance Day, and everybody post something about that. It doesn't feed the trolls, but it also lets people know that we do not condone by silence. I think it sounds like a very good idea, and am already composing my post.

#577 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 05:14 PM:

Mycroft W: I am so with you. I say things like that, and people look at me as if I have just suggested making heroin mandatory for everyone over the age of 12.

#578 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 05:16 PM:

Braxis @37: feelings of ecstatic happiness of having gone, are battling with the crashing sadness of the return to the real world.

Yeah, I always lose a few tiles on re-entry.

#579 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 05:20 PM:

More good things to count for my birthday: Fragano's return!

#580 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 05:42 PM:

Thanks again, everybody. I was thinking I should suggest to my wife that, considering the occasion, she should humor me and watch "At The Earth's Core" with me. I doubt she'd agree even today though. Sniff...

#581 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 06:48 PM:

Happy Birthday, Serge, and may you return to this point in Earth's orbit around the sun many more times.

In other news, Terry Jones says he's made a deal not to burn any Qurans in exchange for the Park51 project being moved away from Ground Zero. News reports from New York deny there's any such deal. And now Donald Trump wants to buy a controlling interest in Park51. I wonder where he wants to move it.

And apropos fear and loathing on 9/11, NPR's Talk Of the Nation had a segment today talking with Nikki Stern, whose husband was killed in the 9/11 attacks, and who is speaking out against "only outrage, fear and mistrust when Americans discuss Sept. 11". Nice to know that some people can move past the trauma to picking up the pieces.

#582 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 07:03 PM:

Terry: let me wish you good homecoming. I am disappointed that timing forced you to reschedule your return - I was looking forward to dragging you around Calgary (or at least offering coffee at the local truck stop); but days are dates, and it's better to be safe, and have the time with the people you know than cut that short just to see random.

More rantable, however, is the latest Harper deliberate misreading, and along with the inability of CBC readers to notice, even with the texts in their face.

Many years ago, in my grandfather's day, there was a country who wasn't afraid to proclaim (rather than silently believe) that Certain People Were Bad, and we don't want any. Many of those People from that country left, by boat, seeking another place where they would be acceptable and productive members of society. Among many others, my country said "you're not our problem, we have enough of our own, find somewhere else". And they did, sort of. And the country I'm talking about found them again, and killed many of them - and certainly killed many of the ones who didn't attempt to leave.

In my father's day, South Vietnamese were leaving in droves in fear of the conquerors. Many of the countries who remembered what they were complicit in 40 years before let many of them in - but only after the Israelis Did The Right Thing without having to think about it, and shamed them (again) into it.

In my day, Tamils are leaving Sri Lanka in droves, in boats, for similar reasons. Canada is using the same arguments it used in my grandfather's day to make it "not our problem, find somewhere else." An opposition politician is pointing this out: "This brave new policy is sordidly familiar, akin to collaborating with the Nazis to stop the flight of Jews." And he's exactly, literally, correct.

What does our government do about that? Complain that their opponents are calling them Nazis. Um, no, that's not what he's saying. But if you can convince most of the people that you can do the reading for them (and point out that your reading is totally ludicrous), you don't actually have to answer the real argument, which you cant, and is bad enough.

And this "politics as usual" makes me sick.

#583 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 07:58 PM:

Mycroft W:

I agree with you that any immigration so-called "policy" that turns away refugees fleeing political persecution or even genocide is shameful. The government of the US has also been guilty of this (and still is, for that matter), and none of the mainstream news media or major party politicians has brought it up, let alone gone all Godwin about it.

According to UN HCR, in 2009 there were 16 million refugees and asylum seekers in the world (and that does not count 26 million people displaced within their own countries). That's not a small problem, or one that's going to go away if we just ignore it.

#584 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 08:11 PM:

Happy birthday, Serge!

Mycroft W @ 575:

I think I've mentioned here before that I spent part of my childhood growing up in southern England during the tail end of IRA bombings. The attitude was that since these things were unpredictable, you just got on with your life, because, really, what else are you going to do? It makes me sad that there are plenty of loud, obnoxious people in the US (we're supposed to be a big, proud, mighty country, right?) who seem to want to live in a state of fear, as well as visit retribution on people who have nothing to do with the supposed threat.

#585 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 09:00 PM:

Happy Birthday, Serge!

#587 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 11:29 PM:

Thank you, P J Evans, for the Absolute Write thread, from which it appears that this bloke's services will be stratospherically more costly than anything I will ever need.

And Happy Birthday, Serge.

#588 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 11:30 PM:

Happy birthday, Serge!

#589 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2010, 11:46 PM:

Mycroft W: I will, almost certainly, make a similar trip. One of the sorrows of this trip was the people I wanted to see, whom I had to forgo the pleasure of visiting. A native guide in Calgary would have been most worthwhile.

So the next trip will probably up to Vancouver, and thence east. I may take a bike one way, and so be able to fly to Ottawa, and have it available.

As to the Tamil situation... oi. I was seeing it start to blow up (with nonsense about asylum fraud) before I left.

#590 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 12:17 AM:

big-bada-boom Also, clearly in need of Jim's expertise.

#591 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 01:12 AM:

Happy birthday, Serge!

#592 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 01:13 AM:

Xeger: Your link to the San Bruno Explosion is borked: big bada-boom

#593 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 01:19 AM:

Happy birthday, Serge! And happy birthday, Jacque (whose guinea pigs are very pleasant company).

David Goldfarb: I generally hit buffer overload with the question of where to eat in the French Quarter. There are so very many right answers! You've already mentioned the Green Goddess, which is always my first suggestion. One you might not stumble across just by walking down the street: in the Hyatt at the Riverwalk is a seafood restaurant called Drago's; their charbroiled oysters are a delight. And any of the dishes that involve some shelled sea creature in an alfredoish sauce on top a nest of angel hair pasta in the head cavity of a lobster is totally worth the splurge.

#594 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 01:20 AM:

Another, and much more welcome explosion in California today: a federal district court judge ruled "don't ask, don't tell" unconstitutional. The ruling came at the request of Log Cabin Republicans which means there are still a few members of the GOP who remember who Abraham Lincoln was.

#595 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 01:33 AM:

#535:

Doesn't "hiring a publicist" violate Yog's Law (Money flows toward the author)?

If not, why not?

If hiring a publicist, such as Milton Kahn, is a good idea for some authors, what kind of authors-- under what circumstances should an author pay (figures from $250 to $5000 per month were mentioned at the AW link) for such services?

#596 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 01:40 AM:

re DADT: I have the decision, now I just need the time to read it. Between that, Prop 8, the Mass District court ruling DOMA unconstitutional... the trendline is for equality.

But... there are the reactionaries on the Supreme Court. I have little faith in them to reason according to the trending line.

On the downside, the Ninth Circuit just said the suit about extraordinary rendition was so secret not the least part of it could go forward. The ACLU will appeal, but this Court isn't likely to overturn a State Secrets defense.

Which means we are looking (probably in vain) for someone to pull a Pinochet and arrest Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Bybee, Miller, etc. at some point when they are overseas.

#597 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 01:50 AM:

Live video stream of news coverage of the gas explosion in San Bruno from ABC7, KGO San Francisco.

#598 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 02:58 AM:

Linkmeister: The commentary is live, the footage is canned.

#599 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 04:07 AM:

Thanks again, everybody!

#600 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 04:40 AM:

Happy birthday, possibly belated, Jacque!

HLN: Local family has a sad as the American family in the village leaves to go back to the US. All six year olds polled were grief-stricken, and there was a statistically significant trend toward missing best friends already. Nine year olds returned more resolute answers, but the underlying trend is also down. Adults also confirmed the general polling results.

#601 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 04:49 AM:

Oh, a belated happy birthday, Serge!

And Jacque!

#602 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 06:58 AM:

Happy belated birthdays to Serge, Jacque, and anyone I might have missed this week!

In other news, looks like I've got a part-time job (~ 8hrs/week) shelving books at the Daedalus Bookstore! This labyrinth☸ of used books is a near-mandatory stop for any bibliophibians passing through the Charlottesville area....

☸ Not kidding -- three fairly small floors with 100K books crammed into them. All genres including a fair SF/F section. The owner built in the original paperback shelves before trade paperbacks hit the scene....

#603 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 07:15 AM:

Happy Birthday, Jacque!

#604 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 07:33 AM:

Happy Birthdays to Serge and Jacque!

#605 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 08:11 AM:

Let's not forget that tomorrow is...
Xopher's birthday.

Yay!

#606 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 11:21 AM:

Oh good. I get to do data entry for houses that have burned down.

Fun times in Boulder County.

#607 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 11:28 AM:

Yeep! Not my birthday, that was Aug 31. I posted that way because the book recommends I was responding to were posted on my birthday. But...!

Happy Birthday, Serge!!

#608 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 11:43 AM:

Maybe it's my imagination, but it seems like quite a few Fluorospherians were born at this time of the year. That makes me wonder if we are all the results of an early Christmas celebration.

#609 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 11:57 AM:

There seems to be a real spike in birthdays around now.

(I contribute my bit on the 21st).

#610 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 11:57 AM:

Happy birthday, Serge and Xopher!

HLN: Expat based in Belgium immensely enjoying first visit as an adult to the Home of the Brave. To twist a line from Democracy, this is really the cradle of the worst and of the best. And the best is pretty good stuff.

#611 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 12:23 PM:

My birthday, as I have long noted, is exactly 3 months to the day before or nine months to the day after my father's. I conjecture that my father's 36th birthday must have been one to remember.

#612 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 12:35 PM:

I have always assumed that the spike starting in July and lasting through October is because that's nine months after November through February--i.e. the months when the weather is likely to suck, and what else is there to do?

Similarly, February is nine months after June, when it starts getting hot and the idea of touching another person starts to be less attractive. The month with the largest difference between expected and actual births is April: nine months after August, which is generally horridly hot.

#613 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 01:16 PM:

Carrie S.: does the same pattern hold true in the S. hemisphere?

#614 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 01:53 PM:

Mein got! A veritable NEST of Virgoes!!

#615 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 02:05 PM:

Terry @#613:I don't know; the data set ddb linked to seems to be Northern-, and indeed US-centric.

Be interesting to get some data from Southern Hemisphere sources.

#616 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 02:06 PM:

In my immediate family, all the birthdays are in June, July, or very early August. That includes me, my three sibs, Eva, our two sons, both their wives, Eva's brother and his daughter, and Eva's late father. Eva and I have birthday's 1 day apart, so we just celebrate for 3 days.

I like Carrie's theory; I wonder if there's a variation between the US East coast, where summers are both hot and very humid, and the West Coast, where summers are much less humid and therefore more comfortable for people who don't have central air conditioning. Hmmm, air conditioning may have as much effect on sexual behavior as the automobile.

#617 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 02:11 PM:

More-local relatively large birth data sets would certainly be interesting. Is it relatively constant in the San Francisco Bay area compared to say Minneapolis? Is there a spike 9 months after intolerable summer heat in the far south (in the air-conditioning era)?

And of course comparing comparable climates in northern and southern hemispheres to see if they're half a year out of phase, as many theories predict (most of us haven't given our theories, but I'm pretty sure most of us have them).

First children might also track wedding date preferences.

#618 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 02:24 PM:

Here in Ireland, there's a spike in births expected this month. Those'd be the snow-babies, then.

I, too, know what my parents were up to on Christmas Eve.

#619 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 02:29 PM:

Looking at the DADT decision, it was a facial challenge. That's huge. It a really high burden of proof.


We shall see how it plays out (though I can hear the right whinge rhetoric already... Activist Judges, etc.).

#620 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 02:30 PM:

ddb, #617: That last has been done. I've seen better sources, but this was the one that came up quickly on Google. And yes, it turns out that a much-higher-than-normal percentage of first children are "premature" but fully-developed.

#621 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 02:41 PM:

It's generally good to give birth to the kids around the time the crops are ready to harvest.

#622 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 02:44 PM:

Terry Karney @ 619:

How to determine whether a ruling is judicial activism.

I'm still really happy to see that we're slowly lurching toward equality here.

#623 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 02:49 PM:

It's generally good to give birth to the kids around the time the crops are ready to harvest.

Because that way the fetus is doing its really hardcore growing and developing during the time when the mother's likely to have the least to eat?

Early summer kind of sucks for food supplies when you depend on the grain harvest.

#624 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 03:02 PM:

Pastor Jones is back in the news today (first he says he will, and then he won't), and Mr Older and I have decided to donate $20 to the local mosque for the express purpose of providing a copy of the Quran to someone who wants or needs it. We'll inform our local newspapers, also, in the hope that other non-Muslims will follow our example. Maybe we can out-weigh the "pastor's" destruction, for a net increase in the number of Qurans.

#625 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 03:11 PM:

Oh, hey, Older, you are the Older on ObWi too, aren't you? I answered over there (as evilrooster) pointing out the Massachusetts Bible Fellowship's They burn one, we give two drive (which Terry mentioned on the other thread).

#626 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 03:29 PM:

Happy birthday to Xopher, too!

(Oh, well, yours wasn't *that* long ago, Jacque!)

Super news about DADT. And this so soon after the rulings on DOMA and Prop 8!

#627 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 03:46 PM:

People throw around statements like "Chicago is the most segregated city in the US" all the time, but somehow seeing it mapped out in color brings it home rather more firmly ...

Nifty census-data map, with larger jpg version available if you click. There's also an income-based one, which is differently interesting: apparently there are pockets of $100K+ households scattered throughout the city, even in areas that are overwhelmingly majority less-than-$30K in annual household income.

#628 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 03:47 PM:

Question for the Fluorospherian collective intellect (aka "WWTFD?"):

For the past couple of days I've felt just mildly "blah", with some coldlike symptoms, mainly bracketing and during my sleep time. At the moment I don't feel too bad - was just outside watering plants on the porch, got a little sunshine, etc. I'm scheduled to go to a high school football game tonight with my husband and some long-time family friends, and there to make the acquaintance of another old friend of his that I have not yet met. It is currently 68F and sunny, with tonight's forecast calling for clear skies and a low of 55F (which will probably not come until the game is over). Do I go to the game, or wuss out and stay home?

#629 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 03:48 PM:

nerdycellist @255: Polish ... it's a ridiculous language.

Terry Karney @256: How so ridiculous?

nerdycellist @257: Mostly the huge consonant clusters.

My Polish neighbor is the only person I've ever met who was able to pronounce all of the letters in "asthma."

#630 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 03:58 PM:

A recent study by the French National Institute for Demographic Studies analyzed the question of birth seasonality in France over the past 4 decades*. Interestingly, they found that births used to peak in May, but there's been a shift to September. It's ascribed to a New Year's Eve effect.

#631 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 04:22 PM:

I was born in late April. Why? Because, I am told, my parents had just moved to Honduras, they'd had an interesting meal at the hotel, they were in a room with two cats, and there was a roach walking just up by the ceiling.

A week later, Mom got amoebas (dysentery? I don't know, just 'amoebas') and she credits some of my weirdness to the arsenic medication.

My sister's probably New Year's, but it's not as interesting to say that.

#632 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 04:26 PM:

I'm sitting at my desk listening to the sound of fireworks in the distance. There's a mosque on the near side of the nearest big town, Zaandam; I presume they're coming from there. I can't see more than flashes of light in the sky, what with the intervening buildings.

Considering the current state of Dutch politics, and the anniversaries of the weekend, knowing that my Muslim neighbors are still celebrating Eid publicly and noisily makes me feel both deeply happy and slightly tearful.

#633 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 04:33 PM:

Happy B-day to Xopher too!

#634 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 04:52 PM:

Terry Karney @286: Hard to explain; it's worth it, but I'll be glad to be home, and off the bike for a few days (and not on it for 5-7 hours a day anytime soon).

As my mother was wont to say: "Nothing cures camping fever quite like camping."

#635 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 05:10 PM:

Summer Storms @628 — I can't answer your question, though I just spent half a week with a real cold, so something's going around.

But I really liked "WWTFD", mostly for the misleading "WTF". WTFWTFD?

#636 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 05:22 PM:

Dan Hoey: Hee! I didn't even notice that when I typed it.

In other news, it looks like I am indeed going to the game. Wish me luck (and the team, too).

#637 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 05:24 PM:

Here's something I wrote on the occasion of Pat Cadigan's birthday:

To see beyond the future is a gift,
A curse of clarity beyond compare.
A futurist with cogent words can sift
The chaff from golden wheat, to heal despair.

When memes obscure the truth with truthiness,
Our razorgrrl makes Occam quake in fear.
A slice, precise, like ice, the price: confess!
The truth will acquiesce to volunteer.

To recognize the errors of the past
Is also key to shaping future trends.
A steady hand, a vision unsurpassed,
A telephoto lens of words transcends.

In flesh and blood, in nerve and synapse we
Can find within the empty cup, some tea.

#638 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 05:55 PM:

AKICML: Anyone here know enough German to tell me the words or phrases for "maturity" and "sportsmanship"?

(venting ahead, skip if you don't like that sort of thing)

I'm playing in an online league for the game Dominion. There are six brackets, each has 10 +- 1 people that play a round-robin tournament of best-of-5 matches. I've worked my way up to the top bracket, which I am currently leading with a record of 7 wins and 1 loss. (One match left to play.)

Trying not to get too technical: in your first two turns you can get your initial money split either 4-3 or 5-2; the 5-2 split is usually much better, but happens 1/5 as often. In my most recent match, I happened to get three initial 5-2 splits out of four games.

In the last game, when it was clear I was winning my opponent stopped playing seriously (he was passing his turns, or doing things that were legal but stupid). And he started saying things like, "This was not a real match" and even, "The other people in the league said you won with luck."

I mean, dammit! I won seven out of eight best-of-5 matches! Yes, I had luck...it's a card game, it has a luck factor to it. Anyway, you don't win a tournament without having some luck, not even a chess tournament. (I've won enough chess tournaments to know this.) But a 7-1 record, under these conditions? Nobody has that much luck. Grr.

I looked at the guy's profile, and was a bit surprised to see that he lists himself as born in 1964. The way he acted, I'd have guessed 1998.

(End of venting...thanks for letting me inflict that on you.)

#639 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 06:10 PM:

Lila @295: Nurturing thoughts winging forthwith.

#640 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 06:13 PM:

@376

Me: HORK!

Coworkers: "What?"

Me: <hack!> HORK! <choke>

Coworkers: "What?"

Me: <sounds not even transcribable>

Coworkers: "Jacque!?" "Nothing's that funny.

Me: <unable to breathe>

#641 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 08:05 PM:

The world's first Klingon opera is taking place in the Netherlands. Here's a short video from the BBC, and an article from Reuters.

#642 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 08:08 PM:

Lee @ 620: The graphics in that report. My eyes. Tufte wept.

#643 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 08:34 PM:

Caroline #642: Those pie charts are going in my next graphics class. And the ethnically diverse cartoon infants.

#644 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 08:47 PM:

@David, 638: I vaguely remember hearing that German boardgamers refer to games with a lot of dice rolling as "American games".

... ah. That's not what they call them.

My point, before I distracted myself, was that Americans may be more comfortable with the idea of getting beaten through luck than Europeans are.

It's also possible that you've got a combination of Gamer Social Skills and John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory .

#645 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 09:09 PM:

So has anyone else read about how this reporter got called up out of the blue and invited to chat
with Fidel Castro about his article on Israel/Iran tensions? The reporter's article, not Castro's. Apparently Fidel Castro is very interested in that kind of thing!

Also, dolphin shows.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/09/fidel-to-ahmadinejad-stop-slandering-the-jews/62566/

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/09/fidel-cuban-model-doesnt-even-work-for-us-anymore/62602/

Very interesting, and deeply surreal.

#646 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 09:10 PM:

Hau'oli lā hānau, Xopher!

#647 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 09:12 PM:

Sandy, I don't think you meant to say that David has Gamer Social Skills. That's how it reads at first. Took me a little while to figure out that you meant "you've got" in the sense of "what we have here."

#648 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 10:19 PM:

This is way cool. Ikea ad, with 100 cats

The ad is nice, the link to the, "Making of" video is wonderful.

#649 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 10:26 PM:

Terry Karney, #577, one of our rare posters, Wesley, has a good comic about that.

Happy Birthday, Xopher!

#650 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 11:32 PM:

AKICITF: I need a locket that opens three ways—that is, it holds three pictures, and opens out to display the three pictures side-by-side, like a triptych. This is for a movie project, tentatively titled Triptych.

I've found lockets that hold three pictures, but they don't open side by side. They open around the sides of a spinner, which won't do. I've found a four-way locket, but it opens point to point like a four-leaf clover.

It doesn't matter too much what shape, as long as the three photo holders are the same size and side-by-side-by-side. Can anyone help?

If someone could make one for less than a couple of internal organs, that would work too.

Serge, Pendrift, Nicole, David, Linkmeister, Marilee: Thank you. Less than an hour left to be 50.

#651 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2010, 11:32 PM:

@647, Xopher: Yeah, I meant it in the sense of "what you've got is vomiting cats", not "what you've got is lycanthropy". Thanks for the english-to-english translation. (Too busy making sure the LINK worked...)

#652 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 12:35 AM:

Earl Cooley III @637
Lovely poem - thank you for sharing it.

#653 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 12:35 AM:

Xopher @650 -- I'm sure I've seen that kind of locket, but I don't have one.

#654 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 12:43 AM:

Ah, it's past midnight on the East Coast, so Happy Birthday, Xopher!

#655 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 12:50 AM:

Happy Birthday Xopher!

#656 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 12:53 AM:

Happy birthday Xopher!

#657 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 12:55 AM:

Well, I finally got all my poems from the last couple of years copied onto a single page of my website. They're not very nicely formatted, and I'll be fixing that later, but they're all present and correct. I hope they give readers as much enjoyment as I had in writing them.

#658 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 01:15 AM:

Happy Birthday, Xopher!

#659 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 02:41 AM:

Xopher, many happy returns of the day.

#660 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 03:16 AM:

Happy birthday, Xopher.

#661 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 06:36 AM:

Happy birthday, Xopher!

#662 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 07:00 AM:

Happy Birthday Xopher!

#663 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 08:35 AM:

Happy birthday, Xopher.

#664 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 08:51 AM:

Xopher, happy birthday, and so many happy returns of the day that the headlines stop being about that one time.

#665 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 10:25 AM:

Hippo Birdie, Xopher!

#666 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 10:56 AM:

Since Xopher has turned 50, should you play the theme music from Hawaii 5-0?

#667 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 11:08 AM:

All of these people having their burpdays, what is this, some kind of movement? The Making Light Burpday Anti-Massacree Movement? In harmony? With feelin'?

You can get anything you want, at Abigail's restaurant....

#668 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 11:21 AM:

Happy birthday to you, Xopher!

#669 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 11:26 AM:

Serge @666:

Loath as I am to get in the way of a very good use of the Comment Number of the Beast, I must point out that Xopher's comment at 650 makes it clear that he's now 51.

Thanks* for the earworm, though.

Mark @667:
With feelin'?

Feelin' is how we got into this situation. Feelin' leads to doin', doin' leads to birthin', birthin' leads to birthdays.

-----
* For very low values of "thanks".

#670 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 11:47 AM:

Happy belated Birthday, Serge!

Happy Birthday, Xopher!

#671 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 11:51 AM:

abi @ 669: Well, that certainly does make it a movement. Oscillation, or perhaps reciprocating.

#672 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 12:23 PM:

Welcome to the first year of your new half-century, Xopher.

It gets even better.

#673 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 12:30 PM:

Gelukkige verjaardag, Xopher! Wish you all the best

#674 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 12:37 PM:

Happy birthday, Xopher! (And, I think, some other folks. And wasn't there a wedding anniversary in there somewhere, too?)

#675 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 12:37 PM:

abi @ 669... he's now 51

The horror. The horror!
("Serge, you just turned 55.")
Oh.
Nevermind.

#676 ::: Lin d ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 12:59 PM:

Happy birthday, Xopher.
Welcome to the other side of the hill. The view is marvelous. Rollerskates or skateboards available for going down this side and racing up the next hill. (Yes, the first one was at 40, but every 0th birthday seems to carry with it elements of hillness.)

Jacque @640: one of the best written variations on YOMANK I've read. And yes, it was.

#677 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 01:06 PM:

Happy Birthday to Xopher, and belated Happy Birthday to Jacque.

Terry Karney @ : Thanks for the link. We don't have a TV so I would not have seen it otherwise. I really liked the "making of": a cat got where they didn't expect - what a surprise! (not)

And Fragano Ledgister waaay back @ 28: Recovery is a truly shitty process, that's all I can say. Yes, but it beats the alternative hands down!

#678 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 02:20 PM:

Happy Birthday, Xopher.

And, to add to the FL thread -- the alternative, of not having a Fragano, now that's what would be truly shitty!

Love, C,

#679 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 02:20 PM:

Happy birthday, Xopher!

Serge @ 666:

Star Wars, Hawaii 5-0 edition.

#680 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 02:37 PM:

Happy Birthday, Xopher!

#681 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 03:07 PM:

abi@669 ...he's now 51

So he's almost exactly one year older than I am...

#682 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 03:46 PM:

I'm in perfect agreement on the alternative to recovery, believe me.

#683 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 04:20 PM:

Xopher, #650, I know I've seen that kind of locket, but I can't find one anywhere. I wonder why it went away.

#684 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 04:41 PM:

David Goldfarb #638:
In this context, "maturity" would be best translated als "Reife","immature" is "unreif".

"Sportsmanship" is a bit tricky, since "Sportlichkeit" might be unterstood, but it often means corporeal fitness: If someone is "unsportlich", he is probably an overweight couch potato, not a cheater. So the loan word "Fairness" would probably work better.

And "happy birthday,..." is, of course,

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Xopher!

#685 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 05:05 PM:

Happy Birthday, Xopher!

tykewriter @ 672: Actually, this would be the second year, I believe.

#686 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 05:30 PM:

Bruce, Ginger, Benjamin, Lee, Terry, abi, TexAnne, Michael, Fragano, Lila, Aileen, Serge, joann, heresiarch, tykewriter, Bombie, Raphael, Lin, dcb, Constance, KeithS, Laina, Jörg, Summer: Thanks!

Lila 664: Wow, I should live so long. Yeah.

Serge 666 (or the Devil, if there's a meaningful distinction): As the fair and noble abi has pointed out, that would be Hawaii 5-1. Which probably would be Puerto Rico or something.

Mark 667: Like Arlo, I don't want a pickle (and if I do I have some fine horseradish pickles in the fridge); also like him, I don't want to die (not today, please); unlike him, however, I also don't want to ride on my motorcy- either, and not just because I don't have one; indeed, I lack the desire to ride on anyone's motorcycle, or to acquire one and ride it, or any other permutation that could result in my being in control of, or even aboard, such a transportation machine. No offense to Terry, whom I admire but am (among other things) too chickenshit to emulate.

Ibid. 671: Standing waves, in many cases. Pretty much obligatory on a waterbed.

tykewriter 672: I believe that only because I trust you.

Bombie 673: Dank je wel!

Lin 676: Hmm, if I get halfway up and squat down really hard and twist, can I roll back over the previous hill? No? Drat.

Michael 681: Then...Happy (upcoming or belated) Birthday!

Marilee 683: I know, right? When I wrote that into the script (in fact, more or less wrote the script around it), I assumed it would be an easy thing to find. This, I am discovering, was vanity.

Jörg 684: Danke schön!

 
 
 
cle.

#687 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 06:01 PM:

Xopher: No offense taken. Sometimes I think I ought not emulate myself. I'm still recovering from the trip (emotionally/physically).

In the downside, I lost track of my inventory yesterday. I am pretty sure the end result is the death of GPS (bought when Serge so kindly drove me to REI). I will see if arranging repairs for one which was smashed by being run over is cost-effective or if I have to buy a replacement.

It's sort of like a cell-phone, once acquired it's too damned handy to really forgo.

So I'm a bit grumped.

#688 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 06:47 PM:

Terry, unless your GPS is extremely high-end, it is almost never cost-effective to repair them (insert rant here about the trend towards utterly unrepairable hardware and the whole inaccessibility approach that governs modern hardware design).

My advice, as lame as it feels, is to have a look on Amazon or the online retailer of your choice, find the same model and just replace it. Lame, but probably much easier than trying to get it repaired...

#689 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 06:54 PM:

Xopher,, speaking from the point of looking at the next 0th birthday after that, if you're going to be on the lawn, y'wanna twenny for mowin it, keed?

(many happy more!)

#691 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 07:24 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe: It's a Garmin, Oregon 450. Apart from not having a camera, it's the present day top of the line garmin.

The present price is about the same as the model number. I could, I suppose, lump the lens which died in the trip, and the GPS in a claim against my personal property insurance, (the two together are about $800~1,000 to replace), which would justify the $250 deductible, but eat one of the "two claims in three years" which changes how one's rates are computed.

The body of the thing held up pretty well, but the screen is toast. Sadly the information I had on it (not the data chip, but in the machine itself) seems to be irretrievable.

I might be your way tomorrow. If I am I should I give a call?

#692 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 07:45 PM:

On the GPS topic - I could not manage, with a quick bit of searching, turn up anyone who repairs them. You will, more than likely, wind up shipping it back to Garmin if you want it to get fixed - and, I would bet, it will be on the order of $200 (wild-ass guess, but shipping both ways + parts + labor is unlikely to be cheap). It is unfortunate that a lens bit it during your trip - in your place, I might be tempted to activate my insurance policy, but the concern about two in three is worth bearing in mind.

Sure, give me a call if you are up in my neck of the woods tomorrow - I just sent my phone number to your email.

#693 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 08:05 PM:

Benjamin: I am sure that any repair will be through Garmin. My guess, the odds are it's not really reparable and any break I get is based on REI, my Visacheck card (which I suspect isn't going to do me much good... if I'd used an actual credit card, maybe), or that it's only two months old.

If it's not covered, than I have to review the terms of my policy, and decide on the issue of deductable, recency (I got the policy just before I left on the trip) and the two in three years issue.

#694 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 08:11 PM:

Xopher @ 686... I wonder what the theme music for Puerto Rico 5-1 would be like.

#695 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 08:14 PM:

KeithS @ 679... coughgagsplutter!!!

#696 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 08:58 PM:

Serge #694: I wonder what the theme music for Puerto Rico 5-1 would be like.

I would watch that TV show.

#697 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2010, 09:50 PM:

I think "Puerto Rico Five-One" would be awesome.

Don't forget Paul Hogan's "Benny Five-O".

#698 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 08:02 AM:

Lila @ 697... Heheheh

By the way, I recently discovered that, not long before Jack Lord began working on Hawaii 5-0, he was in an episode of The Invaders, as an industrialist who sold out on humanity to the aliens.

Yes, he does get booked at the end.

#699 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 08:12 AM:

Belated conga rats to all recent birthday celebrants!

David Goldfarb @638 -- "Reife" = maturity, and "Fairplay" would do nicely for sportsmanship. The term has been adopted by football, and hence into the general language. Germans, of course, make one word out of it. (Personally, I think it sounds like "schlechter Verlierer" / sore loser would work, too.)

#700 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 10:05 AM:

Just back from a very pleasant afternoon in Amsterdam with dcb. We took a boat tour, then hit the best beer shop in the city for a few bottles for her to take home.*

Sadly, there was just too little time for me to give her a ride through the crazy cobbled streets of Amsterdam on the back of Emily. Another time, perhaps.

-----
* "Why didn't you stop me?" she asked slightly plaintively as we walked out, laden down and clanking slightly. "I have to get these home."
"Why would I want to stop you?" I replied, having thoroughly enjoyed watching her consult her beer database to ensure she wasn't bringing home any of the thousands of beers they've already tasted. Couldn't have that.

#702 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 12:06 PM:

abi: Beer King huh?

One more reason to make it to Amsterdam. Mind you I keep the database in my head.

#703 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 01:26 PM:

Bill Higgins... Interesting. Turner Classic Movies is showing Sunrise at Campobello and Ralph Bellamy as FDR just threw in a reference to Tom Swift.

#704 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 01:50 PM:

P J 689: *gets off your lawn*

(and thank you)

Stefan 690: HP,X!

I'm guessing that was a typo for HB, and you're not wishing me a Hewlett-Packard or a Lovecraft story. Thank you!

And thanks Debbie.

There. I think I'm finally done thanking people who wished me a happy birthday. None of my local friends did, for some reason. Closest was Arbin, my friend who breaks his Ramadan fast with a PBJ, I think I've mentioned him. He actually called me and talked for a while.

Next year, I will be the same number of years old as there are cards in a standard deck, not counting Jokers. (It's odd for a person like me not to count the Jokers, but there it is.)

#705 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 02:41 PM:

Submitted for your, "pleasure".

No, don't thank me. Really. It's all right.

#706 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 03:25 PM:

Ow. I may have to inflict that on a labmate...

#707 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 04:35 PM:

Arrghh. You managed to give me an earworm with a photograph! And I can't even remember most of the words!

#708 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 05:05 PM:

Should I be glad I don't get it?

#709 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 05:27 PM:

TexAnne @ 708: Can it be you've completely missed one of the great icons of the last American generation's childhood?

#710 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 05:42 PM:

704
I thought it was perfectly normal not to count the jokers in the deck.

#711 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 05:45 PM:

TexAnne (708): It took me a minute to figure out. (I think I liked it better before I did.)

If you really want to know: vg'f n ehoore qhpx-R.

#712 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 06:13 PM:

On the subject of recent birthdays/anniversaries...

A recent post at tor.com reminded me that the first episode of "Star Trek" aired on September 8, 1966.

(On my sixth birthday it so happens.)

#713 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 06:16 PM:

Mark, 709: He only has *one*. That's the *point.*

Mary Aileen, 711: Well, if you put it that way. I think I'd have gotten it if they hadn't all been dressed differently.

And I'm grumpy because of off-Internet life. Blagh.

#714 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 06:34 PM:

Xopher: Happy birthday!

#715 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 07:30 PM:

Tom Swift. That reminds me that the New York Times had an article about the death of F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre, which seems to regard science fiction fandom as a haven for hoarding perverts, but maybe I'm just sensitive. (Thanks to LJ poster lnhammer for bringing it to my attention.)

#716 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 07:34 PM:

...I mean lsanderson. (Well, it's confusing. They both have an "l" in their names! I'M ONLY HUMAN.)

#717 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 07:35 PM:

But something kind of cool happened today. I got four strikes in a row when I was bowling with Sarah. Turns out this is called a "Four-Bagger." Who knew?

It beats yesterday, when I had to talk to a grifter trying to scam me out of a few bucks.

#718 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 09:43 PM:

Kip W @ 715... science fiction fandom as a haven

That perception of us wasn't uncommon even a few years ago, but I thought it was pretty much on its way out, but it annoys me when I still run into it. On the other hand, one of us is now President of the USA and we can thus give the bozos the finger - metaphorically only, of course.

#719 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 10:07 PM:

As I promised Terry today, here is the recipe I use when someone says they want really chocolaty brownies. The recipe is from the Culinary Institute of America's Baking and Pastry textbook - and has been reduced to one-fourth of its original size, to accommodate home, rather than restaurant production.

Makes (1) Half Sheet Tray

255g Unsweetened Chocolate
365g Unsalted Butter
319g Eggs
735g Sugar
11.5g Vanilla Extract
45g Cake Flour

Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate and butter together (with a double boiler if you want - I never do). Whip the eggs, sugar and vanilla on high (~8-10min; standing mixer highly suggested). Pour one third of the egg mixture into the chocolate to temper it; combine the tempered chocolate mix with the egg mixture; add the flour and mix until just blended.

Pour into your sheet pan, bake at 350F for ~40min - the top should appear dry. Cool completely before portioning*.

*Warning: you, and only you, are responsible for the mess if you do not let them cool. Once they do (I have been known to toss the entire sheet tray in my freezer if I am in a hurry), just move the entire parchment-brownie construction on to a cutting board or the counter. They have very little structural integrity, even when cool, and have a very low maximum consumption dose (for me, about a 1"x2" piece). Good for parties and to prove to people that yes, there is such a thing as too much chocolate and/or too much sugar.

As an aside, I do not suggest subbing out ingredients in this recipe - they are fragile enough as it is that playing with it is likely to result in complete recipe failure. You can, however, omit the paltry 45g of flour.

--

Yes, the recipe really does call for 1.62 pounds of sugar. Not a typo.

#720 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 10:14 PM:

Mary Aileen #711: And to cap it: R'f sbe Reavr!

#721 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 10:20 PM:

I went to a birthday party today: my eldest nephew is 10. I have him a couple of Danny Dunn books (Invisible Boy and Anti-Gravity Paint) plus a "science mystery" that was new to me: The Rocket's Shadow, "a Rick Brant Electronic Adventure".

#722 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 10:33 PM:

On another culinary topic - in fact, one inspired by a old thread here on ML - I have been making various infused alcoholic objects.

1. Raspberry Liquor: 18oz of raspberries + 400ml cheap (TJ's) vodka + 1 wk at room temperature. Very potent; much more palatable after the addition of ~240ml of simple syrup. Dangerously drinkable. The raspberries are in my fridge, awaiting a use...

2. [need a name for this one]: 1 large bunch of fresh tarragon, handful of fennel greens and a large handful of Chinese shiso leaves. 750ml of TJ's vodka - let it stew overnight, and decanted it this morning. Amazing green color, predominant tarragon flavor, with background notes from the other two. Did not sweeten it - think a very inaccessible Chartreuse...

3. [still in process; call it a modified limoncello]: zest of six lemons + a rosemary stalk and a pile of dried lavender. Added about half a cup of simple syrup and ~250ml of vodka. Might be good. Might be evil. Worth a try.

#723 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 10:59 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 719 -- 319g eggs is... about 6 large eggs?

#724 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 11:05 PM:

In fact, I do not remember - for that recipe, I just stick my mixer's bowl on the scale and toss ingredients in as required. Depending on your egg size, 6-8 sounds about right.

#725 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 11:06 PM:

Serge @718: I suppose it is a small mercy that the right-wing wackos accuse the president of being a Socialist Muslim, rather than a science-fiction fan: "This economic policy might work in the fantasy world of Star Trek, but here on Earth..."

#726 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 11:22 PM:

David Harmon@721: In my youth, I only ever found one Rick Brant book. I liked it much better than Tom Swift Jr., so that was unfortunate.

As an adult I've read half a dozen more from a friend's collection; I think maybe including the one you mention. They were in fact all about as good as the one I'd read as a child. I hope your nephew enjoys it!

Benjamin Wolfe@719: About 2/3 the "brownies" foisted on me these days are nothing like real brownies; just a slighlty moist fine-grained chocolate cake. I'm fussy about brownies!

This recipe doesn't, at least, look like it would produce so simple a failure. But I'm worried about how beating the eggs will affect the texture. It'd certainly be interesting to try.

However, the question that's bugging me is how it gets by without salt; it's not incorporated in the ingredients anywhere, either.

#727 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 11:26 PM:

Nor do I, for that matter - now that you have pointed out the lack. I always bake with unsalted butter, which I believe to be the standard for baking, but it could be that CIA calls for salted, which is just not explicitly noted in the recipe.

Amusingly, I am making a batch of vanilla-chocolate-almond cookies for my lab and omitted the salt until the last second...

#728 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2010, 11:37 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 725... I'm amazed they haven't yet, what with his waving a lightsaber around near the White House, and with his having referred to one of his wife's outfits having a dilithium belt buckle, and I am still amazed the birthers haven't seized upon his comment that he was really born on Krypton.

#729 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 12:17 AM:

After hitting a gear sale (warehouse clearance of a supplier of motorcycle supplies), we (my housemate, one of her sweethearts, and myself), a goodly haul in hand, called Benjamin Wolfe and met for a late lunch.

So far as can be told, a good time was had by all. We pondered the eating of things at least the size of our heads (at Barney's), talked about, "stuff", strolled up the block (to Fenton's) for ice cream and then went our merry (and somewhat sated ways.

I commend others to such adventures.

#730 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 12:33 AM:

Aye, a good time was had.

Even if the amount of bacon provided by Barney's on a burger constitutes roughly my Recommended Weekly Allowance of such tasty delights.

#731 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 12:41 AM:

And, at least for those of us who raided Fenton's, somewhat sated is a bit of an understatement. More like emulating a gravid python.

#732 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 12:45 AM:

Instead of scourging themselves with scorpions, monks of the Third Reformed Church of Bacon fry their breakfast ration of the blessed Hog whilst naked.

#733 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 01:27 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @727, "but it could be that CIA calls for salted,"

For a moment, I was a bit creeped out by the thought of what that code might mean.

#734 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 01:39 AM:

I would be remiss if I did not note that I take a certain pleasure in playing with people's assumptions when it comes to that acronym.

For the record: CIA, in a culinary context, is the Culinary Institute of America, not Central Intelligence. Hyde Park, NY - not Langley, VA

#735 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 01:49 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 734: Those ingredients sound a lot like flourless chocolate torte, and it doesn't have a pinch of salt either.

---------
P.S. I'd initially typed "an awful lot like" but it just looked so wrong to have "awful" anywhere near "flourless chocolate torte" that I had to remove it.

#736 ::: Idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 02:53 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 719:
Except that I use 3X the flour your recipe calls for, that's my brownie recipe. I also make them with no salt and unsalted butter. Called 'baked fudge' by several people who've had them.

Joel Polowin @ 723:
It's about 8 USDA 'Large' eggs.

#737 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:32 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 719: That sounds quite a bit like a recipe called "Palm Beach Brownies" that I have made out of Maida Heatter, though Maida Heatter's is scaled to a quarter sheet rather than a half sheet. Does yours come out with a crunchy top over a very gooey interior? Also her recipe includes some instant coffee and some almond extract.

(I remember the summer my family spent in Maine, we got what we thought was almond extract, but was actually "essence of almond oil". We made the brownies, using the same quantity of it, 1/2 teaspoon. They came out so overpoweringly almond-flavored as to be inedible.)

#738 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:53 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 737

I am reminded of the time my mom undertook to teach a couple of my friends to make brownies. That was fine, until the liquid smoke got inadvertently substituted for vanilla, which they conspired NOT to tell the rest of us until after the brownies had been served...

#739 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 04:05 AM:

Cigarette flavored brownies? Give them to someone who is trying to quit smoking.

Then stand back, close to the nearest exit....

#740 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 05:45 AM:

Open threadiness:

So, I've been reading Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, and really enjoying them*. But I'm just coming to the end of Victory of Eagles, and find I've been broken out of the narrative several times by poor copy-editing**. The early mistakes sensitized me, and I found for the rest of the book I had half an eye out for errors.

I don't think previous books had this problem, and AFAIK the publisher (Harper Voyager) hasn't changed. This is also a paperback, so presumably not the first edition. As there's a lot of publishing knowlege concentrated here, I thought I'd ask - what do you think might cause the fifth book in a series from a previously reliable publisher to be full of copy errors? And would it be considered helpful or unhelpful*** to mail off a list of them to a) the author, or b) the publisher?

Has anybody else been put off a good, gripping book or series (professionally published) due to bad copy?

Note: As this post complains about poor copy-editing, by the rules of the internet it will inevitably contain one or more copy-editing errors. Apologies in advance.

*I feel like I should apologise for relaxing with "teen reading". But I'm not gonna.
**In the first twenty pages there were a couple of mistakes of the sort where the author has obviously updated a paragraph in successive drafts, but sentence fragments from previous drafts have snuck in (e.g. a sentence with the subject appearing at both the beginning and the end of a sentence).
***or smug and rude

#741 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 07:44 AM:

Earl Cooley III #739: I think that would be "hickory" flavored brownies.... Sounds pretty bizarre, anyway.

#742 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 08:31 AM:

I can't imagine the (cooking) CIA would ever call for salted butter, given how widely the product varies by brand in terms of how much salt (and other things) are in it. If it's too random for America's Test Kitchen, I wouldn't think the CIA would use it either.

Unsalted, at least you know what you're getting.

#743 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 08:43 AM:

Hickory smoke flavored brownies do sound a bit odd, but I can attest that warm slightly smoky Oreos are pretty good. It was kebab night in camp one time at Pennsic, and someone started passing a package of Oreos for dessert, and there were all these leftover bamboo skewers....and thus was born the Oreo kebab.

#744 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 09:01 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 742.. I can't imagine the (cooking) CIA would ever call for salted butter

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold Meat?

#745 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 09:41 AM:

David Harmon (720): That was my first guess. But I saw so little SS as a kid that I wasn't entirely sure which of the two had the ducky.
____________________

Chocolate with bacon in it turns out to be amazingly good.

#746 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 09:58 AM:

Greetings from Vlieland!

I had a great time with abi in Amsterdam. Sadly, as abi said, we ran out time in Amsterdam for me to meet, and ride on the back of, Emily. However, I did get to cycle from the harbour to hotel.

The boat tour on the canals was fascinating - a great chance to see Amsterdam from a different viewpoint, and abi was able to give me extra information about the effects of taxation on architecture.

I have to confess I have not yet tasted 1000s of beers, but my husband has. The beer shop had a truly excellent selection of beers and if I get them home intact we are going to really enjoy the ones I chose. I'm already making use (while at the conference) of my new, crane-decorated, mug-with-china-tea-strainer.

#747 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 10:05 AM:

Russ @ #740: my "Barnes & Noble Classics" edition of Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle was so bad I vowed never to buy another B&N Classic. I'm guessing those errors were introduced sometime after Mr. Darwin's demise.

(On a tangentially related note, my public library has a copy of the 2-volume On the Variation of Plants and Animals Under Domestication, printed in the 1890s, of which many of the pages remained uncut--until I checked it out and read it. I don't believe I caught a single proofing error. Thank you, anonymous Victorian proofreader!)

#748 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 10:05 AM:

Open Threadness:

HBO Game of Thrones trailer, with GRRM, here. Not a whole lot, but what we are shown is incredible and wannaseeNOWlust provoking.

Love, C.

#749 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 10:33 AM:

I agree with people that serious pastry chefs, at least, think in terms of unsalted butter. For baking it's probably the way to go, for consistency -- though nearly all baked goods need, from some source, some salt, in my experience!

(Me, I go through Europe salting the butter so I can enjoy the excellent bread.)

Crunchy top (with a glossy finish, and a good number of cracks) over a somewhat gooey interior is my ideal brownie texture.

David Goldfarb@737: sneaking some instant coffee into brownies is just one of the nasty things people try to do when I'm not looking. It takes amazingly little to spoil an entire batch.

#750 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 10:39 AM:

Serge @744:

The Man with the Golden Garlic Press?

Or for a little diversity:

Waiter, Sommelier, Sous-chef, Spy

#751 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 10:51 AM:

Yep. Dry top, very gooey interior - the couple times I have made these, I have wound up wishing for a hand-held tractor beam rather than a spatula to handle them. They are extremely fragile - not the sort of brownie one eats out of hand. More like a fork and plate deal... and a stack of napkins would not go amiss either.

#752 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 11:22 AM:

Velma is in Methodist Hospital. Without going into detail, Velma and I had been worried about her periods for at least three months; worried beyond the presumed beginning of menopause. She saw her doctor, and then on Friday night the situation abruptly got worse. Saturday noonish she went to the emergency room, under orders from her doctor.

Sunday she was tested and examined, and they found fibroids the size of cantelopes, 'or even a bit bigger,' she reports they said. She's now scheduled for a D&C and hysteroscopy this afternoon under general anesthesia. Then she waits (at home) for a appointment for a hysterectomy.

#753 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 11:24 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe #722

Recipe 3, the modified limoncello with rosemary and lavender: I was recently introduced to lavender bitters, which will be my next experiment along these lines. I have also discovered that lavender syrup goes very well with jasmine green tea.

#754 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 11:29 AM:

Scraps, I wish her well.

#755 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 12:37 PM:

Scraps@752: Best wishes for Velma. This could well work out with just the fairly straightforward (if major) surgery; I hope it's nothing worse.

#756 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 12:50 PM:

Scraps, As I said elsewhere, best wishes, and all good things.

#757 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 01:23 PM:

Lee @478: Like you need little teeny license plates for bees.

#758 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 01:25 PM:

Russ, #740: One of my criteria for well-written YA fiction is that it should be enjoyable for me to read as well. IOW, no need to apologize.

Scraps, #752: GoodThoughts being sent that this will be a straightforward situation.

#759 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 02:04 PM:

Serge @540: MileHicon tends to be a smallish, local, family-oriented* relaxacon. Runs ~400-500 members. If you happened to be at Denvention in '08, there's a large overlap in concom, I believe, which might give you some sense of the flavor. In years, candidate Fan GoHs were encouraged to stuff the ballot box. (It's one of their fundraising activities.)

*I think they're into their third or fourth generation by now.

#760 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 02:22 PM:

Scraps @752 -- more hopes for a clean, simple and healthy outcome. And good thoughts and wishes in both your directions.

#761 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 02:28 PM:

May whatever Power you subscribe to, send Velma a complete and speedy healing, in both body and mind, among the other ill in the world.

#762 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 02:33 PM:

Russ @740, and Lee @758: I'm a little bemused by this line of conversation, as I've never thought of the Temeraire books as YA, or "for teens" in any particular regard. That teens read them goes without saying, but teens read a lot of things. I've never seen those books filed with YA; they're always shelved in bookstores and libraries I've been to with standard fantasy, or fantasy & scifi, depending on how the place divides the two.

Is this a geographical thing, where the Temeraire books are being categorized as YA in certain parts of the country (or in certain countries) and not others? Given the lack of teenage characters, or general YA coming-of-age tropes in general, I'm hard pressed to see why anyone would put those books in the YA category, except maybe in the sense of "Well, YA sells really well these days."

#763 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 02:38 PM:

Scraps, best wishes to you and Velma for a speedy recovery.

#764 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 02:40 PM:

dcb 563: re: Logan silliness. I did find myself feeling retroactively miffed: I read the TSA guidelines pretty carefully (to the extent that I mailed all my sharps out ahead of time) and they said nothing about not packing things in any particular combination.

Had I been more alert, I would have gently and politely mentioned this to the screener, and suggested they might save everyone some time by passing this little tidbit back up the line.

Not that it would make any earthly difference, but, you know, &c.

#765 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 02:59 PM:

Fade Manley@762: I was wondering similarly. While the Temeraire books (at least the first three; the ones I've read) could be described reasonably fairly as "light", they're not categorized formally as YA anywhere I've noticed either, and don't have markers like young characters. (Should remember to get back to reading these, I'm sure there are now several waiting for me.)

#766 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:05 PM:

Scraps, best wishes, good thoughts, and prayers for all to be well, and soon. And inexpensively.

#767 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:11 PM:

Good Luck to Velma.

#768 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:19 PM:

OpenThreadiness:

I have finally (by accident) discovered how to use the 'two-fingers on the track pad' continuous scrolling method.

This is going to save me SO MUCH THUMB on these long threads...

#769 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:20 PM:

Good wishes for fast healing, Velma.

#770 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:26 PM:

Scraps... My best wishes to Velma.

#771 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:30 PM:

Best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery to Velma.

#772 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:37 PM:

Good vibes on the way to Velma.

#773 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:39 PM:

Some mornings The Onion is the only thing that gives me the strength to get through the day:

Nation Once Again Comes Under Sway Of Pink-Faced Half-Wit

NEW YORK—Following an Aug. 28 rally in Washington, D.C. attended by an estimated 87,000 Americans, experts confirmed this week that the U.S. populace appears to have fallen under the spell of yet another pink-faced half-wit.
. . .
"This particular pink-faced half-wit is at the height of his persuasive powers," Ellington said of the bloated, hateful multimillionaire. "By exploiting citizens' greatest anxieties during an uncertain time in our nation's history, the pink-faced half-wit has been able to promote his own vain, avaricious self-interests under the guise of standing up for the very disenfranchised people whom he himself is fleecing."

#774 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:55 PM:

Russ #740: But I'm just coming to the end of Victory of Eagles, and find I've been broken out of the narrative several times by poor copy-editing**. The early mistakes sensitized me, and I found for the rest of the book I had half an eye out for errors. I don't think previous books had this problem, and AFAIK the publisher (Harper Voyager) hasn't changed.

The US edition is from Del Rey. They could have rekeyed it for the UK edition. In any case, the author maintains a very amicable relationship with her fan base on her LiveJournal, so you might just ask about it there (noting especially that you're referring to the UK edition).

#775 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 03:56 PM:

Fade, #762: I have not read any of the Temeraire books -- my comment was intended to be taken generally.

My partner tried to read the first one and said that the complete and utter lack of accuracy in the descriptions of aerial fighting fell into "hang by the neck until dead" territory for him, and I don't venerate the era the way a lot of the series' fans seem to. (By which I mean mostly that a lot of the squeeing comparisons are to things I also haven't read and have no special interest in.)

The primary series I read which is clearly marketed as YA is Diane Duane's "Young Wizards" series. I've also enjoyed a lot of Jane Yolen's YA fiction, and I have a number of stand-alone books which qualify for that category.

#776 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 04:06 PM:

Scraps #752: I wish Velma and you the best of luck! Despite the scary description, my understanding is that fibroid removal is pretty close to routine, at least for surgery.

#777 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 04:42 PM:

Mark @709: My personal favorite YOMANK moment. @3:06 is when I truly fell in love with Jeremy Irons.

#778 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 04:54 PM:

Scraps @752 said in re Velma's gynecological issues: they found fibroids the size of canteloupes, 'or even a bit bigger,' she reports they said. She's now scheduled for a D&C and hysteroscopy this afternoon under general anesthesia. Then she waits (at home) for a appointment for a hysterectomy.

As an intermittent (currently in remission) endometriosis sufferer since puberty, from a family prone to same and also to fibrous cysts and suchlike growths on the female reproductive anatomy ... I offer her my deepest sympathies and good wishes.

And also wonder, sidelong, Open-Threadishly, why on earth it is that gynecologists ALWAYS seem to default to fruit metaphors for size? When discussing gestation, things are the size of canteloupes, watermelons (and sometimes BIG watermelons), etc, and the uterus is said to contract, over time, back to 'the size of an apple' after conclusion of use, when it's being packed back up for storage until you need it next time, etc. It never seems to be "softball sized," "golf ball sized," "the size of a tennis racquet," "the size of a hen's egg," "the size of a bag of sugar," etc. Always with the fruit.

Jacque @764 said, in re airport security checkpoint silliness: I did find myself feeling retroactively miffed: I read the TSA guidelines pretty carefully (to the extent that I mailed all my sharps out ahead of time) and they said nothing about not packing things in any particular combination. Had I been more alert, I would have gently and politely mentioned this to the screener, and suggested they might save everyone some time by passing this little tidbit back up the line.

For what it's worth, a pocketwatch and an Epi-Pen (aka 'bee sting kit' -- the self-actuating adrenaline syringe you stab yourself with to not die if you are prone to anaphylaxis) packed in the same pocket of a carryon bag look equally iffy to the screeners. They really can't warn you about every possible combination, and if they put "Please do not pack things that look like timers + wires + organic material + computer chips in close proximity," they'd probably feel they were causing passengers to think about these things in too great detail for their peace of mind.

I did thank a screener once for telling me that packing cheese in my carry-on was pretty much guaranteed to get me sidelined for serious extra scrutiny ... and for their additional volunteering of the fact that peanut butter ALSO reads exactly like plastique on the equipment they use, especially the stuff they use for X-raying bags that are to go into the hold. Anything with that sort of density WILL get your suitcase opened and hand-searched.

Of course, I was regularly travelling with a portable copier in my suitcase, so I already packed expecting them to be opened (and they repacked it carelessly enough to break it, twice), but it was nice to know what ELSE might make them curious.

#779 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 04:58 PM:

ddb #726, David Harmon #721: Rick Brant fansite sanctioned by the author's estate. There were 24 books; I owned 19 of them. They were published in four-color hardback.

They were pretty darned good YA stories, and the science was reasonably current as far as I know. They're still findable at eBay, or most of them are.

#780 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 04:59 PM:

Constance @748: Game of Thrones

Oo! Peter Dinklage!

#781 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 05:01 PM:

In re Jacque's video @777: It's amazing how old Sesame Street videos are great pop-culture quizzes. That said, anyone know who the pair of severe Brits in that are? I know most of the rest of the non-muppets ...

#782 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 05:03 PM:

Scraps, good healing vibes to Velma.

#783 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 05:03 PM:

And now, having read further downthread past the point where I got sidetracked by books I know something of, my best wishes and hopes for a speedy and welcome outcome to Velma and Scraps.

#784 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 05:07 PM:

Jacque @ 757 -- Another example of license plates for bees.

#785 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 05:17 PM:

Linkmeister@779: Thanks for the pointer to the Rick Brant site.

#786 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 05:19 PM:

Elliott Mason @778: "Please do not pack things that look like timers + wires + organic material + computer chips in close proximity," they'd probably feel they were causing passengers to think about these things in too great detail for their peace of mind.

I did manage to refrain from thanking the nice gentleman for telling me the ingredients for an IED. I didn't figure such would contribute to my perceived air of innocence.

@781: Jean Marsh and Gordon Jackson of Upstairs, Downstairs. (Not Patricia Quinn and Richard O'Brien, which is where my brain keeps wanting to go with that image.)

(Watch, someone else will have beat me to this.)

#787 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 05:19 PM:

Elliot Mason: My mothers fibriod was, IIRC, said to be a bit larger than a hen's egg.

Still food (and reproduction related) but not fruit.

#788 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 05:51 PM:

Terry Karney @787 -- you've never heard eggs called "cacklefruit"?

End of an era in Cuba -- 500,000 workers to be laid off by state.

#789 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 05:54 PM:

The last Rick Brant adventure book sells thru Amazon. This looks really funny to me:

$4,199.99
+ $3.99shipping

Right. I think if I could blow $4,199.99 for the book I'd probably pay for FedEx as well.

#790 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 06:04 PM:

Scraps, best wishes to Velma. Not a fun thing to have happened.

#791 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 06:05 PM:

Linkmeister@789: And there are $1 Kindle editions of at least Caves of Fear and The Wailing Octopus.

I might have to look into jailbreaking Kindle books (I've never so far owned any DRMed content; and won't for any significant length of time). (Hmmm; I don't think of movie DVDs as content, but I do own region-coded DVDs.)

#792 ::: Mattathias ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 06:42 PM:

Question for the assembled multitudes: A friend of a friend has found out the hard way that Dorchester no longer employs her long-time editor, and is trying to work out what the future holds for her back catalog. Anybody know if implosion is imminent there, and/or what options generally exist for rights reversion if and when one's publisher goes into bankruptcy/out of business?

#793 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 06:42 PM:

Scraps @ 752, best wishes, clean surgery, quick recovery for Velma. Also, I will do a rosary round for her.

Elliott Mason @ 778: Coincidentally, I hope, yesterday I was in converse with a complete stranger, who was not the complete stranger I'd had to stare into submission after he'd asked how I knew something I knew (different story), and the metric system had come up somehow. It seems, according to this person, that Americans can't figure out the metric system, or won't admit it if they can, so doctors, who do speak metric when speaking Doctor, resort to approximate equivalent sizes of fruit. Because that's concrete enough.

[Last sentence removed to save the trouble of disemvowelling.]

#794 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 06:44 PM:

I think this is almost the archetypal ML link: politics! Vanity publishing! Real-life Onion headlines! It might be missing the dinosaur sodomy, but that could be because no one talks about that at a respectable book launch: Minister for Science to launch anti-evolution book

#795 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 06:45 PM:

A bunch of the Rick Brant books, including the two ddb mentions @ 791, are out of copyright in the US due to nonrenewal. I haven't done a complete inventory of what's public domain, but I do list 11 free books of "John Blaine" that Project Gutenberg has put online here. Most (possibly all) of these are from the Rick Brant series.

#796 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 06:53 PM:

Scraps, I hope Velma's surgery goes really well, and that she recovers swiftly, with no complications.

#797 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 07:43 PM:

Linkmeister #779, John Mark Ockerbloom #795: Thanks! I've forwarded those links to his mother.

#798 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 08:01 PM:

Elliott Mason, #778, once on the way home from Minicon, I had my carryon "sniffed" and was telling the operator that it was just beads, I'd be happy to open the bag. After that, I had my friend who owned the bead store ship things home.

Mattathias, #792, this will be in the contract.

Abi, you missed the local Klingon opera!

#799 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 08:36 PM:

David Harmon @ #797, Full text list of books here. All of the ones Gutenberg has are indeed Rick Brant Science Adventures, per my visual check just now.

Thanks, JMO @ #795! I had no idea that Gutenberg might have them.

#800 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 08:39 PM:

re the 4,199 dollar book... it doesn't qualify for the, spend $25 and get free shipping?

#801 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 08:44 PM:

Terry, nope, because it's not from Amazon itself.

#802 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 09:36 PM:

Decloaking to offer:

Much good-health mojo to Velma.

To Jacque, Serge, and Xopher, Hippo Bell-Ated Birdie! (In the Boynton illustration in my head, I am unable to decide whether it was the Hippo or the Birdie who Ated the Bell. Regardless, I'm sure it will take its toll.)

And re: Jacque @757, you wanna talk teeny tiny? Elsewhere on the site are the artist's bio and some videos in which you can see displays of his work. (h/t to Lisa Snellings and her blog.)

#803 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 10:28 PM:

Well, as for me, when henceforth I want to say that someone played the sax well, I will say "s/he really put down the duckie."

#804 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2010, 11:49 PM:

Syd @ 802... Thanks. I got neat stuff on the occasion - a Nook, and the DVD of the miniseries that was later made into the movie "Quatermass and the Pit".

#805 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 12:04 AM:

Scraps. Velma. Both of you. Healthy. With exclamation points!

#806 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 12:34 AM:

#792 Mattathias

You should endeavor to get all of the books reverted before the publisher goes out of business/bankrupt. As long before as possible. A nice, formal reversion letter.

After bankruptcy, the situation becomes beyond messy, and in the case of a publisher simply vanishing, depending on the contract, the books may be ... well, it isn't pretty.

#807 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 01:41 AM:

Scraps & Velma,

Best wishes.

#808 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 02:46 AM:

Hey Xopher: we once had a little back-and-forth about you calling the Greek god of wine "Iakchos". I just read Mary Renault's The Mask of Apollo (re-read, technically, but it's been so long that it was like reading it for the first time) and she has her protagonist use that name a couple of times; that exact spelling, even, right down to the odd k-not-c-for-κ but ch-not-kh-for-χ. Any chance that's where you got it from?

(Slightly inconsistent transliterations all through the book, in fact. Just for starters, the familiar Plato for Πλάτων and Apollo for Ἀπόλλων but Dion for Δίων.)

Belated happy birthday, as well.

#809 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 04:02 AM:

Fade Manley@762, ddb@765

Hmmm...I got all the Temeraire books via amazon (.co.uk), so I wouldn't have seen where they were shelved.

I must have gotten the YA thing either from the original recommendation to read them (which I'm afraid I can't remember now), or classified them that way myself by language and pitch. I agree that the themes are not specifically teenage, however there's nothing in there language- or content-wise I'd worry about putting in front of a teen reader.

The author responded recently to a question of whether the series was written for teens with:

"I generally write for myself, and most days I consider myself an adult *g* but on the other hand, I love the YA genre and many of my favorite works get classified in there. I'd generally consider the Temeraire books adult, but I know that a lot of kids from 10 and up have read them -- I think it depends on the child, really. But I definitely wouldn't shy away from a scene or topic out of concern for the audience's sensibilities, only whether I felt it was right for the story. "

...so it seems I didn't completely make up the classification - it's common enough to appear in interviews. However, from her point of view at least, I have it wrong.

Earl Cooley III@774

Thanks! I'll go lurk there and see if I can find a polite way to put the comment.

#810 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 06:34 AM:

David 808: Almost certainly. I read that book, and Fire from Heaven and the other Renault books about Ancient Greece, when I was a teenager. (Well, Funeral Games wasn't out until I was out of my teens, but I read the others.)

I suspect she uses ch-not-kh in that case because 'Iakkhos' is difficult for most people to parse: is that a k followed by kh, or an h after a double k? (Remember, start from knowing nothing about Greek.)

And in one of the books' afterwords (or notes or something) she says she uses the conventional spellings for some of the most familiar names, and better transliterations for the less familiar ones. In FFH she even uses 'Alexander' for the main character, and 'Alexandros' for all the other people by that name! Consistency takes a back seat to clarity, and to the powerful resonance certain names have for modern English-speaking readers.

#811 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 08:37 AM:

Well, this is depressing. NPR reports on the proliferation of religious search engines--guaranteed not to disturb you by returning any results that aren't consistent with your already-made-up mind.

News flash for my fellow Christians: "What is truth?" was PONTIUS PILATE's line.

#812 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 01:42 PM:

It's not just the religious search engines that are tailoring their results to what they think you want to see. Google does it too, though they do it algorithmically based on past searches you've made, rather than by pre-determined filtering criteria.

I knew for a while they'd been doing this for signed-in users, but I hadn't realized until recently that they do it even if you're not signed in (or retaining their cookes). According to the article I've linked to, they also use your IP address (which can't be hidden) to look at past search history and guess likely interests.

#813 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 02:45 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom (812): [Google] also use[s] your IP address (which can't be hidden) to look at past search history and guess likely interests.

Shared computers, like library public-access computers, must confuse them greatly.

#814 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 03:31 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 813...

Computer to itself: "This person loves SF."
Computer to itself: "Wait. This person also hates SF."
Computer to itself: "Norman Spinrad is online again?"

#815 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 03:48 PM:

Serge #814:

I've always thought Amazon needed two sets of recommendations, one for most of the year, and one active only in the months before Christmas and my husband's birthday. Three-quarters of the year, I don't need to know about books on Thoreau.

#816 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 04:03 PM:

Mary Aileen #813: Shared computers, like library public-access computers, must confuse them greatly.

The Google search results would likely conflate job search info with porn. Useful for some, not so much for others.

#817 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 04:10 PM:

I didn't want to jump in with a "me too" until I had something else to post, but Xopher, Velma and Scraps - consider yourselves well thought of.

All information is contained in Making Light, right?

Alright. My friend is getting married in 20 days in Portland. Their plans had been to have a Jedi ceremony. Always have been. A friend told them a year ago that he was licensed to perform the ceremony, and told them yesterday that he wasn't, and that furthermore, they weren't issuing certifications anymore. I've done a quick google search, but only seem to find a place in New Zealand that will certify you if you're already licensed by the government to perform the ceremony. Now, I got married in a courthouse, so I have no idea what is involved in choosing a person to perform the ceremony otherwise, so I'm at a bit of a loss, but I figured - here are people who know fandom. What exactly is required, or is there any hope for her to find someone who either is already certified to perform the ceremony, or get somebody certified quickly enough that they'll be ready on Oct. 3?

Again, Portland, so I know there's a strong Oregon contingent here. If you can hook me up, there might be a box of pralines in your immediate future, straight from the French Quarter.

#818 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 04:37 PM:

Performing marriages in the US is controlled by state law, so there are about 50 answers (well, possibly some of them are quite similar).

Here in Minnesota, the state is quite friendly to people filing intent to perform marriages. Back in the 1980s, a number of friends got Universal Life Church certificates and filed based on those, but I don't think you actually need to "pretend" to be a minister to file at least these days (no insult intended to ULC ministers who DO take their calling seriously; my friends do not, and it's in that regard that I use "pretend"). Pamela and I were married by two ULC ministers; and Pamela has performed a few weddings herself (three come to mind immediately).

#819 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 04:48 PM:

Joan @ 815... Not even The Island of Doctor Thoreau?

#820 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 04:58 PM:

eclaire @817: a quick perusal of both oregon's marriage license instructions and universal life church's faq seems to imply that a ulc ordination should enable one to legally perform marriages in oregon. just make sure to put the physical address of the ulc on the marriage certificate, and not just the website; and the officiant should probably have an ordination credential, a letter of good standing or signed statements of ministry handy just in case the state decides to do research.

#821 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 05:05 PM:

addendum to 820: the ulc site i was looking at is monastery.org, based in seattle. if the putative officiant's ordination was not through that site, he may want to get re-ordained. ulc modesto apparently had some legal troubles and is no longer considered a church.

#822 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 05:06 PM:

Here's the marriage licensing information for Multnomah County (where Portland is located). They say a marriage can be officiated by

* A religious leader who is authorized by a religious congregation/organization. (This might need to be one that regularly meets in the state, so an out-of-state ULC-type ordination might or might not cut it. You should double-check this, though.)
* A County Clerk.
* An Oregon judge.
* An active Federal/Military judge.

The page I linked to links to a list of local county judges, with notes on their availability. If there's no suitable congregation the parties are affiliated with, you may want to start searching for a clerk or judge to officiate. (If necessary, I suppose this could be done separately from the big public ceremony.)

#823 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 05:57 PM:

I was negatively amused by the marriage licensing websites insistence (in CAPITAL LETTERS) that recent rule changes require the bride and groom both to show up in person - I guess they're checking that there's exactly one bride and one groom and not two brides or two grooms, and don't want anybody named "Pat" or "Lee" or "Terry" trying to sneak in with the wrong gender role?

A friend of mine used to be a ULC minister, and not only did weddings, but also held actual meetings where we'd talk about religion or philosophy or things in that space. (And it wasn't a "deduct the house as a church" tax thing, either.) Quakers don't have religious officials do weddings - the couple makes their vows with each other in front of the congregation. On the other hand, we do have clerks, whose job is to do clerical stuff and make announcements and such, and I think the clerk did bureaucratical stuff at the one Quaker wedding I've been to.

It looks like the religious official doesn't need to pre-register with the county, so once the pixels are dry on your ULC web page minister's license you should be good to go, even if the Jedi themselves are no longer certifying people and don't have an active congregation in Portland.

#824 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 09:18 PM:

The makers of high fructose corn syrup have decided to respond to public concerns about the health effects of their product.

By changing its name to "corn sugar".

*looks for a safe place to bang her head*

#825 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2010, 09:26 PM:

I recently officiated at a wedding ceremony where the actual wedding had taken place civilly beforehand. The ceremony appears to have felt like a real wedding to everyone involved. And it was a pretty wonderful thing to have been asked, and follow through.

There are legal aspects to marriage, and ceremonial ones, and they really don't have to happen simultaneously. Rather like comments on Making Light....

#826 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 01:01 AM:

Book-related news: David Thompson, the publicity manager at Murder by the Book in Houston, died unexpectedly on Monday. MBTB is primarily a mystery-specialty store, but they've been working to expand their selection of mystery/SF crossover books for the past few years, so this is a loss to fans of both genres.

#827 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 01:54 AM:

Bill Stewart: What meeting do you attend?

#828 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 04:05 AM:

Terry - I haven't been a regular attender in a while, but I occasionally go to the Palo Alto meeting on Colorado Ave. The one I spent the most time with was Shrewsbury meeting in New Jersey, and while I was living in the East Bay I went to Berkeley Meeting a few times, which I really liked. There was also a programmed meeting up in Walnut Creek which we visited a few times.

#829 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 04:14 AM:

IP Addresses are rather like your postal address. They're not hidden, they have to be on every packet to get it delivered, but we get nervous when somebody sets out to collect them without our knowledge, and maybe use them in creepy ways. In Europe, postal addresses are classed as Personal Data by various laws, which apply protections against some abuses of the data collection. They can't be freely traded by a company: there are rules to follow (not terribly onerous rules, but they are there).

Recently a court in Switzerland ruled that IP addresses counted as Personal Data, and hence a company that was tracking down the IP addresses of supposed file sharers was acting illegally. They hadn't followed the rules.

I have come across other companies besides Google which collect IP addresses, and set out to use them to identify people. They seem to class two different user accounts from the same IP address as being the same person. This is careless for all the same reasons as Google's analysis is--my IP address isn't fixed, though it will narrow me down to being a customer of a very large ISP in the UK. I don't know what difference it makes that I have NAT running on my router. And, knowing the history of some of the people running one of these companies, I seriously doubt they care about the legal niceties.

Data protection laws are one reason why using DNS records doesn't reveal my name and postal address. The Registrar in the UK knows who I am, They don't tell all and sundry what they know.

Sometimes, it feels as though I'm the one living in the respectable, civilised, world, and the USA is a weird outpost, a wild frontier still.

#830 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 10:18 AM:

Dave:

The usual line is that IP addresses are good enough personal identifiers to violate your privacy, but not good enough to use for anything requiring reliable identification of people or machines.

#831 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 11:11 AM:

A question about the Nook...

Winter isn't quite there, but before I know it, I'll be freezing my you-know-what while waiting for the bus to show up. Is it recommended to wrap the Nook inside something warm even if I keep it in my backpack? If so, maybe I should hire one of my knitter friends to make a mitten for the Nook.

#832 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 11:22 AM:

Open-Threadiness: I've been fostering a mom-cat and her ten kittens for the past week or so. Today, I was worried enough about one of the little ones that I bagged the four smallest (who are about 1/2 to 1/3 the size of the bigger kittens now), and brought them with me to work.

For the first two hours or so, they slept well. I ducked out of the office to run errands and came back to find a mewing kitten on the floor next to the box that holds the bag in which the kittens are supposed to remain.

Disaster averted, kitten fed (from the bottle of KMR), other kitten in bag also fed, the remaining two little ones are the smallest and weakest. One of these two is probably declining from hydrocephalus, and the other one at least took some formula.

I keep hoping no kitten will start mewing when the phone rings...sleeping kittens are sleeping.

#833 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 11:22 AM:

Open-thready de-lurkedness

I had a wonderful dream last night in which my car broke down in the middle of nowhere, and I hiked to a nearby farmhouse where I was greeted by Patrick and Teresa. They were gracious hosts, treated me to a lovely supper and let me peruse their bookshelves to my heart's content.

I remember being rather surprised that there hadn't been any mention on Making Light that the Nielsen Haydens had moved to rural Eastern Ontario...

#834 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 11:37 AM:

In answer to Serge's question, it really depends on how cold is cold - you might want to look in to the temperature sensitivity of eink, but I do not know off the top of my head. I would be somewhat more worried about the small LCD display in really cold conditions - and battery life will probably drop like a rock. At a guess.

And now, I am off to teach undergraduates about Drugs and the Brain at 9am. While making noises reminiscent of an angry elephant seal...

#835 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 01:03 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 834... Thanks. The LCD display is what I'm most concerned about. Winters in Albuquerque aren't as cold as those in the Land of Square Tires (aka Minnesota and thus named by a Minnesotan), but it does snow and bird baths will freeze. A warm Nook container might be a good idea.

#836 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 01:16 PM:

813 and 814, you don't need to have several users for that kind of confusion. Anyone collecting my browsing history will probably get mixed messages about my political views- out of all the blogs and sites I visit from time to time, which ones are in the mix for their train wreck value?

#837 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 02:57 PM:

Peer-reviewed research open threadiness:

This Orac post describes a scandal involving pharamceutical companies who funded ghostwriters to seed the medical literature with commentary articles that supported their economic interests, in this case encouraging hormone replacement therapy.

#838 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 03:09 PM:

Scraps and Velma:

Best wishes.

Serge @ 835:

A Nook cozy (a cozy Nook?) wouldn't keep it warm, as it shouldn't be generating heat to be trapped when it's off. You might want one to protect it anyway, if you stick it in your bag. Most consumer electronic devices tend to do well enough in cold conditions, provided cold isn't too, too far below freezing.

#839 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 03:17 PM:

Serge #835, KeithS #838:

How about a Nook nook?

#840 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 03:22 PM:

joann #839 — And for all those nook cozies and tea cozies and what-all cozies when they aren't in use, maybe you could keep them in a cozy cozy.

#841 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 03:26 PM:

joann @ 839:

Nook nook
Who's there?

No, I haven't got any farther with that.

#842 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 03:30 PM:

"It'd be neat to put the Nook inside a fake Book," said that fool of a Took.

#843 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 03:30 PM:

KeithS @841:

ePub
ePub who?
ePublishes lots of books

#844 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 03:33 PM:

On Arrakis, Nooks are a sideline of the watersellers who cry "Soo-soo sook!".

#846 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 04:15 PM:

Fragano #844:

Which probably makes it a good time for me to out myself as an idiot: it took me forty years, until last week in fact, to suddenly realize in a bolt from the blue just why Herbert called them "stillsuits".

Just call it a HyperLocal Thread Followup.

#847 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 05:54 PM:

Here I parachute into a long-running open thread, with the express purpose of giving you a link that blew me away: Propaganda

#848 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 06:09 PM:

Re: Ginger @832: good luck with the little ones. I'm pretty sure they're in most excellent hands. :)

Last year, I lost two kittens in two weeks (one a week after birth, the other a week after that) after their mom-cat died from delivery complications. (The remaining four kittens are now 12 days short of 18 months old. Yes, I still have them. Yes, I still have their half-sibs from mom-cat's previous litter. It's a long story.)

#849 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 06:22 PM:

Serge, #831, I believe that would be a nitten. (Don't you telecommute?)

#850 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 06:42 PM:

I would probably go for some standard neoprene case for the Nook; unless it gets much colder than I think it does where you are, you do not need much for it...

#851 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 06:55 PM:

A local radio chat show spent a whole hour yesterday interviewing William Gibson:

http://www.opb.org/thinkoutloud/shows/northwest-passages-william-gibson/

Good stuff.

Gibson's new novel is just delicious.

#852 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 07:42 PM:

John A. A., re Propaganda: the following stuck out to me immediately (which probably means I'm as susceptible to "the Devil has minions" as anyone else):

"They are a movement defined by their hatreds. They hate progress, and freedom, and choice, and culture, and music, and laughter, and women, and Christians, and Jews, and all Muslims who reject their distorted doctrines."

Of course, I don't think GWB was talking about the Republican's evangelical fundamentalist base, but that's all I could think of.

#853 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 08:03 PM:

Joann @839 How about a Nook nook?

I don't think this is as good as Nook nook, who's there? But it's stuck in my brain, so I'm going to pass it on to the rest of you.

With a nook nook here, and a nook nook there. Here a nook, there a nook, everywhere a nook nook...

#854 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 08:30 PM:

I was in a mall today, please don't ask why, and I swear I'm not making this up...they were putting up a Christmas tree in Macy's.

On September 15.

Collapse of civ., sign of the apoc., end of world AWKI, &c.

#855 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 08:30 PM:

Hyperlocal News Brief: World's Most Wonderful Daughter (Central CT Div), 15, Satisfied with Thai Birthday Dinner; Thrilled with New Graphics Tablet

#856 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 08:45 PM:

Marilee @ 849... that would be a nitten. (Don't you telecommute?)

I do teleconnute, which allows me to give the finger to the mattering mabobs of megativity at the office.

#857 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 09:11 PM:

Xopher: I thought it was bad when Christmas started before Halloween, but now they're putting the Solstice before the Equinox!

#858 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 09:16 PM:

Serge, I will knit you a knook cozy, if you like. As long as you don't think I am a kook.

Hyperlocal News: discrepancies in analytic equation tracked down and hammered into shape. Student hopes to finish model and move on to the next one. Student places celebratory book order.

#859 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 09:42 PM:

Xopher: Wow, they start Thanksoweenmas earlier every year.

#860 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 10:12 PM:

#833, SylvieG:
"I had a wonderful dream last night in which my car broke down in the middle of nowhere, and I hiked to a nearby farmhouse where I was greeted by Patrick and Teresa. They were gracious hosts, treated me to a lovely supper and let me peruse their bookshelves to my heart's content.

"I remember being rather surprised that there hadn't been any mention on Making Light that the Nielsen Haydens had moved to rural Eastern Ontario..."


Ah, you wandered into the alternate universe where Patrick & Teresa ended up as Canadians. (Not that far-fetched a possibility, with Patrick's semi-Canadian background.)

#861 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 10:17 PM:

Syd @848: Not only were they in my hands, they were on my lap, all over my arms, under my chin, and every possible place they could crawl to. Good thing I wore dark colors today, so the dried milk powder could really be seen!

They woke several times in the afternoon, mewing insistently until fed, cleaned, pooped/peed, and returned to their little den. All of us -- kittens and I -- were very glad to return home and see the rest of the family. I hope they got enough supplemental feedings today to give them more energy against their bigger siblings, who I think will be sub-fostered with someone else for a bit.

I can still feel the little claws on my face..

#862 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 10:22 PM:

Mycroft, #852: You too? My brain immediately made the two substitutions necessary to make it a completely accurate description of the Avengelical movement. (Namely, switch the positions of "Muslims" and "Christians".)

Of course, it's long been obvious that one of the primary right-wing tactics is "accuse your opponent of doing, or wanting to do, precisely what you do or intend to do yourself."

Xopher, #854: Our local JoAnn Fabrics is already playing Christmas music. I bitched, loudly; the store clerks agreed that this was a Really Stupid Idea, and I told them to pass it up the line that customers were complaining.

Now mind you, a crafts store has more reason than most to be putting out Christmas stuff this early; there's significant lead time involved in making handmade gifts or decorations, and I don't have a problem with Christmas-y supplies in September at such a place. The music, not so much -- at least, not while the Halloween display is still in the front window!

#863 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 10:33 PM:

abi @ 843 and Fragano Ledgister @ 844:

Very nice. Also, glad I wasn't drinking anything.

OtterB @ 853:

Old Macdonald had a bookstore,
G N G N D.

What? The disemvoweller had already been, so I had to make do.

#864 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 11:40 PM:

Bill Stewart: That's the meeting I occasionally attend. It's only about two miles, as the roads go, from my house.

#865 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2010, 11:43 PM:

Lila 857: Xopher: I thought it was bad when Christmas started before Halloween, but now they're putting the Solstice before the Equinox!

Let's see, 'equuinox' means "night of horses."* Can't think of any way to make 'solstice' mean "cart," or we'd be home free.
___
*No, it doesn't, just work with me here.

#866 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 01:16 AM:

Some punning fool one clever probably named his cart 'Solstice' because it followed behind his horse, in the night (maybe he was doing late night deliveries; maybe he was carousing and slept in the cart and relied on the horse to get him home).

#867 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 01:21 AM:

Ginger @861: The claws! The teeny tiny claws at the tips of their teeny monkey paws! That was actually one of the things I noticed first, was that those hairless paws with non-retractable claws looked like they belonged to monkeys instead of kittens. I shall send the healthy-kitten mojo their way re: the nutrition boost, etc.

Dried milk powder? Hmmm. My vet started the babies on canned kitten formula...and after mom-cat died, one of the techs took the litter home every night for their every-two-hours feedings.

I tried keeping them with me. I really did. But in the 66 hours I had them--picked up the Wednesday after they were born because I had three days in a row I didn't have to be Elsewhere--I got four hours' sleep, one meal, one snack, and grossly insufficient water intake, and was so fried I didn't know which end was up. And it was when I was taking them back for (what was intended to be) overnight boarding that I noticed one of the runts was going non-responsive. Poor little girl died three hours later...and I was so concerned that, in my exhaustion, I'd missed some sign that might have resulted in her survival, had I caught it, I was actually petrified to risk taking them home again until after they were weaned.

Guilt feelings even 18 months later, you ask? Even after the vet assured me that I'd done everything right? Is it that obvious? ***sigh***

#868 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 01:23 AM:

Re: myself @867... I tend to ramble. Sorry about that.

#869 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 06:58 AM:

Allan Beatty #859: Heh, I'll have to try that one at my local supermarket (already pushing Halloween candy, but I haven't seen Christmas stuff yet).

#870 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 10:10 AM:

Political season open threadiness:

I'm noting that slactivist, though a clever guy, may not be the best source of political predictions--his prediction w.r.t Mike Castle was just a *little* off.

#871 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 10:17 AM:

Allan #859:

Over time, all the stores will start putting up the Christmas trees and starting the music earlier and earlier. Labor day will be the start of Christmas shopping season, then July 4, then Easter.

Eventually, our descendants will occasionally wonder why all large stores traditionally have blinking lights, pretend snow, and a fake tree in the middle of the store at all times, and play that weird, traditional commercial music talking about sleigh rides and snow and Santa. But when they look it up online, they'll immediately head off to snopes, convinced the answer in Wikipedia is some kind of elaborate gag.

#872 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 11:08 AM:

Syd @ 867: The dried stuff was on my clothing; the kittens got the wet stuff. Those little monkey paws are something else, aren't they? They walked all over me, leaving formula footprints. I swear I can still smell it, even though I washed up and everything.

This morning I went in for the daily head count and Mom-feeding; all ten were in the new cat bed I'd bought. All asleep together, in one adorable pile of squee. Some of them are now rolling onto their backs to stretch, which leads inevitably to my scritching their tummies, and they just grab on to my hand in the cutest way. I plan to send out the happiest little bestest-socialized healthy young kits, so I must engage in the scritching of tummies as often as possible.

As for your loss, I understand. Keep in mind that you (like me) are not cat-ma and that Mother Nature has Her ways. We can only do our best, and I suspect your little one didn't have any clear cut indicators before she went non-responsive. It can happen that fast. You did your best for her, although it feels like second-best. It's a very familiar feeling to us in this profession.

I keep counting the kittens because I'm afraid I'll lose the littlest one, but so far she/he has continued to survive and beat the odds.

#873 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 11:33 AM:

Aww. Kitten Pile of Epic Squee!

On a related feline topic, my Totoro (a 15lb cat) was sleeping on me last night - but I did not notice he was there until I tried to get out of bed to hit the alarm and noticed that it was more difficult to do so. Kitty was unamused to have his mattress move under paw.

#874 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 11:44 AM:

I've never dealt with kittens that young. I keep thinking that I should work really hard on the photography the next time there are kittens in the house (we're down to 4!). But they'd be of weaned age already (none of our current cats are capable of reproducing). Well, I suppose we might rescue somebody out of the back yard unexpectedly (happened 5 or so times before, though we didn't keep any of those).

#875 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 12:03 PM:

Oh Hi, Abi (at 625), yes, I am that Older. Mr Older and I are particularly interested in local action. We much prefer to give locally, not that there's anything wrong with giving to larger organizations and projects.

So although we are very pleased to see the larger campaign proceeding, we gave our pittance to the imam of the mosque in our town, and received from him a very nice letter.

And by the way, have you seen in the news the excellent doings of Jacob Isom, or as we call him, Jacob Awesome? The person who snagged the lighter is still unknown, but he is also awesome. Here's a reference: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/09/14/dude-wheres-my-quran/, and here's a follow-up: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/09/15/your-daily-dose-of-awesome/

#876 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 12:07 PM:

Did anybody say 'cats'? How about the Gods of Olympuss?

#877 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 01:04 PM:

Yo Macdonald: what do you know about Common Simple Emergencies by Buttaravoli & Stair?

#878 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 02:16 PM:

862, Lee: Yeah, me too. And I read that line first as "and all Christians, Jews, and Muslims who reject their distorted doctrines." Only the second time, after I read it again, did I need to do the C<=>M swap.

#879 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 02:53 PM:

Fresh off his latest Hugo win, Frederik Pohl blogs about Newt Gingrich:

" . . .there was a time when I really thought that if politicians would get in the habit of reading science fiction for fun instead of sticking to, say, the shoot-’em-up Westerns preferred by Dwight Eisenhower, we’d have better government. But then along came Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and shot that speculation down in flames."

http://www.thewaythefutureblogs.com/2010/09/newt-gingrich/

#880 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 03:24 PM:

I find something faintly amusing, or sadly appropriate, or something, about seeing Frederik Pohl -- fresh off his latest Hugo win -- blogging about people griping about the winner of a big competition not really having been eligible for it.

#881 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 05:13 PM:

albatross @870.

Did you read the very last sentence of that post?

J Homes.

#882 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 06:18 PM:

Ginger @832: Open-Threadiness: I've been fostering a mom-cat and her ten kittens

My local cat-rescuer asks if by chance mom's name is Clementine?

#883 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 06:47 PM:

Syd @868: Re: myself @867... I tend to ramble. Sorry about that.

The little furry folk, they hooks into our hind brains, they does. I still agonize over stuff that happened years ago.

#884 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 07:46 PM:

Xopher, #650, a friend went to the bead show in Arizona and didn't see any, but she suggested steampunk fashion. The jewelry tag gives you a lot of jewelers, but this guy makes things like watches and pendants and maybe he could make the triptych for you.

#885 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 08:15 PM:

Hyper-But-Not-Local-To-Me-News: Tornado in NYC? WTF?
Storm hits Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens with 100mph winds, one person killed, lotsa trees and power lines down. Daily News. Time - Video.

#886 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 08:39 PM:

Albatross at #871: If only Snopes were as popular as Wikipedia. Actually read, that is, not just as an incantation in forwarded email: "This checks out on Snopes...."

#887 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 09:26 PM:

Jacque @882: What an excellent name! I shall propose it as her official name at once.

The four largest kittens, one brown tabby, one all black, and two mostly-black-but-calico, have gone to another foster. She'll hold on to them for a few weeks, and we'll see if the remaining six can do some serious growing. Even Tina (the teeniest kitten) is fairly strong for her size, and drank formula before dinner.

The all-black kitten had a hissy fit when the dogs stared too long at her. Boyhowdy, there's nothing cuter than a two-week old kitten attempting to glare at an adult Lab. Everyone else ignored the dogs.

#888 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 09:31 PM:

Bill @885, we actually had a tornado touch down in the Bronx a few weeks back, so if it turns out we had another today (they've been saying things like "possible tornado" and "tornado-like storm"), that'll have been two this year.

#889 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 09:47 PM:

Nonproductive aside, but it occasionally strikes me that it would be a Service to All Newcomers if there were an Official History of the Fluorodramasphere...

Or, well, at least it would satisfy my insatiable curiosity for a few seconds. Also, I am amused by the notion of a re-enactment guild.

#890 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 09:59 PM:

/me invests in goggles, capes and high-altitude balloon commodities futures.

#891 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 11:11 PM:

Avram, thanks for that. I mostly came here tonight to see that everyone is okay and got caught up in comments about other stuff.

It worries me (who lives in what could be Tornado Central) because I know not all of you-all flourispherians who live in NYC lived in more,... midwestern places before.

Best wishes to all in regards the bad weather,

#892 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2010, 11:27 PM:

Twice this week my lil' LiveJournal blog has seen someone post a nonsensical comment that has the word 'Snape' in it. Two different comments in two different threads by two different users.

Anybody else had that happen?

#893 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 12:16 AM:

Serge @ 892: Did the phrases sound like incantations against the Dark Arts?

#894 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 12:39 AM:

Serge @876: Do the Gods of Olympuss happen to need a Goddess?

#895 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 01:07 AM:

Serge: I got one on my LJ that had nothing to do with my stolen moped, which was the topic at hand, and which went "i? completely agree. i luv severus. annelieseB" Haven't deleted it yet, because I've been trying to figure out what in blazes is going on... If nobody here has any ideas I'll delete the little darling.

#896 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 01:36 AM:

I got a comment on an old entry in my LJ that said:
"Everyone s saying that they always? knew he was the good guy. But you can t say you didn t doubt him a bit when he killed Dumbledore. Because by that point no one really knew which side Snape was on. JackieSnape80"

...and in the email that notified me of the comment, appended to it were two dozen Russian porn links. For some reason the links didn't show up in the LJ itself. I deleted the comment, flagging it as spam.

#897 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 01:40 AM:

The Snape comments going around on LJ are a spam thing. You can delete 'em freely; they've been mentioned lots of places.

#898 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 02:04 AM:

re Lj: Do you get the notices in Plain Text, or with HTML engaged.

because I get lots of bot posts, and I can see the places they have scripted hidden links.

#899 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 08:52 AM:

re LJ: Sounds like the sort of spambots we are getting on the ALA Copyright Advisory Network, where I spend far more time removing spam than answering questions. They seem to take some word or phrase from earlier in the discussion, toss out a semi-grammatical sentence or two using them and very remotely related to the discussion, then append a bunch of links. They almost sound like some vastly underpaid person is practicing English composition. Very tedious to deal with.

#900 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 10:37 AM:

I got some kind of comment appended yesterday to one of my recent LJ posts, where the notification included a bunch of porny-looking links which didn't appear in the comment itself. Broken HTML, I think, or something not supported in my LJ. The comment had some peculiar text which I think was intended as a flag for tracking via search engine. I reported the poster as a bot and the comment as spam when I deleted it.

#901 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 10:41 AM:

Thanks, everybody, about the LJ spam. The language didn't involve the Dark Arts although the 2nd post said "I LOVE YOU". I didn't believe it though because it misspelled my name. Humph!

#902 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 10:44 AM:

Syd @ 894... Actually, Olympuss already has a goddess - the smaller kitty on the left.

#903 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 10:51 AM:

Here are a couple of rallys I can get behind.


Keep Fear Alive

But never forget -- "Reason" is just one letter away from "Treason."


Restore Sanity

Think of our event as Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement...

#904 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 11:59 AM:

Oh, and this became one of my favorite cartoons:


They're here

#905 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 12:23 PM:

Tom Levinson's spin on the pope's remarks seems to miss the obvious point that "atheistic extremism" != "atheism".

#907 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 01:27 PM:

So I answered a job listing on Craigslist, for a company that does online stuff. They replied that they wanted me to hit one link to get my credit score, to use in the application process, and hit another link to play a "soulmate" game so I could share my thoughts about how it could be improved as part of the application process. This leaves me thinking: are these guys for real or not? I have never gotten an application that looked like that before.

#908 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 01:34 PM:

And then: Future librarians go Gaga. Watch for Nancy Pearl and the Codex Seraphinianus!

#909 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 01:40 PM:

#906 Tom Whitmore

Another Library Disco Hit.

O man, I have tears in my eyes. That's not an exaggeration. What these people do to keep serving their communities deserve Medals of Honor.

This was a really slick, professional piece of video work. I particularly appreciated the map with stars for each location of the system's branches, a run down of who in the video staffed where -- and that they evidently included the drivers and all-around muscle guys too.

The one dancing bare chested in blue shorts while loading the van ... may I say MmmmmMM! Or is that sexist? If so, I retract and hang my head.

Thank you.

Love, C.

#910 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 01:51 PM:

The Lady Gaga librarian's video went viral among our communities earlier this year.

I love libraries. I love librarians. I love library workers and staff.

Why, yes, I 'r a librarian myself. My peeps, she says proudly. :) This is who I am really, in answer to, "Where are you from, really?" being discussed on another current ML topic thread.

Love, c.

Love, c.

#911 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 01:51 PM:

The Lady Gaga librarian's video went viral among our communities earlier this year.

I love libraries. I love librarians. I love library workers and staff.

Why, yes, I 'r a librarian myself. My peeps, she says proudly. :) This is who I am really, in answer to, "Where are you from, really?" being discussed on another current ML topic thread.

Love, c.

Love, c.

#912 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 02:22 PM:

Eric @907, that sounds extremely creepy to me. I wouldn't click those links on any computer owned by anyone I actually cared about.

#913 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 02:27 PM:

The thing I've done, on my Lj(and I wonder about the twitter/FB protocols being established) to reduce spam is to make anon comments screened.

Some spammer's have gone to the effort to make an account, but I report them, and they don't last long.

#914 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 03:20 PM:

Benjamin @719 - I tried this recipe, and... well...

my sheets are smaller than the ones the recipe is calibrated for.

And while the taste was exactly what I'd been desiring, lo! these many years, the top was a bit... strange. Rather than being a wafer-thin texture layer atop the gooey-ness, it was almost a mini-meringue plaque of 2 mm thick, and had come away from the base almost completely. (Oh well, just means I don't take them out in public...) So, I'm guessing, I might have an oven that's running too hot, and the next time I try this recipe, I'll go for a slower oven. (We've got an import from Britain here in Belgium, where the gas pressure, while within tolerance, is slightly higher than in the UK.)

Oh, yeah, and with the leftover? I did some reckoning, found another pan, tossed in what seemed like enough flour to bring it up to the equivalent 3x flour mentioned at #736 by Idgecat, plus some extra cocoa and... (small voice) tossed that pan into the second oven.

The "meringue" effect was slightly less pronounced, but I didn't dare lower the temperature much, so we still have the flaky top. But both sets have that chewy effect for the interior, and will be so-o-o-o-o enjoyable with some ice cream. For the next several days.

Crazy(Privilege, thine name is "owner of a stove with two ovens!")Soph

#915 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 05:59 PM:

Terry Karney @ 913... The thing I've done, on my Lj(...) to reduce spam is to make anon comments screened

Me, I had something less likely to block real one-time visitors while being quite efficient in dealing with spammers - I had TexAnne shoo them away.

#916 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 06:00 PM:

Yep. Sounds like your oven is too hot - the top layer is going to be very fragile (at least, it has been the two times I have made them), but it should [mostly] stay attached to its fudge-like substrate. Keep a close eye on them while they bake - the dry top is the sign - and even if they look done at ~20-25 min rather than 30, pull them.

Glad you enjoyed it.

#917 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 06:56 PM:

Marilee 884: Thanks! That's a great lead.

#918 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 07:05 PM:

If I still lived on the East Coast, I'd be going:

http://www.rallytorestoresanity.com/

I really hope the attendance is good.

#919 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 07:22 PM:

I report that surgery, a week in the hospital, then surgery to add an infusion port will knock ten pounds of flab off--but you won't feel virtuous for having done so. And your cats will insist on sleeping on top of the port and will complain bitterly if you attempt to stop them from doing it.

#920 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 08:27 PM:

Bruce: ow. I'm sorry.

#921 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 09:01 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II, #919, not fun! I was lucky when I came home with an IV and central line in for a month (nurse checked/changed the IV in the mornings, I checked it in the nights). The cats didn't care about it. They weren't sure I was me, though.

#922 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 09:03 PM:

Bruce #919: Yeow, indeed! Does the port happen to be at their "usual spot", or are they noticing its presence?

#923 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 09:34 PM:

On a different subject: the nanny software at work is expanding its reach, and this morning it discovered (between 8 and 9 am) that ML is a blog, and is blocking it.

#924 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 11:14 PM:

Ginger @887: What an excellent name! I shall propose it as her official name at once.

Well, splendid! But, um, er....

This was actually an inquiry, not a suggestion. The reason for the inquiry is that my local cat-rescue maven, when I mentioned your report of teh itteh bitteh kitteh committeh, was suddenly inquisitive because, it seems, one of her cohorts was rescuing and nurturing a mom cat of the name Clementine, who also had ten bebbehs, and since litters of ten are fairly rare (so she tells me) she wondered if it was by any chance the same mom-of-ten.

Given that you-all are not local to the Denver metro area (to the best of my understanding), I figured not, but thought I'd ask.

But maybe, by collapsing the Heisenberg Probability Wave, now they are.

This is terribly confusing....

#925 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 11:19 PM:

*Sigh*

I crossed the street this evening, to the big hayfield that Intel keeps as a tax dodge. It's bordered on two sides with walls of very productive blackberry bushes.

I did this on Sunday, and easily got a bowlful, or at least as much as I could have for breakfast for three days.

Today . . . a soggy mess. Mildew covering many of the promising bunches. With rain forecast for the next three days, little chance of the rest to properly ripen.

Fall sucks.

#926 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 11:25 PM:

Jacque @924: Ah, I see. No, not the same ten-kittehs -- but since Momma is a calico, "Clementine" is an excellent name for her.

One of my friends suggested "Haka" for the all-black kitten. This is the same one who hissed at the dogs, so I think this one shares that Maori fighting spirit. I've tentatively named the littlest one "Tina".

Here's a link to some professional photos taken a day or so before I got them. The big ones got bigger; the little ones are just about the same size.

#927 ::: Idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 11:25 PM:

crazysoph @ 914

yup -- too hot. Using ovens other than my own, I've sometimes had to lower the temp to as far as 300 (my mom's oven, it runs noticeably hot) or start checking them for doneness as early as 15 minutes.

#928 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2010, 11:32 PM:

Ginger @926: Dear Ghu! Those guys aren't hardly bigger than newborn guinea pigs! Yeti (O He of the Immensely Hugeness) was 75g at birth. These guys don't look like they're much over 100?

#929 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 12:07 AM:

Xopher, Marilee: thanks.

David Harmon: Yeow, indeed! Does the port happen to be at their "usual spot", or are they noticing its presence?

Our younger cat, Kaja (named as such because of a deal with Kaja Foglio that she'd quit apologizing to me when they had to order their cat Bruce onto the floor when I came to visit in return for my naming my next cat after her), has always felt that when I lie down she's entitled to lie on my chest. We had to renegotiate this when she stood on the port the day after it was installed: I didn't know if I should scream or throw up, and she had no idea she could fly. She's not taking to the new "left side only" rule very well: she'll settle there but not without ten minutes spent in attempts to use my entire upper chest as a cushion. If the needle's not in I can just leave a pillow on top and that's fine, but this is a needle day and I'm not going to have her weight on top of that while it's in the port...

#930 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 12:17 AM:

Ginger @926: SQUEE!!!!! And photos 36/37, with the feets and the skritchable belly! And...and... ***goes off to squee at photos some more***

I am not the best of photographers, but I do wish I hadn't let that stop me from taking more pictures of Phantom and her litters when they were little...

#931 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 12:39 AM:

Posted without comment, other than perhaps the author needs to find Making Light.

#932 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 12:45 AM:

Billy Bob Neck shows that Rachel Maddow is a lesbian vampire. Yes, it's intended as satire. But it almost doesn't seem like it.

#933 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 01:32 AM:

open threadiness: how would you translate "real life" into latin? technically veritas might do it, but that primarily just means truth. i think it should be "vera vita", but every single translator i can find says "verum vita" instead. is gender agreement not required, or is that a known error in online latin translation?

#934 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 03:13 AM:

More open-threadiness: the genesis of the term cat vacuuming.

What can I say? I got curious.

#935 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 03:18 AM:

Open thread 147 is now, well, um, open.

(But thank you, Linkmeister, for that piece of fanhistory. I did not know that.)

#936 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 04:07 AM:

crazysoph@914: The recipe from Maida Heatter that I referred to earlier has a thick crust like that; I always thought it was a feature.

#937 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2010, 05:46 AM:

Scraps: GoodThoughts going out for Velma for a quick recovery.

#938 ::: Stefan Jones sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2010, 07:27 PM:

Ignore, delete, ban.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.