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April 10, 2012

Open thread 172
Posted by Teresa at 02:08 PM *

Once, twice, thrice, force, quince, sects, sense, ox, nonce, tense.

Continued in Open Thread 173
Comments on Open thread 172:
#1 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:13 PM:

Numeracy for almost all!

#2 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:15 PM:

intense, bitterns, Tritons, fear-tense, frightens, sestets, superintends, hatin's, not intense, Wendy

#3 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:16 PM:

...those that belong to the Emperor?

#5 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:29 PM:

I'm sorry, Teresa, but the jump from laughter to fifteen just won't do.

#6 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:34 PM:

ounce, trounce, bounce, bitterns, battens, colloquial, starlet, martlet, quarrel, mort

#7 ::: Madeline Ashby ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:43 PM:

...And Santorum just exited the campaign.

#8 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:43 PM:

Hey, look, an Open Thread, just when I was wanting one!

So, I need to do a run to Devon Street in Chicago (prob Apr. 27/28) and am considering a couple of options. A) drive up, with concomitant costs, but lots of storage and freedom of movement. B) MegaBus up, and rent a car. C) MegaBus and throw myself on the mercy of friends in exchange for dinner. ;) Mostly this post is hey, I'm going to be in Chicago, anyone up for lunch/dinner and/or playing in Indian fabric stores?

#9 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:44 PM:

tense Wendy, dirty foreplay, fisting, sexy savored time, safety, nightly, hungered

#10 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:45 PM:



#11 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:48 PM:

I think Jim just won the thread.

#12 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:50 PM:

The tale of the tollgate keeper and the infrapont

I: Mispronounce.

TK: Denounce.

I: Renounce, announce flounce. Bounce back.

TK: Pounce.

I: Jounce.

TK: Trounce. Pronounce ban.

#13 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 02:54 PM:

elven, Trollope, Fierstein, Fortean...

#14 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 03:00 PM:

hi folks,

i have begun a blog named Metawyrd. Right now it has a poem about Meg from The Family Guy, a story about My First Band ("Chicago: A Love Story"), and a followup tale about how '60s R&B changed my life.

it is at:

#15 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 03:15 PM:

I thought after tense came elves, wolves, dryclean, earrings, woofing, texting...

#16 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 03:17 PM:

In the 60's and 70s the Village Voice used to reuse filler articles to complete columns. The most commonly reused article was the single sentence, "A nonce is a trice with one wing clipped off."

#17 ::: Marek ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 03:17 PM:

One of the advantages of moving from Poland to Spain is that I am spared the hagiography and media hoopla surrounding the Smolensk crash.

And then the Internet decides to remind me. People claimed it would be our 9/11, but I really feel most people outside the political scene would like to forget about it.

#18 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 03:21 PM:

Mans/laughter, wee/knight, neigh/boring, superb/owl, overt/urn...

#19 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 03:27 PM:

In the realm of personal news. I went to Paris last month. It was pretty good. Hearing the bells of Notre Dame from the Pont Nuef on Palm Sunday was wonderful.

Seeing the Louvre, and Versailles... one begins to see why they had a revolution.

I also got to sample French Medicine. It's better than I expected, so I used it wrong.

I came down with a case of Bell's Palsy. I was pretty sure that's what it was (and the worst part is that it clobbered my sense of taste, and my tongues tactile sense). So, come the morning after realising that's what was happening, we went to the hospital, and so to the ER.

When the doctor got there he chastised us, since it wasn't an emergency, and we should have gotten there before noon so we could go to the ENT, and not wasted his time.

He prescribed drugs, and off we went.

But... For it being a weekend, and a non-emergency there were surcharges. The ER visit was 100€, and the surcharges were another 150€.

Meds were about 50€.

Happily it was mild (I never lost more than about 70 percent of the control of my the left side of my face. I could keep my mouth shut, and blink, though closing my left eye, so I could take photos, was hard; and sometimes I failed).

More happily it's mostly gone. It came on slowly (which seems to be a bit atypical), and it's going away a bit more slowly, but at this point I have control of about 90 percent of my face's left side.

Best of all, my tongue seems to be working again.

#20 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 03:48 PM:

@Terry: Cripes, that's scary. (Looks up Wikipedia entry.)

* * *

I'm going to make soup using the chicken stock I made last weekend. The recipe, on a back of Bob's Red Mill bean soup mix, says "four cups of broth." Are broth and stock synonymous? Is watering down involved?

I plan on throwing in a bunch of previously cooked, frozen cabbage, carrots, celery, and sausage.

#21 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 03:54 PM:

Yanst, tannd, tetherard, metherath?

#22 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 04:00 PM:

Oh, and Theophylact@18: den/ounce?

#23 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 04:06 PM:

Thou shalt not hyphenate legend.

By order,
The Mgt.

#24 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 04:18 PM:

Cadbury Moose @23:
Thou shalt not hyphenate legend.

Not unless you need a foot (for metrical purposes, perhaps?)

#25 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 04:27 PM:

Broth = stock.

#26 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 04:29 PM:

(The laboratory is filled with the sound of mensurating moose)


The speed of light is 1,802,617,499,785 + 355/1397 furlongs per fortnight.
Or, for those who want the recurring decimal rather than the neat fraction:
. .
1802617499785.254115962777380100214745884037222619899785 furlongs per

#27 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 04:36 PM:

A curse (several, in fact) on automated space stripping routines.

The correct position of the dots is left as an exercise for the student.

#28 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 04:47 PM:

@26: Or, for those of the lazy persuasion, 1.8 megafurlongs per microfortnight.

#29 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 04:48 PM:

@26: or, to quote Grace Hopper and far easier to remember, one foot per nanosecond.

(actually, 11.8 inches, but I guess that's close enough for government work)

Also: Constant Which We Remember Well Because It's Light's Velocity (check the acronym, then look at your phone)

#30 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 04:50 PM:

The speed of light is also quite close to one nanosecond per foot.

Incidentally, the speed of light can also be thought of as the speed of everything. Light expresses all of its speed in spatial directions, while most stuff-like stuff expresses most of its speed in the temporal direction. The "time dilation" effect noted in things covering great distances quickly then becomes a byproduct of the constancy of the speed of everything; speed used to traverse distance and speed used to traverse time both contribute to the constant speed of everything. Putting more speed into covering distance reduces the traversal of time.

In this regard, "feet" and "nanoseconds" are within a few percent of being interchangeable. They are measures of nearly the same magnitude, just on different axes. And that's why your toes and your nose are about five nanoseconds apart.

#32 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 04:56 PM:

I kept reading the other lists and wanting to finish up with Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and Thorin.

#33 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 05:09 PM:

Antimony, Arsenic, Aluminum, Selenium

#34 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 05:13 PM:

Jamie Bamber, Terry Bamber...
(for Rikibeth)

#35 ::: jelliphiish ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 05:19 PM:

Tad, Snigget, Widdlewat, Kettle.
a Snigget as about half a Tad,
aWiddlewat is about half a Snigget,
there are 18,000 Kettles in a Widdlewat.
(Thankyou Manda)

#36 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 05:20 PM:

point, line, cube, tesseract

#37 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 05:41 PM:


As far as I've been able to figure out, "broth" vs. "stock" depends mostly on one's willingness to quibble. Yeah, some people hold (firmly, even) that "stock" involves at least some roasted bones. For the purposes you describe -- which I'd call "soup made from leftovers & cleaning-out the freezer" -- it probably makes no never-mind. All you need is meat-flavored (unless you're vegan) liquid (though if the ingredients are hearty enough, a pint or so of beer/ale/stout might not be amiss).

You seem to be sufficiently savvy about food that it'll turn out to be Pretty Good Soup, at the least, and quite likely Very Good Soup. (I'm pretty sure you're aware that any dilution, or addition of salt (or spices), is to take place at the very end of the process -- you can always add things, but taking anything away is close to impossible.)

#38 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 05:46 PM:

In #36 SamChevre writes:

point, line, cube, tesseract...

Marilyn McCoo.

#39 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 05:47 PM:

Terry Karney #19: Dear me. I'm glad you're better.

#40 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 05:59 PM:

Zimmerman takes it on the lam. Dammit, how could anyone not have thought he was a flight risk? But of course...he hasn't been arrested or charged, so it's perfectly legal for him to go anywhere he wants.

#41 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 06:00 PM:

#37: I made the stock myself. Roasted the carcass of my first-ever roast chicken, then boiled it for two hours with a mess of vegetables.

Here is a picture of the chicken:

(You know, I'd had that V-shaped metal rack for going on six years, and I'd always assumed it was a peculiarly bent cooling rack, perhaps for bread. I never realized until last week what it was really for.)

#42 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 06:07 PM:

No time to change from what I used to be
but now, and when it happens I must leave
not just this place but all that I conceive
to be in tune with senses that agree
in total beauty; that we all can see
in that one moment when we cease to grieve
for all our losses. That I must believe
will become true for what is the new me.
We fall into the silence one by one
who were a certain band and knew our way
in the strong moment of unpolished youth;
but there's still light, the time is far from done,
and there is much to do while it is day;
that is my story and it is the truth.

#43 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 06:10 PM:

re stocks: I use the carcass of roasted chickens to make stock. I also use the bones from other treatments of cooked chicken.

For a really good stock, useful in the dish being made, "peeling" drumsticks and then boiling them with an onion (carrot top, and a bit of celery optional) for about an hour will give a very rich "short-stock" (short as in, "court bouillon").

But I tend to think of any boiled preparation as stock; vegetable, fish, shells (needed for bisque), etc.

And boiling the bones from meals gets a second use out of them. Right now I've not got any in the freezer, so the next few months will be doing things that make more stock, because I like the flexibility that having a sauce, half-made, in the freezer gives me.

It's a handy thing to have when people drop in.

Food is love.

#44 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 06:20 PM:

A hod, Stein, slouch, arbor, Haimish, shush, swung, semantic, tetchy, ether.

#45 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 06:26 PM:

winken, blinken, nod, owl, pobble

And because of the equivalence of mass/energy, the speed of light is 299,792 joules/kilogram.

#46 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 06:34 PM:

Dave Bell: dear ghu, I couldn't breathe for laughing. water leaking from my eyes, gasping for air . . . .

Thank you.

My teenager is currently iso the Who cast in Manhattan (she is apparently outside their hotel) and has several leads on potential shooting sites for Thursday.

#47 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 06:48 PM:

The funnest thing about making stock was the dog's reaction.

She'd gotten to clean out the roasting pan when I cooked the chicken, so when she saw that go in the oven again (with carcass, onions, and all the offal I stripped from the pieces of chicken I'd eaten the day before, and the liver and neck) she was highly expectant.

After I strained the stock there was a sort of chicken rubble amidst the bones and wilted vegetables. I mixed thin in with her kibble. Oooohhh, was that one happy dog.

I filled three and a half 32 oz. yogurt containers with rich brown stock.

#48 ::: chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 06:53 PM:

point, line, cube, tesseract

No square? Am I missing a subtle joke here?

#49 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 07:02 PM:

The 8 most incredible things slapped together in one day.

#8 is "6 million trees planted, in Macedonia". Not to mention that they've kept doing it for at least 4 years running.

Xopher #40: Not to mention that his lawyers are dropping him, and not just for that. Seems he's been making legally significant phone calls without telling them....

#50 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 07:06 PM:

Just polished off a $12 jar of delicious farmer's market pickles in the space of a week. I am now ruined for all other pickles, but $12 a week (plus having to miss Mass in order to get to the correct farmer's market in time) is a bit steep.

For those in the know - would it be impossible or difficult to make my own pickles in my own smallish apartment kitchen? Feel free to talk me out of it / egg me on as appropriate.

#51 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 07:17 PM:

Open threadiness:

Because I didn't want to deal with the problem, I had let my resume get badly out of date over the last few years. So I'm now trying to polish it for things like posting online.

The last time I did this, people were talking about "action verbs" and even offering lists of good verbs to use. Is that still the style, and if so, does anyone reading this have suggestions of suitable verbs for someone whose recent experience is editorial, and before that copyediting and proofreading?

#52 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 07:17 PM:

A trunk
A trunk/branches
A trunk/branches/leaves

#53 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 07:25 PM:

@Vicki #51:

I'm still using the present tense action verb format on my resume*. It is getting me noticed at the preliminary job hunting state, anyway.

The other advice I'm seeing a lot is "show how you added value/saved money". In other words, show where you increased efficiencies, brought in new accounts, things like that. Which don't really apply to the jobs on my resume. So I skip that part, and figure interviewers will realize that my job isn't to bring in new clients, and thus not expect to see that on my resume.

*Two preliminary face-to-face interviews on Thursday! Woot!

#54 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 07:38 PM:

nerdycellist @50:

Refrigerator pickles, by your request.

#55 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 07:42 PM:

xeger@52: if your trunk branch leaves, there's nowhere in town to buy a suitcase.

#56 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 07:52 PM:

little pink beast @ 55 ...

Don't worry - I'm sure it's all under control...

#57 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 07:58 PM:

Have mercy on me. My muse just handed me one of the refrains for a villanelle and the rhyme is "truth". I think I can pull it off without ugliness. We shall see.

#58 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:04 PM:

(hi, long time lurker, not quite first time commenter)

In the spirit of Open Threads and well aware that all knowledge is contained on Making Light I was hoping to get advice/reassurance/tips on moving my (enormous) cat from NYC to Alaska.

We will be going to the vet in a few weeks for his yearly checkup to ask the same sort of question, but I'd really like to hear some things from personal experience.

#59 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:08 PM:

Microwave Bread & Butter Pickles

1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Splenda Granular (or sugar)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt

In a microwave-safe 2-quart bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Microwave uncovered at 80% power for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through, or 6 minutes at Medium High (75%). Cover and chill at least two hours before serving.
(Cook longer for less crunch.)

And this gem from Dickens is quoted in a soon-forthcoming article in Mythlore on the etymology of 'hobbit':

If I buy wheat at Swansea, I must order by the stack of three bushels; if at Barnard Castle, by the boll of two bushels, and must not, when I compare quantity and price, confuse this boll with two other bolls, one of two hundred and forty, the other of two hundred and eighty pounds. If I buy at Beccles, I must order by the coomb of two hundred and forty pounds. If at Preston, by the windle of two hundred and twenty. If at Wrexham, by the hobbet of one hundred and sixty-eight. But even if I do happen to know what a hobbet of wheat means at Wrexham, that knowledge, good for Flint, is not good for Caernarvonshire. A hobbet of wheat at Pwlheli contains eighty-four pounds more than a hobbet at Wrexham; and a hobbet of oats is something altogether different; and a hobbet of barley is something altogether different again.

#60 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:22 PM:

dido @ 58 ...
advice/reassurance/tips on moving my (enormous) cat from NYC to Alaska.

I've flown my cats cross-country before, with the only hitches being:

(1) Carrier wasn't big enough to meet airline requirements for the amount of space around the beast.
(2) Carrier utterly confused about which terminal I was supposed to pick them up at (but the folks at the cargo terminal took excellent care of the cats, and admitted that they were kinda hoping I wouldn't show up, so they could adopt them)

When I flew on the same flight as my cats, the flight attendants made a point of marking who I was, and that I had live cargo on the flight, and came by several times to let me know they were okay.

I was definitely nervous about the process, having found all of the horror stories online -- but it did work out well. There's obviously vaccination requirements/health requirements, and it's a good thing to give your cat(s) something familiar smelling... but that's pretty much standard for any travel with cats.

Oh -- as far as size goes, my largest cat would have been around 25-or-so lbs then, fwiw.

#61 ::: Mark Richards ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:29 PM:

Non-Euclidean numeracy:

once = nonce (as in "for the nonce")

perhaps giving an Escher-like mapping in Cartesian space?

#62 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:34 PM:

Which leads to the classic O-level question,

7 John has invented a water-heater powered by burning grain, but cannot decide how to calibrate it.

(a) How many nanosecond-hobbets does it take to raise one kilo of water one degree Kelvin at a grain-market located halfway between Wrexham and Pwlheli?

(b) Why would you want to?

Show your work.

#63 ::: Mark Richards ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:36 PM:

insphere, midsphere, circumsphere

#64 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:46 PM:

+prefix, in+fix, postfix+

#65 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:47 PM:

Jon Baker@62: That sounds like the maths course at a school using _1066 And All That_ as the history text. Also, I'm pretty sure the water in question should not be a kilo, but rather a firkin from the Firth of Forth.

(And no, Firth of Forth is not a Borg with a lisp. The Borg use imperative languages, not functional.)

#66 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:52 PM:

...whereas the Federation's response is functional reactive programming?

#67 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:55 PM:

My mother is fond of

1 A
2 A Couple
3 . . .
4 A Few
5 A Handful
6 . . .
7 Several

#68 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:57 PM:

Re: Jim's "James Joyce or Kool Keith": I got 9/10 despite never having heard of Kool Keith, and having read only a few pages of Joyce. Mostly on "period" hints (that is, Joyce was writing in the early 20th century). And the one that I missed was pure carelessness, I flaked on an implication of Joyce not being American....

#69 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 08:58 PM:

once, dunce, trice, quants, quince, hecks, helpers, ox, nonce, decks.

time to go home.

#70 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 09:01 PM:

— upon a dinnertime there was
— baked bread and a tour de
— of
— flavored desserts and the particular dishes of all the
— and it was a spread to dazzle the
—s sufficient to distract from the
— who was present for the
— and made everyone

('sprobablynotverygoodbutIjusthadtodosomethingwiththosewordsandthereitiswhateveritis P.S. and for #0 not #69)

#71 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 09:25 PM:

plate, rubber-band, shopping-bag, pretzel, brass knuckles, Olympic logo.

#72 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 09:27 PM:

light speed: 2000 feet is 2.032 microseconds.

#73 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 09:29 PM:

Thank you xeger! Titus is around 22 lbs and AIUI too big to go on my lap (also: he is too big to even fit on my lap). I have a crate he's okay with and he's a very good tempered beastie in general (I and Pangur Ban my cat . . . ) but I am so grateful to hear a positive experience. I was beginning to feel like the only really ethical thing to do would be walking.

#74 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 09:49 PM:

oodle, tootle, treadle, portal, fiddle, sickle, sample, optical, navigable, tendril

#75 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 10:06 PM:

unicycle, bicycle, tricycle, quadricycle, quizzical, cyclical, receptacle, optical, nonsensical, tentacle, uncle, testicle.

#76 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 10:17 PM:

Singing Wren @53:

So, I should put "edit manuscripts" or "maintain Unix system" on my resume even if I no longer have the job in question? (I'm not saying that's a bad idea, I just want to make sure it's what you mean.)

#77 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 10:19 PM:

Past experience is valuable on a resume, yes.

#78 ::: dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 10:37 PM:

I've started reading the 5ft Shelf (aka Harvard Classics) as they have been posted online and political discourse makes me itch for as much real education as possible. It got me to wondering what the next 5 feet would be, starting from 1911 or so on, and including a few that might have been so common then that he left them out:

"A Brief History of Time"
"Robert's Rules"
"Film Form" - Eisenstein (The first treatise on motion picture grammar and literacy)
Something on Communism, whether the manifesto or Das Kapital just because it's influenced so much either directly or as a reaction/rejection of the theories.
"Malcom X"
Tempted to add the Big Book from AA to represent self-help.
Along the same lines, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Carnegie and "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stevens. Maybe an ISO handbook too, to give an insight into corporate thought?

#79 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 11:12 PM:

Abi @11:
I, too, the thread.

#80 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 11:14 PM:

Oops, I see that #74 Erik Nelson already took "optical."

I'll rename the 8-wheeler to "popsicle."

#81 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 11:37 PM:

root, stem, leaf, bud, flower, fruit

#82 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 11:53 PM:

nerdycellist: I have found Food Network to be an invaluable resource for all things recipe-related, particularly when it comes attached to the name of Alton Brown.

On that note, I don't think anyone else has this measuring system for liquids when cooking (smallest to largest):

A mist, a spritz, a drizzle, a droozle, a glug.

I came up with it when I worked at the cafe in Borders. I got really bored in there sometimes.

#83 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 12:08 AM:

Steven Sample@78: I three what you did there.

#84 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 01:31 AM:

David Harmon @49:

Looked interesting until I bounced off the sexist captions to some of the photos. Then it just made me tired.

#85 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 01:37 AM:

cusp, swallowtail, butterfly

#86 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 02:30 AM:

Wonder, Tudor, trader, further, fighter, sister.

#87 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 02:41 AM:

Fragano @42, is that a general observation, or is there context? It's a lovely poem. I'm just worried.

#88 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 02:46 AM:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and no wonder!
All the rest ate peanut butter,
except my grandmother.
She drives a Buick.

#89 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 05:06 AM:

Sestina: Counting Out

The hills roll barren between the lonely firs
Not desert yet, but slowly they succumb
To cold bleak drought; in vain they thirst
No cloud brings rain, no flood bursts forth
The riverbed cracks: the stream is no longer fit
Yet where does the land lie sickest?

Not here: though sick, not sickest
Not amid silent rocks and firs
Somewhere else, in a maddened fit
Land and people alike succumb
Pain brings madness, madness pain brings forth
Unfed is hunger, unquenched, thirst.

Nor alone the body's thirst
Stagnant pools of Justice leave us sickest
Unrequited, from Court we straggle forth
Windbent as willows, frozen as firs
While to floods of lucre, levees of laws succumb
Warped by the wealthy as they alone see fit.

Who is fit, prospers, who prospers decides what is fit
So say the wealthy, and yet for more wealth they thirst
More cries out for more, and if they succumb
Perhaps they are the sickest?
(Altogether elsewhere, between the snowy firs
Vast herds move back and forth.)

Daily the jobless throngs set forth
Starving or day-fed, ruined or fit
They cannot eat light like the firs.
A coin for rent and a coin for thirst -
A pill for the child who is sickest -
Lacking work, they will soon succumb.

Cupiditas radix malorum est: we succumb
To the ills that love of money brings forth
Where the golden blood flows not, we are sickest
Hoarded up, unflowing, lack leaves us less fit
For that not spent, we vainly thirst
Like the barren hills and the lonely firs.

O Princes and Princesses, who watch as firs succumb
Who see us thirst, yet thrust us forth
If the shoe fit, wear it: you yourselves are sickest.

(You know, when I set out to write a sestina with end-words that sounded vaguely like ordinals, this was not somewhere I imagined it going. Sometimes it's just amazing to sit back a bit and watch your brain work.)

#90 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 05:53 AM:

abi #83: Sorry, Abi. Personally, as I finished the article, I was increasingly bothered by the dominance of military and colonialist feats. (Civilians reforesting their country rates behind settling a mere town on unoccupied land?)

(Also spending a couple of hours on the site last night, I got very annoyed at their reader-control. "You will view these items one at a time, in the order we specify." For every single feature.)

#91 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 05:58 AM:

Terry Karney #43: Stock: I usually use the carcasses of those supermarket chickens. But I wound up with enough stock that I tossed the last carcass and probably will toss the next -- not enough space in my freezer!

#92 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 06:40 AM:

Hillary Clinton knows how to laugh at herself....

Hmm, third comment in a row. Time to go do something offline, like morning stuff.

#93 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 08:04 AM:

David Harmon: Re stock, and a surplus.

Time to start doing more with the stock in the freezer. You could make chicken demi-glace.

#94 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 08:33 AM:

Résumés: I attended a very good résumé workshop given by a recruiter for a Major Engineering Corporation. His biggest point was, paraphrased, "Don't B.S. me. I can tell when you're me and I don't like it. Get specific about what you did and how you did it."

I like this approach. I always felt icky about the kind of résumé B.S. a lot of "résumé advice" recommends -- "Improved customer engagement! Exceeded sales expectations!" Customer engagement measured how? How much improved? How did you make this improvement? What were sales expectations? How much did you exceed them? How did you do it? I always feel like I'm trying to hide something, writing like that.

I therefore have written each entry on my résumé as a terse narrative in the past tense. Something like "Starting with no $language experience, was given $N lines of $language code. Within one month, was improving and extending existing code to implement new data analysis requirements, assigned approximately weekly."

Essentially, pare it down to what you really want to highlight about a job -- how fast you learned something, how much you improved some measurable quantity of interest (sales, speed, efficiency, customer satisfaction). Describe this as specifically and concretely as you can. Use numbers where possible ("$N lines of code," "within one month," "assigned weekly"), if only because they force you to get specific.

Rather than having a block where you just list skills, incorporate the skills keywords into the narratives. That proves you actually used those skills (rather than listing "PowerPoint" as a skill on the strength of once having seen a PowerPoint presentation), but still allows automated keyword searching.

For me this led to a fairly wordy résumé, so I judiciously bolded key words and phrases to aid the eye in a quick scan (along with using layout elements to help break up the Wall O' Text).

It took a lot of work to get specific while still keeping things concise enough to fit on one page, but I did it.

#95 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 09:26 AM:

little pink beast: That's downright breathtaking. The methodical bleakness, and the first stanza in particular, evokes The Waste Land.

Résumés: As a graduate student, I taught a goodly number of college students to write résumés and cover letters -- stressing bullet points and objectives in a rather lockstep way. I've since come to the conclusion, having spent time on the other side of the hiring process, that I did a terrible job of it. (And this is why you don't assign 22-year-olds who have brand-new creative writing degrees and have never held a real job to teach your business writing courses.) Caroline's approach provides much more information about not only a candidate's experience and skills, but their ability to identify highlights and shape bits of data into a coherent whole. Just keep it as concise as possible.

Open-threadiness: Anyone have any ideas for how to engage the academic interest of students who are only in college to play basketball? My usual "What are you doing here if you don't want to learn anything?" pep talk is juiceless here.

#96 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 09:31 AM:

JM: Is there a way to make it relate to basketball/sports? Better skills at discussing the games? Better soundbites for the newscasts? Faster thinking, which means quicker reads of the opposing teams?

#97 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 09:52 AM:


Thanks. I have a feeling it's going to be hard for me to do much of this, because I'm working in the past tense, and even when the stuff is quantifiable, I may not remember the details that way. (I'm more likely to remember a specific example of an error rooted out, than to be able to say how many such there were.) But it's something to aim for.

#98 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 09:54 AM:

TNH #86: It is both general and contextual. All I can say here is that I'm in a very odd place. You shouldn't worry.

#99 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 09:56 AM:

Little pink beast #88: Neatly done.

#100 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 09:58 AM:

Little pink beast #88: Neatly done.

#101 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 10:11 AM:

Fragano @97:
You shouldn't worry.

Won't stop us. But thanks for the reassurance.

#102 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 10:18 AM:

Fragano: Perhaps we shouldn't, but we will.


#103 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 11:23 AM:

JM #94: You might remind them that basketball isn't forever... it might not chew up players as badly as football, but even so, the only way not to age out eventually, is to get taken out by an injury first. And without an education, they'll have little or nothing else to fall back on.

#104 ::: Nanette ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 11:27 AM:

Fragano @98

It is beautifully crafted and for whatever reason rings bells all over my present. Thank you. It may help a lot.


#105 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 12:01 PM:

Fragano @42: Thanks. I couldn't read that yesterday (it was a bad day for me, and lot of things were more gray blob than content-laden). I'm doing better (in part my cold is abating), and I needed something like that; esp. something fresh, not well-trodden, and over-familar.

#106 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 02:16 PM:

Teresa, #0: So by that definition Henry VIII (upon marrying Catherine Parr) could have sung:

For sects in my life I've got someone who needs me,
Someone I've needed so long....

Pericat, #6: I bow to your feline expertise, but my personal viewing experience has been that the ounce first pounces, then trounces, bounces, batters, and finally carries away the starlet in its mouth to an unviewable fate under the bushes [or its catnip equivalent to somewhere in the apartment].

Cadbury Moose, #27: Using the Non-Breakable SPace character (ampersand nbsp semicolon) (no spaces there) might help, but you'd probably also need to trigger a non-proportional (typewriter-like) font to make sure everything lines up, and I don't think Making Light allows such.

Cadbury Moose, #33: Cue religious war over the 2nd Iota in Aluminium.

Xopher, #40: [blank puzzled look] Well, of course. It's not as though he'd done anything wrong, after all. So why would he ever want to run?

...(Proverbs 28:1)

Chris, #48: No, the square showed up, right on schedule. [cue snapping of fingers]

(Sorry, couldn't resist a ready-made Beat joke.)

Dido, #58: Smallish dog-harness; sled; fishing pole; catnip mouse.

Geekosaur, #66: After seeing John Carter of Mars, whose villainous Therns are updated via Ray Kurzweil's "Singularity" to be nanotech-based worldkillers, I think the Borg need to fear a new, entirely post-biological bully in town, and better run before they get assimilated/datastored.

#107 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 02:16 PM:

oops, me @ 85:

fold, cusp, swallowtail, butterfly

#108 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 02:20 PM:

Pyre @106:
I think I've used <tt> in markup here before....

#109 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 02:22 PM:

Fragano @ 42:

That was very evocative, though I'm still sorting through the emotions to see exactly what-all it evoked. Well done.

little pink beast @ 89:

ummmmmm ... sestina
Very good job.

#110 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 02:28 PM:

Terry, I assume you've seen your Primary Care Physician since you've been home, but (especially since you don't mention an MRI or a CT scan)--please, do? My familial experience of Bell's Palsy is that it's often a misdiagnosis or is a sign of serious underlying problems not always noticed at the time of the attack, so . . . please be careful? Sorry, I know I'm probably being redundant, but this is a real trigger-point for me . . .

#111 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 02:33 PM:

In this context it would be remiss of me not to provide a link to Dan Propper's The Fable of the Final Hour which begins:

In the 1st minute of the final hour Walt Whitman was found
in an ancient subwaytunnel beneath 52nd st. where he
had lain in exstasy since the first bars of jazz filtered
through. The trackwalkers who found him immediately
took up their crowbars and smashed in his skull, re-
ceiving two month's pay from the grateful City Council
and promotions to the rank of Conductor;

#112 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 03:10 PM:

Pyre @ 106: Brilliant!

#113 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 03:41 PM:

dido! Salve! What a pleasure to see you again!

#114 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 04:42 PM:

Apropos of nothing, the Who crew on Central Park's Bow Bridge:

They're at Bethesda Fountain now, according to a friend of my teenager, who is there (my teenager is on the way).

#115 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 05:00 PM:

@114: TMF!*

* Too Much Fun!

#116 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 05:08 PM:

A number of us at the north end of Tor are seriously considering playing hooky tomorrow, if we can find out where the filming is . . . others are walking around saying, "they want iconic New York? they should come shoot in front of the Flatiron; after all, everyone else does!" (Well, Bow Bridge is pretty iconic NY, as is Bethesda; can't fault the location scouts there.)

But there are no shooting signs posted in the neighborhood, which there would be if they were shooting here tomorrow.

#117 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 06:07 PM:

I haz a jellus. ::pout::

#118 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 06:35 PM:

More resume notes:

Job history is good, not just your most recent job. If there are major gaps, you can consider what's called a "Skills resume", but I've never used one, and so really can't advise on it. OTOH, you don't need to list every job you've ever had, either. My resume currently has 4 jobs on it, 3 firmly in IT, and 1 where I did some IT stuff on the side since we didn't have a regular IT person. My previous jobs (not in IT) I leave off. My work history goes back far enough that prospective employers haven't commented on it.

Take with caution, as these next notes may only apply in IT:

The one page resume (at least in IT) is no longer a hard and fast requirement - especially since so many job applications are submitted electronically. Mine is 2 pages. I've got a colleague whose resume is 4 pages. Who cares if it needs staples if it's never going to be printed, much less photocopied?

"Objectives" statements are out, "Career Summary" sections are in. As far as I can tell, a career summary is longer, but not as required. Your industry may vary.

#119 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 06:48 PM:

Open Thready link roundup:

Zimmerman to be charged in Death of Trayvon Martin

US Sues Apple and publishers over E-book prices

And in case you needed something to wipe your mind clean:

A particularly spectacular op-art starburst

#120 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 07:29 PM:

#119: AAHHHHHH! That starburst cleared up my allergies but gave me a migraine. Or maybe the other way around. Nggggghhhh!

#121 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 08:05 PM:

#119: That's one of the nastier motion illusions out there; the prevailing wisdom is that the illusory motion you perceive is from microsaccades (your eyes are never really still; even if you fixate, you're going to make tiny involuntary eye movements). If you could keep your eyes entirely, totally still, you'd see it as a static image - until your photoreceptors fatigued, and then you'd see just grey.

#122 ::: Samatha C ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 08:06 PM:

Re: 62 Jon Baker:

Aha! Trick question, because the Kelvin temperature scale doesn't HAVE degrees, it has kelvins (since 1967-68, convention). That is why when it is written (in technical/engineer jargon), it is 0K without a degree sign.

Unless you meant raise the water by a degree of arc, in which case I must to a gunner go.

I'm just not sure where the burning grain fits into that one. Hot air balloon?

#123 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 09:18 PM:

I made it stay still; by focusing on a not quite out of color perception part of the screen... the Y U no like memebase button works well.

#124 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 10:18 PM:

Jacque: I haz a big jellus: she got Steven Moffat's autograph! I am so proud of her and want to kill her at the same time. And Karen Gillan's. And she was about 10 feet from Moffat and Matt Smith.

(I'm also glad there's no school this week because I don't think I could keep her in class with Doctor Who in town.)

She says the fans were very respectful and not pushy and obeyed the crew at all times without giving anybody lip. And mostly they were all stunned and worshipful. Which I can totally understand.

#125 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 10:20 PM:

I don't seriously want to kill her, of course. It's just driving me a little nutso that she managed this. She has so much more "self" than I did at her age; while I'm pleased at that, it does occasionally make me feel kind of like I'm missing out on stuff.

#126 ::: lisajulie ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 10:30 PM:

re: stock

Tooting my own horn, I posted about the making of stock (the lazy/easy way) at

At last count, I have over twenty 1 quart bags of frozen stock in the freezer. And they are being used and renewed.

#127 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 10:47 PM:


try not to hate
food on plate
at fifty-eight we all rotate
like pretty Kate has sex ornate
to separate
the number eight
to decimate
your unborn mate

#128 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 11:14 PM:

Jon Baker at #62 ?!?!?!?!?!

I had to do some Wikipedia research to understand that question.

ambiguity of whether hobbet is a unit of volume or weight confounds the dimensional analysis.

to say nothing of its regional variations.

do you have the answer to the question?

I am tying my brain in knots wondering whether an answer could even exist.

#129 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 11:47 PM:

Samatha C @122: I remember complaining about that to Kim Stanley Robinson at a signing of Green Mars -- he kinda blew me off at the time...but in Blue Mars he then got it right.

#130 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2012, 11:55 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 116... Frex, "Bell, Book and Candle"...

#131 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 06:08 AM:

Terry Karney #93: The problem is, I do very little from-scratch cooking -- between living alone, and uneven spoon budget, I'm lucky to toss stock cubes into quick soups or pots of rice.

(Also most of my stock is already at least half-way to demi-glace, and once the stuff has cooled once, I've never yet succeeded in further reducing the stuff without burning it.)

#132 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 06:25 AM:

@131 The reason I used to make stock when I was single was that it was, effectively, pre-made soup.

Throw frozen lump of stock in pot. Turn on low, go do something else until it's mostly thawed. (I didn't own a microwave at the time.) Add noodles and whatever. Turn up the heat and cook until the noodles and whatever are done. Slurp, sometimes from the saucepan I heated it in, while surfing the internet.

#134 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 07:45 AM:

Strong rumors of a night shoot at Grand Central tonight. Do I let the teenager go? (Go with her?)

#135 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 08:24 AM:

Melissa Singer, I know what you mean. For me, twenty-eight seems to be the age where I am old enough that people younger than I am are not showing great potential but succeeding at things I thought you had to be influential/important/awesome to do. They go out and get their success, while I was taught that you wait and eventually opportunities will show themselves and 'great potential' was all I could really hope for.

I am really down on myself this morning.

On resumes: I'm kind of giving up on ever getting a realjob. I'm tired all the time from subjobbing, I only just found the search term that returns jobs I'm more qualified for, I haven't been going about this systematically-- checking USAjobs every four days, checking Jobs@UIowa every week-- and when in doubt, I point to the raw numbers as if it matters at all. People ask me if I've thought of going back to school, and what can I tell them? No, because I don't carry any school debt (parents took undergrad, grad school paid me twice what I make now). No, because I have two degrees already and neither is helping. No, because at twenty-eight (almost) it is really terrible that I haven't had a single job that wasn't school. Not a real job. Not a job I can live on without panicking pretty much continuously from December to now. People ask me if I want to go into publishing, but that's not my background, even though two of my four interviews have been for writing/editing jobs.

So if anyone needs a biologist, mostly molecular, with engineering background and a license for semicolons, or any combination of those, who learns fast but is anxious about screwing up, let me know.

#136 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 10:49 AM:

Diatryma @135:

It's complicated for me. Undiagnosed depression which struck at about 14, undiagnosed ASD (or something very like), oldest/good child syndrome, plus I was my daughter's age in the mid-1970s, which was a time when a teenage girl wandering around NYC on her own was a target in a number of ways that don't apply today. NYC then was a grimmer place to grow up in than NYC today (caveat: speaking from a position of privilege; for many people, it is quite as grim today as it was then).

I was paralytically shy as well.

All this sounds so strange to people who know me now, because I have a Big Personality, but that me didn't exist when I was 15-16. She developed as I "got better." Sometimes it still feels like a shell over the real me, and sometimes it feels like the real me.

At the same time, under certain circumstances, I could talk to people I admired. I went to a lot of theater even as a teen and hung around by the stage door after and got autographs and said things to the performers, who were generally gracious.

What I couldn't have done was wake up in the morning and say to myself: I'm going to go wander around Manhattan in the hope that X will happen. I'll blow off the homework or chores or whatever I was "supposed to" be doing and deal with them later, because I want to do this thing that I might never have a chance to do. I mean, I did do some cool stuff--went to tiny comic book conventions, the last Star Trek Welcommittee convention, etc.--but everything was always planned ahead of time. I was not spontaneous (and am not, or not very, even today).

The kid, otoh, knows what she wants and goes for it. Last year, when she started high school, she learned that Men in Black III was shooting across the street from school, at Kaufman Astoria. She came home in October and said to me, "I am going to meet Will Smith. Somehow. I'm going to make that happen."

I said, "good luck, dear, more power to you."

It took about 6 weeks, during which she made friends with craft services, the guy who drove the honeywagon, and pretty much anyone else who would talk to her. One day I got a text message which was a photo of her and a friend and Will Smith; he had one arm around each girl and they were in his dressingroom/trailer.

I mean, ?seriously? How did she do that?

By being herself.

Lord knows her life is not perfect; it's full of normal teenage trouble and angst and she has a sometimes crabby and irrational parent (that would be me). And I've no idea what her future holds.

But I have to admire her.

Job-wise, let me just say this, which I hope is not hlepy . . .

When I was younger, I had a good friend who never had a "real" job. She was a good decade older than I was, and all her jobs were temporary or part time or freelance or some combination thereof. I worried about her a lot--how was she going to keep a roof over her head? Have enough to eat? Etc.

But she made it work. She always had just enough work to pay the bills and she enjoyed the freedom of her non-work hours, many of which she devoted to creative pursuits or (almost) volunteer work (some with a local theater company).

A few years ago she got her first "real" job, with benefits. She still works elsewhere because it's not a big salary, but remains mostly pleased with her life. She's in her 60s now and has lived this way for about 30 years. It works for her.

It's definitely a mindset thing. I would be nuts without a steady paycheck but my friend had faith that she would always find "enough" work, and she always has.

#137 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 12:21 PM:

Checking with one's regular doctor on Bell's Palsy is a good idea, yes, but it is often idiopathic. Of course, given that it can be a symptom of larger neurological issues, that may just mean that they don't always know what's going on. And it's one of those things to mention if you're getting a workup for anything else neurological later. Let the doctor decide whether it's relevant: if you don't mention it, they can't.

Bell's palsy is one of those things where recurrence is likely. Not that Terry, or anyone else who has had it once, will probably have it again, but Bell's Palsy is significantly more likely to happen to people who've had it before than to those who haven't.

#138 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 12:53 PM:

Melissa Singer @125: She has so much more "self" than I did at her age

Does she give lessons?

C. Wingate @133: Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style

OMG. Those are freakin' brilliant. And she has the perfect face for that style.

Melissa Singer @134: Quelle fromage, you have to ask!?

Diatryma @135: They go out and get their success, while I was taught that you wait and eventually opportunities will show themselves and 'great potential' was all I could really hope for.

Just wait until you're into your fifties, and having these thoughts.... ::sigh::

Melissa Singer @136: I mean, ?seriously? How did she do that? By being herself.

All right. Ghoddamnit. I need to meet this person. Would you-all tolerate an out-of-town visitor some weekend after May? I'm dead serious about this.

#139 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 01:02 PM:

DanR @ 127 - Yayyyyyyy!

(It's an earworm, but one I don't mind having.)

#140 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 01:14 PM:

Terry and David: Thanks for the suggestions! I think I would feel too mean playing the "Any day could bring a career-ending injury" card, but the tactic of casting basketball as both a lens for analysis and a stepping-stone to future pursuits might be just what I needed.

I'm feeling a lot better today about my clutch of lanky, sullen-looking dudes after administering a brief, mild scolding to the whole class, not singling anyone out, after which every one of the problem students looked abashed and immediately buckled down to work.

Melissa Singer: I'm so impressed with your daughter! I, too, wish I could be that bold.

#141 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 01:15 PM:

Open Thread-y -

All hail my roommate, who, in the course of making dinner, made delicious meatballs, boiled pasta, drank two glasses of wine, tossed said pasta in a light cream & lemon sauce, and somehow managed to turn the burner knob far enough down that the flame went out but the gas stayed on.

On the plus side, we neither 'sploded nor suffocated in our sleep and the apartment no longer smelled of gas by the time we left for work. On the minus side, she's no longer permitted in the kitchen. (she blames the messiness of said kitchn for her futile attempt at mass apartment 302 extinction. I blame her lack of general understanding of our un-subtle stove controls and her drinking while cooking.)

So I guess I get to be the cook again. feh.

#142 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 01:34 PM:

nerdycellist: Very glad you are not 'sploded or suffocated.

My general reaction, however, was !yikes!

I have a gas stove too, and have actually managed that trick a couple of times, but usually catch it within seconds--it usually happens _while_ I am cooking, not after. When I'm done, I turn the burners off very firmly, having lived with my share of temperamental gas stoves.

And I have a very messy, disorganized kitchen. But checking the burner knobs should be automatic.

So sorry you will have to resume being sole cook.

#143 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 01:48 PM:

People keep saying I "made" my daughter the way she is, but darned if I can figure out how. She is who she is, and has been since forever. When she was 3 or 4, without my urging, she'd walk up to bigger kids on the playground and ask if she could play with them. They usually said yes, too. I couldn't have taught her how to do that--I still can't do the adult equivalent of that (though I'm better at it than I used to be because I learned from my kid). So it has to be innate. Somehow.

(She insists she is shy, btw, and she is, situationally.)

I just don't want her to lose it, whatever it is. Finding the right college will help.

The Grand Central Station shoot is apparently very, very late tonight (as in early tomorrow morning), so that's out (and it may be a closed set anyway; if they're filming inside, the station is officially closed from 2-5 AM). Tudor City looks like a better choice, around dinnertime.

Jacque: alas, my tiny 1-bedroom apartment could be featured on an episode of Hoarders, so we do not entertain, but if you can find a place to crash, we can definitely visit/hang out! (I'd really like to meet you.) If "after May" equals "not June" (because of finals), even better. We will be around most of summer, except possibly a couple of weeks at the end of July/beginning of August, when we may be in CA.

#145 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 03:06 PM:

And, old news (March), it seems there is a commercial sock-puppet service for radio talk-show call-ins. Link.

Heee, er, kraw.

#146 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 04:08 PM:

This must often be being done without the talk show host's knowwledge, as well. Astroturf is all about creating the appearance of a crowd of people thinkign a certain way, and a crowd all calling in to say the same thing is a perfectly good way to do that.

Talk shows book guests to generate ratings and controversy, and routinely book people who are known paid shills for one side or another, or who are known liars. News stories, even relatively respectable ones, are often quite dishonest, omitting some relevant information or editing footage to tell the story the news channel wants told.

These are what we collectively use as a gauge of what people are thinking, what the range of respectable or sensible ideas includes, what the world really looks like. And these things are also massively deceptive, with many of the most respectable sources of news having been visibly used as propaganda organs, or caught making up evidence to make their news story spicier or easier to believe.

Our sensors are both buggy and compromised. If you are building a substantial part of your picture of the world from those sensors, you are internalizing a picture of the world that is riddled with lies and errors. There are better and worse sources of information, but finding multiple sources with very different agendas, and getting access to ground truth or data as close to the source as possible, is a huge win.

Even worse, mass media determine a big part of the consensus worldview on which we make our decisions, even though much of that worldview is flat wrong, omits critical stuff, includes bullshit, etc. I don't know how we even begin to fix that as a society.

#147 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 04:30 PM:

Explosive gas detectors are cheap (that is, under a hundred bucks) and reliable. Get the kind you need based on what you cook with: Propane or natural gas (the difference is in the placement of the detector). You can get combo explosive-gas/carbon-monoxide detectors. Hardware stores everywhere carry 'em right on the shelves.

This has been a public service announcement from your friendly local EMT who hates having to go to scenes that he can't enter to help the sick/injured until after the guy in the turnout coat and SCBA tells him it's safe to go in.

#148 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 05:33 PM:

nerdycellist @ 141

On most gas stoves, the burners can be adjusted so they won't go out on low; this thread has a good description.

My own notes: it's worth putting a drop WD-40 or PB on the adjusting screw and letting it sit for a day before trying to adjust. Also, if your adjusting screws aren't under the knobs (they usually are), you can often find a repair maual online by searching for the exact model name and "service manual" or "repair manual".

#149 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 06:04 PM:

Re: Patrick's "noisy bars" sidebar: They should have measured how long people stayed, and how many people walked in and went right back out again. Excessively loud music is one of the ways a place can lose my business altogether.

#150 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 06:05 PM:

Also, SamChevre, your link is broken -- apparently, truncated.

#151 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 06:09 PM:

Melissa Singer @143: People keep saying I "made" my daughter the way she is, but darned if I can figure out how. She is who she is, and has been since forever.

Please do, at least, take credit for not repressing that tendancy. I was like that when I was very young. School and my mom largely beat it out of me. I've largely gotten it back, but I lost a lot of time.

if you can find a place to crash, we can definitely visit/hang out!

Sa-WEET. I'll start nosing about. Not-May & not-June, Roger. This, of course, brings up the question of where in NYC? (It's been eons since I was out there. Good excuse for a visit! Any cons in the appropriate time-frame you go to?)

#152 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 06:15 PM:

Thanks David Harmon

Fixed link to the for adjusting stove burners.

#153 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 07:12 PM:

SamChevre #152: That one works. Thanks!

#154 ::: The Spacecat ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 08:29 PM:

All of physics is enwrapped, thus:

"What goes up, must come down."

All else is mere detail.

#155 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 08:55 PM:

Singing Wren at # 118 and others: My IT hiring experience was a decade ago, but I think a lot of it still applies. Even if the resumé is never printed out, length still matters to some extent. Remember that I've got thirty others to look at; if yours is the hardest to read or skim, that's not good news for you. Give more details about your recent experience than about the older jobs. I don't care what anyone did fifteen years ago unless you were granted some patents or published a book in your field or won the Turing Prize.

#156 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 08:56 PM:


Area woman had interviews with IT recruiters from two agencies today. Both agencies appear ready to pass area woman's information on to appropriate clients, although one recruiter thinks area woman's requested salary may be too high. (Area woman thinks recruiter's clients are cheapskates, as other recruiting company found identical salary request to be perfectly reasonable.) Common sense dictates that all recruiters and clients shall remain anonymous during this HLN update.

In other news, area woman discovers she now gets nervous after interviews. "Better then than during the interview."

#157 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 08:56 PM:

Spacecat, #154: Pull back the camera view enough to take in the whole globe, plus a few hundred miles in each direction, and that statement might be reformulated:

"What goes out* must come in."

* (Unless at escape velocity or higher.)
Whether the footnote applies to the overall universe (in the Big Bang/Big Crunch expand/collapse model)... makes for an interesting discussion.

#158 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 09:02 PM:

Jim @147: Explosive gas detectors are cheap (that is, under a hundred bucks) and reliable.

Be sure to test them from time to time. Not just "press the test button and see if it beeps" testing, but actual "does it go off when exposed to what it's supposed to detect" testing. I've seen one years-old propane detector that "tested" just fine, but didn't go off when there was a problem with the stove, and later didn't go off when a propane tank was vented directly onto it.

#159 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 09:36 PM:

Jacque @151: We live in Queens but travel regularly elsewhere, mostly Manhattan but also Brooklyn. This means pretty much stay wherever; we'll meet somewhere in the middle, lol. Or, if you're really far out in Brooklyn, we'll go to Coney (Island).

Conventions--I'm not on the circuit, really, but I don't think so.

Plenty of other stuff to do here, of course, depending on your interests. Museums, zoos, botanical gardens, mini-golf, tons of walking tours, etc.

(Sorry about the date strictures but school is school, kwim? the NYC school year starts just after Labor Day and runs very nearly to the end of June.)

#160 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 09:48 PM:

One, two, three, a heap.

#161 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 09:56 PM:

I'm a little sorry that Santorum got out of the race. I would have preferred to have Romney and Santorum clawing at each other until the nominating convention. Now only Gingrich is left to do that, and his heart isn't in it.

#162 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 10:01 PM:

Chris, #158: Yes, but as long as the alarm works fine ("beeeeeep!"), the trivial detail that the detector circuit doesn't actually detect anything is surely secondary.*

When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was Milwaukee County Executive (for the preceding seven years), he saved money by canceling infrastructure inspections and maintenance. His last year in office, while he was campaigning (successfully) to move up to Governor, a heavy concrete panel fell off the side of a County parking garage onto two pedestrians, killing one. Poor attachments (never detected due to lack of inspection) plus years of freezing/thawing damage (never detected due to lack of inspection). But don't blame Walker; how could he have known there were problems there? They'd never been detected!
* The brilliant linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf, whose day job was fire inspector,** might have suggested part of the problem was calling such gadgets "alarms" (e.g. "fire alarms," "smoke alarms") rather than "detectors" to begin with; now when we test the alarm portion of the device (push button, get beep), we tend to forget we haven't tested the whole process of the device at all.

** After all the fires Whorf had seen caused by cigarettes or matches tossed into "empty" oil or gas drums, he was keenly aware that words can have an almost hypnotic effect on our (non)recognition of physical reality -- e.g. that "empty" of fluid does not mean "empty" of fumes.

#163 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 10:10 PM:

#94, no BS on resumes:

well doesn't that depend on what sort of person is reading it?

some people relate better to truthiness than to facts. maybe the resume weeder-outer will be one of those. maybe BS is a valuable skill if you are going into something like sales rather than engineering.

#164 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 10:11 PM:

WRT Santorum exiting the race: is generally a cesspool, but every so often there's a gem.

#165 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 10:12 PM:

I swear, the NRA could convince some of these saps that aliens in Mohawks from Eminiar VII are coming to get their guns, and they would pass a law that forbade the United States to enter into treaties with people from beyond our galaxy.

Charles Pierce

#166 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 11:13 PM:

Lizzy L @ 161... only Gingrich is left to do that, and his heart isn't in it

The Grinch, a bitter, cave-dwelling creature with a heart "two sizes too small"...

#167 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 11:39 PM:

Today, we were sent a request to fill up details about who fulfilled which function within our team.
I was quite amused by the examples the requestors used.

Technical Architect - Ned Stark
Data Analyst - Tyrion
Production Support - Jon Snow
Developer - Arya

#168 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2012, 11:53 PM:

Singing Wren, when I had my most recent The Job interview, I declared it to be a day for Interview Sushi. Whether the interview went well or poorly, I was getting half-price sushi from the place I like. The next interview, for a non-The-Job job, also involved sushi, this time brought home from the grocery store.

Interview sushi is a really good thing.

#169 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 12:58 AM:

Spacecat @154: entropy. Entropy always wins.

And on the iPad thread, Entropy has apparently claimed my cookie, as I had to refill the posting info.

I could use mybluetooth keyboard, but if I'm going to go to that much trouble, I'll just grab the 6 yr old MacBook. It's still a better browsing experience, at least while the battery holds out.

#170 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 01:19 AM:

xeger @52: There's a hole in the bottom of the sea?

Bill Higgins @38: You, sir, win all my internets.

#171 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 02:17 AM:

eric @169

I'm seeing that cookie vanish between sessions. Other websites don't seem to suffer from lost
cookies. It's odd.

#172 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 03:22 AM:

172nd comment on thread 172?

#173 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 03:40 AM:

Bill Stewart @172:

It's called a Bitzer. Which makes me wonder where the Kid is these days.

#174 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 05:42 AM:

The BBC reports on a rather attractive hamster.

#175 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 05:45 AM:

Following up on the cookie problem, I am now trying Firefox

#176 ::: |Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 05:49 AM:

And another try. Firefox didn't seem to store the cookie between sessions.

#177 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 05:52 AM:

And now it did. For Firefox, at least, you need to enable scripting (I have NoScript installed). This might seem a bit obscure, but I am going to have a close look at the settings on my normal browser, now.

#178 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 06:38 AM:

#52 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2012, 07:17 PM:
xeger @ 52:

A trunk
A trunk/branches
A trunk/branches/leaves

...and the bog down in the valley-o.

#179 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 07:30 AM:

Paging Rambling Sid; Would Rambling Sid Rumpo please pick up the pink woggler's nurdle?

#180 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 07:46 AM:

Habby Birthday, B Durbin!!!

#181 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 08:01 AM:

Habby B-Durbin-Day!

And, I'm waiting to be picked up for my first trail hike of the year. (With Gracie, yay!)

#182 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 08:19 AM:

At #170, Elise writes:

Bill Higgins @38: You, sir, win all my internets.

*blushes* Aw, shucks, ma'am.

#183 ::: ma larkey ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 09:02 AM:

Open threadiness:

a sempre pio piano dolcemente

i make no move to hide the silver hair
i need to see the gleam here and there
the sign i cannot pluck away
i am older than i seem today
and older still,
and ever bolder I hold quiet for these threads
of frost on my head, touched with the cold
rushing uncovered to a colorless air
I see it at my temples, at my crown
I see it springing in my step
and in my winding down
I make my peace
I cannot wait to see
what it looks like to be
untrammeled by more color.

there are copper strands as well
announcing fire as my fingers weave
through the heavy locks
and it is not a stain, a veneer, a pose---
I love that I have no use for those.

#184 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 09:04 AM:

Me #181: Whoops, I was confused. The hiking resumes next week. :-(

#185 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 09:38 AM:

David Garmon @ 181... With Gracie, yay!

Say goodnight?

#186 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 09:38 AM:

It's 'Harmon', me twit.

#187 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 10:31 AM:

ma larky #83 (and many many more over many many threads over many many years):

You know what would be great? An anthology of ML poetry. In hard-copy, so that it might survive.

#188 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 11:01 AM:

Jim, I'd buy one.

#189 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 11:07 AM:

Diatryma @ 135

So if anyone needs a biologist, mostly molecular, with engineering background and a license for semicolons, or any combination of those, who learns fast but is anxious about screwing up, let me know.

That sounds to me like a perfect background for the industry I'm in (biotech pharmaceutical production). In particular, the molecular biology/engineering intersection would be a strong selling point for someone doing development/troubleshooting in biotech production processes. Where I work, the departments in question would be named things like "manufacturing sciences" or "production engineering".

You might need to move to one of the biotech ghettos (like the SF bay area) to get the best opportunities, but there are plenty of companies in the midwest as well.

And, believe me, the additional ability to write/edit clear, communicative prose is not at all a handicap in the field!

#191 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 11:28 AM:

Jim, I'd probably be willing to pay for one.

#192 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 11:59 AM:

@#156 ::: Singing Wren
It appears you may be somewhat local to my area. (I peeked at your blog) The IT consulting company for whom I currently work is almost always hiring in this neck of the woods. Please let me know if you'd like more info, and best of luck to you in the job hunt.

#193 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 01:03 PM:

So would I, Terry.

The rights situation would be horrible, but whatcha gonna do?

#194 ::: dido ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 02:00 PM:

maximas tibi gratias ago, abi! (Not for the welcome, however much it makes me happy, but for the hard, illuminating work I've been reading here over the last . . . [yikes, really?] three or four years.

#195 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 02:08 PM:

Jim... we could build an Lj, and then it could be done as a samizdat.

#197 ::: David Harmon has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 02:09 PM:

Computerworld link?

#198 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 02:36 PM:

Jim @ 193 - Mike's rights issues would be the ones I would cringe about, because it wouldn't be a book of ML poems without including him. I'd think that most of the commentariat are still contactable.

#199 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 03:03 PM:

Thunder and lightning in. Burbank!

#200 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 03:11 PM:

Happy b-day, B-Durbin!

#201 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 03:31 PM:

Ever wonder why the media do such a crappy job reporting the news?. Msybe that's just not the kind of business they are really in.

#202 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 05:30 PM:

On Doctor Who...

Photos from New York

#203 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 05:55 PM:

Hey, B Durbin, Happy Birthday!

#204 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 06:23 PM:

Thanks, Heather Rose Jones! I will look into that. Part of my problem is that I went to grad school in engineering to do the biology my adviser was doing-- 'environmental engineering' is a mishmash department just about everywhere. So I have an engineering degree but no engineering certification, nor do I want the latter.

An open thread cry for assistance: I had a spreadsheet someone else had sent me to fill in. I filled it in, sorted it, had tons of information. I saved frequently. I sent it back... or at least I sent the email; I forgot to attach the spreadsheet. Now I can't find the filled-in spreadsheet. My current hypothesis is that it was read-only and I managed not to save it as my own thing, but wouldn't it have told me that more than the once I might remember?

I hate screwing things up. Seriously.

#205 ::: ma larkey ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 06:34 PM:

Jim @187 Aww. Thanks for implanting the idea that maybe someone will buy this wonderful feeling. I have no idea how it would work, to get the rights and stuff or make plans to pass custodianship(?) conservatorship(?) to someone. A long while back there were links to forms one might use, but I lost them. Sometime after MF died. I keep telling myself to do something towards that end. As if there are things worth saving from my dreckpiles.

HLN: loopy person placed gadgets clear across the room in effort to Get More Sleep, and also to avoid that punchdrunk tendency of sleep deprived person to text and email when impaired by said lack. did it work? yes and no. Not more rest for the human, oh no, throes of internet withdrawal--- but the gadgets didn't heat up and they got their electronic rest.

#206 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 06:34 PM:

Diatryma @204:

More likely, it saved it somewhere in your email temp file structure. Two suggestions:

1. Check your spreadsheet program's recent documents: most programs keep track of the last 5 or 10 things you've dealt with. It may be in there.

2. Get another spreadsheet in email (send it to yourself or something). Try, not saving it, but save as, and look at the path that the system is offering you. It'll probably be somewhere temp-ish. Go into a file browser and look at that directory, and one or two directories up the tree. Sort them by date and see if there are any recent files in there.

#207 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 07:03 PM:

Thanks for the suggestions, Abi; I'll have to try the second the next time something goes missing. But this particular spreadsheet isn't showing up in *any* of the recent documents, nor the whole-computer Recently Changed list. I just saved a new version with no trouble, so apparently it wasn't read-only and not telling me, and it saved to the logical folder rather than a random one.

It's the amazing vanishing spreadsheet! I may have found a hole in the universe. Sigh.

#208 ::: Cecy ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 10:02 PM:

Diatryma @207 - if you haven't already tried this, you might try reopening the attachment on the original email sent to you and see if the changes have been saved there. I know Outlook will let you save changes to an attachment (and will frantically ask if you're sure you want to close an email if an attachment is still open).

Crossing fingers for you! :-)

#209 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 10:18 PM:

Well, I've mostly made up the work-- okay, not the work, but the essential parts of it. I lost a lot of notes and such. What's bugging me is really just that I have no idea where that information went. I did everything the same for the second spreadsheet, and that's saved perfectly fine. Where could it have gone?

Thanks for the suggestions, Cecy. That seems like a weird way to run email/attachments, but then, I am wed to Gmail.

#210 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2012, 10:41 PM:

Melissa, #125: I hear that. I sometimes feel the same way about my partner's daughter. (And so does he, as in how did he ever come to raise such a changeling?)

Jim, #187: This has been discussed before (back around 2009 IIRC) and there was a problem identified -- getting permissions from people who might not be around any more (literally or figuratively). If that can be resolved, I'd certainly buy one. And a ML cookbook as well.

#212 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 12:49 AM:

I need help identifying a piece of music.

It's religious music, created specifically for South American congregations in "mission times." Performed A cappella.



#213 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 07:27 AM:

Bill Stewart #211: As the CSM article notes, the dinosaurs themselves were nothing like inevitable -- might as well worry about Burgess Shale types, or methane-breathers.

The biggest challenge to the anthropocentric principle here is probably: how important, and how special, was our Moon?

On the other hand, I have an SF conceit lurking around: Among the interstellar community, a race of theropods (or at least records of them) wandering around, that came from Earth. Why didn't we notice the remnants of their pre-space civilization? Well, other species nickname them the "Footprint Lifters"....

#214 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 09:05 AM:

I like that writers use Kickstarter so that their projects can see the light of day. The first time I pledged to one, it was for Mary Robinette Kowal's puppet show at last year's worldcon. Next was Mary Anne Mohanraj's novel, Now it's for M.K. Hobson's, who obviously has no shame, hawking her own literary project by showing off newborn puppies. :-)

Details - and puppies - HERE...

#215 ::: Serge Broom has been GNOMED in ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 09:07 AM:

I've been gnomed. I should have known better than to post about three writers named Mary, *and* about puppies.

#217 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 09:52 AM:

Thrilling conclusion to my spreadsheet woes: I sent off the new file last night. This morning, I hear that when opened, it reveals the first ten rows looking appropriate, and everything else not. It's been saved as CSV and sent again. Next step: screenshots.

And it's not a good time for this to be happening, either. I'm potentially a tiebreaker. Gr.

(I'm being quiet about what exactly the spreadsheet is for privacy and stress-to-others reasons.)

#218 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 09:54 AM:

Serge Broom, #215: Recalling that the Latin mare=sea is often associated with [the Vigin] Mary in a very pun-like way in hymns (thus Mary is also Stella Maris, Star of the Sea, like Polaris the "guiding star" of ships)... and you've got 3 Marys... and puppies....

Three brave puppies went to sea,
Called Mary-One, and -Two, and -Three.
     A Stella Maris, oro tibi
     Pro catellae viā pelagi.


#219 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 10:07 AM:

Er, shocking grammar flub, didn't properly case the plural "catellae" (puppies). Brainfog.

Perhaps I should have slept after all. thunk

#220 ::: Christopher Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 10:13 AM:

So over in the left column Abi has posted a link to "Google BBS" which shows you what Google might have looked like as a green screen application in the 80s.

Which, don't get me wrong, is a neat link, but I confess I was disappointed. I misread the link, you see, and I was expecting "GOOGLE BBC:"

"And now, on Google BBC 1, a dog riding a skateboard. On Google BBC 2, something improbable created from Legos. On Google BBC 3, cats."

#221 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 11:34 AM:

Pyre @ 218... (smiles)

#222 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 11:42 AM:

Kidney infection. Antibiotics. Cold (even though I'm wearing lots of clothes, and sitting in front of a radiant heater.) Incredibly tired. Enormous, monumental brain fog. The pharmacist said it would take more or less 72 hours for me to feel better. I feel like I've been shifting boulders.

Good thoughts, please.

#223 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 11:48 AM:

Lizzy L (222): Urk! My sympathies. Good thoughts winging your way.

#224 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 12:01 PM:

Lizzy L... Best wishes.

#225 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 12:16 PM:

Lizzy, #222: Sounds like seriously Not Fun. GoodThoughts being sent.

#226 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 12:25 PM:

Lizzy L, feel better soonest!

#227 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 12:54 PM:

Banned from Kickstarter for being a stalking victim.

Summary: This person has had a cyber-stalker for 10 years, who floods every post she makes with spam. Kickstarter deleted her project and threatened her with a permanent ban because of something she has no control over. Someone notes in the comments to this post that any Kickstarter project is now vulnerable to the actions of hate groups.

#228 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 02:13 PM:

Lee @227

Not just hate groups. Any sufficiently motivated jerk with an axe to grind.

#229 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 02:22 PM:

Lizzy L @222: Much sympathy and many best wishes!

#230 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 03:58 PM:

Lizzy L, best wishes for minimal suffering and a speedy recovery.

#231 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 04:55 PM:

Lizzy L #222: All the best!

#232 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 07:28 PM:

Best wishes from here too, Lizzy.

#233 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 07:39 PM:

Argh! Fell better Lizzy.

#234 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 08:50 PM:

Unrelated to anything here:

I am starting to think that real and/or effective apologies tend to be brief. Otherwise they go from "I'm sorry for this mistake, I understand how it must have upset you" through "I can't deny that I'd be bothered too" to "While I'd like to attempt to 'explain' how it happened, I understand that a) an explanation won't undo what was done and b) in the end, as the writer and editor of the newsletter's content, the buck must stop with me."

And then several paragraphs of attempting to explain how it happened, including naming someone else who was involved and implying that it was more her fault than his. (That he referred to her as "the young woman who handles data entry" doesn't help.)

Since I can't think of anything useful to say to this person, given that he is no longer involved with the organization in question, I'm posting here rather than try to give him a brief course in how not to apologize.

#235 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 09:17 PM:

Stefan Jones, the only thing of similar nature I know is from the soundtrack to The Mission.

I am not sure if that's the proper stress pattern.

The melody starts around 1:00 on this movie trailer:

but there are times when it is sung by a chorus, not just the high voices.

#236 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2012, 10:12 PM:

Lizzy L: Feel better soon!

#237 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 12:41 AM:

#235: That's it, Nancy!

(Google, google, "On Earth as it is in Heaven.")

#238 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 12:53 AM:

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

On that note, I have misplaced my one-year-old. But since I've got a two-year-old now, I haven't looked too hard. (my... press-cioussss...)

#239 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 12:58 AM:

B. Durbin: You remind me of when I successfully trolled Kip W. by noting that I no longer had a girlfriend, and was moving to Houston. He sympathized, and asked why the move: "Well, my fiancée just got a job there...."

#240 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 02:09 AM:

Lizzy L.: Get lots of rest and get better soon.

#241 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 11:20 AM:

HLN: Area woman turns out to be a fair-weather media blogger, finally revives her Babylon 5 rewatch series now that spring is here.

#242 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 11:53 AM:

Lizzy, how's it going today?

#243 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 11:54 AM:

Dear all, thank you for your prayers, good wishes, and kind thoughts. I give thanks for antibiotics. No more pain, and the acute brain fog has lifted. I am not healed, but definitely improved.

#244 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 01:34 PM:

Continued healing, Lizzy L.

#245 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 03:21 PM:

Weed Identification

So we have a plant in our yard whose basal leaves look just like a (fairly ratty and elongated) dandelion's, but it then puts up a tall spike and produces tiny white flowers just like a shepherd's purse's.

We are very confused over here, and online weed-keys are not solving the dilemma.

For those who remember, my last puzzle-weed is now definitely confirmed to be purple deadnettle.

#246 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 03:39 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 245: Could it be sow thistle?

#247 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 03:46 PM:

Elliott Mason @245: Chickory resembles dandilion with a tall central spike, though it has blue flowers.

#248 ::: Jacque , gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 03:46 PM:

...probably for the Google search URL.

#249 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 05:09 PM:

Lizzy L, hurrah that you're feeling better! Additional good-health mojo on the way should you need it.

#250 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 10:29 PM:

An interesting supplement to "Being Poor Means."

#251 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 10:58 PM:

British Blogger Sentenced to Jail supposedly for saying "cunt" on Twitter, actually for criticizing his town council. (via Daily What)

His comments: "You've been cromwelled".

another blogger, Malcolm Knight, on the matter.

#252 ::: David Harmon has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2012, 10:59 PM:

Three links, British political stuff

#253 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 12:45 AM:

Caroline, I wasn't the one who was asking, but thank you for clearing up that plant I had been curious about too.

#254 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 08:52 AM:

B. Durbin -- I'm glad it was helpful!

There are a few different kinds of sow thistle, from what I can figure out:

Spiny sowthistle
Annual sowthistle
Perennial sowthistle
And smooth sowthistle, references to which seem to be mostly British Isles-based.

So if the first link I posted doesn't quite match either your weed or Elliott Mason's, perhaps another variety?

#255 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 08:53 AM:

Gnomed, presumably for four sow-thistle-related URLs.

#256 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 10:52 AM:

Caroline @246: Not sow thistle; those are puffball flowers, not tiny specks with 4 eensy petals. I often describe sow thistle as 'a skinny dandelion on stilts'.

Jacque @247: I absolutely adore chicory, and this isn't it. The exact shade of actinic periwinkle blue that chicory flowers are on the first morning they open is my favorite color in all the world. :->

This is a really odd little weed. It honestly looks like someone took the spike/stem from a shepherd's-purse (minus the tiny heart-shaped leaves) and glued it into a dandelion base.

I'm pretty good at weed-ID, at least of stuff that I've been around before, but this new house has a slightly different biome and is turning up species I haven't encountered since my mom's yard in childhood.

The other plant-ID confusions I'm encountering is in the department of planted-on-purpose ornamentals, which I'm not nearly as good on as weeds. :-> We have peonies! Also lily-of-the-valley (both of which I did know on sight) and a big wad of something that I'm sure are bulbs but not sure what KIND of bulbs; the initial leaves are coming out of the ground all veiny and convoluted, which is a new one on me.

#257 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 11:45 AM:

Elliot Mason @ 256 ...

Beaked Cornsalad?

#258 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 11:46 AM:

Elliot Mason @ 256 ...

Beaked Cornsalad?

#259 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 03:01 PM:

abi @241: Your page is throwing malware warnings.

#260 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 03:19 PM:

Jacque @259:
Your page is throwing malware warnings.

Serge reported the same thing—BitDefender, right? I went and looked on the support pages, BitDefender is prone to false alarms on WordPress blogs.

Note that is a hosted blog mirrored onto a custom URL. In other words, I'm only using WordPress' own centrally provided and maintained software and plugins. (That's not the same as, which gives you software to install locally, and which has been known to have malware.)

So unless WordPress itself has been hacked—and I checked, and it hasn't—it's a false alarm.

#261 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 03:38 PM:

abi: Trend Micro is the filter on this machine. It blocked your site, so I'll have to wait until I get home. (A lot of times it's the sidebar ads that cause trouble.)

#263 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 03:47 PM:

Jacque @261:
Trend Micro is the other culprit mentioned in the support threads as prone to blocking WP blogs for no reason.


#264 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 04:07 PM:

William Finley, the Phantom of the Paradise, passed away yesterday.

#265 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 04:26 PM:

Serge: Finley was only 69.

Hollywood Reporter obit:

I saw Phantom of the Paradise for the first time in the summer on 1975, about two weeks after Rod Serling died. I was 15, and I cried when I heard Rod's voice.

#266 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 04:49 PM:

Three-Layer Tutti-Frutti cake:

You know, because!

#267 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 05:18 PM:

HLN: Local man, survivor of tongue cancer, has yet another clean followup visit. No sign of cancer or anything suspicious; all signs and progress normal.

"Never," he said, "have the words 'no news is good news' been so apt." He went on to thank his friends for all the good thoughts and good mojo (including more than a kilocrane of origami!) that have supported this happy result.

His next checkup is in July.

#268 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 05:32 PM:

Xopher, cheers and wild alarums! Ring out, all ye bells!

#269 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 05:57 PM:

Re wordpress and maware -- looking at your site, I don't see anything out of the ordinary there. Which is a distinct change from what happened to _my_ site a week ago, where I had to clean up 10 wordpress installs on the same dreamhost account. (basic procedure, make new user, point subdomain at new user, install new wordpress, bring over templates and uploads, after sanitizing them. Thankfully, all the changes where using eval and base64_decode, so they were easy to sanitize with a very small perl script. And source control, on the three domains where I had that installed)

I'm in the market for a different blogging app now, so I don't have to do it again, at least for my sites. I want to keep my archives(going back to 11/99!), not necessarily the template, and most importantly, I want to edit in emacs, with a reasonable wiki syntax, and save to html. And store in source control. And then. bah, I'll want ipad access.

Xopher: Many happy returns of the day!

#270 ::: eric is ig-gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 05:58 PM:

I feel as if I've won an Ignomel prize.

#271 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 06:12 PM:

abi @263: Okie-dokie then. Sorry for the false alarm.

Xopher: Yay!!

#272 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 06:16 PM:

Xopher: cheers with flailing Kermit arms, confetti and gourmet chocolates!

#273 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 06:22 PM:

Bravo, Xopher!

#274 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 06:46 PM:

Xopher #267: Yay!

#275 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 07:08 PM:

Xopher (267): Yay!

#276 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 07:16 PM:

Because it's not easy being green, I'm not going to directly imitate Lila @ #272, but I second (or third? fourth? fifth? umpteenth?) the reaction to Xopher's news.

#277 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 07:17 PM:

#267: Woot! I can't imagine the relief of getting a clean followup.

#278 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 07:17 PM:

Xopher #267: Huzzah!

#279 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 07:42 PM:

Xopher @267--Extreme W00t!, and also parades of garland-bearing youths!

#280 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 08:30 PM:

Xopher: hurrah for no news! No film at 11!

#281 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 08:44 PM:

Elliot Mason @256

Where do you live? It sounds a bit like bittercress.

#282 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 09:23 PM:

Excellent to hear, Xopher.

#283 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 09:47 PM:

Xopher! Many w00ts in your general direction!

#284 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2012, 11:15 PM:

HLN: Area man discovers that the "MAX" note by the 10 "cup"* mark on his coffeemaker assumes there are coffee grounds in a paper filter to soak some output up. Running 10 "cups"* of water through it without a filter or coffee (to flush it after cleaning) will overfill the carafe, causing a hot, nearly scalding mess.

*"cup" being approx 6 fl oz. for this particular coffeemaker

Area man also wishes many happy (non) returns (of the cancer) to Xopher.

#285 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 12:05 AM:

HLN: Area woman gets additional prescription for allergies and asthma, calculates that expense of continuing to breathe will completely consume pay raise concurrent with recent promotion, is profoundly grateful for health insurance coverage. Estimated current cost of breathing $3 per day (calculated insured out of pocket) as opposed to $15 (calculated retail value.) Area woman contemplates absurdity of universe, goes to bed.

#286 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 12:13 AM:

Xopher: I love "kilocrane of origami."

#287 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 12:49 AM:

DanR @281: Good guess, but the basal leaves of bittercress aren't at all dandelionny (in any of the pics I found searching the species name on Google Image).

I live in Chicago.

#288 ::: April Grant ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 01:13 AM:

Open threadiness: are there any other sidewalk musicians/buskers in the room?

As a teenager, I would frequently spend my Saturday afternoons busking in the small town where I grew up. (I play the fiddle.) We had a system where you signed up for an inexpensive permit and the town allowed you to put out a hat for tips. I usually made a decent amount of money, too--twenty to thirty dollars during a couple of hours' concert, on a busy day. Time went on, life intervened, and I quit fiddling for the most part.

Right now, I'm thinking about going back to sidewalk fiddling, with perhaps some interludes of singing and/or guitar. I'd like to try playing in the city, and I'm planning to get a T permit and play on subway platforms in Boston. Perhaps I'll try other tourist-destination cities for working vacations. For now, I'm just practicing and trying to get my skills up and running again.

Does anyone have experiences they'd like to share as a public performer? I'd like to hear 'em. (And I won't judge you if you're a mime.)

#289 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 03:33 AM:

Xopher: Great! Obviously it's the cranes that made the difference. By the way, did you ever get time to string them up?

#290 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 07:13 AM:

Woohoo, Xopher! So glad to hear!!

#291 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 09:07 AM:

::applauds Xopher::

#292 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 11:37 AM:

April Grant @288: Does anyone have experiences they'd like to share as a public performer?

I don't know if they still busk, but you should talk to these ladies.

If you come through Boulder, you should give us a shout and we'll try to put together a meeting of the Making Light Colorado Front Range Little Old Ladies Sewing Circle and World Domination League.

#293 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 11:46 AM:

Xopher: really happy to hear this

#294 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 11:57 AM:

Xopher: Good news!

#295 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 01:41 PM:

Xopher: let me add my w00t!

#296 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 01:41 PM:

Elliot Mason @287

So it's not this?

#297 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 02:10 PM:

April Grant @288 -- It's been too many years since I was a morris dancer for me to make much comment on the experience -- but it was a great deal of fun. I still go to watch the dancers on May 1 at dawn.

My personal fave story, though, came from a paying gig. We were providing color for a relaxation meeting of a bunch of hotel people. There was a picnic area, and beyond that a bunch of medieval-style games for the people to play. As the hoteliers were arriving, one of the hotel-based crew said "Well, I guess I should start the music now." "No," I replied, "if you start the music they'll sit down in the picnic area and never get to the games. Let the morris dancers start dancing, and lead them down to the game area; then, once everyone's here, start the music near the picnic tables. It'll work better." He replied, "What are you, some kind of banquet manager?" (But he did what I suggested!)

#298 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 02:51 PM:

Heads-up for Jacque, Nicole, and anyone else in the Denver/Boulder area: my partner and I will be at the Denver County Fair in August, and I would certainly enjoy the chance for a Gathering Of Light while we're there. I'll post more about it as the date gets closer.

#299 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 03:12 PM:

Oh, cool:

In last Sunday's episode of Mad Men, we learn that one of the characters was pursuing a side career in writing . . . SF&F.

He's told by a senior partner to lay off, but in the last scene of the episode we see him writing in bed, incorporating an idea brought up at a party earlier in the week.

#300 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 03:25 PM:

Thanks for all the woots and so on, everyone.

B. 286: I liked both the phrase and its referent.

dcb 289: Obviously it's the cranes that made the difference. By the way, did you ever get time to string them up?

Ooo, now we're touching something about which I have tremendous guilt. I got them when I was still recovering, and the physical recovery was followed by a period of depression (of the not-getting-out-of-bed kind) and...I never did put them up. I'm very sorry about this. The magic of them works for me just the same though.

#301 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 03:27 PM:

It's not very often that I feel the need to spread around as much as I can some piece of writing I just read.

Today I came across something like that. Fit for open threadiness and relevant to some of the conversations that have been ongoing in some of the threads here

A short quote from it:

Dear Daughter
You should know that you are hated.
I’m not sure why they hate you. You didn’t do anything to them. You don your princess crown, take up your sword, and pretend at Pokemon. You read your books and you learn how to draw comics and dragons and you play piano and practice kung fu. You delight in pretty dresses and weaponry. You love me when I nurture you as a mom, train with you as a warrior, and play video games and card games with you.

Click through and read the full thing, it really rang true for me.

#302 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 03:30 PM:

Xopher @ 300: Please don't feel guilty about feeling too depressed to put up the cranes. The most important bit of the magic, IMHO, was probably when you received them.

You can put them up to celebrate anything, or never put them up at all. The magic of the kilocrane still works.

#303 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 03:56 PM:

Lee @298: Heads-up for Jacque, Nicole, and anyone else in the Denver/Boulder area: my partner and I will be at the Denver County Fair in August

This crowd also potentially includes Carol Kimball and CZEdwards (although the latter intermittently seems to fall off the planet. ;-> )

Psst! The Boulder County Fair concludes the previous weekend.

Xopher @300: The kilocrane is a lot of cranes; when we had the .2 Boulder kilocrane strung from Niki's chandelier, it was an imposing sight. Deploying the full contingent might best be reserved for ... Special Occassions ...?

#304 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 03:57 PM:

HLN: Local woman, reviewing older posts, realizes she hasn't updated in a while. "Where does the time go?" she asked, rather rhetorically. Upon request for further details, she explained: "The restarted mediation process resulted in an actual number for settlement -- the buyout will cost $THISMUCH -- and the quitclaim (or special warranty) has been accepted by the Ex, subject to approval by her bank." The Ex, who could not be reached for confirmation, has achieved her dream of buying her own house, according to the local resident, who added that she is looking forward to shifting all the excess furniture, papers, and accumulated items to her Ex's new house. "Also, I'll be sending the youngest cat, who doesn't really get along with the older cats, and is beloved by my Son; they'll all be happy together -- and if not, at least they'll be somewhere else!" she exclaimed. Plans for closing on both houses, one to remove Ex from existing mortgage, and the other to buy the Ex's new house, proceed towards the proposed mid-May dates. In the meantime, the area woman indicated that she and her FG will continue to enjoy life to the fullest, planning trips this summer to Maine and to California, and possibly also to Florida.

#305 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 04:01 PM:

Congratulations, Xopher! Is your singing coming back, as well?

#306 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 04:53 PM:

Xopher, great news.

Ginger, that's good news, too. Glad to hear the disentanglement is proceeding.

#307 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 04:55 PM:

Ginger: thanks for the update. Good news is nice to hear.

#308 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 04:56 PM:

Ginger, thanks, and glad to hear your news.

Jennifer, it's been back for a while. I thought I posted about that. I'm singing like before, albeit with a few funny consonants.

#309 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 04:59 PM:

Xopher, I'd wondered about your singing also. I remember an early post-surgery post that made it sound hopeful that your singing would recover, but don't recall anything later confirming. Very glad to hear that, too.

#310 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 05:16 PM:

Xopher@267: Congratulations! Monday was also a "no news is good news" day for me. You mention your next follow-up is in July; you're still on a quarterly schedule. Last fall I was promoted to every four months, so mine is August.

I do wish, however, there was a decent word for "every four months". I've only found the suggestions of triannual and quadrimonthly. The former is easily confused with triennial* and the latter seems an awkward hybrid.

*I must confess I wasn't aware of the distinction between biennial and biannual until now.

#311 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 06:16 PM:

Congratulations, GlendaP! May it be ever thus.

#312 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 06:49 PM:

New word...a transphobic act is a 'cisgression'.

#313 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 07:01 PM:

Annnnd the Pagan version of copyright bullying: Z Budapest (who if you'd asked me yesterday "is she still alive?" I couldn't have told you with certainty) is currently threatening to HEX (yes, hex) anyone who alters her popular "We All Come From the Goddess" chant. I didn't know she wrote that, and of course she wouldn't have a legal leg to stand on if she tried suing after so long and so many such derivative works, but...well, hex threats aren't part of our legal system.


#314 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 07:01 PM:

Gnomed for reasons ungnown.

#315 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 07:14 PM:

GlendaP at #310: Thirdly?

#316 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 07:53 PM:

Xopher @267, the many persons addressing you downthread of 267 do w00t my mind in this matter.

Thena @285: What a world, where breathing is regarded as a salable commodity that should be doled out to those who can pay for it.

Stefan @299: Gosh, here's a description of a scene from Mad Men that actually makes me want to see it. I know I really enjoyed the 20th Century SF writer episode of DS9.

Sika @301, thank you for that link. One of the few times I was really satisfied with a reply to a bully, it went like this:
"Huh! What a woman!"
[Raised eyebrow] "Really? Gee, I kind of like women."

Ginger @304, I'm glad to hear that.

Xopher @308, I'm glad to hear that -- and I'd love to hear it.

GlendaP @310, I once created a silly calendar which divided a 360-day year* every way it could be: from two Halves of 180 days to 180 Doubles of two days. I forget what the three 120-day periods were called, but probably nothing better than "triannual" or "quadrimensual".
* With an intercalary 5- or 6-day festival, of course.

#317 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 08:22 PM:

Xopher (& GlendaP), I wish you my mother's luck with cancer: 20 years clear this fall.

I suspect the cranes are marinating their magic. Marinated magic has a subtle flavor, unlike fresh baked magic.

You will know if/when the time to hang them comes!

#318 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 08:37 PM:

John M Burt @316: My calendar has one intercalary day each quarter, plus one or two more at the end of the year.

#319 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 09:34 PM:

@John #316: The revelation of Ken Cosgrove's authorship is a small part of the episode, and he's a fairly minor character overall.

But it is nevertheless a fascinating reveal.

Jr yrnea gung Pbftebir unf unq gjragl fgbevrf choyvfurq, va Tnynkl nzbat bguref, naq gung gurl'er fyngrq gb or nagubybtvmrq.

Uvf jvsr vf cyrnfrq nf chapu, naq ng n cnegl "bhgf" Xra naq qrfpevorf n fgbel juvpu, va gur pbagrkg bs n 1960f trg-gbtrgure bs uneq qevaxvat nqiregvfvat glcrf, fbhaqf hggreyl ynzr naq chmmyvat.

Xra pynvzf gung gur bayl ernfba ur pbagvahrf gb jevgr vf gung uvf jvsr yvxrf gur vqrn . . . ohg gur snpg gung ur'f frra fpevooyvat njnl nsgre orvat pnyyrq gb gur zng naq gbyq gb fgbc fgebatyl fhttrfgf gung ur vf qevira.

Ng gur cnegl, ur frrzrq vagevthrq ol na bssunaq erznex gung gur ubfg'f arj fgrerb fbhaqrq yvxr vg zvtug npghnyyl unir n bepurfgen bs gval zhfvpvnaf vafvqr . . . naq fher rabhtu, gung orpnzr gur frrq bs gur fgbel ur vf pbzcryyrq gb jevgr. V pbhyq eryngr gb gung.

#320 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 09:42 PM:

Oh, it was the commas not followed by spaces. Of course.

#321 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 10:12 PM:

Stefan Jones @299:

Was it just me interpreting that last scene as, "He's no longer writing fantasy/SF, but has moved on to a more 'literary' style."?

#322 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2012, 11:09 PM:

Sica, #301: Reading about the conversation between the old dude and her daughter, all I could think of was, "You paid her a compliment and you got a polite acknowledgment; telling her that's not enough is RUDE!" What, was he raised by wolves? CWAA.

Jacque, #303: Yes, but the Boulder County Fair wasn't at MileHiCon last year actively recruiting vendors for their Geek Tent. :-)

#323 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 12:21 AM:

@DanR: Possibly.

OTOH, Ken was established as a literary writer in season one, when he got ribbed for having a story published. (In Colliers, was it?) A account of his country childhoods, if I remember right.

So he might be putting "literary quality" in his SF&F . . . recall that the story may have been about little orchestra men!

#324 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 01:23 AM:

Xopher @313 nothing I have heard leads me to think differently of ZB than you do. May the Goddess keep her ... far from me!

#325 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 03:50 AM:

Xopher@300: Not to worry! I finished folding 1000 for myself probably two years ago and they're not up yet either! However, I know I've missed some major parts of threads on ML in recent months and I wasn't sure if you'd posted [with links to pics, even] and I'd missed it. As Ginger says, if they never get hung up, that's okay!

Hope you found the bookmark.

REALLY glad to hear about the progress with the singing.

GlendaP: Congrats!

Thena @285: Sympathies. Ridiculous that the simple act of breathing should be taxed like that.

#326 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 08:22 AM:

Open threadiness: Salon article on why the differences between Democrats and Republicans matter.

I see the point he's making, but have two major reservations:

a. I no longer have much confidence that I can predict what liberal principles Obama's administration will violate next. It's easy to say that Romney will be worse than Obama on torture or interventionist foreign policy, and that seems plausible, but it doesn't seem all that solid to me--Obama has already reversed himself on a number of issues he committed to. After the election, when he, personally, never needs another liberal vote or dollar, why should I believe he will not reverse himself on still more of these positions? To put it another way, if you had asked me in 2008, I'd have said that Obama would be very unlikely to do the things he's actually done. If you'd described the war on terror, hammering of whistleblowers, stopping of torture but sheltering torturers from justice, I would have thought these policies more consistent with a McCain administration than with an Obama administration. Why should I trust new predictions of the same type?[1]

b. Voting for the marginally better candidate means that there is no way to push back on the ruling class consensus in places where it's a disaster for the country--whether that's mall cop wannabes taking your pocketknife and water bottle away at the airport, or bombing the hell out of the next three small defenseless countries that annoy us, or running huge deficits forever because it's good for your prospects in the next election. If it doesn't cost Democrats anything to sell out the liberal base, but the Republicans fear the Tea Party and don't dare move to the center on many important issues, then guess which way our politics move as a nation.

[1] I will note that I was not predicting rainbows and unicorns from Obama even before he came to power--still, I would not have predicted his administration's handling of things related to the war on terror, whistleblowers, interventionist foreign policy, etc.

#327 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 08:38 AM:

Sica @ #301, great article with occasionally troubling comments. OTOH, when Cory Doctorow linked to it on BoingBoing there were even more troubling comments, including the by-now-seemingly-inevitable mansplaining that "I don't see it, therefore it's not happening, you silly woman."


#328 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 10:07 AM:

Open threadiness: Eschaton's newly anointed One True Wanker of the Decade will be making an appearance in London in June. I'm tempted to go; can anyone testify whether he's as inadvertently hilarious in person as he is in print?

#329 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 10:54 AM:


YAY for the clean followup, and the returned singing!

#330 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 11:05 AM:

Hurray, Xopher! Glad to hear all the good tidings.

ZB claims to have written "We all come from the Goddess?" Funny, I thought it was Starhawk/Reclaiming's creation...

#331 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 11:39 AM:

HLN: Local contractors complete reinforcement of library* floor; area woman begins shelving 70 boxes of non-fiction books. "They've been boxed up for over a year now," she says. "I hope they don't get too rambunctious when they get loose."

*My own personal library, not a public one. I have finally achieved one of my life goals in having an entire room in my house devoted to nothing but books. With 245 shelf-feet of space I just might have enough.

#332 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 11:53 AM:

Another affirmation that the cranes' process was in thinking about, making, sending, receiving. Not displaying.

Besides, I can hardly imagine a more efficient dust-collector than all those little folds.

Dusty strings would be depressing, eh? Whatever you do with them, it should continue joy.


At her request, we had a Viking Funeral for a friend who'd had a terrible year. Made a cardboard ship a couple feet long, filled it with calendar pages with the unfortunate dates circled, anything that represented awful stuff any of us wanted to get rid of. We fired it up and let it drift off down the Platte (admission of possible misdemeanor) with flames shooting up, just before the New Year's Fireworks started going off. It was good closure.

To flip the imagery - maybe liberate a few cranes with each good checkup, so their healing can go back into general use?

I understand this might squick someone out. It would work for me.

#333 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 12:07 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 332... What a great idea...

#334 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 12:17 PM:

The New York Magazine interview with Barney Frank.

Lots of interesting things in there, whether one agrees with all (or any) of them or not. I found this especially thought-provoking:

"And I believe very strongly people on the left are too prone to do things that are emotionally satisfying and not politically useful. I have a rule, and it’s true of Occupy, it’s true of the gay-rights movement: If you care deeply about a cause, and you are engaged in an activity on behalf of that cause that is great fun and makes you feel good and warm and enthusiastic, you’re probably not helping, because you’re out there with your friends and political work is much tougher and harder."

#335 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 12:51 PM:

As a retired Federal employee, I'm watching the GSA brouhaha play out.

I worked in HHS Inspector General office, in Audit Services. Since GSA is in charge of the travel system (Govtrip), I'm trying to figure out how they got those expenses through the approval system.

Yes, there are overrides that will allow you to claim higher expenses, but those raise flags that the next person up the chain has to review and approve.

Today I'm reading that these Federal employees were taking their spouses and children on trips and had the government pick up the entire cost of the trip. And I'm asking, "HOW!?" Because Govtrip does not allow you to make flight reservations for more than one person.

I'm still boggling over the Secret Service situation as well...

#336 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 12:52 PM:

Lee @322: Yes, but the Boulder County Fair wasn't at MileHiCon last year actively recruiting vendors for their Geek Tent.

::blinkblinkblink:: Whatwhatwhat? Geek Tent? Vendors?

What, may one ask, are you vending?

fidelio @334: you are engaged in an activity on behalf of that cause that is great fun and makes you feel good and warm and enthusiastic, you’re probably not helping, because you’re out there with your friends and political work is much tougher and harder

Hmm. That sounds suspiciously like the classic Puritan Work Ethic: "Real work is boring and difficult and painful. If you're enjoying yourself, Ur Doin It Rong."

Sorry, don't buy it from Frank, either.

#337 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 01:31 PM:

Actually, I think Barney Frank has a point. He's probably thinking of the present-day equivalent of Thomas Paine's summer soldiers and sunshine patriots, the ones who can't be counted on to stick around for the tough stuff and the hard stuff and (probably the biggest participation-killer of all) the dull and boring but utterly necessary stuff, when the adrenaline high has faded away and the solidarity and cameraderie have congealed into a dreary familiarity and a sense of having been locked in a room with the same dozen or so people for a couple of decades.

#338 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 01:34 PM:

@334: Speaking as one whose political views are, er . . . somewhat divergent from Mr. Frank's in most areas . . . his observation is "spot on" correct, for just about any point on the political map.

Elections are won, and change is made, by getting out the vote. ObSF: Two of the best books on this topic that I know of were written by SF writers who were also deeply involved in politics at very practical levels: Robert Heinlein and Fred Pohl.

#339 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 01:55 PM:

albatross, #326: "whether that's mall cop wannabes taking your pocketknife and water bottle away at the airport"

*ahem* As a former "mall cop", I'm not sure if that was meant in a derogatory sense. (Because -I- was never one of those officious jerks you sometimes encounter wearing a security uniform. Well, hardly ever.)

In related HLN, I'm happy so far with the job change to a new security position at a large local manufacturing facility. Shorter commute, higher pay, actual benefits, and a workplace atmosphere that people seem to actually appreciate.

(A lot of the employees have been working there, not just years, but for decades. Having an actual non-governmental career from entry-level position to retirement with the same employer nowadays just seems... freakin' weird.)

I'm told by some of the other security employees that eventually the repetition and routine of security patrols will become "mind-numbing". But after having to deal with explosions, floods, armed robbers and always the damn drunks at the last workplace, "boring" is pretty refreshing right now.

The one drawback so far has been that I work two 12-hour shifts on weekends, which pretty much eliminates attending local conventions until I build up some leave time. Had to miss LepreCon last week for the first time in over thirty years.

#340 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 01:56 PM:

Jacque @336. Alas, I do. Maybe nearly 30 years work in the welfare department has skewed my perspective on this. A lot of what I have done has not been fun work. It has been work that needed doing, and there is no doubt that for a lot of people the work that I do, or that people in Family Assistance or Protective Services do is vital and essential. But we do not have happy fun times here every day, and often the people we interact with, the people who need us to do our jobs well, are not pleasant or agreeably grateful for our work.

I would suggest you take a look at the full text of the interview before dismissing his point entirely. I think one thing he's trying to get at is that the work is not done because you show up for the rally, the march, the [insert activity]. Follow-up has to happen, and the follow-up may not be nearly as much fun.
Knowing the work you've done, however tedious and drawn-out it may be, has lead to good things can be fulfilling (and I think he would agree that a lot of what's he's done has had results that make him happy), but the work needed to get to the end may not always be a Good Time.

Look at the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s; the 1963 March on Washington was an uplifting moment, but it's hardly the whole part of that movement. A lot of hard, dangerous work lay in the years behind the moment where MLK said "I have a dream", as well as in the years after that. If all one did was show up for that speech, or watch it on television, how great a contribution was that? Was the work done by the Johnson Administration and key members of Congress in getting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as uplifting? Was it vital in spite of that?

I don't think Frank's denying that there are high points along the way, or saying that victories cannot be enjoyed. I think he's saying that if you expect it to be that was all the time, and aren't willing to play unless it is, then you aren't doing much to advance your project.

We've just been through revisions of the Civil Service laws in Tennessee. There were rallies for state employees, and opportunities for them to meet with state legislators. There was also a lot of hard-nosed, face to face negotiation going on beyween the governor, legislative leaders, and various lobbyists, including the state employee's association. The rallies may have given the TSEA a little added ammunition, but they weren't the biggest factor in play.

The rallies against Scott Walker & Co. in Wisconsin made a difference, but if people hadn't been willing to carry around all those repeal petitions, canvas for donations, and do the less-agreeable parts of the job, they wouldn't have a recall election on the calendar. After the primary for the Democratic candidate, an effective campaign will have to be conducted to make sure Walker loses in the fall--and even though he's wildly unpopular, poor effort by his opponents could blow everything done so far. This will require a lot of dull work--passing out yard signs, arranging appearances, setting up and clearing away after meetings of different sorts, get out the vote work, and all the rest. Some of it will be enjoyable--but to assume that it must be so, that you can count on that, is unwise, I think, and I believe that's Mr. Frank's point.

#341 ::: priasegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 01:57 PM:

Xopher @ 267 & 308: w00tery from the distant East.

#342 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 02:07 PM:

Thanks for the good news, Xopher!

#343 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 02:12 PM:

Thanks again everyone for the w00tery and reassurances about the kilocrane. Having thought about it I think a lot of magic happened while the actual folding was taking place and all you origamists were talking about how many you'd folded, and I was reading all that in stunned amazement at how many friends I have. THAT, even before I got the actual cranes in the mail, got me through some bad times.

On an unrelated matter, I offer this:

"We were a great team," said the wizard Livelong, disconsolately stroking a pointed ear. "Everyone knew who we were. But then he had to go back and be Duke of Milan. But people still mention us to each other back home, which is kind of touching."

#344 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 02:26 PM:

Jon Baker @62: As I recall, hobbets are about three and a half nanoseconds tall, though a tallfellow might be four nanoseconds or more, and the short stoutish ones are likely to have better infravision, which might make it them better at telling when things are getting hot.

#345 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 02:30 PM:

Could we move the political discussions to a new Open Thread dedicated to politics? Pretty please?

#346 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 03:12 PM:

Serge: Well, there's this lovely Political Open Thread, all lonely and neglected.

#347 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 03:36 PM:

Jacque @ 346... Yes, there is that one. Or maybe there needs to be a new OT, pyschologically. It'd be nice, either way, for those of us have sworn to stay away from political discussions.

#348 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 03:55 PM:

Serge @345 Can I ask which subthread you're finding unpleasantly political? I ask because I normally think of myself as having a low tolerance for political discussion - wanting to ask for an apolitical thread because I can't stand to read any more about the Republican primary candidates, for example - and nothing in the past few days has tripped my radar.

#349 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 03:58 PM:

OtterB @ 348... Write to me at sergeunderscoreLJatcomcastdotnet and I'll tell you.

#350 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 04:00 PM:

Or people can ignore my meddling.

#351 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 04:02 PM:

Mind you, the XKCD thread *is* political, and I have been posting there. Heck, I've never said I was above a contradiction or two.

#352 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 04:11 PM:

There've been several comments recently on the frustrating one-step-forward-and-one-step-back progress on moving toward a better, juster society. Two encouraging links, from the awesome Ta-Nehisi Coates:

"It's not a perfect world, but it is a very different one."

"When you say "We've made progress" you are not saying "We shall now disarm." You are saying "We have won some battles.""

#353 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 04:36 PM:

Jacque, #336: I sell handmade bead jewelry, sterling earrings and pendants, and gift items*. My partner sells T-shirts and bumper stickers. He's really the one they recruited, but we come as a set. :-) I thought it was generally known that we do this, but OTOH I do tend to keep a low profile about it here because I don't want to treat this community as a sales audience. But generally speaking, when I mention that my partner and I are going to be at $EVENT_X, it means as dealers.

Debra, #337: I took it to mean the equivalent of Tom Lehrer's "Folk Song Army" -- or, on the other side of the political fence, the people who think that putting a "Support the Troops" magnetic ribbon on their SUV (and doing nothing else) is actually doing something substantive about the issue.

fidelio, #340: A lot of the hard work of the Civil Rights movement was done by the people out in the field, in the Deep South, who risked (and in some cases lost) not just their freedom but their lives. And before them, there was the Underground Railroad, and anyone who was part of that network risked death if they were discovered.

* My website is currently undergoing reconstruction -- it got nailed in a server crash, and my backups were insufficient.

#354 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 05:58 PM:

Sometimes I think it may actually be easier to get people to show up for the dangerous stuff than it is for the long-term dull and boring stuff.

#355 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 06:04 PM:

Oh, Dear Sweet and Merciful Ghu...

Okay, Coworker A comes back from the building's Disaster Preparedness meeting. Turns out each department has to come up with its own plan. Coworker A says, very reasonably, "Wouldn't it make more sense for the whole building to come up with a plan?"

"I think we should do the CDC's Zombie Apocalypse plan!"

"Zombies? What's that?" says Coworker A (who is from Poland—I had stumped her earlier in the day with a reference to Rumplestiltskin.).

"You know, Zombie Apocalypse!"

Coworker B chimes in: "I haven't heard of that either. I quit paying attention to all of that back when we were supposed to have the Rapture."

#356 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 06:20 PM:

Jacque @ 355...

"...we need to assume the entire population of Oakland now wants to eat us..."
- from zombie novel "Deadline" by Mira Grant, aka Seanan McGuire.

#357 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 06:41 PM:

Levon Helm is leaving us.

*great sadness*

I feel sad about the railroad and it's no wonder
it used to run right by my door
I can't hear it anymore
How can I sleep at night when the whistle don't blow...

#358 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 07:14 PM:

Lizzy L...

"There was a demon that lived in the air. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their controls would freeze up, their planes would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate. The demon lived at Mach 1 on the meter, seven hundred and fifty miles an hour, where the air could no longer move out of the way. He lived behind a barrier through which they said no man could ever pass. They called it the sound barrier."
- Levon Helm in "The Right Stuff"

#359 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 08:21 PM:

Dick Clark dies at 82.

Man, I thought he was older than that -- and that he had a picture in a closet somewhere. It feels like the world has changed.

#360 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2012, 08:58 PM:

I saw one story that say the guy putting in the budgets was also the one who got to approve them, because of the 'matrix' structure involved.

#361 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 03:16 AM:

Jacque @355

Both Zombie Apocalypse and the Rapture seem crazy, but they could both be used as examples of different sorts of disaster.

Zombie Apocalypse: that's essentially rioting in the streets, with a touch of disease epidemic. You're talking about things such as perimeter security, and also about the possible effects of an influenza epidemic.

The Rapture seems to me to be an analogue to a bus (or plane) loaded with key staff (going to some big industry event) crashing. How do you cope with that sort of thing?

I wouldn't push the analogy too far, but it might be useful, for instance, to emphasise how extreme things have to be to justify the use of weapons by security guards.

#362 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 04:38 AM:

Debra Doyle @ 354

I agree, it's easier to sell danger than boredom when trying to get people to help with the work.

Lee @ 353:

A lot of the hard work of the Civil Rights movement was done by the people out in the field, in the Deep South, who risked (and in some cases lost) not just their freedom but their lives. And before them, there was the Underground Railroad, and anyone who was part of that network risked death if they were discovered.

That's true, but a great deal of both movements was the detail work of planning and preparing, making sure the maps were drawn properly and the food was packed, that the false compartment in the crate had enough air holes, and that the lawyers were at the jail before the cops brought in the marchers so there'd be witnesses to prevent brutality. One of the real heroes of the Railroad was a free black man of Philadelphia named William Still, who was chairman of the committee formed by Abolitionists in Philadelphia to aid escaped slaves. Among other things, he kept records of the people who passed through his station of the railroad (often as many as 60 in a month), so that we now know who the people were who fled slavery; for most of them, no other record exists. While interviewing one of those escapees, he discovered that the man was his own brother, born in the south after his mother and two brothers had been recaptured after their escape, and unknown to Still for all the intervening years.

#363 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 08:02 AM:

Jacque @ #355

Hand them this?

#364 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 10:02 AM:

YASID, sorry: time travel gets invented and the first thing everyone does is travel back in time to the extinction of the dinosaurs to find out what happened. Unfortunately, too many time machines arrive simultaneously, overlap in space, and explode with terrific force, scattering the dust of their iridium drive cores across the planet.

Hence: huge explosion, nuclear winter, dinosaurs die out, K-T iridium spike.

#365 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 10:04 AM:

P J Evans:

Oh terrific -- why do I have the feeling that GSA is not using the same systems they make the other government agencies use? More stories today about officials taking their families on trips on the government's dime that had absolutely nothing to do with said official's duties...sigh.

The last time there was a blow-up over government training (during the Chimp's administration) our agency required that all Regions desiring to have a group training session submit a request that gave all details -- location, number of attendees, and total cost (travel, hotel, etc.) to the Inspector General for approval.

I have combined leave and official travel in the past (got to the last Chicago Worldcon that way). I've also saved the government money by staying with relatives and friends when TDY brought me close enough to do so.

I am so angry and disgusted with both GSA and the Secret Service -- but I also know that there are people working in those agencies who are embarrassed and heartsick right now.

#366 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 10:28 AM:

Back online after a couple of days outage... I'll be catching up over the weekend.

#367 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 10:31 AM:

All wisdom being found on ML.

Texanne, Serge, any others interested, here is the latest panel of Girl Genius.

You will notice a word on the side of the Cunning Artifice's boiler. I believe it is a particularly clever pun, possibly French, possibly bilingual, but I can't work it out. I know that the French word for "mouse" is "(le) souris", but that's as far as I get.

Can anyone fathom it? It's been itching at my brain all day.

#368 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 11:23 AM:

Dave Luckett #367 - That very topic is discussed and illuminated in this LJ thread from yesterday:

#369 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 11:23 AM:

Dave Luckett @ 367... Let me see. 'Soarece' might be a play on souris/mouse, like you suggested, except for the 'C' stuck between the two 'E'. Not sure what the joke would then be, if it is indeed based on French. Cleverness is more a TexAnne thing. Any idea, TexAnne?

#370 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 12:16 PM:


Șoarecii sunt animale rozătoare (Rodentia) din familia Muridae, din care fac parte ca. 37 de specii din care unele trăiesc în pădure iar altele ca șoarecele de casă trăiesc în apropierea omului.

#371 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 01:11 PM:

Dave B., #361: I disagree that the Rapture would produce that sort of widespread disorder. First off, only 144,000 people would disappear worldwide. Secondly, very few (if any) of them would be either important leaders or any of those people who are so sure they'd be taken up.

ajay, #364: I like it! Find a way to explain the strike remnants in the Gulf of Mexico, and I think you've got a salable story there.

#372 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 01:22 PM:

Dave B, Lee:

I recently read a book by Tom Perrotta, The Leftovers, which deals with the Rapture, as suffered by a suburban Midwestern town.

#373 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 02:01 PM:

More deaths:

K. D. Wentworth, Oklahoma SF author, fan, and conrunner.

Actor Jonathan Frid. His last work was a cameo in the upcoming Burton/Depp Dark Shadows movie (which will be uncredited at his request).


#374 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 02:11 PM:

If we join in the newfangled interpretation of the Revelation of John the Divine as including a "Rapture" (an innovation of the mid-19th Century), those 144,000 people will be all the saved throughout human history, so presumably very few indeed of those currently living.

#375 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 02:18 PM:

Lee @ 371

In the popular versions of eschatology that include a Rapture, the 144,000 are not all the saved. (Ideas of who the 144,000 are differ, but I'm not familiar with the "all the saved throughout history" view; the "Watchtower" view that they are all those who go to heaven exists within the context of a theology where most of the saved inherit the new Earth.)

#376 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 07:03 PM:

AKICIML: Can anyone help me with a Python problem?

I'm working through Head First Python, and I'm at the point where I'm adding a file parameter to an indented-printing function, and I keep getting this error "TypeError: print_lol() got an unexpected keyword argument 'fh'."

I've imported the function from the module in the program. I rebuilt the new version of the function. It seems like it could only get that error if it's reading the old version of the function, but I've installed the new version in my Python shell and everything.

I'm sure I've done something stupid, but for the life of me I can't figure out what. I asked on the Python forum on O'Reilly's site, but no response so far.

#377 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 09:26 PM:

Niall McAuley @ 370... So it *was* a mouse. Thanks.

#378 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 09:40 PM:

Soooo I tried putting in all the arguments, and putting them in as keywords, since they're defined that way. Now I get a DIFFERENT unexpected keyword argument message.

#379 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 10:43 PM:

Xopher: send me the file; I'll see if I can replicate. My first thought is that you might have some control characters in there masking a typo, but it's a little hard to tell from here.

#380 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 11:08 PM:

Xopher: you could send it to me, too, and I can look at it? Quick question: what version of Python is the Head First stuff expecting, and which one are you using?

email: com dot protocolzero at jbaughman (reversed)

#381 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 11:27 PM:

Xopher, feel free to email me with python questions, my first name at my domain. I do python at work, and have been teaching a couple of middle schoolers this past year.

Without seeing the code, a couple of things that could be tripping you up-- reloading anything in the interpreter doesn't touch up existing objects, you would need to recreate them. If you're using modules, reload can be helpful, but it can also get you into places where you have an inconsistent set of code. To truly make sure that you're not getting fooled, exiting the interpreter and restarting can sync everything back up again.

#382 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2012, 11:40 PM:

Xopher @ 267: Yay for good news!

#383 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 12:41 AM:

HLN: Local woman completes first week with new braces, and expresses deep, heartfelt gratitude for dental wax, the WaterPik, and the immersion blender. In related news, Champagne mangos are season, and are both delicious and blessedly soft.

#384 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 02:18 AM:

Thank you, guthrie @ 368.

Roumanian! Of course!

It reminds me of the song from "My Fair Lady", except of course that was Hungarian. If you see what I mean.

Come to think of it, do I see what I mean?

#385 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 02:21 AM:

Xopher, may you continue in the best of health. I had similar news to yours this week; I know how good it feels. I hope you feel as well as I.

#386 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 02:54 AM:

janetl @383 -- oh my, does that give me a flashback to my own days of braces. The day after an adjustment was always the worst. Chilled canned pears became a staple.

#387 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 03:49 AM:

Xopher: Further wootery and best wishes over here!

#388 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 05:50 AM:

I like it! Find a way to explain the strike remnants in the Gulf of Mexico, and I think you've got a salable story there.

I know! It's not a story idea, it's a story I read somewhere and I can't remember the title.

#389 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 09:32 AM:

HLN: Local woman has at-home overnight sleep "study", using a portable polysomnograph. Despite the nasal cannula (for measuring air flow), pulse oximeter clip on one finger, and three bands around her chest, she reported that the instrument did not make her uncomfortable at all.

"No, what really bothered me was sleeping only on my back and with only one pillow -- I suddenly realized I just couldn't breathe!" she said in a rather grouchy tone this morning. "All night long! Hardly any sleep! BLECH!" She went on to describe her uvula as "Edematous, and that makes me almost nauseated, which I do not like."

Although the local woman, who did not wish to be identified by name, also indicated that she knew many people in the world had worse problems than hers this morning, she also indicated that she would be feeling somewhat grumpy until the irritated throat settled down. Current predictions of cool weather and hot tea may possibly soothe the grouchiness, but only time will heal the uvula.

#390 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 10:39 AM:

Thanks everyone for the continued and magnified w00tery!

Patrick 379: Thanks! I couldn't quite figure out your email address for sure. Is it your first name at your domain?

Jennifer 380: Thank you, sent. It's Python 3.2.2, and the book says Python 3 (in fact that's why I chose 3 to download).

eric 381: Thank you, sent. This particularly caught my eye:

Without seeing the code, a couple of things that could be tripping you up-- reloading anything in the interpreter doesn't touch up existing objects, you would need to recreate them. If you're using modules, reload can be helpful, but it can also get you into places where you have an inconsistent set of code. To truly make sure that you're not getting fooled, exiting the interpreter and restarting can sync everything back up again.

That really sounds like what's happening. Questions in email.

Ginger 389: Ick. I hate that part. I've found that when my voice is croaky from swelling, hot cranberry juice does wonders for restoring it, not only for speaking but for singing. I theorize (and IANAP; ICDOP; TIIOFEPO) that there must be some topical astringent effect. If I'm right about that it strikes me as possible that it might help your uvula as well. Might. Possibly. Void where prohibited etc.

#391 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 10:40 AM:

(Of course if it's just dissolving sludge on my vocal chords, it won't help a swollen uvula. I don't actually know what's happening.)

#392 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 10:47 AM:

Xopher: it is the short version of my name at my domain. I forgot the email isn't displayed publicly when you click on my name.

#393 ::: April Grant ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 10:56 AM:

Hyperlocal news: Area Woman gets fiddle out of storage, spends two hours playing tunes in public at various locations including Boston Common. Much fun and egoboo are had. An undisclosed sum was also made by Area Woman, who is bound by the unspoken code of sidewalk musicians not to reveal how well the job pays.

Conditions included bright sun, temperatures in the mid-seventies and cheerful passers-by. During the same evening, AW also held a practice session in a relatively private area near waterfront shopping districts, and engaged in conversation with a panhandler who was resolved that no one must trespass on his territory, but who was a decent guy. "I call the day a net win," said AW. "I definitely mean to do it again."

#394 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 11:28 AM:

Giner... She went on to describe her uvula as "Edematous...

I'm so using that word if ever I write a Lovecraft homage.

#395 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 11:49 AM:

Xopher @ 390, 391: I like your suggestion of hot cranberry juice, but all I had was ibuprofen, which did the trick eventually. It doesn't feel swollen now, at least.

Serge @ 394: The squamous, rugose, edematous uvula? Sounds pretty horrifying to me. Ia! Ia! Ulp.

#396 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 11:59 AM:

Patrick, sent. Thanks!

#397 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 01:28 PM:

janetl @ 383 -- my sympathies. Braces tightening is no fun.

In fact, for me it set up a bit of classical conditioning. My orthodontist wore powdered latex gloves when he adjusted my braces. For years, even after I got my braces off, the smell of powdered latex gloves would cause my teeth to ache. Seriously.

The first few times it happened I couldn't understand why my teeth were hurting, and why it only happened when I was working in the lab. Then one day I idly sniffed the box of gloves, and was rewarded with a more-intense ache in my teeth -- and I put it together.

Brains are weird.

#398 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 02:24 PM:

Ginger... "The uvula was... of no human shape!!!"

#399 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 02:49 PM:

Serge @ 398: "They ululated in fear!"

#400 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 04:01 PM:

"Knock knock!"
"Who's there?"
"A Local Woman's Uvula."
"A Local Woman's Uvula Who?"
"I don't know, Ginger. But I do know this..."

#401 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 04:21 PM:

We said goodbye to our senior cat Fafhrd today. His cohort the Grey Mouser is now the oldest.

#402 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 05:20 PM:

Lee @401:

Condolences. Even when it's the best choice, after a long and happy life, it's a painful thing to do.

#403 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 05:54 PM:

I rode my bike to the orthodontist for braces tightening. In Northern Virginia winters, that was invigorating. There was a Burger Chef about 1/4 mile from Dr. Menefee's office, and on my way back to school after he twisted and bound those bits of metal, I'd stop and get a sack of hot french fries (maybe 21 cents per bag back then). I'm not sure what therapeutic effect the fries had on my teeth, but the psychological benefit was great.

#404 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 06:42 PM:

Lee #401: My sympathies.

#405 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 07:17 PM:

Lee @401: You have my complete sympathies.

#406 ::: Micah ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 09:16 PM:

Irrelevant to everything said up to this point in this thread (or any other), I want to mention that listening to the link in PNH's "Levon Helm, 1940-2012" Sidelight whilst reading the text of TNH's "Slow Work and Plain Chant" Particle seems somehow perfectly natural and correct, as though to do otherwise would be to shortchange myself of one or the other.

#407 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 09:47 PM:

Lee: condolences.

#408 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 09:58 PM:

#401: Condolences.

If cats can be proud of their names, I'm sure he was!

#409 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 10:26 PM:


The ornamental cabbages that were planted in the park last fall have not only bolted, they have blossomed. It turns out that, given the chance, those purple-and-white cabbages produce tall spikes with lots of small yellow flowers.

In anything resembling a normal winter, the cold would have killed the cabbages by February. Even after this mild winter, with the early spring, I would expect a gardener to have uprooted them and planted something else. However, the parks department is repaving the tennis courts, putting this cabbage patch inside the fenced-off construction area. I wonder how much longer this will last.

#410 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2012, 10:45 PM:

Xopher@396: I can't break it on Mac OS X under Python 3.2. Will try to bend it a bit on Windows.

#412 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 12:19 AM:

Lee @401 -- it's definitely a hard choice. It sounds as if you made the right one.

I'm currently in Archer City TX (found a book inscribed by my grandmother to another female force in 20th C printmaking!); the bookstore cat has cancer and is very skinny, but seems to be still having some good times. He liked being stroked and massaged, and even got up a bit of a purr for me.

#413 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 01:02 AM:

Xopher: Very happy to hear things continue clear. Especially about the singing.

Lee: I'm sorry you had to go through that. I have a friend struggling with a similar choice, so it feels close to home.

#414 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 01:06 AM:

Ginger @389: WRT edematous uvulae, my paramount experience in that regard was the second (yes, second) time I had mono. My throat became so swollen that my tonsils squeezed together and pushed my (stiffened by edema) uvula forward and up. Despite how painful it was, I found it hysterically funny; looked like nothing so much as a little tiny hard-on in the back of my throat.

Xopher HalfTongue @390: when my voice is croaky from swelling, hot cranberry juice does wonders for restoring it

I have become rather a fan of hot cranberry juice, just on principle. I get Knudson's unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate in the little 8oz jars, splash a dolop of that into a cup dosed with the appropriate amount of sugar, pour in boiling water and: violá! Numminess.

Lee @401: Via con dios, Fafhrd.

#415 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 01:29 AM:

Lee: My condolences.

#416 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 02:37 AM:

Lee: My sympathy.

#417 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 09:33 AM:

Lee, my condolences. (Love the name!)

#418 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 01:46 PM:

Not quite hyperlocal news... I went to Barnes & Noble yesterday and saw that their corporate masters have reversed an earlier decision. Their F/SF "New" section is back to displaying paperbacks and trades, not just hardcovers.

#419 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 02:14 PM:

Lee, deep sympathy - my owner took that last ride in December. (I expect to be greeted on the other side with loud cries and accusations of neglect and abuse - with an angel running after, yelling 'I wasn't done scritching yet!')

#420 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 02:15 PM:

Micah@406 - Yeah, that hit me as well (though it was after I'd followed the YouTube link from "The Weight" over to "I shall be released".) It's one of those things that happens with Making Light.

#421 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 04:12 PM:

Lee at 401: my sympathies.

#422 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 05:43 PM:

Some days I wonder what will greet me when I log onto my computer. Today, as I read through a dissertation, I confronted this: "Unlike some of the other small islands, [X] has a singular language, which is English." Perhaps someone can tell me what makes English really odd.

#423 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 05:58 PM:

What makes English so odd?

Pick a word. Any word, from anywhere.

Prove it isn't English. Go ahead, I dare you!

#424 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 06:00 PM:

Hrm? English is surely singular in its oddness; rather, it's hard to point at any particular oddness and say that one's the reason.

(Which is not to say that was the intent. :)

#425 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 06:26 PM:

Hopefully nobody we know is involved in the train crash in Amsterdam today

#426 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 06:51 PM:

xeger @425:

I and my family are fine. I haven't heard that anyone we know was involved.

My thoughts are with those who were, and their families. From what I hear, the emergency sevices did good work. I hope it's rewarded with commensurately good outcomes.

#427 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 07:06 PM:

HLN: Elderly cat receives word her extreme weight loss is not due to kidney or thyroid problems. Cat remains quite annoyed by servant's insistence upon poking things in her mouth every few hours to administer meds and dollops of special squishy food.

#428 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 07:11 PM:

Jim Macdonald #423: Sure, Capeverdean Creole/Papiamento, "papiar". It's a verb.

#429 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 07:17 PM:

geekosaur #424: In this case, "single" was what was intended. Raising my blood pressure was the result.

#430 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 07:25 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @429:
I got that, yes; was just noting that it still manages to be sensible the other way (and, too late, I also noticed my response introduces its own single vs. singular distinction).

#431 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 07:35 PM:

USA Today reporter and editor, investigating military propaganda contractors, are targeted with their own personal propaganda campaign.

... How very meta. And unethical. And, if government funds were used in the process, illegal as hell.

#432 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 07:35 PM:

Probably hit a Word of Power.

#433 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 07:48 PM:

#428 Fragano Ledgister:

"Billy drives me crazy; all he wants to do is papiar all day."

#434 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 09:38 PM:

My teenager, who enjoys cutting up other people's footage and making new things (and will soon have a fairly expensive camera so that she can make more of her own footage), made this in about 2.5 hours last night:

#435 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 09:39 PM:

Oh, Sherlockians--no spoilers, so it's okay to watch.

#436 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 10:25 PM:

English Language vs. others.

The other day, one of our cleaning personnel at work asked what the thing was called that she stirred the coffee with. She is originally from Cuba and is still not comfortable speaking English.

She had a real hard time with pronouncing the way the i sound happens in the word stir. She wanted to make it more like 'steer'.

Any thoughts? Is this a sound that doesn't happen in Spanish? Just curious and ML knows all.

#437 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 10:46 PM:

Spanish doesn't do schwas, as a general rule; to make things worse, I don't think all English speakers pronounce both the schwas in there the same way, although I notice that I generally do (or at least seem to; I tend to be bad at this kind of introspection, once I become aware of the distinction, I can no longer tell if I had it beforehand).

#438 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 10:50 PM:

Paula@436: No, it doesn't. In Spanish "ir" is pronounced* "ear" and "er" is pronounced* "air".

*Approximately. In both cases the vowel is less drawn out than in English, and the "r" is a bit different, too.

#439 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 11:02 PM:

I took my retired blood-donor dog to her last-ever blood donor dog appreciation party. (No invitations past a year of retirement.)

I won a gift basket of dog stuff, and was amazed to find that not one thing was of use to me or my dog. (Doesn't need a fleece vest; gets bathed by professionals; bending down to pick up poop is good exercise; is terrified of laser pointers.)*

I find myself in an unjustified and petty bad mood because of this.

I'm going to find therapy in a mental exercise:

Think of a person. Mentally assemble a gift basket of wonderful, new, even pricey items which he or she would have absolutely no use or appreciation for.

I'd never do this, mind you, but it is an interesting exercise.

* I'll either donate the gift basket goods to the local dog park fundraiser, or give them to dog owners at work.

#440 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 11:08 PM:

The thing about English is it's very ad-hoc. Words were invented as people went along.

#441 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2012, 11:20 PM:

#436 Paula Helm Murray Any thoughts? Is this a sound that doesn't happen in Spanish? Just curious and ML knows all.

It's difficult for a native Spanish speaker who learns English as an adult to make the leading-S sound. Usually you'll find folks adding an E sound to the front of the word. You could ask her to try saying it with an Argentine accent. That might work.

#442 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 12:58 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 439 ...
Think of a person. Mentally assemble a gift basket of wonderful, new, even pricey items which he or she would have absolutely no use or appreciation for.

Think of a gift basket, provided by way of apology from a corporate entity, consisting entirely of items to which the recipient is spectacularly and ferociously allergic ...

#443 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 02:26 AM:

xeger, corporate Christmas gifts consisting of bottles of wine. The law of averages says at least some of those bottles will go to either teetotalers or people who don't like wine and would have preferred Scotch.

The wife of a former boss of mine had a plant business, and one year she gave the entire staff, all 60-75 of us, poinsettias for Christmas. Everyone in our office loved them, but I did wonder how many went to people who had allergies.

#444 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 05:28 AM:

Jim Macdonald @423

There's an aphorism about English and dark alleys, which I'm sure you all know.

Maybe that word wasn't English, but it is now.

J Homes.

#445 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 06:58 AM:

J Homes @444:

Last night I was at a showing of international short films, which was followed by a Q&A with the producers/writers/actors in attendance.

The writer of one of the French films was describing how he started with a love story, but the producer insisted on a twist that would defeat the audience's expectations. He was struggling to find the English to express categories of film types, and settled on "kind of"; I wanted to shout out "genre" (while also thinking "the French have no word for entrepreneur").

#446 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 07:38 AM:

Linkmeister @443: One of my coworkers can, with very little effort, be brought to a frothing rage at the mere mention of poinsettias. They are, it seems, poisonous to cats. And this coworker is All About Teh Cats.* She would be the sterotypical Crazy Cat Lady if she wasn't also the sterotypical Biker Babe.

* One of her obsessions is feral cat rescue, and she is owned by twenty-some-odd who are unadoptable for one reason or another.

#447 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 09:05 AM:

Jacque @ #446

So you have a cat-orker instead of a cow-orker?

#448 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 09:49 AM:

Cadbury Moose @ 447 ...

Perhaps Jacque works at Catastrophe Inc ;)

#449 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 10:20 AM:

And English goes through these regional and chronological vowel shifts. I don't know whether other languages do, too, but English seems particularly prone to it.

Out here, I was once flummoxed by a young lady from New Zealand. I was handing out freebies at a con - you know, you buy a day membership, you get a free cup of coffee. Her five friends had sent her over to get all of theirs at once, but I didn't know that. All I know is that when she got to the table she announced that she wanted sex.

Honestly, Joyce, I didn't know where to put my face.

#450 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 11:48 AM:

Jim Macdonald #433: Not bad at all. Especially since it's the verb "to speak" in both languages.

#451 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 11:53 AM:

Dave Luckett #449: Two points:

(1) At my age, my response would probably have been along the lines of "I'm honoured".

(2) I am reminded of the story of the English writer autographing books in Oz who signed a book to "Emma Chisit" and then discovered that she'd misunderstood an inquiry regarding the price.

#452 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 01:17 PM:

Paula @436: Very few people even notice that "R" is a vowel.

#453 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 01:20 PM:

John @452: To clarify, very few English speakers, native or learning, notice that in English, "R" is a vowel.

#454 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 01:21 PM:

Lee, I'm sorry for your loss.

#455 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 01:23 PM:

xeger @425 and abi @426: Whenever someone says reassuringly that an accident did not involve "anyone we know", I always think of the Gary Larson cartoon in which a chicken, serving a bowl of of soup to a chicken in bed, says, "It's good for you, and it's nobody we know".

#456 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 01:32 PM:

That's the line I used to an aunt, speaking about yarn that included possum - I had to explain that it was New Zealand possum, and no one she'd ever met.

#457 ::: Carla Newenglander ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 03:10 PM:

HLN: Local woman, a long-time reader/lurker of Making Light (and of John Scalzi's Whatever blog), finally created an e-mail account with the name "Carla Newenglander" (not her real surname) in hopes of using it to participate in the lively, enlightening, and thought-provoking discussions that she has enjoyed reading for so many years. She would like to take this opportunity to express these thoughts:

1) THANK YOU to the moderators and contributors at ML -- knowing that there are a few places on the Internet where civilized conversation is prized and maintained has enriched her life beyond measure.

2) Is there a FAQ or old post of the abbreviations and jargon specific to ML? For example, "hlepy" -- from context, it seems to mean advice that is offered with the intention of being helpful but comes off as condescending/patronizing; is that correct?

#458 ::: Carla Newenglander ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 03:11 PM:

Melissa Singer @434 Thank you for posting a link to your teenager's video; I watched it first thing this morning, and it was a great start to my day!

#459 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 03:28 PM:

Welcome, Carla!

As for 'hlepy', I think that's one meaning, but advice can also be hlepy if it's just really unhelpful, or suggests things impossible for the hlepee to do, or that s/he has already tried.

#460 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 03:55 PM:

Carla Newenglander #457: Welcome! IIRC, the original definition for "hlepy/hlepiness" was "it looks superficially like help, but really isn't". Naturally, that covers a lot of bases, from "you just need to trust in ${deity}", and "my problems were worse, and I beat them!", through "ooh, that's a lot of nails... here, use my best screwdriver!", and "you need to get your chakras aligned!", onward to selections from the Dysfunctional Families threads.

#461 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 04:04 PM:


Welcome, Carla!

I tend to read 'hlepy' / 'helpy' and variants as 'toddler help' - the kind of help that's more helpful for the helper than it is for the help-ee, being at best useless and at worst an active impediment to solving the initial problem.

This can take various forms, including being patronizing or condescending; redundant (in the sense of something already tried that was mentioned not to work); inapplicable (in the sense of options eliminated due to some described barrier); or just really annoying and clueless.

This is not an exhaustive list: file under "recognize it when you see it."

#462 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 04:14 PM:

Carla @458: Thanks!

OT question regarding software for photographers, wrt to teenager and moderately expensive camera . . . does it have to be Photoshop? She has a MacBook. She makes her little videos with iMovie, which she loves. But she really wants Photoshop to go with the new camera, which is making my budget squirm. The camera (body and basic lens, plus assorted basic accessories that come in the box), plus extra battery and extra memory, plus camera case, plus tripod, is probably in the neighborhood of $1,000, and Photoshop seems to be another $600 or so on top of that.

#463 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 04:38 PM:

Melissa Singer @462

OT on an Open Thread???

But The GIMP may do what she needs.

Things it does not do as well as Photoshop:
Print colour control.
There is an advanced feature called Effects Layers in Photoshop that The GIMP does not (yet) have.

Things it does better than Photoshop:
Preparing images for Web presentation.

Price: How much will it cost you to download the installer. The GIMP is Free Software.

J Homes.

#464 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 04:47 PM:

Well, I meant "open thready," but I can see the problem, lol. Prolly should have gone with AKICIML.

Thanks for the recc!

#465 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 04:48 PM:

Python problem: I hadn't installed the new version of the function, apparently. I would have sworn I had, but when I reinstalled it the code worked, so the evidence is against me.

Thank you, Patrick, Jennifer, and eric!

#466 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 04:53 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 462 : I'd look at Aperture 3 for a healthy amount of what she'd need. It's $80 rather than $600, and it's what I use for my own photo wrangling (I find that its correction / manipulation tools are as nice or nicer than Photoshop). Think iPhoto on serious steroids (it's aimed at the professional market).

#467 ::: idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 05:14 PM:

Melissa Singer @462:

You're hardly the only one to cringe at the price tag on Photoshop. What my friends and I use to get around that $600+ is as follows:
The GIMP as mentioned above; Photoshop Elements or Lightroom, both from Adobe; or Apple's Aperture. None of them are an exact match for Photoshop's full feature set, but they come in at a lower price even if you were to acquire all of them.

Note -- if you get Photoshop Elements, buy it from Adobe, the version in the App Store lacks some features of the full version. The full version does have the most frequently used features of Photoshop and goes for less than 1/4th the price.

Aperture is basically iPhoto on steroids, so would likely be the shortest learning curve. The GIMP comes the closest to matching Photoshop's capabilities but has a rather quirky interface which makes the learning curve a bit of a challenge for some people. Lightroom and Aperture are very similar, intended for professional photographers working with a lot of images. I have worked with all of these, and have found myself mainly using Aperture.

#468 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 05:26 PM:

HLN Garden report: I have roses and peonies in bloom -- both are located on a south facing brick wall. Going by my garden journal they're about 3-4 WEEKS early.

The lilac and the dogwood are finished blooming, and the clematis on the lamp-post is loaded with buds. During the last two freezes we've wrapped it in a bedsheet.

There are thousands of toadpoles in the pond. I need to take the waterlily out and divide and fertilize it.

I've got lotus and more waterlilies ordered, not sure when the suppliers will ship because the weather has been soooooo weird. I'm guessing they'll stick to the regular schedule despite the warm temperatures we've been having...

#469 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 05:38 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 462: I'm with Benjamin Wolfe @ 466.

Aperture is great for photo organization and management for large numbers of photos. It handles RAW files completely transparently to the user. It has very good adjustment tools, too -- exposure adjustment, color correction, brushes, etc. I also found it very easy to use.

Photoshop is really for heavy-duty professional retouching and photo manipulation, and is priced accordingly. Moreover, it does not have any tools for photo organization. It is also quite difficult to learn from scratch, because it's just a huge, complex program with hundreds of tools and options -- I'd recommend a class or at least a book.

My husband is a professional photographer who's been using Photoshop since version 2.0 (before there were layers). He knows and loves Photoshop; he's completely comfortable with all of its complexities, and can do pretty much anything with it. But he spends much more of his time in Aperture now. So much of a photographer's workflow involves importing, organizing, and sorting photos, and Aperture excels at that. And the adjustment/retouching tools are so much quicker to use right there, rather than having to export everything to Photoshop in order to just do a basic color correction.

He goes to Photoshop when he needs to do cutouts, compositing, or heavy-duty retouching. But watching him work, I've noticed that he does the vast majority of his photo adjustments in Aperture.

I'd say that Aperture is more likely to be immediately useful to your daughter -- and is certainly more immediately affordable. Photoshop might be something she can save up for.

#470 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 06:30 PM:

Am I the only one who keeps hearing "The Avengers"...and thinking "Mrs. Peel, we're needed"?

#471 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 06:34 PM:

Carla Newenglander @ 457: These two common abbreviations popped up after your question, and they're definitely unique to ML:

AKICIML - All Knowledge is Contained in Making Light, short hand for here comes a question

HLN - Hyper Local News, shorthand for this post is unrelated to the ongoing discussion, but I just gotta share.

#472 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 07:01 PM:

Xopher @ 470... For me it went the other way around because I was first introduced to Steed and Peel (and the unjustly unappreciated King) in French, where the show was retitled "Chapeau Melon et Bottes de Cuir", which translates as "Bowler Hat and Leather Boots". That being said, I'd love to see Steed and Peel (and King) fight along the other bunch. It might make me forget the film with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Therman.

#473 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 07:03 PM:

Yeah, the Thurman/Fiennes thing was pretty horrible.

Helen Mirren as Emma Peel. But who opposite her?

#474 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 07:19 PM:

Xopher @ 473... Alan Rickman?

#475 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 07:25 PM:

Do I need to do the hlepy FAQ? As I remember it, the best brief overview starts here, which refined this and this.

#476 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 07:43 PM:

Following on to janetl's 471:

The genesis of HLN was this August 2010 Open Thread #145 post by Erik Nelson, noting that "hyperlocal" was the new journalism buzzword and linking to a mockup of the Hyper-Local News front page. It only took one comment before the concept of "Hyper-Local News" was adopted by the Making Light commentariat. The phrase was contracted to HLN by praisegod barebones in the same thread, with a William Carlos Williams reference (another Making Light tradition).

#477 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 08:05 PM:

Perfect, Serge!

#478 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 08:12 PM:

Fragano @ 451: Emma has a sister, who is rather better known in some parts of Australia. She's called Alma.

#479 ::: Carla Newenglander ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 08:34 PM:

Xopher Halftongue, David Harmon, Thena, Bruce E. Durocher II:
Thank you for the additional definitions of "hlepy' -- little did I know it had so much history! I have a much better understanding of the concept now. Not to mention that I've lost many minutes browsing through old threads thanks to Bruce's linkage @comment 475...

janetl and Caroline: Thanks for the additional definitions of AKICIML and HLN.

I'd better start my own FAQ now!

#480 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 10:08 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @436: Maybe tell her to skip the vowel completely and just pronounce the r twice as long?

Jacque @446: Poinsettias are not poisonous. They're not health food, of course. The place I worked had a handout with info from the poinsettia growers that disputed the toxic claim vigorously.

Stephen Fry as Steed?

#481 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 10:57 PM:

Stephen Fry won't do for John Steed. For one thing, he's almost as old as Patrick MacNee (or if he isn't, he looks it). Anyway . . . you saw him claiming to be the mystery man in V For Vendetta, right? Well there you are.

So, would the Avengers be standing out anachronistically in the 21st Century, or would it be a period piece? Personally, I'd like to see them feeling a bit out of place and uncomfortable in Thatcherite 1982 . . . .

#482 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 11:08 PM:

John M. Burt @ 481... I'd like to see them feeling a bit out of place and uncomfortable in Thatcherite 1982...

This reminds me of Kim Newman's Richard Jeperson, aka the Man from the Diogenes Club. The first stories are set in the early Sixties, and are quite whimsical, but an air of melancholy starts permeating the tales as Jeperson, a psychically sensitive person, finds himself facing the Thatcher Era.

#483 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 11:28 PM:

New rule: any movie made after 1975 that claims that people "use only 10% of their brains" is a Bad Movie by definition. Now there is some variation among movies that are Bad by this definition, but they are all, without exception, part of the Bad Movie canon.

Why? No one who knows anything about the brain has believed that in decades, and in fact I'm almost sure no brain scientists have ever believed that. My only reservation would be the fact that I know that some scientists have always believed that anything whose function they couldn't determine did nothing.

For example, glial cells are named after mortar because people thought they didn't do anything except stick neurons together. Far from the case of course, but people really did believe it.

But that 10% thing? No, that's bullshit. If people ever believed that, it was stupid of them. And no one who knows anything about the brain has believed it in years and years.

#484 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 11:51 PM:

Xopher @470, they made that one back in the '90s.

#485 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2012, 11:55 PM:

The 10% thing was always pop psych, not endorsed by anyone who actually knows anything about the subject. IIRC it fell out of some media misrepresentation of a real statement (something like "we don't know what 90% of the brain is doing yet, we just know it's doing something" treated as "90% of the brain is the OS").

#486 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 12:28 AM:

Melissa Singer @ 462: Caroline @469 has pretty much covered my feelings about Photoshop. I prefer Adobe's Lightroom to Aperture, though that's mostly because it's what I used first. Functionally the two applications are very similar.

The reason I would recommend Lightroom over Aperture for a beginning user is that Adobe offer a 30 day free trial of Lightroom (Apple don't seem to have one for Aperture). You can find out if it's enough for your needs before you have to worry about money.

#487 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 12:33 AM:

To build on what Caroline's said about Photoshop: I have PS and love it. BUT I work at a professional photography studio, and I have need to use several of its very specific tricks for our in-house printer. I also bend it rather heavily to do art because I'm comfortable with it.

What I use for my home photos is iPhoto. No joke. And I've got a horrible little camera.

Let me tell you a little something I picked up in college. After a year and a half of engineering, I realized it really wasn't what I wanted to do. So I needed a major that I could finish in two-and-a-half years, and settled on Broadcast Studies (which is why I usually refer to my degree as a BA through the Honors Program; Broadcast Studies can be a big joke of a degree if you don't treat it seriously.) We had equipment that was older than we were and the most snarky sarcastic and talented professor you could imagine on the visual side. He told us something that was very important—Don't use the latest, greatest, and fanciest equipment when you start. Develop your eye and your technique first, and you can use anything.

The same concept applies to photography—if you start out with a heavy-duty program, you'll often use it to mask your foundational problems. If you've got nothing more than cropping and levels adjustment, you're going to learn to fix things before you get into trouble. "Camera time makes money; Photoshop loses money."

Now if only I could convince some photographers of that...

#488 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 02:56 AM:

B. Durbin @ 487:

I use iPhoto to adjust contrast, brightness, and color temp, because you don't really need anything more for simple adjustment. I have a copy of Photoshop CS2, which I acquired very cheap some years ago (a friend of mine is a Photoshop instructor, and she had an extra copy that Adobe had given her). I used it a lot for retouching, modifying perspective, and making collages and composites.

Unfortunately, CS2 doesn't run on any Mac OS X version after Leopard, and I'm developing an app, and therefore need to run at least Snow Leopard so I can have Lion and Mountain Lion virtual machines available (and I bit the bullet and am running Lion as my primary OS, with Mountain Lion VMs for testing). When I first hit a project that needed PS capability after switching OS, I downloaded a current version of GIMP (which I'd had some dealings with in the past before getting Photoshop) and spent several frustrating hours discovering that the user interface and functionality were still confusing and mildly brain-damaged. But I continue to use it because I can't afford to buy a new copy of PS this year. Luckily I don't need it for routine photo work.

#489 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 04:02 AM:

Xopher @470: so many people think that way on this side of the pond that the movie is not called "The Avengers" here, it's called Avengers Assemble.

#490 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 04:26 AM:

Photoshop is expensive and intimidating because it tries to do everything.

GIMP is at least cheap, but it too tries to do everything.

For most of us, it's possible to find less intimidating software which does what we want.

There is a free trial version downloadable from Adobe, which is described as fully functional, but that might still mean that saved images are watermarked, or something.

#491 ::: Dave Bell sees a bunch of spam all over the place. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 04:29 AM:

Pretty blatant usernames, anyway.

afhankelijk van zijn / haar onderzoek. on Moderation certificate
Su conexiè´¸n enorme no hay ninguna pregunta on A gentleman was thrown out of a chaise
Ontvang GRATIS 6-daagse Italiaanse taal-programma on Scenes from literature
Indsats Teknik Udvikler Trusts blandt kunderne on Precisely

#492 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 06:51 AM:

They're at it again...

Call centre staffed by people with almost stereotypical accents of India...

A claim to be some sort of Windows support service...

"There's something wrong with your computer."

They are unable to give even the most basic information which identifies my computer. That's collected by another department.

They can't explain how they got a telephone number that is associated with that computer. That's done by another department.

They don't know which version of Windows I am running.

After 9 minutes and 47 seconds I was told "bugger off" and they hung up. I am not sure it was the same voice as had been speaking previously. I'm no Henry Higgins, but the tonality and accent seemed to shift.

I don't know what the crooks paid for that call. I only regret I didn't get around to letting them try to talk me through a Linux filesystem to find Windows\System32\....

#493 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 07:41 AM:

John M. Burt @ #481: Stephen Fry won't do for John Steed. For one thing, he's almost as old as Patrick MacNee (or if he isn't, he looks it).

Considering the previous front-runners in this discussion were Alan Rickman and Helen Mirren, both of whom are a decade older than Fry, I think age has been disqualified as a consideration.

That said, I agree there are other reasons for considering him not right for the role.

#494 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 08:04 AM:

Life in the future (or in the 16th century updated):

#495 ::: Carla Newenglander ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 08:04 AM:

How about...
Steed: Clive Owen
Mrs. Peel: Kate Beckinsale or Lara Pulver (who made a recent splash as Irene Adler in the Sherlock BBC series episode "A Scandal in Belgravia")

#496 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 08:07 AM:

Niall McAuley @ 489... The upcoming movie was filmed here in Albuquerque, by the way. In fact, when two of the local fans got married last year, the bride found herself hiring the movie's makeup artist. I suggested that, when they tied the knot, their guests should exclaim "Avengers Assemble!", but the idea was nixed. Humph.

#497 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 08:33 AM:

Jo MacQueen #478: Is she as confusing to visiting writers?

#498 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 10:05 AM:

Like an iceberg, 90% of the human brain is under water.

This is two years out of date, but may be useful to some: Comparison Between Photoshop and Photoshop Elements (features).

#499 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 01:39 PM:

Avram 484: No, that's the awful one that we're trying to forget. Still want a good one. Besides...Emma Peel and John Steed are what pop to mind when I think "Avengers," regardless of bad movies. I am more Old Television than Comic Books, I'm least in the Marvel universe. Say "Legion" and I think teenage superheroes, not fallen angels.

geekosaur 485: That's what I've always believed, but I didn't have any facts to back it up.

Niall 489: Glad to hear it. My favorite examples of transatlantic title association problems are a) The Madness of King George III, which omitted the 'III' in the US, because including it made Americans think "But I haven't seen parts I and II"; and Malcolm X, which IIUC made some British moviegoers wonder what country had ten King Malcolms.

Carla 495: I was going to say "I haven't seen Kate Beckinsale play anything other than smouldering rage. But then I've only seen her in two Underworld movies." But then I looked her up to be sure. Good gods, I didn't even connect her to the actress who played Flora Poste in Cold Comfort Farm. Wow. OK, she's got range. Emma Peel would be Flora Poste's sweet unflappable demeanor with vampire Selene's kickassness. That might work.

#500 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 01:51 PM:

Xopher @ 499... Say "Legion" and I think teenage superheroes, not fallen angels.

In 2009's "Legion", archangel Gabriel was played by Kevin Serge Durand. Not that I'm trying to toot the horn for a fellow Serge...

#501 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 01:58 PM:

Serge, he was better in I Am Number Four.

But I first saw him as Zipacna in Stargate SG-1. Haven't seen him play a good guy yet (though I guess Gabriel, much as he's trying to kill all the good guys, comes close).

#502 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 02:08 PM:

Xopher @ 501... He also played Little John to Russell Crowe's Robin Hood.

#503 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 02:08 PM:

The "people use only 10% of their brains" is almost as annoying as "the left hemisphere is logical, the right hemisphere is intuitive/artistic" - both of these make me snark pretty fiercely. The problem is that our current understanding of the brain isn't easy to turn into a soundbite - maybe something like "the brain is insanely complicated, areas seem to do X, but can be convinced to do Y with only a little prodding - so we don't really know." Less appealing, but more accurate.

#504 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 02:42 PM:

xeger @448: Perhaps Jacque works at Catastrophe Inc ;)

Our logo would of course be: *>^.^<*

Thena @461: I tend to read 'hlepy' / 'helpy' and variants as 'toddler help'

Which, in turn, is a variant of weasel help.

Melissa Singer @462: I, personally, am a huge fan of Photoshop, and have found substitutes like GIMP to be frustration (and I still haven't figured out how to make it go on my mac.) It is expensive, no argument. I've been hearing rumors lately that they have a subscription variant which is ~$50/mo. A passable (and free!) online variant I've found and played with little bit is And, I've found it reasonably easy to use, based on my experience with PS. The main problem I've found is that it's slow. This might keep her sufficiently entertained until her next birthday? ;-)

Mac also has the onboard "Preview" which can do some limited color correction, sizing and cropping, and, I think, some effects. (I can never keep its features straight with MS Photo Editor, which I use for lame stuff at work.)

Riffing on what Caroline @469: said, PS (and Illustrator) can be absolutely crazy-making until one gets the hang of it.

Xopher HalfTongue @470: No. :)

#505 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 03:14 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man happy to announce that, a couple of days ago, Tor Books's payment to Susan Krinard (aka man's wife) showed up in mailbox for the acceptance of the manuscript of "Mist", her contemporary-fantasy novel about a Valkyrie finding her way on Earth after Ragnarok.

#506 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 03:18 PM:

Benjamin 503: That one bugs me, too, but at least it's an oversimplification of something that was once sort of believed, rather than utter bullshit based on mishearing and/or stupidity and/or deliberate misrepresentation. And...neuroplasticity is what makes physical therapy after a stroke worth doing. My dad did some of the early work on that, back in the 70s (not that I was aware of the significance of his lab stuff, being wrapped up in my gay teen angst at the time).

I had occasion just this week to encourage someone to continue PT (he'd had a stroke while under treatment for lung cancer, and pretty much given up). He'd been told that if part of the brain is destroyed, it's gone and you don't get it back. Well...that's true for the memories that were in that bit (though the brain's memory storage isn't simple either, and at least somewhat redundant). It is NOT true for abilities and capacities; other parts of the brain can be pressed into service to a certain limited extent. It's hard and painful and frustrating, but it can work.

Sometimes. There are no guarantees, of course, and the more extensive the damage, the harder it is to recover. Can't even guarantee that things won't come back if you DON'T do PT. But, like wearing seatbelts, it's the way to bet.

Serge 505: W00t! Congratulations to your lady wife.

#507 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 03:18 PM:

Jacque @504:
The new CS6 subscription is $20/month, from what I hear (I think? math is hard)

#508 ::: geekosaur are gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 03:20 PM:

They dislike either snark or recursion; I'm not sure which.

#509 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 03:36 PM:

Kip W @480: Poinsettias are not poisonous.

The contention is that poinsettias are specifically poisonous to cats. A quick google suggests that their not toxic in the sense of being lethal, but that they will make your cat sick, due to the latex in the sap.

Given that I, personally, have neither cats nor poinsettias, this is entirely of academic interest to me. (At least until my c[ao][tw]orker launches her annual rant. :)

#510 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 03:47 PM:

Xopher @ 506... Thanks!

#511 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 03:52 PM:

Xopher @ 499: Malcolm X, which IIUC made some British moviegoers wonder what country had ten King Malcolms.

There could be only one.

I wish I'd had less beer in my mouth when I got to this comment.

#512 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 03:54 PM:

Gray Woodland @ 510...

"There can be only One!"
- Clancy Brown

#513 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 03:58 PM:

Obscenity filter fun:

Over on a model rocketry discussion board I frequent, people are talking their dogs.

Apparently, several of them own ####er Spaniels.

#514 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 04:24 PM:

Xopher @ 506 : Neuroplasticity research is what I used to do (attentional neglect; I've got friends who do this work now, although I've transitioned into a different end of vision and psych research).

#515 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 04:40 PM:

Dave B., #492: Dear ghod, the temptation to go into one of the stereotype bad-support scripts would be nearly irresistible.

"Looks fine from here, I can't tell why you're having trouble. Are you sure it's plugged in?"

"No, I'm looking at it right now and it seems to be just fine. I don't know why you can't see it. Are you behind a firewall? Maybe you need to adjust your settings."

... etc.

Jacque, #504: That "subscription version" doesn't sound like any bargain to me. You use it for a year, and you might as well have bought the thing outright, and will still have to lay out the money if you want to do so! This is furniture-rental thinking.

#516 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 05:21 PM:

Lee @515: I have to say, I'm not a fan of the concept myself. If I'm going to shell out for the software, I damnwell want a box that's mine and I can continue using until my computer doesn't work anymore or whatever.

#517 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 06:38 PM:

Melissa Singer @462, for a cheap (Mac-only) alternative to Photoshop, I like Pixelmator. Only costs $30, and it's written specifically for the Mac, so it takes advantage of Mac video hardware in ways that Photoshop doesn't.

There are also some simple editing tools built into iPhoto (which should've come already installed on the MacBook) for minor tweaks and cropping.

#518 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 06:47 PM:

Hey, it's Shakespeare's birthday! Time to trot out some old crap I wrote years ago.

Here's what the Bard might have written if the fairies hadn't threatened him with painful death unless he cleaned it up. (Probably not NSFW, but kind of nasty, so not for the squeamish.)

#519 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 06:48 PM:

Aperture and Lightroom are good for high volume photo stuff, especially if you're looking at images that are more representative, rather than composites and the like. Also, if you're considering going through 100 images, Lightroom/Aperture is the tool. If you're doing heavy manipulation, serious retouching, or the like, then you're into photoshop land. I managed to snag a full copy of PS for ~300 a few years back. It's not current, but it does what I need.

GIMP, not so much. On OSX, it still uses X11, which means that it has some really screwy interface and windowing stuff going on. Like click to raise the palette window, then click again to select the tool. Stuff shows up under my dock, and it takes 45 seconds launch to the splash screen. Photoshop, which is notorious for having a splash screen that you get to gaze upon for a long time does it in 11 seconds OMM.

#520 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 07:21 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 497: Is she as confusing to visiting writers?

She might be. To my knowledge, she's never been reported in that situation, unlike Emma. Unless the visiting writers got them mixed up somehow, and they said Emma when they meant Alma. Tricksy family, the Chisits.

#521 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 07:50 PM:

Knitting Open Threadiness:

Knitty has their surprises up. Including a Tardis shawl.

Please excuse me while I make a trip to the yarn store...

#522 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 08:46 PM:

The GIMP, as far as my friends and I can tell, is made by people who have a checklist of capabilities, rather than an understanding of how, why, or when those capabilities would be useful. That being said, it's what I use, and worth every penny even if you give them a donation. As long as you can put up with the user interface, it gets most jobs done.

#523 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2012, 09:46 PM:

Speaking as someone who never learned Photoshop at all, I find Gimp's interface to be pretty good. There are things I don't understand about it, but then there are tasks I haven't needed to do.

(To be more accurate, I learned Photoshop 2.5 in the early 90s. I don't remember the details, though, and I don't imagine they'd still apply if I did.)

#524 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 01:33 AM:

MSNBC claims a scoop:

Billionaire-Backed Asteroid Mining Venture Starts With Space Telescopes

The venture known as Planetary Resources eventually plans to go asteroid mining — but the first step in the billionaire-backed business plan is to launch an orbital fleet of "personal space telescopes" capable of looking out into the heavens or back down on Earth.
Planetary Resources' ultimate goal is to set up a commercial infrastructure for fueling trips far beyond Earth orbit, with Planetary Resources controlling the equivalent of oil wells, refineries and filling stations in outer space. That's the long-term promise of near-Earth asteroids.
"A water-rich asteroid would greatly enhance the large-scale exploration of the solar system," Anderson said in a news release. "Water has many uses in space. For instance, it would not only be used for hydration, but also would be broken down into oxygen and hydrogen, for breathable air and rocket propellant."
#525 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 08:13 AM:

little pink beast @ 522 and Andrew Plotkin @ 523: The impression I get is that for people doing professional (-level and -amount) photo/image work, the GIMP interface gets in the way. They need more speed and flow than it can give them. However, for small amounts of personal photo/image work, it's not as much of an issue.

#526 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 09:18 AM:

Stefan @513, years ago I used to hang out on (and eventually help moderate) a forum for beginning motorcyclists. The nanny-filter became a running joke. This was during the Bush II years, and so we had Vice President thingy Cheney, for example. And "slut" was rendered as "very friendly person" so a very common typo for "absolutely" became "abvery friendly personely"....

#527 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 09:49 AM:

‎"Every princess needs a battle axe."

That's what Zeetha said to Agatha Heterodyne anyway.

#528 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 10:24 AM:

Jacque @509: I'll agree it's best the cat not eat the poinsettias for any number of reasons, the top two being "ruins the poinsettias" and "the cat barfs afterwards."

I heard once that scientists in Russia were on the verge of finding or inventing something that didn't make cats barf, but I think it turned out to be a false alarm.

Avram @517: For that matter, it also turns out that Preview (came with my MacBook) has a few useful tools as well. Sometimes I end up using it to crop and resize pictures when the idea of waiting some portion of a minute for Photoshop to boot up is intolerable.

#529 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 10:25 AM:

Tom Whitmore @1: Numeracy for Many!

#530 ::: Carla Newenglander ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 10:52 AM:

How is numeracy defined these days, anyway? No, I don't mean a dictionary definition; I mean more in terms of
1) How do you all define it? That is, what is the consensus of the Making Light community of what constitutes numeracy in an average person?
2) What are the expectations of the numeracy of the average person, both in the USA and outside the USA?

This might be better addressed in a separate post...

#531 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 11:27 AM:

My experience with heavyweight graphics software lead me to add the following to that discussion:

  • If you are trying to learn the software on your own without reference to the help files or third-party aids, both Photoshop and the GIMP have equally awful interfaces[1], just in different ways.

  • The most recent development versions of the GIMP (2.7+) offer an alternative single-window interface that gets rid of the awkwardness of the old multi-window versions, although there are still other awkwardnesses and bugs.

  • The capabilities of the two programs are very close to par for anything but professional print design, where the GIMP needs to be paired with Scribus to do some things that Photoshop can manage on its own.

  • It's worth getting the FX-Foundry filters pack for the GIMP if you're using it primarily for photomanip.

  • Photoshop and the GIMP are both overkill for 95%+ of photo manipulation.
  • Probably the best/most cost effective solution for someone on a Mac is to buy one of the other, lighter packages people here have brought up (Aperture, Lightroom . . .) and keep a recent version of the GIMP in reserve for the few photos that need something the lighter package doesn't offer.

    [1]Photoshop's interface is problematic because it uses widgets in non-standard and non-intuitive ways. It isn't obvious just by looking at the thing where some of the options are hidden. People who have been trained on the thing (or followed a lot of how-tos) don't tend to notice this, because the nonstandard widgets are transparent to them.

    The interface of the stable versions of the GIMP is problematic because it was designed not only by geeks, but (as far as I can tell) geeks who had only ever used Gnome with Metacity as a window manager, and who liked grouping windows from the same application. It's not very usable even under Linux if you prefer your windows ungrouped. The tab-based interface for the newest versions clears some of that up, although I've discovered a whole new category of nuisance problems that involve drag-to-dock dialogs. (For the record, GIMP 2.7.3 on Linux with KDE3.)

    In other words, Photoshop's interface problems involve a single large roadblock, while the GIMP's are more like the death of a thousand cuts. Which of those is actually more of a nuisance depends on how, and how often, you use the software.

    Paint Shop Pro had a better interface than either of the others, back in the days before it was sold to Corel, but it was always Windows-only.

    #532 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 12:41 PM:

    Carla Newenglander @530: basic numeracy is the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide, and the willingness to use that ability. It involves a sense of being able to look at something not very complex that involves numbers and have a sense whether it's right or not (and a sense of when it's too complex to figure instantly). Mostly, it's being comfortable playing with numbers. And it's much less common than I'd like.

    #533 ::: Carla Newenglander ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 01:34 PM:

    Tom Whitmore @532: I was thinking along more pragmatic terms, such as the ability to balance one's checkbook, calculate how much paint to buy to cover your living room walls, double the ingredients in a recipe, or understand the findings of, say, a medical study reported in a daily newspaper aimed at general readership (of course, the latter requires both numeracy and reading comprehension).

    I agree, it's much less common than I'd like.

    #534 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 01:37 PM:

    Those are examples of using the skills I mentioned; another would be knowing if one's change is right, or the total on a bill. And doubling the ingredients in a recipe doesn't always work very well....

    #535 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 02:06 PM:

    On the photo software subthread, if GIMP for OS X is running on X11, I'd avoid it like the plague - I use Matlab, which does the same thing, and it breaks lots of OS X's interface conventions in ways that are really annoying. I find that there's relatively little I can't do with Aperture these days; Photoshop is handy, but certainly not essential (I'd invest the $600+ in lenses or other useful photo tools). There are the CS6 subscription options, but that seems like an evil idea (I'm not particularly into the idea of renting my software - and I'm really not into the idea of having software that can phone home to Adobe).

    On a different topic, I was really pretty thrilled to see that Tor is transitioning to DRM-free ebooks. I don't know what role our gracious hosts had in the process, but it's awesome news regardless.

    #536 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 02:32 PM:

    Tom, #534: True, straightforward doubling of ingredients sometimes yields unwanted results, but that's a matter of cooking experience/skill rather than numeracy. Also, the farrago of irregular measurements used in American cooking makes it a non-trivial exercise -- for example, I couldn't double "1 cup + 2 tablespoons" without looking it up, because I don't have the cup-to-tablespoon conversion ratio in my head.

    #537 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 02:57 PM:

    I've had to get an older Mac (hard drive died in the one I had) and run an old OS on it to handle the old Photoshop which is the only software that seems to work with the Mustek 11X17 flatbed scanner I have -- the cheap large flatbed scanner that I use to scan old engravings, of which I have a large number. Smaller scanners just don't work, and it's specialized enough that nobody seems to make drivers for it that actually do the job (Mustek has been promising new Mac drivers for literally years).

    #538 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 03:25 PM:

    Tom Whitmore @ 537 ...
    I've had to get an older Mac (hard drive died in the one I had) and run an old OS on it to handle the old Photoshop which is the only software that seems to work with the Mustek 11X17 flatbed scanner I have -- the cheap large flatbed scanner that I use to scan old engravings, of which I have a large number. Smaller scanners just don't work, and it's specialized enough that nobody seems to make drivers for it that actually do the job (Mustek has been promising new Mac drivers for literally years).

    Hm. You might see if Vuescan does what you need. It's commercial-but-sane scanner software with a fairly crazy list of supported scanners of all vintages.

    #539 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 03:26 PM:

    Lee @536: I do prefer working with weights rather than volumes, but I'm usually ok with either calculation in practice if everything is consistent. Recipes combining weights and volumes, though, can lead to mental gymnastics involving the density of butter; and lately I've found myself more than once using a non-US volume measure I'm not 100% sure of to measure an ingredient that isn't quite the thing described in the recipe. In either case, if I'm paying enough attention, I'll eventually realize that I'd be better off winging it.

    #540 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 03:41 PM:

    xeger @538 -- nope, only works with my scanner on Windows (and this is a Mac household). Thanks for the thought, though!

    #541 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 04:25 PM:

    Lee: I can't do that either (well, yes, I could, but only by converting everything to metric first), so I'd do 2 cups and 4 tablespoons.

    Inefficient, I'm sure - especially the way I hold a tablespoon - but it works.

    Actually (not in Lee's case, I'm sure - she just wants the efficient answer) this is a big issue with numeracy I've seen: the bill is $7.83, I hand over $8.08, and the cashier stares at the 8 cents and hands it back, with another 17. Doubling is fine, but "seeing" a quarter or "eyeballing" 15%, or the like, seems to be very difficult.

    Of course, then there's Advanced Innumeracy, where it's right because the calculator/computer says it is. Common (both types) in Engineering: people that don't reject a solution out of hand because the computer says that the bridge they're building over 50m of creek will require a roadbed 1km (or 8m, for that matter) long, and those who, despite it being pretty much the first thing taught in Engineering classes (and they should have had it before), still claim that the piece of steel they need to have cut is 5.0378265m long.

    I do think that "ability to read a survey result and understand it, and understand when it is likely not significant" is a required skill in 20th+ century numeracy, and I do realise that that is very much harder than the other things we're talking about. In particular, to be able to both understand, and understand the impact of, the error statement: "Polls of this standard will be accurate to within X percentage points, Y percent of the time" (or, Y times out of 20, which does seem more able to make clear the difference between the two percentages). That is not trivial, and failure to understand it is one of many things that lets the marketing game work.

    #542 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 04:26 PM:

    Carla Newenglander @533:
    Your final example is not quite like the others, because doing it right also involves knowing the kinds of oversimplifications and misstatements common when scientific results are transmitted by the media. See also the 10%/neuroplasticity subthread above.

    Benjamin Wolfe @535:
    Matlab had switched to a Java-based interface, I thought; which has its own issues, but at least it should use the native GUI instead of X11. (As someone who both uses and is close to X11 development on OS X: it's working about as well as it ever will. It's a hard problem.)

    #543 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 04:53 PM:

    Mycroft W (541): a big issue with numeracy I've seen: the bill is $7.83, I hand over $8.08, and the cashier stares at the 8 cents and hands it back, with another 17.

    I once gave a (young) cashier a similar, odd-seeming amount, and when she questioned why, told her to ring it in. Her register correctly figured the quarter change. "How did you know that!?" she exclaimed. I told her it was practice.

    #544 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 05:08 PM:

    Lee @536:

    for example, I couldn't double "1 cup + 2 tablespoons" without looking it up, because I don't have the cup-to-tablespoon conversion ratio in my head.

    Me neither (I have to look at the mL equivalents on my cups and measuring spoons to figure it out), but I'd just put in 2 cups + 4 tablespoons. Perhaps not the most efficient method but it certainly works.

    #545 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 05:24 PM:

    Carla Newenglander #530, #533: I'd also want to see capacity to both estimate and calculate proportions and percentages in general, including the ability to use either kind of fraction sensibly.

    More subtly, to be truly numerate, one needs to be able to recognize math problems in everyday life, and be able to figure out the appropriate operations and estimations.

    There are also a few things where I don't expect proficiency, but people should at least recognize them and their relevant issues: Orders of magnitude (e.g. saving 10¢/day isn't going to reach $1000 anytime soon), exponential notation (really big or small numbers), digits of precision (just because the calculator said 2.674523 doesn't mean all those digits go in your answer). For bonus points, recognize imaginary/complex numbers, if only as "weird scientist stuff, they work funny".

    On a base technical level, I'd expect someone to have minimum capacities for "in their head" math: Know their times tables at least to 10, add or subtract at least four or five digits worth of numbers, multiply at least a two-digit-by one-digit product (ideally two-by-two), divide two-digits by one digit. Without that much, symbolic manipulation is kinda pointless, and calculators become treacherous.

    #546 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 05:30 PM:

    Not that it's particularly important unless you double recipes regularly, but 4 Tablespoons = 1/4 cup.

    (Also, 3 teaspoons = 1 Tablespoon.)

    #547 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 05:51 PM:

    I'm coming at numeracy (and for that matter, literacy) from a different direction: special ed, especially high school and older training programs. We want the students to be able to tell whether they have enough money, hand over the appropriate amount (dollars plus one more), enter numbers into a calculator accurately, do touch-math addition and subtraction on their own, things like that. Estimating is really important, too. Telling time, following an appropriate recipe, counting how many X you'll need for the whole class, things like that.

    It's sometimes easier to find the target when you're hoping the student can hit it, rather than working with people who have already surpassed it. I'm not sure it's exactly what you mean, though.

    #548 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 06:02 PM:

    Mycroft, #541: 2 cups and 4 tablespoons would be the obvious solution, yes. :-)

    In most cases I've seen, the cashier will ring up $8.08, see that the change is $0.25, and hand me back a quarter. But I'm more likely to hand them $8.03, and they seem to have an easier time looking at that and handing me back two dimes. Estimating 15% is easy; take 10%, take half of that, add the two together. It's the odd percentages (like 8.25% sales tax) that throw me.

    But honestly, if we're having a feeding frenzy at the table, I am extremely grateful for the ability to let the register calculate the change for me. Under pressure, I make stupid mistakes.

    And yes, I would include "basic statistics" under the requirements for numeracy. Lack of that makes you easy prey for any con-man.

    (I parsed "survey result" initially as meaning a land survey rather than a poll, which gave me an interesting mental image for a minute!)

    Mary Aileen, #543: My partner likes to use the response, "Where I come from, most people can do that." If asked where that is, he says, "The past." Personally, I think that's a little mean; I prefer, "It's not hard. You could do it too, if anyone had ever bothered to teach you how." That IMO puts the onus where it belongs.

    David H., #545: However, saving $1/day will get to $1,000 in a little less than 3 years. I remember this not because of math precisely, but because of the movie Anne of the Thousand Days.

    #549 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 07:03 PM:

    Lee @536: I couldn't double "1 cup + 2 tablespoons" without looking it up

    Every evening, I get to evenly divide 1 head of romaine lettuce, 5 roma tomatoes, and 1 bunch of parsley 14 ways. Oh yeah, and: two of those doses get no parsley, but compensating amounts of lettuce. I'm a good servant monkey!

    Mycroft W @541: failure to understand it is one of many things that lets the marketing game work.

    "Half off, this week only! Buy now and save!"

    "Uh, no thank you. I'll save even more by not buying any."

    #550 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 08:18 PM:

    No, why is there a black helicopter circling over my house?

    Oh. Right.

    And meanwhile, I've now lost my cookies on my home machine, as well.

    #551 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 08:18 PM:

    Hm. That sounded bad. Anyway, they're back. *nevermind*

    #552 ::: Carla Newenglander ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 08:39 PM:

    Mycroft W@541: I do think that "ability to read a survey result and understand it, and understand when it is likely not significant" is a required skill in 20th+ century numeracy, and I do realise that that is very much harder than the other things we're talking about.
    Yes, that's very much what I was driving at, which seems a combination of "simple" numeracy, reading comprehension, knowledge of how the media works (as pointed out by geekosaur@542), and -- perhaps most importantly -- critical thinking.

    Returning to "simple" numeracy -- does the average person understand how scientific studies and surveys/polls work? Do they understand the significance of sample size, and how methodology can influence results? I don't know, and it's on my mind given the current and future bombardment of election-related surveys/polls, and my befuddlement at how can people vote for certain referenda and candidates given the scientific facts (yes, I know, science literacy is a whole nuther ball of wax) and results of said studies and polls, and how people can believe what the so-called news says without stopping to think "hey, that doesn't make sense."

    Mary Aileen@543: and Lee @548: I was taught at a fairly young age how to make change without the aid of a cash register or calculator: start from the amount of the transaction and make the change by counting up to the amount the customer gives you. Simple once you know the trick, but I concede that if no one has taught you, it's not necessarily intuitive.

    David Harmon@545: More subtly, to be truly numerate, one needs to be able to recognize math problems in everyday life, and be able to figure out the appropriate operations and estimations.
    Yes, exactly!

    Lee @548: Good point: one needs enough understanding of numerical concepts to prevent being taken by con artists.

    #553 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 08:58 PM:

    Carla (552): I wasn't explicitly taught that way of making change, it was just the way cashiers always did it when I was a young. Cash registers that calculate the change for you didn't become ubiquitous until I was an adult.

    #554 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 08:59 PM:

    me (553): Oops, edit error. "...when I was young" or "...when I was a kid."

    #555 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 09:17 PM:

    Being able to recognize that the number of feet given is not matching the number of meters given for the same length (ISTR they were saying 87 feet and 22 meters).

    #556 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 09:24 PM:

    Lee #548: The point of understanding orders-of-magnitude is precisely so someone can see the difference between those examples, even when they numbers aren't nice and neat.

    I'd say that with "basic statistics", we're venturing beyond "basic numeracy" into "general numeracy". At that point, I'd also include more stuff: actual understanding of exponents, orders-of-magnitude, exponential notation, and digits-of-precision/error ranges, simple algebra (with functions and "unit conversions"¹), and basic geometry and trigonometry.

    ¹ I forget the proper term; I mean how pints can be converted into liters, but meters can't, and that affects what equations you can write.

    #557 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 09:55 PM:

    Mary Aileen and Carla: I was briefly a cashier at a supermarket, in the mid-1970s, long before scanners or cash registers that made computed. The head cashier actually taught new employees how to make change _and_ how to pack groceries. Neither of which seem to be taught anymore, judging by my local markets. We also had to weigh and price produce, and the computation of produce prices were generally done in our heads and announced to the customer before being rung up.

    My biggest problem was learning to ring things up with my right hand, as I was more strongly left-handed then than I am now.

    #558 ::: errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 10:43 PM:

    lorax @544
    Then you have the fun caused by Australian and NZ tablespoons being different sizes (20ml vs 15ml). I know which of my cookbooks are evil Australian ones, but food packaging is a bit random if you decide to use the recipe on the back as a starting point to get the proportions right...

    #559 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 11:16 PM:

    mass and length and volume, you mean?

    #560 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2012, 11:22 PM:

    David Harmon @ 556 and P J Evans @ 559 -- dimensional analysis, I think.

    #561 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 12:06 AM:

    Tom Whitmore @ 540 ...
    xeger @538 -- nope, only works with my scanner on Windows (and this is a Mac household). Thanks for the thought, though!

    Huh, interesting. I've only used Vuescan on Linux and Mac -- didn't realize that it didn't have consistent cross-platform support.

    #562 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 12:21 AM:

    Yes, that's it. (My brain has slipping cogs. Sometimes it's more inconvenient than others. My typing is also going to pieces.)

    #563 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 12:24 AM:

    It's Anzac Day. Tears.

    And the one good thing that came out of it:

    "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets where they lie side by side here in this country of ours… You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

    Kemal Ataturk, 1934.

    #564 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 12:29 AM:

    Lee @548: the key I found to 8.25% sales tax was to remember that it's exactly 33c on $4. Which makes multiplying out much easier, at least for me.

    But then, I had to figure it in the bookstore for many years, and it was quicker to do it in my head than to use a calculator. Even when I used a calculator, I'd do a quick checksum to see if I'd missed a book when I entered them. Scanners? Not in use back then, or even available when we started.

    xeger @561 -- that's according to the list of scanners they can manage on their website. I haven't actually tried it, but this scanner is notoriously difficult. It makes up for it by being incredibly cheap for what you get.

    #565 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 01:54 AM:

    I was doing great on 8.25% and then they went and bumped it up to 8.75% on me. I still hadn't quite got used to that by the time I left CopyMat.

    #566 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 02:08 AM:

    I would dump both GIMP and Photoshop for making composites completely, if Expressions were still a product. There's a version that runs on Macs up to Snow Leopard, but it's the Expressions version 3 functionality from 2004, because that's when they were bought out by Microsoft, and later products with their technology have only come out on Windows, and are much more expensive. Too bad, Expressions did the composition work of PS, and the vector drawing of Illustrator, and some additional stuff like skeletal strokes that nobody else does.

    #567 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 02:51 AM:

    David Harmon @ 556:

    In my experience there aren't many people comfortable enough with dimensional analysis to get it right either quickly or often. Of course there are the egregious mistakes perpetrated by lazy engineers, like measuring thrust in pounds, or specific impulse in seconds, but most often it's just not recognizing that acceleration is not velocity, or that angular velocity and linear velocity aren't the same thing.

    And a little statistical literacy would be nice in the average citizen, enough to recognize that "1 chance in 10" isn't very probable, and that "1 chance in a million" is really unlikely.

    #568 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 07:41 AM:

    Speaking of numbers and approximations: today's xkcd.

    #569 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 09:13 AM:

    David @568:

    I was sad not to see my favorite approximation, that there are about pi * 10^7 seconds in a year, on that list, and that the actual exact value appears instead. The approximation is accurate to about 1% and was very handy when doing the sort of astronomical calculations where 1% doesn't matter anyway and you're likely to have factors of pi floating around to be cancelled out. Plus it's geeky.

    #570 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 09:17 AM:

    errolwi @558: Then you have the fun caused by Australian and NZ tablespoons being different sizes (20ml vs 15ml)

    As a practical matter, do you keep multiple sets of spoons around, or do you just add an extra NZ teaspoon to every NZ tablespoon for Australian recipes?

    I recently concluded that I was right to be confused by the use of "xícaras de chá" (teacups) as a volume measurement in Brazilian recipes. As far as I can tell, although there is a standard of 200ml, US cups (~240ml) are commonly used, sometimes rounded up to a neat quarter liter. I almost feel justified in my first reaction of "Which tea set?"

    #571 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 10:36 AM:

    Back in the 70s, I was at the DAV thrift shop in Greeley, somewhere near the counter. Somebody had made a purchase and was getting change, and he did some talking — not fast, but not slow — and the money went back and forth a time or two more than it needed to. I don't know. I'll probably never know, but I've always suspected he pulled a trick on the cashier. I wasn't close enough to watch it all, and didn't know at the start that there'd be anything to watch, but I've always felt a little guilty for not suddenly turning into somebody smarter and more decisive and saving the day for some cashier who may well have ended up the day short by four dollars, or nine dollars, or… crud, I don't know. Never will.

    I would hope that a crawling shit who'd scam a low-paid cashier for a charity would have had his come-uppance somewhere in all this time.

    #572 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 10:52 AM:

    lorax #569: I missed that approximation, too, but I have the exact number of minutes in a year in PMS (Permanent Mental Storage) owing to performing That Song in not one, but two college musical reviews.

    First time was better - we sang it better and had fake snow fluttering about us as we sang.

    #573 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 12:49 PM:

    Kip W #571

    Likely a short-change swindle. You can see a pile of these demonstrated in the Brit documentary The Real Hustle.

    Since it involved money going back and forth ... the way that one works (or one of the ways) is this:

    Buy a small item with a ten-dollar bill. Get the change. Gather up five ones, and say, "Could you give me a five for these ones?" The cashier says "Sure!" and gives you a five. You put the five ones on top of the five and say, "I don't want to carry too many bills; could you give me a ten?" and push over the five and the five ones. The cashier gives you a ten dollar bill. Depending on how smooth, and how bold, you are, in a similar manner you turn the ten into a twenty. Then you walk off with the item, your original ten dollars, and the rest of the change. Go to the place next door and repeat.

    #574 ::: Samatha C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 02:00 PM:

    There is a sharp divide between innumerate and numerate, but numeracy for me is a step beyond merely numerate. I have taught remedial algebra at a private, vocational college to a class of 48 older-than-high-school students. Many were drop-outs, some were lazy. Most, unfortunately, had merely been convinced, quite falsely, that they were 'bad' at math and would never be able to get good at it.

    Now, the one middle-aged student who had what to all effects and purposes seemed to be a real learning disability relating to numbers, he was tough. It took an enormous amount of work, suggestions for using the extra tutoring services, specially-designed homework problems, and several one-on-one office visits... but I did eventually teach him to do division reliably, on his own, and how to check his answer by multiplying once again.

    The rest of the class? They weren't bad at math. They were unruly, undisciplined, unwilling to work very hard at something they saw as hopeless. There were a few of the most uninterested or dispirited I could never reach, but... most of them I got somehow. Some of it was money, as in how to figure out change, how to balance a checkbook (most had NEVER seen a checkbook, period), or (shudder) how to actually read and _solve_ one of those horrible word problems. They were petrified of written math problems.

    One day, we had begun discussing fractions. A student asked me point-blank, which was bigger 3/8 or 5/8? Yes, he honestly didn't know and seemed to think it was a challenge for me to know. I picked up my Snickers candy bar off the podium, and asked him, "If I get a knife and cut this in eight pieces, do you want five of them, or three of them?"

    The light dawned in his face. He had never understood what a fraction _was_ before.

    OTOH, I almost always wound up being cashier in my early burger-flipping days, because I could make change and count-back faster than almost anyone my age. Although many times I would have to count it back twice or three times, because the customer couldn't follow what I was doing. I learned to do it much, much more slowly.

    There are defensive techniques for the short-change cons, such as not putting the original bill in the till until transaction is done, etc. A determined con is hard to spot and hard to beat; they time it and apply as much stress as possible.

    There is also the reverse short-change con, where you give them a larger bill, say a $20, and they short-change you and then claim you only gave them a $10. Memorize your serial number on the bill before handing it over, and TELL them what it is as you do helps. They can palm the bill and hide it instead of putting it in the till, though.

    #575 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 02:07 PM:

    Caroline #560: That's it, thanks!

    Bruce Cohen #567: Which I consider a sad commentary on math education, because it's exactly at the heart of "what is all this math for, anyway?". Anybody but a mathematician is probably using those numbers to represent some quantity of something, and if you don't understand what they are representing, you're liable to end up "comparing apples and oranges". Notice though, that I did put it with "general" rather than "basic" numeracy; dimensional analysis doesn't show up much in balancing a checkbook. (It might well be an issue when figuring a unit price, though!)

    #576 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 02:23 PM:

    Jim, #573: There's a defense against this, which most cashiers will be told about at some point: always take physical possession of the customer's money before making change of any sort. In the instance you cite, the success of the trick depends on the cashier handing over the five before taking possession of the ones. Experienced con-men probably know better than to pull this stunt with an older cashier, who is more likely to have the ingrained reflex of "take the money first" than a new one.

    #577 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 02:48 PM:

    Remember that con artists can work in groups, an operator and several shills, and they've practiced their act. They may have scouted a place out to watch for someone who's sloppy while making change, or go to places with non-professional cashiers (e.g. the volunteer at a church bake sale). Being a con artist means having no shame.

    While there are defenses against all of the cons, there is no one so street-smart and cynical that the right con on right day can't catch them.

    (Example: Con artist one goes through the checkout line and pays for an item with a twenty dollar bill, honestly, takes change, and departs. Con artist two goes through right behind him, pays for an item with a ten dollar bill, gets change, waits for cashier to close the drawer, and counts change, says, "I gave you a twenty and you only gave me change for a ten!" Argument may ensue; con artist two insists. Eventually the cash drawer is opened, and con artist two proves that he'd handed over a twenty because the twenty on the top of the stack is signed with the name that matches the ID in his pocket. Which had been handed over by the (already forgotten and long-departed) con artist one.

    When you're watching a game of three-card monte on the street, consider the possibility that everyone there except you is a shill. Because that's probably pretty close to true.

    #578 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 04:20 PM:

    Jim, that two-part con appears in Paper Moon. "She wrote 'Happy Birthday, Addie' on it!"

    And I've seen an irate woman follow a 3-card Monte player down the street, demanding her promised payoff. He apparently blew his card-palm!

    #579 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 04:29 PM:

    None of these swindles are new. Here's the classic short-change from 1906: New York Times

    #580 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 05:24 PM:

    The three card games every young man should know:

    Find the lady




    And if you discover the lady knows how to play Cripple Mr Onion, it's your own damn fault.

    #581 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 05:57 PM:

    One thing that helps against the cashier short-changing you is to say "out of ten" or "out of twenty" as you hand the bill over. That puts them on notice that you're paying attention, and there's always the chance that someone else noticed (another customer or, if the store as a whole is honest, even another cashier). I say it calmly, in the same tone that I might use for "credit" or to ask for a plastic bag; if anyone minds they don't show it.

    I also once told a cashier "get your manager and count the drawer, I'll wait." Faced with that, they didn't get the manager, they gave me my correct change. (I suspect they were counting on many people being in a hurry at lunchtime.)

    #582 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 06:44 PM:

    Jim, #577: I didn't intend to imply that the defense would always work, only that there is one. Anybody can get flustered and off their routine, or be targeted by a multi-person scam.

    Vicki, #581: I once paid for my drive-thru order at a McD with a $50 (because I had nothing smaller) and got change for a $20. I think it was carelessness rather than malice, but they also had to shut down the line and count the cash drawer. I took that as a reasonable precaution and didn't raise a fuss about the time it required.

    #583 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 06:47 PM:

    I announce the amount when it's something odd, as when I'm giving them stray pennies* so that I won't get any back.

    *When I was a kid, my older brother gave my mother a huge jam jar filled with pennies. After that, any time she sent one of us to the store, she gave us four pennies, with instructions not to bring back any more than that. The habit stuck; I almost never have more than four pennies in my wallet, because I spend them as fast as I get them.

    #584 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 09:02 PM:

    What I was told was to put the bill that the customer hands over on the register between the keys and the readout - this was back before computers - and keep it there while you hand the change to the customer.

    #585 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 09:36 PM:

    This Rant Haz A Flavr

    The sky above the port was the color
    The sky above the port
    The sky
    The sky above
    The sky above the color colour color out of space out of spacetime
    The sky above the somebody has a case of the Mondays
    load emily_litella_racter
    construct tasty_torte_reform_rant in 3, 2, 1, mark.
    "Never mind"
    end of line

    #586 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 10:23 PM:

    I have now seen Pirates: Band of Misfits.

    I need to see it again.

    And again.

    (and Martin Freeman is adorable in the Martin Freeman role.)

    #587 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2012, 11:29 PM:

    Jim #573 [and others]: I'd seen one or two customer-side change scams, and that's what this seemed like to me, but I couldn't tell you just what happened. I hadn't been listening or watching, as I was just another guy waiting in line. It felt to me like he was being too complicated about it, and the alarms went off, but I also felt like I didn't have enough information to barge in and say anything. But still. Still.

    #588 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 12:37 AM:

    HLN: Local 5 yr. old has now finished his 100 lessons of reading and is now a card carrying member of the local library. He is very excited about the first 6 books he brought home, about such diverse things as sharks, fast animals, and big cats.

    Older brother, who has 'must read everything disease' couldn't be bothered to actually get out of the car while going through the latest Hardy Boy treasure found at the library. "Well, it was quiet. The little kids went inside." he was heard to say after finishing the book 1.5 hours later.

    I think they're going to be hooked for life.

    #589 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 01:14 AM:

    Melissa Singer @434: Would teenager be, by any remote chance, interested in a wee commission? If so, either you or she should contact me at the email address at the web page linked from my name here (♪ at the bottom of the sea ♫)

    Also, I can't help but wonder what would come about if you put teenager + camera in contact with Lila's daughter.

    ::blinkblink:: Oh, You're the one who knows TJ Glenn!! Hmmmmm....

    #590 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 05:50 AM:

    Dave Bell #492:

    Unfortunately, they would have paid virtually nothing for that call on account of using VOIP, though by stringing them along, you would have prevented them from calling someone else during that period.

    We/I have also been getting similar calls here in New Zealand.

    #591 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 03:34 PM:

    Mother Jones on sexism in programming:

    #592 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 04:08 PM:

    Melissa Singer @ 591... Nice folks. Not.

    #593 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 04:35 PM:

    Melissa Singer @586: [..] and Martin Freeman is adorable in the Martin Freeman role.

    I imagine it was the role he was born to play.

    #594 ::: Carla Newenglander ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 07:08 PM:

    Jacque@589: ::blinkblink:: Oh, You're the one who knows TJ Glenn!! Hmmmmm....
    (and Melissa Singer)

    ::blinkblink:: TJ Glenn. Now there's a blast from my past...

    I met TJ in the early '80s when I was a starry-eyed film student. He was dating a friend of mine and was just starting his career -- he hadn't added the "Teel" to his name yet. He got me a job as a production assistant on a low-budget horror flick filming in upstate NY. I was so excited! It's not TJ's fault that one of the producers absconded with the funds... :) I don't think the film ever got made. Too bad; it was a decent script as I recall (I wish I could recall who wrote it, but I like to think he or she went on to bigger and better things).

    Wow. I haven't crossed paths with TJ in several years; I hope he is well.

    #595 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 07:15 PM:

    In light of Connecticut stopping the death penalty, I point out that Calif. has a ballot initiative to do the same.

    I will point out the odd "logic" in one of the supporters of the present system.

    "On behalf of crime victims and their loved ones who have suffered at the hands of California's most violent criminals, we are disappointed that the ACLU and their allies would seek to score political points in their continued efforts to override the will of the people and repeal the death penalty," said McGregor Scott, who is chairman of the Californians for Justice and Public Safety

    Yep, those nasty liberals, trying to override the will of the people by letting them vote on overturning a law which was passed by the legislature.

    #596 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 08:24 PM:

    So, I need to pick people's brains re: SF&F terminology and literary analysis.

    For some fairly silly reasons, I'm trying to explain to some folks how suspension of disbelief customarily works in science fiction.

    Is there a literary or science fiction term for establishing what technology is available in a given setting, usually in the first act? I know it fits into the general category of good worldbuilding, but I wanted to know if there was specific jargon for establishing what tech exists and what doesn't.

    Some of the people involved in the discussion seem to think that once you introduce telekinesis or FTL travel, that means any impossible technology can be introduced without explanation at any time in the story. I'm attempting to explain how the default tech level needs to be nailed down fairly early in a piece, and any new tech introduced later has to either be a clear case of combining/improving established tech, or the discovery and refinement of the new tech needs to be a major element of the story.

    I know how to make these points with examples, but I just wanted to make sure there wasn't existing terminology defining these basic worldbuilding rules. Any commentary or advice is appreciated.

    #597 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 08:47 PM:

    Leah, #596: My first response to that is, "Science fiction is not magic. If you want magic, you have to look at fantasy." Saying that if you have one unrealistic element you therefore have no reason not to have every unrealistic element is asking science fiction to behave like magic.

    (It's also akin to the "she led him on" rape excuse, in which a woman who consents to any level of sexual activity is assumed to have given up her right to say no to anything else. This may or may not be a useful analogy in your situation.)

    #598 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 09:00 PM:

    Yep, those nasty liberals, trying to override the will of the people by letting them vote on overturning a law which was passed by the legislature.

    Anything liberals do is an attempt to override the will of the only people that matter....

    I've had a rough week. I'll go be cynical somewhere else now. :-)

    #599 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 09:16 PM:

    #596: First thing that came to mind, which is not actually an answer, is the concept of incluing.

    Hopefully, if the story started out with a block of text establishing exactly what the rules of the universe are, your listeners would consider it a reasonable hypothesis that said rules will not be violated later. In which case, more subtle introductions may also be used to the same effect, for an experienced reader.


    #600 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 09:23 PM:

    Leah Miller, I think 'incluing' works-- the best explanation of it I've seen is that if you read fiction that used to be contemporary, you don't have to have it explained that back then, it was reasonable for four kids to scrape up change for bus tickets and walk to two different states, for different drinking fountains, anything like that. You usually get one impossible freebie.

    Have you read Rampant by Diana Peterfreund? I stalled on the fact that female descendants of Alexander the Great are so rare, the boy couldn't get past 'descendants of Alexander the Great' period, and neither of us batted an eye at intelligent bloodthirsty venomous unicorns.

    #601 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 09:39 PM:

    Rob: ;-)

    One of the interesting things is that sidekick dialog is pretty transferable. I expect that we will soon see Pirate With Scarf's lines being delivered to Sherlock.

    Of course, an intelligent script makes a difference to begin with.

    Also, David Tennant is a wonderful Darwin.

    Carla @594: You knew TJ before I did, I think, but not by much. He's on Fb, though we are not friends there (this means nothing; I tend not to reach out because I generally assume people don't remember me and I hate to intrude, even in an open forum like Fb); I see him commenting from time to time on the pages of people we both know. He had started a stunt school in NYC a few years ago but I think it didn't survive the recession. Not sure what he's doing now.

    He was a good teacher and one of the benefits, for me, of working with such a large person was that I was pretty sure I couldn't damage him, which made me more confident.

    #602 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 11:44 PM:

    AKICIML: My knowledge of German is picoscule, and I need to name a town in a story. The emperor is Wilhelm (German culture). The town is named for him, a la Williamston or Williamsville. What would this name be?

    Many thanks.

    #603 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 11:57 PM:



    #604 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 12:41 AM:

    Wilhelmsburg, Jim. '-burg' is a town; '-berg' is a mountain. A town could be named for a mountain which is named for Wilhelm, I suppose, but it's not the usual thing.

    #605 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 01:02 AM:

    Tom Whitmore: I've been using my scanner for more than three times as long as I've had supporting software. It started when we upgraded my computer and contacted the company for a new software update and basically got the reply that since the scanner was more than two years old, they weren't making any new support software. *blink blink*

    So we went to Version Tracker, which I'd link except it's not coming up, and went for some hobbyist's beta program that successfully runs my scanner.

    Come to think of it, my scanner's a teenager now. Pity that it's only 9x12. I could really be happy with it if it were 11x14.

    #606 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 02:38 AM:

    I swear there already exists a "Wilhelmsdorf" somewhere. (It's a valid construction - see "Dusseldorf" for example.)

    #607 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 02:47 AM:

    Typing "Wilhelmsdorf" into Google Maps gets you a very small town just north of the border between Germany and Switzerland.

    #608 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 03:48 AM:

    Leah@596, Lee@597 - Nor should you introduce arbitrarily different-scope magic late in the story in fantasy, any more than you should throw in an extra character who turns out to be the murderer late in a murder mystery.

    I mean, those are just rules, and it's fiction, so you can have fun breaking them if you want, but only if there's a good reason to jerk the reader around. (And sometimes you can have the author of a play show up in a window on the second wall and point at one of the characters and make faces, too.) Usually one of the hard problems is deciding how much sufficiently-advanced-technology and/or magic you can throw in to create your story without the rest of the kitchen sink ending up in there as well and removing the characters' motivation or letting the Bad Guys kill them right away or otherwise breaking the story you were trying to write, and coming up with plausible reasons for those limits.

    #609 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 07:03 AM:

    Melissa Singer @601: Heard a glowing review of Pirates: Band of Misfits on NPR this morning shortly before reading your post.

    The reviewer concludes (as near as I can quote from memory):

    If we are living in a golden age of animation (and we are), it is people like Aardman Animation who are responsible.

    #610 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 08:22 AM:

    Rob @609: I certainly think so; I've been an Aardman fan since Creature Comforts.

    My quibble with most of the reviews I've seen to date is that they all approach it from the angle of "children's movie," which I don't think is quite right. There's plenty of slapstick here but an awful lot of the humor is verbal and other chunks depend on your paying attention in the first half, so that when things start paying off in the second half, you get the jokes. Plenty of the under-10, or maybe under-8, crowd will miss a lot.

    #611 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 09:00 AM:

    Leah #596, Lee #597, Bill Stewart #608: Yeah, plot complexity is actually a tighter constraint than suspension of disbelief. That said, there are also genre expectations: science fiction "proper" is expected to pay more attention to implications-- consider how when Cracked takes a science-fictional approach to the Harry Potter universe, the results are terrifying, horifying, and depraved.

    #612 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 11:11 AM:

    Happy Passive Voice Day! I was made aware of this by LanguageLog, and it is hoped by me that skillful fun will be had by all here.

    #613 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 11:26 AM:

    '-dorf' means "village." The names of villages along the Czech ("Bohemian") border are a byword for incomprehensibility; the German phrase that means (or meant as of the mid-70s) what we mean by 'it's all Greek to me' (except David Goldfarb and a few others who are prohibited by law and custom from using that phrase, since for them it means "oh, I get it!") is 'Es ist mir Böhmische Dörfer' (literally "it's Bohemian villages to me").

    On an entirely unrelated matter, here are some pictures of this morning's shuttle flyover.

    #614 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 11:48 AM:

    Leah Miller @596: I wanted to know if there was specific jargon for establishing what tech exists and what doesn't.

    Huh. There surely ought to be, but nothing is coming to mind.

    Tangentially, I've run across the inverse of what you're talking about. Friend of mine writes some STTOSish fanfic. I'm reading along, the characters are using transporters, but I hang up on a turn of the plot because, well, in order to accompish Objective, why don't they just send a space-craft up to planetary orbit? What? They don't have space-flight? Er, wha—?

    To me transporter tech implies space-flight, the former being a much more challenging proposition than the latter, laws-of-physics-wise. Her very minimal technical and scientific education doesn't flag that as an inconsistency. Completely blew the internal logic of her ficton for me.

    Lee @597: Saying that if you have one unrealistic element you therefore have no reason not to have every unrealistic element is asking science fiction to behave like magic.

    Well, except that if you have magic, it still has to have an internally consistent logic, and by implication your magic is going to have some limitations, so I'd say they're not parallel. Or they are parallel. Or something. (Can we tell I'm much too tired and only marginally coherent?)

    #615 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 12:38 PM:

    My goodness, we seem to be having a bit of a bear problem in the US. In addition to Jim's Bear Vs. Governor and Bear Vs. Weatherman links, we have had Bear Vs. Texter and Bear Vs. CU Dorm in the last month. Besides the People Living Where Bears Live factor, is this due the mild winter? Are Canadians having similar issues with bears this year? Is it just wider reporting or was Stephen Colbert right all along? Am I wrong to find this amusing, or just smug in my likely never-to-be-bothered-by-bears privilege?

    #616 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 12:43 PM:

    Oh dear. The gnomes are holding one of my posts for review. I hope not to have fallen afoul of punctuational regulations. The only thing I can think of is that there are multiple links (well, 2) and that perhaps "bear" is a word of power used by pr0n spammers. Note to gnomes: that's not the kind of Bear to which I was referring.

    #617 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 01:05 PM:

    Xopher: nice pics! It went by the Flatiron too fast for me to get a shot, though I am a little surprised I didn't feel the building lean over as everyone rushed to the west side to look out the windows (not joking; she's a fairly flexible beast who sways in the wind).

    #618 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 01:37 PM:

    Rob Rusick @609 and Melissa singer @610: I was lucky enough to see A MATTER OF LOAF AND DEATH, with Wallace and Gromit, on TV the other night (along with THE WRONG TROUSERS and A CLOSE SHAVE). Sarah watched them with me and enjoyed. Tight plotting with payoffs has been the name of the game for a long time. I'm not sure if A GRAND DAY OUT was that way offhand, but I'll guess that it was.

    After THE WRONG TROUSERS came out, the KFC/Taco Bell by work had some kid's meal toys based on it. I got a figure — about 3" tall — of Feathers McGraw, standing with his wings by his side, and expressionless (of course). When you push the body down, the eyes blink. They go from shiny black to matte black. And that is all it does.

    #619 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 01:58 PM:

    Jacque @614, re: transporter/space travel disconnect --

    I'm reminded of one of the defining scenes in Pandora's Star, in which it is memorably demonstrated that space travel must not necessarily come before other things, despite other things being theoretically more complicated....

    (Va guvf pnfr, gur ynaqvat bs gur svefg znaarq Znef fcnpr zvffvba jnf vagreehcgrq -- tngr-penfurq, ernyyl -- ol n uvccvr fpvragvfg va n ubzrznqr fcnpr fhvg cbccvat guebhtu n jbezubyr ur'q cebqhprq va gur yno onpx va Pnyvsbeavn.) IMO, Hamilton pulled this off really well, and it was a great plot driver in several ways that all made internal sense.

    #620 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 02:06 PM:

    Thanks, Melissa! As I said on Flickr, I couldn't really see the screen, so I just had to kind of point it at the plane and hope.

    #621 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 02:19 PM:

    If you're in NYC and want an additional Aardman fix, the Museum of the Moving Image (in Astoria, Queens) is showing Chicken Run this weekend, Flushed Away (yes, it's CGI, but it's still Aardman, and the slugs slay me every time, as does Hugh Jackman) next weekend, and Curse of the Were-Rabbit the weekend after that.

    I'm seriously considering dragging the teenager to Were-Rabbit on Mother's Day. Watching it on TV is nice, but the big screen makes a difference.

    Oh, the Pirates screening was the first time I'd seen anything in the fancy-shmancy Sony 3D. Impressive. A sense of solidness/realness, if you will. Not necessary in terms of enjoying the movie, but kinda cool, and because I'm a member of MOMI, it was cheaper to see Pirates in 3D there than it would have been to see it 2D in our local theater. The glasses were different from the standard-issue 3D glasses, too, more heavy-duty and actually more comfortable for me.

    #622 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 02:42 PM:

    I saw Aardman's "Arthur Christmas" on a whim last winter, and quite liked it.

    #623 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 03:02 PM:

    Giant book sale in Texas.

    Unfortunately, this place is a full day's drive from Houston, so I can't offer hospitality to anyone who wants to take advantage of the deal.

    #624 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 04:36 PM:

    Xopher: great pics. Thanks for sharing.

    Lee: now you're making me almost wish I was in Texas...

    #625 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 04:45 PM:

    Jim Macdonald #603: There's also a, more or less Dutch, Willemstad. Its the capital of Curaçao.

    #626 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 04:56 PM:

    nerdycellist @615: Bear Vs. CU Dorm

    Yeah, one of my coworkers (who does live in the mountains, to be fair) got out the family shotgun and borrowed a neighbor's german shepard after a bear expressed a little too much interest in their kitchen door.

    We got mountain lions, too.

    Debbie @619: I'm reminded of one of the defining scenes in Pandora's Star, in which it is memorably demonstrated that space travel must not necessarily come before other things, despite other things being theoretically more complicated....

    Well, true enough. Given that it has been demonstrated that open-air lasers can be made with essentially Victorian-era tech.

    And, of course, there's Vernor Vinge's story of the society that doesn't use doors because they can teleport.

    I guess the thing that threw me in my friend's story was that she never explicitly said this culture didn't have space flight, and at the same time had a culture from another star system that did, so that disparity never came into consciousness until it was a glaring plot hole which she then had to explain to me. Which loops back to the original point of establishing a ficton's level and type of tech early enough in the story to keep the reader adequately inclued.

    Melissa Singer @621: Sadly, Were-Rabbit was ruined for me by the perversely hilarious fact that a technique very similar to Wallace's rabbit-catching vacuum used here in Boulder County to suck prairie dogs out of their holes. More often than not, the prairie dogs then meet unfortunate ends, because most people regard them as pests.

    #627 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 05:33 PM:

    Tom Whitmore: I've got the full Mac version of Vuescan on my laptop--remind me and I'll bring it over so you can try it with your scanner. If the Windows version will run it the odds are high the Mac version will as well.

    #628 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 06:01 PM:

    Jacque #614: Certainly if the teleportation did come first, it could easily squelch aerospace development... but yeah, that's just the sort of wrinkle that should be at inclued before the plot turns on it.

    nerdycellist #615: Also, Virginia's first rabid bear, killed with a fantastically lucky shot by the farmer it was attacking.

    #629 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 06:03 PM:

    [Reposting for borked link... the gnomes can keep that one.]

    Jacque #614: Certainly if the teleportation did come first, it could easily squelch aerospace development... but yeah, that's just the sort of wrinkle that should be at inclued before the plot turns on it.

    nerdycellist #615: Also, Virginia's first rabid bear, killed with a fantastically lucky shot by the farmer it was attacking.

    #630 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 07:03 PM:

    Xopher HalfTongue @613: The Greeks say "It's Chinese to me" or "Arabic" -- at least according to this page on the topic, which includes idioms from many languages. Greek and Chinese seem to dominate, with Arabic a distant third. (The page does include your "Böhmische Dörfer".)

    #631 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 09:15 PM:

    Xopher, those are really good pictures of the World's largest Biplane. (Better than some of the ones I saw online at news sites, even.)

    #632 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 09:35 PM:

    Jacque @614:
    Flip side that is we already have examples of places on Earth that are jumping straight past "prerequisite" technology. Not to mention that getting to orbit is not trivial; given that the very existence of transporters suggests some interesting thermodynamics jiggery going on, it is not implausible that a given planet with limited resources might find it easier to support transporters than launch-to-orbit tech.

    (This of course depends on other context not contradicting such a limitation of resources. We know that Earth and Starfleet, at least, have no such limitations; random colony planets might well have them, though.)

    #633 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 09:36 PM:

    Ok, where did I get the impression that it was in the ST universe? I think I need more sleep.

    #634 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 09:59 PM:

    Jacque, #626--which Vinge story was that?

    #635 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 10:17 PM:

    Jacque @626: My sister lives in the hills back of Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins. A few years back, her daughter was out waiting for the school bus and a bear came along. There was a grownup with her — father of one of her friends. He was so impressed at seeing a bear that he ran off to get his camera.

    Another time I visited her and she pointed out bear scats on their back deck. The bear had to go up eight or ten steps to get there.

    #636 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2012, 10:24 PM:

    P J 631: Wow, thanks! Apparently taking very large pictures kind of haphazardly and cropping them to golden proportions by eye kind of works.

    #637 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 12:11 AM:

    Lee @623: We were down there last weekend (it's a few hours from DFW, and we made the trip just to go there). It's an amazing set of bookstores: not that much in SF, and the prices are not particularly wonderful, but I did find a book that made the whole trip worth it for me: a copy of a book that my grandmother the print dealer wrote the introduction for, inscribed by her to one of the most important unsung heroes of the print world (Bertha E. Jaques -- more info available if you want). And their art books are actually quite reasonably priced -- the ones I got were around a quarter the price of the cheapest good copies on ABE.

    That is before the 25% discount they're currently giving everybody who buys books.

    And if you spend over $100, they offer free shipping.

    Make sure you get into the rare book room in the second building -- that's where I found another book that I've finally decided to buy, even though it's outside my budget (the limited edition of Churches of France, with an original engraving by John Taylor Arms from his Gargoyle series -- one of 100 copies). On the shelf above i was an Italian elephant folio edition of La Divina Commedia, with Dore illustrations, from the mid-19th C -- I didn't check the price, but it's gorgeous. I'd have bought the $40 jacketless first of Lynd Ward's novel in woodcuts Mad Man's Drum, except I already have one -- that one's in the main store potpourri. The firsts of Wodehouse were more than I wanted to pay.

    Oh, and I should mention that they don't have their stock up on the internet. And there are some cool books in the pamphlet section at fair prices too (they're in store #3). The nice limp-leather 11th ed Brittanica is in store 4, well outside my range at $750 but in much better condition than most of the copies I've seen.

    If you're a bookstore person, with wide-ranging tastes, it's the sort of bookstore that's very hard to find these days. It's much less well organized than Powell's and much less crowded than the Strand; you should go check it out if you only live a day's drive away. Or make a special trip out of it like we did. Hat tip to Edd Vick for asking us if we wanted to go. If you're there, also check out Recycled Books in Denton: much better for SF, some absolutely amazing mysteries at good prices, and only a few hours away (and almost on the way back to DFW). Archer City is worth two days, Denton one (just because Denton is much better organized and smaller).

    #638 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 12:15 AM:

    Oh yes -- and if you're staying in Archer City, we recommend the Spur (a very old-style small town hotel), and don't miss the combination tanning parlor/boutique/antique store/deli/coffee shop/drycleaner: it's on the main street next to the barbecue joint that wasn't open yet when we visited.

    It's a different kind of place.

    #639 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 12:31 AM:

    geekosaur @633: Ok, where did I get the impression that it was in the ST universe? I think I need more sleep.

    Good bet it was the "STTOS fanfic" mention in my first post. That would be a heavy clue. ;-)

    Angiportus @634: which Vinge story was that?

    Too lazy to get up to look (and I'm not sure my Vinge is shelved properly anyway), but I think it's in the anthology True Names and Other Dangers.

    Kip W @635: I'm impressed that the father of the friend survived the experience. It's my understanding that humans are very dangerous when they feel their young are threatened. :->

    #640 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 01:18 AM:

    "Well, except that if you have magic, it still has to have an internally consistent logic,"

    Unless you're R.A. Lafferty. There's a man who understood how magic works. ;D

    #641 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 05:37 AM:

    The idea that Magic has rules is a rather modern development. And it's something that you can use to make a story. At one extreme, you have the Lord D'Arcy stories, which build a fictional universe based on Magic as a Science, and uses it as a tool to define the puzzles of classic-style mystery stories, which are soluble within that framework.

    But if Magic isn't a Science—think of Freud and psychology, or Marx and politics—it can still have a plausible set of rules, based on observations. Dan Brown invites ridicule with his talk of symbology, and he is doing what the rule-makers do with magic: an object can be a symbol of many different things, and which is the one that matters? Dan Brown picks the symbolism which suits his story. He sees what he wants to see and throws away the rest.

    So if, in a story, magic has rules, the only reason for those rules is that they make the story work.

    "Black Magic is a matter of symbolism and intent."

    Intent is something that can come straight out of the modern legal system. It is something we're equipped to deal with. The symbolism might be intensely cultural. Something as simple as the differences between France and England could throw us off a trail. The French accept the idea of ossuaries. Viewed from England, they are something slightly creepy, at least.

    #642 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 08:45 AM:

    Dave Bell #641: The idea that Magic has rules is a rather modern development.

    I beg to differ; magic has always had rules! Those rules are traditionally alien to science, because they're not actually about how the world works, they're about how people work.¹ Contagion, Similarity, Belief, Authority, "as above, so below", appealing to higher powers, commanding servants, heritage/bloodline, moral status... the list goes on.

    What is a "modern development" is the idea of "magic" as a psychic technology, reliable and impersonal. Skills and abilities that can be measured, calibrated, and checked off a list², Standard Issue Fireballs, Glory Hands piled in the stockroom, spell schematics on file, and so on.

    ¹ Yes, people are part of the world, but they're so complex that science has a great deal of difficulty analyzing them.

    ² RPGs mostly make this overt, but the ideas go back to the early "psychic researchers".

    #643 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 09:44 AM:

    Angiportus @ #634:

    Vinge may have written more than one story in the setting, but the one I'm familiar with is a novel, The Witling.

    #644 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 09:58 AM:

    I agree that magic has..."the way things go". Not so much rules, as appropriatenesses. Red wine is a better symbol for blood than white wine. (Though I know a priest who used Coke and Oreos because that's all they had and the recipient's time was rapidly running out.)

    Ursula K. LeGuin says (I think she may have been quoting someone) that the only consistent "rule" of folktales is, "anyone whom animals help will come out all right in the end", but there are a lot of less-consistent "rules" like "don't ignore weird little old ladies". (See also the many "folksongs are your friends" examples.)

    Magic (and I'm strictly talking fictional magic here, IANAW) seems to me to be more Jungian than Euclidean. Not so much rules, or even a one-to-one symbology, but big general themes and correspondences underlying a very personal and individual ad-hoc improvisation. Sort of like the way the witches in Terry Pratchett's juveniles foretell the immediate future by tangling up all the junk they happen to have in their pockets and reading the result.

    #645 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 02:31 PM:

    Okay, this is starting to freak me out.

    Anybody else here having trouble with losing their "Don't make me type all this again" stuff, even when the box is checked?

    Windows machine A at work loses the settings. Windows machine B (that I only use once a week) keeps them.

    Now my mac at home (Snow Leopard), which was keeping them, has started losing them in the last few days. I know it's not, but it's starting to feel, you know, personal. ::mournful puppy-dog eyes::

    #646 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 02:45 PM:

    Jacque #645: Mine's been losing the box contents erratically. (Happily, the browser history still works.) I'll try setting the box again with this message.

    #647 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 02:45 PM:

    I notice that threads are loading much quicker nowadays. Jim just posted on "Slushkiller"; I can remember when getting to new comments on that thread took several seconds. Some improvement on the backend? Much appreciated here.

    #648 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 02:48 PM:

    Jacque @ 645: Yes, I'm seeing the same thing. The "Don't make me type all this stuff again" setting used to work consistently. For some time now, it mostly doesn't work for me. I haven't made any attempt to check what's going on with my cookies. I'm using Chrome on a Mac.

    #649 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 02:52 PM:

    I checked "Don't make me type all this stuff again", and posted #648. Then I closed Chrome, and when I started it up again, the boxes were blank.

    #650 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 03:16 PM:

    How bizarre. Now my settings are working again. I'm so confused. Okay. Nevermind.

    646, 648, & 649 Okay, it's not just me. That's comforting. Odd. Among us, we're using Windows and Mac, and an assortment of browsers (I use Safari at home and IE7 at work). This suggests that it's an ML issue. That it's intermittent means that it's going to be a righteous pita to debug.

    The other thing that was weird was that on my last post, I back-arrowed after hitting the "Preview" button, and the text of my comment was preserved in the chached window, but the ID stuff I'd entered was gone. (This argues that the page dynamically referenced the ID state, even in the cached version...?)

    Dave Bell @641: So if, in a story, magic has rules, the only reason for those rules is that they make the story work.

    This suggests an entertainly meta contemplation. Can anyone think of stories that play with this structural constraint of "story" in an illuminating way? What would it take to do so?

    The French accept the idea of ossuaries.

    Elaborate, please?

    David Harmon @642: magic has always had rules! ... the list goes on.

    This is very interesting. Can you point to any compendia of these rules?

    they're about how people work.

    & Lila @644: more Jungian than Euclidean

    I would imagine the idea of magic having rules roughly correlates with the improving understanding of psychology and the structure of experience and awareness.

    Paul A. @643: The Witling

    Yes, that's it. Thank you.

    #651 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 04:25 PM:

    Jacque: These days, I don't think there is one compendium for the rules of magic, since every culture and many new fictions have different rules or ideals. Some are quite common (things of similar appearance have related properties, you can use discarded pieces of a person, or objects precious to them, to influence them) others are personal and specific. However, something like the Golden Bough gives some idea what people thought those rules were, even if it's derided for other reasons on occasion. A serious book on Wicca would gives at least the outline of one major belief, though there will be details they are hesitant to share.

    My information only seems to be kept for a thread where I explicitly put it in once. At least that seems to be why I sometimes see it and sometimes don't. But I do lose track of posts where I've commented, so this may be an erroneous illusion.

    #652 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 04:54 PM:

    Wilhelmstadt, Wilhelmsburg, Wilhelmsdorf. I think I'll use Wilhelmstadt. Thanks, all.

    #653 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 05:10 PM:

    Jacque #650: re the browser boxes, I'm usung Firefox on Ubuntu.

    Re: magic, I've mixed together principles from several meta levels, and some of them vary greatly in importance across time and place. The key point though, is that the universals reflect human universals, and the variants reflect their local society.

    #654 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 05:24 PM:

    WRT magic in stories, years ago Damon Knight made a provocative statement in his topic on GEnie. It was something to the effect that unlike science fiction, fantasy has no non-arbitrary limitations. I recall this engendered a good deal of discussion.

    #655 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 05:39 PM:

    Wish I had something funny or shiny to be open-thready about, but what I've got is the deployment of US Air Force stealth warplanes in the region around Iran, and my first blog post in months because I want to stir up talk about it. It looks like the US government is trying to get ready for another war as quietly as they can, and I would much rather that they have to do it in the middle of a three-ring circus with a battery of spotlights on them.

    #656 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 07:23 PM:

    Jane Espenson is a producer and writer (she worked on Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, BSG and many other favorites) who games with Wil Wheaton in a recent episode of TableTop (Wheaton's webcast gaming show).

    Her biography on IMDB begins with this grammatically fractured sentence:

    Growing up in Ames, Iowa, Jane Espenson was a grad student at UC Berkeley, studying linguistics.
    Good grief. She wasn't a grad student at Berkeley while growing up in Ames! I put in a correction, suggesting the following replacement:
    Jane Espenson grew up in Ames, Iowa, and attended graduate school at UC Berkeley, where she studied linguistics.
    People who don't understand how those grammatical structures work shouldn't attempt them. Perhaps I feel it particularly sharply because she's a linguist (like me), but for heaven's sake, eww.

    I actually would be surprised if they make the correction. The form doesn't actually have a place for correcting the text of a biography! Who writes the crap they post there, anyway?

    #657 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 08:37 PM:

    David H., #642: Also, I believe the idea that magic is subject to the Laws of Thermodynamics is fairly recent. The energy used to cast a spell has to come from somewhere, either the caster or some source in the environment ("ley lines") or (in the case of black magic) stolen from another living being. Careless weather magic dumps too much energy into the atmosphere and ends up making the weather worse rather than better. Magic users are limited in what they can do by the amount of energy available to them as well as by their personal skill levels. That sort of thing.

    #658 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 08:51 PM:

    I can confirm from personal experience what Xopher said at # 656 that there is a world of difference between Ames and Berkeley. Or even Ames and UC Davis.

    #659 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 08:58 PM:

    Even if she'd been growing up in Berkeley I would be willing to bet she wasn't in grad school at the time.

    #660 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 09:54 PM:

    Lee #657: I'd say thermodynamics (and mass/energy conservation) goes with the "psychicalternate technology" angle -- magic becomes something fully within the world, and subject to the same constraints as "anything else". (Plus it gives useful constraints to the characters.)

    #661 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 11:42 PM:

    NYC Municipal Archives releases a database of over 3/4 of a million photos of 20th century life in the city. The Atlantic assembles 53 favorites from the collection.

    #662 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 11:43 PM:

    Jacque@626, in Steven Brust's Jhereg series, wizards typically don't have doors to their keeps because anybody who belongs there can teleport. Of course, they do have back doors so that lower-class tradesmen can deliver supplies, like food, wine, and assassins.

    Terry recently mentioned Anthony Boucher's short story They Bite. I forget if if was that one or a different story in the same book, but one of Boucher's characters expresses that "The essence of magic is deceit. If the magician isn't the deceiver, then he's the deceived." But different stories have different rules.

    #663 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2012, 11:52 PM:

    Jaque @626: And there's Asimov's story "It's such a beautiful day", where a teenager is in therapy because he walks to school rather than using the Door to teleport.

    #664 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 12:03 AM:

    When I finished the Atlantic article and went on over to the actual archive, the page was down because too many people wanted to look at it.

    #665 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 12:05 AM:

    Bill Stewart @662: In recent years, I've come to think of myself as something of a magician, and my specialty is pulling the wool over my own eyes.

    #666 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 12:06 AM:

    Xopher #659 Even if she'd been growing up in Berkeley I would be willing to bet she wasn't in grad school at the time.

    I've definitely encountered cases of students growing up while in graduate school.

    #667 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 01:29 AM:

    Lee @657: I've just been reading Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear. He has a kind of magic which he calls "sympathy" which follows the traditional laws of sympathy and contagion and the like -- but which also obey conservation of energy and momentum as well. His arcanists have surprisingly well-developed chemistry and thermodynamics, given how medieval the setting seems in general. They throw around terms like "exothermal" and "enthalpy". (They also have the germ theory of disease.)

    But...I get the distinct impression that Rothfuss himself doesn't understand thermodynamics as well as one might like. He seems to think that heat can be freely converted to other types of energy. He has devices called "sympathy lamps" that, as described, rather blatantly violate the Second Law. Sigh.

    #668 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 02:35 AM:

    Kip, #661: I notice that photo #21 provides an excellent view of the Flatiron Building.

    #669 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 04:44 AM:

    Jacque @650,

    If I want to be remembered between sessions, I find I need to use Firefox. There's something a bit different about Opera in its latest version.

    As for ossuaries...

    Paris, France, is one of several European cities with Catacombs, in this instance established 1785-88 when the cemeteries within the city were cleared, using a part of the underground stone quarries as an ossuary.

    The more recent Douaumont ossuary contains the skeletal remains of more than 130000 unidentified French and German dead from the Battle of Verdun.

    Apparently, it is commonplace for interments in French cemeteries to be exhumed several decades later, and the skeletal remains transferred to an ossuary, freeing up space for new burials.

    #670 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 05:03 AM:

    On Magic, on possibility which comes to mind to give a basis compatible with science is that there is an unknown-to-us conservation law. Earlier science had conservation of mass and conservation of energy, which were then combined into the conservation of mass-energy.

    We could postulate a conservation of mass-energy-magic, with the numbers for Magic putting it somewhere between mass and energy. To do a given amount of magic would need tangible quantities of either.

    Thermodynamics is of course derived from two Greek words: thermos, meaning hot, if you don't drop it, and dinamiks, meaning dynamic, work; and thermodynamics is simply the science of heat and work and the relationships between the two. No mention of Magic there, so where does Magic come from? Perhaps it is the dark matter, and dark energy, that the cosmologists need to make their view of the universe add up.

    And we talk of the heat death of the universe, as the universe loses the order which allows things to happen. So, where do that Last Order go?

    Yes, you sir. The Barman? Excellent! Mines a Budějovický Budvar, thany-you.

    #671 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 06:52 AM:

    David Goldfarb #667, Dave Bell #670: The thing is, once you have a technology, you can use it to experiment, and thus learn what rules it (and your world in general) works under. Such experiments may be personally unsafe (the Fluorine Martyrs, Pierre Curie, et pluribus alia), but these last few centuries, that hardly seems to stop anyone. Moreover, every time you hit a "can't do that", the reason why is likely to be significant and informative....

    F'rex: straightforward scrying? OK, using that for long-range communication is pretty classic: helps a lot with meteorology and such. Can the images be copied to permanent media (if necessary, by hand? What are the range limits, and where do they come from? Can they be used to magnify the view, or look at non-visible emanations electromagnetic or otherwise? That gives you some combination of telescopes, microscopes, cameras, and assorted other sensors.

    If you've got contact with other realms/species, what do they know about the world?

    #672 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 07:24 AM:

    Advice sought from the ML hive mind: in a week, we're attending our first Star Trek Convention with our 8 year old. She's as serious a fan as someone who could consume all of Voyager and now most of Next Gen night after night could be (go NetFlix). She wants to go dressed as 7 of 9, in a brown shirt and pants with some sort of eye piece and silver bits painted on her hand.

    Anyway, we are not con people. I'm not even sure that these really expensive extract-money-from-fans cons (put on by "Creation Entertainment") are really the same class of event as what I would call "real" cons, like WisCon. So we have no idea what to expect.

    So for those who do, what should we expect? What should we absolutely do/not do?

    #673 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 07:51 AM:

    Relevant to the interests of many Fluorospherians, via the Slacktivist: why is this not obvious, dammit.

    #674 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 09:19 AM:

    Stefan Jones @ OT171|771

    "Maybe roasting whole birds isn't an Italian thing?"

    I thought that sounded right, and this morning I ran across it. Marcella Hazan, Classic Italian Cooking, introduction to the recipe for Pan-Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Rosemary, and White Wine: "Reliable ovens are only a recent addition to the Italian kitchen, and consequently, traditional roasts are done either on the spit or in a pan on top of the stove."

    #675 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 09:22 AM:

    Real magic, as opposed to fantasy magic, has been defined as "the art of changing consciousness at will." You can get a lot of very interesting stuff to work without postulating anything beyond that.

    I think the best magic is predicated on the premise that you don't have to believe the same things all the time, as long as your beliefs are contextually appropriate. I know this flies in the face of deeply held (even unconsciously held) principle for both scientists and many religious folk, but your beliefs are part of the structure of your mind, and tools like anything else.

    This is not to say that consistency (in context) isn't important. It IS hypocritical to claim to believe in evolution when talking to your science friends and in $CreationMyth when talking to your coreligionists. But it isn't hypocritical to believe that gods are metaphorical archetypes outside of circle and that they're real people inside of circle.

    The modified beliefs are adopted as a technique for accomplishing a particular thing. The changes in the unconscious mind are real, and can lead (for example) to greater confidence in a job interview, or remembering to take a calming breath before losing one's temper with a child.

    Through the practice of magic, I now never have hiccups for long, because I know a spell (a symbolic act done in a deepened state of consciousness) for getting rid of them (without needing to drink water with a pencil or anything), and have the ability to be calm in the presence of a hysterically-crying toddler. Visualization and breath control is the secret there.

    "Breathing cleansing energy up from the Earth" doesn't have any grounding in science. But when I think that I'm doing that I get the desired result. That's why it's magic: I'm changing my consciousness into one that believes in that breath-energy exchange, and by so doing, changing from an upset-by-hysterical-child consciousness to a calm one. Then I switch back to a more rationalistic mode, and check the child's emotional state. My calmness calms the child, IME. Probably something to do with mirror neurons.

    This has its dangers. If you change into a non-ordinary, non-rational state and can't get back, you're in trouble. That's why Wiccans train slowly and carefully (responsible ones do, anyway). It takes a certain conscious state to walk across hot coals without being burned (and knowing what's really going on in terms of physics (heat-transfer rates etc.) really isn't all that helpful for most people); but it's stupid to think that doing a firewalk successfully means you could survive a nuclear blast if you just think hard enough.

    Skeptics make the best magicians.

    #676 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 09:26 AM:

    Um, clarification: I meant "that you believe in evolution to one set of people and in !evolution to another set." There are some things that qualify as $CreationMyth that have no conflict with evolution.

    #677 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 10:18 AM:

    David Harmon @671:

    The thing is, once you have a technology, you can use it to experiment, and thus learn what rules it (and your world in general) works under. Such experiments may be personally unsafe (the Fluorine Martyrs, Pierre Curie, et pluribus alia), but these last few centuries, that hardly seems to stop anyone.

    Pierre Curie, of course, was killed when struck by a speeding carriage; are you thinking of Marie (who did die from the effects of radiation) here, or am I missing your point?

    #678 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 12:34 PM:

    After listening to Frankie Valli's song "Oh, What a Night", it occurred to me that it's crying out to be filked as a tale of chivalry. My first thought was of Lancelot du Lac (possibly with some mention of his interactions with Guinevere); then it occurred to me that, approached from another angle, it could be used to tell the tale of, say, Alanna of Trebond. It all depends what you make of the line "What a lady! What a knight!"

    #679 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 12:39 PM:

    Anthropologists have written about the magical principles of various cultures for decades, but I don't want to spend hours looking through what anthro books I still have. If anyone wants to read a good summary, look in Isaac Bonewit's Real Magic. His degree in Magic was actually a degree in anthropology of religion and comparative religion of non-Western cultures. (Disclosure - he was a friend of mine, and housemate for a while in the 1970's. He had an amazing collection of books.)

    #680 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 12:41 PM:

    lorax #677: My error: I had forgotten that detail and misremembered him as instead getting hit with the effects of radiation. :-~ The point remains, and it would apply to "magical" hazards as well as those we're familiar with.

    #681 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 01:24 PM:

    Magenta, Bonewits is a little light on ethics IMO. But that book is an excellent summary of some basic principles of magic as a cultural phenomenon; it's just not a handbook for taking it up as a practice!

    #682 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 03:57 PM:

    Recently, German TV (finally) aired "Game of Thrones". I liked it, and have been listening to the audiobooks while jogging. Serendipitously, I discovered there is a GoT cookbook appearing the end of May. The authors' website is a lot of fun, containing quite a few very interesting recipes not in the book. Many of them are based on medieval recipes, and the authors provide both the medieval and modern versions, with commentary for both.

    Given that they included Spiced Plum Mousse With Honey, complete with the requisite poem, how could I not share it with ML?

    #683 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 06:31 PM:

    Daniel, #672: Indeed CreationCons are nothing at all like fan-run cons (and they have chased more people away from fan-run cons than any of us want to think about). They're not even much like professionally-run cons like Dragon*Con. Most of the con is the very large dealer room. There isn't a lot in the way of programming -- a few guest-star talks, some autograph lines -- and some of that also costs extra money. Autographs are guaranteed to cost money, and non-trivial money at that.

    OTOH, it's very likely that your daughter will be able to find Seven of Nine accessories somewhere in the dealer room.

    My advice would be, don't have high expectations, go to any of the guest talks that you can get into without paying extra, and set a budget. You can probably have a good time there, but you may end up feeling like cattle at the end of the day.

    Where are you located, IYDMMA? It's possible that there are other media-cons near you which would give you a better experience than a CreationCon. (This is not to say don't go, but that for your next con you might want to go somewhere else.)

    Note to the Website Wizards: For some reason, the comments on abi's new thread are displaying (at least to me) in a noticeably smaller font than the ones on older threads. It's not unreadably small, but it's distinctly less comfortable to read.

    #684 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 06:49 PM:

    Lee @683:

    Can you check the thread again? I forgot to close a tag, and not all browsers are forgiving. I've fixed it now.

    #685 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 07:44 PM:

    David Harmon @671: straightforward scrying ... Can the images be copied to permanent media

    Tangent: this is one of the things that disappoints me about the cancellation of Stargate Universe. There were so many interesting questions and possibilities that the communciation stones bring up.

    Frex: In a way it yanks you right back to pre-literate culture: information can only be transmitted using memory. No external storage. Not even paper.

    Also, brings up a whole new industry: Now, instead of hiring a personal trainer, you just hire somebody to come in and exercise your body for you (who enjoys it), while you go perform a useful service for them, like their accounting or some such.

    On a different tangent, one of the things that fascinates me about modern technology is that we have, in any reasonable sense, achieved the equivalent of clairvoyance, telekinesis, telepathy, and so on. Granted, there's mountains of infrastructure and hardware involved. But, really, what's the practical difference?

    Daniel Martin 672: It's been three quarters of a geological age since I've been to a Star Trek convention, but the key point is that you are an audience member, not a community member. If you can, get the program ahead of time and plan things out carefully. The big catch with these things is that a lot of the program items you want to attend will be popular, and getting a good seat will involve quite a bit of sitting/standing in line, so plan/pack accordingly. (E.g., plan your own fun for line-waiting time.) Might also be worthwhile sniffing around in the fan communities local to the con, and see if there are any "extra-curricular" activies that seem like they'd be fun. I'm sure others here can point you to useful "convention survival guides."

    Xopher HalfTongue @675: Real magic, as opposed to fantasy magic, has been defined as "the art of changing consciousness at will."

    My sense (and being a lapsed Pagan, I speak with confidence but no authority) is that "magic" can also be conceived of as the ability to change the unconscious at will, too.

    I happily buy into the whole Secret methodology, not because I think I'm invoking spiritual forces beyond everyday experience (though I certainly don't discount the possibility), but rather by doing the practices described, one is programming one's unconscious attention and intent, such that one becomes more likely to spot and make use of related information, possibilities, and opportunities than one would be in the absence of some careful and systematic thinking about the question.

    #686 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 08:02 PM:

    Jaqcue #685: is that we have, in any reasonable sense, achieved the equivalent of clairvoyance, telekinesis, telepathy, and so on. Granted, there's mountains of infrastructure and hardware involved. But, really, what's the practical difference?

    I beg to differ -- the infrastructure, and other tradeoffs, are the difference! Clairvoyance? Only if you already have a camera there, and means to communicate with it. Telepathy? I don't think so! Our long-distance communication offers all the usual hazards of misunderstanding, plus some extra -- and again, it's device-to-device. And the closest we have to telekinesis is magnetic levitation -- also for purpose-built devices.

    What we have done, is to achieve many of the "implicit goals" of such abilities. Not clairvoyance, but ways to view distant places. Not telepathy, but distant, rapid, communication. Not telekinesis, but forklifts and cranes. All of these have tradeoffs and limitations, derived from both physical law and our limited resources. When a system of magic has similar constraints, it might be a psychic technology....

    #687 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 11:27 PM:

    Daniel Martin @672: We went to a small Creation-run Trek con about a year and a half ago, with my teen and a 9-10 yo boy.

    Depending on the size of the convention, there may only be one track of programming. While there may be some items for which you will have to stand in line, again, this depends on the size of the convention; at the one we went to, there was only 1 item for which there was a line on the day we were there (we only went for 1 day out of the 3).

    It was basically a big dealers' room with a small convention attached. However, there wasn't much for the newish or young fan, so I wouldn't get your or your daughter's hopes up regarding 7 of 9 stuff, depending, again, on the size of the show. Many things were _not_ affordable, at least to my budget, or in the sense of being something I'd be happy with a child playing with/possibly breaking/losing.

    Which is not to say we didn't have a good time. My daughter was old enough to understand the fiscal end of things, and had brought some money of her own, so even though she's acquisitive, she was happy with what she got. The 9-10 yo had a little harder time with it, but enjoyed seeing all the fans dressed in costume (there were lots of fans in costume and some were superb).

    The program items were not all interesting to me, but the ones I saw were quite entertaining, and I heard a few new stories from Armin Shimerman.

    A real highlight was the little masquerade, where there were some amazing costumes. There was a kids' division and an adult division and prizes were essentially awarded by audience acclaim. People literally walked or rolled out of the audience to participate, and the costumes were at every level of execution, but each was clearly a labor of love.

    We also took advantage of the hotel pool and restaurant; on Sunday went to a nearby indoor amusement place where the young people played MagiQuest, which they loved, and (at another point) we got to shoot them with foam balls, which we loved, and everyone but me drove Go-Karts, which they enjoyed despite the fact that they all crashed a whole bunch of times.

    #688 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2012, 11:34 PM:

    Jacque: We have your email but have been much absorbed by birthday celebrations. We'll get back to you once that's died down a bit.

    The teen is now totally blue-haired. She looks like Ramona Flowers.

    Almost all her gifts from friends (to date) have been hand-made and nearly all have been Dr. Who or Sherlock themed, even from people who don't watch either of the shows. I found this really touching.

    I took half a dozen teenage girls to Forbidden Planet and The Strand today. Every single one of them bought a book at The Strand; most of them found stuff they wanted but could not afford at Forbidden Planet. Clearly my daughter has the right kind of friends.

    #689 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 12:36 AM:

    I generally don't mess around with TV Tropes because I had OCD when I was ten and the whole site looks like a good way to get trapped again. That being said, I wanted to check something there with the iPad and, of course, Safari won't let me highlight entries so I can see the spoilers. The download-the-wiki tool I see for it at the App Store does not, I gather, show any graphics from the site. Is there a browser that does show stuff correctly? I gather I could get registered on the site and turn the spoilers on for good, but once again, I had OCD once and don't want to end up that way again... Thanks!

    #690 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 12:56 AM:

    "I had OCD once and don't want to end up that way again..."

    What, something wrong with being OCD?

    #691 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 01:11 AM:

    abi, #684: Yep, fixed now. Thanks!

    #692 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 01:15 AM:

    Oooooh! Shiny toy I may just have to get. A "create your own superhero action figure" set:

    I'd like to learn how to work with Sculpy before actually building one of these. That would really open up the possibilities.

    #693 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 02:01 AM:

    Xopher @ 675:

    AIUI there are traditional magic systems which don't depend on the state of the magician's mind at all, but which work by invoking the power of spiritual entities in ways which compel them to obey. It's been more than 50 years since I read Waite, but I believe that was how the Golden Dawn's magic worked.

    #694 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 02:05 AM:

    Melissa Singer @ #687, "they all crashed a whole bunch of times."

    Isn't that part of the intent of Go-Kart emporia? As long as the walls are suitably bumpered, anyway.

    Or maybe I'm just thinking of bumper cars.

    #695 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 07:47 AM:

    Linkmeister: yes, crashing is part of it, but not crashing, under certain circumstances (as when you can win stuff for coming in in the first three) also has its appeal.

    Bumper cars are where crashing _is_ the name of the game, literally. I rather enjoy bumper cars, unless someone is being overly aggressive.

    #696 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 11:23 AM:

    Melissa Singer @688: nearly all have been Dr. Who or Sherlock themed

    Say, would y'all care to have a sonic screwdriver (with psychic paper) to add to your collection? I had one gifted on me and, while I love the show, I have quite enough Stuff, thankyouverymuch. Email me a shipping address if you'd like to have it.

    (BTW, if it's not obvious, response to the proposal outlined in the email in the form of, "Thanks, but no thanks," is entirely acceptable.)

    Clearly my daughter has the right kind of friends.

    Sounds like my highschool Star Trek club. Ah, tradition...!

    Stefan Jones @692: "create your own superhero action figure"

    There's someplace online where you can send them a couple of reference photos, and they'll create an action-figure head of the photos' subject.

    Melissa Singer @695: Bumper cars are where crashing _is_ the name of the game, literally. I rather enjoy bumper cars, unless someone is being overly aggressive.

    I've never really thought about it consciously before, but running a simulation in my mind, I predict that I would react rather badly to bumper cars. Like, with entirely inappropriate rage. Hm. But then, it's the start of Monday, and I'm already angry.

    Probably at least in part residual reaction to my mac dying Saturday night.

    Went off to the kitchen to put dishes away, came back, and Mr. Mac was shut down. I hadn't shut it down. It wouldn't turn back on. I tried to call Apple Care, but they were closed. (Note to manager: if you're going to tell users to call back during business hours, be nice if you would say what business hours are.) I had hysterics for a couple of hours (I was in the middle of listening to Spider Robinson's Variable Star, wanted to finish, and couldn't find my hard-copy either. Okay, so I overreacted; I was very short on sleep. My guinea pigs still aren't speaking to me. Apparently freaked them out some, too.), went to bed, got up later, little green tell-tale on power cord wasn't even lit.

    Fortunately, they got me in an hour after I called, that time. (Automated voice response guy is programmed to understand "My mac is dead!" "Okay, I'll get you right over to the service department." Made me laugh.) And the issue turned out to be a power management somethingorother that the guy could reset right there in the shop, and I had a lovely chat with my neighboring user and her tech while I waited.

    What amuses/frightens me is how completely freaked out I was by not being able to use my mac. I used to describe myself as a technophobe wannabe, but I've completely gone over to the shiny side, I guess. I use my mac for everything. Not having it having one lobe of my brain tied behind my back.

    So...I'm still having a bit of an attitude today. Anybody need somebody bitten? I'm in the right mood.

    #697 ::: Dave Bell screams a warning about an advert here ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 12:02 PM:

    The site is carrying prominent adverts for in the RH sidebar.

    They claim to be helping authors.

    The web-page that came up includes, again in a sidebar, that they want your RL identity info, in the form of name and address used for text purposes, and your Amazon password and associated email address

    William Tare Fox and similar exclamations of astonishment.

    #698 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 12:18 PM:

    Jacque @696: First, did you mean for your email address to appear in the Name slot? I suspect not, given the trouble you're having, computerwise; you may wish to speak to the mods.

    Second, oh so sorry about your Mac! I've killed a number of PCs over the years and it is simply Never Fun and leads to much angst and feelings of uselessness, like half your thinking capacity has vanished.

    Third, thanks but no thanks was understood.

    Fourth: Perhaps from having grown up in NYC and having early exposure to bumper cars at amusement parks in general and Coney Island in particular, and having spent many hours at disco-bumper-cars (Eldorado Bumper Cars), laughing my head off as we smacked into each other, I have always liked bumper cars. I'm generally uncomfortable with things the replicate driving (since I don't drive), but this doesn't trigger that in me at all; I zoom around like a maniac, grinning my ears off and flying into other people who are similarly enjoying themselves.

    The key, I've found, is to go during the day. Plenty of families (true fun is riding with your kid and letting them steer while you work the "gas") and younger kids who are just tall enough to ride by themselves. Later in the day and into the evening, you get more rowdy teens and guys trying to show off, and it's less enjoyable.

    But it gets my adrenaline all zippy when I'm doing it right.

    Sonic screwdriver, yes, please--the teen's is broken, sigh. Can you send it to me at the Flatiron?

    Wishing a speedy recovery to your Mac and your equilibrium.

    #699 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 01:01 PM:

    Melissa Singer: did you mean for your email address to appear in the Name slot?

    No, didn't. Appears to have been fixed, tho. Thanks, mods!

    WRT bumper cars: entirely hypothetical at this point. Zippy adrenalin wins, yes. I'm still ticked at a childhood friend: we were riding a "tea-cup" ride, and I was all vertiginous and squeely, and she just sat there. I asked; she said if you just relax, it isn't thrilling at all. I tried it, and she was right, the zippy disappeared completely. Never got it back. NOT HELPFUL, friend. ::scowl::

    Sonic screwdriver, ... Can you send it to me at the Flatiron?

    Of course. But only if you promise me a tour when I visit. (Actually, even if you don't ;-> )Email me shipping address, plz.

    Blessedly, Mr. Mac seems to be fully back in functioning order (with a screen not peppered with paint splats!). Me: not so much. We are entering our Stress Month tomorrow. I anticipate being somewhat disequilibriated for a while. Like I say, need anybody bitten, I'm in just the right mood.

    #700 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 01:30 PM:

    Jacque @699:

    You're welcome. I saw it and thought it looked like an overly-swift restoration of personal details in the wretched aftermath of a computer problem.

    (My MBA has just lost the use of one of its USB ports. I'll be going to see the nice Apple guys in Amsterdam about it this coming week, probably.)

    #701 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 01:37 PM:

    abi: ::twitchtwitch:: Thank you! And ::twitch:: my condolences. Thank Ghu for Apple Care, is all I can say. (A client sitting out front says he just flew in from the Netherlands. I'm valiantly resisting the urge to run out and say "Do you know Abi Sutherland?")

    #702 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 03:27 PM:

    Strikes me some people in this community would be suited to this paid position in my team at the Wikimedia Foundation, "Bug Wrangler".

    This is NOT a software development position. We want someone with a year's or more experience as a Wikipedia or other Wikimedia project editor/contributor, and with the reflexes of a librarian or archivist ("that information is disorganized! I shall file things appropriately!"), and with communications skills enough to translate between geek and nongeek. They can work from anywhere.

    #703 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 04:11 PM:

    Jacque @701: Yeah, people make fun of that impulse. Still, think how you'd feel if you only found out afterwards that they did know abi!

    #704 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 04:49 PM:

    Jacque @701:

    You could start by ascertaining if he's from Amsterdam, or from someplace I've never been, like Groningen or Delft. Narrows the chances, you know? But I don't know anyone that's over in your neck of the woods at the moment.

    If he's Dutch, wish him a happy Queen's Day. That'll bemuse him.

    I've been "recognized", if you will, twice.

    Once was in an art supply shop in Boston, I fell into conversation with a sales guy in the paper department. We were talking bookbinding, and I showed him the small notebook I had with me at the time. It had my bindery mark on the spine—a rooster facing left—and I mentioned that that was because my bindery was the Evilrooster Bindery. He took a step backward and exclaimed, 'You're evilrooster?". He'd been on my bookbinding instructional site just the night before.

    The second time was when my better half was at a dinner after a computer usability conference. He was chatting with the woman next to him, and they got onto the subject of online communities. He mentioned that I was a moderator here. She turned out to be an occasional lurker (Hi, Jen, if you're reading this!). We had lunch together the next day. Very pleasant indeed.

    So it does happen from time to time.

    #705 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 04:57 PM:

    abi @704: it does happen from time to time.

    Back in the mid-'80s, a friend from the Bay Area was visiting NY, attending a conference on women and spirituality, or somesuch.

    Upon meeting someone from Boulder, it came up that he, too, knew a Boulderite, through fandom. "Who is it?" she asked, both of them laughing at the idea of common acquaintance. Turns out that she also knew me—through my old karate school.

    #706 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 05:17 PM:


    That position looks interesting; how much of it is likely to involve team management? I can't tell from the writeup whether it's "will run bug tracking" or if that overlaps into managerial stuff like evaluating other employees and developing budgets. (My email address is above, if you'd rather take this offline or point me elsewhere.)

    #707 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 05:17 PM:


    That position looks interesting; how much of it is likely to involve team management? I can't tell from the writeup whether it's "will run bug tracking" or if that overlaps into managerial stuff like evaluating other employees and developing budgets. (My email address is above, if you'd rather take this offline or point me elsewhere.)

    #708 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 05:41 PM:

    Vicki, argh, I should have written that position description more clearly! This is a position for an individual contributor -- "managerial stuff like evaluating other employees and developing budgets" is not included. There will be some leadership, in the sense that community management and encouraging volunteers is leadership (and I think it is). But basically no budget meetings and stuff like that. (That's my job.)

    Please do feel free to apply, and to spread the word.

    #709 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 05:59 PM:

    Melissa 688: The teen is now totally blue-haired. She looks like Ramona Flowers.

    There. Are. Worse. Looks. Did she squee when you told her this?

    Bruce 693: Yes, Ceremonial Magic. I think that technique in general is either ineffective or unethical—because if you accept that these entities exist, why don't they have rights to self-determination?

    #710 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 06:16 PM:

    Xopher @709: Yeah, it generally seems to turn out better if you (not you particularly; I mean the general you) and Whatever Big Thing are working together, rather than you ordering Whatever Big Thing around. Swimming with the current, and all that, too. I think we're of similar minds on the ineffectiveness and just general bad-idea-ness of attempting to compel Somebody.

    (It's the process of getting into congruence and alignment with Somebody that interests me, personally. But that's another topic.)

    #711 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 06:31 PM:

    elise @710: It's the process of getting into congruence and alignment with Somebody that interests me, personally. But that's another topic.

    Yes? Pray, continue?

    #712 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 06:34 PM:

    elise 710: (It's the process of getting into congruence and alignment with Somebody that interests me, personally. But that's another topic.)

    Depending on the intensity of the alignment and the direction(s) of information/energy flow, that process can be anything from prayer to drawing down (that is, solicited possession by a deity).

    #713 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 06:37 PM:

    Jacque 711: I see what you did there.

    #714 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 06:58 PM:

    Xopher: c'est moi?

    #715 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 07:03 PM:

    Xopher @ 709:

    I've always been somewhat bemused by the idea that the universe would be so designed that powerful entities would be compelled to do the bidding of pompous jerks in colorful robes. See also the First Law of Summoning: "Never summon that which you cannot control."

    #716 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 07:47 PM:

    Jacque @711:

    Yes? Pray, continue?

    Lather, rinse, repeat?

    *grins at Jacque and and Xopher*

    #717 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 07:50 PM:

    Bruce @715:

    Never summon what you can't send home.
    Never open what you can't close.
    And leave the Thing in the Laundry Room alone.

    (Oh, wait, that last one is probably Milwaukee fandom/paganism specific. I remember it being part of a list of instructions, a couple decades back, though.)

    #718 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 08:33 PM:

    I tried to participate in a CM ritual one time. I would only do it if the guy promised not to attempt to FORCE the being he was calling to manifest. As it turned out, he kept pronouncing 'ambiguity' am-BIG-wih-tee, and it made it hard to concentrate.

    #719 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 08:36 PM:

    Xopher (718): Rhymes with 'antiquity'?

    #720 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 08:39 PM:

    Almost. But with a g, not a k sound.

    #721 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 08:43 PM:

    re parhelion: Somewhere I have a picture of my wife taken in front of the Boring United Methodist Church-- the other Boring, in Maryland.

    #722 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 08:44 PM:

    HLN: Last week was a mad week in the Chevre-and-associated households.

    On Monday, the car died on the way home from taking the oldest to school (he's 5). After being towed to a mechanic (completely freaking the 2-year-old out), and panicking the 8.75 months pregnant mother (it would be a distinctly sub-optimal time to have no working car), it was a relatively cheap repair and was finished that day. One neighbor sat with the children, and her partner drove the mother to the mechanic to pick it up. Meanwhile, the father was engaged in a rush assembly of a completely different way of looking at some analysis for a manager[1] (to be called MP hereafter) rather senior to him in the company.

    On Tuesday, work was scrambly, as the analysis presented to MP Monday night had produced more questions than answers.

    About 4 AM Wednesday, the two-year-old fell out of bed[2]. When his father went in and picked him up, he was nearly asleep, but his hair felt rather damper than sweat seemed likely to account for. On bringing him out into the light (by which he was much more upset than he was after falling out of bed), he had a significant gash in his scalp--he had apparently hit it on a toy on the floor[3].

    On Friday, the father finished his week of seemingly-endless revisions and improvements and additions to the analysis by a heated rant by MP, directed at him, but related to the fact that someone elses' analysis, as previously presented to MP, was "basically useless for thinking about the question."

    Meanwhile, a good friend [4] who lives nearby was dealing with a great craziness. As neither she nor her partner drive, an acquaintance often helps her with errands. He is not in the best of health. He showed up at her house, clearly not "right", at midnight Sunday. Her first guess was that his diabetes was out of control, but by Tuesday (with her feeding him appropriate food for his diabetes) he was hallucinating. This continued through Wednesday; with the help of a friend who works with the in-crisis homeless, he was finally persuaded to seek medical care on Thursday.

    1) As in, he's one level from the top, and I'm one level from the bottom, in a 10k employee business.
    2) He does this often; he's a sufficiently sound sleeper and his bed is sufficiently low that he often doesn't even wake up.
    3) He had a gash about an inch long, nearly through the skin, on the back of his head. The culprit was one of these. See the corner above the P in Parking?
    4) As in, our daughter is named partly for her.

    #723 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 08:54 PM:

    Wow, that's a tough set of days, SamChevre. I hope all will be well, especially for the kid with the gashed head.

    #724 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 08:57 PM:

    Xopher (720): To my ear, that's a rhyme. But we've already had that argument around here; let's not rehash it. :)

    #725 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 08:58 PM:

    SamChevre #722: Ow, I'm wishing you better luck this week!

    #726 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 09:00 PM:

    SamChevre (722): Wow, that's quite a week. Here's hoping you soon have good news to offset the bad.

    #727 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 09:01 PM:

    My only experience with what I think Xopher would term Ceremonial Magic is a situation where the belief is that the thing the invoker is "forcing" the other Power to do is something that that Power promised *to* do, when and as asked - so I don't have the ethical issues in that situation. I realise most Catholics don't use the term Ceremonial Magic for that act (and the hierarchy would react very badly to the association, but the hierarchy has been known to react very badly to a lot of things), however. It's not as magical in my Protestant tradition - but the Ceremony is still there.

    In a different case, I do know that the "what I ask for, He shall provide" school of Christian prayer is something that is frequently discussed in my church. It is discussed as "won't work. can't work. actively impedes a solution. why don't we talk about what does work, and how it can lead to progress, maybe even in the way you think you need, maybe just in what you actually do need?" That kind of magic I don't need - the alternative, I'm not sure I'm strong enough to attempt (actually, that's not true. I am sure I'm strong enough to attempt it. I'm not sure I'm ready yet to go where it leads (not knowing where it would lead, of course).) Oh me of little faith.

    On other topics (that's what OT stands for, no?) Calgary Expo came and went, and I didn't go. I wanted to, if just to meet a couple of webcomics authors and buy their stuff. Not enough spoons - in fact, I had to leave church before it started because I hit "too many people" mode. Sometimes I hate this - but it's better than the alternatives.

    #728 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 10:20 PM:

    Mycroft @727:

    That reminds me of the series of three prayers somebody taught me about, years and years and years ago. They happen in order, and they're not for the faint of heart.

    1. Lord, use me.

    2. Lord, use me but don't break me.

    3. Lord, I don't care if you break me.

    #729 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 10:32 PM:

    SamChevre: good thoughts for you and all of yours, near and far.

    Xopher: she's actually looked like Ramona Flowers before; she's cosplayed Ramona on and off for a couple of years (before the Sherlock thing hit; she now cosplays Sherlock). However, the older she gets, the more she looks like Ramona, especially when her hair is interesting colors (or she's wearing a wig).

    The most astonishing thing is that in one of the photos she took yesterday, I can see the nascent woman looking out of her face; she suddenly looked like she was in her 20s. It was rather startling.

    She's been running around tonight in her brand-new deerstalker; I suspect tomorrow will be a very Sherlock day.

    #730 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2012, 11:33 PM:

    Melissa Singer: your daughter wasn't recently in Seattle, was she? There was a teenager cosplaying Sherlock in the Artist Alley I ran at Sakuracon, and I would like to resolve the creepy synchronicity I'm feeling. :)

    #731 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 12:53 AM:

    SamChevre @ 722: Aargh. Best wishes all round!

    #732 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 01:26 AM:

    Xopher @ 709: I'm now imagining a world in which CM works by other mechanisms than the summoners-and-binders believe, e.g.,

    WHAT THE MIGHTY MAGE SAYS: Abracadabra hoolah moolah! I constrain and invoke thee to do X!

    Simon says do X!
    Let's play the X game!
    No, come on Aunty, we have to do X now!
    [Cat staring at catflap until one of its monkeys is compelled to open it by sheer force of feline concentration.]

    A minor plot point in my WIP involves the most magical of its characters - who is basically a witchy healer - having once been in a state of sufficient enchantment as to be accidentally summoned to the local equivalent of Africa by an experimental medico attempting to conjure away a fever. Some mutual embarrassment ensued.

    #733 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:29 AM:

    SamChevre @722:

    What a compendium of misfortune! I do hope that things get extra-better to compensate.

    #734 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 03:49 AM:

    SamChevre @722: I now feel thoroughly wimpy for my freak-out over a deadline that's been looming for, oh, about a year, and tech outage of a few hours.

    It's definitely going around though; I popped into my local art store, and couldn't restrain the guffaw when my guy Carl came around the corner, sporting three bandaids on the right side of his face, and the beginnings of a truly awe-inspiring shiner (which may end up encompassing both eyes). Seems he stepped on a rock wrong when unloading his musical equipment, and went down. "But I saved my gear!" he chirps.

    He is, as one might expect, catching mountains of good-natured shit from his coworkers. Apparently completely freaked his daughter out when he came in, blood streaming down his face. His wife ... was somewhat less demonstrative, as she cleaned him up and packed him off to the ER. She's evidently had lots of practice at this.

    I confess I worry (though I have zero authorization to do so). Seems like out of the last eight times I've seen him, he has been conspicuous-injury-free only about three of those.

    elise @728: After I'd finally learned how to pray (and boy was it disconcerting the first time I got an answer), the prayers I've found to be most effective (for me) are variations on "How do I need to think about this to go where I want to go?"

    I've occassionally tried the "Lord, use me" tack, as in "What do you want me to do?" The answer I pretty consistently get is, "Use your free will. That's what I put it there for."

    Melissa Singer @729: I have a neighbor (who is also a Genius over at the Mac store, which is where she first caught my eye) who occassionally sports a purple wig that makes Flowers's look downright pastel. She apparently has some variation of alopecia, and has solved this issue by keeping an absolute beastiary of wigs. I have a hard enough time keeping humans straight. Changes in hair color will usually defeat my recognition capabilities. It's really unfair when the length of the hair changes, too.

    Gray Woodland @732: You will, of course, alert the commentariat when said WIP is available for general perusal, yes?

    #735 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 06:32 AM:

    Jacque: Your coworker wouldn't happened to be named Nicoll would he?

    (Which is actually a little unfair to James, as during the last decade or so the Nicoll Stories have had a lot less funny injuries and a lot more funny cats...ever since he started using a CPAP machine, in fact.)

    I've read the story to which Gray's WIP is a sequel, and thought it was very good. He's currently in the midst of revision, while I wait patiently.

    #736 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 06:55 AM:

    Jacque #734: I tend to assume that any non-naturalistic hair color or very-high-maintenance hair style is likely to be ephemeral.

    Gray Woodland #732: I'm now imagining a world in which CM works by other mechanisms than the summoners-and-binders believe,

    I've long suspected as much for magic in general, and especially the shamanic context.

    #737 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 09:10 AM:

    Shadowsong @730: No, she wasn't. Sherlock cosplayers are not that rare; I expect you'll see even more of them once Season Two officially airs in the US, starting this weekend.

    #738 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 09:21 AM:


    Ta-Nehisi Coates: if you aren't reading him, you should be. Three recent pieces of awesomeness.

    We Must Tell Our Stories

    My sense, from the beginning, has been that the primary loyalty of a story-teller is to the narrative that keeps them up at night, not to "diversity," "fairness" or any other so deemed societal good."

    White Privilege I can run you all kinds of stats on the racial wealth gap and will gladly discuss its origins. But you can't really buy two parents like I had.

    The Book of Human Language

    This greater violence influenced our principles, which themselves were premised on other implicit, unstated principles. Among them: That the world was--and would always be--violent. That we were powerless to alter this fact.
    Only twice in my life have I felt as lost as I did on that first day at Lemmel: When I moved to New York and when I started studying French. The obvious point is that "not knowing" on the streets carries a kind of consequence which "not knowing" in French class does not. And yet the fear--the darkness--is still powerful. Violence isn't simply physically painful, it is degrading and humiliating. The worst part about getting jumped was my helplessness. This is how I have experienced learning French.

    Go read the whole thing.

    #739 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 11:17 AM:

    I've been reading as many of the Hugo finalists as I could lay my mitts on, but I'm about to run out. Does anybody know when the Committee will make the full packet available electronically, assuming that last year wasn't a one-shot affair?

    #740 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 11:55 AM:

    AKICOML: I have a friend (and, for that matter a husband) who would really appreciate some pointers toward good books of Appalachian folklore, history and oral traditions, and including information on primary sources if possible.

    #741 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 12:09 PM:

    Jennifer Baughman:

    I would suggest starting with the "Foxfire" books.

    Your public library should have them, and Amazon has used copies.

    #742 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 12:09 PM:

    Jennifer Baughman @740, the first place I would look would be the Foxfire books, if they haven't already read those.

    #743 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 12:17 PM:

    Jennifer Baughmann @ 740

    I grew up in east Tennessee, so much of my recommendations are more "this captures how the place feels to me" than "this is a work of accurate history."

    Fictionalized perhaps, but mostly autobiographical and quite accurate: Jesse Stuart's short stories, and his autobiography "The Thread that Runs so True."

    For serious history/beginnings, David Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed", the section on the borderlanders/Scots-Irish.

    For a modern and very philosophical picture, Wendell Berry's Port William novels.

    #744 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 01:20 PM:

    Mycroft, #727: My personal response to the "what I ask for, God will provide" thing is along the lines of, "And what are you doing to prepare the way for him? The Lord helps those who help themselves; he's not your personal maid!" Which is very likely close to what your pastor means.

    I also react very badly to statements of the type, "Prayer always works -- you may not get what you asked for, but you'll get what you really needed" -- but that's a topic better discussed on the Dysfunctional Families thread.

    Melissa, #737: Was she at Anime Boston? I took this picture of a very well-done Holmes and Watson there, both of whom were female. OTOH, they were also very clearly Holmes and Watson, not Sherlock and John, so maybe not.

    #745 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 01:38 PM:

    Jennifer Baughman #740:

    Slightly off the Appalachian Trail (as you can tell from the title) is R. Gerald Alvey's Kentucky Bluegrass Country, which is sufficiently rich and detailed as to make me wonder if maybe I grew up in some alternate Lexington, and includes all sorts of sources in the bibliography. (Got my copy some years ago at Half-Price.)

    #746 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 01:41 PM:

    Lee @744: Nope. We haven't done any cons yet this year and she doesn't yet travel outside of NYC on her own. It's very likely that her only con this year will be NYCC. Next year, most travel will likely be pegged to looking at colleges. (at last year's NYCC, she was a Dalek)

    There are all different kinds of Holmes/Watson Sherlock/John cosplay, I'm learning. There are Holmes and Watson, as seen in your photo (and portrayed by both males and females). There are Sherlock and John (again, portrayed by males and females). There are Femme-lock and Femme-John, Femme-lock and John, Sherlock and Femme-John (though that seems rare) . . . these are all female only.

    #747 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:09 PM:

    These photos of old New York are amazing. Do look.

    #748 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:18 PM:

    Dogs, but not wolves, use humans as tools.

    Summary: A group of researchers hand-raised a litter of dog pups and a litter of wolf pups so that they would have equivalent experiences, then put them to a series of tests in which human/animal interaction was a necessary part of the solution. The dogs very quickly turned to the humans for help, treating them as social partners. The wolves did not.

    #749 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:19 PM:

    Probably a Word of Power somewhere...

    #750 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:22 PM:

    Is anybody else on DreamWidth getting spammed?

    #751 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:31 PM:

    OK, baking question for anyone here...

    I have been craving cake but my roommate's allergic to corn so I can't use box mixes. Despite a previous failure with scratch-baked cakes, I gave it a shot anyway. The Cake Flour at Whole Foods (yes, I know, but I didn't want to make another trip to a normal store) gave me a choice of either King Arthur, supposedly the Gold Standard of flour WHO PUTS CORNSTARCH IN THEIR CAKE FLOUR! ^#%%@$!!! (srsly, eff you, KAF) or Whole Wheat cake flour. Because Whole Foods thinks people want nutritional, high fiber junk food I guess. Due to roommate's allergies, I naturally went with the hippie cake flour.

    I made this cake last night (substituted baking soda and cream of tartar for Baking Powder, which has - you guessed it - corn starch) but haven't frosted it yet. It feels predictably and dishearteningly dense. Is there any way to salvage this cake so I don't cry and throw it angrily on the floor after all that work? The amount of frosting on the linked recipe seems excessive (?! I am old!) so I was going to probably use half or maybe 3/4s of that amount. Any other suggestions for saving a dense, hockey puck of a cake - or is this the way cake is supposed to be and I have been brainwashed by Duncan Hines?

    #752 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:42 PM:

    re 738: I am made very uncomfortable by the way TNC uses "privilege", and especially when he hangs that word "white" off of it, as though white people don't get orphaned, or have abusive environments, or so forth. Some of the scars on my own psyche trace back to the destruction of my mother's family when her father died; I don't think of it as "privilege" that most other people didn't go through that.

    #753 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:43 PM:




    I haven't been getting spammed on Dreamwidth, but I noticed a spate of it on a friend's journal a couple of days ago. (I noticed because one of them was hung off an old comment of mine, so I got email notification.)

    #754 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:48 PM:

    nerdycellist @751: If it is a pretty dense cake, you might be able to slice it thinly and go for more layers (I suggest a long bread knife). It'll make the density less of a factor; you'll have thin layers of cake and layers of fluffy frosting, which should help.

    Something entirely different that would also work would be turning it into a trifle - dense is good, since it holds up (whipped cream and fruit, layered). It wouldn't be a canonical frosted birthday cake, but it'd be tasty.

    I wasn't aware that baking powder involved cornstarch - I assume as an anti-clumping agent.

    #755 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:50 PM:

    Please ignore previous stupid comment. must rethink.

    #756 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:50 PM:

    nerdycellist (751): IANAB*, far from it, but my family always made our cakes with whole wheat flour (and wheat germ). They do come out fairly dense**. I like them that way--the other kind always seems too insubstantial--but I can see how people who grew up with the light and fluffy kind might disagree.

    **although they can still be nicely moist, and they tend to have more flavor*** than the light-and-fluffy kind
    ***or maybe that's the wheat germ

    #757 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 02:53 PM:

    Vicki @ 753... Thanks. Some of them show up as comments to a post of mine, but some show up in comments I made to someone else within my own blog. This has happened with 4-year-old posts, and with some that are barely one-month-old. I've been checking frequently so they get tossed out fairly quickly. I didn't know that enough people use DreamWidth to make it worth a spammer's while as a target.

    #758 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 03:02 PM:

    nerdycellist @751: Hm. The recipe may have depended on getting a nice floofy texture when initially creaming the butter and sugar together, though there are also certain benefits in using double-acting baking powder instead of cream of tartar and baking soda. Not an option here, though.

    You may be able to salvage the texture by sprinkling/brushing on some flavored simple syrup, as generally applied to a genoise. If you do that, the frosting may be overkill. Try syruping a small piece first to make sure it doesn't end up too sweet.

    There's an informative passage about syruping genoises about 40% down the page here.

    #759 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 03:14 PM:

    So I had a bit of a culinary dilemma this morning that I improvised my way out of, and I thought you lovely Fluorospherians might be interested.

    My kid (sometimes) loves bananas. She will (when she feels like it) power through five or six in a week. Or (sometimes) she won't eat a single one for days. However, bananas ripen VERY QUICKLY at normal household temperatures. We buy 'em green when there's 2-3 of the previous batch left, but they still sometimes linger long past their best-by (or at least, past where they're still firm enough for the kid to grasp it and eat it the way she likes).

    I used to make banana bread somewhat regularly, but that takes rather more bananas than 'a couple'. I've been freezing them as I go, but right now, the mixer is, um, missing in the move, and I ain't beatin' that by hand!

    So this morning there were two exceptionally-squishy bananas and one ripe-but-still-firm half-eaten banana that she wasn't going to finish more than the bite or two she had with breakfast.

    I mashed all of them in a bowl and added enough brown sugar to make the mush taste like 'banana bread' to me and not 'mashed bananas' (I, um, dislike the taste of fresh bananas), sprinkled it with enough raw quick-cooking oatmeal to make the whole thing out of a 'pourable' temperature to a very loose dough consistency. Then I melted a thickish slice of butter in the microwave, mixed that in, and beat in two eggs.

    I put paper cups in two muffin pans and one generous large soup spoon of batter in each cup (enough to cover the bottom non-scantily). I baked it at 350degF until about ten minutes past the fabled "Something must be horribly wrong, isn't it burnt yet?" point (because it spent an awful long time looking kind-of-baked but tasting raw; I tasted one to be sure).

    So now I have about 20 little banana-oatmeal cookies, which I hope I can get the kid to eat; if not, they'll last longer in the fridge than the bananas would've, plus I actually kind of like them myself. They're a little chewier (in that you have to chew on the little oatmeal bits) than I'd like; maybe next time I'll soak the oats in a little milk first to soften them.

    #760 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 04:09 PM:

    Another great use for frozen bananas, very popular in my family when I was growing up.

    Put a bit of milk in a blender, and add the frozen bananas a chunk at a time until the mixture is thick (they should have been very ripe). Add to taste--a few drops of vanilla, a spoonful of peanut butter, some chocolate syrup, or substitute frozen strawberries or blueberries for the first few bits of banana.

    This makes a great milkshake-like drink; for even more indulgence use half-and-half instead of milk.

    #761 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 04:13 PM:

    Serge @ 739

    I have been told at a staff meeting for Chicon staffers that There Will Be Hugo Packets, and they Will Be Soon. If memory serves "the first week of May" was mentioned, but I could be wrong. The last I heard, a couple of weeks ago, was that there was one holdup on one item; it wasn't that they'd refused permission, simply that the Hugo packet team had not heard back yet.

    I'd check the Chicon page every day or so; I honestly expect it any day now. (There is some concern about the server being hammered immediately after it's released; please be understanding of slow load times.)

    #762 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 04:30 PM:

    Hmmm... a trifle might be good - I have some extra ripe strawberries and a mango just sitting around waiting to be consumed. Could do worse than smoosh them up on top of a cinnamon cake with some freshly whipped cream. Thanks Benjamin @754! If the roommate doesn't want a crap-ton of frosting (or if I can't cut the layers straight) I think we'll go with that suggestion. The crap-ton of frosting is also complicated by the corn allergy; only certain brands of organic powdered sugar can be used, as they use tapioca or potato starch as an anti-caking agent. Naturally, this is more expensive and I'm highly doubtful that I have 7-8 cups of it lying around. I wonder - if I put superfine sugar through the food processor and added my own non-corn starch if that would make an acceptable confectioner's sugar.

    I can order non-corn starch baking powder, but with shipping and all that nonsense it would run me about $20. Considering all the half-full expired cans of Clabber Girl I've thrown out in my lifetime, I consider this somewhat fiscally irresponsible. At this point I am considering just making my own cakes, taking the three pieces I normally eat and bringing the rest to work. My poor roommate would have to put up with the delicious artificial "yellow" smell of the Box cake while I was baking, but maybe that would encourage her to buy her own baking ingredients.

    Julie L @758 - I actually got quite a lovely floofy texture when creaming the butter, sugar and eggs. I have to say using superfine sugar helped there too. I actually considered using maple rather than simple syrup as a humectant. We'll see.

    Mary @756 -

    My mother used to bake bread with whole wheat she ground herself. Those loaves could have been used as doorstops and it was the best bread I've ever tasted. A couple of dense slices with whatever cheese we had in the fridge and you'd have the Platonic Ideal of a grilled cheese sandwich. For dessert you could put peanut butter and a little honey on the heel end and fold it over. Divine. Cakes, however, always came out of a box so that's the texture I'm used to.

    #763 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 04:35 PM:

    Elliot -

    Those banana oatmeal whatnots sound delicious. If you have a food processor, the next time you're faced with a banana surplus you could make a tasty banana ice cream with no other ingredients! I'll be testing out the Cuisinart with that one.

    #764 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 04:36 PM:

    Cally Soukup @ 761... Thanks. That confirms what I just heard elsewhere. I suppose they'll send an email when the packet is available and, yes, I'll expect downloads won't be marked by celerity. BTW... Are you going to Chicon? I'll be there, and helping with the Hugo Ceremonies - as an usher, as far as I know, since I don't have what it takes to be a Vanna White, apparently. :-)

    #765 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 06:04 PM:

    #748: Daniel Pinkwater has the notion that wolves have a strong sense of Wolf Superiority. They're fully smart enough to be trained, but just don't give a fig about obeying humans who don't have something edible to trade for doing something. Paraphrasing: "They're probably right to think they're superior. Go look at yourself naked, then look at a wolf."

    But srsly, dogs and humans have likely co-evolved to grok each other's mental states.

    #766 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 06:21 PM:

    nerdycellist @763: The blender is with the mixer in some random box somewhere.

    On the plus side, I just found my 'monkey-feet shoes' while unpacking something completely unrelated, so I'm happy.

    Lee @597 said: Saying that if you have one unrealistic element you therefore have no reason not to have every unrealistic element is asking science fiction to behave like magic.

    Jacque #614 replied to Lee: Well, except that if you have magic, it still has to have an internally consistent logic, and by implication your magic is going to have some limitations, so I'd say they're not parallel. Or they are parallel. Or something. (Can we tell I'm much too tired and only marginally coherent?)

    One of my very favorite lines from Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is what he says in Chapter 2 when McGonagall shapeshifts in front of him:

    Professor McGonagall turned into a cat.
    Harry scrambled back unthinkingly, backpedaling so fast that he tripped over a stray stack of books and landed hard on his bottom with a thwack. His hands came down to catch himself without quite reaching properly, and there was a warning twinge in his shoulder as the weight came down unbraced.
    At once the small tabby cat morphed back up into a robed woman. "I'm sorry, Mr. Potter," McGonagall said, sounding sincere, though her lips were twitching toward a smile. "I should have warned you."
    Harry was breathing in short pants. His voice came out choked. "You can't DO that!"
    "It's only a Transfiguration," said McGonagall. "An Animagus transformation, to be exact."
    "You turned into a cat! A SMALL cat! You violated Conservation of Energy! That's not just an arbitrary rule, it's implied by the form of the quantum Hamiltonian! Rejecting it destroys unitarity and then you get FTL signaling! And cats are COMPLICATED! A human mind can't just visualize a whole cat's anatomy and, and all the cat biochemistry, and what about the neurology? How can you go on thinking using a cat-sized brain?"
    McGonagall's lips were twitching harder now. "Magic."
    "Magic isn't enough to do that! You'd have to be a god!"

    Also, In re kids' movies (inspired by the discussion of Pirates):

    Due to the toddler in my household, I've recently rewatched The Secret of NIMH, and oh my Bob is that movie a lot darker, serious, and containing-deaths-that-punch-you than any movie nowadays being made for and sold to kids! This is a G-RATED MOVIE, and it contains a swordfight that's kind of horrifyingly realistic and scary, with (rot13ed for spoilers, in case anyone cares about me spoilering a kid's movie from 1982) bar cnegvpvcnag raqvat hc thg-fxrjrerq, naq ABG QRNQ, naq jngpuvat gur erfg bs gur svtug, fb gung ur pna urebvpnyyl guebj n xavsr gb xvyy Gur Onq Thl! And an awful lot more real-feeling peril than was even ok in the mid-90s X-Men cartoon. Xvq zvpr arneyl qebja gb qrngu! On screen! Holy crap, guys!

    The movie industry has changed A LOT. That stuff used to be ok in a G-rated film. Now a lot of it isn't even ok in PG ...

    #767 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 06:38 PM:

    Serge @ 764

    I'm Consuite Staff. Whether this means I'll be actually in the consuite itself, or upstairs in the food-prep room at any given moment, is an open question. We'll be doing a LOT of food and drink ferrying, as we're not allowed to plug anything in in the consuite. Even coffee makers. Insulated coffee carafes are our friends.

    The consuite will be run as close to 24-hour as possible. It'll be officially about 4,000 square feet, but actually considerably more than twice that, since we can open up the airwalls to make the meetingroom lobby part of the space. Including the Warp Cores, which are part of the lobby area:

    You may be interested to know that, as a preliminary plan, we're planning on serving Hot Food at 11 pm every night (for some value of Hot Food and some value of 11). Said Hot Food to include chili, tacos, pierogies, and pizza. This (except the chili, which is already being made and frozen in batches) is subject to change without notice.

    The convention is springing for wifi throughout the public spaces, but Do Not expect to be able to plug ANYTHING in anywhere except your room. If you think $60 a gallon for coffee is expensive (and that's a discounted rate! Which is why we're not buying coffee service from the hotel) you should SEE the cost for electric outlets.

    #768 ::: emilly ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 07:22 PM:

    Nerdycellist - you can absolutely run another fineness of white sugar* through the food processor to create confectioners/icing sugar. You don't need to add starch either, really, especially if you're using it when you make it. None of the icing sugar i buy here has starch in it; sure it gets clumpy but it can be sifted.

    *white sugar in Australia, from least to most fine:
    white sugar - caster sugar - icing sugar

    #769 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 09:08 PM:

    'Swan's Down' cake flour doesn't mention cornstarch, but baking powder - I just checked - yeah.

    #770 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 09:21 PM:

    Cally Soukup @ 767... All duly noted. Hopefully we can meet. I'll ask whoever is working there if you are around. As for myself... If you see a tall guy running back and forth near the SFWA's seating area during the Hugos, that's likely to be me.

    #771 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 09:50 PM:

    At the risk of being hlepy, ganache icing doesn't have to have any powdered (and thus cornstarch-suspicious) ingredients. Just chocolate and heavy cream. Buttercream icing is a little easier to get right, though IMO it's actually more work, but it requires that powdered sugar stuff.

    I haven't done the fat numbers, but ganache (if done correctly) is also lower in fact it can be done with sugar-free chocolate (and is every bit as good as the chocolate you make it with).

    #772 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 09:52 PM:


    #773 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 09:59 PM:

    Cally and Serge, I hope to see you both at WorldCon.

    Hey, esteemed hosts, is there going to be a Fluorosphere party there?

    #774 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 10:56 PM:

    elise @ 773... I haven't heard about any party being organized, but, should there not be one, people might have dinner together at a restaurant. That's what we did last year in Reno. There's still time for plans to be made.

    #775 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 11:03 PM:

    Jennifer Baughman at # 740: Night Comes to the Cumberlands by Harry Caudill.

    #776 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2012, 11:05 PM:

    It occurs to me that here might be a good place to mention that I'm looking for as-cheap-as-possible room space for Worldcon. I'm a bit old for the floor, but half a bed is fine. I don't snore; I do have a (quiet) cpap machine. Email is my first name shoved together with my last name over at the yahoo company.

    #777 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 01:22 AM:

    Jacque @ 734: Your wish is my command.

    David Goldfarb @ 735: Thanks for the kind word and the patience. I'd expected to have the MS ready for submission by now. Ha! When I decided I needed to write the story about the consequences of the first one, I had no idea what I was getting into.

    OTOH, the long rewriting passes are still working for me on the level of "finding new peaks of awesome" as well as "draining old swamps of suckage", so I don't feel in any present danger of stalling.

    In related news, anybody who needs me to unleash my fannish slannishness and mastermind a popular revolution is stone out of luck, and would do better to apply to the nearest available moggy. Unless they are truly desperate, and can also procure a time machine with which I can attempt many redrafts. See also: farming, scamming, fiddling with eldritch powers what man was not meant to wot of.

    #778 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 02:30 AM:

    It's being claimed that British schools are discouraging girls from taking physical exercise: BBC Report here. There are some stats mentioned which appear to confirm that girls start to exercise less as they get older.

    My own experience, a long time ago, suggests that schools (and the British version of jock culture) could do a better job for anyone. But I'm a guy, and it's different for me.

    Still, the ages mentioned in the stats do suggest puberty is a factor, and there are some obvious differences between the media standard desirable woman and the female athletes we do get shown on TV. I am not sure that the talk in the article about role models is going to work.

    (I do remember something of my teenage years, and I was certainly biased by the image of the media standard desirable woman.)

    At least they managed not to mention the Olympics.

    #779 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 03:57 AM:

    Cally Soukup @ 776... I'll let you know if I hear of something.

    #780 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 06:02 AM:

    Elliot MAson #766 - that's interesting. My anecdote is that I watched the latest batman movie, the one with the joker, and was rather horrified by it. I found it darker, more relentlessly nasty and viscious, but it was rated a 12 here in the UK, the same as the first Batman movie 20 years ago. Which film was I suppose a bit violent, but it slanted towards the cartoonish, unrealistic, out of focus and taking place in an unreal location, rather than centre stage in realistic locations of the latest film.

    Thus, I disliked it. And that XXX that came out a few years ago was also a 12, but felt more like a 15 at least.

    #781 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 09:16 AM:

    Dave Bell @778: There is also the related fallacy, fairly widely believed among pubescent girls in the US, that light to moderate exercise will retard the growth of your secondary sexual characteristics, making you look like an Olympic gymnast.

    SEVERE exercise can make you amenorrheal, as Olympic gymnasts are, but reasonable exercise (from participating in PE class right on up to once-a-week intensive swimming) certainly doesn't.

    This fallacy is double-edged, as it both discourages girls who want to 'look prettier' (meaning, older and more like Kim Kardashian's airbrushed pictures) from any exercise whatsoever, and encourages girls who are dismayed by the changes in their bodies to exercise as well as starve themselves, while attempting to stick inadequate fingers in the dyke of steamrollering puberty.

    Also, the communal change-rooms and showers are a strong disincentive for high-school girls to be enthusiastic about PE -- even if you enjoy or tolerate what happens in the gym, what happens in the locker room is relentless and scarring (whether you developed 'late' OR 'early' -- all bodies are criticized and belittled in the girls' locker room).

    #782 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 10:39 AM:

    Gray Woodland @777: the consequences of the first one

    Is this first one somewhere where one might read it?

    #783 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 11:32 AM:

    Elliot Mason @781

    There were times, I assure you, when this boy felt that he didn't want to get out of the swimming pool, and go to the locker room, as his swimming shorts bulged in natural and highly embarrassing ways.

    #784 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 11:35 AM:

    Dave Bell @783: I spent significant portions of the two semesters I was required to take PE faffing about in the class and then changing into my non-gym-clothes under my oversized gym-uniform t-shirt, skipping the shower entirely and doing the whole thing as fast as I could. This led to me smelling funny for most of the day for most of two semesters -- and the negative feedback I got for that hurt significantly less than what would have happened if I'd let my classmates see me naked, either in the changeroom or the shower.

    #785 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 11:44 AM:

    Serge @779

    About Worldcon roomsharing: I've just had a very generous offer, which I've accepted. But thank you!

    Making Light has some Very Nice People in it.

    #786 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 12:07 PM:

    Gatherings of Light: I know I'm not the only Fluorospherian going to Wiscon. Anyone interested in a joint dinner run? My 3-year-old will likely be along on all my meal-inations, so if that's a dealbreaker I can avoid the no-kids group.

    #787 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 12:14 PM:

    The parhelion about treating kids like people makes me cry. We have jetpacks and the internet and we're only just figuring this out? I cannot think of any explanation other than we do not wish to know it.

    #788 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 12:23 PM:

    Cally Soukup @ 785... It does, doesn't it?

    #789 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 12:47 PM:

    heresiarch at 787: We have jetpacks...

    Me: :-)) We do? Where's mine?

    #790 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 01:04 PM:

    Thanks all for your disastrous-cake recommendations. In the end, the cake was not as disastrous as I had feared. The flour was a bit heavy, but the moistness of the cake more than compensated for its density. Fearing that my layers were too compact (and also that my sideways cutting would not be up to scratch) I did not split the two layers to make a 4-layer cake. Upon the suggestion of the roommate, it was frosted with a half of the frosting output of the original recipe. It was still deliciously over-frosted and I'm OK with this.

    Xopher - I am drawn to ganache icings, whether poured warm or cooled and whipped a bit, but the roommate claims to dislike chocolate. What this means is that she'll eat chocolate desserts at nearly her normal dessert-consumption capacity, but bitch about how she doesn't like chocolate while she does so. All. The. Time. Like the chronic dieters as work who stop by my desk when I've brought in homemade goodies. They constantly self-shame and demonize the food ("I'm soooo bad..." or "I'm going to have to work out an extra 3 hours just to keep my ass from getting fat" especially bullshitty since I'm generally the fattest one in the office) and then take the brownie or whatever anyway. They do the same when they come back for seconds. I've started issuing invitations to co-workers who can comport themselves appropriately when I offer food.

    In cases like these, it's easier for me to acquiesce to her alleged preferences (she has already had three slices to my one slice of cake and I have heard nary a peep from her about the inadequacy of said cake) than to hear the grumbling. Rest assured my next baking undertaking will be the phenomenal flourless chocolate torte I made last Xmas using a medium bittersweet (56%) for the torte itself, enrobed in a 71% cacao ganache.

    #791 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 01:40 PM:

    nerdycellist @ 790: Flourless chocolate torte is always appropriate!

    On the subject of cakes with flour - you might find whole wheat pastry flour at your local store. It will be lower protein and lighter than "regular" whole wheat flour.

    #792 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 02:20 PM:

    heresiarch @787: When I began working at a sheltered workshop, it suddenly hit me: Not only was it wrong to treat children like idiots, or to treat women or African Americans or rural people like idiots, it wasn't even a good idea to treat idiots like idiots.

    Treat people as though they were people, and they just might act like people. Treat them like anything else, and they'll act like something else -- and probably not even the something else you thought they were.

    #793 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 02:29 PM:

    Elliott, #781: Datapoint -- even as outcast as I was, and as much as I hated phys ed, one thing I do remember is that I didn't get bullied or humiliated in the locker room, nor do I recall seeing/hearing it happen to anyone else (although it's possible that it happened and I just didn't notice). I submit that this behavior varies with school culture -- not saying it doesn't happen, but that it's not as universal as you seem to think.

    #794 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 02:34 PM:

    Abi, thank you for the article on teenagers and school discipline. I have passed it along to several who might benefit, and give thanks once again that my daughter is in a small high school (under 1,000 kids) with people who genuinely try to look after the students (though not to the same degree as those in Lincoln High).

    #795 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 02:35 PM:

    About the 10% brain thing, alluded to in #483, 485, 503, 542, and other entries:

    See "Whence Cometh the Myth That We Only Use Ten Percent of Our Brains?" (PDF) by the late Barry Beyerstein.

    He is unable to pin down the exact moment of origin, but this seems to be the definitive treatment of this maddening question.

    Wikipedia covers it too.

    #796 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 02:40 PM:

    Elliott and Lee: another vote for "varies with school culture" here, with an addendum: varies by grade/year/group of kids.

    I went to an all-female high school, back in the 70s, that had only recently gotten rid of gym uniforms (except for swim, where there was a regulation suit). We were all nerds, though of many different flavors, and I remember no locker-room commentary. This was probably helped along by the fact that not all gym classes required students to change and that we dressed and undressed in front of each other all the time at sleepovers and the like.

    My teen's high school is similarly bereft of such teasing, but her middle school was not. Even there, it varied; the non-honors kids were much meaner than the honors kids. My daughter's year was worse than the year before or after them, regardless of what grade my daughter was in (in other words, as 7th graders, they were worse than the previous year's 7th graders--the then-current 8th graders--and also worse than the 7th graders the following year).

    #797 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 03:12 PM:

    Serge @788

    I'm perfectly happy to give credit to the kind person who solved my sleeping space problem at Worldcon, but I don't know if they want their identity public. It's hard to ask for help, and harder to accept it, but I'm truly grateful.

    In theory I live close enough to commute, but I was looking at taking the train in every day, which is problematic on a holiday weekend with the commuter heavy rail schedule. (No trains home between 12:40am and 8:40am!) Not to mention the mile walk and/or bus (with Ghu knows what holiday late-night schedule of its own) This way I take the train in once, during the day (or possibly carpool with another local), and logistics become MUCH easier.

    #798 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 03:30 PM:

    Thank you, everyone who answered my request for sources; Husband had a couple, but by no means all of those already pinged, and both Husband and friend offer their gratitude through me.

    #799 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 04:25 PM:

    Elliot @786: I'll be at WisCon, but dinners then are tricky scheduling for me. (Working the table all day, and hosting a party Saturday night, and a standing date on Friday night if Paleo's there.) But I hope people stop by the table to say hi, or the Haiku Earring Party (Saturday night as usual).

    #800 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 04:54 PM:

    I'll be at Wiscon. Must make the roommate-wanted post now, actually. A lot of things conspired to make that more stressful than usual.

    On changing for gym: I got harassment in junior high, but honestly, it wasn't because of the taking off clothes. Okay, the immediate cause was there, but seventh grade had a lot of shit going on. I do remember and am still angry about my parents and other teachers getting judgey about kids not showering after gym when at no point in my entire life has it been normal to shower after gym except when swimming, and that's only in middle school and junior high. The showers were turned off.

    #801 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 05:43 PM:

    Jacque @ 782: Not publicly. The original was a commercially dire length, ~42K, so I decided to combine it with what I might mischievously call the "Ten Years After" and "The Anarch de Hautdesert" segments of the grand arc, to make one trim but substantial novel. The structural Musketeers parallel didn't occur to me at the time, or I might have guessed that my equal-length assumption was not my wisest ever.

    The novel I mean to submit is now the original fairy-tale novella, followed by the folk-epic third tale, with the elaborate and tonally incompatible second segment boiled down to glimpses of backstory in the latter. So the initiating story, the "Deed", isn't published anywhere yet, commercially or otherwise.

    However, if you wish to read it, I'll be more than happy to e-mail you a copy privately. Feedback welcomed, but in no way a condition. Should you like it well enough to consider subsequently joining the beta-circle for the completed work, this would be only a happy bonus.

    #802 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 06:06 PM:

    Gray Woodland @801: Sure, email me a copy, at the address at the bottom of my linked website. Full disclosure: I'm shopping around for illustration ideas.

    #803 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 06:56 PM:

    RE Particles from T and P:

    It will be interesting to see what lengths Texas and Arizona will go to to keep their golf courses green once Maw Nature gets serious about implementing climate change induced droughts. Rolling dry-outs in poor neighborhoods to keep the sprinklers going?

    #804 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 07:29 PM:


    I'm not up for a large outing, but I plan to be at Wiscon, and lunch or dinner with you, the three-year-old, and maybe a couple of other adults seems plausible. Email address should be linked by my name, but I'm not making any definite plans until I hear back from Velma.

    #805 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 07:56 PM:

    I'd just like to say that Teresa's "Meth Lab of Democracy" title for Arizona is even better than my own suggestion elsewhere of "Whatthefuckizona".

    Re Stefan Jones' 803: I've always been somewhat aghast myself at the infrastructure costs for the game of golf, in acreage, water, etc. Definitely not a poor man's sport. (Personally, if I wanted to hit a ball with a stick and end with a ball falling into a hole, I'd look for a pool table.) So it's probably ironic that my paycheck now comes from a company that makes golf equipment.

    (Or is that hypocritical, rather than ironic?)

    #806 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 08:02 PM:

    Serge Broom @750:
    Dreamwidth has been getting sporadic spam ever since it suspended invite codes; it's being monitored, if it gets too bad invite codes will be turned back on. Make sure you always report it.

    nerdycellist @751:
    If you hurry, kosher-for-Passover (meaning no corn starch, or corn anything) baking powder might still be on after-Passover sale at Jewish markets. Although some markets may not have it; whether baking powder itself is kl"P at all depends on the local rabbi(s).

    #807 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 09:15 PM:

    Eliot and all - we'll be at Wiscon and would love to meet other ML people, either for dinner, or just to see each other face to face.

    #808 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 09:53 PM:

    Geekosaur @ 806... Thanks. Whenever I catch one, I delete it as spam so that will hopefully do the trick. Come to think of it, it's been a few hours since any of those turds have dropped by so maybe this is it.

    #809 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 09:56 PM:

    Teresa, I'm knitting a shawl that's garter stitch sideways (it's 'Ginkgo biloba' from Knitpicks) and it strikes me that the method of construction could produce an infundibulum with a nicely dagged lower edge.

    #810 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 10:24 PM:

    P J Evans @809: Wikipedia has failed me. Why might Teresa specifically wish to knit an infundibulum? Or, rather, what specific kind of article are you referring to by that term (I'm presuming it is funnel-shaped, because, well, everything called that is)? Since I'm only finding, um, biological pieces.

    Though 'infundibulum catholic' on google does turn up a great blog called Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum, whose subtitle is "A place where all the musings of an athiest engineer on religion, gaming, art, and life fit together." Spelling aside, I kind of approve.

    #811 ::: Elliott just got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 10:25 PM:

    Possibly for misformatting a URL, though I thought I checked it.

    #812 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 10:45 PM:

    Elliott, the infundibulum that Miss Teresa has knitted, is knitting, shall knit, is a circular woolen garment, funnel-shaped as you noted, that fits over the shoulders and covers the neck and, in foul weather, can be pulled up to form a hood.

    It's quite clever.

    #813 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 11:08 PM:

    More from the Meth Lab of Democracy:

    Armored gunman, 4 people dead in Arizona shooting

    "J. T. Ready, a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi, was among five dead at a shooting at a home in Gilbert, Arizona. He was running for Pinal County Sheriff."

    Sheriff. Of course.

    The dead includes a toddler.


    #814 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 11:19 PM:

    It was one of the threads some months back. A cowl or a neckwarmer, depending on how warm you need to be.

    #815 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2012, 11:43 PM:

    Every time I see parts of "My Fair Lady", I am reminded how much Henry Higgins is a bleeping jerk, while I'm honored to know Bill Higgins, aka Bill Heterodyne.

    #816 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 12:03 AM:

    P J, that infundibulum thread link is borked, alas.

    #817 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 12:06 AM:

    elise @815

    Try this:

    #818 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 12:50 AM:

    nerdycellist: For future reference on the sideways slicing, I have a cake-baking friend who recommends sticking the cakes in the freezer prior to slicing, as it makes them less wiggly. (I still don't have a hand mixer and stick blenders are NOT an appropriate substitute when making cakes, so my cake bubbles are uneven, making slicing a bit more problematic.)

    Elliot Mason: I tried watching The Secret of Nimh with the kids about a month ago, and had to stop when the roaring of Dragon the cat was making the little girl whimper. Yeah, I remembered it was dark, but I hadn't remembered it was that outright scary for kids.

    #819 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 01:02 AM:

    P J Evans @813, etc: Aha, lovely. I particularly like its wonderful impression of a dead rooster hat (good enough for Lorenzo de Medici! I would note, googling for 'dead chicken hat' was not as immediately fruitful as I'd hoped, though it did show me that this exists, and now I am giggling).

    You're right, if you did the shoulders-part (the second section of the pattern) sideways you could put any pretty edging you wanted on the outer side, and shape it with short rows instead of increases. Ravelry contains a good number of sub-circular shoulder-capes of that sort which could be adapted for use, and even some non-sideways ones with interesting patterning.

    #820 ::: Elliott is gnomed again ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 01:03 AM:

    .. for posting a lot of URLs, I'm pretty sure. They're all cromulent, I promise.

    #821 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 01:37 AM:

    P J Evans @813: Should we call an ordered list of comments about a knitted object a "yarn?"

    #822 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 01:57 AM:

    Following up a bit on Stefan Jones #812, I'm not surprised that J.T. Ready died violently, apparently by his own hand, or that he killed others before he did so. He was one of those pseudo-paramilitary guys with a rich fantrasy life where they're the biggest bad-ass in the movie of their life. I am rather surprised that it was, apparently, his own family he slaughtered, rather than ammo-ing up and going out to hunt random Mexicans before police shot him down. (On second thought, no I'm not surprised. People like Ready know Mexicans all carry knives; they might have fought back.)

    He was also one of Russell Pearce's buddies and political supporters. Pearce, before a recall vote removed him from the State Senate, was the author of SB 1070, the controversial anti-illegal immigrant bill. But that bill wasn't written from racist motives, and Pearce isn't a racist. He just likes to hang around with white supremacists like Ready, reads white supremacist blogs and forwards their emails to friends.

    It's a shame that innocents, including children, were killed. But a world without J.T. Ready in it... that world's a cleaner and better place.

    #823 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 04:15 AM:

    I've been reading a npvel, part of a long series. And getting badly confused.

    First problem: there's been a long gap between the previous novel being published, and this latest one.

    Second problem: the series has become infested by alien races with awkward personal names (not dreadful names, but comparable to War and Peace in the general sense of bewilderment).

    Third problem: I have a feel of the last few books having been rather abitrary blocks cut out of one incredibly long single story. It's shifted from being a series to being a serial and...

    (Continued in the next exciting episode)

    #824 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 04:35 AM:

    ...the end of volume is at best an imperfect resolution. Thread A might have been (rather implausibly) settled, partly through the quasi-magical psychic powers of character X, but it seems everybody else is in some sort of dire peril.

    Fourth problem: the Gods really are involved, so is that dire peril really all that dire?

    Not, strictly, a problem, are the regular sex scenes, but one yawns and skips a few pages. Characters L and M are at it again... Get a room, guys.

    Books were certainly thinner twenty years ago. the latest volume is nearly three times the thickness of the first. I am not sure if that is a good thing or not. Maybe the next volume will be enough for some sort of conclusion. Maybe the volume after that will be some sort of Next Generation. And maybe it would be better if some of the characters were to discover the Head of Vecna

    "Why would I need that? I can change my shape, Kill with a thought, read an alien mind's memories, and f*** like a demon until my woman is a spent puddle of exhausted flesh."

    Hmm, well, you've not heard of Mary-Sue, then.

    #825 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 07:59 AM:

    A housecleaning note: The pointer at the top of this page to Open Thread 160 points instead back to itself.

    It's interesting to go back through one's open thread comments. I see that on July 17, 2011, I expressed despair at the current state of affairs and asked:

    Where is the "Hands off Social Security!" movement? Where is the opposition? It doesn't exist. Where is the leadership? It doesn't exist. Where is the rank and file? Pacified by cultural progress, scared by the virulence.

    Two months later, Occupy Wall Street offered a convincing rebuttal to despair.

    And why did I bring this all up, anyway? Well, it's all about me. I'd asked a different set of questions a few weeks earlier and gotten very reasonable responses. I'd been looking back at those.

    They'd been on my mind this week because I read Heinlein for comfort. I have access to only some of his books right now, and they aren't all my copies.

    I've been reading from what was at hand, and one of those was Job: A Comedy of Justice, which I started yesterday over dinner and finished in bed. That is a much more wonderful book than I'd remembered it being (and I remembered it fondly). The glibertarian lecturing and tough-guy posturing of so many of the later books is absent, and mostly the compassionate, humane Heinlein shows throughout.

    Anyway. There's a hardcover of it on the shelf, but I took instead the paperback copy with all the little orange tags marking passages in it. Those tags appeared years ago, in Atlanta, after a particularly bad argument in which I'd asked similar questions in a less reasoned manner. My assumption was that those tags marked various places where that question came up in the text, and that some day I'd end up having a long, dreary discussion, point by point, of each time Margrethe and Alex had a disagreement.

    Of course, I was wrong. While the places where one could argue that Margrethe was indeed manipulative were marked, they were much fewer than I'd remembered (and I do have a good memory, or at least I did, which just goes to show you). Yes, there was one of those tags laid vertical and with a pencil mark to indicate a paragraph ending "Because I love you I wish to please you. But I will not obey an order simply because I am a wife." But instead, they were varied passages, one about tipping and another about Salvation Army music, but mostly about love.

    And that brings me to this morning after a restless sleep, with a certain amount of self-pity and a poem by Robert Penn Warren.

    Since I originally raised the question here, I thought I'd let you know here that I've now settled it in my mind: Margrethe was just doing the best that she could.

    (I've got a complex association in my head now, from the Warren poem's "dirt-farmer" to Levon Helm's version of "The Train Robbery", with "those desperate men" and "a Missouri farm boy just trying to survive" but I can't quite make that all come together, so I leave it as a footnote, a parenthetical comment that I doubt I will revisit.)

    #826 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 10:44 AM:

    Braggy moment: the teen's superpower struck again last night.

    We didn't win tickets to the Sherlock Season Two launch event. But PBS announced there would be a standby line.

    So she went and got on the line right after school. I joined her after work.

    PBS does not know how to handle a fan event--they mainly run donor events, which I've been to (back before I spawned) and which work okay. Fan events are a little tougher. But, in the end, we got in.

    And got seats in the 5th row.

    Nice event--they showed the first 35 minutes of Scandal in Bohemia, then there was a Q&A with Sue Vertue, Steven Moffatt, Rebecca Eaton, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Much squealing and shrieking in the audience, which was, by the look of things, primarily composed of women in their teens, 20s, and early 30s (though thankfully I was not the oldest person there). Fannish questions/comments at first, then serious ones.

    There was an autographing after, but, as noted above, PBS does not understand fan events, and they shut down at 11 PM with a good 100 people still in line, including my teen.


    We milled around a bit, getting out of the building after the honored guests, to discover that Cumberbatch was in a car at the curb. By this time there were about 15-20 people left; most people I think assumed that he was gone. Moffatt was getting in the car when he realized he had lost his wife; tried to phone/text w/no luck (no service in the building, where Vertue was), so went looking for her.

    A minute or so later, Cumberbatch gets out of the car, looking for Moffatt and wanting a cigarette. By this time the teen was Right There by the car, hanging out with the little band of fangirls. When Cumberbatch got out of the car, they all froze.

    Then my kid said, "May I shake your hand?"

    And he said, "Yes, you may."

    And shook her hand. He has, she says, large hands, and his fingers wound up around her wrist.

    And he winked at her.

    Amazingly, she did not explode or faint.

    He shook hands with a few more girls before getting back into the car as Moffatt reappeared with Vertue and they all drove away.

    You know, this is not a bad superpower. So far, it's gotten her into Will Smith's trailer, one table over from William Shatner, and autographs from Karen Gillan and Steven Moffatt.

    I'm rather in awe of her.

    #827 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 10:54 AM:

    Melissa Singer @ 825... this is not a bad superpower

    ...but with great power comes great responsibility.

    #828 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 11:14 AM:

    Melissa Singer: This post gives me many smiles. I admire (and covet) teen's chutzpah.

    Oh yeah, and the sonic screwdriver can launch as soon as a shipping address lands in my inbox.

    #829 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 11:33 AM:

    Melissa #825:

    I cannot decide which impresses me more, your daughter's superpowers, or your own enthusiastic mothering. Go you, the mother I wish I'd had!

    #830 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 11:45 AM:

    Serge: not "with superpower comes super responsibility"?

    Seriously, though, yeah, {{{envy}}} for that superpower and what it has achieved. I'm glad that Melissa got some of the area-of-effect, too!

    #831 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 01:11 PM:

    Mycroft W @ 829...

    "Hey! No power!"
    - a kid to one with superspeed during a game in "X-men"

    #832 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 02:01 PM:

    This sort of thing happens in my head sometimes. I was looking at the Sidelight about football, and this paragraph jumped out at me:

    That's the biggest problem the sport has right now. Not bounties. Not performance-enhancing drugs. It's the mounting evidence that repeated shots to the head could be slowly killing football players. Even if it had nothing to do with Seau's death, football has lost the benefit of the doubt. Every time a far-too-young ex-player dies after suffering some sort of mental distress, football will be the prime suspect.

    Now imagine it rewritten:

    That's the biggest problem tobacco has right now. Not falling sales. Not advertising bans. It's the mounting evidence that tobacco use leads to cancer. Even if it had nothing to do with this death, tobacco has lost the benefit of the doubt. Every time a far-too-young smoker dies after suffering some sort of cancer, tobacco will be the prime suspect.

    The obvious underlying parallels are left as an exercise for the reader.

    #833 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 04:05 PM:

    The particle on the Al Quaeda propagandist bemoaning the state of the comments makes me think of a classic science fiction exchange. I think it's in one of the early Lensman books. A human visiting an alien planet for the first time is seeing the countryside through his host's eyes, and asks about some featureless lumps along the roadside. When the host pays attention to the lumps, they turn out to be vividly colored and animated advertising. And common ground between the two species is found: they both ignore advertising.

    Death, taxes, and comment spam.

    #834 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 05:08 PM:

    OtterB -- that's definitely a Lensman book, when Kinnison is visiting a planet where they have the "sense of perception" which acts kind of like 3-D vision. The ad said "Eat Teegmee's Food", IIRC.

    #835 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 07:04 PM:

    The scene with the adverts is in First Lensman, when Samms first visits Rigel IV.

    #836 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 09:07 PM:

    Probably me. It was a bit past my bedtime (as determined by the antidepressant: hurray for side-effects!)

    Speaking of knitting - I have a skein of silk yarn suitable for a wrap. It's possibly a bit gaudy for your taste....

    #837 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 09:24 PM:

    Elliott, Knitpicks has a free pattern for knitting your own 'rubber chicken', suitable, I think, for taking to dead-chicken dinners. (BYOC?)

    I'm now nearly done with the 9th scallop and it's getting large on that edge - it will fit comfortably around my head. The flair on it is startling: it has fifteen ridges at the scalloped edge for every one at the neck edge - and the rate of increase is faster in the lower two-thirds.

    #838 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 09:35 PM:

    I knit the chicken viking hat for my niece, in a nice raw chicken pink. I varied the location of the purls on the body to be more lifelike. Pic on the Rav.

    #839 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2012, 09:58 PM:

    After reading the particle on the latest Arizona insanity (note to Arizona legislators: would you please stop making us look bad?) I looked up the bill and declaration in question. It was an interesting exercise to work out exactly what the consequences of the law would be. Here are some of the highlights of what the state and its political subdivisions will be forbidden to do if it gets signed:
    3. Forbidden to take into account the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.
    5. Forbidden to eradicate poverty.
    8. Forbidden to reduce unsustainable practices and promote appropriate demographic policies.
    10. Forbidden to allow participation of concerned citizens in environmental issues.
    11. Forbidden to enact effective environmental legislation.
    15. Forbidden to take precautionary actions to prevent environmental damage.
    20. Forbidden to allow full participation of women in environmental management and development.
    22. Forbidden to recognize or support the identity, culture, and interests of indigenous people.
    26. Forbidden to resolve environmental disputes peacefully.

    I particularly wonder about the effects #22 would have on the many reservations in the state...

    #840 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 12:36 AM:

    AZ isn't just barbaric like Texas. It's off-the-rails insane.

    Pregnancy begins two weeks before conception? Such a transparent dodge around Roe v. Wade, the legislators who voted for it should go to jail.

    #841 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 07:02 AM:

    Jetman takes flight.

    His rig looks nicer than the one we've seen before, but.... seems to lack provisions for takeoff and landing. (Plane drop and parachute, respectively.)

    #842 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 08:17 AM:

    Xopher @ 840

    Pregnancy begins two weeks before conception?

    If you are a doctor or a pregnant woman, yes. (Someone who's "39 weeks pregnant"? That's 39 weeks from the first day of her last period.)

    #843 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 08:17 AM:

    Xopher @ 840

    Pregnancy begins two weeks before conception?

    If you are a doctor or a pregnant woman, yes. (Someone who's "39 weeks pregnant"? That's 39 weeks from the first day of her last period.)

    #844 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 08:59 AM:

    The other night I was introduced to a game I thought was pretty funny: the less-intense title game. And this morning it occurred to me that the crowd around here might like it too.

    So, instead of "Dr. No", you get "No, M.S." Instead of "The Left Hand of Darkness," "The Left Hand of Dimness." My favorite that evening was probably the Poe classic, "Homicides on a Street in Paris."

    #845 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 09:04 AM:

    And that retrospective and arbitrary choice of date is because we don't know when a pregnant woman ovulated, but might know when her last period started.

    But it's really not all that much help, given that it's possible to have something like a menstrual period at the beginning of pregnancy.

    However, it's really stupid to use that date for political definitions, because it's applied retroactively for medical purposes, once it's clear from other signs and tests that a woman is pregnant. (Also, I've had doctors and midwives change the week of pregnancy I was supposedly in based on other factors aside from date of last period.)

    #846 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 09:58 AM:

    Carrie S. @ 844: Oooh, shiny!

    First up, that notorious trilogy Tommy Pledge the Sceptic - The First Season:

    Officer Off's Stain
    The Poorsoil Debate
    The Possibility of Conservation

    #847 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 10:31 AM:

    For those interested in the Arizona pregnancy insanity (aka women being considered legally pregnant 2 weeks before they actually conceive), there's a reasonably objective rundown here.

    I do wonder, though, how this is going to be leveraged with the recommendation that any woman of childbearing age should be considered "pre-pregnant" at all times.

    #848 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 10:39 AM:

    My concern about a legal definition of pregnancy that predates both fertilization and implantation is that it moves birth control (things that prevent pregnancy) into a grey area of being arguably abortion.

    "A woman can take Plan B up to two weeks after she's legally pregnant and not be pregnant any more! What do we call that...?"

    Obviously, people of good will, interested in the best outcomes for women, would never use that legal grey area maliciously. Unfortunately, I can't say I trust lawmakers to fall into that category.

    #849 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 11:30 AM:

    "I Have No Mouth, and I Wish to Chat"

    On another topic, I wrote a paper for a religion class and mentioned how the non-literate in early ages learned their Bible from sculptures, paintings, and stained glass, and knew who everybody was and what they represented, and overlooked the kneeling patron in the foreground just as people of all ages know how to ignore the adverts of their day.

    #850 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 12:21 PM:

    And because I can't resist it, what about the foundational contributions of J R Willing to the whole modern fantasy genre?

    Starting off small with the children's hit, A Round Trip,

    and then really hitting the big time with The Failure of the Ringleader and the Reassertion of Crown Authority.

    It's a shame, but an understandable one, that he never found the inspiration to follow through on his projected sequel, Some Further Obscurity.

    But we can't very well complain. What fan of my generation could ever forget the thrill of opening for the first time Willing's posthumously-published lifework, The History of Costume Jewellery?

    #851 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 12:38 PM:

    The three-part epic The Squire of the Rings, composed of "The Ring Club", "A Tower", and "The Boss is Back".

    Fahrenheit 450

    #852 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 01:51 PM:

    Carrie S @851:

    Fahrenheit 450


    Perhaps Vinge's A Heating Pad Upon the Deep and A Moderate Depth Up There?

    Steven Brust's To Carry A Certain Amount Of Authority in Heck

    Bear's "The Cable-Ties That You Decline."

    #853 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 02:25 PM:

    Carrie 844: I like it! Here are some:

    The Censure of Faust
    Boss of Brightening
    Eight Refrigerated Ducal Heirs
    Somewhat Lower Relatively Stable
    A Distant Strand

    abi 848: Obviously, people of good will, interested in the best outcomes for women, would never use that legal grey area maliciously. Unfortunately, I can't say I trust lawmakers to fall into that category.

    Being a less subtle and measured person than you, I'll go ahead and say "And the Arizona legislature in particular is an example of lawmakers who are NOT people of good will and are NOT interested in the best outcomes for women."

    #854 ::: Bernard Yeh ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 03:02 PM:

    @844 and others:

    The currently running and not yet complete fantasy epic by GRM, A Tune of Slush and Heat:

    A Scrimmage of Chairs
    A Scrum of Barons
    A Sprinkle of Knives
    A Snack for Blackbirds
    A Shuffle with Newts

    #855 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 03:35 PM:

    Finnegans Leaving Do
    Ajax the Less
    My High School Pics LOL!

    #856 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 03:44 PM:

    OK, just had a run-in with someone who is apparently serious about denying that Osama bin Laden was actually killed last year. He sent links to web articles about it, which were apparently all from the same source. He also claimed that SEAL Team 6 was killed (yeah, all of them) in that helicopter crash, to cover up the fact that the ObL takedown was faked.

    Sanity check here.

    Is there actually any doubt about ObL's takedown? He's just a wacko conspiracy theorist, right?

    #857 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 04:13 PM:

    Xopher @856:

    Nuttier than peanut brittle with almond icing.

    #858 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 04:52 PM:

    Xopher @856, any doubt by whom? I mean, the facts of the official narrative leave very little, if any, evidence that's open to independent analysis.

    If ObL were alive and running around free, presumably he'd have made himself known by now. But if he were being held in captivity, or had actually died some time earlier, who knows?

    #859 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 06:01 PM:

    Or, let me put it a different way: If by "Is there actually any doubt about ObL's takedown?" you mean "Is there a mainstream body of opinion that casts serious doubt on the government's narrative relating to ObL's killing?", the answer is no, as far as I can tell, this is something questioned solely at the margins of political opinion.

    If you mean "Is there any publicly available objective evidence to corroborate the government's narrative?", no, there isn't.

    #860 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 06:21 PM:

    The Moon Has Been Known To Be Impolite
    Friday Morning
    Starship Consultants
    He Hasn't Been Here Before
    Almost Time Enough For Love
    The Roads Could Roll, If You Think It's a Good Idea

    #861 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 06:39 PM:

    La Petite Mort d'Arthur

    #862 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 06:45 PM:

    September 30th is On Time, by Hoyle
    A Dozen Wristwatches, by Thurber

    And then there are magazines:

    Somewhat Exciting Curiosity Stories
    Star Cluster
    Continents of If
    Not Very Well Known
    We can't use "Odd Tales", because that was a hoax magazine....

    #863 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 07:38 PM:

    Some folks would doubt that OBL was dead if they'd been invited along for the raid, watched the blood samples being gathered and processed by the DNA lab, and interviewed the grieving wives and children.

    Some folks still believe Iraq had A-bombs and nerve gas shells ready to go right up to the invasion, when Saddam transferred them all to Syria.

    When you meet folks like that, change the subject and move on.

    #864 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 07:44 PM:

    Carrie S. writes in #844:

    The other night I was introduced to a game I thought was pretty funny: the less-intense title game.

    In the Basil of Baker Street books by Eve Titus, Basil is a mouse who lives in the basement of 221B and solves crimes among the mice of London.

    In 1986, Walt Disney Productions was preparing to release a new animated feature based on these stories. Just before release, Disney executives announced that its title would be changed from Basil of Baker Street to The Great Mouse Detective.

    Disney employees were none too happy with the change. Ed Gombert, a story artist, forged a memo which read:

    Along with the new title for "Basil of Baker Street" it has been decided to rename the entire library of animated classics. The new titles are as follows...
    Seven Little Men Help a Girl
    The Wooden Boy Who Became Real
    The Wonderful Elephant Who Could Really Fly
    The Little Deer Who Grew Up
    The Girl with the See-Through Shoes [...]
    And of course our latest classic destined to win the hearts of the American public... "THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE"

    Someone leaked the fraudulent memo to the L. A. Times, and soon the entire world knew of Mr. Gombert's jest.

    (Thanks to the TAG Blog for putting the memo on the Web.)

    #865 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 08:10 PM:

    Viscount of Illumination by Roger Zelazny.

    #866 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 08:21 PM:

    Mycroft W @ 860:

    Magic, LLC
    The Man Who Borrowed The Moon, Briefly, Then Put It Back
    I Will Be Made Only Slightly Nervous By Evil
    Have Borrowed Spacesuit, Will Be Next Door
    The Boring Profession of Jonathan Hoag
    Solution Tolerable But Not Entirely Satisfactory
    The Fraction of the Beast
    The Bother from Earth
    Misfires Happen

    #867 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 08:22 PM:


    As Someone Tolerates It
    The Not Unhappy Women of Windsor
    A Small Fuss About Not Very Much
    The Inclement Weather
    The Shopkeeper of Rural Italy

    and Board Games:

    Large Market Share
    and this summer's blockbuster, Coast Guard Cutter

    #868 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 08:34 PM:

    "Have a twinge of regret, Comedian" said the clock dealer.

    #869 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 09:06 PM:

    Xopher, #856: Coming at this from a different angle, the more websites that trace back to a single item somewhere, the less credible the claim. "They're all out of step but Jim" is a cliche for a reason; if everybody is citing the same singular source, that's not evidence, it's an echo chamber.

    Gray, #861: I'm not sure I needed that mental image!

    The Delimiter Between Daylight and Darkness

    #870 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 09:11 PM:


    Malaise Slightly After Lunch
    Past The Brook and into the Brush
    The Duffer and the Drink
    G'bye, Pistol
    Dawn Again

    #871 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 09:31 PM:

    Dorothy Sayers' Ornamented Evening
    John M. Ford's Inching Towards Puberty Lightly
    Robert Jordan's Hubcap of an Era or Two

    #872 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 09:46 PM:

    elise @ 871: To say nothing of One of the Later Warm Moments

    #873 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 10:24 PM:

    The Thirty Years Disagreement
    The Unpleasantness Between the States
    The French & Indian Collaboration

    #874 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2012, 11:49 PM:

    Linkmeister, #873: Believe it or not, "the Late Unpleasantness" was a real-life euphemism for the Slaveholders' Rebellion well into the 20th century.

    #875 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 12:56 AM:

    Gray's@846 took me a couple of looks to get.

    Here's a few more:
    Man of a Certain Age's War, John Scalzi
    A Whole Bunch of Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin
    "Her Smoke Rose Up For a While", James Tiptree, Jr.
    Twenty Years After, Steven Brust

    #876 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 01:03 AM:

    Warmth from Way Up High, by Mary Renault

    #877 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 01:59 AM:

    A Few Countries Ineffectively Misplaced, short story by Theodore Sturgeon
    If This Happens Occasionally, Robert Heinlein
    The Frequent Putterer With Plants, John le Carré
    Time Guessed To Be A Corkscrew of Rocks, Samuel R. Delany.
    A Peccadillo in Central Eurupe, Arthur Conan Doyle

    #878 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 02:29 AM:

    "Valuable Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson.
    "The Watersource A Long Way Off" by Lord Dunsany
    "The Gilded Twig" by Joseph Campbell
    "Murmur" by Allen Ginsberg

    #879 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 02:36 AM:

    David @ 875:

    Twenty Years After, Steven Brust -

    Now, that's inspired!

    I must confess a perverse impulse to run out and buy Bernard Yeh's series from #854, toot sweet.

    More classics:

    Tel Aviv Relieved, Tasso
    Orlando (the Marmalade Cat) Attracted, Boiardo
    Orlando (the Marmalade Cat) Distracted, Ariosto
    The Pixie Princess, Spenser

    #880 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 08:22 AM:

    Dave Lucket @ 878:

    "Murmur" by Allen Ginsberg

    I just love R.E.M.'s version!

    #881 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 10:43 AM:

    Formal Logic Humor: An academic proves (note: a valid proof only, not a SOUND proof) that Popeye's fried chicken is better than KFC's.

    #882 ::: Elliott Mason has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 10:46 AM:

    Apparently academic humor intrigues them. Which shouldn't surprise them.

    [It was the contraction for "you have" without an apostrophe in the URL that gave the gnomes pause. That particular filter is too useful (catching dozens a day) that I am reluctantly leaving it in place. -- JDM]

    #883 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 11:12 AM:

    The Man Who Landed On The Ground

    An Alliance of Dull People

    The Pretty Good Seven

    New Guy Who Hasn't Been Here Before

    #884 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 12:34 PM:



    splatter movies:




    done that:

    SATURDAY THE 14th (actual movie)
    DARK MOON RISE, HECK HOUND HURT! (from Not Brand Echh)

    #885 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 06:03 PM:

    On Jim's sidebar item of "Target drops Amazon" there are ads for books. I thought it was a cute juxtaposition that there was a book called "The Pleasures of Men" next to a book called "I Suck at Girls"

    #886 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 06:03 PM:

    On Jim's sidebar item of "Target drops Amazon" there are ads for books. I thought it was a cute juxtaposition that there was a book called "The Pleasures of Men" next to a book called "I Suck at Girls"

    #887 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 06:59 PM:

    The Eight Tailors and Four Red Herrings are perhaps too easy. Homicide Should Advertise is better. Also Moderately Effective Poison.

    #888 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 08:07 PM:

    Trouble on an Eastern Train
    Mishaps at the Vicarage
    And Then There Were Several

    #889 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 08:09 PM:

    The Shed at Pooh Bend is, of course, set in the Ninety-Nine Acre Wood.

    Now We Are Five is not.

    #890 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 08:41 PM:

    Neither is Soon After We Were Toddlers.

    #891 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2012, 11:50 PM:

    Cinco de Mayo Supermoon

    #892 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 12:12 AM:

    Regarding recently gnomed post @881: I take it that it is not technically possible to make an exemption for the word when it's part of a URL?

    #893 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 12:32 AM:

    I think the game is changing from the less-intense title game to the slight-paraphrase game. It's the difference between "Twelve Perturbed Men" and "Some Number of Persons with Anger Management Problems." At least, that's how it looks to me.

    The folk process is at work again!

    #894 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 01:24 AM:

    Steve C @ #891, that's about as spectacular a photo as I've seen of the phenomenon. Extraordinary.

    #895 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 01:34 AM:

    Agoraphobia means, roughly, "fear of the marketplace."

    How would you translate "disgust over the marketplace?"

    I don't mind actual shopping venues. Don't mind most of them, at least. What gets me in an utter despairing black funk is driving through retail sprawl. The untidy agglomerated ugly congested street-scape of badly aging strip malls, repurposed fast food joints, and homes clumsily converted into offices with blacktop for lawns.

    After stopping at an out-of-the-way game and comic store today, I had to skip my planned early afternoon "Avengers" viewing and go home to crash on the couch and try to get over it.

    #896 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 02:27 AM:

    Stefan Jones @ 895:

    Umm ... you'll have to decide if this anecdote really follows your post. It just flashed up from my memory when I read "homes clumsily converted into offices with blacktop for lawns".

    One night, many years ago, Eva and I were driving back to our house in Southwest Portland from a movie theater in Beaverton. We were driving east on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, which then, as now, but less so, was a long stretch of strip malls, discount furniture stores, and fast food restaurants. Just as we passed a real estate office that had been converted from a house, with blacktop over the lawn to make a parking area, a woman who was standing on the sidewalk in front of the office fired either a rifle or a shotgun (I couldn't see which in the low light, and was too startled to pay close attention to the sound) into the air. Not being partial to being ventilated by gunfire, I drove the hell out of there and when we got home we called the police; I guess whoever it was disappeared by the time the police got there, so I have no good end to the story. Just another chance meeting on the road in suburbia.

    #897 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 05:13 AM:

    You don't look well, love, but you're still humming. P. Marron

    #898 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 08:40 AM:

    Thanks, Linkmeister.

    #899 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 09:58 AM:

    Yesterday morning the local NPR music droid informed us that it was the "Cinco de Maya". Presumably the fifth of an illusion. I am getting annoyed by the fake Spanish of NPR music announcers, especially those who inform me that there is an aria in Carmen called the "Habañera". This would be the style of song originating in La Habaña, wherever that is, as opposed to La Habana, the capital of Cuba, known in English as Havana.

    #900 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 10:42 AM:

    Kip W (893): I'd noticed that, too.

    Shifting from titles to characters, we have those young detectives, the Tardy Boys and Nancy Scribbled.

    #901 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 11:23 AM:

    Shifting from titles to characters, we have those young detectives, the Tardy Boys and Nancy Scribbled.

    Ever since this subthread started, I've been trying to come up with something good involving Humility Gleam, but I keep getting hung up on the question of whether humility really counts as less intense than modesty.

    #902 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 11:42 AM:

    Paul A. (901): I like that.

    And in the "now we're just getting silly" department, Ivantrowel.

    #903 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 12:48 PM:

    Fragano, I've been annoyed by that too, but nothing on NPR is as bad as the BBC. Who the hell is Sarah J. Voe?

    Also, isn't that song about a hot little pepper? (Yeah, I know the pepper is also from Havana.)

    #904 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 01:18 PM:

    Sarah J. Voe (1845-1910) was the first aerialist to demonstrate a triple back-spin somersault without a net. This was during an exhibition in Paris in 1867.

    According to some accounts she was the inspiration for the final stanza of "The Man on the Flying Trapeze."

    #905 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 01:45 PM:

    Forever Ecru

    #906 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 03:32 PM:

    And onward to Open Thread 173....

    #907 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 03:39 PM:


    #908 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2012, 03:52 PM:

    Xopher HalfTongue #903: I think of that hot little pepper as a Scotch Bonnet.

    #909 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2012, 09:44 PM:

    A little late, but -
    intery, mintery, cuttery corn, apple peach and apple thorn, wire, briar, limberlock...

    --Dave, five for silver, six for gold

    #910 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2012, 04:03 AM:

    Also a little late (I _am_ catching up, really):

    Lee @353 -
    >or, on the other side of the political fence, the people who think that putting a "Support the Troops" magnetic ribbon on their SUV (and doing nothing else) is actually doing something substantive about the issue.

    That would be the Asylum Street Spankers and Stick Magnetic Ribbons On Your SUV. Not exactly safe for work. May contain sarcasm. There may be others, but this is the one that pops up for my brain from that description.


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