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August 16, 2017

Open Thread 219
Posted by Patrick at 05:51 AM * 370 comments

Liberalism can’t defeat white supremacy. Only direct action can.

Comments on Open Thread 219:
#1 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 07:19 AM:

Cable Street, London, 4th October 1936

#2 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 07:53 AM:

I think I see an increasing recognition of the need for more forceful approaches to antiracism in US society, as shown by the Punch-A-Nazi meme for instance. Nazis and their ilk seem to always rush ahead of themselves, and this time I think their antisemitism has come out too soon, and reminded too many people that the last time they tried to take control of large parts of the world they murdered millions of people.

It's not surprising that Western countries get caught in the paper trap, rather than going directly to the rock solution; fascism has been a common failure mode of democracy, and keeping people focused on the supposed need for better laws as opposed to better law enforcement has often kept those who won't take part in fascism distracted. And for quite a long time now the US has been exporting fascism in the guise of installing stable governments¹, now must seem like a good time to bring it back home.

It remains to be seen whether American society can make the fundamental change required to become an anti racist state and avoid a descent into fascism. I have hope.

1. So that American companies would have unfettered access to their economies, and to keep Communism, no that's Islamism now, from making the world into an evil pit of despair.

#3 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 10:08 AM:

1129, 1130

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

#4 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 12:43 PM:

The thing is, at the C-ville riot, there were indeed a fair number of anti-racists brawling with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Bluntly, that's exactly what the bad guys wanted -- it reinforces their persecution complex and helps them argue that "both sides are just the same". Having "our"¹ people fighting in the street supplies excuses for the "cops" (in this case including not only state troopers, but National Guard) to arrest antiracists along with the racists, and for Trump to wave away distinctions between the groups.

Those people² were not being part of the solution, they were being part of the problem. Without them, there would have been a straightforward policing task and P.R. project -- white supremacist thugs come to town and attack the peaceable locals. That way, all LEOs present can arrest the thugs and denounce them without qualification, and any cops/etc. who refuse to do so, or go after the antiracists, are clearly out of line and betraying their duty. But by joining in the violence, the antiracist brawlers were trying to reduce the situation to gangs fighting in the street, with not much to choose from unless you happen to be one of the partisans. That's not helping the larger struggle, it's undercutting it.

¹ I do wonder how many of those were led or duped by agents provocateurs of the FBI (or less familiar agencies). We know they've been doing that from the original civil rights struggles right up through Occupy and probably since.

² I make a distinction here, because there were plenty of non-violent protesters against the invasion.

#5 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 01:24 PM:

Dave Harmon @ 4:

I have plenty of thoughts on the whole mess, not to mention how hard it apparently is for a lot of people to denounce fucking Nazis (a bar to clear so low that a sleeping flatfish should be able to clear it).

First, in any protest/counter protest situation, there will always be a few people on your side that you wish weren't there. It doesn't take agents provocateurs for there to be violent idiots.

Second, the people interested in bothsiderism or defending the indefensible will blow up the worst behavior of the non-Nazi side and conveniently ignore the fact that the other side are fucking Nazis. And ignore that a couple of brangles are not in any way equivalent to driving a car into a crowd of people.

Third, the other side are fucking Nazis, many of whom showed up with camo gear, weapons and armor, waving around flags celebrating white supremacy, and chanting white supremacist slogans. At what point does their very well-stated threat to the safety and life of others not warrant some sort of response? Sure, they might not initially do anything illegal enough to force an official police response, but that doesn't mean they're not dancing up to that line and making life a misery for everyone else. And with no response, they become emboldened.

They'll count anything as a win. If they get to 'peacefully' stand there and be fucking Nazis, they'll take that as a win because they're strong and no one stopped them. If someone starts a fight with them, they win because they were just innocently standing there and someone else started it (even though they started it by showing up and being fucking Nazis, shouting hate speech, and issuing death threats).

#6 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 01:36 PM:

I have called my Congressman and demanded impeachment. My relatives did not fight in World War Two to allow Nazis, KKK and domestic terrorist to flourish here. They are not "fine people."

Should you wish to do the same: 202-224-3121

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 01:47 PM:

The last times white supremacy was dislodged it took armed force (four centuries of slave uprisings, the US Civil War, the Second World War) as well as the "rocks" referred to in the article. I simply note this.

#8 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 01:57 PM:

KeithS #5: We've been here before. Fascism is about -- inter alia -- the solidarity of thugs as they beat people up. That's what it was in the teens and twenties of the last century in Italy. That's what it was in the twenties and thirties in Germany. That's what it was in the thirties in Spain and Romania. Yes, we're giving them what they want. However, this is not the school playground. There are no teachers around to enforce the rules. Our parents won't intervene to fix the problem.

The only thing these people have is a claim that their color and ancestry make them better than some other people. Since they can't actually prove this, they have to impose it by brute force. There can be no civilized discussion with brutes. There is no argument to be had with them. Compromise will never be reached. Reason is not in the game.

All those of us who believe in democracy, and the free life under democratic government, have no choice but to come together and erase this enemy. Or it will erase us. We have been here before. We -- the cause of liberty and democracy -- won the last round or I would not be here writing this. That's no guarantee we will win this one. Civilization and humanity itself are at stake.

#9 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 02:47 PM:

Nazi's and Fascists were given a chance for debate back in the 20's and 30's. They took those chances to lull the rest of Europe enough to forcibly take the reins of power in their own countries.
They then went on to kill millions of people.
The debate Nazi's experiment was run. We've seen the result. There isn't a need to debate them again and expect any different result on their part.

#10 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 04:05 PM:

I keep remembering an interview on NPR (at least that's what ISTR) when the Predatory Lenders' Recession began, in which a historian pointed out that its foundation had been laid just when the people who'd seen their money vanish during the Great Depression were dying off in droves. So now we're seeing people wanting to debate Nazis as we're losing the people who punched them out after debating failed the last time around.

#11 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 04:22 PM:

Dave Harmon @4

As far as I can make out, the LEOs on site didn't arrest any thugs--even when the Nazis attacked the small group of students (peacefully) counter-protesting. Waiting for the cops to act won't help if they don't.

#13 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 04:47 PM:

@dbb from the previous OT:

Yes, I can see how a folding chair can be useful. We don't have one & the kitchen is not large, so I've been either leaning on the walker, or if I need to be in the kitchen for extended periods, dragging the perching stool provided in there and sitting on that. I can also move relatively easily on crutches. The different options in toto get the job done.

I'm getting better on crutches though my body is still adjusting. Moving about the house is fine but going longer distances makes my palms sore. It's all part of the recovery process and while the head understands this, the heart still think it all sucks. (It's the first time I've ever broken a bone; I should be thankful I managed to live so long without breaking bones.)

#14 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 04:59 PM:

Gah, that was addressed to dcb...


One of the troubling outcomes of the attitudes displayed by the "leader of the free world" is that it emboldens others, not just in America, to be openly horrible. We get a lot of international news & so are what happens in the USA is talked about here. The responses can range from good (open denunciation of white supremacists, racism & nazis by people no longer willing to stay silent) to bad (white supremacists, racists & nazis feeling emboldened & taking action).

#15 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 05:06 PM:

Quill @11:

It was reported that the reason the cops stood back was that they felt the Nazis were too heavily armed to engage with.

#16 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 05:35 PM:

I am also bothered by the reports I am just seeing today that the Charlottesville police refused to protect a synagogue. As a result, the synagogue was obliged to hire private security, and armed fascist thugs attempted to intimidate the worshippers.

Given the behavior of the nutjob, fifth rate, imitation Mussolini (or imitation Codreanu) in the White House, it is about time to consider what the Constitution says about presidents who are clearly not mentally capable of doing the job.

The people did not choose the incumbent, let us not forget, and it is about time for the people to make clear that we will not tolerate the destruction of the republic.

#17 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 06:05 PM:

Soon Lee @13: glad your stool is working for the same task.

Wearing gloves with padded palms (cycling or weightlifting gloves) may help for crutching longer distances.

And yes, it sucks. But it does pass, eventually. Let me know when you need the tips on re-starting walking - the doctors tend to simply tell you to progress through partial weightbearing and don't generally explain HOW to do that...

#18 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 08:14 PM:

There's some entertaining stuff going around Twitter, as police are catching up with fascist goons:

http://www.rawstory.com/2017/08/im-terrified-neo-nazi-blubbers-like-a-baby-in-video-reporting-hes-wanted-for-arrest-in-charlottesville

Neo-Nazi Christopher Cantwell — who was one of the “Unite the Right” Charlottesville marchers interviewed by Vice.com — released a weepy, rambling video of himself discussing the fact that a warrant was issued for his arrest.

“I called the Charlottesville Police Department,” Cantwell said, “and said, ‘I have been told there’s a warrant out for my arrest. They said they wouldn’t confirm it but that I could find this out I could go to a magistrate or whatever.”

“With everything that’s happening, I don’t think it’s very wise for me to go anywhere,” he continued. “There’s a state of emergency, the National Guard is here!”

He kept breaking off to wipe away tears, saying, “I don’t know what to do. I need guidance.”

“Our enemies will not stop, they’ve been threatening us all over the place,” he whined before freaking out that Chelsea Manning is threatening to “curb stomp” Nazis.

Bullies. Keep the cameras rolling.

As an accompaniment to the Meyer Lansky story Patrick posted a while back, the story of Mighty Atom, via the splendiferous Memory Palace podcast:

http://thememorypalace.us/2017/05/the-year-hank-greenberg-hit-58-home-runs/

#19 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 08:34 PM:

It was reported that the reason the cops stood back was that they felt the Nazis were too heavily armed to engage with.

I can't find a published list of which police departments have SWAT equipment, but I'm given to understand it's "most of them".

Not that using war material in a city could ever be a good thing, either.

#20 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 09:22 PM:

@Stefan Jones no. 18: What did he think he was going to get when he threatened the actual existence of actual people?

For anybody on the fence: Doxxing is bad because it destroys the privacy of people who need or want to step away from their everyday identities for a while. Publicly identifying Nazis, Klansmen, and other wannabe mass murderers is good because anybody who has chosen to march under such a banner must not be allowed to just go home and eat their Sunday dinner as if they were fit to go among decent people!

#21 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 09:26 PM:

Schadenfreude fodder:

https://twitter.com/JesseFernandez/status/896871495972016129

(Not from Saturday. From a Klan rally in 2015.)

I suggest we call this the Scut Farkas Syndrome.

#22 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 09:31 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #7-8: I'm sorry, but your parallelism fails. This is not a repetition of the original struggle, as if they were thoroughly beaten the first time and some fanboys tried to resurrect a dead idea.

This is a continuation of the original fight, dating back to the founding of our republic -- an ongoing conflict whose "arc of history bends toward justice", but not without its reversals.

The current white supremacists aren't a sudden change in attitude; they may have picked up a number of "desperate and angry" folks from the current economic problems, but their core group are the cultural and often literal descendants of the original slaveowners, overseers, and Southern white workers -- the folks who lost the Civil War and the privileges of lording it over slaves... then were left to nurse their grievances for a century.

I have another comment editing where I try to summarize my ideas of how the conflict has gone over time, but it's not ready yet -- I'll post it later unless I get an attack of humility. ;-)

#23 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 10:20 PM:

Dave Harmon #22: Whether we're talking about a parallel to the Nazis/Fascists, or a continuation (and, yes, they were thoroughly beaten the last time, this is why they get so scared when the light of day hits them) matters less than the fact that we know who they are, what they want, and how to stop them.

In one sense, the struggle has been going on for millennia (it can be traced back into the Bible, the Chinese classics, and, of course, the classic writings of the Greeks and Romans), between those who want a world where a few rule and the rest serve and obey and a world in which, as Mencius put it 2,300 years ago "first come the people, next the altars to the gods of earth and grain, last comes the ruler".

The immediate struggle, now, is between a broad coalition of people whose lives are made better by freedom and social, political, and, increasingly, economic democracy, and those who want power to be held by a small clique and authority exercised by force of thuggery. When a political ideology is being promoted by something looking like an armed militia, that ideology usually turns out to look like fascism (and the classic definition of a fascist party is that the party is based on a militia). That's as true whether we're talking about the squadristi, the SA, the Garda de Fer, or the Fruits of Islam. It's also true of the cosplayers of Unite the Right last weekend.

The time to kill this snake is now.

#24 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 10:48 PM:

Jenny Islander @20: Your argument in favor of doxxing Nazis could be used with precisely equal force by those who wish to out abortion providers (they're planning to kill people, and babies at that!) by those who think abortion is murder.

I think a strong case can be made for some doxxing, but this particular approach has some nasty bits of back-bite.

#25 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 11:02 PM:

Quill #11, Jacque #15, Fragano #16, clew #19:

My sister may have insight into those questions (law professor who works with police, and temple member). I will send a note to her, but I don't know if she'll have time for a response.

BTW, the car attack was on the same street as my bookstore, but the other end (across the mall). The street was still closed yesterday (our end too), my boss says they're considering keeping it closed to cars. (Not unheard-of, some of the other streets leading to the mall are normally blocked to car traffic.) As a non-driver, that's not really my monkey, but it's probably going to be rough on my wheelchair-bound boss, not to mention people bringing in books and business in general.

#26 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2017, 11:41 PM:

@Tom Whitmore no. 24: Abortion providers are already being doxxed. And murdered. They aren't the topic under discussion.

And they aren't showing up barefaced on camera proclaiming their status as ubermenschen and then expecting that they can go back to law school without any repercussions. Christopher Cantwell and everybody who rides with him have been howling for murder. I think exposing them to the cold light of their own workplace HR departments and university tribunals is an excellent natural consequence. Not to mention letting their families know what they're doing.

Oh, they thought they could strut and bellow in the face of people they are panting to destroy and then slip off into the night. Poor schnookums.

Do I sound angry? Guess what? I'm autistic. Gosh I wonder why I'm angry.

#27 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 12:16 AM:

I think one thing needs to be made absolutely, perfectly, transparently clear.

Tom Whitmore, in his dialogue with Jenny Islander, is worried that if you dox Nazis, others, with similar justification might dox abortion providers or other people disliked by the right. I understand the argument. In other circumstances, I might even want to agree with it. Calm and reason are, in general, good things.

However, there is a difference. We are talking here about actual Nazis, fascists, Klansmen, Neo-Confederates, white supremacists, anti-Semites. They aren't interested in persuading us of the justice of their cause. They don't want to try to tell Avram just how much better off he'd be if they'd be in charge. They're not trying to sell Jenny on how much happier she'd be. They're not telling me about all the good things I'd receive if they were in charge. They're not because they can't. They want us either subjugated or dead.

Simply put, if you are

Black
Jewish
Gay
Physically or mentally different from the "norm"
Transgender
Native American
Latina/o
Asian
Female

these people pose a threat not to merely your well-being but to your existence. They want us either enslaved or dead (or enslaved on the way to being dead).

I descend from people who arrived in the Americas as property. I have relatives who died in the Holocaust. I have relatives who were shot by fascist secret police. I am by no means the only one here with that in my history.

Never again. Never fucking again. It is past time for this snake to be scotched.

Nazis are not here to dialogue. They are not here to present reasoned arguments. They are here to bully, intimidate, threaten, injure, wound, and kill. You do not argue with people like that. You cannot. It wastes your time and merely annoys them.

They must be denied the oxygen they are being given by the disgrace in the White House. And they must be shown, once again, that freedom and political justice are things that will be defended.

We are not Sparta. Never have been. Never will be.

#28 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 12:30 AM:

I do not disagree about the doxxing of Nazis being discussed here. I disagree with Jenny Islander's particular justification of it.

Fragano's justification is much more potent. If we're going to justify ourselves, can we please use a justification that's less likely to bite our own asses?

#29 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 01:51 AM:

Once again: When an abortion provider shows up in a public place and chants slogans calling for my death with 500 of his good buddies, all barefaced, and then acts shocked and upset when somebody out there in Youtube Land turns out to know his name and makes it public, I'll concede. But it doesn't matter whether people seize on the carefully maintained privacy of abortion providers vs. the public nature of their service as an excuse for doxxing in the future, because abortion providers have already been doxxed and murdered on other pretenses.

The scumbags in Charlottesville have skated by on privilege for most of their lives already. Look at them, in their matchy-matchy outfits and shiny battle gear. Look at how far they had to travel to meet up in Charlottesville. These aren't disaffected rural poor whites condensing out of the zeitgeist. They planned this shit like a beer bash, and they fully expected to get away with anything they did just like they got away with whatever they did for fun at their fuckin' frats and on their daddies' boats. Because people see the clean-scrubbed whiteboy faces, see the nice cars and the nice shoes, and make allowances, so that they can attain the futures that clean-cut white boys from nice families deserve. Because people look at their pink cheeks and guileless smiles and think that such a nice young man couldn't possibly have been at a Nazi rally last night. And so they skate by. Again.

No.

Let them writhe. Let them lose everything. No more Heather Heyers. No more Marcus Martins. Drag these scumbags out into the light. They can't be murderous monsters on the weekend and choirboys the rest of the week unless we let them.

#30 ::: Jeff R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 03:11 AM:

The trouble with raising mobs is, well, do not call up what you can't put down. Even if you're just okay with punishing sufficiently wrong idea expression with social and financial ostracism, that doesn't mean someone else in the crowd is think more along the lines of burning down houses.

Probably the wrong houses too, since the internet is a pretty lousy detective.

#31 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 06:45 AM:

One of the things we did in the UK was to pas the Public Order Act 1936. which would have hit the Fascists in Charlottesville.

It banned "political uniforms", and organising or training unofficial militias.

Some of it still applies, and some clauses have been used in rather questionable ways. And getting rid of the uniforms seems to have made the British Union of Fascists a bit more respectable, at least for a while.

Militias, in the USA, are a whole different can of worms. There was the volunteer movement in Victorian England, which shifted fairly quickly towards something more like the National Guard, and predecessors such as the Yeomanry. You can find references to Trained Bands in the American colonies, even as they faded away and were replaced by a permanent army in England.

Those rather irregular "militia" protecting the Nazis at Charlottesville looked a lot like an armed rebellion.

#32 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 09:11 AM:

Fragano Ledgister #23: yes, they were thoroughly beaten the last time, this is why they get so scared when the light of day hits them

As a Jew, who's been living in Charlottesville for several years, I'm telling you they may have been beaten, but not that thoroughly, and they damn well didn't look scared at that rally. Insofar as they were beaten last time, that victory certainly required the efforts of many citizens and activists... but the victory itself was and is marked and demonstrated by the fact that across the country, the police and legal system have mostly gotten on board for protecting those vulnerable groups you list. After a certain point, in our history, lynchings, draggings, and other attacks have usually been punished by the police and legal system, who themselves have mostly been restrained from directly attacking those groups you cite.

Usually, mostly... even here in Charlottesville, we've had problems with bias in enforcement. This despite the fact that our current and prior police chiefs are among the most liberal stalwarts in the country. Or rather, the local liberalism is why we notice those incidents and try to do something about them. Back in NYC, I'm pretty sure similar incidents would have been background noise -- there might have been a lawsuit, but I doubt there'd have been a press conference where the city's police chief promised to try and do better.

By their own statements, the thugs came here to Charlottesville precisely because we're a blue dot in a sea of red, and they wanted to attack that center of resistance. If we want to really beat them, we need to demonstrate to them that outnumbering and outgunning the local citizenry (or even the local cops) just leaves them facing the power of America as a whole, including the police and government. Last week... no, we didn't quite manage that, but we did show them that they don't get a cakewalk¹ here, and we did face them down.

But the popular sentiment isn't all that universal here either. One of my neighbors was telling me just the other day that "if we get rid of the Lee and Jackson statues, we better get rid of Jefferson too, because he was a slaveowner, rapist, and child molester".² Not to mention that those thugs were invited here by a local: Jason Kessler, who made his name by targeting our only black Councilman, and did succeed in driving Bellamy out of his educational posts.

And I'm assured by those with reason to know, that those who go a hundred or so miles out of town find themselves back in the rural South. Nowadays they might not be in immediate danger from the populace, or face "whites only" and "no Jews" signs, but blacks and other visible stand-outs still need to be careful about the police, and liberal types in general need to be careful how they talk in public.

Yes, we've made great progress, and we currently still have the balance of power... but barely. Even now, those same enemies have gained a foothold in the White House, built up their representation in Congress, and are working to try and undo what we've done. They are replacing judges and bureaucrats at every level, with special attention to gutting public education, environmental enforcement, and limits on corporate power. And on the popular level, they're successfully convincing the newly-poor that never mind the corporations and politicians, Those People Over There are responsible for their misery.

I don't know how, or if, we can counter the current breakdown, but it won't be by being cocky and underestimating the opposition.

¹ Historical reference intended. ;-)

² Not being prepared for a fight with someone who's not interested in being converted, I confined my response to "Jefferson didn't lose his war". Yeah, not much, but I have to live here too.

#33 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 09:32 AM:

Jacque @15:

It has also been reported that police tried to stop people from performing CPR on Heather Heyer as she lay dying.

I'm inclined to think that there's more going on that them simply being outgunned by the Nazi protestors.

(As an aside, I do believe there are "many sides" to the violence: there's the neo-Nazi's, the KKK, the white nationalists, the white supremacists, the white separatists, etc. I don't think that lumping them all under the term "Nazi" is wholly accurate, but I don't have a better umbrella term, like we lump the various movements in 1920-30's Germany, Spain, Italy, etc as "fascist", and Stalinism, Leninism, Maoism, etc as "communist".)

#34 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 09:51 AM:

Tom Whitmore and Jenny Islander:

I disagree with the use of the term "doxxing". These were not people going about their normal, day-to-day business, and are then being outed because they're doctors who provide abortions, or medical researchers who work on animals, or even just someone who happened to be playing computer games while female.

These people are being identified for showing up in public, on their own time, and proclaiming themselves to the world to be anathema.

That's the difference.

Buddha Buck @ 33:

Even though I'm all for calling them fucking Nazis, you're right, they are separate, even though they're fellow travellers. And maybe calling them Nazis downplays the fact that most of them are our own, home-grown white supremacists rather than imported foreigners, no matter what cross-pollenization has happened over time. White supremacy was baked into the US from the very start, and we've never really dealt with that, even though we had a war over whether it was ok for white people to own other people. A lot of people (including those who regularly say "I'm not racist, but...") happily ignore systemic racism and our own white supremacy problem, because they're not Nazis or Klansmen, so they can't possibly be racist, and so the problem festers.

I also think it's important to point out that in holding up the second world war as a decisive fight against Nazis, the US armed forces were not yet integrated. That's right. Us, the good guys, told our own citizens that, sure, they could go punch Nazis, but, if they were black, they had to go punch them over there.

#35 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 10:57 AM:

@33:
As an aside, I do believe there are "many sides" to the violence: there's the neo-Nazi's, the KKK, the white nationalists, the white supremacists, the white separatists, etc. I don't think that lumping them all under the term "Nazi" is wholly accurate, but I don't have a better umbrella term, like we lump the various movements in 1920-30's Germany, Spain, Italy, etc as "fascist", and Stalinism, Leninism, Maoism, etc as "communist".

As far as I'm concerned, there are only two groups there. Nazis, and those who "have no problem showing solidarity with" Nazis. (That's a direct quote from one of them, by the way.)

#36 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 11:24 AM:

KiethS #34: I also think it's important to point out that in holding up the second world war as a decisive fight against Nazis, the US armed forces were not yet integrated. That's right. Us, the good guys, told our own citizens that, sure, they could go punch Nazis, but, if they were black, they had to go punch them over there.

True enough... but the white soldiers also noticed that they had black folks fighting with them, frequently being heroes, and generally proving themselves in the brotherhood of combat. Then the war ended, the soldiers came back home... and thanks to the GI bill, those black soldiers also got formal educations -- a chance to learn about the rights they were supposed to already have, and the laws that were being ignored and abused. That tilled and sowed the ground for the civil rights movement of the 50s and afterwards.

#37 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 11:30 AM:

Buddha Buck #33: Not local police, but a state trooper (and one in particular, at that). As I read in the local weekly, there were likewise issues in the prior July rally, where state troopers were leaning on anti-racists while giving the racists a pass. Like I said above, the rest of Virginia is not like Charlottesville.

#38 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 11:56 AM:

Dave Bell @31: It banned "political uniforms", and organising or training unofficial militias.

Unfortunately, that slaps right up against First and Second Amendment protections so, sensible as that might seem, probably a non-starter in the US.

Buddha Buck @33: police tried to stop people from performing CPR on Heather Heyer

Jesus wept....

I'm inclined to think that there's more going on that them simply being outgunned by the Nazi protestors.

I am inclined to think you are not wrong.

#39 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 12:26 PM:

Just called the Governor of Virginia's office and left a message asking what was going to be done to the State policeman who interfered with those giving Heather CPR.

Also fired off an email... There is NO excuse for this LEO's behavior.

#40 ::: Jameson Quinn ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 02:41 PM:

Sorry, I'm going to threadjack here, because I think some people here might be interested, and it is after all an open thread.

I want to talk about the Hugos. Huge congrats to all the winners and all the worthy finalists.

I’ve been travelling this week, so I just got a chance to watch the parts of the BM that I cared most about, where they decided on 3SV (no), EPH+ (no), and suspending EPH+(no). There was one thing that was said repeatedly which I believe is a mistake. I’m posting this argument here because I don’t know where else to put it but I’d love it if anyone has pointers for where I should put it so that it will get read by the people who care. I've already cross-posted at File770 and may do so elsewhere if I find somewhere better to post it.

So, the idea that I think is mistaken is that this year’s outcome shows that under EPH, bullet voting works.

The category in question is best ELF, best editor long form. In the final elimination round, Vox Day had 83 ballots and 83.00 points; Miriam Weinberg had 131 ballots and 54.25 points; and our fair host Patrick Nielsen Hayden had 118 ballots and 65.42 points. Weinberg and Hayden went into the cage match because they had the lowest points among the final 7; Weinberg won because she had more ballots than PNH; and so Vox Day survived. People have drawn the conclusion that this shows that bullet voting works, because VD would not have been among the top 6 under the old rules, and PNH would have.

But consider what would have happened if 82 of the 83 VD voters had voted a slate — say, Vox Day, Loco Prentiss, Vinnie Von Ritas, Cav E. Temptor, and Poe Stock. Initially, each of the slate would have had 16.4 points except VD who would have had one more, 17.4. As soon as all the ELFs with fewer points were eliminated, two of the slated ELFs (say, Cav and Poe) would have cage-matched and one of them would have been eliminated, leaving the remaining ones with 20.5 points. That would have happened again, putting the remainder to 27.33; then again, putting the remainder to 41; and finally, VD would have been the only puppy standing with his full 83 points. At no point would any of them have faced Weinberg or PNH

What’s more, even if one of the puppies had faced down Weinberg or PNH, it would have not been VD up for elimination, as he would have stayed one step ahead of his fellow puppies. So the other puppy would have been easily dispatched by MW/PNH, and VD’s points would have surged just as if he had been the one highlandering his fellow canine.

The upshot is that, under EPH, it is /not/ the fact that the puppies bullet voted that gave them an advantage; that was merely incidental. Their advantage came from the fact that their choices did not overlap with those of other voters. Arguably, in this case, EPH was doing exactly what it was designed to do: increasing the diversity of nominators who had some finalist who they supported. The fact that PNH had 118 ballots but only 65 points means that a majority of PNH nominators supported some other finalist or finalists. Eliminating PNH left only perhaps a score of voters without a finalist they supported; eliminating VD would have left over four score without.

tl;dr: in EPH, there is no incentive to bullet vote by leaving weak candidates off your ballot; but there is an incentive to “free ride” by leaving people who can win without your vote off your ballot.

(Note: some degree of “free rider” incentive is an inevitable feature of all proportional representation voting methods. EPH’s “free rider” incentive is actually relatively weak. And in the end, the “free-rider” problem is inherently self-limiting, because the more likely you think it is that other people will try to free-ride, the less of an incentive you have to do so yourself.)

#41 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 02:47 PM:

Jameson Quinn @40: that's Nielsen Hayden, not Hayden: both P and T have a double last name. Referencing the paragraph beginning "The category in question..." -- elsewhere, you mostly use PNH, which is quite safe from this particular error.

#42 ::: Jameson Quinn ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 03:13 PM:

Oops. I used PNH elsewhere consciously because I wasn't sure about that. My wife and daughter have double last names so I should be better at that. Sorry to our illustrious host.

#43 ::: Jameson Quinn ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 03:17 PM:

As for the main topic of discussion on the thread...

DaveHarmon@4 says that leftists brawling with white supremacists were playing right into the WS's hands. That may have happened in some cases. But I'm more inclined to believe that most of the leftists throwing punches were doing so in the spirit of Deacons for Defense and Justice, who were the gun-toting defenders of the civil rights movement, and were IMO an important force for good.

In other words: who started it matters.

#44 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 03:30 PM:

I have a friend who was in Charlottesville with a small affinity group. Their intention was to show up for non-violent direct action, but they left before noon because things got too dangerous. They felt protected by the antifa and anarchist folks. An article by Dahlia Lithwick collects similar stories.

My friend and I are both in our mid-60s. I'm willing to take risks for justice, and I'd be a fool to think my fat old body would be much use if it came to a fight, so those risks will be taken via some form of non-violent action. But if the task is confronting fascists armed to the teeth, I'm more likely to show up if I know that there will be someone there discouraging the Nazis from beating me to death or half to death. And I don't believe that will be the police.

#45 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 05:32 PM:

I haven't seen any cases where the Nazis' home addresses and SSNs have been published. They're not being doxxed, much as they'd like to claim they are.

The false equivalence will be drawn, of course: it's a RWNJ staple these days. I have an illustrative example: Felicia Day said publicly that she didn't want to comment on G*m*rg*t* for fear of the repercussions. She was then doxxed by the GGs. They revealed her home address and other personal information, in an effort to frighten her and cause her harm.

Note: She was a public person whose name was known, doing a public thing. All that's being done to the Nazis is bring them to that state. The doxxing was all in addition to that.

And yes, you have a right to privacy. But if I go to a Kaepernick rally (as I plan to next week), I'm not going to whine and snivel if someone sees me there.

Gay pride marches are a different thing. But I would submit that being outed as gay and being outed as a Nazi are fundamentally different animals as well.

#46 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 08:09 PM:

As far as doxxing is concerned, we already have, among other issues, a professor in Arkansas receiving threats due to misidentification.

#47 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 08:45 PM:

A monument to Jefferson Davis in Arizona was tarred and feathered:

https://twitter.com/DStermonfox10/status/898295392726417409

That's a hell of a lot of work compared to, say, applying a sledgehammer. And MAN, cleaning the sucker up; maybe they can put out a call for volunteers from AZ's neo-confederate community.

#48 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2017, 11:24 PM:

It occurs to me that the increasing use of vehicles as weapons may inspire more of a push towards autonomous vehicles, with limited ability for a human to override. "No, Dave, I won't let you drive into that pedestrian space."

#49 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 02:52 AM:

dcb #17:

Thanks. Tips & advice gratefully accepted.

My crutches have now got some padding on the handles which helps, but I expect over time the skin on my palms will toughen up.

It'll be about a month before they even let me start bending my knee. A doctor friend has recommended a physiotherapist who is good with knee injuries. Another friend who had knee surgery recently has been telling me about how she did her rehab.

Yesterday, I went to my GP & nurse to have my dressing changed. It was the first time I've seen my left leg (and knee) in over two weeks. The wound is healing well, but already I can see signs of muscle atrophy. It's not unexpected but still a bit of a shock to actually see my left leg now noticeably less muscly than my right leg when they used to be symmetrical.

#50 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 12:24 PM:

I don't know if I'm adding much illumination, but a thing going around the Book of Face said, approximately, if you leave antifa alone, they will go play guitars or something. If you leave Nazis alone they will kill you.

There's your symmetry.

#52 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 01:13 PM:

Bannon is out. The news will be changing rapidly, so I'm not linking to what will be an out-of-date report.

#53 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 01:44 PM:

Dave Harmon #32: I understand your points all too well. My ass is on the line with yours. We don't debate these cockroaches[1], we shine a light on them and make them scurry back into the crevices where they belong. Stamping on them in the process.

I'm sorry, but when existence is on the line my inner Fanon comes out.

[1] Note to Idumea Arbacoochee, loveliest of gnomes, yes it's an insulting word and does not promote love, light, and harmony. I do not seek love, light, harmony, or reconciliation with people who want me dead. Nor should any person of goodwill expect me so to do. Never again.

#54 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 02:54 PM:

dcb @ 17 , Soon Lee @ 49 ...
And yes, it sucks. But it does pass, eventually. Let me know when you need the tips on re-starting walking - the doctors tend to simply tell you to progress through partial weightbearing and don't generally explain HOW to do that...

Physiotherapy is (usually) really good about that -- and also things like teaching you to bend your knee(s) again, and pointing out gait oddities.

Re: crutches, I found it useful to keep a bag/pouch that could be hung from the crutches or me handy at all times -- it's amazing how many things you suddenly want to carry when your hands are full!

Depending on how you feel about bending, having a leash for your crutches can also make life much, much easier -- one pull to retrieve, instead of weird awkwardness around rearranging until you can reach them.

#55 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 02:55 PM:

Wormtongue isn't working for Saruman the White (House) anymore?

"Sad."
- Andy Serkis as Gollum reading a Trump tweet

#56 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 02:58 PM:

Who's the next comedian going to be?

#57 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 03:02 PM:

Fragano @53:

Much to my dismay, I have been experiencing a inner lust to get my hands on these cretins and make them die slowly, painfully, and in as much terror as I can inflict.

I thought I was a better person.

#58 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 03:15 PM:

Lori #57: It's that desire to keep on living. It keeps us from being St Francis.

#59 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 03:46 PM:

Lori: I can claim to be a somewhat better person: I just want to flick devil-dust at them and have them go up in a puff of fetid black smoke. I don't require they suffer; I just want them gone. But then, I haven't take any direct damage from them, so.* </privilege>

* Yet.

#60 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 04:44 PM:

@Sandy B. no. 50: Yes, exactly.

#61 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 05:38 PM:

It's that feeling you get when you realise that the enemy of your enemy isn't really anyone's friend...

#62 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 06:24 PM:

BREAKING: Stephen Bannon's family terrified at the thought of him spending more time with them.

#63 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 07:31 PM:

Jacque, #15: It has been pointed out elsewhere that if this had been a BLM demonstration, they would have called in cops for 200 miles around. And since I have no reason not to think that is true, it makes me wonder whether the decision not to call for reinforcements was entirely on the up-and-up, or whether it was to provide a convenient excuse.

Jenny, #20 et seq: First off, even calling this "doxxing" is a misnomer (or an active attempt to obfuscate the difference). They were engaging in a public activity on public property, with their faces uncovered. As you said, they are being identified, mostly just by name and hometown. A few have been reported to their employers. I haven't heard of anyone publicly posting their home addresses and phone numbers, or the names of their families, or their children's schools -- ALL of which have been done to Planned Parenthood escorts and employees by that other set of domestic terrorists.

Second, the best term I've heard used for these assholes is "weekend Nazis". They want to go parade around threatening people on the weekend, and then go back to their everyday lives on Monday. Where in their everyday lives they may be the person in charge of hiring employees for their company, or the bank officer who approves home loan applications, or the teacher in the 9th-grade civics class, or the police officer assigned to patrol a "sketchy" neighborhood, or...

Tom, #24: See my comment to Jenny above.

Fragano, #27: Hear, hear!

#64 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 07:36 PM:

It's the edge case of how our personal rules work. We have at least two sets of them, and this is the difficult balancing place where we* aren't standing firmly in one or the other.

I find myself thinking that regardless of ideal morality and hypotheticals, clearly whatever we've been doing has failed hugely, so it's time to quit that and change tactics.

*here being the people who would normally settle things like rational and reasonable people who use words, mean what they say, say what they mean, and work toward understanding. Also the people who haven't been facing this for their entire lives. 'We' is important but confusing.

#65 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 09:08 PM:

Eleven thousand years ago, give or take a couple of years, a group of people in the valley of the Jordan river did something no human beings had ever done before. They built a large organized settlement with clear administrative and religious centres. In short, they built the world's first true city.

There's still one there today, it's called Jericho.

Many of us here, myself included, can legitimately claim descent from the builders of Jericho (about the only way you can't, I suspect is by being an Original Australian or Japanese). But what's important is that the organizational principle that the founding of Jericho entailed, civilization, is still with us. The residents of the original Jericho would most likely be confused by modern world-spanning technological civilization, but things can change over 11,000 years.

You see. This is something that fascinates me. Our species originates in Africa, and builds its first city just outside Africa, but still in the Rift Valley where we may have originated. Ordered, settled societies that sought their own good emerged thereafter in the larger river valleys nearby, but Jericho was first. It was the dark, curly-haired people of the Jordan valley who first worked out how a large community could live together in harmony and construct something larger and better than themselves.

After eleven thousand years of civilization, nonetheless, the world is still full of people who do not get the idea that living together means compromise, fairness, decency, and love not just of our neighbors but truly of our fellows (in Spanish this would be nuestros semejantes, literally our resemblers). Eleven thousand years is not that short a time.

A city, you understand, is a place that is big enough that any given resident will not know all of the other residents (we're talking just a few thousand people here, not millions), but still has to recognize them as fellow citizens and stand ready to defend them against aggression. There are a variety of ways of doing so that we, the human race, have evolved over the millennia since the founding of Jericho. Most of them seem to involve words: songs, evocations of place, stories about spiders, or crafty boys, or girls who saved cities. Some of them evolve within themselves: The Last Night of the Proms, once an evocation simply of British nationalism, now uses that as the basis for a celebration of all national identities.

And then there are those who simply reject civilization and talk, in fattily mystical terms about "blood and soil", the need for white people to have countries of their own that are as racially pure as everyone else's (whose?), who proudly declare that the greatest crime of mass murder ever committed, the attempted extirpation of the Jewish and Roma peoples, was "not wrong".

In times past, people who could not abide by the rules were either executed or exiled. You really can't execute people unless they commit offenses that carry the death penalty (a separate issue), and there are no uninhabited isles to send brave Aryans out to pioneer upon.

Perhaps it is time to consider a different exile. Since they're confident that they are inherently superior to all others, and it is, I believe now technologically feasible, perhaps we can offer our racist friends a deal.

Since they can't stand eleven thousand years' worth of civilization (first established by people who included the ancestors of the Jews), and they are the Master Race, let them go colonize the Proxima Centauri system. I realize that it would be slow going, on effectively, a generation ship, and they might have some problems relating to the next generation, but it would be the best deal they could get.

By the time actual FTL is invented (presuming we don't nuke ourselves to death, choke ourselves to death, or completely destroy the ecosystem), it would be interesting for our descendants to see what a society of truly superior people is like. If they have an inhabitable planet and are settled on it, I'd be betting on the palaeolithic.

I apologize for the rambling. I just wanted to get this off my chest.

#66 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 09:28 PM:

65
Ah, Khan Noonian Singh....
(That worked out so well.)

#67 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 10:18 PM:

Text from my son this afternoon (slightly paraphrased):
"Can you please pick me up when you get done with work? We're going to create a Metaverse."

How very godlike.
(Apparently it's a VR thing.)

#68 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 10:55 PM:

P J Evans #66: Khan lost. He didn't even have any rich Corinthian leather.

#69 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 11:08 PM:

xeger #54:

I have a pouch that hangs from my neck; I tuck it between my sweater & t-shirt. It's useful for holding small items like my wallet & phone. I considered the idea of hanging it off the crutches but didn't want the additional (slightly) unbalancing effect as it swings around.

Fragano #65:
Eleven thousand years. And we still have so far to go before we are all properly civilised. The idea of exiling those who deem themselves the Master Race to another star system is, while attractive, is I'm afraid just a way of kicking the problem down the road. The seeds of this problem lie in our society, and until we mature enough as a species, there will always be new white supremacists arising amongst us.

I am also uncomfortable with condemning the offspring of these people to a future they had no say in choosing. There are enough examples of the children of white supremacists rejecting their parents' worldview to indicate to me that not all are irredeemable.

#70 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2017, 11:32 PM:

68
But he did get an entire planet to play with.

#71 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 12:15 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @68: But he nearly won; it was a close call. There was a lot of luck involved, along with his obsession with destroying Kirk. Of course, he really *did* have genetic advantages, unlike the alt-righters who merely *believe* that they do.

I'd be happy to ship them off to another planet, but we just don't have the tech yet. What can be done with them in the interim? We can't even ship 'em off to Luna yet.

#72 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 01:23 AM:

I've proposed this before in different venues. Buy out the citizens of Nauru, including relocation and citizenship elsewhere. Ship the bozos there.

#73 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 04:19 AM:

Open threadiness: For anyone interested in my experiences running the Hyperbolic Crochet Community Project at Worldcon75, I wrote up my thoughts on my blog. Includes pictures of the results!

#74 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 04:45 AM:

One of the things I find useful for carrying things, which I started on in the run-up for Loncon3, is an echo of the WW2 gasmask case. It's much the same as you see Indiana Jones using. I use a modern commercial "man-pouch" equivalent now, and it fills some of the same functions as a handbag. I was able to carry a few essentials, a bit more than some of the alternatives.

The Indiana Jones version, in the first movie, was a 1937-pattern British Army case with the canvas shoulder-strap replaced by a leather strap. I picked up a similar Russian-Army case on eBay.

Would it be practical with crutches? I am not sure. But it works for me. I could load up with things I needed, and be set for the day at the con.

#75 ::: Odalchini ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 02:04 PM:

Lee #63: "They want to go parade around threatening people on the weekend, and then go back to their everyday lives on Monday."

I guess they're making a kind of back-formation from Twitter. They think the real world is like the Internet, where they can hate anonymously, then look up from their computer or phone and seem innocently like other people (for some values of "other people"). But, gosh, the real world is ... real.

#76 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 03:46 PM:

It appears that Bannon was ousted at least partially for telling the truth: that there is no military solution for Korea.

Lee @ 63: if Charlottesville had been a BLM demonstration, there would have been a lot more people coming to demonstrate (not counter-); a larger police presence might have been justified. However, after Charlottesville there will be no excuse for not swamping these militias with LEOs (as Boston is doing as I write).

Fragano @ 65: Did the original Jerichoans not other the people in the next valley over? (At least one round of their conquerors did; see "shibboleth".) ISTM that civilization has always depended as much on bad feeling toward non-neighbors as on good feeling toward neighbors. There's a bit in "Methusaleh's Children" (IIRC -- definitely RAH somewhere) in which a minority member observes ~"I am not in danger from my neighbors, nor he[fellow minoritan] from his -- but I am in danger from his and he from mine." RAH suggested a parliament based not on geography but on professions (in Double Star -- although this may have been just another idea to play with -- he certainly didn't see it as having issues), but IIRC nobody really saw one of the triumphs and tragedies of the Net: that it makes communities of the geographically separate, spreading both binding and othering. Some of the open Net has started to react to this, but I'm not betting we can ever blow up enough of the dark net to divide the loons from each other.

There have been proposals for miracles that prevent othering (Knight did it at least twice, in "Rule Golden" and the CV trilogy), but nothing that wasn't essentially fantasy. Brunner (in "Fair") proposed a government trying to back down from its own othering, but the Republicans show that this is just as much of a fantasy; their entire strategy boils down to "Look out! The They are dangerous! We will protect you from the Them!"(*) (There have been scattered Republicans with the grace to call out Trump for what has amounted to endorsement of the alt-right in Charlottesville, but not very many; I'm a bit surprised nobody here has pointed to the amount of dog-whistling needed to get us to this state.) I do not see rodomontade leading to a solution to othering.

(*) I shouldn't let the Democrats off the hook either, since they didn't immediately counter the Republicans' ground-up tactics that (inter alia took the House with a minority of voters), and blew an election to give us a sociopath (at least) at the top, but that's getting far afield.

#77 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 03:59 PM:

P J Evans #70/Joel Polowin #71: A bunch of keyboard warriors, weekend cosplayers, and self-proclaimed heroes, leavened with some cops and soldiers, and made up half of self-regarding sociopaths and psychopaths in it for the violence and half of pathetic young men who are happy to blame the Jews and blacks for their striking out with girls, don't equal Khan Noonien Singh and his magnificent obsession with James Tiberius Kirk.

Providing there's a habitable planet next door around Alpha Centauri, I'm sure they'd be delighted to get away from us "downbreeds" and implement the Fourteen Words on another planet. But please notice my description of them above. What's the m/f ratio likely to be on the trip out, and by the time they get there?

Soon Lee #69: I understand your discomfort. Go outside. Take a deep breath. You've just filled your lungs with dust and smoke from the chimneys of Auschwitz. Growing up in the kind of world Nazis without the skills to reproduce our technological base would have (I'm seeing feudal, anti-scientific [no "Jewish science"], polygynous, and, overall, pretty brutal) is a hell of a lot kinder than that.

#78 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 04:02 PM:

Anne Sheller #72: Much cheaper to give them this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Island

#79 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 05:35 PM:

Odalchini, #75: That's an interesting way of looking at it. (I wonder how many of them would know what "back-formation" means?) I suspect there are also some analogies to road-rage; it's well-documented that being in a car gives an illusion of anonymity which leads some people to behave like total dickwads while driving.

CHip, #76: Also, there are some links floating around to the effect that brietbart.com has "declared war" on Trump for firing Bannon. Which leads my mind, once again, to that line in Poul Anderson's "Sam Hall" about "watching those cockroaches running around busily stepping on each other".

The quote you're remembering is definitely Heinlein, from the story about the early days of the Howard Families, in reference to what would happen if the word got out that some humans had lifespans measured in the hundreds of years. Nobody, it said, would ever believe that this was accomplished purely by selective breeding; the world at large would be convinced that there was some kind of Secret Formula, and anyone known to be a member of the Families would be at risk of being captured and tortured to obtain it.

Fragano, #77: Ay, there's the rub -- because not all of them are going to be too stupid to notice that they don't have enough women among them to produce a viable colony. And the "incels" among them would be just as quick to assign the Nazis to the "alpha Chad" class as they are to assign any man who isn't one of them already. In fact, if we did manage to bamboozle them long enough to get them off-planet, what we'd be looking at would be the world of "A Boy and His Dog".

#80 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 06:45 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @77: I hadn't encountered the "Fourteen Words" before, and had to look it up. My immediate thought was something like "I don't care what happens to these people if they have their own planet."

#81 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 08:31 PM:

Comment on the Daily Kos "What's for Dinner" post this evening (it's on enchiladas, and includes the recipe named):

“How to Make Sixty Enchiladas with One Small Chicken”

1. Find a really smart chicken. With thumbs.

#82 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 08:52 PM:

And some Open Threadiness, albeit on a related topic:

The Toxic Drama of YA Twitter. via Patricia Corell's FB page

#83 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2017, 11:33 PM:

Not just YA, not just Twitter. Interesting article, Dave Harmon.

#84 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2017, 01:10 AM:

Dave Harmon@36: "thanks to the GI bill, those black soldiers also got formal educations"

I was under the impression that very few black service members were able to access GI bill benefits.

#85 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2017, 01:23 AM:

They've found the Indianapolis in the south Pacific.
Photos of it here:
http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Researchers-find-wreckage-of-WWII-era-USS-11944974.php

#86 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2017, 03:07 AM:

HelenS @84: Wikipedia definitely agrees with you.

#87 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2017, 08:36 AM:

HelenS, Tom Whitmore: The Wikipedia article itself notes that despite the discrimination, the bill did triple black college enrollment. I'll walk back to "some of the black soldiers", but even that increase was important.

(It bends, but slowly.)

Also: Based on Yarrow's link at #44, I am reconsidering my position on the fighting antifas. Those non-violent protesters are depending on their allies' willingness to be violent, but it's probably necessary for them to do so:

If you look all the way back to Ghandi's pure nonviolence, he was depending heavily on Britain's desire not to look bad on the world stage, and even so, it hardly worked: Britain didn't offer India independence until after WW2, when they were ditching most of their remaining colonies. And in modern China, the government has shown little hesitation to violently crush protests and imprison or execute their leaders.

In contrast, in American's civil rights movement, the violent factions posed an unpleasant alternative that encouraged the government to negotiate with the non-violent groups and leaders such as MLK.

The current crew of white nationalists and their Nazi buddies don't care about their public image, or rather they're fine with an image of brutal violence. And they don't have anyone to negotiate with -- any leader who tries to compromise will simply be replaced.

#88 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2017, 01:27 PM:

Trump, Kim, eclipse enthusiasts... the news is full of totalitarians.

#89 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2017, 06:29 PM:

[*smacking the server*]

Trump, Kim, eclipse enthusiasts... the news is full of totalitarians.

#90 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2017, 07:26 PM:

Dave H., #194: There's an alternate-history story somewhere in which Gandhi tries his non-violent protest tactics on a victorious Hitler... who simply has him shot and the body dragged away.

Complete non-violent protest of the Gandhi variety requires two things: (1) an opponent with a sense of shame, and (2) people who are willing to be martyrs for the cause. But the first one is key, and as you note, today's Nazis have none. Let them get a little more organized, and they'll be handing out medals for hurting or killing unarmed protesters.

#91 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2017, 08:00 PM:

Race Traitor Xopher@ #45:

It's perhaps a month since I saw the start of the online debates on whether or not it's ethical to punch nazis. Since last weekend, I've begun seeing the same debate, only this time over whether it's ethical to name and shame them. I'm beginning to feel as though there *is* a slippery slope here, but that it leads towards doing too little against Nazis, rather than going too far.

#92 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2017, 08:49 PM:

Joel, #89: ...and people taking umbrage.

#93 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2017, 10:47 PM:

Lee @90 - I knew a couple who were absolute pacifists. They seriously believed that if only people hadn't been violent when they resisted Hitler and the Nazis, the Holocaust and all the rest of the violence of WWII wouldn't have happened.

I quickly gave up on trying to debate the point with them. I can respect the point of view of absolute pacifists, to some extent, if it's the result of accepting the likely consequences when the opponents act. But when it comes of conviction that nobody will actually harm an unresisting opponent? No. How ignorant must one be of history, current events, and human nature to believe that? Not to mention the implicit victim-blaming.

#94 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 12:47 AM:

There's a flip side to that particular report, which is the reason why I'm only "reconsidering" rather than just changing positions:

In this case, the "non-violent protesters" weren't just protesting: They were trying to physically block the rally attendees from a site for which they explicitly had full legal access, for a rally protected under our free-speech laws. That's not just protest, that's confrontation.

Yes, there's a long tradition of protesting things that are protected by current laws or government authority, but blocking someone's right to speak feels like it's on the wrong side of the balance.

#95 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 02:47 AM:

Soon Lee @49: Sympathies for that muscle atrophy. It is a shock when you see it. I remember comparing my left and right calves and crying. I had put so much work into getting fit and developing my leg muscles for running, and it was gone.

You don't need this yet, but (once you're given clearance to start partial weight bearing (PWB) and progress towards full weight bearing) here's the info. on progressing in weight bearing in a way that's fully CONTROLLED BY YOU. It's been called the "slow dance":

Holding the kitchen counter or similar (nice and solid and stable), stand on both legs (at first you will put very little weight through the bad leg) and SLIGHTLY lift the heel of your good foot, then put it down again. As you lift the heel this automatically encourages you to put some weight on your bad leg. Do e.g. ten times, even if you are barely lifting your heel and hardly putting any weight onto the injured leg at first. Repeat several times during the day. This means you can gradually put more weight through the bad leg under control, while standing, which should make it easier to do it while walking. I found this really helpful in giving me confidence to put more weight through the injured leg.

If you want to get a bit more scientific/know how much weight you're putting on the bad leg: get some old-fashioned bathroom scales, with a dial (you can find them cheap in charity shops/thrift stores, often, not electronic). Put large flat book(s) next to the scales so they're on the same level. Stand with one foot on the scales the other on the book (telephone directories are good if you still have them). Now you can see how much of your body weight you're putting on your bad foot, including as you do the "slow dance" and lift the heel of the other foot. It's a lot easier to put more weight through the leg when walking once you know you've put 90 or 100% of your body weight on it while standing, and it lets you see how you are progressing.

xeger @54: "Physiotherapy is (usually) really good about that" - my first physio session was not until AFTER I had progressed to full weight bearing, so a bit late for that!

#96 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 03:05 AM:

A really ugly thought: gur rpyvcfr, jvgu zvyyvbaf bs crbcyr jngpuvat gur fxvrf, jbhyq cebivqr na rkpryyrag onpxqebc sbe n ahpyrne fubj bs sbepr.

#97 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 05:02 AM:

Angiportus Librarysaver #92:

You owe me a new keyboard.

dcb #95:

Thanks. (Makes a note)

I've been playing Pokemon Go from about a week after its release (over a year now). It's gamified my fitness activity & consequently, I've been doing a lot of walking. I've been able to lose a modest amount of weight playing the game, but it's more about getting out & moving. So in addition to losing muscle tone, I'm also experiencing Pokemon withdrawal.

#98 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 05:53 AM:

Lee @ #90:

There might well be more than one, but the one I know of is "The Last Article" by Harry Harrison.

#99 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 08:23 AM:

Soon Lee @ 97: Sympathies. I do know how it feels. When I broke my ankle I lost my running (my main form of exercise, endorphins, "me" time, 2/3 of my social life, running goals, i.e. races I was going to do) and cycling (secondary form of exercise, sensible way to get from A to B without worrying about parking the car). The "Five Stages of Injury Grief" is real. And you can go through it several times.

Is there an online game you can focus on for the moment?

#100 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 09:47 AM:

Just saw at File770 that Brian Aldiss has died.

#101 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 10:01 AM:

P J Evans @ #100:

I see an announcement that Brian Aldiss has survived to see another birthday, but nothing about him dying?

#102 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 10:06 AM:

Aldiss' death now confirmed in a lot of places. An amazing man, and important to the field in ways we probably don't even realize yet.

#103 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 10:15 AM:

Doug @ #OT218/1107:

[ yeah, could've answered there, but it would probably never be found, so cross-thread-reply it is]

I am happy you found the demo interesting. I probably should've spent some more time deciding what to do instead of going "it'll be grand!" and improvising (on, I must admit, a theme I've improvised on multiple times in the past), but any prep would've been dependent on the number of people attending and I did not know that before I started.

I just hope anyone who attended learned something.

#104 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 10:31 AM:

Lee @ #90: I think you're remembering "The Last Article" by Harry Turtledove.

#105 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 10:37 AM:

Paul A. @ #98: Sorry; I didn't remember the title, but I did recall it was Turtledove, not Harrison.

#106 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 10:53 AM:

ISTR that "The Last Article" was by Harry Turtledove, not Harrison.

#107 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 11:29 AM:

Brian Aldiss has passed away.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/21/science-fiction-author-brian-aldiss-dies-aged-92

#108 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 11:48 AM:

Paul A #98: For "Harrison" read "Turtledove".

#109 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 12:02 PM:

Has anyone besides Dave Harmon and Jacque followed Buddha Buck @ 33's link? I got to thinking about it afterwards and have a question for anyone who actually knows (preferably by experience) how a state policeman would have been trained to deal with the situation: is his behavior really inexcusable? I understand how it looked to the people trying to help, but I wonder whether the trooper's trained first response would have been to get civilians out of the area in case the car was still mobile (or followed by other cars). I expect there are serious racists in the VA state police, but I'm wary of assuming that this particular person's response was deliberately wrong. It is possible that the training is wrong -- but I'm not even sure of that in such a situation, regardless of how many civilians know CPR (and know how many people it takes to support someone doing the mechanics). (Comment from people who have CPR certificates, which I don't, would also be interesting.) I know some people believe the only way to defeat the reactionaries is to rally the committed inclusionists, but I don't see that this works, short of outright war (in which we all lose), if we charge people in the middle unjustly.

#110 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 12:13 PM:

various: Yes, that's the one. I have it in (I think) one of Resnick's alternate-history anthologies, but I was feeling to lazy to go look it up.

#111 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 12:17 PM:

1st contact noted, Renton [crude homemade pinhole device, so it was actually earlier]

#112 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 12:26 PM:

Just went out and took a look at the first little nibble the moon's taking out of the sun in Long Beach. Cell phone camera picture taken by holding the glasses over the camera sensor didn't come out great, but with the tree silhouette in the foreground and the texture of the clouds, it's still kind of pretty. Will keep going out every now and again to take another look.

#113 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 12:27 PM:

Whem I said, a while back, that I had a feeling that I had gafiated without noticing, that things such as the Worldcon didn't feel all that significant any more, I didn't conside what reasons there might be. But the death of Brian Aldiss prompts a thought.

The people who have died are the people who were around in my youth. I caught, I suppose, the end of a golden age. People who had hit me with their ideas. blown my mind, were still writing.

Brian Aldiss was one of that group. And, while I like some of their writing. I don't have the same sense of attachment. The books of my distant youth, maybe tatty second-hand paperbacks, are something special. The Hugo-winners of today can't be the same.

A few were already dead when I discovered them. Some never wrote another book. But there's something special about being a rural English teenager, reading this.

Two thousand million or so years ago two galaxies were colliding; or, rather, were passing through each other. A couple of hundreds of millions of years either way do not matter, since at least that much time was required for the inter-passage. At about that same time--within the same plus-or-minus ten percent margin of error, it is believed--practically all of the suns of both those galaxies became possessed of planets.

There is much evidence to support the belief that it was not merely a coincidence that so many planets came into being at about the same time as the galactic inter-passage. Another school of thought holds that it was pure coincidence; that all suns have planets as naturally and as inevitably as cats have kittens.

It isn't a reason for Arisia and Eddore existing. Even when it was written, nobody could even be sure whether there was the myriad of planets we now know about, but it fitted together.

It seems we have cats and kittens.

Maybe we don't need Arisia and Eddore: we make our own.

Anyway, that's the sort of thing that hit me at that particular time.

Brian Aldiss wasn't the last. How about Harlan Ellison? But he was there. And I am not sure I heard about Harlan Ellison quite soon enough. I remember a bright yellow Gollancz edition of Babel-17 in the school library, but that was a little later, and maybe that mattered. Maybe there was chance to it.

I look at some of the things I have written, things such as NaNoWriMo, and I get the feeling that some of the old books in the house, the pre -WW2 popular fiction that my grandfather acquired, such as Charteris and his sort, was a part of it.

It feels as if something has come to an end. Dublin might be worth the trip, it's near enough, but I am left with an overwhelming sense of "why bother?". Maybe it's the sense of impending doom and futility, the sudden return of long-dead political insanity.

So many things are ending.

#114 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 12:39 PM:

CHip @ #109:

A single person can probably sustain CPR for 10-15 minutes, then needing 45-50 minutes' recovery. And that's being borderline optimistic. Chest compression is Hard Work, especially if you have to do the rescue breathing and the compression. Unless the people doing it are in really good shape, it would probably be ideal to have 4-6 people doing "until tired, but not worn out" and switching out.

One of the problems with the "hit by car" scenario is that there's no obvious good way of getting the casualty out of danger, so you'd probably default to "CPR in place" rather than "move to safe place, then CPR". And it's not clear that there would be more attackers, so "stay in place" would be my immediate thought. There's also the fact that CPR on someone hit by a car, that is not in a spine stabiliser carries a high risk of aggravating any spinal injuries (on the balance, if CPR is needed, go ahead and perform CPR).

From a police POV, there's a possible few other considerations, like "we've just had a car attack, will we have more" (this would be the 'protect civilians' bit) and "people are actively interfering with a crime scene" (but, IMAO, saving lives trumps that). This paragraph is primarily speculation, I have no law enforcement training, as such.

I don't, I think, have an active CPR cert, but I've had so multiple times during the last 30 years. I've finally learned how to do CPR sitting straight up, something that was rather contra-indicated during most of my CPR training ("if you sit up, you're a target").

#115 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 01:19 PM:

The fun of an east-facing window with Venetian blinds: a line of crescent suns on the floor!

#116 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 01:48 PM:

P J Evans @ 115:

Nice!

Passed the solar viewing glasses around outside at work. Lots of people had a good time. Money well spent, I'd say.

#117 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 04:49 PM:

CPR vs Police: I'll bet I'm not the only one missing Jim Macdonald's view just about now.

I would hope that LEO would recognize CPR activity when they saw it!

Eclipse: Got out, viewed crescents cast under tree crowns, many hoomans staring up with silly glasses (very 1950s). I got a pic of a crescent-shaped rainbow (turns out I had the wrong shape crystal for optimal crescent rainbowage) as well as a pic of the nearly-peak eclipse itself by aiming my little camera through the silly glasses.

My coworker got the best pic of the day, though: a gridwork of interlocking thin crescents cast through the holes in a metal stair at the local parking garage. You don't even realize what it is when you first look at it.

The light at peak had a weird quality to it, like sunlight on a day made smokey by a wildfire. Got dark enough for the grounds lights to come on, though subjectively it wasn't any darker than after the eclipse when the clouds rolled in. (To quote a friend: brains are weird.)

#118 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 04:54 PM:

Some friends gave me their spare pair of eclipse glasses. Only about 70% coverage here (and I missed the peak because I was driving in heavy traffic at the time), but it looked cool anyway. There's a high haze here, so I'm not sure a pinhole camera would have worked very well. The leaves-make-pinhole-cameras effect didn't happen, either. I was hoping to get a picture of that this time*, but I had to settle for ones from my friends on FB and Twitter.

*1984, partical eclipse in Atlanta, I'm out at lunchtime not thinking about it. "Why do those shadows under the trees look so Wrong?" I stop and look more closely. "Oh, cool!"

#119 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 05:42 PM:

I didn't get a lot of work done at work, what with all the going out in the parking lot and trying to take pictures of the sun going on. Only about 70% coverage here, so even at peak darkness with my phone camera set at ISO 100, shutter speed 1/32000, and -2 exposure adjustment, the sun was an overexposed blob. I did notice that there were some refractions in my lens that showed up as a greenish image of the eclipsed sun offset from the sun itself.

I also brought in a pinhole projector, which worked fine for projecting a decent, if small, crescent sun, but the home-made welding mask a coworker made was the winner for viewing. It was a much larger image in green, with a clearly defined moon shadow.

In 7 years totality will be just about 20 miles north of here, so I should have a great view then.

#120 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 05:42 PM:

Around 0940 I started to wonder if it was getting funny outside. Soon enough the light had taken on an odd quality, almost as if a cloud had gotten over the sun while the rest of the sky was clear. Or if someone'd used a gray filter. This was when my pinhole showed about half coverage. I pedaled over to a nearby park, noticing that trees made little bitty crescents all over the street. Now it was like a deeper gray filter over everything. Some slight acceleration of the dimming was noted, as was my shadow being a little sharper than usual. But what was at least as salient was the coolness. I could hardly believe I could sit right out in the sunshine and not be hot.
I hadn't been able to find the analog light filter someone gave me way back in the days of film; I am sure the needle would have not been in its usual place. At 1020, the streetlights did not come on like in Seattle in '79, but it was still so strange. Once the max was past, I made for the bus stop to run some errands from which I just got back. Now, pizza is indicated.
Wish I had gotten out a prism and seen effects on that. But glad for what I did see, for sure.

#121 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 06:06 PM:

I made a very basic pinhole "projector" from a big piece of brown paper with a hole cut in it, and a bit of aluminum foil covering the hole with a pinhole through that.

One of my colleagues had a rather clever setup made from a cereal box, open at one end. The open end was about 3/4 covered with foil, with a pinhole at about the 1/4-box-width point. The box was held up with the sun shining through the pinhole, projecting onto the bottom of the box, viewed through the remaining opening in the top. That gave a nice dark background for viewing the projection.

Ottawa got about 70% coverage, and a clear sunny day. At peak, we had about 15 people outside playing with these two "projectors" as well as cameras and other electronics.

#122 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 07:30 PM:

Someone at NASA had a high-speed camera in Wyoming and got video of the space station passing in front of the sun during the eclipse.
http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/NASA-recorded-the-International-Space-Station-11947992.php

#123 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 08:15 PM:

@ various:

Turtledove! Well, that explains why nothing came up when I tried to Google it and make sure I was remembering correctly. (Which ought to have been a Hint, in retrospect.)

#124 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 09:06 PM:

The people on the space station got some very nice views of the eclipse.
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/iss052e056122.jpg
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/iss052e056222.jpg
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/iss052e055885.jpg

They had the advantages of being both above the cloud cover and able to look down as well as up.

#125 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 09:13 PM:

Three eclipse pics from Southern Illinois. There are many more, but those will be uploaded after I get a chance to review them from my main computer from home. I was pleased with the shots. As always, totality seemed to last ten seconds, even though it was actually 260 seconds.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sclayworth/albums/72157687918229335

For the technically inclined, pictures taken with a Canon M5 mirrorless camera hooked to a Questar telescope.

As always, a total eclipse is a primal experience. God, it was beautiful.

#126 ::: David Goldfarb sees a spam probe ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 09:59 PM:

Lee@110: The anthology was the one you might expect if you looked through a list of titles, namely Hitler Victorious.

Like Steve C., I traveled from Houston to see the eclipse. I have a relative in St. Louis, whom I had previously informed (like, two years ago) that Katie and I were going to visit now.

Steve's word "primal" catches it nicely. Afterwards, I had that slightly drained feeling you get after a peak experience.

I apologize for the salty comparison, but really nothing else comes to my mind: The difference between seeing a picture or even live video of an eclipse, and actually being there when it happens, is the difference between viewing pornography and actually having sex.

#127 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 10:04 PM:

Argh. Stupid browser.

Paging Idumea: can you please correct my name above? I have some chocolate filled with sea salt caramel here I can share with you.

While I'm here, I'll give one more detail that I forgot to mention: while viewing totality, I thought I saw a solar prominence in the upper right hand corner of the eclipsed sun. Steve's pictures would seem to confirm this, which pleases me.

#128 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 10:17 PM:

David Goldfarb @ 126 -

Accurate. I've heard it put in more g-rated version as the difference between kissing your sister and kissing your lover.

#129 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 10:36 PM:

Arg. I can't add. Totality was 2 minutes 40 seconds, which makes 160 seconds.

#130 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 10:40 PM:

The sky was clear over Corvallis, Oregon, and the corona was magnificent.
My wife of 33 years, my youngest child (age ten) and my first lover whom I hadn't seen in 38 years (and with whom I had watched the eclipse of 1979) were with me. So were a dozen or so strangers who had joined us in a prime vacant spot across the street from our house.
I brought our Fort Moultrie flag and called out, "Lord, is it time to impeach? send us a sign!" to dutiful laughter. I had noted a few days before that Fort Moultrie was one of the first places in the CONUS where Totality would be seen, several hours before we would.
I sent a Tweet just as the eclipse began, reading, "'Beta was chipped on one side...!' -- Isaac Asimov"
The ten-year-old got bored and went back inside, but I persuaded him to come out just before Totality began.
The corona was immense, and I could see a dramatic red prominence at about three o'clock on the Solar disk.
The Diamond Ring broke the spell and Totality was over, a fleeting moment as it always is, and we went inside, pausing only briefly to admire the hundreds of tiny crescents on the sidewalk under the trees. You never notice the Sun-projections any other time.

#131 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 10:43 PM:

dcb #99: Is there an online game you can focus on for the moment?

No, but I have friends willing to take me for a quickie Pokemon driveby in their car. It's not the same but some of that itch is being scratched. I've begun doing a bit of work from home, so that's a good distraction.

CHip @109 Ingvar M @114:

I did my First Aid refresher certification earlier this year. First thing is to decide if it's a situation, and if you chose to act, you choose how much risk you are willing to expose yourself to (ideally you don't put yourself in harm's way but that choice is left to the individual).

So e.g. if it's a wounded person in a burning car, you move them & yourself from the burning car to a safe spot before commencing CPR. (The trooper from Buddha Buck @33's link may have been trying to get people to a safe space, but the account as described doesn't come across that way.)

CPR itself is physically demanding. In our refresher we all had a go at doing CPR for ~2 minutes each on adult, child & infant dummies. That was enough to get me puffing, any extended period of CPR would require a very fit person or other people to take turns.

#132 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2017, 11:01 PM:

Drove down from Seattle to Portland, then a little farther south. It was Karen's first totality, my second; though she'd had to be convinced to go, she was blown away by the differences that totality makes. And we bought 5 blueberry bushes on the way back.

Just saw a sign on a hotel/restaurant in Portland:

SERVER NEEDED

WI-FI

A very geeky joke.

#133 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 08:16 AM:

What was weird about the light for me was that it was at a noon angle (and summer noon at that), but about 6pm intensity. Here in Pittsburgh we had ~80% coverage, and no cloud cover so the viewing conditions were great.

There's apparently going to be another in seven years that will come much closer to here, covering large parts of Indiana and Ohio and even the PA panhandle. I wonder how far in advance hotels in Erie take reservations...

#134 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 10:06 AM:

Carrie S. (133): The one in 2024 won't be that much closer to New York, but the totality will be very close to my brother, who lives just west of Toronto. When I first saw the path, I thought he would be under it and immediately started plotting a family visit, but it's actually going to just skirt Toronto to the east. Still be worth going to visit--I bet I could persuade him to drive into the path on the day. And even if not, 90+% is a lot better than ~70%

#135 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 10:52 AM:

My twitter report of seeing totality:

https://twitter.com/StefanEJones/status/899828548491399168

#136 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 12:10 PM:

I made a little pinhole viewer by literally making pinholes in the top of a shoebox -- if 1 pinhole is good, 25 must be better, right?

Yes. Yes, it is better. I had a small starfield of crescent sun-shapes. Our peak was just over 80% and for the six minutes or so surrounding peak, the air took on a darkened and otherworldly quality, such as I've seen during one or two summer storms, or once (spectacularly) at 3 am in total cloud cover and heavy snowfall, in a city with yellowish streetlights.

A minute or two after peak, the clouds came on and there was barely a bit of sunlight for the rest of the eclipse. But the weather cooperated for long enough for my satisfaction.

#137 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 12:44 PM:

In other news, you know that feeling when you get halfway into a joke and realize you got nothin'?

Classical DJ this morning, after some concerto or other, "A day without Bach is...something you don't have to worry about now."

#138 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 02:42 PM:

The place I may head for in Ohio in 2024 is either the Space Museum at Wapakoneta, or the AF Museum in Dayton. Looks to me like they'll be in the path of totality.

#139 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 06:25 PM:

I visited family in Carbondale for the eclipse, and we were one of the bunch who had the cloud. One cloud. Half an hour before totality, and five minutes after. We did get a view sort of through the cloud. I wasn't expecting the horizon-round sunset.

And eclipse traffic wasn't too bad. It took me two hours to get to the interstate rather than one (or less?) but once I got there, it was all clear to Iowa with a nice big lightning storm in St Louis.

#140 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 06:40 PM:

Jacque, #173: One day the dj on my favorite station started in about Robert Schumann and how he liked birds, but his favorite bird was the wren. "In fact, he immortalized that species in music...we will now hear the Rhenish Symphony."

#141 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 06:47 PM:

Mary Aileen: If you can possibly manage it, don't settle for 90+%: get into the path of totality. The difference between even 95% and 100% is indescribable.

St. Louis had lightning at night, and clouds today. I'm so glad that it held off until today. Man.

#142 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 07:20 PM:

It was like a Middle-earth type of display. The corona during totality flickered and wavered. It looked like the Eye of Sauron, but perfectly round with a very dark blue pupil, and with no malevolence. We had a very light cloud cover in southeast Nebraska, giving awesome blue and purple lighting effects on the clouds in surrounding parts of the sky.

A few minutes before totality, the temperature dropped considerably, and the lighting dimmed. The landscape was lit like a heavily overcast day, but there were still sharp shadows.

During totality it was like well into twilight.

No single photograph can convey the range of illumination, the colors, the motion, and the temperature changes.

If you've never seen totality, put a reminder in your calendar a year before the next eclipse in your part of the world, so that you can make your travel plans.

#143 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 07:57 PM:

PJ Evans @124, I now confidently expect the second of your ISS photos,

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/iss052e056222.jpg,

to be cited as evidence by Hollow-Earthers.

Say, has anybody heard Hollow-Earthers express an opinion on global warming? I can imagine them denouncing it as a fraud, or alternatively demanding that we stop it before we drown the innocent inhabitants of the Amadak Archipelago, or before we incur the wrath of the flying saucers of Atvatabar . . . .

#144 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 08:04 PM:

143
Today there's a video sequence from a satellite. You can watch the shadow as the earth turns. (The URL will change, this is the one for today)
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=90796

#145 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 10:16 PM:

I'll second Alan's sentiments.

I'm planning on experiencing the 2024 eclipse's totality. Won't try to take pictures this time.

#146 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2017, 10:42 PM:

Hm. For the 2024 eclipse, Ottawa will be getting to about 98% obstruction. Assuming we're still living here, it won't take much of a drive to get to totality.

I am somehow unsurprised by the pictures of Trump looking at the eclipse without eye protection.

#147 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 03:22 AM:

Allan Beatty @142: I would love to experience a total eclipse. Sadly the next total eclipse visible in the UK won't occur until 2090 - I don't think I will be around by then! We do get the possibility* of a decent partial in August 2026.

*Assuming it's not cloudy.

#148 ::: Stephen Rochelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 09:11 AM:

Mary Aileen @134: I'm just seconding David's comment above to reach the totality band rather that settling for 90% -- the difference between even 99% and totality is incredible.

In an effort to get something different from the thousands of other photos that would turn up on the net, I shot video of the landscape in the 30 second run-up to totality, which I think does a good job of illustrating just how dramatic that final percent is:
YouTube link

As a bonus, I could shoot that without actually aiming at anything in particular, so I was still able to watch and appreciate the eclipse proper. I recommend it as a possible compromise for those wanting to make sure they're watching the real thing and not their camera viewfinder in 2024.

Being in hill-and-valley country in east TN meant that I couldn't see the all-around sunset (due to lack of horizon basically anywhere), but I'll try to catch that from Indiana at the next one.

#149 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 09:27 AM:

and today's xkcd is relevant here:
https://xkcd.com/1880/

#150 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 11:12 AM:

I feel I should put a spoiler warning on this, but actually the chances of any individual discovering Kcymaerxthaere by accident is vanishingly small. At under 80 places in the world, there are markers that look like historical markers: brass plaques with a note about what happened there around the intersection of our (linear) world with another. I was in Portland for the eclipse, and my brother Ed happened to stay at an AirBNB on the same block as Velkristan's Nirvana. As we walked from one end of the block toward the BNB, I noticed this bronze plaque on the ground near the sidewalk. And read it. And was immediately "What???"

It turns out to be an art project by Eames DeMetrios, who has placed similar plaques and done art installations on five continents. He's the grandson of the people who invented the Eames chair. This particular plaque was dedicated in 2006; he's still at it. A lot of people could create a website that looks as if these plaques were installed in various places: he's actually doing it, creating a chance for wonder and magic to enter into the lives of the observant. They're not in the most public of places, generally: just put where someone might run across them.

I did. It fills me with quiet joy, and a little awe.

#151 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 11:16 AM:

One of the cool things about being in totality at the eclipse was that we were more-or-less on a hill with a decent view of the land around us; just as totality was ending you could see a wash of light streaming over the hillsides. It reminded me rather strongly of Terry Pratchett's description of sunrise on the Discworld.

#152 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 12:27 PM:

My brother and I found a public library in Athens, TN to watch at; it was next to a wetlands preserve. What astonished me was how light it still seemed even at near-totality--and then suddenly it was twilight, and the night insects in the preserve ramped up their calls. There was cheering, and a few (traditional?) firework bangs somewhere. And it was actually chilly, which was a nice contrast.

Fortunately the mosquitoes didn't take the opportunity to get an early meal.

#153 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 12:38 PM:

Anne Sheller @72:

I've often thought that something like that would be a good idea for pedophiles as well. Someplace that can be made reasonably comfortable and possibly partially self-sustaining, and with controlled access so that none but adults ever go there.

Perhaps not a prison per se, but a place to put convicted pedophiles who've served their time; it could even be part of sentencing. It would solve the problem of recidivism, especially if the mail and Internet access were filtered and/or supervised.

It might also serve as a place for people who have pedophilic tendencies but who have resisted them, and fear they might not continue to do so. But ideally that would be voluntary.

#154 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 01:04 PM:

Tom Whitmore @150: Kcymaerxthaere

Hm...why am I suddenly having evil thoughts about the stealthful repurposing of confederate monuments...?

#155 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 01:26 PM:

Interesting pinhole camera: https://twitter.com/sbielamowicz/status/899704137180381184

#156 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 02:29 PM:

We used to live in St Catharines, Ontario, and still have friends there. It'll be smack in the path of totality in 2024. Nice to visit then.

Of course, I'll be nearly 84, and Marcia 92, if both of us make it. And who knows whether Ian and Jill will still be there? And the weather in April is... iffy.

Still, one can hope.

#157 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 04:19 PM:

Turns out there's a Kymaerxthaere plaque in Manhattan, at 85 Avenue A (between 5th and 6th) in a substreet staircase well. Those of you in NY might want to look at it.

#158 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 05:15 PM:

Saw the eclipse with my sister's family, who still had glasses left over from the transit of Venus. My BIL had also made a viewer similar to what Joel Polowin describes. No totality here, but still a moving experience -- peak was a crescent that was clearly something the moon could never do.

CHip #109: I think it telling that the other troopers didn't join in, and when the firefighters showed up, they gave the guy holy hell.

#159 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 05:24 PM:

Anne Sheller #72, Quill #153:

So -- alt-righters, pedophiles... and who else would you want to ship off to an isolated island where neither you or anyone else (except them, but they don't matter) ever have to hear about them ever again... and where the world would be safely protected from them having any influence whatsoever?

In past times, exile meant that the exiled person could find a life somewhere else, and surprisingly often achieve notable success. (Look up some of the early "settlers" of Australia, for example -- or for that matter, of America. But nowadays, there is no "somewhere else", unless you declare some island or prison camp to be "outside the world", and take pains to enforce that.

We need to deal with the people who are here, and we need to deal with them here.

#160 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2017, 07:34 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ #150: A lot of people could create a website that looks as if these plaques were installed in various places: he's actually doing it, creating a chance for wonder and magic to enter into the lives of the observant.

The Kcymaerxthaere home page currently features a photo of the Fort Tayla plaque, which demonstrates both the potential of the form and one of the pontential drawbacks. The scene it evokes is genuinely wonderful -- as long as you don't have the copy-editor's eye, in which case the typo on the last line will bring you back to earth with a thump.

(That would have been a lot easier to fix if it had just been a web site and not an actual brass plaque.)

#161 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 10:32 AM:

My eclipse report: http://blog.zarfhome.com/2017/08/eclipse-report.html

#162 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 11:00 AM:

Our university had the physics people set up solar scopes. 77% coverage shortly after lunch, and there were a lot of people looking and going "cool!" You could hear awe in jaded voices, wonder, opening up to newness as they gazed at the crescent sun through eclipse glasses.

Very cool. And in seven years, there will be ... totality.

(We're living in Keene, Texas, about 30 miles south of Fort Worth. I'm very much looking forward to it. Just hoping there are no clouds.)

#163 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 05:57 PM:

Dave H., #159: Personally, I'd include rapists. But in addition to the practical difficulties you cite, this would run smack up against the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, so it can only ever be a wistful fantasy.

#164 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 06:35 PM:

Dave Bell @ 113: Every person's sensawunda threshold is different; I found Doc Smith a bit late to be blown away by his scope -- but I understand the sentiment, as does Tom Smith. More generally, there is the overall problem as we age that there are fewer firsts, and a lot of us don't have the energy (or money) to seek out new ones. (I have a small edge as a singer in a chorus with a modern tilt, but that's uncommon.) I've also found Worldcon less thrilling -- it's been eight years since I went to one without exterior motives -- but it isn't vital; even with Banks gone, somewhere in the tsunami of books coming out there may be something that still surprises. MacLeod's Dissidence might have done it for me if I"d read it under other circumstances; Hutchinson's Europe... series impressed.

PJ Evans @ 122: Wow! I'd seen the superposed stills but didn't know there was a video.

Mary Aileen @ 134: The one in 2024 won't be that much closer to New York... Wikipedia shows totality crossing much of upstate New York; my read from a larger map I've misplaced is that it should go ~3 hours drive from Boston and ~4 from NYC, which I'd say is rather closer than the one just past. I have no idea what shape my partner and I will be in then, or how bad the weather odds are (I figure Tony Zbaraschuk has good odds, while April in New England tends to be wet), but right now my plan is to be there.

Boston had multiple layers of clouds during peak, although I read that people on the near beaches had clear skies.

Tom Whitmore @ 150: I see there's a Kcymaerxthaere close to Boston; I'll have to go see it sometime.

Dave Harmon @ 158: Interesting; I didn't see that reaming out reported in the original link; do you have other links? I hope there is a full hearing on this, as it should be a teaching moment -- either for the officer (and anyone else of his inclinations) or for the people who trained him.
Thanks to the several people who answered my query about CPR; I'd known it was non-trivial, but not just how much exertion it took.

Meanwhile, at least one former federal employee knows how to resign with style.

#165 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 07:04 PM:

To paraphrase Charlie Pierce: "Is this a good day to catch a publishing scam? It's always a good day to catch a publishing scam!

YA fantasy buys #1 position on New York Times bestseller list.

Read all the comments.

#166 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 07:08 PM:

Agh, link didn't go through

http://www.pajiba.com/book_reviews/did-this-book-buy-its-way-onto-the-new-york-times-bestseller-list.php

#167 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 07:15 PM:

Tom Whitmore (#150) The joke is, the sea *does* flow to Portland. Portland, although more than 100 miles inland, is tidal.

#168 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 07:27 PM:

Lee @ 163: The state of Georgia still uses banishment, as long as the banishment is not out of the state, This punishment has withstood repeated legal challenges, most recently in 2008.

The sentence can take the form of banishment from specific counties (presumably to isolate the offender from their network of bad influences), but also banishment from all but one county (almost always small, rural, remote, lacking housing, employment, transportation, medical, social or legal services). The usual result is that the banished simply leaves the state.

Sometimes Georgia is just so quaint.

#169 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 08:32 PM:

Gallbladder out, drain removed, I'm recovering at a nice pace.

#140 Denver classical legend Gene Amole once impressed me with his language chops, having played a selection from El Amor Brujo. "That's Spanish," he said, "It means The Amor Brujo."

And, in reply to a much earlier Walt Kelly reference:

FOR LEWIS CARROLL AND THE CHILDREN
The gentle journey jars to stop.
The drifting dream is done.
The long-gone goblins loom ahead.
The deadly, who we thought were dead,
Stand waiting, every one.
(1954)

#170 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 08:48 PM:

Updating mine to Mary Aileen (and anyone else starting to plan for 2024): the detailed path (Googlemap, requiring newer Java than I had until a few minutes ago but otherwise as useful as Googlemaps usually are). My recollection was off -- totality will be 4 hours from Boston rather than 3 -- but Plattsburgh NY and Burlington VT (home of the estimable Lake Champlain chocolates) are convenient. The northern Lake Champlain ferry runs just a few miles south of the center of the eclipse path; they may need to fend off people hoping to be in the middle of the lake for totality.

#171 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 08:59 PM:

CHip (164/170): It's more like a 5.5-6 hr drive to get me anywhere useful, but I'm already looking at Burlington (or Montpelier), Vermont, or Rochester, New York. There's plenty of time to lay plans....

#172 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 09:01 PM:

That's interesting. I got an Internal Server Error notice when I tried to post #171, but the comment was here when I came back to the page to try again.

#173 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 09:25 PM:

Apropos of nothing: My sister just drove me home from a family dinner, and on the way, we saw a truck whose entire back (and as it turned out, the sides), were illuminated display screens flashing a succession of beer ads.

All of us (including my 12-year-old niece in the back seat) were saying "how is that even legal? It's clearly a hazardous distraction to other drivers!"

#174 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2017, 11:14 PM:

Dave Bell @1
And Christie Pits in Toronto, 16 August 1933. Recently celebrated with an anniversary BBQ. They sold T-shirts this year saying "Christie Pits Hardball League"

#175 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 10:43 AM:

Well, we're taking an extra day or two up in Illinois before we start heading back to the Houston area. Harvey is not to be trifled with. We're planning on being back by Thursday at the latest, taking a long leisurely drive back.

See an eclipse, get a hurricane.

#176 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 11:26 AM:

Practical lessons from eclipse vacation... (I suspect people will be re-reading this thread in 2024!)

The obvious: get your butt inside the path of totality. 95% coverage is nowhere close to the real deal.

If you can afford to travel, look at climate maps and figure out which area has the lowest chance of clouds in April. I haven't done that search yet but I suspect it's Texas.

Plan early. It's hard to make plane/hotel reservations more than a year in advance, so set up your vacation in May of 2023. Also get your eclipse glasses then. (Or save the ones from this year, but I'm not sure the filters are rated for seven years of lifespan.)

Be ready to jump in any direction. Kansas City has a high chance of clear skies in August, but in fact the weekend clouded up. We got up early on Monday and started checking weather.gov for every city within two hours' drive. (We wound up driving 140 miles to find blue sky.)

(One reason we chose Kansas City is that it's on an east-west interstate highway, with easy access to several other towns in the totality path.)

Bring a picnic blanket and a pillow. Lying flat is more comfortable than sitting in a lawn chair with your head craned back. Also bring sunscreen -- you will be out in the sun all day minus a few minutes.

Decide whether you like big crowds, small crowds, or a day in the park alone. Sun don't care.

Test your equipment in advance. We ordered nice magnifying filter glasses (2x), but they fell apart in use. B. had to put them back together with hot-glue and tape. Good thing we tested them two weeks early.

In general, there's no such thing as overpreparing. Is the gas tank full? Do you have a parking pass for the town event you expect to visit? Does your phone has data coverage in all the nearby areas? Do you know which way the prevailing winds run? (So you can look at the sky and say "ok, clouds over there coming this way.")

B. had an app (Android, but others must exist) which ran through the timeline in real time. "Totality in 60 seconds..." Yes, we practiced watching the eclipse the day before the eclipse. This sounds silly but it's good to get a feel for how much time everything takes and when you're supposed to take the glasses off.

#177 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 12:00 PM:

In The Stainless Steel Rat for President Harry Harrison wrote "I have seen outright crooks and ancient actors become president."

One wonders what he would write today?

#178 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 12:33 PM:

Andrew Plotkin, excellent recommendations.

We're from the Chicago area; we booked our hotel in February. At that time, Carbondale was *already* expensive even for cheap hotels, so we realized then that Carbondale was going to be a zoo. I looked at a map and booked a hotel in Alton Illinois on the principal that it was about an hour's drive from totality (so no problem getting a hotel room six months in advance -- in fact, the hotel clerk said "what eclipse?" when I reserved. But the hotel was full to bursting on the day) and it has a bridge over the Mississippi so we could easily go east or west depending on cloud cover that morning.

We wanted to avoid crowds; we were going to watch an eclipse, not join a party. So we picked a town on the eclipse line (Union, Missouri) with no advertised eclipse celebration, but a Walmart. We figured Walmarts have big open parking lots; we'd hang out there for the eclipse. We had no sooner arrived when Walmart security told us to leave. (Other Walmarts elsewhere were smarter, I'm told; one that an acquaintance ended up at not only allowed eclipse-viewers, but sold eclipse t-shirts and other souvenirs...) So we moved a few hundred feet down the road to a little mini-mall, where we had a graphic demonstration of how stupid that Walmart had been; there were maybe 50 eclipse-watchers there, all of them (as best as I could tell from overhearing) had been booted out from the Walmart lot, and there was a steady stream of traffic into the Dollar Store for water, soda, and snacks....

It was seriously an amazing experience. High wispy clouds and heat-haze kept us from seeing stars or planets (other than Venus) but the eclipse itself was completely unobstructed. And because we were on a bit of a hill with a wide unobstructed view, we could actually see the light returning as the eclipse ended; there was a wash of sunlight that raced across the hills.

We left maybe ten minutes after totality; this was good, because a drive that should have taken about 4-1/2 hours took 7-1/2 hours. If we'd stayed any longer, it would have taken us fifteen hours to drive home (this is not an exaggeration; this is the transit time reported to local news stations from people who viewed within a few miles of us) -- and we had to work in the morning.

So my only addendum to Andrew Plotkin's excellent suggestions is, if you live more than a couple of hours from totality, and if you're planning on driving home... if you can possibly afford to do so, consider getting a hotel room and leaving the next day.

#179 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 01:26 PM:

CHip @170:

If I'm reading the maps correctly, it looks like the path of totality goes through Wapakoneta, Ohio, where the Neil Armstrong Space Museum is located.

I've fired off an inquiry to them about this. I know there's a hotel there, we had a one-time SF con there on the tenth aniversary of the first Moon Landing.

#180 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 02:01 PM:

Just got an answer to my email to the Armstrong Museum, and I quote:

We will be in the path of totality for the 2024 Eclipse. Check back with us closer to that time and we'll have more information regarding the event!

So here's hoping Ohio isn't socked in on April 8, 2024...

#181 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 02:32 PM:

Getting really lucky with eclipse and clouds. Sorry for the facebook, does anyone know how to pry the image loose?

#182 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 02:36 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz (181): If what you want is to download (save) the image, click on it. When it opens with a black background, hover over the image, click Options in the lower right corner, then choose Download.

#183 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 07:21 PM:

Joel Polowin at 89
- but, the news is partial!

#184 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 09:28 PM:

Probably not good karma to wish Donald Trump a fungal infection that renders him bald, rots off his package, and gives him an odor that gags people at fifty paces.

So I'll just say: I hope he receives justice. Of the entirely legal sort that lands him and jail and results in his family business being seized.

#185 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 10:15 PM:

184
I'll second that.
And I hope that Sheriff Joe drops dead (stroke, heart attack) before his sentence would have been completed.

#186 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2017, 10:37 PM:

We're sitting out Hurricane Harvey at home. It's making landfall at Corpus Christi as a Cat 4, but that's more than 3 hours from Houston and by the time it gets here it's not predicted to be anything worse than a tropical storm. We're already getting rain from the outlying bands, but it's not even as hard as a good old summer-evening thunderstorm. The likeliest source of trouble is that it's going to keep raining for several days, and there will be parts of town that will flood. We're not likely to be affected -- we're on the local high ground, and during Allison we never even got water in the front yard.

We were supposed to have been doing a local event on Saturday, but the promoters have wisely rescheduled it for a date TBA in November instead.

#187 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 12:06 AM:

There's a satellite pic of Harvey making landfall:
https://images.dailykos.com/images/441225/story_image/GettyImages-839306812.jpg?1503718991
The eye is smaller than San Antonio. And the cloud bands go all the way to Midland-Odessa.

#188 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 02:58 AM:

Judging by my experience with heavy rain, I am also in a part of Houston that is high ground, insofar as Houston can be said to have any such thing. And so far I also have seen little to distinguish Harvey from any ordinary thunderstorm. By all accounts, that's going to change.

For people who want to follow the Harvey story, here's a blog about Texas weather that seems to be level-headed and full of interesting analysis without sensationalism:
Space City Weather

#189 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 08:00 AM:

Best of luck to all in Harvey's path.
AKICIML: Now, is there a number to call if you get one of those messages all of a big fat sudden with a robo-voice claiming to be Microsoft and saying your computer has been infected and you have to call this number right now and don't dare log out or they will "have to" disable your computer to save the world? I was a little too smart for them this time around, but still. After I shut it down with no ill effects [so far], I was this close to calling said number just to give them a piece of my mind, but didn't for fear of melting a large section of the network. Someone I know had the same thing happen to him.
Something tells me not to call Microsoft, they probably already know they have been impersonated. It ticks me off.

#190 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 10:21 AM:

#189: Was this a phone call, or a message from your computer?

If it is the former, it is almost certainly a variant of the "Windows support" scam. The scammer will ask for remote desktop access, mess up your computer, and then demand payment (a "service contract") to fix it.

If your computer made the robo-voice, that's another matter entirely.

#191 ::: Jon ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 12:08 PM:

re: Eclipse planning, there's also something to be said for keeping your options open & waiting until the last minute. My brother & niece planned to come to my place near St Louis to see the eclipse. But on Saturday the forecast for the St Louis area started looking doubtful, so we decided to change plans.

The NWS Weather Prediction Center was tweeting cloud cover forecasts for the eclipse, and eastern Tennessee looked like the best forecast that was within driving range for both of us. So we got a hotel room in London KY, about 2-3 hours north of the area we wanted to view the eclipse from. Since London was outside the zone of totality, the hotel prices weren't inflated. Monday morning we got up before dawn and drove down to Spring Hill, TN. No traffic problems driving down (but driving back after the eclipse took almost twice as long.)

As it turned out, we probably would have been ok in St Louis, judging by the local news coverage, but we had a great time in Spring City and a completely unobstructed view of the whole event. It probably worked out better for my brother & niece since Kentucky was closer to their home than Missouri.

#192 ::: Odalchini ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 01:50 PM:

#189: you probably know this, but still:
If that voice message came from a phone call, forget it (block the caller's number if you have that facility).
If it came from a web page, never go to that site again.
But if it came from anywhere else, they may already be in your computer: get it checked ASAP.

#193 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 02:24 PM:

That I will, thanks.

#194 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 03:25 PM:

Jon@191: I was in Villa Ridge, about an hour southwest of St. Louis. We had some high clouds in the late morning, but they had almost all burned off by the afternoon. There was enough high haze that I couldn't see any stars except Venus, but we got a good view of the eclipsed sun.

#195 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 03:39 PM:

The Windows Support Scams have been around for a long while. Whether it's a robocall or a human, they don't know anything about your computer. They are trying to use standard information, that is in every Windows computer, to fool you.

The oldest version of the trick uses the CLS ID which is a Windows code for a file-type. It's how Windows can tell the difference between a .doc file produced by MS Word from another file that might have the extension. They try to get you to run an obscure utility which shows a list.

Every Windows computer knows about that file-type.

While getting to there should be safe, the next step has you giving them remote-access permission, and that messes you up big-time.

Microsoft doesn't know your phone number, not unless you work for them already. And if these guys really were getting info from your computer, they would know your IP address.

They don't. If you get politely insistent about that, if it's a real person on the line they eventually get abusive.

If they're using robocalls you can't even get the pleasure of keeping them talking.

A description of the Scam from 2011

A report of arrests in the UK, with a mention of them using unspecified "pop-ups" as first contact. I suppose those pop-ups are the sort of thing that some websites use for advertising. It could be what they did to you.

And it could be a sign of a virus. The anti-virus companies certainly warn of that possibility, though Microsoft have taken action against fake adverts.

Either way, no legitimate Microsoft warning or error report includes a phone number.

#196 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 03:40 PM:

I just added a calendar item for May of 2023 to remind myself to set up plans for the following year's total eclipse. I cannot really imagine right now what my life and my country will be like six or seven years from now, but here's hoping that it's stable and free enough that the calendar reminder stays relevant. It's a kind of hope, making that reminder.

In other multi-year duration news, the book review community 50books_poc has just turned ten years old.

#197 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 04:25 PM:

P J Evans @185: I'm hoping that EX-sheriff Joe gets some real justice. May he never again drive anywhere without getting pulled over.

#198 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 04:57 PM:

Stefan Jones #184:

May our most excellent president feel all the emotions of a Chicano being stopped by Arpaio's deputies. Every day.

#199 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 06:55 PM:

"Windows Support" scammers also get themselves placed on results for web searches, frex: Windows Support, Windows Help, AOL Help.

My elderly aunt, not wanting to bother me with questions, searched for help on her own, called one of these numbers, and ended up having her computer messed up twice by these assholes. (I had provided a list of real support lines at least twice, but the email got lost or the numbers not written down.)

* * *

The last time a scammer called:

"Which system is reporting the error?"

"Sorry?"

"You've reached the server room. We have 50 systems here. What is the MAC address?"

"You have a Mac computer?"

"No, the MAC address. The network address. Can I have your authorization number for this facility?"

"Sorry?"

(me, hand held lightly over the receiver, pretending to shout to someone in the room) "CAN WE GET A TRACE ON LINE FIVE?"

"Sorry, can you please confirm the MAC address for the system reporting the error?"

"What?"

"Sir, I've instituted a trace. Your call apparently originates in India."

"I . . ."

"COUNTERMEASURES, LINE FIVE!"

He hung up before I could have more fun.

#200 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 08:24 PM:

Until I bought my replacement, I just told them, "This computer is X years old. It can't even run the latest OS. No, honey. Don't call again." And hung up.

And you know? It worked. At least, every scammer who called was using a different script.

#201 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 08:48 PM:

My last call was very disappointing. "Does your mother know what you're doing?" "Yes." :-\

#202 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 10:51 PM:

It confuses them if you demand their credit card number or pass code.

Lately, I've been pointing out to them that they are harming people who are old and sick. That they're stealing from people who are poor. Sometimes I go on with stuff about how their parents are ashamed of them.

#203 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2017, 10:56 PM:

Joel, #202: That does about as much good as appealing to a Republican congressman to do the right thing, when his money comes from not doing it.

#204 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2017, 12:08 AM:

In the past, I responded to a "Windows Support" scam call by playing along pretending I was following the caller's instructions and trying to remember enough about Windows to tell them what I was "seeing". Eventually I couldn't keep a straight face and he asked what I was laughing at. I said "You! Can't you get a real job that doesn't require you to scam people?" I'm not entirely proud of that, maybe his only skill is reading convincingly from a script and he can't get any other job, but on the other hand, maybe eventually enough scammees mocking him will motivate him to figure out how to do something more worthwhile.

#205 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2017, 01:05 AM:

Jeremy Leader @204: As far as I'm concerned, anything I can do to make them feel crappy about what they're doing is good. If it motivates them to find something better to do, I'm okay with that.

My maternal grandfather used to sell jewelry, everything from some rather nice stuff to cheap costume jewelry. At one point, my father asked him how he could sell such crap? And he answered that people wanted to buy it and someone had to sell it, so why shouldn't it be him? But that "someone's going to do it, might as well be me" doesn't apply to jobs that nobody should be doing. Maybe the scammers really are so hard up that they're willing to turn to robbery / burglary. Doing it over the phone makes it seem clean, sanitizes it. If nothing else, I want to rub their noses in what they're really doing.

#206 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2017, 02:00 AM:

I work for a telco, and until one or two computer replacements ago, had access to a good website for looking up where telephone numbers are based. (Now I usually just google the area code.) The "IRS" scammers have been calling from cities that aren't where the IRS would be calling people in my state if they did that sort of thing, and I talked with the scammer and found they were using Magic Jack's VOIP service, so their gateways are wherever that company gets its service, typically small telcos that they can work out deals with.)

I have occasionally fired up a virtual machine to try out their tricks on (stuff keeps not working, because it's Linux, which I don't mention, and because "It's a work PC and uses Firefox instead of IE" without mentioning that Flash Blocker is on.) They were mostly using remote-control websites. One of them spent about half an hour trying to get it to work, then another half hour trying to convince me that he really was providing a legitimate service and not scamming, and then his boss came on and yelled at me for wasting his guy's time.

#207 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2017, 02:04 AM:

The "Reply All" podcast had a fascinating pair of episodes beginning with one host deflecting a would-be scam call into a series of more in-depth conversations, and culminating in actually flying from the US to India to meet the scam caller in person.

#208 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2017, 05:34 AM:

I have been playing some of the Assassin's Creed games on my old Playstation. There's something about the style that seems to suit me, and you can pick up the whole set for not-very-much money.

While the series has extended onto the PS4, and let to a film, I am not sure I want to spend the money on the current tech. But there was talk of a new game, set in "ancient Egypt", as the starting point of a third trilogy. The initial game was set during the Crusades. The first Trilogy followed a character through Renaissance Europe, starting in the Italy of the Borgias. The second covered North America in the 19th Century, with pirates and the American Revolution.

I made a bit of a guess that if Ubisoft wanted to set up a third Trilogy, the Egypt of Cleopatra would be a good start, and it turned out I had missed the latest news. So who would believe I had guessed right?

Cleopatra's Egypt is the end stage of the classical Egyptian culture, different from the times of the Valley of the Kings and the building of Pyramids, but visually still Egypt. Only you have civil war, Julius Caesar, and the turmoil in Rome itself as the ideals of the Republic crumble. And, if you do go for a Trilogy, you have the death of Caesar, Anthony and Cleopatra, and the whole run of the Augustan Caesars, through Caligula to Nero: infamous names.

The overall theme of the series is a clandestine struggle between the Assassins and the Templars (this came from the Crusades setting of the first game), who might be seen as Libertarian and Authoritarian. I could have chosen more flattering labels. There's potential for the struggle emerging from those times, and for some of the deep, invented, back-story to show up amongst the Gods of Egypt

Anyway, I have been having fun with one of the last PS3 games in the franchise, Assassin's Creed: Liberation, which is focused on New Orleans at the time of French and Spanish control. The main character is a young woman, daughter of a slave and a rich French merchant, trying to thwart the Templars, who seem to represent European colonialism at its worst.

I can make a good guess what the gamergate types would have said about her, and the set-up does have problems, but it works well as a game. She runs three parallel identities. with different abilities.

There's some very dodgy science used to explain the game structure, a concept of "genetic memory" which leads to a repeated replaying of memories that are effectively missions, and even on the PS3, which is decade-old tech, the graphics are spectacular.

(The PS3 is still a decent DVD/Blu-Ray player, and also still has apps for most of the commonplace streaming media services such as Netflix. It isn't a good option for full surround-sound, but has support for DLNA media playing, which lets me read video from a networked drive without needing the computer switched on. If you wanted it as a media player, one of the last versions had a small 12GB SSD drive, a bit tight for gaming, though you can fairly easily add a conventional hard drive.)

Anyway, time for cookery. I am not looking forward to visiting my uncle in the care home, he just doesn't seem to be aware of us any more.

#209 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2017, 08:45 AM:

CHip #164: You're right, looking back I see they just said a firefighter took over compressions. Presumably the trooper knew better than to mess with the firefighters.

#210 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2017, 12:44 PM:

Re: Windows scams -- the one I ran into produced a pop-up that froze the computer completely. Fortunately, the weekly computer column in my paper had run an article about this the week before, so I knew to completely cut the power to my machine.

Did that, waited, turned the computer back on and immediately contacted Geek Squad. Result: no virus, and praise from the tech for reacting so quickly.

#211 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2017, 09:23 AM:

Geek Squad? I had a bad experience with them last year and went to a specialist recommended by a relative--he didn't know just what was wrong with the blasted thing but he got it working again. This was probably a non-scammer-related issue. But the particular Geek Squad I went to couldn't find a black cat on a snowfield.

#212 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2017, 01:03 PM:

AKICIML Hakosot division: I have looked and looked, and I've heard rumors of videos of fannish Hakosot games (conducted by Moshe Yudkowsky) out there, but be damned if I can actually find any, except for a kids' variant that is not quite the same as what Moshe does.

Can anybody point me to such a thing?

#213 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2017, 02:11 PM:

Jacque @212: I can definitively report that Hakasot took place at Penguicon 2017, indeed conducted by Moshe Yudkowsky. I cannot vouch for the existence of videos, unfortunately, but I could attempt to contact him or others who were there and ask if any exist.

#214 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2017, 03:28 PM:

Jacque, I've played Hakosot many times with Moshe, but I don't ever recall anyone taking a video of it.

"Save your Dixie cups, 'cause I wanna play Hakosot..."

#215 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2017, 03:32 PM:

(Specifically, I could try to see if any are known to exist from this Penguicon -- there are a couple people who were there who live in the same city as me, IIRC.)

#216 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2017, 05:55 PM:

Penguicon/hakosot sleuthing would be greatly appreciated. The fine folks at the Boulder Jewish Community Center have never heard of it!

(I wonder if Moshe casts some sort of record-blocking spell around the games; in this day and age of people videoing their cats laying on the couch, I find it incomprehensible that no vids exist!)

#217 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2017, 11:11 PM:

Dave Bell @ 195 (re scamming computer access): I've read that this can be countered amusingly by telling the caller that your IP address is 127.0.0.1; since this is reflexive, whatever the scammer does happens to their own machine. Can anyone comment on this, including whether the scammers have learned about it?

Stefan Jones @ 199: one could mention black ICE, but I doubt the average scammer would know what that is.

Here's hoping all the people on "high" ground in Houston found it adequately dry; my partner has been watching the NWS reports and tells me they've had to add two map colors in order to report rain totals. I'm still croggled by the forecasts showing the storm center essentially ricocheting around SE Texas.

#218 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2017, 11:40 PM:

CHip @ 217

My record so far is only eight minutes keeping the scammer occupied by pretending I thought he was our Network Operations Centre (NOC). I'm inspired to try harder. Maybe I can practice my International Phonetic Alphabet on them, reading GUIDs back and forth. I see Windows Powershell has a New-Guid command.

There's also a tax scam going around, common enough that the convenience stores have put signs on the racks of prepaid cards, to the effect of "if you're buying cards to settle a CRA account, don't, it's a scam". They've called me a few times, I haven't thought of a really good way to waste time there, yet. The deal is that they claim to be working at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA - formerly Revenue Canada), and you owe money, but they'll make your problem go away for $1000 in Apple gift cards or whatever.

#219 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 12:03 AM:

@CHip: I'm doing as well as can be expected. Plenty ready to see some sunshine, however. (They're saying maybe by Thursday.)

#220 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 02:11 AM:

>> 127.0.0.1

I have heard of scammers hanging up when told this. Apparently, even the slightest technical sophistication on the part of their intended victims will deter (some of) them.

#221 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 02:25 AM:

My scammer record was 55-minutes. I kept typing in the commands they told me, using my Linux shell, and reading out the error messages. After the fourth run through, exactly the same instructions each time, I told them that Microsoft must have put out an update they didn't know about, and I no longer had any confidence that they knew what they were talking about. Then I hung up on them.

#222 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 02:39 AM:

A GUID contains the computers MAC address. Safer to provide random GUIDs from the internets.

#223 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 04:05 AM:

Bruce H. @ #220:

I once had a call from "the BT Technical Compartment", telling me that there had been ill-doings from my IP and could I just do as they said to avoid the police coming around? I, being the obstinate person I am tried to figure out a good way of verifying their credentials (fully expecting said verification to fail) and asked "ah, you're with BT, could you tell me what ISP I use?", which was met with them simply hanging up.

#224 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 10:28 AM:

Jacque @216: I suspect the record-blocking spell may be that anyone who would be filming ends up playing instead!

#225 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 11:13 AM:

"The Black Hole of Hakosot—Mwa-hah-hah!!!" :)

#226 ::: Joshua Kronengold ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 12:28 PM:

JI @40: Yeah, you've got Ben Yalow on the nose wrt his "bullet voting works" comment. I couldn't get into open debate to correct this before we voted, but I did politely have it out with Ben on this mis-statement during the break. The issue (FWIW) is not "bullet voting works" but "traditionally interlocking nomination blocks are weakened" -- which is true, but very much a matter of things working as intended.

Re doxing Nazis (or otherwise)--despite the general issue with doxing, I think it's more complicated than that; there's nothing -inherently- unethical with exposing someone's pseudonymous identity, but by doing so, you have responsibility for what comes afterwards, and -that- might very well be unethical. So outing someone's sexual identity is usually terrible, as it can result in them being unfairly discriminated against; revealing a blogger's identity resulting in them being harassed and thereatened, again vile, not because "doxing is wrong", but because you have by proxy harassed and threatened them, and -that- is wrong.

OTOH, revealing the identity of someone who holds political vile, resulting, not in harassment and violence, but in people now aware of their views and actions ceasing voluntary association with them? That's fine.

This is one reason I think we need to make it harder to inquire as to whether a prospective employee is a felon without a -very- good reason. Once someone's paid their debt to society, they need to be able to build up social credit again if they are willing to put in the work; easy ability to discriminate against them for committing crimes they have paid for -harms- the goal of rehabilitation. This doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to check their reputation with their peers, research them, etc -- but the government should not be telling prospective employers "this person is a felon", and nor should employers be able to ask "have you committed a felony" and then punish the applicant if they lie.

#227 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 01:27 PM:

Open Thready Minor gender/pronoun question:

Yoon Ha Lee (skilled SF writer) is referred to with various pronouns in various places (male in back of most recent book, "Raven Stratagem"; female in back of "Conservation of Shadows") and may be the same Yoon Ha Lee who posted here 2004-2008.

What are their preferred pronouns, and has there been a change in those?

"Manners were developed to avoid being unintentionally rude" and so forth.

#228 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 01:38 PM:

Jacque: I assume you have found this notably incomplete Hakosot explanation? (Which I find interesting for providing the lyrics and translation.)

You could also try searching "הכוסות" on youtube and seeing what pops up, if you haven't tried the Hebrew yet. Going to ask people in person tonight if I can find them.

#229 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 01:47 PM:

(I feel like I should mention that my phrasing above might suggest a level of unfamiliarity on Jacque's part but I don't intend that at all -- I just have no time depth myself, being relatively very young here, and never personally encountered Hakosot, for instance, before this May...)

#230 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 03:12 PM:

So how the hell is it that hot spiced food just gets hotter with time? Doesn't that, like, violate some conservation of energy thing or something?

estelendur @228: Ran across that one just yesterday, as it happens, so: depth of time, not so much. (It's been a while since I've done this search, with consistently null results.)

Moshe used to have a page on his personal website with an audio recording of himself singing the song, plus instructions as per that link.

Which entirely fails to convey the experience.

Searching videos for Hakosot (and "הכוסות", as it happens) turns up numerous instances of this variant, which is not the one I learned from Moshe.

My personal experience with Hakosot started back at Confrancisco in '93. I think I've played it a half-dozen times since. Most notably at the late lamented B5 convention Big Bang, in Chicago in (I think?) '95. That's the one I really wish I had a video of: we managed to suck nearly all the con members and guests up onto the top deck of the gambling boat the con organizers had arranged (Ghu knows why) for the first day of the con.

At the end of the game, Peter Jurasik, who was at the head of the table next to Moshe, threw up his hands and declaimed in full Londo Molari tones, "Who knew this was a Centauri game!"

#231 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 04:23 PM:

Jacque @230 re: spicy food, are you referring to the sensations through a meal, or to food being more spicy after having been stored? If the latter, it would make sense that the spicy chemicals would have more time to leach out of the solid particles of spice into the bulk of the food.

#232 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 04:36 PM:

Sandy B @227: according to this SF Signal interview Yoon Ha Lee is trans and identifies as male. And I’m pretty sure he’s the same Yoon Ha Lee who used to post here. (I’d found myself wondering the same thing a bit ago, when Ninefox Gambit came out, because I knew the name as a friend-of-a-friend who wrote interactive fiction).

#233 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 04:49 PM:

Sandy B @227:

I do not know whether Yoon Ha Lee the writer is the same person who posted here. YHL the writer is male, and he is a trans man so you may encounter older references using female terminology.

#234 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 05:21 PM:

Yes, all the same Yoon Ha Lee. IF author, author of Hexarchate series, using "he" these days.

#235 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 05:35 PM:

... and here I looked at the blurbs and reviews for recent books and thought I'd just been unobservant and/or absent-minded about Yoon Ha Lee's identity. Thanks all for clarification.

#236 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 08:58 PM:

Has anyone heard from Lee lately? She and her partner live in Houston....

#237 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 09:34 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens @236, Lee said at #186 that they were planning to ride it out in place and were on local high ground. It would be nice to hear that they were okay.

#238 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 09:48 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens (236)/OtterB (237): Lee has reported on Facebook that they're fine and past the worst of it. She says David Goldfarb is fine, too.

#239 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 10:07 PM:

I am indeed fine. The worst thing I've suffered is not having any milk to drink.

#240 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 10:11 PM:

In terms of Yoon Ha Lee's preferred pronouns, he says in this Dreamwidth entry "just pick one, I'm not fussed."

That said, most people nowadays do tend to use "he" and "him", that I've seen.

#241 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2017, 10:19 PM:

TomB #222

Apparently not always. Version 1 UUIDs you could get that information out of. I found this article on Stack Overflow that explains what can be decoded.
One I generated tonight was 33a987f6-d0d2-4f91-a838-81fdd6c43013 and according to what's in the article, the 4 leading the third group means random. I generated a few more the same way and they all have that 4:

098cf100-8672-4a27-a77e-6c2fc48d8ef7
d8926aa6-4aaa-43c0-ad82-0523de9147c1
87d5a212-ddfb-40ce-834a-7e5f212ce2fa

There's an online generator that can give bulk verions 1 or version 4 UUID/GUIDs - if one need a hundred or so.

Thanks for an enlightening hint!

#242 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2017, 01:47 AM:

I was seeing lots of photos of flooded streets, but then I realized that photos of dry streets are not newsworthy and I wanted to get an idea of how much of Houston actually is flooded. I found a couple of websites that are geared for residents. Houston Transfer is a transportation coordination agency. Their traffic map shows where there are road closures and high water. Space City Weather is a local weather website. One of the meteorologists is also a journalist who covers NASA a lot.

#243 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2017, 01:48 AM:

Houston Transtar. Darn auto carrot.

#244 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2017, 06:12 AM:

Hmmm. When I ask my computer for it's IP address, it tells me 192.168.2.218, which won't help the scammer at all. Do their scripts deal with the "behind a firewall" situation?

I suppose if they ask me for an IP, I could give them that one, a random 10.x.x.x or 172.24.x.x IP, or perhaps fd12:3456:789a:1::1, and see how they react to that (I wouldn't give them my real IPv6 address, as it's not behind a NAT).

#245 ::: Odalchini ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2017, 08:40 AM:

As Dave Bell said up there (#195), if these guys really were getting info from your computer, they'd know your IP address; so if they have to ask for it, they've already failed.

I've never had one of these scam calls, probably because I no longer answer calls where the CLI comes up as "unavailable" or "withheld", or "international" without a number attached. So I'd be interested to know how they're supposed to work.

Most people's computers surely have IP addresses in a private range such as 192.168.n.n because they're behind a router or similar, and AFAIK any modern retail router always includes a firewall, enabled by default, which shouldn't let the scammers in. Even if you do give them your public IP address (from such as whatsmyip.net) they shouldn't be able to get through your firewall because it should block incoming requests unless you enable them, and most average users probably don't have the the ability (or the password) to control the firewall. Are there still people who don't have a router/firewall box between their computer and the Internet? Cable users, maybe? There used to be things called ADSL modems (for broadband over phone line) – I had one, back in the days of innocence – they had no firewall, but I thought they went out long ago.
Am I missing something?

#246 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2017, 09:29 AM:

Odaichini @245:

My connection to the internet at home is via a cable modem and a wireless router.

The cable modem does not provide a firewall, it just provides direct access to the cable's internet service. I could connect my computer directly to its ethernet port, and then my computer would get its IP address from my ISP directly. In which case, my "public IP" is my computers IP.

The wireless router provides a bunch of services, including firewall, NAT, DHCP on the interior network, possibly even a DNS cache. All our computers, tablets, smart phones, game consoles, printers, Amazon Fire sticks, etc, all connect ot the router and get 192.168.x.x addresses.

I suspect there are still a significant number of people out there who have just one computer and no other devices, and never went any further than connecting the modem between their cable and their PC.

It's also possible that by the time they ask for your IP, you've already been talked into downloading a "diagnostic program" and running it, in which case they need to know the IP address their trojan horse program is calling from.


#247 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2017, 09:44 AM:

245
I connect via DSL - so that's a modem and a phone line. I have software, of course, bu I've never installed a router (it would be wired, not wireless).
maybe?) times from the "Microsoft service department" scammers, always with heavy Indian accents, and at least once with so much line noise that I could hardly understand them anyway. I hang up - I know MS doesn't call users like that.

#248 ::: Odalchini ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2017, 11:25 AM:

Oh, I see. Thanks. I think this must be a US–UK difference (one of so many). Here in the UK, when you sign up for broadband service (cable or DSL) the ISP automatically sends you a box which is a combined modem-router. They've been doing that routinely for several years now, so the average consumer no longer has a stand-alone modem like P J Evans does. There's only one cable ISP, Liberty Global (branded Virgin Media), and its service works only with its modem-router. So if this "Microsoft support" scam works mainly on people without routers, I guess that's why we hear very little about it over here.

#249 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2017, 12:00 PM:

Jacque @230: Ha, that's a wonderful story.

The general consensus seems to be "nobody has ever posted a recording of Hakosot as Moshe plays it, and it's entirely possible that he came up with that version and its many variants himself," unfortunately. One could try contacting him personally, or wait until the next con, having vowed to get a video by, perhaps, setting up a camera on a tripod.

I did think that perhaps someone might have posted it on Facebook and not YouTube, but that is much harder to search on, especially if it is nobody you are connected to.

#250 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2017, 01:39 PM:

Ty all for the clarification!

#251 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2017, 06:41 PM:

When the scammers ask for your IP, tell them it's 104.16.77.187.

It's FBI.gov.

#252 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2017, 08:42 PM:

HLN: Area retiree's computer has been given a clean bill of health. Thanks, all, and now to try and guess what scammers will do next.
When visiting a relative, much-relieved owner of aforementioned computer heard said relative express surprise that the moon seen on Tuesday night was only a half-moon, not more gibbous than that. Area retiree said, "Well, it takes some time to recover from an eclipse."

#253 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2017, 10:59 PM:

Xopher:

Not 127.0.0.1?

#254 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2017, 12:37 PM:

albatross @253:

If 127.0.0.1 is connecting you to FBI.gov, either you work for the FBI or you should be very worried.

#255 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2017, 12:46 PM:

albatross #253: More seriously, the loopback address is too well known. I've heard reports of at least some scammers immediately hanging up when someone tried giving that as their IP.

#256 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2017, 03:26 PM:

I have, sometimes, made firm but polite requests to the scammers that I need the specific IP address, because there are several computers on the network. Oh, I know it's a scam, they know nothing at all, but they seem to think I am a possible sucker because I am talking to them. And I say things like, "Every packet sent over that internet has to have the source IP address in the headers. How can you not know?"

I even sympathise over the way in which Microsoft appears to be giving them inadequate information.

The down side to all this is that they are starting to switch to abusive language, rather than just hang up.

#257 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2017, 05:02 PM:

Since we finally got home after the eclipse trip, with three days of delay waiting for Harvey to vacate, here's some eclipse video.

https://youtu.be/FhNRx_YT2pQ

#258 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2017, 03:19 AM:

I hope where you live is doing okay, Steve.

#259 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2017, 08:47 AM:

Thanks, David. We found a slightly musty smell in the house, and one tiny dried-up worm in the bedroom by the sliding glass patio door. So we may have gotten a small bit of water splashed up onto the door which then dried in the A/C. I think we had a brief power outage.

The neighborhood itself has good drainage, and they did some releases from the levees which brought water up to the sidewalk level, but that was all gone by the time we drove in.

#260 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 02:07 AM:

I just read a lovely SF story, and then went back to my Twitter feed, then realised the Hugos may have a small gap in their categories: there are some very funny Twitter accounts that manage beautiful stories or moments within the character limit.

I would not want to nominate individual tweets, but is there some way to create a category for accounts creating short tidbits like this? I can already see some problems as I type: for instance, this first notion is too platform-specific.

But, if you've noted the same kinds of creativity, perhaps there's more to mull over and better articulate something that could work.

Crazy(but happy to have thought of this)Soph

#261 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 03:43 AM:

crazysoph, with Twitter's new TOS, essentially allowing them to SELL anything that's posted to the site, I wouldn't want to use Twitter to make anything commercial available. Maybe there are special terms for the paying advertisers, but right now it stinks big-time, going back to the copyright grabs of the last century.

My understanding is that the internet depends on being able to copy stuff, just to be able to move it around. even private email, but what Twitter is doing goes way beyond any necessity of the service. And they're not the only people making this sort of grab.

So whether there will be any good stuff, I just don't know. And can this micro-fiction, maybe nano-fiction, ever be worth it? Outfits such as Twitter and Facebook and Lifejournal are looking pretty pointless for creative people.

#262 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 05:49 AM:

I don't know if you know Micro-SFF; but my daughter, who is a fan, nominated him for a Hugo. I seem to remember that he head something on his webpage suggesting what he thought was the most appropriate category.

(In general, I don't think the category should be determined by the Medium. I can imagine someone nominating Ursula Vernon's tweet-thoughts of Swiss Family Robinson under 'Best Related Work'. 1

1. Of course the tweet thread about decomposing whales - some of which was also in her Hugo acceptance speech - is a leading contender for 'Best Related Worms.'

#263 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 09:07 AM:

I think "Best Fan Writer" is the most appropriate category for Twitter accounts.

#264 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 11:59 AM:

crazysoph @ #260:

I know that @MicroSFF has been nominated in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, in the "fan writer" category (may show up in the long-list as O. Westin), for some years, this is from written docs, and for others from having nominated.

#265 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 12:04 PM:

HLN, from a different L than usual:

Local woman has moved to Toronto and is living in a hostel following the three-weeks-previous falling through of the apartment she'd leased, for no fault on the part of the leaser or leasee, as "horrible illness preventing needed repairs being done on time" is a very good reason. Local woman has her deposit back. "I really wish all these apartment blocks wouldn't advertise when they don't actually have vacancies," she complained to reporters.

Local woman is also teaching her first undergrad seminar on Tuesday and is wracked with nerves. She was overheard saying to a friend that "if [she] screws up [her] own coursework, that's one thing, but if [she wrecks] a course for fifty other people, that's awful."

#266 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2017, 08:26 AM:

@265, Em, that's rough. Hope you find a place soon.

#267 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2017, 12:26 PM:

Random health info: I contacted my doctor over email because I had been experiencing a lot of fatigue (plus various other symptoms). She sent back a depression screening and decided I was mildly depressed because "feeling an inability to get tasks done" (due to FATIGUE) was a signal. After some back-and-forth (no in-person visit; I wanted to be on the same page first), she agreed to do a blood test.

And guess what? Rock bottom iron levels (ferritin, not in the normal blood test.) "But that shouldn't make you so fatigued without the anemia," she wrote. (Online medical journals confirm that low ferritin can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, heart irregularities, and higher blood pressure without anemia being present... yet. Funny how low iron levels invariably leads to anemia.)

Iron deficiency is pretty common, especially in women of childbearing age. And it's pretty easily fixed, though iron supplements can be uncomfortable. But I'm pretty annoyed that it took a lot of badgering to even get a basic test for it, and that my (soon to be former) doctor wasn't interested in any follow-up as to why. (Oh, and quick note—do not self-diagnose for this. I had a friend who had similar principle symptoms, fatigue and shortness of breath, and her issue was a clotting disorder. Iron would have been the worst thing she could possibly do.)

#268 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2017, 01:20 PM:

Hello, open thread!

Resistbot is responding very slowly today. I can only assume it's because a lot of people in the U.S. have something very important to say to their congresscritters. I know I do.

In similar news, I have recently been introduced to the Postcards to Voters project. From what I've seen so far, I highly recommend it.

#269 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2017, 02:10 PM:

B Durbin @ 267... My best wishes for a quick recovery.

#271 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2017, 11:06 PM:

That doctor sounds very frustrating. I have lower-than-usual bloodstuff today too, as it turns out, though mine is shorter-term and more typical-- I tend to refer to it as 'not enough blood' or 'low-quality blood' because I find out at the blood donation center at the hospital. Another week of iron supplements with orange juice, then I'll try again.

#272 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2017, 11:51 PM:

So as soon as David Goldfarb starts drying off, we read that Fragano may be in for a blow. (With luck, Irma will have worn down after walking 200 miles up the Florida pensinsula -- but the forecasts that far out are very loose about the possible track, so it could just stay strong going up the Gulf coast.) Here's hoping all MLers in Florida stay safe. (Or further southeast; a grade-school classmate is probably picking up a mess around now, but I don't know whether any MLers are on the islands.) I just got word that my Texas cousins are all hale (although at least one is still out of home), so that's something.

#273 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2017, 12:14 AM:

272
Latest forecasts have Irma going up the east side of Florida, with the eye hitting land around Savannah or Hilton Head Monday evening. Florida...is not going to be missed by it, although the eye may be off the east coast by a little. They're hoping it doesn't turn inland over South Carolina, because that would be just like Matthew last year.

#274 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2017, 12:33 AM:

I was informed this afternoon that one of my cousins in the Islands has had the roof blown off.

#275 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2017, 12:43 PM:

I just got an all clear from an old friend in Antigua. Another friend "complained" about being forced to spend an extra two days in Dominica (he lives in Toronto). I'm worried about a friend in St Martin, for the whole island seems to have been trashed according to both the French and Dutch authorities.

I also hope Michael Roberts of this parish, who's in PR, is okay.

#276 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2017, 02:03 PM:

The island of St. Martin (or, more properly, Sint Maarten) tried to kill my husband when our cruise ship stopped there. But that doesn't mean that I want anything bad to happen to it. Well, maybe to a certain tiki statue...

We'd left the ship with the intent of going over to the French (Saint-Martin) side of the island. We stopped first for lunch at a little place just off the beach. Outdoor seating only, with a couple of massive 7' tall hewn tree-trunk tiki statues. Out of nowhere, a storm blew up. Very strong winds. We took shelter against the wall of the restaurant (the only interior was the kitchen, which, obviously, we weren't allowed into.) One of the tiki statues toppled in the windstorm and fell; missed my husband by about 2". Probably would have seriously injured or even killed him had it hit him. The storm only lasted about 10 or 20 minutes but we were soaked to the skin by the time it passed. Never did get to the French side of St. Martin. But by ghod did we come away with a story to tell....

#277 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2017, 06:34 PM:

Some of the features on Pluto now have Official Names:
https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/pluto-pits-ridges-plain-get-official-names?tgt=nr

#278 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 04:12 PM:

Fragano (and any others concerned):
Michael Roberts has been posting intermittent updates on Facebook, and he and his family are all doing fine. His area got heavy rains and some winds but never lost power or Internet; they're on the opposite side of the mountains from Irma.

#279 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 04:18 PM:

AKICIML: The other day I used the phrase "commanding trousers of great knowledge" to describe a bloviating jerk. At the time I felt inspired, but now I have a feeling that I was quoting somebody. However, I can't find it on DuckDuckGo. Has anybody else heard this?

#280 ::: Odalchini ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 05:32 PM:

Jenny Islander #279: I think that was inspired – wonderful image (whose implications may vary according to your upbringing).

Somehow made me think of Pratchett's "trousers of time", which I'm certain have nothing to do with it.

#281 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 05:42 PM:

Odalchini, my mind also went to Pratchett, but I don't know if that specific phrase was his.

#282 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 06:10 PM:

B. Durbin @267: I'm currently reading How Doctors Think by Dr. Jerome Groopman. I'm only a little way into it, be he's already detailed some of the different errors of thought that cause doctors to miss things (including failing to follow up on what a patient reports).

#283 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 08:10 PM:

Jerry Pournelle has died. He was a man who polarized a great many discussions, in the manner of Heinlein who he emulated. He was at times difficult; at other times, extremely kind and generous. May we remember the good he did.

#284 ::: annejohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2017, 03:59 PM:

Tangentially related to 'trousers of time' and entertaining https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wrong_Trousers featuring Wallace and Gromit

#285 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2017, 10:14 PM:

@273: and now the predicted path has unkinked a bit, toward Florida's west coast. The stone is going to be bad for some pitcher; hope everyone in the path has left, or battened down safely.

#286 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2017, 10:47 PM:

Karen's mother in Naples (FL) has battened down in her new condo, built well enough that they're serving as a shelter for 300 people beyond the 400 who live there normally, including the CEO of the operating company who flew in from the Midwest. They look to be in good shape.

#287 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2017, 02:20 PM:

There's another claim of decrypting the Voynich manuscript. This time they're saying it's about women's medicine, and it was written using common medieval Latin abbreviations, mostly for herbal/pharmaceutical use.
So far, it's only been published at BoingBoing, so it's not exactly a trustworthy claim.

#288 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2017, 03:37 PM:

@287, scholars of the Voynich manuscript are skeptical of the claim.

#289 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2017, 04:16 PM:

Cassy B, so am I. If it were that simple, I'd have expected it to be deciphered a long time ago. (I remember reading about the manuscript back in the 60s, in the late lamented Horizon magazine.)

#290 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2017, 04:57 PM:

@289: I'm sticking with the Necronomicon theory.

#291 ::: Terry Hunt ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 03:57 AM:

Jenny Islander #279: I can't help you with "commanding trousers of great knowledge", but it might be a clever paraphrase of the standard British description (usually applied by women) of a loudly and sexistly opinionated man as "all mouth and trousers."

#292 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 04:09 AM:

The basic idea of what the Voynich manuscript is, some sort of health manual, is fairly respectable, if not certain. Nicholas Gibbs publishes his explanation in the TLS, and manages to present that, falsely, as entirely his idea, coming from a supposed unusual viewpoint.

He says it started when he was commissioned "to analyse the illustrations of the Voynich manuscript and examine the commentators’ theories" by a TV production company. This makes a sort of sense, since he says he is some sort of artist.

Several details of his ideas, such as the argument that some sort of page-number/indexing is missing from every page seem to be things that might be apparent to somebody who has examined the actual manuscript, but he seems to have stayed well away from it.

And the TLS seems to have been rather uncritical. They don't say anything at all about Mr. Gibb, nothing that gives us a context, as though he came out of nowhere.

It's being suggested that he is trying to talk up a script he is trying to sell. It's claimed that he has avoided contacting the people who could have blown a hole in it. It does start to look that way.

If you come at it with a vague general knowledge. the TLS article does look plausible. But it's not a new idea, it's not something original. And what might be, the actual decryption, doesn't seem to hold up. We see a tiny part of that, and for all we know, the article shows the only two lines that are even close to working.

#293 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 08:32 PM:

Well this has been a shit week. Jerry and Len were both something between acquaintances and friends. One of them would have been ok, but the both of them sort of added up. Part of it is, I think, that both of the are, in some ways, famous, so I don't exactly get to own them; because my sense of them is being swamped.

Also, I'm having a lot of anxiety, so there's that.

One of the things I've been having trouble with, because of the various anxieties, is my already less than stellar eating habits even worse. So I'm trying to make an effort to eat; which led to my writing a poem about my breakfast, after the manner of Bashō and W. Carlos Williams,

Yesterdays’s fishcakes
Were in the fridge, so good,
And so cold.

I saved them for breakfast,
And you did not eat them.

#294 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 09:08 PM:

293
I understand anxiety.
The last few weeks have been a little more stressed than usual, made more difficult by trying to become the informed patient they tell me I should be, and finding that no one with information actually seems to want to inform me.n!@#$%^&*()_!!!!

#295 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 10:10 PM:

I seem to have more than just normal anxieties. We shall see what the therapist I have an app't with has to say.

#296 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 10:35 PM:

Terry Karney - hugs. Having known people who've gone through both anxiety and depression, anxiety tells lies at least as viciously as depression does, and it wants you to pay attention to them. (Not that you can't have both at once, of course, which is even more fun.) Glad you're going to get help.

#297 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 11:29 PM:

For the other folks who might not know which Len Terry refers to, Len Wein just died. (I had to look it up -- I'm not on FaceBook, and so not immersed in such events.)

#298 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 12:44 AM:

Tom: I'm a little surprised you don't follow File 770. It was reported there. In addition to the articles (Len Wein got one) Mike Glyer has a little news roundup every day that is usually interesting and often amusing.

You don't have to follow the comments, but in fact a community has come into being there which has a fair amount in common with this one.

In other news: A somewhat belated Happy Birthday to Xopher.

#299 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 12:27 PM:

Terry Karney @295:

Good on you for making the appointment. Too many people don't get that far, because of all the stupid @$%#$% stigma society heaps on it. As someone with both depression and anxiety, as well as married to someone with both, I'll echo Bill Stewart @296 somewhat. Depression and anxiety are lying liars that lie, are attention hogs, and unfortunately have the ability to use all of your own intelligence against you. We don't know each other except via what we can interpret through the small window that ML and twitter opens, but please know that you are not alone, and you do not have to face this alone.

One note I can emphasize up front, that you probably already know, but it doesn't hurt to reinforce: don't let your thoughts that "other people have it harder" prevent you from getting/giving yourself the care you need. You matter too. You deserve help too.

I believe it was you who mentioned, I don't know how long back here on ML, that it is OK to spend money on small luxuries. That helped me, and my wife, thank you. Maybe it can help with the eating thing? For at least one meal per day? Either a meal out, or a gadget that makes a meal easier, or a better/different stock of easy/tempting ingredients, etc.? Food issues are hard, and universal advice often isn't, but I can give some examples from my household if you want.

My condolences on your recent losses, too.

#300 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 02:21 PM:

Terry Karney @293: I've only had one bout of anxiety that turned me anorexic, and it was no fun at all. (Energy? Oh, right: eating. :-\ )

A friend hipped me to the smoothie trick: was a handy way to sneak nutrition past my mouth. But then, of course, one has to remember to make smoothies. And then to eat them.

Also, to echo cajunfj40 @299, if it will willingly go in your gullet, it counts as "nutrition," even if it is just [your local chocolate cake equivalent]. (We won't discuss how much of my stressful life I have lived on Häagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream.)

Meanwhile: Bashō / W. Carlos Williams mash-up: so very Making Light! :-)

#301 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 02:35 PM:

Jacque@300
Häagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream

Hey, that's just processed milk, right?

:-)

#302 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 03:25 PM:

Jacque @300: When I was three weeks graduated from college and had come running back to my university town because a member of the old house had died suddenly in an accident, and I was frankly kind of emotionally shocky and not really interested in food, I was staying a couple nights in a guest room at my former adviser's house. His wife tricked me into consuming nutrients by blending nicely ripe watermelon with a little liquid and offering me a cup. Not as nutrient-dense as a smoothie, but also easier to get down. I was very grateful.

#303 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 06:18 PM:

As an alternative to making smoothies (prep and mess can be an obstacle), you can also get Ensure or the equivalent. Those are in fact designed for people who are having trouble eating for various reasons.

#304 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 07:00 PM:

Dave Harmon (303): Ensure was a lifesaver when I was on chemo a while back. The vanilla flavor is quite palatable when chilled.

#305 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 10:20 PM:

I found that some of the meal-replacement liquids went okay frozen as popsicles. The whey-y taste was reduced a bit.

#306 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 11:34 AM:

My coworker points out that apparently there's new research linking gut biota (or the absence thereof) to anxiety & depression.

#307 ::: Mike G ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 12:50 PM:

@283 re Pournelle: sad... I liked a lot of his earlier works, especially the early Niven collaborations.

I'd have expected him to be a popular enough author for obits to have shown up a few more places. Maybe not nytimes, but at least tor.com?

His political views being troubling doesn't seem like a good reason to disregard his passing, does it? If anything, an obit would be a good place to mention such issues - I thought Scalzi did a good job of balancing that, for example.

#308 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 01:02 PM:

HLN: Local woman has signed a lease and is moving into a nice bright one-bedroom basement apartment on Friday. Local woman is quoted as saying "I am so relieved, you guys, there just aren't words."

#309 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 01:18 PM:

Em (308): Yay!

#310 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 01:52 PM:

Irma chased us (Gail, Marjorie The Cat, and your most humble and obt.) from Sarasota to Atlanta over the weekend. We just made it back last night. Our total damage is the front of the house covered in old man's beard, and a panel on the wall in the lanai (that had been held in place by a cardboard shim) had fallen. Everything else was intact, and the power was on. This is a huge relief.

Fourteen hours on the road (I-75) with a million of our closest friends, and the attendant aches and pains, is a small price to pay. We could up stakes and run for it. People in places like St Martin, St Barth's, the Virgins, Puerto Rico, or Barbuda, can't.

#311 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 02:00 PM:

Fragano (310): Glad to hear that you're okay, with minimal damage to your possessions.

#312 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 04:47 PM:

Mary Aileen #311: Thanks!

#313 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 05:17 PM:

304
This came up last evening, talking with my sis-in-law. Now I need to find storage space for the packages I'm going to need to get. (Yes, I have an medical adventure upcoming.)

#314 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 05:37 PM:

P J Evans (313): Best of luck with your medical adventure.

#315 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 09:00 PM:

P J Evans, good thoughts headed your way.

#316 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 10:07 PM:

I'll accept all good thoughts. Right now, I'm still in clearing-the-decks stage (today: flu shot and eye exam; tomorrow: see what Costco has in optical, and oil change for car.)

#317 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 10:40 PM:

Fragano @ 310: glad to hear that your "welcome" to Sarasota was not too traumatic; I have some idea how age and issues make upping stakes and hauling out more difficult, without the addition of a disaster at the far end. And thank you for making me one of today's 10,000; I spent several spring vacations in what is now Jacksonville, but never heard the term "old man's beard". (Grandfather called it "Spanish moss".)

#318 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 10:44 PM:

P J, good thoughts coming your way!

#319 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 11:05 PM:

Thanks, Xopher, and let me offer you a hug.

We haven't gotten yet to the "needs lots of good thoughts stage". First there's some imaging, then they're going to install a port, and then the fun starts. Once every three weeks, they said, and I'm going to get them to set the schedule so it doesn't mess with the existing stuff in January (which happens to be three weeks apart). Requires planning and more phone calls.

(They said that chemo works on this one two times out of three.)

#320 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 11:20 PM:

I wrote a quick gloss of my feelings about Jerry in my Patreon. They were complicated by meeting him when I was.... 10? Getting to know him when I was 15/16; having his sons as friends, and butting heads with him on various things.

His writing was variable, his politics excreble, his personality difficult.

He was not utterly despicable, so I did not despise him, though I understand why some would. Some anathematise me, so I'm not going to gainsay anyone's feelings about him.

Len, Len was a mesch. I'm gonna miss him, no qualifications on that.

#321 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2017, 12:04 AM:

I'll agree with you on both people, Terry.

#322 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2017, 11:30 AM:

Terry Karney @ 320... I met Len Wein at a local comics con in 2012 where Melinda Snodgrass introduced me to him. I liked him right away. (It says something about my life taking me where I would never have expected. If you'd told my then-teen self that one day a writer from a future non-Kirk Star Trek series would one day have me meet the creator of the Swamp Thing, I'd have made rude noises of disbelief.)

#323 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2017, 04:14 PM:

CHip #317: Thanks. Old man's beard is what I learnt to call it, down in Jamaica. I've no idea why Americans call it Spanish moss. It's no kind of moss.

#324 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2017, 04:53 PM:

...because Americans are generally foggy on the concept of moss...?

#325 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2017, 04:56 PM:

::actually reads Wikipedia page::

Oh wait:

This plant's specific name usneoides means "resembling Usnea", and it indeed superficially resembles its namesake Usnea, also known as beard lichen
#326 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2017, 02:46 PM:

Jacque #325: That's interesting.

#327 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2017, 02:49 PM:

A friend of mine, in doing archival research, encountered this statement, in a letter from Nancy Cunard to Ezra Pound:

The only proper term for a Fascist is "scoundrel".


Scoundrel is, I must say, a word that is much underused, and certainly applies to the person whom Gore Vidal would call The Oval One.

#328 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2017, 04:59 PM:

I dunno. "Scoundrel" seems...inadequate, somehow.

#329 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 04:36 AM:

Adam, naming created things:


Adam: I dub thee "Spanish Moss""

Recording Angel: But It's not a moss at all.

Adam: You let me have meadow saffron and hemlock fir and star jasmine

Recording Angel: And that was too many.

Adam: Ok. It looks a lot like beard lichen, so: I dub thee "Spanish Beard"

Recording Angel: Lichen aren't even plants. Can't you at least get the phylum consistent?

Adam: So where do you have it classified

Recording Angel: Bromeliacae

Adam: I dub thee "Spanish Pineapple"

Recording Angel: ⟨sighs⟩

Adam: "Charleston Pineapple

Recording Angel: Let's just stick with "Spanish Moss" and hope no-one notices. They can rename it when Charleston is founded.

#330 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 04:49 AM:

Recording Angel: That's the 917th "small yellow daisy"

Adam: And will anyone else be able to tell them apart?

**silence.**

**faint noises, off**

Adam: I dub thee "**crickets**"

#331 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 07:37 AM:

That's the 917th "small yellow daisy"

My husband took a course in prairie botany and his instructor introduced the class to the term DYC, damned yellow composite. As in, "what kind of plant is that?" "It's one of the DYCs."

#332 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 08:51 AM:

My father, an avid bird watcher, uses the term "LBB" a lot.

"Little Brown Bords."

#333 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 09:24 AM:

Tony Zbaraschuk (332): I thought the term was 'LBJ', 'Little Brown Job'.

#334 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 09:41 AM:

333
That's the term I've heard (along with DYCs for some flowers).
I've met people for whom all birds are "jays", especially the LBJs.

#335 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 10:28 AM:

Avian spp. not known to me are Rear-Tailed Evaders.

#336 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 11:27 AM:

My favourite moment in bird names, with my best friend (who divides birds into "crows" and "not crows"):

Her: What's that bird?
Me: Which one?
Her: The black one, with the red wings.
Me: That's a red-winged blackbird.
Her: ... really?

I do like a bird name that does what it says on the tin.

#337 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 05:17 PM:

Thomas #329: YOMANK

Jacque #328: It does need an intensive modifier.

#338 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 07:51 PM:

thomas @329 & 330: Here, please have this internet.

See also: moar plz.

And speaking of jays, I saw one yesterday I suspect of being a hybrid? Standard eastern jay blue-white-and-black markings and shape, except that the head was black. A quick Google Images search didn't turn it up.

#339 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 08:31 PM:

338
Could it be a Steller's Jay?

#340 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 09:07 PM:

Jacque's jay @338 is definitely not any Steller's Jay that I've seen, they don't have any white. And I'm not sure where Jacque is but Steller's are western, not eastern.

Did the bird have a crest like a standard blue jay?

#341 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 09:25 PM:

338
Steller's range includes the Rockies - and they do have a little white, more than the Pacific Coast version. Maybe a hybrid - those get odd markings.

#342 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 10:42 PM:

Adam: ...what even is it with the beetles? Some One really has a thing for them.

Recording Angel: we like to say "fond"

Adam:

Recording Angel: "Inordinately," perhaps.

#343 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 01:57 AM:

As someone or other pointed out, truth can be stranger than fiction because it doesn't have any artistic constraints.

The cancer geneticist Mary-Claire King has an incredible (almost literally) story of the week she was scheduled to fly to Washington DC for an interview about the grant that led eventually to discovering BRCA1. It's at HuffPo in text, and at The Moth as audio.

Her first week of April 1981, is the sort of thing our hosts would probably make an author tone down a bit in fiction: no-one is going to have all that happen at once.

(I was lucky enough to have Professor King as the random person from another department on my PhD committee)

#344 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 01:59 AM:

PJ Evans @341
Aha, I have only seen the Pacific Coast variety. A more inland variety does indeed seem like a plausible identification, then.

#345 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 10:28 AM:

Thomas@343 : Thank you for that. That's the best thing I've read all week (and it was the best thing BEFORE the gentleman at the airport!)

#346 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 10:39 AM:

343
That's quite a story. And quite a week.

#347 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 10:43 AM:

Jays and Introverts:

http://falseknees.com/272.html

#348 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 09:37 PM:

So, does anyone know of a way to get the attention of Countenance Tome and have them deal with the apparent fact that the confirmation emails they are supposedly sending are not actually being sent, if three different mail providers are any indication?

#349 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2017, 12:20 PM:

@343: It seems the Universe just Really Wanted her to get to DC to give that talk. (Although piling the divorce, the burglary, and her mom in on top seems a trifle excessive.)

#350 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2017, 08:47 PM:

thomas 343: As someone or other pointed out, truth can be stranger than fiction because it doesn't have any artistic constraints.

I've heard that one as "...because fiction has to make sense," but your version is more applicable here.

What struck me about that story is the jawdropping malevolence of her unspeakable shit of a husband. He had to have known a) that she had that trip coming up, b) that it was a career make-or-break for her, and c) that she'd need childcare during it. He dropped his bombshell and skipped out at a time calculated to destroy her career.

Fortunately, the helpers appeared, because (I strive to keep believing) the gods delight in frustrating the plans of malevolent pieces of shit.

#351 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2017, 09:58 PM:

350
Or he knew all that, and did it because he didn't care about her at all, just himself.
Which isn't any better.

#352 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2017, 10:32 PM:

Any sufficiently advanced indifference is indistinguishable from deliberate malice.

#353 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2017, 08:09 AM:

Jacque #349: It seems the Universe just Really Wanted her to get to DC to give that talk.

Um, no. All the "impersonal forces" here (the traffic, and for sake of argument the burglary) were against her. So were two of her three closest family members, that dipshit of a husband and her mother who was freaking out instead of supporting her in the crisis.

What got her to DC was that her own strength was backed by the help of three people: The department head who didn't freak out, but instead offered what help he could think of. The mentor who not only believed in her, but went above and beyond to support her. And then a passing celebrity who saw, and took, the opportunity to be someone's angel for the day.

The natural world is a hostile place, where entropy and hazard surround us. But long ago, our distant ancestors looked at that... and decided to do something about it. They began to build a new layer atop the natural world, standing together to shelter themselves and their descendants against the whims of mischance. We called that protective layer Society, and more lately Civilization, and we are still building and maintaining it. "It is not given to us to complete the work, but neither are we free to leave off from it." And when we reach out to support or help someone else in their misfortune, we are taking up our part in that oldest work of all, the project of Humanity.

#354 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2017, 10:50 AM:

Or one could look at it like this: the people whose role it was to support her directly (husband and mother) fell down on the job, so support rings further out stepped up to get her where she needed to go. :)

Furthermore, forces conspired to have the daughter witness all this first-hand which, at the very least, is going to give lie to the mother's view of A Woman's Proper Place.

(As always, trying to impugn intent where The Universe is concerned is mostly a matter of which data you pick to foreground. ;-> )

#355 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2017, 11:53 AM:

A New York City-specific cool thing:

Councilmember James Vacca has introduced a new New York City Council bill that I support. It would require city agencies to publish source code used to make decisions. Specifically, the summary of bill Int 1696-2017 is:

This bill would require agencies that use algorithms or other automated processing methods that target services, impose penalties, or police persons to publish the source code used for such processing. It would also require agencies to accept user-submitted data sets that can be processed by the agencies' algorithms and provide the outputs to the user.

This is currently before the Committee on Technology, of which Vacca serves as chair. He's term-limited out and aims to start hearings on the bill before he leaves in December. I am gonna keep an eye on this; it is a great idea and I hope it gets more cosponsors (currently Vacca has 4 cosponsors). Algorithmic transparency is sorely needed and I'm happy to see this introduced. I've contacted my city councilmember about this but haven't gotten a response yet.

#356 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2017, 06:28 PM:

This is really neat and I want some:

Carbon nanotube yarn that generates electricity when you stretch it

#358 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 11:13 AM:

Michael Roberts of this parish is, at this hour, sitting right under Hurricane Maria. I'm hoping he's okay. I've been watching Antiguan television, which has interviewed the special advisor to Dominica's prime minister, who's laid out the critical situation there. This is their second storm in two years, and this one was big.

#359 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 12:50 PM:

Thomas @ 342: I saw what you did there. (Which I oughta, since I took Bio 1 from him.)

@343: <picks jaw off the floor below>

Dave Harmon @ 353: Well stated!

Sumana @ 355: a good first step, but from what I've read the real issue is at least as much the data that is actually used as it is any biases in the code; it will be interesting to see how this works out, especially since most of the code is likely to be proprietary. Do you know whether Vacca thinks he'll actually get code, or is aiming to make it impossible to use apps to make decisions?

Allan @ 357: very nice -- I can imagine Mike Ford coming up with something like it -- but it is a villanelle, not a sonnet.

#360 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 05:35 PM:

Singing Wren at 356: Maybe clothing made from that electrical yarn can be used for CGI motion capture.

#361 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 06:14 PM:

Allan Beatty @ #357:

A villanelle, not a sonnet -- which makes it even more impressive.

#362 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 09:18 PM:

AKICIML, attn: Latin scholars.

Google Translate SUCKS at Latin (and most languages other than Spanish, where I give it a C+). I put in "Carthago delenda est," and got "Carthage must be destroyed," which I expected. But then I clicked the Swap Languages button and the English still said "Carthage must be destroyed," but the Latin changed to "delendam esse Carthaginem."

I didn't re-enter it or anything.

What I was TRYING to do was get something analogous to "Carthago delenda est," but meaning "ice must be destroyed," punning on ICE, which I feel has become the Gestapo and needs to be disbanded. I plan to use it as a hashtag on Twitter.

Can any of you wise and learnèd people help?

#363 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 09:34 PM:

Classical Latin had a thing called "the accusative-and-infinitive construction". In general, if you had a verb of saying or thinking as the introduction to a dependent clause, the dependent clause would have the subject in the accusative case, and the verb in the infinitive form.

So: "Carthage must be destroyed" is "Carthago delenda est" (and this uses yet another construction that rejoices in the name of "passive periphrastic") but "and besides that I think Carthage must be destroyed" is "praeterea censeo Carthaginem delendam esse".

"Ice" is "glacies", accusative "glaciem". Like "Carthago", it's a feminine noun, so you can use the same verb forms.

#364 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 09:46 PM:

David 363: Well, that was quick! Thank you!

#365 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 09:51 PM:

Wait, so "Glacies delenda est," and "praeterea censeo glaciem delendam esse"?

#366 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 10:04 PM:

Yep. "Egestatem, potestatem, dissolvit ut glaciem."

#367 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 10:56 PM:

CHip, #359: I'd be interested to see what you've read, if you have any links to share. Sadly I don't have insight yet into Vacca's negotiating posture and what he thinks he'll be able to get when all is said and done. I think a combination of open data sets (the tweaks to the open data laws currently under consideration, like bill 1528 and bill 1707, mostly seem to be going in the right direction IMO), the "must publish source code" requirement, and the "must take test data and return outputs" requirement would definitely go a long way.

#368 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2017, 12:19 AM:

SORS SALUTIS! ET VIRTUTIS! MICHI NUNC CONTRARIA!

#369 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2017, 12:35 AM:

Sumana Harihareswara @367 - Don't these systems tend to evolve their behaviour from the data fed into them, in ways that are black-box-ish enough to be very hard to evaluate? If so, it would be hard to audit them without access to the complete working data set... and releasing that might involve some privacy concerns.

#370 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2017, 07:44 AM:

Joel: Am I right in inferring that your thinking is this legislation is a well-meant idea but it probably won't do much good? If I understand your comment correctly, you're referring to situations where machine learning is involved. As far as I understand, a huge proportion of the algorithms deciding, for instance, when to issue a traffic ticket, who gets their preferred assignment in a school lottery, what score to issue on a health assessment of a restaurant, etc., aren't based on machine learning. And in cases where machine learning is involved, I'm not clear on why you think the "accept test data and provide output" provision is not a reasonable substitute pathway for critics to test the system and figure out what biases might have emerged.

If I'm misunderstanding you, maybe you could explain further.

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