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April 23, 2011

Open thread 157
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 02:09 PM *

Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamourous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
—Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies

Extensions? Additions?

Back to Open thread 156.

Comments on Open thread 157:
#1 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:21 PM:

Awesome? Awful?

#2 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:33 PM:

Tolkien's elves really originated from Norse mythology, not from the nasty Fair Folks of England.

#3 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:37 PM:

Eleves are for Eleveneses... best to eat them promptly.

#4 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:40 PM:

This thread is dedicated to the elves who drink safe tea.
(Because elfin safe tea is very important in these litigious times.)

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:46 PM:

"Film at Elven!"

#6 ::: Branko Collin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Elves are French?

#7 ::: Tracey ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:52 PM:

No, I think Pterry's description is pretty much perfect.

#8 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 02:55 PM:

Brand new art from Bill "Calvin & Hobbes" Watterson. Painting and story at the link — and if you're a Richard Thompson fan, the story's for you too.

#9 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:00 PM:

Elves are appealing. They create peels.

No. Sorry. I'm going to be totally useless at this game. I never "got" elves. Read plenty about them in a variety of mythos, mind you. But, like zombies, vampires and star athletes, their appeal escapes me.

#10 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:08 PM:

Elves are coquettish; they make small cookies.

#11 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:08 PM:

Elves are fabulous. They create fables.

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:12 PM:

Coming soon on the Skiffy Channel...
"Elves in Memphis"!!!

#13 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:12 PM:

Elves are incredible. They don't extend credit.

#14 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:17 PM:

Elves are invincible. They don't like Leonardo.

#15 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:27 PM:

OK, so what do you do if you've inadvertantly offended an elf?

BTW, this is not a frivolous question....

#16 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Elves are serious. They exude serum.

#17 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Elves are impervious. Their sex lives are totally vanilla.

#18 ::: Hakan ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:29 PM:

Elves are tasty, especially with BBQ sauce.

#19 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:30 PM:

Elves are rambunctious, but otherwise don't care much for Sly Stallone's work.

#20 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:33 PM:

Elves are impetuous. They don't keep pets.

#21 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:34 PM:

Elves are stupendous but rarely in stupors.

#22 ::: Branko Collin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:36 PM:

Elves are supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, though their friends call them super.

#23 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:37 PM:

Elves are insouciant, preferring bud to Bud.

#24 ::: Branko Collin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:37 PM:

Elves are not twee, or they wouldn't be elves.

#25 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:40 PM:

Elves are eerie. They have long, pointy ears. But they think they're superior.

#26 ::: Branko Collin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:41 PM:

Elves are terrific, they inspire Terries.

#27 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:41 PM:

Elves are regal. They collect royalties.

#28 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:41 PM:

#24: But if they are not twee, why do they live in tweehouses?

#29 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:45 PM:

Elf a loaf is better than none.

#30 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:53 PM:

Elves has left the building.

#31 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:54 PM:

Elfis is everywhere. Elfis is everything...

#32 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 03:55 PM:

Crud! That wasn't there when I previewed.

#33 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:04 PM:

Mark Hammill played an elf in "Wizards".

#34 ::: An Infinitude of Tortoises ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:08 PM:

Elves are clichéd. Yes, they are French.

#35 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:11 PM:

Elves are antidisestablishmentarianist. They have no idea what it means, either.

#36 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:15 PM:

"I am not French!"
- Legolas

#37 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:15 PM:

Dwarves are instructive. They build structures.
Dwarves are bold. They have thick outlines.
Dwarves are iron-willed. They will iron anything.
Dwarves are ferrous. They like large, slowly rotating wheels.
Dwarves are sensible. They can be sensed.
Dwarves are fundamental. They have fundaments.

Gnomes are gnomic.

#38 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:18 PM:

Elves are insolent. They have padded shoes.

#39 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:20 PM:

Elves are amazing. If you manage to placate them, they may let you out of the maze.

#40 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:21 PM:

Elven are odd. Otherwise they'd be even.

#41 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:22 PM:

Dwarves are learned. One half Lear, one half Ned.
Dwarves are artificial. They make artifacts.
Dwarves are artisanal. They are made one at a time.
Dwarves are deep. They totally get it, man.

Druids are hallowed. Everywhere they go, people shout "Hallow!" at them.

#42 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:28 PM:

f lvs r Frnch, Dwrvs r Wlsh. Mnng, drnkng nd fghtng?

[Cleaned up at poster's request -- Abi]

#43 ::: An Infinitude of Tortoises ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Evles are contraterrene. They truly can't stand Pratchett.

(And they are too French -- from right there in the Parisian suburbs!)

#44 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 04:46 PM:

To paraphrase the famous dead queen: Elves are amusing, dragons are awful, dwarves are artificial.

#45 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 05:10 PM:

from 156: re dogs. Any dog I've ever dealt with who wasn't hostile, I've managed to assert "pack dominance" over. This includes occasionally reasserting it when they are being obstreperous. I tend to prefer dogs in the 65-100 lbs range.

I have arms, and thumbs, I can upend them and have my hands on their throat while growling in their ear before they really know what's happening.

I will second (at least) clicker training. I've used it on horses, cats, dogs and people. I've seen it done to fish and chickens. Things you would not expect to trainable, are.

Things you didn't know you were training can be hard to untrain.

"Don't Shoot The Dog" is a very good place to start.

#46 ::: salixulon ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Re #45, "Things you would not expect to trainable, are."

Elves are trainable. They can ride trains.

#47 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 05:44 PM:

Elves can be stored, if they are shelved.
Elves are not vast, but only half so.

Pixies are happy. They are pixilated.
Pixies are flighty. They fly around a lot.
Pixies are trainable. They usually go by coach.
Pixies have fortitude. They're especially good at building round towers.
Pixies are determined. No superimposed quantum states for them.

#48 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 05:45 PM:

salixulon @ 46:

Snap! Great minds.

#49 ::: An Infinitude of Tortoises ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 05:49 PM:

Elves are hirsute. They're into women's business wear.
Elves are Boolean. Their culinary excellence is renowned.
Elves are cantankerous. They can suffer sudden reversals of fortune.
Elves are hoary. They ... well, let's just say they get around.
Elves are antithetical. They're not at all dogmatic.
Elves are far-fetched. They hail from the Baby Boom Galaxy (by way of France).
Elves are dissolute. They'll give ya the finger.
Elves are lame. They are silken & shiny!
Elves are besotted. They seldom stand.

#50 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 06:00 PM:

In re #8: To avoid confusion, the Richard Thompson Kip W. is talking about isn't the Richard Thompson who many Making Light readers will think of first--he's the cartoonist who draws Cul de Sac. But he is to the daily newspaper comic strip what the other Richard Thompson is to folk-rock.

#51 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 06:16 PM:

Elves are antinomian. They dislike gnomes.
Gnomes are delving. They de-elf wherever they go.
Dwarves believe in moderation. They dispatch trolls on sight.

Kobolds are horrendous. They rend hoes.

Witches are wicked. They conduct liquids.

#52 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 06:28 PM:

Spot the references to Beau Geste in Doctor Who...

#53 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 06:43 PM:

Elves are easily bored, being made of soft stuff.
Elves are hierarchical; they worship at the topmost ark of the covenant.
Elves are inflammable, which means either that they burn well or that they don't burn at all, but no one knows which.

✡ Yes, I know there's only one. That makes it the topmost, right?

♂ Have you heard about the third moon of Mars that was just discovered? Because it's in such a low orbit, it's been named Bottomos. rimshot!

#54 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 06:45 PM:

From a grade-B Lovecraftian spinoff of the 80's I think it was...
"Despite all that had happened, we managed to maintain control over our elves". The author meant "ourselves"...

#55 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 06:50 PM:

Beau Geste had a sister named Shirley U. Geste.

#56 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 06:58 PM:

Elves are tautological. They beget elves.

#57 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 07:03 PM:

Wesley @50, thanks for the clarification. I just thought he was incredibly talented and versatile.

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 07:09 PM:

"Come on, Abe! What are these things?"
"Carcharadon Carcharias."
"English, English."
"They're, um... tooth fairies."
"No. Black Forest, 3rd Century. They feed mostly on calcium. Bones, skin, organs... But they do usually go after the teeth first. Hence the name tooth fairies."

#59 ::: Branko Collin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 07:12 PM:

@55, Erik Nelson: they ran an inn together and believed in truth in advertising?

@56, Keith Kisser: elves are recursive, they refer to them elves. (Elveselves and so on.)

#60 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 07:16 PM:

Elves sit on mushrooms. They are fungible.

#61 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 07:17 PM:

Do elves repeat themselves? Very well, they repeat themselves.
(They are large. They contain multitudes.)

#62 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 07:24 PM:

Dwarves are underrated. There are only seven of them.

#63 ::: Marc Mielke ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 07:53 PM:

Elves are inflammable. They are flammable.

#64 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 07:55 PM:

Elves are 'Ellish. It says so on the package.

#65 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 07:58 PM:

Now there's full green and truly honest leaf
on both our maples, so we say the spring
has really come and hearts may duly sing
of happy changes and complete relief;
for though we know that every joy is brief
and what hard messages each day may bring
for this short time, at least, some bells should ring
allowing us forgetfulness of grief.
What we each know is not all that is known
beneath the sun, of that, at least, I'm sure.
There's more to life than simple blood and bone,
nor is the world one giant ghastly tomb;
for see: the rose and iris are in bloom.

#66 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 10:25 PM:

Beau Geste had a sister named Shirley U. Geste.
I'm not gesteing... and don't call me Shirley.

Elves are appalling... I might be adopted.

#67 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 10:28 PM:

Saw Source Code today. A really well done "consistent made up science" movie.

The gimmick was both more interesting, and more believable, than that of The Adjustment Bureau. Also, I liked the romance in Source Code better.

#68 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 10:37 PM:

Posting again near the beginning of this open thread instead of far-ish down the last one ...

Anyone for a Gathering of Light at Wiscon in Madison, WI, the weekend of May 26-30?

#69 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 10:53 PM:

Elliott @68 - This is the first time in years I won't be at Wiscon. Naturally, this is the year there is a Gathering of Light. I may brood about this, or I may try to convince myself to run down to Madison for the day. Time will tell.

#70 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 11:05 PM:

Terry Karney @45 - One of the best weeks of my life was spent in Hot Springs, Arkansas, clicker training chickens. It was truly an amazing, transformative experience. I have trained a beta fish, dogs, cats, pre-verbal children, and seen others work with horses, llamas, sheep (which are actually dumber than chickens, which I had not previously believed possible) and parrots. It's powerful stuff.

#71 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 11:29 PM:

Open thready interesting comment on why health care doesn't work like a normal market in terms of controlling prices. (Quick summary: a small fraction of people spend most of the money (healthy people taking their kids to the doctor for ear infections can bargain like Sam Walton, and it won't have much effect on medical cost inflation), that small fraction is generally too sick to do much price comparison or bargaining, and the costs are usually so high they couldn't really make much difference anyway.)

#72 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2011, 11:45 PM:

albatross @71: Add in that the way the game is currently set up, almost no provider can tell you what their 'cash' price would be for anything.

When we were gearing up for childbirth, we found out our insurance wouldn't cover a warm tub for pain relief (an 'aquadural'), though our hospital had them. I called up to ask how much it'd cost -- if low hundreds, we were willing to pay out of pocket for the improvement in quality of experience.

I spent twenty minutes on the phone being bounced around, and nobody could give me a price quote. "It depends who your insurance is," said they. "Doesn't matter, they won't pay for it," said I, at which point they got more confused and transferred me. Literally nobody in their billing department was willing to quote me even a ballpark figure.

In the end, we had to go with conventional, drug-based pain management, because we couldn't find out if it was going to be $300 or $6000 to pay the hospital to roll in, fill up, run, empty, and clean the tub that would help me avoid an epidural.

#73 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 12:35 AM:

albatross @ 71 -

Thanks for that link. It's an excellent explanation.

#74 ::: Ariella ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 01:06 AM:

Serge @58: I want to read that one!

#75 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 01:11 AM:

Another post makes the same point that the one albatross linked to in #71 does, with an additional fillip:

That’s why a voucher program for Medicare, which will shift an increasing share of those inevitable costs onto the elderly themselves, can fairly be categorized as a 100 percent estate tax or death tax. People under 55 need to know that if the plan crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan were passed, most of them will never have a cent to leave to their children. It will all go to the health care industry to support the American way of dying.

#76 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 02:10 AM:

Ariella @ 74... It actually is from del Toro's movie "HellBoy 2". It was overall disappointing, but still it had some good stuff in it besides the above tooth fairies.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 02:12 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man discovers that his cable lineup now includes the BBC. Just in time for the premiere of "Doctor Who". Man will FINALLY get to see the latest Doctor in action.

#78 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 04:17 AM:

Ghods, I wish someone would come up with a way to subscribe to TV shows directly so they'd quit cancelling the good stuff.

#79 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 04:27 AM:

HLN: local man agrees to fetch his soon-to-be-civil-partner's mum (a word for this please) from her mountain fastness so she can watch the Ryl Wddng on TV in company. Local man says he will sit at his computer until it's over, unless something kicks off. He may listen to the radio coverage, which will include his soon-to-be-civil-partner's cousin's son interviewing the crowd.
Local man's s-t-b-c-p-m is delighted and will bring cake.

#80 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 05:55 AM:

Elliott Mason @68: Anyone for a Gathering of Light at Wiscon in Madison, WI, the weekend of May 26-30?

If someone(s) bring(s) a laptop, we could also do another virtual gathering...?

#81 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 06:01 AM:

tykewriter @79: HLN: local man agrees to fetch his soon-to-be-civil-partner's mum (a word for this please)

My neighbor was pondering what term should apply to her girlfriend's mother. Since same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Colorado, I offered "mother-out-law." She got a toothy grin; evidently her relationship with the woman is, shall we say, non-optimal.

#82 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 06:13 AM:

tykewriter @79: Ryl Wddng

Wow. 30 years less three months to the day. Um...?

Dear Ghu. Well, I don't suppose there's any way they couldn't make a Media Spectacle out of it. At least Buckingham Palace seems to be trying to get out ahead of the media curve, this time.

(Back during the last one, when everybody was calling it a "fairy-tale wedding," I remember thinking, "don't fairy tales traditionally come with poison apples?" Gulp.)

10am Zulu. Well, actually, that might be reasonable to stay up for....

#83 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 06:56 AM:

Tim Hall @15: If you are lucky, you die. If you are unlucky, you live. Elves can keep you alive a long time.

Erik Nelson @1: They create awe, in the older senses of the word.

#85 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 08:16 AM:

Jules @ #84

Because they're Adiophools.

Next question please.

Cadbury, annoyed that some very useful valves/tubes are prized by said audiophools and hence now cost an arm and both legs,

#86 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 09:18 AM:

Tim Hall: Ethnic stereotypes don't help and aren't funny. I urge you to reconsider comment 42 before you need to post "What do I do if I've offended some Welsh people and a whole pack of dwarves?"

#87 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 10:16 AM:

Tim Hall @42, Jo Walton @86: Besides, if you want to use the 'stereotypically miners' British subgrouping, it'd be Cornishmen.

There was a running joke in the late 1800s: "How do you tell a cave from a mine?" "A cave's a hole in a cliff. A mine's a hole with a Cornishman in the bottom of it."

I leave out fighting and drinking as potentially prejudicial; besides, I know not the Cornishmen's repute in those fields. Now, Cornish COOKERY I've heard of ... and some of it does rival the reputation of Dwarven Battle-Breads. Some of it's really tasty, too.

#88 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 10:36 AM:

Jules #84: The irony is that they make a plausible argument for why CDs or DVDs might, possibly, retain traces of magnetism... without once addressing the point that it can't make any difference, because the data is digitally encoded as actual pits in the disk, not as magnetic signals!

#89 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 10:48 AM:

Jo Walton #86

Apologies - can the moderators please remove that post?

#90 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 10:56 AM:

My apologies. That was a very thoughtless and stupid post of mine, and I apologise for being such a racist prick.

#91 ::: hedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 10:57 AM:

#88. David Harmon

... not to mention that, if the magnetism /did/ change the bits being read, the error-correction mechanism would /change them back/, or, if it couldn't, produce a replay glitch ...

#92 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 11:33 AM:

Tim: drinking and fighting - Nah, that's for Pictsies. Along with stealin' sheep. And sometimes cow beasties. And, well, sometimes almost anything else.

Dwarves couldn't be stereotypically Welsh without singing (and I'm not counting the ones about gold or the hi-ho thing.) One of the pleasures of growing up Methodist was having Welsh church music as well as English, though it had all acquired English lyrics by that century.

#93 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 11:40 AM:

albatross at 71: I am always amazed the the Republicans' assertion that if only people could "shop" for medical care as they shop for, say, used cars, the free market would take care of cost. First: have any of them ever actually tried to buy a used car? Based on this statement, I bet not. Second: anyone who's ever had a medical emergency knows damn well that this assertion is total and complete b******t. You don't bargain about rates as you are experiencing a gall bladder attack, passing a kidney stone, or having a heart attack. The whole utility of what is called "the free market" is questionable/laughable/useless when it comes to medical care.

Why am I even talking about this? Don't know.

HLN: I just galloped outside to chase a squirrel out of the sweetgum tree in my front yard: he was panicking the Mama Hummingbird sitting on her nest, and all the other birds were screaming like crazy. I clapped and yelled at him, and he scooted out of the tree and ran to another yard! I don't know if the squirrel would have disturbed the nest but I figure better not risk it. So far the predator birds (jays, crows) are leaving Mama and baby alone. This is the first year I've had a hummingbird nesting in the tree, and I really want her to survive, and stay.

Happy Easter, all!

#94 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 11:51 AM:

Tim Hall:

I've disemvoweled it; we don't tend to delete. But I've also pointed out that you requested it, for which you get credit and honor.

People say thoughtless things. People who apologize for them are much rarer.

#95 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 11:53 AM:

Also, happy Easter to those who celebrate it.

#96 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 12:32 PM:

re: cell phone tracking on OT 156 - This abstract of a paper about tourism in Estonia is built on a terrifying dataset: an "anonymous" database of the spatial locations (determined via cell tower) of all foreign cellphones in Estonia provided by EMT, the major telecom in Estonia. I put scare quotes around "anonymous" because other research has shown that it's fairly easy, and getting easier, to de-anonymize datasets through contextual analysis, and also because I'm betting that EMT has the records with the names attached somewhere on their servers. If you're worried about movement tracking, worrying about GPS location is pretty late in closing the barn door.

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 12:44 PM:

abi @ 95... Happy Easter!

#98 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 12:52 PM:

I wonder what the folks here might make of this:

Elves in Tolkien are very tall, powerful physically and mentally, ageless, and aloof toward mortals with rare exceptions. Elves in Tolkien fanfic tend to be small, delicate, clingy, fearful, and sexually receptive toward mortals who are taller than they are. Tolkien fanfic is fond of Elven sex slaves, Legolas being Aragorn's pregnant concubine, and weepy love triangles.

Any idea why?

#99 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 01:03 PM:

Elves are inflammable. They are easily angered over forest fires.

#100 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 01:31 PM:

Jenny Islander: really? Creepy.

#101 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 02:20 PM:

HIM: father and son reinvent the Wheatstone Bridge using two pots on the electric stove and the highly sensitive double elbow galvanometer.

#102 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 02:42 PM:

Wiscon: I will be there. I dithered a bit because of money (see also selling hair) but as I dithered, I clicked 'works for me!' on my programming schedule. Email me if you like; my email's a gmail, username thereat.

#103 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 02:53 PM:

Elves are overrated, they overate.

Tinkerbell was satiated, she was all petered out.

#104 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 02:54 PM:

Jenny Islander @98:

Some unsettling content may have occurred during 'shipping?

#105 ::: Braxis ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 02:55 PM:

tykewriter @79

My wife and I both use 'Outlaws' for the paternal grandparents of my wife's son from a previous, non-married, relationship. It fits their eccentric personalities quite well.

#106 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 02:58 PM:

C. Wingate @ 101:
Did you continue the experiment until you successfully nulled the dual-elbow Galvanometer?

#107 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 03:33 PM:

tykewriter @ 79
But if it's a legal civil partnership, then "future mother-in-law" is surely an accurate description of such an artificial and legally-constructed distinction between marriages!

#108 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 03:33 PM:

Elliott Mason @87: Besides, if you want to use the 'stereotypically miners' British subgrouping, it'd be Cornishmen.

Who gave us pasties* (not to be confused with pasties**). <lick> *smack* (Though probably too heavy on the lard for my tastes these days.*


* The kind you eat.
** The kind you wear***
*** Though I think I've heard of ones you can wear and then eat. But those are still the second kind, not the first.
**** Is it shameful to revel in my privilege and enjoy eating the crust rim, too?

#109 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 03:43 PM:

C. Wingate @101: Wheatstone Bridge

::shudder:: I still quail when I hear that term. I've told this story here before,* but I, and my whole electronics class, were permanently traumatized when our instructor** threw a circuit diagram for a Wheatstone at us (with a resistor in place of the central galvometer and a battery in place of the capacitor)**** and told us to solve for the voltages of each of the reisistors. And forbade us to look it up in the book.

And gave us the whole weekend to stew over it.


* but why not milk it for more sympathy?
** who, it should be noted, was otherwise an excellent instructor***
*** who also happened to be going crazy at the time due to home pressures
**** I may be misremembering the particulars of the circuit; this was thirty-mumble years ago.

#110 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 03:48 PM:

Addendum to my @109: Having now actually read you comment—uh, ow? Inadequately grounded, were we? 'Minds me of the time our "portable" dishwasher took a chunk out of the faucet, once, while hooking it up for the night. (Note: connect water, then electricity? Or better yet, get a freakin' new dishwasher.) (It's just conceivable that the dishwasher ante-dated Underwriters Laboratory.)

#111 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 03:57 PM:

Jenny Islander @98:

It's a rather unpleasantly common result of some deeply seated cultural stuff. The thought process (usually unconscious, I think) goes something like this:

1) Elves are attractive. Just look at Legolas in that movie! They're clean and refined and elegant and pretty.

2) Wait, everyone knows that being clean and elegant and pretty and refined are feminine traits. Real Men are dirty and uncouth and have unshaven strong jaws. Probably dark hair, too. All that long blond hair is girly.

3) Oh, wait, I can work with this. I'll just load the elves up on other feminine traits! Women are clingy and delicate and helpless, right? Shorter than men, too. So elves must be like that. Then it all makes sense!

This is pretty damn common in fanfic, especially fanfic written by teenager girls. Finding a male character attractive, but said male character not fitting standard Hollywood tropes for Real Manly Men, tends to result in them being written with a giant dose of either Manley or Girly standard cultural markers on top, to "correct" the ambiguity. Or, in a pairing written between two men, both at once in opposite directions! Which is how you end up with a weepy delicate Legolas being paired up with an abusive, controlling Aragon, or what not. Then everyone fits the culturally approved message of the two roles in a relationship, and can live happily ever after!

This is, of course, a simplification of a fairly complex overlapping set of cultural assumptions and fiction tropes and fanfic tropes in general. But it's pretty damn common that when women write male romantic pairings in fanfic, whoever is judged "prettier" will suddenly end up being written as delicate, shorter, weepier, and overall helpless, regardless of their original fictional representation.

#112 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 05:25 PM:

WAG here in re the "demagnetizing" CDs/etc.

Could the effect be because magnetic patterns in the media are causing misreads by the laser?

Admittedly, when I sat for my class-1 FCC license CDs had not yet been developed.....

#113 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 05:43 PM:

Re the "feminization" of elves in fanfic, I dunno, but I have noticed that in Tolkien all the elf/human relationships are between a male human and a female elf, presumably because male > female and elf > human, so male human is closer in status to female elf than the other way around would be. (According to Wikipedia, the same trend holds for interracial marriages in the U.S., with the interesting wrinkle that the divorce rate is lower for white male/nonwhite female marriages than for white male/white female marriages; the divorce rate is higher for nonwhite male/white female marriages.)

#114 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 05:48 PM:

No hobbit/dwarf fanfic?

#115 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Craig @112 -- No. Plastic and aluminum foil don't magnetize; magnets don't affect laser beams.

(Qualifier: there's probably some energy level at which this stops being true. However, your CD collection does not recapitulate the symmetry-breaking phase of the Big Bang.)

#116 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 06:13 PM:

Craig R @112Could the effect be because magnetic patterns in the media are causing misreads by the laser?


There are magneto-optical effects, but not remotely of that magnitude without special materials. Also, reducing read errors doesn't have the described effect. Increased color saturation?! More developed soundstage?!.

#117 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 06:35 PM:

Today (or tomorrow, depending on time zones) is the anniversary of a minor event in WWI. It wasn't an historic victory, a successful withdrawal, or even a glorious last stand. It was just another ill-conceived, poorly executed example of Great War business as usual. The only interesting detail about this attack is that it was the first significant engagement of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

Commemorating a historically undistiguished failure on the other side of the world as your national military holiday has advantages. You can celebrate the virtues of the soldier and remember the heroism of the dead without forgetting that all this courage and sacrifice is so often completely wasted.

#118 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 06:43 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @115:

Magnets don't bend light, but they do affect the reflection of laser beams from surfaces, hence magneto-optical disk drives. You don't need to go all the way to unification of forces, since light and magnetism are already both electromagnetic phenomena.

You still need a whole lot more magnetism than even an audiophile could imagine being trapped in a CD.

#119 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 07:01 PM:

Fade Manley @111: I run into this constantly in my own fanfic (of the Mary Sue variety). Makes me nuts, but it seems no matter how hard I try to drive the borrowed character in a character-appropriate direction, he keeps veering back into weepy/clingy.

It'd be a fascinating study, if it weren't so damn frustrating and unsatisfying. (It seems that the dynamic I'm trying to explore crashes into some very deep-seated limitations in my own imagination.) This is (one of many) reasons why I've bagged the idea of trying to write for publication for this lifetime.

It's an interesting contemplation inside my own skull, but I can't imagine anybody else being interested in reading it, nevermind my being utterly mortified at the idea of sharing it.

Interestingly, I suspect this is not unrelated to my increasing inability to get my Mary Sue to even run, as a result of getting older and farther away from her archetype.

(Unrelated: I have your two last emails sitting in my inbox. I want to give them properly thoughtful responses, but it's probably going to be until at least the middle of May before I can climb back onto the planet and give them the necessary time and attention.)

#120 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 07:55 PM:

tykewriter @ 79:

Per the bumper sticker:
"If marriage is illegal, only outlaws will have inlaws."

thomas @ 118:

Magnetic fields can affect the polarization of laser beams; but if a beam isn't polarized (typical of laser diodes, as in CD players, IIRC), there's no effect.

In any case, the effects of magnetic fields on light are analog (often vector) changes (unless we're talking about quantum effects with single photons, which we aren't by a large number of orders of magnitude), when there's one at all. Those just are not going to do anything to a digital signal but, if it's strong enough, add errors to be extracted by the signal processing circuitry in the CD player.

There are just so many reasons why this idea is pure quill BS.

#121 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 07:59 PM:

Elves are exotic. Their ears are on the outside of their heads.
Elves are unstable. They refuse to sleep with the horses.
Elves are pedantic. Their feet just won't stop dancing.

#122 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 08:17 PM:

We lingered near Great-Grand-Dad's fresh-filled grave.
Calm words were said, loose dirt tossed down the hole,
And someone said, there's one left on this roll.
We're all here; it's a moment we should save.
So we arranged ourselves in two straight rows.
Smiled stiff at camera held in stranger's hands.
Held faces pleasant at his brief commands
And tried to not look awkward in our pose.
I didn't shift or fidget in my place
I held the pose in which I'd been approved.
Then, as the camera blinked, a cousin moved
And covered all but one inch of my face.

It's decades on. No one alive can say
My name or what I looked like on that day.

Been scanning old photos.

#123 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 08:21 PM:

I have heard the elf-human dynamic described* as, "It's not gay if it's with an elf."

And I'm stealing that 'exotic' line. Hee.

*and I did not call them on it, to my shame

#124 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 10:19 PM:

re 1056: No. One can conduct electrical experiments, or one can cook. I cooked.

#125 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 10:28 PM:

Thinking about fanfic other-than-human romantic encounters: Are there any elves, furries, aliens, etc., that are shown as challenging, independent, smart? People that require a change to be won over?

(Romantic fantasy vampires, I suppose, are at least dangerous.)

#126 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 11:39 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @156/954: Wait 'til you see part 2. Blows "Absolutely freakin' classic" into a cocked hat and leaves you gasping for breath (because you've been laughing much too hard).

Yup. And then, of course, "The Christmas Show" made me burst into tears.

#127 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2011, 11:41 PM:

So here's a question: lock Joss Whedon and Aaron Sorkin in a room together; would the World As We Know it simply end with a fusion flash?

#128 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 12:35 AM:

Jacque @ 127... Did you know that Whedon's grandpapa worked on "Leave It to Beaver", and that his papa worked on "Golden Girls"?

#129 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 02:49 AM:

Serge: I know that he was schooled in the art of writing for television from an early age. The story I remember hearing (apocryphal?) was that his father would test material for The Electric Company on him to see if it worked or not.

I vaguely remember that EC also featured a youthful Morgan Freeman.

#130 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 02:52 AM:

Meanwhile, I finally have a new piece of my own up.

#131 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 03:04 AM:

Diatryma @123

Wasn't that Marvel's retcon for how Northstar wasn't really gay after all? He was just part Elven? (Always made me wish I could co-opt the term, like "Well, yes, I'm interested in men, but I prefer to be called "part Elven" rather than "gay." Sadly, I'm not only too straight but also much too Dwarven (beard, solid build, affinity for basements and axes, etc), so I don't think it'd really work.)

#132 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 07:21 AM:

Diatryma #123, Devin #131: I'd abandoned comics by the time they pulled that crap with Northstar (they'd just been messing with his sister's powers, and splitting the pair).

But I don't think it's accidental that "fairy" is still another word for gays, variably reclaimed. The archetype here is "Passion Outside the Rules [of our mortal world]", which was anciently associated with magic*, and thereby with various "fair folk".

* Often as an "plot device" -- Tristan & Isolde is a notable example, but the Midsummer's Night Dream turns the device to comedy and the joke, for once, on the faeries.

#133 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 07:28 AM:

PS: I've been glamoured by a woman who I later concluded probably had faery (most likely selkie) blood. Still at least half my own fault, but that didn't help much when I was trying to get her out of my head.

#134 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 07:38 AM:

Jacque @ 129... Heh... I realized that there had been many a Whedon in Hollywood a couple of years ago when I watched Disney's early-1970s movie "Island at the Top of the World", and the credits said it'd been scripted by one John Whedon. (An interesting bit about that film... It didn't translate the language of the lost Viking land's denizens, or the French aeronaut's insults about the lack of intelligence in his mechanic's ancestry.)

#135 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 07:55 AM:

Devin and David Harmon, I don't know much about comics at all, but seriously? For heaven's sake. What happens the first time someone points out that it's possible to be both? (at least, if both of them were possible.)

And David Harmon, that sounds like quite a story.

#136 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 07:56 AM:

Serge: there are similarly untranslated (or rather, mistranslated*--the subtitles don't match the dialogue) insults in "Megapiranha". Which, I have to say, is one of the funniest films I have ever seen.

*e.g. subtitles say something like, "We'll get you, you sons of bitches!" as the character says "Tú eres cabrón." He says that a lot; possibly the only insult the actor could remember from high school Spanish.

#137 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 08:44 AM:

Tim Hall @#15: OK, so what do you do if you've inadvertantly offended an elf?

Depends on the elf.

You're unlikely to get away with merely apologizing, no matter how profusely. I suggest appropriate gifts.

#138 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 08:50 AM:

Never use a dwarf with learning difficulties;
it isn't big, and it isn't clever.

#139 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 09:12 AM:

Lila @ 136... Is "Megapiranha" the one where giant piranhas (hence the title) grab a flying helicopter and scoot around on land? (I guess "Megamudskipper" is next.)

#140 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 09:51 AM:

Serge: yup, that's the one. Also the most unforgettable use of a bicycle kick EVAR.

#141 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 11:06 AM:

Serge @ 114
I once read hobbit-related fanfic that seemed to centre on the fact that with a height of about three feet, a hobbit would have his face nearly level to many humans' crotches.

But it focused almost exclusively on the idea that with the hygiene expected in a quasi-medieval setting, just walking around among humans would be nausea-inducing for the Little Folk and that was the in-story reason they hid from humans. I think there was a Ranger with well-worn buckskin trousers it was absolutely impossible for the hobbit to stand downwind of.

#142 ::: Jordin ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 11:20 AM:

Bruce @ 121

Does that mean "cyanotic" = "has blue-green ears"?
"Quick, Bones, Mr. Spock is cyanotic!"

#143 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 11:24 AM:

Continuing the iPhone discussion from the previous thread, this post on the F-Secure weblog takes a somewhat different tone, and seems to me to assert that Apple is getting that location data sent back and using it. I don't know if that's true or not--I hope to see more detail come out about it soon.

There are three different issues here that surround computer security and smartphones:

a. The manufacturer of the phone may have an interest in violating your privacy, for reasons of improving advertising revenue, improving service quality, keeping on the good side of spy agencies and/or regulators, etc.

b. The app writers may have such an interest, for similar reasons. They have less power (though I don't believe Apple does any kind of serious checking of apps for embedded malware before putting them on the app store--someone please correct me if I'm wrong), but also will suffer fewer consequences if caught.

c. The normal operations of a smartphone, along with the inevitability of bugs and security flaws in software, make a smartphone likely to be a privacy/security threat even when the OS and app vendors are behaving well.

In this case, we have the question about whether we're dealing with (a) or (c). Either one is a problem, though obviously (a) weighs a lot more heavily on whether or not I'm interested in switching over to an Android phone or something.

And hanging over all this, we face a situation analogous to the situation faced by characters in _A Fire Upon the Deep_ living in the high beyond/low transcend. More powerful computers, and trusting them more and putting them closer to the decision points, means you win in all kinds of competitions. Smartphones are a wonderful tool--they're life-changing technology for me and my wife, among many others. And yet, to get those benefits, we end up with this horrible set of security problems. My phone has email, browsing history, location information, calendar, pictures, music collection, podcasts, and e-books, all right there. It travels around in my pocket all the time; it's sitting there able to turn on the microphone and/or camera (if it gets out of the pocket) during private conversations, intimate moments with my wife, internal meetings at work, time I spend playing with my kids. When not in my pocket, it's often sitting on a countertop in the bathroom, or on a bookshelf or table, in the middle of our house.

These phones aren't all that hard to compromise--harder than generic computers, mostly, but certainly not immune to attack. App vendors or Apple could even have put in backdoors for the feds--it's not like they'd need to worry about being sued or criminally charged for such things, after all. They're so damned useful, so nice to have, and yet they offer the potential for someone to put you under a level of surveillance that the Stasi couldn't afford for any but the most serious suspected threats.

#144 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 12:18 PM:

Interesting open-threadiness:

This BBC article and this NPR article describe recent information about Guantanamo inmates. The BBC story has a somewhat more skeptical tone w.r.t. the US government's actions, but the NPR story is more in depth. The information comes from leaked documents which BBC attributes to Wikileaks, but which NPR says were leaked by someone else to the NYT and shared with them. (I wonder if this is a dodge to avoid having to admit having too much to do with Wikileaks, in case they end up being officially labeled as some kind of terrorist group or something.)

The BBC article claims that the US kept an Al Jazeera cameraman in custody for several years to extract information about the news network from him. This is consistent with other stuff I've read and heard, but I have no idea if it's true, and they didn't seem to link to information that made it any clearer.

Letting this stuff happen in a dark corner, out of anyone's sight, has been a disaster all around. This disclosure is good, but what would be a lot better would be if the Obama adminstration would open up the books on the whole thing. I don't expect he will do that, but he could and should.

#145 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 12:41 PM:

#133 ::: David Harmon

PS: I've been glamoured by a woman who I later concluded probably had faery (most likely selkie) blood. Still at least half my own fault, but that didn't help much when I was trying to get her out of my head.

If she left her sealskin coat in your closet and you moved it to storage, give it back!

#146 ::: salixulon ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 12:42 PM:

Re "reported improvements in performance after demagnetizing CDs and DVDs":

While demagnetization will not significantly affect the media or the playback, there is no known phenomenon too insignificant to affect human observers. Just about anything can elicit a placebo-like consequence.

#147 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 12:48 PM:

#130 ::: Jacque
Meanwhile, I finally have a new piece of my own up.

Jacque, truly stunning.

Would you email me privately, please? I'd be happy to figure some kind of trade that involves whatever bags you want to design (I've been doing various custom heavy-duty bags, tents, etc. for years, including a library tote for myself with expandable gussets that held everything, but I couldn't lift it) in return for something like this art work.

Long chance that things might happen this fast: I'll be in Boulder tomorrow and free after 3:00.

#148 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 12:52 PM:

I haven't seen this mentioned here, so by way of Boing-Boing:

Amazon's $23,698,655.93 book or, the results of third-party unstable algorithmic pricing.

#150 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 01:21 PM:

Clifton@148 -- I saw a story the other day about somebody exploiting this algorithmic behavior to lower the Amazon price of a used book he wanted to buy.

#151 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 01:22 PM:

Jacque@130 -- beautiful! And the title is delightful.

#152 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 01:53 PM:

Jacque @130, that is stunning! Could you call it free-form weaving? Frameless weaving?

#153 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 01:57 PM:

This thread's almost Bitzered. (Yeah, it's early. Next time I look it'll be late.)

Carol Kimball @149: It's great to see Su again. It's been way too long. It's even been too long since I played fake Scrabble online with her.

#154 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 02:11 PM:

Carol Kimball @147: Thank you! Email sent. Hm. Bags, huh? Hm....

#155 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 02:27 PM:

Just a quick ego-scan; I'll do a proper read-through later.

Serge @134: That family is really quite unconscionably talented. Various of Joss's projects have Whedons infesting multiple departments. In addition to writing, most notably music comes up in the credits frequently.

The Modesto Kid @151: beautiful! And the title is delightful.

Hee, thanks! My sound-bite description when I don't have something to point at is, "think of a dream-catcher on acid." :-)

Debbie @152: that is stunning! Could you call it free-form weaving? Frameless weaving?

::preen:: Thank you! Hm. Turns out, it does actually need a frame to come out flat, though. Or a form. (I have a pair of slippers I made with this stuff.) "Loomless weaving," perhaps?

I really need to get a proper demo and diagram up; it's not even exactly weaving, in the strictest sense. Basically, I'm sewing the next warp row onto the edge of the fabric at the last—(Hm*)—warp row. You see it in basket weaving a lot. Oh, here we go. I'll have to look up the term for that technique.

Kip W @153: This thread's almost Bitzered.

Speaking of whom, I don't recall seeing him(?) around in a while. Do we know that he's okay?


*Just occurred to me that one could do seamless joins by branding off orthogonally to the starting plane of the fabric... hm...

#156 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 02:55 PM:

Hey speaking of weaving: I saw the most interesting thing two weeks ago in Suzhou, was a woman weaving silk at the Silk Museum there -- I always think of weaving as moving the pedals and shooting the shuttle back and forth between the threads. What this woman was doing was way more complex, in addition to the shuttle she was holding a piece that she would manually loop under individual threads of the warp to create a sort of embroidered-looking pattern on top of the woven pattern. Stunning to look at but I can't imagine the level of painstaking attention to detail required.

#157 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Jacque -- The piece also reminds me of hardanger/openwork embroidery, but the whole thing definitely also looks woven.

#158 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 02:58 PM:

A picture here, one which of course fails to capture the bit I found most interesting.

#159 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 03:01 PM:

Pew has a news quiz.

I got 11 out of 11.

#160 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 03:02 PM:

Jacque @ 130: That's something fabulous.

#161 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 03:31 PM:

Modesto Kid 156, 158--As I'm at work, I can't check out your photo; could she have been using a drawloom?

#162 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 03:51 PM:

fidelio, huh -- it's funny, there were two looms at the silk museum, one of them looked just like that one. The photo I linked to is of the other one, but I could well have mixed up which one I noticed that activity on. I don't remember either of them having two operators though.

#163 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 04:02 PM:

Got 10 out of 11, and knew the minute I answered the 1 I got wrong that it was wrong.

Oh, well.

#164 ::: vee ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 04:17 PM:

OT: (Forgive me if this has been brought up already) Llama Font.

#165 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 04:25 PM:

Jörg Raddatz @ 141... According to Peter Jackson's "LoTR", the only way an inhabitant of Middle Earth can be clean is if (1) you're an Elf, or (2) you're a wizard who dies then comes back , or (3) you get crowned after defeating Eeeeeeevillll...

#166 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 04:39 PM:

I also got 11 out of 11, though one was a guess, and I guessed right.

#167 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 04:42 PM:

I got 10 out of 11, and I follow the news as little as I can manage. Just lucky, I guess.

#168 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 04:45 PM:

Getting 11 out of 11 means you did better than 98% of the people who took the quiz. 10 out of 11 is up there as well.

#169 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 04:48 PM:

The Modesto Kid @156: I can't imagine the level of painstaking attention to detail required.

Ghu Speaks, yes. I can imagine it. Makes my back ache just to think about it.

@158: A picture here, one which of course fails to capture the bit I found most interesting.

I'll bet she's doing something akin to Navajo rug technique, though using a horizontal loom with healds.

Debbie @157: The piece also reminds me of hardanger/openwork embroidery, but the whole thing definitely also looks woven.

I've done stuff that's definitely reminiscent of openwork embroidery. In fact, I've got some catchers in mind that have some of the same spirit. Also, lacework is not dissimilar to what I'm doing.

B. Durbin @160: That's something fabulous.

Thank you! :-)

vee @164: That's incredibly silly.

#170 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 05:00 PM:

re: weaving

I would guess (without a clearer view of things and with fairly rudimentary weaving knowledge--I've read more than I've done), that she's doing what's called pick up weaving; it allows for more complicated patterns than just what's available using the loom's harnesses.

The technique makes some amazing work possible (and is internationally used)--you can see just a few of the sort of possible designs on the CTTC's website. (They're an organization dedicated to preserving indigenous textile techniques in their part of the Andes). And here's an amazing piece from Pitumarca, in Peru. (Note: this was all done on a backstrap loom, without the pedals and such--in fact, I don't think the discontinuous warp would be possible on a more modern loom.)

#171 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 05:17 PM:

More iPhone discussions here.

#172 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 07:50 PM:

Regarding the quiz, I got a score of 10 out of 11. But when I checked the breakdown of how I did on the questions, it claimed I answered one 'Medicare' when I hadn't.

#173 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 08:09 PM:

11 of 11.

#174 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 08:21 PM:

OK, just a little way in to the first episode of Game of Thrones, (just after the rkrphgvba bs gur qrfregre) and so far I hope the White Walkers kill them all. Is that how I'm supposed to feel at this point?

#175 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 08:38 PM:

I got 10 for 11, because I knew the answer, but the phrasing invoked my cynical nature, and I went with the one of the lesser options.

#176 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 08:40 PM:

Re: demagnetizing CDs:

I've just tracked down and read the white paper referenced in that article, and it looks like the practice has nothing to do with reading the data. The theory seems to be that the spinning magnetic field of the disc induces electric currents in the speaker cables, which if true could affect sound quality.

#177 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 08:47 PM:

Chris #176: Nope, that won't work either -- not when they're referring to purported trace magnetism on a basically non-magnetic disk. The drive's motor would have far greater fields associated with it!

#178 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 09:04 PM:

Chris: But the field is going to be something generated by the spinning of the disc, which means it's (if true) likely to be a self-generating effect, and not something a degaussing is going to prevent.

#179 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 09:58 PM:

Re: weaving

It sounds as if she is brocading, a technique that uses a supplementary weft thread or threads (usually a metallic or contrasting color), and produces an embroidery-like effect.

#180 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 10:06 PM:

OK, first episode is done. Is everyone in this story a total scumbag? So far the only exceptions are children.

I stopped reading George R. R. Martin because, while he's an excellent writer and his stories are of high quality, he depresses the hell out of me. I probably shouldn't be watching this but...Lena Headey! Sean Bean! Even Jason Momoa!


#181 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 10:09 PM:

Xopher, #174: I haven't seen the TV series, but I did stick with the books far longer than I should have, on the theory that Martin is a good writer and maybe he was going somewhere with this. By volume 4 I had to admit to myself that:

[A] No, this really didn't appear to be going anywhere at all, and

[B] I would sooner read a collaboration between Mike Resnick and Kevin J. Anderson than trudge through another thousand meandering pages of random nastiness.

#182 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 11:18 PM:

Re: demagnetizing CDs: well, at least their use of pseudoscience demonstrates a certain respect for the explanatory power of science. They could be blaming it on fairies.

Or is it worse, because fairies might exist and be doing it just to mess with us, while there's no effing way that it's because of magnets?

#183 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 11:25 PM:

Am I the only one watching GoT? Sigh.

Maybe that number is one too many.

#184 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 11:36 PM:

Xopher... The 2nd episode is much better, but I was bothered that doing 'it' in any way but the missionary way is a cue that this person is bad.

#185 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 11:37 PM:

Devin@131: That was retconned back years and years ago. (Someone noticed that the whole "part-Elven" thing was relying on the unsupported word of...Loki.)

10 out of 11 on the news quiz (I thought the government spent more on debt interest than on Medicare) although one or two of the ones I got right were educated guesses.

Xopher: You're supposed to think of Ned Stark as at least "harsh but fair". And do you hate his wife Catelyn? She's going to be a pretty major character.

But yeah, a lot of the story is going to involve some pretty awful people doing much better than in a just world they would. If that's going to be a big problem, you might do better not to watch.

#186 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 11:38 PM:

Hyperlocal nerws... Man watches "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" and wants that time refunded.

#187 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 11:43 PM:

Xopher, nerdycellist and I talked a bit about GoT on OT 156, here and here. I'm about to watch the second episode--I just might feel the need to post about it after.

#188 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2011, 11:45 PM:

Serge, I was bothered by the fact that nobody seems to do it any way but doggie. Which has its charms, to be sure, but...

David, yeah, like that slimy little Prince. I'd like to yrnir uvz oyvaq, qrns, naq pevccyrq ba uvf zbgure'f qbbefgrc naq yrg URE qrpvqr gb xvyy uvz be pner sbe uvz. (Don't ROT13 if you're squeamish or don't want to see my vicious side.)

Why is it that actors I like wind up playing characters I hate? Lena Headey was soooooo good as Sarah Connor. She's playing the Queen just as well, but it's a Queen who deserves to end her life on a spike in the sun.

#189 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 02:03 AM:

Game of Thrones: On Daenerys' arc, gurl unys-svkrq vg. Vg jnf avpr gb frr ure jvgu n cyna--rira vs gur cyna vf "frk hc zl encvfg gb tnva zber cbjre," vg chg qrgrezvarq tyvag va ure rlr. Fgvyy gubhtu, gur qlanzvpf bs gur Qebtb-Qnal eryngvbafuvc ner nyy bss: va gur fubj, ure cbjre-guebhtu-frk zbzrag vf senzrq nf "Lbh ner abg Qbguenxv, qba'g gel gb or," juvpu frgf ure hc nf punyyratvat gur zbenyvgl naq inyvqvgl bs gur Qbguenxv phygher. Ubj qbrf gung frg ure hc gb orpbzr gurve yrnqre? Va gur obbx, gur fbhepr bs ure cbjre naq pbaarpgvba gb gur Qbguenxv jnf gung fur orpnzr bar bs gurz, jvyyvatyl, ol rzoenpvat gurve ehyrf naq gehyl orpbzvat gurve xunyrrfv. Gurer'f whfg ab jnl gb trg gb gurer sebz jurer gur fubj vf abj.

On Cersei - jubn jung'f hc jvgu gur qrnq onol fgbel? "Ybbxrq whfg yvxr uvf sngure?" Zrguvaxf gung vs gung onol rkvfgrq, vg jnf abg na vyyarff gung xvyyrq uvz. Fubj-Prefrv vf sne zber pbyq naq pbagebyyrq guna va gur obbx: fur'f na vpr dhrra, juvpu vf V srry sne yrff vagrerfgvat naq zber pyvpurq guna obbx-Prefrv'f jvyqsver crefbanyvgl.

Tyrion's just lovely though.

#190 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 04:04 AM:

@Fade Manley #111: Makes sense.

Yes, I've seen one-man-must-weep-and-cling on my ventures into slash fiction, down to making the weepy one much shorter and slighter than he is in canon. It happens in het fanfic and fanart too. One of my old favorite couples is exactly the same height at the eyebrows--this is anime, so there is hair to consider--but fanart that is otherwise well done usually shows her as a little slip of a thing in his burly embrace.

Back to LOTR fanfic: Assumptions about gender roles explain some weird stuff going on outside the Legolass genre as well. Imagine Arwen running away from grandma Galadriel, who just can't understand why she won't sit and sew a seam in ladylike fashion, you'll get your dresses dirty, darling! In this day and age (you young 'uns get off my lawn), five minutes would turn up a complete canon background for Galadriel. But so many fanfic writers don't bother to look. Female grandparents are ALWAYS overprotective and timid, full stop.

#191 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 06:56 AM:

Xopher @180 OK, first episode is done. Is everyone in this story a total scumbag?

The only bit I disagree with is your word total. Ned Stark does terrible things because of his honour and duty. Tyrion is an asshole because the world treats him badly. And of course "Gur guvatf V qb sbe ybir".

They all have the possibility of redemption. Most of them have the capacity to be monsters. Which will it be? Tune in next week to find out!

heresiarch @188 - Cersei appears differently as the books go on. Vavgvnyyl fur frrzf yvxr n pbyq, fzneg, ehguyrff cybggre. Jura jr raq hc va ure urnq vg gheaf bhg fur'f vzchyfvir, fubegfvtugrq, qevira ol cnffvba. Cnegyl guvf vf gur pbagenfg orgjrra gur snpr fur fubjf gb gur jbeyq naq ure vagreany fgngr, naq cnegyl vg'f ure fgrccvat bhg sebz oruvaq Eboreg (naq nyy gur bgure zra va ure yvsr).

Tyrion is too good looking, but then again television is all about putting good looking people up on screen.

#192 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 07:00 AM:

Ten out of eleven here also. The one I didn't get was the obesity one - probably the least relevant to a foreigner.

#193 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 07:00 AM:

Tim Hall @15 OK, so what do you do if you've inadvertantly offended an elf?

If mysterious strangers start talking to you listen carefully. Any instructions should be followed to the letter.

Ask around to see if anyone has encountered this problem before. Try to determine if they have a favourite place/trinket/food/drink/activity/song or if anyone knows their name.

Make sure to leave behind everything you know in case this turns out to be something someone else has to solve.

#194 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 08:15 AM:

Modesto Kid @#156: If she was putting in an extra warp to make a pattern, that's called brocading. And the level of painstaking attention is why brocade was and is so expensive--even automated, it takes a lot of extra work.

#195 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 08:23 AM:

10/11 for me too--to my shame, I missed the obesity one, which bears directly upon my profession.

Am not watching GoT, nor have I read it, having been warned that it is "horribly depressing". Yesterday was the anniversary of my friends' murder (thanks, newspapers etc. for being sure that didn't slip by me), so my serotonin level is low enough as it is.

#196 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 08:27 AM:

Modesto Kid @162--from what I read at a Swedish site that sells draw looms, the second operator may not be necessary for all uses. I'll have to make sure I get a good look at your pictures this evening (always assuming we have power by that point--it's pretty nasty out there this morning, with promises of Worse to Come). My housemate will be so ill with envying you the chance to see that--she's a weaver.

#197 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 08:39 AM:

Is everyone in [Game of Thrones] a total scumbag?

I can't say for the TV series, but in the books, yes.

There are very different kinds of "act badly" (cruel, self-centered, crazy, dutiful) but it's very like the 1400-1650 European history that I know well--there aren't really any good guys in power.

#198 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 09:01 AM:

Randomly, since it seems like something ML folk might find useful as well -- Disney princesses got mentioned in another conversation as both annoying and poor role models, and I recommended The Trouble With Princesses[0] by Christie Harris as a fine antidote.

[0] The review/overview at this link is utterly useless -- either of the other two gives a much better flavour.

#199 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 09:51 AM:

David Goldfarb @184: 10 out of 11 on the news quiz (I thought the government spent more on debt interest than on Medicare) although one or two of the ones I got right were educated guesses.

Ah, that explains it. I made the same mistake as you, and I thought the breakdown was identifying a wrong answer, not providing me with the correct answer (and I also slid by on a couple of educated guesses).

#200 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 10:56 AM:

Is everyone in Game of Thrones a scumbag?

No -- there are three good characters, all of whom have the deck stacked against them:

Jon Snow, Arya, and Bran

The main thing that has kept me reading is to find out what happens to them. That, and cheering every time a character I despise gets what they deserve...

#201 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 11:09 AM:

I seem not to be watching GoT, while seeming to be the only one watching HBO Treme, even though it comes on right after GoT -- while I am watching The Borgias and season 5 of Army Wives! (while waiting for second seasonVamp Diaries -- talk about your pretty people! to arrive on dvd). Go figger.

Love, C.

#202 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 11:13 AM:

Ah, not that it matters, but I have just figured out why I'm not interested in watching GoT.

I lost interest in the series with the endless volume of 4, in which people run around madly all over the place, but nothing happens to advance anything. Plus, that thing of at least 3 more volumes to come after that? Gigantic, humongous, endless, vast poundage of three more volumes after that? Series fatigue. That we were still where we were at the end of 4, this reader didn't care anymore about Winter, particularly as we have our own Winter of Climate Changes -- cultural, economic, political and environmental, upon us.

Love, c.

#203 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 11:14 AM:

HLN: Woman preparing for job interviews; grateful to her friends for their descriptions of ASoIaF. "I like big chewy stories for adults," she said, "but I can't face them right now. Maybe when my life settles down a little."

In related news, the woman said that she had just run out of printer ink. She was not pleased.

#204 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 11:42 AM:

Yeah, I warmed to Ned Stark a little by the end of the second ep. And Tyrion. I believe you about the three good characters, Lori, from what I've seen so far. The older sister, whatever her name is, is a scumbag though. She should have spoken up against the Prince's lies.

heresiarch, I agree with you about the Queen's qrnq onol. V guvax fur xvyyrq uvz jura fur ernyvmrq ur jnf gur Xvat'f, naq gung gur Cevapr'f sngure vf nyfb uvf hapyr. Gur cerggl bar, abg gur fzneg bar. These are guesses, since I haven't read the books.

David, you said But yeah, a lot of the story is going to involve some pretty awful people doing much better than in a just world they would. If that's going to be a big problem, you might do better not to watch.

I've been thinking about that. If I want to see awful people doing well because the world sucks, I can turn on the news. And while the good guys may triumph ultimately, it seems like it will take too long for me (right now, in my current state of mental and physical health).

So I think I'd better not. Maybe in a couple years, when I'm healthy, employed, and in a secure long-term relationship with the man of my dreams, I'll rent it.

#205 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 11:47 AM:

My conclusion upon sampling HBO and Showtime is that they're on a mission to disgust us about sex.

#206 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 12:11 PM:

I don't have those two channels -- HBO or Showtime -- so I can't watch any of the shows until they hit Netflix. On the other hand, I am enjoying "Wristcutters" with my Fabulous Girlfriend.

#207 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 12:18 PM:

Xopher: Sansa (or "Senseless" as I sometimes think of her). With all the baddies available in the series, she remains the character I loathe.

She's a total inversion of all the noble behaviour she claims to hold dear. Ptui!

#208 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 12:30 PM:

The thing is the book series upon which the television series is based is not finished, and cannot be finished for lo, many years. So, um, why? (I am guessing this is the only way the series will ever have a conclusion: the series fellows and their script writers will make it.)

As I've lost interest in the book series, and I already know what happens up to what is written, the television series seems kind of, well, pointless.

Also, on the screen the world looks so ashy and dull, not the vivid color palette I saw in my mind's eye while reading.

Love, c.

#209 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 12:44 PM:

Sansa was one of my most loathed characters in the first book, but I felt sorry for her as the series went on. I felt that was one of Martin's best Cold Reality kicks in the pants to the Fairytale "Someday My Prince Will Come" BS.

#210 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 01:27 PM:

That being said, George RR Martin is happy with "Game of Thrones", and I wouldn't be unduly surprised if it gave him the clout for a "Wild Cards" TV series.

#211 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 01:29 PM:

I've never felt sorry for her -- I saw what happened to her as justice for her actions against those to whom she should have been most loyal.

As for that pawky princeling and his murderous, incestuous family -- "someday my prince will come" indeed -- the little twit can't recognize a monster even when she's sitting next to it.

Both Sansa and Catelyn are real prizes...

#212 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 01:29 PM:

From LJ's drunkenexpatwriter, in response to this on Gawker:

Game of Thrones Summary:

The Hufflepuffs somehow managed to overthrow the Slytherin king and send his family into exile. But, because, like all Hufflepuffs, they are useless they want Gryffindor's best fighter to help them defend the kingdom.

At the same time the Slytherin prince in exile wants his kingdom back, so he's whoring out his sister to Death Eaters in exchange for the use of their sex crazed muggle army.

Meanwhile, because of adultery, there is some chance that the Hufflepuff king's children may really be Ravenclaws, and the Ravenclaw who is cuckolding the king is willing to kill anyone to keep it a secret.

Episode Two:

1. The Slytherin princess likes it on top and has strong lesbian tendencies that the writers are sure to exploit in future episodes.

2. The Hufflepuff King continues to prove he's a Hufflepuff by his sheer uselessness.

3. Meanwhile his sons continue to prove that they are really Ravenclaws that the Sorting Hat was probably fairly tempted to put in Slytherin. I suspect some sort of affirmative action thing that year at Hogwarts.

4. The mudblood is going to become some sort of warrior/priest. He wants to know about his mother but nobody has the heart to tell him she was a muggle.

5. Poor Harry is going to be a cripple. Hopefully he'll keep his mouth shut about the Hufflepuff queen really being a slutty Ravenclaw, but I doubt it.

6. The kingdom's entire defense strategy is based on praying that their enemies never figure out how to make boats. This is why the Gryffindor warrior should have become king back in the day instead of the Hufflepuff King.

7. I like Ginny Weasley's new sword.

8. Too bad her sister has the hots for the Ravenclaw Malfoy.

9. We didn't get to see much of the Slytherin Malfoy. My guess is that in addition to being willing to whore out his sister, he's probably brought along plans about how to make boats. We did learn that he's sort of a libertarian who thinks people should be able to defend their homes from poachers using deadly force if needed.

10. This country's high priesthood is filled with sex offenders. It's too close to Easter to make the obvious joke.

Love, C.

#213 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 02:01 PM:

Carol Kimball @149: GAH!! Sufan!!

This is the person, folks, who went to a MileHiCon masquerade in a gold bikini and gentian violet dog medicine.

Knowing in advance that it would take two weeks to come off. "It was real easy to get a seat on the cross-town bus for a while there."

One of my all-time favorite people.

That photo captures her personality perfectly.

#214 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 02:04 PM:

Sansa's age gets her a pass for me. She hasn't even hit puberty when she makes the first Lousy Decision. You are right about consequences though - one of the things I enjoy about the books is that actions - even teeny ones, even ones that "aren't your fault" - all have consequences.

Catelyn should know better. She is old enough to see what the consequences of her actions could lead up to. I wanted to like her when I read the books, but her treatment of Jon was so ridiculous that I couldn't quite get over it. And frankly, she's about 50% responsible for raising her daughter to be a useless pawn - and Cat herself knows all about the reality of it.

I'd have to say that Xopher's decision to give the series a pass is a good one though. At least with the books I could keep reading and see some of the consequences of the actions. The payoff for some of the bad/good behavior seems like it's going to take a looooong time if it's only coming once a week.

#215 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 02:30 PM:

My favorite characters in "Thrones", based on the TV series since I never read the books... I have a weakness for spunky girls (unlike Lou Grant), and the youngest Stark daughter definitely is spunky. Tyrion, and I betcha Peter Dinklage isn't unhappy to play a character who isn't the punchline of a dwarf joke - unlike his role in Will Ferrell's "Elf".

#216 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 02:52 PM:

My recollection of GoT is that the first book was nasty in a fun way, but the second book was nasty in an un-fun way, which, combined with the absurd length of the whole endeavor, caused me to give up on the series.

It might make good television, though, and I'll probably check it out when it comes to Netflix.

#217 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 02:54 PM:

How does Sansa become such an airhead, when she was supposedly raised by two of the most practical hard-as-nails characters?*

Catelyn's treatment of Jon was what turned me against her. You'd think she'd be able to figure out who Jon's real parents are...

*Blame the governess?

#218 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 03:00 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 189: One of my old favorite couples is exactly the same height at the eyebrows--this is anime, so there is hair to consider--but fanart that is otherwise well done usually shows her as a little slip of a thing in his burly embrace.

This is also one of the reasons I was not much interested in watching the new Tron movie. In the original movie, the main character is an average guy. In the bus-stop ads and billboards for the new movie we get a bunch that have a strong action woman, and one where strong action woman is suddenly leaning up submissively against big, tall, manly man hero guy. I'm not even going to ask why strong action woman's bodysuit is slit to show skin at the shoulders, since I think she's supposed to be a computer program and all.

And on a different topic, amusing product reviews of a rather overpriced HDMI cable.

#219 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 03:03 PM:

Ah-hah! Sisuile identified the genus and species: the technique I used for the hallucination catcher is a variant of needlelace.

#220 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 03:22 PM:

You'd think she'd be able to figure out who Jon's real parents are...

Ah, your use of the plural...I think I just did, too. My guess is only a guess, but it's a spoiler if it's right, so I'll ROT13 it: uvf zbgure vf gur jbzna gur Xvat ybirq naq jub gur gne tbelf xvyyrq, naq uvf sngure vf gur Xvat: ur'f gur evtugshy urve gb gur guebar, zbq uvf orvat n onfgneq naq jungrire.

#221 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 03:44 PM:

Half right, Xopher:

Guvf vf zl thrff, abg pnaaba, ohg Wba'f zbgure vf Ylnaan Fgnex, Arq'f fvfgre naq gur sngure vf gur Eunrtne Gnetnelra.

I am sure the King in Game of Thrones has bastards...but I don't think you'll find any in Stark's domain.

#222 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 04:08 PM:

Xopher@204: I don't remember the "dead baby" bit from the original book -- though it has been five years since I read it. (I am deliberately not rereading the books; I figure it's more interesting to encounter the show as its own thing.) Your other guess, however, is dead on.

#223 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 04:48 PM:

In the spirit of "I have been having far too much fun with my pliers recently*" and "post new art:"

Unbind the lock of time

A couple open threads ago, we were talking photography. I have a hard time selling jewelry online, because no, really, I can't take pictures of it. A friend and photographer got these for me. I really, really need to make some time to figure out the new camera and update my website before the show.

*HLN: Woman ignores grandmother's terminal aggressive cancer by loosing herself in crafts and urban fantasy. This is good, as she has her first local show in two years in three weeks, hopefully not to be preempted by funeral.

#224 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 04:50 PM:

I don't usually go for "the dose of daily cuteness" stuff, but...eight sugargliders cuddled together in a CoolWhip container?

That's pretty freakin' cute.

#225 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 06:03 PM:

So I'm wondering...has a duology (or "diptych" which I guess somebody prefers) ever been nominated for Best Novel as a single work, before?

#226 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 06:39 PM:

HLN: Local man suspects he just suddenly lost a friend by challenging her belief in "liberal media bias." Naturally, there won't be any film at 11, our sponsors wouldn't like it.

#227 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2011, 09:30 PM:

Serge @114: In theory any fanfic combination you can think of must exist, as a corollary of Rule 34.

KeithS @218: I would say that her costume is the most authentic thing, since she's a female computer game character.

#228 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 12:34 AM:

>Ken @ 227... Legolas/Spock fanfic?

#229 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 12:44 AM:

Sisuile, that is pretty. I am not great at photography-- I would go so far as to say that I am bad at it, except the boy is worse. I've never made the effort to understand lighting. So my Stuff What I Made set is full of excess flash. I can't imagine taking pictures of jewelry. Even (mostly white, I admit) people are reflective enough to screw me up with a flash.

#230 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 01:37 AM:

Diatryma—I think what you need to do is set your things in natural sunlight. Or if you have a room that is exposed to lots of natural light (south or west-facing to get afternoon sun), take pictures in there near to a patch of sunlight (but not in it.) Reflected light (off something white) is best of all, not too harsh but fairly bright.

#231 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 03:16 AM:

Neil W @ 191: "Cersei appears differently as the books go on."

Mmm, yes, but fb sne gurl'ir erzbirq rira gur uvagf bs jvyqarff gung fur rkuvovgrq rneyl va gur obbx. Va gur obbx, fur tbnqf Eboreg vagb xvyyvat Ynql ol vafhygvat uvf znaubbq, naq fur jnf boivbhfyl bhg sbe oybbq naq iratrnapr ntnvafg ure fba'f nggnpxref (jungrire gur ernyvgl). Va gur fubj, fur frrzf nyzbfg pyvavpny jura fur'f qvfphffvat vg. Fur nyfb tbnqf Eboreg vagb fgevxvat ure snveyl rneyl ba, naq tybngf nobhg znxvat uvz ybfr pbageby--vg'f uneq gb vzntvar fubj-Prefrv qbvat gung.

Xopher @ 204: "The older sister, whatever her name is, is a scumbag though. She should have spoken up against the Prince's lies."

Yes, but something the show doesn't communicate as well as the book is how utterly brainwashed Sansa is by Disney-esque princess stories--it's literally unimaginable for her that a prince NOT be noble and kind and good. Her arc is having that fantasy beaten out of her.

Almost all of the characters make massive mistakes at some point or another. Game of Thrones, to a fair extent, is about what happens after.

nerdycellist @ 214: "I wanted to like her when I read the books, but her treatment of Jon was so ridiculous that I couldn't quite get over it."

I feel she's been less sympathetic in the show than she was in the book. It's that seen-from-her-own-eyes effect: from her perspective, Jon's existence is a constant reminder that Ned betrayed her, and that he keeps Jon around and treats him as a son a constant insult. It's hard to communicate that without an internal monologue.

David Goldfarb @ 222: I'm pretty sure it was added for the show.

#232 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 06:51 AM:

tykewriter @79:



#233 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 07:05 AM:

And Serge @114: it's filk rather than fanfic, but I think you're looking for that one song from Once More With Hobbits, at ...


#234 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 07:26 AM:

David Delaney@233

No, No, No!

Serge asked for hobbit/dwarf fanfic. That OMWH song is ELF/dwarf fanfic.

A COMPLETELY different thing. :-)

#235 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 08:34 AM:


book series upon which the television series is based is not finished

I really don't see the problem. There are already four books released and the fifth comes out in July.

If HBO does one book a season, that means they already have enough material to last through the 2015 season. They'll worry about getting more material in a few years. IF the show is still going and IF Martin hasn't already finished more novels in the series.

#236 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 09:29 AM:

Via LanguageHat comments on time and perception of time, here is a fascinating open-thready Einstein anecdote, from the 12/3/19 NY Times: INSPIRED AS NEWTON WAS: but by the fall of a man from a roof instead of the fall of an apple.

#237 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 09:36 AM:

Serge @228: By Rule 34, it must exist. Whether it existed before you thought of it is an interesting question. It's like Vanity's power in John Wright's Orphans of Chaos series. Spoilers:

Inavgl pna svaq frperg cnffntrf va nyzbfg nal ybpngvba, yrnqvat gb nyzbfg nal bgure ybpngvba veeryrinag bs qvfgnapr. Gurl nyy ybbx pbzcyrgryl "angheny", be ng yrnfg nf vs gurl'ir orra gurer sbe ntrf, ohg vg'f cbffvoyr fur'f perngvat gurz ba gur syl - vg'f qryvorengryl yrsg hapyrne jung'f fur qbvat.

#238 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 11:35 AM:

sisuile @223: Pretty sparkly! I'm particularly entranced by the wee key.

As to photography, the search string "photographing sculpture" turns up some good tips.

Don't know how my hallucination capture photos measure up (comments from photographers here who actually know what they're doing (unlike myself) deeply appreciated) but they're as good as they are (as not bad as they aren't?) as a result of two main tips: non-distracting background, and noticeable shadows.

#239 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 12:21 PM:

#235 ::: Michael

Why yes. My problem is not your problem, but that doesn't change that I do have a problem with it! :) It was interesting to learn I did have a problem with it because I didn't have one -- until I did.

It's part of the same problem that has made me consistently lose interest in fantasy series with too long, too many volumes for quite some time now. Instead of a rhythmic fictional progression, to me they seem to become plodly and thudly and I just -- quit, for loss of interest. It's like guests who way overstay their time. You want to get on with your life, go to bed, walk the cat, but they just stay and stay and stay.

Love, C.

#240 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 02:28 PM:

sisuile @223... What a lovely piece! I've yet to manage to really work with that sort of gear because they always seem to have sharp spindle-y bits coming off the gear perpendicular to the rest on both front and back. Is there a way to get around that without mangling my wire cutters?

#241 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 03:07 PM:

So far with Game of Thrones I'm grinning with delight whenever Tyrian shows up. Peter Dinklage has such an effortless way of performing Grand Scene Thievery. He's a lock for the supporting actor Emmy if ever I saw one.

#242 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 04:11 PM:

B. Durbin, #230: You'd think so, but actually full natural sunlight isn't good for taking pictures of jewelry because you get harsh shadows. It might work better for flat art, but not for anything 3-D. As you note, diffuse bright light is much better.

#243 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 04:33 PM:

I photograph LP covers in somewhat indirect natural light. I don't worry about levels: if I can see the cover, I can bring it out in Photoshop. The key thing is not having a harsh light glare to deal with, and the rest is just details.

No idea if this is helpful to anybody.

#244 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 04:45 PM:

If anyone has any good thoughts/wishes to spare it sounds like Alabama's Cullman Regional Medical Center may be in need of them -- I'm hearing reports that they sustained a direct hit from a tornado.

#245 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 05:06 PM:

Persephone @ 240

I use my heavy-duty wire cutters and clip the backs to be flush, then use my file to take the edges off where I trimmed. This is the one reason there are safety glasses on my worktable, because little metal flying bits are not good (It's all fun and games until someone looses an eye). I tend to leave some of the cog/shaft on the front so that it looks right, while trimming back most of the "this will draw blood when I hug you" bits.

I have lots of watch faces coming to me in the next couple of days. I hope to actually *use* that etsy account again.

#246 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 05:06 PM:

Ron Drummond reports that Chip Delany says Joanna Russ is in the hospital, probably not coming out. I have no further details myself, as I just got a report of the e-mail, so more info would be appreciated.

#247 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 05:45 PM:

I think there needs to be a Vanity Plate Comprehension class in high school. On the way to work, I was behind someone who had the plates "I(heart)UTERI" on their SUV. I assumed this person (hearts) more than one uterus. My friend rolled her eyes and said that clearly, the driver(hearts)a person called Teri. Which one of us is right?

To be fair, last month I parsed the license plate PUG PRSN to mean "Pug Prison". I thought I was better at re-emvowelling than that.

#248 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 05:58 PM:

@247 Vanity plates are clearly too cheap here in Maine because approximately every third vehicle has one.

I do not. I don't want one, I don't need one, and I kind of think they're silly.

After all, territorially marking your vehicle is what bumper stickers are for.

#249 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 07:17 PM:

I believe Virginia is #1 for vanity plates, including an assortment of organizational and other special plates. One among them is the red-handprint "Kids First" plate, an example of which which showed up on the Cheezeburger network reading "CTHULU".

Decoding vanity plates is a routine game for auto passengers.

#250 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 07:23 PM:

I read the first two books of Game of Thrones, started the third, and then got disgusted with the characters to the point where I couldn't go on anymore. On the other hand, I'm enjoying the TV show, not so much for the plot or the characters as for the acting (Sean Bean! Peter Dinklage!) and the production values. The lighting is magnificently done, subtle but dramatically so, if I can be excused an oxymoron. The sets, costumes, and props are terrific, and I want a copy of the Throne of Swords for my living room. And the animation of the map used in the title sequence is just lovely, though the steam-punkey gearing up of the castles doesn't seem to have much to do with the GoT world; I don't mind, it's fun to look at.

#251 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 07:28 PM:

My favorite VA license plate used the "Kids First" background, with EATTHE as the text of the plate. It was recalled because someone complained that it was sexually explicit. I don't think that's what they were going for.

#252 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 07:34 PM:

Which of course leads to the old riddles about vanity plates. You see a car with the plate I M L8. What color is it?

#253 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 07:44 PM:

nerdycellist, #247: I agree with your friend, but with a side of "shoulda used a hyphen" because your decoding also makes sense -- say, for a gynecologist!

Tom, #252: It's a white VW Rabbit, of course!

#254 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 08:53 PM:

I wanted to get a bunch of sticky "S"s made in various sizes and colors, just to stick over bumper stickers on Virginia cars. The ones that say "VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS" only the V in LOVERS is just an empty heart shape, so you could put another letter there.

An "N" would work too, but wouldn't be as snicker-worthy. Of course, one could just draw them on with a marker, I suppose, but that's not as satisfying to my est'etical sensibilities.

#255 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 08:54 PM:

Stefan, 156/877: I don't suppose they ever released the soundtrack music for that series? I notice it was done by Brian Eno, and it's really nice -- I'd like to have it for some of my playlists.

WRT the "Civil War was not a tragedy" Sidelight, I wonder what would have happened if Appomattox Day had been made a national holiday at the end of the war, the way we did later for Veterans' Day. Would it have made any difference in the number of people who are still fighting that damn war 150 years later?

#256 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 10:22 PM:

Joanna Russ has had several strokes and is in hospice care. That's all I know.

We were very close once. It's hard for me to imagine a world that doesn't have her in it. [Insert many rude words here.]

#257 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 10:25 PM:

I will note that "uteri" is in fact the correct plural of "uterus". That said, "I ♥ u Teri" seems more likely to me.

Have I mentioned that I totally ♥ the "Game of Thrones" theme music? I don't think it's available for purchase on iTunes, but if it were I'd buy it in a second.

#258 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 10:37 PM:

David, IMO the credit animation is spectacular too.

#259 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2011, 11:55 PM:

Lighting (esp. flash) is tricky. For Diatryma's stuff (and to a different degree sisuile's) what one needs is "fill" and probably a diffusion head.

That, and some test shots. Jewelry almost always looks better in situ.

#260 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 12:06 AM:

Lee @ 255: This Eno video page says: Theme music by Brian Eno, other music by Brian (Drop tracks, some unreleased pieces, one that cropped up on Curiosities Vol 1) and other music (Nirvana, Otis Redding).

So you might find what you're looking for on The Drop, or not. Often when a soundtrack uses Eno's music, it's not exclusive, but taken from one of his albums. Apollo is his original soundtrack for For All Mankind, though, and is sublime (as is the film).

#261 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 01:07 AM:

I just watched another episode (#4) of Brand's series. The music definitely adds to it.

Great series. Really makes me glad I didn't leap into buying a house when I moved up here.

#262 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 01:10 AM:

I thought maybe the UTERI car might be driven by a midwife. If the driver is indeed a Teri Lover, s/he might have just gone with I(heart)TERI. I can't believe I'm the only person who would have Organ Plural Awareness, but this is L.A. (other plurals I know: pancreata, coccyges.)

When I buy a car at the end of the year I am considering vanity plates, but just so I can remember my license number easily. I'll try and get something nerdy, unambiguous and not related to any bodily organs.

#263 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 02:19 AM:

In re photographing jewelry/objects: White copier paper makes a decent flash-diffuser (held over it by hand or taped in place or something), and a big sheet of white posterboard makes a great way to bounce natural sunlight at an object for fill, changed angle, or just less direct light.

Similarly, shooting the object near a big blank white-painted wall in a brightly-sunlit room (but not directly in a puddle of sun) will help spread the photons around pleasingly. Good for photographing faces, too -- cuddle up near the wall (though not near enough to be in the picture, unless that's what you're going for) and it acts like a bounce umbrella.

#264 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 07:33 AM:

nerdycellist @ 262.. If the driver is indeed a Teri Lover

Hatcher? Garr?

#265 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 08:15 AM:

I will keep these light things in mind next time I have something made to share. First step: remember to take pictures sometime before ten at night.

There are many vanity plates in town, mostly black-and-gold with pro-Hawkeye slogans. It's a little creepy, but some are funny.

#266 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 08:43 AM:

Diatryma @265: A sufficiently bright artificial light can be made to fake sunlight; bouncing it off nice matte white surfaces at your object help minimize both nasty shadows and weird reflections, and encourage your camera to see the contrast (between object and background, etc) that is really there.

#267 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 09:40 AM:

This page gives a few ideas about photographing jewelry, though it's plugging the company's products in the process.

The main thing to watch out for is keeping the colour temperature of your lighting consistent. Modern fluorescent bulbs can vary as much as the difference between daylight and old-fashioned tungsten bulbs.

This, incidentally. is why you can get blue-tinted tungsten bulbs for "crafting" (that's the word I see in the adverts). It corrects the redness of the hot filament to match, more-or-less, daylight.

Modern digital cameras can do better correction for fluorescent lighting than film ever could. And modern fluorescent bulbs are better than the earlier lighting (which tended to look green on film). But what looks good to our eyes can still be recorded differently by the camera.

If you want to get technical...

#268 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 10:14 AM:

May I consult the fluorosphere here?

I need the name of a neighbourhood in Chicago, not too far from downtown, that would have been decidedly working-class in 1945.

#269 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 11:20 AM:

Dave Bell (267): Some people swear by those blue-tinted bulbs sold for crafting, but they look truly awful to me. I once bought a very expensive "daylight" craft lamp, then returned it two days later because it was giving me massive eyestrain.

#270 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 12:10 PM:

heresiarch @231 - You're probably right about Cersei. But they may be trying to create a contrast. Not that they shouldn't have just left it alone (Also I haven't reread recently, waiting for the new volume, which Martin appears to have finished, assuming I've interpreted this picture correctly.)

As for Sansa, let's not forget that Joffrey is her future husband and future king. Obviously she ought to tell the truth. But if it's framed as choosing who to get in trouble between her aggravating younger sister and her handsome prince on their first date her choice becomes clear...

(Sansa is the head cheerleader, Joffrey is the star quarterback. Of course she gets him out of trouble!)

#271 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 02:11 PM:

Game of Thrones ... Peter Dinklage ... oh! ::googles:: OH!

Oh, crap. Well, now maybe I have to watch it. ::sigh:: The reviews here are not promising. Well, at least I can defer the decision until it shows up on Netflix.

#272 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 02:13 PM:

Kip W @243: I photograph LP covers in somewhat indirect natural light. I don't worry about levels: if I can see the cover, I can bring it out in Photoshop. The key thing is not having a harsh light glare to deal with, and the rest is just details. No idea if this is helpful to anybody.

Actually, useful to me, as I have other sculptures I want to put up on my website. So: thank you!

#273 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 02:20 PM:

Terry Karney @259: Do you have any recommendations for my catcher photos?

#274 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 02:28 PM:

#s 240/245: Are the gearshaft diameters compatible with bead boreholes? Depending on the length/width, I can see either cementing on half-drilled earring rounds, or securing the shaft end on the outside of a full-drilled disc/flower etc.

#156 et seq.: Kesi "carved silk" tapestry weave, probably? I was just there at the same museum last fall, though most of my pix didn't come out.

#275 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 02:53 PM:

Neil 270: (Sansa is the head cheerleader, Joffrey is the star quarterback. Of course she gets him out of trouble!)

Wow, way to make me like them even less. At least in the real world we can hope that they wrap a convertible around a tree and put themselves out of our misery. And remember their lies got the butcher's boy killed. Even if they weren't otherwise scumbags, that would do it.

To be fair, she's probably saving her actual life by lying, since she's just seen evidence that the Prince is willing to kill just to avoid embarrassment. He, on the other hand, needs to die as soon as the Lords of Karma can arrange it...

...but of course the plot requires that he live. Yeah, not watching this series. Way good, but too icky for me.

#276 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 03:30 PM:

Not that I want to change your mind about watching or reading the series Xopher (because seriously, I think when you're throwing as much energy as possible into healing yourself, being aggravated unnecessarily is completely out of the question) but Sansa is the mental equivalent of a sixth grader. It has been made explicit that she hasn't even reached menarche. She had no way of knowing her Bullshit would have gotten her wolf killed, let alone the Micah, the Butcher's Boy. She sees the world through tween blinders. I like her arc throughout the books because while she is too young to realize how Not To Fuck Up, she is old enough to feel the consequences and the reader is along for the ride. Her character arc is very much a cautionary tale of why you don't want to be a Princess.

Joffrey, however, is irredeemable. Lbh pna sybng nebhaq gur jro ybbxvat sbe obbx fcbvyref vs lbh'er vagrerfgrq va gur qrrcyl fngvfslvat gnyr bs uvf qrzvfr. Be whfg gb svaq nyy gur tvsf crbcyr unir znqr bs Glevba fynccvat Wbsserl va gur frpbaq rcvfbqr. V nyfb sbhaq gubfr pngunegvp.

#277 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 03:35 PM:

Holy crap, I have a birther on my facebook f-list! My f-list itself is carefully curated and only in the double digits specifically because I only accept friends requests from people I have Actually Met, and Actually Like. I thought I was safe, not knowing any Tea-Partiers, but how was I to know my smarty-pants high school crush was a Libertarian Conspiracy Theorist?

#278 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 03:36 PM:

Xopher -- while I recommend that you not see/read the series until you're in much better health, I can guarantee that you will enjoy what happens to Joffrey.

As I said earlier, watching some of these folks reap what they've sewn is one of my satisfactions with the series. That, and rooting for my favorite characters, of which there are too few.

Note -- there were other characters I was prepared to pull for until they proved to be not quite what I'd expected...but I am looking forward to the arrival of Winter.

#279 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 04:28 PM:

On photographing jewelry: make yourself a light tent (link to a how-to at Strobist, with pictures and video). Basically, it's a box with translucent white sides. When you put lights outside it, you get extremely smooth, even, diffuse light inside. Put the item inside, photograph it through an open side of the box. Ta-da!

#280 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 05:03 PM:

Dave Luckett @268 said: I need the name of a neighbourhood in Chicago, not too far from downtown, that would have been decidedly working-class in 1945.

I'm presuming you mean a residential neighborhood. What ethnic background do you want? Nowadays it's more mixed (which is hilarious to say, because we're still in the top-ten most segregated cities in the US), but certainly in 1945, ethnicities and races tended to very solidly clump, within their class/monetary clumps.

Also, how far is 'not too far'?

#281 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 10:40 PM:

Xopher@258: I have slightly mixed feelings about the credit animation. I think the steampunk "turning gears" thing doesn't really suit Martin's story. That said, it is an extremely cool visual.

#282 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2011, 10:46 PM:

Elliott #280. Say, within an hour's bus ride or equivalent, and it would have been white residential, maybe specifically Polish (though not necessarily the latter). Working-class is necessary, and fairly high-density for 1945, since the reference is to a three-room apartment. Direction from the CBD is not specified. Any would do.

Explanation: I have been in Chicago only once. The reference is more-or-less a throwaway remark, and unimportant, but I want to get it right, and I can find no demographic map of Chicago that answers the question.

#283 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 12:12 AM:

Goodnight, Sarah Jane.

Worksafe, but may very well make you cry.

#284 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 12:19 AM:

nerdycellist @ 277: "Joffrey, however, is irredeemable."

Irredeemable, maybe, but not inexplicable. (Not that you said otherwise: I'm just musing.) When you learn about the family situation he was raised in, it's very easy to understand why he came out the way he did. That's one of the things I like about ASOIAF: there are very few randomly evil people. Almost everyone is bad in specific ways for specific reasons--even the ones we're sympathetic with.

#285 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 12:29 AM:

Lee... Thanks for the link. I wonder what Turner Classic Movies will show for her when it does it traditional montage of those who passed away during the year.

#286 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 01:05 AM:

nerdycellist @ 277... I'd suggest taking the old crush off the list.

#287 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 01:06 AM:

nerdycellist @ 277... I'd suggest taking the old crush off the list.

#288 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 02:37 AM:

Dave Luckett: One of the far western neighborhoods or near western not-quite-suburbs would probably suit you then - most of them were still very heavily Eastern European ethnicity in the mid '70s, and still are for all I know. How about Brighton Park, Pulaski Park or Wicker Park?

#289 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 03:11 AM:

AKiCiML open thread question:
I have an uncertain memory of there existing a phrase analogous to "in the spirit of continuous improvement," (aka kaizen) but meaning "in the spirit of tenacious craziness" or "i.t.s.o. what the heck, let's just go for it." Does this phrase exist?

#290 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 07:40 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 289... The opposite would be "When in a hole, stop digging", I guess.
BTW... Would you be thinking about going to Baycon?

#292 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 08:37 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnydale @279 -- banzai? More in the American sense than the WWII Japanese sense.

#293 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 09:12 AM:

Speaking of fantasy-series adaptations... I wonder what the situation is, for "Téméraire". The last I heard, Peter Jackson was working on turning the whole thing into a TV series. Now though, he's filming "Bilbo".

#294 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 09:39 AM:

Serge@290: I don't know if Kathryn is going to BayCon, but my wife and I are. Gathering of Light, perhaps?

#295 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 10:08 AM:

Patrick Connors @ 294... That's an idea. Mind you, my wife won't know for a few days whether or not she can accept Baycon's invitation. By the way, if she does, I'll get a free membership because I'd be her Companion. No, I wouldn't dress like Billie Piper.

Stay tuned.

#296 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 10:31 AM:

re "cove-lighting/light tents/infinite lighting": That strobist piece is true, but misleading. You can do the box for a few bucks, but the lights will add to the price. If you do the off-camera flash trick it will add 60-200 to the price.

That said, it's worth it for those who have the lenses to pull it off. Getting the level of close up in those photos takes a dedicated macro lens/camera with a very good macro function.

So it's an inexpensive add-on to some non-trivial (if not actually bank-breaking) equipment.

Macro/close up work is one of the few areas in which equipment really does make a difference. That said, if you have a Nikon, (I am not sure about Canon, they have a different philosophy about lens compatibility), one can get extension tubes/macro converters and convert a normal lens to a much shorter one. That can be as little as 50 bucks.

Jacque: I'd look at taking larger shots, so the entire context of the piece is visible, then do detail work. more sidelight might help but the first thing I would do is get the subject further from the wall, so the shadow isn't visible. That's where bouncing/filtering the light helps.

Also remember the important distance is the light/subject distance, not the subject camera distance.

#297 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 10:37 AM:

Caroline @279: For some reason, I've had a terrible time with light boxes. I have three Ott-Lites and a five-headed standing lamp (cheap, but of the kind where you can twist the necks around to position them) on my jewelry photography table, and still never seem to have enough light to illuminate the pieces in the lightbox without bumping the ISO way up. Any suggestions?

#298 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 12:10 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnydale: "Gambatte!" I'm pretty sure that's what you're thinking of.

#299 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 12:15 PM:

Extension tubes (and related ideas) are an old and reliable way of getting close-up pictures. Focusing is essentially varying the distance between the lens and the sensor.

A long extension does affect the exposure.

An alternative is to mount an extra magnifying lens on the front of the camera lens, trivial when there is a filter mount.

For close-up photography, tripods and long exposures are a very common combination. In the old days, photographers used a cable release so that they didn't nudge the camera when they were using a tripod. These days, use the self-timer, intended to let you dash around to get into the camera's view. It gives time for the vibrations to die down.

#300 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 02:35 PM:

Report from Amy Thompson (via FB) is that Joanna Russ has finished her journey. A brilliant woman. She will be missed.

#301 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 03:20 PM:

Tom, yes, very much so. I never met her, but I've greatly enjoyed her fiction (after a very rough start with And Chaos Died) over the years.

#302 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 03:25 PM:

Terry Karney @296 and Persephone @297: I've seen Keith use a homemade light tent with regular lamps rather than flash units, so I know it is possible. He says the trick is to put your camera on a tripod so that you can do a long exposure.

Also, Persephone, how bright are the lightbulbs in your lamps? I'd go as bright as you can -- 100W bulbs would not be overkill, if you have lamps that can handle them.

You can also use a light tent outside in bright sunlight, to take advantage of the brightness without getting the harsh shadows. This is probably the cheapest way to do it!

#303 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 03:28 PM:

More for Kathryn from Sunnydale: Toujours l'audace? Forward momentum? Damn the torpedoes? What's behind me is not important?

#304 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 03:49 PM:

For small objects, you can make a light tent out of a lampshade.

#305 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 03:55 PM:

"Damn the torpedos"

This. (Though "Bonzai!" expresses the sentiment nicely as well. And I've, well, kind of fallen in love with the words "tenacious craziness" since Kathryn posted them here.)

#306 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 04:12 PM:

By the way: a recent experience watching, and enjoying, a movie in a language I did not understand (Rio, dubbed into Chinese) has me wondering if this has ever been done: One could write and produce a movie in which all the dialog was gibberish, nonsense syllables, but with the actors being instructed as to the meaning of the lines, and count on the camerawork, soundtrack, tones of voice, etc. to communicate the movie's story. Sort of asemic writing for the big screen... Anyone know of such a production?

#307 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 04:19 PM:

(you never did) The Modesto Kid writes in #306:

One could write and produce a movie in which all the dialog was gibberish, nonsense syllables, but with the actors being instructed as to the meaning of the lines, and count on the camerawork, soundtrack, tones of voice, etc. to communicate the movie's story. Sort of asemic writing for the big screen... Anyone know of such a production?

Though I have not seen it myself, I understand that Caveman, starring Ringo Starr, Dennis Quaid, and Shelley Long, fits this description.

#308 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 04:22 PM:

The Modesto Kid @ 306:

I know of no movie that has done this (although there may well be at least one), however the various versions of the computer game The Sims do this with their Simlish language. I think they've even gone so far as to have some pop groups record their hits as Simlish.

#309 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 04:25 PM:

We have a xylophone band playing out front. Every time I go to the bathroom: Waaaauuugh bass rush!

Sometimes living in Boulder (and working on the Mall) is very cool.

#310 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 04:28 PM:

The Modesto Kid @306: I think much of Being Human also fits this description.

#311 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 04:32 PM:

KeithS @ 304 ...
For small objects, you can make a light tent out of a lampshade.

Although I don't have pictures, you can also make a reasonably sized collapsable light tent using a walker, a board across the side rails, a white/light sheet, and the exceedingly common clip-on work lights (used both to provide light and hold the sheet on.

#312 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 04:36 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 307... "Caveman" does fit the description. I rather liked the scene where the T-Rex gets drunk on fermented berries. There is also "When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth", which has a dinosaur think that the bikini-clad Italian blonde beauty it found in a busted egg shell was its chick.

#313 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 04:46 PM:

"There is also "When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth", which has a dinosaur think that the bikini-clad Italian blonde beauty it found in a busted egg shell was its chick."

If this is the film I'm thinking of:

I saw this with my sisters, mother, and some friends when it first came out. The theater passed out cards with a simple glossary of the cave peoples' language! I recall that the sheet had a picture of the hero battling a pterodactyl.

#314 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 04:48 PM:

The Modesto Kid @306 -- no film I know of, but Tom Stoppard did it on stage with "Dogg's Hamlet". Not nonsense syllables, but English words used with completely different meanings. I went to it many times, and it's quite brilliant.

#315 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 04:55 PM:

Modesto Kid, et. al. I think you mean Banzai. Bonsai is little trees, Bonzai doesn't (to the best of my knowledge) mean anything.

Re light: Lots is better, esp. for smaller/less discriminating cameras. Photography is all about controlling the light. I have a cable release. the self-timer is able to do that, but really, if you have an SLR, the dampers, and the shortness of most exposures is going to be enough to cover what little "mirror slap" is running about.

If you don't have an SLR, then it's not an issue at all.

#316 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 04:58 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 307: IIRC, Quest For Fire fit this description pretty well, although they called Anthony Burgess for help making the invented speech more language-ish.

#317 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 05:28 PM:

Caroline: Light tents can be lit with anything. Hot light tend to be harder to work with.

They are hot, for one, and a fair bit of light is required. The human eye is a lot more sensitive than the camera, so it takes a fair bit more light than we tend to think to get a reasonably lit object, and reasonable short shutter speed.

If you need Depth of Field, the requirements for light go way up. I've got more than a few photos which took 8-30 seconds to collect the needed light, and that was outdoors, with the sun above the horizon.

#318 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Living in a cyberpunk novel open threadiness:

This Washington Times article discusses above-ground private companies that develop malware for sale to governments, specifically (in this case) a company that appears to have sold some targeted malware to the Egyptian security services.

This same industry is surely selling our government tools to use on us--legally, in full view. They are also surely selling tools to private companies to use on us, or at least on annoying people who cause them trouble, as with the plan exposed in the HB Gary emails.

This is one more area where the global war on terror is coming home to be used on Americans. (Indeed, the push for more surveillance powers long predates 9/11.)

#319 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 05:42 PM:

Didn't "One Million Years BC" also skip with understandable language? On the other hand, it had Raquel Welch.

#320 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 06:07 PM:

Jumping from the Russ thread, because it seems less than apropos to hijack it.

Things that turn up on flickr

Number 23, Alice Marie Martin, is my mother. She missed the cut by some small number, and the STS increased the number of winners by enough, the next year, that's she'd have made the cut.

Which, while it sucks for her, I'd probably not be here if she'd won, so...

#321 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 06:14 PM:

Caveman, Being Human, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, Dogg's Hamlet, Quest For Fire, One Million Years BC

Cool! Thanks for all the leads -- the Stoppard piece in particular sounds like just what I'm looking for.


Oops, right, of course.

#322 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 06:42 PM:

Flying car!

#323 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 06:57 PM:

The Modesto Kid @306

Not entirely what you're looking for, but have you ever watched any silent movie? Admittedly they usually have music and captions.

Also I'll repeat One Million Years BC. For a while I have tried to get friends together to watch a double bill of this film and 10,000 BC. Clearly one fim should be 100 times better (or longer) than the other, but which way round?

#324 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 07:05 PM:

Sure, silent movies were the first thing that occurred to me -- what is missing though is the intonations of the the actors' voices.

#325 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 07:34 PM:

Second-hand fame is better than none. My dog (Kira) is mentioned in this press release about doggy blood donors:

Dang. My dog will have donated 36 units by the time she retires in June, but she'll still not have beaten the record.

#326 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 07:34 PM:

albatross @ 318: "Living in a cyberpunk novel open threadiness:"

I'm reading a book about the growth of slums right now. At this rate, I'm thinking Neuromancer takes place in about 2047.

#327 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 07:54 PM:

Irene Gallo's asked for a story identification:

Apparently there is a short story about a movie theater that plays movies that were never made. I've been tasked with finding it but I never read it. Anyone know what that might be?
Any ideas? I know the theme, but not the specific story.

#328 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 07:58 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @289, there's the 3 Mustaphas 3 slogan: "Forward in all directions!"

#329 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 08:13 PM:

Modesto Kid: Although it's not quite what you're asking for, Incubus is entirely in Esperanto.

I was also going to list some caveman movies, but I see others have already done so. For a while, lack of language was as much a requirement of the genre as the dinosaur fight, the two clans (one blonde and one brunette), and the big volcanic eruption at the end.

Some recent cavemen films are instead having the cavemen speak modern English, often in the weird combination of American idioms with British accents. I think this is just part of a general trend, though, which is affecting all period costume pieces. After all, when you think Italian Renaissance or French age of chivalry or Greek myth, the first thing that comes to mind is "yo, dude" in BBC Received Pronunciation, right?

#330 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 08:35 PM:

#328 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden

[to] Kathryn from Sunnyvale @289, there's the 3 Mustaphas 3 slogan: "Forward in all directions!"

In "Texas Across the River", the cavalry officer raises his gauntleted hand and shouts "H'rohr HAHR", which means, gallop forward, wheel right, wheel left, full stop, etc.

#331 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 09:09 PM:

Carol Kimball @ #330, clearly he is a moonlighting baseball umpire.

#332 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 10:07 PM:

Carol Kimball @330, Teresa Nielsen Hayden @328: And the Stephen Leacock classic: "Lord Ronald [...] flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions".

#333 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 11:29 PM:

Dave Bell @299: Yes, the timer is a great way to keep the camera from shaking when I mash the shutter button. I should have mentioned it. Two seconds seems sufficient, but I usually take two pictures anyway, to feel secure.

Carol Kimball @330: My family loved that line, though we pronounced it a little differently (perhaps the effect of hearing it through a three-inch TV speaker, and black & white at that). I was thinking about that movie the other day; the scene where Dean Martin tells Joey Bishop (playing a Native American) to suck the rattlesnake poison out of somebody's bite. "Yechh." says Bishop. "...Could get very sick."

#334 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 11:45 PM:

Modesto Kid: We had a game like that in improv. It was called Gibberish, actually, and you weren't allowed to use any recognizable language. (You could use words, but they couldn't be in any semblance of rationality. A common variation was to use the same word over and over, i.e. "Tuna, tuna tuna tuna tuna.")

More often, we used gibberish in other games, like Die (the traditional end game.) Each person, selected through stuttering on a story, was selected to die by some suggestion. I actually got applauded once in one of those games for appropriate use of a dimmer switch*.

I highly recommend improv training when it's done right (IOW, not for the funny but for the structure.) Best life skills course I've ever had, even though it wasn't intended to be.

*It's immensely frustrating to be in charge of the lights and to realize that all of the spots are packed away and you have two dimmer switches—audience and stage. I'd been looking for a chance to do something cool all evening and we finally got to Die... and somebody got Death By Nuclear Device.

Sometimes timing is everything. :)

#335 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2011, 11:58 PM:

B Durbin, please elaborate on the game and the dimmer switch. It sounds interesting, but I am short of understanding.

A friend of mine is an MFA scriptwriting student at whichever Ohio it is in Athens. They write weekly plays. Her suggestion for one week's theme was that it be entirely gibberish or otherwise unintelligible language-- you can have Spanish or Chinese or whatever, but it can't be comprehensible either.

I also wrote a story once that featured cows. All the dialogue was 'moo'.

#336 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 12:05 AM:

Ken @329
Not only is Incubus entirely in Esperanto, it stars William Shatner (pre-Trek).

#337 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 12:27 AM:

B. Durbin @ 334:

I second Diatryma's request for elaboration. That sounds both amusing and fascinating.

Diatryma @ 335:

Now I'm thinking of the Diablo 2 Secret Cow Level. Imagine herds of homicidal, Gary-Larsonesque cows with halberds, all saying "moo", often in a deadpan voice.

Ken @ 329 and Magenta Griffith @ 336:

I only know of Incubus by reputation and having read a summary. Would you say it's a good bad movie, or a bad bad movie?

#338 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 12:43 AM:

Teresa @ 327... That sounds familiar. The one I remember had a Spielberg movie that everybody had forgotten about - "Raiders of The Lost Ark", starring Tom Selleck. There was also the library that contained the conclusion of "Arthur Gordon Pym".

#339 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 12:54 AM:

Diatryma @ 335 - The one in Athens is Ohio University. The worthless nut one is in Columbus.

#340 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 01:05 AM:

Patrick Connors... I wanted to confirm that I will be at Baycon. As for a Gathering of Light, is there a restaurant on the premises, or a short walk away? I could google the neighborhood, but I thought I'd ask here first.

#341 ::: Proud Lurker ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 01:30 AM:

TNH @ 327 - The story I recall was in either a horror, or fantasy collection. Man - who is something of a movie buff - finds an old, run-down movie theater which plays old, rare movies from the past. Man is delighted to find that these movies play missing reels and footage long thought lost or destroyed.

The last few paragraphs make clear the movie theater was either demolished, or burned down - yet our protagonist is in the theater, contentedly watching yet another movie.

Title and author of this story I have yet to recall.

#342 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 01:34 AM:

Clifton #288, Thank you. Pulaski Park it is, unless Elliott Mason - who is, I think, an actual Chicagoan - disagrees.

#343 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 08:53 AM:

KeithS @337: I have only seen Incubus once, in a version without subtitles. The emotional content came through, and there was some pretty good cinematography, but the plot was incomprehensible. Now that I think about it, my reaction was a lot like Carnival of Souls - "that was kind of neat, but what the hell was it?"

TNH @327 and subsequent: I think I have read this story too, but I also recall similar ones using a bookstore and a video rental store (the latter was an alternate-universe thing) and I may be confusing it. Not that it's any help for you since I'm lousy at remembering titles and authors.

#344 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 10:13 AM:

KeithS, the cows were bringing about the end of the world, so. I ran into some trouble when I was expected to read it aloud. The thought I'd given to punctuation and tone wasn't as thoughtful as I thought.

I have read the video store alternate-universe one. That was in either Asimov's or F&SF, probably Asimov's, between August 2006 and 2009. Unless my memory of reading it in the Little Slanty Apartment is totally off, which it may be.

#345 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 11:08 AM:

I once took part, as a chorus member, in a Russian-language opera production (Eugene Onegin). No one in the cast knew Russian, I'm not really sure that anyone on staff but the vocal coach did either, and we were all provided with scores in Russian with phonetic transliteration scribbled in underneath, so it was really very much like what's being described.

Opera's weird enough, being in foreign languages, but when it's one that nobody knows, it's practically a surreal experience. And yet I can still remember the words for the peasant's dance twenty-five years later, and at the time, all the emotional nuances got conveyed just fine.

#346 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 11:11 AM:

OT light tents:

I'm amused to find this being discussed here, since until recently, googling 'Making Light' would - for me at least - bring up instructions for making an inexpensive light tent. I feel this phenomenon deserves a name...

Xopher @ 301: I'm afraid that after trying - and failing - to read And Chaos Died I gave up on Russ entirely. (I was young; there were so many books to read.) Clearly a mistake, which I'll need to start rectifying. (But a pity I didn't do so when the royalties would have made a difference to her).

#347 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 11:37 AM:

Open Thready:

I don't know if this will quite work for kids. But it works for me.

#348 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 11:52 AM:

I have been deliberately ignoring the royal wedding -- except I heard this morning on NPR that the bride wore a tiara (lent to her by the Queen) which had been worn by her (Elizabeth II) and also by Elizabeth I, after whom I was named, and who is one of my historical heroes.

So that made me smile.

May they be very happy together. William and Kate, I mean.

#349 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 12:47 PM:

Oh, I thought the tiara had been worn by the Elizabeth who was called the Queen Mother for most of my life. I didn't know it went back as far as Elizabeth the Great.

#350 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 01:09 PM:

When I think of Elizabeth Numero Uno, I'm likely to conjure up images of Bette Davis, Flora Robson, Glenda Jackson, Cate Blanchett and Judi Densch, but also and especially of Miranda Richardson, who played her as a total airhead.

#351 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 01:16 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @327:

Irene Gallo's asked for a story identification:
Apparently there is a short story about a movie theater that plays movies that were never made. I've been tasked with finding it but I never read it. Anyone know what that might be?
Any ideas? I know the theme, but not the specific story.

Unfortunately, it is a story that was never written, in a collction that was never published, by authors that never existed.

#352 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 01:47 PM:

Lizzy L @348: I heard the same radio story about Kate's tiara, but I don't think they explicitly dated it all the way back to Queen Elizabeth I. Like Xopher, I assumed that the first "Elizabeth" they mentioned was the late Queen Mum-- according to this story, the tiara was made in 1936.

#353 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 02:05 PM:

Proud Lurker @341: A few years ago — ten, let's say — I had a pleasant dream that my friends and I were making a regular pilgrimage to a newsstand to buy comics. Our favorite newsdealer was this old lady who was so damned feisty and independent that she still managed to get new ECs every month.

The movie theater story sounds Bradburyish, doesn't it?

jnh: Win.

#354 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 02:16 PM:

Hyper-Local News from el V:

Attention Baltimoreans!

Ned Sublette + Madison Smartt Bell, Sunday night (May Day! May Day!) at 7 pm, Cyclops Books + Music, 30 West North Ave. at Maryland (next to
Windup Space and catty-corner from Joe2.)

I will be reading from "The Year Before the Flood" and singing songs from the forthcoming album "Kiss You Down South."

Love, C.

#355 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 03:06 PM:

jnh #351: Clearly, Lucien is the one to ask about that one! :-)

Side-thought: I wonder of anyone's tried to dream-journey to Lucien's library?

#356 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 03:23 PM:

Serge @340,
I'll be missing Baycon this year, as I'm going to get in some much-delayed travel before the BigProject of summer.

I've never been to Europe in early June (all my last visits have included 5pm sunsets).

#357 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 03:54 PM:

Serge@340, yes, there's a restaurant in the Baycon conference center hotel, as well as a lobby bar with lots of seating area (and food service and sushi bar), and tables outside. Any of them could work well, depending on people's preferences for food formality and for hijacking passersby. The restaurant is a bit pricier, and some times of day has had buffet service, and sometimes is crowded.

#358 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 04:37 PM:

Serge@340: There is a restaurant on premises, also a bar in the lobby. It's Very Suburban, so nothing is walking distance. It is, however, on the San Jose light rail system, so destinations in downtown San Jose are possible.

Last time we were there, we drove everywhere.

#359 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 05:04 PM:

This latest Doctor Who episode really needs somebody to filk Hope Eyrie.


Spoilers, sweetie.

#360 ::: Dr. Psycho ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 05:09 PM:

Yoko Kanno writes in what she describes as a language of her own invention. Actually, it's gibberish making use of syllables from English, Russian and other languages. It makes for some really lovely songs:

I wouldn't mind hearing an entire conversation, or even an entire film, written in Yoko Cant.

Especially if it were a new episode of "Cowboy Bebop"....

#361 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 05:35 PM:

Dr. Psycho @ 360:

This song is only part in Kanno's made-up language, but is also wonderful.

#362 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 06:33 PM:

Ken, Diatryma,

I think the alternate-universe video rental store was by Connie Willis (or possibly Nancy Kress) but I haven't been able to find where I read it.

#363 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 06:44 PM:

Terry Karney, #320: "Which, while it sucks for her, I'd probably not be here if she'd won, so..."

In similar wise, I am the fifth of four brothers. Between my brother Dennis and myself was another pregnancy, who would have been named Douglas if there hadn't been a miscarriage at six months.

After my own birth, my parents decided having four children was enough, and Dad got a vasectomy. So if Douglas had lived, that vasectomy would have taken place earlier, and -I- wouldn't have been born.

(I heard about Douglas as a small kid, probably about six years old. One thing my other said was, "I carried him for six months." My little-kid mind took this sentence and ran for the goalposts in a completely different stadium. For years, I had the firm belief that the state of Ohio had some bizarre law that mothers of dead babies had to carry the bodies around in jars of formaldehyde for six months afterward.)

#364 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 06:44 PM:

Ah, now that it's a video-rental store it's sounding more familiar. Asimov's, a few years ago. A guy crosses into an alternate universe where the same movies were made (mostly), but with different actors. He takes some of them home to watch them, but has to modify his player. Romance with the (female) video-store clerk also plays a role; she LOVES the fact that in his (our) universe Judy Garland was in The Wizard of Oz!

I wish I could remember some of the examples that go the other way. They were movies I wanted to see!

#365 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 07:49 PM:

Xopher, Diatryma:

Ah. Found it. It's Tim Pratt's "Impossible Dreams". It was in Asimov's July 2006, but I read it in his collection "Hart and Boot and Other Stories".

Re-reading it, I can see why it reminded me of Connie Willis. I had assumed it was an old story that I'd read while packing up books to move to NZ.

#366 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 07:55 PM:

And Tim Pratt links to a free audio version at

I don't think this is the one TNH was looking for, though.

#367 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 09:00 PM:

Patrick Connors @ 349... Something on the premises would be fine by me. For one thing, I'll have just gone thru a 1100-mile drive to get there. Also, my wife is a guest, but she doesn't have her schedule yet. Let me know how to write to you, or contact me thru FaceBook, or thru my LJ, and we'll figure something out.

#368 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 09:03 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 363... My parent's first child was stillborn, which is why I exist.

#369 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2011, 09:28 PM:

The Modesto Kid @324

Now I know what I was edging towards - in The Great Dictator Chaplin uses some relevant German, some irrelevant German, some (I think) Yiddish, and the odd piece of german-sounding nonsense to parody Hitler in some scenes. Again not quite what you're asking for. Sorry.

#370 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 12:25 AM:

If we're onto singers, you can add the Icelandic band Sigur Ros. Many people assume they're singing in Icelandic, but they actually sing all of their songs in a made-up non-language they call Vonlenska.

#371 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 12:38 AM:

I was easily able to find the Tim Pratt story because I remembered that it won the Hugo. But I see I've been beaten to it.

#372 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 12:47 AM:

Someone has done a heavy metal rock cover of the "Game of Thrones" theme. I'm not heavily into metal, but it actually works pretty well that way.

#373 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 01:15 AM:

Clifton Royston @ 370: Magma (the French band most popular in the Seventies, but still active today) sing in an invented language called Kobaian.

#374 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 02:26 AM:

Diatryma, KeithS, it wasn't anything spectacular. Just that when the person doing the scene went to turn *on* the imaginary nuclear device, the lights started going whoom whoom whoom (visual equivalent of that sound.) One of those little details that just wasn't expected with live, improvised theater, like the time we had a herd of elephants through the magic of unexpected audience participation. (Foot stomping.)

Incidentally, I have found that when I remember improv scenes, it's sometimes difficult to remember that it's done with no props and no costumes. Your memory tends to fill in those details, like the notebook a police officer holds, or a clown's red nose.

#375 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 05:41 AM:

If we're onto singers

Oh! Right -- I guess scat is similar to what I'm thinking about. That brings in lots of candidates. Thanks for the info about Sigur Ros and Magma; I like Christian Vander's statement that he invented Kobaïan because "French was just not expressive enough" to communicate his meanings.

#376 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 09:08 AM:

heresiarch @361, Dr. Psycho @ 360: I always liked "Sora", from the Escaflowne movie soundtrack, best of all the songs written in Kanno's unlanguage--it's particularly interesting in that two completely disjoint English translations of it exist.

#377 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 09:51 AM:

Caroline @302: I just checked. The ones in the bendy-necked lamp are only 26W CFLs; they seem very bright when the lamp's on, but objectively they must not be. I bought some 100W CFLs to put in and we'll see how that does. (The Ott-lites are only 13W each, but I'm hesitant to mess with them or attempt replacing the bulbs, since they were expensive and are fairly new -- and also get used for actual beading.)

#378 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 10:27 AM:

Julia L at 352: Oh. Too bad. My version was wrong but awesome.

#379 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 11:52 AM:

The Modesto Kid @ 375: Magma Misheard Lyrics: Philosophy War! made me laugh out loud in several places.

#380 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 12:15 PM:

I know there are people who like post-punk, people who like prog rock, and people who live in the SF Bay area.

Anyone in the intersection of those three sets might be interested in the Cardiacs tribute/benefit show I'm playing in next Sunday (May 8).

#382 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 01:11 PM:

@377: Keep in mind that watts are power used, not light emitted. The unit of output is lumens. A 26 watt CFL is claimed to be approximately equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent. It looks like a 100W incandescent is around 1600-1700 lumens, while a 26W CFL is around 1800 lumens.

I'm not enough of an expert to talk about the difference in quality of light between old fluorescents, new fluorescents, incandescents, and daylight- and how that will affect direct vision vs. film vs. electronics- but there is a difference and I hope someone else can explain it.

#383 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 02:10 PM:

Sandy B. #382: Brief summary of the differences: The human eye has a particular frequency-response curve to various colors of light and amplitude-response to various brightnesses. These curves are very different for the electronic sensors used in cameras (and for the pigments used in film before those).

Those issues are aggravated by the point that most fluorescent lights have dubious spectra -- instead of a continuous range of frequencies like natural light or incandescents, their light is concentrated at particular wavelengths, and the builders of the lights have a limited choice of which wavelengths. (The early fluorescent lights didn't even suit human vision, and their improvement has been slow.) Getting those lights to give the same colors to both human and camera vision can be a trial of patience!

#384 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 03:37 PM:

Around 1949, Dad auditioned for lessons with the great pianist Robert Casadesus, and was accepted. He'd have gone to Paris for lessons, but instead he stayed around to marry Mom and have four kids, of whom I was the last.

How different it might have been for him. Instead, he was a local music teacher, church organist, dinner theater pianist, and live accompanist to the annual Larimer County Rodeo, among other things, supporting a family on what a musician could earn (and what a hunter could pack to the truck), and beloved in his community in a sort of George Bailey way. I'm glad he chose as he did, but I still have to think: man! Casadesus!

#385 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 04:55 PM:

Sandy B. #382, Dave Harmon #383:

In particular, even good fluorescent lights tend to have sharp peaks in purple and green, and then a smoother spectrum in yellow-orange-red. If you're looking at colors in the green to purple half of the spectrum, there may be very little light at some frequencies.
'White' LEDs are better, but they still have a dip between green and blue, and a high peak in blue.

For some purposes you just can't beat light-emitting resistors.

#386 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 04:58 PM:

Tim Walters @379: Far out.

#387 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 05:12 PM:

Just finished Studio 60.




#388 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 05:20 PM:

B. Durbin @334: I highly recommend improv training when it's done right (IOW, not for the funny but for the structure.)

Say more about this, please. In particular, say more about the structure part, with examples, if you can.

Best life skills course I've ever had, even though it wasn't intended to be.

Hear hear! One of the three most useful (set of classes) I had in high school* was my acting and theatre classes. Actually set me on my journey to becoming a functional human being, and laid a lot of the groundwork for my later NLP training, which has been invaluable in figuring out how to function in society.


* The other two being typing** and Latin.
** Though that was technically junior high.

#389 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 05:59 PM:

the sidebar to the Cambell obit had this in it, Festival of Books: Susan Straight and novelists examine the cultural fallout of 'those who stay and those who leave'

But it's not about Omelas.

#390 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 06:18 PM:

Jacque @ 387

I know! Isn't it just...well...Sorkin?

Just about everyone who comes over for movies has to watch the first two episodes.

#391 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 08:25 PM:

The Connie Willis book is Remake. It is very short-Connie-Willis.

I credit auditioning for the musical in high school with quite a lot. Not because the musical was life-changing, but because after it was done, the director said I should look into speech team and that was that: speech team. It makes such a huge difference. I can present like nobody's business, at least compared to most of my peers. Speech class should be required (along with so many others that aren't-- we need another entire school day for all the things we want kids to learn) at least once in junior high or high school.

#392 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 08:39 PM:

Speaking of light tents, there's a neat trick for macrophotography of insects, and other very small things: make a light tent by sawing a ping-pong ball in half and putting it over the bug. Tip it up a bit and stick the camera lens in one side, or cut a hole somewhere else for the lens, depending on what view you want to shoot. Works a treat for anything small enough to fit inside the ball, and ping-pong balls are easy to cut.

#393 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 09:55 PM:

Serge: I'm at (rot-13):

cng ng cngevpxpbaabef qbg pbz

#394 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 10:53 PM:

Holy crap.

Osama bin Laden shot and killed, body in American custody.

Please, please, please, let this be used as an excuse to wrap up our involvement Afghanistan, quickly.

#395 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 10:58 PM:

@Jacque: I have seen some improv groups that are basically for the benefit of a few core players, with the rest being left out in the cold because they're not as funny. When it's done "right", in my opinion, you have a huge pool of talent that does all of the practices, even if only a few do the shows. Moreover, a lot of the training games used in practices are not the ones used in shows but trust builders.

To give an example, one of the things that we were taught is never to block a suggestion or say "no" to a question. No matter how crazy the idea is, you run with it, because shutting someone down is bad for morale AND for the scene. One example of a teaching game is "Yes, And" where one player says "Yes, and..." to every idea the other person suggests, where "and..." is an expansion of the idea.

Another teaching thing is to learn that you have to stay within the confines of the game and not break the rules just for the sake of being funny, because that's degrading in the long run.

I think part of the reason I've seen the contrast so much is that there was one time when our improv group invited another school over for a special show, and in the first game, they broke the cardinal rules left and right. And that scene felt a little mean. Some people find that funny, but it's a lot more fun, IMO, if everybody's supporting one another and building funny scenes together. And if one person is grandstanding at the expense of another, that other person isn't going to find it quite so fun anymore. And that's how you end up with no talent pool.

And when you spent the time to cultivate the "lesser" talents, they might become more confident. And confidence can lead to greater talents.

Incidentally, I was never cast in a single show in three and a half years. I'm just not quite as funny as some of the other people. But I had a GOOD time in practices. (We did a soap opera one year to start off practices. Kept it going for several months.)

#396 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 10:59 PM:

I had a great thrift store weekend.

In addition to used copies of three movies I've been looking for, I found a copy of John M. Ford's How Much For Just the Planet?, which I'd been looking for for years.

And, ahem, um, found a great jacket by the dumpsters. Insulated hood. Detachable liner. Zippered pockets. In great shape. After a wash in color safe bleach it spent the day drying in the sunlight.

#397 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 11:58 PM:

Bruce Cohen: One can also do that with an eggshell.

#398 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 12:54 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @289:

Once, while on a dungeon campaign playing a Chaotic Good half-orc cleric, my character ran into battle screaming, "Whatever!"

#399 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 01:36 AM:

I've been dialing around the TV. Flag-waving crowds have gathered outside the White House and at the World Trade Center site in New York.

Reporters are speculating that celebrations may start up in other U.S. cities. No hard news of this yet.

DC is turning into a real flash crowd, spilling across Pennsylvania Avenue.

C-SPAN 1 has jacked into the Al-Jazeera English feed.
(Oops, that has ended, for now.)

Apparently President Obama's announcement interrupted Donald Trump's show Celebrity Apprentice.

#400 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 08:53 AM:

sisuile @390: Heh heh heh...I haz teh Charlie Wilson's War sittin' in my In Box heh heh heh.

I strongly suspect that Sorkin writes an awful lot of his dialog by jotting down those arguments one has in one's head in the course of making a decision or choosing a position, and then just assigning sides to his characters.

But that's a lot like saying that Mozart just writes music by stringing together some pretty notes.

#401 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 08:58 AM:

Re: bin Laden: I hope I'm not the only one who's feeling a little sad that all the celebration is over the death of a human being. Even if it is that human being.

#402 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 09:17 AM:


Yeah, it's a little ghoulish to celebrate the death of someone. OTOH, this is a war (or something) that doesn't actually have nice clean victories other than when someone's captured or killed. Most of the time, it's more like "well, they seem to be a lot less effective since we made it harder for them to get donations and killed a couple of their key organizers, but it's hard to be sure that's not a statistical blip."

I hope we can use this as an event that lets us wrap up the military side of this war, which we can't really afford, and which is arguably doing as much harm as good at this point. With US troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and ultimately, Libya and Yemen, other than maybe a few special forces types and FBI liasons to foreign police forces to deal with continuing to track terrorists that threaten the US, it seems to me that we'll be safer from terrorist threat, while also being less likely to help terrorists recruit from people who don't like us occupying their soil and killing their fellow citizens.

#403 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 09:40 AM:

The shouting and fist pumping is a bit much. I think I am not looking forward to my plane flight in 6 hours.

#404 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 10:10 AM:

Not as glamorous as the death of Osama, or with much national political-pundit importance: Cairo, Illinois has been evacuated because of fears their levees and flood wall will not withstand the flooding on the Ohio River.

The governor of Illinois requested that the Army Corps of Engineers open the levees on the Mississippi in southern Misouri, below Birds Point, where the Ohio flows into the Mississippi, in hopes of relieving the pressure on the levees on the Ohio (they have at least one enormous sand boil, with others forming). The state of Missouri, not anxious to see over 100K acres of good farmland flooded, went to court to stop this; the Eighth District Court of Appeals told them to shut up and cope on Sunday; Missouri has appealed to the Supreme Court. Missouri politicians have, as usual, covered themselves with tackiness in the matter. (Not because they are trying to protect the state's economic interests, but because of the way they are conducting themselves while they go about this.)

Yesterday, at seven in the evening, the river level at Cairo was at 60.2 feet (flood stage is 40.0); it's not expected to crest until Wednesday, somewhere around 61.5 feet; it will exceed all previous recorded floods at that point on the Ohio, including 1927, 1937, and 1993. The river wall in downtown Cairo is 64 feet high.* Not that things look so great in the rest of the area, either. The Ohio at Paducah (flood stage 39.0 feet) is at 52.4 feet, and is expected to go to at least 54 feet, and will (it is hoped) crest and begin to drop on Wednesday. Officials in the greater Memphis area are evacuating low-lying areas.

Of course, more rain is predicted for the area through Tuesday at least.

The weather patterns for the last part of 2010 and so far for 2011 are very similar to those in 1992-1993.

View of the Ohio toward Cairo, taken from Wickliffe, Kentucky. More from youtube.

*The structural inegrity of all river control structures should always be considered unknown; generally, the way you find out the levee has weakened is when it fails.

#405 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 10:12 AM:

I have just submitted a post with a plethora of links, and it is in quarantine. Could some one among the moderators check it for plague and release it into the general community if it passes its tests?

#406 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 11:02 AM:

fidelio: Done.

#407 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 11:19 AM:

James D. Macdonald @406--Thanks!

#408 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 11:28 AM:

RE: Osama vs. Usama -- Fox News has suddenly changed all their headlines to read that "Usama" Bin Laden has been killed, putting a masterful spin on a story that would have otherwise had the infamous Al-Qaeda leader killed by a Democrat commander-in-chief.

In a year or so, they'll remind the party faithful that it was Bush, after all, who smoked out Osama Bin Laden, and that Obama merely killed Usama, his inneffective half-brother.

#409 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 11:39 AM:

AKICIML: What should one do with a cartload of VHS tapes? I went through a phase of taping All The Dance Ever, but I haven't watched any of it in years.

#410 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 01:04 PM:

More on the flooding. The first link has pictures, some taken from the air.

It sounds now as if they plan to blow the levees when* the water reaches 61 feet at Cairo; there have already been some problems with levees on the Mississippi north of there, so this should ease that as well as the levels on the Ohio.

More photos at the Army Corps of Engineers website. The Mississippi has topped a private levee in Tennessee, near Dyersburg--there are photos of that in with the Cairo sand boils and the levee slides.

*I would say "if" but let's not fool ourselves.

#411 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 01:33 PM:

fidelio, #404: Re Tilley... on the one hand, I'll give him some credit for having issued a real apology rather than the standard Republican non-apology of "My remarks were taken out of context" or "I'm sorry if anyone was offended."

On the other, this does not excuse the dog-whistle nature of the original comment. "Cairo. I've been there, trust me. Cairo. Have you been there? OK, then you know what I'm saying then." As noted in the article, Cairo is 2/3 black and desperately poor; there's no way to see that comment as anything but "those people don't matter, let the river take care of them" with a side of racism.

TexAnne, #409: They're boat anchors. We had the entire run of B5 on VHS, and wanted to get rid of them once we got it on DVD, and nobody would take the tapes even on Freecycle. If you don't like the idea of throwing them out yourself, donate them to Goodwill and let them do it.

#412 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 01:38 PM:

Yesterday, the governor of Missouri was making ugly racist jokes about why Cairo "should" be flooded, rather than Missouri farmland. According to him, if black people live there it can't be much account. Thanks to fidelio for showing me a town where people are living in and caring for a remarkable collection of lovely old houses. I note that most of the older buildings are built with a tall half-story under the main floor. Looks like they were prepared for flooding in the old days -- but not 60 feet of it.

#413 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 01:46 PM:

Older @412--I was aware that Steve Tilley, the Speaker of the Missouri House had made an ass of himself about Cairo but I hadn't realized Jay Nixon had done so as well--have you got a link for that, so I can seethe first-hand?

#414 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 01:57 PM:

I would have preferred to have had Usama bin Laden caught, arrested, and tried in a civilian court (or the Hague). It should have happened 9 years ago. Hopefully the orders were to catch him alive if possible.

Terry @403: Agreed. This isn't a football victory hooray for our side, kind of thing.

Jacque @401: I was cheered to read that he was finally gone, but cheering the death of even someone as evil as he does have a bitter moral taste.

#415 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 02:03 PM:

Sorry, fidelio, I think I may have been mistaken. In any case, I couldn't tell you exactly where I heard it, as I was listening idly to someone else's radio. I probably mistook the speaker for the governor.

#416 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 02:08 PM:

Older @415--OK. I had hoped that not every last politician in the Show-Me state was a crass, racist idiot with no class.

#417 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 02:15 PM:

jnh, I disagree. The world has become slightly less evil, and couldn't have done without him dying or being captured (the latter not likely to happen for reasons already discussed). It wasn't so much the evil he has done that made us celebrate, but the evil he can no longer do (though emotionally for me it was some of the former as well).

But then I have a hard time understanding why it's unseemly to rejoice at the death of enemies, especially people like bin Laden, who was the mortal enemy of every decent human being on the planet.

#418 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Pirates, stateless malefactors, are described in Admiralty law as "hostis humani generis." The enemies of all mankind. Terrorists, I propose, are pirates in the traditional sense. There's a huge body of law on how to deal with them. And, I also suggest, that law has been followed in the case of bin Laden.

#419 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 02:55 PM:

Also on the subject of flooding, we had floods here in Colebrook last week. Video here. Sudden warming and rain on top of a deep snow-pack did it. This is the worst flooding anyone can remember.

#420 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 02:56 PM:

TexAnne @409: I found an article at Planet Green about this. Apparently, there is a company called GreenDisk that will recycle VHS tapes. Or if you are feeling ambitious, you could knit a bag out of the actual tape. Still leaves you with the problem of recycling the cassettes, though.

Re: bin Laden: My initial sense of relief that he's gone has evolved to wondering what happens now. Does this damage al Qaeda? Does it mean anything will change with the wars, or have they simply taken on a life of their own? Does this change the political situation in the Middle East? I just have a big question mark right now.

#421 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Xopher @ 417:

I'm going to preface this by saying that I know that this is personal for you in a way that it can never be for me, and I in no way mean to say that the way you feel is wrong. Frankly, I don't think you're wrong.

That said, when I heard about this last night, the comments I heard from people were things like "rot in hell", "they should let us all piss on his corpse", and the like. I'm glad he's gone. I wish we could have captured him and put him on trial, but discussion in the other thread shows why that couldn't have happened in this case. But to see a room full of people maliciously, gleefully happy that he was dead seems, well, ghoulish. So I'm conflicted.

At any rate, now that we've killed our bogeyman, I can hope that we'll get out of the Middle East and stop all our police-state shenanigans. Bets anyone?

#422 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 03:10 PM:

I think that the evil he could still do while alive isn't significantly more than the evil that he can inspire as a martyr or a bogeyman.

Your life was much more directly impacted by his actions than mine, and I certainly am not trying to tell you that your feelings and reactions (what ever they are) are not valid and right for you.

He is gone and we are not, and that is certainly the better outcome. If he were to have continued alive and free (to whatever degree of freedom he had) it would definitely have been a far worse thing.

#423 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 03:13 PM:

James D. Macdonald @419--Colebrook seems pretty much like a microcosm of what's happening as the weather turns (sort of) towards spring and summer--all that accumulated snow and ice melt, floods things, and then passes the water downstream, for more flooding.

#424 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 04:20 PM:

And in a complete change of topic, I would just like to say happy 400th birthday to the King James Bible, still offering proof that great art can indeed be created by committee.

#425 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 04:22 PM:

Re: a FB friend revealing himself as a Birther. I normally give my friends one pass on social media - Like my otherwise level-headed WI right/moderate friend who posted some idiotic "WI Teachers Make $100K" article - before I delete them from the feed. But upon further reflection this weekend, the blatant racism pervasive in the Birther movement changed my mind. So it was with heavy heart that I went to go remove the offending conspiracy nutjob from my f-list when I noticed that he had posted the "death" pic of OBL with the caption about how it's fake.

Ta-ta, Former High School Crush! I am sad to have those memories of you doing shirtless sit-ups in the choir room before Spring Musical rehearsal so sullied by your wingnuttitude!

#426 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 05:06 PM:

AKICIML: Anyone know any tools for creating online help files, aside from RoboHelp? Just some names would do, though if you know any really good, easy-to-use ones that would be even better.

#427 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 05:49 PM:

Re OBL: I think there's a significant difference between feeling relief and outright rejoicing. I find the "dancing in the streets" bit uncomfortably reminiscent of some of the videos the right wing was shoving into everyone's faces in the wake of 9/11.

nerdycellist, #425: Sympathies. It's never fun to discover that someone you used to know has become someone you don't want to know.

#428 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 06:31 PM:

The "dancing in the streets" that some Americans did is oddly reminiscent of what some Palestinians and other Arab citizens did when 9/11 occurred. We condemned them.

#429 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 07:17 PM:

There was a guy setting off fireworks in a parking lot last night yelling "Bin Laden's Dead!"

Coincidentally this was the same parking lot next to where I was waiting for a bus one Tuesday morning, and a construction crew was playing the Howard Stern show with the news about the WTC.

#430 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 07:53 PM:

From my position in the heart of the Midwest and as a twentysomething, it is very easy to say, "If we want to be what we say we are, we have to act like it." I'm really glad that the boy and I won't be talking much until a week has passed. The boy and his household are basically the only non-Facebook Privileged Libertarians I know.

Also, if you are at a stoplight and your car starts moving forward just a bit and you brake more and it stops, that is your brakes failing and you should maybe get them fixed. And put the car in park at stoplights until you do. Because no one needs my yesterday.

#431 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 08:15 PM:

The "dancing in the streets" that some Americans did is oddly reminiscent of what some Palestinians and other Arab citizens did when 9/11 occurred. We condemned them.

So you think

a) celebrating the deaths of 3000 innocent people


b) celebrating the death of someone (one!!!) who masterminded the deaths of more than 3000 innocent people and had every intention of masterminding, inspiring, and funding more slaughters of innocent people as long as he could possibly survive to keep doing so

are directly comparable, or even relevantly similar?

I don't. I think the similarity is superficial at best. I think OBL's death was a victory for everyone who never wants to have to watch a father tell his 3-year-old son that Mommy's never coming home again (a scene from a particularly heartbreaking post-9/11 documentary). I don't think celebrating is one bit out of line.

I agree with the guy on the radio who responded to a woman (sister of a 9/11 victim) who reminded us of the passage in Exodus where God silences the angels who are singing His praises after Pharaoh's army perished in the Red Sea: "Maybe angels shouldn't do it," he said, "but I think it's OK for us humans."

That said, having calmed down some from last night's euphoria, I've realized I no longer care whether OBL is burning in hell or not. He's no longer troubling OUR unhappy world; that's enough.

#432 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 08:28 PM:

Xopher, as noted above, you were a lot closer to the events of 9/11 than many of us, including me. I'm just saying the celebratory dancing discomforted me a little.

It did David Sirota as well.

#433 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 09:36 PM:

My response to OBL's death is mostly "unimpressed". He's long since won his war, by convincing us to throw away much of the freedom we were supposed to be fighting for, not to mention the goodwill of most of the world.

#434 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 09:55 PM:

Xopher, this is one point where I don't think we're going to agree. If it was wrong for them, it's wrong for us. OTOH, I'm not going to condemn you for your feelings either.

#435 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 10:12 PM:

Lee, I get that. I'm just astonished that your principle seems to be "it's wrong to celebrate death" rather than "it's wrong to celebrate the mass death of innocents."

#436 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 10:18 PM:

Linkmeister, I feel a little ashamed at the public gloating, and I wish people didn't have to do it -- but then I remember my mother dancing through the park near our house, the afternoon she heard that Stalin was dead.

#437 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2011, 11:24 PM:

If OBL had been captured, and been shown doing a perp walk across the deck of a carrier . . . I'm pretty sure there'd still be dancing.

#438 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 12:38 AM:

My principle is more along the lines of, "it's stupid to give bin Laden's followers and spiritual heirs more ammunition with which to whip up anti-US hate". I totally get why people would be happy about this. But rah-rah parades in the street? That's a "get off my side, you're making ME look stupid!"

#439 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 02:27 AM:

Lee @438: My principle is more along the lines of, "it's stupid to give bin Laden's followers and spiritual heirs more ammunition with which to whip up anti-US hate".

Because they were so well-disposed towards us before.

#440 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 08:01 AM:

Xopher @435 I'm just astonished that your principle seems to be "it's wrong to celebrate death" rather than "it's wrong to celebrate the mass death of innocents."

I'm not Lee, but I don't see why this is an either-or choice.

I don't regret that he's dead. It seems like justice was done. He's dead, and those of us who are reading this are not (though too many others are), and as with any case of self-defense, this is far preferable to the alternative. But I'm with Jacque@401 that the glee saddens me a little. I've been sitting here trying to articulate why and have not succeeded.

#441 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 09:21 AM:

I'm not upset because of how we'll look to other people if we celebrate. I'm not upset by the idea of damage to my soul as a result of celebrating someone's death.

I'm upset because people actually seem to think this changes something.

As I said on FB last night, I'll save my dancing in the street for when we cut our military spending in half, bring our troops home, and stop thinking that killing individual lunatics will change anything.

#442 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 11:13 AM:

Hyerplocal news: Area retiree goes to meeting, asks city council to not let new home of library be smaller than present one, is praised by a couple of fellow citizens.
I am not one of those who feel guilty about rejoicing over the death of an evildoer. Still, I find the jubilation simplistic and likely premature. A friend expressed worries over some retaliation.
If we must get in a war, can't we pick one we could actually win?

#443 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Avram... this discussion is starting to get into the twin areas of "so you want to follow their bad example?" and "STOP DIGGING".

#444 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 12:36 PM:

The "War on Terror" was then, and remains, a police rather than a military problem.

#445 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 01:14 PM:

They blasted the levee open last night. The government will treat this as a natural disaster for those farmers who bothered to buy crop insurance. The district commander fo the Corps of Engineers has indicated that will probably not be the only floodway that gets opened up in this flood; one of the reasons they went ahead with this one was that the crest at Cairo was expected to be 65 feet, one foot above the floodwall's top. In addition to Cairo, points on the Mississippi levees north of Cairo, spots along the Ohio, like Paducah and Metropolis, and along the Mississippi south of the Ohio-Mississippi confluence, like Hickman, Kentucky (where the river level is now two feet above the historic recorded maximum and the gates in the floodwall are leaking), will get some relief.

Metropolis and Old Shawneetown, and other Ohio river towns in Illinois and Kentucky, are undergoing voluntary evacuations, as are parts of Memphis. When I checked RiverGages yesterday, flooding on the Mississippi had reached St. Francisville, LA; now the river at is at flood stage.

All sources suggest this could be worse than the 1993 floods. Some say it could be worse than 1927.

#446 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 01:56 PM:

Jeff Masters at Weather Underground. I was trying to recall if this floodway had been opened in my lifetime; according to Dr. Masters, it hasn't been used since the Ohio River flood of 1937.

#447 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 02:05 PM:

Fidelio -- good luck and good wishes to you and all those in the water's way.

"How high's the water, Mama?" has turned into a round inside my head.

#448 ::: Dan R. ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 02:17 PM:

It just occurred to me that the OBL events may explain the timing of the birth certificate release, which seemed so unwise for so may reasons. Together, and in this order, they certainly seem to give a decisive 1-2 punch.

#449 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 02:45 PM:

I think the "birth certificate" announcement was a superlative use of misdirection -- get the rubes looking the other way while the real trick is being pulled right under their noses.

#450 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 02:45 PM:

Lori--I am glad to say we're well away from it, although I am familiar with a lot of these places. So far, things are not out-of-hand in Nashville--different river, and less rain than they've had up in the Ohio valley. We are aware, since last May, that this can change very rapidly, though.

#451 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 02:52 PM:

I'm in Central Ohio -- and there are flood watches covering most of the state. I live about a block from the Olentangy River, and the street and dwellings due west of the house have flooded in the past.

At work, I'm about a mile due east of the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy. The rivers here are way up -- not out of their banks yet, but really angry looking.

They've had to let water out of one of the dams north of us in the last week. It's worrisome.

#452 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 04:59 PM:

OtterB #440 But I'm with Jacque@401 that the glee saddens me a little. I've been sitting here trying to articulate why and have not succeeded.

I was doing the same thing: I was happy when I heard he was dead, and I don't feel guilty about that, so why don't I like it that people are dancing in the streets?

Unfortunately, I came to the conclusion that in my case it was the same sort of reaction that makes bioethicist nut Leon Kass think that eating ice-cream in public is wrong and `offends those who know eating in public is offensive.' That is, I think it's tacky, but that's a fact about my cultural prejudices rather than a moral principle.

This analysis doesn't necessarily apply to anyone else, of course.

#453 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 05:05 PM:

Eating ice cream in public? Say what?!

#454 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 05:16 PM:

James Macdonald:
I'm not making this up, you know

He said this at the same time that he was defending the idea that visceral distaste at was a reliable foundation for ethical decisions even if it couldn't be supported from basic principles: the "wisdom of repugnance".

To a very limited extent this is sensible -- we get moral principles from realising that some things are just wrong (whether you believe this is by reason unaided, from cultural influences, or by direct revelation), but the ice-cream quote makes it clear that he wants to take it a lot further than normal people would.

#455 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 05:18 PM:

I scream.
You scream
We scream
For ice cream.

Gary Larson's version...

I cuss
You cuss
We cuss
For asparagus.

#456 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 05:30 PM:

Fidelio, thanks for the updates on the flooding. I've been watching that develop with some anxiety. Patrick says he's seen the dread word "Atchafalaya" mentioned, but I can't find where.

Serge, Proud Lurker, Diatryma, Thomas, Xopher -- thanks for the suggestions on that story Irene Gallo's looking for. I've posted the info in the forums at, and hope to hear back soon about whether there's a match.

I was mixing it up in Boing Boing's thread about the death of Osama bin Laden. I should have been over here instead, but there wasn't nearly as much to argue with.

#457 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 05:38 PM:

Welcome, Teresa... I find myself thinking that the one with Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones might have been published by Datlow on the Skiffy Channel's site.

#458 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 05:43 PM:

No, I was wrong. I forgot how long it had been since I last googled "Atchafalaya." Here's a writeup of the situation.

#459 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 05:45 PM:

TNH @456:
Patrick says he's seen the dread word "Atchafalaya" mentioned, but I can't find where.

He reads my Twitter at times, doesn't he? I RT'd something from Tobias Buckell that discusses it. Maybe that.

#460 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 05:49 PM:

What's so difficult about the spelling of 'Atchafalaya'?

#461 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 05:50 PM:

thomas @ #454, but apparently he has missed the elephant in the room: the fact that millions of people do not, in fact, feel visceral distaste at the things that are apparently triggering his.

So HIS viscera are reliable ethical guides, but nobody else's are.

#462 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 05:54 PM:

thomas #454: Kass is an early-Asimov Venusian! Seriously, this shows the problem with his "moral wisdom of repugnance" -- he happens to think eating in public is tacky, so he assumes that if everyone else doesn't share his squick, they ought to!

#463 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 06:17 PM:

I deal
You deal
We all deal
For ideals

#464 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 06:21 PM:

Not only that, David, but if you allow a simple squick to be your compass, just think of what kind of awfulness you can a homosexual, I can't help but notice.

#465 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 06:32 PM:

Just thought I'd point to the John McPhee essay that made the word Atchafalaya ring warning bells in my mind as soon as I saw it in this thread.

#466 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 06:36 PM:

TNH, 458: Oh, great. I'm pretty sure that part of the country still hasn't fully recovered from Rita.

#467 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 07:00 PM:

thomas, #454: Sounds like maybe he's got some Orion ancestry...

#468 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 09:09 PM:

i used to think about that essay when crossing the 'low bridge' at Malibu Creek park - it was concrete-covered earth fill over culvert pipes, to the creek could run under it and vehicles could cross. Winter storms washed the earth fill out from under the concrete, and it washed away completely a few years ago (this is where it was).

#469 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 09:37 PM:

Fidelio, thanks for the flood updates and links. I'm familiar with much of that area, as I drive through the region on the way to visit my parents.

#470 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 09:58 PM:

OK, I've just been treated to an example of "you're on my side, stop being an asshole." I see nothing wrong with celebrating over OBL's death, but I feel no need to flame those who do.

My friend posted on her Facebook wall about OBL, ending with "And may God have mercy on his soul" (intending to evoke what the judge says in a Victorian melodrama after sentencing someone to death, but also meaning it; she's kindhearted that way). This guy named Kevin McHugh, who'd been a friend up until that night, proceeded to flame her.

All night, and into the next day. I stopped by her house yesterday evening and she was still in tears about it.

So today Kevin McHugh posted on HIS Facebook wall, denouncing people who refuse to gloat and celebrate OBL's death, and calling them all sorts of names. She replied to Kevin McHugh saying "think about who you're attacking here. Save your bile for people who deserve it." Kevin McHugh then wrote her a private message, saying that she had no right to talk to him that way (!), and telling her not to contact him again. He then blocked her.

I think it's OK to celebrate, but I certainly respect those who don't. I do not respect the Kevin McHughs of the world.

#471 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 10:50 PM:

To me, humanity is a quality of undiminishable worth; there is no way any human being can be shorn of it. Other qualities can cast it into shadow, can engulf and conceal it, but never cancel it or wash it away. It is always, inescapably present. Perhaps it is this: every human can choose to be good, even if they do not, even if they have chosen evil a thousand times.

I can celebrate that the world is rid of the evil bin Laden chose to embody, and feel relief we have been spared the evil he would almost certainly have done, yet I cannot help but mourn that the possibility of his goodness is now entirely annihilated. His legacy is now defined--and isn't it a thing worthy of sorrow?

#472 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 11:24 PM:

I have just spent far more time than I had available reading that New Yorker article about the Atchafalaya river drainage and the Old River Control structure.

Every time you think you know about something, more to know turns up.

(I lived for almost 20 years in southeast Louisiana - the time it took me to read the article was greatly extended by jumping every few paragraphs to Google Maps to get a look at what this place or that is up to these days. Most of them, sadly, are up to their knees in Gulf of Mexico. It's one of those places where there's a lot less there there than I remember -- and my father, who grew up on Bayou Lafourche, would tell us the same thing. Someday Baton Rouge will either be high and dry, or ocean front property. Possibly both.)

#473 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 11:38 PM:

Frozen Nestlé Quik? Ewww!

I squick
You squick
We all squick
For ice Quik!

#474 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2011, 11:45 PM:

regarding OBL and the spectrum of celebration, i've been trying to keep ursula vernon's statement in mind whenever a comment makes me roll my eyes or grit my teeth: i will not shame people because their reactions to large and emotional events are different than mine.

#475 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 12:41 AM:

For the purposes of a fanfic, I need an enclosed space of at least several hectares within the boundaries of London at any time within the past 60 years. The most important feature, the one I can't get from an atlas or Google Maps, is the enclosure. It must be entirely surrounded by a barrier that won't rust or rot. The barrier can be purely symbolic, just a shin-high wall or hedge, but it has to be there and it has to be brick, stone, concrete, and/or hedging, with the only gaps filled in with stone or brick stiles or heavy barred gates. For the rest, the enclosure should be open to the sky, have some dirt in it (vegetation optional), and have few or no permanent human inhabitants, living ones anyway.

Is or was there anything like that in London or another major city in the UK? A large churchyard, an urban racetrack . . . ? It does need to be at least several hectares in size.

#476 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 01:11 AM:

Jim Macdonald @ 444:

Slight correction: the "War on Terror" should have been a police problem, it has been a military disaster.

That said, my own feelings about the killing of bin Laden are somewhat ambivalent: I'm glad he's been taken out of the picture and can no longer help plan and execute terrorist attacks on anyone, but I would have preferred that he be taken alive, tried, and put in prison for a very long natural life, so that he would not be a martyr, and so that he could be seen for a long time as an example of "Ur doing it most Wrong!"

There's another side to the issue that hasn't been mentioned much that I've seen, on the internet or anywhere else. The EU, for instance, has a law against targeted assassination of a head-of-state, and someone in the EU government (didn't catch who) gave a statement that they are glad bin Laden is out of operation, but they disapprove of the killing of bin Laden because it violated that law and the prohibition against capital punishment as well. I happen to believe that it's perfectly moral to attempt to kill a head-of-state (Moammar Gadhafi comes to mind as an example) if the alternative is to stop his actions by killing thousands of his soldiers and however many civilians happen to get in the way. I'd much rather see a few politicians and their bodyguards die, putting a quick end to a conflict, than have it drag on and trash a country or two. If you insist on the validity of international intervention (and I'm terribly ambivalent about that, because we have the bad example of Iraq on one hand, and the truly horrible example of Rwanda on the other), then clearly you should opt for the quickest and least destructive action. Intervening but not in such a way as to end the conflict rapidly as in Libya seems the worst of both worlds.

#477 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 01:45 AM:

Although I would have preferred Bin Laden to go on trial, I'm aware that we would not do that cleanly, either. We'd do what we're doing to Manning, and did to Reid before him -- treat him so badly in captivity that the trial itself, if it happened at all, would be a farce, because the man himself would be broken as a human being.

#478 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 01:48 AM:

A little while back, I re-read that McPhee article, and found the place in Google Maps. Here's a link, for anyone who's interested:
Old River Control Structure

#479 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 01:58 AM:

If we couldn't get politicians to agree to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in the US, why do we think they'd want OBL tried here? The security panic (not entirely unwarranted, I admit) would be off the charts.

#480 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 02:26 AM:

I didn't realise the McPhee was so recent. Somehow I got the idea he wrote it in the '70s. I've been rereading the collection (To Control Nature). Timely, so it seems.

#481 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 02:30 AM:

I have mixed feelings about the how, not the what of Osama's demise.

My thoughts

I don't thin there was any good end to it; because had he been captured the posturing would have been interminable, and intolerable.

We wouldn't have been willing to turn him over to The Hague for trial, and keeping him a la Padilla, or Reid, or Manning would be a different crime.

Which says a lot of unpleasant things about what we've become, but that's a whole 'nother problem, isn't it?

#482 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 04:07 AM:

Avram @439

The supply of potential suicide bombers might be affected, even if nothing changes in the men who direct them.

I'll note that a good many residents of the UK have Pakistani roots. The politics in Pakistan is difficult, divided into dozens of factions, but look at how successful insulting the "old country" is in the USA. I can understand why the plan was kept hidden from the Pakistani government, but it was an armed invasion of friendly territory.

And I understand they had another helicopter breakdown. Some things don't change.

#483 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 06:35 AM:

Jenny Islander at #475:

It's the wall or hedge requirement that makes it difficult, isn't it? I think the parks all have railings for at least some of the edges. The grounds of the Geffrye Museum- I know there's a knee-high wall with railings above it at the front and I think I remember a wall round the garden at the back- but it's probably too small.

Hampstead Cemetery's more than 20 acres, I think, but I don't know if it has walls all the way roud either.

An old factory with a marshalling yard? I don't know any specific examples, though.

Cathedral closes are walled and I think sometimes there's a gate across the road to close them at night; not sure about round Westminster Abbey and the school, but there may well be one in another city that's big enough.

Perhaps your best bet is a stately-home-now-swallowed-up-by-a-city? Ham House, perhaps? Looking at its website, it has railings across the front of the house, but ISTR the gardens are walled. Anyway, there are various of those about over the country.

#484 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 06:36 AM:

Jenny Islander #475 - I suppose it depends if you can deal with lots of people coming and going from the place. For example, Coram's fields is used for athletics, but has big railings all the way around which are bedded in stonework; LIncoln Inn fields has railings in stonework as well, but people use it every day. I'm pretty sure Regents park has railings around it, except of course for the gateways, and many of them may be shut at night.

PLaces with fewer humans, that is a little trickier. There are some graveyards, but many of them are visited by people wanting to see famous graves. Other than that many of the bomb sites have been redeveloped multiple times. There was one I saw though, at the corner of Grafton way and Tottenham court road, which was a big hole in the ground surrounded by fencing, overgrown with the usual plants and with rubbish thrown in by people over the years. Why it hasn't been redeveloped I don't know, but it is only a couple of acres in size.
And do you want London as in medieval london, or greater London, which is effectively everything inside the M25?

#485 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 09:02 AM:

The sad thing is, I fully expect the story w.r.t. the killing of OBL to change quite a bit over time, to become less clean and heroic. (Some of that has already begun, as the story changed from OBL having a gun and hiding behind his wife to OBL being unarmed and not using a human shield.) And I've seen all sorts of wild conspiracy theories beginning to sprout all over the internet. While they mostly seem nuts, I get where they're coming from--the US government has routinely and repeatedly lied on all sorts of things w.r.t. the war on terror, and big US media don't seem too inclined to call them on it. It's quite common to see a big story that's headline news for a week, and then a steady stream of revisions and debunkings on page A-24, unnoticed by most people.

When you turn the respectable sources of information in your society into propaganda organs, it has consequences. It makes even people not especially inclined to conspiracy theories try to second-guess every news item. It also makes increasingly wild conspiracy theories sound more plausible. But using those sources of information as propaganda organs also is often in the short-term interests of the current political leaders and businesses who largely shape political discussion, so they just go ahead and do it and let the consequences fall on the future.

#486 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 09:33 AM:

I can't add much of use to the discussion about bin Laden's death, and people's reactions to it, exact to admire the wisdom of Ursula Vernon's statement.

Teresa, the Atchafalaya issue is always with us, whether it gets mentioned much or not. The Mississippi is a big river (and so are the Ohio and the Missouri), and it does what it does, and goes where it goes, and we can make suggestions, but not commands. We don't want to accept that, but when Major General Walsh opened the floodway, he didn't have much choice.

We are stumbling around in unaccustomed sunlight here in Nashville, and I note that the river gages portion of the Army Corps of Engineers site is now not working; I wonder if it's getting more traffic than usual or something...

Dyersburg and Memphis here in Tennessee are evacuating some of their residents to higher ground, and places downriver are getting ready to do the dsame. Plans are being put into play to evacuate Angola Penitentiary in Louisiana, starting with the medically vulnerable, and politicians all over the area are out in force, trailing cameramen, looking concerned, and asking for federal money.

Here's the ACE's video on how to build a sandbag levee; they have one on using pumps to protect your property as well.

The National Weather Service office in Jackson, MS is providing useful information too.

Floods, compared with tornados and earthquakes, are very slow disasters, and you can see them headed your way, whether you're prepared to believe it's happening to you or not. A chart I saw somewhere predicts that the river will not crest at Vicksburg until late this months, and that some roads will not be open again until July.

#487 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 10:04 AM:

I admire Ursula Vernon's statement intensely, and don't think it applies only to Americans, only now, or only to events whose interpretations I even marginally agree with.

I will be quoting it in the future. Had I a time machine, I'd have quoted it in the past. Even the quite recent past.

#488 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 10:18 AM:

Open threadiness: Yves from Naked Capitalism has been noticing something I have also noticed--an increase in apparent astroturfers or plants appearing in comment threads. I've watched this happen on a number of second-tier blogs--places that don't get huge volume, but get a reasonable volume of readers. They seem to be triggered by particular topics, and they seem to show up in numbers, stick to talking points, and sound alike. (Quite possibly you get five sock puppets of the same shill.)

Right now, blogs are one of the places where the most interesting conversations are happening, the ones that evade various media decisions to black-hole some ideas and views and topics, the ones that allow political/social discussion that breaks across well-defined ideological positions. (Naked Capitalism is a good example of this.) Astroturfers/paid shills threaten to do for blog comment threads what think tank employed pundits have done for op ed pages--turn them into largely forums for the folks paying for think tanks and PR companies to have their views expressed by high-talent intellectual whores. We need to think about how to avoid this, not just someplace like ML with its well-tuned adaptive immune system, but other places without that advantage.

#489 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 10:27 AM:

heresiarch @471 has come closest to articulating my feelings about this.

#490 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 10:35 AM:

Even the quite recent past

Wandering astray: Something that has bothered me about the limited amount of time-travel fiction I've read has been the lack of attention paid to how expensive time travel would be. Would it be an easier, lower-energy operation to travel to yesterday than to travel to Caesar's funeral? Would the same machine do both or would you need a larger motor to go farther? (Similarly with teleportation -- it seems like in any representation I have read, once you've discovered the trick you can go as far as you want effortlessly. Sometimes I daydream about being able to teleport but somehow I never seem to be able to imagine going farther than short hops at a time. And it is such a strenuous operation!)

#491 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Oh and also, here is something that is currently making me happy and does not involve politics or violence.

#492 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 10:40 AM:

In the "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't to get you department": furniture rental company spies on people using their PCs

#493 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 10:47 AM:

re 481: Back at the Atlantic they are saying that Obama has specifically directed all of these operations to kill and not capture the targets.

#494 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 10:49 AM:

485 Albatross

When you turn the respectable sources of information in your society into propaganda organs, it has consequences. It makes even people not especially inclined to conspiracy theories try to second-guess every news item. It also makes increasingly wild conspiracy theories sound more plausible. But using those sources of information as propaganda organs also is often in the short-term interests of the current political leaders and businesses who largely shape political discussion, so they just go ahead and do it and let the consequences fall on the future.

Hear, hear! And that they, like the NY Times, cooperate fully -- that is why I will never give them another nickle to read them. If they'd acknowledged the role they played in the killing, maiming and displacement of unknown numbers of innocent people, and apologized, promising to sin no more, maybe I'd feel differently. But they, just like NPR, continue to know all and tell us what we are to think even when proved over and over to not only be wrong, but knowingly lying.

Love, C.

#495 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 10:51 AM:

Re: Tim Walters @380: This Thursday, Mayhem the 5th, from 6 PM to 10 PM there is a Cardiacs special on KFJC.

#496 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 11:03 AM:

All the flood and tornado damage through so much of the country brings back terrible memories of the Terror of the Levees' Failures in New Orleans, particularly as we've just been there again, and the new season of HBO's Treme is airing.

I am hoping for the best for everyone going through this. It's bad, very bad, but I hope it won't be worse. But we have days of this to go.

Still and all, it's impossible not to notice that no one's objecting to using all resources that can be mustered to save these cities currently threatened, or wondering why we should bother.

Please forgive my bitterness, and understand that this is not directed at these cities or the people in them in the least.

Love, C.

#497 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 11:36 AM:

Bruce Cohen STM @476 -- that assumes that bin Laden counted as a "head of state", which is an assumption that's very questionable. al Quaida could only in the very most arguable way possibly be considered a state, as (for example) the Tea Party would have to be if one did so.

#498 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 11:42 AM:

Bruce Cohen @476...when did Osama Bin Laden become a "Head of State?!"

For the record, I do support the capital punishment in some cases. OBL and his merry band constitute one of them.

#499 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 11:46 AM:

Constance @496--you have missed the furor among people in southeastern Misouri at seeing their farmland (located in an area designated as a floodway after the flood of 1927, so it's not like this was a sudden intrusion onto their land) flooded to spare a town of about 2800--a town which is now definitely majority African-American--google "Steve Tilley Cairo" for a sample.

It's not as loud or on as large a scale as what we heard at the time of Katrina--but it's the same tune.

Federal money for the farmers will be welcome--I wonder what the same folks would have to say about using federal money to tidy up the damage around town in Cairo.

#500 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Kip W. @ 473:

We all B.M.
For I.B.M.

#501 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 12:16 PM:

TomB @ 495: Yeah, that's the other cool thing happening while I'm at my Thursday rehearsal (the first being a friend's poetry reading at the San Francisco Center For The Book).

Moe! Staiano, who's doing that Cardiacs special, is also playing drums in our Cardiacs tribute on Sunday. And I just got word that we are going to be wearing the makeup.

#503 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 12:48 PM:

Modesto Kid re: teleportation

Larry Niven had an extended series of essays and/or short stories about the logistics and energy demands of teleportation, involving heat sinks, Coriolis forces, etc. I don't remember which book.

#504 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 01:24 PM:

On bin Laden: I think Bette Davis said everything I'm comfortable with (but without some of the venom, I think). Paraphrasing:

"My mama taught me always to speak good of the dead. He’s dead. Good."

What I think of the way it happened is entirely too long for now. I, too, worry about dancing in the streets, not because I think it's wrong or offensive, but because of how effective that was 10 years ago in inflaming American passion and allowing what happened after to happen. People on the other side who want the kind of power that was taken, then, over us, over their people can and will use it in the same way. In that, at least, I agree with realpolitik. And again (like over tourture, or adherence to Geneva Conventions,...), my response to "but they did it" is "isn't our argument that we're better than them?"

J. Grant of (NSFW!) Flem Comics had one of his political rants on Sept. 11. 2002, asking (again, in NSFW language) "have we brought the major terrorists (OBL, anthrax bomber, one other I can't remember now) to justice?" to which the answer was, as everybody knew, no, and as everybody was beginning to learn, the government didn't think that really was very important. I believe (I couldn't find it last time I looked, and I'm sure not looking for it now) that the answer, as of this week, is finally yes.

Now, if we could only ramp down the things that we do that inflame the kinds of hatreds that inspire terrorism against us...

Jenny Islander: I assume places like the Oval aren't big enough? Not sure if it were completely enclosed 1900, except for the boundary rope - but if it's just a symbolic closure you need, a rope is as closed as a knee-high wall. Back of the Envelope calculation is about 1 ha.

#505 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 03:06 PM:

As one my Facebook friends reminded me, today is Star Wars Day: May the Fourth Be With You.

#506 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 03:11 PM:

It's also Remembrance Day (Dodenherkening)* in the Netherlands. I have the Dutch flag at half-mast right now.

Tomorrow is Bevrijdingsdag, Liberation Day. It's only a holiday once every five years; this year it's just an ordinary day for most of us. I'll put the flag to the top of the pole† tomorrow morning.

* The Netherlands was neutral in World War 1, so they don't do Remembrance with Armistice. 11 November is St Maartin's, when the kids go door to door with lanterns and busk for candy. It really is like living in an alternate universe, sometimes.
† Never seen such a country for flagpoles, by the way. Pretty much every house has a mounting for one. Useful for us, since we have three national flags‡.
‡ Dutch, US, and the Saltire.

#507 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 03:11 PM:

Carol Kimball @503: those are probably the Flash Crowd stories. As you say, they get quite detailed, including references to the heat changes caused by vertical displacement being used for both power and to disguise murder.

WRT time travel, Poul Anderson's "There Will Be Time" doesn't use a machine, but does explore the physical limitations of for example, holding your breath while you travel.

#508 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 03:13 PM:

Tim Walters @500: I. Caramba!

#509 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 03:20 PM:


This appears to mean "recognition of the dead," which is a good name for a day of remembrance.

#510 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 03:39 PM:

Tim and Kip:
I cloudy us
You cloudy us
We all cloudy us
For I, Claudius.

#511 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 05:26 PM:

Mike McHugh #507: Niven also did a lengthy article on the social implications of various sorts of teleportation; personal and national security, social developments, space travel, and so on. In addition to the small "Flash Mob" universe, the latter part of "Known Space" also uses teleportation planetside.

#512 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 05:29 PM:

I seem to be breaking out in Donald jokes (I'm thinking hives might be preferable):

My bid for the next election is one no-trump.

That trump l'oeil is very life-like.

Knock, knock.
Whos there?
Ivana who?
Ivana forget Donald is running.

#513 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 05:37 PM:

Lori Coulson, Tom Whitmore:

I'm not saying OBL was a head of state; someone in the EU government in Brussels said his killing violated that law, implying that he was a head of state or something equivalent. Certainly the reaction to attempted assassination of high-ranking corporate executives in the past (e.g., the Bader-Meinhoff Gang's operations) indicated the feeling that it was something more than the targeting of a private individual; more akin to assassination of a high government official. There seems to be strong sentiment for the notion that the grandeur and symbolism of office make an attack on the person an attack on the organization, and that that's somehow worse than attacking the worker and soldier ants.

#514 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 05:42 PM:

@Jen Biren #483, guthrie #484: I've been reading The Day of the Triffids and I have been bitten by a plot bunny: do any of the people Bill Masen passes in the streets of London survive, and if so, how? Triffids can afford to be patient. A wooden or metal barrier that is too strong for them to push down will decay in a relatively short time without more maintenance than a small group can provide, letting in the triffid hordes--this is illustrated several times in the book. However, triffids are defeated by even a short vertical climb. A stone, brick, or concrete barrier, even one just a meter high, can keep them out for long enough for the people on the inside to get back on their feet, if they have the room.

My son developed intractable teething pain just after I posted, so I ended up Googling around and stumbled over a possible redoubt: St. Mary Magdalene in East Ham, which, according to the Intertubes, is in Greater London. Its churchyard is about 10 acres. From the photos I could find, I infer--but I can't prove--that the whole thing is surrounded by a chest-high brick wall. There are only two openings AFAICT; if they don't have heavy iron gates, they can be blocked. To the north, three or four bungalows sit next to the wall, their back gardens running right up to it, but otherwise the churchyard is surrounded on all sides by paved streets. The novel is set sometime during the Cold War, so I could work in the wildlife refuge that has occupied most of the churchyard since 1977, with lots of trees for emergency fuel. The church itself is 850 years old and hasn't fallen down yet. Strengthening the outermost garden walls behind the bungalows and reinforcing their windows, then putting a stile over the churchyard wall, would be feasible for a small group. This would provide a large, triffid-proof area in which people could grow food and make forays out to the nearby plant nursery, retail zone, etc.

There is an even bigger brick-walled cemetery a short walk away, but that one is nearly paved with flat grave markers. Still, people who knew how to garden intensively could use the little green spaces for food and put pots on top of the graves.

I imagine a woman from that neighborhood being in the maternity ward in the same hospital as Bill Masen, but too tired from a recent birth to watch the lights, so she doesn't go blind. She makes her way home with her baby, rescues as many people as possible, avoids catching the genetically enhanced typhoid or whatever it is that comes along a few days later, and becomes the leader of a small community based in the churchyard. Later they are contacted by envoys from other groups of survivors.

#515 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 05:50 PM:

Goddess give me patience, now there are some nutcases on other blogs saying that there's no "24 hour rule" for burying Moslems, and they seem to think that the press means "sea burial" is the tradition.

#516 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 06:05 PM:

C. Wingate, #502: Apparently their house of cards is starting to fall. Filing suits in Federal court appears to have been a miscalculation; those judges take a very dim view of having their time wasted on meritless cases.

Expect the countersuits from people who were forced into settlement to begin very shortly.

#517 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 07:07 PM:

#490, 503, 507, 511:

I was thinking of Niven's "Flash Crowd" just last Sunday night. See #399.

#518 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 07:21 PM:

Anyone know how to start a meme? God knows Neil Gaiman doesn't need my help to defend himself, but I'm fighting the urge to send Representative Matt Dean an e-mail saying that I have a lot of friends who are professional writers who understand that the free market allows them to accept speaking fees, which means I intend to watch his district and donate heavily to any Republican that runs against him in the primary on the grounds they'll understand the free market, and if that doesn't work I'll send cash to any Democrat that runs against him just so he'll be out of office. If I do it, I hope a lot of others do so as well, but outside of singing "Badger, badger, badger" when I send it I don't know how to give the idea traction. I mean, after what GWB said about a late friend of mine when his daddy was in office it'd take the threat of a vasectomy with a cheese grater to get me to vote for him, but if he suddenly became a citizen of Minnesota and ran against Dean I think I'd stump for him!

#519 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 07:35 PM:

Context, Bruce?

#520 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 07:41 PM:

Tom Whitmore @519 The Opinions of a Pencil-necked Weasel-thief.

#521 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 09:00 PM:

#499 fidelio

I have missed this furor. Thank you for the update, though I'm damned sad to hear this, and how it, again, is targeted at skin color.

Maybe not so much, though, one hopes? I found only thisthough I hardly looked, because, well, it's all so depressing.

Considering the price of food and all the rest these days, we don't want crop-bearing fields out of commission any more than possible, either.

Love, C.

#522 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 09:12 PM:

#383 etc
I remember Ektachrome type "G" film from the days when I had a Super 8 camera.

I think it was no-filter for flourescents and blue-filter for incandescents, because flourescents are bluer and incandescents are redder.

#523 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 09:16 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 514: Oh interesting! I haven't read Day of the Triffids, and I sort of automatically assumed you needed a wall that wouldn't rot or rust in order to serve as a binding for a faerie with powers over chaos and decay.

#524 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Carol Kimball at 503: Probably N-Space

#525 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 09:49 PM:

Tom: Naomi Parkhurst has the right link. Naomi, thank you!

#526 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 10:21 PM:

I'd expect that those flooded fields were used mostly for corn or for grazing land, but I sure wouldn't want to swear to that. (As one of my deceased uncles said, from his experience, "There are only three things corn needs to do well: water, water, and water.")

#527 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 11:43 PM:

Open threadiness: Hard-to-find collaboration between Jean Shepherd and Theodore Sturgeon* is available as an audiobook. (Link is to my LJ, which has two links plus Kelly Freas cover.)

*And, reportedly, Betty Ballantine

#528 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 03:47 AM:

Erik @522

I recall two forms of Ektachrome, balanced for different colour temperatures. You need to do that for colour reversal films because you can't do any tweaks while making the print.

The standard Ektachrome was balanced for daylight.

There was a "T" Ektachrome for tungsten light, balanced for Photoflood lighting, which traded hotter filaments for shorter service life. If you were shooting under domestic lighting you needed to use a blue filter.

The "G" Ektachrome seems to be balanced for daylight. and if you dig out the Kodak tech data for the specific film, it needs some filtration for fluorescent: Kodak recommend a 30M magenta filter, which matches the Cokin filter I sometimes used. Magenta is an anti-green, just as the yellow filter used for monochrome photography is an anti-blue to show those white fluffy clouds.

The "T" film is balanced for 3400K, while domestic tungsten comes in below 2900K. A 3400K photoflood has a life of maybe 100 hours.

Of course, the Kodak tech data is for serious professional users. But that is only a third of the colour temperature difference between domestic tungsten and daylight, so less filtering and less light blocked.

Tech Data Sheet for Ektachrome 64T reversal film

A brief outline of how to describe colour temperature differences, while details of Kodak Wratten filters, a de facto standard in the business, are here.

I've been scanning some of my uncle's old photographs and, even taking into account the aging of the original images, I have the feeling he wasn't that good a photographer, even though he used very good cameras.

#529 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 03:58 AM:

And some long-expected news about WW1: The last combat veteran dies (from the BBC)

#530 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 04:52 AM:

One can't even post, honestly, the last lines of "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" because he refused to march.

Farewell and Godspeed.

#531 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 11:09 AM:


I heard that on NPR this morning.

Imagine telling someone in 1911, one century ago, what the next few years held. You'd sound like Sarah f--king Connor. ("And then after the most awful war in human history, which also sets in motion the collapse of the British and French overseas empires, destroys the Ottoman empire, and triggers a Communist revolution in Russia, this plague sweeps through the world, killing vast numbers of people. After that, the global economy melts down. Not to worry, though, the starving, enraged masses in Germany do eventually find a Leader who will help them win glory again, at least for awhile....")

For all the darkness in the world now, it's worth remembering just how incredibly ugly the last century was.

#532 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 11:20 AM:

albatross @ 531 -

Excellent point. It's human nature to see the here and now as most important (after all, one can't fix the past), but it helps to know a little history, if for no other reason than to realize we've seen worse.

The first decade of the 21st century is no picnic (especially when compared with the last decade of the 20th), but this country and the world as a whole have seen much worse.

#533 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 12:16 PM:

New evidence surfaces in Kent State atrocity.

Summary: subjecting the only known audio tape of the events to modern forensic analysis produces startling results. (1) Someone appears to have given an order to fire; (2) the first 4 shots may have been fired by a paid FBI informant, whose involvement was then covered up.

#534 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 12:34 PM:

@heresiarch #523: It's a quintessential post-apocalyptic novel that features well-rounded characters who react believably to the world falling apart around them. It's also a meditation on the inevitability of malfunction in complex human systems and the odd workings of chance. It's ultimately a hopeful story.

Npghnyyl, vg'f rira zber ubcrshy guna Wbua Jlaqunz znl unir vagraqrq. Sbe bar guvat, ur qvqa'g pbafvqre gung n cynag gung pna or freirq gb uhznaf naq pnggyr jvgu zvavzny cebprffvat jbhyq cebonoyl or nggenpgvir gb cvtf. Fheryl abg nyy bs gur cvtf va Oevgnva jrer frpheryl craarq naq/be jngpuvat gur fxl gung avtug. Cvtf encvqyl orpbzr sreny naq gurl nyfb zhygvcyl encvqyl tvira n punapr. Fb V jbhyq rkcrpg gung gur frpbaq trarengvba bs fheivibef, vs abg gur svefg, jbhyq jvgarff fbhaqref bs sreny cvtf punetvat vagb guvpxrgf bs gevssvqf naq rngvat gurz sebz gur obggbz hc, cebgrpgrq sebz gur cbvfba fgvatf ol gurve oevfgyl uvqrf naq ol univat gurve inevbhf zhpbhf zrzoenarf gbb ybj qbja sbe gur gevssvqf gb ernpu rnfvyl. Ba gur bgure unaq, Jlaqunz gragngviryl frg gur abiry va gur zvq-1970f. Jevgvat va gur rneyl '50f, ur pbhyqa'g cerqvpg gur pbzvat snq sbe xrrcvat ovt pngf(?!) nf crgf(?!) gung cebzcgrq gur Qnatrebhf Navznyf Npg bs 1976. Fb creuncf zl gurbergvpny heona ubzrfgrnqref jbhyq rapbhentr gevssvqf gb unat nebhaq bhgfvqr gurve jnyyf gb xrrc gur gvtref sebz whzcvat va!

Anyway, it's a good novel, except for some silliness about having babies being fulfilling for all women and other assorted gender role things--the main female characters aren't a pack of vapid cling-ons, at least. The 1981 BBC TV adaptation is also very good.

I've been warned off the printed sequel, however, which was written by somebody else and features The Triffid That Ate Chicago, or something like that.

#535 ::: aphrael ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 12:42 PM:

In not-unexpected news, Claude Choles, the last known combat veteran of WW1, has died.

#536 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 01:57 PM:

albatross @ 531: "For all the darkness in the world now, it's worth remembering just how incredibly ugly the last century was."

ObSF: "I believe that Man is good. I believe that we stand at the dawn of a century that will be more peaceful and prosperous than any in history."

Jenny Islander @ 534: I've been meaning to read it, but I've never managed to get my hands on a copy. Nor, honestly, do I have the time. I was just tickled at how naturally your requirements lent themselves to either sfnal or fantastic premises.

#537 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 02:56 PM:

albatross @531
And men landed on the moon, flew faster than sound, eradicated smallpox, contained any number of infectious diseases, developed antibiotics,.... It was a century marked by amazing lows and just as amazing highs.

#538 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 03:11 PM:

Lin D:

Fair enough. I think 1911 would have been an especially ugly time to tell someone the near future, though. For all that real progress was made in the world, that span from 1914 to 1945 was just brutal.

#539 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 03:28 PM:

albatross, very true.

#540 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 04:11 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man reads story in Asimov's about a character not unlike Doc Savage, and discovers that one of the latter's aides is a musclebound chemist called Serge.

#541 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 04:49 PM:

HLN: Woman is not surprised to learn she needs yet another root canal. No openings in surgeon's schedule until next Wednesday, alas.

At least after the new tooth is made, nearly all the front top teeth in my mouth will be the same color, because they'll all be fake. Lost the center ones when I was 16, from a fall. Oral surgeon thinks more recent difficulties with top teeth may actually spring from that accident, decades ago.

Cannot actually remember how many fake teeth I now have . . . maybe 10?

#542 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 05:19 PM:

My brother says thank you for the sewing machine reccs. He's on the hunt and feels silly that it didn't occur to him to look for an older machine until you/I/we said so.

#543 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2011, 09:56 PM:

Elves are incredible. People don't believe in them.

#544 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 01:19 AM:

HLN: Man goes to party, meets fellow who seems borderline for delusions of grandeur, has no understanding of formal logic (and so can't keep a coherent argument about his singular passions) comes to some interesting conclusions about the fellow.

Today I find out he is minor celebrity, making his living arguing aspects of the hobby horses he was gobsmackingly clueless about the night before.

#545 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 03:00 AM:

Anybody else notice that interlacing in videos becomes more annoying when they're tired? It's like my eyeballs don't refresh fast enough to supress the effect.

#546 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 05:31 AM:

Albatross @538

Assuming somebody aged about 15 in 1910, fairly fresh from school, entering a fairly tradition world that has big changes in the works: things such as aeroplanes and zeppelins and wireless and motor cars. The world is opening up.

I'll assume he's British.

There's an incredible surge of volunteering in 1914. If he doesn't volunteer, he'll likely be conscripted later, though it's possible he's in some essential war work. And then the Spanish Influenza.

And he comes through all that, starts his own family, and his son will likely go off to war.

That, I think, is what makes it so bleak. It's that generation-apart repetition of the killing, the feel, for so many, that somebody in power hates them.

Jump another generation, and we're not using tanks or cavalry, we're fighting a war with the Beatles and with space rockets.

Here we are, a century later, and maybe we're seeing a repeat of one aspect of the 20th-Century-Fail. We have a new world looming, signs visible, and those in power are trapped in the thinking of the past. The politicians of 1910 were making arrangements in the style of the Napoleonic Wars, and the century which followed.

Are the politicians of today, with their "War of Terror", trying to treat the problems as another Cold War?

#547 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 07:32 AM:

The 20th Century...

Childbearing is less likely to kill a woman.
A woman can vote.
We can't own humans anymore.
Organ transplants.
Death can be reversed.
Humans travel to other worlds.
Machines travel to other worlds.
And the list goes on.

I'll choose the 20th Century over anything that came before.

#548 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 09:31 AM:

THe Army Corps of Engineers, besides building stuff and blowing stuff up, also makes maps. Here's their best guess for what the flooding will be like, in a .pdf file of much bigness. The main channel of the river is shown in a slightly darker shade of blue.

According to the River Gages* site, Greeneville MS is now within a little more than half a foot from its historic high (recorded in 1973); Donaldsonville, the gage just below Baton Rouge, is now at flood stage. Upstream, Hickman KY, New Madrid and Carruthersville MO, and Tiptonville TN have all passed the highwater mark set in 1937. Water levels in Hickman, the northernmost of these gages, have dropped a little (which is great news if it continues, as the gates in the floodwall were leaking). The lower Ohio is still well into floodstage, but appears to be dropping.

Currently, the governor of Louisiana is demonstrating appreciation for Big Federal Government expenditures. When he realizes this, I'm sure he'll have a good reason for this, even if no one else in the US is similarly entitled to do so.

Meanwhile, Interstate 40 in Arkansas is closed about halfway between Memphis and Little Rock, where the White River is flooding.

*I love this little thing. Hours of fun fiddling with water levels all over the US!

#549 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 09:49 AM:

"You... You invented alternating current to stop Thomas Edison from maybe destroying the world?"
"Someone had to."
- Atomic Robo and his human father in the 5th and last issue of The Deadly Art of Science

#550 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 09:59 AM:

A question for people who are or were in the Navy...
Is there a joke that goes along those lines?

"What do you call the crewmembers who know how the ship works?"
"Anybody but the Captain."

#551 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 10:33 AM:

It is, at last, finals week. Here is a sample from the very first paper to cross my desk:

Most people do not realize, leaders such as Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin were good men their tactics were just a bit extreme.

Fortunately, the next submission was thoughtful, well-constructed, and all that I could wish for in an undergraduate final paper.

#552 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 11:12 AM:

Fragano @ 551... the next submission was thoughtful, well-constructed, and all that I could wish

Glad to hear those do sometimes come across your desk.

#553 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 11:29 AM:

Dave @ 546
"Are the politicians of today, with their 'War of Terror,' trying to treat the problems as another Cold War?"

Not sure in what sense that's really applicable. Supporting US-friendly rather than democratic states? Avoiding direct conflict with ... who? China? Al Quaeda? through overcomplicated diplomacy and espionage, nonviolent proxy "battles" such as sporting events, and violent engagements using otherwise uninvolved countries to create "plausible" deniability about direct confrontation so that neither... er... superpower will have to declare war?

As far as I can tell, there's nothing "cold" about what's going on in the Middle East these days.

#554 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 11:49 AM:

KayTei @553
Dave @ 546
"Are the politicians of today, with their 'War of Terror,' trying to treat the problems as another Cold War?"

Not sure in what sense that's really applicable.

I took Dave's comment as a more general "are we fighting the last war" question, e.g., are we trying to use countertactics that apply better to conflicts between two superpowers than between one powerful nation and multiple smaller non-state opponents.

#555 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 12:21 PM:

Serge 550: "What do you call the crewmembers who know how the ship works?"

There's a serious answer to that, too: Snipes.

#556 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 01:13 PM:


I think our pattern of alliances in the war on terror tracks pretty well with our old cold war pattern--allies of convenience who will do our dirty work for us, or who are our "friends" so long as the checks keep clearing, or who are genuine monsters but they're our monsters. However, I think this is less a cold-war thing than an activist international relations thing--if you're going to be intervening and occupying and assassinating and bribing your way across the world in pursuit of your nation's interests, you'll probably find yourself propping up unsavory allies pretty often.

#557 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 01:24 PM:

I have a tech question for those that are more cosmopolitan: I'm not sure that I can get an answer here, but I'm hoping I can get directions to the right answer...

I've been thinking about getting a file-share/store/access revision account with one of the services that offer them: I'd been considering the market leader Dropbox, but the recent discussions over at Boing Boing about encryption with their service (and the note from their CTO after the Boing Boing story) have given me the willies. seems to have excellent security but they originally did backups, not file sharing, and there have been complaints about the access revision trashing files and the sharing being unpredictable at best.

Both start at 2 GB for a free account: if you use a member sponsored link that is upped to 2.5 GB for Dropbox and 3 GBfor Spideroak.

I was trying to find additional info on other services when I hit a press release for Deutsche Telekom's Media Center which features 25 GB which seems to indicate free accounts for anyone, anywhere, and which will work with the iPhone (which means it would probably support the iPad as well), Android, and Windows. I went over to the sign up page to see if I could find if the service works with Macs as well, and what kind of security is used if any, but the page is in German and Google Translate isn't being as friendly as I'd like.

I've been searching for a review of the thing ever since to see if anyone has tried it with a Mac or knows how or if they encrypt their data and how they deal with file revisions if at all, but can't find anything that I can read. So my question is this: is anyone here using this, or can they read German well enough to get the info from the setup page? It sure looks attractive, but I'm not going to try to wade through a German sign-up page by myself without knowing it's going to be worthwhile.

#558 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 01:46 PM:

Xopher @ 555... Thanks for the link. Fascinating to see how things come to be.

#559 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 02:09 PM:

Serge @ 550, "What do you call the crewmembers who know how the ship works?"

While Xopher's Snipes may have been the appropriate answer at one time (and as the son of a Navy Civil Engineer I appreciate it), I think the correct answer you'd get these days is "Chiefs."

#560 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 02:14 PM:

Maybe, Linkmeister, but my friend in the Navy is proud to be called a Snipe, and is planning to get/has already gotten a tattoo saying "Snipes Run the Navy."

#561 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 02:29 PM:

Elves are (counter to the skeezily juvenile imaginings of some fanfic authors) ineffable.

#562 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 02:31 PM:

Alternately: elves are inconceivable; you cannot sire them.

#563 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 03:08 PM:

Linkmeister @ 559... Like Chief Sharkey, but without having to deal with lobstermen, goldfishmen, or Blackbeard's Ghost?

#564 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 03:21 PM:

Serge: Sharkey...he's Mister Heartbreak!

HLN: Man asserts, without checking, that Poulenc's Dialogues des carmélites marks the first use of the guillotine as an orchestral instrument; is immediately beset by the fear that some bozo will come up with a document claiming that Dr. Guillotin intended it as a percussion instrument all along, and was shocked, shocked to discover it could be used in executions.

#565 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 03:29 PM:

Garden report: This year everything is on time. The snowdrops were blooming in February when the snow finally melted enough for us to see them. The Lenten roses (Hellebore) bloomed in March, closely followed by the witch hazel.

The winter-blooming apricot blossomed toward the end of March, and the daffodils and violets celebrated in April. The tree peony buds (Shima Nishiki) are showing color today, and may open by Mother's Day.

The miniature climbing roses are loaded with buds, and the one between the front door and the garage is sporting a Cardinal's nest with several eggs(!)

The weather has been so cold and wet that we're still filling the bird feeders with seed. We also have our hummingbird feeders out and have seen one male and one female at the feeders in the last week.

I bought a solar fountain bird bath last month, but since there has been so little sunshine, I haven't bothered to set it up.

On the filking front, I've finally turned up a copy of Martha Keller's Mirror of Mortality, and have ordered it. I've been hunting for it off and on for the last 15 years. There are two more copies listed on Alibris if anyone is interested.

#566 ::: aphrael ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 03:37 PM:

Bruce, I find the T-Mobile website maddening in that it seems to have no actual technical details.

It does claim that it will work "von jedem internetfaehigen Computer", meaning that it should work from your macintosh (since it's claiming that any internet capable computer can use it. that's a transparent lie, but it's the kind of generalization which will work for most customers).

For security, the webapge says that it transmits the data using 128-bit SSL, which is nice, but it doesn't document how it *stores* the data. (Well, another page says it's stored in Germany and is reliably protected. Be still, my heart. :))

#567 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 04:29 PM:

#555: Alas, I find the linked-to story about "snipes" hard to believe.

First, because engineering officers are, in fact, able to command at sea (they're surface line officers just like everyone else), and second because the rank of captain in the navy dates back to the Continental Navy, long before the first steam-powered vessel.

#568 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 05:01 PM:

Yeah, I'm not vouching for the story. I think they're named after a guy named Snipe(s), but I couldn't find any real historical details quickly.

That being the case, I probably shouldn't have linked that other story. Sorry about that. Rereading it now, it seems like an "exaggerated victimhood" kind of story.

#569 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 06:03 PM:

I would be very surprised to learn that a person named "Snipe" or "Snipes" was involved in any way with the nickname given to the ship's engineering component.

#570 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 06:21 PM:

Jim, 569: Are you saying it's a Snipe hunt?

#571 ::: Dr. Psycho ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 06:49 PM:

The nonsensical notion that ObL was in some sense a "head of state" is just the latest of the constellation of bad things which resulted from deciding that hunting down al Qaeda was a "war" and not a straight-up law enforcement procedure.

#572 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 08:55 PM:

albatross @ 556

Yeah, I can see that, though I'm not yet sure what I'm seeing with the US in the Middle East, particularly with the various democratic revolutions going on right now.

I do agree, it's less what I associate with "cold" war, and more a reflection of current US perceptions of what's "practical" and "necessary" in international relations -- and I do think those definitions are shaped by our experiences in the cold war. However, the popular trend seems to be that in order to counter ever-more-focused cells of wickedness, we need to be ever-more-willing to compromise our values, and I really don't like that trend. I'd rather see them focused on using successful police-based and counter-organized-crime tactics, which I suspect may be more effective and more relevant to preventing terrorism than hit squads and torture and the like. (It'd also potentially shift the glamour-emphasis of the whole scenario, in ways that might be beneficial.)

#573 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 09:39 PM:

Jim, not that you need to provide an alternative necessarily, but do you have another explanation? All I can find is the hokey one. You think it comes from the bird? How would that work?

#574 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 11:01 PM:

They meant to say "Snape," but they had this bloody accent.

#575 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 11:28 PM:

Shockingly, this small scene's dialog doesn't seem to be conveniently quoted on the web — not even at IMDB — so for the thready openness of it, and so I can find it next time I want it, I'm putting it here.

This is a hoodlum named Harvey Starkweather, who's as psycho as the name would indicate. He was in Juvie and some writer became convinced he was a sensitive poet, so he's out and menacing the young hero of the movie MATINEE:

"It's like I once wrote in a poem:

It's like a crazy river
Where you see different people's boats
That they have
Going by, like.
But tomorrow:
Tomorrow's a knife.
Tomorrow's a big knife.

"...You get it?"

(Excellent movie, by the way, with John Goodman as a William Castle-type producer bringing his latest shock pic, MANT*, to Key West at the height of the Cuban missile crisis. There's the movie within the movie with William Shallert as a dentist with a problem**, and there's also THE SHOOK UP SHOPPING CART, which in a minute or so manages to convey at least an hour of boring 60s wacky kid comedy drek.)

*"Half Man, Half Ant, ALL TERROR!"
** A sort of ant problem

#576 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 11:53 PM:

I think that it comes from muck-snipe, or perhaps from the railroad "snipe" (otherwise gandy dancer), and doesn't date much before the early 20th century.

Meanwhile, here, for your amusement, is a Navy Slang Trivia Quiz.

And here's a dictionary of Navy slang (which, shockingly, doesn't include either COMNAVSIXPAC (the headquarters you will visit when you intend to sit at home drinking beer) nor CIVLANT (where you'll be stationed after you retire or otherwise get out). Nor do they mention the CSMP Custodian. (The CSMP is actually the Current Ship Maintenance Project, but the CSMP Custodian has the Complete Supply of Monthly Pornography; the fellow with a subscription to Penthouse, Playboy, and Hustler (and perhaps Cheri, Gent, Tip/Top, and others more obscure).) The glossary is still a great deal of fun and does bring back memories.

#577 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 11:56 PM:

Serge at #547: Death can be reversed?

#578 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 01:03 AM:

@577: In some cases. CPR, electrocardioshock, etc.

I think the development of blood transfusion (discovery of blood types, anticoagulants, etc.) made a huge difference in trauma care as well.

My typical touchstone on the 20th century is that my grandmother was born in 1901- she was six when the Wright Brothers flew, and 67 when men walked on the moon.

#579 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 01:15 AM:

Jim: Not having been in the Navy(though having had to deal with the way they shorthand...): I got COMNAVSIXPAC at once, and CIVLANT.

For the Army we have things like the promotion to PFC, and PCS to Ft. Living Room.

Also, "Household 6" which equals one's spouse (Six being the standard callsign designator for the commander).

#580 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 01:44 AM:

I missed one on the quiz.

#581 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 02:20 AM:

Sandy B @ 578: ... my grandmother was born in 1901- she was six when the Wright Brothers flew...
True, but they had been flying for several years by the time she reached that age. First flight of the Wright Flyer 1 was December 17, 1903.

#582 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 03:23 AM:

I missed one on the quiz as well. Serving at a shore station, I never had to deal with or even hear the term Med lights.

#583 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 04:29 AM:

Lori, re #365, has anyone ever tried to reprint Martha Keller's poetry collections? It strikes me that this would be an instance where print-on-demand would be suitable, because my impression is that while the number of copies desired would be fairly limited, the people who desired those copies would desire them intensely.

Who would have inherited Keller's literary estate? Did she have children or family? Did she leave a will? For that matter, was the copyright renewed on her earlier collections, or have they slipped into public domain? This would be an interesting project for someone to track down an answer to, with investigation of court or other public records involved. (Someone with free time, and a moderate amount of money. Someone who's not me.)

#584 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 05:51 AM:

Elves are implausible. Nobody ever claps for them.

#585 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 06:11 AM:

Elves are implacable. You never see a "so and so lived here" sign on a building for an elf.

#586 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 06:48 AM:

Annotated answers to the Navy Slang quiz here.

(Med lights are sometimes called "up and overs" or "friendship lights." The way I heard the story, they're to prove your friendly intentions by making it easy for the shore batteries to target you, and to make it obvious if you're trying to slip out of port under cover of darkness.)

(Question 1 says, "You are visiting Mayport, Florida when you walk into a bar and see your old friend, John Smith, in a Navy dress uniform. After exchanging greetings, you say you surprised to see that he has become a seaman. John indignantly replies that he is not a seaman, he is a 'snipe.'" Actually, my first thought on reading that question was, "Poor fucker's assigned to the Sorry Sara." And I would never make that mistake, because a seaman has white hashmarks on his sleeve, while a fireman (the equivalent engineering pay grade) has red hashmarks.)

#587 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 06:52 AM:

The Martha Keller copyright situation looks like it might be a bit complicated. On a quick look, I don't see copyright renewals for her early books, though there is one for "War Whoop of the Mighty Iroquois", and the Copyright Office's 1964 renewals catalog has a cross-reference on her name, but no copyright entry under the cross-reference, making me wonder whether a renewal to "Mirror to Mortality" (which would have been up for renewal that year) got accidentally omitted from the Copyright Office catalog.

Poems previously appearing in other publications, such as magazines, might also possibly have been renewed under that publication's copyright. For instance, the New Yorker, which published some of her poems, appears to have renewed copyright on all of its issues.

A finding aid for her papers at Franklin and Marshall College mentions two daughters who donated the papers in 1980, Martha R. Goppelt and Eliot Randal Marhenke. They would appear to be her only children, and are likely to have inherited her copyrights. I don't know if they're still alive, but they might well be. In particular, a little online searching turns up a likely address in the Philadelphia area for a Martha Goppelt who's the right age, was still alive as of 2010, and lived quite close to where Martha Keller lived. I'm not planning to pursue permissions myself, but if someone else wants to, contact me and I can pass along the address.

#588 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 08:41 AM:

John Mark Ockerbloom #587: While we're talking about rights situations, I don't think anyone answered this last time I asked:

Who's getting the profits from the SpecEng store at CafePress, the one with Mike Ford's stuff? For that matter, who inherited rights for his stuff in general?

#589 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 10:31 AM:

Elves are inevitable. In fact, they won't go to any Lloyd Webber show.

#590 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Elves are puny.
They are a ripe target for puns.

#591 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 10:48 AM:

My grandmother was born in 1884 - when she got married (1913), they moved with a horse-drawn wagon. She not only saw the moon landings, she also saw Pioneer's pictures of Saturn. (I have to admit, she never learned to drive a car.)

#592 ::: Mary Aileen sees old spam on a closed thread ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 10:49 AM:

Undeleted spam lingering on a very old, closed thread.

#593 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 11:17 AM:

The Modeasto Kind @ 561:

Elves are also inscrutable.

#594 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 11:20 AM:

Elves are impenetrable. They cannot use anonymous remailers.

#595 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 11:32 AM:

Elves are irrelevant. They have grey trunks.

#596 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 11:46 AM:

I'm not sure I entirely understand this story, - it looks as though it may have been mangled in transcription or translation- but if it's saying what I think it's saying, it should be of interest to Latin-speakers - and indeed to people who like transformation stories. Which probably includes a fair proportion of the fluorosphere.

#597 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 12:07 PM:

Elves are impeccable. They fear no bird's wrath.

#598 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 12:08 PM:

I missed bubblehead, by second guessing myself.

#599 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 12:16 PM:

David Harmon@588: I'd imagine our hosts would have more information on the disposition of Mike Ford's literary estate than I would. Or someone involved in the memorial auction mentioned in this thread.

#600 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 01:21 PM:

Elves are impartial. Though you'd have difficulty eating a whole one.

#601 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 01:32 PM:

Elves are inconceivable. They do not think that word means what you think it means.

#602 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 01:47 PM:

John #599: Sorry, I didn't mean to single you out... I think I muffed my Segue roll there.

To all: I see in John's link a memorial fund for the Minneapolis Library. Is that were his posthumous sales are going, or did he leave family behind?

#603 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 01:49 PM:

Elves are attentive. They are therefore now photographing their items with diffuse light.

Elves are diffuse. You can set fire to them in one of two places before running away and waiting for the boom.

#604 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 01:59 PM:

As I mark finals, I long for release.

Here are some reasons why:

This is in line with the Christian undertones that already consume our current political order.

In his time George Orwell was a writer whom was very aware of the importance that language had in the political realm, both as a medium and as a tool.

In the 1930s to reach out was the communist party.

Mussolini started out as a socialist. During World War one he becomes an anti-social.

The emphasis of national will is infusing in fascism thus making it a good path of a political order.

The United States in in an error of redevelopment and vulnerability.

Mussolini had Italy within his grasp between the 1920s and 1940s and emerged after Italy’s “The Risorgimento” also known as the resurrection.

#605 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 02:05 PM:

Fragano... Mussolini, anti-social?

#606 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 02:05 PM:

Fragano... Mussolini, anti-social?

#607 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 02:09 PM:

Elves impale because they're the Fair Folk.

#608 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 02:16 PM:

Elves are remarkable. Their tattoos don't last.

#609 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 02:37 PM:

@608: You can write on their front AND back!

#610 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 03:22 PM:

Elves are elaborate. They work online.
Elves are ridiculous. They'll do you twice.

#611 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 03:24 PM:

Elves are tiring. They dress you.
Elves are retiring. The dress you again.

#612 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 03:56 PM:

Elves are teetotalers. They like to count tea.

#613 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 04:11 PM:

I had not realized "ridiculous" is an antonym for "ineffable".

#614 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 04:18 PM:

Elves are incandescent. They throw empty drink containers down staircases.

#615 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 04:21 PM:

Trader Joe gets interviewed.

#616 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 04:29 PM:

Elves are colloquial. They hang their capes on round things.

#617 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 04:30 PM:

Elves are psychosomatic. They have crazy bodies.

#618 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 04:44 PM:

Modesto Kid @ 613: As a friend of mine says to express contempt: "That's not just ridiculous, it's ricoculous."

#619 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 05:07 PM:

Serge #605/606: I gather he was something of a bon vivant.

#620 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 05:09 PM:

Elves are phenomenal. They sell yummy snacks.

#621 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 05:18 PM:

Elves are intense. They are always relaxed.

Elves are rococo. They bring hot chocolate across the river in small boats.

Elves are decadent. They have ten teeth.

Elves are polygonal. It's not just pining for the fjords, it's gone.

#622 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 05:18 PM:

I did a lot better than I expected on the Navy Slang quiz. I knew a few things, like Snipe, Bubblehead, Jarhead, but mostly I guessed. Got more than half of them right, which shocked me.

But I kind of stopped on this in the answers: "Before it was decided that political correctness should take priority over national defense, Yeoman was one of the few ratings open to women, hence the rather disparaging appellation given to male Yeomen." (Emphasis added.)

What's Navy slang for 'stupid fucking asshole'?

#623 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 05:21 PM:

Fragano #604

I can understand people thinking Orwell was a tool. I didn't realize he was a medium as well.

#624 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 05:31 PM:

Elves are Surgical. They make appalling puns.

#625 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 05:35 PM:

Elves are commenters. They teach in pairs.
Elves are lackadaisical. They avoid florists.
Elves are claustrophobic. They hate Christmas.

#626 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 05:54 PM:

Shooting at highway signs, Internet edition:

I belong to an online forum that discusses how to get over punitive Christian child training, how to raise children with grace and charity, and so on. I just stopped by, to discover that hackers have replaced the entire forum with a video of some drunk(?) men half naked and dancing in a way that would be funny if they weren't possibly too out of it to realize that they were being filmed, along with a notice "Site closed due to [couple of slurs I won't bother to repeat]."

This is the second hacking in three days. Whoopie dee, hacker kid, you have proven that you are able to shoot at highway signs. Very impressive, yes. What's your second act, crapping in urinals?

#627 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 06:13 PM:

Elves are abstainers. They dye their bellies to show off the muscles.

#628 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 06:23 PM:

Xopher #622: What's Navy slang for 'stupid fucking asshole'?

We call them "Stupid fucking assholes."

(I was still enlisted when the first females were assigned to sea duty (onboard USS Puget Sound (AKA USS Pubic Mound) if memory serves) so that was a long time ago. Sounds like that guy's a fucking rink.)

#629 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 06:44 PM:

I was a Radioman Third when women were first assigned to our unit at NavCommStaJapan. I'm sure there were some sexist remarks floating around, but I don't remember any directed at the women in my hearing. They could probably remind me of many.

#630 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 07:42 PM:

Mark @ 620: "Elves are phenomenal. They sell yummy snacks."

Especially Vietnamese soups?

#631 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 08:01 PM:

Elves are unflappable. They just hang there, twisting in the wind.

#632 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 08:18 PM:

Elves are irresistible. They don't block dye.

#633 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 08:30 PM:

Just watched the May the Fourth Be With You episode of the Late Late Show (Craig Ferguson), which had Pauley Perrette on it. I'm now in total fanboy love with her! Let's just say her Abby Sciuto character on NCIS isn't much of a stretch from her real personality. Since Abby is one of the most lovable characters on all of television, that makes Perrette a pretty charming person.

#634 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 08:36 PM:

Elves are carefree. They don't build castles in Narnia.

#635 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 08:51 PM:

Elves are renowned. They tried verbing them and it didn't take.

#636 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 09:13 PM:

Elves are discursive. They can remove curses from you.

Elves are fallacious. Just you never mind why!

#637 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 09:20 PM:

Elves are mythical, I keep mything them.

Elves are invincible, they can't be named Vince.

Elves used to be unwincible, then we came along.

#638 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 10:20 PM:


Via CZEdwards at Slacktiverse: Arizona gay couple adopts 12 kids. 6 of the kids were 5 siblings and a cousin; it kind of kept going after that. Long, encouraging story; interesting to contrast the attitudes of Arizona legislators (who want preference given to married couples as adopters, and don't allow second-parent adoptions for non-married couples) with the attitudes of the Child Protective Services people who know a good family when they see one.

#639 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 10:47 PM:

Elves are astonishing. They like to get stoned.

#640 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 10:49 PM:

Elves are splendid. They are made with low-calorie sweetener.

#641 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 11:02 PM:

Elves are revisionist. They look both ways before they cross the street.

#642 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2011, 11:29 PM:

Elves are are translucent, they induce a light trance.

#643 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 12:30 AM:

Elves are indelible. They don't eat pastrami on rye.

Elves are bountiful. They produce paper towels.

#644 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 12:35 AM:

Elves are repellent. They can go down a cliff on a rope.

#645 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 12:47 AM:

Elves are reproachable. You can get close to them more than once.

Elves are syndicalist. Their genitals are at an angle.

Elves are fuliginous. Especially after many martinis.

Elves are fungible. That's why you find them sitting under toadstools.

#646 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 12:55 AM:

albatross, KayTei:

One of the ways the US is still fighting the Cold War is that the standard political, diplomatic, and military responses to the asymmetrical wars we're fighting are based on the counter-insurgency theories developed to fight Soviet proxy forces. They do not match the way the wars are actually being fought, nor do they allow for any sort of military solution, though that's what the procedures used require. Moreover, the political and diplomatic analyses that the procedures support are deeply flawed in the current contexts.

#647 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 01:10 AM:

You know, it's odd. Reading that dictionary of Navy slang gives the impression that:

  1. Everyone in the Navy hates being in the Navy and is just itching to get out, and the few exceptions are universally detested.
  2. All sailors hate their superiors.
  3. All sailors hate their peers and are always looking for excuses to hurt or abuse them.
  4. All superiors' main goal in life is to make their subordinates as miserable as possible.
  5. Sailors expend more energy trying to get out of work than on all their other activities combined.
  6. Virtually everything done by the Navy is useless, stupid makework designed to punish the people who are forced to do it.
I know these things aren't true, and that it's probably an artifact of the general human tendency not to invent slang for things we like, but only for things that bug us. But it sure is depressing reading the huge accretion of misery and loathing expressed by that collection of slang.

#648 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 01:36 AM:

Elves are repugnant. They don't like small homely dogs.

Elves are impeccable. They lack defined chest muscles.

Elves are intimidating. They are notoriously shy.

#649 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 01:44 AM:

Xopher, when I was in the Navy ('72-'74) there wasn't a single guy below E-5 (Petty Office 2nd Class) who wanted to be in the Navy. The only appeal it had was that it was better than getting drafted into the Army, presumably to spend a year in 'Nam.

The phrase "xxx and a wake-up"1 was heard almost the moment somebody got to fewer than six months till separation from the service.

If you got promoted to E-4 (Petty Officer 3rd Class), which involved studying for and passing an exam, you were doing so for the increase in pay, not because you were taking a step up a career ladder.

If there were good friendships made in the Navy I was in, it was because of shared interests off-duty, not because of anything done at work.

I imagine things changed after the services went to all-voluntary in 1973, but we didn't get too many fresh recruits who were willing to say they were thinking about the service as a career. The peer pressure from the rest of the group was probably too great.

1.: Where x = number of days remaining on active duty minus one day for the wakeup call.

#650 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 02:41 AM:

aphrael: Bruce, I find the T-Mobile website maddening in that it seems to have no actual technical details.

THANK you! That means it's not just me. I was assuming that Google Translate just couldn't parse the site correctly, or had decided it hated me.

It does claim that it will work "von jedem internetfaehigen Computer", meaning that it should work from your macintosh (since it's claiming that any internet capable computer can use it. that's a transparent lie, but it's the kind of generalization which will work for most customers).

Well, with the help of Google Translate I now have an account and a German e-mail address. I'll report back what I figure out.

For security, the webapge says that it transmits the data using 128-bit SSL, which is nice, but it doesn't document how it *stores* the data. (Well, another page says it's stored in Germany and is reliably protected. Be still, my heart. :))

The press release says "With the TÜV certification for data privacy and protection, the Media Center as online storage media bears an additional seal of approval and guarantees that all content stored is secure." Unfortunately I can't seem to find any info on what "TÜV certification for data privacy and protection" is.

#651 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 04:17 AM:

O.K.: I'm a little farther along here. Seems the Media Center uses something called webDAV which I can get at with "Connect to Server" in the Finder. Now if I could figure out if files being transferred from my Mac to the Media Center are encrypted (I think they are), if they're stored on the servers encrypted, and what the hell webDAB is, I'd be a happy camper. I'm going to bed...

#652 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 06:23 AM:

Elves are illegal. They are sick of being attacked by large birds of prey.

#653 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 10:44 AM:

James @639: Doesn't everybody.

#654 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 11:40 AM:

Elves are intolerant. They don't like flutes in their rock and roll.

Elves are unchangeable. They never carry small coins in their pockets.

Elves are invidious. It's hard to catch them on film.

#655 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 11:57 AM:

The Modesto Kid (653): Not everybody. I don't, for one.

#656 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 12:02 PM:

#s 653, 655: everybody -2.

#657 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 12:07 PM:

Elves are amazing. They hide under garden hedges.

#658 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 12:41 PM:

Elves are intractable. They don't proselytize door to door.

Elves are incorrigible. Neither Haim nor Feldman appeals to them.

#659 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 01:08 PM:

Bruce @ 646

Thanks. That clarifies some for me, though I'd be interested in more detail on your perspective, if you felt like you wanted to put the time in.

#660 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 01:27 PM:

I think I make (mostly) everybody -3. I don't seem to have the real interest in the things people think of as, "stone", though I enjoy alcohol and do things to get a "rush", those tend to be adrenaline inducing, or things which make me go, "oh pretty, and so "get my mellow/sublime on".

#661 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 02:41 PM:

655, 656 -- sorry, didn't mean to impute -- I had "Rainy Day Women" running through my head there for a moment...

#662 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 03:05 PM:

Elves are overweening. They're no longer proud of the fact that they eat solid food.

#663 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 07:15 PM:

(I would not feel so close to vanishing/ If everybody must be astonishing! harmonica solo)

#664 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 07:47 PM:

Elves are acidic. They're jewish cockneys.

#665 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 08:01 PM:

Elves are Jamaican. They are creatures of a Rastafarian divinity.

#666 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 08:05 PM:

They'd rather drink their lunch, I take it.

#667 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 09:09 PM:

PJ Evans: That's beastly.

#668 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 09:19 PM:

Elves are algebraic. They approve of the clothing choices of fresh-water mermaids.

Elves are geometric. They have taken the measure of the earth.

Elves are formulaic. They stand for the rights of pack animals.

#670 ::: Rainflamel ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2011, 11:50 PM:

Elves are implacable. They get good dental checkups.

#671 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 12:49 AM:

Elves are physical. They bubble.

#672 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 01:07 AM:

About that sidelight concerning MIT letting in students without a high school diploma: the author shows a basic ignorance about how people get into college. I really have to say something about it because a lot of people think that if you don't do the conventional high school thing, you won't be able to do higher education either.

It is simply untrue that either UC or Stanford would "summarily reject" an applicant simply because they didn't have a high school diploma. UC makes no secret of having a small percentage of its freshman slots dedicated to students who have unusual circumstances, like never having gone to high school, and who show a lot of promise.

You do have to put together a whole application, and you have to be able to convince the admissions people that you're a good bet. I went through this process with my son, who didn't graduate from high school (he did pass the equivalency test). He got one of those sweet rejections from Berkeley his first try -- the kind that imply you ought to try again some day -- went to community college, worked, and applied again -- to UC Santa Cruz -- and got in. It's a pretty normal way for "slip through the cracks" kids to go to University.

I take great pleasure in telling the teens I work with that my high school dropout kid is now doing quite well in his fourth year of med school: I love seeing the wheels turn in their heads at the suggestion that they, too, might still have some doors open for them.

#673 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 01:37 AM:

Bruce Durocher @ 651: WebDAV is just a standard for how your web browser (or other web client, or operating system) can send or upload files to a web server and/or edit files on it as opposed to only receiving stuff from it. Nothing T-Mobile specific.

I'm using Dropbox myself but am careful to use it only for things which 1) I really don't care if somebody looks at, like my music wish-list or backup of my iTunes database, or 2) are otherwise thoroughly encrypted, like my 1Password login files.

I saw a nice solution for the #2 case on LifeHacker the other day - there's some software package which creates a virtual Windows folder within which everything is encrypted using your private password before it gets stored on the underlying storage medium. If you put that folder within the Dropbox folder, then what gets stored on the public server is the encrypted backing file, which nobody at Dropbox would be able to read.

#674 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 01:47 AM:

Elves is everywhere

#675 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 02:07 AM:

Clifton Royston: WebDAV is just a standard for how your web browser (or other web client, or operating system) can send or upload files to a web server and/or edit files on it as opposed to only receiving stuff from it. Nothing T-Mobile specific.

Thanks for the help! The T-Mo stuff indicates that they're using SSL for file transfers with their Media Center, so I assume that when I drop something into their storage via "connect to Server" that my Mac is sending it to them encrypted via WebDAV, correct?

I saw a nice solution for the #2 case on LifeHacker the other day - there's some software package which creates a virtual Windows folder within which everything is encrypted using your private password before it gets stored on the underlying storage medium. If you put that folder within the Dropbox folder, then what gets stored on the public server is the encrypted backing file, which nobody at Dropbox would be able to read.

We have something like 18 computers total in the house, and only one of them is running a version of Windows--nope, call me a liar because I forget the Windows CE tablet and the Windows CE PDA I bought in a yard sale. Make that 3 computers running a version of Windows, none of them production machines. Does this package you were looking at play nicely with Macs, or the version of Linux the Nokia N800 uses, or the Amiga OS?

#676 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 06:21 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man has local fans over for an evening of chatting, and finds that one of them, soon to be married to another of them, is having her makeup done by someone currently working on Joss Whedon's "Avengers".

#677 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 08:31 AM:

Jeffery Goldberg:

These last eight days, as well as the last 10 years, suggest to me that there is only one American foreign policy; this default foreign policy is interventionist, moralistic, and militarily robust. Everything else is commentary.

#678 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 08:40 AM:

re 672: Perhaps things have changed in thrity-five years, but when we were first contemplating me going off to college a year early, the school college person said to me that the main drawback to not staying to get a diploma was not being able to practice real estate in Virginia. There was no real concern about getting admitted anywhere-- perhaps I might have had trouble getting into UMCP, where having a high school diploma was, at the time, the only necessary qualification. In the end I did graduate through the use of some minor hanky-panky with state requirements, but when we started, it wasn't considered important. Of course this was well before the current college admissions craziness had kicked in.

#679 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 09:07 AM:

On college admissions: I graduated from Davidson, in 2001; I had a GED, but had not attended high school. (Not just "didn't have a diploma"; I had no formal schooling beyond 8th grade.)

#680 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 09:28 AM:

Did you guys see this?

Baseball, Tolkien. Together at last the the best NYT correction in the history of ever.

#681 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 10:53 AM:

I suspect a similar same logic applies to college admissions as applies to slush pile sorting: There are a lot of applications. There are more good applications than there are available slots. It's an incredible, labor-intensive slog just to put every application in front of a reasonably useful pair of eyes, much less put each application in front of the pair that will see its unique worth and beauty. Because of this, many applications will be summarily tossed out for relatively silly imperfections: this is bad, for society as a whole but especially for those whose unique worth and beauty starts on page two. However, there isn't much cure for it other than multiplying the admissions staff by a few orders of magnitude, and why bother when there's currently no problem filling the freshman class? Rather the opposite, really.

#682 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 11:02 AM:

Elves are ticklish. They get easily ticked.

Elves are preposterous. The get their mail earlier than anyone else.

#683 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 11:09 AM:

re 681: It isn't helped by the advice to apply to lots of schools. My son James applied to four schools, which I thought was plenty; I got the impression from comments made by others that eight to twelve is more common. If one makes the rash assumption that everyone is doing this, and that everyone gets admitted somewhere, then a fair degree of admissions craziness is already explained by the need to reject 80%+ of the applications regardless of merit.

#684 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 11:38 AM:

Thor is an enjoyable bit of summer fluff, and smarter than you might think. The backstory was a bit too long and involved, but Thor's adjustment to earth and his character arc made the movie.

#685 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 11:55 AM:

Elves are ineluctable. They always lose at internet roulette.

#686 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 12:16 PM:

C Wingate #677:

Yep, I think that's right. The elite consensus on foreign policy, trade, immigration, financial regulation, drug policy, civil rights law, etc., largely determines what options will even be on the table for elected officials. In the 2008 elections, there was nobody with any chance at all to win who was going to try to push back on any of that elite consensus, if they got power. To the extent those issues are up for discussion at all in elections, it's either as empty rhetoric (Obama on the national security state, for example), or it's very minimal around-the-edges stuff (perhaps we will slightly decrease the amount of resources spent fighting medical marijuana in states that have approved it).

The thing to understand is that the elite consensus is not the product of some inner circle of wise and smart and informed people carefully weighing the issues. It's a political consensus, which arose by the same sort of unthinking social processes as any other political consensus--some parts are well-thought-out, but many absolutely silly bits have been incorporated into it, for the kind of reasons that come up all the time in coalition-building. And it's packed with inconsistencies, because it's an evolved, not designed, thing.

To pick some random examples, much of the elite consensus w.r.t. intellectual property law is driven by the interests of big, rich companies that own a lot of intellectual property. Much of the elite consensus on torture, surveillance, and related issues is shaped by pushback from intelligence agencies and their institutional supporters. And so on.

In many ways, this makes elections a lot less important than they seem. Nobody will be elected in 2012 who will cause us not to have an interventionist, moralistic, violent foreign policy. If somehow someone were elected who tried, he would find himself utterly blocked at every level. I doubt he'd actually be deposed in a coup or assassinated, though that could happen, but he'd find himself unable to get his orders followed by the very powerful institutions that support the elite consensus. The harder he pushed, the more political capital he'd use up, and the less he'd have for later. (Think of the pushback Obama got on the torture photo issue, where he reversed himself rather abruptly, and then caved in on torture prosecutions and all the rest. And Obama wasn't and isn't remotely a radical.)

That doesn't mean elections are meaningless--small differences in policy matter, and can ultimately change the direction of the elite consensus. But it does mean that most of the rhetorical differences between parties have a lot more rhetoric than difference.

#687 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Steve C @ 684... I'm very much looking forward to "Captain America".

#688 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 12:22 PM:

heresiarch #681:

Yeah, the more semi-automated filtering you do before you look at the candidates, the more uniform the successful candidates will be. The guy with no degree but years of experience in the field, the lady with a ten-year work gap while she raised her kids, the guy who's established in one field who tries to break into another, the woman who wants to move from the academic to commercial world--they all look weird enough that, in a world where 95% of the resumes are filtered out by clerks before they even are seen by any real decisionmakers, those unusual peoples' resumes will end up in the trash can, and the candidates that get interviews will have nearly-identical backgrounds.

#689 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 12:29 PM:

Bruce #646:

I think one really important part of this happens in all large organizations. The path to power within the organization determines what its leaders will believe, how they will think about the world, what they will be comfortable with, etc. This is why armies tend to be very well adapted to fight the last war, why large companies will often fail to apply the business-changing innovations in their own research labs, and a huge source of groupthink in many other kinds of organizations, where almost all the important decisionmakers have extremely similar backgrounds, training, and experiences.

People high up in the pentagon, state, CIA, etc., mostly rose during the Cold War. The techniques that were used (some of which probably even made sense) are what they rose through the system using. That's what they're comfortable with. The people who didn't or couldn't put on the cold-war worldview of those organizations didn't rise.

#690 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 01:13 PM:

Platypus, serpentine, murnival, vortex: I have, through a rather unpleasant attack of Real Life, been remiss in my crane-stringing duties. I hope to have them finished and, I hate breaking promises, so I'll say by the end of the month.

#691 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 02:17 PM:

The Cardiacs tribute was awesome. It had more music stands than I've ever seen before at a rock concert. Challenging music. Sadly I missed the first 1.97 sets, but there were more. The music came through. My spine was tingled. Our own Tim Walters played bass in ReCardiac Fly. Their performance was notable for its excellent production values. Polly Moller was Tim Smith. Wow.

#692 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 02:18 PM:

re 686: That's why lots of colleges do in fact have some sort of unconventional student recruiting or honors program. My wife, for instance, is in a program at Montgomery College called the Renaissance Scholars for students with substantial hiatuses in their education; they get a lot of special attention, some courses tuned specifically to their needs (e.g. honors courses which meet only in the evenings/Saturdays), and some pure scholarship money. In my wife's case she will be sent to Cambridge for two weeks this summer on the college's, er, tuppence. The trick of course is getting yourself considered in the first place. That is yet another thing which makes the American college search process such a chore: that there is so much out there to look through and so many of these specialized programs to keep track of.

#693 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 02:18 PM:

Elves are prepossessing. They had all your stuff before you did.

#694 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 02:22 PM:

albatross: I'd argue that some of the "consensus" isn't total group, but sub-group, agenda. I can say the issue with torture isn't "the intelligence community" but aspects of the CIA, and not always the folks in the trenches. John Yoo was out this weekend... being a torture advocate. While folks like Matthew Alexander, Chris Mackey and myself are relegated to the second tier (if at all) as an, "opposing viewpoint", which puts the more widespread view in the role of "upstart which needs to prove itself."

That's because a different consensus believes that our way can't be as efficient/effective/fast as the sexier way.

I think that second aspect (the intersections of those who know how things work... regardless of their actual policy decisions) have to accomodate the greater public sentiment. If there is a "common sense" explanation which the large public will believe (e.g. copying a song equals net loss for the artist whose song was copied, first, last, and always) then the specfic policy goals (whatever the reasons behind them) can get a huge lift of public support, even when the facts are in opposition.

I've seen it happen in torture. I have a much harder time making the case now than I did ten years ago. People who would take my (expert) word on it, no longer are willing to believe me. I am contrary to what "24" and the pundits have told them, and that narrative makes more, intuitive, sense.

#695 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 02:42 PM:

abi -- on the contrary, elves are unprepossessing. They never sell their stuff, never give it away.

#696 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 02:47 PM:

Elves are redundant: DUN da DUN dun...

#697 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 03:00 PM:

C. Wingate@692: My wife, for instance, is in a program at Montgomery College called the Renaissance Scholars for students with substantial hiatuses in their education

When does she graduate? (It would be more than cool if it turned out that she and her namesake ended up getting their degrees in the same year.)

#698 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 04:07 PM:

TexAnne @ 690... Darn Real Life!

#699 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 04:16 PM:

TexAnne 690: Even people who have cancer are still aware that other people have lives, too. Besides, I haven't started my actual treatment yet, due to bureaucratic snafus and my own...issues.

#700 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 04:26 PM:

I might have done rather better in the long run if I'd taken a year off between high school and college. (Or gone to Harvey Mudd instead of Harvard....) Long story there.... Of course, that would have rewritten the last 25-odd years of my life, so who really knows.

#701 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 04:28 PM:

Xopher: well, it's a community effort, and the community deserves to know that I haven't absconded with the loot, so to speak.

#702 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 04:30 PM:

that would have rewritten the last 25-odd years of my life

The last 25-odd years of my life could do with a good editor...

#703 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 04:37 PM:

Terry and others.

I've said this before. If you're in the business of running agents in hostile territory, it makes a lot of sense to run things on the assumption that torture works. And in that environment, torture can be the excuse, while the real reason for the rolling up of a network is that you didn't spot the infiltrator.

As long as those people don't control interrogation, things work. How much interrogation did the CIA do before 9/11?

#704 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 04:44 PM:

TomB @ 691: Thanks for coming to the show! It was really fun to play that music.

And now you can say you've seen me in makeup, if not in a dress and tiara like Chris was.

#705 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 04:51 PM:

Cadbury Moose @ 614: Or: elves are incandescent. They never take pratfalls.

#706 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 05:27 PM:

Filtering applications is why I tend not to listen to anyone who tells me I have to make my resume do anything for a human. If my resume is in front of a human, I've won. I have no evidence that my resume was rejected by a computer in most of my jobsearching.

#707 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 05:28 PM:

Argh. No evidence that it was anything but a computer rejecting me. My own fought back on that allegation.

#708 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 05:45 PM:

Elves are made up. They play in a cover band.

#709 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Serge @676: Joss Whedon's "Avengers".

We're not talking Steed and Peel here, I guess. Drat. That woulda been good....

#710 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 06:51 PM:

@688: at least at the University of California, that is exactly what doesn't happen. There are semi-automated pieces to the process, but they don't involve trashing anybody from the get because they don't have all the pieces. If the application itself is correctly filled out, and the materials or alternatives are supplied, every application goes through the preliminary steps. It is a clearly stated goal of the University to include unconventional students -- at the time my son applied, the proportion set aside for them was 5%, which in a system the size of UC is a lot of people.

It's important not to forget the role of the community college in funneling unconventional students into the universities, also. If you don't get there the first time, you can go to community college for the lower division work and transfer (usually as a junior). In California, each of the community colleges has arrangements with a few of the UCs and State Universities allowing students to get a guaranteed transfer agreement. A student with this agreement doesn't go through the whole application process when they transfer: they just show that they've gotten decent grades in their classes.

#711 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 07:28 PM:

The Modesto Kid #702: The last 25-odd years of my life could do with a good editor...

Amen, though I'd bump it to at least 30... but the catch is, things could easily have gone a lot worse, so I'm careful what I'd wish for.

#712 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 07:47 PM:

Elves are imposing. Yes, they'd love to stay for another week, and do you have any extra pillows by chance? My, those scones look lovely...

albatross @ 686: I mostly agree, but I have reconciling this:

"To the extent those issues are up for discussion at all in elections, it's either as empty rhetoric (Obama on the national security state, for example),"

and this:

"In many ways, this makes elections a lot less important than they seem. Nobody will be elected in 2012 who will cause us not to have an interventionist, moralistic, violent foreign policy. If somehow someone were elected who tried, he would find himself utterly blocked at every level."

If whomever becomes president will be unable to change things no matter how dedicated they are, then what's your basis for calling Obama's rhetoric empty? According to your metric it could have been solid as Ramston steel and reached the same result. (Personally, I'm partial to the "the harder he pushed, the more political capital he'd use up, and the less he'd have for later" explanation: I think Obama really meant to change all the things he said he wanted to change, but decided to focus on other things when he realized pushing ahead would start a guerrilla war within the federal government.)

@ 688: Yep. Especially given that being able to fill out a college application (or formatting a submission) properly does, no doubt, correlate to some degree with being a successful candidate.

#713 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 09:28 PM:

Elves are unflappable. They don't do the Charleston.

#714 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 10:06 PM:

Jacque @ 709... We're not talking Steed and Peel here, I guess. Drat. That woulda been good...

Definitely better than the movie we actually got, anyway.

#715 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 10:14 PM:

Sorry I didn't think of posting this hours before, but NPR has the sound track to "The Book of Mormon" streaming, and it's today (Monday) only.

#716 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 10:44 PM:

Thank you, Kip. I am certainly understanding the 14 nominations now.

#717 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2011, 11:04 PM:

re computerizing college applications:
I once had a temp job where I opened and scanned mail for a company that offered several united college application services; i e you could send your application in and have it go to all the schools of optometry; or all the schools of physical therapy; or all the schools of something or other else; and they would be received once, scanned into the database and sent to the several schools you are applying to. Your application is sent once and are received several times. Several identical systems that did this for several associations of schools, all from the same mailroom.

#718 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 12:04 AM:

Kip W @ 715: I'm loving that, thanks!

#719 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 12:35 AM:

614, 705:
Elves are incandescent. They'll be comin' down the Andes when they come.

#720 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 12:44 AM:

Dave Bell: I've said it before, I'll say it again. This was part of my line of work, and I spent years training people the basics of doing it. If you are running agents in a hostile territory it does not make sense to assume that torture works, and even less to run things as if it did.

Because it doesn't work. Yes, you might get lucky, and get a piece of information, but for that one in a thousand chance, you are going to be generating a 999 false leads, and reacting to them is much more likely to blow your cover. Operating in places like Abbotabad requires not being noticable. Failed operations, based on bad intel are not the way to go about that.

Prior to 9/11 the CIA did a moderate number of interrogations, almost all in the pursuit of propping up places/movements we liked; the end state wasn't information, but control of a subject population. The verity of the collection process was less important than the subject population knowing that stepping out of line meant your family never saw you again and a quick death was the thing hey would hope was your fate.

#721 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 05:11 AM:

Terry, I'm going by accounts of WW2.

I've seen quite a few accounts, by people who were in places such as occupied France, of how they reacted if somebody who knew them was arrested.

That's the sort of "assume torture works" thinking I was referring to. It's not about getting information. It's about protecting your network from the enemy ability to get information.

It also makes your enemy look worse, in the post-war confessions, justifying some of the harsh actions of the heroes, and masks some of the possible betrayals.

#722 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 08:30 AM:

Elves are disconcerting. They never play in tune.

#723 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 08:52 AM:

Open threadiness:

Be a woman. Get erased from history.

#724 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 09:00 AM:

Lila @723: I'm a little surprised that they're so focused on their medieval-minded editorial policy that they'll not only disregard the specific terms of use for the picture, but they will apparently break one of the ten commandments by bearing false (visual) witness that two women were, in fact, on the scene.

#725 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 09:22 AM:

re 697: Graduation at this point is rather vague. The obvious next move is to transfer to a four year program but we're still in rather a "one course at a time" mentality. She may have enough credits for an AA shortly but she has never actually gotten around to consolidating all her credits.

We were teasing James about going to Goucher so that if Byrd transferred there, they could carpool, but he decided to go to Hood instead.

#726 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 09:35 AM:


The T-Mo stuff indicates that they're using SSL for file transfers with their Media Center, so I assume that when I drop something into their storage via "connect to Server" that my Mac is sending it to them encrypted via WebDAV, correct?

Your communications are encrypted if and only if the address you plop into Connect To Server starts with “https://”. (If it doesn't, try adding the “s” anyway and see if it works.) WebDAV is an extension of HTTP, so all rules about connecting securely to web sites apply here.

#728 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 11:31 AM:

Mark @727: I should tatoo that on my forehead.

#729 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 11:53 AM:

According to River Gages, the Mississippi at New Orleans is now within a quarter foot of flood stage. It is worth noting that the flood wall and river levees in New Orleans are only 20 feet high; flood stage is 17 feet. Yesterday, they opened the first of the 350 bays in the Bonnet Carré spillway. They haven't opened a tenth of the available bays as yet, but doubtless that will change over the next week or so. The Morganza floodway hasn't been opened yet; no one seems to be in any doubt that it will open. Since there are people in that area who will have to evacuate, I imagine they are opening Bonnet Carré first, as it feeds into unpeopled wetlands on the way to Lake Pontchartain.

The river is dropping north of Memphis, but the Memphis gage (a replacement) is continuing to show small increases. It may crest soon there. Greeneville, MS is over four feet above its historic high; Vicksburg is a little over three feet below its historic high, and Natchez is within a foot.

Jeff Masters at Weather Underground has pictures and more--I link to the entire blog, and not the post on the opening of the Bonnet Carré spillway because there's lots of good stuff there, including an overview of April's weather. (If you are a weather geek, or prepared to be a weather geek, this is the blog for you.) There are some astonshing aerial views of the movement of water through Bonnet Carré into Lake Pontchartrain (from previous openings of the spillway) in the post about the opening of the spillway. Dr. Masters indicates that the flood has indeed crested at Memphis, about a foot below the 1937 high water level. If they hadn't opened the New Madrid floodway, I suspect the crest would have been higher--unless a lot of levees north of Memphis had failed.

#730 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 11:57 AM:

I have just had a link-heavy post impounded. I swear he's a good dog--he's never bitten anyone who didn't deserve it!

#731 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 12:13 PM:

In reference to encrypting data before uploading, I use a piece of software called TrueCrypt. It creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file. It looks like a file, albeit a rather large one, on my hard drive. It mounts like a drive, via TC software, and stores all my private files. It's Open Source, and further information can be found here:

#732 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 12:35 PM:

Or, Elves are intense. They are always in the present.

Dave: I believe if you go from "assume torture works" to "assume interrogation works", you'll be on the same page.

Yes, the Gestapo were prime users of "enhanced interrogation techniques", but the goal was "rule of terror", from my reading of it; the torture was more to inhibit others joining (in case they get caught) than actually receiving information. Also, they weren't all that concerned with false positives...

In general, why do people believe they have to rule by fear? It's really frustrating. And how do people slip into "oderint dim metuant" - go from fear as a tool to ruling to an end in itself?

And, why does it work, even with the low-grade "boogeyman" version that people in the U.S. have been playing since the Cold war (tell me the terrorists behind the fence aren't today's communists, drug dealers, teenage gangs,...)?

#733 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 12:38 PM:

Kip W: I can't read Yiddish, so it's possible the article mentions the women, but the policy on showing them overrides. I think that's daft, and if i were going to modify it to keep it in line with that, I'd have done a deep crop from the right,but that's me.

#734 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 12:42 PM:

Dave Bell: That's not the way it read. In this case, the folks running the operation are the ones doing the interrogations, and so the assumption (re the effectiveness of torture) would be for getting, not protecting, information.

In the case you describe it's not a case of, "assume torture works", but rather assume someone captured will compromise information, which is a very different model. If they don't talk, then you have delayed an operation/burned some cover identities, abandoned some contacts (and they have to be abandoned. Look at what happened to bin Laden... one known contact made one mistake years after the compromised ID), and set back the course of the campaign.

That sucks. But if you don't, then you run the risk of everyone who might have been compromised being rolled up, and completely destroying the network/organisation.

That happens if it's rubber hoses through the night that gets the info, or if it's tea and biscuits. All it takes is an absolutely ruthless opponent who doesn't care about wasting resources to get every possible member of the opposition. If I spilled 30 names, and one of them is valid, the Gestapo didn't care about the other 29. In fact, in such situations that's seen as a good; because it might terrify someone thinking about joining an underground group. See above about what torture is actually useful in doing.

#735 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 01:27 PM:

Elves are cantilevered -- they are simply unable to grok that magnitudes are in equilibrium at distances reciprocally proportional to their weights. (The magnitudes' weights, not the elves'.)

#736 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 01:33 PM:

Elves are overdetermined. It just comes across as damned mindless stubbornness, and nobody likes that.

#737 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 01:35 PM:

Elves will one day frighten people at a bay in the Gulf of Maine. They're infundibulators.

#738 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 01:49 PM:

Open thready vocabulary moment: the words "Aberrancies" and "advertent" have come to my attention. I've managed to convince myself that "advertent" is a word- a Real Printed Dictionary from 30 years ago has "Advert", v, "to draw attention to" so "Advertent" would plausibly follow. ["inadvertent" is not a proof of existence; see "intellect".]

I'm trying to figure out why "aberrancy" and "Aberration" feel like imperfect synonyms in my head. Nearest I've been able to come is that an aberration feels like a single data point that's off, while an aberrancy could refer to a whole herd of bad data.


#739 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 02:14 PM:

Sandy B. @738:
An aberration is an instance of aberrancy. Aberrancy is the quality of being aberrant.

#740 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 02:37 PM:

Elves are existential. They used to be under strain.

#741 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Zelda @739 -- now I am wishing for the word "inerration" to exist. ...And, it looks like it does exist but not with the meaning, 'an instance of inerrancy.'

#742 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 02:54 PM:

(Google hits for:
"Knight aberrant": 1030
"Knight inerrant": 7)

#743 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 02:57 PM:

Jim Macdonald @ 740:

Yeah, elves don't compress very well, which is why we don't ship them over the internet very often.

#744 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 03:02 PM:

Jim Macdonald @740:
Forever Young's modulus?

#745 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 03:21 PM:

Just came across this post on DailyKos:

Cats Need Home

Can anyone here help, or know someone else who could?

#746 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 03:47 PM:

Elves are independent. They don't use adult diapers.


Elves are independent. They stick to the shallow end of the pool.

#747 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 03:52 PM:

Elves are revolting, and repulsive. But when they're not around, defibrillators will often substitute if necessary.

#748 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 05:39 PM:

TexAnne @690: Thanks for the update; hope your Real Life (TM) gets less-hectic (in a good way).

#749 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 06:11 PM:

Elves are fluorescent. They remembered Mothers' Day.

#750 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 06:15 PM:

Elves are tautological because they're elvish.

#751 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 06:15 PM:

Reverse Bitzer!

#752 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 06:35 PM:

Kevin Reid: Your communications are encrypted if and only if the address you plop into Connect To Server starts with “https://”. (If it doesn't, try adding the “s” anyway and see if it works.) WebDAV is an extension of HTTP, so all rules about connecting securely to web sites apply here.

The link for help on Media Center gives as the one to use, so it should be encrypted.

Lin D: In reference to encrypting data before uploading, I use a piece of software called TrueCrypt. It creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file. It looks like a file, albeit a rather large one, on my hard drive. It mounts like a drive, via TC software, and stores all my private files. It's Open Source, and further information can be found here:

This looks interesting. I'm hoping to eventually get an iPad: unfortunately the documentation at the Truecrypt site doesn't appear to support iOS devices, which would seem to eliminate it from contention on that basis.

#753 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 07:20 PM:

TrueCrypt is very good, but as Bruce Schneier points out, one of the first rules of using something like that is to encrypt everything.

There are a number of reasons for it, but part of it is that a single volume/set of volumes being encrypted stands out.

Another is that if you choose to use the layered encryption, it's easier to hide something which you really don't want to show up.

#754 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 07:23 PM:

One more thing... using a password storage device is a way to get around keyloggers. A good one encrypts the data; and in any case they aren't actual keystrokes, so they don't show up to the logger (the encryption helps in avoiding various sorts of sniffing).

#755 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 07:42 PM:

Ugh. I've come to the conclusion that I have to euthanize my hyperthyroid cat, because she's developed CNS signs (lateralizing) that are now progressing to circling and refusal to eat. She's not in pain, but I'm not going to drag this out when I know the end is inevitable.

The Ex came by last night to say her goodbyes, although I didn't know then that the end would be this soon.

The FG has informed me that she would like to be present for the procedure, and I appreciate her offer very much.

In happier news, the FG got to meet the parental units this past weekend, and we all spent some time at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. This is, apparently, one of the largest of its kind on the East Coast. I had no idea!

The sheep were, um, woolly. There were Jacob sheep, and Merino sheep as well as the usual mix. One could purchase wool, in various stages of refinement, or honey, woodcrafts, knitted products of all kinds, and so on.

The sheepdog demonstration was absolutely amazing. Those dogs are incredible. A good time was had by all, except the Son, who sulked a little bit. He hadn't earned his trip to the amusement park and considered the Festival to be rank punishment. He drowned his sorrows in Free Comic Book Day after we left the Festival.

#756 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 07:42 PM:

Appeal to the vast collected knowledge of the Fluorosphere:

I have vague recollections of a quote, probably from Joseph Conrad, to the effect that anyone can be a hero in a crisis, but it's much harder in daily living.

Does anyone know the original?

#757 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 08:24 PM:

Hyper-local news: Woman unwisely delays going to optometrist despite progressively blurrier vision, which turns out to be macular degeneration. (Amsler grid currently looks like punched-out screen door.) A consulted specialist suggests a new type of surgery that involves scooping out the eyeballs, sewing on something like an ocular truss, and popping them back in. Meanwhile, DMV sends notice that this year's license renewal requires a vision test.

Hilarity ensues.

#758 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 08:27 PM:

Julie L, if you're referring to a scleral buckle, I know someone who's had one (to correct a detached retina). He sees pretty well now, which is a vast improvement over "blind in one eye".

#759 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 08:38 PM:

This procedure is similar but different-- it's called a "posterior pole buckle". Anecdotal patient reports sound pretty positive, but the concept is still kinda oogy.

My retinas haven't actually detached yet, but they're shredding apart in place with blind spots in both eyes already. My return office examination isn't scheduled until a few days before my DMV license renewal would be due, so there's no way the latter is going to happen-- I'm not even guessing yet at an actual surgery date.

#760 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 08:53 PM:

Julie: arrgh. Sorry you're in such a horrid fix. BTW, on re-reading my #758 it sounds kind of dismissive, whereas I actually meant to be encouraging. And you're right, eye surgery is a pretty oogy concept.

#761 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Consider me encouraged :)

I'm mostly still in the stunned WTF stage, so here's my counter-apology if I seemed brusque due to even lower social interaction skills than usual :)

#762 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 09:54 PM:

'Stunned WTF stage' sounds about right for that kind of news. (My optometrist told me, when I was in last fall, that I'm getting yellowing in my lenses. Hello, incoming cataracts!)

#763 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 10:30 PM:

On the eye surgery: Gyaaaaaah. My eye sockets ache just thinking about it. And I bet they can't do it under general anesthesia, can they?

#764 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 10:39 PM:

Ginger @ 755... Sorry to hear about your kitty. As for the Free Comic Day... I had missed that, but hopefully the store I usually go to will be able to get copies of the "Atomic Robo" comic even though the Day is gone. Not sure if it's about Doctor Dinosaur.

#765 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2011, 11:57 PM:

I freaked out an eye doctor once by mentioning Dad's four detached retinas. She insisted on dilating my eyes (looopy face for the morning, really creepy in the mirror) and checking, even though I told her that really, we have no idea why Dad's eyes are like that. They just like to do things.

Also, a friend of mine is doing a sort of lifestyle art project involving OKCupid. She's kept the messages she's sent and would like to know how weird they are. If you are between 20 and 40 and would like to help by reviewing all of them, and oh there are a lot, the survey is here. You may ignore the gender question if you wish; she didn't consider issues with it when she wrote the survey.

#766 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 12:31 AM:

It's not the gender issue which is hanging me up. I can't honestly answer the age question; it cuts off at 40.

#767 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 12:36 AM:

Julie L., best wishes for your eye! Ginger, I'm so sorry about your kitty.

The student essay I'm commenting on has a hypothetical person who is supposed to be exclaiming, "Geez!" What made it onto the page: "Geese!"

#768 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 12:42 AM:

Sorry, I missed that the cutoff was intentional.

#769 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 01:27 AM:

Julie L., P J Evans:

Yeah, I know, mucking around with the eyeballs sounds somewhat squicky. I was a little freaked when I was first diagnosed with cataracts. Since then I've had the lenses replaced in both eyes, and I can see again (driving was starting to get, um, exciting). And the operations were quick, and it only took a few days to adjust to my new vision. So try not to let the squick bug you too much.

#770 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 02:14 AM:

Julie L. - I'm so sorry to hear about your macular degeneration. My mom has it (the wet kind, which is worse or at least less treatable), and you need to do whatever you can to treat it so you keep as much vision as you can. There's a good chance you also had glaucoma for a while before you got it, which you wouldn't have noticed because it doesn't have much in the way of symptoms (folks, get your eyes tested every few years even if you don't think you need it!) At least there's more treatment available this century than last, and they keep getting better at it.

My mom had gotten her driver's license renewed recently before her vision problems started, so she had a few years that she could legally still drive, and could be reasonably safe in the daytime, though her night vision went first. That made it easier for her to move out of her house to an apartment on a bus route within walking distance of a grocery and drugstore, and it was only a mile from where she'd lived so she could keep up her social connections and activities. She can still read, with magnifying glasses and bright lights, but it's a lot more trouble than it used to be (and unfortunately, she doesn't like audiobooks - she likes reading books that are actual books, which you actually read.)

#771 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 07:25 AM:

Ginger #755: My sympathies. Surely you've been through this more often than I have, but I'm told it never gets easier.

Julie: Ouch, that sucks -- do what you can to save your vision! And remember that modern eye surgery falls squarely (spheroidically?) under "we're living in the future"....

#772 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 07:38 AM:

thomas, #756: The one I've heard is "Any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day-to-day living that wears you out." I generally see it attributed to Anton Chekhov, but it's never reliably sourced. I suspect it's one of those forever apocryphal quotations discussed in the recent "elusive bon mot" post.

#773 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 08:37 AM:

Ginger @755: sympathies for the imminent loss of your hyperthyroid cat.

Julie L.: Sympathies for the vision loss and the icky surgery.

And in other news: my cat, Freya, has had three episodes of cystitis in about four weeks. Seems to be idiopathic (no evidence of crystal formation or infection, although she's on antibiotics at the moment in case), probably stress-related (I've been away a lot recently at conferences/meetings). We've decided to accept that she's prone to this*, have started her on Cystaid and she'll have a course of Cartrophen shortly.

I've thought about a water-circulating drinker to encourage her to drink more, but she doesn't like the plastic one we borrowed (won't go near it) and anyway, except when she's got the cystitis she drinks just fine. I might try a ceramic one I've seen online where the water bubbles out at the top like a (human) drinking fountain on low, then goes over some ripples to the bowl at the bottom; it's supposed to be quite quiet, and it's ceramic, like the mugs she usually drinks from (we have several for her: on my bedside locker, bathroom windowsill, near her cat grass in my office, living room and now on my desk as well).

At least she's getting less upset about being given pills (I give her a treat afterwards, although she'll still only take that from several feet away from me).

* We'd hoped she'd grown out of it, having had two or threeprevious episodes but none for about two years.

#774 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 08:56 AM:

Ginger--Damn. It never gets easier, whether it's your first furry friend or your umptenth. I'm glad you won't have to slog through this alone.

Julie--Aiiieeee! In your shoes I think I'd be too busy freaking out over the diagnosis to be squicked by the surgery--just yet. Not that it's not squick-worthy or anything because--let's just pop those eyeballs out and look under the hood and tinker a bit, shall we? Ooook. Double ooook. I hope they are able to work this out soon, and that the results are all you could hope for.

dcb--Bless her little furry heart. If nothing else, the fountain can be a new Fun Toy.

#775 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 09:12 AM:

dcb #773: I had a plastic fountain, and Gremlin never took to it... until she got too fat/old to jump in the tub for me to drip the tap. (Back in my old apartment, it was the bathroom sink, but in my new apt, that wasn't so accessible.)

#776 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 09:15 AM:

Julie: Sorry to hear about your eyes. Oogy surgery- I hope general anesthetic is an option. (I actually use "robots using lasers for eye surgery" as my counterpunch to "where's my flying car?")

#777 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 09:25 AM:

Julie--I'm sorry, looking back, that was rather too gross to be an actual expression of sympathy, which it was meant to be. I can only plead overwhelming horrification, even if second-hand an at internet-distance.

#778 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 09:28 AM:

Julie L... My best wishes.

#779 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 10:28 AM:

Julie L.: Sympathies and best wishes. As yoogey as the surgery sounds, one hopes your experience will be bland, unremarkable, and successful.

Ginger: Sympathies also. It's hard, but it's also a blessing to be able to take care of one's furry friend in a choiceful manner, and with loving support as well. Hope the passing over the Rainbow Bridge goes well.

In other news, I think today's Google doodle is exceedingly cool.

#780 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 10:30 AM:

Oooh, shiny! Library of Congress presents the National Jukebox--loads of historic music, streaming only.

#781 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 10:56 AM:

Ginger: condolences

Julie: I share in your overall squick at the thought of Someone Mucking About with My Eyes, and am sorry for your difficulties, but cheered by the thought that it is treatable.

(personal anecdote follows; skip as desired: I had my eyes [mostly] uncrossed when I was 7 and am really glad it was done while I was a child; I fear that if I had been much older I'd've spent some time wrestling with intellectual discomfort. As it was, I have few memories of the surgery or hospital stay. One eye still turns in slightly, especially when I'm tired, and my binocular vision sucks [one of the many reasons I do not drive]. I'm generally supportive of things which allow us to retain our senses, even if we have to go through some form of heck to get there.)

dcb: that sounds like an interesting fountain; please come back and tell us if/how the cat likes it. I'd love to use a fountain for my cat (early stage kidney disease), but all the ones I've seen run on a cord, which is not practical given the places I'd put the fountain and the locations of plugs in my apt.

#782 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 11:22 AM:

Julie -- my best wishes on the surgery. I confess, I shivered at the description.

Ginger -- my condolences AFAIK it never gets any easier -- my cats will use a Drinkwell, but prefer a real table fountain(!) to the Drinkwell. My guess is that they like the forbidden. Dare I mention the attractions of an aquarium?

Mom's Yorkie, Isis, is being spayed today. We got her for Mom at Yule. Fairytail Yorkies retired her from breeding, and placed her with us, where she loves having her own person.

#783 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 11:53 AM:

Elves are consequensial, they keep going to one con after another.

Elves are consecrated, so they get to go the the secret cons as well.

Elves are impotent, they have no power over imps.

Elves are adamantine, they are big fans of Adam Ant.

#784 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 12:05 PM:

Julie: My sympathies. I hope everything about it is boringly normal and routine, with no complications or surprises (unless it goes better than expected).

Ginger: My condolences. Sometimes there's nothing to do but make the most compassionate choice you can.

#785 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 12:40 PM:

Silly geeky Youtube fun -- Pomplamousse does the Angry Birds theme.

#786 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 01:00 PM:

Sympathies, Ginger, for the kitty.

I was surprised too, at what a long tradition it is here in MD -- even on the Eastern Shore -- for sheep, wool and weaving. There are several local weavers right here, who even raise their own sheep.

We are leaving MD tomorrow, permenantly re-locating back home in NYC. This has been one of the most wonderful experiences of our lives, living here, and we feel so privileged in every way to have had it, and been able to share it. The good thing is that most of the new friends will be coming to NYC frequently.

Love, C.

#787 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 01:03 PM:

The Mississippi has reached flood stage at New Orleans.

In happier news, Google is animated about Martha Graham's birthday today. Catch it before it disappears!

#788 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 03:30 PM:

Elves are impotent, they have no power over imps.

They are also imperious, in that they can serve on a jury with imps, and imperative, in that they repeat what imps say without understanding it.

#789 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 03:41 PM:

Thank you all for your kind words. It isn't an easy thing to do, but it is one of my final gifts to my pets, and I consider it my responsibility to make sure it is truly a "good death". I managed to accomplish that today (technical details: diazepam plus butorphanol, waited for sedation, then ketamine and once anesthetized, euthanasia solution). She went smoothly down into sleep, purring until she was deeply under.

My Fabulous Girlfriend helped hold her, and when not holding the cat, hugged me. We showed her body to the other cats, so they would understand. Brady came out of his napping spot in the sun to sniff Kedgie, then lay back down. Cleo, being a kitten, seemed less interested. I wrapped her body in a bit of old bedding that she once had shared with me, and took her to the crematory. I'll take her ashes to my parents' house, just as I have done with all the other cats, and spread her ashes on the flower beds.

#790 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 03:42 PM:

For some reason, my previous post is being held in moderation, although I have no links -- it must be words of power. Oops.

#791 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 03:47 PM:

The Modesto Kid @788:

The irony is that elves are also impaired.

For every elf there is a matching imp, and they always turn out to be possessed of entwined destinies, like some high/low fantasy slash buddy movie. There they are, two unlikely characters thrown together by destiny and nature, forever misunderstanding each other, falling in and out of sympathy and courtrooms, until finally they surrender to the inevitable and wind up in bed, whereupon the imps discover to their disgust that comment 561 is correct.

#792 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 03:50 PM:

Julie L @757: Good luck with your surgery!

Eye surgery is one of those things that seems oogy for most people, because we're sensitive about our eyes. It's mainly the corneas that are sensitive to touch, so other ocular and peri-ocular surgeries are not reported to be painful. I've done implant surgeries and cataract removal surgeries, under general anesthesia because my patients wouldn't understand the need to hold still; they've recovered with no signs of pain or distress.

Your kind of surgery will probably be one of those with general anesthesia, mainly because of the need to reach the posterior pole, so you might not even have any discomfort. The procedure has been around for a few years, so there's good data on the safety and relative lack of potential complications.

#793 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 03:51 PM:

Ginger @790:

The gnomes in the glass tower, while usually generous in the face of others' innovation, have conceived a great envy of humans' invention of pharmaceuticals. They tend to get grumpy about posts that remind them of the variety of medications we've managed to create.

#794 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 03:51 PM:

whereupon the imps discover to their disgust that comment 561 is correct

I can hear the imprecations now.

#795 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 04:08 PM:

An interesting piece of commentary on the death of bin Laden: Humor is potent.

Obi wan Kenobi is dead

#796 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 04:24 PM:

561, 561, 561...Ah.

Elves are ineffable. Aesop did not write about them at all.

#797 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 04:24 PM:

abi #761:

So, if the imp/elf pairs are entangled, that means that there's a giant walking tree with one in each branch. (Actually, each ent has a certain number of shells which it fills as ent/elf pairs become available.)

#798 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 04:27 PM:

Wesley #772: Thanks. Yes, that's the quote I was looking for, and it does seem to be a barnacle rather than actual Chekhov.

#799 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 04:29 PM:

albatross @797 -- I reckon you mean imp/elf pairs but otherwise yes. ("impelf -- to fill with ill-gotten loot")

#800 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 04:32 PM:

albatross @767:

Exactly. And what confused Treebeard so much was that Merry and Pippin were both the same size, even before he figured out that they could communicate and had never been impanelled*.†

* Actually, they had, but not on a jury. It involved the wainscoting in Brandy Hall, and was generally dismissed as the kind of boyish hijinks that young hobbits get into. However, the incident was more widely known in the pointy-eared communities, and is one reason that imps never appear in LOTR. And why all of the elves they meet are so very friendly.

† This is me Not Speculating About how their little subplot ended. Not Speculating At All, No Siree.

#801 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 06:31 PM:

Open Thready: I can't figure out how I feel about this. Warning: contains frequently-disliked musical elements.

#802 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 06:57 PM:

Sandy B., 801: Put me down in the "it's AWESOME, where can I buy it" column. My only question is whether they bother to mic the pipes at their live shows. (If they'd used Highland pipes, the answer would clearly be "no.")

#803 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 09:12 PM:

TexAnne @802: I couldn't get the video to load, so I don't know what the instrumentation is, but in general they mic pipes so they can balance the sound with the other (miced) instruments and vocals. Also, there are venues with poor/weird acoustics where the sound of the instruments goes in different directions and some of it gets lost while some gets amplified. Big festival tents are a pain.

#804 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 10:55 PM:

Oh, I'm not squicked much by cataract surgery (my mother had it, and so did my father's mother - hers was in her mid-to-late 80s). It's the surgery that involves taking the eyeball out and doing things that I find squicky.

#805 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2011, 11:32 PM:

Sigh.... Echo Bazaar (a game mentioned upthread) is lots of fun.

And this tumbler (Deep, Dark, Marvelous) is delicious.

#806 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 01:43 AM:

Elves are evanescent. They love to buy big Ford Econoline trucks and detail them with phosphorescent paint.

Elves are contemplative. "Arrests are expected at any moment for this vile deception," the rabbi announced.

#807 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 03:48 AM:

Ginger @789: "it is one of my final gifts to my pets, and I consider it my responsibility to make sure it is truly a "good death"."
Absolutely. Really pleased to hear it went as well as possible, with Kedgie purring and FG present for support and comfort.

Melissa Singer @781: I'm afraid the ceramic one also requires a power cord. And Freya has now decided to drink from the "Cat It" plastic dome one, so I might not buy the other (or I may - the Cat It hum is a bit irritating and maybe the other one would be quieter).

As I say, she drinks fine, mostly. But I have a theory that on days I'm not there, she sleeps too much and forgets to drink. This is a cat with the attention span of - oh look, there's a squirrel! - well, very little, and we have seen her heading for a drink (as in, head poised over mug of water), getting distracted, and never actually making it to dipping her tongue in the water. If I can get the Cat It drinker balanced so the water spills down all of the dome properly when it's turned on, then set it on a timer to come on periodically during the day when I'm out, it might just remind her to go drink!

#808 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 04:11 AM:

Sandy B. @ 801: The metal clichés put me off a bit, but various Scandinavians have been doing less metallic things in a vaguely similar vein that I really like and that might interest you:

Jaga Jazzist
Alamaailman Vasarat

#809 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 06:02 AM:

TexAnne @802

I don't remember the exact mic setup, but they sounded good when I saw them, pipes and hurdy-gurdy properly balanced with everything else.

And don't miss their previous album, which contains a bitter musical polemic against imperialist aggression entitled "Your Gaulish War."

Tim Walters @808

But those are not Scandinavians, they are Gauls! (Actually, I think they're Swiss, but they're mainly into being Gaulish and I ain't about to tell them different.)

Honestly, I'm not much of a metalhead personally, but taking the metal out of something like Eluveitie or Finntroll rather misses the point.

#810 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 11:02 AM:

Devin @ 809: My objection isn't to metal--I like metal just fine--but I think that in the link that Sandy posted, there's nothing that goes beyond genericity except "we have bagpipes and hurdy-gurdy," and as a result the "exotic" instrumentation feels tacked on to me.

My links weren't meant to be examples of "taking the metal out" (it was never in), but of (to my ear) more fresh and successful integration of old and new instruments. (It's just a coincidence that they're all Scandinavian, as far as I know.)

#811 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 12:28 PM:

For those with an interest in history...

In 1985 the BBC sponsored a sort of new Domesday Book, an attempt to record information about the whole of Britain. It ended up with the data stored on an analogue Phillips laserdisc, readable on a BBC Master home computer. The total hardware cost was about GBP 5000.

And now the data has been transferred to the Web, and will be kept safe, with updates, by the National Archive.

It looks like a lot of places were never documented and sometimes there isn't much said. A lot of the rural blocks were apparently never documented.

But you can see the data at The BBC web version and you are invited to submit updates.

This time, like Chaucer, they have a blog

#812 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 01:57 PM:

Elves are unaccountable. They have CPAs for that.

#813 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 02:52 PM:

Dave Bell @ 811:

They really did it! I was afraid that this was going to remain one of those sad stories about poorly-curated digital archives. Off to browse...

#814 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 03:04 PM:

Tim @810

Yeah, I can see that. I have to admit, your links left me cold, not my thing at all. (Not to say they aren't good, just that you can write the best mystery in the world and I still won't like it.) I'm more of a Corvus Corax man, myself (warning: contains many German men, few shirts).

#815 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 03:20 PM:

I found the first one unsatisfying. None of the instrumentation was distinct enough, and the lyrical style doesn't move me.

Tim's were a bit better, but not quite it either. It's a pity, I really like the instruments being showcased, but none of it worked (the first was saddening, because I really like pipes and hurdy-gurdy)

#816 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 03:36 PM:

abi @791, albatross @797 --

so entangled elves and imps are actually married. Or not.

#817 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 04:04 PM:

Devin @ 814: Corvus Corax

I didn't know Weird Al played bagpipes!

#818 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 04:21 PM:

Elves are inviolate, they're blond.

#819 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 04:31 PM:

Thanks to everyone for the good wishes wrt eye issues. On reflection, I suppose I'm lucky that they've been caught before a large-scale detachment-- apparently a round plug has already been cored straight out of my fovea by my vitreous humor contracting, but I don't think there's anything that could've been done to spot/stop that before it happened.

Tim @817: Weird Al posted a new song to YouTube recently, complaining that it would've been the first single from his new album if Lady Gaga hadn't denied permission for the parody. Lady Gaga found out about the post and promptly chewed out her manager for not telling her about the request and denying permission on his own, so now the song and its video shoot are back on.

#820 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 04:33 PM:

HLN: Man commits a typo, inserting an extra 'a' in 'internal medicine'. "I caught it just in time," he remarked. "And a good thing, too: 'interanal medicine' is a very specialized field indeed!"

#821 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 04:39 PM:

Julie @ 819: Conspiracy theorists say that the whole "denial" was cooked up by Weird Al and Lady Gaga to get more press notice than might otherwise have happened.

The Lady Gaga fan who lives in my house is horrified at that notion, but she doesn't know or care who Weird Al is and to date has not checked out the song/video.

#822 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 04:45 PM:

Julie L @ 819: I'm pretty sure most musicians of an appropriate age* have "Weird Al parodies me" on their bucket list. I know I do!

*Old enough to have heard of him, young enough to have encountered him while still impressionable.

#823 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 04:53 PM:

Eric #818:
Elves are inviolate; they dress in shades of purple.

#824 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 05:03 PM:

The Army Corps of Engineers expects to have over 200 of the 350 bays at the Bonnet Carré open by the end of today. That link has photos as well as maps showing the projections for flooding, including with and without opening the Morganza floodway; they are taking their time about that one, because the area will need to be evacuated before they open the spillway, but they are afraid not opening it runs the risk of levee failures elsewhere, including New Orleans.

The Mississippi may have crested at Helena, Arkansas; Natchez has paased the record level set in 1937; Vicksburg is within a foot and a half of its record high water level, set in 1927. Baton Rouge is about four feet below its record high (again from 1927); New Orleans continues to hover right at flood stage, probably because of the manipulations upstream at Bonnet Carré.

The forecast for the region calls for rain this weekend; with luck, more of it will fall in Texas than in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. The Weather Channel has a flood page up, some of which repeats ACE stuff, and some of which doesn't.

A lot of small communities in the Delta are being hit hard, and many people who had very little are losing even that. The loss in crops will be enormous, and many catfish farmers will see their fishstock (I'm related to too many cattle farmers to feel comfortable referring to memebers of the Ictalurus genus as livestock, correct usage or not) swim away as the ponds flood out. The levels of fresh water hitting the Gulf oyster beds will also have a bad effect, more than likely.

#825 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Congratulations to TexAnne, who GOT THE LONG ISLAND JOB.

#826 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 05:34 PM:

Yayyyyy TexAnne!!!!! WhooHoo! And prelated* welcome to the NYC Metro Area!

*opposite of 'belated', or if not it should be

#827 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 05:49 PM:

Congrats, TexAnne!

#828 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 06:06 PM:

For TexAnne's a jolly good fellow!

#829 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 06:09 PM:

Whoo Texanne! Job! Jobs are great!

#830 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 06:15 PM:

Thank you, everybody!

#831 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 07:10 PM:

Where on Long Island (my old stomping ground)?

#832 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 07:10 PM:

Where on Long Island (my old stomping ground)?

#833 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 07:21 PM:

Cheers for TexAnne; prayers for those in the floodwaters' path.

#834 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 07:55 PM:

Hooray for Texanne!

Good luck to Julie L.

Condolences and hugs to Ginger.

Fluorospherians are compassionate, consoling, supportive, and considerate. No joke.

#836 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 08:03 PM:

Congratulations, TexAnne! May the job be all you could hope for.

#838 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 08:47 PM:

fidelio, #824: Well, we got some rain here in Houston yesterday and today, and Waco was apparently getting pounded pretty hard by storms last night.

WRT the oyster beds in the Gulf, aren't they pretty much out of the picture already because of contamination from the oil spill? ISTR hearing that it was doing nasty stuff to the shrimp industry there.

On a cheerier note, I finally got a look at the Nashville roundabout! It seems to be well-designed, and certainly that intersection desperately needed something of the sort.


#839 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 08:55 PM:

What's the name of the law of internet satire that states that no satire is so extreme that someone on the internet hasn't posted the same thing in all seriousness and/or that someone will take it seriously? I heard about that here but can't remember whose law it is.

#840 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 08:57 PM:

Oh shit! That totally is Weird Al's shirtless medieval German twin! Now I'll never be able to look at them the same way again.

#841 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 08:57 PM:

Ah. Should have tried a little longer: It's Poe's Law.

#842 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 08:58 PM:

O/T HLN: Man gets tired of comment spam on Movable Type blog (version 3.15 = older than dirt). Decides he'll see if converting to current version of WordPress with good spam recognition filter makes sense.

Concludes it does.

Nine-plus years on MT was pretty successfully imported to WP (the odd punctuation errors have shown up due to ISO coding differences, but the heck with those).

#843 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 09:00 PM:

Hooray for Texanne, too!

Apparently changing the URL in my personal info put my previous comment into moderation.

#844 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 09:15 PM:

Hurray for TexAnne!

#845 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 09:32 PM:

Congratulations, Texanne! Hope you'll still make it to 4th Street (I can't, this year, sniff!)

#846 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 10:01 PM:

Hey, all! I'm thinking of sending a letter to TIME, whose reviewer lauds "A Game of Thrones" as that rare bird, something that looks like geek fantasy but deals with REAL HUMAN EMOTIONS!!

"Your reviewer's apparent shock at a fantasy with psychological depth suggests a limited knowledge of the genre. Did George R.R. Martin spend years writing shallow potboilers and suddenly gain keen human insight for this particular project? Seems unlikely.

"One might as glibly say that a news mag arts writer who betrays an understanding of his subject is something new and stunning, but those more familiar with the field know that this is unremarkable that has happened scores of times."

Suggestions welcome (even "don't send it").

#847 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 10:02 PM:

(Congrats, TexAnne!)

#848 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 10:35 PM:

Kip, may I suggest this change to the second para: "One might as glibly say that a news mag arts writer who betrays an understanding of his subject is something new and stunning, but those more familiar with the field know that this is unremarkable and has happened scores of times."

#849 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 10:46 PM:

And I remember when Ken Tucker (ptoo!) of Entertainment Weekly said that Dax (DS9) wasn't nerdy enough to be a science officer. I drafted, but did not send, a letter saying that journalists should always appear as geeky-looking guys in unmatched checks and goofy old-fashioned hats with "PRESS" on a card in the band.

But Ken Tucker is an asshole anyway. Reviewing Powder (not the best film in the world) one of the things he picked on was that the title character has a crush on a girl and looks lustfully at a guy in close sequence, and called that implausible. Of course, that sort of thing happens ALL the time, but Ken Tucker was too homophobic to know better, and too arrogant to check.

He hated science fiction too. I did eventually write to EW and tell them to stop letting him review a genre of which he had no understanding and for which he had no affection.

Wow, I'm getting angry all over again. What fucking jerk that guy was.

#850 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 11:26 PM:

Kip W @ 846... that rare bird, something that looks like geek fantasy but deals with REAL HUMAN EMOTIONS!!


This is a journey down Memory Lane, to the pre Star Wars days when Skiffy had no respectability whatsoever.

#851 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 11:28 PM:

Huzzah for TexAnne!

#852 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 11:31 PM:

Dave Bell @ 811 and me @ 813:

Of course I had to look at where I grew up on the Domesday Reloaded site. It was a bit odd seeing it from a decade before I was there, as it was similar, but not the same. Then the Google Streetview inspiration hit; it's a little odd seeing it a decade after I was there, too, for the same reasons.

#853 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 11:55 PM:

Xopher @848: Yow! I thought that was what I was saying, but somewhere in the redrafting process, I hatstand a word. Thanks for the catch.

Now my letter will have REAL HUMAN EMOTIONS!!

#854 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2011, 11:56 PM:

'Hatstand' is perfectly cromulent in that context.

#855 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 12:19 AM:

Actually, I meant toaster.

#856 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 01:44 AM:

Actually, I meant toaster.

Please. The proper term is 'Cylon'.

#857 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 01:58 AM:

TexAnne: We are headed the same way.

#858 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 03:46 AM:

Another congratulation to TexAnne.

#859 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 04:29 AM:

Xopher writes: The proper term is 'Cylon'.

By your command.

#860 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 05:32 AM:

I've actually used (sort of) one of the awesomely bad sewing patterns.

#861 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 06:48 AM:

Interviews with the makers of the Game of Thrones title sequence with concept art, sketches and more.

#862 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 08:25 AM:

#824 ::: fidelio -- See also, Five Feet High and Rising here at ML.

And now might be a good time to remember that we can make and donate flood buckets.

#863 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 08:44 AM:

Speaking, as Serge was in #850, of the respectability of science fiction...

President of major nation namechecks Brooklyn's favorite SF personality.

#864 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 09:31 AM:

Okay, the letter is sent. Remember, you all saw it here last.

#865 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 10:12 AM:

Congratulations TexAnne!

#866 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 10:54 AM:

This may have been posted before, but it's worth a visit anytime.

The Scale of the Universe

#867 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Bill Higgins @ 863... Not only that but I betcha he actually READ the Good Doctor's stories.

#868 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 11:59 AM:

C. Wingate @ 860

re: awesomely bad sewing patterns

I recognize one of them as a pattern my mom made up for my dad. It's easy to pick on fashions once they've become outdated. (I will not, however, defend any of the pet costume patterns. Pet costumes are just wrong wrong wrong.)

#869 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 12:21 PM:

Open Thready Question - Are there plans afoot for a Gathering of Light at WisCon? I won't be officially at the con, but through a fortuitous set of circumstances, I will be staying at the Concourse with a friend, and visiting other friends in Madison. I would love to get together with anyone else who might be there Saturday or Sunday.

#870 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 12:59 PM:

Talking Points Memo offers a summary of Newt Gingrich's novels, most of them alternate history, all of them collaborations with William Forstchen.

I'm not sure why; the rundown doesn't seem snarky enough to be very entertaining. Putting it in the form of a slideshow does not jazz it up much, either. Perhaps it's a setup to provide ammunition for future volleys against Newt in the long presidential campaign to come.

Certainly "Southern politician writes novels in which the Civil War comes out differently" is an idea critics of Mr. G. may find worth kicking around. (I was going to say "if it hasn't been done to death already," but American politics does not seem to mind tiresome repetition of a political attack.) Has there indeed been any criticism of the alternate-Civil-War series?

By the way, for several years Newt Gingrich was a prolific book reviewer on

#871 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 01:06 PM:

I remember seeing a lot of snark about Gingrich's Civil War novels back in like 2006, but not where I saw it. FWIW.

#874 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 02:46 PM:

Juli Thompson (#869): I know of no specific plans, but I will be there and would be happy to meet up with you and/or other Fluorospherians.

#875 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 02:56 PM:

Definitely not hyperlocal news... Man's East-Coast friend will be teaching historical dancing in Russia's St Petersburg this coming October.

#876 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 03:15 PM:

Serge@875: and that friend's other East-Coast friends are delighted for her.

#877 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 03:36 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 870... My favorite story in that subgenre is Dozois's "Counterfactual", in which the North won, but young Clifford Simak wonders what if the North had won in a way that didn't result in a guerilla warfare that lasted until the early 20th Century.

#878 ::: vee ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 03:58 PM:

abi@791: The situation is likely compounded by the fact that elves are impecunious.

(My brain daren't unpack that one. I've tried all morning.)

#879 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 04:30 PM:

Jeff Masters addresses the current situation at the Old River Control Structure.

#880 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 04:49 PM:

Wiscon: I will be there. I am amenable to some sort of meetup, but it's Wiscon, so there's never time for anything at all. Look for a tall young white woman with long blonde hair.

#881 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 05:22 PM:

Re the Old River Control Structure...are there any plans to ever allow the Atchafalaya capture?

It seems to me that we can't expect to prevent it forever. This isn't like the Netherlands; the Dutch are holding back the sea, and they turned the salt Zuiderzee into the sweet IJsselmeer, but even they aren't dealing with anything like the Mississippi. The Rhine, the Meuse and the Scheld are not in the same league.

This thing is going to happen. Water will find a way; it always does.

So why not acknowledge that it will occur and find some way to minimize the economic and human costs when it does? Surely that would beat the hell out of pretending nothing will happen until the inevitable catastrophe strikes.

#882 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 05:24 PM:

Hyper-local news: Local woman celebrates temporarily achieving the state of non-home-ownership. Forecasts for the duration of this status are uncertain, pending backlogs in regional short-sale offer processing.

(Note: This is indeed a happy and positive event. I'm moving to a nicer neighborhood and exiting the landlady business.)

#883 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Elves are impressive. It's easy to make a mold with them.

#884 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 06:16 PM:

Abi @ 881... "Après moi le Déluge," as the saying, the rough translation of it is why worry because the Noah thing will happen later, and not to me.

#885 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 06:16 PM:

We live near the Fox River in northern Illinois, and have concluded a vacation in Wisconsin by following our river home.

This summer, we plan to follow our river much of the way to *its* home: The Fox flows into the Illinois about forty miles southwest of here. Then another 150 miles (more like 200 along the river), the Illinois flows into the Mississippi, followed almost immediately by the Missouri. Another 150 or so river miles will take us down to much-maligned Cairo, where the Ohio joins in. That is the southern end of our state, and the end of our trip, this time-- four confluences.

It's a while yet before we go; the spring flooding is almost certain to be over before we get there. We will go because the rivers are beautiful, but we will bear in mind that they are also powerful.

#886 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 07:06 PM:

Heather -- congratulations! I know you've been wanting that change for a while.

#887 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 09:10 PM:

Open threadiness: Jonathan Coulton interview on NPR. He made $500,000 (yes, half a million dollars) last year off his music.

#888 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 09:29 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Woman who had congratulated herself on avoiding having to rent a pickup to get bulky items from big box store is cast down and humbled.

Home Depot online shipped a heavy work bench kit in just the cardboard box that you'd find on the shelf in the store. Physics did what it does, and the box self-destructed in the hands of UPS. UPS driver left it propped up in the driveway knowing that the box was broken at top and bottom, corners of the bench top were damaged, and hardware was dribbling out. We were home. He did not knock or ring doorbell.

I've been on hold for Home Depot customer service for 30 minutes so far. I had no luck trying to call UPS, but did fight my way through their website to file a claim.

#889 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 09:57 PM:

I've noticed that Marilee has not posted in a considerable time.

I hope this is a case of determined lurking.

#890 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 11:11 PM:

Got this in our mail today (typed address, sender anonymous):

[our home address]


I feel I have to write this note to you. I walk every day, and the street that you live on is the best looking one in the whole subdivision. People on this block really seem to care for their homes and yards, except you! Your yard is really a mess. Lawn is yellow, weeds overgrown in the flower beds, and a disgrace to your block. You should be ashamed of yourself for letting your yard go, and having to have everyone see it evryday [sic].
I hate yardwork, but I can't aford [sic] yard service, so I make sure that it is first on my daily to do list. A well kept yard, [sic] and home is a description of who lives there.

I'm hoping you will take pride in your home and yard, and that you will put gardening on the top of your to do list.
Oh yes. The very top. Ahead of, oh, the kids, the jobs, the BACK yard (in worse shape than the front, and much larger), the father with Stage IV cancer, the interior of the house (a foreclosure fixer-upper), and, well, anything that matters more than the views of an anonymous coward.

I'm thinking of laminating this and posting it in the front yard.

#891 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2011, 11:42 PM:

B. Durbin @ 890: What a jerk. One can only hope that they don't live too close by.

#892 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 12:00 AM:

Stefan Jones @889: Marilee posts daily to LJ, at least in part as a way of checking in. Her health fluctuates, but she's still keeping us posted.

#893 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 12:06 AM:

#892: Thanks, good to know.

#890: You know, stuff like that is part of the reason I fear buying a house. I'm not a slob, but managing an impeccable lawn strikes me as folly.

#894 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 12:25 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 893: That's not why you should fear owning a house. The reason not to own a house is that a foundation wall can collapse because the builder didn't put footing under the chimney a century ago.

The cost to prop up the house, demolish the chimney, demolish the cracked section of foundation (that the chimney was stressing), dig out several feet of soil, pour a new wall, add footings under the other foundation walls, and fix the basement floor is coming to about the same as a new car. Not a Ferrari, but a Prius. And that's before waiting for the walls to settle back onto the new wall, and then repairing the cracked plaster and ceiling on the first floor, and replacing the siding outside.

It's been an exciting month at my house.

Bless my neighbors. All the contents of the basement have been in one of those huge PODS containers parked at the curb on a very narrow street, where not everyone has driveways. When I went around and told people that I was sorry, and it would be gone as soon as possible, they looked at me like I was nuts to think they could possibly mind.

#895 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 12:35 AM:

Zelda, my parents are very slowly traveling down the Mississippi. They started in Dubuque, went south for a lazy weekend, then drove back on the interstate. Then they interstated to their stopping point, lazed south, and interstated back. The rules are that any time they come to a bridge, they cross the river, and this means that there's some route-handling so they're on the nicer side whenever they want to be. They've gotten to Hannibal, Missouri so far, and have really enjoyed the trip.

#896 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 12:45 AM:

B Durbin @890 -

A friend of mine got a note from the township she lived in while she was in similarly hectic circumstances (although it was her own health rather than her father's that was the main stressor). The citation itself had no teeth and she did not live in a community with an HOA, but it proved there was at least on jackass Gladys Kravitz minding someone else's business. The house wasn't even that unkempt, but it did need painting, which they had planned to do that season. After getting the note, they went and bought the most garish purple possible for all their trim. They and their kids like it, and it's not peeling, so no one can say anything.

#897 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 01:08 AM:

B. Durbin, #890: Yes, laminate it and fasten it to a much larger sign reading "Dear Anonymous Coward: Own your words or FOAD".

Honestly, some people's children.

#898 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 01:26 AM:

Stefan @ 889: I had the same thought a while back and Googled her LJ to check in on her. Perhaps I should have posted a note here that she was OK as things go.

#899 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 01:51 AM:

Lee: I'm thinking just to put it up by itself, because I know it's not any of the neighbors on my street. They all know I've got two wee ones and basically no help, so the most that's ever been said to me is "I've got my lawn mower out; do you want me to take a pass over your lawn too?" Which is actually helpful instead of just rude. (Okay, I've also gotten "You must really hate those roses" when I was cutting a set down near to the ground—I think she was baffled when I said that no, I liked them a lot. I'm feeling justified by the fact that they're as tall as they were before—but with NO sign of rust on them, which is what I was aiming for.)

If I were feeling mean, there are a number of things I could put on the sign, ranging from "We know who you are" to "Limited spoons" to assorted Biblical citations that could apply. But I'm feeling like being good—in the Granny Weatherwax meaning of the word.

Incidentally, this street is about 60% original owners, and the three other houses with kids have either help or lawn services. And the funny part is that "lawn service" can mean one of the retired neighbors, who is caring for at least four lawns aside from his own on our short street—which is part of why it looks so uniform otherwise.

We didn't dare buy in an HOA. That would have ended in us painting the house violent, and I mean that spelling deliberately.

#900 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 01:53 AM:

Oh, and one more thing: "A well kept yard, and home is a description of who lives there." Well, that's actually correct in this instance.

My yard says I don't care WHAT you think, asshole.

#901 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 02:27 AM:

Diatryma @895:

One of the conceits of this trip is that we will *not* be crossing the Mississippi. We will see many wonderful things without leaving the state; nay, not even the bright lights of St Louis will tempt us from it. (Okay, mostly I don't fancy driving in an unfamiliar city.)

Illinois's usual interstate-rivalry sparring partner is Wisconsin, but some years ago we took a brief but very pleasant trip to the Mississippi Palisades, which is where Illinoisans can go to look down on Iowans. ;-)

#902 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 08:03 AM:

Stefan #889: Yeah, I got the same thought about Marilee a few weeks ago (when I was reading old threads and mez's comments stood out. But, like Clifton et al, I was reassured when I went to check on her LJ. (Also linked to her name here.)

#903 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 08:44 AM:

If you use Wikipedia, you might be interested in skimming what's happening at the Berlin hackathon, where developers of MediaWiki (the software Wikipedia runs on) are meeting in person. There's a video livestream for the talks, and an Etherpad for live notes.

From yesterday's talks: Hay Kranen would like people to test the WordPress plugin PhotoCommons, "allowing easy searching, inserting and and maintaining of files from Wikimedia Commons into your blog." Anyone tried it?

#904 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 10:41 AM:

I like trips with interesting rules. Dad's all about bridges, Mom likes walking places, and I like hearing about what they've done.

I grew up fifteen minutes from Wisconsin, but in my family, we scorn Indiana. My mother was bitter about being in the Midwest for years-- she always thought that Dad would come to his senses and realize he really wanted to live in Virginia-- but Indiana specifically angered her. Wisconsin's just this nice place with even more cows than home, even if the country roads are confusing.

#905 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 12:30 PM:

Diatryma: What in particular angered your mother about Indiana? I'm moving from Wisconsin (which I love, aside from recent political events) to Indiana (which I have spent a total of one day in) in August, and would like to know what to look down on.

#906 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 01:54 PM:

Fukushima: It's not only not over, it's getting worse.

#907 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 03:21 PM:

Elves are punitive.

#908 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 04:25 PM:

Two quotes:

Housing can't be overpriced because free-market philosophy applies: people will pay only what they perceive a place is worth.
Peter Thompson, director of NZ's largest real-estate agency

It is difficult for a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
Upton Sinclair.

#909 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 05:10 PM:

abi: From my reading, 1: They know someday it will happen.

2: They are whistling in the dark.

Everyone of them says, so it seems, someday we will lose, but I can hold it off.

Since they believe they can hold it off (see above, re Upton Sinclair) and the way of politics being what it is, to plan for the effects of the inevitable defeat would be 1: expensive, and 2: cast as defeatism.

So we are going to have a disaster, and when it comes there will be much finger pointing.

#910 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 05:24 PM:

B. Durbin @ 890 ...
I'm thinking of laminating this and posting it in the front yard.

Thankfully? the last time somebody came by to try and complain (about a knee-height pile of completely soaked and frozen wood-and-concrete, which was slightly less flammable than rock), they phrased it as "Did you know that somebody's been starting fires around here, and you've got this big pile of wood"

Apparently calm/cool tones, and "Yes -- the fires have been started using trash in the back alleyway over by $place", followed by "Fortunately nothing here is even vaguely flammable -- and it's also extremely exposed for your average vandal... especially with neighbours like you keeping an eye on things" ... were neither the desired reaction nor the expected response.

I note that in person or not, this lady didn't bother to mention her name, or where she was living either...

#911 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 05:35 PM:

Jacque @906: Arnie Gunderson looks to have the engineering background to know what he is talking about, but he's comparing a plant in Vermont to Fukushima, and if a tidal wave floods the back-up generators in Vermont a meltdown is hardly going to worry anyone.

I don't know enough to judge his specific engineering criticisms, but he does seem to be pushing a false comparison. So I'm a little wary of what he might have said about Fukushima.

#912 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 05:38 PM:

Abi @ 881 / Thena @ 472 / David Goldfarb @ 478: John McPhee's book The Control of Nature was published in 1989. The section about the Mississippi and Atchafalaya was published in The New Yorker in 1987. The Katrina flooding wasn't a surprise to anyone knowledgeable, and the inevitable, eventual failure of the Control Structure won't be a surprise either. It's maddening.

#913 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 05:40 PM:

Abi, Terry Karney.

The other issue with the Atchafalaya problem is that it's really hard to find a solution. Unless a substantial fraction of the Mississippi keeps flowing down its current channel, most of the industry and population of Baton Rouge and New Orleans have to be moved, in many cases to a different state.

By analogy, if the Delta Works hadn't been able to leave sea access open to Rotterdam, I think even the Dutch might have found patchwork and procrastination strangely attractive.

#914 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 07:11 PM:

Thomas: I know that. I've been following the problem for well on 20 years. The river will move, it's just a question of when. When it does, there will be great disruption.

It can move because we accept it, or it can move because we lose the battle to prevent the inevitable.

But it's going to move.

#915 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 09:06 PM:

Terry@914: It can move because we accept it, or it can move because we lose the battle to prevent the inevitable.

I can't imagine a politician of any party whatsoever who'd be willing to go down in US history as the man (or woman) who decided to write off New Orleans and Baton Rogue.

And even if such a politician existed, I have trouble imagining -- and I'm a science fiction writer; I'm a trained professional imaginer -- how he or she could get the necessary votes and money to pull off such a project. The political changes necessary to force it upon all of the people and entities who would resist the idea are themselves staggering to contemplate.

It would make for some interesting nearish-future hard sf of the political and engineering sort, to be sure.

#916 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 09:47 PM:

HLN: Local man, commenting on the strong attraction his shirt appears to have for sauce of all types, remarks that his future worshipers will refer to him as "the Stainèd One."

#917 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 09:55 PM:

Debra: I don't think a deliberate move will happen. What I think could happen (in the theoretically possible, not the, "at all likely," dept.) is that someone could start the set asides to deal with it when it does. My big worry with Katrina wasn't New Orleans, directly, but Old River.

When it goes, there is going to be a huge shift, in a lot of things. Cities will die. Ecosystems be completely rearranged, economies upset.

That can be mitigated. It can't be stopped forever. The Corps has to not lose, every time. The River has to win but once.

#918 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 10:07 PM:

@912 etc

I've been aware of the Old River control since about 1983 - there was a special on it on PBS - but I was a grade school kid at the time and I don't think the magnitude of the problem and its implications sank in until recently.

The area that is being flooded now I used to drive (or at least ride) across as a teenager. It lies between my parents' home (safely out of the way) and the high school I graduated from 20 years ago this month. My facebook page is lit up with classmates whose reunion plans are in flux because they aren't sure whether the roads they will need to cross the Atchafalaya basin (or to get out of the levee-protected areas) will be passable. Some of their families are evacuating; one classmate posted that her entire family had evacuated, except for her brother who refuses to leave, declaring, "I got a boat." The stubbornness of Cajuns knows no measure; and as with Katrina, there's a blurry line between "won't leave" and "can't leave" and "got no place else to go."

As I've commented elsewhere, "I love all y'all but my money's on the river. Y'all got some big muddy water."

#919 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 10:32 PM:

Ping EClaire -- have you guys got an emergency plan in place, in the event that all this opening of spillways still doesn't work?

#920 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 10:32 PM:

Xopher @ 916: My sweetie has that problem too, but only with nice shirts. T-shirts are completely immune. Most annoying.

#921 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 10:48 PM:

JM: we moved in 1990 or 1991. Dad teaches high school and does not back down from evolution; Mom marched on Washington with a big sign saying KEEP BARTON LEGAL and was written up in the paper for it. Her principal issues were that our town, at least, was very conservative-- the grocery store put Bible verses on the sign rather than sales, she says. I don't remember any of that, but I have to have some completely irrational dislikes. As long as I know they're irrational, I can change them whenever I have to move.

#922 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2011, 11:12 PM:

Diatryma: Ah. So the problem with Indiana is also the problem with most places in the Midwest that aren't major cities or seriously college towns. We're moving to Lafayette for Purdue reasons, so it'll probably be OK on that score.

I agree that irrational dislikes are worth having! I think I'll work up a few of my own from scratch before we move.

#923 ::: Catwren from Sunnytale ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 02:58 AM:

An Open Thread question: are there Fluorospherians in Frankfurt, Budapest, or Prague? Or 'spherians who may have recommendations on sfnal points of interest in said cities, especially for the first week of June? (Just asking out of applied curiosity, of course, since I'm often a bit shy about talking about upcoming travel.)

#924 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 04:08 AM:

I think there's a difference between being the one to pull the switch and having the infrastructure prepared for when the river moves. Absent any reason that the capture will be more disastrous for the delay, just being thoroughly prepared seems like a useful notion.

Now is the time to provide for the "can't leave" people, to build up the levees so that the Atchafalaya can flood the way the Mississippi floods, to designate the spillways and the land that might be flooded, to figure out another way to get fresh water to New Orleans, and to start building up the port infrastructure near the mouth of the Atchafalaya. Now is the time to create and publicize plans for when the capture happens, and start selling the holdouts on them.

I know, as a Californian, that Americans (and people in general) frequently stink at long-term disaster preparedness. But this one isn't exactly subtle, long term, or avoidable.

#925 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 04:20 AM:

Open thread 157 is open, incidentally.

#926 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 06:06 AM:

#925 Open thread 157 is open, incidentally.

Self referential thread commentary is self referential. I think you meant Open thread 158.

#927 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 11:00 AM:

Depends how much of an emergency it is, Lee. If it happens in slow motion as so much of this disaster seems to have done, we'll end up packing everyone up and driving north. Both my dad and best friend in Illinois have offered places to crash. Life goes on here just like normal though, despite the record numbers of people on the levees to take a look. Went to the zoo yesterday (right by the river) and am busily planning a 3rd birthday party for a certain sproglet. Lots of stories in the newspaper about the spillways, but not much concern here. Maybe I'm just missing out on the panicked prognostications on TV news?

#928 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 12:56 PM:

JM, we've lived in small Midwestern towns almost all my life, and the others don't make Mom as angry. The current one, where my family is, is very slowly dying and has been for a decade or two, but I was never made to feel stupid in class because I didn't know how many stones David threw at Goliath.

But you know, that's the point of an irrational dislike. I can credit a first-grade humiliation with all sorts of things.

#929 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 09:39 AM:

Bill Higgins -- Beam Jockey @ 870: Newt Gingrich was Harriet Klausner?!?!

#930 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Ginger @ 929... Ouch. :-)

#931 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 10:39 AM:

Ginger @ 929... Ouch. :-)

#932 ::: joel hanes ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 02:56 AM:
#ifndef _ELVES_
#define _ELVES_
Elves are idempotent.
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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