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April 21, 2014

Open thread 196
Posted by Patrick at 09:40 AM *

From rec.arts.sf.written, 1994: “Help Me Make an SF Course”. The messages are a little out of order in the Google Groups archive, but you’ll get the gist.

Evidently I wasn’t kidding when I said, in this thread, “Now that many of us have slapped [REDACTED] down for having the temerity to say what I imagine rather a few others were thinking, let me say that I read his ill-considered, unfair, over-the-top, profane, and personally abusive flame, and enjoyed just about every word of it.” Because it appears that I not only declared my enjoyment of it, but I also saved a copy to my hard drive, where—twenty years and uncounted hard drives later—it turned up this morning while I was looking for something else. Causing me to fall out of my chair when I realized who [REDACTED] was.

[REDACTED] is much more famous now, and not known for flaming; quite the opposite, his public persona is thoughtful and measured. I do hope he doesn’t mind this brief glimpse into Usenet-That-Was. We’ve all been a lot of different people over time. Some of us did it in online text. Before that, some of us even did it in mimeo ink…

Footnote: I also said “Incidentally, in substance, [REDACTED]’s flame was hardly different from Chip Delany’s “Letter to a Critic,” the first piece in his The Jewel-Hinged Jaw (1977). Delany’s anger is ground down to a finer grain, but it’s the same anger.” I still think that’s true.

Continued from Open thread 195. Continued in Open thread 197.

Comments on Open thread 196:
#1 ::: Stephan ZIelinski ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 10:25 AM:

Re: "I want to take a minute to be thoroughly creeped out by this project.": "forgiveness" has legal implications under Rwandan Gacaca courts, and victims were strongly encouraged to "forgive" perpetrators in exchange for their testimony. See Kevin Knodell & Peter Dörrie - Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, the Reformer Despot Who Saved a Nation.

#2 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 10:33 AM:

I'm amused by the tentativeness of the foray into an academic treatment of SF, and of course by [REDACTED]'s subsequent history.

But I'm also amused by the realization that I have the same kinds of "old and memorable" files on my computer, but very few "new and memorable" ones. These days I'm more prone to link to things (the Parhelia is one of my neat-stuff archives), or search for them whenever I need them.

We've drifted, unconsciously, up into the cloud. Maybe one day we'll wake up to find we've accidentally been uploaded and never noticed.

#3 ::: suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 11:02 AM:

/me hopes no one ever feels a need to go dig up her own (often unwise, rarely eloquent) early postings on usenet.

#4 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 11:29 AM:

I've been reading lately that one of the reasons a captain is supposed to be the last person to leave a ship in peril is that it's got something to do with salvage law. Anyone know any details about that? I googled a bit and came up with nothing.

#5 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 11:37 AM:

Laertes @ 4... I think there is a comment to that effect in "Lord Jim".

#6 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 11:38 AM:

Interesting essay on diversity in publishing, with special focus on YA books.

#7 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 11:39 AM:

abi @ 2... We've drifted, unconsciously, up into the cloud

That reminds me of the Far Side cartoon where a couple living on Cloud Eight is trying to watch TV, but is very annoyed by the loud partying noises by the upstairs neighbors.

#8 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 11:52 AM:

Am thinking about the teenage trail I left on Usenet and Kuro5hin and various websites that came and went before the Internet Archive (IntellectualCapital and The FAQs of Life among them). I hope those juvenilia are merely embarrassing.

#9 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 12:13 PM:

I'm deeply hoping that none of my activity on MySpace is accessible to anyone, especially prospective employers.

#10 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 12:18 PM:

All my internet leavings - past and present, and likely future - dissolve before the great white fuzz that is a common WASP name.

That and all the really juvenile stuff was in Prodigy's fora, and the stupid college freshman stuff was on a system that lived internally at Carleton College, and has since disappeared.

#11 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 12:40 PM:

Most of my UseNET engagements were from university accounts, and with a name like mine, I can't hide behind a common WASP name. So I've long lived with the idea that my writings were searchable to anyone who tried.

In the late '90s, a friend in college informed me of this new service, DejaNews, that archived UseNET in a searchable form. He had searched for me and found 12 postings I had made. I thought this odd, and using better search terms found 180. I also informed him that he may wish, in the future, to refrain from admitting to felonies on public newsgroups.

#12 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 12:50 PM:

I, for one, love re-reading my own writing. And I've saved a lot of my Usenet words.

#13 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 02:23 PM:

Laertes @ 4: It used to make a difference whether the ship was abandoned or not. Not anymore:

Technically, an "abandoned" vessel, more properly called by the proper nautical term "derelict", is one which was left by its crew without intention to return and without hope of recovery. Such a vessel may also be properly called a wreck. Previously, whether or not a vessel had been "abandoned" and becomes a derelict was extremely significant because the customary award in such cases was a moiety (half) of the vessel's value. However, that practice has long since been abandoned. Today, such circumstances affect the salvage award only in the degree of peril from which the vessel was saved.

There's also an NPR interview that may shed some light. It concerns the Italian ship, and there's obvious similarities to the Korean disaster.

Anyhow - the captain is where the buck stops. To be in charge is the single reason he's on board, and running off is a betrayal not only of the people on board the vessel, but also of the owners on land.

#14 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 02:43 PM:

Roy G. Ovrobo @13: That's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

#15 ::: Laertes ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 02:44 PM:

I'm sorry about misspelling your name, Roy G. Ovrebo. That's a terrible way to repay your kindness.

#16 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 03:38 PM:

Laertes @ 15: No offense taken. Ovrebo isn't really correct either. My name is actually spelt (and pronounced...) Øvrebø, but most foreign keyboards can't type it and there's no guarantee it'll display right.

#17 ::: Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 03:41 PM:

Grad students have lots of reasons for pent-up anger to discharge in flaming someone.

April 20's Oglaf strip disclosed an even more surprising example of harsh past words, this one expressly disowned by the author. (No link, Oglaf in general NSFW, tho this particular story is fine.)

#18 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 03:59 PM:

I've been using this 'nym for the entire time I've been doing anything interesting online. So uh, that's going to be a problem, because I use it in meatspace as well, and consider 'Esty' my 'real name' (no resemblance to my legal name). At some point I should get around to locking down some of my fanfic, at minimum...

#19 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 04:27 PM:

WRT Patrick's "The Guardian is baffled" Sidelight, this is my new most favoritest pic of the president, ever.

#20 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 05:28 PM:

I use a version of the Village Albertus font variant (copied from The Prisoner) as my font-on-www (as a coder, I can't put it everywhere, as it's not monospace). I did it as a joke at one point, and kept it because it's simply more readable than most other fonts (except for dotless i, who doesn't seem any different from dotted i...)

But the person cheated, and put various Prisoner-only glyphs in characters that would never be used. So, Roy, apologies, but {covered bicycle with spokes}vreb{covered bicycle without spokes} it is.

I also have to remember that a footed capital G is £ and anything that ends in a raised e is probably ™ (that is the uncut loop e from the real Albertus font, not the cut-loop one used in the Village).

Totally offtopic, but I'm amused easily.

#21 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 06:24 PM:

Roy G. Øvrebø @16: That's why on ML I cutpaste people's names. Otherwise there are several posters I'd be mistyping.

Since I grew up with a first name, a middle name, a last name, AND a name-of-the-street-I-lived-on where all of them were incredibly difficult for most people to spell properly, I tend to be sensitive. :->

#22 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 06:41 PM:

I miss having my pseudonym's identity. Most places know me by first name now. Mope. But it is linked to some really, really terrible attempts at edginess. Hooboy.

#23 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 07:18 PM:

abi @2: We've drifted, unconsciously, up into the cloud. Maybe one day we'll wake up to find we've accidentally been uploaded and never noticed.

A very quiet and undramatic vision of the Rapture (I like it).

#24 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 07:30 PM:

Elliott Mason @21

Similar, but First name, Last Name, street, and town, all thankfully short!

#25 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 07:31 PM:

Meanwhile, as a sidetrack from checking whether the hay bales mentioned on last night's "Game of Thrones" would be plausible in context, I found a site dedicated to Hay in Art.

#26 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 07:38 PM:

Rob, #23: No, more like a quiet and undramatic version of the Singularity.

#27 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 07:42 PM:

People misspell my first name by leaving out the last six letters. Pronounce it that way too. It causes me no end of irritation.

So I try to spell people exactly as they spell themselves, and call them how they introduce themselves. I do call people by their first names here, and that's not usually a problem (although Mary Aileen did have to correct me when I thought "Mary" was her first name).

#28 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 08:22 PM:

Patrick's link unexpectedly brought back some pleasant memories: by coincidence, the article at the top of that page in Google Groups (at least when I followed it) was a response by Max Grober. Max used to help run the weekly Berkeley Chess Club. He moved away to take an academic job in the mid-'90s, and I don't think I've seen or heard of him in nearly 20 years. I wonder how he's doing.

Xopher@27: I certainly have no problem with you (or anyone else here) calling me by first name.

#29 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 08:27 PM:

Lee @26: I was thinking of the Singularity (aka 'The Rapture of the Nerds') — my parser was biased by imagery of rising up into the clouds.

#30 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 08:29 PM:

errolwi @24: Rot13ed just because: V jnf bapr Rybvfr Nyzrqn Orygm-Qrpxre, naq V yvirq ba Pylobhea Nirahr. Zl rzoneenffvat pbyyrtr rznvy nqqerff (haqre juvpu V cnegvpvcngrq va Hfrarg sbe lrnef) jnf h28016@hvpiz.hvp.rqh, vs nalbar vf vagrerfgrq; if I know you here and you are interested in un-rot13-ing this I don't mind if you know. I'm still not sure if I mind if Google knows, hence the munging.

#31 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 09:35 PM:

Apropos of nothing, I just want to say that a sudden and inexplicable outbreak of arthritis in a single finger joint on my left hand has left me seriously reconsidering all my opinions about the human condition and the prospect of happiness.

#32 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 10:37 PM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @ 31: I know someone with rheumatoid arthritis. I knew he must be in a lot of pain. Then I developed arthritis in one joint of one finger. Damn. I still could not imagine how much pain he was in, but I knew what the minimum was, and really didn't want to give it much thought beyond that.

After persisting for awhile, my bad joint stopped hurting. It had gotten enlarged and lost the ability to bend quite as well as it used to, and that damage remained, but it hasn't hurt for several years now. In my case, it's a pinkie finger, and so dexterity isn't a big deal. My opinion about the human condition and prospect of happiness is very much improved. May your's follow the same path.

#33 ::: ULTRAGOTHA ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 11:02 PM:

PNH @31, have you tried sticking your hand in a large bowl of warm water and moving the joints? We go to a therapy pool and we can move stiff joints much better in warm water. Has helped a lot.

#34 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 11:17 PM:

PNH: yeah, pain will do that. My sympathies. I have arthritis in various joints; it comes and goes according to its own nefarious and apparently random schedule. I hope yours goes soon.

#35 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2014, 11:30 PM:

I dealt with a wonky sciatic nerve about ten years ago. Before I knew what it was, I was doing many wrong things (long soaks in a hot tub, warm shower directed at the "sore joint") and thinking dark thoughts.

Unlike arthritis, I could and have worked around it. Sympathies to all who are stuck with this kind of misery.

#36 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 12:33 AM:

on arthritis and its joys:
Great sympathy. Moving the joint may help, unless it's a case of too much wear already. If it's rheumatoid, good luck.

#37 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 02:42 AM:


My sympathies. Arthritis is a painful and extremely inconvenient part of growing older. I find ibuprofen and Tramadol help; my dog has been using Rimadyl to some good effect.

Last year I developed a bad case in one knee; turns out the best treatment for me was semi-yearly injections of silicone lubricant. It keeps the joint working for about 4 months before starting to get sore again, but insurance will only pay every 6. I find it amusing that I need to get a lube job about as often as my car.

#38 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 02:59 AM:

Random pains: Both big toes are giving me occasional shooting pains in the first knuckle. It's quite different from gout. I've had several attacks of gout; I'd recognize it. Then there's the top-of-the-shoulder pain I've recently had, treated mostly with a Salonpas patch or IcyHot or Tiger Balm.

I'm chalking it up to being 63.

#39 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 08:16 AM:

PNH @ 31: Arthritis isn't the Lisbon earthquake, but it's not dissimilar in its own small way.

#40 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 09:17 AM:

Given [REDACTED's] history, I have to say that this was a superbly curmudgeonly piece of writing of a level worthy of the Sage of Baltimore. Has anyone ever written fiction making Mencken a mage?

#41 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 09:43 AM:

PNH: Arthritis is one of the least fun parts of being north of 50.

#42 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 09:45 AM:

When we are lost in rapture at the sight
of the spring flowers, at last fully blown,
we are then healed, down to the very bone,
of the last vestiges of winter's blight.
So too when we have passed beyond the night
into another domain of the known
where, once again, we cease to be alone
we can be certain that the world is right.
The simple magics are the ones most true:
not to feel terror at the change of time,
yet to be awed that life returns again
in all those places that the sun makes new;
so we rejoice in the slow upward climb
and let our bodies cast away their pain.

#43 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 09:47 AM:

So, since AKICIML, does anyone know what can cause oversensitive skin?

There's a patch on my right thigh that has been behaving oddly for a few years now, in that lying flat on my back causes it to fall asleep--though, happily, without the icky pins-and-needles feeling when I change position. This in itself is not a problem, since I don't spend a lot of time lying that way anyhow.

However, in the past month or so, the skin covering the affected area has become very sensitive; I can feel the inside of my clothes rubbing over it and if I apply any significant pressure it's actually a little painful. Google searches for "sensitive skin" and similar get me a lot of things for hypoallergenic skin care, fibromyalgia, and some syndrome that seems to only afflict extremities, which this is not. (And a few "YOUR LEG IS ABOUT TO FALL OFF" pages, naturally.)

I'm planning to mention it to my doctor next time I go, but it occurred to me that someone here might have a keyword I could research.

#44 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 09:51 AM:

"SF is a much bigger and more badass object of study than you think, you pathetic punk" is the name of my new band. Or my next sigfile quote. Or something like that.

Just sayin'.

#45 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 09:53 AM:

Patrick, sympathy on the arthritic finger. Suggestions for relief are ibuprofen, and movement. Even though the movement is going to hurt like hell for a while. Then make an appointment with your doctor to determine whether it's osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Blood tests will tell. It makes a difference for treatment options.

#46 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 12:05 PM:

Open threadiness:

Sunday I was treated(?) to a slide show above whatever I was researching that had a physically unbelievable Jesus. He had an athletic build, clearly had had excellent nutrition in his childhood, good dental care, and looked far more Germanic than Semitic. Also, he had too many layers of upscale clothes.

As a young adult, I reacted to a film with a guy that looked like he'd come out of a Palestinian refugee camp with "Jesus' eyes weren't that close together! And what's with his teeth?"

My barometer has hence been: eyes too widely spaced and gleaming straight teeth /= historical Jesus.

Some New Age-ers believe that Jesus' "lost years" were spent in India*. The logistics are implausible - it would have been a long (both in time and distance), dangerous journey.

He might have made it across as a camel driver.

Due to the fear of strangers bearing disease, you could not join a traveling group (and hence enter some walled cities) without proof that you'd been inoculated against smallpox (google silk caravan smallpox inoculation). The vaccination was often with a thorn at the web of skin between the thumb and fingers from someone's active pock. If you were young and healthy enough to survive, you could have an exciting career looking at camels' behinds.

So, if Jesus had spent his young adulthood mapping a route for the Beatles, he'd likely have had a smallpox vaccination on his hand.

When I floated this to my mother, she popped back (in an ironic "d'oh" voice): "he walked on water".

He'd have seen dodos if he stopped for refreshment on Mauritius!

* as if he couldn't have come up with his stuff without help

#47 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 12:37 PM:

Carol Kimball The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, describing trading in the Indian Ocean probably dates from after Christ. However Indian Trade from the Roman Ports on the Red Sea occurred during the reign of Augustus. No need to walk on water; he could have been a sailor.

#48 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 12:47 PM:

Neil W.
Cool!!! Thank you!

#49 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 12:54 PM:

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"

Leonard Cohen

#50 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 12:56 PM:

Christopher Moore's Lamb is about the adventures of Jesus and Biff, his boyhood chum.

It follows the pair as they travel to (as I recall) India, Tibet, and China, where the Messiah-in-training learns from gurus, wise men, and a yeti.

#51 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 12:58 PM:

My appreciation to everyone who did NOT point out that swinging by Mauritius would have been a long detour.

Lizzy L. - thanks for that earworm (sincere).

#52 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 01:14 PM:

Carol Kimball @46: And then there's the story that Jesus traveled to England as a young man with Joseph of Arimathea, supposedly visiting what would later be Glastonbury. As William Blake asked:

"And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen..."

#53 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 01:15 PM:

Carol Kimball @46: Some New Age-ers believe that Jesus' "lost years" were spent in India*. The logistics are implausible - it would have been a long (both in time and distance), dangerous journey.

And yet, the traders managed it, so obviously it was possible.

#54 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 02:38 PM:

Continuing to kick around ideas, not rolling up my sleeves for a fight -

Access -
Joining a caravan was an option if you lived in a trade city like Istanbul, sure. Likewise signing on as a deckhand if you grew up in a port (the Red Sea is at the other end of the country from Nazareth).

The area Jesus grew up in is desolate - hours out from anything (I've been there, relaxing in a tour bus on modern roads). In his subsistence-level community, he'd have had little contact with exotic foreigners*, though would certainly have known of the oppressive Roman overlords.

On the gripping hand, visionaries often come from unlikely poor areas and undergo considerable physical hardship to get out.

Jesus would have been far more likely to seek out the oracles of Greece, and AFAIK there's no tradition of that.

Doesn't mean any of it couldn't have happened (though I'm dubious about Biff's yeti, if Neil is remembering correctly).

*I don't buy that the historical Jesus hopped down to Jerusalem to confound the temple elders as a kid. See above: expensive, dangerous travel, long distance to walk, blah blah blah.

#55 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 02:46 PM:

Carol Kimball @54:
I don't buy that the historical Jesus hopped down to Jerusalem to confound the temple elders as a kid. See above: expensive, dangerous travel, long distance to walk, blah blah blah.

He didn't go on his own. His whole family were on a trip, and all he did was duck out when they left for home. "He's not with you?" "No, I thought he was with you." "Man. That kid. Do we have to go all the way back?" "Well, this is a nuisance."

#56 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 02:56 PM:

Tiberias wasn't that far away. Caesarea Philippi. The Mediterranean ports were closer, and you could get to the Red Sea that way.

#57 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 03:00 PM:

Didn't Jews have to go into Jerusalem periodically? Nowhere else to make sacrifices, for one thing.

#58 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 03:12 PM:

Carrie S. @43: Hyperaesthesia (or hyperesthesia for the USA). Also, more technically, allodynia for sensations which should be non-pain (e.g. pressure, brushing) being felt as pain.

#59 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 03:13 PM:

P J Evans @ 56 -
No Suez canal - you'd have to go around Africa.

Xopher @ 57 -
Like Muslims visiting their holy cities - desired but not mandatory. Wealthy ones did.

Nazareth to Jerusalem was a lot closer, but still.

Ideally, you went there for Sukkot (feast of the tabernacles). "Next year in Jerusalem" was usually more a wish than a promise.

We're about out of what I know (or guess) about this.

#60 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 04:01 PM:

Lori Coulson in #52:

"Did somebody say 'mattress' to Mister Lambert?"

#61 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 04:35 PM:

Overland. It was a normal trade route at the time.

#63 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 04:54 PM:

There were Egyptian ports on the Red Sea, and some sort of canal from the Nile. With the monsoon winds, a sea route between Egypt and India was possible at the time Jesus lived, and it had the advantage for the Romans of bypassing the Parthian Empire. That advantage was lost for good with the Arab Conquests, though the route to India via Egypt was never wholly supplanted by the land route to the head of the Persian Gulf.

#64 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 04:58 PM:

Patrick, sympathies on the arthritis. For me it's the left thumb joint, which is critical to the style of dulcimer playing I do, and re-learning hand mechanics for other styles is annoying (as well as more limiting.) I've mostly dealt with it with grumbling, ibuprofen, and playing ukuleles where they work. (But fingerstyle guitar with an uncooperative finger - ow!)

#65 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 05:05 PM:

Recent comments make sense.

I love to bat ideas around with this crowd.

#66 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 05:05 PM:

You know how it's a bad idea to do a web search for any random symptom you may have? Yeah.

Thank you, though, dcb. I should have come up with that term on my own, but apparently the brain tumor/degenerative neuropathy/general rot I have has made my medical Latin fail me...

#67 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 05:14 PM:

I am of the generation exposed at a vulnerable age to the Lew Grade / Anthony Burgess / Franco Zeffirelli Jesus of Nazareth, so inevitably I picture Jesus as Robert Powell.

(This has got me trying to remember if any of the Catholic churches of my childhood had statuary representations of Jesus that were not crucifixes or Pietàs or Sacred Heart statues—those were the three standard ones. When the Church reestablished the ecclesiastical hierarchy in England and Wales in the 1850s it stuffed its new church buildings with reliably routine art).

#68 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 05:54 PM:

Carrie S. @66: You're welcome, and sympathies. I've had allodynia problems myself in the past - brushing of the back of my running shoe over the Achilles' tendon feeling like I had a huge blister on that foot, for example.

#69 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 05:54 PM:

Carrie S. @66: You're welcome, and sympathies. I've had allodynia problems myself in the past - brushing of the back of my running shoe over the Achilles' tendon feeling like I had a huge blister on that foot, for example.

#70 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 05:55 PM:

Grr. "Internal server error" the first time - I did actually check in a new tab that it hadn't posted...

#71 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 06:07 PM:

Fragano @42, that's beautiful. Thank you.

Jacque @62: *snerk*

*ponders* I should probably learn French at some point. "Enough to get by" would likely not be too difficult, particularly with the high level of cognates (and ongoing vocabularic Englishification?). Especially if I go do anthropology. Anyone know of good free-ish teach-yourself resources?

#72 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 06:53 PM:

My goodness, Bill Stewart @ #64! I'm sitting here waiting for the mail to deliver a 1995 McSpadden dulcimer made by George Looney. I bought it on eBay with no knowledge of how to play it, although I have a lot of years of guitar behind me (LONG behind me). Absolute whim on my part. "I want to learn a new instrument," I said to myself, "so why not a dulcimer?"

#73 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 06:59 PM:

I am in awe:

Seb Pearce's New Age Bullshit Generator

If you stuck 50 of these in a POD book, with a kitten riding a unicorn through space on the cover, you'd have a best seller.

#74 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 07:29 PM:

Stefan Jones (73): Now I want to try that. (But I won't.)

#75 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 07:39 PM:

David Gerrold minces no words.

Summary: A comprehensive takedown of someone who cosplays as a Starfleet officer while posting bigoted garbage that goes against everything Star Trek is supposed to stand for. Link goes to Facebook, but it's a public post, viewable by anyone.

#76 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 08:52 PM:

abi @ 2: But I'm also amused by the realization that I have the same kinds of "old and memorable" files on my computer, but very few "new and memorable" ones. These days I'm more prone to link to things (the Parhelia is one of my neat-stuff archives), or search for them whenever I need them.

Since I still haven't joined the Smartphone Revolution, and I distrust other people's websites/blogs/servers not to up and go away mysteriously in the night, and I often find myself without internet for extended periods of time (Amtrak's wi-fi hasn't reached the long-distance routes I typically travel, for instance)... I find I still do save files to disk. But I'm more likely to do it using the Scrapbook add-on for Firefox. Short fiction, recipes, articles I want to read later, my own writing that was published online in the late '90s that can now only be found by Wayback Machine, etc.

When I was in high school and just starting to use the internet by way of Prodigy, I printed out reams of Memorable Stuff. My parents would come upstairs and chew me out for running the (loud dot-matrix) printer and keeping them up at night. This was before I understood that one could save Prodigy posts to text files.

#77 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 09:25 PM:

Linkmeister@72 - Enjoy your new instrument! Dulcimers are easy to play, at least at the basic scales and common chords level, and if you've played guitar for a while you'll have the "learning music" bits down already, and may know your local music jams and music stores. Doesn't hurt to pick up a Mel Bay book to get started. One of the books I learned from was Robert Force and Al d'Ossche's In Search of the Wild Dulcimer, which may be hard to find in print but is at Robert's web site. The canonical online resource seems to be

My siblings gave me a kit to build my first dulcimer back when I was in college (I would have otherwise spent that Christmas break building a carburetor :-) and I sort of learned to play it. Many years later at one of the local folk festivals I found there was a guy teaching dulcimer in the town next to mine, took lessons, got good enough to do some jamming, and found I really enjoy it. Also turns out that back in the 70s the dulcimer became popular in the Santa Cruz mountains area out here, doing some different styles of music and building some really good instruments, so some of the dulcimer books from that time period have pictures of my friends as young hippies...

#78 ::: Zora ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 09:41 PM:

I had an attack of nostalgia while reading the old Usenet posts. Ahasuerus the Wandering Jew! How I remember thee. As well as many others ... Talk.bizarre and the toast posts. Here are a few. I have more.

My Life had stood-- a Toaster Oven--
On Counters-- till a Day
The Bread inserted-- incinerated--
And Whole Wheat was taken away--

as channeled by Zvi Gilbert

William Blake's Toaster Oven

Toaster Oven, burning bright
Turning bread to dark from light
What immortal hand or eye
Dared turn thy setting up to "high?"

as channeled by Ilana

#79 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 09:44 PM:

#2, #76: My computers' Documents directory still has vestiges of the BBS age of file hoarding. Well, not quite hoarding: A prized collection of interesting nuggets. Quotes, ASCII art, essays, images. I still have all of Bruce Sterling's CATSCAN essays, for example.

Until maybe five years ago there was also a collection of DOS utilities, for doing things like splitting a file into manageable chunks, or putting a 26th line on the normally 25-line IBM CGA display, for the sole purpose of displaying a clock.

#80 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 09:58 PM:

Bill Stewart @ #77, I may have the only dulcimer in Hawai'i. I checked with a couple of music shops and each says nary a one has been seen for donkey's years.

I have Madeleine MacNeil's "You Can Teach Yourself Dulcimer," but I bought the one without the CD/DVD, which was a mistake. YouTube has a lot of teaching videos, though. I even found a Dulcimer Tuning app for Android.

This should be fun.

#81 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2014, 11:25 PM:

With profound apologies to Fragano Ledgister @ 42. I thought I was writing a bit of silliness about flowers=pollen=allergies, but it turned out to be more of a serious reply.

When we are lost in misery at the sight
of flowers sprung with pollen, fully blown;
When we are aching, bone to very bone,
and feel inside ourselves the winter's blight,
we huddle raging through the doubtful night
but in the morning make our troubles known --
and so, a little, cease to be alone.
Unarmed, uncertain if the world be right,
we trade these simple magics, false or true,
these remedies for terror, change and time.
Such awe may help us turn to life again:
we may see places still the sun makes new,
and start afresh the old familiar climb,
with souls unshriven, through our bodies' pain.

#82 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 01:55 AM:

Patrick: Commiserations on the arthritis. I had shingles a few of years back, which was a hellish couple of months of constant pain I wouldn't wish on anyone. The takeaway was neuropathic damage to my right foot that limits the amount of walking I can do. For the amount of day to day walking I do this isn't too much of an impediment, but if I'm planning on more than that I now make sure to have a folding walking stick with me. Odd to think of myself as mildly disabled, but I suppose I now am. Fortunately, I can still ride a bicycle for as long as my stamina will allow.

#83 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 02:12 AM:

I am slightly bothered with regard to the New Age particle. Here's a question for the morning: is it now open season on religious terminology in general or just that of selected beliefs? (apologies for the awkward wording -- my disability continues to interfere)

#84 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 03:10 AM:

iamnothing @83, what do you mean by “open season on religious terminology”? I’m pretty sure words don’t have feelings, or flesh to be stabbed, shot, or bombed.

Patrick, Teresa, Abi, and Jim are all Catholics. I’m pretty sure that they’d none of ’em be offended by a site that poked fun at the sloppy use of Catholic terminology.

#85 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 03:52 AM:

iamnothing @83, Avram @84:

Reference for comparison: this thread. I'm sure others can come up with further examples.

#86 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 04:38 AM:

iamnothing @83

Also, this post comparing the canonization of biblical books to petty fansquabbles is one of my favorite things on Making Light in a long time. I literally fell out of my chair laughing when it first appeared.

While some of the people cited as inspiration the New Age particle are people I categorize as "xenophobic monsters and misogynistic enemies" - people who have definitely contributed to my life specifically being noticeably worse - the text generator itself is interesting.

In a vacuum, I'd put it in the same category as computer-generated poetry, or They Fight Crime, - just because something can be created via chaos doesn't mean it's without value. I've seen a huge number of hypothetical shows I would watch come out of They Fight Crime.

Sometimes something interesting can be created for a dumb reason, out of fear or hate. Or... more often... out of a mix of good ideas and bad. I was raised in a house where science and spirituality weren't in conflict at all, so I see a lot of this kind of posturing as poisonous and unnecessary. At the same time, I realize that sometimes people cling to flawed people and unkind actions because those things saved them from worse. If someone was told as a child that science and religion were enemies, I can understand why they might feel like they had to pick a side. I understand why they think they're at war.

And one final link that pretty much sums up the Making Light position on jokes and religion: Cult vs. church: a proposed rule of thumb.

The great thing is, that rule applies to almost all disciplines. I know a couple of string theorists, and they constantly joke about how ridiculous string theory is... despite the fact that they will both spend the vast majority of their entire adult life devoted to studying and hopefully confirming it. That's how I know they're going to be all right.

#87 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 06:19 AM:

Avram @84: So it's only sloppy usage that's the target? That clarifies things. But I note that as a non-Catholic (for example), I might not recognize which usage of Catholic terminology was sloppy.

Words don't have feelings etc. but the people that use them do.

#88 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 07:56 AM:

You know something, "is it now open season on religious terminology in general or just that of selected beliefs" is kind of a "have you quit beating your wife" approach.

#89 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 08:08 AM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden @88: I see that it could be but, I think, not in this context. Anyways, I would've liked to word the question differently but that's all I could come up with.

#90 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 08:09 AM:

I used to save a lot of stuff, from mailing lists, newsgroups, and later the Web. Unfortunately, over the years a succession of hard-disk crashes (combined with bit-rot on archival media), have wiped out pretty much all of my archives from pre-Web days. That includes all the stuff from "bandykin" and its fragments (I joined about 3 years in, what turned out to be the halfway point), and also walkers-in-darkness, the depression-support list I founded.

#91 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 10:41 AM:

In re one's digital awkward wet-eyes-and-pinfeathers phase: I was once very active on alt.alt under the nom "Eloise the Podgirl" (long story). This actually led to people attempting to start an group for us to participate in, calving off from alt.alt ... but the newsadmin for my college refused to add it and the idea died off.

alt.alt seems to be poorly archived (spotty in the period in question), and I'm kind of both relieved and disappointed. I wonder if the Suck Fairy has visited all the things I said that people thought were pithy/insightful/funny/etc ...

#92 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 10:57 AM:

I made the mistake of saving a lot of good quotes from not-so-early Usenet (mid 1990s) on floppy disks. When I tried to transfer them to a flash drive before buying my current* computer, the disks were no longer readable. Gone.

*My previous computer had a floppy drive; this one does not.

#93 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 12:59 PM:

I have all of my data going all the way back to the beginning. I've retrieved everything going back to the HD floppies. But the DD and single-sided await finding (making?) a translator.

The other threshhold that gets crossed is software. Laterally, turns out MS Word doesn't seem to acknowledge Apple's equivalent office formats. Longitudinally, Word seems to have lost the capacity to parse MacWrite files.

#94 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 03:06 PM:

I have several old floppy disk drives, and perhaps a zip or jaz drive as well, most with USB plugs so I could plug them in. I did try it out with the old floppies before throwing them away (in pieces, naturally) and downloaded whatever files I thought I really needed after all these years, which turned out to be mostly artwork.

If anyone wanted an external disk drive to rescue their floppies, well, email me: arvirg2@nby.pbz (ROT-13'd for protection). I'm willing to work something out.

#95 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 03:15 PM:

HLN: Local woman reports culinary success with her second-ever attempt at avocado pudding.* (The first attempt, some years ago failed, not because of the soy milk substituted for the cow's milk, but because she had been insufficiently aggressive with the sugar and the lime juice.)

Woman had grossly underestimated the amount of lime juice needed, but fortunately had bottled lemon juice on hand to substitute.

"It turns out," she says, having finally achieved a mix that tasted right, "that the avocado is really just a binder for the sugar and lime juice."

* First encountered at the late lamented Indo-Ceylon restaurant in Boulder, mumblety-five years ago.

#96 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 03:26 PM:

Ginger: I'm assuming the drive in question has a USB connector? (If so, it sadly postdates the floppies I need to rescue.)

#97 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 03:38 PM:

Jacque @96, I've seen - I think we have it in the house, actually (my wife borrowed it from her job) - a 3.5" floppy drive with USB connector. It certainly postdates the disks we used it to rescue, and was made with exactly this sort of "rescue obsolete media" function in mind. I don't know whether you'd be able to find one for 5.25" floppies.

#98 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 03:41 PM:

Oh goodness... They want to remake "Ben-Hur" again.

#99 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 03:44 PM:

Oh, Serge, what a bad idea.

I think we need some kind of protection for certain films, like landmarking a building. But I'm pretty much anti-remake (though there are examples where the remake was an improvement, it's generally not the case).

#100 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 03:55 PM:

pnh @31/janetl @32--
I have a couple of Heberden's nodes in the fingers of my right hand; my mother has the full set and is now accumulating Bouchard's nodes.

At least once the node develops it stops hurting.

YOu have my heartfelt sympathy though; to use an old hillbilly saying, it hurts like a boil.

#101 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 04:26 PM:

Xopher @ 99... Mind you, the 1959 movie itself was a remake, but the original was a silent movie. And Hitchcock has remade some of his own films. The rule should be to remake what was not done right the first time around. See "The Maltese Falcon" for a case in point.

#102 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 04:36 PM:

I had the dubious pleasure of developing severe arthritis in my finger joints in my mid-30s, soon after recovering from carpal tunnel syndrome (which led to misdiagnosis for a considerable while.) Shards of glass in the joints is perhaps the best description of what it felt like, particularly when typing.

Although they never could figure out what type of arthritis it was - not rheumatoid, but with some features in common with it - I was warned it probably would just slowly get worse the rest of my life, and if it was osteoarthritis in particular, then it meant those joints were just worn out and would never get better.

It turns out they were wrong. It slowly got less painful over the ensuing years, not more, I got better both at managing it and at disattending the pain, it didn't end my career in computers as I'd thought at one time it must, and here I am today typing merrily away with my fingers on the keys, instead of using a padded pencil clutched clumsily in one fist as I was doing much of the time 20 years ago.

So heed your doctor's sage counsel - but not too much.

#103 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 05:54 PM:

Yarrow #81: You have my sympathy! Nice pastiche.

#104 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 05:55 PM:

lorax @97: I think we have it in the house, actually (my wife borrowed it from her job) - a 3.5" floppy drive with USB connector. It certainly postdates the disks we used it to rescue, and was made with exactly this sort of "rescue obsolete media" function in mind.

Hm. I suspect that's the same one I have. (Apple manufacture, I think, with blue transparent case?) I was, unfortunately, only able to go back so far with it, and from that point back, I had to copy files onto 3.5s that it could read using my SE/30. Unfortunately, I've got stuff predating even the SE/30.

(Blessedly, I managed to side-step the 5.25s.)

#105 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 07:43 PM:

The New Age bs generator gave me flashbacks to doing the New Age Tradeshow directory. Yikes.

#106 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 07:56 PM:

I was having a discussion about remakes with a friend, and we came up with a pretty solid remake/reboot rule.

It all started with rumors of a (happily quickly dismissed) Indiana Jones reboot, which raised the obvious question. "OK, this absolutely should not be done, but if they DID do it, who do you think could pull off the role of Indiana Jones?"

I tried to think of the things about Harrison Ford's performance that really make Indiana Jones who he is, and I came up with the following list: the ability to be in turns delighted by and completely fed up with things, look harried, and deliver one-liners. Obviously there's more to it than that, but I was trying to think of a modern actor in their thirties who could do all these things with the same level of dignity and comedic timing without being overshadowed... and I couldn't think of one.

Then I saw Aubrey Plaza in something.

Oh. Wait. Yes. She can do all those things, but her tone is so different it wouldn't seem like a direct imitation of Ford. I would eagerly watch a remake of Raiders with her in the starring role. Yessssssss.

Then I saw the trailer for the new Annie. The 1982 Annie was one of the most important movies of my childhood, and represented the first time I ever saw someone "like me" on screen in a leading role (an extroverted female child with naturally curly red hair. I know that does not seem to be that hard to find, but I didn't see it for a long time). I was categorically opposed to the 90s remake, which starred another random white girl and the absence of Carol Burnett. Now the new trailer comes out with Quvenzhané Wallis and Jamie Foxx, and those two look amazing. I'm a bit "meh" about the rest of the adult cast, but there is no way that I'm not going to go see the remake in theaters.

So our proposed rule of thumb is this: If you're going to remake a movie that is considered a classic, change the race, sex, gender, or sexual orientation of the lead. In general, I'd recommend changing it in the direction of being more progressive. That way you have two movies that are visibly different, and reasons for people to see and own both. Right now, I don't know anyone who owns both the 80s Annie and the 90s one, while I have little doubt that I'll end up adding the 2014 one to my collection.

Obviously this can't be applied universally, but now that I've started imagining hypothetical remakes or reboots that follow this rule, I'm no longer categorically opposed to the idea of remakes.

I have no illusion that Hollywood will put this into practice any time soon, of course.

#107 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 08:15 PM:

Leah... Mind you, the main reason they're remaking such classics is that they want projects that come with builtin recognition and thus less risk. Changing Indy's gender would blow all of that away. Me, i'd go.

By the way, Michael Bay is remaking "The Birds".

#108 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 08:59 PM:

fidelio @ #100, "hurts like a boil"; some of my patients say "sore as a risin' "

#109 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 09:08 PM:

Thanks, Fragano.

#110 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 10:03 PM:

Jacque @104, ours was an orange transparent case, but otherwise sounds similar. I guess we were just fortunate in that all of our disks needing rescuing were recent enough that it was willing to talk to them.

#111 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 10:14 PM:

Jacque @#104
I have some 8" floppies in the basement. At this point, they are just historical curiosities, and they don't contains anything I care about. I am typing this on a tablet that's smaller than those disks physically, and the disk capacity was something around 80K (K not M).

#112 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 10:33 PM:

Leah, #106: I'm with you on the new Annie. While I probably won't go see it (it's not really my cup of tea), the trailer certainly impressed the hell out of me, and it was precisely because of the way they've updated the story to make it culturally relevant for today. And this kind of remake is one way to bridge the gap whereby movies with black leads are considered "black movies" that won't appeal to the white audience.

Tangentially related, the best thing about the first Mission: Impossible movie IMO was the severe updating they'd given the theme, making it techno and hence more relevant for the setting.

I wonder what could be done to freshen up a remake of Carousel?

#113 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 10:42 PM:

Time capsule open threadedness....I just finished watching Elvis: That's The Way it Is which I had recorded earlier from TCM. It captured Presley at perhaps the peak of his powers in 1970. He was in his mid-thirties then, his voice was awesome, and he commanded the stage in Vegas.

If you happen to see it on the TCM schedule again, by all means give it a look. Watching the audience is like time traveling. And that voice is unforgettable.

#114 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 10:45 PM:

Among remakes that were better than the original:

1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers

#115 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 12:08 AM:

For anyone in Houston or within driving distance:

This Saturday is our annual Chocolate Decadence party. Festivities start at 7 PM and run until we kick the last few stragglers out (usually around 2 AM). Bring booze if you want it, and a chocolate or fruit goodie to share. If you need directions, drop me a line at fgneqernzre@zvaqfcevat.pbz.

#116 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 07:41 AM:

Estelendur #71: Thank you.

#117 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 07:43 AM:

For those who have been following the latest iteration of the Sagebrush Rebellion I note that, as might be expected, the usual racist inanities have come into view.

#118 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 08:29 AM:

fidelio @ 100: That description of Heberden's nodes really fits what happened with my finger joint.

Clifton @ 102: When I saw my physiatrist about my (then) swollen, painful joint, he just happened to have a rheumatologist shadowing him that day. They said it was probably osteoarthritis, and asked me about my parents' hands. I said that they had swollen joints in their old age, and they said "Oh, you'll develop that, too", and that there wasn't any treatment aside from pain killers. I walked out with visions of all 10 fingers twisted and constant pain. That was several years ago, and no other finger has any issues (yet), and the one that was painful then, isn't any more.

#119 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 09:53 AM:

Janetl @118--Luckily, although they do limit mobility/dexterity somewhat, Heberden's nodes only hurt while they're forming. THey also tend to develop slowly; I got the first one several years ago, and have only just started the second one, which is, thankfully, on my little finger. My mother started hers in her fifties as well, and is now in her late nineties, so she's had time to work her way through all those joints, one at a time...

Lila @108--I've heard that one a few times as well. It gives you a really good picture of someting that hurts and is tender and--no, please don't touch that!

#120 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 10:03 AM:

Jacque @ 95

... the late lamented Indo-Ceylon restaurant in Boulder ...

I only got to eat there once. It's the only place I've ever eaten where the waitstaff cautioned us about the hot sauce.

#121 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 10:13 AM:

re 83/87 et seq: The thing is that every kind of religion/spirituality has a sort of word salad which can advance meaning in context but which also tends to devolve into something between platitudes and theobabble in exactly the way that the buzzphrases in Dilbert amount to nothing. The question is whether, when forced out of jargonizing, there is anything left.

#122 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 10:14 AM:

I've been going back and forth on which thread this belongs in. I'm falling back on the "open thread" default, but it was really inspired by Patrick's "Clarification" post and the general notion of "good authors who do bad things".

I found myself doing some accidental research/depth-first link clicking/rathole diving a couple of days ago. The recent holidays motivated me to do some shallow research on Eliade's "eternal return"; but that quickly took a right turn, as it were, into the topic of fascism in Romanian intellectual circles in the 1930s. I don't have enough background to comprehend a lot of what was written then. People who were saying apparently sensible things in one decade were apparently going noisily insane the next. (Yes, I know that was true in lots of places, but that doesn't mean I understand it; and each place still sounds different.) The only moment of revelation was when I remembered that Ionesco was in those circles. Right. Rhinoceros. Ok, that part makes sense.

#123 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 10:20 AM:

Mycroft W@20: I did it as a joke at one point, and kept it because it's simply more readable than most other fonts (except for dotless i, who doesn't seem any different from dotted i...)

You just need to get to know us better. (Seriously, I did at first wonder whether this nym would cause rendering problems for anyone. That particular problem doesn't sound unworkably bad. Better than bicycles, anyway.)

#124 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 12:29 PM:

Bruce H. @120: "Indo-Ceylon restaurant" I only got to eat there once. It's the only place I've ever eaten where the waitstaff cautioned us about the hot sauce.

Yeah, actually, I remember hearing that caution, too. Was entirely wasted on me. The baseline Scovilles in the food was, I'm sure, well into the tens of thousands. The only thing I could eat there was the rice and the avocado pudding.

My friends would go on "family night:" the menu is null and void, and you eat whatever is on offer. At one point, Mike whizzes by, and when one of my friends comments on the curried fish, he says (in his typical, rapid-fire fashion), "Yeah, the fish is great; the flavor doesn't interfere with the spices at all."

Jon Singer fell over laughing.

#125 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 12:56 PM:

Jacque @124: The only thing I could eat there was the rice and the avocado pudding.

That brought to mind the time we took my father-in-law and his brother out for Japanese food. The brother had never had sushi before (the FiL had served in Okinawa during the Korean war and was more culinarily widely traveled). The brother thought the lump of green stuff was avocado-based; the FiL innocently waited until just after he'd put it in his mouth to say "you might want to be careful with that".

#126 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 04:12 PM:

abi @85: I'll have to take another look some time when my sense of humor isn't missing.

#127 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 04:22 PM:

At least they warned me about it first, the first time I had sushi. (It was being called 'green lightning' or 'green death'. That's a pretty solid warning right there.)

I also remember getting to my boss to warn her about the little teeny red peppers one of the people brought to work. She was going to put four or five in her guacamole. It would have qualified as an incendiary device: those were very hot peppers, about 20 minutes of burn without the seeds.

#128 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 05:03 PM:

My very hot pepper plant (bhot jolokia!) has produced another fruit; my plan is to pick it into a plastic bag and give it to a guy I know with many warnings. "This is very spicy. It might kill you. Report back to me on that."

The first pepper went to friends who were unwilling to try it on themselves; it's now a biowarfare agent defending their garden.

#129 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 05:28 PM:

Speaking of rescuing obsolete media:

#130 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 05:49 PM:

iamnothing @126 - Without commenting on the New Age link in question (I haven't looked, and at this point it's beside the point), you have my sympathies. It's evident you found the link painful, and from your #126 it sounds like you now feel that you're being told that your pain means you have no sense of humor.

That's a message I sincerely doubt anyone in this crowd actually intended to communicate, for what it's worth.

But I'm intensely familiar with that feeling. I grew up in a family who absolutely did explicitly dismiss my pain as evidencing an inadequate sense of humor (they really did actually say so, in as many words). And it sucked.

So I wanted to say that I'm sorry for your pain.

#131 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 06:46 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @130: Thanks for the sympathy; have mine in return (wrt your family). I guess it's more discomfort than pain, but I did lie awake thinking about it for an hour before my first comment. I don't really think anybody has told me I have no sense of humor, but I didn't enjoy reading abi's linked thread.

#132 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 06:53 PM:

Spicy food subthread:
I can't tolerate very much spiciness. Living in Southern California for a few years has forced me to adapt a little, but I still never voluntarily add hot sauce to anything. Even the normal seasoned steak from a chain restaurant like chipotle will cause my lips to burn for a solid minute or two of mild, humming pain.

When I first encountered sushi, I knew that wasabi was supposed to be spicy, so I avoided it like the plague. Then I went to Japan, where they traditionally put a small dab of wasabi between the fish and the rice. I took a bite not expecting this and was... pleasantly surprised. Wasabi's spiciness doesn't come from capsaicin, so it doesn't cause me any actual physical pain. I've since realized that I can enjoy wasabi, horseradish, and spicy mustard in fairly high amounts.

Movies and Reboots subthread
Serge @107, on one level I agree with you, but the Annie remake demonstrates that a perfect visual match is less important than Hollywood seems to imagine. The name and theme may well be sufficient to sustain the brand, even for mainstream audiences. I had a friend argue that moving the time period and changing Annie's race and color hair color destroys brand recognition, but I don't think that's actually going to turn out to be true.

There's evidence that the target audience Hollywood is trying to reach with remakes and reboots may not share Hollywood's image of many brands. Most people I know under the age of 35 were introduced to lots of DC heroes via the animated universe, and they were familiar with John Stewart (who is black) as the Green Lantern. The return to the 'brand recognition' white guy version for the movie was confusing to most of the film's target audience. A friend of mine who works in a library heard multiple kids complaining about that.

So there's evidence that more diverse casting doesn't result in brand dilution. I think gender swaps are less of a risk than Hollywood may imagine, but hard evidence for this is more difficult to dig up. Right now the Carol Corps is our best example, and the popularity of fan-made gender swaps is off the charts. I hold out hope.

Lee @112
I'm frustrated by how disconnected Hollywood seems to be from humans I know. After the recent Captain America, I hear so many people asking "Um, so when is Falcon getting his own movie?"

Regarding Carousel, at first I thought it might be really difficult to update, but then it clicked with another writing problem I've been puzzling over for a while. I was listening to some radio stories where people with PTSD and other combat or stress-related mental disorders described their violent impulses and how these issues have hurt their families, or made their lives very difficult. It's challenging to reconcile these tragic circumstances with our modern narrative about abuse, where we tell people to get out of relationships where there are any signs of danger. It raises a lot of impossible questions. People who suffer from certain mental disorders related to trauma can sometimes strike out violently, and are at high risk for suicide. Carousel's plot is closely linked to violence that comes from stress and some versions incorporate suicide, so it'd be very interesting if Billy were suffering from one of those mental disorders as a result of past trauma.

Note: I'm finding a measure of disagreement from online psychology sources over whether or not PTSD is directly associated with violence in a diagnostic sense, or if it's just that many sufferers of PTSD are also suffering from other traumatic disorders (especially traumatic brain injuries) that do trigger violence, so the symptoms of the two are often conflated. I definitely am not suggesting that most people who have PTSD are violent towards others, I'm just commenting on the fact that I've been reading a lot of personal accounts from people diagnosed with PTSD who speak about feeling like they are dangerous to those around them.

#133 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 07:04 PM:

On the topic of hot and spicy things: the lab that the Amazing Girlfriend and I are part of used to have the evil habit of playing "who can eat the spiciest thing" at lab gatherings. This has, in large part, ended after we brought a hot sauce to one such gathering along with a blunt-tipped syringe for dosing it. Our labmates didn't find the dosing method particularly offputting, though: various vegetables (cherry tomatoes, snap peas and the like) were injected with a truly scary hot sauce and then those who chose to played the worst game of vegetal Russian roulette I can imagine. All the vegetables in a given round had been poked; only one got a dose. For reference, 2-3cc of a 1,000,000 scoville hot sauce is not anything anyone needs in a single, searing shot. Ever.

There's also the habanero vodka story from 2010, but I've told that here before. If you want habanero vodka, moderation is a good idea. Capcaisin is readily alcohol-soluble.

More recently, a friend asked me to make a horseradish infusion for Purim (I was making a set of homemade liquors for my synagogue, and it's what he wanted). It's interesting stuff. Almost no odor, and a sweet-ish taste, but a reverberant mustard/horseradish burn after you swallow it. A 375ml bottle went pretty quickly when I was pouring it last month. If you want to make your own, microplaning horseradish is a good way to get maximum surface area. I hear from friends at a local distillery (who tried making a commercial wasabi vodka a few years back), that any infusion of this entire family (the various mustard relatives) needs to be stored in UV-blocking bottles, and only has a shelf life of a couple years at best.

#134 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 08:56 PM:

HLN: After living with a new human servant for 18 months, area feline has discovered she actually enjoys being petted. She previously responded to touch with her teeth, although she has always been generally socialable. This reporter can only speculate that the previous servant encouraged kittenish biting, but resorted to corporal punishment once the cute was outgrown.

#135 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 09:13 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 133: Some double-dog-dare-you behavior was going on my former workplace, involving hot wings. The Irishman outdid everyone. When people looked puzzled, he explained that he grew up on curry.

#136 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 09:21 PM:

I was *about* to warn my spouse about the wasabi the first time he tried sushi, only to realized it had vanished from his plate and that he had a very peculiar expression on his face. A moment later he dashed for the washroom.

Leah @ 132 -- thanks for explaining why I can deal with wasabi at all; I avoid most spicy things, not so much because of the heat, but because my tastebuds register them as intensely bitter. Must be how I perceive capsaicin.

#137 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 09:34 PM:

janetl #135: Supposedly, the the Brits conquered the world mostly to get some decent food. :-)

#138 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 10:04 PM:

I'm sure I've told this story before: I first tried sushi in a combo plate with chicken teriyaki (figuring that if I didn't like the sushi, at least I had the chicken to fall back on) and I didn't know what the green stuff was, so I just spread it on directly. For a minute or so, I thought my nose was coming off. Fortunately, I like horseradish, and it turns out that I like sushi also.

#139 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 10:22 PM:

A couple of years ago, my partner and I were having dinner at a Chinese place in New Orleans, and I ordered Kung Pao chicken. The restaurant believed in cave-level lighting, and I missed fishing out one of the little hot peppers and got a well-distributed mouthful of capsaicin. That was an uncomfortable five minutes, not least because I'd ordered it without rice. I like spicy food, but there's a difference between "spicy" and "incendiary".

#140 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 11:55 PM:

Trying to loosen up a post.

#141 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 11:56 PM:

Well, that didn't work, so here's what I tried to post before.

Leah @132 re wasabi etc: me too. I think of them as water-soluble hot stuff rather than oil-soluble (which may or may not be accurate). At any rate, the capsaicins are "sticky" - I can't easily clear my mouth of them, so they continue to burn. The wasabi/mustard/horseradish types wash off.

#142 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 12:50 AM:

Mike Glyer reports that Bill (William H.) Patterson has died. He was an old friend or acquaintance of several folks here.

#143 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 01:51 AM:

jonesnori, #141: That's exactly right, water won't get rid of capsaicin burn. What does work (should you accidentally get a mouthful at some point) is starchy stuff like bread or rice. That was part of the reason I had so much discomfort during my experience @139; we had both asked for our portions sans rice (dietary reasons), and therefore had nothing on the table that I could use to dilute the hot-pepper blast.

#144 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 03:12 AM:

The usual dilutant for hot peppers is fats - milk, or meat, or butter, or whatever's around. If starches help, then that buttery bread should do. One thing I do not recommend for treating a hot pepper overdose is whiskey (only had to make that mistake once :-)

Where I grew up, fish was always cooked. My wife had grown up in places that had sushi, but the local style didn't have blobs of wasabi sitting on the plate; there might be some in the sushi you got at the local lunch-counter, but it was well hidden. The first time we went out for Japanese food, I had the chunk of grated white stuff (daikon), and she had the chunk of grated green stuff, and suddenly vanished from the room.

I don't know if I've ever had real wasabi - the stuff in the US, even in the Japanese groceries, is mostly horseradish and green color, sometimes with mustard, and I guess it's stronger than the horseradish I grew up with mainly because it's finely ground, or maybe because it's been dried and reconstituted with less water. There's some company here in Northern California that sells actual wasabi root, but it's hard to find.

#145 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 09:07 AM:

Open threadiness: Forty years ago today the Portuguese Movimento das Forças Armadas (Armed Forces Movement) overthrew the dictatorial government of Marcelo Caetano and Américo Thomaz. Hundreds of thousands of Portuguese citizens came out on the streets with carnations (cravos) which they placed in the barrels of the soldiers' guns. As a result, the coup has come to be called the 'Revolução dos Cravos', the Carnation Revolution.

Portugal has been a free country continuously since that day.

#146 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 10:31 AM:

Bill Stewart@144: I don't know if I've ever had real wasabi

The first time I had fresh-grated wasabi was also the only time I've done a side-by-side comparison. At first I didn't taste much difference from the reconstituted mustard-and-horseradish—my dominant sense from both was the horseradish burn. Then I had a bite of something else that left a bit of a capsaicin burn in my mouth. Apparently that was enough to mask the horseradish burn, and the difference was huge: the reconstituted stuff tasted mostly of mustard, and the fresh-grated wasabi tasted like a vegetable.

Separately: today's xkcd is appropriate for this open thread.

#147 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 11:04 AM:

Google says there are growers in British Columbia, Oregon, North Carolina, and Half Moon Bay.

#148 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 02:00 PM:

I just got a response back about a writing sample I submitted. It was a rejection, which in and of itself is obviously disappointing, but I have survived worse.

What gets to me is that the rejection included some "helpful" advice which thoroughly missed the point of the submission, and managed to be condescending about it in the process. I'm not fool enough to send a direct reply, but I'm irked. :P

(I'd also like to keep them from being condescending to other people, but there's literally no way for me to do it without getting the scent of sour grapes all over everything, so.)

#149 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 03:06 PM:

Fragano Ledgister@145: Given the context of my note @122, this sent me back through my chain of search links to confirm that, yes, Eliade did write in praise of Salazar and the Estado Novo.

Unrelated (but Portuguese-related) open thready grumbling on the annoyance of autocorrection:


Some while back I added Portuguese to the set of keyboards (and associated dictionaries) on my phone, mostly so I could stop English autocorrection from turning "você" into "vice". On the plus side, this means that Portuguese autocorrection often inserts diacritics automatically for me. On the minus side, there is almost no visible difference between the English and Portuguese keyboards. (The labels change on "space" and "return/search", but those are small and at the bottom of the screen, where I'm generally not looking.) This means that I often wind up with autocorrection from the wrong language, but now in both directions: "você" can turn into "vice", and "today" can turn into "todas".

There's a second drawback which I didn't realize was happening for a while: my phone is happy to send texts with diacritics, but some phones aren't happy to receive them. It took several texted conversations with someone for me to work out that only the texts with diacritics—by no means all of my short sentences—were getting lost. This produces another autocorrect problem: the need to undo the auto-inserted diacritics before hitting "retorno", but only when talking with a couple of people.


(Although typing that end tag now reminds me of what happened the first time I configured a Portuguese keyboard layout on my computer, which turned ";" and ":" into "ç" and "Ç". It was interesting when writing C code.)

#150 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 03:32 PM:

So this woman hit three teenagers on the highway while speeding, and one of them died. Now she's suing their families. She's all distraught, see, and feels bad sometimes.

Sharlene Simon is a privileged narcissistic piece of shit. And the authorities are on the side, as usual, of people in cars whenever possible, and against bicyclists. (Oh, and she's the wife of a cop in the next town over. Funny thing.)

The boys she hit were foolish. They didn't have good reflectors; they were wearing dark clothing; they were riding abreast instead of single file. So fucking what. It's still her goddam fault* she hit them.

But no, let's blame the victim. They may not have had legal grounds to charge her, if the laws on this sort of thing in Ontario are stupid. If so, she lucked out.

But what kind of fucking inhuman psychopath do you have to be to sue the dead boy's family?!

I despair of humans sometimes.

*I mean morally. IANAL and stuff.

#151 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 09:56 PM:

Spicy food sub-thread: milk chocolate is an effective reverser of too much hot (capsaicin ) stuff. Hershey kisses work very well, as they melt just above body temperature. Try to hold it in your mouth until it melts.

In my experience, capsaicin hot is different from pepper (black/white/green peppercorns ), and also from horseradish which is different from mustard and different again from ginger,.and possibly also from Sechuan peppercorns. I find this puzzling if there are only the canonical five taste receptors; maybe the various hotnesses come from combinations with the pain and actual thermal receptors?

#152 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2014, 01:02 AM:

Henry: Taste isn't the operative sensation in the case of capsaicin. It turns out that the relevant pain receptors are all kinds of complicated.

#153 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2014, 10:00 AM:

Back in OT195 @897 some Person of Interest discussion came up. Thanks to the Atlantic Ocean I think I'm approximately one year behind, so can't comment on current developments. However I did have a couple of more general thoughts on the series:

First I was gratified when a character expressed disbelief that the urban legend version of the PoI team was known as "The Man in the Suit". A vigilante/assassin stalks the streets of New York and that's the best that conspiracy theorists and tabloid journalists can come up with? ("Sharp Dressed Man" or "Wall Street Avenger" would be my personal choices)

Second I realised that we have a mysterious and reclusive billionaire with enormous technical resources, and a detective who is a supreme martial artist, both of whom decide to fight crime after a traumatic event. If they were combined in one character it's one that we've seen before. (Ironically the clue that lead me to make this crazy leap was when they added a canine sidekick; for no good reason Bear reminded me of another dog.)

#154 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2014, 10:01 AM:

Henry Troup #151: Adding to Jacque's comment, much of what we normally call taste is actually provided by smell (the classic test is eating an onion with a cold).

#155 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2014, 10:57 AM:

Other differences: The hot component of horseradish is volatile; capsaicin is sticky. So the one gets up your nose, and the other tends to build up in your mouth, which are different experiences.

Szechuan pepper has numbing effect which is its own barrel of weird. (I think capsaicin does too, but not nearly as much.)

#156 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2014, 12:21 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @ #150:

She was probably inspired by the words of Toronto's current mayor, back when he was a city councillor:

"I can't support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day."

It's one of the many reasons why I couldn't believe there were -- and can't believe there still are -- people who support and are willing to vote for him.

#157 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2014, 06:11 PM:

PJ Evans @ 195::983 did that also happen in 1984? The description closely resembles l'affaire 1989.

header: that's a fascinating bit of history. I don't think a troll of Usenet would find anything so curmudgeonly from me, but it certainly wouldn't find anything as well-phrased either.

various on bits-and-bobs saved: I have moved files from my Usenet days through some number of jobs since (each time pushing down a directory level out of some absurd sense of ordering); I still skim some of them simply because they were that good, cf the suggested casting for Dune (the 1985 movie) that I posted here some years ago.

Sidelights: since it's a mundane article, I'm not surprised that the Tambora link didn't mention its seismic effect on SF: the rotten weather kept Polidori, the Shelleys, and Byron indoors storytelling instead of out on Lake Geneva, resulting in both the first vampire novel and the first novel to use Stfnal exploration of the effects of a technological breakthrough.

Yarrow @ 81: I will forward this to my wife, who was speaking today of "trees having sex up her nose" (not original I know, but a nice packaging).

Leah Miller @ 132: my wife has the same position: loves wasabi, western horseradish, and Chinese mustard, can't handle capsaicins. I wonder how much it's due to upbringing; I expect she would have become inured to Chinese mustard from childhood restaurant visits, where I learned capsaicins from my father's enchiladas (something weird the born New Englander brought back from decades in New Mexico).

#158 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2014, 06:22 PM:

I was there, so yes, 1984.

#159 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2014, 11:27 PM:


#162 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Speaker to Tall People ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 01:32 AM:

If the process to save the comment from the database failed, no amount of whacking will retrieve it.

#163 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 03:36 AM:

So I made the Black Hole Brownies of Death to take to Lee's party, and by request made the version with rice flour + corn starch instead of wheat flour. I can honestly say that I don't think I'd be able to tell them apart in a blind tasting. (A really delicious blind tasting, to be sure.)

And then I came down with a cold and didn't go to the party. Sigh.

It occurred to me while making the brownies that they are all that and a bag of chips.

#164 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 03:51 AM:

David Goldfarb @163: Did someone else take the brownies to the party, or are you now faced with the daunting task of going through a whole batch of them all by yourself? (I suspect this is a "don't throw me in that briar patch" problem.)

#165 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 04:04 AM:

The latter. Probably what will happen is Katie will take most of them to her workplace.

#166 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 06:56 AM:

Stumbled across this recently. Seems like an app everyone in NY or NJ who has a smartphone should have on it in case you ever have an encounter with the cops:

ACLU video app

#167 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 09:23 AM:

Rob Hansen @ 166: It makes me so sad that there's a genuine need for such an app.

#168 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 11:05 AM:

Rob, #166: We need one of those for every state.

#169 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 12:52 PM:

dotless i #149: Having to deal with error correction when emailing from one's phone is a major #21stcenturyproblem. This morning I was trying to reply to an email from a colleague in Cuba over a professional association issue, and autocorrect kept changing every other word. É uma lástima!

#170 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 01:52 PM:

Lee@168: I gather in many states it's illegal to video the police, at least that's what some of the comments accompanying that video say.

#171 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 03:55 PM:

Idumea @162: So I deduced. Oh well. No earth-shattering wisdom was lost, anyway. :-)

#172 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 05:29 PM:

Rob, #170: The Supreme Court says otherwise. If people are still being arrested for it, that's being done in blatant violation of the law.

Note: I don't doubt that it is still being done -- but anyone who has this happen should contact the ACLU anyhow, since there is a very clear-cut precedent.

#173 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 05:30 PM:

I said @ 16: My name is actually spelt (and pronounced...) Øvrebø, but most foreign keyboards can't type it and there's no guarantee it'll display right.

I signed up for Loncon 3 (attending) and yup, my name looks mangled. I've emailed requesting a manual fix.

Anyway, I got membership number 7619.

#174 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 06:38 PM:

Local woman(1) prepares to spend a month in northerly Europe: "My prior trip to the area was during a November, a great time of year if you dislike crowds. The high temperatures then will be the low temperatures in May, and there will be sun, some days. Yay."

Do other MLers have thoughts on Berlin(2), Krakow, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Norway (and a 3/4 day in Amsterdam)?

(1) who has been lurking more often then not here, but is still an avid fluorispherian.
(2) partner-in-Sunnyvale is speaking at Web Week

#175 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 08:50 PM:

CHip @ 157:

It may not be just upbringing. In my case it's not upbringing at all.

By upbringing, I was eating small amounts of mustard, and doing my best to avoid horseradish, from childhood in New York City. I eventually got to like capsaicin-spicy food (though never at the really spicy end of that spectrum) and small amounts of wasabi (or American Japanese restaurant imitations thereof). I developed a taste for horseradish in my late 30s or early 40s, to my surprise.

Then I lost most of my tolerance for capsaicin (it's post-surgical, but while the timing is very suggestive, I don't know for sure that the relationship is causal), started being wary of hot peppers, and have gradually lost most of my remaining tolerance for that kind of spice. Fortunately, I still enjoy ginger, garlic, and black pepper, as well as horseradish and mustard, and small amounts of smoked paprika are often okay.

#176 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 03:12 AM:

Kathryn@174, sent a longer note to your gmail.
Back in the 90s I went to a conference in Berlin, decided to do post-conference vagabonding up north (since it was summer) rather than south.
Loved Copenhagen, have been back, could move there if they didn't have this silly custom called "winter". (It's not as Danish as Solvang, though :-)

#177 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 12:06 PM:

I seem to remember a story Jon Singer told about Teresa impressing her Seattle-area friends by popping a jalapeño into her mouth and eating it like a grape.

#178 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 01:47 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 174:

I can give advice on Norway from a native perspective - but it's a rather large country and it depends on which part(s) of it you want to visit. Email me at roygovrebo[at]gmail[dot]com if you don't want it to go public.

#179 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 04:02 PM:

Bill @176- thanks!
Roy @178 - I'll write you, but your general thoughts could be interesting to the 'sphere, similar to how I see touring California vs what the standard guidebooks (SGs) say (1).

We're currently thinking Oslo and the fjords-in-a-nutshell by train and boat (Sognefjord, Nærøyfjord) as recommended by SGs, perhaps also renting a car to better allow time for panoramic photography and a dragon-decorated church or two.


(1)it can be educational to read tour books with/as locals. Some Italian friends' reactions to Rick Steves (2), for example, was priceless ("what, most of the country is missing?").
(2) the empire of which has strengths and weaknesses, the former includes skipping over/ not saying nice things about every town and museum.

#180 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 04:24 PM:

Holy shit... Robert Skotak clicked the 'like' button for a comment I made on someone's FaceBook about an old movie with crappy FX that managed to convey more wonder than modern affairs. If you don't know who Skotak is, look at the credits of James Cameron's movies.

#181 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 04:53 PM:

Kathryn @ 179:
it can be educational to read tour books with/as locals

If I'm looking for a travel guide I first check out one from the same series for a place I'm familiar with.

Oslo is, for me, a place where I change planes if I have to. I much prefer Bergen, but I'm a westerner so I would say that. Sognefjorden and Nærøyfjorden sounds great - the landscape is beautiful all around, and you're in the area to ride Flåmsbana (the famously steep railway line).

Driving a car can be interesting. The main roads are better than they used to be, generally two full lanes now but some difficult narrow stretches still exist. Side roads can be quite narrow. Hills can be very steep.

Don't work too hard on learning the local language, Norwegian dialects can be difficult to understand even for native speakers, and most people speak at least some English anyway.

It all depends on how much time and how huge an amount of money you're willing to spend...

#182 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 05:10 PM:

Kathryn @ 174

I spent 2 days and a night in Krakow, so I'm the opposite of an expert. However, St Mary's Cathedral (where I went, completely not knowing its history, for Sunday Mass) remains clear in my memory: the decorations are amazing (in the "use all 5 plans" category of amazing).

#183 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 05:19 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @174: I know a Pole who used to live in Kraków and returns there fairly regularly. What sort of thing do you want to know about? Like, food, drink, mustn't-miss cultural highlights, neighbourhoods to avoid late at night after overdoing it on strong Polish beer, all of the above and more?

#184 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 06:36 PM:

Neil W @153

Person of Interest cross-overs: I spotted this on Charlie's blog

mjwalshe77: My personal POI theory is that Bear is a SC operator from the Culture disguised as a Belgian Malinois.

#185 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 07:48 PM:

Elementary was briefly a science fiction show.

I'll ROT13 in case you haven't seen last Thursday's episode:

Na npdhnvagnapr'f fvfgre tbrf zvffvat. Wbna naq Fureybpx svaq ure obql, naq guna bs na haxabja znyr, va Prageny Cnex; obgu jrer xvyyrq ol fubgtha oynfgf.

Gur znyr gheaf bhg gb or na nrebfcnpr jbexre jub gevrq gb ghea juvfgyr oybjre. Vg gheaf bhg uvf pbzcnal'f nezrq qebar cebqhpgf jrer vaibyirq jvgu n sevraqyl sver znffnper va Nstunavfgna.

Gheaf bhg ur naq gur jbzna jrer fynva ol n qebar, naq va gur pbhefr bs gur rcvfbqr grral-gval yvggyr qebarf ner hfrq gb fcl ba Fureybpx & Wbna, naq gb xvyy gur nrebfcnpr jbexre'f cflpuvngevfg nf ur vf nobhg gb tvir vapevzvangvat rivqrapr. Riraghnyyl n fpurzvat rkrphgvir vf neerfgrq sbe gur zheqrebhf pbire-hc.

This is "20 Minutes into the Future" science fiction, featuring technologies right on the edge of possibility. (Well, V xvaq bs qbhog gur gval sylvat, ivqrb-genafzvggvat oht jbhyq or srnfvoyr qhr gb cbjre fhccyl vffhrf.)

But is doesn't make Elementary SF, because unless I'm very much mistaken we will never see or hear of those gadgets again.

They would, in an SF setting, be a game changer. The genie would not be put back in the bottle because one executive was arrested. They would profoundly change how people feel about privacy and security. Police work and spy work would be revolutionized. Sherlock & Watson would find ways to use them, most likely.

#186 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 07:51 PM:

Roy @181, SamChevre@182, James E@183,
Thanks! sounds like west/east Norway have an element of northern/southern California: same states, different countries? We have 8 days in Norway, so enough time to do a roadtrip, and definitely to see more than Oslo.

In travel I try to balance the must-sees with a "enjoy the neighborhood/enjoy the journey." The partner and I do both geekotourism and ecotourism: quirky historic spots and science exhibits to go with panoramic views and waterfalls. We also have at least one visit to a bookstore per city, even if no books are in English.

For Krakow, are there any "jump on a train and go see this neighborhood" neighborhoods, beyond the usual old city sights?

#187 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 08:34 PM:

We have a neighbor whose mother eats fresh habaneros like pickles. Impressed, we plant a habanero plant in the garden just for her every year. Last year's plant died, but she was happy enough when we gave her some cayenne peppers instead -- she munched on them like potato chips.

Re: real wasabi -- I've seen the roots for sale in various gardening magazines recently. I know they like to grow in water, but haven't been able to dig up any other information on the culture. Anyone have any idea what type of climate they like?

#188 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 08:39 PM:

This short article seems to indicate that wasabi wants cool, not too much light, and wet to the point of having water actually flowing over the roots.

I don't like capsaicin, but I enjoy Chinese mustard in small amounts.

#189 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 09:14 PM:

Having been out of town for five days, I'm wondering afresh at the progress in garden. It's exactly the right time of year for five days to mean the baby trees have gone from "sticks with fat buds" to "LEEEEEEEEEAVES!" and, in two cases, "massive knots of flower buds everywhere, open enough to see what color they'll be."

Amusingly, we still have almost no daffodils, and we only got one crocus bloom all spring (but lots of leaves).

The grass, as my daughter marvelled, is much taller. "Almost long enough you can't even see the dog poop!" she cheerfully pointed out. Which tells you why our food crops are strictly grown in planters and not directly in the soil. :->

Our radish sprouts that were barely-visible tiny circular single-leaf-on-hair-fine-sprout things last Wednesday night are now clearly Plants. I'm going to have to put our started-in-peat-pots carrots into their planter tomorrow.

#190 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 09:37 PM:

On Wasabi -
When wasabi shows up in the local Japanese grocery stores(1) it costs about $100/lb, or about $5 for several person's worth.

Not having sharkskin sandpaper I used my microplane zester on it. They say to wait 10 minutes after grating, and there is a definite time-dimensionality to the flavor profile. Evidently the broken cell walls release different chemicals over time.

I did like it better than the mustard+horseradish green stuff. The difference reminds me of that between standard cinnamon (tastes like red hots candy) and Ceylon (true) cinnamon (nuanced,hints of lemon).

More on Wasabi: Friends of mine once went to an Asian fusion restaurant, where at the end of the meal the waitstaff brought out bowls of green tea ice cream and placed them on the table. My friend took a big spoonful... next thing he remembers is waking up from his faint, because wasabi.


(1) south bay area, California. Grown in Oregon

#191 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2014, 11:25 PM:

Cygnet @187: Jon Singer managed to grow wasabi indoors in Issaquah (near Seattle) by setting up a little artificial stream. He knows more about cultivating it than anyone I know. You might ask him, if you know him. And if you don't know him, you soon will.

#192 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 12:33 AM:

@191: one* or the other** of him. Them. Er—

* Hm. Wikipedia has an empty link. Perhaps this should be rectified?

** I suspect somebody's been having a little fun.

#193 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 03:32 AM:

This is just to say

I am going to
the Con that is
in London
and which
you were possibly
of hitting

Forgive that
the beer is British,
so flat
not so cold

#194 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 07:29 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale, here is More Information Than You Require on Kraków, courtesy of my friend, who says she's happy to help with any more questions - maybe I could put you in touch directly?

She works for this cultural/events mag and says: check out the online version before you go, but the paper version is well worth picking up once you get there (it's free and you can get it in all tourist information places and lots of pubs/cafes etc.)

Quoting verbatim: "There should be various literary events throughout the year - here's one. The most obvious bookshop is Massolit; also Cheder in Kazimierz. Kazimierz is a must anyway. Alchemia is a fantastic bar/club there with music most evenings.

"A slightly less obvious district is Podgórze; it's the site of the former Jewish Ghetto, there's a newish and good museum of modern art, there's Schindler's museum, there's new stuff there all the time that I'm not quite keeping up with.

"Nowa Huta is prob'ly worth getting a tram out to, if only to have a look at the gates to the MASSIVE Stalinist steelworks. You can't go in, unfortunately, and there's not a great deal else there, but it's kinda interesting in that the tram takes you through main Kraków and out to Huta which is still quite separate, and you get to see some different parts of the city along the way. And the steelworks is ENORMOUS and you do get a sense of that without even being allowed in.

"There's all the obvious stuff like just wandering round the Old Town and up to Wawel Castle and along the river a bit - to Kazimierz for example, or to Podgórze on the other side of the river. You can get everywhere by tram and most people speak at least some English, oh and taxis are not expensive if required (I think the days of the real cowboys screwing tourists for money are more or less gone).

"The aviation museum, slightly out of the way in Czyżyny (again, tram) is cool. It's been renovated and there's a swanky new main building, but I think there's still a bunch of abandoned post-Soviet aircraft sitting in a field, rusting slowly."

And also the Stanislaw Lem Garden of Experiences, "a park with various outdoor science exhibits/demonstrations, which is fun".

(as opposed I guess to the Garden of Stanislaw Lem Experiences, in which you are assailed by mad inventors, automated poetry-writing machines and murderous robots speaking Chaucerian English?)

#195 ::: James E is visiting the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 07:30 AM:

Probably due to a million links in one comment, some of them in Polish.

#196 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 11:25 AM:

This is also to say

I have drunk
the beer
that was in
the handpump

and which
was not fizzy
or chilled
to mask the taste

Forgive me
it was delicious
so were the next
four or five

(More EJ Thribb than Williams, sorry)

#197 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 11:53 AM:

Well, I'm annoyed. I found what I'm pretty sure is a bug in Firefox (doesn't happen in Chrome), and tweeted about it. Got a tweet from someone named Varun Kaushik, whose job apparently is to scan Twitter for 'firefox bug' and send such tweets, saying "Thanks for finding a bug. Make everyone's Firefox experience better by reporting. It's easy" and giving a link.

So I went there. You can't imagine how discouraging they make it to report a bug. I was a QA professional for years, and *I* found the requirements off-putting. Not unreasonable to ask people to check the release notes for their version (though I found the fact that going to Help/About to check my version automatically updated me without asking kind of annoying too). Asking them to download a recent nightly build in case the bug has been fixed, though, is pretty ridiculous, especially since no information is given about whether this is reversible. Sorry, my machine is Production, and I'm not putting test builds on it!

Asking end users to "create a reduced testcase" (thought admittedly they do say "try to") is just flat-out absurd. There is no way I'm going to spend the time to do that unless they're paying me, and most users won't even understand the explanation they give.

So I decide to ignore all that and write a bug report anyway, figuring I'll mention the version I'm using and say I didn't know if I could reverse the nightly-build download. I go to Bugzilla, which is their bug reporting system, and discover that I have to create a Bugzilla account to go forward. Fine, I can do that. I click the Create an Account link.

When I do, I find this little gem:

2. Bugzilla is a public place, so what you type and your email address will be visible to all logged-in users. Some people use an alternative email address for this reason.
I'm not willing to create an email address just for my Bugzilla login. I have enough email addresses. I'm also not willing to expose any of my existing email addresses to spammers or anyone who decides my bug offends them! Why on Earth would they publish your email address? What the hell is wrong with those people?

I tweeted back to Varun Kaushik, outlining the above, and ending with "So thank you for encouraging me, but Mozilla is not on your side on this. They don't want to hear from me."

If they want end-users to report bugs, they should make the process easier and safer. If they don't, they shouldn't have poor Varun Kaushik tell people they should, much less lie to them and say it's easy!

#198 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 12:11 PM:

Oh, and in case you're wondering, it DOES have to be a real working email address. They test it before letting you submit a bug.

I figure they want to be able to say they encourage end-user reporting, without actually having to deal with end-user bug reports. Most of which are probably awful, but I know how to write a well-formed bug report that Dev can use, and they lost me at "we're going to publish your email address."

#199 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 01:16 PM:

@198 Xopher Halftongue

Oh, and in case you're wondering, it DOES have to be a real working email address. They test it before letting you submit a bug.

Not that it makes the situation any better; I just thought I'd take to opportunity to point out 10 Minute Mail. It's a disposable email address service at which you can receive things like confirmation emails, and reply to them. If you need more than 10 minutes, you can request a little extra time. I've found it useful for various things.

#200 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 01:20 PM:

But if they want to contact me later concerning the bug, it will fail. I can see how that might be useful for some things, but not in this case.

#201 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 01:27 PM:

Xopher and others, I've hit bug-reporting systems which seem pretty unfriendly. And software which falls over every time Adobe release a new version of Flash Player. Most recently: "We haven't received any other reports of problems with Flash Player" was the result of my persistence.

I am not surprised.

#202 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 01:28 PM:

Yes, it does not apply to this situation. I just wanted to point it out for other times when it might be useful.

#203 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 01:33 PM:

Errolwi @184 - To be less oblique: Much of the disscussion on Person of Interest seems to be about either seeing it as a crime-thriller with SF bits hanging off it (noting that 90% of the time the machine could be a magic box that tells them where this week's episode occurs) or if it has an SF skeleton on which a crime-thriller has been grown. My, possibly unhelpful, approach is to classify it as a superhero story. It has not yet given me any particular insights, but it does make clear why Reese can beat the tar out of any regular half dozen criminals or pair of trained ex-military guards.

#204 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 01:45 PM:

Kathryn @ 186: Thanks! sounds like west/east Norway have an element of northern/southern California: same states, different countries? We have 8 days in Norway, so enough time to do a roadtrip, and definitely to see more than Oslo.

If your divide in California goes back 1100 years and beyond and includes having two slightly different written versions of the language, yeah...

#205 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 03:01 PM:

James at 194
Wonderful! If I hadn't been planning to go already I would be now. Can't rot 13 my email but Abi et al have it (fn.ln@gmail)

Roy@204 they say "go down *the* 101" we say "go down 101" (freeway). Irreconcilable.

#206 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 03:12 PM:

Ah, the articulation (in the sense of "using with articles") of highway numbers is only in Southern California? That's an even smaller area than I knew of.

No articles out here. Only with named highways. So "We took the Sprain" but "We took 95."

#207 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 03:40 PM:

Worse than that: I've heard people talk about the El Camino. That's just wrong.

In Southern California, the use of the article may be connected with freeways having more than one name for the same number, or more than one number for the same name. (That means: Ventura-101 and Ventura-134; Hollywood-170 and Hollywood-101; 10-Santa Monica and 10-San Bernardino.)

#208 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 03:40 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @205: I'm sure Abi's posted an email address publicly here but slightly embarrassingly I can't remember what it is. So here is mine, rot-13ed. Use it only for evil: wnzrf@wnzrfrntyr.arg

#209 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 03:57 PM:

Sorry; I wasn't following the thread closely.

If anyone needs to email me on ML business, use my username here at this domain and it'll get through.

But it sounds like you've got the basis to connect already.

#210 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 04:33 PM:

I've started reading Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey. Am now on about chapter 4 and so far liking it very well -- but what's with the idiosyncratic spellings? So far I've stumbled over "teazed", "surprized", and "shew", all used consistently so it has to be deliberate. Is this a form of not-American English, or something internal to the story?

#211 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 04:43 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @206: Which is how freeways are referred to in Northern California, or at least the SF Bay Area.

#212 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 04:44 PM:

So, I don't know how many people here pay any attention to comics. There's a woman blogger who recently complained about the upcoming cover to DC's Teen Titans relaunch with a #1...and received a bunch of rape threats for it. And it turns out that women involved with comics online get that a lot. (Something I have to admit I hadn't realized.)

Here's a story about the situation that asks the question, "What Are Misogynist Geeks So Afraid Of?"

Well, I have a theory about that.

Teresa once commented about The Internet Tough Guy, with this insightful statement:

when they hear about a semi-random bad thing happening to someone who didn't deserve it, they feel a rush of anxiety, which they experience as something the victim is doing to them, rather than something they're doing to themselves.

It seems to me that the more pathological specimens of misogyny, similarly, experience their own sexual feelings, and their anxiety about sexual feelings, as something that women do to them. Making threats of rape thus allows them to project sex-related powerlessness onto someone else: they claim control of their own sexuality by, in fantasy, depriving someone else of that same control.

I could of course be completely out to lunch.

#213 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 04:48 PM:

If you ARE completely out to lunch, could you get me some gum on your way back?

#214 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 04:51 PM:

Lee @ 210:

Period spelling. I've encountered it elsewhere.

#215 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 04:55 PM:

I once heard it posited that misogynist homophobes are so virulently against the existence of normative tolerance of homosexuality because they're terrified someone else is going to treat them "like a woman" -- the way THEY treat women, anyhow.

#216 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 05:01 PM:

Fragano Ledgister@169: Was this because it was using an English dictionary or because the Spanish dictionary was too far from the text you were writing?

#217 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 05:23 PM:

Cygnet @187: Are you rooting around for information?

#218 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 05:56 PM:

207 PJ Evans: And now you have me at my favourite toothgrinder: menus offering beef dip with au jus. So, this is Canada. Like the California of The Royal Road and its language, one should have a passing familiarity with the alternate language in question if you live here; at least *somebody* on the menu chain should. Somewhere. But no, it's always "with au jus."

Except for the one time where it was offered "with au jus sauce." Srsly.

Ah, the hoi polloi. What *are* we going to do with them? Probably force them to identify themselves with their personal PIN number before termination, frankly.

#219 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 06:06 PM:

Mycroft: there's always the La Brea tar pits.

#220 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 06:27 PM:

They use their personal PIN number at the automatic ATM machine, right?

#221 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 06:35 PM:

Naomi, #214: Thanks -- I had wondered if that might be it.

Mycroft, #218: It says "Au Jus Sauce" on the #10 (food-service-size) can, which I suspect is where at least the latter atrocity comes from. And yeah, it bugs the hell out of me too; America is much more monoglot, but I grew up in Detroit and took French in school, and I bloody well know better.

#222 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 06:42 PM:

Elliott Mason #215: I'd call that the simplified explanation -- there's also the matter of challenging a "traditional" dominance hierarchy which favors men's sexual access to women.

If men are demonstrably able to negotiate with each other for sex, then they might someday be expected to negotiate with women, as if the woman was in charge or something....

In contrast, such mysogynists often seem AOK with men raping other men, as long as everybody's consistent about "who's a butch and who's a bitch". But if a man willingly "services" another man, that makes them a "bitch" (that is, an "honorary female")... and treating them like a "real man" then challenges the power differential that puts men over women. Naturally, taking turns "on top" is right out....

#223 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 06:48 PM:

I like to explain to young women (on the rare occasions I have any social contact with them) that homophobic boys are likely to treat them badly, because of that "logic."

This is not always true, but it makes it harder for homophobic boys to get dates, which is an unmixed good.

#224 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 07:16 PM:

@215: That's also the fear racists have at society becoming majority non-them. They think the new majority will treat them the same way racists treated them when they were a minority. Karma may not exist, but belief in it drives some people crazy.

@114: Strenuous disagreement.

#225 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 07:18 PM:

David Goldfarb #212, Elliott Mason #215: Also, in the interest of filling in the reference chain and giving the good folks some readership, here's Janelle Asselin's original article, and the Dr. Nerdlove article that David Goldfarb's article refers to.

#226 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 07:30 PM:

Xopher @ 220: That's Automated Termination Machine, in context, correct?

#227 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 10:10 PM:

So what do you do when you follow a "[spammer] on [ancient thread]" link and start reading the fascinating comments in [ancient thread]. Do you look at them and think "2006, huh? A bit too late to reply now..."? Or do you just quit reading quickly because the past is in the past?

#228 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 10:59 PM:

Buddha, I read it some, and nostalgize a bit. Sometimes interesting stuff is there. That's how I found that it was actually John Scalzi who said "but...but there's more candy in him!" about a troll and gave us the term 'piñata'. I had forgotten it was him.

#229 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:33 AM:

Mycroft W @218: Once, a long time ago, I encountered "Beef with au jus, in a sauce of its own natural juices." This strikes me as the ne plus ultra of that particular pleonasm.

#230 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 03:10 AM:

Xopher@206, when I was living in Monmouth or Middlesex County, one of the highways was referred to as "The 1&9" (being the part that was both Hwy. 1 and Hwy. 9), though I guess 35 and 36 were referred to with a "the". The Parkway and The Turnpike always had articles. Interstates might or might not be referred to as I- or Highway-.

#231 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 05:59 AM:

Hamsters eating tiny burritos on Youtube.

That is all.

#232 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 08:49 AM:

That hamster has better table manners than me!

#233 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 10:01 AM:

The "Xavier Institute for Higher Learning" in Google Maps is 2 counties away from where it should be, has the wrong street address, and is one name-change behind current continuity. Google Maps has it as

Xavier Institute for Higher Learning
Cromline Ln
NY 10918

, which is in Craigsville, in Orange County.

Per the Wikipedia entry on the X-Mansion, which is correct in this case:

Its address is 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center (part of the town of North Salem), located in the very northeast corner of Westchester County, New York.... Recently, Wolverine re-opened the school, at the same address, under the name of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.

#234 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 10:14 AM:

I read today's xkcd as an RSS feed in ... Livejournal

#235 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:47 AM:

Dave H., #225: I have a question specifically about online media: how many of them have a function to enable moderation? Because, leaving aside for the moment the issue of how this behavior in comment threads both arises from and reinforces the same kind of behavior in other venues, it's well known that any unmoderated forum turns into a cesspool as soon as any sort of "controversial" topic comes up.

So IMO, any forum that doesn't enable moderation at least to the "minimum standard of human decency" level (aka "Say shit like this and you permanently lose your commenting privileges") is effectively saying that they know their comment area is going to be a cesspool and they're okay with that.

And then, by the equally well-known principle of the bad driving out the good, all they get are assholes and trolls, along with the people who are not yet burned out by playing Wrong On The Internet. And yet another site that could have been a source of interesting conversation is gone.

#236 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 12:21 PM:

HLN but with definitely international implications; here's hoping AKICIML. I know there will be some interest among other US expats...

About a year ago, Dear Hubby got the news from an internet bank that they were so sorry, but because of the costs associated with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, I was no longer welcome as a customer of that bank. Too expensive, you see, to deal with the reporting requirements.

One swallow doesn't make a summer, so I didn't worry too much at the time.

Now, though... we just got a note from a second institution - not an internet bank, but an fckng bank based in one European country but also doing business where we live. That is, at least on paper, a "free" bank - i.e. they don't charge for basic services.

Dear Hubby just phoned this bank - querying the totality of their conditions: neither a US citizen NOR a person with a US birthplace. (Well, he was querying a lot of other things about this policy; I sense future contacts with consumer organizations, financial ombudsmen - just not today, in the closing hours of the last day before holiday weekend... *sigh*)

The letter was clumsily worded, apparently. The nice lady talking to Dear Hubby explained, in some detail (I guess she's had to tell this to other soon-to-be-ex-customers) that if we could give them a document showing I had cut off all ties with the US, that would satisfy them that they were not liable to any reporting requirements as described by FATCA.

In other words, her bosses expect me to visit a US embassy and renounce my citizenship, and also state that I relinquish any claim to such forever, then put this in writing to deliver to their offices. For the privilege of banking with them.

I can't even begin to express just how violated I feel at this moment, having learned this. And, seeing as reporting requirements to the USA (and associated costs) are being cited as the reason for doing this, I am less than relaxed that this isn't actually a trend, or one that won't limit itself to "free" banks.

Crazy(Oh man, why has the ear-worm "Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!" come to me now?)Soph

#237 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 12:25 PM:

This being an open thread, a pointer to a video about hamsters eating tiny burritos shouldn't be totally inappropriate.

#238 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 12:26 PM:

(Sorry for the duplicate pointer, apparently it was sitting in my browser waiting for me to hit "Post".)

#239 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 12:51 PM:

crazysoph @ 236

Short answer: it's a trend, it probably won't get better since the Democrats strongly favor it. I would be surprised if any bank that isn't a US bank will handle accounts for any US citizen within a couple years.

Long answer:
The US tax system is different from almost anyone else's; while most countries tax in-country income, the US taxes world-wide income[1].

The issue FACTA is supposed to solve is American citizens earning money abroad, depositing it abroad, and not reporting it as US income and paying income tax.

What FACTA requires is that any bank with US account-holders must report the identifying information of the account-holders, and their transactions, to the IRS. For a lot of reasons, most non-US banks don't want to do so. (For one thing, it's illegal in some jurisdictions due to privacy concerns. For another, it's expensive, and there aren't enough US customers to justify the cost.) It's much cheaper and easier to just avoid having customers with connections to the US.

1) Opinions differ, but I think this is a good thing.

#240 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:07 PM:

Crazysoph@236 - Yeah, the latest US rules on overseas banking have been really a problem for friends of mine who are expat Americans, students, frequent travelers, my wife's Italian-American cousins if they're still doing things over there, etc. One of my friends who finally got her Belgian green-card-equivalent has been ranting about this lately; she's now allowed to live in Belgium full-time instead of spending N weeks a year away on business, but the banking is a pain.

Swiss banking secrecy was originally put in place to protect Jews taking their money out of Germany, and lasted until the US tax authorities bullied them into giving it up a few years ago. There are still some jurisdictions that'll be happy to do banking business with Americans, but they're mostly in the money-hiding or dodgy-investment part of the banking business, and charge a lot for the privilege, rather than the free and convenient part.

#241 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:30 PM:

AKICML: A Twitter friend suggests:

Peter Trei (I think) at rasff would take the info. He actually cares about improving the product.
I don't know that person, and the only thing I know about rasff is that it's a thing. Anyone know the person referred to, or anything that could put me in touch with him?

I've gotten back to wanting to report the problem, after being frustrated enough not to care.

#242 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:35 PM:

Lee #235: I'm hardly an expert on the field there! To me, the key point is that moderation is work, it requires the time of actual humans. If you want to do it right, the humans should also have various non-trivial skills and understandings.

The problem is, many sites and forums simply don't have such people available, and can't afford to hire them. People in general are expensive -- and if you try to save money on them, you're liable to "get what you pay for".

Then there's volunteer work, so ably represented on this very blog. But you know, most blogs don't have a devoted swarm of geniuses handy to recruit from! Mostly, volunteer labor on the internet is a lot like volunteer labor in the real world: In any given "area", there's a fair bit available, but if there's enough agencies or sites looking for help, they can run short of people who are "interested in that sort of thing". Of course, many bloggers are volunteer labor themselves, but can they manage that and moderation too?

And then of course, there's the question of why they should work for you as opposed to someone else! There are different answers for that one, but a lot of them depend on you already having some sort of community, or at least being well-known. The bookstore I work for has quite a few volunteers, and could easily have more (but where would we put them?). But the thing is, my boss has been a local fixture for 40 years, and for all his crotchety persona, he's got a real talent for making and holding connections with people. Somebody starting up a new shop would have a lot more trouble pulling in unpaid work.

#244 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 04:37 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @241: rasff is rec.arts.sf.fandom, the Usenet newsgroup. Probably you know that. Peter Trei is a regular poster there -- he uses the handle "Cryptoengineer". His posts have an email address attached: it's his name put together into one word (petertrei), at Google's popular free email service.

You could probably email him directly, or you could email me (goldfarbdj at that same popular service) and I could contact him.

#245 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 04:47 PM:

Kip W @224: They think the new majority will treat them the same way racists treated them when they were a minority.

The image I was reminded of today that bears on that is this one, of Keshia Thomas (a black woman) protecting a member of the KKK from an angry mob at a 1996 rally in Ann Arbor.

David Goldfarb @229, today I learned the word "pleonasm"! So thank you.

Niall McAuley @231, *squee*

crazysoph @236, my friend is a Swiss citizen as well as US (under the "don't ask don't tell" dual citizenship policy the US seems to have) and the Swiss bank account she had from childhood was apparently closed a few years back due to US restrictions of some kind. So it's been gathering momentum. (And I see someone else already mentioned the de-secretification of Swiss banking)

#246 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 05:20 PM:

I know because it affects my husband, who was born in Canada to parents of British and American citizenship (one each): in the early 90s, when he was not yet old enough for the cutoff, the US policy was that at your 21st birthday you had to DECIDE, and either go JUST US WOOHOO HOOAH, or renounce US and keep any other citizenships your birth entitled you to.

Luckily, before he turned 21, they changed the policy. Now, if you have more than one citizenship, but one of them is American, the US reserves the right to pretend US is the only citizenship you have (so no saying "No, you can't draft me, I'm a French national" or going for diplomatic immunity). If you are entering the US and you have passport privileges from more than one country, you must enter on a US passport if you have one. And so on.

That means, however, that the US can go to other countries' regulatory systems and say, "Yeah, fine, I don't care if he's also your citizen, he's OUR citizen and therefore we need you to follow OUR financial-reporting laws so we can be sure he's not a tax cheat."

#247 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 05:49 PM:

Re USA tax system exceptionalism:
As in free speech, actions have consequences. Of course, the negative consequences are often falling on people that aren't 'benefiting' from the reporting requirements.

I've seen it mentioned in NZ discussion places recently that no mainstream NZ banks will accept US customers, as they don't want to set up the systems to comply.

#248 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 07:05 PM:

David 244: Thank you. I've sent you the information. Now, of course, I'm sure it will turn out to be something stupid that I did or failed to do!

Elliott 246: That means, however, that the US can go to other countries' regulatory systems and say, "Yeah, fine, I don't care if he's also your citizen, he's OUR citizen and therefore we need you to follow OUR financial-reporting laws so we can be sure he's not a tax cheat."

Pretty sure that's "tax cheat, money launderer, or terrorist funder."

#249 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 08:14 PM:

Bloody hell, now Al Feldstein is dead.

Yes, I was always a Kurtzman partisan, but the loss of this talented artist, prodigious writer, inspired editor and all-around legend deprives us of one of the greatest of the Usual Gang of Idiots.

(Just to be on the safe side, I'm not going anywhere near his crypt.)

What? Me sorry.

#250 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 10:55 PM:

HLN: Local human went to see Neil deGrasse Tyson speak tonight. Amazing :D

Favorite take-away, from the Q&A: he said the biggest difficulty facing science education is adults who believe the best student is the one who obeys, because discovering new things comes from not doing what everyone says you should do. Local human suspects this applies to several other kinds of education as well.

#251 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:23 PM:

US tax system: my former boss had to do a ton of paperwork, as the US Dual citizenship option he had not exercized at age 21 was retroactively activated by a recent court decision. And one of those communications from the IRS that strikes fear into superheroes, a demand to file twenty years of US tax returns.

#252 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:48 PM:

@230 Bill Stewart "The 1&9" - in Hudson County, or at least Hoboken, we don't use the article or the ampersand in speech - it's just "1 9".

I do often precede interstates with "I", though not always.

#253 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 11:57 PM:

When I was growing up in Michigan, numbered highways were prefixed with the letter corresponding to state or federal highways. So "M-78" or "I-49." I don't recall any named highways there at all, isn't that odd?

#254 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:10 AM:

In regards to the Southern California vs. Northern California, I really hate those listicles that state "You know you're from California if..." and proceed to list things that are exclusively from the south half of the state (if not just the L.A. basin.)

Except for the avocados. I think avocado love is pretty well spread across the state.

#255 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:37 AM:

HLN: Local man is not at all happy to realize that he's forgotten most of the lyrics to his best Beltane song, or to discover that there's no copy of them on his current hard drive. The investigation now goes to paper records, which are unlikely to have a copy.

#256 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:59 AM:

Paper records have so far not yielded the lyric to the Bealtaine song, but did yield one of my very first stories (not counting teenage stuff or childhood stuff; my first story was "Sparky in Space," which I wrote when I was about seven), a too-short horror story written at least 30 years ago.

#257 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 01:26 AM:

The Comic Book Resources site announces a zero tolerance policy for hateful, threatening bullshit in its forums:

#258 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 01:47 AM:

I am wary of posting a link, or mentioning it in the obvious thread-cluster, but Baen have just announced a short story "award", a competition they are running with the winner to be announced at Gen Con.

Doesn't look bad, no obvious copyright traps, no heap of legalese, but it is to be judged by Baen editorial staff and Larry Correia.

I'm afraid that does ring an alarm bell, and I know most of trolling seems to be more connected to Vox Day, but I wonder a little at his judgment of other authors.

#259 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 04:07 AM:

Hey, as far as I'm concerned, more short story markets are a good thing. More voices in the choir.

If it's a thing that's only sustained by its negativity, it'll collapse and die when the galloping hordes of outrage move on to some other way the girl cooties are ruining SF (or whatever). If it's a real, vital thing, then people who like that sort of thing will have another source of the sort of thing they like.

#260 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 06:22 AM:

Speaking of girl cooties, "Women Destroy SF" is coming out very soon.

And the short story is alive and well, with many outlets, and I will NOT paraphrase Mark Twain about reports of its death.

#261 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 08:05 AM:

It's been a while since I've heard much "the short story is dead" chatter. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have lots of venues, serving lots of different audiences, does it?

#262 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 08:28 AM:

abi @ 261... True, it has been a while. Maybe people have finally noticed everything that's out there. The web has made it possible to have lost-cost venues tailored to any audience that wants it. Come to think of it, isn't that how it was in the days of the pulps?

#263 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 11:13 AM:

I've been trying to get more Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and there's a small press collection called Common Threads which includes The Thread that Binds the Bones which is commonly available, and a bunch of short stories (A Collection of Twist Ties) which so far as I know, has never been published separately.

A few months ago, I checked for Common Threads, and it cost more than I wanted to pay. More recently, I checked, and there were no copies at all.

So I thought I'd contact Hypatia Press, the publisher, and encourage them to bring it back into print.

The weird thing is, I'd have sworn I was on their web page a few days ago, and now I can't find that, either.

Anyone know what's going on with Hypatia Press?

#264 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:22 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 263--oh, please let it be so that Hypatia will reprint Common Threads! I have hunted for a copy, reasonably priced, for better than a decade (since first reading The Thread that Binds the Bones, actually). I prize everyone of Nina Kiriki Hoffman's books I can get, and especially the Chapel Hollow stories, and have never been able to acquire that one even just to read and return to its owner.

From the previous book thread: I am certainly no scholar of world religion, but surely attention to one's duty to one's forebears and minor gods who are approachable, real beings are not only to be found in the Catholic religion? (Shorter: it never occurred to me to map those qualities of Hoffman's work onto Catholicism.)

#265 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:24 PM:

AKICIML: Help!!! Urgently need advice re. book contracts (non-fiction, UK). Anyone know where/from whom I can get such advice? I know that at some point (probably soon) I will need to pay a contract lawyer, but some initial advice would be useful (also how I find an appropriate copyright lawyer).

The clause that's ringing real alarm bells is "The Publisher has the right at its sole discretion to edit, amend, make additions to and deletions from the Work." - Which I'm not prepared to sign up to. Also "sole right and licence to produce and publish the Work or any part of the Work in all languages and in any form or medium for the legal term of copyright throughout the world."

Assistance, anyone?

#266 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:34 PM:

dcb @ #265

That sounds more like a scammer than a publisher!

#267 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:43 PM:

I have looked over the Baen Short Story Competition rules and they are less offensive than many such competitions. In addition I suspect that the Gen Con connection etc means that arranging it likely pre-dated the Hugo Nomination announcements, if not the whole slate of awards.

Or to put it another way, I think that Correia's involvement is likely just a part of his/Baen's self-promotion efforts rather than a reaction to recent events.

(I'm slightly pushed for time and writing-brain-space at the moment, but I think I have something on the hard drive that might fit the description; tempted to have a go)

#268 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:44 PM:

Cadbury Moose @266: It's an actual, if small, publisher. I understand that it's fairly common for publishers to try to get these things, but that the author doesn't necessarily have to sign them away. I understand that there should be some sort of release clause if they stop actually selling the book, for rights to revert, and I am NOT prepared to have them just make any changes (the organisation the book relates to won't be happy with that either). This is why I need some advice, quickly.

#269 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:55 PM:

Addendum: apparently The Society of Authors offers a "Confidential, individual contract vetting service" if I join - annual membership fee is £95. Yes/No anyone?

#270 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 01:16 PM:

My cats are confused. A juvenile (very juvenile) specimen of Didelphus virginiana has appeared on our back landing. It looks almost like a mouse, only larger. Surely it can be dealt with as is mousekind? No! the little possum does not flee and scuttle and cower in proper mousy fashion! It glares at the nearest cat, hisses, and backs away to cover, beady eye fixed on the threat the entire time.

I'll have to dig out the humane trap and see if I can catch the possum instead of a cat; this will probably require a good bit of luck, and some cunning cat corralling.

#271 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 01:33 PM:

dcb @265

It still depends on the money involved, but I have often been told that, once you have an offered contract, it's a lot easier to acquire a competent agent, who will do all the negotiation you need.

I don't see anything wrong with the questions you're asking. Some details have multiple right answers.

There ought to be a reversion clause. Whether the publisher or your agent sells foreign or translation rights is a choice.

Getting an agent beats talking to a lawyer in the long term, and this sounds very ordinary, stuff that an agent has seen before.

#272 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 01:37 PM:

I'm kind of hoping that if Hypatia isn't interested in reprinting Common Threads or A Handful of Twist Ties that some other publisher (small or large) might be interested in picking it up. There's clearly an audience for it, though I can hardly guarantee that it's a large audience, nor do I know anything about the state of the rights for the stories.

#273 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 01:52 PM:

use soft catfood as bait, would be my suggestion. And watch out for all the teeny teeth.

#274 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 02:34 PM:

And watch out for all the teeny teeth.

Heh. JJ has been having Issues with his teeth over the last month or two, to the extent of having to go in and get actual dental work done by the vet.

His chewing sounded odd last night, so I though I'd see if I could just stick my finger in his mouth and feel around to see if he'd developed any new, sharp points that needed to be filed down.

With about the result you'd expect.

Damn those little jaws can develop a lot of pressure. Sort of like getting your finger clamped in a pair of pliers.

Couldn't tell if there were points, but my finger ached for quite a while afterward.

#275 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 02:38 PM:

Dave Bell @ 271. Thanks. The book has a very specific market which we (well the organisation involved) can approach directly and is likely to get good sales from (with the possibility of getting pre-publication sales). There's no advance being offered but reasonable royalties plus a donation to the organisation. It's a small publisher (Purdhrerq Synt Choyvfuvat - six books listed on their website) so I don't know whether this is okay or not.

What about The Society of Authors? Worth joining?

#276 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 04:00 PM:

So the last I saw of Agents of SHEILD, Fxl unq whfg tbggra fubg va gur thg naq Zvxr Crgrefra unq xvyyrq n ybg bs abg-fb-avpr crbcyr. Then I lost track and haven't seen any since then. I have seen Winter Soldier. Where to I need to jump back in?

#277 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 04:04 PM:

fidelio @270
Here in NZ, 'possum' means "introduced ecosystem destroyer that probably has bovine TB". Our reaction to their nearby presence differs widely from Australians' (and presumably Americans, regarding their local varient).
Apparently many parts of Australia have the same issue with foxes.

#278 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 04:21 PM:

Jacque @274
I was playing tug-of-usedtobestuffed-toy with the dog the other night. I need to pay attention, or he will accidently scrape a knunckle with his teeth as he re-arranges his hold. In a new variation, he broke my skin lunging as he snapped, and hitting a knuckle with the front of his teeth after his jaws closed.
I'm glad he likes getting his teeth brushed, because it would be a right pain otherwise.

#279 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 04:57 PM:

John A Arkansawyer: I could say more, but you'd probably do better asking over on the spoilers thread for that show.

#280 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 05:09 PM:

Elliott @279, he may wish to avoid spoilers for the current episode.

John @276, they've been doing an adequate job of "what has gone before" at the beginning of each episode, so you can probably jump in anywhere, but some pretty major things have happened in the last two or three weeks (as you'd expect, given the events in Winter Soldier). Ask in the SHIELD spoiler thread about anything that confuses you.

#281 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 05:38 PM:

Ok, John A Arkansawyer: more specific (though no-spoilers) answer. I think you're saying the last ep you saw was TRACKS, episode 13. For season-wide mythology reasons I think you need to not miss the following ep, 14 (TAHITI), but if the reason you quit watching was being annoyed by the writing's quality (and consistency of characterization) not living up to the premise, I think you could probably skip 15 (Yes Men) without missing plot. However, 16 (End of the Beginning) sets up a couple important things, and then you're into the OH BOY WE'RE GOING TO CROSS OVER WITH WINTER SOLDIER arc. Or, in retrospect, that's what I'd call it. Honestly, I think Only Light in the Darkness (ep 19) is moderately skippable, but the rest all feed into the things that happened last week AND UNF.

As always, watch all the way to the end of the epilogue scene, because Things Happen There.

#282 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 05:48 PM:

Elliot Mason @ 281, that's a much more comprehensive answer than mine (and I don't disagree with your "skippable" episodes).

#283 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 06:05 PM:

US possums are maybe less destructive ecologically. They got introduced into California in the late 19th century, and have made themselves at home, even in the cities. Fortunately for the ecology, they only live a couple of years, and they're not quite smart enough to not get run over.

Also, seeing one full-face under a bush at night? Ugliest white Persian cat you ever saw.

#284 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 06:16 PM:

US possums are native in the midwest and east, to my understanding -- at minimum, they've been here in Chicagoland since the mid-1800s. They share an ecological niche with raccoons, roughly, but reproduce more slowly and have different 'core competencies' that lead to regional differences in prevalence of each species.

#285 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 06:20 PM:

Errolwi @277: The American opossum, Didelphis virginiana is very different from the brush-tailed possum Trichosurus vulpecula.

#286 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 06:42 PM:

In the context of a place lacking native land mammals, they aren't so different :-)
The same layperson's label reflects the commonalities, and my comment was about perceptions. A rural Kiwi thinks 'where is the .22' on seeing one (which would apply to any small mammal that isn't a pet).

#287 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 06:42 PM:

P J Evans @ #283, and a lot of places have both raccoons and opossums; the part of Georgia I live in does. The relative prevalence of the two shifts yearly as well as with geography. I think the raccoons deal with harsh winters better, for example.

Opossums are virtually immune to rabies. Raccoons, OTOH, are one of the animals in this area most likely to turn up rabid.

#288 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 06:58 PM:

I know that raccoons aren't marsupials, and that cats hate them.
We also have raccoons all over California, including in the cities. (The first one I saw live and not in a zoo was on the patio in San Jose, picking over the walnuts that were spread out to dry. The cat was not pleased by the visitor. Doubled her size, just from the fur raising.)

#289 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 07:05 PM:

Huh. All my posting information disappeared.

My family's dog liked tug of war and we all knew how to win: put one hand close enough to his snout that he worried he might accidentally nip you. He'd let go with this anxious face.

#290 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 08:36 PM:

HLN: area man goes into a software company's office for what he thinks is a second job interview, but turns out to be just a "sign this paperwork" session. Area man finds this development pleasing.

(The paperwork was written in "lawyer", but boiled down to: "Any intellectual property you develop on our time is ours -- anything you want to declare as having been brought in with you? [no] Don't work with us and then break away to form your own startup and poach our people. [okay, no problem]")

Area wife anticipates having less trouble finding an answer when people ask what her husband does.

Man has just "contractor" status for now instead of "employee"; when questioned, he commented that this actually strikes him as a reasonable way to start things off on a trial basis, especially given his admittedly less-than-impressive resumé.

#291 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 08:51 PM:

Clarentine #264: From the previous book thread: I am certainly no scholar of world religion, but surely attention to one's duty to one's forebears and minor gods who are approachable, real beings are not only to be found in the Catholic religion?

Indeed not, though the qualifications and rituals differ. The Greek heroes have a whole mythic structure, and they're not just warriors: There are poet/musician heroes, lover-heroes, kings (when distinct from the warriors), sages, and probably other types I've forgotten.

There are also some passable correspondence to modern celebrity worship. (Who here has made a pilgrimage to, say, Graceland? ;-) ) Athletes would then correspond to the warriors, most movie stars to the lover-heroes, musicians to the poets, and so on. When I proposed this idea to my classics professor, he liked it enough to assign Madonna videos as homework for that year's class (I'd attended a previous year). (Very cool prof. He also likes Twisted Sister.)

#292 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 09:00 PM:

P J Evans #288: The cat was not pleased by the visitor. Doubled her size, just from the fur raising.

That's what the bristling is for -- when not trying to intimidate a peer, the idea is to look bigger so as to bluff a bigger opponent (like a raccoon!) into backing off.

#293 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 10:01 PM:

Re: raccoons and raccoon family members -- We've recently gotten coatimundis here. At least, Game and Fish confirmed a dead roadkill several miles away, and I've recently seen a live one very near our house. I confess to being thrilled, with trepidation. I like coatis -- they're like the love child of a raccoon and a lemur, and tons of fun to watch. On the other hand ... the garden.

Our goal this year is to grow most of our vegetables for the summer and fall, plus put up a fair amount of winter squash, onions, and canned veggies. I am hoping the coatis do not find our garden, because I have a suspicion that they'd be harder to deal with than the usual bunnies and squirrels and they're big enough I wouldn't want my dogs to tangle with them.

Coatis? Cool!

Coatis in the garden? Auuugh!

#294 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 10:19 PM:

PJ Evans @ 158: was this not publicized? I don't remember hearing anything about suspicious memberships before LAcon 2, and they were not referenced when some unknown person tried to rig the 1989 nominations.

Dave Luckett @ 193: you make me even more regretful about missing LonCon; I used to frequent a brewpub that made genuine Yorkshire-style ales (fermented in slate, served un-frigid and pumped rather than frozen/spurted), and had a lot of fun at CAMRA's Great British Beer Festival before the 2nd Glasgow Worldcon.

abi: have you seen the glow-in-the-dark road? It sounds like the sort of thing geeks would flock to see even if it semi-failed, but I've lost track of where you are.

#295 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 10:28 PM:

We did a word-of-mouth thing on it, IIRC. The one nomination that went through wasn't for a Hugo, and the rules didn't cover it, so. What else could we do? (I'm still ticked, and that author still isn't getting any of my money, even though deceased.)

#296 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 12:12 AM:

Cygnet @ 293: I've been told that we may have trouble with deer in our garden in Pittsburgh. I'm astonished, as our new house is in the city, with houses close together and tiny yards. Apparently they live in the large parks and stroll out for some variety in their diet. I'm hoping that people are exaggerating.

#297 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 12:31 AM:

janetl #296: Alas, they probably aren't. Deer are dumb but opportunistic, and once they realize nobody's shooting at them, they'll get surprisingly close to people. I haven't seen them actually among the houses of my development, but they certainly hang out at the entry road. And once on my local nature-trail, I got almost within arms reach of one... until my dog stepped off the path. Yep, even with a dog. The house nearby had chicken-wire on beams around their garden.

#298 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 01:18 AM:

Critters in the garden? (Hm. Now that I think about it, I might invest in some and see if I can reduce the frequency with which I have to rescue baby racoons from the dumpsters. I wouldn't, except that they make such a frightful ruckus, and the dumpster is only about thirty feet from my bedroom window.)

#299 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 02:51 AM:

Errolwi@277 and subsequent possum discussion: Apparently many parts of Australia have the same issue with foxes.

I'm not sure whether the Australian equivalent would be foxes (introduced ecosystem destroyer that will kill all your chickens for fun) or rabbits (introduced ecosystem destroyer that will dig up your paddocks, but at least you can eat them). Then there's the wild dogs, feral cats, feral goats, feral deer, feral pigs, feral camels, bush cattle, wild brumbies, indian mynahs, non-native rodents, and so on ad bloody infinitum, but at least we don't have to worry about any of them being rabid.

(Sorry about the possums. And the eucalypts, elsewhere.)

I think possums are possibly the only species where the Australian version is less deadly than the non-Australian one.

#300 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 04:04 AM:

At least you can skin and wear the bushy possums, although it isn't done much in practice.
Our feral deer (a serious issue by the 1960s in National Parks) were dealt with by firstly hunting them for meat, then capturing them for farming. Before they figured out you could trank them or use a net gun, keen kiwi blokes jumped on them from helicopters and hog-tied them.

We've almost sorted the feral Wallaby issue, mainly by sending them back!

#301 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 04:13 AM:

Errolwi #300

I see from the news that our profitable industry of exporting feral deer to Europe as venison is about to be discommoded by an attempt to wipe out other undesirable fauna.

The Dept of Conservation is dropping fluoroacetate poison baits in Fiordland, to kill rats, stoats, foxes, etc. That's going to shut down the feral venison industry for a few months.

#302 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 05:28 AM:

Congratulations to David Goldfarb @290. Income generation is always a positive development! Best of luck in turning the situation into a long-term position.

#303 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 08:48 AM:

Operation Pogo Must Go was a success, although the live trap turned out not to be necessary; I was able to corner young John Q. Possum and scoop him into a plastic shoebox, stick the lid on it, and convey him out doors, into the great wide open, where there will be less cat kibble but fewer outraged humans, cats, and dogs.

If this comment was being written as Hyperlocal News, it would go something like this:

Young area possum, on being asked to confirm his recent whereaboouts, ignored questions. When pressed about his future plans, he hissed and vanished into a bush outside Edgefield Baptist Church.

#304 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 09:10 AM:

Cygnet @ 293

When I lived in Lynchburg, I was hit by a deer in my car. The neighborhood I was in was a 1930's streetcar suburb, with street parking. I was driving one evening--it was dusk but not dark--and a deer ran out of a yard between two parked cars, ran into my passenger-side door, bounced off, and ran between another set of parked cars into a different yard.

Deer are quite happy to live close to humans (as are coons, possums, and coyotes.)

#305 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 09:30 AM:

Jacque @298 I doubt that predator pee would discourage our garden-raiding critters, given the population of actual predators.

Janetl @ 296 -- I'd totally believe in deer in the city. We haveelk. We live in a fairly remote area, but Payson is the closest large town and they get elk right in the heart of town. Elk are the size of a small horse -- so it's like having herds of horses wandering around a town of 20,000 people. Makes for interesting driving, sometimes. (Though, granted, Payson's version of rush hour is 300 pickups, 100 SUVs, six quads, a dozen side-by-sides, a guy on an electric bike, and a couple beat up hatchbacks. The elk are a bit easier to avoid than the quads.)

The only thing that'll keep elk (or deer) out of a garden is a fence that is about seven or eight feet tall.

#306 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 10:05 AM:

HLN: Atlanta Area Woman is pleased to report that the vocal concert in which she will be performing on Saturday and Sunday has experienced a dramatic decrease in "Potential Disaster" probability due to 3 extra-long rehearsals over the past week. She remains exceedingly grateful to the ML poster who introduced her to "Just Voices" ( and invites anyone in the Atlanta area who is not occupied on either Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon to come to the concert. (Note: the website fails to mention the $10.00 ticket price for some reason.)

#307 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 10:09 AM:

Watering Spring grass
I find the squelching mud holds
A deer's fresh hoof prints.

#308 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 10:42 AM:

I just had, and then was bemused at having, an "EEEW old people DO WEIRD THINGS" moment. So I thought I'd share.

(voice="standup comedian")So why is it that people, especially Of A Certain Age, think it's perfectly normal and reasonable for a married couple to have a single, joint email address with both their names on it? And then don't sign their messages to tell you WHO JUST EMAILED YOU? Weird, right?(/voice)

Because wow that strikes me as creepy as all heck ... and yet it clearly feels normal and unexceptionable to the couple in question. I can't IMAGINE either being comfortable with my husband seeing all my emails (for one thing, he'd get pissed off and delete big swathes of my inbox because he couldn't see HIS stuff on a regular basis), and I'm certain he wouldn't want me seeing all his either. Not to mention, we are not interchangeable, and there are friends of his who would react very differently to being emailed by me than they do to being emailed by him.

And yet, a cousin of mine (well, a first cousin of my father's, really; that generation) regularly does this. From the content I am lightly intuiting that it's HER emailing me and not her husband, but since I've not met either of them in person since they got married when I was 5 I'm not exactly sure.

#309 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 10:56 AM:

cyllan @306, that sounds very nice. I'm developing more and more of an interest in choral music, especially a cappella. I am, alas, far from Atlanta, or I'd come hear you.

#310 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 11:01 AM:

Elliott Mason @308, this seems weird to me, too, but there's a fellow chorus-member who has a similar setup with her husband. I know it's her because I've never met him and have no reason to get email from him. This can only work for people who don't have very high email volume.

On the other hand, I know I'm in the "doddering" category to many people because my primary email address is still AOL. I've had the same email address for 20+ years now, and I like it that way.

#311 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 11:10 AM:

Elliott #308:

If you figure it out, let me know. There is a neighborhood couple, friends of ours, both recently retired, and they do that. Since there are several sorts of neighborhood activities in which they are actively involved, both eachly and severally, it can get confusing. (Not to mention sending wife an invite to tea and knowing husband will likely be the first reader.)

Really, no excuse that I can see in this day and age, and yet it would be seriously rude to suggest they get separate accounts.

#312 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 11:15 AM:

Elliott @308, I expect it's because many People Of A Certain Age aren't necessarily comfortable with computers; they get one email address set up and whomever is more computer-literate is in charge of checking it.

That used to be true at my work; for years I was the company spamfilter and got ALL the emails; I would *print them out* for the people they were addressed to. (We have slowly edged into the 21st century; now I forward the general-email-address emails to the appropriate parties instead. Except for the one or two who still prefer hard copy...)

I wouldn't want my husband's emails, and he wouldn't want mine. We each know the other's password, Just In Case, but I've never actually gone into his email and I'm quite confident that he's never gone into mine.

#313 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 11:32 AM:

We have a "yours, mine & ours" set up with our email--we each have our own main email address(es)¹, and then we have a joint account that we both have easy access to, though in practice I am the one who probably checks it more often. In our case, it allows us to have a joint Apple account, and share our single (and never visited) Book of Face page, and that sort of thing. But it's not the address that either of us use most often, nor is it the one that springs immediately to mind when I want to give someone my email address. Still, I can see how for someone not terribly comfortable with email, and who doesn't use it a lot (especially not with friends), that might be a useful solution.

¹ Of course, we each have another address for work, and another one for our online activities that we don't want associated with our main address for whatever reason--in my case because I have a stable long-term pseudonymous identity online, and in her case for avoiding spam.

#314 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 11:32 AM:

Cassy B. #312:

In the case of my friends, they are both retired from jobs involving much computer use. Go figure.

#315 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 11:34 AM:

Elliott, #308: While it's not something I'd want, it doesn't strike me as being particularly creepy either, and I know several couples (my age or younger) who do this. I agree that it's only feasible for people whose total volume of e-mail is fairly low. I also know of at least one couple who share a LiveJournal account which I believe is used only for reading/commenting; the person posting the comment will sign it.

What does strike me as creepy is that your husband would feel free to DELETE your e-mail if it inconvenienced him, rather than moving it off into a folder. That ain't right. My partner has occasionally cleaned out my in-box when it got so full that the program was acting wonky, but he would never presume to delete anything of mine; he just filtered things into folders.

#316 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 11:50 AM:

Re: Single email address for couples.

In my mother's generation and geo-location, it is generally assumed that the wife will be the one who handles all of the correspondence. I know this because she is continually surprised that I don't track the birth-dates and anniversaries of my various in-laws. (That is my husband's responsibility; not mine. Well, now it's Google's responsibility, but it works out to the same thing in the end.) That may account for some of the Single Point of Contact email address behavior.

#317 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 12:14 PM:

Elliott @308, my grandparents have a joint email address, but they sign with their initials. Also they've been married for like 60 years, which may make a difference, and I think do not do very much emailing, which certainly makes a difference.

#318 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 12:17 PM:

Re: shared email

It could also be a simple concept extension of a shared postal address and a shared home phone+answering machine. My parents share an email address. Much like postal mail or answering machines, the message gets delivered to the right household and it's on them to make sure it gets to the right person.

(Not signing their name when sending a message is kind of weird though.)

#319 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 12:23 PM:

My parents share an email account, also a LiveJournal account (which they use only for reading my LJ) and an account on the Book of Face. In each case, the volume is very low, and mostly for interacting with family. My father also has an email account that he uses for professional correspondence (he's retired now, but there's still some of that); my mother has a separate email account, too, but I'm not sure she uses it much. At least for family stuff, messages are mostly from both of them anyway; when something is explicitly from one or the other of them, they'll indicate that.

The library where I work sends out notification emails* for reserves and overdues; a lot of people seem to be sharing an email address with another family member. Sometimes it seems to be a joint account, other times it's explicitly "Oh, my wife/husband will pass on the message when she/he sees the email."

*People who don't have/don't want to give us an email address can opt for phone calls about their reserves instead.

#320 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 12:48 PM:

Elliott Mason #308: My parents do this, though the shared account is mostly Mom's. I think my stepfather does have a separate account somewhere for tech-browsing, but he hasn't sent me any emails.

#321 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 12:50 PM:

I don't think shared email addresses are creepy in general, but they're risky if the more computer adept partner is abusive.

#322 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 02:17 PM:

My parents shared a single email address until a year or so ago. Their reasons have mostly been mentioned above:

They had a relatively low volume of email, so there wasn't the risk that one of them would miss something important.

They viewed it as analogous to a shared landline phone number and a shared postal address.

They both trust one another not to read the emails that were not intended for them. (It would be clear from who an email was from who it was intended for; if it was from me or one of my brothers, it was for both of them.) This ties into the postal-address analogy; while "get a private PO Box" is something that's frequently recommended for people in an abusive situation, it's not the norm, and it's generally expected that people don't read each other's mail without invitation to do so.

As more of their friends got email, they eventually moved to separate addresses, but it wasn't a big deal either way.

#323 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 02:37 PM:

cyllan @306, have a good concert! I have one coming up as well, on May 10. Cantigas Women's Choir is a Hoboken, NJ community chorus which sings a combination of composed and collected music from around the world. This concert has songs in more than ten languages, most of which we have native speakers for in the choir, and features a children's choir in the major piece. We have a guest director from Argentina for the first half of the program, most of which he arranged or wrote.

Xopher has been helping me memorize lyrics. He turns out to be an incredible memorization coach.

Tickets are $15 at the door ($5 for students & seniors), or $10 in advance.

#324 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 02:45 PM:

In the department of Possibly Useful Tools, I've started playing about with using an app called Sleep Cycle (i-things only, I think, though similar Android apps exist).

It uses the accelerometer in my iPod Touch to tell how my sleep cycle varies, in realtime, and can adjust my alarm-clock wakeup by as much as half an hour to wake me at a 'good' part of the cycle to aid my ability to wake alertly instead of being yanked awake at a 'bad' part.

It works because I set it, face down, on the corner of the mattress on which I am sleeping, and it senses me moving about in my sleep. Interesting idea.

I need to figure out how to convince it more strongly that I DO wake up all the way in the middle of the night. I thought if I picked it up and shook it upon waking it might, y'know, twig, but apparently not after last night.

Still. Datasets! Datasets make me happy. And might you, too, so. Sharing.

#325 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 03:18 PM:

I am now in the midst of finals. This weekend and next weekend are the peak experiences of the semester. As usual I learn many new things. Including this: 'Many other black political thinkers like Walter Rodney and W.E.B. DuBois took a radical approach to achieving justice; both of these black thinkers were killed in ways that were seen as sneaky and vicious.'

The assassination of W.E.B. DuBois is an event hitherto unknown to history.

#326 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 03:30 PM:

Oh, I don't know; death is sneaky and vicious, even if it's caused by old age.

#327 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 04:14 PM:

Elliott Mason #324, interesting idea, and I hope it works for you. It wouldn't work for me, because cats.

#328 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 05:32 PM:

I am from the computer security world that thinks "anything with a shared password is broken by default." In fact, I work specifically on mitigating that problem when it is unavoidable.

So the concept of an email address shared by two people is anathema to me - not that the content is a problem (yes, even without a preview pane enabled, the difference between a sealed envelope with a return address, and a subject line and a return address, is quite large), but that two people know, and use, the same password. Now, if you could work out a system where two passwords would match the user (and they do exist), or both halves of a secret must be entered (and that certainly exists)...

But for sanity's sake, even without the shared secret issue, I would want a "yours, mine, ours" set of addresses (and a very easy way to forward email from mine into ours). There are just things that need to be both obviously from me, and obviously only to me - even if it's just etsy telling me my partner's present has been sent!

#329 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 06:13 PM:

Argh, was going to add, on the "is it SFF" and "Literature is a genre" spaces: Margaret Atwood, as CanLit author of a popular, and also not necessarily standard, variety, has a strong incentive to keep her literary credentials, while expanding her readership to other genres.

After all, she wrote a textbook on CanLit - one which I have explored my issues with before.

#330 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 06:28 PM:

There's a lot of fantasy and science fiction between the pages of books that are marketed as literary fiction or thrillers. Given how hard it is to make a living as a writer, I don't lose any sleep over any writer's attempt to have their work marketed with whatever label they think will get the rent paid.

I once was at a reading by a writer who-shall-remain-nameless where there was a question about why they didn't write SF any more. The author said that their SF novel was well received by critics, but didn't sell all that much. A very similar novel that came out at the same time wasn't marketed as SF, and it was picked up by reading groups and sold quite well. The author decided to shift gears. At least one of their later books has an element that I'd certainly consider SF, but it wasn't marketed that way.

#331 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 06:51 PM:

...and my comment @ 330 is in the wrong thread... Never mind!

#332 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 07:03 PM:

AKICIML: My new house in Pittsburgh has a ceiling fan in every room, except the kitchen and bathrooms. Pittsburgh gets hot and humid in the summer, but this house does have air conditioning. It's expensive to put a fan in every room, so I wondered if there was a reason other than summer heat. Like most houses in Pittsburgh, it has radiators. I haven't lived in a house with radiators since I was a child. I wondered if maybe radiators are more effective if you use a ceiling fan?

Two of them—the ones in the childrens' rooms—are ghastly*. I'm wondering if I should replace them with fans, or just get light fixtures.

*Hot pink in a girl's room, Baseball glove in a boy's.

#333 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 07:11 PM:

cyllan @ #306, you're welcome, and I'm glad to hear it, as I had lunch with your director a while back and she'd been a bit apprehensive. Can't come to the concert because my child is graduating from college this weekend(!), but my best wishes and I hope it goes very well indeed!

Elliott @ #308, my sister (20 years older than me) used to get her husband to print out all her emails for her. She had her own address, but...!

OTOH, our mother considered herself very advanced because she had her own checking account, in addition to the joint account she shared with my father. (This originated when he objected to some of her spending habits, even though she had her own income.)

#334 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 07:47 PM:

janetl (332): Ceiling fans are an awesome supplement to air conditioning. I love them. And set in reverse (so you don't get the breeze), they help in the winter by stirring the air around and keeping all of the heat from massing near the ceiling.

#335 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 07:48 PM:


AKICIML: My new house in Pittsburgh has a ceiling fan in every room, except the kitchen and bathrooms. Pittsburgh gets hot and humid in the summer, but this house does have air conditioning. It's expensive to put a fan in every room, so I wondered if there was a reason other than summer heat. Like most houses in Pittsburgh, it has radiators. I haven't lived in a house with radiators since I was a child. I wondered if maybe radiators are more effective if you use a ceiling fan?

I just checked quickly online, and I can get ceiling fans for about the same price that I can get light fixtures. Prices in your location may vary?

Fans are a lot less expensive to run than A/C, and having them makes the cool air move around more efficiently, letting you keep your A/C at a lower level. You can also run them on those days when you don't really need A/C, but it's still nice to have a breeze.

I'm not sure about radiators, but I know in my old place, which had baseboard electric, I could get a 2 degree temperature rise on the kitchen thermometer by running the ceiling fans on low.

#336 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 08:47 PM:

#332, janetl: You'll notice the biggest difference in temperature control with air circulation, whether you're heating or cooling the house, because it nearly eliminates temperature gradients between the heat (or A/C) source and the thermostat. As Mary Aileen suggested, run them in reverse to avoid a draft -- whichever way they're running, they'll stir up the air.

If the ghastly fans are mostly ghastly due to decorated fan blades you can get replacement blades for some types of ceiling fan, I've seen them for sale.

#337 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 09:33 PM:

As far as I know, this is not a spoof.
Ralph Nader wants our side to vote for Rand Paul.

(insert many rude expletives)

#338 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 09:46 PM:

Serge, #337: No surprise. Nader has been a Republican shill for at least the last 2 election cycles.

#339 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 09:46 PM:

Ralph fucking Nader can put it where the sun will never shine on it again.

#340 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 10:56 PM:

HLN—that is, Hopeful LonCon Negotiations: at this point it's still very uncertain whether I'll be at LonCon, but it's looking increasingly possible that we'll be in London about then. Should a Gathering of Light happen some or all of us might be able to join.

#341 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 02:54 AM:

Thanks to a friend on Facebook, I have just discovered Georgia Dunn's which had us all in hysterics this evening. An intrepid team of cats report on hard-hitting news stories, such as "It's 7:31am on a Saturday, and the food bowl is empty" and "The woman is in a room we can't get into."

#342 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 08:30 AM:

Ah, the darling Raph Nader. At one point, they were trying to get him on the presidential ballot in Oregon by having a convention. They need x number of people in the hall to vote for him. Bless their hearts, some progressives showed up, stood in line, got in—and then didn't vote for him. The convention vote failed to get the number needed, and we didn't have a 3rd party on the presidential ballot that election.

Historically, in Oregon, it's the right wing that has a 3rd party candidate losing their side of the election. The Oregon Citizen's Alliance* and Libertarians have run candidates for governor over the past 25 or so years. At the state level, the vote is pretty close to 50:50** Republican/Democrat. Adding a candidate who gets what would otherwise be Republican voters has helped Democrats consistently win the state-wide votes.

*OCA: Homophobic "Christians". The organization died out, in part thanks to breaking the law and getting court judgements that required them to pay damages. The repellent Scott Lively got his start with them.

**Your typical American urban/rural division. The Portland metropolitan area, plus Salem and Eugene have about half the population, and vote blue. The rest of Oregon is rural, and votes red.

#343 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 09:14 AM:

Just getting on a plane to Jordan. Petra here I come!

#344 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 09:56 AM:

Clifton @ 341: Breaking Cat News is perfect.

#345 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 11:09 AM:

Petra! "A rose-red city, half as old as time."
My first pang of envy of the day.

#346 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 11:26 AM:

More hyper-local news, this time from Edinburgh, Scotland:

We have elections for the European Parliament coming up at the end of this month. UK-wide, the vile UKIP (UK Independence Party) look to pick up the most votes -- over 31% at last polling -- but they're nowhere in Scotland, mostly because they're misnamed (should be the English Independence Party).

Anyway, I got a glimpse of the ballot in my constituency. The big four are there -- Conservatives, Labour, LibDems, and Scottish National Party. Also on the ballot are UKIP (ack, spit -- racist anti-immigrant europhobes), the BNP (unapologetic blackshirt wearing fascists), a right-wing UKIP splinter(!), a right-wing BNP splinter(!!), a random Christian Dominionist, and the Scottish Greens.

So of course I went to the Scottish Green party website to see how hair-shirt and granola they are, expecting anti-vaxxer pro-homeopathy nonsense.

Surprise. Apparently the Scottish Greens have succumbed to entryism by scientists and are into evidence-based policymaking these days. They're also a good-old-fashioned social democrat party on the social issues and civil liberties front: their digital issues platform looks as if it was drafted by the Open Rights Group in consultation with the EFF. Not only could I not find anything to disagree with; if you put me in a suit and stuck me in parliament as an MP, I could vote the entire party line without blinking.

I am shocked and bewildered to find myself facing an election contested by a party whose policies I support ... and am asking myself when I turned green?

#347 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 11:49 AM:

Sounds more like the Greens turned toward you.

#348 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 01:00 PM:

Charlie Stross #346: I am now visualising PMQs with Charles Stross MP rising to put his version of the West Lothian Question to the prime minister.

#349 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 03:50 PM:

Charlie Stross @346

The ballots have been published generally. The BBC has lists here.

One vote each, several seats for each region, with lists nominated by the parties, and order on the list important. Nobody at the tail end of a party list is going to be elected.

The Greens are looking pretty good, and they're part of a large Europe-wide group in the EU-Parliament.

In this election the Green Party is looking a decent choice.

#350 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 04:09 PM:

Interesting news on the cute animal front. Via a podcast about drones, there are trials on using drones to detect German fawns before they get shredded in mowing machinery.

#351 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 05:20 PM:

Kip W @345

Well we are here in Amman now: it is much warmer than London. The beer is cold. Tomorrow: Gadara of Gadarene swine fame. We are rain gods, so I bet it will pour at Petra, even in the desert. :)

#352 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2014, 05:44 PM:

Charlie Stross @#346
Canada has some pro -nuclear power Greens, and overall, the leader of the Federal Green party, Elizabeth May, who is the only elected Green member, is very impressive. Also funny and hard-working.

Ontario is having a provincial election, and I may have to vote either green or orange (NDP), can't face blue (Conservative), and the reds (incumbent Liberal) have too much baggage. Although Kathleen Wynne, the premier, is an admirable politician, like Kim Campbell, the party has selected a female leader to inherit a no-hope situation.

#353 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 01:58 AM:

James Harvey, have a great time in Jordan. I was there ~30 years ago, scenery was gorgeous, people were friendly, food's good. Petra's amazing. We went to Jordan by ferry boat from Sinai over to Aqaba (a port city that looks like Marseille or Miami), took a bus up to Petra and Wadi Musa (I forget in which order), and over to Jericho into Israel.

The tough part was getting coffee - you had to convince them that you really wanted local-style coffee, not powdered Nescafe. The local coffee is sort of an even-thicker variant on Turkish.

#354 ::: Cadbury Moose has an important announcement to make ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 05:49 AM:

<Sticks head above parapet, raises megaphone>

May the Fourth be with you!

<Grins, ducks, and runs away giggling>

#355 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 08:13 AM:

Help us, Obi-Pun Kenobi, you're our only hope.

#356 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 11:09 AM:

I believe this NYT article about vehicle injuries to pedestrians would be of interest to Teresa and Patrick: Struck on the Street: Four Survivors -
How Being Hit by a Vehicle Changed Times Colleagues’ Lives

#357 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 11:22 AM:

janetl, thanks for the link. That's a good article.

#358 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 12:36 PM:

Cadbury Moose @354: Wait, don't we celebrate Star Wars day on 5th April in the UK?

#359 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 06:38 PM:

Abi: You might like this.

Xopher: your story reminds me of my favorite bit of evidence in a court trial involving Microsoft some years ago, naimly an e-mail from Bill Gates to one of the Microsoft teams. It basically went "I needed to update some drivers for one of the computers at the house this weekend. I was told I had to go to your website link to get them installed. It took me over 45 minutes to do the install, and I'm Bill Fucking Gates. If it took me that long, God only knows how long it would take the average user. You will fix immediately, or I will come over to Building C and start living in your shorts. Sincerely,"

On Possums: I have read that they have more teeth than any other mammal. Having had one appear in a closed space I was in and snarl from less then three feet away, I can testify to this.

#360 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 07:31 PM:

Why the Fourth? The real first movie came out on May 20, right?

#361 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 07:31 PM:

Another interesting fact about opossums: they have 13 nipples.

#362 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 07:49 PM:

Serge Broom: Say out loud, "May the Fourth be with you" and perhaps the reason will come to you.

#363 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 08:09 PM:

praisegod barebones @358: Indeed! Just like we celebrate Pi Day on 31 April.

#364 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 09:51 PM:

PJ Evans @ 295: boycotting the author's work may not have been appropriate; 1989 was careful to make clear that the beneficiaries were not suspected of involvement in the attempted ballot stuffing. OTOH, nothing I've read suggests that I'd get anything out of the beneficiaries' work (not vile as discussed in a previous thread, just not worth the time), so I haven't bothered.

cyllan @ 306: are Just Voices familiar with Cyberbass, Silvis Woodshed, etc.? These are very helpful for homework (which all choruses should consider mandatory IMEO) on relatively mainstream pieces -- but a little web searching can find a performance of almost anything for practicing with. (e.g., Whitacre's "Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine", which I did last year -- worth the work, which a lot of modern music doesn't seem to me to be.) Hope your concerts went well.

various re deer: yes, they approach (or fall into) the status of "pest" in many areas, especially where predators (e.g. wolves or coyotes) have been eliminated. At archery this morning in Carlisle (~20 miles from downtown Boston), somebody discovered a 5(6?)-point antler ~40 feet from the house; its mate had been found right next to the house a few weeks ago.

joann @ 314: I have also seen a very computer-experienced couple with common email. Damfino why they do it.

Charlie Stross @ 346: AFAICT, Green parties vary widely; I haven't poked into the US versions much since they haven't had separate candidates much in Boston, but I would not have assumed anti-vaxxers or pro-homeopathy types -- the former in particular seems more associated with the religiously-extreme here.

HLN: L spent some hours this weekend helping to move a 2400-pound Bridgeport milling machine. Provoked by the use of successive rollers in this task, L sang the refrain of "We're All Working for the Pharaoh" (the bit he remembered from a Farthing Party), to the amusement of the rest of the crew.

LN (since the subject came up): Chorus pro Musica is doing Bach's B-minor mass at the end of this month: Regrettably not cheap -- orchestras are expensive even if being an individual free-lance musician is a poor way to make a living.

#365 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 10:14 PM:

Regarding Patrick's sidelight: "this will work out well for everyone, I'm sure", my first thought was of Methuselah's Children.

#366 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 10:17 PM:

David Goldfarb... I got that, but the pun was all over the net so I wondered if there was something else also going on. I mean, why would the lowest form of humour suddenly be picked up by so many? :-)

#367 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 12:37 AM:

May 4th - For me, it's my youngest sister's birthday, so a much happier date than for Patrick (but yeah, CSNY's songs about it are what always come to mind when I remember Kent State, and they're often the second or third thing I remember about Nixon.)

#368 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 01:12 AM:

Bill Stewart @367: My little sister as well.

#369 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 02:19 AM:

And my mother.

#370 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 03:41 AM:

Appropo to the particle Patrick posted, and thinking in the same line as Dave Harmon @ 365...

"The key ingredient in the [serum] cannot be synthesized; it must be taken from living beings.... You will fall upon one another like wolves.... Not like us? You will become us."
The face of the actor speaking these lines on the "Deathwalker" episode of Babylon 5 came to me immediately as I read the hovertext Patrick provided for the article.

Crazy(and in a mood to whine about how it seems the crappier parts of the future we have acquired - mind, only a mood, and "This, too, shall pass" is being regularly deployed)Soph

#371 ::: supergee ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 05:40 AM:

Elizabeth Bathory is vindicated.

#372 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 07:16 AM:

CHip @364: We aren't using either of those sites (and I will keep them in mind for fall!) but the director does send us midi files which we are asked to practice with.

The concert went very well! Our special guest, who had composed one of our pieces - probably the one we worked longest on - was very pleased to hear her piece live in performance for the first time ever. The chorus was very pleased that we were told this fact after the concert rather than before. Thank you for asking, and for the links.

#373 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 09:31 AM:

There is an industry of Creative Writing, largely fixed in the academic world, and like any academic subject it is a way of bringing money into a Department, whatever else it might do.

Read this account and you may wonder if the academic world gets anything but money from the deal. It's not one of the writing workshops that has come out of the world of Science Fiction. It's not the sort of thinking I see from our good hosts, or from the other regulars, even if we get sloppy about the defaults.

Off-hand, I can't recall any passage in Galactic Patrol which directly refers to a human's skin-tone. There are moments when it's clear that the default is white. There is a passage contrasting Human and Chickladorian skin—different sorts of pinkness—in The Vortex Blaster, but the bad guys are alien. They don't have the features of default-writing.

But the defaults are there.

I find myself thinking I have probably written more about that issue than some expensive MFA courses ever teach.

And I wonder how little there is to the course but the money. Are they meant as intellectually un-challenging tools to extract fees for educating the children of the wealthy, or am I too cynical?

Maybe they do learn about the mechanics of plot. But not everyone is writing fiction, or election flyers.

Thinking about it, considering some of the political drivel I have seen, most of them don't know how to tell a story. Most of them don't seem able to deal with a character not like themselves. Most of the stupidities of politicians look like bad writing, centred on characters of the highest-quality cardboard.

Often, they don't show any understanding of what they are writing about. They think that they can convince people if only they keep repeating themselves.

Maybe I am too smart?

There was a story in the local newspaper last week, about a small business getting 210 applications for 5 part-time jobs. The two local MPs are quoted as saying two totally different things about what it really means.

One says, "I feel as though it highlights how false the Government's claims are about the current state of unemployment."

The other says, "It's good for the business to have so many people come forward so they could have such a wide range of choice to pick five people who will give excellent service."

What story are they each trying to tell?

#374 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 10:09 AM:

Well, they're both RIGHT. It's all a matter of perspective. Yes, there are enough desperate people that they were flooded with applicants for a tiny number of probably-not-very-attractive jobs. And yes, it is to the company's benefit if it gets to choose carefully from among a large pool: this is why real estate is called a "buyer's market" when there are lots of properties available and a "seller's market" when there are few (or, rather, many buyers per available property).

Is it to society's benefit that the business has such overwhelmingly positive choice available, though? A large percentage of the new hires made by McDonalds in Chicago in the past three years have been people with not only a college education, but over ten years of experience working in office jobs. By any measure, these are highly qualified candidates, and McDonalds is getting a lot of employees who know how to show up to work, read instructions, and so on.

But not only are those workers making a tiny fraction of what their last job paid (negatively impacting their families and their life courses), but the pool of lower-skilled, inexperienced-in-work applicants now have absolutely nowhere to learn how to be good employees, which is in the long run bad for the economy as a whole: they have no way to bootstrap themselves up from "marginally appealing applicants" to "good prospects," so while individual businesses are benfiting all over the place I think right now the US economy is eating its seed corn. As well as relegating older employees who have a lot of added-value to offer to 'pasturing-off' employment before death.

#375 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 11:58 AM:

praisegod barebones @358

Cadbury Moose @354: Wait, don't we celebrate Star Wars day on 5th April in the UK?

No, April 5th is First Contact Day, a memorable event in one of the other alternate universes. I like to celebrate that day by picking up my computer mouse and speaking to it in a Scottish accent.

#376 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 12:37 PM:

#373 ::: Dave Bell

Well, Diaz did become a respected and (I think) reasonably popular writer, so I wonder whether he learned something useful in that workshop, even if it also infuriated him.

I also wonder whether anybody at that workshop ever said that literature is supposed to be about the world, and can therefore include all sorts of people, preferably accurately portrayed.

There's more to writing than plot.

EE Smith and race-- you may well be right about Lensman and skin color, but I think there's a paragraph or so of nastiness about Bedouins.

In Skylark, the Osnomians are very close to a "what if the Nazis were right about eugenics?" scenario, and it is perhaps not a coincidence that the bad Osnomians have darker green skin.

#377 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 01:23 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz@376

In Skylark, the Osnomians are very close to a "what if the Nazis were right about eugenics?" scenario, and it is perhaps not a coincidence that the bad Osnomians have darker green skin.

Yes, that's true about the Osnomians, but the female Tellurians (Dot and Peggy) are *horrified* by their brutal culture, and the males only tolerate it because they end up on top of it. Meanwhile, the more enlightened Central system inhabitants have a command economy based on shared knowledge, with well funded retirement plans, communal exercise and they disapprovingly regard the Osnomians and Urvanians as cultures in their adolescent phase.

Also, the Fenachrone and the Chlorians, with their ideologies of racial/species supremacy are portrayed as fundamentally evil.

I recently reread both series, and I wouldn't mind having a drink with Dick Seaton, even though I'd have to build my own spaceship and find him to do so. That Kinnison fellow seems like a puritanical jerk, with a disturbingly extremist point of view.

Is there a biography of Dr. Smith? Was he swept up in the fashions of the 1930's, or was he just writing to what he thought was his audience?

#378 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 02:45 PM:

They're making official what was unofficial for a long time.
CJ Cherryh and Jane Fancher are tying the knot.

#379 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 03:56 PM:

#365, #370:

The Immortals, a fix-up book by novelist and scholar James Gunn, comes to mind. A transfusion of the protagonist's blood can give renewed vigor and health to an aged billionaire-- but the effect wears off after a few weeks. Not a problem as long as the powerful guy can hire goons to track down and capture our hero, keeping him around as a steady source of fresh transfusion. This leads into a future where the rich have great health care and the poor have lousy health care. Here, have a review.

Actually I haven't read Professor Gunn's book. I'm familiar with its premise from the pilot movie and short-lived 1970 TV series The Immortal, which aired at a time when a person who liked science fiction might have been pretty desperate to find some SF, any SF, on television. The show wasn't bad as such things go-- the premise made it pretty much a man-on-the-run clone of The Fugitive-- and I watched most of the episodes, but it didn't do much to satisfy my post-Star Trek-cancellation appetite.

(I gather Prof. Gunn novelized the TV series as The Immortal, which is bibliographically bewildering, much like Martin Caidin's dual versions of Marooned sharing an identical title.)

#380 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 04:14 PM:

Bill: it's also reminiscent of Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring, though that plot involves organ transplantation rather than transfusions.

#381 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 04:16 PM:

A shared email anecdote:

At the time that I worked for them, the very small non-profit office that I used to work for had a single email box for all 6 of the staff, basically [acronym of company]@[company domain name].org. We all checked this email account via IMAP and leave-on-server.

Given this shared email address situation, I tried mightily to convince one particular staff member that, when email arrived that was specifically relevant to me, she didn't need to forward it to me. Because that's exactly what she did: Took an email originally sent to the company's single email address, forwarded it to that same single email address, such that now I had two copies in my inbox, one being the original and the other having "FW:" in the subject header and the line "Niki, please read" prepended.

I could not, in the four years I worked there, dissuade her from doing this.

I honestly don't know if this was because she underestimated my ability to identify unaided those emails I needed to deal with, or whether she simply didn't grok the technology. She was as non-tech-savvy as she was socially tone-deaf (and I have a few anecdotes about the latter quality, too).

From my recent contacts with that office (I still do volunteer work for them), I see that each staff member now has their own address, though whether those are all separate addresses or just forwarders I do not know.

#382 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 04:34 PM:


Is there a biography of Dr. Smith?

I don't know of a biography, but The Universes of E. E. Smith by Ron Ellik and Bill Evans discusses the two series. Unfortunately, it was published in 1966, but Amazon shows some copies.

#383 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 07:25 PM:

My friend Marlo thought a mouse had gotten into her ground floor apartment. "No," said the manager, "I think it's a rat. I'll have some traps put out tomorrow." "Nope," said the exterminator. "Y'all got a possum there. Call Animal Control."

Animal Control removed mama and a least 6 babies today.

#384 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 09:47 PM:

My erratic muse struck again. Here's a new addition to the Toon River Anthology:


Dithers came at me with the ash tray. I ran, of course.
One minute, I was tossing paper airplanes with Crane in Payroll,
And the next, the boss was screaming about the Stevens account
(Which, for reasons beyond my understanding, flew remarkably well)
And the old man went completely ape. Well, I’d seen him like that,
So I ran for the elevator, which closed in my face as usual.
With practiced grace, I pirouetted past him toward the break room,
Trying to put the table between us, but he flung it aside and kept coming.
Long years of running had taught me to head for his office:
Sometimes Cora was there, and he always stopped when he saw her.
This time she wasn’t, so my only recourse was the window.
Hoping to get out on the ledge. The old boy hated heights,
So usually he’d just throw things at me and curse till he calmed down,
But before I could get my footing, he was striking at me,
Red-faced, panting and shaking. I slipped, whirled, and grabbed the sill.
In half a second, he was banging away at my fingers with the ash tray.
When he lost his hold on that, I thought we were done, but he resumed
With his putter. Up to now, there was nothing new about any of this,
But this time, he kept hitting. He screamed. I screamed. I was losing my hold
On the sill, and still he kept hitting. My fingers were bleeding
And my attempts to keep a purchase on the wood only resulted
In trying to cling to a surface slick with blood. That couldn’t last.
When I fell, I was dimly aware that my hands were hurting a bit less
And that Mr. Dithers was still yelling, brandishing the club like a Zulu,
His face getting smaller and smaller as the buildings seemed
To crowd together,as if to witness my descent.
The last thing I remember was my own feeling of surprise
About life, the boss, and the Stevens account. Well.
How was I to know the old man was really mad?

#385 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 12:11 AM:

Kip, that is awesomely disturbing.

Side note: have you ever read some of the earliest Blondie strips? Dagwood was an heir who was disowned when he married a flapper and had to work for a living. It settled down pretty quickly after that, but it's interesting how the concept changed.

#386 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 02:34 AM:

I've needed, all day, to talk about Billy Frank Jr. who died unexpectedly this morning at 83. His father lived to a hundred and Billy was blogging (see ) and going to work and working for salmon and clean water for them to swim in and a sane life for us all right up until the end.

Y'all are the biggest audience I have access to, and I think, also, Billy would have liked most of you.

He was a fisherman. He was a lion in the cause of justice. He was a neighbor, all my life. He played football with my mother's younger brothers, and was always glad to talk when I said hello when we met by happenstance at a bookstore or diner or market.

He believed in direct action but did not waste time being rude: his anger was there, but he used it with intelligence and precision.

I linked to the piece which spoke to me most truly about the man; the last line is the truest. He made our world better in real, solid, important ways, and he smiled while he did it.

#387 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 07:00 AM:

JESR, I'd never heard of Billy Frank Jr. before. I am better for having heard of him now. Thanks for that.

#388 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 07:25 AM:

JESR @386, I'm truly sorry for your loss.

#389 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 08:18 AM:

JESR @ 386: God, I love reading about people like that! I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for posting it.

#390 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 11:55 AM:

JESR #386: He sounds like a truly good person. I'm sorry for your loss.

#391 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 11:59 AM:

The following sentence was read out in my last class yesterday. The student who read it out, in presenting on the material he had been reading, didn't understand why the entire class burst out laughing: Chile’s labor force was highly sexualized. He amended the last word to 'genderized', and was admonished that the word he was looking for was 'gendered'.

#392 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 12:28 PM:

JESR, I'm sorry for your loss. Sounds like he was a great guy, as well as a powerful force for the good guys.

#393 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 01:30 PM:

I'm currently copyediting a book about the Muckleshoot tribe in which Mr. Frank is featured.

#394 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 01:56 PM:

JESR, thanks. It's good to know about good people, even if we've just lost them. One hopes there are more like him still out there.

#395 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 02:02 PM:

B. Durbin, yes, I have a couple of collections with early Blondie strips in them. Among earlier entries in the Toon River Anthology is one for Julius Dithers that alludes to the earliest histories briefly.

At any rate, mowing the lawn this morning was fairly productive, insofar as there is another new entry. Two in two days! The subject of this one is less well-known, but I trust the alert reader can pick up as much as needed from textual clues:

Sweet Mother Macready! I hate to disappoint you,
But if you’re here for a tearful admission
Of my gnawing fears and secret doubts, or
An ironically revealing origin story, or perhaps
The news that I was put here by the betrayal
Of a colleague or a loved one —
My dog, maybe — then you’re out of luck.
Dead? No way! I don’t know what this is about, but
It sure as hello kitty isn’t my grave or my stone.
Death is for saps and sidekicks. No sirree Bob,
I’m not under this dumb rock. I’m somewhere else,
Sticking my neck out, enjoying an honest rhubarb.
This? This is a dream, or some imaginary story,
Maybe even a sinister plot by my enemies
Meant to fool someone or other. Happens every day.
Heroes don’t die. Anyone with the common sense of a flapjack
Would know that. Scrambooch, buster,
And save your flowers for somebody who needs 'em.

#396 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 03:00 PM:

JESR @386 (and others): Frank made the front page of the Seattle paper this morning, above the fold -- his death is major news in the Seattle area.

#397 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 03:23 PM:

That's some sweet stuff, Kip W!

I had a little lesson in trust when leaving the hotel yesterday morning. They're doing road construction at Poydras and Peters, and they've got a conveyor belt lifting materials up from the street into a dump truck. The conveyor belt runs right over the crosswalk, so I was going to walk around the front of the dump truck, on the theory that it's bad luck to walk under ladders because people can drop stuff on you. The construction guy waved me to go under; I gestured "Me? Really?"; he waved; I pointed; he looked impatient, so I walked on underneath as he told them to stop the belt.

If I'd trusted him to know his job, I would have been fine. Instead, I kept starting up at that conveyor belt until I tripped over something uneven in the road.

I now have a nice large strawberry on my left arm to remind me other people know their work better than I do.

#399 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 04:48 PM:

Risks of parking bikes in NYC. SF Chronicle picture

#400 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 05:03 PM:

Apparently I'm the only one who found last night's episode of Warehouse 13 offensive. At least on Twitter, everyone seems to have loved it.

Maybe I'm just wrong. Maybe showing Steve Jinks as a self-hating* gay man really is funny. Maybe the fact that Party Boy Steve flaps his wrists around and lisps (Steve has never, ever lisped before) is just a genuine hoot, and not, as it seemed to me, the behavior of a homophobic straight guy making fun of gays, like the guys who beat me up in high school (after using just those coded gestures to "mimic" my insufficiently-in-their-opinion-masculine gender presentation).

Maybe Jim Halterman is right, and it's just Jinks' "super-gay" side, or his "flamboyant" side. Maybe he's right that it's "fun to see him split off to a pretty clichéd version of a gay guy."

Maybe Aaron Ashmore, who I usually really like as Steve, really was just showing that "there is a little bit of a queen there in Jinks." Maybe the flying wrists and the lisp really ARE lurking under the surface of every gay man, and if no one I've ever known behaves in that extreme, stereotypical manner (for real, not making fun of someone else or of the stereotype itself), maybe I just don't know any real gay men.

Including myself.

Maybe it's really true that it's funny for Claudia to misgender Party Boy Steve by calling him the "evil twin sister." Maybe it's really funny for a polite, respectful person to start calling everyone "bitch" (or maybe it's really true that "bee-yotch" is Not The Same Word At All).

Maybe I'm just wrong. If so, I think I'm likely to keep right on being wrong.

*Literally: he's split into Party Boy Steve and Deadly Serious Steve. DSS repeatedly slut-shames PBS. Hilarious.

#401 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 05:07 PM:

Undercaffeinated day, which is fortunately treatable.

My local Persian grocery is slated to be torn down sometime soon, part of a large construction project replacing the older retail stores on its block with condos and some ground-level retail space and not enough parking for the residents, and I was low on tea so I went there to restock.

Tea from Iran and Afghanistan and some parts of northern India is pretty much all labeled "Earl Grey", and if it isn't labeled that in English, it probably is in the local language, or else you're just supposed to know. I got one of the few that wasn't; it was labeled "Melange". (Yeah, yeah, the word just means "mixture" in French, and it's simply black tea with cardamom instead of bergamot, but still, Dude! It's The Spice...) They also have some Turkish black tea that's pretty good, only comes in half-kilo packages so I'll have that around for a while.

#402 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 05:22 PM:

Open threadiness:

A Pandora advertisement just informed me that a) there is a show called "Flip this House" and b) its star (or his handler) is offering a "free 2 hour training event" in Detroit, at which, among other things, you will "Learn how you can utilize other people's money to fund real estate deals" and "Discover a little known passive income real estate investment vehicle which offer maximum interest rates between 12% and 18%." There is no way this could possibly go wrong...

Also, a quote from Salon's interview with Thomas Piketty: "Mass education cannot solve every problem, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t solve any problem."

Finally, Cecily McMillan has been convicted of assaulting an officer. She was participating in an Occupy Wall Street demonstration when her breast was grabbed from behind by an NYPD officer. She flung her arm back reflexively and hit him. This was her crime. She'll be sentenced on May 19th.

#403 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 05:58 PM:

Update: I got a reply from Aaron Ashmore on Twitter. He said

Sorry you were offended by my portrayal of Steve's effeminate side. That's was not our intention.
I replied:
I know it wasn't. And it's really more hurt than offended. A beloved show, beloved character, beloved actor--suddenly OW.
I put my comment above up on my FB page after realizing I wanted to link to it (and didn't want to link to here in case of thronging). I sent him a link to that with "Details here, forgive sarcasm."

#404 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 07:05 PM:

Xopher @ #400: never could get into Warehouse 13, and now I'm glad I didn't.

#405 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 02:45 AM:

Kitteh! Mountain lion caught safely 1km down the street from where I live. My town is called "Mountain View", which means "You can see the mountains but you're not actually very close to them", but sometimes mountain lions have followed the local creekbeds down from the mountains, mostly yearling males that are leaving home and looking for new territory. This guy had a tracking collar on him when he was first seen. Police cornered him in an apartment parking garage near a large park. News article, Picture.

The biggest wild mammals in town before this have generally been racoons or possums; there's too much traffic and not enough open space to have deer, and while there are some jackrabbits over by the golf course, there aren't a lot.

My wife occasionally goes to a board gaming group that meets over in that park on Tuesday nights; she's grumpy to have missed it. (And there was a helicopter buzzing around for an hour or two; maybe they were tracking the cat, as opposed to getting ready for Obama to visit on Thursday and Friday.)

#406 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 09:53 AM:

CHip @294

In support of PJ @158, I remember Bruce Pelz doing his inimitable hiss-and-growl routine about it at a committee meeting. Being a minor player at the time, I wasn't privy to how word was shared, but I believe the consensus was not to scream as it would give too much attention to the perps. But I could be conflating any number of issues that caused Bruce Pelz to growl.

Shared email

I have two dear friends, married, sharing one email. He's a quiet, retiring fellow and neither sends nor receives much email. He prefers her to deal with most of it. I know it's email from him when there's bird pics attached, but sometimes he has to specify.

#407 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 10:23 AM:

Interesting... Did you know that Dino de Laurentiis originally hired Nicholas Roeg to write and direct "Flash Gordon"? Yes, *that* Nicholas Roeg. And did you know that Max von Sydow was a fan of the original comic-strip?

#408 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 11:04 AM:

Open threadiness: The wonderful Doubleclicks have responded to the "Freebird!" cries from their audience with an ... amazing ... cover of the song. It starts out slow (it is, after all, a cover) but stick with it to enjoy the birdy graphics and attempts at metal emoting.

The Doubleclicks are wonderful live. If their tour is coming through your town, I recommend going. You may have seen their video that was a response to the fake geek girl thing.

#409 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 11:06 AM:

cyllan @372: interesting that your chorus wasn't told until afterward that this was a premier; I'd find this a double-edged choice. Chorus pro Musica has something of a reputation for modern music, and has commissioned a few pieces; after one, there was enough response like "How do you get that on one hearing?" that subsequent premiers have been slotted so they could be reasonably repeated, which would give away the secret even if CpM hadn't made a point of the work being a premier.

Dave Bell @ 373: the two responses to the flood of applicants are a fascinating example of varied storytelling; I'll have to remember that, although I haven't heard the "advantage" of "better service" being raised in the US. Instead, companies complain they need more work-permit visas because US citizens don't have the skills at all; I get the impression that in many cases one of those "skills" is being willing to work 80-hour weeks until the visa expires.

Lin Daniel @ 406: Interesting. Do either you or PJ remember whether it made a difference to the ballot contents? 1989 was both blatant (Brooklyn NY money orders for memberships no closer than Chicago) and effectual (enough nominations to put a work on the ballot); if LA's case was ineffectual, I can understand being quiet about it -- and I can guess that other years may have been similarly quiet before somebody decided to spend enough to have an effect.

#410 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 12:03 PM:

CHip, to the best of my knowledge, the only place it made a difference on the ballot was in the not-a-Hugo category. I think there were 12 votes total for that author, which wasn't quite enough to get on the ballot in any of the Hugo categories; IIRC, they didn't nominate the same works on each one. (We let the nominations go through, as there wasn't any way to stop it under the rules as they stood then. YMMV, etc.)

As I said, I'm still ticked at that now-deceased author.

#411 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 04:18 PM:

Well, some people raised some mild objections to the WH13/Steve the Queen thing over on IO9. I wanted to join the conversation, but I found their options for commenting unacceptable for various reasons.

The worst one was via Twitter, which requires you to sign up for this evil thing called Kinja. To be fair, they TELL you how they're going to abuse you and steal your identity beforehand:

This application will be able to:
  • Read Tweets from your timeline.
  • See who you follow, and follow new people.
  • Update your profile.
  • Post Tweets for you.
So you can use your Twitter account to comment on IO9, but you give up all control over it, and they'll follow all kinds of advertising crap, and spam your friends. Great.

Why would the good people at IO9 allow this? There are comment systems that aren't feeders for spamhauses, surely?

#412 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 05:04 PM:

Xopher: I'm not too much of a Warehouse 13 fan, but my husband is, so I watch it sometimes, but not regularly. In the episodes I saw, until the one late last season with his ex-boyfriend, I hadn't even known Steve was a gay character. At all. Exemplar of TVTropes' "But not too gay" meme. (I am not linking TV Tropes for the sake of everyone's time.)

So somehow I'm not surprised that in spite of the fact that the show is known for doing overall inclusiveness more right than wrong, I'm not surprised they screwed this one up. Sad, but not surprised.

#413 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 06:14 PM:

Now that I'm calmer, I can put it succinctly: Not every gay man has an inner screaming queen, any more than every Irish-American has an inner belligerent drunk.

#414 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 06:19 PM:

Xopher: Nor every woman a "ticking baby clock".

#415 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 06:23 PM:

My opinion thus far is that if you like Firefox, you should avoid the latest Firefox update (29) like the plague.

The design goal for the user interface seems to have been "Make it look exactly like Google Chrome - no matter what you have to break to do that!" Really, it's bad. As Xopher noted previously, their user feedback system seems designed to keep people from reporting bugs, but nonetheless user feedback is now running 85% negative and nearly all the user comments are about how bad the user interface changes are.

#416 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 07:30 PM:

Re: Lions -- males can cover 100's of miles. They'll prey on dogs, livestock, and small game like bunnies if deer are unavailable. And they are HARD to see. I'm never surprised to hear of one in an urban environment. They probably cruise through more than you realize. It's unusual for them to be spotted, though. That usually means it's a young or sick lion.

(If you ever see a mountain lion and it doesn't run from you? Assume rabies, until proven otherwise.)

I used to ride my horse in a desert area south of Phoenix that was mostly desert flats. It had more than a few lions. It was very barren, so the presence of lions tended to surprise people who expected to find them in mountains and not out among the sagebrush. They kept the stray dog population down. Lions will to kick brush and dirt over their kills, and I found dog carcasses in "lion scrapes" pretty regularly. They were easy enough to find. Aside from the odor of carrion, there was also the kitty-pee odor!

FWIW, I had far more problems with feral/stray dog packs than I did with the lions.

#417 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 08:20 PM:

Lila @ 414: Truth!

#418 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 09:06 PM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden: Thank you for posting Elizabeth Drew's article The Limits of Lyndon Johnson as a sidelight. I hadn't seen the article about the Broadway production of the play, and the accuracy of the script, and really enjoyed her analysis. I saw the premiere of All the Way at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. OSF is commissioning plays set at turning points in American history, and they've been pretty fantastic. I can assure you that her criticism of the weak Southern accents in some of the roles did not happen at OSF!

It was interesting to learn how the script exaggerates LBJ's role in passing the Civil Rights Act. It's a helluva piece of theater, perhaps in part by simplifying the process that way. One of the things that struck me in the play was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s difficult situation. He's walking a knife edge between between activists who think he's too conservative, and voices in the struggle who think he's pushing too hard, and LBJ is asking him to trust him. The same LBJ who carved the guts out of a previous civil rights bill.

#419 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 10:38 PM:

@415 Clifton

My opinion thus far is that if you like Firefox, you should avoid the latest Firefox update (29) like the plague.

This, yes. I was semi-unwillingly updated the other day, immediately saw the whole Chrome-clone deal, and hated it. If I wanted to use Chrome, I'd download it.

#420 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 10:55 PM:

janetl @ 418 : Oh, Elizabeth Drew! I hadn't thought of her for some time. Did you ever read her Washington Journal: The Events of 1973-74? Gosh, it's good!

#421 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 11:03 PM:

It isn't as annoying as I found Chrome to be (tried it, didn't like it). I would like to be able to reset the appearance to the easier-to-view gray menu bar, and lose some of the unidentifiable icons they seem to think are helpful.

#422 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 03:02 AM:

The mountain lion that visited my neighborhood had a collar on, and he's now been identified as "46M", a young male who until recently was living with his brother 41M and his mom near Boulder Creek, about 25-30 miles away, up in the Santa Cruz mountains. has some tracking information, but doesn't say where the police dropped him off last night.

He's of the age that it would be typical for him to leave home and find some new territory, and just made some unwise choices. At least the police were concerned with his welfare instead of panicking like some other nearby police forces have done, and waited for animal control to come tranquilize him.

#423 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 07:09 AM:

cHip@409: My understanding is that the director herself was unaware that the composer had never heard the piece performed either. (Which is a pity as it's really an amazing bit of work.) She was informed during intermission, and then she passed it on to us after the concert.

I would love to do new music on a regular basis, but I'm not sure we are up for that as a choir. We might be, but it's hard to judge.

#424 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 09:02 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 420: Oh, Elizabeth Drew! I hadn't thought of her for some time. Did you ever read her Washington Journal: The Events of 1973-74? Gosh, it's good!

Nope. Looking her up, I see that book is about Watergate. I also see that, while Drew was Phi Beta Kappa in college, she wanted to join Phi Mu but wasn't accepted. It's a short Wikipedia bio, listing her work at The Atlantic and The New Yorker, television, books published—a very distinguished career. I'm bemused that the failure to rush the sorority of her choice is included.

#425 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 10:01 AM:

Clifton@415: You can revert a lot of the changes to the UI with extensions (Classic Theme Restorer and Status-4-Evar are the main ones), but it doesn't work 100%, especially if your system is set up in a non-standard way.

Me? Well, my primary Firefox instance is non-auto-update (thank you, Gentoo Linux!). So I have a few more days in which to debate switching to Seamonkey, which is essentially Firefox 3 UI + current Firefox engine. There are still a couple of extensions that have no viable Seamonkey version or substitutes that I can find, unfortunately, so given that I lack the time right now to port them myself, I have to make up my mind whether or not I can live without them.

#426 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 12:00 PM:

Leaving for a job interview. Wearing a white shirt and a suit and conservative* tie.

Send good thoughts for Right Livelihood. It's only part-time, but that's a lot better than nothing.

*For me. It's not the one with the butterflies, or the one with Munch's "Das Schrie" on it, or the one with the bespectacled cartoon caterpillar, or either of the Jerry Garcia designs.

#427 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 12:17 PM:

Xopher @426, Luck! I hope you dazzle them with your brilliance and appropriateness for the position. <smile>

#428 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 01:22 PM:

Xopher (426): May all go well!

#429 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 01:27 PM:

Xopher: may the day go well and bring both hoped-for and unlooked-for blessings.

#430 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 01:35 PM:

Good luck, Xopher!

#431 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 01:37 PM:

Luck, Xopher! I'm curious about the tie, too - from what I remember of my ex's Jerry Garcia ties, they were fairly subtle.

#432 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 02:07 PM:

Go team Xopher!

#433 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 02:15 PM:

Best of luck, Xopher.

#434 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 03:07 PM:

Xopher, may it turn out to be a good fit for both parties!

#435 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 03:18 PM:

My best wishes, Xopher.

#436 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 03:21 PM:

CHip @409

PJ knows the details better than I. I just remember that certain people were peeved enough to bring it before the whole committee. Thinking back, part of the peeved may have been based on "do they think we're so stupid we won't notice?"

And I just realized it's been 30 years. A voice in my head is trying to force out something about being "old". And the rest of me is saying "bullshit".

#437 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 03:40 PM:

New Firefox vs. Chrome

I stopped using Firefox because it was a CPU hog. As in lock up all four of a quad core's CPUs. I started hearing that Firefox wasn't quite the hog it had been just in time for a Chrome update to cause it to stop refreshing a web page when asked to do so. The only way I could get Chrome to stop serving up a cached page was to clear cache, even when the web page was on my desktop. When I am doing tweaks to websites, clearing cache every time is a major time sink. I went back to Firefox, with ok results.

I will not update Firefox and I thank you for the timely warning. I will also be using this as reinforcement for a recent discussion on why I have every update I can set to "notify only".

Xopher, may your luck run to good.

#438 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 03:49 PM:

Something remarkably cool that I saw today:

The Amazon Kindle ad, on the back page of the Wall Street Journal, features (without mentioning the book) the opening of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. For Mother's Day. They think people will just know, immediately, what the book they're referencing is.

I am ashamed to admit that I had to look it up.

#439 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 03:52 PM:

'Classic Theme Restorer' does help. Some.

#440 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 04:38 PM:

Xopher: I hope all went well, and that they look kindly upon your application!

#441 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 05:02 PM:

Thank you, everyone!

I felt I was on my good game for this interview. If I don't get the job, it will be because I'm not a fit (which I might not be), not because I blew the interview.

Of course I went right into "God I Really Blew It" right after, but I really don't think I did.

So thank you for your good thoughts, which I choose to believe helped me!

#442 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 05:28 PM:

Lin Daniel @437: Did the Ctrl-Shift-F5 trick (to reload the page without checking the cache) not work?

#443 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 05:42 PM:

Xopher @441, good thoughts continuing your way.

#444 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 07:25 PM:

shadowsong @442

That one I didn't know about or forgot about. Since some rude piece of software upgrade reloaded Chrome and I haven't yet deleted it, I will try that when I return home. Thank you.

#445 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 07:48 PM:

Xopher: May your luck have been good.

#446 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 08:09 PM:

Lin Daniel @444: I had a braino - it's usually just Ctrl-F5. Here's the breakdown of "refresh without using cache" key codes for the various browsers:

Internet Explorer
Ctrl + F5
Ctrl + click refresh button

Google Chrome
Ctrl + F5
Ctrl + click refresh button

Version 4 or newer: Shift + click refresh button
Version 3 or older: ⌘ + R

Ctrl + Shift + R
Ctrl + F5
⌘ + F5
Shift + click refresh button

Shift + click refresh button
Shift + R

#447 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 09:46 PM:

I'm using Firefox on Ubuntu too. I am not too happy about the new smaller greyscale icons, but I'd been adapting. I might try one of those add-ons tho. But Firefox is still a CPU hog -- it makes my Minecraft game lag (and sometimes other stuff) like nothing else does. Also, it regularly throws up random "this script has stopped responding" dialogs when it's supposed to be in the background.

#448 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 10:50 PM:

I do have my updates set to notify only; when I said "semi-unwillingly", it's because I saw the pop-up that Firefox needed security updates, and didn't realise that clicking OK would actually change the way the whole thing looked. My fault for not paying more attention to what it was asking.

I'll check out Classic Theme Restorer and Seamonkey as well.

#449 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 10:05 AM:

#377 ::: odaiwai

In re the Osnomians: What's creepy is that there's a society where centralized eugenics works, even if people are on the harsh side.

Skylark of Space came out in 1928, when eugenics was very respectable and the horrors of Nazism probably weren't imaginable. Swastika Night, which did do a remarkable job of anticipating those horrors, came out in 1937.

G K Chesterton wrote a book against eugenics (written in 1910, published in 1922), but I don't know how much pushback there was in general.

#450 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 10:26 AM:

HLN: Local man seeks employment in his chosen field and location, finds perfect job enabling the worst elements of his society.

Come to think of it, that's not news.

#451 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 10:35 AM:

John A Arkensawyer @450, congratulations on your employment. I think. <grin>

#452 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 10:47 AM:

Cassy B. @ 450: I appreciate your good wishes! But I should have been more clear: By 'find', I meant 'locate' and not 'acquire'. I'm still mulling this little droplet of despair and reminding myself about the tradeoffness of life.

#453 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 11:17 AM:

U.N. Report On Magical Realism Warns Of Increased Incidences Of Women’s Tears Flooding The Entire World

Furthermore, the report noted a startling increase in the number of infatuated young women who bake loaves of bread for their true loves and simultaneously cause the earth itself to rise beneath their feet, a geologic trend that has destroyed countless acres of farmland and buckled hundreds of bridges and roads, resulting in millions of dollars in damage.
#454 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 11:18 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 449

On eugenics, in general Catholics were hostile. There's a condemnation in the encyclical Casti Connubii from 1930 (start at title 68).

A fairly large chunk of the late 1800's "Christians are irrational and unscientific" is driven by Catholic and fundamentalist hostility to Social Darwinism (of which eugenics was part.)

#455 ::: kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 11:23 AM:

I'm using the ESR version of Firefox. It's the "security updates only" between major releases version, that only changes stuff about every 8-12 months. Version 24.5 It doesn't change the UI hardly at all between versions.

I had to find the exact right url on mozilla to download it - they only want corporate IT departments using it, I guess. But it seems pretty nice - stable, not to resource intensive.

Apple no longer updates Safari for Windows, so that's out, and I won't use Chrome anymore, for ~reasons~. For some things I'll use Internet Explorer, trading off between IE and Firefox depending on who's got the security vulnerability this week. And I use no-script and adblock, which probably explains why I don't suffer much of a performance penalty.

Someday I'll be back to using just IE on windows, and just Safari on iPad. Simplicity and stability are more important to me than they used to be.

#456 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 12:24 PM:


My not too informed impression is that eugenics in the early 1900s was one of those things that essentially all right-thinking intellectuals supported as being self-evidently good policy. Certainly a lot of really smart, accomplished, otherwise admirable people supported it.

And it's important to distinguish between voluntary eugenics (at worst harmless quackery) and imposed-by-law eugenics (ranging from nasty to monstrous to genocidal).

#457 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 02:30 PM:

albatross @ 456: I'm re-reading Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night, published in 1935. Harriet Vane encounters a character who I believe is being presented as an annoying and laughable jerk—an American woman who is very enthused about eugenics.

#458 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 05:23 PM:

kimiko@455: If I recall correctly, the ESR version only gets you off the hook for a year (after which there will be a new ESR version). It's a bone thrown to large corporations and other organizations with glacial-speed approval processes for new software. (There are, alas, not a few organizations out there whose software approval process functions in geological time, or at least the technological equivalent thereof. They're still running IE6.)

#459 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 07:51 PM:

I am, once again, in the midst of finals. I keep finding, well, pearls in the muck. Or muck in the pearls. Your mileage may vary. For example:

A crisis presents an obstacle, threat, or Truman, but when deal with a crisis; opportunities arise for growth of a nation, or a decline of it.

She taught all women must learn independence, and this may come because she was pregnant twice out of wedlock.

The modern world has been in a state of crisis because of confusion and weary among citizens.

Does anyone have the number for The Samaritans?

#460 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 09:56 PM:

#459 ::: Fragano Ledgister

At least you know they're not pirating copy. Concepts this er, interesting, have to be original.

How can a crisis be a Truman, even if it's a reference to the movie?! What other word could possibly have been meant?

#461 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 04:08 AM:

shadowsong @446

#462 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 09:41 AM:

Carol Kimball #460: I have no idea whether the 'Truman' refers to the president, his daughter the novelist, the film, or Truman Capote.

#463 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 09:51 AM:

Open Thready: I saw [in an unrelated article] an interview question that I thought was cute, and made me feel smart.

If anyone else wants to try this puzzle, here it is:

For any prime number n greater than 3, prove that n^2 -1 is divisible by 24 .

#464 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 10:08 AM:

Truman? Tubman?

I've got nothing.

#465 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 10:09 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 459: The "truman" looks to me like a "Damn you, autocorrect!" rather than a coherent error. The rest, though (Including the missing ing int he same line) just make me once more glad I don't have your job.

#466 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 12:32 PM:

Lenora Rose #465: I hadn't thought of an autocorrect intrusion, but that would be a reasonable explanation. The weird punctuation is another matter.

#469 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 04:20 PM:

Jacque: amazing.

#470 ::: Fragano Ledgister sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 05:01 PM:

I'm wrapping up marking finals for the semester. I'm not sure I have any brain left. Here are some samples drawn from the word mines.

In Wollstonecraft’s most criticized publication, Vindication of the Rights of Women, that released in 1792, strongly spoke of those educational restrictions placed on women.

To be taught at home as well as through the utilization of education.

She claims that one cannot be virtuous if they are not independent, because virtuosity was not taught, and when one is taught knowledge and lowering their ignorance level then they are developing independence.

Around the late 2oth century slavery was abolished and the new entity was racial de jure segregation.

As a thinker who is pro anti-violence, she is producing more violence through this lawless idea.

Nevertheless, the views of Wollstonecraft are best exemplified in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) where the theorist condemns the injustices bestowed upon women in an effort to housetrain them.

I believe the crisis to be social differentiation in realization institutionalization.

With this realization of the social differentiations everyone doesn’t few their neighbor as another fellow member of humanity; rather as the social group the stereotypes in their head associate them to first.

I seriously, seriously need the number for the Samaritans.

#471 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 05:15 PM:

Jacque 468: I'm amazed that he seemed so nervous, and of course that was a great talk.

Where does he get off, being brilliant AND funny AND adorable like that?!? It's not fair I tell you, just not fair.

Fragano 470: My brain hurts. I can't begin to imagine.

#472 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 05:57 PM:

Fragano: "A crisis presents an obstacle, trauma, or threat, but it also presents an opportunity for either growth or decline."

Carol Kimball: At least you know they're not pirating copy. Concepts this er, interesting, have to be original.

Apparently not.

#473 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 06:00 PM:

Ah, they were trying to type "trauma" and it autocorrected!

#474 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 06:16 PM:

Some of them almost make sense.

#475 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 06:21 PM:

everyone doesn’t few their neighbor

Another entry for the Dreadful Phrases thread?

#476 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 06:37 PM:

HLN: Woman adds 'spoons'* to shopping list, wishes it were that easy.

*meaning the plastic kind

#477 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2014, 06:38 PM:

Lin Daniel (475): Yep. 'Few' there looks like a typo (or spellcheck failure) for 'view'.

#478 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2014, 12:23 PM:

Protestant organizations that investigate sexual abuse in Protestant organizations

I never thought celibacy was an important cause of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, an investigating organization) acknowledge problems with truth and reconciliation (Patrick, thanks for the link), and aim for radical truth-telling instead.

Bob Jones University is going under, but I haven't been able to find out exactly why.

#479 ::: Fragano Ledgister sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2014, 03:32 PM:

Xopher #471: I have to stay off hard liquor until next week. Then the semester is over and I can have a real drink without worrying that I'll dive into the bottle.

HelenS #472: Oh dear. Now this is a problem.

P.J. Evans #474: It's the 'almost' part that's the problem.

Mary Aileen #477: 'Few' is definitely an auditory error for 'view'.

#480 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2014, 03:48 PM:

Fragano, your nym is, um, off.

#481 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2014, 05:23 PM:

Oh dear. I forgot to reset it after actually seeing canned lunch meat yesterday evening.

#482 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2014, 09:05 PM:

When I post as "... sees spam" I leave unchecked the box that says "Don't make me type all this again".

The next time I post, I'm back to my undecorated nym.

#484 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 01:49 AM:

Nancy, #478: No, it's not celibacy that causes the problem. It's authoritarianism, hierarchy, and the dogma that women and children aren't really people.

#485 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 10:52 AM:

Teh Qte, in the rare, adult human form.

#486 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 10:57 AM:

Open-Threadiness: We are cautiously optimistic that our Son will graduate from high school this semester, contingent upon maintaining his grades just enough to pass, including the one class that he has repeatedly failed (due to lack of enthusiasm, dislike of the various teachers, and illness overall) and is currently Not-failing. The big carrot for him is a ticket to see Eddie Izzard in about ten days; by then we should know For Sure whether he will walk across that stage in June.

Prayers, feelings, vibes, good wishes will all be accepted in the spirit in which they are sent.

In other HLN, the step-grandson is growing rapidly (as they do); at 2 months of age, he is also now an international traveller, as he is currently visiting Daddy's relatives in Peru. His grandmother is herself in the air to Salt Lake City, to visit her own cousins. Area woman, left all alone with All the Animals (step-dog, extra cat), is looking forward to two weeks of peace and quiet. "One can always hope, of course," she admitted.

#487 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 11:08 AM:

Jacque @485: I watched the video and I can't work out what he's saying - after three tries... Translate?

#488 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 11:12 AM:

HLN: Local resident decides, despite extreme excitement at the prospect, to perhaps save the initial "take kid to school on brand new cargo trike" expedition for a day that is NOT 80degF with 77% humidity. Caution is very mature, but boring.

Local child objects strenuously, and wants to go on the trike ALL THE PLACES ALWAYS FOREVER. However, as local child cannot be persuaded to put on underwear in a timely fashion, her opinions on weightier matters can probably be discounted.

#489 ::: kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 11:22 AM:

The goings on in that other thread are quite the thing, yes they are. I wonder what will happen next.

#490 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 11:41 AM:

Our visitor's recent post over in that thread has left me gaping in a way I don't even know how to address. Another way it happened to me recently was over on Quora, where I actively write answers in certain topics ... when they don't seem to be picking-fights-in-the-shape-of-questions.

Someone wrote a very useful answer to the question What is it like to feel a visceral revulsion toward homosexual acts?, that then had a comment added, "I wouldn't say it [homosexuality] makes the world a "better and more interesting" place any more than blindness, since I see it as a social disability."

I commented to that comment, "It's only a drawback in social situations when you are trying to interact with people who are anti-homosexual. In company of people who have no revulsion at the thought of homosexual acts, it's no more a disability than having short hair."

They then replied,

Homosexuals find it far more difficult to create children with one another, societies that are self-sustaining, and in that sense homosexuality is a social disability. It's a variation in sexual orientation that leads to a dead end in human evolution because it's not currently in the interest of any society to select it over heterosexuality.

I agree that short hair on women is a social disability compared to long hair, but women can get around this by growing their hair long. When it comes to having children, it's negative effects are trivial compared to the effect of having a homosexual sexuality.

Really? I mean, how do I even start engaging with someone who genuinely believes A WOMAN HAVING SHORT HAIR is a social disability??

Or, for that matter, with someone (like our visitor on the other thread) who honestly and straight-facedly advocates REMOVING THE FRANCHISE from all but a small number of white, landowning American citizens. Sigh.

#491 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 12:08 PM:

dcb @487: Translate?

I've only watched it with the audio off. I think his facial expression says everything.

#492 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 02:48 PM:

Why are these memos classified? As best I can tell, the answer is "we don't want anyone seeing our crappy logic and laughing."

#493 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 03:20 PM:

Being a reader of emptywheel, I've thought that for quite some time.

#494 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 05:55 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 490: It's alien to me, but I can give it a shot. I apologize if I hurt anyone - I'm going against an idea that repulses me, too.

Assuming homosexuality is a social disability assumes that the only goal of society -- even one already entirely overpopulated -- is to reproduce, ideally at rates beyond replacement level. And that there is no OTHER helpful-to-species-continuation role in a pack, flock, herd, or society besides reproducer. (A fact that would shock a number of animals that do live in herds where the majority of reproduction is done by whichever male and female are in the alpha role. And most insects. But I digress. back to humans.)

Yet -- even if one makes that base assumption, even in a human society where reproduction is considered by the culture to be the focus and end-all, one can argue for the worth to society of adults who do not directly reproduce for whatever reason -- as social support for those who do, in the frequent historical case of "maiden aunts" who do a great deal of assistant child-rearing so the burden is not wholly on their sisters. As workers to replace those whose time and effort is spent raising children. Some are in child-related fields -- such as the stretch of time in which teaching one of the rare respectable professions for single (and thus presumed-childless women.

There's no lack of ways that a society can and has used the childless to support and sustain itself. Assuming homosexuality is a peculiar and special case of childlessness is erroneous in this thinking. Sorry, you need to find another reason to single out homosexuality as a social ill.

Moreover: That homosexuals cannot directly reproduce and therefore are "an evolutionary dead end" assumes that homosexuals exist only in a society not already replete with heterosexuals. This is not the case, obviously (Pace Lois McMaster Bujold's theoretical world). Since after millenia of evolution, homosexuals continue to be born right beside many many heterosexuals (and a statistic-tangling number of bisexuals), it's clear that either they are not a complete dead end and serve some other purpose, or they are an evolutionary sport that is sufficiently harmless as to not have prevented the continuation of *any* species.

Also incorrect: That homosexuality prevents reproduction, especially in modern society with modern medicine permitting 'in vitro' and surrogacy. And of course, bisexuality again.

(If one assumes long hair on women is more attractive than short and one assumes that attractiveness is a key factor in reproduction, one can consider short hair a social disadvantage - disability, however, has me at a loss)

#495 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 06:01 PM:

A very nice explanation: yay!

#496 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 06:31 PM:

Ginger #486: I wish him, and you, the best of luck. I know it has been a struggle, and I hope this is the first of many payoffs.

#497 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 06:43 PM:

Ginger... My best wishes.

#498 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 07:37 PM:

Ginger 486: Best wishes and Bright Blessings (AIBHOW).

Lenora Rose 494: (many good things, including:) Sorry, you need to find another reason to single out homosexuality as a social ill.

I'm waiting for a Roman Catholic to make that argument to me. All the RCs I know personally (indeed, all the ones I've ever known long enough to talk to) are sane and reasonable people, so I'll probably have a long wait. But I wonder how even a Protestant presenting this argument would react to the question "So what's the difference, in this scheme, between a Roman Catholic priest (or monk!) and a homosexual?"

Reminds me of what some stupid jackhole said years and years ago. Actually, I think it may have been William F. Buckley, in which case I need to modify to "evil jackhole." He said "If everyone were homosexual, tomorrow there would be no one at all." I always wished I had a chance to respond to him, something like:

Leaving aside, Mr. Buckley, the foolish pronouncement about "tomorrow," because I assume you meant it as a metaphor for "eventually," I still see several obvious flaws in what passes for your logic:
  1. This is patently untrue, and has been since the invention of the turkey baster.
  2. Even before that, and to this very day, homosexuals have reproduced, and do and will reproduce.
  3. The parallel reasoning doesn't appear to occur to you, so I'll point it out: If everyone were male, "tomorrow" there would be no one at all. Nature takes care of these things, by some mechanism (in the case of homosexuality) not fully understood. Or perhaps you feel, as many do, that if homosexuality were socially acceptable everyone would immediately embrace it; if so, I recommend you examine what's happening in your own pants, not mine.
Indeed, sir, seeing so spurious an argument come from a man of your intellect leads inescapably to the conclusion that you are being either disingenuous, or blinded by bigotry and hatred, as you have been on the topic of racial justice.
But I never got to. Oh, well, probably I'd sputter in incoherent hatred were I ever in the presence of that smarmy piece of shit.

#499 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 09:48 PM:

Xopher: I was a history major at the UW. Whenever the subject of Buckley comes up, we just grin, and grin, and GRIN! (For those without long memories, Giovanni Costigan, the head of the history department, was invited to debate Buckley so Buckley could show the world the chowderheads in "the Soviet of Washington." Costigan not only handed Buckley his head, but he did so in such a way that they had to censor the broadcast to cover Buckley's swearing in rage. I recommend it highly.)

#500 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 09:54 PM:

There exists an ep of a point/counterpoint sort of show with William F Buckley and Gore Vidal, discussion held in Chicago DURING the Democratic Convention riots.

Gore Vidal, cordially, called Buckley a Nazi Fascist and then Buckley lost it and called him a pinko, a queer, and several less-nice things. Vidal never lost his cool and appeared to be amused at Buckley's vituperation.

Purported transcript. YouTube has a variety of samples of it, but apparently not the whole thing. That transcript reports the first angry Buckley quote as, “Now listen, you queer,” Buckley said, “stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in you goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.” Which concurs with what I remember from the scratchy VCR tape I saw in college. :->

#501 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2014, 10:56 PM:

Bruce/Elliott: If Buckley were alive today, he'd never be allowed to debate anyone who might prove to be his intellectual and tactical superior. Back in the day, it was harder for someone to get away with insisting on soft targets.

#502 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 12:20 AM:

OK, the barbarian warrior has a Destiny, for which he must be prepared by a barbarian priest and a number of scantily clad (in leather costumes a LITTLE more realistic than bikinis, but still) barbarian priestesses, who decorate him with Mystic Signs...

...and who then stand up and walk away on their STILETTO HEELS.

No. Just no. Fortunately he's Transported To Another World shortly after that., I think I'll go to bed.

(This was Metal Hurlant Chronicles, which is either an extension or a ripoff of the old softcore-porn-S&S magazine Heavy Metal, though I didn't quite realize that until I saw the look. It's that same look.)

#503 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 01:01 AM:

OK, turns out it wasn't that much longer. He goes to the place where he senses the demon, fights guys in uniforms, gets into the room...and it's a little kid. Can't bring himself to kill a little kid.

I'm sure you'll be shocked when I tell you the kid turns out to be Hitler.

Next up, the one who falls out of bed and it was all a dream, and the couple named Adam and Eve who start a new world. MHC, the repository for stories that would have been rejected from a high school literary magazine as too 1975.

#504 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 03:56 AM:

link in French. Artist HR Giger has died.

#505 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 05:36 AM:

Xopher @ 502

Metal Hurlant is the original French comicbook, very different from the American standards of the 1970s when is started, not entirely soft-porn but very definitely not passed by the CCA. Heavy Metal started as a translation reprint in English, and continues publication.

I remember buying a few copies in a back-street bookshop near Grimsby Docks, which kept getting raided by the local cops for obscene publications in the back room.

It seems the TV series has as source a short-lived Metal Hurlant Chronicles comic which faded out a decade ago.

#506 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 05:58 AM:

Xopher@502, Metal Hurlant is the original French title of Heavy Metal, though the 'Chronicles' suggests it's some kind of spinoff.

Is the Adam and Eve one really in there? I remember an Alan Moore short from 2000AD that could simply expect readers to recognise the cliche without even needing to flag it (after the bomb, a man called Adam meets a woman called.... Mavis).

#507 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 07:47 AM:

I was listing stupid hackneyed plots. Only the "See you should have killed the kid he's Hitler" one actually occurred AFAIK.

#508 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 08:34 AM:

MST3K once showed 1966's "Women of the Prehistoric Planet", the ending of which reveals that the alien planet they crashed on is long-ago Earth!
And the last two survivors will be Adam and Eve!
With Adam played by Robert Ito, and Eve by Irene Tsu.

#509 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 10:04 AM:


I'm pretty sure the visceral revulsion comes first, and then the rational explanations of it is backfilled. Religious people backfill it with "abomination before the Lord," nonreligious people backfill it with "against Nature", etc. But really, it's:

a. This makes me go yuck.

b. Therefore here's an elaborate rational structure proving why my going yuck is the only sensible and right reaction to it, rather than just my own personal peculiarity.

The bit about nonreproductivity is silly. Few people feel revulsion at the spectacle of post-menopausal woman remaining married, though they will certainly never have children at that point. Nor do many people seem to feel revulsion at childless couples, or men or women who remain single and childless, though all those are examples of people who aren't reproducing.

But there's not much real benefit to chasing down the logic here, because the logic isn't the point. They started with the conclusion they reached viscerally, and then tried to build a logical structure to reach it.

#510 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 10:09 AM:

Xopher #498:

Ob SF References: Glory Season, Ethan of Athos

#511 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 10:25 AM:

albatross @ #509: oh, postmenopausal women are OK because Sarah. Seriously. And of course guys are never too old, no miracle required. Look at Abraham!

I can't say anything useful about the "sex is icky and the only possible justification for it is MOAR BABIES" idea except to note that it has caused untold damage, including torture and death, to all kinds of people for centuries, and continues to do so. (And to a lesser extent, the idea that the only point of human existence is MOAR BABIES. Single and childless people may not get beaten to death, but they still get discriminated against in some contexts, snarked at, and pitied/condescended to/looked at with suspicion.)

And don't get me started on babies who were born to prove a point, or because having kids is the expected default, or for lack of birth control/the right to say no, or for any other reason than that a family wanted to bring a new and cherished life into the world.

All heat, no light, sorry. And this from a straight white cis privileged "breeder".

#512 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 10:30 AM:

Got an ad today from the jewelry company I bought my watch from, advertising a quite nice amethyst parure. This in itself is fine. But the ad copy just about killed me.

It talked about Tyrian purple, using statistics apparently cribbed from the Wikipedia article about how expensive the dye was, and further claiming that Roman sumptuary law prescribed death for anyone other than the Emperor who wore the color. But since we're not Romans, it's safe to wear this lovely amethyst jewelry!

I...just don't know where to start. I think the major points are:
* Tyrian purple is not particularly close in color to amethyst.
* Plenty of people other than the Emperor wore it; Senators had stripes in their togas, e.g.
* The actual restriction was on a specific garment, a cape that was dyed in the purple and trimmed with gold.
* I'm not actually positive, but I think it was the Byzantines rather than the Romans who made that color "Imperial" purple so that no one else could wear it at all.
* It's a fabric dye and had nothing to do with gemstones!

They r doin history rong.

#513 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 10:42 AM:

Carrie: AUGH! Not to mention that the Romans wore amethyst all the damn time.

#514 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 10:51 AM:

Amethyst? Princess of Gemworld?

#515 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 11:52 AM:


Yes, emptywheel is a very nice source of information on this stuff.

As a society, we pretty much went nuts after 9/11 and handed vast unaccountable power to lots of people who promised to keep us safe. And now, it appears to be impossible to demand that power be handed back. At most, we can curtail it a little around the edges (we mostly stop doing the torturing of prisoners ourselves and hand the prisoners over to our local allies or contractors to torture, instead), but even that is a big battle. And all that just gets wadded up into the normal 24-hour news cycle and partisan games and hot story of the hour (Hey, I think there's a 70 year old guy in LA who's a racist! Ooh, some pop star's sister attacked her husband!) and lost.

I've said this before, but a lot of the time, our national political discussion seems like one of those family conversations where we're all carefully not mentioning Mom's suicidal depression or Dad's drinking problem, but we're trying to plan a Disney vacation we can't really afford, or argue over what color we should paint the fence.

#516 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 03:48 PM:

Carrie S.@512: ...Tyrian purple...

This is almost completely unrelated to your comment, but thank you for reminding of an excellent trip to Morocco a few years back (cue Hope, Crosby and Lamour). Among other things, we enjoyed visiting Essaouira, which was originally in our itinerary for no better reason than "how can we be that close and not visit the source of purple?"

#517 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 07:46 PM:

Posting this from a moto g, in order to figure out if I actually want one (or a smart phone at all). The Nexus 5 made me think it was a very small tablet; this feels like a phone. Smartphone thoughts, ML?

#518 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 08:17 PM:

Re: Sandy B. @ 463 Open Thready: I saw [in an unrelated article] an interview question that I thought was cute, and made me feel smart.
If anyone else wants to try this puzzle, here it is:
For any prime number n greater than 3, prove that n^2 -1 is divisible by 24 .

I’m sure that someone more math-theory inclined would have gotten this without all the sledgehammer whacking at it that I had to do, but here’s my solution (in ROT13 so as not to spoil it, which is why I’ve done some equations in words rather than numerals). Note: I discovered after doing the encoding that the plus sign drops out, so I've added it back in, but you may have to do so again after converting back.

Gur ovg nobhg cevzr ahzoref vf n erq ureevat. Gur gevpx jbexf sbe nal BQQ vagrtre terngre guna 3 gung vf abg vgfrys qvivfvoyr ol 3. Guvf frg vapyhqrf nyy cevzr ahzoref ohg nyfb vapyhqrf znal aba-cevzr bqq vagrtref.

Rirel fdhner bs n cbfvgvir vagrtre jvyy nyfb or rdhny gb gur cebqhpg bs gur vagrtref orsber naq nsgre vg va frdhrapr +1. R.t., svir fdhnerq rdhnyf (sbhe gvzrf fvk) cyhf bar; avar fdhnerq rdhnyf (rvtug gvzrf gra) cyhf bar.

Sbe rirel bqq ahzore, ol qrsvavgvba obgu bs gurfr oenpxrgvat ahzoref jvyy or rira naq ol qrsvavgvba bar bs gurz jvyy unir sbhe nf n snpgbe (fvapr rirel frpbaq rira ahzore jvyy unir sbhe nf n snpgbe). Sbe rirel bqq ahzore terngre guna guerr gung vf abg vgfrys qvivfvoyr ol guerr, bar bs gurfr oenpxrgvat ahzoref jvyy unir guerr nf n snpgbe. Ohg nyfb ol qrsvavgvba, sbe na bqq ahzore qvivfvoyr ol guerr, arvgure bs vgf oenpxrgvat ahzoref jvyy unir guerr nf n snpgbe.

Gurersber, sbe rirel bqq ahzore terngre guna guerr gung vf abg vgfrys qvivfvoyr ol guerr, gur cebqhpg bs gur oenpxrgvat ahzoref jvyy or qvivfvoyr ol 24 orpnhfr gurl jvyy pbagnva ol qrsvavgvba gur snpgbef gjb, guerr, naq sbhe (be gjb, gjb, gjb, naq guerr, vs lbh jvyy). Gur snpg gung gur frdhrapr bs jubyr erfhygf sebz gur frevrf FDEG(24K+1) qbrf abg vapyhqr zhygvcyrf bs guerr vf veeryrinag gb gur “gevpx” gung vg jbexf sbe nyy cevzrf, ohg vf na vagrerfgvat pbasbhaqvat snpgbe va zl fbeg bs fyrqtrunzzre nanylfvf.

#519 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 09:50 PM:

Nice analysis. (Also correct.)

#520 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 10:53 PM:

Oh. I'm afraid I gbbx gung sbe n fvzcyr tenzzngvpny erq ureevat. Fb V fryrpgrq zl cevzr ahzore a (svir, fnl) naq cebirq vg sbe gung. Raq bs nafjre. Gb erdhver n erny cebbs, gurl'q unir gb fnl "Cebir gung sbe nal cevzr ahzore..."

Bar pbhyq fnl gung gur bevtvany cuenfvat unq n fpbcr nzovthvgl, vs bar jrer srryvat trarebhf. V crefbanyyl guvax vg'f dhvgr pyrne jung gur fpbcr vf, naq gur cebbs qbrfa'g erdhver zber guna bar rknzcyr!

#521 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 11:00 PM:

RIP, HR Giger.

#522 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 01:44 AM:

Xopher @ 520

There is a certain smart-ass elegance to your solution, I confess. However, as a former TA, I hold by the principle that a question should be answered in a spirit of cooperation with the intent. If the context of asking implied that careful attention to the nuances of the instructions was important (like all those trick quizes that start "read all the instructions first"), then yes. But it's a relatively normal formulation of math problems to use "prove that for any X…" to mean "prove that this holds true for every X". So without any further context, I'd go for the global answer.

The way I arrived at my analysis (i.e., the specific manner of the sledgehammer blows) is an interesting parallel to my job (root cause analysis) since I rarely deal with events where there's a single elegant mathematical explanation for anything. So I start by slicing and dicing the data every which way and identifying all the patterns, discontinuities, and oddities before settling into comparing explanations.

#523 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 07:34 AM:

If it had said "prove that for any x," I would have taken it that way.

#524 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 08:17 AM:


Essaouira is lovely: the real surprise of our trip to Morocco. I think it was the only Moroccan urban experience I actually enjoyed in the end...

#525 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 11:14 AM:

I should clarify: I did NOT mean "Ha, Heather Rose Jones, it was a trick question and you wasted your time!"

I meant "Damn, I thought it was a trick question (a grammatical gotcha) and missed the real puzzle." That's why I started with "Oh, dear."

I was, I confess, being a smartass in my second paragraph. For that, I ask everyone's forgiveness. BTW, if HRJ's solution is "brute force," I'd like to see what an elegant proof of that looks like! (In case I've put my foot in it again, I thought HRJ's solution was elegant (it made my brain go "mmm, tasty!").)

#526 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 11:20 AM:

Xopher @ 525

No worries. I also greatly admire smart-ass semantic weaseling when nothing important is at stake!

The sledgehammering was mostly in the path to getting to my proof (and thus invisible). The proof itself could certainly be framed more elegantly but was in a rush not to be late for dragonboat practice.

#527 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 11:38 AM:

AKICIML, Baby Divison: Anybody got strong recommendations for a "Baby Signing" reference? I've got a coworker with a daughter on the way, and he expressed interest in this. This will be my baby shower gift to them.

I need to get the order in by 6pm Eastern (ML) Time.

#528 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 11:43 AM:

Jacque @527 - I have only entirely unhelpful thoughts. I've never heard of a "baby signing" and all I can think of is "various colors of Sharpies...?" <grin> (Are Sharpies even safe for baby skin...? )

I'm curious as to what a "baby signing" actually is, now.

#529 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 11:55 AM:

Cassy #528:

I believe "Baby signing" refers to the practice of teaching pre-vocal children to use sign-language, on the grounds that language development tends to precede vocal development. Purported benefits include happier children who can avoid the frustration that comes with wanting to communicate a need or desire, but not being able to do so.

#530 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 12:01 PM:

Xopher @ 525: Here's a shot at it:

Rirel cevzr ahzore c terngre guna guerr vf qvivfvoyr ol arvgure gjb be guerr, naq guhf abg qvivfvoyr ol fvk. Gurersber, vg zhfg or bs gur sbez 6a+1 be 6a-1, jurer a vf n cbfvgvir vagrtre.

Vs vg vf bs gur sbez 6a+1, gura gur ahzoref ba rvgure fvqr bs vg ner 6a naq 6a+2; vs vg vf bs gur sbez 6a-1, gubfr ahzoref ner 6a-2 naq 6a.

Gur cebqhpg bs gubfr gjb ahzoref vf gura 36a^2 +/- 12a. Pyrneyl, gung cebqhpg rdhnyf 12a*(3a-1). Gur vagrtre a vf rvgure rira be bqq. Vg vg vf rira, gura 12a vf qvivfvoyr ol gjragl-sbhe. Vs vg vf bqq, gura 3a vf bqq naq 3a+/-1 vf rira, juvpu znxrf 12a*(3a+/-1) qvivfvoyr ol gjragl-sbhe.

That's how I'd do it if I were asked to do it elegantly.

What I actually did when I first saw it was to say to myself, "Bxnl, fb vs vg'f abg qvivfvoyr ol guerr, gura vg'f orgjrra ahzoref bs juvpu bar vf qvivfvoyr ol guerr, naq vs vg'f bqq, vg'f orgjrra gjb rira ahzoref, bar bs juvpu unf gb or qvivfvoyr ol sbhe. Guerr gvzrf gjb gvzrf sbhe vf gjragl-sbhe."

#531 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 12:04 PM:

Buddha Buck @529, ah; that makes SO much more sense. Thank you. (Still have visions of artistically-decorated infants dancing in my head, however... <grin>)

#532 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 12:06 PM:

ASL for infants, CassyB.

Having done it, Jacque, you need to point out to them that both parents will need to simul-sign (sign what they are saying) TO EACH OTHER if htey want the kid to pick it up. Just signing at the kid is very ineffective in teaching it.

There are several 'what's the word for ___' ASL apps that are good; we also got a video from a gentleman whose name escapes me, but he's the hispanic guy with the Dr. on his name and the mustache (his face will be on the packaging). He's really really good. Will research specifics after taking kid to school, but I have to dash right this sec.

#533 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 12:14 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 518: I'm annoyed I didn't see even the beginning of that logic -- I used to like that kind of playing around with numbers -- but thank you for laying it out; at least I could get it after being reminded of the first fact you provide.

#534 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 12:31 PM:

John #530:

I fail to see how a 3-paragraph, 8-sentence proof with two branch cases is more "elegant" than a 2-sentence proof that fits in a parenthetical.

Your second form was essentially my thoughts as well, but more concisely and elegantly put.

For those interested, there appears to be a free chrome extension, d3coder, which allows you to select text and rot13 decode it from the context menu.

#535 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 12:41 PM:

Buddha Buck @ 534: Yes, my second form was almost exactly what you said, and the first form could probably be distilled down.

On a better day, I could maybe do better, but this is the day I have.

#536 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 12:52 PM:

John #535:

My comment at #534 was the first I made on the topic of that mathematical puzzle, and my reference to the 8-sentence and 2-sentence proofs both referred to your statements.

Your off-handed initial thoughts seemed more elegant than your revised, "elegant" form. They were also more concise and elegant than my thoughts, which followed the same general proof method.

I intended to complement, not criticize, you. Sorry if it came out otherwise.

#537 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 12:58 PM:

Buddha Buck @ 536: It's probably apparent to everyone here that I'm so not at my best lately, and that includes my being prickly and offended when offense is not meant and and cannot reasonably be inferred, so there's no need to be sorry yet it is appreciated.

(Y'all want to know exactly just how far short I am of my best, or even my average? I originally typed implied instead of inferred.)

#538 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 01:21 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 537: You typed implied for inferred? Oh, dear, that is diagnostic. May things improve soon!

#539 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 01:32 PM:

janetl @ 538: It's so nice to be around people who understand!

#540 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 01:38 PM:

Cassy B (531): I was familiar with sign language for babies, and I still jumped first to the other meaning of Baby Signing. So you are not alone. :)

#541 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 01:53 PM:

Mary Aileen @540, and now I have the old Girl-scout-camp song running through my head, "We're A Rainbow Made of Children"....

#542 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 02:36 PM:

Ok, I take it back, I think the explanation of the math puzzle that I posted was quite elegant. I was thinking too much of the process I'd used to arrive at it (which was ugly).

#543 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 02:45 PM:

Elegant sausage, don't watch it being made?

#544 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 02:51 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 542: You did make a nice argument. That it isn't in Mathanese doesn't take away from it.

#545 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 03:21 PM:

Mary Aileen @540: I was familiar with sign language for babies, and I still jumped first to the other meaning of Baby Signing. So you are not alone. :)

My initial, un-edited query was about "baby sign," but I decided that was much too ambiguous. (Speaking of being "off," I almost typed ambivalent. Which is a whole 'nother kettle of greeps.)

#546 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 03:44 PM:

Jacque (545): My brain was trying to conflate Baby Signing with Baby Showers. Maybe as an activity at the latter? It was an amusing image while it lasted.

#547 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 04:01 PM:

John @544

It wasn't in Mathanese largely because I didn't want to spoil things for other solvers by using equations (which don't ROT-13 very well).

#548 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 04:48 PM:

Heather #547:

For what it's worth, here's my take on it, in "maths", without equations (so it'll ROT-13 well).

Gur fgnaqneq snpgbevat bs gur gnetrg ahzore (onfrq ba gur qvssrerapr bs gjb fdhnerf), gbtrgure jvgu gur vavgvny cevzr, lvryqf guerr pbafrphgvir ahzoref: gur gjb snpgbef qvssrevat ol gjb, naq gur cevzr va gur zvqqyr. Orpnhfr gur cevzr vf bqq, gur gjb snpgbef ner pbafrphgvir rira ahzoref. Obgu ner qvivfvoyr ol gjb, ohg bar vf nyfb qvivfvoyr ol sbhe, fb gurve cebqhpg zhfg or qvivfvoyr ol gjb guevpr, be va bgure jbeqf or qvivfvoyr ol rvtug. Fvapr gur gjb snpgbef naq gur cevzr ner guerr pbafrphgvir ahzoref, bar bs gurz zhfg or qvivfvoyr ol guerr. Gur cevzr vf abg, fb vg zhfg or bar bs gur snpgbef. Fb gur cebqhpg bs gur snpgbef vf nyfb qvivfvoyr ol guerr. Fvapr gur cebqhpg vf qvivfvoyr ol guerr naq ol rvtug, vg zhfg or qvivfvoyr ol gjragl-sbhe. DRQ.

It's not as compact as John's two-sentence version, but it's basically the same proof as that one, and yours. Perhaps a slightly different approach at getting to the basic facts, but not fundamentally different.

My browser's spell-checker is angry at me. Lots and lots of red squiggles.

#549 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 06:55 PM:

Open threadiness:

Anyone have any idea why I'm having trouble buying a Kobo Aura HD? The Kobo website wouldn't let me buy one, no local independent bookstore has them in stock (although some said they've had them previously), and not even Best Buy or (shudder) Walmart will let me order one.

Is there a problem with the reader? Have they been discontinued? Something else?

It's very frustrating. I've been contemplating getting a new ereader for months; my old Sony is showing its age. I finally decide I'm ready to buy, and WHAT I want to buy, and now I can't buy it...

#550 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 07:07 PM:

Today there has been some discussion of the Harrow and Wealdstone rail crash of 1952. Britain had gone back to peacetime thinking on emergencies, though the NHS had been brought into existence.

Here is an account of the crash and its aftermath. It covers more than Wikipedia does, both more depth on how railways were signaled and more about how the emergency was handled.

It started with some men of the USAF 494th Medical Group happening to be on a train. That unit was running a new USAF hospital in South Ruislip. A phone call was made, and an Emergency Response Team, 7 Doctors and a nurse, dashed to the scene.

The Doctors started carrying out emergency treatment on the scene.

The nurse, Nursing Lieutenant Abbie Sweetwine, handled the triage. She had a lipstick in her pocket, and started marking casualties, who had been treated and who had been given morphine.

Here is the obituary of Major Abbie L. Sweetwine.

Marking casualties? I have seen mentions of it in accounts of WW2 combat medics. She didn't invent anything but she applied her military training.

The wartime Civil Defence was fading away, maybe fading into futility with the nuclear threat, though my father had a different story. This train crash was on the scale of an air raid, and the NHS realised that these things could happen anywhere. They were big enough that a plan would get used all too soon.

British systems, ambulances and hospitals and the other emergency services, changed. Ambulances stopped dashing to the hospitals with the first casualties they could grab.

This is one of the roots of the modern paramedic, treating casualties on-scene. The 494th showed the difference it made.

And Abbie Sweetwine was a 37-year-old Black woman. Newspaper headlines used the word "Negro" without any apparent concern. As a trained nurse she was automatically an officer, but she must have been quite unusual, just four years after Truman desegregated the US military.

It was only four years after the Empire Windrush arrived from Jamaica.

Times have changed.

#551 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 08:36 PM:

And now for something completely different. The Man with Two Colons.

#552 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 08:51 PM:

James Harvey@524: I'd say we liked most of our time in Morocco. On the urban side, Marrakesh was a major highlight for us, but in a sense it also set us up to enjoy Essaouira, which was much more low-key. That is, we loved Marrakesh, but "bustle" doesn't do it justice. (Mind you, we were there on the eve of Eid al-Adha, which meant that in the old city we not only stood a good chance of getting run down by, say, two people on a scooter crossing paths with a donkey cart, but the two people on the scooter had a bored-looking and unsuspecting sheep held between them on its way to the feast.)

Speaking of one place setting you up for the next, one of our initial experiences of Morocco was culinary relief: after a prolonged period in Spain during which pork products and wine went for us from delightful to inevitable to oppressive, Morocco made a great next stop.

#553 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 09:10 PM:

Oy. (I'd use two colons for the second volume also, but then I prefer a little consistency, even if incorrect in some ways, to make it easier for whoever has to fix the mess later.)

#554 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 09:12 PM:

For amusement I've written a correct but awful proof of the puzzle in full math-textbook mode, awful in the sense that it is elaborate, divided into four lemmas, a corollary, and finally the main theorem, while avoiding any attempt at appealing to the intuition. I won't post it yet, because trying to write it without equations would disguise its true awfulness, and with equations there might be too many hints, even rot13'd.

Maybe tomorrow?

#555 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 10:30 PM:

So, let's say you have two things you wish to attach firmly-but-removably to each other. These two things have holes such that you can fit them together and line up the holes. You want to put a solid round bar of metal, with a head on one end, through these holes, and then insert a cotter pin to prevent it from falling out.

What is the solid bar of metal called? It's not threaded, or it'd be a bolt. You can get ones that are 'perforated' as it were around their middle, so that if something in the connection were to break it'd be that pin. Those are shear pins.

If they don't have a domed head, but instead have a split (keyring-type) ring embedded in the non-cotter-pin end, that's a ring pin.

Specifically, I want to buy a bowtie cotter pin, plus the thing-the-cotter-goes-into, to fit the trailer hitch that holds my kid's trail-behind bike tandem thing to my bike's seat post. But I don't have good search terms.

Help me, Making Light, you're my only hope! When it comes to frustratingly-specific jargon terms, anyway. :->

#556 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 10:33 PM:

This is my colon. This is my bung. One is for shitting, and so is the other.

#557 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 10:49 PM:

#555, Elliott Mason: a hitch pin? (second photo down on the right).

#558 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 10:51 PM:

Elliott: my husband the bicyclist suggests skewer.

#559 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 11:06 PM:

I'll second 'hitch pin'. Sounds close enough that they should be able to identify it.

#560 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 11:29 PM:

Awesome, hitch pin it is. We're trying to improve the easy on-off-ability of my kid's tandem trailer bike thing, since the attachment method it came with is ... um. Ok, imagine a bolt with a nut on the end: it's like that with an additional weird bit at the 'head' end of the bolt.

Because you stick it through the holes in the hitch and then tighten down the knurled nut (quite a bit of tightening). When it's finger-snug, you then 'close' a contraption on the head end that involves a sort of handle at right angles to the pin itself, with a rubber doohickey to make it fast. The entire operation allows you to lever the thing tighter than you can get it with the bolt, which is supposed to be necessary for some reason.

It also means that putting on or taking off the trailer bike involves either 2-3min and a lot of squinting and dropping pieces, or 3+ hands.

Parking my new* cargo trike in our garage after take-kid-to-school runs will be greatly simplified if I don't have to deal with a jackknifing trailer bike in the backing-up process. As it is, dealing with the jackknifing is actually LESS of a pain than putting the trailer on and off for storage, which says something.

But even with the various annoyances we are working to mitigate, yaaaaay, carbon-neutral kid-to-school trips! I have such an excite it's apparently hilarious to watch. My legs hate me. My cardiovascular system is complaining loudly about the insane** load I put on it doing my four casual-speed 1.3mi cycling legs today ... but my Inner Hippie can shut up about how much I kill the planet for school runs.

* New to me. Secondhand off Craigslist, very lightly used before I got it.

** Insane TO IT. Perfectly reasonable in the grand scheme of things, and it's going to learn to suck it up and get stronger DAMMIT.

#561 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 12:32 AM:

#560, Elliott Mason:

Your trailer hitch sounds rather like my wheel releases. The lever is handy because it means I don't need tools to get the wheels on or off.

My trailer (wike) has a cotter pin type connection to a permanently mounted trailer hitch. So very easy.

#562 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 01:06 AM:


Can anyone answer the question: "What is the Latin for 'Everything's better deep-fried'"?

Enquiring minds want to know.

#563 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 05:20 AM:

Well, I haven't checked with the experts on the Latinstudy list, but after a little research I'd suggest something like "Fricta in oleo meliora omnia".

(A side effect of the research is that both "cook" and "fry" go on the list.)

#564 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 11:32 AM:

"Commander, look! Baby sign — and not more than an hour old. I'd say it crawled off this way…"

#565 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 11:40 AM:

Kip W @564 <snork!> I really must not read ML while drinking anything...

#566 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 01:34 PM:

Back in Open Thread 196, Xopher posted a story about how a woman is suing the family of a boy she killed in a car vs. bicycle accident.

What that original article (and all the articles published at around the same time) seems to have left out is that the families of the boys sued her first.

From what I can make out from various articles, the facts and chronology are thus:

At about 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2012, three boys (Brandon Majewski, Richard McLean and Jake Roberts) were riding their bicycles home from a coffee shop. They were on a two-lane paved rural road, which would not have had street lighting. They were riding abreast, their bikes did not have lights, had insufficient reflectors, and none of them were wearing helmets (all of which are against the law in ON).

Sharlene Simon was returning from a restaurant in her Kia Sorrento when she struck the boys. Brandon was thrown over the roof of the car and later pronounced dead at the hospital. Richard was struck at the same time and spent weeks recovering. Jake was knocked off his bike, but wasn’t badly hurt.

Ms. Simon was doing (approximately) the speed limit. A "roadside screening device" administered on-scene showed no alcohol was involved.

Then the Majewski family sued Simon for $900,000, and McLean's family filed a $1.4 million claim against her. They claim that despite the accident investigation's findings, Simon was speeding and under the influence. They say that because Simon is married to a (non-Simcoe) police officer, Simcoe police did not do a proper investigation (Simcoe police then did an accident review; when that did not satisfy the families, they invited an outside police force to re-investigate. I assume the OPP will do it, but I don't know for certain the status of that).

It was after these lawsuits were launched by the Majewski-MacLean families for a combined 2.3 million that Simon filed her own lawsuit for 1.35 million. Her lawyer stated that she had to do so to protect herself: "She would have lost everything," Ellis said. "She would have been destitute ... homeless." (this article).

Brandon's father has said to reporters, "They're kids; they're allowed to make a mistake."

The thing is, he's not wrong. Teens make bad decisions all the time, and this was one. They shouldn't have had to die for it.

That doesn't mean that they bear no responsibility for the accident that killed them. When you are riding your bike at night, you are responsible for lights and reflectors, and for not riding three abreast at any time. I don't know if a helmet would have saved Brandon (I have no idea what his injuries actually were), but he was required by law to wear one.

TL; DR: Accident occurs, car v bikes resulting in one teen death. Investigation results: bikes bear greater responsibility, since they were the ones breaking the law. No speeding, no alcohol found. Ruled accidental, case closed. Families protest, launch lawsuit against driver. Driver launches own lawsuit in response.

All of the news outlets have been very happy to talk about 'horrible, narcissistic, etc.' Sharlene Simon for her suit, but no one seems to bother to note it's a counter-suit, which is pretty much the default action when one is sued.

Outside of her being some kind of psychopath, I pretty much believe what her suit alleges: that she has nightmares, that she is distraught, that she can't work. Those are normal reactions to have when you are responsible, accidentally, for the death of a child.

What bad reporting this has all been! I understand random bloggers jumping on the "Simon is a bitch" bandwagon, but I had hoped for better from actual newspaper reporters; I expect them to do things like research, and fact-finding. I had a really hard time finding out the bits that I managed to get for this post.

Can I just add: if we find it necessary to discuss this event/issue, can we do so without dissing Ontario/Canada in general?

I mean, I'm fine with us not discussing it at all, but if we do so, could that please be part of the framework?

#567 ::: KevinT ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 04:45 PM:

HLN: I'm a long time SF/F fan and Making Light reader from abroad on a business trip in San Jose, CA.
I've just discovered that the Nebula Awards Weekend starts tonight just a few miles from where I'm staying.
I've never been to a convention, attended discussion panels, or anything like that.

I'm excited to attend a reading by Samuel Delany tonight, but I wonder if buying a pass for Saturday events will be worth it.
This week end is more for professionals than for fans, right?
Plus, I don't know anybody here and I'm an introvert with some mild social anxiety issues...

#568 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 05:31 PM:

Spam in my inbox:

From: Facebook Accounts
Date: May 15, 2014
Subject: Jacquem you have notifications pending lurched

Dare one ask?

#569 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 06:36 PM:


The Nebulas are not very much like a regular SF convention. I don't know you well enough to say whether they'd be your cup of tea or not. But I'd suggest trying to talk with a few people at the reading (including Delany!) and see whether they think it'd be good for you, as you present yourself that evening, to go to the weekend. You'll probably get good feedback.

#570 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 06:37 PM:

KevinT, #567: Yes, the Nebulas are more akin to a trade show than a con. I would advise taking a look at the schedule for Saturday, and being guided by how many things on it you think you'd enjoy whether or not you had anyone to talk to.

John A. Arkansawyer: I don't remember which thread this piece of discussion was in, but you might be interested in this article which is mildly (and IMO reasonably) critical of the attitudes expressed in Lean In. The author's point, which which I strongly agree, is that we need to allow people to define "success" for themselves rather than urging them into a one-size-fits-all formula.

This was an issue I had with my parents. They wanted me to be a good domestic wife and mother; they would have understood, I think, if I'd had a high-powered career instead -- but I was neither fish nor fowl, and those were the only 2 options they considered acceptable. The fact that my life suited me very well wasn't a consideration at all.

#571 ::: KevinT ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 07:25 PM:

@Lee, Tom Whitmore: Thanks for the advice.

#572 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 07:34 AM:

I was inclined to doubt reports that 63 baby girls in the US in 2013 were named "Vanellope", but it is true.

For comparison, only 69 boys were named Niall.

Lots of raw data downloadable here.

#573 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 09:20 AM:

Niall McAuley (572): 'Vanellope' isn't intrinsically any weirder than 'Penelope'. In fact, I suspect that the former originated as a mis-hearing of the latter. That all 63 have a common spelling suggests an index case somewhere, perhaps a minor celebrity neither of us is familiar with.

On the other hand, 'Niall' is an unusual* spelling of a fairly common name. (At least, I've always assumed it was another variant of 'Neil'. Yes/no?)

*at least in the US

#574 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 09:23 AM:

Vanellope von Schweetz is a character in "Wreck-it Ralph".

#575 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 09:24 AM:

Mary Aileen #573: Vanellope is the female protagonist of the movie Wreck-It Ralph. It's a portmanteau of "Penelope" and "Vanilla" (she comes from a candy-themed gameworld).

I don't recognize "Niall", but from context I assume it's a character from somewhere else.

#576 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 09:36 AM:

"Vanellope" is a lovely word to me right now. Some sort of sub-animal of the ordinary Antelope?

(In other nym news: What would you think of a RPG character with the middle name "Quintessent"? I can't decide if it's awesome or hopeless. It is my character. )

#577 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 09:41 AM:

Vanellope von Schweetz was a heroine in "Wreck it Ralph", one of a number of characters with candy related names like Crumbelina DiCaramello.

A cross between Vanilla and Penelope, I suppose.

Wreck it Ralph came out in November 2012, and Vanellope does not appear in the names data until 2013.

Niall is indeed rare in the US, common enough here in Ireland.

#578 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 09:42 AM:

As far as my mini- puzzle: Lovely seeing people's solutions, and lovely seeing people's working around the limits of rot13 .

#579 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 09:50 AM:

Checking another 2012 movie, John Carter, I see lots of Dejahs in 2013. But wait, they are in 2012 and 2011, too.

In fact, all the way back to 1973. What happened in 1973?

From Wikipedia:Carter has appeared in various subsequent graphic adaptations of the Martian stories, notably the "John Carter of Mars" feature that ran in DC Comics' Tarzan and Weird Worlds comics from 1972 to 1973

#580 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 10:45 AM:

Wreck-it Ralph, check. Given that, I'm not at all surprised that there are a few dozen baby girls with that name. As Sandy B. says, it's kind of pretty.

#581 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 11:06 AM:

Niall ( is a traditional Irish boy's name. It's usually pronounced the same as Neil/Neal (Gaiman or Stephenson), although I've heard of the occasional Nile (as in Rodgers) pronunciation.

#582 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 11:11 AM:

Dave Bell @ 550: a fascinating article in the detail, the consequences, and even the neepery in the comments.(*) Also fascinating to read about then-Lieutenant Sweetwine, who at the time would probably have been blocked from helping in much of the U.S.
      The disaster this immediately brings to mind is Cocoanut[sic] Grove; that gave a similar impulse to law/policy reforms (working from a much less sound starting point), although medical reforms were more in long-term treatment than in on-site handling. AFAICT there was no military-knowledge spillover at CG; individual military would have been there, but probably no group thinking in group terms as at H&W.

(*) I suspect I've spoken to people with similarly-detailed knowledge of U.S. operations -- e.g., members of a model-railroad club based in San Diego's Pacific Exposition grounds -- but I've never been around whatever parts of the net they speak up on.

Elliot Mason @ 560: your CV system will learn -- and thank you by supporting other activities -- as long as you don't massively overstress it. Have you checked your pulse? IANA medico-of-any-sort, but the formula
            maximum desired pulse = (220-age)*.85
has been effective for me; the local Y replaces the multiplier with something like .70-.80, but they may be assuming less-fit people coming in.

Cheryl @ 566: fascinating info. I'm not surprised by the news being wrong; reporters get less and less time to find facts, and I suspect some editors feel they can win by slamming people who they think can't fight back. I do note that the kids being out without proper lighting isn't just their bad decision but a reflection on their parents, who would have some responsibility for making sure that permanent equipment met the law even if they didn't buy the equipment themselves.
      I certainly don't see this as limited to any place, let alone Ontario. I live in Boston (US, not UK); as a former intermittent bicycle commuter I know the local laws, and as someone who drives through cities with lots of street cyclists (especially Cambridge and the Boston University part of Boston) I am appalled at the number of adults who don't follow the law. All I can do is hope my driving is sufficiently cautious that I never hit one of them. There has been a lot of kerfuffle recently over cyclists killed by trucks -- but some news media have made clear that at least one of those cases was almost certainly the cyclist's fault, and there's some indication that police may try to stop-and-cite cycling scofflaws. As a former cyclist I'm sympathetic to the ones trying to keep up speed at all costs, as getting back to speed is much more demanding than it is for drivers -- but running a red light without even slowing should be more condemned. (Unfortunately, catching such offenders is very difficult; perhaps the police need sprays similar to the dye bombs in bank-teller money packets?)

wrt interesting baby names: I suspect many Nialls in the US are due to Niall Ferguson, who (IMO) gives justification to some of reactionaries' baser impulses. Is there a performer who could account for this? Has any MLer data on whether there has been an uptick in Benedicts since Cumberbatch became so visible?

#583 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 11:26 AM:

I think they named a Pope after Cumberbatch, didn't they? It was nice of them, and I'm sure he was touched by the gesture, but it's likely to make it hard to untangle which one a kid was named for.

#584 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 11:48 AM:

"Pope Cumberbatch" sounds like an AU with a lot of potential, for good or ill.

#585 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 12:27 PM:

Amusing local note: Reactionaries discover unexpected effect of standardized testing. (The Pioneer Institute probably isn't as bad as your-least-favorite-reactionary, but they're what we have.)

#586 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 12:54 PM:

Okay, so now that ABC's web page has informed me as to jub gur eng vf in Agents of SHIELD, should I reconsider where my re-entry point is? When last we spoke, I'd just seen Fxl trg fubg naq Zvxr Crgrefba xvyy n ohapu bs crbcyr.

#587 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 01:58 PM:

John A Arkansawer@586:Have you seen Captain America:The Winter Soldier yet?

#588 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 02:08 PM:

CHip, #585: From the article:
But Pioneer has also focused its ire on the Common Core teaching standards promoted by the Obama administration, saying they threaten state and local autonomy and the teaching of verse to schoolchildren.

Mystery explained. This isn't about poetry at all, it's about Obama.

Also, I will note that these are some of the same people who are perfectly happy to cut art and music from the schools in favor of "teaching to the test" as required by NCLB, so I call shenanigans.

Re baby names, are there any instances of girl babies named October?

#589 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 02:35 PM:

Steve Halter @ 587: Sure did. Liked it so well I went out and bought a used copy of The First Avenger and watched it, too.

#590 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 02:48 PM:

Lee (588): I went to library school with a woman named October. But that's obviously way too early for a reaction to the October Daye books.

#591 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 04:02 PM:

John A Arkansawyer@589:It looks like you left off at Episode 13. I would say to just go ahead and watch the rest. For a bit more specific advice that isn't very spoilery:
Lbh fubhyq pregnvayl jngpu Rcvfbqr Sbhegrra. Irel vzcbegnag guvatf gurer.
Rcvfbqr Svsgrra pbhyq or fxvccrq vs lbh jnag.
Rcvfbqr Fvkgrra yrnqf vagb Rcvfbqr Friragrra naq Friragrra vf gur bar nsgre Jvagre Fbyqvre naq guvatf ernyyl urng hc nsgre gung.

#592 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 04:14 PM:

Article on the making of the Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos video. Which was apparently an ad, but was still fun to watch.

#593 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 04:36 PM:

Girls named October, something happened 2007ish:

2013- 44
2012- 56
2011- 54
2010- 63
2009- 59
2008- 72
2007- 57
2006- 12
2005- 13
2002- 08
2001- 10
2000- 09
1999- 07
1998- 07
1997- 11
1996- na
1995- 05
1994- na

Note that less than five is not available.

#594 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 04:46 PM:

Niall McAuley (593): That's odd. The first October Daye book didn't come out until 2009. So those 2007 Octobers must have another source. Was there a sudden uptick in other month names around the same time? I'd expect to see the traditional ones (April, May, June for girls) spike first, then the other months.

The January that I worked with many years ago was about the same age as my classmate October.

#595 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 04:49 PM:

#592 ::: Bill Stewart

Charming, but I'm still curious about whether the tiny circular wrappers were cut for the videos, or if you can buy them pre-made in that size for itty bitty hors d'oeurves?

#596 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 04:53 PM:

re 550: We've actually discussed that article before, and rather than repeat it I'll point back to my observation of the parallels between that wreck and the 1996 MARC/Capitol Limited collision. I'm not so sure what's going on with the word "negro". By my calculation that was the "good" word in the period (it was not long after the founding of the UNCF) so if the comment is about something beyond even mentioning her race I don't get the point.

In searching for my old response I also discovered that it was about that time I asked the flourosphere about Theodore Beale. Small world.

re 566: The father's use of the word "allow" is, um, highly problematic. "Allowing" is how the accident came to happen in the first place; I don't see how "allow" can be stretched to cover "roll back the physical consequences of engaging in dangerous behavior." I grew up in the semi-rural suburbs and was wary enough about walking along the edges of those marginally-two-lane shoulderless back roads even in broad daylight, never mind riding a bike in the street; the danger was (to me at least) obvious.

#597 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 05:38 PM:

Also, France is spending a few million euros on habitat protection for the Great Hamster of Alsace.

#598 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 08:56 PM:

The column of my compatriot has been discontinued
And I am grieved
For ever it has been discontinued
Like a politician who can no longer be believed
He has been swept out of the paper
What avail us now his awards and prizes
His television interviews
His history of 'fame'?
The Telegraph has dumped him
By 'mutual consent'
Toast the past glories and remember his name
The column of my compatriot has been discontinued
And I am sad.

#599 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 10:01 PM:


The shortened version of the article title from the URL ("critics-call-new-school-standards-assault-poetry") conjured up some interesting mental images involving the Nac Mac Feegle.

#600 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 12:12 AM:


I recently discovered that my miniature blender is very convenient for making small quantities of cheese scones.

As a result, I have made an Observation. Bread dough will happily stick to itself, but scone dough will stick to almost anything else in preference to sticking to itself.

Does the flourosphere have an explanation for this Phenomenon? Is it the water content or the fat content or something?

#601 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 12:49 AM:

David Goldfarb #563:

Thank you.

#602 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 02:49 AM:

Regarding name trends and the possible pop culture motivations thereof:

One of the most striking things I concluded when doing the background research for writing Baby Names for Dummies is that name trends that are associated in popular imagination with some particular pop culture phenomenon or celebrity very often slightly predate their supposed trigger. (Not always, but strikingly often.) For that matter, when you ask parents about wildly popular names that are not associated with a particular trigger, you will get a lot of highly individual stories explaining the motivation--and expressions of surprise and dismay that they found themselves part of a "trend".

I imagine it as being like the flight of a flock of migratory birds. Each bird is flying its own path independently, and yet the entire flock will wheel and change direction on a dime.

In the case of apparent pop-culture triggers, there may well be a salience fallacy. That is, the supposed trigger may simply one individual element of a trend with a far more subtle source--just one more bird in the flock, as it were--yet we want there to be a clearly identifiable cause and effect. So we ascribe the trend to the salient example, even if that example post-dates the trend.

#603 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 06:56 AM:

OT: If there's anyone who's going to be driving from Boston to Baltimore for Balticon (Fri - Mon), I have a potential roommate for that event who needs transportation. Cheap airfares are sold out at this point.

#604 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 01:18 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @602: That certainly fits my (admittedly anecdotal) experience. My original given first name was one that my parents chose as a strikingly unusual and unique name they'd just encountered quite recently. Where I grew up as a child, in a very small community, no one else had the name, or even knew any other people elsewhere with it.

Went to a large public school for 7th grade in another country, and suddenly every other classmate of my gender seemed to have the same name. It was one of the most common names of my generation, and even a few years before! But my parents certainly didn't think they were following a trend when they gave it to me, nor were they naming me after any celebrity or fictional character.

#605 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 02:02 PM:

What helps college students who are at risk of dropping out-- sometimes, it takes a surprisingly small amount of reassurance that difficulties are normal.

One nitpick-- if it's really important for students who are at risk (basically those from poor backgrounds) to not feel that they've been noted as potential failures, then writing about the program in a national newspaper is not the way to handle things.

#606 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 02:25 PM:

Heather Rose Jones 602: Connie Willis wrote a novel about that.

There was a boy in my middle school whose mother had decided (this would have been about 1960 or 1961) that she didn't want her son to be called by some nickname. There would be no Chris or Alex or Mike in her house, no. She chose a name that was uncommon and did not remotely suggest any nickname.

She named him Kermit.

He was a round-faced, bespectacled kid, too. But we all called him...Kermit.

He wasn't the only Kermit I went to school with, either.

#607 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Eater of Spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 02:40 PM:

Guys, you don't have to flag every message in a spam flood. If I'm gonna zap one, I'll get 'em all.

#608 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 02:47 PM:

OK, sorry.

#609 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 04:51 PM:

Xopher, that's interesting! The only Kermit I ever encountered besides the Frog was of my grandparents' generation (I'm 44). This would probably put him in the same age-cohort as Kermit Roosevelt, who, IIRC, was one of Teddy's sons. Do you know whether your friend's mother picked it out of the blue, or if she might have been echoing a relative's name?

#610 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 05:45 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 605: That article is fascinating. Such tiny interventions having such big impacts!

#611 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 07:19 PM:

Rikibeth, I'm afraid I don't know. He did imply that she was looking for something unique, though.

#612 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 08:01 PM:

My mother's "fifth son", a young man she met in the 90s who she befriended as she was battling cancer, was named Kermit. I'd have guessed he was born in the mid-70s.

He wasn't green, either.

#613 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 09:20 PM:

Sometime in the '80s a coworker named his son Kermit because it was a traditional name in his family.

#614 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 09:30 PM:

Our former office facilities manager, a fellow in his mid 40s, is named Kermit. No idea why.

#615 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 09:35 PM:

Open Thready:

Operation American Spring did not go as planned. 10 to 30 million people were supposed to show up yesterday in our nation's capitol, a million of whom would occupy Washington until the leadership resigned. A mass movement to peacefully overthrow the government.

The estimates I've seen are that about 250 humans actually made it to the protest.


#616 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 10:41 PM:

Miss Piggy had no problem giving Kermit a nickname.

"Oh Kermie, kissy kissy."

#617 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 11:13 PM:

Sandy B @ 615: The fascinating part was that this was going to be constitutional. Because the founding fathers totally wrote in something about this process for recalling elected officials:

Phase 1 - Field millions, as many as ten million, patriots who will assemble in a peaceful, non-violent, physically unarmed (Spiritually/Constitutionally armed), display of unswerving loyalty to the US Constitution and against the incumbent government leadership, in Washington, D.C., with the mission to replace with law abiding leadership. Go full-bore, no looking back, steadfast in the mission.

#618 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 11:43 PM:

janetl #617: Ah, and now I see why I hadn't heard of it before. :-~

#619 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 01:06 AM:

I pay very close attention to baby name trends when picking names. This meant that anything ending in the syllable "-ee" (such as Haley, Kaylee, and so on) was out, and for boys the ending "-en" (Aidan, Hayden, Jayden, and so on.) Of course, with the last name of Durbin, names ending in the "-en" sound were out anyway (taking out one of my husband's favorite names, Duncan.) And we didn't want anything in the top 100, either, or anything that I encountered too often while working with high schools.

The thing that annoys me is that because of my last name, my father's name is also off the table, because I'm not naming my kid after a Congressman. And no names that have been taken in our family circles within a generation step, to alleviate confusion, which takes out a LOT because we have a lot of siblings and cousins and so forth. Nothing that ends up with an unfortunate nickname.

So after taking all of this into account, and making sure the name as a whole sounds good, it gets narrowed down quite a bit. Much more so in the case of a boy. But... we didn't notice until after we named Gareth that all four of his names have six letters. Oops.

#620 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 03:04 AM:

Some decades ago my wife was startled to find that there were people named "Jessica" and "Melissa" who were now old enough to be doing tech support. And we had a friend in college named "Megan" (pronounced with a long e) who was the only person we'd ever met with that name. A decade later, lots of people were naming their kids that, with a different pronunciation and optional spelling differences.

#621 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 03:59 AM:

"Megan", pronounced "Meegan", is quite a usual name here, and has been for a generation or more. My niece's name is spelled that way, but we being Welsh by ancestry, is pronounced "Meggan".

My sister's middle name, for similar reasons, is "Ceri", short for "Ceridwen" and pronounced "Kerry".

It has caused some difficulties, as has my own middle name, which is "Elis", but spelled, in deference to English convention, as "Ellis" in my case. It produced hilarity when I was a boy, being deliberately conflated with "Alice" and "Liz".

Ah, childhood. Such innocence.

#622 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 10:02 AM:

Bill Stewart (620): When I was a teenager (late 1970s), I encountered the name 'Caitlin' for the first time, in a book set in Wales. I adored it. Imagine my mingled delight and dismay as it later became one of the most overused girl names of a generation.

#623 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 11:18 AM:

B. Durbin #619: When my children were born, their names were also the subject of intense discussion by my then wife and I. We wanted to avoid names that were unusual but also names that were too common (what we called the 'Jason and Susan problem'). My baby brother chided me for us having picked ordinary English names (it also happens that my younger son and a cousin have exactly the same first name by complete coincidence), but his children have names that all begin with the same letter of the alphabet.

#624 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 04:23 PM:

As threatened, a full-bore math-text proof of Sandy B.'s puzzle from 463, with all possible openings for intuitive understanding squeezed out:

Yrzzn 1: Sbe nal vagrtref a naq o,

(oa+1)^2-1 = o(o(a^2)+2a)
(oa-1)^2-1 = o(o(a^2)-2a)

Cebbs: Nytroen

Pbebyynel 1: Sbe nal vagrtref a naq o, obgu (oa+1)^2-1 naq (oa-1)^2-1 ner qvivfvoyr ol o

Yrzzn 2: Sbe rirel cevzr c terngre guna 3, c^2-1 vf qvivfvoyr ol 3
Cebbs: Fvapr c vf abg qvivfvoyr ol 3, vg zhfg rvgure or bs gur sbez 3a+1 be 3a-1 sbe fbzr vagrtre a, fb ol Pbebyynel 1 vg vf qvivfvoyr ol 3.

Yrzzn 3: Sbe rirel bqq ahzore z, z^2-1 vf qvivfvoyr ol rvtug.
Cebbs: Fvapr z vf bqq, vg vf bs gur sbez 2a+1 sbe fbzr vagrtre a. z^2-1 = (2a+1)^2-1, naq ol Yrzzn 1 naq fbzr nytroen gur ynggre rdhnyf 4a(a+1), naq fvapr rvgure a be a+1 vf rira, gung rkcerffvba vf qvivfvoyr ol rvtug.

Yrzzn 4: Fvapr rirel cevzr c terngre guna 3 vf bqq, c^2-1 vf qvivfvoyr ol rvtug ol Yrzzn 3.

Gurberz: Rirel cevzr c terngre guna 3, c^2-1 vf qvivfvoyr ol gjragl-sbhe.
Cebbs: Ol Yrzznf 2 naq 4, orpnhfr 3 naq rvtug unir ab pbzzba snpgbef.

(Guvf cebbs qbrf erirny gung qvivfvovyvgl-ol-gjragl-sbhe pna or qrpbzcbfrq vagb qvivfvovyvgl-ol-guerr naq qvivfvovyvgl-ol-rvtug, juvpu qbrf uryc gur vaghvgvba n ovg. V pna'g svther bhg ubj gb bofpher gung.)

#625 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 05:18 PM:

Open threadiness: As a newbie in Pittsburgh, I'm going to Meetup events to meet people—and simply to get out of the apartment. I think I may be signed up for every book group in the city. I just realized that I'm recommending the same books to different groups. It will be funny if several groups all read the same book!

#626 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 06:47 PM:

#625 ::: janetl

What books are you recommending?

#627 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 07:11 PM:

Nancy @595: the linked article calls them "rice flour wrappers", but they look to me like regular wheat-flour gyoza wrappers, also used for making steamed shumai dumplings and such. You can buy them in 1-2" tall pre-wrapped stacks from the refrigerated section of an Asian food store and maybe some regular supermarkets depending on your area; standard precut diameter is maybe ~4"? (it's been a while since I used them so I could be off)

#628 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 09:25 PM:

Anyone else following Orphan Black? I feel certain I'm not the only one here who is, though a lot of people seem to binge-watch it by seasons.

I can't expect the PTB here to make a spoiler thread for every series, so I'll talk about it here (liberally employing ROT-13).

First of all, the acting is amazing. Tatiana Maslany plays all these completely different people, all with different accents and mannerisms, and makes them all completely believable. They range from the if-you-don't-like-her-what's-wrong-with-you to the truly monstrous (no, not talking about Uryran, jub vf bayl fpnel naq cflpubcnguvp). Jordan Gavaris is amazing too, though he plays only one character.

These are North American actors. I'll leave it to my British friends to tell us how accurate the several different British accents are.

(I express opinions about some of the characters and what I'd like to see happen; don't decode if it will upset you that I think the world (in the show!) would be better off without certain of them.)

Spoilers through S2E5: Enpury cebirf gung va nqqvgvba gb orvat na hggreyl urnegyrff zbafgre, fur'f nyfb n encvfg. Vg'f fgerffrq rneyl va gur rcvfbqr gung Cnhy unf ab pubvpr ohg gb borl ure, n erzvaqre gung ur vfa'g va guvf ibyhagnevyl (gurl unir oynpxznvy vasbezngvba ba uvz). Nal frk orgjrra Enpury naq Cnhy vf gurersber encr, fvapr ur pna'g pbafrag. Qbrfa'g znggre vs ur yvxrf vg, naq ur'f cerggl fgbar-snprq guebhtubhg.

V guvax Fnenu naq Neg znqr n frevbhf zvfgnxr (nyorvg n cybg-cebzbgvat bar) jura gurl fgbccrq Uryran sebz xvyyvat Enpury. Enpury vf zbafgebhfyl rivy (naq jnf, erzrzore, va gur cebprff bs encvat Cnhy, juvpu ure qrngu jbhyq unir fgbccrq), naq jvyy arire fgbc hagvy nyy gur pybarf ner rafynirq (naq ure vagragvbaf gbjneq gurz nzbhag gb abguvat yrff). V guvax gurl pbhyq unir sbhaq nabgure jnl bs erfphvat Sryvk (naq Neg fnvq vg jnfa'g gung rnfl gb frg fbzrbar hc; Sryvk'f grfgvzbal nobhg Cnhy sbepvat gur svatrecevagvat zvtug rira trg gur tha guebja bhg, naq va snpg ur jnf ryfrjurer ng gur gvzr).

Ohg gura V ungrq Enpury rabhtu gb jnag fbzrbar gb xvyy ure ORSBER fur encrq Cnhy. V thrff V'yy unir gb ubcr gung Uryran xvyyf ure fybjyl.

Ohg vs V jrer jevgvat guvf, Fnenu jbhyq znfdhrenqr nf Enpury naq sbby gur Qlnq sbyxf sbe n juvyr; gura Enpury jbhyq beqre Cnhy gb xvyy ure. Gur Pybar Pyho jbhyq qb n fjnc, naq Cnhy jbhyq xvyy gur erny Enpury guvaxvat fur'f Fnenu, juvyr fur xrrcf gryyvat uvz fur'f gur erny Enpury naq beqrevat uvz gb fgbc. GUNG jbhyq or cbrgvp whfgvpr. Abg fher jurgure Enpury jbhyq or zber hcfrg ol qlvat be ol univat ure beqref qvfborlrq!

#629 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 10:11 PM:

#626 ::: Nancy Lebovitz @ 626: What books are you recommending?

Among Others
Ancillary Justice

#630 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 10:27 PM:

It is really, really unfair that I have to wait till October for Ancillary Sword (which, IMHO, is really the second half of Ancillary Justice).

#631 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 11:10 PM:

I am four episodes into the first season of Orphan Black. Someone's husband just spent a house party tied up in a basement.

I'm recording the second season.

#632 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 11:16 PM:

Spock, would you do that one more time?

I'd never seen this. The effects are almost as good as the original TOS effects. Especially the prosthetics.

#633 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 11:19 PM:

Watching Orphan Black. It's good stuff. Although I'm not convinced all the schemey schemes in the first season actually hold together, plot-logically speaking.

Paul really does not ever get unproblematic sex, does he.

#634 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 11:28 PM:

Fragano: Forgot to mention our attempts to not have the same letter start for the people in our family. I know people who do that and it's a little crazy for me. We also don't want bad acronyms (sayeth the lady who went from BAY to BAD—I used to initial things with three, but now I do two. Even though I technically kept the Y—but only for artwork.)

#635 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 11:47 PM:

Sandy, #615: About what I'd been expecting ever since I heard about it. Hell, I don't think there ARE 10 million people in America who are on board with the garbage they're spouting. Especially not so much so as to put themselves out to do anything inconvenient.

#636 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 01:17 AM:

Lee@635, that's not fair! As one of the Operation American Spring organizers pointed out, it was raining!

I'd say we got much better turnout getting hippies to organize bus trips to DC for anti-war protests, and these idiots couldn't even do that, but in reality most of the actual busses seemed to have been organized by various Socialist groups, who were good at organizing and had enough seed capital to get the busses reserved before actually collecting money from riders.

#637 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 06:30 AM:

I'd say we liked most of our time in Morocco.

I suspect my reaction to Morocco was tempered by the fact that it was my first real trip into "the 3rd world", and the back streets of Meknes can be quite full on (child labour, endless begging etc).

It made an interesting comparison with last week's visit to Jordan, which is much more developed, with less harassment but a lot more litter (the plastic bag and the plastic water bottle have a lot to answer for: it is depressing to see a whole desert full of this stuff)

#638 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 08:33 AM:

Logistics protip: If you ever have to coordinate the movement or smuggling of goods or personnel throughout the US and Eastern Canada, get yourself a contact in the dog rescue community. These people are PROS. They are also used to handling paperwork. (Imagine you're moving a dog from Georgia to Ontario, using volunteer drivers, switching off every 100 miles, coordinating meeting places that will allow the dog to get out for a walk and water break, finding an overnight host for the dog, and making sure that the dog's veterinary certificates meet the requirements of all the states you'll be passing through. Also, someone is monitoring the trip as a whole to be sure any delays due to traffic or car trouble get reported down the line. Also all the paperwork, toys, food, leash, crate etc. have to still be with the dog at the end of the trip. And also, four or five other dogs, each with its own paraphernalia, may be joining and leaving the trip along the way--and all drivers have to know which dog is fearful, bites, gets carsick or doesn't get along with other dogs.)

#639 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 11:22 AM:

Lila @ 638: That's astonishing.

#640 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 12:45 PM:

My friend Geoffrey McVey offered an excellent suggestion on Google+ today:

"Today is Saint Dunstan's day, the patron of blacksmiths. There is a story about him responding to demonic temptation by grabbing the Devil's nose in his blacksmiths' tongs.

Saint Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pull’d the devil by the nose
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
That he was heard three miles or more.

For this reason, I would like to promote him to patron saint of tweaking the noses of online trolls. Celebrate accordingly."

#641 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 01:18 PM:

Bill, #636: My point exactly. (As I'm sure you intended.)

Bruce B., #640: What an excellent idea!

#642 ::: Ben M. ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 02:12 PM:

Bill, #636: As a member of one of the "various socialist groups", thanks for the complement I suppose. Leninist methods of organization do seem to be pretty good for getting more done with less. Fortunately, I feel like we're starting to see some of those lessons spread into the larger far left, as demonstrated by the Black Rose anarchist federation and the trend towards more effective organization it represents, for example.

The seed capital thing is mostly an illusion, though, due to individual members being willing to front costs or a willingness to pass the hat. We don't have any real money either, and what little we have mostly goes to keeping the newspapers and publishers going, running conferences, maybe paying a handful of employees and that sort of thing. We may have a bit of money, but nothing compared to the big liberal non-profits or even the unions, let alone the corporate-backed astroturf groups.

If we get stuff done, it's only because of practice, organization and doing our best to find and hold on to the things that worked in the past. Maybe it's a bit pretentious, but I sometimes like to think of the various socialist organizations as the institutional memory of the left.

#643 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 03:35 PM:

And for something completely different: Casey Kasem missing, believed abducted by wife in wake of court order. Basically, the guy is 82 and demented, and was in an institution. His daughter was named a "temporary conservator" for him¹, but when she got to the institution, his wife had removed him overnight, and both their whereabouts are currently uunknown.

¹ What is he, a museum piece? Don't answer that.

#644 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 03:50 PM:

Mr. Kasem was found. (I actually remember America's Top Forty.)

#645 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 04:10 PM:

Oh, I remember AT40! It was on the radio whenever I visited my friends.

I also remember him, after 9/11, saying that he was an Arab-American and did not appreciate the things people were saying.

#646 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 04:21 PM:

Early rumors had Mr. Kasem being lured by a bunch of meddling kids into a windowless van with MYSTERY MACHINE painted on the side.

#647 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2014, 04:24 PM:

Pink Floyd is apparently planning something for the 20th anniversary of The Division Bell. They've got a website with looping video including David Gilmour soloing as only he does and imagery from space and in Chernobyl. It is beautiful.

#648 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 02:42 AM:

Interesting metaphor encountered elseNet: Dealing with microaggressions is the RL version of suffering a DDoS attack.

#649 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 08:48 AM:

Lee #648: Interesting, yeah. My first thought was that is DDoS attack is far continuous and overwhelming, but on consideration, the difference seems mostly the natural difference in timescale between computers and humans.

#651 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 10:27 AM:

B. Durbin #634: My late father's initialism spelled C.A.L.L. Not until very late in his life, however, was he easily reachable by phone.

#652 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 10:51 AM:

Lee @ 648: The analogy goes further.

Most DDOS attacks are generated by using masses of naive, unprotected PCs, owned by people innocent of everything but careless ignorance. Those who profit most by the attacks are well behind the scenes, counting their money and enjoying the action.

#653 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 11:19 AM:

John A Arkansawyer@650: The power is where the data isn't.

My first image was in terms of wires, not people. Some readjustment was required after following the link.

#654 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 12:20 PM:

Writing ProTip, found on Tumblr:

Whenever I’m looking for a character name, I Google "Popular Baby [Boy/Girl] Names [Character's Birth Year or time period] [Character's Country of Origin]." It's a good way to get a quick feel for names which are contemporary to my story.

#655 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 02:37 PM:

HLN: Local woman experiences first fever-producing bug in several years. Woman plaints: "I can not haz diseases plz?" And from the department of TMI: Jbzna nyfb rzvgf tbb bs inelvat pbybef.

#656 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 02:57 PM:

I've run into the "Louis C.K. Talks About Fat Girls" discussion, repeatedly, of late. (Scene under discussion)

I also, a couple days before seeing that, saw "The Heat" (a couple years after everyone else.)

In "The Heat", Melissa McCarthy, the fat girl, the slob, the second coming of John Belushi, has guys stuck to her like Velcro and it's just how it is. There are a few jokes about it, but they're not (that I recall) fat jokes. She tells a guy that it's over, gives him a twenty-second goodbye kiss with tongue, and says "That was clear, right? Don't feed the strays."

The "Louie" scene feels very Hollywood to me. Not just in the timing, where everyone gets uninterrupted monologues like you do in standup and nowhere else, but in the "I imagine a fat girl is very, very lonely, but I've never talked to one" way.

I feel that "The Heat" is not only a better way of handling it, but one that's more often accurate - at least outside LA.


#657 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 05:04 PM:

The power is where the data isn' the linchpin of the Lacey stories. David Drake said he wasn't in that headspace any more the first time he anthologized them; but we might all be in that living space now.

Especially if you live in England, but given the omnipresent, voluntarily-adopted, GPS trackers in everyone's pocket, maybe not too especially.

Also, look for where data is being actively withheld; usually there be power.

#658 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 06:20 PM:

I ran into the not-quite-right phrase "Risk-adverse" and I'm failing to figure out the subtle distinction between "averse" and "adverse". Please avise.

#659 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 06:30 PM:

Sandy B @658, um, off the top of my head, one is averse to adverse consequences.

Averse is dislike; adverse is bad.

Both come, I think, from turning away; averse is turning away from; adverse is turned against you.

#660 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 10:15 PM:

Of possible interest: the BBC's take on an odd bit of Scots/tropic history that came up here a few years(?) ago, when abi(?) invited people to write viewing our history as a uchronia viewed from some other history:

#661 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2014, 10:50 PM:

Sandy B. @ 656: Are you saying that men are typically more attracted to fat women than they are to thin ones? You do give the caveat about outside LA. Certainly, outside of movies and TV, women who aren't movie-star thin do find love, but I didn't find the monologue in Louie unrealistic (aside from it being uninterrupted).

#662 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 08:41 AM:

Open thready rant:

Man repeatedly drugs and rapes his wife, over a three-year period, filming some of the assaults on his cellphone.

He is convicted, but gets no jail time. The judge tells the victim she should forgive the rapist.

I don't want to live in this country. Hell, I don't want to live on this planet.

#663 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 01:03 PM:

Ben M. @642, welcome to Making Light; do you write poetry? ;P

Lee @648, I like that metaphor. Not just microaggressions; I've felt DDoS'd by people asking what I'm going to do after graduation, to use an innocuous example. Maybe worth importing into the DF threads?

B. Durbin @634, Fragano @651: my birth initials are the first three letters of my birth name. I'm still unclear on whether this was deliberate.

Jacque @655: *sends heals*

HLN: Local human has graduated from college! Human is planning to get a job and apply for graduate schools simultaneously, as well as doing twenty thousand other things, because the impulse that led human to take at least one extra class every semester of college did not go away. *g*

#664 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 01:15 PM:

The next Superman movie will also feature the first big-screen appearance of Wonder Woman. My not particularly high expectations took a nose-dive when I read this piece with misogynistic quotes from the writer. What a shame:


#665 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 01:40 PM:

Rob Hansen @ 664: Wow. What a spectacularly stupid asshole. Come to think of it, what do I have against assholes?

#666 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 02:12 PM:

Oak Creek is burning in Arizona.

It's going to be a bad year for fires.

#667 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 02:26 PM:

estelendur @ 663: Congratulations! Well done!

#668 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 02:27 PM:

estelendur @ 663: Congratulations on your graduation! Well done!

#669 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 02:30 PM:

Harrumph! It displayed a server error. I loaded the main ML page, checked to see that my name wasn't added as a new commenter. Went to the thread. No comment there. Refreshed, no comment, and then I posted again. I shall wait longer next time!

Anyway - two congratulations on graduating from college are just fine; here's a third.

#670 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 02:43 PM:

janetl @669, as I understand it (and I may not), it's not a matter of waiting longer; it's a matter of posting something else. Somehow the post lodges in the system, and only another post from the same person will free it up. (Sometimes, the post is lost forever...)

#671 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 03:25 PM:

@janetl, 662: I'm saying something like this, because I really didn't unpack my thoughts at all.

1. The weight thing.

1a) There are different types of "overweight." Looking at women dating in their 30's, you'd see [invented] numbers like this: 97% are "fashion overweight", 80% are "Hollywood overweight", 60% are "medically overweight" and 50% are above average weight for their dating pool.

1b) This means guys who date women in this dating pool have [presumably] calibrated for their dating pool and not for Hollywood.

1c) Everyone compromises on something when they're dating- there are very few real life examples of Nuclear Physicist Barbie.

1d) Are there THAT few guys who compromise on weight? I mean, I married a mean, funny, smart, competent, awesome mad scientist and maybe I compromised on weight a little bit . I don't feel I'm noble or heroic, and I sure the hell didn't settle for a fat girl.

2. The balance thing.
Suppose you want to make a point in your medium of choice about fat girls. In the Louie episode, the fat girl is asking -begging, maybe- for a guy to HOLD her HAND in PUBLIC. In "The Heat" she's giving Sandra Bullock the bathroom makeover and going "You have to do X and Y and Z". SB says something like "And you don't?" And Melissa McCarthy says "I know, it's not fair."

I guess what I'm saying is, "Is it that hard for fat girls to find love? " Maybe it is. I mean, last time I dated the internet wasn't in common use. I'm not exactly a subject matter expert.

#672 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 03:54 PM:

Cassy B. @ 670: Oh, right. I've seen people refer to it, but hadn't encountered that myself yet. Thanks!

Sandy B. @ 671: That scene from Louis is being shared by a lot of people. I haven't noticed, but if a lot of those people are women, then it must be speaking to their experience.

#673 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 04:23 PM:

Lila @662

One feature that has entered English law in recent times is the ability of the Prosecution to appeal against sentence. In the USA, with directly elected prosecutors (and Judges?) that sounds a scary prospect, but a case such as that one is the sort of apparently loony sentencing worth a formal review.

I'm inclined to wonder if the wife couldn't bring a civil suit to keep the rapist-husband from entering her residence, treating it as domestic abuse, or even going for divorce. That marriage looks very dead, and the formality of divorce may be necessary to redefine just what is the rapist-husband's home, and so protect the small-business-owner wife from the unemployed rapist-husband.

It still sucks.

Incidentally, the rapist-husband is appealing his conviction. Maybe that's shooting himself in the foot. It beats a .38 divorce, which, just on the report, looks all too plausible from outside the USA.

#674 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 04:39 PM:

Dave, Lila @ 662, 673: I saw that woman on television over lunch today. She's now remarried.

I was struck by the lack of anger she expressed toward the judge. It was remarkable. I'd've been humming a Moby Grape song under my breath.

This is not where I'd start with reforming the prison system. That said, I'd like to see a lot more punishment like this and a lot less throwing people into prison to turned into worse people. Just maybe not in this case.

#675 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 04:56 PM:

janetl, 661:

Looking back at my own personal experiences, Hollywood-slim isn't a necessity, but the young lady of my intimate acquaintance who was furthest from that standard was quite muscular.

And since muscle is denser than fat, the said young lady probably came out worse on BMI than her apparent shape suggested. I am pretty sure that when I was farming I was caught by the same effect.

Body shape is certainly something I notice, it's a sort of one-to-many broadcast signal, as is the choice of clothes. But I am aware from my own experience how much control over that broadcast we have. And there are other signals which are more informative. Sometimes, you get a modulated-laser pointed at you.

#676 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 05:09 PM:

In re fatness, women, love, and sex: I recommend a Hot and Heavy, a bunch of accounts by fat women.

They cover the range of possibilities: finding love quickly, lots of partners, can't find anyone....

I can believe that the odds might be different for them, and they're sometimes up against one problem that thin women don't have-- the partner who's unwilling to be seen with them in public.

#677 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 05:29 PM:

Possible Gathering of Light: I am probably not the only Fluorospherian going to WisCon this weekend. Anyone want to pre-arrange a dinner run? Or lunch, or something?

#678 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 05:53 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #676: Out of curiosity, does the book have a "position" regarding fat fetishists? It always seemed to me that could be a really awkward situation for a fat woman (at least in the long term) but I am very far from their experience.

#679 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 05:59 PM:

I don't remember if the book had a position about fat fetishists, or if any accounts included them.

I get the impression there are a few women who get a kick out of it, and more who find it creepy.

#680 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 06:04 PM:

Addendum to the above: Really, also in the short term, excepting hookups and the like.

#681 ::: Jenavira ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 06:04 PM:

Elliott Mason @677: I am hesitant to call myself a Flourospherian (I mostly lurk) but one of my goals for this WisCon was to try to meet more people. I'd be happy to meet up with folks for a meal or something.

#682 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 06:09 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz: #679: OK, that's about what I'd have guessed. Fetishism is a little weird with regard to relationships anyway, and when it's for something you can't put on and take off at will....

#683 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 07:18 PM:

janetl @666-668: Thanks! ;D

#684 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 07:55 PM:

Elliott Mason @677
I'll be at Wiscon, and would love some sort of Gathering of Light. Maybe we can use the message board, if nothing else.

#685 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 08:02 PM:

Ok. I'm bringing neon index cards to the con anyhow; I'll pin a wad to the board with my name and GATHERING OF LIGHT written on them for people to crowdsource/suggest specific meetup times/places.

I'm going to suggest a lunch at Noodles & Company and a dinner at Francesca's al Lago (straight across the capitol from the hotel at 111 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd). Haven't decided on days yet. Still freaking out too hard about packing. Suggestions welcomed here. :->

#686 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2014, 08:50 PM:

@685 Elliott Mason

Still freaking out too hard about packing. Suggestions welcomed here.

I'm very list oriented; do lists help you? I have a permanent "packing list" that I just re-use for every trip, with a few modifications at the bottom as needed.

I usually print out a list for each person travelling, and pin it to the inside lid of the suitcase, so that I can see that everything on the list has been added (and I check it off, of course). This assumes that each individual has zir own suitcase(s).

I also find it helpful for when I'm getting ready to come home: everything that came with me is on the list, so I can make sure it comes back with me.

If you're at the point where even making a list seems like too much to do, you're welcome to mine.

I hope this has been helpful rather than hlepy.

#687 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 02:13 AM:

Another (mostly) lurker here. I'm in Madison for WisCon, and would love to join the group if I can get coverage at Registration.

Xopher is here too.

#688 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 07:41 AM:

I see that these last few days we're getting hit with another spam flood... I guess they've evolved past the site's latest defenses?

#689 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 07:50 AM:

**waves at the WisCon crowd** Y'all have fun! Maybe one of these years!

#690 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Speaker to Tall People ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 08:08 AM:

Dave Harmon @688:

The spam tool evolves to keep up with spam—just not always fast enough to keep us completely clean. But in point of fact, a lot of what's getting through their stuff is easily filtered on our back end.

Which is to say, yes, spam flood, bigger than you know. But the new tooling is still better than the old.

#691 ::: Kathryn in Oslo from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 02:40 PM:

Help remind me of the name/author of a recent short story: an arrogant android meets an old man and his granddaughter in a bar. The first two talk about longevity and the latter enjoys a non-paleo diet. I read this in a fairly recent collection.

#692 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 02:44 PM:

Teresa is asking on twitter and would very much like to know if Patrick is at work or home. If anyone sees this who would know, that would seem to be very helpful for her.

#693 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 03:03 PM:

@672 et al: My theory doesn't seem to match up with many women's actual practice. Time to go back and reexamine my assumptions.

#694 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 03:27 PM:

Abi (and, well, anyone familiar with the theme to Game of Thrones and/or loving the city of Amsterdam) needs to see this fine little video -

Crazy(and capering madly about at such a lovely mash-up!!)Soph

#695 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 03:27 PM:

AKICIML: What is this? Does anyone know?

I have a lot of vintage kitchen ware that I inherited from my grandmothers, and from various aunties. Most of it is familiar - I've either seen it in use, or I can figure it out, or its purpose is unchanged from when they used it.

This one I can't. It maybe looks like a waffle iron that's missing parts, except that my mother and her two (surviving and coherent) sisters both insist that my grandmother used it to make some kind of cake on the stovetop, and that they never had waffles in their lives until they were adults living in the city.

The logo says "Super Health Aluminum Co. Ltd.". Googling finds hits for a cookbook called "A Guaranty of Better Health", with the author being that company. I think it was a Canadian company - the cookbook is mentioned in "A Bibliography of Canadian Cookbooks, 1825-1949 edited by Elizabeth Driver". I can't find anything more useful than that.

So, I guess I'm just hoping - does anyone recognise this thing? Or is your Google-fu stronger?

Any help is appreciated!

#696 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 03:37 PM:

It looks a little like an old-fashioned sandwich press or pie iron, suitable for cooking over wood stoves or campfires. Except the handle is a bit short for that sort of thing.

#697 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 04:01 PM:

I agree with Cally Soukup. There seems to be an Australian sort called a "jaffle iron", which can be either round or square.

The short handles tell you that it's meant for using on a stovetop rather than over a campfire.

#698 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 04:33 PM:

CHeryl @695: Quick google image searching turns up things kinda similar that claim to be vintage omelette pans ... but that's just what ebay listings call them, so I have no actual definitive source on that.

#700 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 05:40 PM:

699 John A Arkansawyer: sounds like a classic example of Sinclair's Rule to me.

#701 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 06:15 PM:

Idumea #690: Ah, so we're just seeing the overspill. Yeek.

#702 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 07:38 PM:

Regarding Kim Stanley Robinson's take on Asimov's predictions: I like his point that several of the predictions were biased by Asimov's own psyche. But I do note that KSR dinged Asimov on one item where he could have given partial credit: The use of algae and microorganisms as food. Spirulina is a common nutritional supplement which, even long after its fad period, is still showing up in various smoothies and packaged drinks, while the upcoming Quorn¹ is based on fungal cultures. (And there's the interest in probiotic cultures and new fermentation products such as Kombucha.)

One striking thing Asimov missed in his discussion of sustainability is how environmental contamination has already become a Problem, from asbestos, heavy metals and estrogen mimics right on up to the Superfund sites and Exxon Valdez et al. (Never mind CO2 and climate change, which may not have been on his radar yet.)

¹ A flexible meat substitute -- I just had some for dinner, in the form of an imitation-chicken/real cheese patty.

#703 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 11:30 PM:

re 702: There's another element which I think KSR brushed up against but didn't entirely catch. You've caught one part of it, for Rachel Carson's senate testimony fell the previous year. But another notable wake-up call came the same year: the demolition of Penn Station in NYC. Asimov's thinking is very much, even with considering his own quirks, in the line of the whole flying car future, as KSR does point out; but he misses the point that the better-engineered City Of The Future was to simply wipe away the city of the past. By the same token Asimov completely missed how the various forms of foodie-ism, good and bad, were going to transform the way people in the USA at least eat.

#704 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 11:48 PM:

Nancy Leibovitz: Any time BMI is brought up, in any context, I just want to jump up and down screaming, "It's a crock!" Because even my medical group, which presumably should know better, has BMI recommendations on there. (One issue that should be obvious: Using a square to make recommendations on volume... which is a cube. Which means both ends of the scale are messed up.)

Anyway. I know a lot of women at varying weights and I'm a big fan of the HAES concept, as well as the idea that confidence is probably the most attractive thing.

And none of this addresses the point, which is that our culture is really messed up when it comes to women's bodies and the perceptions thereof. The very fact that a woman's body is seen as a public item, able to be commented on with impunity, and more important than any other aspect, is severely messed up.

(Goes off grumbling about that recent spate of reviews about the opera singer who wasn't a waif, and whose performance—supposedly stellar—rated almost no comments, while her weight—not even that high—garnered snark and criticisms from reviewers who wouldn't even think to make a comment about Pavarotti.)

#705 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 02:16 AM:

Cheryl @ 695 and Elliott Mason @ 698:

Definitely an omelette pan, probable vintage 1930s; my mother had one; she and my grandmother both called it that.

(It was one of the things that was supposedly packed when everything went into storage in 2002, but somehow mysteriously wasn't there four years later when stuff came back out of storage, and I'm *still* irritated about some of the things that weren't replaceable.) (Something *like* them would be, but not the actual used-by-my-grandmother-and mother thing. [etc., deleted.])

#706 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 06:37 AM:

C. Wingate #703: Yeah, that is the problem with the flying-car future, isn't it? Not to mention the prospect of drunk drivers crashing into the upper floors of the Empire State Building. :-)

B. Durbin #704: Amen!

#707 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 09:11 AM:

Last post from home. Next time you see me, I'll be at WisCon (and on hotel wifi, wish me luck).

We're not quite at the 'get in the car and start it' phase, but I'm going to be wandering about finalizing packing, moving things out to the van, trying to get calories into both me and the kid, putting the kid in clothes .... yeah. Like that.

See you later. :->

#708 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 11:57 AM:

Figuring out who's really running the world: The Financial Core of the Transnational Corporate Class. (From Project Censored.)

#709 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 12:42 PM:

Dave #702:

One striking thing about a lot of the contamination: There was a lot of pollution and contamination in Asimov's time--much more than there is now, in fact. But I think there was a lot less awareness of the non-obvious kind of pollution, or the actual hazards of the noticeable kind.

Think of cigarette smoke, lead paint, and asbestos. All three were normal parts of the environment for people in 1950, with their hazards poorly understood and their elimination or minimization opposed by lots of people. All three have the property that their effects are subtle enough to require careful studies and statistical tools, rather than just simple observation, to nail down.

My wife used to work cleaning up toxic waste sites. One common pattern she ran into a lot was companies in the late 1800s or early 1900s behaving responsibly for the time--disposing of smelly but harmless waste products by burying them in a big hole to avoid annoying the neighbors. Many decades later, that same smelly waste product was known to be full of carcinogens, but the folks working with it in 1905 just thought of it as a nuissance--it didn't have any *visible* bad effects, after all.

#710 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 01:59 PM:

albatross #709: As I said, not on his radar. The that era in the real world was one where we were making huge strides in mastery over the natural world, and science fiction reflected that. The threats people were worried about were from humanity itself -- nuclear holocaust and other wars, later on alienation and cultural rebellion.

But as C. Wingate points out, cracks in that worldview were just starting to appear. Since then, we've learned harsh lessons about the limits of our technology,¹ and about the hazards of playing fast and loose with the natural world. It's sunk home that there's no more virgin territory to exploit, and throwing nasty stuff out of sight (there is no "away") doesn't actually get rid of it. And we're starting to grasp that yeah, humanity is the threat, just not the way we thought.

¹ Notably, it's much harder to fix things than to break them, and much harder to clean up a mess than it was to make.

#711 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 02:04 PM:

albatross, Otto Bettmann wrote a terrific book called The Good Old Days: They Were Terrible which lays bare the fatuous illness of nostalgia with a healthy dose of reality about those wonderful days of yore.

Cars were welcomed wholeheartedly by people who cared about the environment, because horses (particularly urban ones) led to a host of nasty problems. Streets were littered with urine-soaked straw from livery stables, making a powerful ammonia odor. Horses (as my daughter, who's just started a couple weeks of riding) poop all the time. These substances are ground under hooves into a fine powder, which is then carried on the wind, and which contemporary writers say was impossible to keep from blowing into homes.

Would these things have done as much wholesale damage to the environment? Doubtful, but they were hell to live with, and earlier generations were thrilled to dispense with them.

#712 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 03:02 PM:

Kip @711: Makes me wonder what things our generation are thrilled to dispense with that future generations will shake their heads over!

#713 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 04:48 PM:

Maybe it'll be just like Woody Allen's SLEEPER, where they find that red meat was good for you all along.

#714 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 11:04 PM:

albatross, two things: 1) The number of "bad air days" in Los Angeles has decreased significantly since the 1960s, in spite of the vast increase in the number of cars driven. 2) Violent crime worldwide has decreased in a statistically significant correlation with the dropping of the environmental lead level—that is, the amount people are exposed to and metabolize. You can track the drop in violent crime since lead was removed from gasoline worldwide.

The latter is very impressive to me, as I would not have thought to check for that correlation, but lead exposure has been shown to drive up violence (due to its subtle effects on the brain.) At any rate, we *are* more aware in many cases, and we're working on ways to fix it, which is good.

#715 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 09:07 AM:

@ my 695, @696 Cally Soukup @697 Rikibeth @698 Elliott Mason @705 glinda

Thanks so much for answering! Googling on "vintage omelet pan" does indeed get me several images that look like what I have (though it does seem like that would be an awkward way to make an omelet).

Now I just have to figure out how my grandmother used it to make cake.

Glinda, re disappearing stuff: That would drive me nuts. Back when my cousin was living with my mum, several random things "disappeared" that my mother had had for years. My cousin has this thing about "old" stuff - "Get rid of it. It's old." She would rather throw a vintage item in the garbage and replace it from the Dollar Store.

When I suggest to my mother that Cousin threw $ITEM away, she'll just say, Oh No, Cousin would Never Do That.

Of course she would. Cousin thinks the world revolves around her arsehole.

#716 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 10:27 AM:

re: omelet pans

The theory was that you divide the egg mixture between the two compartments, cook it almost set, add the filling, and then close the sides before dumping the omelet out onto the plate. When I first ran across the idea (wow! another kitchen gadget!) it became apparent that it was more fuss than doing a standard omelet.

How to make cake in your omelet pan (guess) -
Anything enclosed with a heat source is, essentially, an oven. Think camp ovens (collapsible metal box that sits over the fire), Dutch ovens. A friend bakes bread in the heat of summer by using a Dutch oven outside on her propane grill.

Were I to try this, I'd find the microwave cake-in-a-mug recipes to get proportions for a small amount, grease the omelet pan VERY well, pour the batter in one side allowing for expansion and cook closed over a very low burner.

You're making a longer, flatter cupcake.

Any cake batter will work, once you get the technique. As you're only using a fraction of it at a go, the rising element (air beaten into egg, baking powder/soda) is going to lose its oomph if you hold it for any length of time.

Let us know, huh?

#717 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 11:01 AM:

@716 Carol Kimball

re: omelet pans

:snip: it became apparent that it was more fuss than doing a standard omelet.

Geez. Way to make a simple thing complicated.

Any cake batter will work, once you get the technique. As you're only using a fraction of it at a go, the rising element (air beaten into egg, baking powder/soda) is going to lose its oomph if you hold it for any length of time.

Googling for the omelet pan images showed a couple with johnnycake/cornbread in them. In separate conversations, my mother has remembered my grandmother making johnnycake, although Mum never associated it with this pan. I wonder if that was it, though?

Let us know, huh?

I'm moving on the 30th (which is how I came to be cleaning out cupboards and found the pan). I don't know how long it'll take me to get setup - I'll be sharing the kitchen (with my mum!), but as soon as I'm able, I'll definitely try it. I think my mum would like to see it, too!

Speaking of which: back to packing. Thanks again for everyone's help!

#718 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 12:19 PM:

Cheryl @ 715: Perhaps you should point out to your cousin that she herself is not getting any younger.

#719 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 05:11 PM:

Here we go again: EBay hacked, personal data accessed.

Much thrashing since, notably bad password advice and evaluation: Computerworld's roundup.

#720 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 09:24 PM:

Cheryl, #715: When I looked at that picture, I had no idea what your item was, but the notion that popped into my head was "cornbread" -- specifically, the cake kind rather than the "fried hotcake" variety that I prefer. Fill one side with batter, close the lid, and put it on the heat source?

#721 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 10:59 PM:

Oh. Goody.

Baby racoons falling into the dumpster season has started. Which also, tidily enough, coincides with sleeping with my windows open, 30 feet away season.


#722 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 10:59 PM:

Oh. Goody.

Baby racoons falling into the dumpster season has started. Which also, tidily enough, coincides with sleeping with my windows open, 30 feet away season.


#723 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 11:32 PM:

What!? I did not either click "post" twice. rrrrrr....

#724 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 10:20 AM:

The pamphlet that came with these pans gives recipes for "Chopped steak w/onion rings, Liver and bacon, Frankfurters & Sauerkraut, Lyonnnaise potatoes, Meat loaf, Orange cake, Orange icing, Last minute cake, Apple sauce cake, Knickerbocker nut bread, Manhattan fudge cake, Plain omelet, and Duplex utility pan biscuits."

I suppose that cooking small amounts of these items stovetop would heat up the kitchen less than in the oven, and would probably be more energy efficient. Sounds ideal for warming up leftovers, too. Now I want one. Of all the kitchen paraphernalia my mother and grandmother accumulated (and which I inherited), they never had a hinged omelet pan.

#725 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 10:34 AM:

Many places on the Big SA River sell similar omelette makers to use in a microwave. My problem with the one in Tracie's link (good work tracking it down, though!) is that it's aluminum, bringing to mind the quote:

"One of the good things about WWII was that it got aluminum out of the kitchen and into the war effort."

I have seen an antique cast-iron model. The plastic/silicone jobs might work in a mic (is there anyone out there who has a mic but not a stove?), but no way they'd give the lovely browned crust you'd get making stove-top cornbread.

#726 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 10:56 AM:

Plenty of cast-iron omelette pans via the web, and while looking through the images this popped up:

U.S. states in cast iron skillets.

They're MUCH bigger than I'd thought.

Alas, for those state-proud of us in Colorado ($700 - why are Wyoming and North Dakota only $600?) not much point in the investment.

The link from that site doesn't work, but this one does.

#727 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 11:23 AM:

Carol, what don't you like about aluminum cookware? I love it for its fast heating and quick thermal responsiveness - it's kind of the opposite of cast iron for my purposes, and sometimes that's precisely what I need.

Admittedly, it's not a nonreactive metal, which is why I also have some stainless steel cookware - but those need the aluminum or copper core (All-Clad style) to really behave the way I want a cooking pan to behave.

In fact, as my housemate and I are preparing to split our household, she expressed dismay that my Big Saute Pan (it's either KitchenAid or Calphalon, but All-Clad style construction) would be going away. I said, "You know what? It's a good pan, you're not wrong, but I'm not totally satisfied with it. Buy me a restaurant-quality pure aluminum pan that size, which is a lot cheaper, and you can keep the current one, and we'll both be happy."

I may be biased by my time in restaurant kitchens, where most of the default pots and pans are aluminum. And I'd never have made the same trade with my medium-large stainless saucepan - stainless is the Material of Choice for anything that involves making caramel. Though if for some reason I needed to add to my collection of saucepans, I'd definitely buy restaurant aluminum cheapies to fill in any gaps not covered by the medium-big stainless, the enameled-cast-iron Dutch oven, the big thin enamel-over-steel stockpot, and... you know, I could probably stand to retire the medium and bitty Le Creusets in favor of a couple of similar-sized aluminum pans, because the cast iron is just way too slow. Cookware that comes in sets of all one type of material just doesn't reflect my optimal cooking needs.

As for double boilers, that's REALLY easy: one of my stainless steel mixing bowls set on an appropriate-sized pot. If a lid is required, cover with foil.

One of these days I'll figure out the optimal material for each particular size and function of pan. My cupboards will look wildly mismatched but my cooking experience will be a BREEZE.

#728 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 11:23 AM:

Carol, what don't you like about aluminum cookware? I love it for its fast heating and quick thermal responsiveness - it's kind of the opposite of cast iron for my purposes, and sometimes that's precisely what I need.

Admittedly, it's not a nonreactive metal, which is why I also have some stainless steel cookware - but those need the aluminum or copper core (All-Clad style) to really behave the way I want a cooking pan to behave.

In fact, as my housemate and I are preparing to split our household, she expressed dismay that my Big Saute Pan (it's either KitchenAid or Calphalon, but All-Clad style construction) would be going away. I said, "You know what? It's a good pan, you're not wrong, but I'm not totally satisfied with it. Buy me a restaurant-quality pure aluminum pan that size, which is a lot cheaper, and you can keep the current one, and we'll both be happy."

I may be biased by my time in restaurant kitchens, where most of the default pots and pans are aluminum. And I'd never have made the same trade with my medium-large stainless saucepan - stainless is the Material of Choice for anything that involves making caramel. Though if for some reason I needed to add to my collection of saucepans, I'd definitely buy restaurant aluminum cheapies to fill in any gaps not covered by the medium-big stainless, the enameled-cast-iron Dutch oven, the big thin enamel-over-steel stockpot, and... you know, I could probably stand to retire the medium and bitty Le Creusets in favor of a couple of similar-sized aluminum pans, because the cast iron is just way too slow. Cookware that comes in sets of all one type of material just doesn't reflect my optimal cooking needs.

As for double boilers, that's REALLY easy: one of my stainless steel mixing bowls set on an appropriate-sized pot. If a lid is required, cover with foil.

One of these days I'll figure out the optimal material for each particular size and function of pan. My cupboards will look wildly mismatched but my cooking experience will be a BREEZE.

#729 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 11:30 AM:

No idea how that double post happened. Sorry.

#730 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 12:16 PM:

Herewith my prejudices, Rikibeth:

Autopsies of folks with Parkinson's/Alzheimer's and related brain-shrinking dysfunctions show a significantly higher % of aluminum salts. A geologist I know personally claims another correlation between those whose drinking water is from the Ogallala aquifer with its higher level of those salts and those cases.

Whether it's causal or a byproduct of something else is unknown.

There's also a correlation between use of aluminum in cooking and diseases of brain deterioration, though our overall population is aging so we're going to see more of those anyway.

I don't cook directly in aluminum any more. Restaurants love it because it's light, cheap, fast and very durable.

My preference would be stainless covering a nice plate of aluminum - I settle for Revereware though those copper-clad bottoms seem more cosmetic than functional. I loved cast iron - now it's too heavy for my wrists. We had a fabulous family "naked" steel skillet with half a century of seasoning I'd dearly love to have grabbed. When I protested its disposal, the excuse was "old and ugly".

#731 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 12:17 PM:

There was an idea going around for quite a while, with some scientific plausibility behind it, that traces of aluminum in food were a contributor to Alzheimer's dementia, but I think later research disproved it.

#732 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 12:35 PM:

Were my choices cooking acidic-component stew in aluminum or in a raw deerskin with heated rocks over a fire (yes, my tongue is in my cheek), I'd probably buy an aluminum pot.

I have a vintage hand-cranked cast aluminum citrus juicer that I regularly use (whoa! acid!!!), but the juice barely hits the press plates before I've offloaded it. It's too much easier than twisting halves on a molded glass or plastic jobbie. I'd love to find a stainless one in a thrift store.

#733 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 12:36 PM:

Clifton #731: IIRC, the original suspicion came from learning that beta-amyloid plaques themselves included aluminum ions. But then they went on to epidemiological investigation, and the correlation didn't pan out. (So to speak.)

(Aluminum is one of the commoner elements on Earth's surface, for all that the pure metal doesn't appear naturally.)

#734 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 12:41 PM:

Dave, thanks, that makes me less apprehensive about the lemonade I'll be making this summer.

#735 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 12:57 PM:

My reading of the science on aluminum and Alzheimer's is with Dave Harmon, that the correlation didn't hold up under scrutiny. I am no expert and could be wrong. And, when it comes to highly acidic foods, I'm likely to choose something nonreactive (stainless or enameled) because of flavor issues -- or else cook it in cast iron and consider any leaching a dietary bonus. For me, though, the thermal properties of aluminum outweigh the potential risk.

Also, I strongly believe that the "copper bottoms" on RevereWare are more cosmetic than functional, as you say. I'd rather pay the same money for one serious All-Clad-type pan than for a full set of RevereWare. It's too thin for things that need a heavy pot and too unresponsive for things that need a thin pot. Possibly my least favorite composition for cookware!

#736 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 01:20 PM:

I glommed the Revereware when my female relatives were getting rid of it in favor of the earliest generation of Teflon-coated stuff.

Talk about ick!!!

Waterford? made a cast-iron skillet about half a century ago that had a solid bottom and the thinnest possible sides with a heat-resistant (i.e. light) handle. The outside was enameled, the inside polished iron. I got talked out of buying it (see above, Teflon). I'll bet I could still flap my jacks in it.

#737 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 01:34 PM:

Revere beats Teflon, YES. Heh. One of the reasons Housemate was mourning the imminent loss of my saute pan was that I've managed to convert her to my dislike of nonstick pans, and that's what she had in her starter set of kitchenware.

One of her pots that *I'm* going to miss, and need to replace, though, is the large pasta pot with the perforated draining insert. Hers is stainless, which is adequate for the uncomplicated task of boiling pasta water, and it's not so thin that you can't cook a roux-based cheese sauce in it when making mac and cheese. Mostly, though, it's that I love the drainer.

The pan you describe sounds flipping AMAZING. I want one.

#738 ::: Stefan Jones suspects spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 03:02 PM:

I plucked two Revereware skillets out of dumpsters. They had baked on crud and I guess the former owners thought . . . well, maybe they weren't thinking.

They cleaned up beautifully. I use them a lot. I wish I had one larger size, for (say) browning a whole bag of frozen chicken breasts for making casserole.

I have a giant Teflon coated pan (also salvaged) for big jobs; it has two handles so it can be handled easily.

#739 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 04:02 PM:

Like this.

Most of the run had a non-stick coating baked on, so I'm assuming that's what's out there now. I'd buy one of these puppies in a heartbeat if I thought a wire attachment on a power drill would safely take it off.

Thoughts, anyone?

#740 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 04:29 PM:

I think probably the copper bottoms on new Revere Ware pans really are just cosmetic. The originals though had heavy copper on the bottoms. The old pans weigh appreciably more than the new ones.

You can tell them apart, because the one ones have the handle secured to the pan body with screws, whereas the new have rivets. It is sometimes possible to find the old style pans in antique stores, or junk stores. The same lids will fit either kind.

#741 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 04:55 PM:

My mother had one Revereware pan, a double-boiler with a handled bowl that fit inside. The rest of the cookware was a 'Lo-Heet' set that actually belonged to my father (he got it before they were married). I have several of the pans from that set: they're older than I am, and still good, although one needs its handle repaired or replaced.

#742 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 05:17 PM:

I found a Revereware pot at the Goodwill a couple of weeks ago, complete with a lid. I plan to do more looking at similar venues.

#743 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 08:20 PM:

Regarding TNH's new sidebar: "An antidote to the Santa Barbara MRA/PUA story." The hovertext says "Elliott nominally does strength training...".

I say, how is that "nominally"? He does strength training. He doesn't limit it to physical strength.

#744 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2014, 09:19 PM:

I've often said that at least part of my communication issues with my mother are because she has half of the conversation inside her head, and I can't hear that part.

Today, this happened:

::phone rings::
Me: Hello
Mum: What colour is your toaster?
Me: Sorry?
Mum: What COLOUR is your TOASTER?
Me: Silver and black...?
Mum: We'll use that one, then. I have to go. Bye.
Me: What about my toaster? Mum?
::line cuts::

Yep. That happened.

#745 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 12:01 AM:

Interesting conversation about cookware. Like many people, I started out with Revereware. Over many years I've purchased/used stainless steel pans, cast iron pans, aluminum, whatever there is. I've recently tried ceramic, but I really don't like it even though it fits my number one and number two criteria. Number one: the pan has to be light. Number two: it has to be easy to clean. My hands can't lift heavy saute pans, and scrubbing baked-in stuff is painful. The ceramic pans can't take high heat, and I do a lot of stir-frying.

#746 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 12:07 AM:

Cheryl, #744: When my father did that, it was generally a symptom of boundary issues -- he knew what he was talking about, so why didn't I? This is one reason I take great care to actually introduce the topic of discussion before expecting people to talk about it.

#747 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 12:41 AM:

I have most of the classic Revereware starter set back from when I first moved out of my parents' house, plus one of my mom's fifty-plus year old saucepans, a bunch of the bigger pots (including a huge teflon job) and one plus-size sauce pan that I picked up a Goodwill. For skillets I prefer to use Teflon and buy cheap enough so that when they wear out I can bring myself to get rid of them. The Revereware, of course, is basically eternal.

#748 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 08:01 AM:

Open Thready cheerfulness: What happens when you put a hamster wheel out in the wild?


#749 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 08:43 AM:


Obviously she's writing a parody of "What Color is Your Parachute?"


#750 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 09:36 AM:

beloved laptop
(water spilled in yesterday)
completely unharmed

#751 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 09:39 AM:

Intrepid laptop
dodges aqueous bullet.
Cue the Mythbusters.

#752 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 10:21 AM:

Betrayed laptop
Damply plots a slow revenge.
Bitrot eats your files....

#753 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 11:23 AM:

So spouse and I are now wondering if we're the victims of a group hallucination. Didn't brewer's yeast use to be sold in bulk (or even small amounts) at health food stores?

We've made a tour of every purveyor of stuff in Austin and can find none; seemingly the only place you can get it anymore is (obviously, in retrospect) a home-brewing supply store. I had spent some time trying to figure out if I was suffering from the Dread Supermarket Category Error aka the Sugar Problem, but apparently not.

(Cat needs supplements for mild arthritis, and she loves her brewer's-yeast infused hairball tablets, so we figure on mixing supplement with yeast to make it palatable.)

#754 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 11:25 AM:

B. Durbin @704: re. "recent spate of reviews about the opera singer who wasn't a waif." I was lucky enough to actually see Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne (the production being reviewed) this last weekend. Tara Erraught, he singer playing Octavian is, it's true, more buxom than the singers usually cast in such a trouser role. However, I thought she acted (as well as sang) the role very well. I think the production intentionally played up Octavian's extreme youth - having a short singer in the role emphasized that. I do think that different costuming could have made her look more convincingly male, but that's a whole different criticism from body shape per se and as one of the critics pointed out, if a convincing male was the first requirement for the part then it would have been cast for a tenor not a mezzo-soprano.

There are other things about the production which I think may have made people some used to a more traditional interpretation uncomfortable (this was, in my opinion, very definitely an interpretation of Baron Ochs in a world after the revelations regarding Jimmy Savile, Max Clifford et al.). However, I'm pleased to say that at the performance I attended, the audience very clearly expressed their appreciation for the performance (and particularly to Tara Erraught), and the people in the front row of the stalls had brought long-stemmed roses and threw them onto the stage once the other major cast members started appearing for their bows.

Note: (a) I am told that reviewers DID used to comment on Pavarotti's size, back in the day; (b) I do think there is a point past which inappropriate body size is a problem for a visual performance - a very thin Falstaff would not be appropriate for example, as he is described as "a fat knight".

#755 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 11:43 AM:

@me in 744:

The explanation: I've mentioned already that I'm going to be moving in with my mother (Friday! Ack!).

So, it seems that her toaster broke. She figured we could just use mine, but she wanted to make sure first whether it would clash with her kitchen (all her appliances are chrome/stainless/black).

I'm not sure why saying the sentence, "Hey, my toaster broke. Can we use yours? What colour is it?" was so hard.

I guess if it was purple, or something, she would have bought a new toaster.

#756 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 02:03 PM:

Joann @753

Are brewer's yeast and nutritional yeast sufficiently different that you can't use the latter? We regularly buy the latter in bulk at our local coop. (Good on popcorn and kale chips.)

#757 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 02:19 PM:

OMG Needle Felting Tool WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE !!!!!eleventy!!!

#758 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 03:43 PM:

Naomi #756:

I've been wondering that. but $Spouse seems to think there's some difference. So far no evidence has been supplied. (I'm betting on different taste, anyway?)

#759 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 04:01 PM:

I haven't ever tried brewer's yeast, so can't comment definitively. A little googling suggests that brewer's yeast is more bitter, while nutritional yeast is cheesier/nuttier. (I agree with the latter description. At least, while it doesn't taste exactly like cheese, it fits in the same flavor space.)

Might be worth a try if you're having trouble getting what you need, though.

#760 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 07:46 PM:

Open Threadiness:

Just saw X-Men: Days of Future Past. I'd heard some folks were confused by the timey-wimey bits; all I can say is those confused folks obviously never read any SF....

Non-Spoiler: There's a bit after the credit, as is normal for Marvel movies. Regarding that.... (spoiler) V qba'g xabj gur Zneiry Havirefr gung jryy. Jnf gung naqebtlabhf crefba ohvyqvat gur clenzvqf sbe gur svefg gvzr (va gur cnfg) be erohvyqvat gurz abj? Naq jub jrer gur sbhe ubefrzra? Nyy V pna guvax bs vf " gur Ncbpnylcfr..." ohg gung frrzf gbb cng....

#761 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 08:05 PM:

Gurl ner va snpg gur Sbhe Ubefrzra bs gur Ncbpnylcfr, orpnhfr gur oyhr-terl crefba vf Ra Fnonu Ahe, bgurejvfr xabja nf, jryy, Ncbpnylcfr.

Nccneragyl gur arkg K-Zra svyz vf tbvat gb or n evss ba gur Ntr bs Ncbpnylcfr.

#762 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 08:34 PM:

HLN: Local laptop suffers hard drive failure, after local cat attempts to sit on it and knocks it off local laptop stand onto local desk.

Luckily, local woman kept two backups, so after a hectic afternoon of shopping for and installing a hard drive replacement, was able to restore from backup and get back up and running.

It was one of those frustrating "It worked fine for about 36 hours after taking the fall, but then it suddenly refused to boot" situations.

Local woman had just set tentative dissertation defense date in two months, so it's a darn good thing she keeps her data backed up.

Local cat is unrepentant.

#763 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 08:59 PM:

Oh yes, Revereware! I have the set I got after college, my mother's set, and my grandmother's set. Plus a small set I got at a yard sale after moving and not being able to find any of mine after a week (The box had been marked "china." Not a complete overlap of sizes, but there are times when having 4 stew/stock pots comes in handy. And they are pretty damn immortal.

I would think that nutritional yeast would be more appealing. Plus, you can use it to make a local delicacy, (waves at Lila), the Golden Bowl.

#764 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 09:29 PM:

All hail the Golden Bowl! *waves at Tracie*

#765 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 09:50 PM:

Lila (at 748) -- I now feel much less guilty about all the small animals *forced* (or so I feared) to run on the wheels in the cages I used to make and sell. I sort of thought that putting in a wheel would encourage owners not to let the small critter out to play, but you really couldn't sell the cages without wheels.

I'm so glad to know that they probably actually liked the wheels!

As for slugs on wheels, it never occurred to me, but since slugs were my research subjects for some years, I know them to be a lot more interesting than most folks realize, even if they do have to do it all very slowly. They are, some of them anyway, bold explorers.

#766 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 09:55 PM:

Critters and wheels: Now if they'd just put bearings on the wheels so the axles wouldn't wear through so fast: all it needs is a tube across the wheel that the wire runs through. (Masterson wore one wire axle/hanger out, and was working hard on the replacement when age caught up with her.)

#767 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 10:21 PM:

Cassy B #760: Adding to Carrie: "Age of Apocalypse" was a long running branch series in the X-men comics, an alternate future connected to the main continuity by a couple or three time-travellers. Apocalypse also tried to create horsemen in the "present-day" main continuity, from two captured X-men, one recruited Morlock, and one previously-unknown mutant.

Both occasions complicated the hell out of X-men continuity and characterization, especially when the present-day one ran into another Big Story Arc.

#768 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2014, 11:15 PM:

We're actually quite pleased with some of our Ikea cookware—not the lowest-end stuff, but the thicker 365 line. But our cookware is all hodgepodge, so we've also got a Lodge skillet*, a couple of T-Fal skillets, and so forth.

*This is skillet #2. Apparently, when an iron skillet cracks, it's loud enough to be literally deafening for half a day, and unusual enough that Lodge replaced it free of charge after a baffled email conversation and photos.

#769 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 08:17 AM:

Open Threadiness: without spoilers I would just like to say two things about "X-Men: Days of Future Past":

1. FLAIL!!

2. I think they have set a benchmark for how late in the movie you can put in a plot twist. I mean, other than the classic "The End....??"


#770 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 08:19 AM:

Do we want a spoiler thread for the X-Men film?

#771 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 08:20 AM:

Lila, your point #3 also proves definitively that the X-Men movies and the Avengers-related movies aren't in the same timeline. Which I at least am pleased about.

V jnf greevoyl nzhfrq ol "Zl zbz hfrq gb xabj n thl jub pbhyq qb gung."

#772 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 08:26 AM:

Carrie S.: yes, I giggled at that too.

abi: yes plz!

#773 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 10:51 AM:

We still haven't seen "Days of Future Past", what with Sue currently recovering from pneumonia.

#774 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 10:57 AM:

I used to have two gerbils, Raunchy and Beany Wazoo (the Wazoo brothers). I waited until I had a sufficiently large aquarium, which I found at a thrift shop, along with a wheel. The wheel had no axle, so I bent a coat hanger into an appropriate shape. They spent more time on the wheel than they did attempting to dig out of their prison.

One would sometimes go into the wheel and stand still, which prompted the other to go on top of the wheel in order to chew on those extra tasty top wires (of the wheel, and yes, they were also sometimes bottom wires, etc). Once he was up there, the other would start running.

Maybe it was a purposeful escape attempt: "Remember, if you get flung outside, send for me!" I pitied them. Escape was their number one goal, and Pecos Bill, the orange tom, was always hoping they'd make it, for reasons of his own.

The wheel squeaked something awful, so I sprayed it with Pam, a cooking lubricant that was allegedly non-toxic. This is important, because they chewed on every piece of wood or metal they could get to.

Beany died first, leaving Raunchy alone. I was silently sympathizing with the poor old guy one day when a miller fluttered in through the chicken wire on top of the tank. Raunchy chased it down in a second and consumed it entirely. Well, I said to myself, he's not doing as badly as I thought. Still, when he finally passed to the other side, I couldn't bring myself to cage any more gerbils. All they ever wanted was out.

#775 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 11:02 AM:

So here's a safety/risk assessment question: When we left the Buffalo River yesterday, I quickly rinsed the inside of the cooler with nice, clean water, put in the spoilables, and filled in the rest with ice.

When I took things out this morning, there was still a little ice and a lot of water in the bottom of the cooler, a tiny bit of which had gotten into the sack with the rest of the salad mix and half an orange bell pepper.

Thus my question: Would using that stuff be penny-wise or pound-foolish? And is there anything I can do to put it in the former bin?

#776 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 12:53 PM:

John A: My read is that they would likely be fine, and I would use them normally - most vegetables don't spoil that fast. Just wash them off again in a colander with plain clean water, if you're concerned about faint traces of crud from river water mixing in with the water from the ice.

#777 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 01:09 PM:

Calling all London Fluorospherians! A friend of mine is going to South Africa for a couple of weeks in June, and has layovers in London on both legs. The dates in question are June 1 & 14. (She's got seven hours there going out, ninteen coming back. She said she'll be going through Heathrow.)

It would be just the bee's knees if I could connect her up with some lovely Londoners to take her and her sister out to lunch or something.

She's a fun lady. Peace Corps volunteer, International Visitors hostess, ESL teacher, all sorts of stuff.

She seems a little dubious that I can just whistle up lunch company from half a planet away, so I'd get a kick out of her getting to meet some good folks over there.

Email me at the address at the bottom of the page linked to my name, if you're interested!

#778 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 05:47 PM:

#704 ::: B. Durbin

There's a long nasty history of trying to turn women's bodies into supernormal stimuli. The current era may be the first time it's been happening to men, too.


When I had gerbils, they'd stuff cedar chips into the bottom of the wheel until it was stable, then one of them would stand on top, and push at the screening on the top of the cage.

I saw a gerbil using the wheel for running once.

#779 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 06:13 PM:

Older @765: I know them to be a lot more interesting than most folks realize

Yes....? ::props chin on hand, ready to be interested::

One question came up in particular: how is their visual acuity?

Kip W & Nancy: The gerbils I had as a kid were an old married couple. They spent a great deal of time digging but not, so far as I can tell, to actually get anywhere. If I had to guess at a motive, it would be because digging!

They had a wheel, which they'd use for the first few days after I'd change out their sand. But then they'd pack it full of shredded paper, nest under it, and stand on top of it for a lookout vantage.

I eventually added a trap door to the top of their cage, with a wire-spring ladder leading up to it. When I'd open it, they'd go up, wander about and Do Stuff for a while, and then go home and get back to regular gerbil business (which usually involved making more gerbils).

Sometimes I'd open the "front door," the big one on the front side of the cage, and they'd come stand on their haunches and look out at the world. Occasionally the dog would come by and visit with them (under my very close supervision). They would stand up and pat and sniff his wet nose. He would reciprocate by trying to put his chin on them. I never did figure out what that was about.

#780 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 10:39 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #778: The current era may be the first time it's been happening to men, too.

I beg to differ: The classic male version would be "bulking up" (which is certainly not new), but consider also scarification, large-scale tattooing (without anaesthesia), and suchlike. There have even been times when men primped and powdered -- the "classic" judge's wig is a relic of one such time, around the American colonial period.

However, men do usually get more choice in the matter, with far less punishment for opting out. (Subordination or disdain, rather than condemnation.) And I'd say our current era and region is, if anything, particularly easy on men: Nothing too onerous is required for social status, even though there's many optional marks of fashion, class, group membership, or intragroup dominance.

#781 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 11:04 PM:

Dogs will sometimes put their muzzles (chin) across the necks of other dogs as a way of saying, "I am dominant, you are subordinate." However, I have real trouble thinking that a pair of gerbils could trigger this behavior in any dog.

#782 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 04:45 AM:

There are headline stories in the British media today about an increase in racism since the start of the century.

Read carefully.

The figure certainly isn't good, but there are a couple of things to be aware of. First, it's reporting the widest definition of racial prejudice, which can blend into a general wariness about strangers. Second, the figures peaked in 2010, and they have been dropping back.

Here in Britain, some of out politicians are turning nasty. I am not sure if that drop will continue. But most of the news reports don't even mention the drop. Some don't mention the rather obvious 9/11 factor.

The Guardian reports more detail on the figures and the survey.

Looking at some of the ugly politics of the last year, I can see the fall in the headline figure stopping. The Conservative Party have managed to make racism almost seem acceptable, even if the numbers from the European Parliament Election are less overwhelming than they seem. The Government is doing something rather dangerous.

The post-9/11 fears were not totally crazy, and we were starting to move back from the peak of 2010's figure. But what will another year of campagning politicians and dog-whistles do?

#783 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 07:31 AM:

Hey, I just discovered a new feature on the Minecraft forums: Successive posts by the same user get appended into a single post. (Presumably this would get interrupted if someone else posted between.) It's a simple, non-obtrusive way to cut down on "and another thing..." multi-post clutter.

#784 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 10:08 AM:

Lizzy L @781: Huh. No, actually, that makes sense. Poor Bilbo was at the absolute bottom of the (fairly dysfunctional) family pecking order. It makes perfect sense that something alive that was smaller than him that was not food would parse as "subordinate."

#785 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 10:15 AM:

Lizzy: Here's another anecdote that makes that seem even less far fetched. Ctein told stories of his parakeet Winchester and his cat Penny trying to be pals. Penny was smart enough to understand that cat-style playing wouldn't work on Winchester, but Winchester wasn't quite that enlightened. With the result that you have the image of Penny sitting there, valiantly trying to tolerate Winchester grooming her whiskers, along the edges of her ears....

Penny would sit with eyes squeezed shut, and Ctein said you could almost hear her teeth grinding. Finally, one day, she evidently came to the conclusion that This Just Wouldn't Work, heaved a deep sigh, and got up and walked away. Leaving Winchester standing there looking like, "What? What's wrong? Was it something I said?"

#786 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 01:15 PM:

One summer I had a determined Carolina Wren get into the house by way of the back porch. She'd been watching that door for days.

I didn't realize she was in the house because the cats (all seven of them) did not spot her. I finally noticed her when I saw the gerbils diving for cover every time she flew over them.

I watched her for a little bit before I persuaded her to leave, and it looked as if she was inspecting the house to see if she'd like to nest in here!

The cats NEVER noticed her.

#787 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 01:28 PM:

Jacque (779) -- Nice of you to ask! You are quite right to suspect that they don't see well. I would guess that they mainly distinguish large things that throw a shadow. But within their limitations, they, well, they're all little teeny individuals down there.

Species differ, of course, and the one I had most to do with was Arion ater, an invasive species from Europe which has colonized the entire North American continent. These are the ones, usually about 3 inches long, with a mark around the edge that looks like a fringe. They vary in color from very light to almost black. They are quite the brave explorers. The reason one sees so many of them squashed in the road is that they are willing to try to find out what's on the other side. This attitude probably helps if one wants to be an invasive species. Beyond this species characteristic, though, I found that individuals can sometimes have distinctive personalities; very small ones of course.

I also worked some with banana slugs, common here in the Pacific Northwest. They are less adventurous, although much larger, than Arion. Their natural habitat is in the northern rain forests, and they don't venture out much, dependent as they are on a reliable diet of rotting wood etc.

Slugs of all species have elaborate mating rituals. You can look this up online; there are some lovely pictures. They are hermaphrodites and after mating, each partner lays up to 300 eggs, and then, not surprisingly, dies. They are "biennials" -- one year to grow up, another year as an adult, and then mate and die. The eggs overwinter and hatch in the spring.

Sea slugs are not included in this very quick overview.

I remember taking a trip with my family once, when I had a new "litter" of babies to care for. I kept them in large plastic refrigerator containers. They were really cute, with their baby stripes and all, but I was pretty sure the housekeeping folks at the hotel would object to slugs, so I labeled the container "Baby snails, very delicate, do not disturb." I don't know if anyone peeked, but we had no complaints.

#788 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 03:40 PM:

Older: Thanks for accomodating my request! It doesn't surprise me that there's more going on there than is immediately obvious. The time-scale thing, if nothing else. (Cf. sea stars have quite the social life, complete with drama. You just have to use time-lapse photography to detect it.)

I encountered a banana slug once when I was visiting family near Seattle. Ran home with it balanced on a stick. "Look what I found!" Hosts were unmoved. "You'll feel differently after the first time you step on one with bare feet." Fie upon hosts, I say. What I would feel would be deep remorse!

I love nudibranchs! If there is a Creator, he/she/they/it must have been in a really good mood that day those got created.

#789 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 04:07 PM:

Hi all,
I have a need to do some proselytizing (NMRK and associated doctrines), but I don't have an appropriate venue. Any ideas?

#790 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 04:36 PM:

AKICIML: Anybody here speak needle felting? Specifically, the little 5-needle Clover tool?

#791 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 05:02 PM:

Anybody here know the general outline of the latest remake of Day of the Triffids, which was announced this year? It's difficult to see how they could do it as a present-day catastrophe because much of the plot hinges on the (imagined) near-future-from-1951 status of worldwide communications: reliable, but not so reliable that a disturbance in high atmo couldn't knock them out. Even the 1985 miniseries presented this plausibly. In the present day, though, I would expect n oyvaq crefba va gur svefg nern qverpgyl haqre gur yvtug fubj gb or bayvar 5 ubhef yngre jura nyy bs gurve sevraqf jrag oyvaq, senagvpnyyl jneavat crbcyr jub jrer qhr gb frr vg arkg gung gurl unq gb fgnl vaqbbef, QBA'G YBBX NG GUR YVTUGF, naq gura gubfr crbcyr jbhyq cnff vg ba nebhaq gur jbeyq. Speaking of worldwide communications, Walter Lucknor would probably have a pseudonymous blog in which he presented his theories about gevssvq vagryyvtrapr naq pbzzhavpngvba, so that more people would have been forewarned.

#792 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 05:03 PM:

Sorry, that was the 1981 miniseries.

#793 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 05:36 PM:

Jenny Islander #791: A (series of) high EMP certainly could knock out most communications, even today! Indeed, there's some ongoing worry in some quarters, about a particularly strong solar storm doing exactly that. (Triffids not included.)

Yeah, a lot of the long-haul is fiber or buried cable, but the "last mile", not so much. Not to mention power transmission (how long would your UPS last?), central switches for, e.g. cable links. Either or both of satellite relays and cell-phone towers might also be knocked out.

#794 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 06:09 PM:

What I am hoping for, basically, is not "Oh no! *FWOOOSH* Civilization has ended! Oh no! *RAAAAR* Triffids know parkour! Hey, let's add some more handwavium!" as in the 2009 remake (that I couldn't watch for more than a few minutes because uyyyy), but something more faithful to the slow-motion disaster of the book, as in the 1981 miniseries. I know it probably isn't considered to be good box office these days.

#795 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 07:54 PM:

Dave Harmon @793, Jenny Islander @794,

Indeed, the possibility of another Carrington Event, which would do far more damage today than it did then, frightens many people concerned with power and telecommunications networks.

J Homes.

#796 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 08:31 PM:

Carrington Event sounds like some Sherlock Holmes/Downton Abbey mish-mash.

#797 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 09:16 PM:

Emerging grammar phenomenon question: has anyone noticed the tendency towards leaving nouns out of phrases and just letting the adjective do the work? On NPR this afternoon, I heard someone talking about "testing a creative on social." Now, lots of people refer to "social media" as "social" -- an adjectival phrase dropping a generic noun, making the adjective take the place of a noun. But I hadn't noticed it happen with "creative" for (probably) "creative content." Is this common, yet? Is it on the rise, rather like "because, (noun)")

#798 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 09:37 PM:

Tom Whitmore @797: I'm guessing they were talking about an ad? "Creative" was already advertising jargon the last time I had a marketing-adjacent job, about 5 years ago.

#799 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 09:49 PM:

Jenny Islander #794: In these days of widespread semi-automatic weapons (and body armor), the communications breakdown would probably be the real disaster, demoting the vegetable predators to a sideshow.

#800 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 09:56 PM:

I'm not convinced the weapons are the big risk in a communications breakdown. What about all the lost people? They don't have maps, and I suspect there's a rising generation who wouldn't know how to read maps if they had them.

How much would a communications breakdown lead to a supply chain breakdown?

#801 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 10:41 PM:

Lots. Everything runs on networks and computers. Wireless or not, it would really screw up the world.

#802 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 11:31 PM:

I first saw “creative” used as a stand-alone noun — in context it referred to a department in a business, but I’ve also seen it used for art and ad copy — on an ad on the side of the bus back in the ’90s.

#803 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2014, 11:43 PM:

Nancy, #800: For some idea of what might happen, you can look at the first trilogy of S.M. Stirling's Changed World series. Admittedly, this is much more severe than just a communications breakdown, but the inability to communicate over any distance is a significant part of it, and several work-arounds are discussed.

#804 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 03:24 AM:

@Dave Harmon et al.: I guess it's not exactly a spoiler after all this time and all these remakes, so I'll just remind folks that the light show in the sky having an effect on communications is important because nobody on the rest of the planet has any clue that four or five hours after they go out to watch the lights they will go blind. The lights are beautiful, (seemingly) innocuous, and unprecedented, and they occur in only one region of the sky, so in time zone after time zone people go out to see them without any warning that the people four to five zones ahead of them are now sightless. Would that even be possible today? The people who did the 2009 remake either didn't think so or wanted more immediate drama, because they replaced the quietly deadly light show with a solar flare that immediately sears people's corneas.

With automatic weapons in the mix, I guess people would have a new meaning for "spray and pray." But the original book got more horror out of a group of people endlessly trudging around and around a hospital lobby because there are so many people pressing from behind that nobody can stop to feel for the doors.

#805 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 05:52 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ #797: Emerging grammar phenomenon question: has anyone noticed the tendency towards leaving nouns out of phrases and just letting the adjective do the work?

Is that an emerging phenomenon? I know we see it a lot in our fast-paced modern world of laptops and mobiles, but it's been around at least since the days when the submarine and the dirigible were the hot new forms of transport.

#806 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 06:29 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz #800: With regard to the weapons, I was thinking of the few remaining sighted against the triffids. Of course we also have plenty of motorized gardening tools, (along with other sorts of protective clothing to go with them.

I'm dubious about that "kids wouldn't know how to use maps...", it sounds like standard intergenerational snark. Of course, the blindness issue would make that moot.... But a lot of auto-borne GPS units hold downloaded copies of their maps -- if their electronics and the GPS satellites survived, they might be able to help.

It occurs to me that these days blind folks are probably fewer, but much better-integrated into society. These previously-blind could provide a lot of help to the newly-blind masses, and might well end up as the new leaders of society....

Jenny Islander #804: For a Carrington-type event, I'd expect worldwide auroras (probably by day, even) rather than a localized show, but the comm breakdown would still be important -- not just to even out the disaster worldwide, but to squelch alerts of not only the blindness but the triffid revolt, not to mention interfering with disaster-response.

#807 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 09:47 AM:

Maya Angelou has died.

Such a voice, gone silent.

#808 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 11:55 AM:

Another thought: what happens to a monster-movie plot when eveybody in it has been the last remake?

#809 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 12:14 PM:

Yo, Londoners! Y'all gonna make a liar outa me? Nobody to take a coupla lovely Yanks to lunch?

#810 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 12:25 PM:

@Dave Harmon no. 806: True; if you can get your hands on automatic weapons, you don't need specially developed triffid guns. (For those who haven't read the book, triffids are already loose and a plague in poor-brown-countries-that-rich-white-countries-don't-care-about. The triffid gun is basically a crossbow that shoots sharpened disks or other flying metal shapes. They're specialized weapons because of their short range and the damage they do, but they're cheaper to operate than hunting rifles and more likely to cut off the nasty bits of the triffid within their range. Also bandits really like them.)

Now I'm imagining a duel between a triffid and a human wielding a Weed Wacker.

#811 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 12:39 PM:

Also @Dave Harmon: A Carrington Event accidentally setting off somebody's secret weapon in near Earth orbit? "Hey, let's go out and watch the auroras! Oooo, a meteor storm too!" That would work.

Oh, hey, something else I want to see: The 1981 triffid puppets were actually quite pretty in a weird-tropical-plant kind of way, and they were just as slow and fubsy as Wyndham wrote them, except for the deadly whiplash sting. They were a lurking menace, like boomslangs, except everywhere, and of course most people were either all alone or blind. I would love to see that again.

#812 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 03:17 PM:

Jacque, there used to be a blog that put up a picture of the "nudibranch of the week" every Friday. I forget the name of it. They are pretty gorgeous. Even the plain ones are fancier than most of my clothing.

#813 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 03:28 PM:

Jacque, Older:

The weekly nudibranch is still going on, but not as regularly. The last nudibranch post was April 18th.

The rest of the featured creatures are pretty interesting as well.

I have a friend who for a while was making crocheted nudibranches (as well as other sea creatures, like brain coral, sea stars, etc).

#814 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 03:34 PM:

Jacque and Older, I can no longer resist. ObDigger: oracular slugs

#815 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 05:01 PM:

OtterB, #814: Oh, yes. And for those unfamiliar with the story, read on a bit; the story of how the slugs gained their oracular powers is about 6 pages up, and it's a hoot!

#816 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 05:18 PM:

@813: OMG! ::disappears down rabbithole::

@814: ::snort!::

#818 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 06:21 PM:

Buddha Buck, related to the Hyperbolic Coral Reef Crochet Project?

#819 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 07:00 PM:

To: The Engineer Who Designed The Shipping Bolts in a Front Load Washing Machine

Body: If you worked for me, I'd fire you.

Any time it takes more time to replace four bolts than it does to disassemble a 4-poster bed, remove the mirrors from two bureaus, take the legs off of a kitchen table, and take down the vertical blinds, you designed it wrong.

#820 ::: Inquisitive Raven ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 07:51 PM:

So, I was reading through the Digger pages about the Oracular slug when I came across this: "You want one of the intelligent molluscs, go chat up a cuttlefish." My first thought was "And prepare to be versified at."

#821 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 08:19 PM:

Wow! Thanks, Buddha Buck, for the link to the creatures. I lose a little something I don't want to lose every time a computer dies. I think I'm three computers down the road from when I last saw the weekly nudibranch.

And thanks, Otter, for the oracular slugs and the entire Digger experience, which will take me quite a while to catch up on.

I loooove Making Light! I pretty much live here. (I'll bet you didn't notice me under the furniture.)

OOOOH!! Mustn't forget the singing cuttlefish! Thanks, Inquisitive Raven!

#822 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 09:45 PM:

Cheryl @ 819: My heartfelt best wishes on your move.

#823 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 10:22 PM:

Off of Cheryl #819:

I have a program, OpenOffice, that can handle Word documents.

I have two children registered through the district homeschool program.

I have a new'n'improved'n'absolutely required individual learning plan that must be opened and saved in Word. Sure, fine, I'll just use OpenOffice, no prob! Oh, wait, what's this error-ridden hash I see? Wow, this is a mess.

Oh, I absolutely must use Word to open, fill in, and save this form? And send it electronically, no hardcopies? And if I don't have Word I can't register my students? And, gosh, somehow this program that was designed to read Word documents can't read this table-ridden, error-filled, utter mess of a form? And this is supposed to be my problem?

No. No it is not. I have until August 1 to submit these forms for my kids and I expect whoever composed this thing to have fixed their numerous mistakes.

The above is a summary of my correspondence with the homeschool department over the past few days. I will take this to the School Board if I have to.

#824 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 10:33 PM:

I feel invisible.

#825 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 10:34 PM:

If they used the docx format, OpenOffice might not recognize it. Or it's in some other weird format that Word can do (a form with fields, probably) that screws up.

I use LibreOffice these days, instead of OpenOffice. It's still free.

#826 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 10:39 PM:

The Dragon V2 spacecraft unveiled tonight by SpaceX is incredible. Elon Musk has engineered the dawn of the 21st century space age.

#827 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 11:08 PM:

iamnothing @824 -- I have no ideas about where you might proselytize.

#828 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 11:14 PM:

Lila #818:

Inspired by, but not directly related to, the hyperbolic coral reef project. I think it was that, and being asked by a friend to make a octopus tea cozy (custom fit for a pot which has subsequently broken), that lead her to try to make lots of sea creatures.

#829 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 11:18 PM:

iamnothing #824:

I, too, can't suggest a venue, but I don't know what NMRK is. The one seemly-reasonable hit I get on Google is the sort of thing likely to make people say "With a name like yours, you should know", but I don't know if that's right, nor how it relates to proselytization.

#830 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2014, 11:23 PM:

Re 789: the blog Patheos has Buddhist participants, and it is generally a respectful and open place. I don't know if it is the sort of venue you are looking for.

#831 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 01:09 AM:

Jenny Islander @ 823

Oddly enough, I've found that Apple's iCloud pages can handle .docx files that LibreOffice hasn't been able to open.

#832 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 03:12 AM:

Tom Whitmore, Buddha Buck, Lizzy L: The responses are appreciated. I've bookmarked the Patheos main page -- it looks like a large site.

@829: It sounds like your one reasonable hit is relevant. NMRK is an abbreviation for a sutra title among other things.

#833 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 03:46 AM:

iamnothing @824:

You're not entitled to an answer just because you ask a question. It's kind of people to figure out suggestions for you, but this is not an appropriate way to ask a second time.

You have a tendency to guilt-trip people when the commentariat doesn't pay the attention to you that you'd like. I understand the feelings that underlie this, but I'd like you to abandon those comments at preview.

I know how insecure and isolated a person can feel at times, and this community can help in many ways...but not if you're going to approach us in this fashion. It's draining; it breaks us down more than it builds us up, and then we run out of energy to help anyone.

If you would like explicit guidance on how better to approach the conversation, I'm happy to give it. I'm sorry if either this comment or any future advice I may give makes you feel unhappy, but it's part of my role as the curator of this conversation to say these things.

#834 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 04:52 AM:

I heard a BBC radio interview with Kerry, and as I recall, he said both that Snowden would get a fair trial and that Snowden would get (at least?) 35 years. I haven't been able to find it online and I'd like to check my memory-- has anyone else heard it?

I doubt that you can predict the outcome of a fair trial with so much certainty.

#835 ::: JFW Richards ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 05:14 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @834

I think it was on yesterday's Today program (BBC Radio 4 06:00 - 09:00) It was sometime around 08:00 IIRC.

#836 ::: JFW Richards ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 05:32 AM:

Oops memory failure there. The item on Snowden was from 07:10 - 07:14 and was an interview between John Humphries and Robert Beher(sp) (a self described cold warrior) as to what extent Snowden could be called a spy.

#837 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 06:07 AM:

Jacque @777/809: I'm away at the moment and arriving back at Heathrow Terminal 3 at 19.45 on Sunday - I suspect that's too late for meeting your friend. The 14th is a Saturday and I am always busy with parkrun on a Saturday morning. Unfortunately Heathrow is the wrong side of London for me - it takes me about two hours to get there (I live about 40 minutes from Gatwick), which makes it more difficult... See my email for more details.

#838 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 06:17 AM:

JFW Richards, thanks-- That was quite an interesting bit, but I'm sure it wasn't the interview I heard-- mine was longer and quite a bit harsher about Snowden.

#839 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 10:07 AM:

Amusing parlor game: You're about to go into a sticky situation, and can take up to three companions. They are guaranteed to be loyal to you and each other for the duration of the situation. You can take long as they're all played by the same actor.

I have to say, it's tough to beat Gandalf and Magneto--but Sherlock Holmes, the character from Into Darkness, and SAURON might just manage...

#840 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 10:17 AM:

Carrie, Smaug, right? Did BC play Sauron?


Oh, I see. In a movie that's not out yet and a video game. Fair enough.

(I suppose it's a minor spoiler that the Necromancer turned out to be Sauron, but only to people who haven't read the books.)

#841 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 10:29 AM:

Gandalf interacted with him in the second Hobbit film; I could have sworn he had some lines, but maybe I'm imagining things. :)

#842 ::: Inquisitive Raven ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 10:35 AM:

On the nutritional yeast vs. brewer's yeast subthread, AIUI, nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast are the same species, but brewer's yeast is dead yeast harvested after the completion of beverage fermentation whereas nutritional yeast is grown specifically for the health food market and basically cooked before being packaged for sale. The bitterness of brewer's yeast could be a result of being exposed to hops during the brewing process.

This isn't relevant for a cat, but nutritional yeast is often grown on a vitamin B12 enriched medium so that it can be used as a vegan source of same. B12 is actually more critical for vegan nutrition than protein or iron, and the human body can store a few year's worth, so vegans don't notice the lack right away.

If you're using brewer's yeast for a nutritional supplement, don't get it from a brew shop; that's live yeast and you don't want live yeast, at least not if your supplement recipe doesn't call for cooking it. I'd be concerned about the finished product fermenting if not used right away.

#843 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 10:40 AM:

Jenny Islander @823:
If you're on a Mac, you can open a Word doc in TextEdit. I hate to wait for Word to rouse from its thousand-year slumber and slowly, slowly, find each of its bells and whistles before very deliberately examining each character of the document, particularly when I only want to look at something. Drag and drop the icon onto the TextEdit icon, of course.

(As I say, it works for me. I hope that's not just somehow because I have Word on the computer. My PC has an app called WordPad that would handle Word docs, but again, that may have been because I have Word there too.)

#844 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 10:52 AM:
Amusing parlor game: You're about to go into a sticky situation, and can take up to three companions. They are guaranteed to be loyal to you and each other for the duration of the situation. You can take long as they're all played by the same actor.

I think Han Solo, Indiana Jones and Jack Ryan (all played by Harrison Ford) would be a good pick for a sticky situation.

Also, James Bond, Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Highlander), and Professor Henry Jones (all ably played by Sean Connery) would seem to be a useful bunch of sidekicks to take into a sticky spot.

#845 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 11:06 AM:

The White Witch, the archangel Gabriel, and Orlando.

#846 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 11:06 AM:

One thing I find really fascinating to watch in the reporting on Snowden and Greenwald (and Manning and Assange and many others) is how common it is to reframe public discussions from

a. What is the substance of these leaks? Are they true? What are the implications of this? What should we do about them?


b. What are the motivations of Snowden, Greenwald, Poitrass, etc. What is there moral status? What are their political beliefs? What's wrong with them that they would reveal these things or talk about these things?

This is an extremely common pattern in public discussion of controversial issues, all across the political spectrum. It's an effective tactic to change the subject from an uncomfortable one to a comfortable one. It's like the cheating husband changing the topic from why there's lipstick on his collar and he's sneaking into the house at 2AM to why his wife is such a suspicious, unpleasant shrew that she's accusing him of something.

This pattern--when someone tries to change a discussion from one about questions of fact to one about what's wrong with you for discussing these questions of fact--is a red flag. I think it often crops up unintentionally (because it's natural to move from an uncomfortable topic to a comfortable one), but it is also commonly used to shut up some debate or discussion.

#847 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 11:14 AM:

How about O-Ren Ishii, Ling Woo, and Dr. Joan Watson (for a combination of fighting, law, and medicine/investigation)?

#848 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 11:15 AM:


Well, how about George Burns' character in his TV show with Gracie Allen, and as both God and the devil in the Oh God series of movies. There can't really be many sticky situations you can't get out of if you've got *both* God and the devil together on your side....

#849 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 11:23 AM:

John Watson, Arthur Dent, and Bilbo Baggins: You'll win, but there will be a lot of running around and screaming first.

#850 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 11:38 AM:

There's this one particularly evil and poisonous idea I keep seeing come up in discussions of Snowden, including in Kerry's remarks about him. The idea is that the only legitimate or honorable way to violate the law on a matter of principle is to do so openly and then to openly take whatever punishment is meted out by the authorities as a result.

The way it looks to me, this argument is intended to make any leaking illegitimate unless the leaker is more-or-less selfless. Once you have swallowed this argument, you end up saying that anyone who leaks any classified information without turning himself in afterwards is somehow morally in the wrong, regardless of what wrongdoing he is leaking about or what has been done to other leakers. Since the authorities can always become visibly nastier to suspected leakers (go ask Chelsea Manning), this is an ideology for allowing the authorities to silence leaks.

It's entertaining (but irrelevent for the moral argument) that the same folks making these arguments don't hold CIA or military torturers, or NSA or phone company personnel involved in illegal surveillance, to the same high standard. Retroactive immunity and "look forward, not backward" is appropriate in those cases.

#851 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 11:40 AM:
How about O-Ren Ishii, Ling Woo, and Dr. Joan Watson (for a combination of fighting, law, and medicine/investigation)?

I see you your Lucy Liu and I raise: Agent Melinda May, Dr. Jing Mei Chen, and Mulan for the world's most kick ass agent/doctor/mythical hero.

Also: Yu Shiu Lien (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Wai Lin (Tomorrow Never Dies), and Zi Yuan (Mummy: tomb of the dragon emperor) all played by the wonderful Michelle Yeoh.

(Aside: I always thought that the Watson from Elementary misses a key character trait: Watson is a military doctor fresh from the front. In Canon and Sherlock, both are Afghan War veterans. Being a defrocked surgeon seems less character forming than "here's someone who was trying to heal patients under actual enemy fire".)

#852 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 11:44 AM:

Jenny Islander @823: Personally, I'd tell them that they can choose between fixing their forms or paying for a copy of Word for you (and if necessary, an additional computer to run it on). Get them the price data, too. People working at institutions whose computers come with MSOffice preinstalled tend to forget that the software is not free.

If you're on a Windows machine, you should be able to at least view the form using the free viewer Microsoft offers (possibly plus compatibility pack) and figure out exactly what unnecessary frill is screwing everything up--see

The Word file format in general is really just a dump of the internal structure of the document in memory (yes, that goes for their poorly-designed XML formats too), and sucks so badly for general compatibility that even Microsoft can't guarantee that the more esoteric features will work correctly in the next version of Word. It should not be used as a transmission or storage format for complex documents. Period. </rant>

#853 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 11:55 AM:

Captain America, the telekinetic from Push, and Loki.

Yes, yes he did, for about 15 seconds in Thor 2.

#854 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 12:13 PM:

abi @833: I can never predict how people are going to interpret what I say. I assume my email address is available to moderators?

#855 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 12:29 PM:

Just to make things worse, they're not being allowed to present their justification for their actions until after they've been convicted (if they're allowed to give it at all). Which means that they aren't being allowed to defend themselves, in a fairly literal way.

#856 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 12:58 PM:

Open thready: friend linked to this. Which, like so many things on here, is just to say.

#857 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 01:25 PM:

James Bond, Jake Lonergan, and Tuvia Bielski.

Or maybe Aaron Cross, Hawkeye, and Penn the vampire.

#858 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 01:30 PM:

It's hard to beat George Burns, true.

Although Christopher Lee is a strong second. I'm spoiled for choice, though. DEATH, Lucifer, and Mycroft Holmes? Count Dracula, Saruman, and Rasputin?

#859 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 01:33 PM:

iamnothing: To help me in future interactions, I have a question for you. When you have asked a question, does it make you feel any better to get a string of "I don't know" or "I can't help you" answers? I'm asking this because when I ask a question in an online venue (not just this one), I find it somewhat irritating to get that kind of response; it gives me the feeling of, "Well then, why are you even bothering to comment?" Therefore, I tend not to reply to questions unless I have something substantive to say. But if you'd rather know that people have noticed your question even if they don't have an answer for it, I can do that.

Carrie, #839: Angel, Seeley Booth, and Green Lantern (Justice League: The New Frontier). Because sometimes you just need someone who's a good shot.

albatross, #850: I don't think it's irrelevant at all. It's a symptom of the same problem, which can be pretty well summed up as "it's okay if you're on OUR side".

The whistleblower argument you cite is a misapplication of the idea of "civil disobedience". But civil disobedience is a situation in which you knowingly break the law and take the consequences in order to prove that the law is unjust. You can't apply the same metric to people who are exposing systematic corruption, precisely because the corruption can always become more corrupt to silence them.

#860 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 02:38 PM:

Doug Jones... Abe Sapien, the Silver Surfer...

#861 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 02:47 PM:

re 850: I discount Kerry's remarks as being things that whoever is in his position has to say. As long as they can't admit that they are acting way outside the spirit of the law I would expect them to insist that people subject themselves to being prosecuted. I also by the same token grant him exactly zero moral authority as far as anyone taking the moral demand seriously.

#862 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 03:19 PM:

C. Wingate @ 861: Indeed. Such remarks meet this definition of bullshit:

For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

I've snipped that a bit, because I don't happen to think those first sentences are essential to the concept. I say it's possible for something to be both bullshit and a lie. That sort of bullshit is the lie that everyone but the most naive know to be a lie.

#863 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 03:36 PM:

odaiwai, #851: I completely agree with you about the difference in Watson from Elementary. I also have to wonder how much of it is gender-based. A male medic gets to be a hero (albeit with PTSD), but a female one has to be a shady character in need of redemption?

I guess part of what I'm saying is that either change by itself would have fallen under the rubric of "different and interesting take on the character", but when you combine them it starts looking like maybe the change in background was prompted by the gender-swap. As though somebody couldn't be comfortable with the idea of a female war hero.

Carrie, #853: Was that Chris Evans playing Loki, or Tom Hiddleston playing Captain America? Looks more like the latter to me.

Sandy, #858: Out of that set, I'd choose DEATH, Mycroft, and Saruman.

Perhaps too obvious: Jean-Luc Picard, Charles Xavier, and the Ghost of Hamlet's Father.

#864 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 03:41 PM:

Some off-beat companions for a sticky situation:

Ian Malcolm, David Levinson, and New Jersey.

Elinor Dashwood, Sybil Trelawney, and Agent O.

Edward Scissorhands, Jack Sparrow, and Willy Wonka.

[Jeff Goldblum: Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Buckaroo Banzai
Emma Thompson: Sense & Sensibility, Harry Potter, Men In Black 3
and Johnny Depp in more obvious movies, respectively.]

#865 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 03:57 PM:

How about Buckaroo Banzai, Admiral Marcus and Robocop?

#866 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 04:02 PM:

Better yet: Supt. Jane Tennison, Titania, and Deep Thought. (It was worth watching the entirety of that production of Midsummer Night's Dream just to hear her say "Not for thy fairy kingdom!". And an excellent production it was.)

#867 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 04:16 PM:

Roy G. Ovrebo @181,
We did end up driving from Bergen- roads were narrow, but we arrived back at the rental agency with all our mirrors still attached. I can see why you love the west: that was stunningly beautiful(1). We fly out tomorrow morning, and I'm already thinking about when I could be out here again.

(1) described it to a friend as the geographical love child of Yosemite and Kauai.

#868 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 04:20 PM:

more re 850/862: The particularly problematic idea is that legitimacy is superior to morality-- and especially "legitimacy" defined within the narrow confines of US law. The corollary of this, of course, is that whether law makes any sort of moral sense is held to be immaterial. The moral bankruptcy of this is left as an exercise to the reader.

#870 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 04:40 PM:

Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir, Gimli and Treebeard.

Still in the trees:

Riddick, Groot and the Iron Giant!

#871 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 04:59 PM:

Given my life, I think I'd best go with one of these two:

Rango, Jack Kerouac, and John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (though Whitey Bulger, John Dillinger, and Donnie Brasco is tempting)


Arthur Rimbaud, Jay Gatsby, and Frank Abnegale, Jr. (though again, Jim Carroll, Howard Hughes, and Kid could substitute nicely)

#872 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 05:24 PM:

Daniel Linderman, Alex, and Mr. Roarke

One of the problems is that some of the more interesting potential companions have their usefulness because of resources they have at their disposal. If I said Nick Fury, Mace Windu, and Frozone, for instance, the important bit of Nick Fury is that he runs Shield. Calling on Nick Fury gets you, implicitly, the potential for getting The Avengers as well. But is that fair for the game? It seems not.

#873 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 05:45 PM:

Lee #859:

Yes, I agree. Civil disobedience is a valuable tactic in certain circumstances for trying to call public attention to an unjust law. The rhetoric being spun up in the Snowden case (not from any deep principle, AFAICT, just from the current moment's propaganda needs) is intended to claim that any leaker who doesn't hand himself immediately over to be imprisoned forever is somehow morally suspect.

Now, there is no reason to think Snowden or Greenwald (or Manning or Assange) are saints or anything[1]. But their moral status is simply not relevant for evaluating the content of their leaks.

[1] Snowden is, at this point, entirely under the power of the Russian government, and I expect that he has very few choices they don't want him to have. If he annoys them or simply stops being useful to them, they can decide he's worn out his welcome, put him on a plane to Washington, and wash their hands of the whole thing. Probably they will do this sooner or later, and Snowden presumably has a pretty good idea of that fact, so he's got a big incentive to keep them happy regardless of how he might personally feel about whatever they want him to do. This means that anything he says in public at this point simply has to be seen through the lens of the necessity of keeping the Russian government happy with him. For that matter, he's probably praying fervently that the whole Russia/US dispute w.r.t. Ukraine keeps going, since that gives Putin an incentive to keep him around as a way to annoy the US government.

#874 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 06:07 PM:

How about the Terminator, Conan the Barbarian, and the Governor of California?

Or Mad Max, Martin Riggs, and William Wallace? (I guess it depends on what kind of problems you have--those three would be pretty good at fighting but not at navigating a complicated social situation.)

Jason Bourne, Will Hunting, and what else that Matt Damon has done? You've got an assassin and a genius, and I think he's played a lot of other things, but I haven't seen that many of them.

Ellen Ripley, Dian Fossey, and Jill Bryant--there you've got three tough women who between them can handle fieldwork and careful observation in the jungle, diplomacy, and kicking of alien ass, as needed.

#875 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 06:09 PM:

Carrie, #853: Was that Chris Evans playing Loki, or Tom Hiddleston playing Captain America? Looks more like the latter to me.

Lee, as I understand it, Hiddleston shot the scene, and then Evans watched it a few times and basically did a Loki impression. It actually is Chris Evans in the final cut.

Better yet: Supt. Jane Tennison, Titania, and Deep Thought.

Speaking of Titania, how about her, M, and...whoever she was in the Riddick movie?

Emma Peel, Medea, and Lady Olenna Tyrell

#876 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 06:27 PM:

Central Asian trousers, with woven-in patterns, from about 3000 years ago.

#877 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 06:28 PM:

Carrie, #875: I haven't seen the movie, so I'll take your word for it. What I have seen is some snippets on YouTube, which may have been of the rehearsal.

Not a serious entry because one of the movies hasn't been made, but: Tyrion Lannister, Trumpkin, and Miles Vorkosigan. (IMO he's the only possible choice for that character.)

#878 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 07:20 PM:

Lee, if you saw Tom in the Cap suit, then yes; that was the shot he did for Evans to copy.

#879 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 07:37 PM:

While I'd like to see Peter Dinklage play Miles, I can't rule out the possibility that there are numerous talented actors of the right size whose work I've never had the opportunity to see.

#880 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 07:43 PM:

I think I'm going to go for Lady Macbeth, Queen Elizabeth, and M. They may not be able to get me out of trouble (in fact, very likely to get me into trouble), but they'll know who to send, and the best most effective way to convince "who to send" to go.

#881 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 09:04 PM:

I think Peter Dinklage is ... perhaps too old for Miles? Not manic enough? It may be that I've just never seen him try out a Vorkosigan. In my head Miles is played by a specific friend of mine, only very much smaller.

#882 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 09:12 PM:

He's too old for The Warrior's Apprentice Miles, that's for sure. What's really needed is someone who's the right age now, and just do the whole series. Like Harry Potter, but with more uterine replicators.

#883 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 09:14 PM:

lila @ 857... Tuvia Bielski

Ah! Another person who saw "Defiance"!

#884 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 09:15 PM:

lila @ 857... Tuvia Bielski

Ah! Another person who saw "Defiance"!

#885 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 09:26 PM:

Three characters:
Robin Hood
Wing Commander Guy Gibson
Major John Howard

#886 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 09:47 PM:

Serge: oh yes. Saw it and loved it. (We have a very good video store a mile from our house.)

#887 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 09:53 PM:

HLN: Local woman and two grown children depart tomorrow on hopefully epic road trip to Chicago, including some form of mini-Gathering of Light (possibly more than one). (Waves at Elliott Mason, Bill Higgins-Beam Jockey, Mary Dell and Cally Soukup--if any of y'all didn't get the email with my phone #, either email me or say something here.)

"We haven't done this family road trip thing in about a decade," she says. "I'm sure the dynamic will have changed considerably."

#888 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 10:53 PM:

He's too old for The Warrior's Apprentice Miles, that's for sure.

I'm not so sure. Remenber that Miles, though a teenager, can pass himself off as a mercenary admiral. His long struggles with his medical problems have marked him, and leave him looking much older than his chronological age.

#889 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2014, 11:38 PM:

In re family road trips, I was SO PROUD on the trip my mother deemed me responsible and grown-up enough to be trusted to be Speaker To Cooler (i.e. the person who reaches in and retrieves sandwiches, etc, to order for the people who are too far from the cooler to use it).

#890 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 12:16 AM:

Lee @859: It does make me feel better; thanks. But I probably won't be posting much (that's readable) in the near future, due to illness etc.

#892 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 10:46 AM:

A morning for uncontrollable giggling. Between John A Arkensawyer @891 and Patrick's Sidelight story of the very scary ham, I'm starting my Saturday with much silliness.

And I will never, ever be able to look at a Smithfield ham again without giggling.

#893 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 11:17 AM:

Christine Vole, Sonya Winter, Mrs. Emma Peel. Game, set, and match.

#894 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 12:08 PM:

Remember the episode where Kirk and Spock went back in time and had to commit insurance fraud to raise enough money to get back home? They were jiggering people's ignitions and transmissions so they'd kick off unexpectedly and rear-end them in parking lots. The title of the episode?

Start Wreck.

#895 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 12:15 PM:

I'm probably a weird person, but I'd have cut the ham open just to see whether it was food on the inside.

#896 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 01:02 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @895: The ham was definitely still food, but probably not for people.

#897 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 02:24 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @893: Surely Olenna Redwyne, the Queen of Thorns, ought to be in there somewhere?

#898 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 02:25 PM:

The Metatron, Severus Snape, and Tybalt. That should cover a number of bases, and any backup you need will be accomplished with maximum snark.

#899 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 03:01 PM:

The IRIS satellite imaged a coronal mass ejection.

#900 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 03:07 PM:

Nancy @ 895: Somewhere near the very end she says she tried to cut open the ham to see if there was anything remotely ham-like inside; she broke three knives trying and gave up. I'm assuming they weren't the Good Knives, but dang.

#901 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 03:34 PM:

Today has been an unusual but good day. My wife and children are traveling, so I'm by myself; that's the unusual part. I took my first long bike ride since moving to Massachusetts and rode to Mt Tom (about 40 miles round trip). And I saw a pink lady slipper; that's only the second one I've seen in my life (they were endangered in Tennessee where I grew up).

Awesome day.

#902 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 03:52 PM:

SamChevre, #901: Wow, you're gonna hurt tomorrow! But also, yay for lady-slipper!

#903 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 07:39 PM:

HLN: nonlocal woman and 2 kids safely ensconced in hotel, approx. 500 miles into ~830-mile road trip (one way). Amazing scenery was seen, filmed and photographed, and photos will be linked to once uploaded.

Tomorrow: Chicago!

#904 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 09:30 PM:

HLN: Local woman gets her first cherries of the season, and sees a delightful piece of green and red/orange cloud floating high in a clear blue sky on the way back.

Since she is living in the future, local woman uses her phone to take a couple of dozen photos of the sky through the window of a moving bus. Next step, to see if any of them show even a fraction of the reality.

#905 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2014, 09:34 PM:

odaiwai: I'd read the game out loud to my husband, and he came up with what you did, except that he had Dr. Henry Kimball (The Fugitive) instead of Jack Ryan. 5/6 isn't bad.

#907 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2014, 08:55 AM:

Islington, Doctor Who, and Malcolm Tucker? Two sticky situation veterans, and a supernatural figure pathologically averse to failure.

#908 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2014, 09:06 AM:

Spock, Bearded Spock, and Dr William Bell for me.

#909 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2014, 09:31 AM:

Vermeer's servant, the Black Widow...

#910 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2014, 09:35 AM:

Captain Tightpants, Captain Hammer, the wrong Private Ryan...

#911 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2014, 10:13 AM:

Mike @907 : Cardinal Richelieu, if you want to swap one of them out for a schemer of the highest order. Not particularly pleasant company, though.

#912 ::: Stefan Jones suspects spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2014, 12:35 PM:

This space will shortly be converted into a Honey Badger preserve.

Please evacuate to Open Thread 197 or . . . well, we don't care.

#913 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2014, 03:14 PM:

Stephen Maturin, Geoffrey Chaucer, and JARVIS. I'm not sure exactly how much use Chaucer would be, but the other two would make up for it.

#914 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2014, 03:24 PM:

Writing about it really well?

#915 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2014, 03:43 PM:

Rikibeth, how about either Maturin, Jarvis, and the Young Gangster from Gangster #1? (A movie I've not seen, though it's been recommended to me.)

#916 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2014, 05:41 PM:

I haven't seen the gangster movie either, so the role didn't show up on my radar.

I considered Charles Darwin, but decided that Chaucer would be more fun to have around. Also, if we had Stephen Maturin and Charles Darwin in the same place, heroics would soon fall by the wayside as they collected every beetle in sight (and made JARVIS catalog the data).

#917 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2014, 01:52 AM:

Gollum, King Kong and Caesar? I mean, a sneak, a REALLY BIG gorilla and an intelligent chimp who therefore might be able to communicate with the gorilla?

#918 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2014, 12:54 PM:

Open Thread 197.

No honey badgers here, yet.

Smaller type (our default)
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